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November 30, 2009

Still Wrapping Box of Shit on Christmas Morning

Just about everything you need to know about U.S. foreign policy is in this short post by the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder:

President Obama convened a last-minute meeting of his national security team tonight to discuss the language that his administration will use to describe its new strategy for Afghanistan. Two administration sources confirmed that the meeting, which began at 5:00 pm, included cabinet officials like Defense Secretary Robert Gates...

An official said that Obama plans to try explain the interconnection between the the stability of Pakistan and the nexus of terror in Afghanistan. An explanation that the American people would accept has proven elusive.

The decision's been made. Now all we need is a reason!

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at November 30, 2009 05:43 AM

One blogger has expressed a view of Obama's new and improved policy toward our little brown brothers in Afpakistan that is approximately as negative as your headline, although he builds his metaphor on a famous phrase from antiquity:

The critical point of this extended consideration of the absurdity of Obama's concocted drama and PR campaign prior to the (hopefully) widely anticipated announcement of his "new" strategy is that the outcome was never in even the slightest degree of doubt. The mountains have appeared to labour mightily -- with strong emphasis on "appear," for image and PR is not the main thing at this stage of the disintegration of the American Empire, it's the only thing -- and they have finally produced what anyone who understands U.S. foreign policy could easily have predicted before this entirely phony marketing campaign even began. We might wish that the result was the birth of an "absurd mouse"; in fact, this process has produced a deadly rat -- the deadly rat that is U.S. global hegemony, the goal of the American ruling class for many decades.

Although he expresses himself in quite vivid language, I find I agree with him.

So it goes. I still have some of those cornflakes left from last week. I'll put blueberries on them. Yum.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 30, 2009 06:53 AM

Fresh blueberries or frozen? Because if fresh, and they're good, I'm coming to your house to kill you, steal them, and then regret killing you because now I won't know how you got them.

I have very poor impulse control.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at November 30, 2009 07:05 AM

Frozen, not fresh - from Costco.

Who knows if it's good or bad?

Well, it is good that they are frozen, because you need not carry out your threat.

It is good that I made a value-conscious decision and saved some of the money that would have been required to get fresh blueberries at this time and location for some future need - such as food, shelter, or medical care in my senior years. Oh, that's right - by some reckoning I'm already in my senior years.

It is good that the blueberries are the frozen ones from Costco - a couple weeks ago I served the store brand of frozen berries from the mainstream supermarket I also go to, and missus charley noticed the difference. What can I say? They were on sale, and as President Jefferson, that paragon of thrift, put it so aptly -

Buy anything, if it is cheap enough.

P.S. But seriously, Jefferson didn't say that.
P.P.S. Blueberries are not only delicious, but nutritious, and should be part of a dietary program to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 30, 2009 07:26 AM

I hope no one here ever had any doubt about how the Ditherer would decide to surge.

The difference between dithering and reflecting an already made decision is the difference between the "two parties," i.e. semantics.

I've been in the colonies since before the end of George II, what's the mood under the current Godking, are any of his adherents waking from their blissful slumber? Or does Jon Stewart not approve of that?

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 08:47 AM

Is this going to turn into one of those blueberry blogs? Close-ups of blueberries swimming in cream, spilling off fresh oatmeal mounds, placed lovingly on mirrors in the gloaming?

But as for the post, I always find it puzzling that they even bother any longer with reasons for the resource grabbing. They could tell the American public just about anything: Afghanis are kidnapping American Idol contestants, Afghanis have secret UFO bases hidden in the mountains, Afghanis are cloning Hitler. As long as Hannity/Rush/OReilly/Savageweiner spout the lies enough times it will become accepted opinion. "What? You don't believe they're cloning Hitler in underground labs in Kandahar? What're you, a conspiracy theorist?!"

Maybe the "reasons" are intended only for our military. I assume they have to tell the troops SOMETHING to justify the sacrifices.

Of course,one wonders why they don't just come out and say what it's really for: control of Central Asian oil, and continued Anglo-US world economic domination. That would probably fly better than shaking the a-bomb voodoo dolls at people.

But liars always want to cover their lies with more lies. The psychopathic QED.

Heck, they could even add that for humanitarian reasons we need to control heroin production to ensure addicts a safe, unadulterated, authorized supply. Make it about the CHILDREN.

Posted by: Oarwell at November 30, 2009 08:57 AM

That empires feel the need to propagandize, control information, as well as slander, kill and imprison dissidents implies that spreading counter information and protesting has some positive effect. But maybe it's just paranoid delusion on the part of empire, that the majority will support warfare and their own debasement without encouragement, and that empires only fall because of their own excess, or from being crushed by a bigger empire, and not from internal resistance.

But at least we know they are afraid.

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 09:07 AM

I assume they have to tell the troops SOMETHING to justify the sacrifices.

"Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die," is not just a line in an old poem. They're told something, but it's all bullshit boilerplate crap, and they know it.

Posted by: woody at November 30, 2009 09:31 AM

To condense some cynical revelations about the imperial mindset from 'Tree of Smoke:'

Action is Courage
Thinking is Treason

On the other hand, as Bill Hicks would have happily explained to Obomba, "discretion is the better part of valor."

Posted by: Oarwell at November 30, 2009 09:43 AM

Marcus asks what's the mood under the current Godking, are any of his adherents waking from their blissful slumber?

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, on Nov. 27:

Watch Out

A pretty staggering number out of the new Daily Kos weekly tracking poll. They asked voters, basically, how are sure are you you're going to vote next year.

The first number is certain or likely to vote; the second is unlikely or certain not to vote.

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23
Democratic Voters: 56/40

Everyone knows there's an enthusiasm gap. You don't even need a poll to tell you. You can feel it. On the one hand you've got very gunned up conservatives, who make up an even greater proportion of the diminished GOP. On the other you've got a mix of demoralized progressives and other Dems who feel like they got the job done in November 2008 and have checked out on politics ... at least for now.

All together, it points to very, very rough seas in 2010.

In other news, Chelsea Clinton is engaged. Secret Service has interviewed White House gatecrashers.

Nothing about Tiger Woods, though. GuessI'll have to go to the Huffington Post for that stuff.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 30, 2009 10:41 AM

Taibbi bounced back a JS email pointing (with righteous pride) to a 2006 ATR post which contained this rather prescient comment, by Jesus B. Ochoa:

"Meanwhile, at the other end of the country in Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman faced a decidedly cool audience at a big Democratic dinner at the end of March and got bailed out by his brother senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who told the crowd to haul out their check books and make sure Lieberman gets returned for another term.

What kind of a signal is this? Here is Obama, endlessly hailed as the brightest rising star in the Democratic firmament, delivering (at a closely watched political dinner, with Lieberman's primary opponent, Ned Lamont, sitting in the crowd) a ringing endorsement to his "mentor", Lieberman, Bush's closest Democratic ally on the war in Iraq, and overall pretty much a symbol of everything that's been wrong with the Democratic Party for the past twenty years. What a slimy fellow Obama is, as befits a man symbolizing everything that will continue to be wrong with the Democratic Party for the next twenty years. Every time I look up he's doing something disgusting, like distancing himself from his fellow senator Dick Durbin for denouncing the torture center at Guantanamo, or cheerleading the nuke-Iran crowd."

Nailed it.

Posted by: Oarwell at November 30, 2009 11:41 AM

yes indeed mistah charley, 2010 will likely suck for the Dems, and since the system is virtually rigged to prevent the things that really needed to be done, that was pretty much a foregone conclusion, because why should people feel like their expectations were met.

and so we'll lean back even farther to the right, which will make things suck even more, and that will also probably push Obama even farther right, though folks on the right won't realize it because Obama will try to sound like it isn't happening in a pointless effort to keep his base happy, which won't work

my my, doesn't this feel familiar?

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 12:18 PM

mister charley quoted arthur silber, who is always worth reading, and the robert higgs article linked to by silber is excellent too.

higgs quotes admiral fallon quite candidly admitting that bagram is "the centerpiece for the CENCOM Master Plan for future access to and operations in Central Asia." I guess if you don't want to divulge the "master plan," explanations are elusive.

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 12:55 PM

"Barack Obama: Manchurian Candidate..."

Terrific article by Dave Lindorff. A must read.-Tony

Posted by: tony at November 30, 2009 01:42 PM

and so we'll lean back even farther to the right, ...

Whaddaya mean 'we', paleface? You must mean liberals and Obama apologists, making excuses for the corporatist state and its servants. The country as a whole is not leaning to the right; and we purists on Mt. Disdain will continue to turn up our noses at the Real Americans in the boardrooms and lobbyists' office.

Posted by: Duncan at November 30, 2009 02:28 PM

Manchurian candidate, you say? Has this already been discussed at ATR? If so, my apologies.

"The eye-opener here concerns Obama's first job out of college. In his autobiography, "Dreams from My Fathers", Barack Obama writes of taking a
job after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as "A consulting house to multinational corporations" in New York City, and his functions as a "research assistant" and "financial writer." In fact he was recruited by Business International Corporation that was
continuously being accused of being a CIA front company.

Wiki article on BIC interesting.

Posted by: Leo at November 30, 2009 02:33 PM

How can a president not be right wing?


"In politics, right-wing, rightist and the Right generally imply support for preserving traditional social orders with hierarchal or private control of wealth. The term Right was coined during the French Revolution, referring to seating arrangements in parliament; those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church)"

Centralized power, hierarchical societies, which the office of President by definition is a component of, are "right-wing." So now you have to immediately resort to that depraved notion of "lesser-evils."

And notice the "left-wing" are people sitting in the same room as the "right-wing." What about those not sitting in the room?

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 02:51 PM

although I amn old and easily confused, I don't remember sliming candidate Obama. But knowing me better than most, I guess I probably did. And if I didn't do it then, then I do it now. Slimeball.

So there. And for sure.

Posted by: Jesus B Ochoa at November 30, 2009 03:04 PM

hey tony, don't tease me like that. Lindorff's article doesn't REALLY have anything to do with Manchurian candidates.

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 03:04 PM

Charley, thanks for the reply. These polls could mostly reflect the economy though. I'm wondering whether anyone who Hoping for Change has realized they aren't getting it, in terms of warmongering, the surveillance state and all those other tenets of BHO that were so obvious all along.

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 03:06 PM

Although I don't remember sliming candidate Obama back then because I am old and am easily confused, knowing me better than most, I probably did so.

And if I didn't do so then, I do so now. One who splendidly betrays every principle he once publicly espoused, is, to put it mildly,

a slimeball.

Posted by: Jesus B Ochoa at November 30, 2009 03:10 PM


half the world was and maybe still is made of CIA front companies. I don't think too many 23 year olds do much but make copies and maybe, if they are whiz bang smart like young obama surely was, write a few memos.

I really hate it when people are more paranoid about the CIA than I am.

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 03:11 PM


I hadn't heard that stuff before, but not surprising. I know some have speculated Bubba was CIA since college as well. Considering they have explicitly had their guy in power, or at least number two (and by that I mean fecal matter,) for 20 out of the last 29 years, it would make sense that when someone from the other team in this intramural squabble gets to play king that he is CIA vetted too.

And considering the pornographic relationship between Wall St. and warmongering, why would they hire anyone else but one of their most trusted boys for the big show?

But maybe the Obomb thinks he's just well-connected, and doesn't realize he's a tool. Then NE can have his real Manchurian Candidate. Or Langleyian Candidate.

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 03:23 PM

NE - Obomber may not have "done much" as a 23 year old, but you've got to start somewhere, unless your last name is Bush, right? I mean what does his importance as a new recruit have to do with whether he was recruited, or what role he may have later been given? I don't follow your dismissal at all.

BIC isn't the only blood on this trail. Harvard, oil soaked stepdad working with tyrant in Indonesia...

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 03:29 PM

Lindorff's article doesn't REALLY have anything to do with Manchurian candidates.

No tease intended NE...and what do you mean by the above. Lindorff was not serious in his title...just pointing out the contradictions of President Hope and Change and if such a conspiracy existed, which it doesn't, it could not have been better played.-Tony

Posted by: tony at November 30, 2009 03:43 PM

And notice the "left-wing" are people sitting in the same room as the "right-wing." What about those not sitting in the room?

That would be you, me, and everyone else on this list...I forget who said that electoral politics is the coffin of class consciousness, but whomever it was they were correct..

The population is irrelevant to the ruling class until they become enough of a problem that something has to be done about them.-Tony

Posted by: tony at November 30, 2009 03:48 PM

"The population is irrelevant to the ruling class until they become enough of a problem that something has to be done about them."

Yeah, I know. But what's to be done about the ruling class?

A leader is of course nothing without followers. And vice versa. And so many who are not in that room think they are. Democracy!

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 04:30 PM


lots of people at harvard don't have anything to do with the cia. lots of people who go to Indonesia don't. lots of people who have oil soaked stepdads don't. and on top of that lots of people who have done things for the cia haven't done anything nefarious. so as much as I think the cia has been a pox on the country, i don't think that stuff means much. i don't say that as a defense of obama, but because it's easy to get carried away drawing big inferences from little facts once you get in the right frame of mind for it.

since you mention it, i'd say bubba probably did some things for the cia in his younger days, based on what Roger Morris has written, but i don't really think that means that much either, except that even then he was opportunistic and knew how to curry favor with the powerful.

i have a feeling this speech tomorrow is going to be a puker

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 05:05 PM

'But what's to be done about the ruling class?'

I recommend that you send a letter to the NSA asking them to monitor ruling class blogs for subversive anti-follower chatter.

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 05:11 PM

i know tony, i was just teasing about you teasing me. :)

Posted by: N E at November 30, 2009 05:12 PM

Yeah, I know. But what's to be done about the ruling class?


That's an easy one...get rid of them. There needs to be a revolution and not a tiny one!-Tony

Posted by: tony at November 30, 2009 06:46 PM

NE - Sure, that any individual has been associated with the CIA doesn't mean too much. Unless they happen to become president!

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 09:13 PM

So gentlemen, (I don't believe there are any ladies among us, STRANGELY) when and where shall we have the ATR beer summit?

Posted by: Marcus at November 30, 2009 11:50 PM

I'm a woman... and I make myself blueberry smoothies every day.

Frozen... frozen... let me live.

Posted by: 99 at December 1, 2009 03:38 AM

Dave Lindorff doesn't write "terrific" articles unless by "terrific" you mean, unoriginal and unable to give up his lust for Donkey Domination.

Lindorff is about as clueless as David Michael Green, another fool who calls himself an activist while prattling on about the Noble Donkey Era when Democrats ruled the Earth and everyone had a magic happiness-bestowing pony and a ecosensitive carbon-footprint-reducing unicorn in their household.

Lindorff will always find a way to blame GOP people for what his beloved Donkeys are doing. And this makes him a fool, of course.

Posted by: the anti-federalist at December 1, 2009 01:44 PM