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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Current location: Greenfield
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 57,066

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Journal Archives

Robert Gates’s Narcissistic ‘Duty’

January 9, 2014

The Inside-the-Beltway acclaim bestowed on Robert Gates is perhaps the clearest evidence of the failure of Washington’s media/political elite to recognize reality and impose accountability on incompetent or corrupt government officials, a point addressed by ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

By Melvin A. Goodman

Unlike the New York Times and the Washington Post, which received room service on the delivery of Duty, the controversial memoir of former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, I will have to wait for Amazon to deliver my copy next week.

In the meantime, since I have known Bob Gates for nearly 50 years, working with him for more than a decade; working for him for five years; and testifying against him before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1991, I believe that I have some warnings about the author as well as the leading lights of the mainstream media, such as David Brooks of the Times and Walter Pincus of the Post, who believe that Gates made major contributions to the national security policy of the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are several things that need to be understood regarding Gates’s career at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense. First of all, Gates has been a sycophant in all of his leadership positions, catering to the policy interests of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft at the NSC; William Casey at the CIA; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

Gates catered to the right-wing ideology of Bill Casey in the 1980s, playing a major role in the politicization of intelligence and dangerous crossing the line of policy advocacy in private memoranda to the CIA director. For the most part, Gates has been a windsock when it came to policy decisions and typically supported his masters.

Second, Gates has never demonstrated the integrity that his important positions have demanded. As a result, when he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 to be CIA director, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman David Boren, D-Oklahoma, told him that the committee did not believe his denials of knowledge of Iran-Contra.


Chris Christie: Dimwitted dupe or demented liar?

It will be hard for Chris Christie to redeem his judgment and managerial skill without admitting that he lied


For the time being, Chris Christie is very lucky that he effuses an authentic, gruff earnestness, and that he has allies in the national press corps who want him to succeed.

The former helped him escape an at-times incoherent press conference without revealing conspicuous malice; the latter guaranteed him a chorus of boosters more concerned with his theatrical acuity than the factual implications of his remarks.

Andrea Mitchell called it a “bravura performance.”

Mark Halperin gave it a similar review while essentially admitting his assessment bore no relation to whatever the truth happens to be.


New York Times Editorial: After Chris Christie’s Performance


Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey issued repeated apologies Thursday for the abuse of office that now threatens to undermine his political future. Though he sounded remorseful — and clearly sorry that this scandal might sink his ambitions for national office — he blamed his staff for making him a victim. Unbeknown to him, he said, they shut down lanes to the George Washington Bridge to create a four-day traffic jam to punish a local mayor who failed to endorse him in last year’s election.

He said he fired his “stupid” and “deceitful” deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, “because she lied to me” about the gridlock scheme. Mr. Christie has also asked a Republican operative and former campaign adviser, Bill Stepien, to withdraw as a candidate to take over the state Republican Party. He, too, was on the email chain. Two of Mr. Christie’s appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, resigned in December as news of the traffic vendetta became public.

Through his 108-minute news conference, Mr. Christie insisted over and over that he knew absolutely nothing about this illegal scheme. He was “blindsided” with the news on Wednesday morning, he said. That was the first time he said he saw emails showing how his aides gleefully plotted to shut down traffic lanes to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee, N.J. For that reason, he said he is “embarrassed and humiliated.” This version of reality simply does not add up.

It’s good news that the United States attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, has opened an inquiry into the matter and can make certain that all parties testify under oath. While the State Assembly has done a good job of investigating the Fort Lee scandal, it is important that the case be examined by a prosecutor’s office.

There are plenty of questions that Mr. Christie and his aides, current and former, need to answer.


Chris Christie Took His Sweet Time to Find the Truth About of Bridgegate

Evidence was mounting for months that it was no mere “traffic study” that snarled things on the George Washington bridge. Christie’s two-hour Thursday’s press conference didn’t answer why he looked away.

At a press conference that blended political stagecraft with a psychiatrist’s couch, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressed the growing scandal around what has become known as Bridgegate. “I come here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey,” Gov. Christie began. “I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.”

Christie announced that he had fired Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff who sent the email saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” that led to bridge closures. And Christie asked his former campaign manager Bill Stepien to withdraw his nomination to run the Republican Party in New Jersey as well as cease his consulting projects with the National Governor’s Association, which Christie now runs.

Beyond that, though, Christie spent the bulk of the press conference—including the Q&A with reporters—pondering how anyone on his team could lie to him about the incident. “I’m sick over this,” Christie said. “What did I do wrong to make these people think it was OK to lie to me?” What Christie did not ponder, however, was what he might have done to make members of his senior staff think it was okay to engage in this sort of politically motivated retributive action. Christie said he hadn’t thought about that at all.

more (It's a good article-DV)

Ask Mr Republican Man - By Tom Tomorrow

With Release of Prisoners, Afghan Leader Again Defies U.S. Wishes

Source: New York Times


KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Thursday ordered the release of dozens of prisoners accused of having American blood on their hands, saying there was not enough evidence to hold them and intensifying his showdown with Obama administration officials after weeks of warnings that he risked losing American troop support.

The move threatened to plunge relations to a new state of crisis even as a broader, long-term security agreement between the two countries has been held up for weeks. American officials have said that the prisoners were dangerous Taliban militants and that releasing them without a trial would violate an agreement on detainees last year..

The prisoner deal was considered a cornerstone of the security pact, known as the bilateral security agreement, which would allow for a continued American troop presence and aid past 2014.

Still, just a week after some American officials insisted that such a prisoner release would prove that Mr. Karzai could not be trusted to honor a security deal, the initial American response on Thursday was cautious. Officials were critical of the release, but also careful to say that the move would not harm the security deal and that they were still trying to get a full accounting for the decision.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/world/asia/afghanistan-to-free-prisoners.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

Carter Camp, American Indian Leader, Dies at 72

On Dec. 29, 1890, United States cavalry, in the last battle of the American Indian wars, massacred as many as 350 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Three generations later, Carter Camp, a 32-year-old Indian militant, retaliated.

On the night of Feb. 27, 1973, he led the first wave of armed, self-styled warriors in an operation to seize Wounded Knee, which had become a town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The invaders, carrying a list of grievances against the federal government, seized the trading post, cut the telephone lines, ran the Bureau of Indian Affairs police out of town and took 11 hostages.

“We were pretty sure that we were going to have to give up our lives,” Mr. Camp said in an interview for the PBS program “American Experience” in 2009.

A caravan of 200 cars carrying Indians and their supporters followed, beginning a 71-day, gunshot-punctuated standoff that some applauded as a show of new assertiveness by long-downtrodden Indians and that others deplored as criminal.


Exclusive: Karzai unlikely to meet deadline on signing long-term security deal, U.S. envoy says

Source: Washington Post

The lead American negotiator in talks over a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan has privately warned the Obama administration that its efforts to persuade President Hamid Karzai to sign the document on the U.S. timetable are likely to fail, according to officials.

The assessment, if borne out, would leave the administration with little time to assemble a military coalition to remain in Afghanistan and could raise the chances of a hasty and messy troop withdrawal by the end of the year.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/karzai-is-unlikely-to-meet-deadline-on-signing-long-term-security-deal-us-envoy-says/2014/01/09/2a9f01fc-7957-11e3-b1c5-739e63e9c9a7_story.html

If Obama had never become president, what would U.S. foreign policy look like today?

By Adil E. Shamoo
Updated January 8, 2014

Adil E. Shamoo is an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and the author of: Equal Worth — When Humanity Will Have Peace. His email is ashamoo@som.umaryland.edu.

President Barack Obama's foreign policy over the past six years has come under attack from progressives and conservatives alike. From the progressive point of view, there is much to criticize: the killing of civilians by drones, excessive surveillance here and abroad in the name of national security, supporting corrupt regimes when it suits. For this and more, I have opposed Mr. Obama's foreign policy. But, in the early days of the new year, it might be good to take a moment to recognize that however disappointing President Obama's policies may be, it could have been a lot worse if any of his key opponents — Republican or Democrat — were sitting in the White House today.

If a Republican were president — say Sen. John McCain, who lost to Obama in 2008, or Mitt Romney, who failed to unseat him in 2012 — he would have found a way to keep as many as 30,000 American combat troops in Iraq, making Iraq a violent client state rather than the distant disaster it is today. Troops would continue coming home in coffins, and Iraq would feel the wrath of continued air strikes and raids. If Hillary Clinton had won the primary in 2008 and became president, she would have rallied to keep combat troops in Iraq, too — perhaps only half as many as President McCain. But backlash from continued occupation — no matter the numbers — would be persistent and severe.

If a Republican or Ms. Clinton were president, American troops would still be in Afghanistan, but a higher number of them than the current 50,000 troops there, with slightly reduced numbers for decades to come. Significant numbers of American troops would have continued to suffer casualties monthly.

Meanwhile, the Syrian crisis may or may not have been averted under a different president. But if a Republican were in the White House, American troops would likely be in Syria right now and President Bashar Assad and his goons toppled from power. This would have pleased many Americans, including some liberals who see Syria as a humanitarian disaster in which intervention cannot be avoided.


Here’s Proof That Governor Christie Is Still Misleading The Public On Bridge Scandal


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) still insisted on Thursday that New Jersey officials may have closed three lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September to study traffic patterns, directly contradicting statements Port Authority officials made last year.

“What I was told was that it was a traffic study, and there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday,” Christie said at a press conference apologizing for his administration’s role in shutting down bridge lanes and causing potentially life-threatening traffic jams. “There still may have been a traffic study that now has political overtones to it as well,” he added.

But in early December, three Port Authority officials testified that “there was no traffic study being conducted while access lanes from Fort Lee on the George Washington Bridge were closed in September.”

Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye, a Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appointee, testified on Dec. 9 that the study did not exist. New Jersey’s top official at the authority, Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni — a Christie appointee — had claimed the closings were for a traffic study. Baroni has since resigned.