Seymour Hersh dismisses America’s media giants

The following arrived by way of a Guardian interview conducted by Lisa O’Carroll:

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Their reticence is important because:

The Obama administration lies systematically, [Hersh] claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

Sadly:

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

But Hersh is sure of one point:

…he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

Plus ça change… Hersh’s solution:

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say.

And:

“I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this — just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Cease-fire in Gaza

The New York Times reports:

Gazans poured into the streets declaring victory against the far more powerful Israeli military. In Israel, the public reaction was far more subdued. Many residents in the south expressed doubt that the agreement would hold, partly because at least five Palestinian rockets thudded into southern Israel after the cease-fire began.

The Times, putting into practice its vaunted ‘balanced journalistic practices,’ failed to report what the Gazan’s expected from Israel, whether the cease-fire would hold, for how long and for what reasons. Nor did the Times question the origin of the conflict — Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. The report mostly reflected the foreign policy requirements of the Obama government.

Shocking?

Earlier today the New York Times reported:

Iranian warplanes fired at an unmanned American military surveillance drone in international airspace over the Persian Gulf last week, Pentagon officials disclosed Thursday, saying that while the aircraft was not hit, Washington made a strong protest to Tehran.

The shooting, which the Pentagon said occurred Nov. 1 — five days before the American presidential election — was the first known instance of Iranian warplanes firing on an American surveillance drone.

The United States makes economic war on Iran while threatening to conduct direct and overt military operations in Iran, actions and threats based on dubious claims about the Iranian nuclear program, the American interest in managing a belligerent Israel and, to be sure, because of the severe narcissistic wound Uncle Sam suffered in 1979. Iran recently responded by shooting at an American drone, called a Predator and presumably an MQ-1 Predator. This weapon can fire at targets.

While one might consider the Iranian attack a misguided provocation and thus counterproductive, it cannot rationally be considered an unmotivated act of aggression committed by a rogue state. As a matter of fact, the United States and Israel are rogue states. One need not be a supporter of the Iranian regime to appreciate these characterizations. Iran now confronts an existential threat because of the United States and Israel. The same cannot be said by the latter two countries with respect to Iran.

A surprising event? No, not at all. Even the hypocrisy is typical of the two rogue powers.

A General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

Ecuador granted Asylum to Julian Assange

The New York Times reported that

The move leaves Mr. Assange with protection from arrest only on Ecuadorian territory, meaning he could only leave the embassy for Ecuador with British cooperation.

The decision also adds to sharp strains between Ecuador and Britain. Just before the announcement by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño at a news conference in Quito, President Rafael Correa said: “No one is going to terrorize us!” The night before, Mr. Patiño said that the British authorities had threatened to force their way into the embassy, to which he responded: “We are not a British colony.”

Reading from a government communiqué, Mr. Patiño said: “The government of Ecuador, faithful to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or in its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange.”

What makes this move especially significant is Patiño’s claim that “…his government had made its decision after the authorities in Britain, Sweden and the United States refused to give guarantees that, if Mr. Assange were extradited to Sweden, he would not then be sent on to the United States to face other charges.” What does this mean? I would say that by its actions and statements it is now clear that Ecuador doubts the capacity and willingness of the United States to act with legal integrity with respect to Assange. Ecuador’s actions ought to cause sensible Americans to hang their heads in shame. Naturally, the blockheads in the United States will find Ecuador’s actions an affront to Superpower.

Of course, Sweden and Great Brittan, Superpower’s attack poodles, judged Ecuador’s decision unacceptable.

Sweden and Britain prepare for their contest with Ecuador

Hmmmm…..

Does the United States have a party duopoly which governs a managed democratic political system? It does, and Ross Douthat of the New York Times recently provided ad hoc evidence supporting that judgment:

Paul Ryan is not a moderate, not a centrist, and certainly not a perfectly neutral non-ideological number-crunching budget wonk. He is a conservative whose fiscal blueprints and budgets are drawn up with conservative goals uppermost in mind. He’s a Reaganite pro-life hawkish supply-sider who wants limited government and the lowest possible tax burden. Out of all the running mates available, Mitt Romney chose one of the most explicitly ideological options.

But moderates — and maybe, just maybe, the occasional liberal as well — should appreciate Ryan all the same, because he’s almost single-handedly responsible for saving the Republican Party from some of its own worst impulses.

Failing political parties tend to develop toxic internal cultures, and the post-2008 Republican Party was no exception. Reeling from two consecutive electoral repudiations, Republicans looked poised to spend President Obama’s first term alternating between do-nothingism and delusion. They would demagogue every Democratic proposal, decline to offer any alternative on any issue, and seal themselves inside a fantasy world where tax cuts always pay for themselves and budgets can be balanced by cutting funding for NPR.

Some of this came to pass. But from the earliest days of the Obama presidency, Ryan was pushing his fellow Republicans toward a different course. When conservatives praise the Wisconsin congressman for his courage, this willingness to ask more of his own party is a big part of what they have in mind.

Briefly put, Paul Ryan might appeal to moderates, centrists and a few liberals because he is a serious man on a mission. His mission? To impose vicious and predatory, foolish and reactionary policies on a country that would be best served if it repudiated men like Ryan and, for that matter, Obama. Ryan adds gravitas to the GOP clown car, and for this he deserves praise.

Douthat is also a reactionary, and it should surprise no one that he wants the Republican Party to take the lead in the imposition of political and economic reaction on the United States. It is also noteworthy that Douthat does not call for the political defeat of the Democratic Party. Both parties must share the burdens in the movement of the United States to the right.

The future has begun

A New York Times
article tells us that “From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms.” Worse still is the fact that “Leading climate models suggest that weather-sensitive parts of the infrastructure will be seeing many more extreme episodes, along with shifts in weather patterns and rising maximum (and minimum) temperatures.” Briefly put, “all that’s solid melts into air….”

The forecast: Hot

Quote of the day

Alexander Cockburn wrote:

Never trust a president who claims he reads himself to sleep with the help of Marcus Aurelius. That was Bill Clinton, who claimed this thundering imperial bore never strayed far from his hand.

Most certainly view with profound suspicion a president who professes to be guided in his conduct in grave moral matters by Augustine and Aquinas, two very different characters. Just as civilization would have profited if the rope lowering St Paul to the ground from that tower in Damascus had broken fifty feet up, a death in the cradle for Augustine would have spared humanity much horror from his poisonous doctrines on original sin and other matters.

Aquinas was a different matter. A jovial fellow, among other things he loved fresh herring, and when he was dying he asked for some. At this point a fishing boat in the Mediterranean hauled an unprecedented netful of herring and the unexpected catch was slated for a while as the second miracle required for Thomas’ canonization.

The excellent, astounding New York Times story by Jo Becker and Scot Shane published on May 29 and vigorously discussed on this site by Ralph Nader, says that Obama decided to take personal control of the White House’s secret and unconstitutional death list after reading Augustine and Aquinas. “A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.” Notice how the paragraph devolves rapidly from moral duty to pr.

Barack Obama is a system politician, a functional elite devoted to the institutions he serves, and, for such a person, public reality cannot be real if it were to remain untouched by image management work. Style points – e.g. appearing morally concerned – count for much more than morally guided action. Thus butchering innocents has mattered little in the War on Terror. Their blood is but a stage upon which America’s righteous elite display their gifts. It is not wholly ironic that Obama relies upon the Church fathers for inspiration. The Church has long been committed to putting on a good show.

It is a shame that there is no Hell.