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Bashar Assad Painted With A Cruel Brush in the US Media – Who is he anyway?

February 26, 2020

by a Guest Blogger.

Asma and Bashar al Assad in 2012…

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Last night during our KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues (February 25, 2020) a caller made disparaging remarks about Syrian President Bashar al Assad, referring to him as “the dictator Assad” and to his government as “his criminal murderous regime.” Mainstream narrative par excellence – whether he was listening to Fox News or CNN – taking his cues from the Obama or Trump Administrations.

In fact the portrayal of Assad in this manner – along with the calls that he resign in order that peace be achieved – as an essential part of what might be considered “the mainstream narrative – the pretext for the U.S. led and organized proxy war to bring down the Assad government.

Many Americans have taken such a description of Assad as accurate, referred to the Syrian government as “a regime”etc. 

In response both to the program itself and to the caller’s description of “the dictator Assad” and “his criminal murderous regime” an informed friend living in the Mid West wrote a lengthy response. Her thoughts focused around two themes – first on Assad himself – a portrait far different, almost diametrically opposed to the caller’s common-enough harsh description. Just for that, this commentary is worth publishing. But also, she goes on to describe how Syria was not prepared for the kind of proxy-mercenary war – 4th generation hybrid warfare as it is called – that it found itself engaged in from 2011 onward, also accurate. 

Keep in mind that before the U.S. goes to war – whether directly as in the case of Iraq in 2003, through NATO in Libya in 2012 or in Syria using regional proxies giving it the cover of “plausible deniability” of responsibility – regardless – Washington vilifies the leaders of the countries involved – be it Saddam Hussein, Muammar Khadaffi or Bashar al Assad.

The “Hitler analogy” is dragged out to soften public opinion for American war-making. No doubt, had Washington had its way, Bashar al Assad would have met the same fate as Saddam Hussein and Khadaffi.

You’d think the U.S. public would be on to this cynical tactic by now, but no, seems to work like a charm every time

Here is an entirely different view of Assad – one much more honest and closer to the truth about the man. When it comes to Syria, the American public must keep in mind the degree to which the truth has been turned into pulp fiction, starting with the description of the country’s president. 

Finding these remarks well written and well thought out – I am publishing them as “a guest blog entry.

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Very informative, authoritative, and educational (the KGNU Middle East Dialogues segment).

It really is one of those eras where your task is educating one mind at a time. I realized that after listening to the first caller, who perfectly parroted the “Washington Consensus” propaganda about the ‘evil, brutal Syria dictator, bla, bla, bla.’ At first I thought the caller was doing a parody, but towards the end of his call, I changed my mind – he was serious!

President al-Assad, who is indeed a great leader and very much a man of the people, has, because of his steadfastness and commitment to his people, acquired great charisma, prestige, and hard-earned respect among his own citizens and in the Arab and Muslim world for standing up to the US, himself has said in many interviews with foreign press and international visits that his power depends on the people of Syria and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). He has bluntly said that if the people and the Army didn’t want him as president, he would have left, or been ousted long ago. Read more…

Killing Qassem Suleimani – Seven Weeks After The Assassination: Intended Consequences Backfiring. Taped Interview

February 26, 2020

Qassem Suleimani

KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince, hosted by Jim Nelson.

To listen to the interview. It begins 2 minutes and 25 seconds into the taping.

It is now some seven weeks since Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, Iraqi government official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their entourage were assassinated leaving the Baghdad Airport by missile fired by US killer drone on the early morning hours of January 3, 2020, an assassination authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump seven months prior to the murder.

What was the thinking of the Trump Administration this flagrant murder? Its political goal?

The main idea was that by killing a leader of the movement “decapitating the leadership” in the language of politics would through the coalition – the movement being the Axis of Resistance – into chaos. Without its “leader” the coalition – Iran, Iraq (parts of it), Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Yemenis, and Hamas among the Palestinians – would collapse.

It is essentially the logic that led to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X here in the United States a half century or more ago.

It worked (up to a point) in the case of King and Malcolm X. However times of changed and the Middle East is very different region with a whole different history and set of relations.

Now, some seven weeks after the Suleimani assassination we want to address the question: Has the “Axis of Resistance” been weakened by this event, and what has it achieved since then?

Let’s start with what has transpired in Iraq since…

(transcribed text will follow in a few days)

Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama – Similarities, Differences and the Mounting Media Hysteria Around the Sanders Campaign – a Few More Thoughts.

February 24, 2020

Medicare for all – at the heart of the Sanders’ campaign

Wrote  yesterday about my thoughts on the Bernie Sanders primary victory in Nevada, which was a kind of “watershed moment” in the Democratic primary campaign. Several other thoughts/insights have come to mind since that I want to share with blog readers. And will continue to do so time permitting and if/when I get this or that epiphany…

Today two points to consider – only the first of which I’ll get to… will deal with Sanders and foreign policy in a later blog entry

1. What is all this hysteria about the Sanders campaign about?

2. Sanders and foreign policy (which he tends to avoid)

Not meant to be long detailed torturous readings…just some ideas to throw out for friends to consider.

After Bernie Sanders resounding victory in the Nevada Democratic Primaries it is now impossible for the mainstream media to ignore his campaign as they did for the most part up until now.

Last night with family I watched the CBS “60 Minutes” Anderson Cooper interview with Bernie Sanders. Found Anderson Cooper basically the snotty turd I always thought him to be, asking the usual mainstream stupid questions that have become typical of the attacks on Bernie – your programs will cost too much, you are in an ineffective legislator, single payer (or whatever you want to call it) is too expensive and unmanageable, you’re dividing the Democratic Party, etc, etc, etc. etc. etc.)

CNN – CBS’s soulmate called Sanders’ interview “a disaster.” Nonsense. Sanders was excellent

Sanders responsive were spot on, short to the point deconstructing literally every nasty point that Anderson – and behind him – CBS – was trying to make. Bernie was mostly relaxed, succinct, quick on his feet and cut Anderson off at every ugly political pass he was trying to climb. He’s really quite good at this mainstream media game.

Others have pinpointed the source of the media hysteria and that among “moderate” Dems concerning the Sanders reach for the Democratic presidential nomination. Don’t need to go on about it other than to mention – many of those so-called “moderates” should be called for what they are – not so much moderate as “corporate” Dems, “finance industry” Dems, etc – those who circle around the Clintons and the stranglehold that the Democratic Leadership Conference with its Cold War foreign policy – even though the Cold war is now 25 years behind us – and buy into cutting social programs to feed the military.

Classic example of the anti-Sanders fear mongering appeared in the Sunday (February 16, 2020) edition of the Denver Post. Adding to the anti-communist hysteria rather than challenging it Doug Friednash, a partner with Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Scheck and former chief of staff for Governor John Hickenlooper wrote in an op-ed

Republicans are salivating over a Sanders nomination. Trump has already begun calling Sanders a communist, a the part will certainly label key Democratic Senate candidates across the country as socialists too!”

Ah if only it were true (that Dem candidates were socialists and communists)! Alas, hardly.

Rather than defending Sanders against slander, ineffective as it is since the end of the Cold War, Friednash, shamefully I would note, pours it on. He also suggests that it is the “Sanders team” that will “burn down” the (Democratic) party. More scare tactics. But then, no real surprise, is it? After-all the law firm in which he is a partner has a long history of shilling for energy companies, getting contractor-criminals off the hook (legally, but still) and playing a dominant role in the politics of Colorado.

Actually there has been far more acid thrown at Bernie Sanders from the Clinton Dems like Friednash – who are at the moment ratcheting up their attacks – than from Trump and the Republicans. Trumpty-Dumpty has done an occasional anti-Bernie Tweet but he’s been mostly restrained as compared with the Clintons and their ilk. Adding to the usual – ie, a grassroots Democratic insurgency against an out-dated and increasingly conservative leadership – I would like to add the following.

Up until the Nevada primary the Clinton-“moderate” Democratic attack against Sanders was to try to stop his campaign. It included a menu of “moderate” (meaning funded by big $ Dems) from Joe Biden to Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, playing down Sanders’ mainstream media time while playing up that of his competitors, adding that skunk billionaire Bloomberg (pardon the language but it’s accurate) to the list, short-changing Bernie on the debates, turning Warren against him, etc, etc. etc. Really dirty shit from day one to the Nevada primary.

My sense is that while the attacks continue, the goal has changed.

More and more – grudgingly the powers that be are coming to conclude that Sanders very well might win the nomination. There is some kind of debate going on among the power elite as to how to handle it.

Option one: on the one hand there is the Bloomberg scenario – prevent Sanders’ from winning the Democratic nomination on the first round at the convention, throw the process into a brokered convention which can then purge the great social democrat from Brooklyn’s nomination. Thus the fucking skunk Bloomberg’s effort toss around hundreds of millions of dollars (last I read it was $350 million – maybe it’s more by now) to cut into Sanders’ delegate count.

Option two: Pepe Escobar – Brazilian columnist par excellence – even though I occasionally disagree with him – recently let us in on this. His contacts in NY “high finance” – whomever they are – I couldn’t really care – have “made their peace” with a Sanders’ candidacy. As Escobar puts it – they would rather see a Social Dem like Sanders than another four years of Trump. The left wing of high finance? Mebbe. In the end these folk don’t see Sanders as particularly dangerous or radical to finance capital.

Of course they have a point. There are limits to Sanders’ “radicalism.”

What is this faction up to? 

They are negotiating with Sanders so to speak. Unable to stop his campaign, now the effort concentrated around attacking Sanders’ program and whittling down its progressive essence to the kind of pablum Obama gave us. Not necessarily directly although it is possible that is going on too, but certainly through the media (and other ways). They are looking for concessions from the Sanders’ camp on his main issues. Is he willing to “give ground” on his federally funded free medical care for all Americans? He is speaking of cancelling student debt? OK and how much? Will he – like Obama did – essentially dissolve or ignore his grassroots organization once in office.

Is he willing to follow Barack Obama’s example and essentially gut his administration of progressive voices in his cabinet appointments, closest advisers and turn the running of the country over to the whores of capital – Larry Summers, Hillary Clinton and the like – while being “permitted” from time to time – to make a vaguely progressive but meaningless speak as he did in Cairo – and take photo ops with his lovely (and they do look lovely) family.

How much of his program is Bernie Sanders willing to compromise – if any of it – to neutralize at least a part of the moderate Dem – corporate-high finance opposition?

Of course “in the real world” – which isn’t all that real filled as Congress is with more lobbyists than legislators, Bernie Sanders, should he be elected president of this country will have to “adjust”, and frankly to make certain compromises. Look at the Senate he’d inherit with a House of Representatives really not that much better.

To my mind the challenge for the Sanders’ base: how to prevent Bernie from being “Obama-ized”..

Without a highly organized mass base – the kind that he is building nationwide, the kind that in 1988 Jesse Jackson started to build before he too was cut off at the knees – Bernie Sanders’ programs will go nowhere. In fact, to get anything done –from now to when he is elected President – he’ll be more dependent upon his multi-cultural, multi-racial solidly working class base than he has been up and until now. We’re going to have to fight like hell to get him the nomination, win the presidency and then fight even more actively to get his programs – almost all of which are needed – implemented.

So let’s do it.

 

 

 

“The Assassination of Qassem Suleimani – Consequences – The U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot in the Middle East…Again” – Continued – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU 1390 AM, 88.5 FM – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, February 25, 2019. 6 pm Mountain Time.

February 23, 2020

Syrian army liberating swaths of Idlib Province in northwest Syria in late January, 2020

“The Assassination of Qassem Suleimani – Consequences – The U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot in the Middle East…Again” – continued – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU 1390 AM, 88.5 FM – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, February 25, 2019. 6 pm Mountain Time. Hosted by Jim Nelson.

We’ll discuss the latest developments in the Middle East, trying as usual to deconstruct the mainstream government and media narrative and explain – or try to – what is actually going on. Building on our last program in late January we continue discussing the regional consequences of the murder-by-drone of Iranian Quds leader, Qassem Suleimani.

It is now some seven weeks since Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, Iraqi government official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their entourage were assassinated leaving the Baghdad Airport by missile fired by US killer drone on the early morning hours of January 3, 2020, an assassination authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump seven months prior to the murder.

What was the thinking of the Trump Administration for the targeted assassination of Qassem Suleimani? What did Washington hope to accomplish by this?

The main idea was that by killing a leader of the movement – the movement being the Axis of Resistance –  that the movement left leaderless would collapse – or go into crisis thus strengthening the position of the U.S., Israel, the Saudis in the region. The Axis of Resistance is that web that of nations and social movements that brings together Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and the Houthis of Yemen into coalition.

It is essentially the same logic that led to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X here in the United States a half century or more ago.

In the case of King and Malcolm X  these assassinations did hurt the movements they led. However times have changed and the Middle East is very different region with a whole different history and set of relations than the United States in the 1960s

Now, some seven weeks after the Suleimani assassination we want to address the question: Has the “Axis of Resistance” been weakened by this event, and what has it achieved since then?

Let’s start with what has transpired in Iraq since…

This and much more

Sanders’ Nevada Victory – The Re-emergence of a Class Conscious Political Consensus: A Blow Both to Trump and to Identity Politics.

February 23, 2020

Sanders supporters – overwhelming support in Nevada from Latinos voting their class interests

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A half century ago, the Chicano liberation movement, in which the Denver-based Crusade for Justice, led by Rodolpho ‘Corky’ Gonzalez, was a driving force, based their organizing work around the analysis that the growing Chicano population of the Southwest would, as it grows, become a key political force in the nation’s politics, especially if was able to find common ground with other non-white organized communities in tandem with the non-racist elements of the labor movement.

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1. Nancy “gets things done.”

Yesterday, my wife of 44 years, Nancy, went out to canvas door to door for Bernie Sanders in one of the poorer, working class, heavily Chicano neighborhoods of Denver. As someone once put it, Nancy, the family’s super ego, is a person “who gets things done.”  Very true. Plus she did her Bernie campaigning without using the campaign “ap” to which younger canvassers seem addicted.

With “Julian” a young Asian-American freshman at the University of Denver who, with Sanders as a model, wants to pursue a life of public policy. He only eats once a day “because he’s too busy with other things” she worked the Barnum neighborhood on the Saturday afternoon of the Nevada Democratic Party primary.

An Asian-American youth who grew up in part in China and a recently retired white working class retired nurse with family roots in rural Nebraska teamed up garner what support they could for a 79 year old Jewish social democrat whose family hails from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn New York. Flatbush used to be close to 100% – if not 110% Jewish: today it’s much more Caribbean and Arab. Read more…

Coming Soon In Denver………

February 22, 2020

No to a Bloomberg Candidacy….

February 18, 2020

Stop and Frisk – A national case of racial profiling practiced by Michael Bloomberg while NYC mayor

No to a Bloomberg candidacy…
To this date Bloomberg has spent more than $350 million for his campaign. He is willing and can afford to put several billions into it. Over the years Bloomberg has given more than $10 billion to build a political and philanthropical empire. He used that money to suppress voices critical of him:
– Moon of Alabama –
A number of old acquaintances – good people all whom I am pleased to have gotten back in touch with, including several from my old high school, Jamaica High School in Queens, NY (from where I graduated in June, 1962) seem to be quite enthusiastic about – or at least clearly interested in – Michael Bloomberg’s current candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency.
 
I do not share their interest or enthusiasm – as made clear in some irreverent comments on social media not long ago. He’d be an awful choice and I do believe that should Michael Bloomberg succeed in buying his way to the nomination that he would lose to Donald Trump. What would the choices be? In the end it would be a question of voting for the billionaire (Bloomberg) rather than the billionaire’s shill (Trump). So little difference, why not vote for the totally reactionary, racist, xenophobic better known Trump than the lesser known version of the same thing, Bloomberg?
 
Plus so many of those new voters, swamping the party to be able to vote for Bernie Sanders – youth, people of color – what could be the new face of the Democratic Party – are not going to vote for the 9th wealthiest man in the world – whose reputation on racism, sexism, unbridled support for Israel essentially when all is said and done either matches or nearly matches that of Trump. No way that Bloomberg can create the energy, the excitement to bring in the new voters necessary to defeat Donald Trump. Bloomberg’s entry into the process is – no more, no less – than an attempt to derail Sanders’ momentum, force the Democratic Party convention into a second round brokered vote which would make it far more difficult for Sanders to win the nomination.
 
Every once in a while I have come across articles from the blog “Moon of Alabama.” Do not know who writes this but have read enough of his (?) stuff to know the author is well informed, his articles well researched and to the point. Here’s Moon of Alabama’s take on Bloomberg….