The Gray Lady now seems to be against press freedom, writes James Howard Kunstler.
By James Howard Kunstler
And so now Julian Assange of Wikileaks has been dragged out of his “sanctuary” in the London embassy of Ecuador for failing to clean his cat’s litter box. Have you ever cleaned a litter box? The way we always did it was to spread some newspaper — say, The New York Times — on the floor, transfer the used cat litter onto it, wrap it into a compact package, and put it in the trash.
It was interesting to scan the comments section of the Times’s stories about the Assange arrest: Times readers almost uniformly presented themselves as a lynch mob out for Assange’s blood. So much for the spirit of liberalism and the old “Gray Lady” who published The Pentagon Papers purloined by Daniel Ellsberg lo so many years ago. Reading between the lines in that once-venerable newspaper — by which I mean gleaning their slant on the news — one surmises that the Times has actually come out against freedom of the press, a curious attitude, but consistent with the neo-Jacobin zeitgeist in “blue” America these days.
Anyway, how could anyone expect Assange to clean his cat’s litter box when he was unable to go outside his sanctuary to buy a fresh bag of litter, and was denied newspapers this past year, as well as any other contact with the outside world?
U.S. government prosecutors had better tread lightly in bringing Assange to the sort of justice demanded by readers of The New York Times — which is to say: lock him up in some SuperMax solitary hellhole and throw away the key. The show trial of Julian Assange on U.S. soil, when it comes to pass, may end up being the straw that stirs America’s Mickey Finn as a legitimate republic.
Symptom of Mass Confusion
The bloodthirsty hysteria among New York Times readers is a symptom of the mass confusion sown by agencies of the U.S. government itself when its own agents ventured to meddle in the national election of 2016 and then blame it on “the Russians.” As you will learn in the months ahead, it was the Times itself, and other corporate news organizations, who colluded with officers of the FBI, the Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Obama White House to concoct a phony narrative about Trump being in cahoots with Vladimir Putin, thus depriving Hillary Clinton of her “turn” in the White House; and then to join those agencies, and the grotesquely dishonest two-year investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a cover-your-ass operation to hide their nefarious and criminal acts.
The USA has a lot of sorting to do and, of course, the new Democratic-led Congress is already trying as hard as possible to prevent that from happening, the latest being their piling on Attorney General William Barr for testifying under oath that he believed the government ran a spying operation on candidate Donald Trump. The existence of FISA warrants establishes that as a fact, as does the million-dollar payment by the CIA and U.S. Defense Department to international man of mystery Stefan Halper, the secret agent (posing as an Oxford professor) commissioned to entrap Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The ugly cascade of truth about that ploy, and many other seditious subterfuges run by U.S. officials, will eventually bury the Jacobin “resistance” under more used cat litter than the Ecuadorian embassy staff could ever dream of.
The official charges so far against Julian Assange include skipping bail in the U.K. and supposedly attempting to assist the U.S. soldier then known as Bradley Manning to find a password for entering certain U.S. government computer data bases. The U.K. bail matter revolved around Assange’s extradition to Sweden on a bullshit rape charge that was subsequently dropped as having no merit by Swedish authorities.
The U.S. supposedly reserves the authority to lob additional charges at Assange, though they may face a lengthy extradition battle with his attorneys to lever him out of the U.K. and into U.S. custody. In the meantime, Assange may receive a Nobel Prize as a symbol of a lone conscience standing up against the despotic deceits of the world’s Deep States. Wouldn’t that gum up the works nicely? I’d like to see The New York Times’s front page headline on that story: “Russian Colluder Wins Nobel Prize, Put on Trial in Federal Court.” By then, the United States of America will be so completely gaslighted that it will pulsate in the darkness like a death star about to explode.
James Howard Kunstler is author of “The Geography of Nowhere,” which he says he wrote “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” He has written several other works of nonfiction and fiction. Read more about him here. This article first appeared on his blog, ClusterfuckNation.
Americans -all across the political spectrum-are tired of endless wars. The events of 9-11 would not have been possible without an incompetent and ineffective immigration system. Yes, it’s really THAT simple. We are disgusted with the secrecy and power of our military, federal law enforcement, and intelligence agencies. Our establishment politicians have sold us down the river for the benefit of international corporations who pad their bank accounts and donate to their foundations. We are ruled by an ogligarchy and yet, the unprecedented election of Donald Trump assures us that all is not yet lost. Donald Trump continues to be an existential threat to ALL of the above-the proverbial status quo.
Having said all this, the purpose of a free press is to check the power of our government by forcing accountability through exposure. Assange has fulfilled that constitutional role more than any U.S. media outlet in the past 20-30 years. I wish he could be brought here and given asylum. If we cannot return to our constitutional foundations, the United States will cease to exist. Many commenters here have expressed a fear that most Americans follow the whims of the Maher’s, Colbert’s, and the NYT. Their ratings prove otherwise. Never forget that those same propagandists insisted that Hillary Clinton had a sizable lead over Trump in 2016. Their polls are skewed and often flawed by design. You don’t hear our voices because our comments are deleted, our tweets are shadowbanned, our blogs and posts are purposefully placed at the very end of most web searches. Make no mistake about it—a great many of us are listening, reading, learning, and evolving. The truth has the power to change minds and Americans are changing. Julian Assange, Wikileaks, sites like this one, and an unregulated internet are waking us from decades of slumber. Real change is gradual but it is still possible.
I hope M16 takes better care of Assange’s cat than they did with the Skripal’s cat and guinea pigs.
My question…..Why has NO ONE had the courage to call out the Clintons and to identify this whole affair that far surpasses the Tammany Hall Fiasco of the Gilded age of the Carnegies, Astors, etc…..as nothing more that a CORRUPTION OF MONEYED ELITES!
I wouldn’t take the Comments section at the NYT or The Post too seriously. One might be tempted to think that the Comments section is populated by NYT readers and subscribers and represents an honest slice of the readership. That may not be a safe assumption. One should consider the possibility that people are getting paid to flood the Comments sections at NYT and The Post to grant the illusion that the public sees things one way or another. In my experience, this seems to be what is going on with respect to foreign policy in particular.
I’ve been a subscriber for 6yrs now. During the election there was an obvious bias toward Hillary . Either deliberately or out
of ignorance the comments about Bernie
just tightly held on to a neocon ideal of TRUTH. As Chris Hedges says we are like mice and squeak we must. I continued to post realizing I was treading on thin ice but
pleasantly surprised when others replied
positively. It’s good to get out of one’s comfort zone once in a while.Its also important to understand how lies are spun.
As an artist I’m interested in observing the whole show .As much of a nightmare it continues to be. Anyone here remember Judith Miller
Thanks for including writings from JHK on CN. His directness and thumb-his-nose-at-authority type humor is a welcome break from the slog through the ongoing shitstorm.
It may already have been mentioned but worth noting again the context that Jonathon Cook’s article offers. (Can be found at Counterpunch or Common Dreams)
Others, no doubt, already have noticed that in the same week that Assange is taken into custody, U.S. warmongers crow because their war crimes in Afghanistan are reprieved by the International Criminal Court. Geezues Peezues
So to try to lift my spirits I cobbled a riff on a good ol’ song:
“Everything Is Fakin’” (with respect for Zimmy)
Fakin’ story, fakin’ news
Fakin’ spooks jackin’ up their ruse
Fakin’ lawyers, fake investigation
Hang on to your mind ‘cause
Everything is fakin’
Fakin’ TV, fakin’ papers
Fakin’ tweeters pretending to be saviors
Fake at the bottom, fake from the top
Only thing that’s real is this fakin’ never stops
Fake indictments, fakin’ crimes
Fake arguments wastin’ your time
Fakin’ outrage, fake belief
Fake politicians lyin’ through their teeth
Fake elections, fake presidents
Who’s keepin’ track of where the money’s spent
Fakin’ shills, fakin’ spies
Double down on fakery to cover up the lies
Fake religion, fake education
Fake corporations sellin’ out the nation
Fake invasions, fake enemies
Fakery trumped up to bring you to your knees
Big fake country, with big fake dreams
Only number one in military schemes
Millions of people, their lives all broken
Can’t find out what’s shakin’
‘Cause Everything is Fakin’
Paul, I quite agree.
Yet, until the military madness of the US is brought to a halt, the US Military will continue to be the largest user of fossil fuels, leaving the largest carbon footprint on the planet and creating other ecological crises locally including but not limited to the use of depleted uranium on the battlefield and pollution issues of several sorts where ever the almost 1000 bases, worldwide may be located.
However, as you likely know very well, the young are properly concerned about the future of a planet they have every reason to expect to inhabit long after I shuffle off, so I applaud, support, and encourage their efforts considering that it is their world already and I am but a guest and part of a generation that has not behaved well at all toward the subtle and complex web of life upon which we are depend for our very existence.
Please count me as fully aligned with all that you say.
I have been saying the same things, for very many years and have been striving for decades to reduce my level of consumption and “want” to need and necessity.
I greatly appreciate your response to my comment and fully hope that I might regard us as being on very much the same page of conscience and concern.
The above comment is in response to Paul Merrell’s response to a comment of mine far down in the thread.
It is way past time that those of us who are academics should rescind the status of large commercial news agencies as “good sources” or papers “of record.” The old model of sourcing authority has broken beyond repair.
Once upon a time, what schools still teach was moderately and modestly true. They taught that news outlets were dependent on viewers and a readership, and that therefore these large corporations had a large vested interest in providing some modicum of respect for the truth and for a philosophically naive but not altogether useless version of journalistic “objectivity.” News outlets quavered, but eventually had to publish The Pentagon Papers and news of the Watergate break-in because it was not viable commercially to get scooped.
Over the 1990s and the early 200s, however, truth and authority failed as a business model. The US government awarded embedded status to CNN in the so-called “First” Gulf War, thereby trading its opportunity for investigative reporting and honesty for exclusive camera footage. This sold soap, so CNN could sell the attention of an audience to advertisers by providing dramatic footage rather than news.
In the years shortly after 2000, PHP and later Python-driven interactive Web sites, the early ones called blogs, created a richer viewpoint–and, in the best cases, a far more reliable one. For a few years, corporate news complained loud and long about its financial woes, and how it was having to cut back on investigative reporting.
And then it stopped.
It had simply and fairly openly welcomed its corporate and government and military sources into its doors to provide large parts of its content, unannounced and unfiltered. It has been regularly scooped on almost every matter of importance ever since, regularly incorrect as well as pigheaded over every issue of significance.
Apparently a broken newspaper is not right even twice a day.
I do not mean to imply that the academic world is itself in much condition to mount a credible response, but those of us who are aware of this ought to begin the turn. Events like the appearance of universal surveillance and the arrest of Julian Assange strongly suggest that there is very little time for a large population to alter basic assumptions that it mostly does not know that it makes.
We ought to be teaching that these large corporate outlets are not authorities and do not provide information, but are voiceboxes for government and for money. We ought to teach that objectivity does not come from superficially effacing the journalist in an article, in favor of loaded words and phrases, but is a matter difficult to achieve in even a broad sense. We ought to demand that the writers of news –and, thereby, of opinions–reveal who or what they are—-not in that one may not post here or elsewhere anonymously, insofar as that is possible, but in that one does not trust a source to believe as authority without knowing who authorizes or authorizes the piece and the data.
And we sure ought to teach that one compares one source to another and another and another.
“…supposedly attempting to assist the U.S. soldier then known as Bradley Manning to find a password for entering certain U.S. government computer data bases.”
Note that Manning, as a US military intelligence analyst, had high level security clearance and needed zero assistance from Assange anyone else for “entering certain U.S. government computer data bases” already fully accessed via his government issued laptop. This is an inadequate characterization of the facts of the matter. Otherwise, good piece.
It may seem odd that the “New York Times” and other players in the MSM have little sympathy for fellow journalist Julian Assange, but the reason is quite clear. The Times, especially, and the “Washington Post” are the favored conduits for “approved” leaks from government sources. Other news outlets follow the lead of the these main conduits in disseminating the “official” narrative, all of which serves to keep them in the good graces of the propaganda creators. Wikilieaks, OTOH, is the conduit for “unapproved” leaks which often expose the lies being fed to the MSM. This is not good for business, so Wikileaks must be destroyed, even if freedom of the press is destroyed along with it. The large media corporations, having already sold out, will continue to serve their masters and enlarge their own bottom lines.
Screw the vile stenographers of the MSM, the judas pen pushers and other lowlife described as ‘journalists’ who can barely hide their delight at the arrest of Julian Assange, and even now sticking the knife into Julian’s back. They have no shame. Screw the Identity Politics addled faux left who abandoned Assange and turned their backs on him years ago, all swallowing the lies put out by the stenographers. Screw the gutless sniveling politicians in Australia who will do nothing to help Assange. Nothing. And that includes Labor and its ‘best friends with the U.S Embassy’ leader, Shorten. And there will be many amongst ‘polite society’ who will view this as a victory for ‘justice’. What a sad surreal World this is.
Well, you think of Garibaldi, mazzini, Marx, there was a time when the opponents of tyranny were made welcome in the UK. Now, the British are just catamites for the orange baboon.
It is extremely difficult to find humour in anything right now. James Howard Kunstler’s piece here is mighty good, though. I appreciate that.
Bill Maher speaks for a lot of the pseudo left whom he represents;
“Maher said, “[W]e used to like him. You know, he used to really be doing a good — a service, and then something happened. I guess his hatred for Hillary Clinton, maybe, is what turned him basically into someone who was a Russian aide, really, and somebody who helped Trump get elected.”
It’s this kind of mindset which many Americans are falling for. Whether it’s Joy Behar of the View or a late night talk show host we Americans are overwhelmed by the constant propaganda machine spreading it’s deceptive lies.
My gosh, what a shallow “thinker” is this fraud called Bill Maher. As if all of Assange’s motives and actions were suddenly revised and reinterpreted in the context of the 2016 presidential election. How stupid does Maher think the public is? Obviously, at least as confused as he himself is. Clearly that is not the way it works for you or me, Joe. We are not about to abandon our moral principles and embrace warmongering and public deception to cover the sorry ass of an embarrassing political candidate. For you and me, it’s the party that has to go if morality is abandoned by its front men or women, not morality that is compromised to protect such slithering deceivers. Maher has clearly come to terms with the Devil as he hopes to maintain his status among Hollywood’s Democratic Gliterati. Sorry, Bill, I will always feel much cleaner playing by the old rules of honorable men. (I will also lose faith in this forum if I am moderated for a fifth straight time since returning from my recovering paralysis. Just what is that all about?) And there it is… I am clearly on someone’s shit list.
Maher ignores what Assange leaked about Hillary screwing over Bernie as he sets his sights on Putin…that’s the real crime in all of this and to think these warmongers want to engage in a catastrophic duel with Russia over all of this lying. The battle is over winning the narrative. Thanks be to the gods of truth that we have Consortium and websites like it to give balance to our over propagandized nation.
Realist I’m sorry I got carried away and forgot to wish you well with your paralysis. I also hear ya on the moderation… I’ve been trying to work with it. It’s a good thing Joe Lauria brings a lot of good writer talent to this site or I would quit if it merely depended on the moderation quality of this comment board…. again I wish you well my friend. Joe
Joe and Realist-
I have been plagued by continuous “moderation” for over two weeks now. Every single post. I thought it was just me because I criticized the “moderator” in one post a while back. Now I’m thinking it’s either systemic, or someone has hacked the comment section of CN.
It’ll be interesting to see if this gets posted at all.
Skip I have come to the conclusion that this sites moderation of the comment board is to be blamed on the software. I seriously doubt that Joe Lauria would censor us so heavily. I had problems adjusting to this but I recall when Robert Parry ran this site moderation could flare up at any moment as well. What I’m more concerned with and happy to see is Joe Lauria has introduced us all too some really great writers and reporters. So if my unhappiness with this sites moderation is to be somehow satisfied with fantastic authors then so be it. Hearing the truth with solid facts is more important than me giving my two cents worth in regard to our issues of the day. Hang in there Skip, Realist, and the rest of you. Joe
I noticed a distinct change in the comment section as of mid-October of last year. If you recall, there was one article by John Kiriakou that was assaulted by a troll that resulted in the comments being shut down early for that article. Joe Lauria wrote a brief note explaining it. After that I began to notice that comments would disappear and reappear later, and also a sudden increase and randomness in the whole “moderation” aspect. The “test” message work-around wasn’t needed before then. I remember before that time, and especially in Bob Parry’s day, articles would occasionally have over 400 comments with very lively debate. Many commenters became disgusted and left the site because of the wacky behavior of the comment section, and I especially miss Kiza and Backwardsevolution.
I am still hopeful that someday this problem will be addressed. But for now, I’m certain I am about to be “moderated” yet again.
Yeah, Maher is a feckin disgrace, another decadent ex-hippie masquerading as a progressive. Ach, these Hollywood millionaires.
Maher is as bad as what he reels against. In fact Maher with his pseudo liberalism is a big head fake to the establishment who loves how Bill Maher does his impersonation of an American leftist. Here again we can thank the Clintons for how they ruined the Democratic electorate with their identity politics and how they sneakily stool every chance the Democrat party had to separate from the center right with their redefining true liberalism.
It is a real shame that Bill Maher has an audience, and that so many people think just as he does. I personally find his arrogance nauseating. He reeks of privilege.
I hear ya Skip… I too moan over some of the things Maher pops off about. I agree with you that Bill Maher influences a lot of people. Serves these pseudo liberal genius’s well as they settle for the MSM and the likes of tv show comedians. Now tell me something funny.
70 YO women should not sausage stuff themselves into leather jackets! Apparently HRC does not own a mirror.
I can’t believe, in all of this, that a jacket is what warrants criticism. The weight comment balances it so well. I’m rolling my eyes as I type this.
Honey, it broke years ago, when she looked into it and said Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s going to beat Obama? She couldn’t take the answer and so she punched it and has been growing steadily in the image of Jaba the Hut ever since.
Seems world public opinion resists the perverted notion being perpetrated by the powerful that Assange is criminal and Wikileaks is somehow a “hostile intelligence service”. Only Americans, by majority, appear to be of a different sort of mind.
I thought “America” was supposed to be exceptional essentially because of such basics to self-government as the free flow of ideas and information, the freedom of speech and of the press. How cruelly ironic these poll results are to those of us Americans on the right side of such basic civil, legal, and moral issues that the Assange saga has raised.
Eric Zuesse explores at least the potential (however dim one might think it is at the moment) for a “better outcome” than many of us fear. I guess it will be up to us Americans who still stand for decency and justice to voice up.
Sorry, no sympathy for assange.
EMPATHY is the word, and there is a lot with Assange. There will be neither empathy nor sympathy for you when you inevitably end up in the same position.
Richard: Assange committed the unpardonable crime of exposing war crimes of the indispensable and exceptional nation. Hard to have sent sympathy for him.
The Assange case is not about you and your personal feelings towards a particular man. It is about saving the fundamental right to a free press. Please understand the difference, and get over yourself. Hell, I hated Hillary Clinton, but I voted for her in the general election.
The varied and many establishment shills are of course jumping on the bandwagon, each contributing their own bit of farce to the surreal proceedings that continue to unfold. If you can stomach it, below is Trevor Noah the host of The Daily Show mining the arrest of Assange for what he apparently sees as it’s “comedic value.” Were my gag reflex not so fragile after watching this I might be tempted to do a web search to see what similar levity Colbert, Oliver and Maher managed to wring out of these latest amoral crimes of Western empire, being the ever obedient “progressive” servants of power that they are.
Gary Weglarz: the lowest of the low are crawling out of the woodwork, regurgitating the establishment narrative on Assange. Been on quite a few sites in last couple of days, and the amount of people actually applauding Assange’s arrest, and ‘looking forward to him being extradited to the United States’ and various allusions to Putin, and rape, and ‘putting our soldiers at risk’ while None of these cretins even mention the vast war crimes and slaughter committed by the Empire. All those people dying in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc never happened. Its about Assange facing ‘justice’. Jesus wept.
I like the “death star” metaphor, and the idea that the NYT is good for kitty litter, not so much reading.
By the end of Il Duce’s first year( his bombastic style reminds me of Mussolini, though the latter was smarter) I started to realize what decent and aware Germans felt like in 1933.
The Times has shown what a precipitous fall, it has taken since the days of the Pentagon Papers. After all Wikileaks is a investigative journalist’s wet dream. Its like having an independent investigative agency a click away.
Their concern for the cat trivializes the issue-I have a cat; but, as I recall, Julian gave the meower to a good home quite awhile ago.
If Assange does end up in Alexandria, I hope the trial backfires on the US further reinforcing the precedent of the Pentagon Papers.
No doubt all social media commentary by potential jurors will be teased out with the finest tooth comb. They will be given thorough FBI background checks and only the most extreme of “correct thinking” individuals will be retained in voir dire. Don’t think you’ll be allowed to save the day against injustice and tyranny if you post on this website. Even OJ’s dream team of lawyers (and I suspect Dershowitz would love to make this his last hurrah) would make no headway against Uncle Sam’s prosecution… or his judiciary! The war mongers from both the left and the right are out to crucify this truth-telling journalist for exposing our last several presidents as mostly simpatico with the genocidal mass murderers of history. What else to call it when our armed forces have slaughtered upwards of twenty million foreigners, none a military match with or a threat to the United States, since World War Two?
There is no New York Times, it is Pravda on the Hudson, along with its sister Izvestia on the Potomac.
The sheer volume and level of vitriol in the comments seems orchestrated. On every social media site for Assange, his supporters are under attack. Are so many people brain dead? I don’t think so. The Ministry of Truth has been u to no good.
Yes, a vast number of ordinary Americans are brain dead. Sadistic, too. That’s why they (we) are so cool with constant warfare, collateral murders by the millions, etc. Killing redskins, gooks, fag heads, etc, makes us feel good.
Then there’s partisan insanity, too.
Zhu, Americans have been fed slop, wallow in slop, are exposed to slop 24/7 on TV, the cinema and in all the MSM media that it would be. miracle if they had not turned into swine (and what is described as the” liberal” media is hand in glove with the murderous Hollywood-military-industrial complex. The truth- almost impossible to believe- is that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were both fully acceptable alternatives to the Deep State puppeteers who want to keep us perpetually at war: Clinton was a slam dunk for continuing a disastrous militaristic Middle East policy, and Trump is jerked from pillar to post by his handlers, for all his bravado.
It is going to take the modern day version of Lysistrata to light a fire under the women of America (the men are cowards) to redirect resources to domestic priorities where a billion dollars is better spent on crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure, than a single B-2 bomber.
And then a little boy cried: “The emperor has no cloth on.”
And the people saw it was true.
Sadly just a fairy tale, but let’s make it come true.
Large numbers of comments in the NYT were clearly just supporters of Hillary venting their frustration. The complete detachment from all principle suggests that we were right to defeat Her. This is what her supporters do, and it is wrong.
Trump is wrong too, but defeating Her was still a necessary thing. That there was no other choice is on the Republican-Lite of the so-called Democrats who put us in that bind.
I agree. While by any objective measure Trump has been a failure, he has at least been a good and useful failure! We (who have eyes to see) have a learned a lot about who/what really runs this country over the past few years. And while there has sadly been no turn away from neoconservatism on the foreign policy front, at least Trump puts the *worst* possible face on it. And yes, I still shudder to think what madness Hellary was planning for us all …
I used to live in Germany. After I came to the US early 90s, I have hard people ask how could Germans allow Hitler and Nazis to commit such horrendous war crimes. My response has always been that there was nothing special German about it. Rather, any human society, under similar conditions, would probably behave in a similar way. The typical response to my answer was usually shock. As time has passed, my conviction in my response has only grown.
There is another question, the reaction to whose answer was very similar. People used to wonder how people could live under Stasi spying (in the former East Germany). Here too, my response used to be that what our three letter “intelligence” agency are doing would have been wet dream for Stasi.
It gives me no pleasure to feel confirmed in the correctness of my assessment in both cases. So, here is another assessment, which may be shocking for some: every country/society gets the government it deserves.
We are brainwashed with “America Exceptionalism” early in life and most never recover.
Like your analysis. Aside from massive brainwashing from corporate media and the Federal Government, Americans are in a state of massive denial. To understand fully what is going on politically would require an awareness of how obscenely rotten and decayed to the core our political and economic system has become.
If you go back in history though, Zinn A People’s History, it has always been pretty bad. Now however we are returning the gross corruption level of the gilded age. In those days news sources were limited and more controlled; now with so many alternatives, CN, Common Dreams, Truthdig et. al, there is no excuse. Just an avoidance of uncomfortable thoughts, while wildly waving the flag.
I live in Germany. Having learned all about the glorious Americans who have been liberating us and later taught us democracy and how an election should be carried out and installed investigative magazines like DER SPIEGEl, all that made me fall in love with the United States. I was always yearning to live in US and be part of that great land of the free. It makes me sad to see what has become of that seemingly ideal place and what the politicians are capable of. I am not surprised though because i have studied the work of C.G. Jung who wrote about this phenomen that everything, light and dark is planted as a possibility in our soul but we are to make the choice.
You are right there is nothing special German about it. It can happen in the US, in Britain and in Ecuador.
When Julien Assange was dragged out of the embassy i thought it is happening again and and it will happen again unless we resist. Assange is a hero and we must not give up but resist and try ro help him as good as we can.
When I was young, I used to wonder how it was that the people of Germany could embrace a fascist regime, could tolerate torture, murder, and vicious wars of aggression.
I no longer wonder.
When I see “liberals” and “progressives” believe that “Russia did it”, cheating poor Hillary Clinton out of “her turn”, when I see those same “folks” cheering on the persecution of Assange and saying nothing when the odious secret Grand Jury process imprisons Chelsea Manning for acting on genuine principle, as has Assange, while pretending that US, which has NO principled foundations, nor a genuine rule of law, even as many of those liberals and progressives are well-educated (such as that is now imagined to be) and part of the “meritorious” compradorial 9% who “service” the 1 and .01%, I no longer wonder.
That Germany was saddled with impossible “reparations” after WW I, may slightly mitigate the German public’s willingness to embrace a nasty bunch who promised to make Germany great (again).
However, the comfortable classes in the US, which has also been much complicit in selling wars, neoliberalism, and wholesale environmental and societal destruction have not even that dubious excuse.
The cheerleaders of the killing machine, of profit over people and the environment, have suffered no deprivation and their
depravity, for that is what it is, having no outside cause, to accept empire, not of colonies, but of military coercion and financial domination over weaker nations, those supposedly “helped” after WW II, while pretending that no such empire even exists, to not even care about the tens of millions the US has, directly or through proxies, killed since the end of the “Good War”, the one USisns (most “Americans” do not live in the US) like to say that they “won”, completely ignoring the fact (a too common practice) that it was the Russians who defeated Hitler and that the Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were to “warn off Russia” (quite a pathological fixation) and were not a necessity, military or otherwise, as any serious study of that period, as well as honest familiarity with both the expressed opinions of those, even IN the US Military, makes very clear.
Again, it is not just the corporate military shills, someone has termed them “presstitutes”, but learned academics and the educational system itself, that has been drafted into the damnedable process (or project) of dumbing down the US people, of undermining critical thought, not least by shunning and shaming its example, but also by encouraging an anti-intellectual sensibility while making certain that no intellectual heritage of any significance would be permitted to take root in this nation over the last seventyfive years.
Lest any imagine that I am implying that Trump is the cause, nothing could be further from the truth.
Trump is but a symptom, thenligucsl outgrowth of a long-developing police state mentality coupled to a military/corporate/academic axis of disdain and pathology creating a decidedly uncivil society in which only money and power really matter.
How short a time ago it was that the liberals, progressives, conservatives, and lidertarians were all saying, “Greed is Good”.
Even religion climbed on board the money train (long ago, actually) with the rise of the “Jesus wants you to be rich” mega-churches.
When drones first started to be used in a big way by Obama, I suggested that they were the moral equivalent of V-2 rockets, in terms of being instruments of terror and symbols of careless destruction.
The local Democratic enforcer on that “Progressive” blog told me, “They are much better than boots on the ground”.
When I asked how he arrived at such a conclusion, he replied that far fewer US personnel would die.
When I asked about the moral issue of going to another country and killing people, people who posed no real or imminent threat to us, he suggested that I was being naive. He saved “effin’ retard” for someone else who asked questions that he felt stupid or insuffciently respectful of the Democratic leadership. Now, of course, the “effin’ retard” was straight from Rahm Emmanuel.
He gave Barack Obama the phrase, “We will not criminalize policy differences”.
That ignored if not exhoneratef torture.
Remember that we were admonished by Barack Obama to “look forward not back”.
That excused the lies used to launch the war in Iraq.
Perhaps these things and thousands much like them, say the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” used to start the war against Vietnam (which, for some reason the Vietnamese call the United States War) which was, you will recall, not a “war” at all, but a “police action”.
Think of all the political careers launched and enhanced by the War on Drugs.
Sure, it resulted in a few folks going to jail for pot.
But who cares?
It demonstrated that a large segment of the population could be stigmatized, arrested, imprisoned, and effectively scapegoated for fun and profit.
Do you imagine that the “war” on drugs might have played a role in militarizing the police?
That “war” was a war on people, a war on human beings and a war on reason,
If “addiction” is a problem, is incarceration a real solution?
Would it not be more honest and humane to see addiction as a health issue and best dealt with by compassion and conscience?
You get the picture.
It took quite a bit of time, lots of greed, and massive anountd of official corruption and “regulatory capture” to get to this place.
It didn’t start with Trump.
Might it end with Trump?
Are Assange and Manning just sacrificial beings, or is their fate intertwined with ours?
What do you think?
And the “true-believing” Hillary “progressives” scoff at your demands for this country’s former principles–petty details like truth, justice, rule of law and so forth–and mindlessly scream the equivalent of “Give us Barabbas.” Even Colbert or Maddow, practitioners extraordinaire of double think, couldn’t explain it to you, if you haven’t caught the disease.
Don’t conflate ‘Democrat’ and ‘progressive’ …
Dems are a team. Progressives are a faction.
Dems are a corporate entity. Progressives are a philosophy.
Labels have long lost any meaning to me. Anyone can claim to be anything. Besides, we live in Orwelllian world anyway. Show me your actions. I care for nothing else.
As far as I know only Tulsi has expressed a (mild) protest against Assange’s treatment. All other liberals/progressives/Democrats/liberturds are rejoicing
Mike Gravel (pentagon papers reader) has also criticized the treatment of Assange. Donate $1 to his campaign if you would like more straight shooting on the debate stage
>What do you think?<
What do I think?
I think it's a bizarre perverse culture, generating rat like highly placed murderous “office sociopaths” creating Iraqs, Libyas, Syrias overseas, and at home producing fundamentally disturbed people who can't even mentally identify with their biological gender.
That's what I think. Thank you for asking.
What is happening in the US is related to what happened in Germany, but there is a difference. We have long had a love-affair with the grisly corpse of profit system economics that has arisen from the worst thing in all of us and made for so much evil and corrupted every American institution. In the meantime, we are the most diverse people on the planet which acts as a brake on our worst impulses something that Germans mostly did not have. We also have a long history of democratic values that still inspire many Americans and does oppose our monarchic, imperialistic and ego-driven desires.
I believed our increased drive to domestic oppression and world domination are a frightened evil reaction to the increased power of unions, progressives in and out of our government, other countries’ independence and economic growth, that was reaching new heights by the 1970s. It was then that the forces of established power began to fight back in what it rightly felt was a death threat to its existence. Since then it has been a quietly pitched battle that has broken through mainstream media censorship and propaganda out into the open, including with statements being made that were never before, such as why there should ever be billionaires and so on. And even though the rich parasites that still run this country are fighting back tooth and nail, they are losing. The only question is not if, but when, and how much suffering will there have to be before they are defeated.
No problem with the cat lately, Assange had handed over the cat to be under the care of his relatives, this was reported a few months ago.
Today BBC reported that several British MP’s are requesting that Assange should be extradited to Sweden, due to the alleged old rape case.
“Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation into Assange in 2017 because they were unable to formally notify him of allegations while he stayed in the embassy.
Two other charges of molestation and unlawful coercion had to be dropped in 2015 because time had run out.”
Nonsense. Fake news. The truth is, Assange was interviewed at the embassy during two days by both Swedish and Ecuadorian prosecutors in December 2016, after years of preparation. The case was handled by the Ecuadorian prosecutor, as Assange resided in their territory. They handed their protocol to the Swedes a few weeks later, and the Swedes needed 4 months to translate the text from Spanish to Swedish. At the same time, there were presidential elections in Ecuador, and Moreno, who was considered to be a more favourable candidate for Assange, won the election.
Only soon after this, the Swedes dropped the case, never explaining what the Ecuadorian prosecutor’s opinion had been. Maybe his conclusion was that Assange was innocent? Or maybe the document did not contain a judgement at all? We don’t know.
My humble opinion is that the British are scared to death for needing to decide whether Assange should be handed over to US, and hope that Sweden will relieve them of this burden. But shouldn’t a British court first handle the skipping of the bail, which is the reason he was arrested? If the expected sentence for this is about one year in prison, then the Swedish rape accusation will have expired.
I am so sad, depressed and sickened, on the verge of tears over Assange’s defilement.
I have always been conscious of the steady slaughter, and sometimes huge slaughter, of beings for corporate/banker profit, going back hundreds of years.
But somehow this single, brilliant, courageous man’s life and exceedingly important accomplishments being so throughly and widely trampled injures me to my very core.
As I recall after his lecture and sexual encounters in Sweden he was interviewed concerning Sexual Assault ( which was specifically not using a condom during consensual sex) not Rape.
Immediately thereafter he was totally cleared by the Swedish prosecutor and freely traveled to England.
But then a Karl Rove assisted prime minister was installed in Sweden and a different more
malleable prosecutor again requested an interview.
Assange readily agreed to an interview in England but refused travel to Sweden because of possible USA extradition on Espionage charges.
After years of delay the Swedes did their English soil interview ( technically Ecuadorian).
Thereafter any possibility of pressing charges expired.
Assange was never accused of Rape and he was never charged with anything by Sweden.
And actually cleared of any possibility of charges not once but twice.
Britain is a very submissive vassal kingdom.
Sweden dropped the ‘rape’ charges as they were nonsensical. Then US intelligence put pressure on Swedish Intelligence to push to reopen the charges as leverage. The US threatened to cut intelligence ties with Sweden otherwise. (Sweden is supposedly neutral but another US vassal in effect and a big financial contributor to NATO Atlantic Council.) There is no evidence against Assange on the rape allegations, one of the women was clearly a honeytrap with close ties to anti Cuba organisations, the other was a bit of an Assange groupie. They were also pressurised into not withdrawing the allegations.
Now the western MSM are parroting all sorts of ‘women’s rights’ rubbish about it as though Assange is a violent rapist.
Since Palme was assassinated, Sweden has been a pale shadow of a proper democracy, now firmly a vassal state of the US empire.
I propose renaming EU to EV – European Vassals
There never was a Swedish rape charge against Assange. There was a rape investigation but no charges were ever laid. That became a major issue when the UK courts were deciding whether to allow Assange’s extradition to Sweden. The governing law said that extradition was only proper if there actual charges had been laid. Since there were no charges, the UK Court had no proper basis to allow extradition. But kissing the feet of the U.S. government, the judge approved extradition and it was upheld on appeal.
That is why Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. A further travesty of UK justice occurred when the UK government denied Ecuador permission to move Assange to Ecuador, in violation of established diplomatic protocols.
Which is not to suggest that the situation in the UK Courts is beyond hope. But I will be very surprised if Assange is not extradited to the U.S., unless Corbyn comes to power in the UK in the meantime.
No one likes to see themselves as a bad person. Societies do not like to see themselves as evil empires, hell bent on asserting dominion on the whole world in order to extract as much wealth as possible from the benighted autochthons and careless of the death and destruction that they sow to assert dominion. Yet that is who we are as a society and what we’re doing. Assange pushed it in our face. For that he will be roundly hated.
US political education in grade school is rather like cult indoctrination. Americanism is very religious-looking. It’s easy to be cursed as unamercsn or anyi-american if you are at all critical. I don’t know of this kind of thing in many other countries. Not in China, eg.
Nothing new in this.
Why even expect anything else?
The NYT has best been described as the official house organ of the American establishment.
Where has it always been on important issues of empire?
Ever seen it not support a war, a coup, interference, threats, the CIA, the Pentagon?
It’s painful that the MSM jumped to brush under the table the uncomfortable truths revealed by publisher Assange/Wikileaks – the unscrupulous, dishonest, vicious, illegal campaign tricks of the DNC/Clinton campaign. Bernie had had a real chance of beating Trump while Hillary had lost the trust of too many voters hurt by the shift away from the New Deal that had offered a more level playing field.
The “national security state” has whipped itself into a frenzy, fearful of disclosures of wrongdoing and the public’s right to know. Delusional really.
A witch hunt against the messenger who has pointed out that no one had ever questioned the accuracy of what Wikileaks published.
Some of our most “prominent” powerful institutions, including Ivy League schools, blindly accept dead end policies like endless regime change wars (don’t question these – horrors, “national security!”) and highly leveraged destabilizing financial markets backed by government insured deposits. Harvard JFK School withdrew the honorary degree from courageous, civic minded, Chelsea Manning horrified by what she saw, while Corey Lewandowski was accepted as a visiting fellow.
Meanwhile wiser heads point out that reexamining these failed policies that serve the wealthiest and most powerful and shifting towards more progressive policies could, at the same time, provide a path to deal with climate change and a host of the other problems that continue to fester.
Welcome to America, where the real news is a joke and the joke news is real:
The NY Times has morphed into an agent for the corporate war-monger Democrats and the deep state. They won’t publish the comments that I submit to them.
Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey really did say, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
Everything the American public believes is false. We have arrived.
Talk about “Mission Accomplished”!?! I don’t know if that is an actual Casey quote, but it is a brilliant tell and should be put on the flag!!!
The purpose of The NY Times and other
media, as well as that if academia, is to encourage a populace to sound-bite attention spans regarding serious issues such as war or the destruction of the capacity of the Earth to sustain human existence.
The ideal USian will have a vast knowledge of gladiatorial statistics in sports, a shallow “partisan” grasp of both politics and the economy, now taught as separate things when once they were, appropriately, studied together as “political economy” which permitted at least some students to understand that policy choices dictated economic outcomes and not some fickle “free market” gyrations brought on by supernatural or accidental events beyond the control of mere mortals.
One need only read Veblen to comprehend how pathetic, the equivalent of religious cant, and mysticism have become the maunderings of most economists these days.
College football games can easily attract hordes of followers ready to tail-gate in their tens of thousands, but the visit of an economist of conscience and depth to any institution of higher learning say, for example, the Marxist economist Richard Wolff will draw perhaps fifty people, a portion of whom are there simply to take shallow, knee-jerk offense, generally as unpleasantly as possible.
I read that some of the Times’ commenters suggested that Assange was clutching some Roger Stone tome when carried out of the embassy. Actually, the book was Gore Vidal’s “History of the Security State”. However, it apparently tickled the fancy of the liberal mob, given as they are easily persuaded to evidence-free clap trap, be it “humanitarian intervention” or Russian genetic propensity to seek world domination, to believe that Julian Assange has the intellectual rigor of those who consider the Clintons to be “modern day Robinhoods, taking from the rich and giving to the poor”.
Now, of course, Assange by publishing certain emails, had tarnished this cherished canard, revealing that Hillary accepted millions from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, more than half a million dollars from certain big banks, was the prime advocate of the Libya cackle, and was given the questions before a debate among other things.
It was worse than learning the truth about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
If my old memory serves, then I seem to recall a time when liberals were opposed to war, a time when critical thought was, at least to some degree encouraged by liberals who claimed to care about civil rights, free speech, even for journalists, and that the US public had both a right and a responsibility to know what was done in their names. Now, of course, that was “balanced” by idiotic suggestions that we elementary school students would “be safe under our desks in the event of a nuclear attack” (I upset my second grade teacher by expressing my doubts about that, as we had just been treated to the annual showing of what “atomic” bombs could do, even as we were assured that “bigger and better” bombs were on the way).
Indeed, when a populace now longer asks serious questions, is no longer willing to discuss such questions, even within university communities, seemingly having no depth of curiosity and blithely accepts torture and war crimes perpetrated by their government, when they applaud the incarceration of millions for revealing what is done in their names, happily believing idiotic ad hominem attacks rather than honestly examining what was revealed, then it may fairly be said that anything can happen, and in the mean time, and it has been a very mean time indeed, since 9-11, especially, but really since even before the end of WW II, as the US has sought, being but six percent of the Earth’s human population, to control at least fifty percent of the Earth’s resources – to maintain our “lifestyles” and exert Full Spectrum Dominance (in the current US military parlance) over the rest of the world’s human beings and resources.
We are a vicious military empire, the majority of us are now part of the “precariat” and in severe economic straits, but neither of those truths are acknowledged.
Instead, we seek diversion in digital “space”, in fanciful fairytales of our moral superiority, exceptionalism, and indispensability to the rest of the world which increasingly has come, quite realistically, to view us, the Great and Spectacular US, as the greatest threat to peace.
Assange really revealed our crimes against humanity, as did Chelsea Manning.
Yet many glory in the vicious response meted out to these heroic and honest beings.
We, citizens (not mere “consumers” or “clients”, as the political, financial, and military elites would have it) have a choice, and what we permit the powers that be to do to Assange and Manning is a part of that choice.
It comes down to this:
Peace and prosperity for the many
War and profit for the few.
I dislike bumper sticker slogans,
Too often they are simplistic horse shit.
Yet, fellow beings, that is the choice that faces all of us …
Then, if we are lucky, we can come to grips with the harm we have done to the environment, subtle and complex that permits our existence.
Because, in the immensity of universe, which is certainly large beyond my comprehension, this planet is our ONLY home.
Assange and Manning have shown that they care, and understand.
What about the rest of us?
Who will we choose to trust?
What will we choose to do?
I’m for Assange. No prosecution in the US.
Channing out of jail and bring Snowden home, no prosecution.
And i am a 78 year old Arizona Republican and a retired white collar crime cop.
PS,are you an agent for the railroad or is that your dad ir grandfather?
@ “Yet, fellow beings, that is the choice that faces all of us … Then, if we are lucky, we can come to grips with the harm we have done to the environment, subtle and complex that permits our existence.”
As a student of the environmental sciences for decades, I think you need to reorder those priorities. We have run out of time for other pursuits before coming “to grips with the harm we have done to the environment, subtle and complex that permits our existence.”
We are well into the largest mass extinction event on this planet, the insect population of the planet has halved in the last few years, human sperm counts have more than halved since 1973, our oceans are in an advanced state of decline from pollution, irreversible climate change is already upon us, and reputable scientists are predicting that the extinction of the human race may occur in less than 50 years.
We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that there is still time to act. We’ve done irreparable damage to our planet; we’re in salvage mode.
A pleasure to meet you, Cal.
I have no label that I would apply to myself beyond being human and seeking to understand as much as I am able regarding what being human actually requires of us in a time truly like no other our species has ever faced, even though I must honestly say that I am very uncertain that we shall face the existential realities which, if we are not to extinct ourselves and most other species, we must indeed face.
You have five years on me, although I am certain we have had many similar experiences.
I hope you might share your experiences combatting white collar crime as it seems exponentially on the rise even as far too many USians remain both oblivious and nonchalant regarding its consequence. The corruption it reflects is endemic throughout society, in virtually every field of endeavor, even psychologists got into the act by setting up the torture program for a very handsome compensation and safety from any legal consequence.
As to the railroad.
You must be thinking of some other person,
My area of interest was psychology, while my father and grandfather were both professors.
I look forward to seeing your comments in future.
The comment above is Cal Lash in response to his comment to me, several comments up …
The man does have a way with words. I hadn’t heard the one about Halper. What the hell is going on? Paring down the deep spying on citizens is essential for America. Maybe the writer is right about an Assange trial, if it ever becomes public, which sadly is unlikely. Verdict first, trial later.
The elite manage the news, they can also manage the justice system.
Readers and journalist of NYT no longer have a sense of the importance of journalistic integrity. In contrast, an article in Breitbart News about Julian’s arrest by the British government, resulted in over 14,000 comments from those supposedly “deplorable, uneducated, racist and white-supremacist” Trump supporters. The support for Julian Assange was overwhelming, including that he be awarded a medal for his bravery and sacrifice. Don’t forget that during and after the election the NYT as well as most other media outlets were very biased (lying) about Trump, while Wikileaks was revealing the truth without comment. Most Democrats enjoyed being supported with a biased press. They hate Assange, ignore the truth, and have become the unwitting dupes of multi-national corporations and the military-industrial-financial complex. Rather than developing policies which help American workers and farmers, they are still focussing on character assassination of Trump. The rallying cry is now Russian collusion with Assange to elect Trump, ignoring the rather important fact that Assange was a skeptical supporter of the Democrats.
Nicely said James Howard Kunstler. What I like most about this article and its timing, is that it puts Consortiumnews squarely opposite of the Times Editorial Page. Formidable competition for sure but it places all of us that believe in our selection of reporting against the mighty and incorrect NYT’s. We’re on safe grounds here.
Many Thanks James Howard Kunstler and Consortiumnews
Also for those who may not know there is much current action going on at Craig Murray’s site where the commentary is excellent.
Here is one of the best and easiest to understand scenarios of the Russiagate story that I’ve seen yet…
The NYT has got nothing on the British Tory members of parliament in the house of commons. When prime minister May announced the arrest of Assange, the Tory MPs gave a big cheer and were grinning and laughing. It filled me with disgust, shame and loathing for these vile people who apparently cheer for the execution of children and journalists in Iraq, for that’s what Assange exposed to the world. WAR CRIMES by anyone’s definition. The UK parliament has become a cesspit for deadly bacteria which masquerade as representatives of the people who were stupid enough to vote for them.
Along with the cheering in Parliament, in the USA reptiles like Schumer and Warner were mouthing off like their shit don’t stink. These people somehow get these positions and lord it over us and we have to sit and take it?
The title for the forthcoming bio of Assange is The Man Who Told The Truth.
The American Pharisees in charge of Washington, who have arrogantly transformed the professed dogma of American governance into something totalitarian, ruthless and dehumanized, existing now to serve them rather than the people or our human rights, have unwittingly created a real Jesus figure in Julian Assange, have they not? And so close to Easter too. Little do these thugs or their weak-minded, entrained adherents know, or would even acknowledge if capable of a moment of clarity, that they themselves are the people whom they constantly warn us about.
Your suggested title for Julian’s biography sounds like the descriptive moniker of a typical Phillip K. Dick novel. Dick too fought dictators with words going back to the 1950’s. The demented forces that rule this land made him think he was going crazy. Now, long after his death, he is seen as a most creative mind and fearless truth-teller, and “Hollywood” constantly poaches his material. Assange will also some day be publicly vindicated, at least by those few who still value truth, justice and human rights.
“By then, the United States of America will be so completely gaslighted that it will pulsate in the darkness like a death star about to explode.”
Perfect Kunstler! That is exactly where we are in the good ole US and A.
Assange is “guilty” of telling the truth, about YS war crimes in Iraq and about how Mrs “Trump-in-dress” Clinton stole the Democratic nomination. Both angered big shots in the US elite, which is the kiss of death. Hillary worshippers will never forgive him. Even Republicans hate him
‘Mrs “Trump-in-dress” Clinton’ – brilliant descriptor (she’s far more evil, but tRump is catching up).