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Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon and Progressive Alliance to Destroy Donald Trump

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | January 14, 2019

The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative. The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together (DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causes in the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump. Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.” He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Democrats launch delusional ‘Moscow Project’ to ‘uncover the truth’ about Trump and Russia

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 2, 2017

Have you been suffering sleepless nights over Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia? Have you been fearing for the future of American democracy? Have you been wishing there was something you could do to help get to the bottom of all this?

Well, worry no more. One Washington-based liberal think tank has heeded your pleas for action.

The Center For American Progress (CFAP) Action Fund has launched ‘The Moscow Project’ to help “uncover the truth” about Trump’s ties to the Kremlin. In particular, they want you (yes, you) to help verify claims made in the infamous Trump/Russia dossier published by BuzzFeed in January.

“By scouring the internet to investigate allegations, donating to fund our research, or sharing our findings on Twitter and Facebook, you can help uncover the truth about Trump and Russia,” the website’s landing page explains.

That’s right. The Democrats, through their CFAP action fund, are essentially trying to crowd-source an investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government by encouraging random people to “annotate” an already widely discredited document full of wild and unverifiable claims.

So, what’s a concerned citizen to do? Simply “create an account, highlight a portion of the dossier’s text, and add a comment that includes corroborating evidence” — and bingo. If they think your “evidence” seems reliable, they’ll publish it. It’s that easy.

If, however, you’re among the few liberals left in America unconvinced that you possess evidence of Trump’s status as a long-time Russian agent, you can simply choose to make a financial contribution to the project instead. After all, “the American people need answers” and “without your donations” we’ll never get to the bottom of this never-ending saga of treachery and treason.

For the confused among you, the think tank has helpfully added a timeline of events and incidents that reveal “a troubling pattern of alignment” between the American president and Russian officials. Like, for example, the scandalous fact that you can buy Trump vodka in Moscow — and the wholly unexpected and deeply troubling revelation that when Trump visited Russia in 2013, he was found to be in contact with actual Russian people. He even tried on a traditional Russian ushanka hat.

Another helpful aspect of the site is the “players” section, where readers can peruse the biographies of all the people mixed up in the scandal, sorted according to importance and marked with little American or Russian flags to indicate their nationality. The use of the Cyrillic letter “Щ” to replace the “W” in Moscow is also a nice touch. A subtle reminder to patriotic Americans that the Russkies remain enemy number one.

The only thing missing is some light balalaika music playing automatically in the background — and maybe a flashing red hammer and sickle. Then again, the latter was utilized fairly well already by the Progress For USA (PAC) when they launched their pre-election “Putin-Trump project” as the go-to source for information on the “unprecedented ties” between Trump and the Kremlin.

I was going to say you really couldn’t make this stuff up, but apparently you can; Russia-related conspiracies and subsequent amateur “investigations” into them have become quite the little cottage industry.

The Moscow Project is headed by Max Bergmann, who, rather ironically, was a former speechwriter for John Kerry at a time when Kerry was mocking Republicans for promoting the “preposterous notion” that Russia was the US’ main geopolitical foe. Ah, how quickly things change. Mitt Romney, Kerry said at the time, talks “like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”

Fast forward a couple of years and the entire Democratic Party is talking like their only point of reference on Russia is Red Dawn.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website http://www.danielleryan.net.

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

WikiLeaks exposes liberal group’s efforts to thwart climate writings of CU’s Roger Pielke Jr.

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | October 26, 2016

A University of Colorado professor who’s been criticized for his writings about climate change has been caught up in WikiLeaks’ dump of emails involving John Podesta, campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.

Roger Pielke Jr., who has been a faculty member on the Boulder campus since 2001, was the subject of a July 2014 email about an essay he wrote on climate change for the website FiveThirtyEight.

Pielke writes a regular column about sports governance for the Daily Camera.

The email was sent by Judd Legum, the editor of ThinkProgress, a site that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, which was founded by Podesta in 2003.

In his email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed Climate Progress, the environmental arm of ThinkProgress, got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for FiveThirtyEight.

“I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538,” Legum wrote.

Legum did not respond to interview requests on Wednesday.

The email was one of tens of thousands of messages from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account released by WikiLeaks this month.

The group took issue with Pielke’s piece titled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever —- But Not Because of Climate Change,” in which he questioned the link between rising natural disaster costs and climate change.

Pielke argued that the cost of disasters is increasing because the world is getting wealthier, not because there are more — or more intense — floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes.

“We’re seeing ever-larger losses simply because we had more to lose — when an earthquake or flood occurs, more stuff gets damaged,” he wrote.

Pielke, who has written extensively about climate-change economics, is a polarizing figure among climate change scientists and activists.

Pielke refutes claims that he’s a climate-change skeptic or denier, pointing to his public support for a carbon tax. He says that many of the arguments he presents are supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Nevertheless, shortly after Pielke’s FiveThirtyEight piece was published, ThinkProgress wrote a story quoting climate scientists who said Pielke’s claims were misleading. FiveThirtyEight published a rebuttal to Pielke’s piece.

The criticism of Pielke’s piece continued, with stories about Pielke and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver appearing in Salon, Slate and the Huffington Post.

“Silver is still backing the wrong horse, and the sooner he dumps Pielke, the better,” David Auerbach wrote for Slate.

Shortly thereafter, Pielke stopped writing for FiveThirtyEight. In the email released by WikiLeaks, Legum gave ThinkProgress credit for that.

“I don’t think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate,” Legum wrote of FiveThirtyEight.

A year later, Pielke was the target of an investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry.

Pielke has more or less stopped writing about climate change. Since then, he’s focused his efforts on sports governance and is now the director of CU’s Sports Governance Center.

“They were ultimately successful in removing an academic from working on a topic,” Pielke said, adding that there’s “nothing like a political witch hunt to help you focus on career priorities.”

When he read the leaked email last week, Pielke said he wasn’t surprised by its contents.

“It spells out in black and white … that there was an organized, politically motivated campaign to damage my career and reputation, based on a perception that my academic research was thought to be inconvenient,” he said.

CU board shows support for faculty, students’ academic freedom

By Sarah Kuta | Daily Camera | November 10, 2016

The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents reaffirmed its support for academic freedom on Thursday in light of recently released emails that showed that a liberal group targeted CU Boulder Professor Roger Pielke Jr. for his writings on climate change.

At a regular meeting in Denver, the regents passed a resolution 9-0 to send the message that “faculty and students must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others.”

The principles of academic freedom are codified in regent laws, which govern the university. The board was restating its commitment to those principles on Thursday.

Though he was not mentioned in the resolution, Pielke was the motivating factor behind it, according to its author, Regent John Carson, a Republican from Highlands Ranch.

Pielke was the subject of a 2014 email sent by the editor of ThinkProgress, a website that’s part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

In Judd Legum’s email to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Legum described how he believed the website got Pielke to stop writing about climate change for the data-focused news website FiveThirtyEight.

The email was part of an October WikiLeaks dump of emails involving John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and the chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Pielke and others described the email as evidence that there was a “politically motivated campaign” to damage his career and reputation. Ultimately, he stopped writing about climate change and now directs CU’s new Center for Sports Governance.

Carson said he felt that type of conduct was unacceptable and that he thought the board should show all CU faculty and researchers that it stands behind them.

“I want to go on record making clear that I don’t think this type of conduct is appropriate and we’re going to defend our faculty and we’re going to go on record, when we find out about these types of things, opposing it,” Carson said.

Pielke wrote for FiveThirtyEight that “human-caused climate change is both real and important,” but came under fire for an essay the website published in which he argued that rising natural disaster costs were not linked to climate change.

Reporters at ThinkProgress asked several climate scientists to weigh in on Pielke’s claims and published stories in which those scientists said Pielke’s claims were misleading. By Pielke’s count, the website has published more than 160 critical articles about him.

Legum, the ThinkProgress editor, said there was no organized campaign to damage Pielke’s career. Rather, the website was trying to report accurate information about climate change.

“There was inaccurate information being presented in his writing … We called a number of climate scientists and asked them about the claims he was making in this piece,” Legum told the Daily Camera last month. “They said that there were a lot of really inaccurate or misleading things, and we reported on that.”

Pielke was also the target of a 2015 investigation led by a Democratic congressman into whether he had received funding for his work at CU from fossil fuel companies.

In response, CU President Bruce Benson wrote that the university “did not discover any information indicating that Pielke’s funding sources influenced his research,” adding that Pielke confirmed that he received no funding from the oil and gas industry. […]

Though he did not attend the meeting, Pielke wrote in an email to the Daily Camera that he felt supported by the leaders of the university.

He said the bipartisan-backed resolution sent a strong message “to my faculty peers who may question whether it is worth participating in important debates of the day — that CU has their back.”

Sarah Kuta: 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Center for American Progress and the Nullify NSA Movement

By Tracy Rosenburg | CounterPunch | February 7, 2014

The prominent  Democratic website Think Progress recently took aim at the anti-NSA surveillance movement with a warning to “Beware of Libertarians Bearing Gifts”. The blog suggests bipartisan alliances between civil liberties advocates and libertarians will sink the New Deal, which some might say is already taking on a bit of water.

The direct target of authors Zack Beauchamp and Ian Millhiser is the Offnow.org coalition, a partnership anchored by the right-wing Tenth Amendment Center and the left-wing Bill of Rights Defense Committee.*

The premise of Offnow is local legislation in states, counties, and universities to make it policy to dis-invest in mass surveillance. Twelve state legislatures have introduced versions of the 4th Amendment Act (Alaska, Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington).  The big target is Utah, home of the huge Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, where the provision of 1.7 million gallons of water by the state every day cools the huge supercomputers.

Think Progress’s objection to turning off the utilities on the NSA emanates from a liberal nightmare of a state like Texas darkening health clinics for poor people or cutting off water supplies to voting rights attorneys.

Let me be clear. I buy the idea that nutty contingents of the Tea Party might advocate for such things. Texas’s recent foray into fetal survival within the carcass of a deceased woman is evidence to never say never. But there is one basic difference.

Mass blanket surveillance of telephone metadata, email and Internet searches without individualized warrants and probable cause, is unconstitutional. The Bill of Rights doesn’t allow it. Congress didn’t approve it. The American public didn’t know about it until a certain contractor took a trip to Hong Kong. The idea Think Progress is embracing – the rogue activities of the NSA are established government policy – isn’t true.

Even the unaccountable secret FISC court has agreed: “The Obama administration, under pressure from continued NSA leaks, declassified documents Wednesday showing the agency scooped up tens of thousands of emails and other online communications from Americans beginning in 2008 that it wasn’t allowed to target, and was told to stop by the secret court that oversees the program”.

The Dems at The Center for American Progress also seem stricken by an attack of amnesia about the long tradition of local disinvestment movements to impact American policy – by progressives.

The anti-apartheid movement advocated for disinvestment in South Africa under apartheid from both private and public sources including state universities. By 1984, 53 U.S institutions divested, by 1987, 128 including the University of California. By the end of 1989, 26 states, 22 counties and over 90 cities had taken some form of binding economic action against companies doing business in South Africa. Most of this pre-dated the 1986 Comprehensive Apartheid Act by Congress.

Over 110 American cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities that will provide limited or no local cooperation with the Secure Communities deportation program run by the Department of Homeland Security.

Vermont, the state most often described as a progressive Disneyland has developed a virtual cottage industry in defying the federal government. In just the last few years, the state has authorized hemp growing without a permit, passed a law prohibiting patent trolling not addressed by the US Patent Act, opted out of the Affordable Care Act, and has considered a GMO labeling bill, currently stalled by litigation threats from Monsanto.

If the New Deal is sinking, the most progressive state in the nation appears to be steadily poking holes in the hull of the boat.

In the latest version of “you’re with us or you’re against us”, the Center for American Progress has embraced an a-historical definition of progressivism that prioritizes not sleeping with the enemy over principled dissent against unconstitutional activities.

The last line of the Think Progress article is “Ideology matters”.

Does it really matter more than justice?

*Disclaimer: Media Alliance, my organization, recently joined the Offnow coalition.

Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance (www.media-alliance.org), an Oakland CA-based democratic communications advocacy organization. Research assistance with this article was provided by Alexander Houk.

February 7, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment