The Hilary Clinton camp is complaining vociferously about her being treated unfairly in the media compared to their swooning over Barak Obama (I recall no such complaints when she was ahead in the polls).
Some claim (including a friend who sent me an email), that this proves that America is not ready to elect a woman as President because of underlying sexist attitudes — and given the choice they'd sooner elect a black man. Actually my friend said they will NEVER elect a woman, but hey we're all prone to exaggerate to make our points...
The argument goes something like this:
a. Hilary Clinton is a woman.
b. Americans (very likely) will not elect Hilary Clinton.
c. Therefore, Americans are not ready to elect a woman.
In philosophy this is known as a logical fallacy, along the lines of:
a. The average family has 2.5 children.
b. The Smiths are a very average family.
c. Therefore, the Smiths must have 2 or 3 children.
Undoubtedly, there have been some very ugly, sexist attacks against Hilary Clinton. Globe and Mail columnist, Judith Timson, recently outlined some of them in a column here.
But as disgusting as some of these attacks against Hilary Clinton are, this does not prove that America is not ready for a woman President. It merely proves that sexism is alive and well, that politics is dirty and that Hilary Clinton has many enemies.
Those who claim that the reason she is losing is because of gender are giving a lot of credit to the power of the media and very little credit to voters. They are inferring that the "they" who will not elect a woman are the same "they" who are voting for Obama. After all, it is this train that has ruined what once looked like a sure bet for Hilary. But ask yourself this: Are the people who will not vote for a woman because she is a woman (and no other reason) actually voting in Democratic primaries? And just to show fairness to the Party that I really loathe — there are obviously some Republicans who vote for and elect women in the House and Senate.
I digress. Back to the unelectability of a woman President theory. Even if some Obama supporters are sexist (but not racist), how many of these oddly flawed creatures are there out there to translate into actual votes and thereby account for Hilary's disappointing showing so far?
The problem with this theory is that it presumes that the voters who are going for Obama over Hilary (including many women) are somehow so spellbound by the sexist rants of the right wing and Clinton's media critics that they just can't think for themselves. This leap of logic belittles Democrats of all stripes and both genders, making them appear not only sexist but also easily manipulated by their right wing opponents and other Clinton critics. This is disingenuous to these voters.
It's worth a glimpse inside these voters' heads.
Other than their records on the Iraq War vote, there is little perceptible difference between Obama and Clinton. But that damn Iraq war (which the Timson article completely omits), is still huge in many voter's minds because it has pretty much defined the Bush Presidency. And for Hilary to show no real deviation from this neo-con project is rather telling. But setting that aside, (which is not easy), the inference here is that when given the choice between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, Democrats who vote in primaries would rather elect a black man than a woman.
Timson's article concedes that "There are certainly legitimate reasons not to like Ms. Clinton," but then does not elaborate. And yet the real question that should be asked is why are these Democrats not voting for her? Could it be that they think she has had her time in the sun and has not delivered — let's say, on health care? That she is too much of a hardened Washington insider? And — not to sound redundant — that she voted for the Iraq War while Obama did not and she refuses to admit this colossal mistake. Instead, she merely tries to rewrite history instead.
People may be naive to think that they will get radically different policies out of Obama, (I tend to think so), but they know what they will get out of Clinton: more of the same.
Or maybe the reason they are rejecting Clinton is because if you google the words "Hilary and corrupt" you can spend hours reading about dirty money, bad ethics and dishonesty.
How about the fact that she has run a lousy campaign? No, none of this matters, I am told; it is because she's a woman.
Judith Timson verges on the ridiculous when she attempts to turn a well-known feminist and other women commentators into self-hating misogynists just because they criticize the Clinton style:
"Author and commentator Barbara Ehrenreich also took a gratuitously nasty swipe in the Huffington Post at Ms. Clinton's platform style: “The frozen smile has to go, too, along with the [metronomic] nodding, which sometimes goes on long enough to suggest a placement within the autism spectrum.” Oh, come on."
And Slate.com's female commentators merrily dissected Ms. Clinton's female factor, ostensibly unaware of the self-hatred it revealed: “One of Hillary Clinton's great weaknesses as a candidate is that – fair or not – she seems so completely familiar to us. Not just because she's been around for years, but because the characteristics for which she's inevitably criticized are themselves these centuries-old archetypes: the castrating shrew, the righteous scold, the manipulative weeper …”
Gratuitous? Self-hatred? Oh come on, Judith.
American elections are fought over style, not substance. Negative stereotypes are part of the down and dirty style of attack politics that partisan supporters use to appeal to people's lowest base instincts--as they inflict as much damage as possible on their rivals. Certainly identity politics does not fully explain why Clinton is losing. Far from it.
If you really look at issues and platforms, the one Democrat and the one Republican worth looking at, who actually had decent ideas are either now out of the race (Kucinich) or barely breathing (Ron Paul), -- thanks to both Party's establishment ideologies. As usual, the issues that people should be addressing are largely hidden. And now we are down to bickering about race and gender. This is typical of how these things go.
It may well be true that Americans are not ready to elect a woman President. But the implosion of Hilary Clinton's campaign does not prove this.
US Military Says Detained Afghan Journalist Has Been Designated an Enemy Combatant
A journalist for a Canadian TV network who has been held for four months without being charged has been designated an unlawful enemy combatant, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
CTV journalist Jawed Ahmad, an Afghan, was allowed to make a statement before an enemy combatant review board, which determined there was credible information to detain him because he was dangerous to foreign troops and the Afghan government, said Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition.
Ahmad is being held at the military compound in Bagram, 30 miles north of Kabul.
"As an unlawful enemy combatant, he posed a threat to coalition forces and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Mr. Ahmad was in no way targeted because of his work as a journalist," Belcher told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He declined to provide details about the "credible information" and would not say if Ahmad had more contact with militants than other journalists working in Afghanistan. It is common for journalists in the country to have contact information of Taliban fighters so they can seek militants' comments for news stories.
Ahmad, 22, who is also known as Jojo Yazemi, was detained Oct. 26 at a NATO air base in the southern city of Kandahar, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group. He was later transferred to a detention center at the U.S. military base in Bagram, north of Kabul.Keep Reading...
Punditman says... Never mind all these arbitrary detentions without charge...oh, and all that torture stuff too. Just always remember that the USA is fighting for democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Now get back to your sitcom.
Daniel Ellsberg, famous leaker of the Pentagon Papers, and Chris Deliso, of Balkanalysis.com, discuss the case of FBI translator-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and the international crime rings she exposed.
Listen the interview here
A former SAS soldier claimed today that the British secret service had been operating in a covert joint squad with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 and that UK operatives knew detainees were being tortured by the Americans.
Ben Griffin, 29, who left the military at the beginning of last year, said British political leaders knew about what went on in the taskforce and were therefore complicit in the "illegal" tactics being used by US troops. He called for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to face trial for breaking international law.
punditman says...And still, politicians keep saying, "Torture? Who, us?"
Lies and Spies
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts.
The fight over the Protect America Act has everything to do with our safety, only not in the way that Bush and McConnell assert.
Bush says the Democrats have put "our country more in danger of an attack" by letting the Protect America Act lapse. This claim is nonsense. The 30 year old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the executive branch all the power it needs to spy on terrorists.
|War without end|
|by Paul Craig Roberts|
"We support the troops!" That's the excuse the Democrats have given for continuing to fund Bush's aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan. But, of course, war funding doesn't support the troops. War funding supports an evil machine that chews up and spits out the lives and well-being of the troops, along with that of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan, men, women, and children. War funding supports Bush's aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and his continuing efforts to occupy both countries in order to turn them into puppet states.
Polls show that a majority of the troops and their families do not support Bush's aggression. The fact that Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination received the lion's share of contributions from military families also underlines the great divide between the troops and those who would "support" them by keeping them in Iraq and Afghanistan. What all those ribbon decals on the back of SUVs proclaiming "support the troops" really mean is support Bush's wars of aggression against Muslims.
According to the Washington Post, Bush's $3.1 trillion federal budget provides no funding for his proposal in his State of the Union address to permit military members to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. Bush got applause for his nationally televised words, but the troops and their families got no money in his budget.
Government analysts calculate the education benefits would cost in the range of $1-2 billion annually – the cost of funding the war for two days.
The only money that Bush and Congress want to give the troops is what is required to keep them at war. Everyone has read the horror stories of the lack of care for the physically and emotionally wounded troops who have made it back from Iraq.
In contrast, to fund Bush's war, Bush and Congress have already spent in out-of-pocket and future costs at least $1,000 billion. Every American can draw up lists of better uses of this immense fortune than blowing up a country's infrastructure and killing hundreds of thousands of its citizens.
Nothing good whatsoever has been accomplished by Bush's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was obvious to anyone with a lick of sense in 2002, six months prior to Bush's invasion of Iraq on March 18, 2003, that an invasion would be a strategic blunder. William S. Lind, myself, and others made that prediction in October 2002. Three years later, Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, vindicated us by declaring Bush's invasion of Iraq to be "the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history." If the head of the NSA doesn't know a "strategic disaster" when he sees one, who does?
punditman says...Do read on, dear reader. My favourite line in the Full Article link above: "Bush started a war, and now to avoid losing it Bush pays Iraqis not to attack U.S. troops!" Yep, that's insanity.
|February 8, 2008|
|by Justin Raimondo|
I was skeptical, at first, of speculation over the cutting of two cables linking the Middle East with the Internet, which had it as part of some Vast Neocon Conspiracy to isolate the region prior to a US military assault. However, when two more cables – this time, in the Persian Gulf – were mysteriously cut, I began to wonder ….
In a piece headlined "Cable cutter nutters chase conspiracy theories," The Register goes out of its way to laugh off the prospect that what we are witnessing is a military operation, or the prelude to one, sniffing "there's little more than suspicions to work with" since we've yet to reach the damaged cables. Yet, given the sort of government we are dealing with – a regime that lied us into one war, and is not-so-subtly trying to finagle us into yet another one – why shouldn't we be suspicious? We'd have to be crazy not to be.
The Economistfollows suit, sneering at "internet conspiracy theories" and denouncing the whole brouhaha as an "online frenzy" that is "way out of line." Yet one has to wonder: four cable cuts in the past week? I'm with Steven Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University, who avers:
"As a security guy, I'm paranoid, but I don't understand the threat model here. On the other hand, four accidental failures in a week is a bit hard to swallow, too. Let's hope there will be close, open examination of the failed parts of the cables."
First it was supposed to be a ship's anchor that caused the damage, and yet the Egyptians have said there were no ships in the vicinity, which they regularly monitor: besides which, that entire area near Alexandria is off-limits to all shipping. Another reason to suspect a deliberate act: this politically-sensitive region is an Internet choke-point, as ABC News points out. "The route connecting Europe to Egypt, and from there to the Middle East" is tenuous:
"Today, just three major data cables stretch from Italy to Egypt and run down the Suez Canal, and from there to much of the Middle East. (A separate line connects Italy with Israel.) A serious cut here is immediately obvious across the region, and a double cut can be crippling."
Yet theories that this incident prefigures a US attack on Iran don't comport with the facts: Iran, far from being isolated by the cuts, may have enjoyed better connectivity as a result of the events. The areas hardest hit were Kuwait, Egypt, and especially Pakistan – this last being a likelier target for isolation than Iran, and certainly more current
Another, and far more plausible, theory is that the seemingly coordinated cuts resulted from efforts to tap into the cables – a spying operation. Go here for an exhaustive and very convincing case for viewing this as "special warfare."
The Register cites Prof. Bellovin, but fails to note the real gist of his remarks. While he's skeptical of the above-cited link, which posits a scenario whereby the USS Jimmy Carter, present whereabouts unknown, uses its specially designed facilities to tap directly into the cables, Bellovin poses an alternative scenario:
"If if wasn't a direct attempt at eavesdropping, perhaps it was indirect. Several years ago, a colleague and I wrote about link-cutting attacks. In these, you cut some cables, to force traffic past a link you're monitoring. Link-cutting for such purposes isn't new; at the start of World War I, the British cut Germany's overseas telegraph cable to force them to use easily-monitored links. One of the messages they intercepted — and cryptanalyzed — was the Zimmerman telegram, which asked Mexico to join Germany in attacking the US, in exchange for financial support and recovery of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Instead, public outrage in the US contributed to the decision to enter the war against Germany."
"The problem with this scenario," he adds, "is that the benefit is short-lived: the cables will be repaired in a few weeks." Yes, but long enough to have accomplished – what? We can't know, of course, but Prof. Bellovin certainly raises some interesting possibilities, none of which can be discounted by clueless journalists who sniff at "conspiracy theories" – as if we have no reason whatsoever to suspect covert action, by the US or whomever, in that area of the world. As Prof. Bellovin and a co-author point out in this paper on the subject: "Attacks on the routing system, with the goal of diverting traffic past an enemy-controlled point for purposes of eavesdropping or connection-hijacking, have long been known."
Given the context in which these cable cuts are occurring – heightened tensions in the region, and not only with Iran – I think it is probable that they are deliberate, and that the diversion of internet traffic for purposes of eavesdropping is clearly the intent. After all, ask yourself this question: which is more plausible, an "accidental" cutting of four cables in one week in an area of the world which is the current focus of US military and diplomatic efforts, or the scenario outlined by Prof. Bellovin?
None of this is at all surprising. The US government currently claims the right to spy on Americans, in their own country, as well as when they're in communication with overseas individuals. They don't hide this, but proclaim it from the rooftops: does anyone doubt they are capable of commandeering the world's internet cable network in order to utilize it for their own purposes? You don't have to quaff the "conspiracy theorist" Kool-Aid to find this credible: a dose of realism will do.
punditman says: Rule #1 when looking for the motives of crime: Who stands to benefit?
The Toronto Star
It was only after weeks of international outrage that Canada's House of Commons, in response to a motion sponsored by NDP leader Jack Layton, unanimously voted on Monday to condemn a death sentence faced by an Afghan journalist.
About time, too, although the Harper government still hasn't had much to say about the case, at least not for the record.
punditman says: Warning: the above link is very disturbing and perhaps not suitable for everyone. Welcome to our Afghan allies: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. I doubt very much that those who fall into the idiotic, flag-waving, ribbon-buying, crazily conformist Don Cherryesque category know anything about this story. After all, when it comes to Canada's Afghan mission, they may say they are all in favour of debate, but they actually want no debate at all. They are content to just watch hockey and salute, and keep drinking that Molson's/Coors Kool Aid.
The Harper government's flagging campaign to sell Canadians on extending our combat mission inhas clearly found new legs since the release last month of the pro-war Manley report.
The turnaround moment probably came at a press briefing when John Manley, head of the government's advisory panel on, defended the mission by invoking the name of Canadian peacekeeping hero Lester Pearson.
Since Canadians have tended to associatewith torture and a cowboy-style "war on terror," the invocation of Pearson's name – from fellow Liberal Manley – was highly potent.
It was also absurd, even preposterous – like invokingas a nation-building forerunner of . Keep Reading...
Sibel Edmonds is the FBI translator turned whistleblower who decided to go public late in 2002 and has been seeking to tell her story about high level corruption in the United States government involving Turkey and Israel. What makes her story particularly compelling is that the corruption relates to the theft and sale of United States defense secrets, most particularly nuclear technology. Sibel obtained her information while translating Turkish language telephone intercepts directed against several Turkish lobbying groups who had contact with senior officials in the Bush Administration, both at the Pentagon and in the State Department. Many of the officials involved are apparently the same neoconservatives who cooked the books to enable the rush to war against Iraq and who are continuing to urge more wars in the Middle East, most notably against Iran and Syria. Several of them are close allies of leading Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
To stop Sibel from telling her story, then Attorney General John Ashcroft subjected her to a state secrets privilege gag order after her appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes in October 2002 that not only forbade her providing details of her employment with FBI but also made the ban retroactive so that anything relating to her case would be considered a state secret. Edmonds had been discouraged by her experience with CBS as her most important points wound up on the cutting room floor. Then came the gag order, which she has observed while working assiduously to get bits and pieces of her story out in various ways. In October 2007 she decided to tell all without regard for the consequences, stating that she would provide details of her allegations to any American media outlet that would let her collaborate in the final edit so that her message would not be lost. There were no takers. Last month, The Sunday Times of London decided to pick up her story and has now produced a long feature article called "For Sale: the West's Deadliest Nuclear Secrets" plus two follow-ups. The story was picked up and replayed all over the world, but not by the mainstream media in the United States.
Why should Sibel be heard? Mostly because her story, if true, involves corruption at the highest levels of government coupled with the sale of secrets vital to the security of the United States. One of her claims is that a senior State Department officer who has been identified as Marc Grossman, recorded by the FBI while arranging to pick up bribes from a Turkish organization, also revealed the identity of the CIA cover company Brewster Jennings to a Turkish contact in late 2001. The Turk then passed on the information to a Pakistani intelligence officer who presumably warned the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network that the CIA was apparently pursuing. Some might call that treason and it should be noted that it occurred two years before Robert Novak's notorious exposure of Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings which led to the conviction of Scooter Libby.
Edmonds should also be listened to because she clearly had access to the documents that she describes and because she has proven that she is a credible witness. Two US Senators and the 9/11 Commission found her testimony and recollection of facts to be reliable, as did an FBI Inspector General's office internal investigation. More to the point, if Edmonds is telling the truth there are documents in FBI files that would confirm her account. What she is claiming, if it is all true, is fact-based, not speculative.
But the media remains silent in spite of considerable efforts to get them on board and provide some coverage of her very serious charges. Since the recent Sunday Times articles, her story has been brought to the attention of news editors at MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, to PBS's Bill Moyers, to The New York Times, The Washington Times, and to both ABC and CBS news in an attempt to arouse some interest. But there has been no response, not even a courteous "Thank you very much for contacting us...." What are so-called gadflies like Olbermann and Moyers afraid of? The suggestion that the media does not want to face the potential legal consequences of the gag order has been cited but lacks substance as much of the Sibel story is already out in public and the details of her allegations can be pieced together without actually interviewing her in violation of the state secrets privilege. Also, no one in the media has actually claimed that the lack of interest is based on the potential legal consequences. The silence has been deafening, suggesting that other forces are at work.Continue Reading...
More insanity, folks, from the king of the neo-con nutbars.
Dick "Darth" Cheney is back in charge of Iran policy: