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Friday, July 10, 2015

Hillary, Holder, the horserace, hoaxes and horror

Taibbi on Eric Holder. This is a classic Matt Attack on the former AG's return to Covington & Burling, the law firm serving the upper half of the one percent. Taibbi calls Holder a double agent...
For six years, while brilliantly disguised as the attorney general of the United States, he was actually working deep undercover, DiCaprio in The Departed-style, as the best defense lawyer Wall Street ever had.

Holder denied there was anything weird about returning to one of Wall Street's favorite defense firms after six years of letting one banker after another skate on monstrous cases of fraud, tax evasion, market manipulation, money laundering, bribery and other offenses.

"Just because I'm at Covington doesn't mean I will abandon the public interest work," he told CNN.
Funny stuff, Eric. Funny stuff. As AG, Holder notoriously coddled the big bankers -- and now comes the pay-off.
Now he will presumably collect assloads of money from those very same bankers. It's one of the biggest quid pro quo deals in the history of government service. Congressman Billy Tauzin once took a $2 million-a-year job lobbying for the pharmaceutical industry just a few weeks after helping to pass the revolting Prescription Drug Benefit Bill, but what Holder just did makes Tauzin look like a guy who once took a couple of Redskins tickets.
Remember 2008? Remember how Obama supporters throughout the blogosphere tried to convince us that black people are inherently more resistant to corruption than white people?

Turns out we really are equal.

Jerry Brown has a talent for this sort of thing.
Many years ago, Brown opposed Proposition 13. When the measure passed, he got on teevee and told the state how he was going to make Prop 13 work -- and after he was done, a lot of people started to think he wrote the damned law.

Now he's doing something similar, getting out in front of the movement to de-carbonize society.
“Oil, gas, coal has created the wealth we enjoy,” he said. “What was the source of our wealth now becomes the challenge of our future.”

He criticized politicians, particularly Republicans in Congress, who refuse to take action.

“We have a lot of troglodytes south of the border,” he said.
That's the US-Canada border. Brown said these words at a summit in Toronto, in which state and provincial officials tried to rally both the public and national leaders to the cause. He turned it into the Jerry Brown conference. His leadership on the issue will, I hope, go a long ways toward drowning out those who (absurdly) blame the governor for California's drought.

Can Sanders defeat Hillary? Stuart Stevens in The Daily Beast argues that, although Bernie Sanders will never become president, he may have the ability to unseat Hillary in the primaries. Sanders has electrified the base by highlighting just how far to the right Hillary has gone.

This Daily Beast article is interesting for what it leaves out.

For example, although there is much talk about the ways in which Hillary has disappointed liberals, the Beast won't talk about Hillary's ghastly policies on Syria, Ukraine, Israel and Saudi Arabia. And we have no mention of the Obama administration's pursuit of free trade policies while Hillary was Secretary of State. These are the things that matter, things that will make future historians furious. Yet right now, in the moment, we aren't allowed to whisper one word about them -- not in a "respectable" publication.

Then comes the big question: If not Hillary, and if not Bernie, then who?
Who would get in? I still think Elizabeth Warren could be drawn in under this scenario. It’s very different to get into a race to challenge the inevitable Hillary Clinton versus getting into a race to save the party from a wounded Hillary Clinton. John Kerry could get in. Who knows? Perhaps Martin O’Malley does emerge as the viable alternative.
At this point, trading Hillary for Kerry in the presidential race would be just as pointless as trading Hillary for Kerry in the SOS position.

Martin O'Malley would be spectacularly easy to beat in the general election: The Republicans would simply need to run a series of 30-second ads featuring closed factories in Baltimore.

Warren would be a superb choice -- if she hops in, I'll hop in with her followers before three milliseconds have passed -- but I think that she's serious when she says that she won't run. Besides, her sing-songy "first-grade teacher" way of speaking may grate on some ears. (I don't mind it, but others may feel differently.)

The Daily Beast doesn't mention Jim Webb. Maybe that's because Webb poses the greatest danger of both winning the general election and instituting serious change. The fact that our major journals seem to have instituted a "Don't say his name" policy gives me one more reason to think that Webb is the one.

MH-17 as a propaganda ploy.
Robert Parry has been fighting a noble but lonely fight against the forces trying to paint Putin as the party responsible for the downing of passenger jet MH-17.
The Dutch investigation into the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine last July has failed to uncover conclusive proof of precisely who was responsible for the deaths of the 298 passengers and crew but is expected to point suspicions toward the ethnic Russian rebels, fitting with the West’s long-running anti-Russian propaganda campaign.

A source who has been briefed on the outlines of the investigation said some U.S. intelligence analysts have reached a contrary conclusion and place the blame on “rogue” elements of the Ukrainian government operating out of a circle of hard-liners around one of Ukraine’s oligarchs. Yet, according to this source, the U.S. analysts will demur on the Dutch findings, letting them stand without public challenge.
The Obama administration’s behavior has been particularly curious, with its rush to judgment five days after the July 17, 2014 shoot-down, citing sketchy social media posts to implicate the ethnic Russian rebels and indirectly the Russian government but then refusing requests for updates.

But why the later secrecy? If Director of National Intelligence James Clapper decided that unverified information about the shoot-down could be released five days after the event, why would his office then decide to keep the U.S. public in the dark as more definitive data became available?
I’m told that the reason for the DNI’s reversal from openness to secrecy was that U.S. intelligence analysts found no evidence that the Russian government had given the rebels sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles capable of downing an aircraft at 33,000 feet, the altitude of MH-17, and that an examination of U.S. satellite and electronic intelligence instead implicated extremists linked to Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime, although not to Kiev’s political leadership.
The points I made one year ago still seem quite relevant, and I hope the reader won't mind a bit of self-quotation.
1. Vladimir Putin has no reason to want a thing like this to happen. What could he gain from the destruction of a civilian airliner? (There are those who say that the Russian military mistook the airliner for a military jet. That would be one hell of a mistake.)

2. Historically speaking, the destruction of a ship is the traditional way to start a war. Remember the Maine, remember the Lusitania, and remember the Tonkin Gulf resolution. In all three cases, the real story differed from what the citizenry believed at the time.

3. Our assessment of the Ukrainian government's credibility must take into account the way they handled the October 2001 downing of Siberia Airlines Flight 1812. The Russians immediately suspected terrorism, while the CIA argued that the jet was struck by an errant S-200 surface-to-air missile, fired by the Ukrainian armed forces during exercises in Crimea. The Ukrainian military at first angrily denied that their missile could have been done the deed. Later, Ukraine admitted responsibility and paid compensation.

(Just to make matters supremely complicated, some people still insist that it was technically impossible for that S-200 to have been the cause.)

4. The recent coup in Ukraine originated with an apparent "false flag" event. I refer, of course, to the "mystery snipers" who fired on the crowd protesting against the previous (pro-Russian) government of that country.
Let's return to Robert Parry's piece. He has been engaged in an ongoing battle with Australia's version of 60 Minutes, a program which has led the "Blame Putin" effort.
While the segment appeared to be authoritative – supposedly proving that Putin was responsible for mass murder – a closer examination showed that the program had relied on video fakery to mislead its viewers. The key scene supposedly matching up a video of a getaway Buk anti-aircraft missile battery with landmarks in the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk didn’t match up at all.
One big question: Does the US government possess (as many believe) satellite photos which would settle the matter once and for all? And if so, why has the evidence not been made available the Dutch inquiry?
Curiously, too, the Dutch report said the investigation received “satellite imagery taken in the days after the occurrence.” Obviously, the more relevant images in assessing blame would be aerial photography in the days and hours before the crash.

The Dutch report’s reference to only post-crash satellite photos was also odd because the Russian military released a number of satellite images purporting to show Ukrainian government Buk missile systems north of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk before the attack, including two batteries that purportedly were shifted 50 kilometers south of Donetsk on July 17, the day of the crash, and then removed by July 18.
Looks like the Dutch inquiry is shaping up to be this generation's version of the Warren Report.
The PTB recognized long ago that the non-criticizabilty of black public figures was very advantageous when something really scummy needed to be done. Hence Holder, hence Obama, hence Rice.

And hence Powell. Look at the series by Robert Parry and Norman Solomon on Powell.

Stuart Stevens is not a good man.
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