Luke Savage documents the further rot of the Democratic Party at JACOBIN:
The ambient influence of big money in American politics has become so overwhelming it can be difficult to discern where institutionalized bribery stops and anything even resembling the public interest begins. Just as ambient, fittingly enough, is the sound of mainstream politicians from both major parties condemning and decrying its corrupting influence, usually while finding creative new ways of leveraging it themselves.
America’s campaign finance debate has thus become both an arms race and an unconvincing pantomime act, with more than enough hypocrisy to go around. Every election cycle, it seems, now yields new innovations in shadowy fundraising, paired with increasingly absurd declarations from across the spectrum that raking in huge sums from wealthy people and powerful lobbies is the only way anyone can possibly compete — and, as some insist, win on the scale necessary to purge big money for good.
As political formulations go, it’s the kind of thing you’d have to be on drugs to take seriously. (“Our government has been bought by billionaires and corporations . . . and we need as many campaign contributions from them as possible to fix it. Q.E.D.”) Still, it’s essentially the argument we’ve heard again and again — notably from liberal figures who tend to be more vocal than their Republican counterparts about the need for campaign finance reform.
People need to get honest.
And, sadly, that includes JACOBIN. And it includes Luke Savage. In 2008, Barack Obama ran for president and took massive donations. He could have run a federally funded election. But greed got the better of him. In 2004, John Kerry floated doing what Barack did and people rightly pushed back. In 2008, Barack destroyed one of the few protections put in place for our elections after Watergate and people want to act like it never happened.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, February 3, 2022. Is Joe Biden bound and dtermined to go down as one of the worst presidents in history?
The above. Jen Psaki is not to blame for being a whore. The role of White House spokesperson is a whore position that's only ogtten more whorish with each administration.
That said, she needs to grasp that it is her not her job -- or anyone in the White House t-- to police podcasts. They need to shut the f**k up. I get it, she doesn't want to talk about real issues. If she prefers nonsense, should we discuss other topcis? Abortions paid for by married men in the administrations by women who were not their wives -- never their wives. They had wives. At the time. And then they said, for example, "I'm in Congress, if you have this baby, it's not just my marriage that's over, it's my political career."
Do we want to have those conversations, Jen?
I shrug at most of the nonsense out of Jen's mouth because it's her position. The spoikesperson isn't honest. And, especially under Jay Carney, they became attack dogs on the press. They're kown liars. I don't know the damage that does to your soul but I imagine it's intense.
But Jen's now ready to violate the First Amendment. That's too far -- even for a whore position.
Joe Rogan can say whatever he wants and anyone who wants to listen can listen. Jen Psaki needs to either move on treal issues -- and spin and lie about them -- or we can give her 'trivia' to talk about.
This is another example of the attacks on the press. At its most extreme, it finds Joe Biden persecuting Julian Assange.
As for Harry . . .
You don't know our country, you odn't know our history. We didn't beg you to come here and we don't need your ugly ass telling us what's what.
Some in the UK may be impressed with you. We're not. You've done nothing with your life, Harry. You're semi-famous because of your birth. Stop thinking anyone needs your uneducated thoughts. Want to boss people around? Go back to England. Stay there. In the US, we don't need you and we know you're a spoiled brat who never lived a real life and who doesn't know anything about even the most basic events of life. So be grateful that you were born into money and call that a win.
Or, bettter yet, if you must speak publicly, tell us about your uncle the pedophile.
We're interested in your thoughts on that, Harry.
An American Revolution did not take plae so that a little princess named Harry could escape to the US and lecture us. Princess can go back home if the US makes him so uncomfortable. Can go back home and should go back home. In the meantime, you're a guest, show the manners you were supposedly raised with.
Princess Harry -- a failure in the UK and now failing in the US as well.
Back to Joe Biden, the enemy of a free press. He continues his persecution of Julian Assange. The world is watching. The whole world sees Julian being targeted for telling the truth. The whole world watches as Democratic Joe Biden persecutes. He mars not just his own image throughout the world but that of the Democratic Party's as well. This is lasting damage and it is global. Exactly what does Joe think he's accomplishing?
A motion supported by around 60 members of all parties in the French parliament calls for asylum to be granted to the journalist Julian Assange, who has been imprisoned in Great Britain. The National Assembly will vote on the motion on Friday.
On Friday, France’s National Assembly will debate and vote on a motion to grant asylum to journalist Julian Assange, who is being held in Britain. Launched at the end of October 2021, the motion is supported by around 60 French MEPs from all political parties. The proposal is supported by Cédric Villani (Groupe Écologie démocratie solidarité), Jean Lassalle (Groupe Libertés et territoires), François Ruffin (La France insoumise) and Jennifer de Temmerman from Macron’s La République en Marche party.
The world is watching and Joe Biden is going down in history as we speak. It won't be a historical entry of praise. He's the man who persecuted journalist Julian Assange. That will not be forgotten. Joe could order all charges dropped and save his own image -- maybe even be seen as a hero. But he appears to want to be despised for hundreds of years to come. He wants the name "Joe Biden" to be met with curses and hoots of laughter.
At Swathmore's PHOENIX, Tarang Saluja notes:
On Dec. 10, 2021 (which was ironically international human rights day), the U.K.’s high court ruled that Julian Assange may be extradited to face trial in the U.S. and on Jan. 24, Assange won the right to appeal against the extradition. Assange’s team will now appeal to the Supreme Court in early February to see if he can be saved from the talons of the US government. The case against Julian Assange began when Wikileaks published information provided by U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Documents from Manning, including the Afghanistan War Diary and Guantanamo Files, revealed embarrassing and atrocious details of misconduct and deception by US military officials. One of the most horrific leaks was the extremely disturbing Collateral Murder video which uncloaked how U.S. military pilots murdered two journalists when they opened fire without provocation and further fired at unarmed adults and children who came to help the wounded. This humiliating and shameful experience for the U.S. national security state triggered a thirst for revenge which has made the crude destruction of one man’s life an instrument for assaulting the freedom of our press. If Assange, after being systematically abused by many so-called democratic countries and misrepresented by media stenographers for national security ghouls, is prosecuted with an indictment that criminalizes typical journalist activities based on the ill-defined term “national defense information,” it will deeply chill investigative reporting on the most secretive, unaccountable institutions in the U.S. and set a precedent for the violation of press freedom.
[. . .]
A shocking report also revealed that the CIA, unable to tolerate the leak of Vault 7 in 2017, had plotted to murder Assange by abducting and then assassinating him in a London shootout. This plot complemented the 2020 revelations that the CIA had a Spanish security firm spy on Assange and his fiance, Stella Morris, extensively. They went as far as using cameras and microphones to spy on meetings Assange had with his lawyers, tracking both Morris and her mother, and trying to steal their baby’s pacifier and diaper to do a DNA test.
Even though these shameful details reveal the danger U.S. officials pose to Assange, the U.S. has continued the extradition process, providing a flimsy assurance that they would not apply Special Administrative Measures or place Assange in a supermax prison unless Assange gives them a reason to decide otherwise. This is a condition that can be easily abused. However, the high court responded by ruling that Assange may be extradited, paving the path for his prosecution in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia. As the Eastern District Court is near the Pentagon and CIA, the jury pool is far more sympathetic towards intelligence agents, and therefore it is unlikely that Assange will be acquitted if he is extradited to the U.S. Shortly after the ruling, it was revealed Assange had a stroke on Oct. 27, which was the first day of the high court appeal hearing, and Morris attributes this to his poor treatment and stressful experience during the extradition battle. Even if the CIA couldn’t personally kill Assange, he has been systematically abused to the point where there are legitimate fears he could die by illness or suicide. (It is noted on the Useful Idiots (42:30 – 43:30) podcast that Assange himself has clearly expressed he will not come back to the US alive because of what he expects to face here.) Recently, he has been given permission to appeal the decision that he can be extradited, and his legal team is currently working on that.
The astonishing part of this twisted political saga is the behavior of many mainstream media outlets. As Assange is being indicted on uncorroborated charges for the very activities which investigative journalists engage with all the time, this trial has massive implications for the freedom of the press. However, mainstream media has mainly focused on contributing to the smear campaign against Assange. When Assange’s asylum was revoked, plenty of mainstream outlets, with an almost sick glee, reported extensively on allegations of “dirty,” unhygienic behavior. These same outlets never bothered to examine the change in Ecuadorian political leadership and the political motivations of Ecuadorian officials making these claims. Furthermore, they parrotted alarmist claims from national security officials about how Assange’s actions were irresponsible and dangerous, despite the fact that the government cannot prove that any harm was done to its sources and that their favored whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsburg, also argued that Assange’s actions are in the public interest.
Joe Biden is speeding on his way to being considered one of the worst presidents ever. He could have stayed 'retired.' Most people would have ignored Hunter Biden if that had happened. They would have ignored how 'working class Joe' became a millionaire on the taxpayer's dime. He would have been the drunk uncle that you wanted to believe was basically a good guy at heart.
Instead, he's now someone who threatnes journalists, who can't handle the economy, who can't respond to COVID . . .
In fact, maybe Jen and Joe need to use that anger and malice they keep aiming at Joe Rogan and focus it instead on actually addressing COVID. That would mean firing Fauci, of course, something Joe was told to do the first week after he was sworn in. Wasn't smart enough to do it that week. Hasn't been smart enough since.
The dottering old fool.
I have no idea if Donald Trump plans to run for president again or, if he does plan to run, whether he could get a nomination (from the GOP or any other party). But Joe's certainly worked hard to build a case for Donald. Where are the stimulus checks, Joe? What the hell have you done for the American people? Gifted them with inflation?
He's an abject failure. Ray McGovern (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:
The leaked text (to Spain’s El Pais) of Washington’s response to Russia’s December security proposals augurs well for an eventual peaceful denouement on Ukraine. The U.S. response may still seem to be only half a loaf, but includes an appetizing sweetener – verification.
Washington’s "non-paper" response directly addresses Putin’s chief concern. (Spoiler for any new readers of antiwar.com: It is not what you are probably thinking; it is not Putin’s reportedly insatiable lust to get NATO to sign a piece of paper banning membership for Ukraine; that’s the other half-loaf, and it has become rather stale – as well as moot.)
Rather, Putin’s primary worry has long been that missile launchers now deployed in Romania and soon, if not already, in Poland (ostensibly for anti-missile defense) can accommodate Tomahawk cruise missiles with ranges that put Russia’s strategic forces in jeopardy. Putin has voiced that concern loudly for years.
For example, after the US-orchestrated coup in Kiev in Feb. 2014, Putin explained publicly that US/NATO plans to deploy ABM systems around Russia’s western periphery were an "even more important factor" in Moscow’s decision to annex Crimea than the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO. (For one particularly telling example, readers are invited to view a short clip showing Putin’s frustration six years ago at his inability to impress upon Western reporters the urgency of the "ABM" missile emplacements.)
At Tuesday’s press conference, Putin began with a reminder that Russia had been "conned" when the West promised in 1990 not to move NATO one inch eastward. Putin then pointed out that, after the US withdrew from the AMB Treaty:
"Now anti-ballistic missiles are deployed in Romania and are being set up in Poland. … These are MK-41 launchers that can launch Tomahawks. In other words, they are no longer just counter-missiles, and these assault weapons can cover thousands of kilometers of our territory. Isn’t that a threat to us?"
What about similar deployment to Ukraine? The U.S. has already agreed not to do that. Western media largely missed this, but Russia’s readout of the Dec. 30 telephone conversation between Biden and Putin included this:
“… Joseph Biden emphasized that Russia and the US shared a special responsibility for ensuring stability in Europe and the whole world and that Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine.” [Emphasis added.]
Smoke That Peace Pipe Bury Those Tomahawks
The US "non-paper" revealed yesterday by El Pais, was labeled "confidential", and small wonder. Clearly, the Biden administration did not want its concession on inspection, for example, to leak. It will come as a shock for those predicting (some of them actually hoping for) the worst. Washington’s non-paper expresses willingness to discuss "a transparency mechanism to confirm the absences of Tomahawk cruise missiles at … sites in Romania and Poland." In other words, verification; which has worked well in the past – with the INF Treaty, for example, which saw the entire class of intermediate- and short-range missiles destroyed.
Nor is it surprising that the US asked the Russians (and everyone else) to keep its "non-paper" secret. The Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank (MICIMATT) complex will be up in arms, so to speak. Not to mention Raytheon, which makes and sells the Tomahawks (at $2 million each). See, for example: Top Weapons Companies Boast Ukraine-Russia Tensions Are a Boon for Business.
In Iraq, no political news. Still no government. October 10th was election day. If you really wanted to stop ISIS, you wouldn't drag your feet about foriming a government.
We'll wind down with this from Senator Bill Cassidy's office:
WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) unanimously passed legislation to offer Post-9/11 combat veterans, including those suffering from conditions caused by toxic exposures, such as burn pits, access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jon Tester (D-MT) led the committee in introducing the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act yesterday.
“Veterans should not be denied health care because of federal bureaucracy. We made a commitment to these men and women,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bipartisan bill honors veterans’ service and expands VA health care for those exposed to toxic substance. Today is a step forward in fulfilling that commitment.”
“Post-9/11 veterans are the newest generation of American heroes to suffer from toxic exposures encountered during military service,” said Senator Moran. “The Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act is an important first step to make certain our veterans receive the care they need as a result of their service. I’m urging my colleagues to read our bill, to grow their understanding of this complex challenge, and to join our committee—every single member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee—in passing this bill to get one step closer to providing care and relief on one of the most pressing challenges facing veterans today.”
“Today, we took a critical step toward fulfilling our obligations to toxic-exposed veterans with our bipartisan Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act,” said Senator Tester. “This bill will connect more Post-9/11 veterans with the VA care they’ve earned to treat seen and unseen wounds of war, while moving the ball forward on addressing toxic exposure in the comprehensive way our veterans deserve. This is a necessary step in doing right by our nation’s veterans, and I urge my Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join us in passing this critical legislation that’ll help us deliver on that promise.”
This bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
The following sites updated: