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Well. It was amazing. It was mind-blowing. Nobody thought it could happen. Yet he pulled it off.

What a lesson, what a beautiful example of “nothing is impossible”.

I went to bed early on Tuesday – why torture oneself with the slow incoming counting of a Clinton win? – and fully prepared for the awful news of Hillary’s win the next morning, already detaching myself from the whole election affair. Life goes on and all that. Millions of errands and things to do the next morning, the election will be over, back to the normal drudgery of everyday life, let’s think about other things already.

Of course, when I got up the next morning, I went to check the news for the awful acknowledgement of Hillary’s win and just to see how bad it had been.

And then I was speechless. Stunned. Overjoyed.

And even though the witch keeps flying around, circling on her broom, still meddling obviously in the high circles of power that she has attained, she lost.

She lost like no one could, crashing from the highest pedestal that she had built for herself, with her mountains of lies and all that corrupt money the Clinton crime syndicate has amassed.

And every little tiny tinsy bit of news about her loss, her disappointment, the knife in her stomach, her resounding vertical crash was just savored. How it came from nowhere and just whipped her repugnant smug face. A lifetime of grotesque crimes, all that highest level corruption, a billion thrown to oil that horrible Hillary electing machine, and Trump just grabbed the win right out of her slimy hard clutching hands. Without much effort, it can also be added.

Trump was very smart – we all have to hand it to him. Talking to millions of dumb Americans, selfish and low-info as they are, takes talent. I never thought he had it, but he does.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Trump means more of the same horrible criminal US of A – wars, torture, horrendous foreign policy, arms sales to barbarians abroad to commit relentless repression and mass murder, just to mention a few of the gravest international issues. He is not ethical and his number one priority is himself. I think he is poised to become richer than the Bushes and the Clintons. Only time will tell.

But he won. And that means Hillary lost. Her only chance and he smashed it.

And that is a lesson.

I’m still savoring that she lost her only chance and I’ll be savoring it for some time. What she most wanted and No. You can’t have it. Hard to know how many people the Clintons have gotten rid of, how many careers they have destroyed, how many people in Haiti are suffering because the Clintons robbed them of their resources (including Hillary’s brother and that Haitian gold mine plunder of his), how many masses of human beings have been murdered or starved because of the arms sales and foreign policies and deals orchestrated by Bill and Hillary, but she lost. In this world without justice, this is about the only thing we can get.

We’ll take it and savor it.

Good article on TAC:

The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy

How long will the people permit it?

 

 

The contemporary mission of the US armed forces is to make military contractors rich. As an addendum the foreign policy elite use the military to scare the world into political alignment with the US. How did this happen? The American people flat out don’t care and therefore the media just goes along with the corrupt government on this endless gravy train. At no time has it been more true that “war is a racket” as Gen. Smedley Butler noted long ago. In my view, the National Security State is our largest unit of organized crime.

[Amen.]

This comment is actually priceless in the bolded parts:

TG says:

Ah, but Hillary Clinton is ‘qualified’ to be president, and Donald Trump is ‘unqualified.’ Why? Because Clinton has been deemed ‘qualified’ by the New York Times, and she has been engaged with echo-chamber think tanks for decades that keep telling her how great she is, and she has been mucking about in government for over two decades, and anyhow she’s a woman. So even though Trump says a lot of sensible things, and has a track record of (mostly) succeeding with large complex projects in a very competitive business environment (and even when he fails he knows how to cut his losses), and he appears to care more about the national interest than selling out for personal gain, obviously we can’t vote for him, because racism.

[ 🙂 Well, since Trump is running on a Republican ticket, he’ll just end up being another neo-con just like Hillary. The fools wanting to vote for him are just as clueless as the Hillary fans.]

Karl R Kaiser says:

It’s only a failure if you believe the government’s STATED strategic purposes.

But if the purpose of our foreign policy is to enrich the military industry, bankers, oil barons, and opium importers, to empower Israel, and to frighten Americans into accepting a paramilitary surveillance state, then voila, American foreign policy is an unqualified success.

Douglas K. says:

I echo other comments here. Current policy is a failure only if you’re concerned about American lives, civil liberties, security, prestige, international reputation, military preparedness … stuff like that. You know, the metrics of success that normal people use.

But if the actual goal is to maintain permanent low-level foreign and domestic threats to justify continued massive military expenditures and the perpetual expansion of the security state, then it’s all working perfectly. The “war on terror” is like the “war on drugs” in that the point is to fight it forever, not to win. After all, the money is in the fighting. “Victory” — perpetually undefined and therefore unachievable — would end the gravy train.

Anarcissie says:

The US leadership/elite/ruling class decided that it had to rule the world, to make the world safe for itself and its interests, back during World War 2, and created a system to do that. It is now generally referred to as ’empire’. All arrangements eventually come to an end, and we are now coming to the end of this particular arrangement. It might be objectively possible for our leaders to try to work up a new arrangement, but my guess is that in their sentimental attachment to power and glory, they will just keep doing the same things until some catastrophe brings the sad game to an end. The present election seems to bear out this pessimistic view.

There was an excellent article on Tom Dispatch on this very question.

Excerpt below:

What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?
The Enemies of My Enemy May Be War Criminals
By Rebecca Gordon

…we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men — and a few women — who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.

They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer “lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.”

That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the “global war on terror,” this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.

Their letter continues, “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.”

There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.

What Is The “Free World”?

Let’s start with the last bit: “the leader of the free world.” That’s what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “free world” included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States.

The U.S.S.R. led what, by this logic, was the un-free world, including the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, the “captive” Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the People’s Republic of China (for part of the period), North Korea, and of course Cuba. Americans who grew up in these years knew that the people living behind the “Iron Curtain” were not free. We’d seen the bus ads and public service announcements on television requesting donations for Radio Free Europe, sometimes illustrated with footage of a pale adolescent man, his head crowned with chains.

I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt.

The two great adversaries, together with the countries in their spheres of influence, were often called the First and Second Worlds. Their rulers treated the rest of the planet — the Third World — as a chessboard across which they moved their proxy armies and onto which they sometimes targeted their missiles. Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement, which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito.

Other countries weren’t so lucky. When the United States took over from France the (unsuccessful) project of defeating Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle, people in the U.S. were assured that the war that followed with its massive bombing, napalming, and Agent-Oranging of a peasant society represented the advance of freedom against the forces of communist enslavement. Central America also served as a Cold War battlefield, with Washington fighting proxy wars during the 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, where poor campesinos had insisted on being treated as human beings and were often brutally murdered for their trouble. In addition, the U.S. funded, trained, and armed a military dictatorship in Honduras, where John Negroponte — one of the anti-Trump letter signers — was the U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.

The Soviet Union is, of course, long gone, but the “free world,” it seems, remains, and so American officials still sometimes refer to us as its leader — an expression that only makes sense, of course, in the context of dual (and dueling) worlds. On a post-Soviet planet, however, it’s hard to know just what national or geographic configuration constitutes today’s “un-free world.” Is it (as Donald Trump might have it) everyone living under Arab or Muslim rule? Or could it be that amorphous phenomenon we call “terrorism” or “Islamic terrorism” that can sometimes reach into the “free world” and slaughter innocents as in San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, or Nice, France? Or could it be the old Soviet Union reincarnated in Vladimir Putin’s Russia or even a rising capitalist China still controlled by a Communist Party?

Faced with the loss of a primary antagonist and the confusion on our planet, George W. Bush was forced to downsize the perennial enemy of freedom from Reagan’s old “evil empire” (the Soviet Union) to three “rogue states,” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which in an address to Congress he so memorably labeled the “axis of evil.” The first of these lies in near ruins; the second we’ve recently signed a nuclear treaty with; and the third seems incapable of even feeding its own population. Fortunately for the free world, the Bush administration also had some second-string enemies to draw on. In 2002, John Bolton, then an undersecretary of state (and later ambassador to the U.N.), added another group “beyond the axis of evil” — Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Of the three, only Cuba is still a functioning nation.

And by the way, the 50 Republican national security stars who denounced Donald Trump in Cold War terms turn out to be in remarkably good company — that of Donald Trump himself (who recently gave a speech invoking American Cold War practices as the basis for his future foreign policy).

“He Weakens U.S. Moral Authority…”

After its twenty-first century wars, its “black sites,” and Guantánamo, among other developments of the age, it’s hard to imagine a much weaker “moral authority” than what’s presently left to the United States. First, we gave the world eight years of George W. Bush’s illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as CIA torture sites, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and a program of quite illegal global kidnappings of terror suspects (some of whom proved innocent of anything).  Under President Obama, it seems we’ve traded enhanced interrogation techniques for an “enhanced” use of assassination by drone (again outside any “law” of war, other than the legal documents that the Justice Department has produced to justify such acts).

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009 his first executive order outlawed the CIA’s torture program and closed those black sites. It then looked as if the country’s moral fiber might be stiffening. But when it came to holding the torturers accountable, Obama insisted that the country should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” and the Justice Department declined to prosecute any of them. It’s hard for a country to maintain its moral authority in the world when it refuses to exert that authority at home.

Two of the letter signers who are so concerned about Trump’s effect on U.S. moral authority themselves played special roles in “weakening” U.S. moral authority through their involvement with the CIA torture program: John Bellinger III and Michael Hayden.

June 26th is the U.N.’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To mark that day in 2003, President Bush issued a statement declaring, “Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example.”

The Washington Post story on the president’s speech also carried a quote from Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the effect that all prisoners being held by the U.S. government were being treated “humanely.” John Rizzo, who was then the CIA’s deputy general counsel, called John Bellinger, Condoleezza Rice’s legal counsel at the National Security Council, to express his concern about what both the president and McClellan had said.

The problem was that — as Rizzo and his boss, CIA director George Tenet, well knew — many detainees then held by the CIA were not being treated humanely. They were being tortured or mistreated in various ways. The CIA wanted to be sure that they still had White House backing and approval for their “enhanced interrogation” program, because they didn’t want to be left holding the bag if the truth came out. They also wanted the White House to stop talking about the humane treatment of prisoners.

According to an internal CIA memo, George Tenet convened a July 29, 2003, meeting in Condoleezza Rice’s office to get the necessary reassurance that the CIA would be covered if the truth about torture came out. There, Bellinger reportedly apologized on behalf of the administration, explaining that the White House press secretary had “gone off script,” mistakenly reverting to “old talking points.” He also “undertook to [e]nsure that the White House press office ceases to make statements on the subject other than [to say] that the U.S. is complying with its obligations under U.S. law.”

At that same meeting, Tenet’s chief counsel, Scott Muller, passed out packets of printed PowerPoint slides detailing those enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, so that Bellinger and the others present, including Rice, would understand exactly what he was covering up.

So much for the “moral authority” of John Bellinger III.

As for Michael Hayden (who has held several offices in the national security apparatus), one of his signature acts as CIA Director was to approve in 2005 the destruction of videotapes of the agency’s waterboarding sessions. In a letter to CIA employees, he wrote that the tapes were destroyed “only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries.”

Of course destroying those tapes also meant that they’d never be available for any future legislative or judicial inquiry. The letter continued,

“Beyond their lack of intelligence value… the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

One has to wonder whether Hayden was more concerned with his CIA colleagues’ “security” from al-Qaeda or from prosecution. In any case, he deprived the public — and any hypothetical future prosecutor — of crucial evidence of wrongdoing.

Hayden also perpetuated the lie that the Agency’s first waterboarding victim, Abu Zubaydah — waterboarded a staggering 83 times — was a crucial al-Qaeda operative and had provided a quarter of all the information that the CIA gathered from human subjects about al-Qaeda.  He was, in fact, never a member of al-Qaeda at all. In the 1980s, he ran a training camp in Afghanistan for the mujahedin, the force the U.S. supported against the Soviet occupation of that country; he was, that is, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.”

Bellinger later chimed in, keeping the Abu Zubaydah lie alive by arguing in 2007 on behalf of his boss Condoleezza Rice that Guantánamo should remain open. That prison, he said, “serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11.”

“He Appears to Lack Basic Knowledge About and Belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Laws, and U.S. Institutions…”

That’s the next line of the open letter, and it’s certainly a fair assessment of Donald Trump. But it’s more than a little ironic that it was signed by Michael Hayden who, in addition to supporting CIA’s torture project, oversaw the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 secret surveillance program. Under that program, the government recorded the phone, text, and Internet communications of an unknown number of people inside and outside of the United States — all without warrants.

Perhaps Hayden believes in the Constitution, but at best it’s a selective belief. There’s that pesky 4th Amendment, for example, which guarantees that

“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Nor does Hayden appear to believe in U.S. laws and institutions, at least when it comes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the secret courts that are supposed to issue exactly the sort of warrant Hayden’s program never requested.

John Negroponte is another of the signers who has a history of skirting U.S. laws and the congress that passes them. While ambassador to Honduras, he helped develop a murderouscontra” army, which the United States armed and trained to overthrow the government of neighboring Nicaragua. During those years, however, aid to the contras was actually illegal under U.S. law.  It was explicitly prohibited under the so-called Boland Amendments to various appropriations bills, but no matter.  “National security” was at stake.

Speaking of the Constitution, it’s instructive to take a look at Article 6, which states in part that “all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” Such treaties include, for example, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand non-aggression pact (whose violation was the first charge brought against the Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg) and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, which permits military action only “if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

In 1998, Robert Zoellick, another of those 50 Republicans openly denouncing Trump, signed a different letter, which advocated abrogating those treaties. As an associate of the Project for a New American Century, he was among those who urged then-President Bill Clinton to direct “a full complement of diplomatic, political, and military efforts” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.” This was to be just the first step in a larger campaign to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The letter specifically urged Clinton not to worry about getting a Security Council resolution, arguing that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.”

“He Is Unable or Unwilling to Separate Truth From Falsehood…” 

So says the letter, and that, too, offers a fair characterization of Trump, who has often contended that President Obama has never proved he was born in the U.S.A., and has more than once repeated the long-disproved legend that, during the 1899-1913 Morro Rebellion in the Philippines, General John J. Pershing used bullets dipped in pig’s blood to execute Muslim insurgents. (And that’s barely to scratch the surface of Donald Trump’s remarkable unwillingness to separate truth from falsehood.) What, then, about the truthfulness of the letter signers?

Clinton never bit on the PNAC proposal, but a few years later, George W. Bush did. And the officials of his administration began their campaign of lies about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium from Niger, and “smoking guns” that might turn out to be “mushroom clouds” (assumedly over American cities), all of which would provide the pretext for that administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration didn’t limit itself to lying to the American people. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte was dispatched to the Security Council to lie, too. Security Council Resolution 1441 was the last of several requiring Iraq to comply with weapons inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some members of the Council, especially Russia and France, were hesitant to approve 1441, fearing that the U.S. might interpret it as a license to invade. So, in the discussions before the vote, Negroponte assured the Security Council that “this resolution contains no ‘hidden triggers’ and no ‘automaticity’ with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions.” The British ambassador used almost identical words to reassure the Council that, before attacking Iraq, the United States and Britain would seek its blessing.

That, of course, is hardly what happened. On February 24, 2003, Washington and London did bring a resolution for war to the Security Council.  When it became apparent that two of its permanent members, France and Russia, would veto that resolution if it came to a vote, Bush (in consultation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) decided to withdraw it. “We all agreed,” he wrote in his memoir, that “the diplomatic track had reached its end.”

And so the U.S. was on its foreordained path to war and disaster in Iraq, the path that after much winding, much failure, and much destruction would lead to Donald Trump.

So much for keeping promises and separating “truth from falsehood.”

====end of excerpt====

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

At least in terms of scale. Of course, in terms of widespread lack of character, it’s like all of the worse offenders in history, current and past.

Reuters: The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

================

And did you notice how this information was worded?

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled

Jumbled? The proper word is corrupt. To the core. And what would “materially misstated” really mean in ‘As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded’? Perjury?

The abject failure that is this co-called democracy and its capitalist system.

 

 

 

 

Wikileaks had published two short CIA manuals for guidance on committing crimes of false identity intended for its operatives traveling through Europe.

In other words, below is a crime manual. And as I have been pointing out in recent posts, the US, France, and the UK are just organized mafias where people wear suits.

There is no rule of law – just the rule of power without oversight. Which means we live in democracies with no rule of law. How’s that for a system? As long as material wealth trickles down to certain sectors of society, people support it.

CIA Advice for Operatives Infiltrating Schengen

I came across a report from a couple that traveled to Cuba that offered their experience. I have a similar expectation that this is what one could very well see in Cuba – particularly as a tourist.

Castro and his supporters achieved tremendous progress for Cuba, and he outsmarted the US’s evil desire to destroy this progress, and bring it under its heel of corruption and exploitation as it has done to dozens of other countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Caitlin Causey:

When my husband and I started telling others that we had begun making plans to travel to Cuba this summer, their reactions ranged from curiosity to something like thinly veiled horror: Cuba, of all places? Fidel Castro, communists, the missile crisis in the ‘60s — why Cuba?

For us, the answer was simple: Cuba today is at a pivotal moment in its history, and has not been this accessible to regular Americans in more than 50 years. It is also one of the most interesting, culturally rich, and astoundingly gorgeous natural areas on Earth. When Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba’s northeastern shore in October 1492, he wrote that he “never beheld such a beautiful place.”

This we had to see.

But first, we needed to figure out how to get there. U.S. travel restrictions had been locked in place for decades, embedded in our country’s 1961 trade embargo and loosened only in late 2014. With additional lightening of limitations in March of this year, travelers like us could plan our trip without needing to apply for a visa with the federal government so long as our trip’s purpose fit into one of 12 pre-approved categories. These include humanitarian work, academic research, sport competitions and journalistic activities (hint, hint: this article’s for you, feds!). Purely touristic travel, however, is still technically prohibited under U.S. law.

Once the legal details were ironed out, we booked two flights: one to Mexico, and one from Mexico to Havana. The good news is that this type of roundabout entry into the country will soon be unnecessary, with direct flights from the States to several Cuban cities scheduled to resume this fall. Denver’s own Frontier Airlines has even been awarded a number of daily trips by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Soon, we were stuffing last-minute snacks and sunblock into our backpacks and locking the door to our Glenwood home behind us. As we exited customs in the Havana airport about 24 hours later, a blast of infernal tropical heat pummeled us — and I knew we had arrived.

For the next three weeks we drove across the island from east to west in a small Chinese rental car, beginning in the eastern metropolis of Santiago de Cuba and eventually making our way back to Havana. Santiago was a fascinating introduction to the country, a vivacious city pulsing with music, dance and youthful energy. Here we stayed in the first of several Airbnb’s throughout the trip, booked online before we ever left home. Airbnb has taken off since beginning operations in Cuba last year partly because private homestays, or casas particulares, are one of a few limited forms of private enterprise allowed by the government.

After Santiago we drove northeast through Guantanamo province, stopping near the top of its eponymous bay to see if we could squint hard enough to spot our infamous U.S. base at the other end. The road then took us to lush, secluded Baracoa — arguably the most lovely town we visited in all of Cuba. Accessible only by sea for centuries before a single road was constructed in the 1960s to connect it with the rest of the country, Baracoa maintains its own unique atmosphere, culture and food traditions today. The heaping plate of spiced tetí we ate there — tiny fish the size of rice grains, native to the region — was the most unusual culinary experience of our trip.

From Baracoa we went west along Cuba’s northern shore, with stops in the sleepy colonial towns of Banes and Gibara. Further inland we visited stunning Camagüey and roamed its labyrinthine streets, which were reportedly designed to confuse pillaging bands of pirates a few centuries ago. Afterward we continued to Trinidad, a cobblestoned village surrounded by ghostly old sugarcane plantations, and then skirted the south coast until hitting the Bay of Pigs.

Would anyone believe that the Bay of Pigs, once the gruesome site of the U.S. government’s doomed 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, is now a bona fide adventure destination attracting snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world? Well, it is — and for good reason. Along the bay’s eastern edge is a wild and uncorrupted 22-mile stretch of coral reef and gentle crystalline waters. What an odd place for us to spend the Fourth of July this year.

For our final few days in Cuba, we saved the biggest sight for last: Havana. At once grand and decrepit, Havana was everything we had seen in pictures and more. Vintage cars the color of bubble gum and banana cream, crumbling colonial architecture, horse drawn carts full of papayas, children playing handball in the street, daiquiris, dancing, music pouring from open doors, sunsets over the sea wall: as our Lonely Planet guidebook put it, “No one could have invented Havana. It’s too audacious, too contradictory, and — despite 50 years of withering neglect — too damned beautiful.”

The same, I think, could be said of the entire country. The fascinating thing about Cuba in 2016 is that all of its glorious contradictions are coming to a head. It is obvious that change is happening — but what exactly that change might bring is anyone’s guess.

Cuba surprised me in ways that I did not expect. At every turn, something or someone was waiting to dismantle the old Castro-Communist-Missile Crisis narrative of Cuba that I (and most other Americans) had grown up with. Where I anticipated animosity, I was granted kindness; where I assumed danger, I felt safety; and where I expected ugliness, I found beauty. Cuba is not what it was in the 1960s, or the 1990s, or even what it was five years ago — and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Here is the best article so far on the Sanders’ sell-out to criminal, vile Clinton:

The worst disservice Sanders has done to his supporters, other than to lead them on a wild goose chase for real change, is to virtually ignore his rival’s vaunted “experience.” He need not have mentioned Hillary Clinton’s Senate record, since there was nothing there; her stint as law-maker was merely intended to position her for a run for the presidency, according to the family plan. But there was a lot in her record as Secretary of State.

As she recounts in her memoir, she wanted a heftier “surge” in Afghanistan than Obama was prepared to order. Anyone paying attention knows that the entire military mission in that broken country has been a dismal failure producing blow-back on a mind-boggling scale, even as the Taliban has become stronger, and controls more territory, than at any time since its toppling in 2001-2002.

Hillary wanted to impose regime change on Syria in 2011, by stepping up assistance to armed groups whom (again) anyone paying attention knows are in cahoots with al-Nusra (which is to say, al-Qaeda). In an email dated Nov. 30, 2015, she states her reason: “The best way to help Israel…is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

In her memoir she criticizes Obama for not doing more to oust the secular Assad regime. She has repeatedly stated during her campaign that she favors a no-fly zone over Syria, like the one she advocated for Libya. That means conflict with Russia, which is bombing sites in Syria, with the permission of its internationally recognized government, under what Russia’s leaders (and many rational people) consider to be terrorists’ control.

Sanders–sorry, I cannot call him “Bernie” anymore, since he has become precisely as avuncular as Dick Cheney–could have effectively attacked Hillary the Skjaldmær (Old Norse for “Shield-maiden,” referring to an often berserk warrior-woman) for her role in the destruction of Libya. But no! Always referring to her deferentially as “Secretary Clinton”—as though her actions in that role merit respect—he rarely alluded to her greatest crime at all. That’s unforgivable.

(Yes, in one debate he mentioned Libya in passing—timidly, and with no follow-up. While he repeatedly mentioned how The Secretary had voted for the Iraq War and he hadn’t, he hardly exuded moral outrage about that or any other Clinton decision. His campaign was all about her Wall Street ties and well-paid, secret talks, the transcripts of which he once wanted to see but has now apparently lost interest. It was never about “foreign policy,” which is supposedly her forte. He may call himself a “socialist,” but he’s no anti-imperialist. He has voted in favor of every “defense spending” bill, supported the NATO assault on Serbia in 1999, supported Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014, etc.)

He could have attacked Clinton savagely—with the savagery of mere matter-of-fact honesty—by citing those emails exchanged between Clinton and her vicious confidant and former adviser Anne-Marie Slaughter, in which the latter—under the subject line “bravo!”—congratulates her on engineering Obama’s agreement for the bombing of Libya. (On March 19, 2011, as the bombing of Libya began, Slaughter wrote: “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have NEVER been prouder of having worked for you. Turning [Obama] around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for.”

He could have quoted that email from Sidney Blumenthal, that Svengali figure who has long been Clinton’s unofficial mentor (along with Henry Kissinger and others): “No-fly! Brava! You did it!” (Brava, if you’re interested, is the feminine form of Bravo.)

He could have repeatedly used that damning clip that reveals Hillary’s joy at the grotesque murder of Moammar Gadhafy—-who had become a friend of Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, and the CIA as of 2011—at the hands of Islamist thugs, who rammed a stick and knife up his anus on camera just to make it more humiliating. His ads could have started with some appropriately edited version of this. And ended with this. And left the people to draw their own conclusions.

He could have asked, “Why the hell did you appoint Dick Cheney aide Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Eurasia, and support and fund that coup in Ukraine in 2014 in your goddamn ambition to expand NATO?”

But no. He didn’t have it in him. And now he wants his youthful erstwhile followers to transfer their support to someone who is not only the embodiment of Wall Street, with all its blood-sucking and all its crookedness, but the personification of U.S. imperialism in an era when its depth of crisis has produced a state of perpetual war.

Savvy people in Syria and elsewhere surely understand what the Sanders endorsement means: Syria is the next Libya.

Hillary in the Oval Office, Binyamin Netanyahu at her side, will laugh as Assad gets her knife up his ass, chaos deepens, the draft is re-instated, and boys and girls—of all ethnicities, gay and straight together—march off to fight the Brava Wars drastically reducing youth unemployment and making legions more eligible for the GI Bill.

Even if Sanders doesn’t vote for the war (and why should there be a vote, after all, in this post-constitution era?), he will share responsibility.

Shame! And shame on any once “Bernie” supporter who follows him into his moral morass.

* * *

Feel the burn. The burn of the rigged system. Why be drawn into it—the object of Hillary’s praise, for switching so readily from him to her (for the sake of “unity”)?

What is there to unite with, but more corruption, exploitation, and wars based on lies?

The votes that matter are the votes on the street. Either Trump or Clinton will provoke mass upheaval. The key contribution of the Sanders campaign has been to lay bare for idealistic youth the magnitude of the rot in the system itself, while raising (however dishonestly) the prospect of “political revolution.”

It’s the hope Sanders has sold out. But yes, that’s what we need. Social, economic, and political revolution. Too bad he’s chosen the other side.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

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Well done, Gary and Counterpunch! My impression had been, since I actually didn’t know much about Sanders before he started his presidential campaign, that he actually had integrity. That he actually was going to use his remarkable abilities as a politician and speaker to do good. To educate and guide the dumb and clueless American voters, especially the young ones, who have no alternative given to them as to understanding how the world works, especially in terms of power, and are conditioned to idolize the very structures that are ruining the world (like Wall Street and the military/arms industry).

I had thought, given that Sanders seemed to actually present a socialist idea for society, that he was not on the imperial bandwagon. I thought he wasn’t attacking Clinton on her vile imperialism because  that would mean directly antagonizing with her supporters, since they have been conditioned (and  many also deliberately choose) to support wars, mass murder, torture, etc. So I thought he was going for their disenfranchisement angle, to connect with them.

But as Leupp points out above, Sanders seems to be much, much  more rotten when it comes to military and imperialism issues. And maybe this is why he is congratulating himself – in the most ridiculous way possible – for having achieved something that he fancies to be momentous:  having her promise to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars. It’s pathetic. This, after he caved in to Hillary, the most disgusting Republican in drag ever, the most mass murder loving Democrat ever.

A lesson why democracy doesn’t work in a vile world – or in a world full of dumb, selfish, and corrupt people such as the United States.

SteveM says (at The American Conservative):
July 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

Re: “If, knowing what we know of the congenital mendacity of Hillary Clinton, the nation chooses her as head of state and commander in chief, then that will tell us something about the America of 2016.”

Hillary is objectively a moral, ethical and performance based catastrophe. I.e., a corrupt, parasitic hack mediocrity.

That said, Hillary being where she is tells us two things about America in 2016.

The first is that the United States is run by a Deep State Crony Corruptocracy that allowed Hillary to be emplaced. And that pathological political-economic architecture cannot be unwound via the ballot box.

The second is that the American constitutional model (the 7 Articles delineating powers across the 3 branches of governance) is a fundamental failure. And because of its very nature, it cannot be repaired via constitutional means. I.e., the constitutional mechanisms for radically restructuring the 7 Articles are politically infeasible.

So there you have it.

P.S. Have I ever mentioned that you can stick a fork in America because it’s cooked?

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Indeed. The US has shown that its version of democracy is an abject failure. Financially, morally, and  regarding systematic human rights violations, like wars – it is grotesque.

And, as SteveM wisely points to above, voting in for one political clown or another will not solve the problem, because it will not change the system that is enormously crooked. And, since Americans refuse to vote for honest politicians who want a true system change, they will not revolutionize the system through voted-in changes. What remains of this is that the ballot box serves in the end for nothing much. So much so that so many people in the US see no purpose in voting.

Thus the US’s Deep State Crony Corruptocracy and Mass Murder Machine is increasingly on display for all to see – in everyone’s  face, as it couldn’t be otherwise – because it knows the American people are too corrupt, dizzy, mollified, or cowardly to take the powerful parasites on. The minority of honest and aware Americans who are aghast with the demise of ethics, decency, and rule of law in their usually beloved country can do little against a gigantic mass of idiotic and “march-along” citizens.

Which is one of the reasons I admire Fidel Castro so much. He saw how Americans plundered, how they destroyed people, how they treated everyone like dogs, unleashing horrible repression anytime anyone tried to have a minimally human society with human rights – always babbling along their idiocy about “freedom and democracy” while instituting the world’s most brutal dictatorships, along with their CIA torturers and their terrorizing – he saw  the way Americans love to exploit the poor around the world as cheap labor and simply plunder all natural resources through violent coups, wars, and threats. Obviously a lot of American imperialism has been outsourced around to the world through local corrupt and brutal elites – which the world has never shortage of. It couldn’t be otherwise. This way, the US can pretend to its ignorant populace to be fighting for democracy abroad while bringing about death and destruction through all kinds of secret operations.

And yet Castro took on the deadly American machine. And he won.

 

It’s simple. People, once conditioned to follow a system, have an incredibly difficult time in re-thinking the system, especially its premises.

Why did people in so many European cultures, decade after decade, generation after generation, century after century, think of no alternative to the autocratic, violent, and undemocratic systems they had? Why did no one think of an alternative system to the strong-man rule cemented by a notion of “royalty”?

Likewise, Americans are on display for being incapable of thinking of any alternatives to their sham of a system, including the most important lies they have developed and hang on to.

For example, one of my favorites is the lie that you can separate government from religion, that it is possible not to have a state-sponsored religion. Americans love this lie. They have hung on to it fiercely. Part of this lie is the notion that Americans concretely separated religion from government and were able to create a satisfactory society.

As I have been saying, one must understand that an ideological system, whether it includes a notion of god (or gods) is irrelevant. Therefore, liberal ideology and Protestantism are both ideological systems – since every religion is an ideological system. At the same time, all ideological systems  function as a religion does. What’s the main difference? Liberalism merely  does not include the notion of a god.

When liberals say they have a government that has set religion apart, it merely means they have increasingly instituted their godless religion as the state-sponsored and enforced ideology, i.e., the state-sponsored religion.

But, given the stupidity and hypocrisy of liberals, they will refuse to admit that all they are doing is playing with labels, pretending that their liberal ideological system doesn’t function the very same way as any state-enforced religion.

Why this hasn’t been particularly obvious to most Americans, especially the religious ones, I cannot understand. I find it so obvious. But I rarely hear religious folks mention the above. Everyone remains so hung up on the label “religion” that they don’t look at the dynamics of both political ideologies and religion –  wisely forgetting the labels.

That’s why I was very happy to see one comment, lone as it was, on The American Conservative, from a conservative, who seems is getting closer to seeing the light:

Dommerdog says July 2, 2016 at 4:28 am:

I’m no lawyer, and I’m certainly no constitutional scholar; but it seems to me that this ruling and all the other laws requiring people who run businesses to violate their own religious principles in order to accommodate consumers runs dangerously close to state establishment of religion.

I’m a layman myself, but you don’t have to be a scholar to see what is taking place. People are not blind. The pagan sex cult of the rainbow has just finished wrapping up its holy month with parades, politicians in tow, celebrating genitals and orgasms. It is the civic religion, the very thing that the founding fathers sought to avoid. Consolidation will be incremental but inexorable, and once the first amendment has been nullified (as advocated by Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet) the established state religion of sex and power will seek to ruthlessly crush its rivals, as has been broadcast in the NY Times and elsewhere.

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Indeed, the now dominant US liberals are saying, “Convert or be damned (and damned in this case means: suffer the state-enforced punishments for not following our liberal ideology-religion).”

As an aside, you also have to wonder about the American higher ed system. While it can be the world’s best in its most elite establishments, it fails completely to form a minimally intelligent populace. Or maybe this is because the percentage of people who finish college is dismal in the US (only 20%, and I speak from memory). And I don’t even know the percentage for those who go through grad school, obviously much tinier. And when I say “elite establishments”, I’m not speaking of fame (such as the myth of the superiority of Ivy League schools, or expensive private colleges), but of actual quality of teaching and learning.

And then, there is little a school can do if a person has firmly decided to cling on to a lie.

Which leads us to this other wonderful comment, also on TAC:

David Olm says:
July 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I think it was Jonathan Swift that said you cannot reason a man out of what he was not reasoned into in the first place, and that is what is scary about the society we are devolving into. You can demonstrate the patent nonsense of the left all day long (sexuality is as fluid as the ocean in transgenders but as fixed as Mt. Everest in homosexuals; the Bible actually condones homosexuality with the proper gnostic understanding of Hebrew and Greek translation) but it doesn’t matter with them at all. Because it is propaganda, not reason. And, as always, THE enemy of the Left is Christianity.

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And since the enemy of Christians is big, bad Russia and Putin – which everybody knows is just like Stalin; totally exaggerated threats from terrorists and ISIS; “communists”; or whatever 1950’s Cold War notions the commanders of the Right manage to twist around to manipulate the populace’s fears with in 2016, you could say that the stupid Right deserves the stupid Left in America – if it all didn’t have horrifying consequences for the world.

Barney Frank, the nasty homosexual pig and darling of the homosexual agenda honchos of the Democratic Party, and former Massachusetts Rep., has attacked Sanders in an interview especially designed for this purpose by Bloomberg Businessweek, since Sanders has refused to become another corrupt Clinton minion. At least, we are told, until next week. MSM, and you know how reliable they are, are already announcing that Sanders is scheduled to get behind the putrid Clinton machine as early as next week! Et tu, Sanders? Is it really the end? A few more days and we will see.

But back to Frank.

“He’s not bending backwards and licking Hillary’s boots, like a good Democrat (or homosexual slime)!!!” Frank screamed in the interview. “He’s making MANY of us corrupt, perverted, sold-out Democrats angry!!” “He is still going on about integrity and social justice!!” “He continues to care about the little people, the working class!!”

“Like, it’s time for him to shut up and endorse Clinton, the corruption, the wars, the mass murders, her mafia-like Foundation, and the glory of the most sexually perverted minds around – like myself, Bill Clinton and his pal Jeffrey Epstein, and the whole LGBT ‘community’ of sexuality turds!!!”

“The Democratic Party is a cesspool but he’d better get behind it – because otherwise, otherwise there’s… Trump and the Republicans!”

If it weren’t for homosexual turds like Frank, however, it could have been between Trump and Sanders.

Let us remember that Sanders has foolishly and ignorantly normalized homosexuality. So, if, in the end, he must compromise every shred of principle he has managed to hang on to so far, because the corrupt Democratic Party will now move into Sanders Demolition Mode Phase 2, it will be also thanks to all the grubby and putrid LGBTs like Frank that swarm the Party.

And in that respect, and only in that respect, I can say, it serves you right, Sanders.

 

 

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