Posts Tagged ‘Amanda Curtis’

by lizard

I was part-curious, part-asshole when I inquired whether or not Intelligent Discontent had gone dark after 2 weeks of no new posts. As an unpaid blogger with a demanding day job myself, I understand the difficulty of finding the time to read, compile links and expound on the current events of the day. Yet I feel compelled to piece together bits from the fringe best I can.

I bring this up because midterm elections are looming and I wonder, where is the electorate?

A good argument can be made that the electorate is disgusted with both parties, and it’s that underlying disgust fueling the sudden dark horse independents chomping at the bit to be spoilers.

That link is to a Steve Kornacki segment on MSNBC. MSNBC is currently taking a nosedive in ratings, now trailing CNN. Fox, of course, is still king. Here’s how the New York Times frames the crash and burn:

Rachel Maddow, the biggest star on the MSNBC cable network, just posted her lowest quarterly ratings results ever.

“Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s signature morning program, scored its second-lowest quarterly ratings, reaching an average of just 87,000 viewers in the key news demographic group.

And “Ronan Farrow Daily,” the network’s heavily promoted new afternoon show, which stars a 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar with a high-profile Hollywood lineage, has been largely a dud.

Though it has mostly happened quietly, which may be a comment on the cable network’s larger status in the media landscape, MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows.

I don’t know what to make of that, nor do I think the juxtaposition of MSNBC’s decline and a two week hiatus from a MT blogger during an election season has any significance. Yard signs may not have any significance either, but that Cowgirl comment thread shows how contested the perception of momentum can get.

When it comes time to vote, I’m going to vote. I’ll darken my little nod to Amanda Curtis and John Lewis. I guess Curtis may have some tv spots soon with around a half million to spend. The Lewis ad spoofing This Land is Your Land was terrible, but his “Two” ad is a little better, if that is what you base your solemn civic responsibility on.

I will vote, but with little hope or expectation the outcome will advance the changes our survival will require.

by lizard

The Obama regime is not serious about attacking and degrading the capacity of ISIS. This may be difficult for Americans to wrap their heads around, but it’s the truth.

ISIS is a tool, and it turns those who buy into the propaganda are tools as well.

Amanda Curtis is a tool when she believes John Walsh regarding the threat ISIS allegedly poses to Americans. Here, again, is the quote:

Curtis says she doesn’t think Obama needs congressional authorization to implement his plan. Some critics wonder why the President is planning military strikes when ISIS hasn’t directly attacked the United States. Curtis says Senator John Walsh – a veteran who led over 700 troops in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 – has convinced her that these radicals present a clear threat:

“…and that some of the folks who are working with ISIS have the ability to enter into the United States and have made repeated threats that they will continue to kill Americans. I really trust Senator Walsh’s judgment on this and I think he knows what he’s talking about.”

The “bare-knuckled” blogger Douglas Ernst is a tool when he slams Obama from the predictable conservative standpoint of not doing enough while simultaneously downplaying the Bush regime’s contribution: creating the conditions for ISIS by destroying Iraq in a war of occupation based on lies.

ISIS is a swiss army knife of terror. They can help balkanize Iraq in line with the Yinon Plan. They can keep Assad busy as the Obama regime continues gunning for regime change. For Turkey, they can check the Kurds. Here is a great post by Moon of Alabama blogger, b, about the US finally reacting to the ISIS attack on Kobane. Here’s an excerpt:

After days of doing nothing while the Islamic State fighters encroached on Kobane the U.S. finally started air strikes against IS positions. Reporters near the locations said that several IS tanks were hit.

I assume that it was becoming too awkward to keep up all the rhetoric about the “evil” of the Islamic State while the world media were standing on a hill in south Turkey looking over the border at Kobane, counting the IS tanks surrounding the city and reporting exactly zero U.S. or Turkish attacks on them.

One wonders how the Turkish president Erdogan will feel about these attacks now. He tried to use the Islamic State advance to blackmail first the Kurds in Kobane and then the United States.

His demands to the Kurdish leader of the YPG forces holding the city in exchange for some help were: 1) Cut ties with Assad 2) Join the Free Syrian Army and fight Assad 3) Accept a Turkish buffer zone in Syria on your grounds 4) Stop any striving for independence 5) Do not threaten Turkey. The Kurds rejected these conditions.

Towards the United States Erdogan demanded that the U.S. should set the priority on destroying the Syrian government if it wants any Turkish help in its fight against the Islamic State. It should also install a no-fly-zone over Syria acting, like in Libya, as the insurgent’s air force and it should support a Turkish buffer zone within Syria.

Especially after the recent spat between Erdogan and Biden I find it unlikely that Obama agreed to Erdogan’s and believe that the air attacks today were ordered against Turkey’s wishes.

ISIS is a tool, another brand of terror to scare Americans into supporting perpetual war while the weapons industry profits and the agendas of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia are pushed forward.

But you don’t have to be tools, dear readers. The choice is yours!

by lizard

In yesterdays post about progressive Democrats supporting Obama’s dangerously incoherent foreign policy, one comment stood out, and it wasn’t the bullshit inquiry about what I would do if I was president for a week—it was this comment from feralcatoffreedom:

This is all terribly sad. On “Moon of Alabama” somebody quoted Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi writer. I had the privilege of interviewing him once. Before we invaded that country it had the highest # of PHds per capita. 40% of marriages were mixed ones between Sunni and Shia. There was no big divide. Same for Yugoslavia.

Sarajevo was a wonderful cosmopolitan city where different religions and ethnic people got along just fine.
Everywhere we go, we purposely cause chaos and destruction in order for the war profiteers to line their pockets. On Sundays we dressed in painted faces and pretend to be “Vikings” and watch as soldiers parachute into gladiator arenas. We drink beer and have a good time.

Well everybody else in the world, at least the 99%, also want to have fun on Sundays with their families and watch a little sports or fish or make love. BUT NOOOOO! We make sure that they are all running for cover from bombs and drones or starving or in richer countries are worried about their jobs.

It is too sad for me to really put into words.

I concur, especially the sentiment that everywhere “we” go, we purposely cause chaos and destruction.

Montana Public Radio gave candidates Curtis, Lewis, Daines and Zinke a chance to weigh in on the military strikes that have already started falling on the new terrorist product line, ISIS. Here is Curtis showing what kind of worthless Senator she would be when it comes to the congressional role of authorizing the president to go to war:

Curtis says she doesn’t think Obama needs congressional authorization to implement his plan. Some critics wonder why the President is planning military strikes when ISIS hasn’t directly attacked the United States. Curtis says Senator John Walsh – a veteran who led over 700 troops in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 – has convinced her that these radicals present a clear threat:

“…and that some of the folks who are working with ISIS have the ability to enter into the United States and have made repeated threats that they will continue to kill Americans. I really trust Senator Walsh’s judgment on this and I think he knows what he’s talking about.”

This is such bullshit I don’t even know where to start. Deferring Congressional oversight to the executive is the first mistake. Trusting the judgement of John Walsh is the second mistake. Allowing oneself to become a vehicle for propaganda dissemination regarding the alleged ISIS threat to the homeland is the third mistake.

Since Curtis is a teacher, maybe she would be receptive to a little history lesson. There is a country in the Middle East that funds extremists. The majority of the alleged hijackers on 9/11 came from this country. Oh, and even though they behead their own citizens from time to time (or stone them to death with rocks) they have a cozy relationship with America. Because oil.

And yet, for some odd reason, after the terrorist attack on 9/11, foreign nationals from this lovely country America is allied with were allowed to flee. Patrick Cockburn has a great article at Counterpunch everyone should read, titled Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the Rise of ISIS. Here’s an excerpt:

The most striking example of Washington’s willingness to protect the Kingdom over complicity in 9/11 is the 28 pages of the official inquiry that were censored and have yet to be published. Senator Graham is not allowed to reveal what is in the chapter that was redacted, but other sources say that they are about connections between Saudi government officials and the 9/11 attacks. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, in their book The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11, quote a senior American official, who saw the 28 pages before they were excised, apparently on the initiative of President Bush, as saying: “If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.”

Senator Graham has long campaigned to have the 28 pages of the 9/11 inquiry and other documents released. He says, knowing their content, that there is no national security justification for keeping them a secret 13 years after 9/11. He says that some government agencies, notably the FBI, have a motive in keeping information from the public about “their actions and their competence at the time of 9/11”. In Sarasota, Florida, the FBI initially denied having any documents relating to hijackers who were based there but has now handed over 80,000 pages that might be relevant under the Freedom of Information Act, according to Tom Julin, the Miami-based attorney handling the FoI application.

Asked why the US government has been so eager since 2001 to cover up for the Saudis, Senator Graham says that one explanation is the long-term US strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia, going back to the Second World War. There is also the close personal relationship between the Bush family and the Kingdom. But what he finds more difficult to explain is why the “policy of covering up Saudi involvement [in 9/11] persisted under the Obama administration”. Though Mr Obama had pledged to the families of the 9/11 victims during the 2008 presidential election campaign to release the 28 censored pages, it has failed to do so six years later.

From the perspective of the bipartisan perpetual war camp, suppressing the role of an “ally” like Saudi Arabia is not a failure, but a success. Amanda Curtis’ apparent naiveté regarding the US role in enabling the rise of ISIS is another success.

For everyone else trying to eek out a living in our increasingly hostile world, US foreign policy is an absolute fucking disaster.

Some younger people know this, and have articulated their perspective with a manifesto, titled There Is No Future In War. It’s lengthy, so I’ll conclude this post with a shorter selection:

Our true foes–– those endlessly gunning for war–– have been waging an economic war against us. Our foes are the ones who say we must increase Pentagon spending while we cut food stamps, unemployment assistance, public transportation, and low-income housing. They are the ones who want to destroy the social safety net that past generations have worked so hard to build. They are the ones who underfund our public schools – which are more segregated today than they were under Jim Crow – and then privatize them. They are the ones who throw hundreds of thousands of young people in prison, thanks to the racist and classist war on drugs, and then privatize the prisons to exploit and profit off of incarcerated citizens who make close-to-zero wages.

Throwing money at war does nothing to address the real issues we face. We, the youth of our country, are the ones who will feel this pain. The cost of war is sucking us dry; it is burdening us with debts we will never be able to pay back.

Pay attention, Amanda Curtis. These youth are trying to teach you something.

by lizard

Montana and New York have something in common: candidates fighting over the remnants of the old Democratic coalition where labor interests were actually paid more than lip-service to. Also, the conventional wisdom is that both campaigns are doomed.

In New York it’s a primary challenge aimed at Cuomo that has Democrats tired of the neoliberal agenda not totally depressed about what Democrats actually do once in office. Here is an excerpt from Peter Lavenia’s piece at Counterpunch, titled The Limitations of the Liberal Class:

Here in New York, the blogosphere has been awash in stories about the Democratic Party primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout, due to have its denouement this coming Tuesday. Teachout is running as an alternative to the neoliberal Andrew Cuomo, whose time in office has seen him embrace austerity measures, budget cutting for social programs and the expansion – quite literally – of casino capitalism across the state. Teachout will almost certainly lose, though her running mate Tim Wu apparently has a chance of capturing the nearly-useless position of Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket from Cuomo’s fellow neoliberal, Kathy Hochul. Like Bill DeBlasio last year, Teachout is being touted as a part of a great liberal revival, part of a narrative produced by some in the Democratic Party and media that the party has a soul that must be fought to preserve (though somewhat ironically, DeBlasio is a Cuomo endorser).

Yet a Teachout, or even Wu, victory would not be the triumph of resurgent, New Deal, social-democratic-style liberalism: it would simply be a rearguard holding action made by embattled members of what remains of the labor bureaucracy, a layer of staff at middle class civic activist groups, and an increasingly marginalized group of academic legal scholars, of whom Teachout and Wu are perfect examples. These groups have been increasingly squeezed out of the Democratic Party since the early 1970s, when structural pressures within the capitalist world-system caused the growth of the financial sector as a response to declining, and less lucrative, rates of profit in the non-financialized area of core nations’ economies. Starting in the 1980s, a gusher of cash from the finance and real estate sectors (FIRE) allowed the Democratic Party to slowly detach itself from the constituency cemented together by Franklin Roosevelt in his first two presidential election campaigns, usually called the New Deal coalition, between labor and certain sectors of capital. Because labor had long ago abandoned the idea of its own party, and had fled from vibrant Socialist and Communist Parties of the pre-war era, it was increasingly tied to a Democratic Party that only needed it for votes. As American labor unions are now practically nonexistent outside the public sector, neoliberals like Cuomo no longer need them for voter mobilization. Cuomo has even gone so far as to support anti-union charter schools, which has a quiet logic to it as the Democratic Party establishment would now like to actively purge the last remnants of the New Deal coalition.

In Montana we have Amanda Curtis, the labor-savvy math teacher who was selected after the establishment’s choice, John Walsh, imploded. At the Flathead Memo, James Conner suggests that Curtis should run a guerilla campaign that makes her interesting:

What should be more important to Amanda Curtis’ campaign? Enforcing message discipline? Or, making her as interesting as possible?

Her campaign staff’s answer is obvious: message discipline. Keep her on her talking points, deflect or flat out refuse to answer uncomfortable questions, post as little as possible on her website and Facebook page, and block trackers even if that makes her staff look like bullies and diverts them from signing-up volunteers.

That’s how conventional big campaigns are run. They’re advertising exercises, with the candidate serving as the soap or beer. Curtis’ public relations chief, Les Braswell, comes from that background. And of course, this is nothing new. Readers who are my contemporaries will remember Joel McGinniss’ classic about the 1968 Presidential campaign, The $elling of the President.

Curtis, however, has no time to run a conventional campaign. Early voting begins in a month. If she’s going to excite rank and file Democrats, generate enthusiasm among 18–29-year-old-voters, and by example lead young single women and mothers to the polls, she needs to run a guerilla campaign — a campaign that makes her as interesting as possible.

The problem, of course, is that a few challenges here and there to the establishment won’t reverse a trend that has been happening for decades, one that was accelerated by Bill Clinton and now has totally metastasized under Obama to the point that his apparent successor, Hillary Clinton, can openly praise Henry Kissinger and his new book without much concern for the backlash. Here are Clinton’s actual words:

Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past, what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.

Hillary and Henry, holding hands and skipping down a road lined with corpses. This is what the Democrat establishment offers us as a choice supposedly distinct from Republicans. The parrots of lesser-evilism agree.




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,688,193 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,736 other followers

  • June 2021
    S M T W T F S
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • Categories