FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam’s weekly commentaries are broadcast on WNZF on Fridays just after 9 a.m. Here’s this week’s.
Those nutty birthers have it all wrong. Barack Obama isn’t a Muslim born in Kenya. He’s Dr. Jekyll to Hillary Clinton’s Mrs. Hyde. Or vice versa.
Imagine if Muammar el Qaddafi had sent an army division or two into Egypt a few weeks ago to help Hosni Mubarak put down the rebellion against his regime. It wouldn’t have been unusual. The Middle East is a mass of repression where 300 million people live under the boot of 20 tyrants, most of them enforcing their tyrannies with American weapons and Washington’s blessing. Most of those tyrants despise each other until their hide is in danger. Qaddafi, the man Ronald Reagan once so appropriately called the “mad dog of the Middle East,” would have happily lent a crushing hand in Egypt to keep the rebellion from spreading to his own sands, though if so much as a camel toe had wandered across the border with Egypt it’s likely every American warplane in the Sixth Fleet would have been on the case faster than a Hillary Clinton platitude at a news conference.
Mubarak was a little less mad, a little less rabid, than Qaddafi. His own military pushed him out, and by then Qaddafi was busy killing his people. Yesterday the United Nations Security Council, with five nations abstaining, gave the go-ahead for military action against Qaddafi. It’s the right call, but only by half.
On Wednesday Saudi Arabia pulled a Qaddafi on Bahrain. It invaded, at the Bahraini tyrant’s invitation, and joined in the skull-crushing of democracy protesters. Civilians have been summarily executed. On Thursday tanks surrounded the main hospital in Bahrain’s capital. Opposition leaders are in prison. All with American weaponry, American training, American C-rations, and, implicitly, American complicity: The response from the Obama administration has been something on the order of a shrug that wouldn’t dislodge dandruff.
Bahrain is not just a tyranny, but an apartheid regime: a minority Sunni monarch rules, illegitimately, over a majority of Shiites, who are third-class citizens in their own country. A country that happens to be the headquarters of America’s Fifth Fleet, whose ships and warplanes are alleged to be making the Middle East safe for democracy—or at least keeping shipping lanes safely open for oil tankers while keeping scopes trained on Iran.
Saudi Arabia is freaking out that democracy, which it considers a cancer, would spread to its own land. The House of Saud has also ruled there, illegitimately, since about the time FDR was first elected. Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive nations on earth, up there with the likes of North Korea and Syria, its political repression more efficient than the old Soviet Union’s, its religious repression a close kin of the Taliban’s, which it generously finances to this day. For all that Saudi Arabia is, with Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. Being the world’s largest oil producer has its perks. Add to those the right to invade another country, crush and kill democracy activists there like the latest mad dogs of the Middle East, and hear not so much as a verbal condemnation from the Obama-Clinton duo. You’ve got to admire the guile.
Barack Obama didn’t deserve the Nobel peace prize a few months into his first term. He deserves it less now. But Obama and Clinton certainly deserve the Nobel prize in physics for reinventing the rules of double-standards.
Shssss…Quiet he’s our man so continue giving him the pass vs. the treatment Bush was afforded on a daily basis. The hypocrisy makes me furious. This guy is out vacationing when protocol would suggest to maybe at least try to pretend to be solemn by making visits and statements in a timely manner. Look how Bush was ridiculed to no end for his sitting with the students at the time of the planes hitting the trade center buildings instead of what, getting up and shuttled out by the Secret Service. However if ‘Boma did that which he would have done, he would have been praised, held Kobe steak dinners, invited all his Hollywood friends to celebrate his thoughtful decision making processes.
No wonder the two major sides of the isle can’t come together given the lack of criticism democrats and I mena something substantial not this powder puff criticisms he gets from time to time with no fear of reprisal from those making the claims. It sickens us truly in the middle that watch this unfold daily. BHO has yet to do one tenth of what he so adamantly stated he would do except meaningless little items that won’t amount to anything outside of building the size of government in the long run.
However, I might have to take that back as he is feeling some pressure from the middle to pretend temporarily, that he is doing something to control expenditures to sway those in the middle because in the end, they are all that matters to him. He doesn’t care at all about staunch republicans and he knows the libs are already in the tank with him as they won’t vote anything but democrat. He needs to win the middle to get back in and continue, well what it is he is doing or not doing.
I wonder where all these brave people are when the challenge will amount to more than shooting fish in a barrel, or more precisely, Iranian Revolutionary guardsmen killing their own people. This is exactly the result you get when you put an untrained, incompetent, professional “present” voting neophyte with no core values to guide him into the most powerful position in the world. He’s clueless, and everyone knows it.
Duplicity? The political circus inside the beltway has elevated it to high art form.
It’s all smoke and mirrors though. Obummer is the manager at McDonald’s, we never get to see, or talk to, the franchisee. He does as he’s told, with the understanding that if he steps out of line he might just end up like JFK. The entire process is corrupted, rotten to the core.
We no longer have the option of electing a president who will serve the will of the people, Whether there’s a D or an R behind his name is irrelevant. We are sold a product, chosen by the kingmakers, polished, refined, packaged to focus group standards, and then sold to a gullible public by way of a withering onslought of advertising.
Follow the money.
So, Outsider, how would the “experienced” John McCain have handled the situation in Libya? What would he have done differently?
The difference is that the protesters in Libya requested help from the United Nations and will be given it. It’s a strange dichotomy that one hand the news pundits are saying that the President waited too long and on the other hand, the same pundits now criticizing that help. (Pierre not included) Pierre’s argument is based on facts, although at this point I don’t think we should deny the protesters their requested assistance based on Pierre’s facts.
Jack Cowardin says
This is what they call an ‘old fashioned quagmire,’ damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Problem is it’s
getting all too familiar, both here and abroad. I don’t know for sure, but seems to me we are adrift, and each department of Gov’t, whether it be near, or as far away as Washington, or an over populated island in the Pacific is shooting from the hip, and a little too late. Now some say they’ve seen a Black Swan swooning about, and you’ve got to admit this new century of ours has a bit of uncertainty about it, and you’d be a fool not to look up every once in a while to see if the next big rock might be falling from the sky towards you. It’s like high-speed history now folks, and it’s rolling like a freight train. Makes the news people mighty busy. Somehow, I knew this contraption I’m pecking on would lead us to our own true destiny—we really aren’t that smart after all !
Dorothea: McCain is not in office, Obama is the one in office,most of the time. He can not hide from making decision like he did in his last job where he voted “present” more times than taking a stand. The big problem is; he does not want to make decision that will cost him votes in 2012. He will do nothing in the next 18 months that may cause is positive numbers to continue to drop. You elect a community organizer, you get a community organizer, live with it.The good thing is you are not indicating we should bring a lawsuit against him….not yet.
dlf, actually McCain wanted to put up a no fly zone immediately, which I completely disagreed with. There were several objectives that needed to be met first, IMO. First, a request for assistance from the Libyan people themselves. Second, the Saudi government’s backing (yes, “bipolar”), and last the commitment of the United Nations and its statement of how they would be involved. Unfortuanately, all this takes time and Libyans were killed in the process. But the President, rather than rushing into what would have been a plus in the polls, patiently waited to put the pieces in place.
Dorothea, I don’t know; he wasn’t elected. The majority of the electorate saw it better to put Obama in charge of the “executive” branch, in spite of him having zero executive experience; he hadn’t run so much as a lemonade stand. What else can I say, other than I hope the American people have had their fill of hope and change and styrofoam columns?
Dorothea: Obama waited for someone else, the French to take the first step.That way if it turns negative Obama will have someone to hide behind. He waited not for the reason you state but because he has a tough time making a decision, that is a well know flaw about the current leader of the USA.
No dlf, you are wrong. He waited, as did the French, to pass the resolution in the United Nations. The French struck first, but your assessment of the situation is an incorrect and biased opinion.. The French were gung-ho because of an embarassing incident between the government of France and Gaddafi, But if your at all interested in the truth, I suggest that you google for more information.
JIM R says
If you think our Govt. would refrain from killing its own people to maintain its power, you are living in a fantasy world.
Waco, Kent state, are a couple of examples, not to mention thousands killed in union actions over the years, and assassinations of anyone threatening the MICs power to conduct wars and make their obscene profits.
If a million citizens marched into D.C. demanding a new form of Govt really run by the people, instead of the rich mans phony Democracy that we have, do you think they would humbly surrender their power ?
Another War to Pay For says
The war has begun. Anyone who does not believe that bombing is an act of war needs to wake up. The US is now in 3 declared wars, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.
And how many covert wars, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Latin America?
This is the first step before the invasion. Past performance is usually the best indicator of future behavior. This new war is just the beginning of what will be another of the US, so called saving the world from the bonds of evil.
The coalition is merely the front for the US to impose a regime change and steal the, OIL .
How is it that when the rebels are fighting there are the insurgents but when they are attacked they are civilians.
“Britain sold Libya about 40 million pounds ($55 million) worth of military and paramilitary equipment in the year ending Sept. 30, 2010, according to Foreign Office statistics.”
“In 2008, former president George W. Bush sent his top diplomat Condoleezza Rice to Libya for talks with Gadhafi.”
“The same year, Texas-based Exxon Mobil signed an exploration agreement with the Libyan National Oil Corp. to explore for hydrocarbons off the Libyan coast.”
“Libya produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude per day and has the biggest oil reserves in Africa.”
“Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration’s support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE.”
“BAE is a British firm with a major U.S. defense arm, BAE Systems, Inc., that was listed in 2010 as the nation’s 12th largest government contractor.”
Yup. The usual suspects at work here. I seriously doubt the situation would be considerably different had Grampy McCrankypants and $now $nookie won in 2008, although, being halfway through the first term, the Wasilla Grifter would probably have quit by now. The bombs and bullets and missiles are flying. Master is quite pleased. Another profitable year, let the champagne corks fly!
On Main Street USA the stark contrast becomes more and more evident with each passing day.
Wholly agreed with “Another War to Pay For” There is NO CHANGE! Our Prez have totally derailed from his promises. We can’t afford the two wars we are into now and he embroils us in at least one more? Mrs. Clinton did not follow her husbands example. Too bad for us all.
Wholly agreed with “Another War to Pay For” There is NO CHANGE! Our Prez have totally derailed from his promises. We can’t afford the two wars we are into now and he embroils us in at least one more? Mrs. Clinton did not follow her husbands example. Too bad for us all. We have no business with ouer intervention…all about stealing their oil and war suppliers interest, actually the multinationals benefit. We pay in lives and funds so they can fatten their wallets.
This is really starting to stink to high heaven. If we wanted to put a Democracy in power and get rid of Khadaffi we would have declared the no-fly zone when he had lost control of all of the country but Tripoli and was backed into hiding in one of his compuonds. But we don’t necessarily want him out, not until we;re sure that whoever comes in will continue to honor the agreement letting BP have the oil. So we let him regroup and hire foreign mercenaries (What is Blackwater doing these days?) to not only save his regime, but kill off all of the people rising up in the country leaving it so weakend we can call the shots regardless. Remember when he threatened to throw out BP a few years ago, Britain released the Lockerby terrorist back home to Libya on humanitarian grounds (!) and GW Shrub released all of the dictators frozen assets in the US, declaring him “rehabilitated” because he said he stopped a non-existant nuclear program. You don’t think it had anything to do with oil profits, or Israel do you? You cynical bastard you!
Of course we’re there to protect profits! why else do you think that we project our “power” around the globe? Freedom for capitalism! At home, the money left over from our military escapades (72% of our taxes) goes to the bankers, and financial corporations, to support their executives in the manner they’ve become accustomed to–as they deserve, just ask them. The poor and middle class can lose their homes, jobs, whatever, who cares? They aren’t who keep our politicians in office–American jingoism and propaganda to the contrary. The “lower” classes are just breeding fodder for the constant wars that keep the “better” folks in their limos and private jets. Anybody that thinks differently than this hasn’t been paying attention–or has been watching so much of the hog-wash–referred to as “television news”–that their brains are running out of their ears.
And our nutless President does nothing, not even speak out. That’s the only “change” I can see from the Bush years, Old GW never missed a chance to strut like a stupid Banty rooster and run his pie hole. Other than that, in all his policies Obama is nothing more than George Bush in blackface. We’re fucked.
“Thank you, Mr. President, may we have another?
It seems we might agree on this president being an inexperienced and nutless wonder, blending everything despised in the last president and addiing 3.2 trillion times worse characteristics.
JIM R says
Obama is a war criminal and killer, but people that consider themselves progressive and liberal democrats will continue to vote for him because he is the “lesser of two evils”
The American Empire is in its death spiral, and war is its denial mechanism
This has nothing to do with the column but…
I know there are a few here who seem to look at Israel quite unfavorably. What about this new event…
Again they are being rained on by Hama’s weapons. When they slap back, blowing the shit out of them and some civilian colateral damage, are they at fault given they are provoked like this??? I truly am curious.
Norton, you may have a point; where were all these righteous people when Darfur was going down?
Liana G says
” That’s the only “change” I can see from the Bush years, Old GW never missed a chance to strut like a stupid Banty rooster and run his pie hole. Other than that, in all his policies Obama is nothing more than George Bush in blackface.”
But Norton you have to look at Bush’s background versus Obama. Bush’s upbringing allowed him the priviledge ” to strut like a stupid Banty rooster and run his pie hole.” Not so BO – I bet this poor chap has blatant cameras and surround sound microphones in every single room of his residence – no pretense of privacy for him, heck no privacy whatsoever for him.
And our foreign policy remians the same no matter who is in charge because the puppet masters call all the shots. Essentially what they do is they switch out the puppets out of boredom. Just like a kid with a new toy. But the storyline doesn’t diverge much because it’s all about self interest and entertainment. And the big kicker, we’re the ant nest they step on for fun to further amuse their sadistic sense of humor. And we’ve proven that we are not fire ants. So they’ll keep at it until . . . . . . .
Louis Farrakan and Michael Moore are vehemently opposed to this military action. Sounds a lot like the range of the political perspectives of the comments here. I love it when the far right and the far left meet in agreement with each other. Having spent the weekend arguing the pros and cons with family, friends, and neighbors, I have to say that their arguments were far more intelligent and cogent than the average argument on this site. Look at the facts, not the emotions and politics of the people who post here.
Muslims in North Africa and the Arab states are set on a course toward ridding themselves of their totalitarian leaders. It will probably take a long time, perhaps decades. Instigated by internet chatter and no longer forced into isolation by their heads of state, I’m hoping that our country will come down on the right side of the conflicts. By coming to the requested aid of the Libyan rebels, the United States has given renewed hope to the civilians who are fighting for their rights. Eventually, as is often the case with conflict, it will lead to a more peaceful planet.
As for the doomsday for the United States prophets and the theorists of “it’s the oil babyl” I could disagree more. To me, it’s small step toward regaining our former status in the world as morally correct peacemakers. Libya, with only 2% of the world’s oil is hardly going to make a dent in our passion for gas guzzling SUVs..
Britain = BP
France = Total SA
USA = Exxon Mobil
All have contracts with the Libyan National Oil Corp.
Now which countries is it again that are doing the bombing?
On a purely humanitarian basis I can understand the just cause of leveling the playing field for the rebels, against whom Gadhaffi (a murdering punk, in my opinion) is using his overwhelming firepower. The main drawback is the increasing likelyhood of civil war. The sides won’t forget who from the opposing camps fired on and killed theirs. That, and I have a gut hunch that the law of unintended consequences will not be kind in this instance.
Besides, I thought we were broke. Gotta make deep cuts in services, right?
Each Tomahawk missile costs $659,000. Multiply that by the latest launch figure and then tell me how many teachers, cops or firefighters that would have funded. How many LIHEAP dependent families would this have helped? How many of our kids could have gotten scholarships? I could go on, but you catch my drift.
By the way, this figure does not include the costs of operating and maintaining the launch platforms (you know, the ships, subs, and crews). Nor does it include the costs of the fighter sorties and their ordnance. How many more services for our poor and desperate citizens need to be cut to pay for all this?
If you want context, listen to Eisenhower’s farewell speech.
William, I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq from its beginning, even when the tide of public opinion was hugely in favor of it. That war sunk us into a financial quagmire and that quagmire was hastened along with the notion that somehow you could lower taxes and still be financially solvent.
In my opinion, if we were to stop all war and return all war veterans back to the US there would be a vast number of veterans that would either replace current workers or who would be unable to get a job, Many former Iraq war vets are now homeless and 20% are unemployed. So in terms of the economy and jobs, maintaining a no-fly zone in a reasonably safe environment, with a promise of no American boots on the ground might compensate for some of the cost of the Libyan operation.
Now I’m doubling down and predicting our success in Libya, just as I predicted our failure of Iraq. I doubt that this operation will cost us the trillions of dollars and over a hundred of thousand lost lives as happened in Iraq. But if I’m wrong, I’m sure you’ll let me know
Another War to Pay For says
Doubling down and Predicting “our” success in Libya.
Launching guided missiles from over 100 miles away. Firing laser guided bombs against tank columns. How much strategy does that take.
Here is the way it has worked in the past and the way it will work in the future. The US is very predictable in its ways of war. The following example is a variation of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
The Libyan infrastructure will be destroyed. The embargo will remain in place, thus rebuilding will be impossible. Britain, France and the US will decide the country needs “stabilizing”, “help with reconstruction.” They will move in, secure the oil installations and oil fields, the Libyan people will be an incidental inconvenience and quickly become “the enemy”, “insurgents”, be shot, imprisoned, tortured, abused – and a US friendly puppet “government” will be installed. The other possibility is that Mr. Qaddafi will be killed or the country split in two.
The US won’t call them troops on the ground they will be called “advisers” formerly known as Blackwater.
Like yourself, I opposed the Iraq aggression since before it started and caught a whole lot of flak for my troubles from all sides. Practically all have since regretted and rescinded their support.
However, when you suggest not ending the wars based on the negative impact it would have on unemployment, I’ve got to part company with you because I consider that a disingenuous, horseshit argument.
We could certainly put the returning troops to work on infrastructure projects which are badly needed, and it would be considerably cheaper than killing people in foreign lands.
I wonder if Kevin could do a rough cost/benefit analysis on this.
William, I was not referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was referring to the Libyan No Fly Zone. I hope that’s cleared up. I would never suggest that we could get rid of unemployment by deploying troops in either Iraq or Afghanistan. As for killing people, I’m afraid that when the dust clears in the Arab States and North Africa, many will be dead fighting against their totalitarian regimes. I hope that the United States ends up supporting the right side, which it frequently does not.
Speaking of dust, here’s some being stirred up:
“Soldiers have always taken gruesome war trophies. The fact is, killing people for a living (or defending yourself from people who are trying to kill you) makes people, even normal people, a lot more sick and twisted than they were before they started doing it. That’s why we shouldn’t send people off to war without a very, very good reason, because they have deep psychic wounds that often make them unsuited for life after war.”
Liana G says
Another War to Pay For says: Great book
” Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins”
– birthday gift from my son along with Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser.
Robert Frisk – one of my favourie journalists including you Pierre – wrote a very good piece in The Independent . Here is an excerpt.
“The Arabs of North Africa are demanding freedom, democracy, liberation from oppression. Yes, that’s what they have in common. But what these nations also have in common is that it was us, the West, that nurtured their dictatorships decade after decade after decade.” . . .
“The Middle East seems to produce these ravers – as opposed to Europe, which in the past 100 years has only produced Berlusconi, Mussolini, Stalin and the little chap who used to be a corporal in the 16th List Bavarian reserve infantry, but who went really crackers when he got elected in 1933 – but now we are cleaning up the Middle East again and can forget our own colonial past in this sandpit.” . . .
“Of course, if this revolution was being violently suppressed in, say, Mauritania, I don’t think we would be demanding no-fly zones. Nor in Ivory Coast, come to think of it. Nor anywhere else in Africa that didn’t have oil, gas or mineral deposits or wasn’t of importance in our protection of Israel, the latter being the real reason we care so much about Egypt. ” . . .
“One thing we can do is spot the future Gaddafis and Saddams whom we are breeding right now, the future crackpot, torture-chamber sadists who are cultivating their young bats with our economic help. In Uzbekistan, for example. And in Turkmenistan. And in Tajikistan and Chechenya and other “stans”. But no. These are men we have to deal with, men who will sell us oil, buy our arms and keep Muslim “terrorists” at bay.
It is all wearingly familiar. And now we are back at it again, banging our desks in spiritual unity. We don’t have many options, do we, unless we want to see another Srebrenica? But hold on. Didn’t that happen long after we had imposed our “no-fly” zone over Bosnia? ”
I know this piece. Excellent choice!
JIM R says
All options are on the table
All options are on the table
“Now I’m doubling down and predicting our success in Libya, just as I predicted our failure of Iraq. I doubt that this operation will cost us the trillions of dollars and over a hundred of thousand lost lives as happened in Iraq. But if I’m wrong, I’m sure you’ll let me know.”—Dorothea
OK this takes the cake! WTF! Are you absolutely insane and mental or what???? “Doubling down and predicting success in Libya”???? You others here are unbelievable that you don’t have the ethics to confront this nonsense yet jump me for most every utterance I make regardless of the merits. The hypocrisy literally makes me sick and enraged! In what way Dorothea does someone of your analytic foresight skills see what is happening as “successful” outside the temporary displacement of the Kaddafi? The whole mission is a failure from the onset, and using your own metrics as you used in your ongoing criticisms of GWB is an illegal war, poorly planned and poorly run. And it is a war, began without the proper actions of congress while our president was playing in Latin America with his family and the new cast of corporate characters backing his administration. We are in it again but more as the errand boy to a miserable failure, the UN.
And let there be no doubt with this half-hearted attempt of war, allowing Kaddafi to go free (as it looks as though will be done), he will come back and spill vast more blood, probably ours, definitely those who rose against him in far larger numbers. Because of what your President didn’t do when he had the golden opportunity and because people like you backed him, we can firmly place the next plane or other terrorist bombing from Kaddafi in response to this on your tail and people like you!!!!!!!!
And the failure we have in Iraq being what Dorothea? Hussein gone from power, a murderous thug gone, diplomacy restored, democracy rooting itself albeit slowly, and a troop surge that proved successful against the will of retards like yourself that went and remain unhinged with their hatred of all thing GWB, red and Republican unless it’s in the form of anarchist or communist Red.
Thank God lopsided dolts like you aren’t writing history for you would lie or misrepresent it at ever gush of your pen (or keyboard).
“Gaddafi” Now that is out of the way…
“All options are on the table”
If your point is what a joke I can say I totally agree!
Kevin, don’t flatter yourself. I don’t jump on your every utterance, as you suggest. I let most of them go, because it is a waste of bandwidth to argue with one who has no knowledge of history and believes that the value of history in correcting future mistakes is a waste of time. Your comments are prime examples of your ignorance.
Bush invaded Iraq, along with a so-called coalition of the willing whom the American taxpayer paid handsomely for their support: i.e. bribes. The action in Libya is not an invasion. This action is not a unique endeavor. Former Republican presidents have done the same. In accordance with our treaty with the United Nations, we joined other countries who are in favor of the No Fly Zone to protect the cvilians in Libya.
President Obama was on a trade mission in South America in order to bring more jobs to the United States.
As for the rest of your diatribe, taken directly from Fox talking bobbleheads, just remember they favored going into Libya until Obama took action and then they didn’t favor it. Since you don’t like the United Nations, Obama, think that Iraq was worth its cost in dollars and lives, and haven’t a clue as to historical facts, there is little left to discuss. But, remember that we are expressing our opinions. My suggestion to you is to try expressing your opinions in a more civilized and adult way.
Stop playing the victim. You don’t do it very well.
Related to $now $nookie perhaps?