MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
No, BuzzFlash at Truthout is not making this up.
After three terms of carefully grooming an image that the mainstream media referred to as an "independent thoughtful" mayor, Michael Bloomberg -- who got the City Council to change the rules and allow him a third term -- spent the last few weeks of the NYC mayoral primary (in which he had wisely chosen not to push for a fourth term) making a few remarks that normally one expects from a racist sexist cracker.
To start with, as BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote in its commentary yesterday, Bloomberg has been petulant and irritated by the thought of a populist Democrat becoming the next mayor, which is likely to happen. As BuzzFlash noted, with the Democratic nomination inevitably going (even if there is a run-off election) to NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (who is the odds on favorite to win the general mayoral election), Bloomberg sees his legacy of "trickle down" NYC economics (mixed in with a few concessions to contemporary urban sustainability, such as bike lanes and garden programs) in dire danger of being rejected as a sham.
As the Washington Post (WP) reports, it may have been Bloomberg's remark that de Blasio was a racist for essentially having a bi-racial family that boomeranged in de Blasio's favor:
But the mayor saved his most controversial comment for last. Just before Tuesday’s primary, a New York magazine interview was published in which Bloomberg labeled de Blasio’s campaign “racist.” Why? Because de Blasio, who is white, had featured his black wife and bi-racial children in his campaign ads and his family had frequently joined him on the campaign trail. Bloomberg said de Blasio was “making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing.”
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
While still basically a fantasy, in early September, organizers of The Citadel, an intentional community for Patriots located in Benewah County, Idaho, "gathered at a twenty-acre plot they have already purchased as a starter base-camp, according to county records," The Nation recently reported. "Whether or not the Citadel is built, the gathering itself is important: it could become the most significant turning point in the militia and survivalist world since Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma federal building in 1995 and the FBI crackdown on armed paramilitaries that followed."
In January, in a piece titled The Citadel: A Gunner's Paradise in Northern Idaho, BuzzFlash reported that The Citadel was "An ambitious project ... aiming to build housing for between 3,500 and 7,000 'patriotic American families who agree that being prepared for the emergencies of life and being proficient with the American icon of Liberty — the Rifle — are prudent measures. ... There will be no recycling police and no local ordinance enforcers from City Hall.'"
The artist's concept has The Citadel including a perimeter fenced road with numerous castle-style fortified walls towers, interior defensive walls and towers, an on-site gun factory ("III Arms Factory"), schools, an Amphitheatre, a firearms museum and reflecting pool, and a farmer's market.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Why does the president need to address a classroom full of third-graders?
On Tuesday night — hallelujah — he stepped back from the brink of war, but in his address to the nation he spent most of his time justifying his earlier aggression toward Syria, detailing the Assad government's single, heinous deviation from the civilized norms of war.
The ever-fresh PR stratagem of war is to cherry-pick an example of evil behavior on the part of the designated enemy and rally the outrage against it, never, never looking inward at one's own behavior, and in our ignorance bonding as a clan or a nation or whatever in our determination to destroy the perpetrator of said evil.
A little over a decade ago, just after we launched our shock-and-awe bombing campaign against Iraq, I wrote: "Pro-war logic ultimately undergoes a mysterious transformation — from a moral absolutism condemning Saddam to a moral relativism justifying the use of MOABs and daisy cutters and even first-strike nukes, if necessary, to get rid of him. Some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet have no problem with the slaughter of civilians."
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Oh to be a fly on the wall as the Big Apple's "Mayor 1%" -- Michael Bloomberg -- gobbled down antiacids as he learned that the next mayor of NYC is likely to be a hard-left-soak-the-rich advocate for the middle class, poor and jobless. Actually, that man who is the odds on favorite to occupy Gracie Mansion is literally the Public Advocate for the city of New York, a citywide elected position that literally speaks out on behalf of its citizens.
Not largely known outside of the NYC region, the Public Advocate is in essence the person who would replace a sitting mayor if he or she resigned or could not perform the duties of mayor. That man is Bill de Blasio, and he is on the verge of winning yesterday's NYC Democratic primary, possibly with the necessary 40% of the vote to avoid a run-off. (If there is a run-off, he is already the widely favored candidate to face a weak Republican opponent in the general election).
As CBS News just reported Wednesday morning:
After running as a hard-left populist who vowed to raise taxes on the rich in order to boost public education funding, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio easily topped a field of competitors in the Democratic primary to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40.2 percent of the vote with former Comptroller Bill Thompson in second place at 26.2 percent. If de Blasio's share of the vote holds at 40 percent or more, he will avoid a mandatory Oct. 1 runoff with Thompson.
In so many ways, New York has become a Tale of Two Cities.
Nearly 400,000 millionaires call New York home, while nearly half of our neighbors live at or near the poverty line. Our middle class isn’t just shrinking; it’s in danger of vanishing altogether.
Addressing the crisis of income inequality isn’t a small task. But if we are to thrive as a city, it must be at the very center of our vision for the next four years.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Over the past few years, it appears more and more that Eliizabeth Warren represents in body, spirit and tenacity the change Barack Obama promised in 2008. Ironically, Obama became changed by Washington into a DC insider, stiff arming Warren's brand of consumer and middle class populism.
Meanwhile, after Larry Summers and Tim Geithner persuaded Obama not to select Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which she designed, Warren went on to defeat Scott Brown (who had won the late Ted Kennedy's seat in a special election). Now, she has seized the mantle that Obama promised.
What is most promising about Warren is that she is disciplined in the battles she takes on. She is well aware that a politician that helter skelter picks fights on a daily basis becomes marginalized. Instead, Warren has, for instance, taken on Eric Holder through formal correspondence for not thoroughly investigating or prosecuting those who committed Wall Street fraud. Warren is not looking to make headlines everyday; she is looking to correct injustices through building her gravitas as a spokesperson for the middle class.
Take her appearance at the AFL-CIO convention last week which you can watch here, and which received a rousing reception. "If we don't fight we can't win," she told the union members and supporters, "but if we fight we will win."
Now, Obama is still spouting that sort of language now and then, but he seems to be going through the rhetorical motions, while being fully aware that -- to the contrary -- the people whom he is fighting for are on Wall Street and in the military-industrial-complex, as well as the likes of Monsanto. He has somehow rationalized that this is good for the nation.
RICHARD ROSENTHAL FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
At age 87, with stage four breast cancer and a survival prognosis of three months, Rheba recaptured her revolutionary soul.
"I'm going to try marijuana for the pain," she told me on the phone from her continuing-care retirement community in Seattle. "Some of my old colleagues are shocked. It's legal here, but they think the only thing that works are M.D.-written prescriptions."
"The last time we discussed it," I reminded her, "you called marijuana 'habit-forming and evil.'"
"I know I did, Dick, and I'm ashamed. I did some research and found I was wrong. My M.D. knew nothing about it, so I got it from James, an emergency room nurse. I'll be taking it in prescribed dosages as liquid drops. If it works, I'll ask him to hold a workshop for the retirees here."
"I'll push my walker all the way from East Hampton to Seattle to see that one," I told her.
"We haven't the time, my dear," she said. "I'd love to see you again, but we haven't the time."
JOE GIAMBRONE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The propaganda nation has ascended, and Americans remain profoundly ignorant of what it is their empire does around the world. They largely believe what they are told by authority figures, even if what they are told makes no logical sense. Even if what they are told contradicts the evidence in front of their faces. Even if the liars have clear motives for lying to them. Even if similar situations floated right past the liars in the past without comment, clear hypocrisy.
I have called such pathetic ignorance criminal, naming a new category of misdemeanor, criminal ignorance. In a democracy the citizens are responsible for informing themselves about critically-important situations, and not relying on one side's baseless claims. Sitting back and being told what to think by the government or by the profit-driven media is not informing one's self. The responsibility of citizens, in a democratic republic, is to sort the liars from the truth tellers. When citizens shirk this responsibility they are derelict in their civic duties, as they cannot make sound, rational decisions. Thus the decisions they do make: giving support, voting, influencing others, are negligent, reckless, unsound and should be called out. That is criminal ignorance.
In America far too much of the public is criminally ignorant about most important issues, including war and peace. So they are ripe for the Big Lie, the technique of Hitler, which is now routinely executed by US politicians.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The Real News Network, veteran UK Independent reporter Patrick Cockburn discussed some of the members of the coalition urging a strike on Syria. As BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote in several commentaries about the horrifying chemical attack (carried out by still unknown sources despite White House "certainty"), Obama's call for "preventive" retaliation is part of a much larger "Great Game."In a recent interview on
This "Great Game" is about hegemony over the largest oil producing region in the world, along with its natural gas supplies. Despite the common perspective that all followers of Islam are US enemies, the terrain of Islamic followers is quite complex. For one major split, you just need to look to Arab Muslims as compared to Persian (Iranian) Muslims. Then you have the Shias and the Sunnis. Then you have more separate divisions of Islam -- and on top of that you have different ethnic Islamic followers and competing nation states.
So this is where Cockburn's reporting, and even that of the mainstream press becomes very interesting, because at the head of urging a strike on Syria is Saudi Arabia. According to more than one report, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan (practically an honorary member of the CIA) has been playing a key role in supplying rebel groups favored by the Saudis with arms for months.
Cockburn lists Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey as key Islamic states seeking the overthrow of Assad and checkmating Iran (and behind it and Syria, Russia seeking a cut of the regional pie)-- which is supporting Assad and reportedly assisting Hezbollah in helping to defend him. In addition, you can toss in most of the Gulf Arab states and a few others who are now openly working with the Obama Administration and rebels against Syria.
BuzzFlash reported last week that the Secretary of State boasted to a Congressional panel, "Kerry Tells Congress That Oil Sheiks Will Pay US for War to Unseat Assad":
PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Every clear-thinking American knows that education and jobs are needed more than armed guards in poor neighborhoods. But average Americans are led to believe in a terrorist threat that may or may not exist, and that in any case is greatly exaggerated, while the corporate/military/political complex creates new forms of terror to safeguard the assets of the rich.
1. War Terror
It started with our leaders comparing notes on Iraq:
Cheney 08/26/02: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney 09/14/03: We never had evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon.
Powell 02/05/03: Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agents.
Powell 09/13/04: I think it's unlikely that we will find any stockpiles.
Bush 05/29/03: We found the weapons of mass destruction.
Bush 10/08/04: I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons.
In the first Iraqi war, two air missions per minute were conducted over 43 days, with the equivalent of seven Hiroshima bombs dropped on a largely defenseless country. Much of the slaughter was caused by "dumb bombs" that fell on civilian areas. U.S. troops attacked retreating Iraqi soldiers with cluster bombs and napalm as American pilots, adopting metaphors such as 'turkey shoot' and 'fish in a barrel,' conducted target practice from above. Some Iraqis were buried alive by bulldozers that spread tons of sand over them.
WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Got to forgive Presidential and Congressional staffers for covering their ears and singing “la la la” at the top of their lungs, as everyone pretends not to be knee deep in the icky tricky sticky Syria situation. You might say Washington is in a Semi- Syrious mode right now. And a Semi- Not- So- Syrious mode. Simultaneously.
Because this whole affair is riddled with enigmas and mysteries enough to make Winston Churchill spin his conundrums right off. And rumor has it, he harbored huge conundrums.
Demonstrating resolve in the face of chemical weapons, Barack Obama weaves through the media like Gumby’s drunken brother in a wind tunnel. Unfamiliar territory for a Chief Executive who never learned how to play both sides against the middle. For four and a half years, he’s been a facilitator with nothing and nobody to facilitate. All he needed was a facilitatee.
And now there’s a war. Not a leftover war. His war. A new war. Good Obama. Bad Obama. Boots. No boots. Barefoot. 30 days. 300 days. 3000 days. He loves us. He loves us not. Yes. No. Maybe. Better be prepared to give that Nobel Peace Prize back.
The Pied Piper of the Potomac is blowing a patriotic tune, dancing figure 8s up and down the MC Escher staircase that is Capitol Hill. Deadly determined to do the right thing; if only he knew what it was.