Has the term "neocon" run its course?
No, it has not. But the fact that Jonah Goldberg of Townhall.Com wants you to think
that way tells us much. It tells us that the neocons are starting to get scared; it tells us that an increasingly large percentage of the population is on to the neocons and their warmongering ways. That's why they want you to think that the very phrase "neocon" is un-hip and, like, so
five minutes ago.
You can't oppose a thing if you cannot name it. Thus, this attempt to take away the name.
Hillary's lie was indeed a lie.
Politifact gave this statement by Hillary Clinton
a "mostly true" rating:
The HillaryClinton.com webpage notes that Rubio "claimed that Hillary Clinton 'stood by' while the conflict in Syria devolved into a humanitarian crisis. The truth is that Hillary Clinton was an early supporter for arming the moderate opposition against Assad in 2012."
"And what’s even more amazing," according to the Clinton campaign, "is that Marco Rubio voted against authorizing President Obama to strike Syria after Assad used chemical weapons on his own people."
No serious person now accepts the fabrication that Bashar Assad gassed his own people. If he had, why does he remain so popular in Damascus? (See here
For the truth of that matter, go here
Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff.
The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’
Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial.
Nusra, as I always like to remind my readers, is the terror group that David Petraeus believes we should support. Also see the analysis here
, which links to video of a rebel group actually launching chemical-laden rockets.
I give Politifact a "Pants on Fire" for this one.
is that an open appeal to racism can be a political winner. The governor of Maine
has learned well from The Donald. Expect to see similar outbursts in the future.
just published one of the bravest things
I've seen in a while. Please note that I do not
admire or approve of the cartoons appearing within the body of that post. (Neither, I am sure, does Greenwald.) But we must uphold the general principle of "good for the goose, good for the gander."
Republican Representative Tom Cotton
may have taken a bribe
of nearly one million bucks for his opposition to the Iran deal. (The link goes to an Iranian news site, which may worry some readers.) In my view, this incident proves that the NSA should
be spying on congressfolk, at least when our representatives interact with foreign nationals and foreign governments.
On a very related note, Paul R. Pillar
argues that our intel community must
The impact of Israeli policies and actions on U.S. interests has included much that is damaging and destructive, which is the kind of impact that ought to be among the highest priorities for the collection of intelligence. Recently, in connection with negotiation of the multilateral agreement to restrict the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli government did everything it could to sabotage and frustrate an important foreign policy initiative of the United States and its Western allies. The Journal story states that intelligence collection enabled U.S. policymakers to learn details of Israel's leaking of information about the negotiation—information Israel had obtained in confidential briefings by the United States or through what the Journal has reported as Israel's own spying on the negotiations. This is certainly the kind of information it would be very useful for any policymaker to have in determining how to manage both a negotiation and any briefings of outside countries about the negotiation.
One thing this whole story is not about is “domestic spying”—not even to the same degree as the controversial matter of bulk collection of telephone metadata. It is common for intelligence collection aimed at foreign actors to involve conversations or other interactions with U.S. actors. This pattern is a natural consequence of the foreign actor being an important intelligence target precisely because of the impact or potential impact on important U.S. interests. This is true of a foreign terrorist group seeking collaborators for an armed attack inside the United States. It is true of a foreign government searching for entry points for a cyberattack against U.S. infrastructure. And it is true of a foreign government endeavoring to sabotage U.S. foreign policy.
There's a lot to savor in what we already have of the incomplete upcoming 71st issue of Lobster
. (Editor Robin Ramsey still feels obligated to pretend that he's publishing a magazine rather than a website or a blog) Right now, I want to draw your attention to this story
We come, once again, to the old, old question of conspiracy theories: When do these "forbidden" ideas become a dangerous psychological addiction, and when do they help us to establish truth?
Ramsey offers his piece as a riposte to a couple of those simplistic, smarmy "only dullards believe in conspiracy theories" articles that routinely appear in the mainstream press. Newspapers love
to publish such pieces, even though they usually turn out to be drivel. I'm not saying that the writers of these pieces get everything wrong: The "conspiracy theory" underground is indeed a risible place inhabited by illogical, brutish, easily-manipulated people. But the mainstream writers who venture into that underground and try to map it out simply don't know the territory -- not the way I
do, and not the way Ramsey does. Thus, mainstream writers invariably fail to make the distinction between baby and bath water.
(Have I mixed my metaphors again? Sue me.)
Neither piece considers that there might be ‘some powerful force[s] acting against the interests of ordinary people’ and both offer the canard – always a glowing indicator of ignorance of the subject – that conspiracy theories simplify. Some do: nonsense such as ‘the world’s ill are all caused by the Jews/Illuminati/whatever’, what have been called the mega theories, simplify. But much of what is dismissed as conspiracy theories – parapolitics or deep politics – does not. The work of William Blum, for example,3 in detailing the role of the CIA in the USA’s post-WW2 empire, complicates the study of American foreign policy (or would if academics and journalists could bring themselves to read it); and the work of the JFK researchers has produced almost unmanageable complexity. But then Blum and the better end of the Kennedy buffs aren’t offering conspiracy theories so much as theories about conspiracies.4 Mega conspiracy theories cannot be falsified because believers present an infinite regress of evasion strategies: ‘Yes, but....’. Theories about conspiracies – sometimes called event conspiracies – on the other hand are open to the same empirical investigation as any other proposition.
‘Conspiracy theorist’ as a term of denigration was introduced by the CIA for use against critics of the Warren Commission in 1967 and proved so successful at scaring-off the career-minded and the conventional that its use spread to encompass almost any line of inquiry which strays beyond conventional narratives.5 In the major media the charge of ‘conspiracy theorising’ is being raised these days because the rabble – us – are beginning to think the wrong things and ‘democracy’ threatens to express that. The perception that is currently giving the American and European elites the vapours is precisely that there is ‘some powerful force [or forces] acting against the interests of ordinary people’.
There's much more at the other end of the link. Recommended.
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Thanks to everyone.
I love you all, though I'm usually too cynical and cantankerous to make that admission.