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Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons
Artwork/Political Cartoons

NSA John Bolton’s recent threats to the International Criminal Court are appallingly bellicose and obscene, but in truth his threats of sanctions and travel restrictions fall well short of what U.S. law permits.

Does no one remember the “INVASION OF THE HAGUE ACT” (American Service Members Protection Act) passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002 and signed by that year’s “not fascist” Commander in Chief?

That law, politely not mentioned today in the breathless reporting of Bolton’s ugly threats, authorizes the U.S. government to militarily invade international criminal tribunals in order to protect American war criminals from being tried and convicted of their crimes (like Gen. David Petraeus whose “Troop Surge” resulted in the ethnosectarian cleansing of millions of Baghdad’s Sunnis, as reported by Reuters: the deadliest year of the entire war for Iraqi civilians).

Like the rest of the world, I found that post-9/11 development in our polity terrifying and shocking.

But not nearly as terrifying and shocking as today’s silence on the subject of the “Invasion of the Hague Act” (as the law was immediately dubbed by those who’d read it).

The greatest danger to us all: the corporate media goes on pretending that evil and fascism just arrived in Washington, DC, with Trump’s election. They continue covering up the monstrous crimes of Trump’s patently evil, neo-fascist predecessors, with the blood of millions on their hands.

The establishment continues laboring double-time to make everything about Donald Trump — so Washington can go right back to mass-murdering, torturing, rule of law-obliterating business as usual, the moment the fool is out of office… not that that agenda has slowed much with Trump in office, as evidenced in Yemen, at least.

Trump is both an impediment to their project and a useful distraction. He helps the mainstream remain blissfully unaware, with regard to POLICY. He helps provide the illusion that our institutions are healthy — and not fascist.

That’s Reality TV for you!

I’m happy to share Vijay Prashad’s excellent article, which provides a useful overview of the current situation, politically, with Syria and its neighbors, as the next horrific battle looms in Idlib — the last stronghold of al Qaeda, ISIS, and affiliated Salafi militant groups armed, financed, coordinated, and given diplomatic cover by Riyadh, Doha, Washington, DC, and Tel Aviv.

But not Ankara, not anymore… which is why Turkey’s Prime Minister, Mr. Erdogan, has lost favor in the West: he stopped supporting our Mujaheddin when the costs of that support, domestically, became too much for his government to bear. The CIA could no longer use Turkish soil to train and funnel terrorists into Syria, a significant turning point in the war.

Prashad’s article is one of the few that deals at all with the Western origins of the conflict in Syria — something more Americans need to comprehend.

I’ve tackled this issue more than once, linking to information directly implicating Washington, DC, in this regime-change campaign (with particular thanks to Seymour Hersh’s “The Redirection,” published in The New Yorker, way back in 2007).

Here are some of my better efforts, for what it’s worth, complete with links to other Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and mainstream news organizations like The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Reuters, etc.:

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2443

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=944

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=1869

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2367

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2221

http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2414

The following is excerpted from the first linked blog of mine, in this list. The rest you can peruse as you will, if you’re interested in what U.S. foreign policy looks like to those on the receiving end: ethnosectarian bloodletting on a massive scale, backed occasionally with Western air support…

A historical reminder: It was Washington that arranged for al Qaeda “to throw bombs… at the Syrians” in the first place.

Keen to start a war…

“Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House… ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians…”

– from Seymour Hersh’s article “The Redirection” ( The New Yorker, 3/5/07)

More than a decade after it was written, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article still sheds an enormous amount of light on how the catastrophe in Syria happened in the first place.

George W. Bush and Saudi Prince Bandar, hell bent on regime-change in Damascus, decided to flood Syria with al Qaeda and other Washington-supported, radical Salafist militants keen to bring ethnosectarian cleansing to a nation at peace:

Mujaheddin 2.0

That’s why Syria’s 2011 “Arab Spring” was marked by so much violence and massive suicide-bombings in the early goings. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and the United States had joined forces to hijack Syria’s peaceful uprising and trigger a violent response from Damascus — which unfortunately succeeded, after previous Western efforts to stir up ethnosectarian conflict within the country had failed:

https://www.aljazeera.com/…/features/2011/02/20112910312156…

A decade after this morally grotesque policy was hatched, something like half a million Syrians are dead and 10 million refugees have fled their homes. And the U.S. political-military-media establishment continues hammering our post-Bush presidents to betray their best instincts (and break their campaign promises) in order to keep the slaughter going.

Donald Trump, like President Obama before him, has repeatedly tried to turn away from the bloody neocon agenda. But neither Obama nor Trump could count on a lick of support on that war-eschewing front from mainstream Americans or our corporatized media: http://invitation2artivism.com/?p=2781

When it comes to resisting our warmongering establishment, U.S. presidents are on their own.

Near the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, his administration made real strides toward ending the carnage that Washington had unleashed in Syria with Mujaheddin 2.0 — arming, coordinating, and supporting ethnosectarian militias in Syria, including some of the world’s most notorious terrorists.

In a show of genuine statesmanship, President Obama and Sec. John Kerry managed to negotiate a credible cease-fire agreement with Moscow and Damascus.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: That cease-fire agreement, painstakingly won, was obliterated by rogue elements in the Pentagon, which the next evening launched the United States’ first-ever air assault on a Syrian military base, killing scores of Syrian soldiers.

The President had negotiated for peace. Neocon warmongers in the Pentagon had circumvented him and scuttled that peace.

This appeal from VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) offers yet more evidence that the dynamic in Washington, DC, hasn’t changed so much, from Obama to Trump. The same cardinal rule applies: the deep state always reserves the right to unaccountably veto any decision a president makes.

And what the deep state wants is war. And it will not tolerate any effort, even coming from the U.S. government, the Oval Office, to avert that war.

These are the madmen our last several presidents have been alternately enabling and occasionally resisting.

Like President Obama, Donald Trump tried to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria… only to be effectively vetoed by the deep state (false flag op, histrionic media coverage that can’t wait for a little thing like evidence, and bombs away! Suddenly, the MSM finds Trump “presidential”…).

Like Obama, Donald Trump made an effort to end the United States’ policy of providing arms to Washington’s regime-change proxies in Syria, the “moderate rebels,” — al Qaeda, ISIS, and affiliated Salafist militants.

Like Obama, Trump has been subverted by the neocons in his administration and the military, and pressured into reversing himself, so the war can continue indefinitely.

From the VIPS’ memorandum to the President:

“The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use U.S. forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus.  We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war…

“The prospect of direct Russian-U.S. hostilities in Syria is at an all-time high.  We are not sure you realize that.

“The situation is even more volatile because Kremlin leaders are not sure who is calling the shots in Washington.”

[The same people as always: unaccountable, warmongering fascists. They turned Obama’s tenure into a genocidal, bloodletting mess. They’re determined to do the same with Donald Trump. Both men ran against the neocons as presidential candidates. Both found out in a hurry how impotent an office the presidency really is, when it comes to foreign policy.]

Surprisingly, the anonymous op-ed in the NYT that’s got everyone buzzing actually supports what a few of us foreign policy wonks have been saying from the start:

It’s not a bunch of responsible, principled statesmen versus a neo-Nazi/caveman president that we’re dealing with in the Trump Era. Rather, it is a cabal* of unaccountable, deep-state fascists (with millions of corpses in their wake) versus a wholly unscrupulous, egomaniacal, infant president, with easy-to-spot-but-not-yet-honed fascist tendencies… difficult to control and an impediment to their project.

He’s bad for business, and they know it. He exposes and discredits them.

You can’t call it “Resistance” when the individuals grappling with Trump assert in their anonymous op-eds and demonstrate with their actions that they fully support the same corporatist/plutocrat agenda that “The Donald” is pushing — if not an even more extreme agenda, including passage of the slavery-overlooking, regulation-nullifying Trans-Pacific Partnership.

And the cabal clearly wants a global confrontation with Russia and China; a suicidal confrontation that Trump appears inclined to avoid: “the one ray of light in this gloom,” per Noam Chomsky.

Modern fascists want Donald Trump out of the way because he’s so very inept at representing their interests… and so frequently off-script.

Because of that massive ego of his, Trump wants to be seen as independent, a diplomat, a “deal” maker, a good guy, a liberal, a conservative, reasonable… a Grand Wizard for Improving Race Relations:

“Ambassador Omarosa, are you ready to declare that ‘Blue Lives Matter?’ Ambassador Kanye, OFF WITH KAEPERNICK’S HEAD!”

Trump, the pandering demagogue, wants to be all things to all people… because he’s a childish, megalomaniacal dipshit.

And since before Trump even took the oath of office, the unelected, mass-murdering, torture-happy cabal that opposes him has been clobbering him silly with the media they control… and with the help of a dazed and disoriented liberal class, surprisingly susceptible to xenophobia and neo-McCarthyist propaganda.

Modern fascists have been frantically trying to corral and break President Obama’s successor, who is most assuredly NOT the new president they were counting on in 2016.

The fix was in, but it wasn’t enough, thanks to that undemocratic relic, the Electoral College. Contrary to all predictions — and despite a lot of rigging and manipulation, which had done considerable harm to our democracy — the deep state did not get Hillary Clinton in the White House in 2017. Neo-fascists were denied their champion, someone who had zealously supported their monstrous agenda for many years.

They’ve been frenzied, ruthless, and desperate since that electoral upset, scrambling to reverse Trump’s victory — doing incalculable damage to our political and media institutions along the way.

These lunatics are, in fact, risking a third world war over “collusion” charges that, even if true, are so piddling as to be “laughable,” as Noam Chomsky has clearly stated. And the claims are also immensely hypocritical, considering all of the coups and election-rigging shenanigans the U.S. has pulled in the world, decade in, decade out.

Including in Russia.

As many have by now observed, the nominal left has been making quite a spectacle of itself, lining up to support these blood-soaked neocons, who constitute some of our nation’s most overtly fascist war criminals, among the worst malefactors in our entire history, including:

the authors of the GWB torture program, including waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and black sites;

– the propaganda spewing mass-murderers of Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Ukrainian, and Yemeni civilians;

– the covert intelligence agency maniacs who have created a second Mujaheddin, committing yet more acts of genocide in the Middle East (aimed at regime-change in nations allied with America’s geopolitical rivals);

– the intelligence agency spooks who illegally spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee to prevent their horrific war crimes from being revealed (and subsequently lied about it);

– the intelligence agency spooks who illegally spied on all of our communications (and subsequently lied about it — and then nullified the Fourth Amendment, anyway);

– the racist law enforcement thugs who indiscriminately rounded up hundreds of American Muslims after 9/11 and jailed them for nothing, denying them their phone calls, lawyers, and civil rights for weeks, before admitting that none were linked to terrorism;

– the authors of the drone assassination program that has killed thousands of civilians, including American citizens and their children, uncharged with any crime; and finally,

– the keeper of the “Kill List” that rendered habeas corpus and the Constitution moot.

The “enemy of my enemy is my friend,” you say?

“Bull-SHIT!” I respond. These blood-drenched war profiteers are not our friends.

David Frum is not your friend, Robert Mueller is not your friend, Michael Hayden is not your friend, William Kristol is not your friend, Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan are not your friends, John Brennan is not your friend, James Comey is not your friend, Crowdstrike is not your friend, Jeff Bezos is not your friend, the New York Times is not your friend, CNN is not your friend…

These serial propagandists and modern fascists are delighted with all the support they’ve received from mainstream Americans and the former left since Trump’s election. But they are only using that support to further an agenda that makes Trump look like an amateur by comparison. And next to them, Trump is truly a neophyte in the fascism department — a confused, impetuous, practically-innocent-in-his-corruption child… by comparison.

Here’s an analogy with a STAR WARS theme, in case you’re as bored as I am, at this point:

It’s as if Jabba the Hutt somehow got elected President of the Galaxy (after Leia, candidate of the 99%, got cheated in a rigged primary) – and after the election, the “rebels” all ran to Darth Vader and Palpatine, the losing candidate, for succor.

“At least Darth Sidious isn’t a misogynist, like that slimy, orange Hutt, with his slave girls!”

But I’ll take the Max Rebo/Sy Snootles band and the Rancor over the Death Star and serial genocide, every time.

Call me silly, but I refuse to support the agenda of Sith Lords. Even if Jabba is vile and ooky.

It doesn’t mean I want to be chained up in my skimpiest outfit and plopped in front of the great slug. Or that I’m willing to overlook or tolerate his gangsterism.

I just don’t want to be Palpatine’s fatuous puppet, unwittingly helping him enslave the galaxy.

One Jar-Jar is enough.

* That’s how Sec. of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, described the neocons, years ago: a “cabal.” A small group of extremists seized the reins of U.S. foreign policy after 9/11 and haven’t let go since. Which is why millions of predominately Arab-Muslim people have been butchered by our government since 9/11, for no reason beyond the geopolitical goals of these law-shredding madmen.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” — Upton Sinclair

Thank you to the Jimmy Dore Show for this excellent segment!

Here we have CNN, the Washington Post, and FactCheck.org transparently doing the Koch Brothers’ bidding — and in the process, further degrading the state of American journalism.

Americans could be saving trillions of dollars, per decade — and saving nearly 50,000 lives per year — with a single-payer healthcare system like the rest of the civilized world enjoys.

Yet the media of the .01% tells us the opposite is true. And they deliberately distort the facts of a scientific study in order to make their fraudulent case.

Aside from the shoddy ethics involved, this conduct is so amateurish and obvious, it’s almost as if they’re trying to discredit the media as an institution!

Not that the Kochs would mind that result, in the least.

And they had to just love Jake Tapper’s cheap shot at typical “politician” Bernie, “not entitled to his own facts.” (By implication, just another DC grifter, still promising “unicorns”…)

A sinister laugh rises from Koch Manor: “Yes, my MSM-inions, destroy the left! Destroyyyy!!! Bwaa-ha-ha-ha-HAAA!”

Invitation2Artivism — This time, it’s personal.

A SPACE-OPERA INTERLUDE — PART 2

Three years later, the Empire struck back… and like the rest of the world, I was gob-smacked.

Not only do tauntauns “smell bad” (bombshell), but Darth Vader turns out to be Uncle Ben’s brother… or something like that.

“I think it’s even better than the first one,” I said to my dad on the way out of the theater. Yoda the Jedi Master had not disappointed. He’d actually lived up to the novelization, which I’d read before my first opportunity to see the film.

“Whoa, there,” Dad cautioned. He was older, wise in the ways of the world, and knew about overenthusiasm.

I paused and considered. Maybe the first Star Wars was better. I missed the banthas and jawas in this movie… and poor Greedo (so fried).

But the AT-AT “snow-walkers” were cool as heck! And so were the bounty hunters! And the Star Destroyers’ pursuit of the Falcon! And Boba Fett, Cloud City, Luke vs. Vader, etc.!

The George Lucas spell had a vise-like hold on me, there was no disputing it.

Even after watching the ewok-strewn mess that was “Return of the Jedi,” I was still sold on the franchise.

Still feeling The Force.

Even after that godawful performance by Ian McDiarmid in “Jedi” as Emperor Hackneyed Palpatine. Cackle, cackle, cackle…

Jabba’s palace and the film’s opening, including the Rancor, rescued that film. Plus the cycle-speeder things zipping through the forest. And the Admiral.

Even if the film was patently idiotic, by the end.

It was still Star Wars. Legit enough.

“Luke. Take this mask off, so I can see you with my own eyes. Not a black man’s.” (Sorry, James Earl Jones!)

Ugh.

But I was still sold.

************************************************************

ALTERNATE VERSION (updated 9/20/18):

In the previous installment, going for humor, I may have given the wrong impression about Christmas in the O’Donnell household. In truth, I spent many Christmases and birthdays opening gifts that were right on the money. It wasn’t all tube socks, pasta, and Stretch Armstrong dolls.

To be completely fair to Mom and dad, they often dazzled on gift days, resulting in my gradual acquisition of many Kenner products — by which I mean dozens of Star Wars figures, three spaceships (tie fighter, x-wing, and Bespin Cloud Car), a Dewback lizard (awesome), a Jawa Sandcrawler (awesome awesome), and more… including a cross-section of the Death Star, complete with orange trash compactor and a rubbery/plastic-y, green denizen of the trash compactor’s brackish waters (waters not included, no battery necessary, Styrofoam “trash” definitely included, in blue, grey, and yellow chunks).

So far as Christmas of 1977 goes, I did not embellish in my previous entry: Mom and Dad got it wrong. It happens. Bunky got the Star Wars figures and a Landspeeder, and I got… other stuff.

But Mom and Dad were only human — not wookiees, after all, no matter how long and hard I prayed for that.

Mom should be singled out for special credit in helping me get my first “Jawa” SW figure. Apparently the robed, sparkly-eyed, 3-inch tall figure was extremely popular, hard to keep on the shelves. It took months, as I recall, for me to lay my hands on one, but Mom was a true partner in that Jawa hunt. We eventually got there.

“Ootini!”

And let it be said that even wookiees aren’t perfect. Just Chewbacca (perfectly awesome).

[It is apparently the case, for me, that the mere presence of wookiees improves a film to no end, resulting in my belief that “SOLO: A Star Wars Story” just might be the “best SW film yet!” (It features more wookiees per minute than any previous SW film.)]

FINALLY, AND FOR THE RECORD: When it came to material needs — and a fair number of wants — I did just fine, growing up. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Heaps. Your macramé and microchips sustained me, as did American Express, LJ’s pizza, and a chiropractor whose name I cannot remember. And Mo, your soldering was so much better than mine that I was finally deemed fit only for stretching out 10’ lengths of cable, snipping, and binding. Thanks, AJ Microtech!

(I’ll add that I also proved utterly hopeless at cleaning pool filters: blasting away at the filth-between-folds for hours, two-three times as long as my more capable siblings, achieving less than half the cleansing effect, year after year… hopeless.)

But now, returning to matters of importance…

S T A R   W A R S —  The Next Chapter (I mean for me, personally)…

One new entry every three years, the original trilogy finished. It was all over by the time I graduated high school (only just barely).

And the Force remained fantastic… ish.

I mean Empire had great heart, great effects, was narratively daring, and continued the vibe — at 13, I was more or less elated — but Jedi was a bit of a bed-shitting, what with the Ewoks, Doofus Han Solo, and Ian McDiarmod’s hackneyed Darth Evil performance…

And suddenly everyone in the film is related!?

Yuck.

(“You’re my sister. And Darth Vader’s our father… and about all those kisses we’ve shared…”)

I left the theater grateful that Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio didn’t turn out to be Luke’s father’s old droids…

Ahem.

(At least midichlorians hadn’t hit the scene yet.)

To be fair, nearly-Jedi Luke vs. Jabba, Mr. Fett, et al, was OK, fine spectacle, if silly. And the Gamorrean guards, Bib Fortuna, Rancor, Sail Barge, Admiral Akbar were kinda’ cool, too.

Same for Max Rebo and his quartet (I forget the name of the hep space-cat that didn’t make it to the first gig… but he turned out to be some kind of Sesame Street/Muppet Show reject, once that terribly “special” edition of the film was churned out, years later).

Mon Mothma and the space battles and the father-son lightsaber clash were all pretty good… but the series was clearly running out of gas.

Even so, I couldn’t wait to see where the series was going next!

Only I would have to wait… for quite some time.