Friday, January 31, 2020

The Party’s Over: Bernie’s Last Dance With The Dems


Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Good

I wrote six articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) about the Bernie Sanders campaign during the 2016 primary. As everyone keeps saying, Bernie is a paragon of consistency, so my understanding of him stands unchanged. The political situation in 2020 is, however, significantly different, and has opened up new possibilities for the Sanders campaign. On the eve of the first primary vote in Iowa, let's consider what those possibilities are and where this campaign is taking its constituents and the Democratic Party.
Bernie himself is the same as he ever was. a moderate welfare-state Social Democrat, not a socialist or even anti-capitalist; anti-war with an historically anti-imperialist, but now imperialist-accommodating, tinge; nominally independent but functionally an auxiliary Democrat; fiercely critical of Republicans but stubbornly shy about criticizing Democratic colleagues. He is also, I think, honest and trustworthy. You can see that he takes and fights for the positions he does because he believes in them, not because he is opportunistically pandering to a specific audience segment or to the donor class. 
To be clear, even though, from my decidedly more leftist, socialist point of view, I have no illusions about Bernie’s faults (and was pretty ruthless about them in those 2016 essays), I hope he wins and will vote for him. Indeed, I changed my registration in New York to vote for him in the Democratic primary, and I would certainly vote for him in the general. He would be the first Democratic presidential candidate I have voted for in decades.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Aftermath: The Iran War After The Soleimani Assassination

Common Dreams/Getty
“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.”Ayatollah Khamenei 
The Killing
I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.
In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”
In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed  in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”
And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.”
So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.
But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

By Any Means Necessary Discussion of Opening of Impeachment Triial (1/21/2020)

Hot Brass, Hot Mics & Hot Sauce: Pandering Your Way to the Presidency

On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" hosts Jacquie Luqman and Sean Blackmon are joined by Arnold August, a Montreal-based writer, journalist, lecturer, and author of several books including “Cuba U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond" to talk about how the far-right Brazilian government has charged journalist Glenn Greenwald with “cybercrimes,” alleging that the “Lava Jato” or “Car Wash” files he published which exposed massive corruption in the Bolsonaro government were obtained illegally.

In the second segment, Jacquie Luqman and Sean Blackmon are joined by Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent who in 2002 was named Time Magazine person of the year and Jim Kavanagh, a political analyst and contributor to Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net to talk about the GOP's proposed impeachment rules, their eagerness to expedite the impeachment process, and who benefits if witnesses are allowed in the impeachment proceedings.
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of ImpeachmentDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment GambitImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

In the third segment, Sean and Jacquie are joined by Delbert Orr Africa, a member of the revolutionary organization MOVE, who was just released after spending 42 years in prison, to talk about the history of political prisoners, the last remaining incarcerated MOVE member, and the use of political repression by the US government.

Later in the show, Jacquie and Sean are joined by Jamal "DJ One Luv" Muhammad, host of the "Love Lounge" radio show on Square1Radio.com to talk about the weaponization of identity by corporate Democrats in their attacks on Bernie, how gun control laws targeting marginalized communities help ensure the state's monopoly on violence, and how white politicians miss the mark when they lecture black parents.

My segment starts at 29:15
Listen to "Hot Brass, Hot Mics & Hot Sauce: Pandering Your Way to the Presidency" on Spreaker.

By Any Means Necessary” on Radio Sputnik hosted by Eugene Puryear connects the political, social and economic movements shaping the world around us. With a sensibility informed by movements from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter with a dash of Occupy, the show elevates the people and narratives that while often ignored are driving some of the most important changes in the world

Loud & Clear Discussion of Tulsi's Lawsuit Aginst Hillary (1/22/2020)

Gabbard sues Clinton for defamatory “Russian asset” comment

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard yesterday filed a $50 million libel suit against Hillary Clinton, saying that the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee defamed her when she called Gabbard a “Russian asset” in an interview. Meanwhile, other Democratic candidates and major media outlets have lined up to criticize Clinton’s comments from Monday that Bernie Sanders was unlikeable and ineffective in the Senate and that she may not endorse him if he is the nominee. Clinton has since said that she would consider endorsing Sanders. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net.


Listen to "Gabbard sues Clinton for defamatory “Russian asset” comment" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Critical Hour Discussion of MSNBC Bernie-Warren Disgrace (1/17/2020)

Will 2020 Be the Year of Bernie and Progressives or the Demise of Trump?

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

"The third impeachment trial in US history officially began Thursday amid a swirl of new allegations about President [Donald] Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which several Republicans rushed to downplay as they dismissed Democrats’ calls for further investigation," the Washington Post reported. "Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, has alleged that Trump knew of his role in the effort to dig up dirt in Ukraine that could benefit the president politically." Are these new revelations making it tougher for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to hold his line?
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of ImpeachmentDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment GambitImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

"[Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth] Warren and [Vermont Sen. Bernie] Sanders remain at odds over whether he told her, during a private dinner in 2018 about the presidential election, that a woman couldn't win -- neither backed off their previous statements," CNN reported Wednesday. "But both of the populist politicians seemed intent on avoiding a debate stage crack-up."

Discussion of Comey & Impeachment on By Any Means Necessary (1/17/2020)

Klansmen, Killers. Christians and Kooks

DOJ investigating James Comey leaks; America's "remain in Mexico policy"; FBI arrests 3 white supremacists ahead of Virginia gun rally.

On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" hosts Jacquie Luqman and Sean Blackmon are joined by Jim Kavanagh, a political analyst and contributor to Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net to talk about the Department of Justice looking into years old leaks by former FBI Director James Comey, the lack of political gains by the Democratic Party through impeaching Donald Trump, and Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz joining Trump's impeachment defense team. Read Jim Kavanagh's latest piece “Impeachment: What Lies Beneath?” at Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net.
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of ImpeachmentDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment GambitImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

Loud & Clear Discussion of Parnas Impeachment "Bombshell" (1/16/2020)

Is the New Impeachment “Bombshell” Just Another Dud?

The impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate has formally begun and those involved in the process have been sworn in. In addition, Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani, has gone public saying that Trump, Vice President Pence, Attorney General Barr, and Congressman Devon Nunes were all involved in the conspiracy to take down Biden and his son Hunter. Is this a Watergate-style scandal, as Democrats maintain, or is it business as usual in Washington?
[Related articles: Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of ImpeachmentDead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment GambitImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

Listen to "Is the New Impeachment “Bombshell” Just Another Dud?" on Spreaker.


Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Discussion on The Crirical Hour of Upcoming Senate Impeachment Trial (1/14/2020)

Another Democratic Debate, Less Diverse And More Polarizing - Why This Matters

On Tuesday night, Democratic presidential candidates will gather for their seventh debate, the last before the Iowa caucuses. The event is set to be the smallest and least diverse debate thus far. Between impeachment, the recent assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and US President Donald Trump planning to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for a border wall, not to mention the infighting within the Democratic Party itself, there are a lot of new challenges for the Democratic presidential field. What are we to make of all of this?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Week in Review on Loud & Clear (1/10/2020)

Shifting Narratives: What Caused the Ukrainian Plane Crash in Iran?

On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker is joined by Jim Kavanagh, the editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analysts and producers Walter Smolarek and Nicole Roussell.

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on the many dimensions of the crisis between the United States and Iran.
[Related articles: The Polemicist: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,
The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]


Listen to "Shifting Narratives: What Caused the Ukrainian Plane Crash in Iran?" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

Iran Discussion on The Critical Hour (1/10/2020)

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

"Taiwan votes in presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday, which will set the course for the democratic island’s ties with its giant and autocratic neighbor China, which claims Taiwan as its territory," Reuters reported Friday. Why does this matter, and how does it affect the US?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Discussion of Iran Retaliation on The Critical Hour (1/7/2020)

Iran Vows Proportional Retaliation for US Soleimani Murder - This Isn't a Threat!

In response to Friday’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the military commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, "Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a rare appearance at a meeting of the government’s National Security Council to lay down the parameters for any retaliation. It must be a direct and proportional attack on American interests, he said, openly carried out by Iranian forces themselves," the New York Times reported Monday. Meanwhile, "Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday confirmed reports that the Trump administration has denied him a visa to enter the US for a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York this week," AFP reported. What are we to make of this, and what signals are being sent by both sides?
[Related articles: The Polemicist: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,
The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now PossibleImpeachment: What Lies Beneath?]

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Discussion of the Soleimani Assassinaton on The Critical Hour (1/3/2020)

Is the US on the Brink of War With Iran? US Airstrike Kills Top Iranian General

It’s Friday, so that means it's panel time.

Qasem Soleimani, the son of a laborer who became Iran’s most revered military commander, was assassinated Friday in a targeted US drone air strike at the airport in Baghdad, Iraq. "Iranian politicians said, after his death, it would have been Soleimani’s dream to be 'martyred' by the US, Iran’s 'arch foe,' which he had relentlessly battled in the Middle East for the more than the two decades that he led the elite Quds force," the Financial Times reported. One of the fiercest military commanders in Iran in recent decades, the 62-year-old had long masterminded Iran’s support for Shia militant groups. "He was so close to Iran’s supreme leader that he saw him as a son.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Week in Review Discussion on Loud & Clear (12/27/2019)

The Week in Review

Friday is Loud & Clear’s weekly hour-long segment The Week in Review, about the week in politics, policy, and international affairs. Today they focus on a new Rachel Maddow critique and a broader Russiagate wrapup, the history of American politics, CIA-funded propaganda and arts, the 2020 race, one positive Sanders piece, Warren’s chameleon-like practices, Biden’s standing, Israel’s Likud election, and the new interviews out with the Navy Seal accusers of Ed Gallagher. Brian and John speak with Jim Kavanagh, editor of thepolemicist.net, and Sputnik News analyst and producer Nicole Roussell.
[My related article: Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics

Listen to "The Week in Review" on Spreaker.

Loud & Clear is a daily program of news, commentary, and political analysis on Radio Sputnik, hosted by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, featuring independent experts, activists, and political writers. (Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.)

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Joe or No?

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