“A Special Place in Hell”… For Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright?

By Gloria La Riva
Global Research, February 09, 2016
Liberation 7 February 2016
Region: USA
Theme: Crimes against Humanity, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: IRAQ REPORT, U.S. Election

images

Hillary Clinton screaming…

130612.jpgFeatured image: Albright, a fanatical advocate for genocidal sanctions and bombing campaigns, is in no place to lecture young women on “feminism.”

I am writing as a working woman, feminist, socialist, and candidate for President of the United States, and I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms the outlandish attacks by Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright on any woman working in support of the political campaign of Bernie Sanders. This attack, particularly on young women who are supporting Sanders in such large numbers, is a shameful and opportunist attempt to use the historic struggle for women’s rights for the narrowest political gains.

In a desperate attempt to reverse the growing support among young women and men for her opponent in the Democratic Party primaries, Hillary Clinton has enlisted the support of notorious war monger and advocate of mass murder, Madeleine Albright.

As Clinton looked on laughing and clapping, Albright told the media on February 6: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

If indeed there were such a “special place,” Madeleine Albright would most assuredly be going. And going along with her would be candidate Clinton.

As UN Ambassador and the Secretary of State in the Bill Clinton regime, Albright was a fanatical advocate of the genocidal sanctions blockade that killed more than a million women, children and men in Iraq, and of the 1999 U.S./NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia.

On May 12, 1996, nearly six years into the U.S./UN sanctions, Albright was interviewed on CBS “60 Minutes” by Lesley Stahl, who had just returned from Iraq, about the impact on the Iraqi population:

Lesley Stahl: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

Albright’s astoundingly flippant answer was nothing less than a confession to one of the most horrific war crimes in history, indicting not just herself but all the leaders of the Bush I, Clinton and Bush II administrations who were fully aware of the lethal impact of sanctions on the people of Iraq.

In 1999, Albright played a key role in the war on Yugoslavia, engineering the failure of the negotiations that preceded the war. Albright presented the Yugoslav government with an “agreement” that would have allowed NATO to forces to occupy the entire country, with the unheard of provision that Yugoslavia would pay for the expenses of the occupation!

After the talks broke off, a “top official” (Albright) told reporters in an off-the-record session: “We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get.” When the Yugoslav government predictably rejected the ultimatum disguised as a “proposal,” the bombing began and continued for three months.

Thousands of civilians were killed, wounded and made homeless. As was true in Iraq, the entire population was traumatized, with women and children most severely impacted.

Like the assault on Iraq, the attack on Yugoslavia was a war crime, a “crime against peace,” the most serious of all violations of international law, a war of aggression against another state that poses no threat to the country launching the war.

According to her own words, Hillary Clinton joined in the war chorus: “I urged him [President Clinton] to bomb.”

In 2003, Senator Clinton supported invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 2011, as Secretary of State, she was chief advocate in the Obama administration in calling for the bombing war that killed, wounded and displaced unknown numbers of Libyans and devastated the country.

After the torture and murder of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, Clinton laughingly told a CBS interviewer: “We came, we saw, he died.”

Albright and Clinton thus share much in common both with each other and their far more numerous murderous male counterparts in the top levels of the U.S. imperialist state machine. That they who have worked to destroy the lives of so many millions of women would now presume to lecture young women on “feminism” and attempt to shame them into supporting Clinton is a despicable travesty.
The original source of this article is Liberation

Copyright © Gloria La Riva, Liberation, 2016

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s).  Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Meet Devonte, the little boy with a big heart

This young boy will not only capture your heart, he will make you think.

 

A young boy who was born into a life of drugs, extreme poverty, danger and destined for a bleak future is defying stereotypes in the most remarkable way. And his latest encounter at a grocery store is bound to open your eyes, widen your mind and capture your heart.

Jen and Devonte

Jen and Devonte

To truly understand just how incredible this encounter was, you need to know some history.

Devonte Hart entered the world 12 years ago with drugs pumping through his tiny newborn body.

By the time he was 4 years old he had smoked, consumed alcohol, handled guns, been shot at, and suffered severe abuse and neglect.

He knew only a handful of words, including fuck and shit, and he struggled to identify with the names of food, body parts and every day objects. Devonte was a violent toddler and his health was weighed down by a heavy list of disabilities.

It was a life with little hope and a future that seemed over before it began.  

That is until Jen Hart and her wife Sarah entered Devonte’s life and adopted him and his two siblings seven years ago.

Jen says the day she met Devonte was frightening and traumatic.

“That night, after we finally got him to sleep, I cried harder than I had ever cried in my life. I felt like there was no way we could raise this child, and the five others we had adopted.”

Yet, she says, there was something inexplicable pulling at her heart.

“I felt more connected to this fragile little boy more than I had ever felt to anyone in my life.”

With their unconditional love, nurturing natures, patience and acceptance, Devonte defied all odds and has grown into a young charismatic man with a heart of gold.

Devonte and Jen

Devonte and Jen

“He inspires me every single day. He has proven doctors, psychologists and teachers wrong. His future is most definitely not bleak, he is a shining star in this world. His light shines bright on everyone on his path.

“People always tell us how lucky he is that we adopted him. I tell you, we most certainly are the lucky ones. Yes indeed he is living proof that our past does not dictate our future.”

Devonte’s charm and genuine kindness has surprised his parents on many occasions including the time he asked if he could spend his 11th and 12th birthday raising money for charity. Or the time he clung to musician Xavier Rudd while festival-goers watched an emotional and powerful moment unfold between the two. And then again earlier this week while standing in the grocery store’s checkout line.

Jen has shared what played out on her Facebook page and with Paper Trail. She writes:

An elderly man was standing at the end of the bagging area conversing with the woman checking us out. He spots our son – looks him up and down.

Man: I can tell you are going to be a baseball player when you grow up.

Son: *Pauses, tilts his head and gives a closed mouth grin* Actually, no. Baseball isn’t really my thing.

Man: Well, I can tell you are going to be a ball player.

Son: (As his mom, I can tell there is a slight frustration inside of him) No, I don’t even play baseball.

Checkout lady: Oh, I bet you’re going to be a basketball or soccer player then!

Son: No, I don’t play any sports. It’s just not my thing. There’s nothing wrong with sports or anything, I just have other interests.

Checkout lady: (in a befuddled nearly astonished voice) WHAT!?!? I have NEVER met a kid that looks(!!!) like you that doesn’t play sports.

Man: *chuckling* Right?! never. They all do!

***My face was as red as my hair at this point. It was so obviously clear what was happening. While I wanted so badly to step in and protect my son from the ongoing racial stereotyping, I didn’t. I let him step into his own power and he handled it brilliantly***

Son: Well, of course you’ve never met a kid like me. I’m one of a kind. There’s not another person like me.

Man: Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Son: I’m here to help people. I’m here to inspire. Now.

Man: Oh, so you’re going to be a doctor? (as he laughed while he said it – not kidding)

Son: No, I’m not.

 Man: Well, being a doctor is the best way to help people. What are you going to do to help and inspire people?

Son: (putting the last of the bags in the cart) I’m going to be myself. No matter how much people try to make me something I am not. Have a great night! *flashes ginormous smile*

“I think this kid will be alright. No matter what is tossed at him,” Jen says.

Jen hopes the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? extinguishes from our cultural lexicon.

“Perhaps we can replace it with questions that don’t catapult children 20 years into the future. What are you passionate about? What inspires you? What excites you? What makes you feel good?

“I think society needs all the reminders they can get that they are not defined by their careers. And for the love of the universe, let’s not categorise abilities by skin tone. Let’s move forward, shall we?”

Police Officer And Young Demonstrator Share Hug At Ferguson Rally In Portland

Nov. 25: Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen)

Nov. 25: Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen)

Fri Nov 28, 2014 at 03:57 PM PST
Police Officer And Young Demonstrator Share Hug At Ferguson Rally In Portland

This image, shot by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen, shows Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum hugging 12-year-old Devonte Hart during the Ferguson demonstration in Portland on Nov. 25, 2014.According to Sgt. Barnum, the interaction took place at the beginning of the rally. With emotions running high as speakers were addressing the crowd, he noticed a young man with tears in his eyes holding a “Free Hugs” sign among a group of people.

Sgt. Barnum motioned him over and the two started talking about the demonstration, school, art and life. As the conversation ended, Sgt. Barnum pointed to his sign and asked, “Do I get one of those?” The moment following his question was captured in the photo above, which shows Devonte’s eyes welling up with tears once again as he embraces the officer.

Perhaps, a few more hugs and a lot fewer shootings (by police officers) would be more appropriate, responsible, constructive, and helpful. What are your thoughts?

BTW, Devonte Hart has an amazing story. You can read it here.

The REAL Looting Is Happening On Wall Street … Not In Ferguson

 

The Real Looters

The Real Looters – Images by William Banzai

 

Who Are the Worst Looters?

The looting in Ferguson, Missouri is bad. The looters are giving the peaceful protesters against the shooting of Michael Brown a bad name, and provoking an armed (and over-militarized) response by the police.

But let’s put things in perspective …

Wall Street’s crimes and fraud have cost the economy tens of trillions of dollars.

The big banks are still engaged mind-blowing levels of manipulation and crime.

Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz and well-known economist Nouriel Roubini say that we’ve got to jail – or perhaps even hang – some bankers before they’ll stop looting the economy.

Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future.

We explained in 2009:

As Examiner.com pointed out in May (it is worth quoting the essay at some length, as this is an important concept), looting has replaced free market capitalism:

Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof co-wrote a paper in 1993 describing the causes of the S&L crisis and other financial meltdowns. As summarized by the New York Times:

In the paper, they argued that several financial crises in the 1980s, like the Texas real estate bust, had been the result of private investors taking advantage of the government. The investors had borrowed huge amounts of money, made big profits when times were good and then left the government holding the bag for their eventual (and predictable) losses.

In a word, the investors looted. Someone trying to make an honest profit, Professors Akerlof and Romer [co-author of the paper, and himself a leading expert on economic growth] said, would have operated in a completely different manner. The investors displayed a “total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending,” failing to verify standard information about their borrowers or, in some cases, even to ask for that information.

The investors “acted as if future losses were somebody else’s problem,” the economists wrote. “They were right.”

The Times does a good job of explaining the looting dynamic:

The paper’s message is that the promise of government bailouts isn’t merely one aspect of the problem. It is the core problem.

Promised bailouts mean that anyone lending money to Wall Street — ranging from small-time savers like you and me to the Chinese government — doesn’t have to worry about losing that money. The United States Treasury (which, in the end, is also you and me) will cover the losses. In fact, it has to cover the losses, to prevent a cascade of worldwide losses and panic that would make today’s crisis look tame.

But the knowledge among lenders that their money will ultimately be returned, no matter what, clearly brings a terrible downside. It keeps the lenders from asking tough questions about how their money is being used. Looters — savings and loans and Texas developers in the 1980s; the American International Group, Citigroup, Fannie Mae and the rest in this decade — can then act as if their future losses are indeed somebody else’s problem.

Do you remember the mea culpa that Alan Greesnspan, Mr. Bernanke’s predecessor, delivered on Capitol Hill last fall? He said that he was “in a state of shocked disbelief” that “the self-interest” of Wall Street bankers hadn’t prevented this mess.

He shouldn’t have been. The looting theory explains why his laissez-faire theory didn’t hold up. The bankers were acting in their self-interest, after all…Think about the so-called liars’ loans from recent years: like those Texas real estate loans from the 1980s, they never had a chance of paying off. Sure, they would deliver big profits for a while, so long as the bubble kept inflating. But when they inevitably imploded, the losses would overwhelm the gains…

What happened? Banks borrowed money from lenders around the world. The bankers then kept a big chunk of that money for themselves, calling it “management fees” or “performance bonuses.” Once the investments were exposed as hopeless, the lenders — ordinary savers, foreign countries, other banks, you name it — were repaid with government bailouts.

In effect, the bankers had siphoned off this bailout money in advance, years before the government had spent it…Either way, the bottom line is the same: given an incentive to loot, Wall Street did so. “If you think of the financial system as a whole,” Mr. Romer said, “it actually has an incentive to trigger the rare occasions in which tens or hundreds of billions of dollars come flowing out of the Treasury.”

In fact, the big banks and sellers of exotic instruments pretended that the boom would last forever, siphoning off huge profits during the boom with the knowledge that – when the bust ultimately happened – the governments of the world would bail them out.

As Akerlof wrote in his paper:

[Looting is the] common thread [when] countries took on excessive
foreign debt, governments had to bail out insolvent financial institutions, real estate prices increased dramatically and then fell, or new financial markets experienced a boom and bust…Our theoretical analysis shows that an economic underground can come to life if firms have an incentive to go broke for profit at society’s expense (to loot) instead of to go for broke (to gamble on success). Bankruptcy for profit will occur if poor accounting, lax regulation, or low penalties for abuse give owners an incentive to pay themselves more than their firms are worth and then default on their debt obligations.

Indeed, Akerlof predicted in 1993 that the next form the looting dynamic would take was through credit default swaps – then a very-obscure financial instrument (indeed, one interpretation of why CDS have been so deadly is that they were the simply the favored instrument for the current round of looting).

Is Looting A Thing of the Past?

Now that Wall Street has been humbled by this financial crash, and the dangers of CDS are widely known, are we past the bad old days of looting?

Unfortunately, as the Times points out, the answer is no:

At a time like this, when trust in financial markets is so scant, it may be hard to imagine that looting will ever be a problem again. But it will be. If we don’t get rid of the incentive to loot, the only question is what form the next round of looting will take.

Indeed, one of America’s top experts on white collar fraud – the senior S&L prosecutor who put more than 1,000 top executives in jail for fraud (Bill Black)- says that we’ve known for “hundreds of years” that failure to punish white collar criminals creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. And see this, this, this and this.

Review of the data on accounting fraud confirms that fraud goes up as criminal prosecutions go down. Indeed, extensive evidence shows that failing to prosecute looting by Wall Street is killing our economy.

And yet the U.S. government admits that it refuses to prosecute fraud … pretty much as an official policy. Indeed, the government helped cover up the crimes of the big banks, used claims of national security to keep everything in the dark, and changed basic rules and definitions to allow the game to continue. See this, this, this and this.

Indeed, Wall Street – with the help of Washington – has robbed (and raped) America.

The Fish Is Rotting from the Head Down

Moreover, corruption at the top leads to lawlessness by the people. As we noted in 2011, in the middle of the London riots:

Corruption and lawlessness by our “leaders” encourages lawlessness by everyone else. See this, for example.

Peter Oborne – the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator – wrote yesterday:

The criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up.

It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich ….

***

The so-called feral youth seem oblivious to decency and morality. But so are the venal rich and powerful – too many of our bankers, footballers, wealthy businessmen and politicians.

***

The sad young men and women, without hope or aspiration … have caused such mayhem and chaos over the past few days. But the rioters have this defence: they are just following the example set by senior and respected figures in society. Let’s bear in mind that many of the youths in our inner cities have never been trained in decent values. All they have ever known is barbarism. Our politicians and bankers, in sharp contrast, tend to have been to good schools and universities and to have been given every opportunity in life.

Something has gone horribly wrong in Britain. If we are ever to confront the problems which have been exposed in the past week, it is essential to bear in mind that they do not only exist in inner-city housing estates.

The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.

Osborne also gives specific examples of corruption, such as the prime minister’s involvement in the Murdoch scandal, and members of parliament abusing expense accounts.

Indeed, the rioters themselves agreed. As Reuters notes:

Speaking to Reuters late on Tuesday, looters and other local people in east London pointed to the wealth gap as the underlying cause, also blaming what they saw as police prejudice and a host of recent scandals.

Spending cuts were now hitting the poorest hardest, they said, and after tales of politicians claiming excessive expenses, alleged police corruption and bankers getting rich it was their turn to take what they wanted.

“They set the example,” said one youth after riots in the London district of Hackney. “It’s time to loot.”

As Max Keiser noted at the time, harshly cracking down on British youth looting a $1 bottle of water or a candy bar while letting the financial looters go free is hypocritical.

As we noted in 2011, failing to prosecute financial fraud – on either side of the Atlantic – is extending the economic crisis. In 2012, we pointed out that European (and American) governments were encouraging bank manipulation and fraud to cover up insolvency … trying to put lipstick on a pig.

As a result, Europe is still in a depression … and America has the highest levels of inequality in history. And that’s killing our economy.

Postscript: Perverse money incentives are what led to the distrust in Ferguson police in the first place.

Missouri gov. declares state of emergency ahead of Ferguson verdict

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Reuters / Kenny Baht)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Reuters / Kenny Baht)

The governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the anticipated grand jury decision surrounding Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and the potential protests the verdict may bring to that city and others.

Citing what he called the “possibility of expanded unrest” ahead of the impending verdict, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a declaration on Monday that the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will operate as a Unified Command “to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region”.

A grand jury is expected to announce any day if they will charge Wilson with the August killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

“In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” Gov. Nixon said last week.”That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated.”

In addition to declaring a state of emergency, Nixon issued an executive order which in turn has activated the Missouri National Guard to assist local law enforcement.

Due to the periods of unrest that Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced in the wake of Brown’s death, Nixon said the state of Missouri will be prepared to respond “appropriately” in order to protect citizens and local businesses from “violence and damage.”

“I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command,” the governor wrote in the executive order.

The move follows Nixon’s decision to put the National Guard on standby in order to ensure it can support police officers and rapidly respond to any reports of violence. Elaborating on where the Guard fits into the governor’s latest action, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay suggested on Monday that it will not be the primary force at any protest.

“The way we view this, the Guard is not going to be confronting the protesters and will not be on the front line, interacting directly with the demonstrators,” the mayor said.

Nixon, meanwhile, said the executive order was needed to provide for an orderly and effective response to whatever decision the grand jury announces.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” the governor said in a news release, according to local KSHB News. “These additional resources will support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech.”

Last week, the governor said it was necessary for the state to avoid the kind of confrontation that occurred following Brown’s death.

“In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” he said. “That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated.”

It’s unclear how exactly the grand jury will rule, as competing accounts of the fatal incident have surfaced. Some witnesses say Brown was surrendering to Wilson when he was shot, while others, including Wilson, say Brown had confronted the officer and went for his gun.

It’s unclear how exactly the grand jury will rule, as competing accounts of the fatal incident have surfaced. Some witnesses say Brown was surrendering to Wilson when he was shot, while others – including Wilson – say Brown had confronted the officer and went for his gun.

Even with no decision, some demonstrators have taken to the streets. A crowd of protesters staged a peaceful rally in St. Louis on Sunday, marking 100 days since the tragedy. Protesters laid down on chalk outlines representing shooting victims, pretending they had been killed.

Ezra Klein: Obama Afraid To Rip America Apart With Ferguson

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama

 

Ezra Klein’s formerly useful explainer site Vox.com now appears to be chiefly devoted to explaining how President Obama ruins everything. Last week, Obama was breaking politics,” and this week, he’s narrowly avoiding dividing the nation by toning down his remarks on the killing of Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri policeman Darren Wilson.

This afternoon, President Obama gave another surprise press conference, at which he discussed developments in Iraq, as well as the situation in Ferguson, and took several questions. Klein begins by summing the whole thing up this way:

The main news in Obama’s remarks was that Attorney General Eric Holder will be traveling to Ferguson — which mostly highlights that Obama has not traveled to Ferguson, and has no plans to do so.

To the careful listener, there was actually a lot more news in this presser than that, which I’ll get to in a minute, but right off the bat, he’s introducing an expectation that no one has seriously placed on the President: that he travel to Ferguson. It has been a rough week-plus in Missouri, no doubt about it, but this is not Katrina. Hell, it’s barely a Keith Urban concert. As the President said on his speech, most of the protests have been peaceful, and what violence there has been has been mostly from non-residents. The people of Ferguson don’t need President Obama to calm them down.

As Klein notes, the reviews weren’t great from the folks that some of my Twitter followers calls Blacker Than Thou, Inc.”, and chalks the President’s “clinical” remarks up to a desire not to ruin things the way he always does:

President Obama might still decide to give a speech about events in Ferguson. But it probably won’t be the speech many of his supporters want. When Obama gave the first Race Speech he was a unifying figure trying to win the Democratic nomination. Today he’s a divisive figure who needs to govern the whole country. The White House never forgets that. There probably won’t be another Race Speech because the White House doesn’t believe there can be another Race Speech. For Obama, the cost of becoming president was sacrificing the unique gift that made him president.

Now, there’s probably some truth to the analysis that the White House would have liked to have avoided things like the Skip Gates brouhaha, but that’s not because President Obama is a divisive figure, it’s because white people, especially conservatives, are gaping assholes. President Obama was absolutely right, the Cambridge Police did act stupidly by arresting Professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home, unless Gates got convicted of something and we all missed it.

Klein is also wrong that President Obama has avoided such controversies during his presidency, unless we all imagined the blistering Shitnado that followed his empathetic remarks about Trayvon Martin’s killing, or his uncompromising critique of racism in America following the George Zimmerman verdict. There’s a much simpler reason that President Obama didn’t get all “passionate” at today’s press conference, and he gave it from the podium:

Maybe Klein missed that episode of Schoolhouse Rock. The President is sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson, and hopefully, he will put a stop to the mayhem being done to the investigation by local authorities. If pressure needs to be applied, that is where it needs to go, not to insisting that the President show up to take Ferguson to church. Now, once a verdict has been rendered in whatever legal proceeding stems from this investigation, you might see a good deal more “passion” from the President.

As for the negative reviews, Klein seems to misunderstand the function of “Blacker Than Thou, Inc.”, which is not to weigh the political calculus involved in presidential actions, but to be a factor in that calculus. Nobody expects President Obama to morph into an activist on that podium, but they have to push for that, because that’s what activists do.

On the news front, the President indicated, much more strongly, that he is exerting pressure and influence on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, at one point saying, of Nixon’s National Guard deployment, that “I’ll be watching over the next several days to assess whether, in fact, it’s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson,” and as you heard him tell Ann Compton, he feels a duty to “mak(e) sure that (the Mike Brown investigation is) conducted in a way that is transparent, where there’s accountability, where people can trust the process.”

If the local authorities continue to conduct themselves like Boss Hogg’s in-laws, the President and/or AG Holder may press Nixon for a change of venue, and the President’s willingness to telegraph this level of involvement is significant.

On the Iraq front, the President has now gone from saying “American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again” in June, to saying, today, that “we are not reintroducing thousands of U.S. troops back on the ground to engage in combat,” a significant bit of rhetoric creep that seemed to fly right by everyone on the briefing room. Put a pin in that.

Finally, on a personal note, the President had some very kind remarks for ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton, who is retiring. As a longtime colleague of Ann’s, I couldn’t agree more with the President when he said “we’re going to miss you, and we’re very, very proud of the extraordinary career and work that you’ve done, and we hope you’re not a stranger around here.”

Here’s the full video of the President’s press conference, including the two-minute pre-roll (you can skip that if you like, but it’s a great window into how the news gets made):

 

While Barack Obama seems obsessed with Ukraine, ISIL, Syria, and Iraq… allocating billions of dollars to wars he can’t win, and offering to train the Ukrainian National Guard (war expenses to be paid by tax payers), and their Neo-Nazi commander,  there are serious problems here at home, like the killing of  Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri policeman Darren Wilson, and the deployment of the military to “calm down” peaceful protests on the streets by the local residents denouncing police brutality and racial bias.

Police, Media Smear Victim of Missouri Shooting – Shifting Focus Away from Military-Style Occupation

By Patrick Martin
Global Research, August 16, 2014
World Socialist Web Site
 
Region: USA
Theme: Militarization and WMD, Police State & Civil Rights

police-state-ferguson-swat--400x299Police in Ferguson, Missouri have released material to the media which they claim identifies Michael Brown, the 18-year-old victim of a police killing last Saturday, as a participant in the robbery of a convenience store the same day.

At a press conference Friday morning, Police Chief Thomas Jackson finally made public the name of the police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed youth multiple times in broad daylight, as he knelt with his hands up. Jackson then distributed 19 pages of photographs and purported eyewitness statements about the alleged robbery, and left without answering any questions from the media.

The documents have several political purposes: to shift the focus from the policeman who pulled the trigger; to provide a pretext for the execution-style slaying of Michael Brown, by smearing him as a violent lawbreaker; and to draw attention away from the massive military-style occupation of Ferguson earlier this week.

Even if the photographs and testimony were conclusive evidence—and they are not—there is no death penalty for grabbing a few packs of candy-flavored cigars, priced at two for 99 cents. And Jackson later admitted that Wilson had no knowledge of Brown’s alleged participation in a petty theft when he fired multiple rounds from his service revolver into the young man’s body.

These undeniable facts have not stopped the US media from giving saturation coverage to the claims that Brown robbed a store only minutes before he was shot to death, as though that made his killing justifiable.

Conveniently for the police, the principal eyewitness to the killing of Brown, his friend Dorian Johnson, is named in the robbery complaint. This means that the Ferguson police may now lock up and silence Johnson, who has been widely quoted in the press describing the wanton and unprovoked actions of Officer Wilson in shooting Michael Brown.

Speaking through their attorney, Michael Brown’s family denounced the police smear campaign. Benjamin L. Crump, who previously represented the parents of Trayvon Martin, said Brown’s parents were “beyond outraged.” He told the press, “Nothing, based on the facts before us, justifies the execution-style murder by this police officer in broad daylight.”

Ferguson residents echoed the family’s anger. “I am incensed,” Laura Keys, 50, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I can’t believe this is the tactic they are using, bringing up a robbery to make the victim look like he was the person who created this whole mess. Where’s the footage?”

The actions of the Ferguson police had the character of a deliberate provocation against the community, in the wake of the decision by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to put the Missouri state police in charge of police operations in the town, while relegating St. Louis County and Ferguson police to a backup role.

This maneuver, which placed an African-American police captain and native of Ferguson in command, succeeded at least temporarily in defusing tensions on Thursday night. There were peaceful protests over the death of Michael Brown, and none of the military-style attacks on demonstrators, using teargas, flash-bang grenades and armored cars, seen on four previous nights. No one was arrested.

Both Governor Nixon and Captain Ron Johnson, the Missouri state police officer in command on the scene, denied knowing in advance that the Ferguson police intended to release a load of derogatory information about Michael Brown Friday morning, along with the name of his killer. Johnson said he “would have liked to have been consulted” ahead of time.

It is unclear whether this reveals actual friction between the Ferguson cops and the state authorities, or represents a Missouri version of the “good cop, bad cop” routine, but that matters very little. The crude thuggery of local police and the more sophisticated maneuvering by the Democratic politicians have the same goal: to suppress the popular protests over the killing of Michael Brown and cover up the fundamental class issues revealed in this incident.

Governor Nixon, in consultation with the Obama administration, is using the services of a privileged layer of upper-middle-class blacks, including preachers, Democratic politicians and figures such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, to divert the anger over Michael Brown’s murder into safe political channels.

Sharpton’s comments Friday are particularly significant. The MSNBC talk-show host warned that one night without violence was not enough. “Let’s not act like we’ve solved the problem because we now have the cops marching with the marchers,” he said. “We’re not out of this yet.” Sharpton will appear Sunday at a rally with Brown’s parents and other nationally prominent African-Americans, including Martin Luther King III.

Sharpton cited the upcoming funeral of Michael Brown as a potential flashpoint, asking, “What happens when these kids see their friend laying in the casket? I’ve been through this more than one time. We’re not out of the emotions because we all of a sudden had a good night of marching.”

That is, for Sharpton and those he represents, the “problem” to be “solved” is not the police killing of Brown, but the anger that has erupted in response.

In its editorial Friday morning, the New York Times sounded something of the same note, criticizing the brutal actions of local police earlier in the week, while praising the actions of Governor Nixon and the rhetoric of President Obama. It commented that “law enforcement officers in Ferguson did not need to respond to mostly peaceful protests by deploying armored vehicles, pointing sniper rifles at civilians and tossing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets liberally into crowds. These tactics have been an affront to a community that needs to be heard, not suppressed.”

What the Times counsels is of consultation between the police authorities and so-called community leaders that changes absolutely nothing in the actual conditions of life for residents of impoverished working-class areas like Ferguson.

The occupation of Ferguson this week by police forces has exposed before the eyes of the country and the world the brutality of class relations in the United States. The militarization of police forces, particularly over the past dozen years, has a fundamental class logic. The US ruling class is building up an apparatus of violent repression to be used against the working class as a whole, the vast majority of the population.

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Copyright © Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site, 2014