Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


KoKo's Journal
KoKo's Journal
December 1, 2015

And, Why Is This? We worked so Hard for Change......How can this be?

One of the curious dynamics in American society today is that “bad” people are more organized, and making better use of time, than “good” people. That is not to suggest this is either new, or true across the board. However, I am convinced that the rates of organized action has been expanding with the “bad” people, creating greater difficulties for those “good” people who are social-political activists and organizers.

This afternoon, on CNN, there was a “discussion” that featured a rabid republican and a gentle Democrat, regarding the gross violence aimed at Planned Parenthood. Locally, I know for a fact that Planned Parenthood has offered free services to a number of young men, primarily in the context of couples considering family planning. But, even if PP only offered services to females, it is of such value that every man should be actively supporting it.



And, Joe Bageant (Deer Hunting With Jesus & other books)


Rep. Keith Ellison has "Deer Hunting With Jesus" as one of his top Book Recommends:


In Response to This Post:

The AGE of the DEMAGOGUES -- Chris Hedges -- MUST READ



A faux liberal class, epitomized by amoral politicians such as the Clintons and Barack Obama, has led many disenfranchised people, especially the white underclass, to direct a legitimate rage toward liberals and the supposed liberal values they represent. Racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, homophobia, sexism and vigilante violence, condemned by liberal, college-educated elites, are embraced by those who have been betrayed, those who now speak back to liberal elites in words, gestures and acts, sometimes violent, designed to denigrate the core values of a liberal democracy. The hatred is the product of a liberal class that did nothing to halt corporations from driving tens of millions of families into poverty and desperation as it mouthed empty platitudes about rights and economic advancement.

The Republican business elites, which declared war on the liberal class’ call for cultural diversity, allied themselves with an array of protofascists in the Christian right, the tea party, groups such as the National Rifle Association and The Heritage Foundation, the neo-Confederate movement, the right-to-life movement and right-wing militias. The elites in the Republican Party, who needed an ideological veneer to mask their complicity in the corporate assault, saw these protofascists as useful idiots. They thought, naively, that by demonizing liberals, feminists, African-Americans, Muslims, abortion providers, undocumented workers, intellectuals and homosexuals they could redirect the growing rage of the masses, sending it against the vulnerable, as well as against the only institution that could curb corporate power, the government, while they greedily disemboweled the nation.

But what the Republican elites have done, as they now realize to their horror, is empower a huge swath of the public—largely white—that is gripped by magical thinking and fetishizes violence. It was only a matter of time before a demagogue whom these elites could not control would ride the wave of alienation and rage. If Trump fails in his bid to become the GOP presidential nominee, another demagogue will emerge to take his place. Trump is not making a political revolution. He is responding to one.

The corporate state was never threatened by the liberal class’ myopic preoccupation with cultural diversity or the right wing’s championing of supposedly “Christian” values. This was anti-politics masquerading as politics. The culture wars did not challenge imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization. The dictates of the market, the primacy of corporate profit and the military-industrial complex remained sacrosanct. The mounting distress of the underclass was ignored or manipulated during the culture wars. Liberals who embraced cultural diversity did so within a neoliberal framework. Feminism, for example, became about placing individual women in positions of power—this is Hillary Clinton’s mantra—not about empowering poor, marginalized and oppressed women. Post-racial America became about a black president.....”

November 29, 2015

Itís a $cam! The American Way of War in the Twenty-First Century --Tomgram Dispatch

Roads to Nowhere, Ghost Soldiers, and a $43 Million Gas Station in Afghanistan

By Tom Engelhardt

So much construction and reconstruction -- and so many failures. There was the chicken-processing plant built in Iraq for $2.58 million that, except in a few Potemkin-Village-like moments, never plucked a chicken and sent it to market. There was the sparkling new, 64,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, $25 million headquarters for the U.S. military in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, that doubled in cost as it was being built and that three generals tried to stop. They were overruled because Congress had already allotted the money for it, so why not spend it, even though it would never be used? And don’t forget the $20 million that went into constructing roads and utilities for the base that was to hold it, or the $8.4 billion that went into Afghan opium-poppy-suppression and anti-drug programs and resulted in... bumper poppy crops and record opium yields, or the aid funds that somehow made their way directly into the hands of the Taliban (reputedly its second-largest funding source after those poppies).

There were the billions of dollars in aid that no one could account for, and a significant percentage of the 465,000 small arms (rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and the like) that the U.S. shipped to Afghanistan and simply lost track of. Most recently, there was the Task Force for Business Stability Operations, an $800-million Pentagon project to help jump-start the Afghan economy. It was shut down only six months ago and yet, in response to requests from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Pentagon swears that there are “no Defense Department personnel who can answer questions about” what the task force did with its money. As ProPublica’s Megan McCloskey writes, “The Pentagon’s claims are particularly surprising since Joseph Catalino, the former acting director of the task force who was with the program for two years, is still employed by the Pentagon as Senior Advisor for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism."

Still, from that pile of unaccountable taxpayer dollars, one nearly $43 million chunk did prove traceable to a single project: the building of a compressed natural gas station. (The cost of constructing a similar gas station in neighboring Pakistan: $300,000.) Located in an area that seems to have had no infrastructure for delivering natural gas and no cars converted for the use of such fuel, it represented the only example on record in those years of a gas station to nowhere.

All of this just scratches the surface when it comes to the piles of money that were poured into an increasingly privatized version of the American way of war and, in the form of overcharges and abuses of every sort, often simply disappeared into the pockets of the warrior corporations that entered America’s war zones. In a sense, a surprising amount of the money that the Pentagon and U.S. civilian agencies “invested” in Iraq and Afghanistan never left the United States, since it went directly into the coffers of those companies.

Clearly, Washington had gone to war like a drunk on a bender, while the domestic infrastructure began to fray. At $109 billion by 2014, the American reconstruction program in Afghanistan was already, in today's dollars, larger than the Marshall Plan (which helped put all of devastated Western Europe back on its feet after World War II) and still the country was a shambles. In Iraq, a mere $60 billion was squandered on the failed rebuilding of the country. Keep in mind that none of this takes into account the staggering billions spent by the Pentagon in both countries to build strings of bases, ranging in size from American towns (with all the amenities of home) to tiny outposts. There would be 505 of them in Iraq and at least 550 in Afghanistan. Most were, in the end, abandoned, dismantled, or sometimes simply looted. And don’t forget the vast quantities of fuel imported into Afghanistan to run the U.S. military machine in those years, some of which was siphoned off by American soldiers, to the tune of at least $15 million, and sold to local Afghans on the sly.

In other words, in the post-9/11 years, “reconstruction” and “war” have really been euphemisms for what, in other countries, we would recognize as a massive system of corruption.

And let’s not forget another kind of “reconstruction” then underway. In both countries, the U.S. was creating enormous militaries and police forces essentially from scratch to the tune of at least $25 billion in Iraq and $65 billion in Afghanistan. What’s striking about both of these security forces, once constructed, is how similar they turned out to be to those police academies, the unfinished schools, and that natural gas station. It can’t be purely coincidental that both of the forces Americans proudly “stood up” have turned out to be the definition of corrupt: that is, they were filled not just with genuine recruits but with serried ranks of “ghost personnel.”

Much More at........

November 27, 2015

"Putin Ignored My Phone Calls:" Turkish President Erdogan in Exclusive Interview with "French 24"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an exclusive interview Thursday with FRANCE 24, said his country “does not want tensions with Russia” after Turkish planes downed a Russian fighter near the Syrian border.

Erdogan, speaking to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman in the Turkish capital, Ankara, struck a conciliatory tone but declined to apologise for Tuesday's incident, which has further heightened tensions in the conflict-ridden region.

He restated Turkey’s stance that the Russian plane “ignored repeated warnings over five minutes” to leave Turkish airspace and had failed to identify itself.

“Had we known it was a Russian plane we may have acted differently,” he said. “But our pilots know the rules of engagement and have to do their duty to protect Turkish airspace”.

The Turkish leader said he had personally told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G20 meeting to end Russian incursions into Turkey’s airspace, warning that such incidents were likely to occur.

He added: “No sovereign state can be expected to give up its right to protect [its airspace]”.

Russian officials have reacted furiously to the plane’s downing on Tuesday, which Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as a “planned provocation”.

The Russian government said Thursday it was preparing a raft of retaliatory economic measures and urged all Russian nationals to leave Turkey.

Moscow disputes Turkish claims that the Russian plane entered Turkish airspace, and has demanded a formal apology.

Erdogan said Turkey had communicated all military data on the incident to Russian military authorities, adding that “data provided by our NATO allies confirm our own”.

Sidestepping questions about whether he planned to apologise, the Turkish leader said Russia had failed to communicate its own data and that Putin had ignored his phone calls.

“We need to talk about what happened [...], but Putin has not returned my call,” he said.

Article Continues after scrolling past the two short You Tube snips....starting with:



November 26, 2015

Moscow has accused Turkey of helping Islamic State in the illegal oil trade--Pepe Escobar

Not Only Ankara Backs Daesh but Offers Also Logistical Support [//b]– Pepe Escobar


Moscow has accused Turkey of helping Islamic State in the illegal oil trade which helps finance the terrorist group. According to analysts, Russian airstrikes in Syria are disrupting the profitable deals for Turkish middlemen, including Ankara officials.

November 25, 2015

Media Confliction over Russia and US Airstrikes on ISIS Oil Facilities & Tankers in Syria

I've seen U.S. Media Claim that our forces. have bombed Oil Facilities and Tankers in Syria with no mention of Russia's air strikes on those facilities. I've seen Russia and Foreign Media report that Russia has struck Oil Facilites and Tankers in Syria with no mention of the U.S. I'm talking about the Mainstream U.S TV Media like CNN/MSNBC because I don't know what Fox News does because I never watched it

Has anyone else noticed this?

I did a quick search for sample article and it seems to me from the dates that we must be, and have been, working in coordination with Russia for these strike against the ISIS Oil Facilities and Tankers--yet our Mainstream TV Media seems to ignore Russia's part while a few newspapers like NYT, WaPo and others do mention both. I check out both MSNBC and CNN and I've not seen either talk about a coordinated effort in the bombing raids between US and Russia.

Anyway, maybe I'm just being nit picky but thought it interesting.


Added on 8:54 AM ET, Thu November 19, 2015

Russian bombers strike ISIS' oil

Russia says it significantly reduced ISIS' export capabilities and income by striking oil tankers and storage facilities in Syria.


AP November 20, 2015, 2:41 PM

Russian airstrikes blast ISIS oil facilities in Syria

MOSCOW -- The Russian military has destroyed numerous oil facilities and tankers controlled by ISIS in Syria, sharply cutting its income, Russia's defense minister said Friday.

Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Friday that Russian warplanes destroyed 15 oil refining and storage facilities in Syria and 525 trucks carrying oil during this week's bombing blitz. He said this deprived ISIS of $1.5 million in daily income from oil sales.

Russia, which has conducted an air campaign in Syria since Sept. 30, sharply raised the intensity starting Tuesday following confirmation that the Russian Metrojet plane in Egypt was downed by a bomb, which ISIS said it had planted. All 224 people aboard the plane, mostly Russian tourists, were killed.

Putin has discussed cooperating on fighting ISIS during his meetings with President Barack Obama and other Western leaders at the sidelines of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations in Turkey this week.



Updated: Friday, September 26, 2014, 5:47 PM

BY Corky Siemaszko

U.S.-led coalition bomb ISIS oil sites in Syria for 2nd straight day as Britain, Belgium and Denmark announce they are joining the fight

The coalition dropped bombs on ISIS oil facilities overnight Thursday — the second day of raids on the oil plants and the fourth of airstrikes in the region. The strikes aim to cripple one of the terrorists' primary sources of cash: black market oil.



Middle East--November 16, 2015

U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS Oil Trucks in Syria

By MICHAEL R. GORDON --NOV. 16, 2015

ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said.

According to an initial assessment, 116 trucks were destroyed in the attack, which took place near Deir al-Zour, an area in eastern Syria that is controlled by the Islamic State.

The airstrikes were carried out by four A-10 attack planes and two AC-130 gunships based in Turkey.

Plans for the strike were developed well before the terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday, officials familiar with the operation said, part of a broader operation to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, to generate revenue to support its military operations and govern its territory.

To disrupt that revenue source, American officials said last week that the United States had sharply stepped up its airstrikes against infrastructure that allows the Islamic State to pump oil in Syria.

Until Monday, the United States refrained from striking the fleet used to transport oil, believed to include more than 1,000 tanker trucks, because of concerns about causing civilian casualties. As a result, the Islamic State’s distribution system for exporting oil had remained largely intact.

The new campaign is called Tidal Wave II. It is named after the World War II effort to counter Nazi Germany by striking Romania’s oil industry. Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, who in September assumed command of the international coalition’s campaign in Iraq and Syria, suggested the name.

To reduce the risk of harming civilians, two F-15 warplanes dropped leaflets about an hour before the attack warning drivers to abandon their vehicles, and strafing runs were conducted to reinforce the message.

The area where the trucks assemble in Syria has been closely monitored by reconnaissance drones. As many as 1,000 trucks have been observed there, waiting to receive their cargo of illicit oil.

On Monday, 295 trucks were in the area, and more than a third of them were destroyed, United States officials said. The A-10s dropped two dozen 500-pound bombs and conducted strafing runs with 30-millimeter Gatling guns. The AC-130s attacked with 30-millimeter Gatling guns and 105-millimeter cannons.

The pilots saw several drivers running to a nearby tent and did not attack them, an American official said, and there were no immediate reports of civilian casualties.

Col. Steven H. Warren, the American-led coalition’s spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed that A-10s and AC-130s had been used in the attack and that 116 tanker trucks had been destroyed.


November 24, 2015

Obama Drafted to Fight Bush's War

Obama Drafted to Fight Bush's War
Michael Tomasky (AN "OLDIE BUT GOODY" READ)

How Far We Have Come:

Let’s remember who got us into this mess in Iraq, despite plenty of warnings—from Republicans, even—that this is where it would all lead us. Blame Bush? In this case, absolutely.

A picture is coming into focus now, is it not? As I write the United States has launched more than 80 air strikes against the Islamic State. As the strikes have already expanded—and in my view properly so—beyond the original goals of saving the Yazidis and protecting American people and property in Erbil, there’s no clear telling of where and when they will end.

So let me run this depressing thought by you: They have every chance of ending with Barack Obama, and undoubtedly his successor as well, having to prosecute the war that George W. Bush and his geniuses made inevitable with their lies and errors and perversions of law and criminally irresponsible fantasies about this Iraq that they promised us would reveal itself before our eyes as painlessly and quickly and even beautifully as a rose coming to bloom in time-lapse photography.

Conservative readers are already tweeting: Here we go, blame Bush again. Well, in a word, yes. I’m afraid these dots are preposterously easy to connect. But first, we have a date with the wayback machine.

I have been looking back over a few predictions about the Iraq War from back in 2002 and 2003. Recall Dick Cheney: “Weeks rather than months.” Also “we will be greeted as liberators.” Paul Wolfowitz: “There's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Wolfowitz again, since he was to my mind the most Satanic of the bunch: “It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.”

Well, you know the rest. I could fill a book with these little memories. I could also fill another book—but a slenderer one, since so many of our “leading intellectuals” and so much of our foreign-policy establishment types noted the prevailing winds and hyped themselves into a pro-war frenzy—with grim predictions. But I’ll limit myself to two.

The first: “Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.”

And second: “While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guidelines about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in mission creep, and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs.”

Continued at.............

November 21, 2015

In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War--The Intercept

In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War--The Intercept
Nick Turse
Nov. 20 2015, 11:15 a.m.

THE GENERAL LEADING the U.S. military’s hidden war in Africa says the continent is now home to nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” that threaten U.S. interests. And today, gunmen reportedly yelling “Allahu Akbar” stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital and seized several dozen hostages. U.S. special operations forces are “currently assisting hostage recovery efforts,” a Pentagon spokesperson said, and U.S. personnel have “helped move civilians to secured locations, as Malian forces clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.”

In Mali, groups like Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa have long posed a threat. Major terrorist groups in Africa include al Shabaab, Boko Haram and al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM). In the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS, attention has been drawn to ISIS affiliates in Egypt and Libya, too. But what are the dozens of other groups in Africa that the Pentagon is fighting with more special operations forces, more outposts, and more missions than ever?

For the most part, the Pentagon won’t say.

Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, made a little-noticed comment earlier this month about these terror groups. After describing ISIS as a transnational and transregional threat, he went on to tell the audience of the Defense One Summit, “Although ISIS is a concern, so is al Shabaab, so is the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa and the 43 other illicit groups that operate in the area … Boko Haram, AQIM, and other small groups in that area.”

Bolduc mentioned only a handful of terror groups by name, so I asked for clarification from the Department of Defense, Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). None offered any names, let alone a complete accounting. SOCAFRICA did not respond to multiple queries by The Intercept. AFRICOM spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo would only state, “I have nothing further for you.”

While the State Department maintains a list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), including 10 operating in Africa (ISIS, Boko Haram, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, al Shabaab, AQIM, Ansaru, Ansar al-Din, Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, as well as Libya’s Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah), it “does not provide the DoD any legal or policy approval,” according to Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a Defense Department spokesperson.

“The DoD does not maintain a separate or similar list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations for the government,” she said in an email to The Intercept. “In general, not all groups of armed individuals on the African continent that potentially present a threat to U.S. interests would be subject to FTO. DoD works closely with the Intel Community, Inter-Agency, and the [National Security Council] to continuously monitor threats to U.S. interests; and when required, identifies, tracks, and presents options to mitigate threats to U.S. persons overseas.”

This isn’t the first time the Defense Department has been unable or unwilling to name the groups it’s fighting. In 2013, The Intercept’s Cora Currier, then writing for ProPublica, asked for a full list of America’s war-on-terror enemies and was told by a Pentagon spokesman that public disclosure of the names could increase the prestige and recruitment prowess of the groups and do “serious damage to national security.” Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School who served as a legal counsel during the George W. Bush administration, told Currier that the Pentagon’s rationale was weak and there was a “very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name.”



November 21, 2015

Don't FORGET "THE PROMISE"...Obama has Done Much-- but, Move it Forward....Remember...THE PROMISE!

Obama Tried......We Have to Move Forward and BUILD on THIS:

Published on Jan 28, 2014

Obama Inauguration

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen perform This Land is Your Land live at "We are one"

November 20, 2015

Iran and Hezbollah controlling Assad's army, say Syrian army defectors #SyriaWar

(Can't imagine who would sort out all the differing Shia Militias that are involved in Syria to even try to begin to pull together a Cease Fire Resolution--let alone how the different malitias even figure out who they are fighting with or against.)

Iran and Hezbollah controlling Assad's army, say Syrian army defectors

Former Syrian soldiers say Iran and Hezbollah, backed by Shia militias, make up vast majority of fighting troops

Iranian and Lebanese forces are in de facto control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, according to former Syrian soldiers.

Khaled al-Shami told Middle East Eye columnist Lara Nelson that foreign militias have overrun the Syrian army.

“One important thing to realise is that there is no Syrian army anymore, it is just militias, mostly Iranians and Lebanese,” he told Nelson, in a column published on Wednesday.

Shami defected from Assad’s troops to join the Syrian opposition in July. He was a soldier in the ninth armoured division and served in southern Syria, where President Assad’s forces are battling a coalition of rebel groups.

Now living in Jordan, Shami said that 70 percent of troops in the ninth armoured division are either Lebanese or Iranian.

Iran and Lebanese militia Hezbollah – along with Russia – have been key backers of President Assad in his war against rebel groups seeking his overthrow.

Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that they have only provided military advisers to President Assad, not troops on the ground.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has defended his country’s role in Syria, saying that Iran is attempting to facilitate a process to allow Syrians self-determination without outside interference.

However, recent reports suggest that thousands of Iranians have joined a major offensive in northern Syria to reclaim territory from rebel groups.

Hezbollah is open about its military support for President Assad, and have said it is pre-emptively striking groups including the Islamic State to stop them gaining a foothold in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union but Russia said on Sunday that they consider the group, which has elected parliamentarians in Lebanon, a “legitimate socio-political force”.

Former Syrian soldier Shami said his experience in the army suggested Iran and Hezbollah are not playing a supporting role, and instead are controlling President Assad’s forces.


November 19, 2015

Tell me how you feel about a Bernie O'Malley Hook Up for President/VP

This could be a WINNER TICKET! People concerned about Bernie's Age and who he would pick for VP would be immediately solved. If THEY Together Could Join Up against Hillary. IF they could Work Together as an Attack Team.

Here's the O'Malley article from the WaPo that started me thinking. I realize that a Senator from Vermont and a Mayor from Maryland might seem Too Northeast in orientation when we need other States of the USA to be a Viable Ticket for 2016..but, given the Repubs "Clown Car" and their current Frontrunner's Crazies...WHO Cares about Politically Correct States to Elect a President?

I love Bernie as President for his Wisdom & Expertise in US House and Senate... and O'Malley's Guitar Songs featuring Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger and others. Plus he's quiet and soft spoken which balances Bernies Fire and Passion.

ON EDIT: I'm reading the replies...Not a "Hit and Run Post"...I just wanted to read what people think....


This is the NEW 2016 Election.....ANYTHING GOES! Trump vs. Carsen? Who better to fight against that pair...

Here's the WaPo article about O'Malley:

They were with O’Malley for Hart’s ’84 campaign. And they are with him now.


Profile Information

Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 84,711

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»KoKo's Journal