Archive for January 12th, 2015

by lizard

With the legislative session gearing up, local Democrat blogs seem to be revving up as well. Most of the blogs highlighted by Don Pogreba have disavowed 4&20 Blackbirds because they don’t like the direction my stewardship has taken this once mighty progressive blog. Pogreba himself made his proclamation of disengagement all the way back in July of 2013, when he said this:

4and20 blackbirds used to be the best, most thought-provoking, and most unique political blog in the state. I miss it, but no amount of my disappointment will bring it back to what I enjoyed—and the writers there today certainly aren’t under any obligation to meet my expectations.

But there’s a lot of Internet out there, and interesting and unique voices writing about politics in the state and the nation. Those are the sources I’ll be engaging with, arguing with, and learning from in the future.

That said, best of luck to the current hosts over there. There’s certainly an audience for their point of view, and I hope they continue to enjoy writing. One fewer member of the audience is certainly no big deal.

I wish we could take Don at his word, but alas, this disingenuous party hack just can’t seem to quit us like he said he was going to. I guess Don can’t stand to see posts like this go up without providing his intelligent insight with comments like this:

So now we’ve moved to the attack in Paris was probably a deliberate provocation by Israel and/or the United States? Or, more likely, the secret cabal that rules over both?

I guess if you’ve decided that only your conspiracist views are valid, that makes sense. Certainly more sensible that waiting a few weeks to see what actual evidence emerges.

and this:

Good thing we don’t have to worry about anything being “beneath our standards” or “basic lapse in judgement” at this site. That’s how we get the truth bombs dropped on us.

Please do more to explain the Jewish conspiracy to attack and kill French satirists. I look forward to your keen analysis from Missoula on the subject.

The extent to which we are lied to by those in power is a difficult thing to absorb. Also, the extent to which tragedies are managed and exploited for maximum gain lead some of us to speculate that maybe those who most benefit may have had a hand in creating the conditions in which tragedies like the Charlie Hebdo attack emerge.

Instead of reviewing whether or not it’s good policy to arm and train jihadists in Syria in the ongoing failure to topple Assad, or whether it’s good policy to continue using indiscriminate drone strikes that kill civilians and radicalize survivors, we get stuff like this:

European officials reignited a debate over the reach of the state into citizens’ lives as they respond to the worst terror attacks in France in more than half a century.

Interior ministers agreed yesterday to increase their intelligence sharing on individuals and to tighten the European Union’s external frontier to stem the flow of terrorists between Europe and Syria. Some also supported more checks on the EU’s internal borders.

The challenge for the region’s leaders will be overcoming aversion in countries such as Germany to more state oversight in areas ranging from Internet traffic to exchanging data on airline tickets. Complicating their task is the fact that the terrorists were French nationals and not foreigners, meaning that any response will need to be directed at EU citizens.

“This isn’t Europe’s 9/11 because the people who carried out the attacks were homegrown and not foreigners,” said Jan Techau, head of the Carnegie Endowment in Brussels. “You can’t externalize this threat — it’s a threat on the home front.”

And this:

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said the Paris attacks fit into the larger narrative, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sudden threat from the Islamic State, that the world remains a very dangerous place.

That leads to greater pressure on members of Congress and the Obama administration to continue to invest heavily in defense, and perhaps work to reverse budget cuts resulting from the Budget Control Act. That is a political change from recent mindsets, when budget hawks seemed to gain the upper hand over defense hawks.

“You look back a year ago, or two years ago, and this was a real issue,” Aboulafia said. “Then Putin and [the Islamic State] came around to remind everyone that the world is in fact a very dangerous place.”

“It’s part of the broader defense environment which affects both the budget and industry,” Aboulafia added. “The actual actions might have impact on the margins for industry in terms of additional spares, support and munitions, but the real money is in securing the DoD topline budget.”

Looking at who benefits—cui bono—and using that angle to examine how these useful tragedies opportunities emerge, is too much for the Don Pogrebas of the world. They don’t want to acknowledge the extent of the deceit, even when there are compelling reasons for staying skeptical of the narratives packaged and sold to the gullible public.

The first Gulf War against Iraq offered some new opportunities for the PR aspect of war-mongering. In a piece at Counterpunch today, Mickey Z looks back at the infamous dead babies PR stunt that helped generate public support for the military intervention. From the link:

The use of public relations (PR) during wartime went truly public during the first Gulf War — with television as its ultimate smart bomb. Speaking in 1991, Richard Hass of the National Security Council, called television “our chief tool in selling our policy.”

After being invaded by Iraq on Aug. 2, 1990, the government of Kuwait funded as many as 20 PR, law, and lobby firms to marshal world opinion. For example: a 15-year-old Kuwaiti “refugee” named Nayirah stood before the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus. She tearfully described witnessing Iraqi troops stealing incubators from a hospital, leaving 312 babies “on the cold floor to die.”

The story was a hoax. Nayirah’s false testimony was part of a $10 million Kuwait government propaganda campaign managed by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton. Rather than working as a volunteer at a hospital, Nayirah was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington.

“We didn’t know it wasn’t true at the time,” said Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser. But, he admitted, “It was useful in mobilizing public opinion.”

One of the firms hired by Kuwait, The Rendon Group, was called on once again after America’s post-9/11 assault on Afghanistan. In order to make itself look good while bombing Afghanistan, the Pentagon offered Rendon a four-month deal worth $397,000.

“We needed a firm that could provide strategic counsel immediately,” Lt. Col. Kenneth McClellan, a media officer at the Pentagon, said. “We were interested in someone that we knew could come in quickly and help us orient to the challenge of communicating to a wide range of groups around the world.”

4&20 Blackbirds is now the pariah blog of the MT blogosphere. Useful idiots like Pogreba, who thought the Libyan intervention was another example of rational humanitarian foreign policy, have no shame in continuing to ridicule those of us trying to understand how world events are shaping future conflagrations. It’s sad to think a person like this is shaping the minds of high school kids because the world they are being prepared for is not the same world they will actually have to deal with.

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