The Democratic Debate, Part 7

debate

W.J. Astore

I watched the Democratic Debate last night from Iowa featuring the top six candidates.  Here’s my take on the candidates and their prospects:

Joe Biden: It’s bizarre that Biden, still ahead in most polls, is hailed as doing well in these debates as long as he shows up and avoids making major gaffes.  To use a sports analogy, it’s as if you put your ace pitcher into the game and applaud him for giving up only ten runs while walking five and throwing three wild pitches.  At least he competed, right?  Biden didn’t do poorly last night, but he didn’t shine either.  Mr. Excitement he’s not, and that doesn’t bode well if he’s the Democratic candidate for president against Trump.

Pete Buttigieg: Mayor Pete has one talent: he knows how to please older people with vapid talk that seems sincere and serious.  He has almost zero support among African-Americans and very little support among people his own age and younger.  What is his path to victory?

Amy Klobuchar:  Klobuchar poses as the adult in the room, a moderate who rejects the “crazier” notions of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Clearly, she’s against progressive politics, but what does she stand for?

Bernie Sanders: Sanders is the one true progressive on the stage.  The man is a model of consistency and heart, and he has the strongest movement behind him.  He has the best chance of defeating Trump, but his dedication to people over corporations and profits makes him an anathema to establishment Democrats.

Tom Steyer: Steyer, a billionaire, has embraced climate change as his issue of choice.  At least he puts his money where his mouth is, but he has virtually no chance to gain the nomination.

Elizabeth Warren: Warren’s campaign concocted a phony controversy in an attempt to gain traction as the Iowa caucuses loom.  Basically, the Warren campaign claims Bernie Sanders said a woman can’t win the presidency.  It’s total nonsense.  Sanders denied it, and there are multiple video clips of Bernie advocating for a woman as president.  After Sanders issued his denial, Warren refused to address it.  She also appeared to refuse to shake his hand after the debate.  Apparently, Warren thinks the best way to distinguish herself from Bernie is to play the gender card, just as Hillary Clinton attacked Bernie in 2016 for the alleged misogyny of the so-called Bernie Bros.

As the debate dragged on, I thought carefully about which one of these candidates truly has a chance to defeat Trump in November.  Who has passion, vision, heart, and the ability to take on Trump and to call him out on all his lies and misdeeds?  I see only one candidate who can do this and win: Bernie Sanders.

87 thoughts on “The Democratic Debate, Part 7

  1. After I wrote this, I read a fine piece by Caitlin Johnstone on the debate and CNN’s manipulative dishonesty. Here’s a great quote:

    “In fact the power of these vast news media corporations to manipulate the way the populace thinks and votes stretches far beyond the consequences of a mere presidential election. The ability to manufacture consent for the agendas of the plutocratic class which controls these corporations enables war, ecocide, militarism, soul-crushing oligarchic neoliberalism, increasingly Orwellian surveillance programs and an increasingly militarized police force to destroy lives and this very world without it ever occurring to a critical majority that it would be possible for us to use the power of our numbers to force real changes to our advantage.”

    Bernie is the only candidate calling for a movement to effect a political revolution. That’s why CNN and other corporate types are smearing him.

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/01/15/cnnistrash-trends-as-pushback-grows-against-oligarchic-election-meddling/

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    1. If Caitlin lived here, perhaps she would understand that our populace sorely LACKS critical thinking skills. Truly well-trained Pavlovian doggies. It looked like the moderators were going to refrain from posing a question directly concerning the climate crisis, but the candidates finally got to speak on that near the end.

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    2. As usual for me, I skipped the awful joint press conference and waited for others whom I respect to offer their analysis. I have better things to do with my time, like typing up notes on youtube videos that do not come supplied with a transcript. In the present instance, the Jimmy Dore Show made this rather easy:

      Jimmy Dore: And now no one is talking about [Elizabeth Warren] as vice president, which is a good thing. Are we back to Tulsi?

      Ron Placone: I hope so. I mean, look what’s trending on twitter: “Liz Warren is a snake.” “CNN is garbage.” “CNN is trash.” “CNN is Fake News.”

      Then I checked out Caitlin Johnstone’s take on the tawdry affair, which Bill Astore also references above. In the comments section I came upon the following:

      RC-Garrs / January 15, 2020:

      Hey, Bern’s lucky Liz didn’t pick up a stapler and throw it at him … oh wait … I had her confused with the other female candidate on stage.

      Why do folks waste any time on CNN, debate or other airwave clutter?

      While the debate was taking place I watched something much more informative out of New Hampshire, “Tulsi talks Iran”.

      Enjoy!

      I followed the supplied link to the Concord, New Hampshire, town hall meeting and did find it both enjoyable and educational. Kim Iversen does the Introduction on her youtube channel. The discussion lasts about 1 hr and 16 minutes. Well worth the time. For those interested, I’ll post some excerpts in follow-up comments as I complete them.

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  2. I feel sad that the only candidate who is functioning at some level is Bernie Sanders. I feel sad that Bernie’s avowed brand of liberalism will doom any real chance the Trump can be beaten.

    I wonder what effect four more years of facism will have on our democratic Republic?

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    1. Our “democratic republic” already has been driven off the road and into a ditch. We will soon witness the Republicans in the Senate simply negate Congress’s ability to curb the excesses/abuses of the ogre in the presidency. And in the aftermath, we will never hear the end of Trump’s boasting that he was “completely exonerated” and the whole process was “a phony witch hunt” from the outset.

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  3. Missed the debate, but while I unfortunately am not surprised, I do regret Warren playing the gender card. My personal ‘winning’ ticket was Bernie plus Warren, because of her proclaimed fight against Wall str. But her now openly embracing this irrelevant ‘glass ceiling’ argument more than anything else revealed her personal ambitions in this race and put her in the same league as Clinton. The gender or even skin colour of the president of the US and unfortunately to some degree of the whole world, should be of no importance – as opposed to policies, both national and international. To attack Bernie on such a non-matter is below the belt. And I write that as a woman who in her professional life never ever plaid that card and wanted to be employed for my professional skills, not my gender.

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    1. Don’t rule out a Sanders/Warren ticket, though I have to firmly continue to believe the Dem. Establishment will foist Biden on us. “Politics make strange bed fellows,” eh? And I’ve heard no one in the MSM point out the difference between saying “I don’t think a woman can SERVE as POTUS” and “I don’t think the nation is ready to ELECT a woman.” Though, as we know, Hillary WON the popular vote four years ago. Assuming for sake of argument Bernie made a statement hinting at Warren’s difficulty in being elected (and, gasp, fibbed about that last night!), context is all important. Warren did not scream last night Bernie was lying now. Hmmm.

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      1. Oh I’m ruling it out. After what Warren did there would be no excuse for Sanders to put her on the ticket. It is purely stupid to ever employ a backstabber. Better an honest centrist, of whom there are many, e.g. Beto O’Rourke, than an untrustworthy alleged non-centrist.

        There’s a real chance of a Biden/Warren ticket though, which would be disgusting.

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        1. Well, since “I wasn’t there” to ear-witness the alleged Sanders-Warren exchange in 2015, I don’t feel I can call Sen. Warren a liar or backstabber.

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  4. As ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden indicated last night, he is more than ready, he is eager to take on Trump one to one. I have no doubt swords would come out of their sheaths! The audience would NOT be lulled to sleep. That said, I cannot possibly support Biden, the choice of the Business As Usual Dem. Establishment. The Hillary Clinton of 2020!

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  5. Interesting comments on The Debate:
    CNN Is Truly a Terrible Influence on This Country’: Democratic Debate Moderators Pilloried for Centrist Talking Points and Anti-Sanders Bias.

    “This is an unusually vile performance by CNN,” tweeted Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi.

    Jeet Heer, a national affairs correspondent at The Nation, wrote in a piece titled “CNN Has It in for Bernie” early Wednesday that “the big loser of the night was the network that hosted the event. CNN was so consistently aligned against Bernie Sanders that it compromised its claim to journalistic neutrality.” https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/15/cnn-truly-terrible-influence-country-democratic-debate-moderators-pilloried-centrist?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

    Back in 2015 when Bernie started his campaign the infotainment networks of FOX, CNN, and MSDNC treated him as novelty, that the Clinton Machine would easily crush. When Bernie began drawing huge crowds all across the country, and thus becoming a threat, the Bernie Black-Out was instituted. Candidate Agent Orange was showered with free publicity.

    The Capitalist Corporate Mc-Mega-Media have decided Corporate Joe Biden is the best choice. Corporate Joe does not receive the same of scrutiny that Bernie does. Mayor Pete the Wine Cave Candidate also wears the Corporate Logos.

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    1. ML: I still think the plan is a brokered convention that picks Biden, with Kamala Harris (representing “diversity”) as his VP.

      In other words, four more years of Trump/Pence.

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          1. The 49ers, Greg.

            I thought it was interesting how Biden said he wouldn’t be opposed to Harris as his VP. A little foreshadowing, perhaps? Plus it makes Biden look good — he picks Harris even though she hit him hard in the debates about desegregation …

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          2. The Packers may have a little surprise for you, Bill A.! Packers-Chiefs would be a repeat of the very first Super Bowl (I’m not really a partisan of any franchise, though). I have to reckon Biden will get for his Veep whomsoever the Party Machine pairs with him, looking at pragmatic options to win this time. Though I maintain they’re already on wrong track by pushing Biden!

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        1. Bill A.–That story about Sen. Harris actually came out a few days ago but I resisted temptation to mention it here. Right now, for what it’s worth (important disclaimer in this arena), Bernie is said to be leading in Iowa polling, with Pete B. almost tied with Biden. Interesting.

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    2. From David Swanson, at World Beyond War website: “Why has the hash tag #CNNisTrash been popular since this week’s presidential primary debate? There was nothing new about the corporate, militarist, anti-progressive slant of the debate “moderation.” What was new was the level of blatant bias so extreme that even viewers who knew nothing about the issues couldn’t miss it, plus the amount of time CNN focused on expressing its hostility toward a single candidate, Bernie Sanders.”

      As I’ve been saying, the Dem. Establishment “knows better” than to run a “socialist” (despite the moderating “democratic” tag). The fix is in for Biden, who will be the Hillary of 2020. Hello, second Trump term. I just don’t see Uncle Joe inspiring new voters, young voters, women voters or “minority group” voters to flock to the voting stations. And look what the GOP is still up to: Wisconsin purged 200,000 (!!) voters from the rolls, action temporarily restrained by a court order.

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  6. Warren did more than “play the gender card.” The played the gender stereotype of illogic and pretended assumption of insult.
    She: “You did such and such.”
    He: “No I didn’t”
    She: “How dare you call me a liar?”

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    1. No honorable person would ever do such a thing. I was so wrong about her. Those who criticized her as untrustworthy earlier because of the American Indian thing and 2016 were absolutely right; I was stupid and gullible.

      Good article on it: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/01/thinking-about-the-democratic-primary/ “Last night showed the folly of attributing upstanding motives to Warren. She very clearly wants to damage Sanders’ campaign—you don’t lob an accusation of outright sexism against an old friend otherwise, and not the day before a debate, and not three weeks before the first primary—and it is worth thinking about why. It might simply be a desperate and flailing attempt to save her candidacy. But it might also be the best way of ensuring that Joe Biden wins and that Elizabeth Warren either gets to be the head of a powerful department or the Dick Cheney, the more intelligent and powerful individual who sits behind the affable fool who exists to smile and shake hands. “

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  7. One other post I would like to make from an article I read:

    Ignorance is not bliss: The dangerous politics of anti-intellectualism
    Author Isaac Asimov may have best characterized the mindless beast of legitimized stupidity in a 1980 column for Newsweek magazine.

    “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been,” he wrote. “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

    In 1985, Neil Postman’s crowning achievement, “Amusing Ourselves To Death,” provided a most prescient analysis of the current lobotimization of American public discourse.

    Postman’s work drew a distinction between the Orwellian vision of a totalitarian government seizing individual rights and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” where freedom and rights were voluntarily sacrificed in favor of medicated bliss, or Soma, which Postman pointed to as an analogy for infotainment (television programs packaged as news or information but largely driven by sensationalism, propaganda and entertainment value).

    In 2009, Charles P. Pierce published “Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.”

    Pierce’s work suggests that with the emergence of the television as our culture’s primary mode of communication, the appeal to “the gut” instead of the brain became paramount.

    “The gut,” as it were, became the basis for Pierce’s Three Great Premises of Idiot America: Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units. Anything can be true if somebody says it loud enough. And fact is that which enough people believe; truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.
    https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2020/01/14/ignorance-is-not-bliss-the-dangerous-politics-of-anti-intellectualism/?fbclid=IwAR3Id4SRlhAbDLgp5jmDmgQy27cVtJMVoF-f-BN_ZdfcmN_N_neeA2FS_Sg

    ============================
    These quotes above seem to me to capture rather well, our cultural, social and political landscape. The infotainment networks of FOX, CNN, and MSDNC do not report, rather they lead us to what they want us to think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, ML. Good quotes. And now we have a president who is proudly ignorant — who goes with his gut. And one must admit he’s got a big gut …

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      1. As an individual, Trump is no ignoramus. He doesn’t believe the Bible is literal truth, and I’m confident he knows the climate crisis is very real. (It will impact his investment properties, after all.) It is the ignorance of his most fervent followers that he inflames, exhorts, basks in, benefits from. THEY don’t believe climate crisis is real (because Limbaugh, Hannity, whomever tells them so)? Then he doubles down, and doubles down again, with his absurd attacks on the scientific reality of the phenomenon. True demagogy.

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        1. Yes, Trump is crafty, Greg, and manipulative. But he’s ignorant about a lot of things, most especially foreign affairs. He refuses to read and study because he thinks he already knows it all.

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          1. Oh, indubitably! He is shockingly ignorant about Economics, while boasting of his great business acumen. But things are going his way now, with Congress signing off on the “new NAFTA” and China knuckling under to US on trade. Trump will spew enuf hot air about this to inflate a hundred blimps!!

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    2. Need I underline the lovely irony of Asimov’s remarks being from 1980, when boobus americanus first elected Reagan? The Pierce book sounds like something I coulda written myself! Thanks for this info on things I’d missed!

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      1. It is amazing how often we have been warned about willful ignorance. Going back to:

        “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

        ― H.L. Mencken, (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956)

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        1. Mencken was truly prescient. Have you read his “Treatise on the Gods”? I bookmarked numerous pages with quotes worth extracting, but haven’t quite gotten around to the extraction!

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  8. I understand that this latest Democratic party joint-press-conference had something to do with foreign policy. I understand this, not because of Bill Astore’s article nor from most of the comments here but because of the following headline that I read just this morning, namely: In the Latest Democratic Debate, Finally, Some Foreign Policy. With a trimmed-down field, Democratic hopefuls sparred over Iraq, Iran, military deployments, and the threat from climate change, by Colum Lynch, FP (January 15, 2020). A quick scan of the article provides a rather conventional overview of what the candidates had to say in response to superficial, baited barbs “safely” confined within the narrow Overton Window of the “acceptable” corporate narrative. I learned nothing of interest from this FP article, other than its purported subject, but at least I didn’t have to waste two hours not learning it.

    With the one candidate who has focused her entire campaign on just such issues strangely absent — or “trimmed down” — from the debate stage: namely, Tulsi Gabbard, I chose to spend several hours watching and transcribing a live-stream youtube conversation from Concord, New Hampshire, featuring Congresswoman Gabbard, former-Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Consitutional scholar Lawrence Lessig, and author Stephen Kinzer, an expert on Iran and US/Iran relations, not to mention the U.S. “Deep State” (CIA, State Department, and Pentagon) and its nefarious exploits from the end of WWII to the present.

    Due to considerations for the reader’s available time and attention, I’ll post excerpts from the conversation here in separate instalments, as seems appropriate given the subject matter. So, without further preamble, I present my attempt at a transcription of the discussion: Tulsi talks IRAN with Guests Stephen Kinzer & Dennis Kucinich – Intro by Kim Iversen – Concord, NH [bold font for emphasis, my addition] …

    [The Introduction by Kim Iversen]

    Kim Iversen: “Hey guys. Thank you for joining us. We’re about to watch a live-stream conversation between Tulsi Gabbard, Dennis Kucinich, and Stephen Kinzer [with moderator Lawrence Lessig] on the very important and timely topic of Iran. As you know, we had a near miss. Last week we could have easily wound up in another wasteful war in the Middle East. Tulsi has been warning us and warning us about not just this dangerous administration, but the entire industry of war that is currently embedded into our politics [my note: or vice versa]. These wars are ridiculous. We’ve gained nothing. Yet we continue to make the same mistake over and over again. What did we gain out of invading Iraq? We now have a nation that’s friendlier to Iran than us. And they’ve asked us to leave. What did we get out of going to war in Afghanistan? We’ve been there for nearly twenty years. We’ve been unable to defeat a militia. And are having to surrender and come to a peace agreement with the Taliban. What makes us think that a war with Iran would end any differently. We haven’t won a war since World War II, and interestingly, that is precisely the time when the Military Industrial Complex began to rise. Yet after all of our invasions and the thousands of American lives lost, our government still tries to convince us that another invasion is needed for you and I to be safe. Really? It’s nonsense. It’s only intent is to make a bunch of rich weapons manufacturers and banks even richer. I’m hoping that after this recent scare, Americans are starting to wake up. I’m hoping that they realize that what Tulsi has been warning us about over and over again is the most pressing topic we Americans face today. Many of us care about a lot of domestic issues: Health Care, Education, Environment. But until the powers that be shift their focus away from wasteful wars and turn towards us, the people, we will just be chipping away at an iceberg. We’ll make small progress, but never any big change. Nothing that really betters our lives. So as long as we are committing to ending the lives of others. It has to stop. It’s our number one most pressing issue. It is life and death. We have become a nation that ruins lives all in the name of being mighty and powerful. We need a new kind of might in the White House, one that leads from love and looks for a more peaceful future at home and abroad. Though the recent events were very scary, my hope is that they woke people up to the reality of where we are as a nation. The fact is, we need Tulsi Gabbard to steer us in the right direction. So thank you for joining us on this live-stream, whether you’re watching from my channel or Tulsi’s. This is so important. The most important issue of our time at such a timely moment.”

    [end Introduction – the discussion follows]

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    1. After the Introduction by Kim Iversen and before the conversation got going in earnest,
      Tulsi Gabbard led off with some remarks about her own personal background and motivation for serving as a [part-time] national guard reservist, her various elective offices, and this current Presidential campaign. I skipped this part when I set out to transcribe the conversation because I already knew much of this material, but for those unfamiliar with Congresswoman Gabbard’s history, I thought it only fair to also transcribe what she had to say in her own words. So, take it away Congresswoman Gabbard …

      “I want to just kick off the conversation tonight, really, from a very personal place. I get asked very frequently how I came to be here, how I came to not only serve in the way that I am but to run for President to make foreign policy and the cost of war such a central issue in my campaign, make a central issue that is my focus. For me growing up in Hawaii, fourth of five kids, blissfully naive to the world around me, surfing, hiking, growing up in a really beautiful place, filled with the spirit of aloha. And not knowing what path my life would take myself. But realizing and experiencing from a young age, that I was happiest when I was living my life in a way that was pleasing to “god” [scare quotes mine]. In a way that was allowing me to work for the well-being of others and the protection of our planet. ”

      “And that has been and continues to be my guiding motivation, in the decisions that I make in my life. Including the decision that I made after the attacks on 9/11. It was a day like so many that completely changed my life. It made an incredible impact on me and opened my eyes up very quickly to the world outside of the one I had grown up in. And I knew then that somehow, some way I wanted to dedicate my life to the service of working to protect the safety and security and freedom of the American people, of our country. Eventually, that led me to enlist in the military [emphasis added], again like so many Americans. And it led me to the point when, as I was twenty-two years old, a newly enlisted private in the Army National Guard. This was in 2003 when President Bush and so many leaders in Congress told all of us, told the American people that we had to go to war in Iraq, that we had to go and overthrow Saddam Hussein because he posed a threat to the security of our country, to the American people. That he was somehow tied to Al Qaeda that he had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that he might potentially give to Al Qaeda, ever escalating this threat that really began very clearly on that attack on 9/11.”

      “I had faith that our leaders would not lie to us. I would even say that I had unquestioning faith. I had no reason to be skeptical. And I believed what they told us. So when our brigade team in Hawaii was activated to go and deploy to Iraq during the height of the war. I was not on the mandatory deployment roster. I was serving as a state representative in Hawaii. But I knew that I had to go. I had to go to make sure that I had the backs of my brothers and sisters in uniform. I Left my re-election campaign. Volunteered to deploy, and deployed in a medical unit where every single day in an excruciating way, I was confronted with the very real, terribly high human cost of war, Of who really pays the price for war. And my brothers and sisters in uniform, every single day, the very first thing I did, was I went through a list , name by name, of every single American casualty or injury that had occurred the day before in the previous twenty-four hours. Every single day, seeing those names. Thinking of them. Thinking of their loved ones. Their children. Their family members back home who are filled with stress and anxiety, worried for the well-being of their loved ones. Seeing first-hand the cost of war that the civilians, the people of Iraq, paid because of this war that our nation’s leaders had declared on them” [emphasis added].

      “I gained such an incredible understanding and really grew so much over the years that I wound up going on a second deployment to Kuwait. Serving in Congress now for seven years really focused on national security, foreign policy. I’ve served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, on the Armed Services Committee, on the Homeland Security Committee, really understanding the implications of the decisions both that Congress does and does not make, and the decisions that the President and Commander-in-Chief makes. I think this really leads us to this moment of us gathering here tonight and the challenge that we face in this country where we talk about the cost of war. It is paid for with lives and treasure: our taxpayer dollars and in our country’s national security. But it is impossible at this point to begin to measure that cost because these wars are still going on [emphasis added]. We are still at war with Iraq. This administration is invoking the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force against Iraq to wage war against Iran [emphasis added]. We are still at war in Syria. We still have troops in Syria. We are still at war in Afghanistan. And now we are opening up a whole new chapter of yet another wasteful, unnecessary war.”

      “So I appreciate all of you coming here and joining us tonight, because these decisions have an impact on every single one of us. Every single one of us in this country. And in the world. I want to thank everyone who is joining the live-stream at home who couldn’t be here tonight and who are participating in this conversation. And thank you again to my colleagues here on the stage. I’m really looking forward to the discussion that we have. Mahalo.”

      This completes my attempted transcription of the Conversation with Tulsi Gabbard in Concord, New Hampshire. If only this so-called Democratic party “campaign” season would require every other candidate to host a similar, in-depth colloquy with persons of such recognizable expertise. At any rate, on to Part I of the Conversation below …

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      1. In the “just saying department”: I knew, absolutely knew down to the marrow of my bones while still in high school, that what my country was doing to the people of Vietnam was wrong, Wrong, WRONG. Sorry to see that Ms. Gabbard, at 22, totally fell for the Cheney-Bush-Gen. Powell snowjob about Saddam and the “necessity” of taking him down. And why did she enlist in the NG instead of full-time active military, by the way, if she was so enthused to “defend” us? Well, it’s all moot in terms of her ever being a major party candidate for POTUS.

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        1. I’ll leave the prognostications about “ever” and “never” to others, Greg. As far as I know, not a single person has cast a vote in any caucus or primary. Something about the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare comes to mind.

          In the meantime, I have almost finished a transcription of a Jimmy Dore Show video interview with Michael Tracy who has some interesting comments to make about Bernie Sanders and the Tulsi Gabbard campaign in New Hampshire. See: Progressives Frustrated With Bernie’s Capitulation StrategyThe Jimmy Dore Show (January 23, 2020). A snippet:

          [13:05] Michael Tracy: Meanwhile you have Tulsi putting out fund-raising e-mails skewering Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer for trying to buy the election with their zillion, billion dollar largess. And going after Mayor Pete saying he’s basically a puppet of the Military Industrial Complex who is backed by CIA spooks of every sort.

          [13:27] Jimmy Dore: “But that’s the campaign Bernie should be running,

          Michael Tracy: “For one reason or another he can’t be compelled into letting loose against some of these clowns on occasion. …
          [14:43] … which is intolerable to Tulsi because she doesn’t want the support of those people. The type of spook, of defense contractor, sinecured types backing Pete and Warren. She doesn’t want those people. And she’s willing to call them out, call out their corrosive qualities because it emphasizes her singularity. And again, it’s ironic that you need Tulsi to be making these points instead of Bernie. But it could actually rebound to her political advantage because there is a section of Bernie supporters who, I bet, some of them who do feel a bit disenchanted with this ‘let’s all get along approach’ that he has taken vis a vis the Democratic party.”

          Jimmy Dore: “There has got to be.”

          So, I’ll abstain from joining the Summer Soldier and Winter Patriot Brigades who fold their tents and head south at the first hint of a snowfall. We have a long year ahead of us. If Bernie Sanders — instead of filming “unity” videos with billionaires, Joe Biden, or Elizabeth Warren — would return Tulsi Gabbard’s support (that she gave him in 2016) with a few kind words of his own, then I would feel a little better disposed towards his candidacy. So far, he seems a little too lickspittle on the anti-war front to suit me.

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  9. [The Conversation begins – Part I]

    [2:40] Tulsi Gabbard: “… the fact that on very short notice when we first had the idea of having this conversation, all three of [these gentlemen] immediately said yes, and did whatever they had to do in order to be here to help lead this discussion, bringing each of their unique backgrounds and experience from the past and present so that we can make sure that we can work together to insure a better future. I want to just kick off the conversation tonight from a very personal place … [stuff about her personal biography that we all know and appreciate that I won’t reproduce here] …

    [9:27] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “Stephen, I’d like to start with you. To help set the stage a little bit about how we got here. In particular the questions around regime-change in Iran and the particular position that we find, or that the Americans have created, between the Sunni and the Shia in Iran, to help us build a context for what this struggle is going to be about. In two minutes.

    [9:50] Stephen Kinzer: “Before the realities of evolution were understood, there were various theories about how life came to exist on earth. The ancient Greeks developed a theory which was called “spontaneous generation.” It meant that if you had kind of a pile of mud, there was water, there was sun, suddenly somehow animals would just jump out of it. And that’s how life began. Sometimes I think that Americans look at the world that way, at world crises that way. They’re not caused by anything. They just suddenly pop up in a fertile environment where we know people are given to upheaval and conflict. We never ask why these things happen. Iran is a perfect example. I truly believe that Iran is the most misunderstood country in the world. Certainly by Americans. We look at Iran and we wonder why is it that Iran never managed to develop a democracy and progress out of the kind of politics they’ve had for so many years. There’s an answer to that.

    Iran first developed a constitution more than a hundred years ago. There are countries in the middle east that even to this day do not have a constitution. Iran has been having political parties and elections and parliaments ever since then. The elections haven’t always been fair or free. The constitution hasn’t always been followed. Unlike here. But politics is something Iranians very much understand. In the period after the second world war, when the old dictator Reza Shah was gone, democracy suddenly exploded. The promise of the 1906 constitutional revolution was fulfilled. Iran became a democracy. They had free elections in the late 40s and early 50s, and produced a leader who embodied what Iranians wanted. That was Prime Minister who was Mohammad Mosaddegh. His program had essentially two pieces. One was democracy. The other was nationalism. Democracy meant that the Parliament and the Prime Minister should rule. Not the Shah. And Nationalism meant that Iran should be able to control its own resources, which in the case of Iran means oil. So with the unanimous vote of the Iranian parliament, Mosaddegh led the drive and nationalized Iran’s oil industry.

    That set the outside world into a panic. The oil had been completely owned by a British company that was, in turn, owned by the British government. The U.S. government was also intimately involved as were several American corporations. The idea of a middle eastern country nationalizing its resources and keeping the profits for itself rather than sending them to another country, was something the outside world found completely intolerable. And in the summer of 1953, the United States sent a CIA team to Iran. The mission was: “Destroy this incipient democracy. And replace it with a dictatorial regime that will give us the oil we want.” That was accomplished in just a few weeks in the summer of 1953. The Mosaddegh regime was destroyed and, more importantly, the prospects for democracy in Iran were destroyed. We brought the Shah back and placed him on his Peacock Throne. The Shah ruled with increasing repression for twenty-five years. That repression produced the explosion of the late 1970s. What we call the Islamic Revolution. That was the revolution that brought into power this group that we are now confronting. That Islamic Revolution also had tremendous other effects. It attracted the attention of Saddam Hussein., Iran’s great enemy next door in Iraq. We decided to side with Saddam in a war against Iran. That turned out to be the longest war in the twentieth century, the Iran-Iraq war. And it was the beginning of our death embrace of Saddam. That’s where it came from. The Islamic Revolution also terrified the Soviets. They were afraid Islamic radicalism would penetrate through their southern republics. That led them to send troops to Afghanistan. Which brought us into Afghanistan, into the quagmire we are still in. So those few weeks in the summer of 1953 with a few CIA agents in Tehran produced a lot of history that we’re still living through. If we had not done that. If we had allowed Iran’s politics to develop in the way Iranians wanted, we might have a thriving democracy in the heart of the Muslim middle east all these seventy years. And I can hardly wrap my mind around how different the middle east and the world might look if that had been the case.

    The important thing about this is not only what it says about Iran, but what it says about the unintended results of American intervention in foreign countries. When you crash violently into the affairs of another nation, you’re doing something like releasing a wheel at the top of a hill. You can let it go, but you’ve absolutely no control over how it’s going to bounce and where it’s going to end up. That’s what leads you to terrible, self-inflicted crises like the one we’re now confronting with Iran.

    [end of Conversation Part I – the historical context and the relationship between cause and effect]

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    1. Some quick observations before I push on to additional segments of that conclave: 1.) had the Mossadegh government established something like popular militias with the fervor of today’s Revolutionary Guards (or the fervor we are led to believe they possess), the CIA would not have cakewalked to success in reinstalling the Shah. I guess they either didn’t have the time or failed to understand the process. The US still has not succeeded in “retaking” Venezuela, and the Cuban Revolution has survived countless attempts to overthrow it; 2.) the Shah bore such official titles as “King of Kings” and “Center of the Universe.” How Trumpian!!; 3.) it should be remembered that leftists shed much of the blood in the revolt that drove the Shah back out of the country. The leftists were then almost immediately drowned in their own blood by the Islamic extremists, leading to rule by Ayatollahs. (Again–or so we’re told: that they have final say on important policy matters. I can’t vouch personally for the accuracy of that claim.) For this reason, personally I prefer to call the events of 1979 the Islamic COUNTER-Revolution.

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    2. Thank you MM! You have pointed me towards an intelligent, well-informed and seemingly un-biased person and I will google Stephen Kinzer to see what more he has to offer.

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      1. Greetings from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Pamela.

        After hearing Stephen Kinzer discourse so authoritatively and bluntly about the belligerent U.S. empire, hardly understood Iran, Sunni-Shia inter-Islamic dynamics, I thought I remembered something about him from a few years ago. So I looked over my computer-file directories where I store articles I find of interest and consider worth saving. I came across this: The Dulles Brothers and Their Legacy of Perpetual War – A Brief Review of Two Essential Recent Books, by Dan Sanchez, medium.com (Mar 3, 2016). In his article, Mr Sanchez refers to a book published in 2014 by Stephen Kinzer entitled, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. From the article, which I think nicely compliments Stephen Kinzer’s contribution to the Conversation in Concord, New Hampshire:

        [begin quote]

        The Dulles brothers rose to power at a pivotal moment in American history. The great nations of Europe and East Asia were devastated by the War and for the most part lay prostrate at the feet of the American collossus. Together John Foster and Allen seized the day and fastened the U.S. government upon the world as a hyperactive, ruthless empire committed to perpetual war. In doing so, they also helped fasten an equally hyperactive and ruthless garrison state upon the American people themselves.

        This interventionism was framed under the rubric of the Cold War: an all-encompassing struggle pitting the “forces of freedom” against revolutionary communism and Soviet imperialism. In reality it was all about Washington’s own global hegemony, which was advanced especially for the sake of the elite corporate interests that the Dulles brothers had served all throughout their careers.

        As the nation’s top diplomat, John Foster established implacable hostility toward the communist bloc as an unshakable tenet of U.S. foreign policy. And for him, even worse than the communists were the “neutralists” who “immorally” refrained from picking sides in the Cold War. These neutralists were even more of a threat because they threatened to defuse what he saw as a necessary conflict. Thus he framed the diverse anti-colonial independence movement sweeping the third world after World War II as little more than a communist plot [emphasis added].

        It was Allen’s CIA that gave teeth to his brother’s policy. Allen completed the transformation of the agency from the intelligence clearinghouse envisioned by President Harry Truman to the clandestine paramilitary force that it is today. This transition was deliberately enabled by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who saw covert action as a relatively bloodless way to achieve geopolitical aims. In this estimation, he did not factor the blood of foreigners that spilled amid the chaos his interventions engendered [emphasis added].

        Under Allen, the CIA became a perpetual covert war machine. Even during “peacetime,” the agency would ceaselessly scheme to subvert and ultimately overthrow any foreign government not in the orbit of the U.S. Behind the Iron Curtain, this only worsened the plight of those suffering under communism by goading their Soviet overlords to paranoid extremes. And elsewhere, it only served to drive neutral governments into alliance with the Soviets for the sake of protection from the “Yankee imperialists.” [emphasis added] …

        [end quote]

        So now we see the belligerent and brain-dead U.S. government transparently attempting — and sometimes succeeding (like in Honduras, Bolivia, and Ukraine) — to overthrow any government (neutral or otherwise) that does not kowtow to The Transnational Corporate Oligarchy operating chiefly, but not exclusively, out of the U.S., U.K., France, and Belgium (NATO). These Imperialist policies and tactics developed in the Eisenhower Administration — especially as in Iran in 1953 — have ramified and expanded through all succeeding U.S. presidencies, and have made the United States the most feared and despised pariah parasite on planet earth.

        I do not own any of Stephen Kinzer’s books, but I will remedy that as soon as possible. In my opinion, he truly added expertise and insight into the Conversation in Concord. Tulsi Gabbard deserves credit for inviting him to address and educate her audience, whose intelligence and discernment she obviously respects. Now that Bernie Sanders’ poll numbers have taken another jump due to Elizabeth Warren’s clumsy attempt to paint him as a misogynist (see recent Jimmy Dore videos exposing and ridiculing this Clintonesque gutter-sniping) I hope Tulsi Gabbard’s chances of becoming Bernie’s vice presidential running mate have improved. For this reason I will continue supporting her campaign as long as she persists in adding thought and principle to what otherwise will revert to standard rat-race “gotcha” mud-slinging.

        Thanks again for your comments.

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        1. I think I noted that book on the Dulles boys in a NY Times review when it was published. As I recall, the Dulles bros presented themselves as frightfully devoted Christians. Probably they cooked up the idea of always adding the tag “godless” in front of word communism. This all nicely fits the profile of their despicable ilk.

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  10. [The Conversation continues – Part II, with more on easily predicted consequences of repeatedly demonstrated blunders (or, more accurately, crimes]

    [15:30] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “What has always struck me as terrifying is, How much of it is intentional and how much of it is accidental? I mean, it’s clear as Andrew Bacevich would put it, we’ve been waging a war for the greater middle east to secure oil for a long time. And one question that I’m still not clear from what you said is: I get how there’s a direct military intervention or direct intervention by the executive, but to what extent do you think this policy is something that was understood and embraced, even in the 1950s, by Congress?

    [16:15] Stephen Kinzer: “I think if we could get President Eisenhower back here today and John Foster Dulles back here, they might have a good excuse. Which would be: This is the very beginning of CIA overthrows of foreign governments. We didn’t have experience. Now we look back and we see that it really didn’t work out the way we hoped. We don’t have that excuse today. Now we see what it leads to. So I think there are two kinds of consequences. One is the unintended consequences that we never thought of. Americans don’t care about those because we’ve been fed this idea that we’re so powerful that it doesn’t matter what happens. Whatever happens, we’ll be able to control it. History has proven that that’s not true. And then when we get up to the invasion of Iraq, I remember that so vividly myself, all the bad things that have come out of our invasion of Iraq were predicted. People were saying all of this is going to happen. Nobody can get up and say that these were unpredicted consequences. They were consequences that you might wish to ignore because you weren’t listening to people who were talking outside of your own box. But nothing. No side effect. No terrible long-term effect, not even the creation of ISIS that came out of our invasion of Iraq was unpredicted. It’s just that we didn’t listen to people who were saying something that we didn’t want to hear. This is a classic American problem. There is no limit in Washington to how many times you can be wrong. Before you are finally judged not qualified to be a commentator on television or a deputy assistant secretary of something. And the opposite is actually true. Those that are right never get a chance to come in and participate in decisions of power.

    [end of Conversation Part II — getting it wrong gets you rewarded, getting it right gets you ostracized]

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  11. [The Conversation continues Part III – with former Congressman Dennis Kucinich]

    [18:05] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: So, Dennis. You were there. You were a Congressman between 1997 and 2013. And so you were fighting the good fight against what turned out not to be a good fight that America has been waging for these past twenty years. When you look back, and you remember what happened, and you see how we are interpreting it now. For example, the AUMF, which authorized “force” against Afghanistan and then turned to Iraq and now being used in Iran, what would your colleagues have said? How would they interpret us today if they could see the continuation of this war and what it has produced?”

    [18:50] Dennis Kucinich: “First of all, … so thank you, Tulsi, for the invitation …

    [21:48] we have this Orwellian unfolding of events. People will say ‘We killed him out of self-defense.” What? But this is not a new narrative. Going back to Larry’s point, … Iraq in no way reflected a threat to the United States. … The climate of fear which encased the United States like a shroud was so present during that vote. And even though Congress, many members of Congress knew better. And certainly the constituencies knew better. Because many of us were in demonstrations across the country. I was in New York City and there were over a million people at a demonstration in New York City saying don’t go to war. But we went to war anyway with, as Stephen points out, calamitous effects. So what do we do now?

    [23:33] Here we are. We really need to have some structural changes. And I think where we begin, this is just my opinion, we have to come home. We have about 800 bases in 70 countries. We have to end this madness of assuming that America has the right and the obligation to rule the world. That is a fantasy. And it needs to be dispensed with because what’s happening is it is causing a diminution of our ability to meet the practical aspirations of the American people for Health Care, for Education, for good paying jobs, for a clean environment. All those things that have been part of what we want to refer to as the American Dream, are being sacrificed to this notion that somehow we have the obligation to rule the world. And behind that, as was certainly behind the war in Iraq, is the Big Lie. The Big Lie. The idea that we have the resources, the ability, the imperative to rule the world.

    [24:58] “Years ago I was a copy boy at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And my first job there was to go to homes of soldiers who had given their lives in Vietnam. I’d drive up and the home was like a clapboard home, almost always a worn house with a door flapping in the breeze. Frayed curtains. You knock on the door. People lead you in. The carpet’s frayed. And everything looks as if its in a state of, not disrepair, but aging, and the young man’s picture atop the television, and a picture of Kennedy, and a picture of the Pope or Christ on the other side of the wall. And I went and picked up these pictures. And it was like a litany, over and over and over. People who loved the fact that their son was serving, who believe in the country. I come from a family whose members have served in the military. And yet this faith, this belief in America, is just getting trashed by people who think this is some kind of game of nations, that you can do whatever you want, zap anybody you want, bomb any country you want, kill anyone you want, and “do it in the name of Heaven and you can justify it in the end.”

    [26:24] “We need a fundamental [i.e., systemic] change. And one of the reasons why I feel Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy is so important, is because she is raising these kinds of questions. And finally, for my part of this moment, let me give you an example of how pernicious this drive towards war and militarization is. On December 11, 2019, just a little more than a month ago, Congress had a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act. And that bill put close to 800 billion dollars into this military machine. 800 billion. And that bill also created another branch of the military called the Space Force. Now, wouldn’t you know it, there were 189 Republicans who voted for that bill. But there were 189 Democrats. Tulsi was only one of 41 Democrats who voted against that bill. And in the Senate, there were only 5 Democrats who voted against the bill. So this whole idea that you change parties, put another party in power, that we’re automatically going to have a different approach. That’s not necessarily so. And it’s the structure. The present President promised an end to these wars. And the President who preceded him said that as well. We’re not going to be like an old horse led by a carrot. And the carrot we call Peace we think that someday we’re going to get it. We have to stop that thinking [like that]. We have to have the willingness to back an individual who has been on that path already, of service, who has seen the effect of war and knows that we must end it now. And this is the election to do it. So thank you.

    [end of Conversation Part III – It’s the structure of the system that required fundamental change, not simply a change in the color of the carrot dangled before the old horse to keep it plodding along plowing the same old plantation furrow until time for “retirement” to the glue factory.]

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    1. Kucinich speaks for me in the first paragraph after 23:33 mark. The notion, yes the very notion, of “American Exceptionalism” is INANE and dangerously INSANE. But we hear it from “both sides of the aisle,” don’t we? And as long as you drape a 10-foot-tall pile of horse manure in the US flag, the citizenry will stand at attention and salute it!! The conversation here just underscores again why Kucinich had zero hope of becoming the Dems’ candidate, and ditto for Tulsi Gabbard today.

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  12. [The Conversaton Part IV – with Congressman Kucinich and Stephen Kinzer]

    [28:20] Stephen Kinzer: “That is so profound, there is not much left to say, but let me just add one other thought, because Congressman Kucinich was trying to tie these issues that we’re talking about into the presidential campaign and the race we’re having today. And let me add another connection.

    [28:51] “Several of the candidates in this year’s presidential campaign, including Congresswoman Gabbard, are promoting great structural changes within the United States. We’re looking for ways to give people the basic rights that people in every other developed country have: Health Care, Education, Housing, Infrastructure. Those projects require huge infusions of money. The place where that money is going to come from is by reducing the 800 military bases we have around the world and the hundreds of billions of dollars that we put into the military.

    But there’s another connection. It’s a cliché to say that people don’t cast votes according to foreign policy issues. I saw a story the other day that said that for many voters, foreign policy isn’t even in the top ten, which sent me weeping out of the room, but solidified my view that I’m going to be the defiant one, as sort of the role god assigned me, I’m going to vote ONLY on foreign policy. And I’ll tell you this, all those programs that many of the progressive candidates want, realistically speaking are never going to get through Congress. They’re not going to materialize. You’ll get something, but Congress is going to block 90% of the good social programs that any progressive leader is going to try to impose. But, in foreign policy, the President can really make a change. A president can really re-orient this country, as we’ve seen already with the clumsy efforts of our President. Look at the mess he has gotten us into. Look where he has brought us. I’m telling you, foreign policy IS the place where a president can make a dramatic difference in a way that no president will be able to do in the next four years in domestic policy. So I hope that leads some people to think that if we really want to change this country, one way would be simply to elect a new president. And that means changing completely the way America faces the rest of the world. And that would be one of the profoundest changes that we could possibly make: to bring us back to being the country we once dreamed we wanted to be.

    [31:03] Dennis Kucinich: “… [colleagues in Congress would say] ‘I oppose that war.’ And then they would vote to fund it. As a consumer, if you oppose something you don’t buy it. But in Congress, people say they oppose wars, and then they vote for them. The Constitutional significance of this … [some courts have held that] Congress’s ultimate power is the power of the purse. If a president wages a war, then Congress can cut off funds. But as long as Congress supplies the money, we all have an obligation to challenge those members of Congress who tell us “Oh. I’m against that war,” and then they fund it.

    [End of Conversation Part IV – End the wars, defund the “Insecurity State,” and then a fundamental restructuring of the US economy has a chance to take place. As the jaded bar girls on Tu Do Street in Saigon used to jeer at broke and hard-up U.S. G.I.s: “No Money, No Honey!” Power of the Purse, indeed. Someone should explain this to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or rather, whomever succeeds her disastrous reign of error.]

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    1. We are saddled with a SCOTUS constantly moving to the far right. One more appointee on Trump’s watch and the right will have a rock-solid majority. The other day, as I understand it, SCOTUS ruled that yes, Trump can take funds allocated by Congress for the military and move them to constructing his Big, Beautiful Border Wall. Nothing can be depended upon any longer to uphold the principles upon which this nation was allegedly founded! I disagree with this notion that a POTUS can bring profound changes in foreign (which nowadays is simply military) policies. If such a thing threatened to actually become feasible, “something” would happen to take down that POTUS. Hello, JFK. Now, I don’t accept the notion that Kennedy really would have ended US involvement in Southeast Asia (or anywhere else!), but he sure found a way to upset a faction of the Ruling Class! Primarily, I believe, his offense was failure to “retake” Cuba!

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  13. [The Conversation Part V – Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich]

    [33:12] Moderator Lawrence Lessig:: “We used to have many peace-loving Democrats and peace-loving Republicans who would resist the push to war and who had a principled basis for saying that America’s job is not to make the world safe for Democracy. America’s job is to take care of America. And they – in both parties – have practically disappeared. You are one of the few in the Democratic party who have stood up – and you Congressman [Kucinich], were one as well – who stands up and fights this. What really explains why we have no basis for peace in the political movements in America that can resist this fight that so unanimously manifests itself in Congress?”

    [33:18] Tulsi Gabbard: “It’s sad that we’re in a place where standing for Peace requires courage. That I think you mentioned, Dennis, as that vote was about to take place there was just an air of fear. That people were concerned about how, if I don’t do this, will I be criticized. What are the political ramifications, one thing or the other. And I think it has even gotten worse. Exponentially so today. So I would point to, there is an incredible amount of influence that the foreign policy establishment and the Military-Industrial Complex has in Washington, that as has been pointed out, crosses over “both” [as in, “two”] parties. No matter which way the political winds blow, Left or Right, that we don’t see a real change in the positions of leaders in Washington. I think, because there is a lot of money involved. When you look at the amounts of contributions being made to members on the Armed Services Committee, in particular, coming from big defense contractors. You see how large that number is and you start to think about, well, how does that figure into those decisions that they’re making? What lobbyists are giving them phone calls before they take a really critical and important vote.

    [34:45] Washington is, very much, unfortunately, like high school. It’s about popularity. It’s about who’s cool. Who gets invited to the nice parties. If you’re not on the guest list, you had better watch out. You’ve become one of the un-cool kids. Like high school, you’ve got all these cliques. In Hawaii we say you ‘talk stink’ about each other, if you are one of those who dares to challenge this establishment group-think view that has been perpetuating these regime-change wars, these follow-on nation-building [my note: nation wrecking and looting] policies without ever thinking or asking the most basic question. Which is ‘How does this serve the interests of our country? [my note: just who does this actually serve? Why assume a “nation” has anything to do with that?] Is it making our country more safe? Or not? If we ask these basic questions time and time and time again, we’ve seen thousands of American lives lost. Tens of thousands of our men and women coming home injured. Millions of lives of people across the Middle East who have been killed as a result of these wars. The trillions of our taxpayer dollars being spent, yet no one is asking the question : ‘After all of this, are we more safe?’ ‘Are we in a better place as a country?’ Is the quality of life of the American people across the country in a superior place?” The answer to all these questions is, “No.” Which a normal rational thinking person would then say, ‘OK. Then perhaps we should change.’

    But you see this culture of fear that exists because Congressman Kucinich had it when he stood up and was one of those lone voices for peace questioning the group-think and the presentation of lies to justify going to war with Iraq. He was criticized. He was called names. I have experienced the same things calling out and asking for evidence before the Commander in Chief [or, Brief] goes and takes military action in another country. ‘Oh, Tulsi’s against regime-change wars. That must mean she loves dictators. This means that she supports this or she supports their actions. How dare she ask for evidence before the the U.S. military takes action.’ And, in Washington, people don’t want to be called names. They don’t want to be unpopular. They don’t want to be picked out from the crowd. Which is really a terrible, terrible thing. When that is the measure for making decisions rather than understanding that this is life and death. This is life and death that we’re talking about. Utter and total destruction for people in other countries in the world who are literally simply trying to survive. Whose goal in life is the same as ours. To have a safe place to raise your kids, be able to put food on the table. To be able to provide better opportunities for them than you have for yourself.

    [37:59] And this even ties in to the decisions that President Trump has made. And if you look back on that first – those 59 Tomahawk missiles that he fired into Syria without evidence; without Congressional authorization; without abiding by the Constitution that requires him to go to Congress and get that authorization before taking action. And what was the response that he got from the media? So many. ‘This is the first time Donald Trump has actually acted like a president.” It was Brian Williams saying “Look at those beautiful missiles flying across the sky.” Leaders from both parties in Congress applauding Donald Trump for taking an illegal, unconstitutional military action against a foreign country. Without presenting evidence to justify it. Without justifying how that action serves our country’s national security interests. So when you see a person like President Donald Trump applauded for doing such a thing, do you think that he’ll be more or less likely to do it again? More. He’ll feel further emboldened saying, ‘Hey. This is how they responded last time.’ Can you imagine where we would be now if the entire leadership in Congress and all of the talking heads in the media had excoriated him for abusing his presidential authority? For ignoring the Constitution. How dare he take our country into an act of war and calling him the kind of names that I’ve been called, can you imagine what kind of pause that would give him before taking another action in Syria, or before taking this action in Iran?.

    [39:54] So when you look at this culture in Washington which unfortunately has become a culture of warmongers. Those who celebrate war. Those who are very cozy with other countries’ interests like Saudi Arabia [my note: but no mention of Zionist Occupied Palestine], going to dinners paid for by the military industrial complex and how insular this environment is, ignoring the cost and the consequence of those decisions and who pays the price for war?

    [40:33] Dennis Kucinich: “Larry, could I just very briefly add on to what you said, Tul;si, about who pays the price. And why is there even a price being paid? Members of Congress are lied to all the time. When I started in Congress, one of the first things you sign a piece of paper that says you won’t divulge any classified information. And the only way you get into a meeting, a classified meeting, is to sign that at the beginning of every Congress. And so I did that the first Congress, the first Congress that I was in. And, of course, you go to the classified meetings, and they lie to you. But you can’t talk about how they lied to you because you would be breaking the oath that you took that you won’t divulge what was said in the meeting. So the Administration will leak a characterization of the meeting and you can’t refute it. You can take a stand on your own apart from that. But you cannot refer to what was said in that meeting. An this happens all the time. And finally, Tulsi, I stopped. Myself, and I think Congressman McDermott from Washington State and I were the only two members of Congress who just didn’t sign it at the beginning of Congress. Because Why waste time sitting with people who you know are going to lie to you? So part of the problem is that the State Department, the Central Intelligence, the Pentagon, the lifers in there who want to push their policies no matter who the President is, they just lie to bring it about. And you have to be – and this is important for all of us – because we kind of depend upon our version of reality, so that the ground we’re standing on is solid. We know that this is right. This is a floor. This is a door. We have some consensual affirmation about reality. But what happens is, people are reconstructing the social reality and are making us believe that the worse is the better reason. And when you’re a member of Congress, you don’t know what’s right because you’re being lied to and you know it.

    So, in the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA, they’re manufacturing consent, what Noam Chomsky wrote about years ago. They’re manufacturing consent and they’re doing it with lies. This isn’t just about one administration. Again, this is about a structure. This is what happened January 2, when General Suleimani was assassinated. They’re still making up the reasons. [Tulsi Gabbard: “It’s changing every day”] The lies are becoming transparent. How many people in this audience heard of General Suleimani before January 2nd? Anybody? OK. Great. I’d say this is a good reflection. America is reflected in this room, because most Americans never heard of him. But this is where we’re at. We’re getting lied to.

    [End of Conversation Part V — a confluence of official and media cowardice based on a structure of lies.]

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    1. I haven’t researched the history of lobbying of the US Congress, what year it was legalized, etc. But I think it’s evident that things have been spinning out of control at an accelerating pace since the end of WW II, when the US emerged with essentially no damage to its home soil while the USSR had taken the brunt of Nazi devastation. I maintain that EVERY WAR engaged in by the US since 1945 has been a War of Choice, not necessity. And now lobbying by the “Defense” Industry and associated entities is surely at unprecedented levels. “The American Dream”! I read that a recent poll showed a growing segment of the citizenry (don’t recall if it was said to be a majority) now believe their children will NOT attain whatever level of financial security their generation has!! Read that sentence again, please. And yet, and yet…boobus americanus STILL won’t stand up and say “This has got to cease!”

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      1. I agree about the U.S.-initiated “wars of choice” since 1945, Greg, but I wouldn’t dignify these Brutal Bludgeonings and Medieval-Barber Bloodlettings as “wars.” Certainly the U.S. Congress has never seen fit to declare even one of them a national undertaking. Rather, an unbroken sequence of U.S. Presidents since Harry S. Truman has made these disasters into Profit Promotion Projects undertaken at their own political peril leaving the Congress and the American people as hapless, brow-beaten, and hardly attentive observers obsessed with — and by — Conspicuous Consumption and Conspicuous Waste: those economic and social-climbing behaviors that Thorstein Veblen so accurately described in The Theory of the Leisure Class. (Personally, I prefer the even more appropriate term “Seizure Class,” but more on that some other time.) …

        As for the subject of “lobbying,” I consider that another laughable misnomer. The bribe-bearing courtiers who used to wait in the Capitol lobbies to ambush Congress-persons on their way into and out of the building have moved into Congressional offices and now write the laws favoring their corporate employers while the Congress people spend most of their time grubbing — over the phone or in person — for even more corporate cash.

        But one of my favorite comments on the legalized bribery of U.S. officials comes from the Russian expatriate engineer, Dmitry Orlov, who says:

        “I see the United States as the most corrupt country in the world. So corrupt that they’ve legalized corruption. It’s called “lobbying.” China and Russia have successfully combated corruption so that they’re quite effective at this point. Russia went through a period of time when they were actually executing thousands of corrupt officials every year. But that has stopped. They have stopped executing corrupt officials. Why? Because corrupt officials are dead. They don’t exist any more. Now, whether their system is liberal or not is beside the point because nobody is going to dictate their terms to China, or to Russia for that matter. From that point of view, Western liberalism is just completely dead. Every sovereign nation in the world from now on is going to set their own standards for what they will tolerate and what they won’t. And the United States and other Western countries will have absolutely no say.”

        For more insights by Dmitry Orlov concerning the collapsing U.S. Empire and the emerging Russia-China partnership, see the second half of two youtube videos by Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, namely: So sleepy (E1455), The Keiser Report (October 29, 2019), and Money burning unicorns & shale slowdown (E1456) , The Keiser Report (October 31, 2019). Enjoy.

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        1. Mike–Yes, generally speaking it takes two reasonably equally-armed belligerents to have a “proper war.” When US air power wiped out Iraq’s DEFENSIVE radar positions to pave the way for easy bombing runs (the old phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” comes to mind), that was “not cricket.” But to those unfortunates on the ground in the countries/territories being targeted by the US and its imperial partners, I am sure it FEELS like a war!

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      2. As another personal aside on the subject of lobbyists in the United States, I once had the privilege and good fortune of taking some graduate classes in Buddhism and Sanskrit from the late Dr. Ananda W. P. Guruge (may he rest in peace), formerly Sri Lanka’s Minister of Education and that country’s Ambassador to France, the United States, and UNESCO. Over lunches at the small start-up college where he taught and I worked as Coordinator of Computer Services, he would often regale me with tales of his many bureaucratic adventures: “I was an honest man,” he would say, “sent abroad to lie for his country

        Dr. Guruge told me that, “Corruption exists everywhere. In France, for example, if you want a favor from the Minister of Education, then you will have to do a favor for him. But in the United States, the SCALE of the corruption is so vast that the human mind simply cannot grasp it.” As an example of this, Dr Guruge told me that when he first arrived in the U.S. as Ambassador from Sri Lanka, a lobbyist representing a U.S. congressman met him at the airport and drove him to a nice restaurant where he made his pitch. The Lobbyist proposed that “Congressman X,” let us say, wished to be “your Sri Lankan Congressman” and in return for every ONE million dollars of contributions to Congressman X’s various interests, the Congressman could assure Sri Lanka of THIRTY FIVE million dollars of “foreign aid,” the “standard 35 to 1 deal.” When Dr. Guruge asked about these “interests” of Congressman X, the lobbyist informed him that these included maintaining the Congressman’s mistress in the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. Not wishing to offend a U.S. Congressman with an outright refusal, Dr Guruge told him that he would have to consult his government about the proposed arrangement. Ambassador Guruge did not hear back from this particular lobbyist. Not long afterwards, though, at a diplomatic reception, the Ambassador from Pakistan — a woman at the time — told Dr Guruge that the same lobbyist had made the same proposal to HER. So political corruption in the United States most assuredly qualifies as “gender neutral.”

        I just thought I’d pass that little vignette around in memory of a truly distinguished and humane man who taught me more than just Buddhist history and an interesting ancient language. Satyameva Jayati — “Only Truth Triumphs.” How I wish.

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  14. [The Conversation Part VI – Question Time]

    Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “We want to make sure we get some time for questions …”

    First Questioner [addressed to Tulsi Gabbard: “ … What are you going to do to discontinue the [U.S. and “Western”] provocations that are fueling the rise of violent Islamic jihadism?

    [45:00] Tulsi Gabbard: “I think pointing out very directly how our long-standing policy of waging regime-change wars is directly connected to opening up the growth for these terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda is very critical. I think often times we have leaders in Washington, and in the media for that matter, who conflate regime-change wars with the war against the terrorist groups like Al Qaeda as if they’re all just one and the same thing. I think this is what happens when you hear the term ‘Well, I’m against endless war,’ just wrapping it all up into one thing, but really, they’re not the same. They’re not the same. And it is truly heartbreaking that we’ve seen our leaders for so long take this terrorist attack on our country, on 9/11, by this terrorist group Al Qaeda, and use that as an excuse to go and topple dictators [note: and also elected governments] that they don’t like. To go and try to rebuild the countries that are destroyed in the process [note: “rebuild”? How about loot and plunder?] and to spend trillions of our taxpayer dollars doing so. And the countless lives that are lost in the process. But never ever admitting or acknowledging that it is those very wars that are actually creating that ground and that opening for these terrorist and jihadist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS to take advantage of. [note: true, but also most likely by design] So what do we do? Let’s fix this broken policy, let’s end these regime-change wars and stop creating this situation that actually strengthens these terrorist organizations.

    [46:50] Frankly — like we’re seeing play out now [in Iraq] — it was right after right after Trump’s “taking out” [note: how about “murdering”?] of Suleimani that our U.S. commander in Iraq made a public announcement that our troops in Iraq whose mission there [note: and you believe that about their stated mission?”] was to prevent a recurrence of Al Qaeda and ISIS could no longer perform that mission at all, that every one of our troops deployed to Iraq must now re-direct their resources, their time and efforts to defending against an Iranian threat or an Iranian-backed Shia militia [why not refer to IRAQI forces resisting U.S. occupation?] in Iraq, therefore leaving the door wide open once again for these terrorist groups to be able to reconstitute themselves and mount a resurgence. So this goes back to the question I asked originally: Are our policies and the decisions being made by our leaders strengthening our national security or undermining it? And very clearly the answer is, for so long, that [these are] continuing to undermine our national security where Al Qaeda is stronger today, across the middle east, now than when they attacked us on 9/11.

    Second Questioner: ““Talk about unintended consequences when we knocked off Saddam Hussein, he was a terrible person, but we took away one counter-weight to Iran, and now we find ourselves in the position of being a counter-weight to Iran, and that really is a good example. I don’t want to get off the topic, but look at China and Russia and even sub-Saharan Africa, which nobody pays any attention to, What are your views about how we deal with those places to avoid getting into the kinds of wars that we’re involved in around the middle east?

    Tulsi Gabbard: “I want to ask Stephen to weigh in on this, as well, but your point is a good one but when you hear of national security interests often talked about on television these days, they talk about their concern for the growing influence of Iran in places like Iraq and Syria but failing to acknowledge that prior to our going to war in Iraq and “taking out” Saddam Hussein, Iran had basically no influence in Iraq. Period. And it was in the aftermath of our war [note: “invasion”] being waged there, that Iran completely wove itself into the government of Iraq and the governance of Iraq in so many ways. And the same can be said for Syria. Syria has leaned into a much stronger relationship with Iran than they ever had before, since that regime-change war began so long ago. I think it’s important as we look at different regions of the world, whether it’s Africa or across the middle east, or in Eastern Europe, or even Asia that we make our decisions base on our national security interests and on building partnerships, building alliances, being able to work with countries like Russia and China using diplomacy to be able to work out our differences and also pursue areas of shared and common interests. So that it does not have to be a perpetual us-vs-them, zero-sum mentality that we’ve seen taken in our foreign policy for a long time. That we have to keep troops deployed everywhere in the world because if we don’t, someone else is going to “come in” [note: which means what, exactly?]

    [50:25] Steven Kinzer: “I was in Iraq as a correspondent when Saddam was in power. The Saddam rule was a real dictatorship. Not like Iran or Syria. That was a very tough dictatorship. Saddam absolutely crushed even the hints of any kind of religious extremism. If you were sitting in a cafe and told your friend ‘I don’t think there’s enough religious influence in our government,’ it should be more pious.’ You’d probably be arrested before you got home. That’s not the kind of system we might endorse, but there was no, no danger of any religious extremism emerging in Iraq while Saddam was in power.

    Saddam also constituted the counterbalance to Iran in the middle east. [note: why did Iran require a counter-balance?] That was the perfect basis. It’s very important to understand that when Donald Trump came into power, we had no crisis with Iran. He had some tough decisions to make because Obama left him with terrible situations in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan, but not with Iran. We had no crisis with Iran. This thing is completely manufactured. Now, I just want to point out since you mentioned Suleimani, a little bit about the Sunni-Shia balance in that part of the world. You all know that the Shia world is centered in Iran. And the other majority Shia country is Iraq. So Iran has a vital interest, more even than we do, in crushing ISIS and Al Qaeda related groups because a fundamental principle of those groups is: ‘Kill Every Shia.’ So that certainly gives Iran a certain reason to fight those kinds of currents in Iraq and in Syia. That’s why Suleimani was a great hero in Iran. He is the greatest ISIS killer of all time. But as you just heard, we have focused away from ISIS. We’re actually not fighting against ISIS any more [note: did we ever?]. The way to crush terrorism in the middle east is to build up strong states with strong central governments that can control their territories and have armies. We are fighting against that. We don’t want strong, stable states. Because those that are going to emerge are not going to be subservient to our will. A stable Iraq under the government it has now, a stable Iran under the government it has now, a stable Syria under the government is has now, would be great tools in fighting radical extremism. But we oppose that because those governments would express the will of their people. And that’s not the will that we want them to express. Their crimes are defiance against the United States. And we consider that to be a greater crime than all that ISIS and Al Qaeda have done to hurt us. So by moving our focus away from the groups that we originally intended [note: did we really ever intend any such thing?] to fight, we’re showing that we’re constantly looking for new excuses and new reasons to build a permanent presence in a place that we’re trying to pretend we’re trying to escape from.”

    Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “This is not sounding good. Do we have more questions? …

    [End Conversation Part VI – getting closer to the ugly truth which the blabber-mouth bullshitter, Donald Trump, sees no problem with boasting about. More questions to come]

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    1. Someone should have corrected the questioner’s grossly erroneous statement that “no one is paying attention to sub-Saharan Africa”!! Our tax dollars in recent years have increasingly gone to establishing surveillance of political developments there (the chief interest is economic, of course, to secure resources) and inserting Special Forces on the ground here and there. With unpleasant consequences for select US personnel. The greatest US concern doubtless is that China reportedly has been making very large investments on the continent.

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  15. [The Conversation Part VII – more questions about the Constitution and the war-making powers of Congess]

    53:37] Third Questioner: “I’d like to get back to what structural things can be done. And I’m curious from the panel what your views on War Powers Act are, and it really is a useful tool for Congress or whether it’s an abdication by Congress of its war-making responsibilities.

    Dennis Kucinich: “Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution vested the power to make war with Congress. That’s where it starts. And one could argue about whether the war-powers act was even necessary. But since, Larry, you’re a Constitutional scholar, weigh in on this. It’s critical. But what has happened is, even though we are told that we have three co-equal branches of government, there has been a shift, maybe more pronounced since Nixon, towards and imperial presidency. And with that Imperial Presidency comes the assumption that one can essentially take over this Article I Section 8 function. That’s more of an academic position. But from a political standpoint, and I’ll say it again, Congress can cut off funds. We’ve been in Federal Court arguing this Article 1 Section 8. Federal Courts have come down to “The Power of the Purse.” Cut off the funds. Done deal. But if Congress goes ahead and funds the wars, it’s in a contradictory position to say ‘We oppose it.’ So the courts, basically, are loath to enter into disputes between the branches, but once they do and did on this Article 1 Section 8 question, they said it all comes down to funding. Larry, would you like to add to that?

    [55:34] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “There is no doubt that the Constitution vests this power in Congress if Congress had the backbone to exercise it. And that’s the key problem. It’s not so much a problem not so much of Congress in the abstract, but because political parties in Congress that will never want to stand up against their own president when their own president wants to do something. So the framers imagined Congress being a check on the president, but the political parties have completely destroyed the possibility of Congress being a real check unless Congress is one party and the President is a different party. But right now we don’t have that so we don’t have a Congress willing to exert their Constitutional authority. Which means that we have an ever increasing authoritarian president because of the failure of Congress. I think that to your point, Steven, about one change that could radically change how this dynamic works is a President who was finally willing to concede the power that the Constitution gives Congress.

    [56:26] Tulsi Gabbard: “Speaking of one Congress being in the party of power and the aligned with the Presidency and turning a blind eye when its their own president who is doing these things, is something that I think we’ve seen for a long time now. Specific to Iran in 2018, when Republicans were still in control of the House of Representatives, in that year’s Defense Authorization Bill, came to the House floor – I served on the House Armed Services Committee – that bill passed the committee and somewhere between passage and getting to the House floor, was a provision that was snuck into the bill that was three pages long which essentially gave the administration a blank check to go to war with Iran. The first lines of this provision read: “We authorize the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a counter-Iran strategy.” Develop AND Implement. And it went on to list three pages worth of different things that they could use, tools that they could use to be able to do that which included military action. And there was no provision in there that said ‘You must come back to Congress for authorization before implementation.’ Nothing of the sort. This shocked me that this made its way into the bill and nobody seemed to know about it. Nobody was certainly talking about it. So I introduced an amendment on the House floor as that bill was coming for a full vote simply stripping this provision from the bill saying whether you agree or disagree with this language, we must have this debate in Congress as per the Constitution. You don’t just give a blank check to this administration or any administration that you get to develop and implement your own war without coming to Congress. Very simple argument. Based on our Constitution. That amendment came to the floor for a vote and sixty members of Congress voted for it. The rest voted against. I believe it was 53 Democrats and 7 Republicans. 60 members of Congress voted to uphold the Constitution, while the rest said ‘Nyeh! Doesn’t matter.’ So when you talk about Congress abdicating its role and responsibilities that the Constitution provides, that’s one example. Fast forward to this fiscal year, 2019, as we finished that year’s Defense Authorization bill in committee to get a provision in that said the administration will not take military action against Iran without Congressional authorization. Simple line. It was included in the bill that passed the House. Somewhere between the House and the Senate and the Conference Committee, it came back in that final version with that and many other provisions really about upholding Congressional Constitutional authorities, gone.”

    [note: Why directly authorize the department secretaries and not the President who ostensibly sets out the policy that they will administer? Can Congress really direct Executive Branch underlings to develop and implement their own policies independent of that the President, ostensibly their boss, may decide to do?]

    [59:20] Dennis Kucinich: “… Just to add something on to that question and reflecting upon what Larry said about how in Congress the president’s party will generally support him. It doesn’t follow, though, that the opposition party will oppose him at a critical point because, to give you an example, I stood on the floor of the House for four and a half hours delivering thirty-five articles of impeachment against President Bush for, essentially, a whole train of lies that took us into war in Iraq. But the Democratic leaders tabled it. They didn’t want to go there. And, again, they were voting to fund the wars as well. So, keep in mind that when you get to these questions about war, as Tulsi points out, who is making the money? What’s that structure in there that profits from that? There’s a part at which the parties are holding hands. And that is a problem.”

    [End Conversation Part VII – A “Constitution” in name only absent any incentive to abide by it]

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    1. The fundamental issue is ginned-up, unjustified wars of choice waged by the US. Give the conveniently gullible Congress a sufficiently “convincing” tale of the evils of this or that regime, and their imminent heinous planned attacks against US “assets” in Region X of the world, and Congress will formally vote to go to war. Had Cheney/Bush sought a formal Declaration of War against Saddam’s regime, in the post-9/11 atmosphere they likely would’ve gotten it passed by the Congress! So it’s just a game of semantics whether we say it’s a Constitutionally “proper” war being waged versus a presumably “limited” military action to take out Targets A, B and C, authorized initially by an Act of Congress. The Imperialist Leopard cannot change its spots!

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      1. The condensed version of my last comment: A war formally approved and declared by Congress isn’t automatically a justified, or “good” war!!

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  16. The Conversation Part VIII – some closing remarks]

    [1:00:14] questioner speaks to Moderator about “The Concord Resolution” ….”until we define money” … [I couldn’t follow this. Getting tired now …]

    [Tulsi Gabbard speaks about renewable energy resources and freeing the U.S. from fossil fuel dependencies. That sort of thing. Not much on nuclear technology.]

    [1:05:38] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “It’s about the freedom of Congress to do the right thing. And so long as there is this endless money both from lobbyists in the energy industry but in the military industry, as well, driving Congress to do the things it does, it won’t do anything different. You have to liberate Congress first from dependency on this kind of money if you’re going to give them a chance to do the right thing. It takes leadership. It takes leadership not just in the corruption space but in the military space which is why what you’re doing here is so important. …

    Dennis Kucinich also chips in on energy and environmental concerns. Again, nothing about nuclear or fracking …]

    [1:08] Steven Kinzer: “In 1980, President Carter, pushed by his national security adviser, Mr Brzsinsky, announced what came to be known as The Carter Doctrine which has to do with the Persian Gulf. That was when we identified the Persian Gulf as an area of extraordinary importance to the United States that we would defend even militarily if necessary. We did that for two reasons. One, to keep the Soviet Union out of the Persian Gulf region. And number two, to protect vital supplies of energy that we needed. Today there is no Soviet Union. And we don’t get our vital supplies of energy from the Persian Gulf. So the reasons that we identified the Persian Gulf as essential to our security have evaporated. But yet we’re continuing to crowd the Persian Gulf with warships, essentially hoping to spark some sort of an incident. We don’t need to be there any more. And transitioning to another kind of energy future is another reason why we can pull ourselves out of that part of the world where our presence only undermines our own security while weakening the stability of the countries we claim to be protecting.”

    [1:08:59] Tulsi Gabbard [closing statement — unfortunately rather long and repetitive, in my opinion]: “This comes down to leadership. Which is really the question before you as voters as you head toward election day in New Hampshire on February 11th. Understanding the responsibility that you have not only as individual voters to cast your vote, but what kind of message you will send to the nation. As the first in the nation state. And I think very clearly laid out this evening of that role and responsibility the Commander in Chief has. And how necessary it is that we have a Commander in Chief who exercises foresight. Who has experience and understanding in these areas of national security and foreign policy. Who is able to look at these decisions made in our country’s history and has seen how those decisions actually undermine the interests of Americans all across this country and undermined our own national security interests. I am grateful to be here and to share this stage with these gentlemen to be able to bring these issues to the forefront before you make this decision and offer to you that I bring that experience – yes, serving as a soldier for almost seventeen years – of being deployed to the middle east twice, of understanding clearly the costs and the consequences of these decisions both on human lives, on our taxpayer dollars, these resources that still today as we are sitting here. We will be in this room for about two hours and by the time we walk out the door, in those two hours that we are here we will have seen eleven million dollars go to Afghanistan alone. Eleven million dollars. In just two hours that we’re gathered here tonight to prop up a corrupt government in Afghanistan and line the pockets of big defense contractors and consultants, with nobody answering the answer to the question, For what? [note: money and power, what else?] What are we trying to accomplish? What does “Victory” look like? How long will we have to keep doing this? How much longer will we see more and more lives lost? How much longer will we see our hard-earned taxpayer dollars being taken out of our schools, being taken out of our rural community health centers taken out of our ability to really serve the very urgent and pressing needs of people in communities all across this country. The experience that I’ve had in Congress now for seven going on eight years has given me a depth of understanding, really, truly, of the costs and consequences of these decisions. Understanding our Constitution and the role that Congress and the President has to make, that have prepared me to walk in on Day One to fulfill that responsibility to serve you, to serve our country as Commander in Chief. And to give you the piece of mind that we will end these long-standing regime-change wars, the follow-on nation-building missions that happen, work to end this new Cold War that we’re in with ratcheting up tensions between the United States and nuclear armed countries like Russia and China. End this nuclear arms race that’s making the world less safe, taking more money out of our pockets and instead redirect those dollars and those resources really towards serving the urgent and pressing needs that we have right here at home. Thank you so much for your time this evening, and thanks to my colleagues here for joining us.”

    [1:12:45] Moderator Lawrence Lessig: “I teach at a university. And it’s astonishing to think, I look at my students and recognize none of them have lived in America that has not been at war [note: shades of Winston Smith]. For their whole life we have been at war. And so I think that New Hampshire has understood the problems of money and politics for a long time. But if you could begin to speak to the problems of money driving us to perpetual war, the rest of America would begin to hear it. So I’m grateful for what you have done and I’m grateful for this event tonight. Thank you.”

    [End Conversation Part VIII – no need to remain in the middle east now but nothing said about what will happen when uneconomical fracking plays out in the near future. A pretty good discussion by some knowledgeable persons. Those who saw the corporate infotainment cattle call can compare what they learned there as opposed to what Tulsi and her colleagues produced here.]

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    1. Thanks for the transcripts, Mike. I watched the video but it’s also useful to read it over. A lot of truth here. And I think, sadly, Tulsi’s right about Congress being like high school — a popularity show, driven by vanity and a desire to be “big man on campus” (or, big man in Congress).

      Bernie’s right: we need a political revolution. And the establishment hates him for this truth.

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    2. Glad you brought up Winston Smith, Michael! I was going to write–and still will–that Congresswoman Gabbard should just sit back and light up a Victory Cigarette, relax with some Victory Gin, and watch the world go by. Seriously, though, I see from your transcript (and thanks for taking the time to do this work!) that she was still speaking as a candidate for POTUS. Not gonna happen, of course. Now, what to do about the venal corruption of the lobbying situation? We’d have to OUTLAW it and start throwing the offenders–those taking the graft as well as those handing it out–behind bars. So, when exactly will there be a Congress willing to pass legislation like that?!? There is no reforming this System. It needs to be discarded altogether. I know, I know, not in my lifetime. In the meantime, things will just keep swirling down the toilet. Sorry, I can’t muster an optimistic view for our future!

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  17. The “Debate” that Didn’t happen on stage – Part I

    The Concord Conversation, sponsored by the Tulsi Gabbard campaign, did not, of course, qualify as any sort of “debate” (in the best sense of that word) because the audience did not get to hear two — if not opposing, then at least differing — points of view, or “arguments,” presented and rebutted according to long-established rules of dialectical disputation. I have my own criticisms of Congresswoman Gabbard’s campaign — not nearly anti-war and working-class enough for me — but I’ll save those for later posted comments, hopefully where appropriate. As a public service for those wishing the best for Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign — and I do very much wish that — consider 11-15-19 Jimmy Dore on the Moral Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party, by Scott, The Scott Horton Show (Nov 19, 2019):

    [Introduction]

    Scott talks to comedian Jimmy Dore about all the problems with the foreign policy positions of the Democratic presidential candidates. He and Scott agree that the only one with a halfway decent anti-war stance is Tulsi Gabbard, who the media has been trying their utmost to silence. Even Gabbard, though, has a fairly conventional view of the wars against Al-Qaeda, and what separates her is that she’s the one willing to oppose the wars America is fighting for Al-Qaeda. Dore says that all the current anti-Trump tactics simply don’t resonate with most liberals, and that something else is needed if he is to be credibly opposed.

    [skip the welcoming pleasantries and a lot of good discussion about the “left” attacking the “right” from even further to the right, and what this inevitably leads to, etc.]

    Scott Horton: “… So, let me ask you about Tulsi Gabbard here. This is sort of my ulterior motive for getting you on the show, Jimmy. It’s like, I’d like to have her on the show and win an argument with her. But then I think, I won’t if it’s on a show. I really want to convince her. I’m not trying to rack up a win here. I think she’s great, but she ain’t great enough. Very simply, look at the war in Syria where Obama and John Brennan had us on the side of Al Qaeda. So she says, let’s stop backing terrorists. As you said, she was in Iraq War II, so she can tell who is on who’s side here. And she can tell that Al Nusra ain’t no moderate rebels and you can’t get her to get on that bandwagon. So that’s great. That is just great. But that’s great in the face of an absolutely insane policy: to back our actual enemies. But then when it comes to the war AGAINST Al Qaeda, as she has said repeatedly, she’s a hawk. And she says, essentially, wherever there’s a Sunni with a rifle anywhere, we have to fight the war AGAINST terrorists forever.

    She’s also against these regime-change wars, this bait and switch, and overthrowing whole countries in the name of fighting terrorism, that’s also great. But the drone wars and special operations wars against alleged Al Qaeda targets, she talks like she wants to fight a war like that for eight years. And as she says, as long as they believe in Wahabism, they are incorrigible terrorist enemies of ours. And that’s just all wrong. And the fact is, that the reason the terrorists are attacking us was because Hillary Clinton’s husband was bombing Iraq from bases in Saudi Arabia all through the 1990s. And that’s what turned Ronald Reagan’s and Saudi Arabia’s mercenaries against the United States. It was radical politics, not radical Islam. And it was America’s government’s actions that did it. And so, in other words, as Ron Paul said: ‘We just marched in. We can just come home.’ She doesn’t have to be a hawk against terrorists but a dove on backing them. She could be a dove on both. And I think that’s part of what’s holding her back, is that a lot of good Peacenik people would like to support her but they hear some of these expansive War on Terrorism arguments she makes and are really hesitant, you know. But my thing is, if I could get you on the same page with me, she’ll listen to you, and you can really tell her: ‘Hey. It was Hillary Clinton’s husband that drove Bin Laden to knock down the towers. That’s the fact. And she could use that too, obviously .

    [continued on Part II below]

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    1. I’m afraid Congresswoman Gabbard really is rather muddle-headed in her politics. “Leave some trainer/advisors in place, use drones, keep Special Forces on the ground”…that is precisely what some of the Dems still allowed on the “debate” platform were arguing for on Tuesday. Tulsi may have SOME good ideas, but these others have NONE!

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    2. “she [Tulsi] was in Iraq War II, so she can tell who is on who’s side here.”
      Unless she was there as a politcal analist – and even then – I beg to disagree. The average US military in such conflicts is pretty much isolated from real life in that country, even more so from being able to see the big picture.
      What they are fed is army propaganda (vide the recent WaPo Afghanistan ‘revelations’) and rumours. Holed up in heavily fortified camps which they leave only in equally heavily fortified vehicles or helicopters, relying on regularly flawed ‘intelligence’, after that was ‘analised’ by 20 year olds after a three months crash course – as we learned when Chelsea Manning’s ordeal became public.
      It is easy to say one wants to stop wars and regime change, so many have done so before her and then were incapable to do so or simply chickened out when put to the test. And never were held accountable for it.
      By now the discussion is a bit academic as she rather won’t become president, but I still miss conherent substance in her. Were it only about Palestine, with apologies if she did take this prickly subject on and I missed it.

      Like

      1. Pamela–Bernie Sanders has become noteworthy in the campaign by daring to publicly suggest that maybe, just maybe, Palestinians should be entitled to some human rights! This is considered terribly controversial in this day and age when “both sides of the aisle” suck up money from the Israel Lobby and is a sad comment, indeed, on the state of US politics.

        Like

      2. Very astute comments, Pamela. They put me very much in mind of my own extended 18-month deployment to the now-defunct Republic of South Vietnam (June 1970 to January 1972). After wrapping up my transcripts and organizing the links to them for reference notes, I plan to write my own analysis of Congresswoman Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign (which I still support for lack of any better candidate). My tentative title: “The Commander-in-Brief on ‘Day One’ – A Sand Pebble’s Anti-War Critique of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 Presidential Election Campaign.” I’ll try to incorporate your observations, as I understand them, in that analysis. Thank you for offering them.

        In the mean time, I’ll leave you with a verse composition that I wrote thirteen years ago which somewhat touches on experiences such as you mention, which pretty much characterize what we “advisers” went through in Southeast Asia a half century ago now. (How time flies.)

        Mini Green Zone Outpost Diaspora

        Far from the Green Zone Castle
        In mini-Green-Zone forts
        Our scattered forces “mingle”
        With RPG retorts

        Then when the ambush happens
        The cavalry replies
        And rides off to the rescue
        With any handy guys

        It takes perhaps an hour
        Once timely news arrives
        Of dead and wounded soldiers
        And lost Iraqi lives

        Somewhere we’ve got a mission
        That no one can explain
        It promises to triumph
        With just a bit more pain

        For sure, we hear, our “leaders”
        In uniform and not
        With yet more blood and billions
        Could plan an “ink stain” spot

        They work in bits and pieces
        A little here and there
        And see some hints of “progress”
        Just never any where

        They travel to the future
        And tell us what they’ve seen:
        That things, absent their fuck-ups,
        Would soon get really mean

        We need them to continue,
        They say of what they’ve done,
        Because if we stop losing
        The “bad guys” will have “won”

        The country’s off its rocker
        When talk like this persists
        While troop retention withers
        And no one new enlists

        Yet if they wreck the Army
        Perhaps some good will come
        For with no foreign legion
        They might not act so dumb

        It hurts to lose our soldiers
        But many profit, too
        So why give up the gravy
        Slurped by the greedy few?

        The country’s lost its marbles
        That such a thing should be
        As suits and brass commanding
        Naught but their perfidy

        We’ve learned of those “belief tanks”
        Where no one thinks of doubt
        And “scholars” scream for “going in”
        But not for getting out

        We’ve got the dumbest “leaders”
        Who ever walked the earth:
        Those lowered expectations
        Of less than zero worth

        So tell us of the “new” plan
        We cannot wait to hear
        The brilliant scheme you’ve cooked up:
        What next we have to fear

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2007

        Like

  18. The “Debate” that Didn’t happen on stage – Part II

    [11:18] Jimmy Dore: “I can’t dispute what you’re saying …”

    Scott Horton interrupts: “… and the most important thing, she listens to you. I don’t want to take her on, I want you to, like teach her. Fix her. Make her better.”

    Jimmy Dore: “Well I’m sure that I could learn more from her than she’ll ever learn from me, for one. But, two, Wahabism is a problem, but the problem is that it has been encouraged by the CIA …”

    Scot Horton interrupts again: “It’s still too broad, though. There are lots of Wahabists who aren’t militant humans in any way, right? We’re talking about a very small group of people with radical politics. I’m not saying they’re not religious nuts. They are. But that’s not the war: that religious nuttery makes them attack innocent people, and the further away, the better. America had combat forces in Saudi Arabia that they were using to bomb and blockade Iraq for a decade leading up to the September 11, attacks. That was the deal.

    Jimmy Dore: “So, tell me this. I’m sure you know more than I do, but from what I understand Bin Laden was particularly upset that Saudi Arabia called in the Infidels – which is the United States – to come straighten out stuff in the Middle East. He was like: ‘Why don’t we straighten out stuff in the Middle East?

    Scott Horton: “Right. Starting with Iraq War I. But it was the permanently stationing of troops there. But, yes, that’s right.”

    Jimmy Dore: “And that’s when Osama … and fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.”

    Scott Horton: “And so this is a really important point, right? Why, again, did these people attack us? Because our government was too close to their government. They weren’t from Iran, Iraq, and Syria. They were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt and they hated us because we were preventing them from overthrowing their own governments, but that means, in a regional war, when we fight on Saudi Arabia’s side, we fight on Al Qaeda’s side. Just like we see in Yemen today and Syria the day before yesterday.

    Jimmy Dore: “You know, honestly, I don’t want to speak for Tulsi’s foreign policy. I can just speak for myself. So I’m not speaking for her. But she is consistent in a sense that she’s calling out Saudi Arabia, the same question you have right now, which underlies all this. Why are we friends with Saudi Arabia which is, in fact, an exporter of extreme terrorism. A lot of people say that’s the Wahabi sect. So that’s what Dylan Ratigan would say. That’s what Tulsi Gabbard would say. And it has been proven, Wikileaks has revealed that they in fact are funded by the Saudi Arabian government. They used to always say, No, that’s just a one-off prince that has his own oil money, and he’s funding them, the terrorists. Wikileaks revealed that, in fact, it was the Saudi Arabian government that is funding the terrorists. And so, why did they do that? They’re useful

    How? Well, if you want to overthrow Assad, you’ve got to get some terrorists to go in there and overthrow him and say it’s for all these other reasons. And the CIA will help you. So there is that. And as far as 9/11 goes, she’s right now – she’s the only person of courage to stand with the victims of 9/11, the victims’ families – and call for the release of all the documents surrounding 9/11, including the ones about Saudi Arabia. In my sense, she’s consistent. She’s not schizophrenic as the United States foreign policy is, to say we’re friends with Saudi Arabia but we’re against ISIS. You know, we’re against Al Qaeda but we’re friends with Saudi Arabia. That’s like saying, ‘I’m for the Navy but I’m against the Marines

    Scott Horton: “I totally agree with that … On the three big chunks, she’s good on two-thirds. She doesn’t want to fight wars for Al Qaeda, and she doesn’t want to overthrow governments that could even benefit Al Qaeda, but she does want to fight Al Qaeda forever. And that’s still a hole big enough for Bush [or Obama or Trump] to drive another couple of regime-changes through. You know?”

    Jimmy Dore: “She also introduced a bill saying ‘stop funding terrorists now,’ which of course didn’t pass. And, of course, it got no press. Because, they would have to ask the question: Why do you have to bring up a bill like that? Well, because we’re funding terrorists. Which would blow people’s minds. Because, when I tell people, of course they have to silence someone like Tulsi Gabbard and smear her as a Russian asset. Because, if she gets any actual press coverage, the people will find out what their government is actually doing in places like Syria. And they would be just as upset as she is.

    Scott Horton: “Isn’t that great? The consensus in D.C. is that We’ve got to back Al Qaeda. She’s against it. They call her the traitor.”

    [continued on Part III below]

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  19. The “Debate” that Didn’t happen on stage – Part III

    [16:39] Jimmy Dore: “That’s exactly a hundred percent correct. She sits on the foreign Relations Committee. She sits on the Armed Services Committee. She is currently an active soldier serving in the military as a medic. And they still slime her. You know, when Trump was going after that “gold star family” during the election, people were clutching their pearls: ‘Oh, my god, he’s insulting a gold-star family,” but here they are, a live veteran, who actually is a woman of color serving as the first Hindu in Congress, and they can’t smear her enough as a “commie,” as a red-bait. It’s unbelievable. So it just goes to show you that the Democrats, that’s why this impeachment will fail, because what it is is a morality play. ‘We’re better people than Trump.’ And they’re not.”

    Scott Horton: “Right. Exactly. Now, here’s the thing. I should have recorded it, but I’ve got a bet with my boss at antiwar.com about all this stuff, that even though she’s being attacked now, as long as she hangs in there, a lot of these Cory Bookers are all going to flake out. And at the end of the day – she’s by no means going to be coronated by the Democratic party establishment – but if she plays it right, it could come down to her versus Warren at the end, or her versus Biden, or her versus the last Hillary or whoever is the last establishment candidate in the race. As long as she hangs in there and then in that context has a real chance to argue about this stuff. I think she could do really great. She has so many reasons to be a very strong candidate to the American people if not to the Democratic establishment, TV media and all that.”

    Jimmy Dore: “You know, Tulsi is a Vegan. Right there. That’s a much better person than I am.”

    Scott Horton: “That might be the margin of victory right there. Vegans. Get that out there. ”

    Jimmy Dore: “And I know this isn’t the focus of your work, but as far as her being a bona-fide Lefty, like on Medicare For All, she’s got a much clearer foreign policy stance. She doesn’t take any corporate money. To me, that’s an A+ candidate.”

    Scott Horton: “Hey, let me ask you a little bit about Bernie Sanders, because I think that even he understood, after 2016, that if only he had gone after [You-Know-Her] on foreign policy, he could have had the nomination and, obviously, would have had a lot easier time with Trump in the Fall. He’d be the president right now. And so, what is he doing to change anything? Is he really running on that stuff? ..

    Jimmy Dore: “He does speak clearly about Yemen”

    Scott Horton: “He’s been great in the Senate on Yemen but I’ve got to admit to you that I don’t know much about his campaign so far. Is he really running on that stuff?”

    Jimmy Dore: “That’s always been his weakness. He’s better than everyone else, but that’s because everyone else is horrible. I’m like you, I’m an anti-war guy, so I’m more attracted to Tulsi in that way, and I think her voice in the primary, I’m supporting her because I think her voice needs to be heard because she does speak so clearly on foreign policy. So, whether or not she will get the nomination, I think it is important for her to pull Bernie to the Left on that. So that, among other reasons, I think it’s important for Tulsi to be in the race, be on the debate stage, get neutral press coverage – which never happens – except for places like here.

    21:40] What Bernie’s problem in foreign policy, is that for whatever reason Bernie will repeat the CIA precepts for invasion and then say we shouldn’t invade. Like for instance, He’ll say that Maduro in Venezuela ‘is a brutal dicator’ and ‘the people are suffering’ and he’s ‘torture’ and all that stuff BUT we should leave it up to the people.’ Well, … all that stuff is garbage. That’s all CIA talking points because they need to set up a pretext of ‘Hey. It would be immoral of us not to help those people. ‘And so if you agree with the pretext that this guy’s a dictator, that the people are starving while he’s eating steak, that he’s oppressing them and jailing them and torturing them and then you DON’T do something, well then, YOU’RE immoral. So it makes the case much harder to oppose an interventionist war if you [first] repeat the CIA talking points, and that’s what Bernie does. So Bernie will accept the framing: ‘Oh, Assad is a dictator who gasses his own people’ So if you accept that and now don’t want to go help these people, then YOU’RE the bad guy. And so you lose the argument right away. And so that’s what he does. Tulsi doesn’t do that. So I’ve noticed that she doesn’t do that and says ‘Hey. We need to stay the hell out of Venezuela. … Our history of intervening in South America is horrible.’ So there. Done. You don’t have to get into that debate about is he a good guy or is he a bad guy. That doesn’t matter. The point is that every time we intervene, it makes everything worse. So she doesn’t want to be the policeman of the world, which we shouldn’t. The only reason we claim we’re the policeman of the world is because where we want to go to police has natural resources that we want to steal and give to an American corporation.”

    [The Scott Horton podcast goes on with Jimmy Dore, but I think this much will suffice for an intra-antiwar “debate” of the sort that should have happened and perhaps might in the future should the Tulsi Gabbard campaign wish to sponsor one.]

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    1. Two quick points: 1.) I’m sure Tulsi Gabbard is in the Army Reserves, NOT active-duty military. [Though, of course, in today’s world Reservists and even National Guard personnel are subject to being made active and deployed overseas. A far cry from the Vietnam years.]; 2.) the characterization here of the impeachment is absurd. This is not a matter of Dems posing as moral superiors to Trump (though a brick could meet that qualification!). In my opinion, impeachment is totally justified (and was sadly delayed in arriving at the starting gate!) but will fail for the utterly obvious reason that the trial has been “fixed” in advance by the GOP. Thursday we saw group perjury as the GOP Senators swore they would serve as impartial “jurors” in this affair. What an utter and complete fraud they committed!!

      Like

      1. I don’t want to get off the foreign policy topic here, Greg, but you and I disagree profoundly about this farcical excuse for an “impeachment” of President Donald Trump. It absolutely does amount to nothing more than the usual “Virtue Signalling” that the corporate Democrats have adopted as their pathetic imitation of the Republicans much-more-vicious and deeply-rooted “Culture War” strategy. You no doubt recall the time honored aphorism: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Well, that perfectly describes the corporate Democrats: “Republican flatterers.” How stupid to attack a right-wing Republican from even further to the “red-baiting” right — and then thoroughly and comically botching the job to boot. As the old-time humorist Will Rogers used to say: “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”

        The Democrats in the House can, of course, impeach an inebriated chicken for jaywalking across Times Square on New Year’s Eve if they wish. The Republicans’ failed vendetta impeachment of President Bill Clinton for getting a blow job already proved that. Why do we have to go through this nakedly partisan idiocy again? But the corporate Democrats, typically, think they can play dirty like the Republicans when they haven’t got anywhere near the cynical grasp of power politics required for the task. The Democratic House did a truly partisan and kangaroo-court “impeachment inquiry” — or “indictment” — and the Republican Senate and Republican Supreme Court Justice will do an equally partisan dismissal masquerading as a “trial.” All of it pure performance politics, with the various roles carefully scripted and choreographed for appearances while everyone already knows how this will pan out. No professional politician EVER wants any surprises in an election year. What a colossal joke.

        Put Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair in 2006 with the power to cut off all funding for illegal and insane wars — like a previous Democratic Congress did to finally end the War on Southeast Asia in 1975 — and what does she do? She immediately “takes impeachment off the table” and continues signing blank rubber checks for all the wars that Deputy Dubya Bush and Sheriff Dick Cheney could want. Put her back in the Speaker’s chair again in 2018 and she signs all the blank rubber checks for wars that Republican Donald Trump wants — and all U.S. wars now belong to Trump since he took over the job of U.S. President in January of 2017 — while ineffectually “impeaching” him for making a phone call that neither she or any of his accusers even heard first-hand. The corporate Democrats do not in the least disagree with President Trump’s policy of Imperial Military Piracy and draconian Surveillance-State violations of our Constitutional rights. They just want to get paid for putting up a phony show of “resistance.” Every time they try and flog this “Russia-gate/Ukraine-gate/Gate-gate” dead horse back to life it just stays dead and stinking on the ground.

        President Trump just had an military official of the Iranian government — one of the world’s great ISIS killers — murdered in Iraq and yet we hear nothing from the corporate Democrats in regard to impeaching him for that, a real crime demanding justice. So, I would advise wasting not one more second of precious brain-time thinking that this so-called corporate Democrat “impeachment” farce — pretty much yet another failed CIA coup attempt (this time domestic) — will amount to anything but higher poll approval numbers for President Donald J. Trump.

        Now, back to the thread topic of Democratic party “debates” that ought to include Representative Tulsi Gabbard — agree or disagree with her — but don’t. Meanwhile, the billionaire Michael Bloomberg (who three times purchased the New York City mayor’s job with his own money) has apparently bought himself 9% national poll-approval numbers without campaigning or participating in a single one of these cattle-call joint press conferences. Go figure. “Money doesn’t just talk. It swears.”

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        1. Mike–The accuracy of your criticism of the Corporate Dems aside, I maintain that impeachment is justified and would remove this POTUS from office if the case was tried before an impartial, objective court. Good luck finding that in today’s political environment here in the States, right? Nevertheless, ON PRINCIPLE, it is the correct action to take against Emperor Donald I.

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      2. Greg: Tulsi is in the Hawaii Army National Guard. She enlisted first and then became an officer, so all credit to her. She still deploys and does her National Guard hitches.

        With respect to impeachment, my wife put it well this AM: It’s a circus, plain and simple.

        Trump, of course, is unconstitutionally suited to be president in both senses of the word. He doesn’t know or care about the Constitution, and he’s a narcissist and probably a sociopath who has no sense of public service. You could impeach him on many, many things, but the Democrats chose one of the more marginal wrongs of Trump: Withholding aid (mostly military) from Ukraine while pressuring its leader for a statement that could be used against Joe Biden. Small potatoes, really, compared to starting an undeclared war with Iran, for example. But again it’s a circus where the Democrats’ goal is to taint Trump without removing him.

        Meanwhile, the Dems are handing Trump major victories on trade, with his “defense” budget, and so on, victories that favor Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Talk about a circus!

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        1. Bill A.–I have been critical all along of Pelosi’s foot-dragging, but again, an impartial court would surely convict Trump of extortion in the Ukraine affair. The man (and his acting Chief of Staff) stated before the whole world that yes, this is how they operate to seek dirt on the presumed opponent come November. There is a line between dirt-seeking as a mere candidate and doing it from the highest elected office in the land. Do you not realize that you are echoing Fox “News”/Trump talking points by claiming the whole motivation for impeachment is partisan politics?!?

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          1. Greg: I didn’t write that it’s all about partisan politics. As I wrote, Trump is impeachable on many offenses, e.g. profiting off his office. But Pelosi, as you say, waited for something clear and easy and related directly to the Democratic Party. In a word, partisan.

            The Dems know Trump won’t be removed by this trial in the Senate. Pelosi is checking a box. She can claim she’s trying to hold Trump to account without challenging the establishment in any meaningful way.

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          2. Correct, and as I myself have been saying all along, Trump will not be convicted in Senate trial. Precisely because of partisan politics on the GOP side. What do we have in this country when this most venal, corrupt, unqualified for the office POTUS cannot be held accountable? We have a severely broken “system,” that’s what.

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        2. WJA – good points about the impeachment primarily being a political circus and nominally about criminality. I would also add that this whole process sucks the ‘outrage oxygen’ out of the room for the partisan Dems who are ultimately going to be discouraged at the outcome, and independent/unaffiliated voters are mostly going to ignore it since it concerns something remote from their lives

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The Corporate Democrats – just doing the job that billionaire oligarchs rent them (and rather cheaply) to perform. From Democracy, Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2006), by the late Sheldon Wolin:

            “While the Republican Party is ever vigilant about the care and feeding of its zealots, the Democratic Party is equally concerned to discourage its democrats.”

            “The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts points to the crucial fact that, for the poor, minorities, the working class, anticorporatists, pro-environmentalists, and anti-imperialists, there is no opposition party working actively on their behalf. And this despite the fact that these elements are recognized as the loyal base of the party. By ignoring dissent and by assuming that the dissenters have no alternative, the party serves as an important, if ironical, stabilizing function and in effect marginalizes any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans” [emphasis added]

            Again, the Corporate Democratic (junior right wing) faction of the Single Corporate-Military War Party has only one purpose: to discourage, dismay, disillusion, and deflate any possible “populist” demands arising from the browbeaten “left” of America’s crypto-fascist/neo-feudal “empire.” Even should Bernie Sanders and/or Tulsi Gabbard gain the party’s nomination this year, both the right-wing Republican varsity and right-wing Democratic junior varsity will combine to see them lose, whatever that takes.

            Still, I’d like to see the political “left” in the United States put up some kind of fight. A thoroughly rotten and corrupt system needs a major overhaul — starting with abolishing the CIA and demobilizing (RIFFing) the bloated, stuffed-shirt Pentagon down to 50 state-militias and a Coast Guard — and I don’t see who else would even attempt it.

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          2. I’ve said this before, but politicians should be like NASCAR drivers, wearing patches on their suits identifying all of their corporate sponsors, the size of the patch based on the amount of money given and the servility displayed as a result.

            It would clear things up for those who think their representative represents them …

            Like

  20. In case missed….. this is a must read and every presidential candidate and politician should read it and every citizen should demand, how they are going to solve the problem…..

    Like

  21. No surprise here, “New York Times endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.”
    It praised Warren as “a gifted story teller”. Klobuchar was described as “the very definition” of midwestern charisma and grit.

    >> Side Bar, A gifted story teller, oh let me explain again about my Native American Heritage, as President Agent Orange ridicules Warren as Pocahontas on Twitter. Midwestern charisma?? This translates into “Boring”.

    “Ms Klobuchar speaks about issues like climate change, the narrowing middle class, gun safety and trade with an empathy that connects to voters’ lived experiences, especially in the middle of the country,” it said.

    The paper mentioned senator Bernie Sanders’ age, 78, “serious concerns” about his health, and his unwillingness to compromise.

    In previous election years it has often chosen a candidate popular with the party establishment. It endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2016 and over a charismatic but unproven newcomer, Barack Obama, in 2008.

    In 2004 the Times endorsed John Kerry and in 2000 chose Al Gore. Each time it chose a candidate who was popular with the Democratic establishment and, except for 2008, the eventual nominee.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/20/new-york-times-endorses-elizabeth-warren-and-amy-klobuchar
    ===============
    I suppose in 2008, the Times selected Clinton because she had defined unimpeachable credentials as a Corporate Creature. Obama, he had that worrying “Hope and Change” slogan. Eventually, it became clear, “Hope and Change” was a hollow marketing jingle.

    Anyway if you are betting person, given The Time’s track record, you would be well advised not to put your money on Warren or Klobuchar to win in 2020.

    Like

    1. I am a digital Times subscriber but didn’t take time to read their endorsement. Seems to be some confusion in other media: are they endorsing both of them as a Pres./VP ticket, or saying either would be fine and dandy by them?? Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reports that there are now ELEVEN people gunning for her seat in House of Reps!! ELEVEN! I bet most are being put up by the Dem. Establishment!

      Like

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