Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”

Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline US journalists and top Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought – and that makes it all the more hazardous. After President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.

Continue reading “Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda”

It’s the End of the World, and I Feel Terrible

This originally appeared on TruthDig.

I’ve written many hundreds of columns. The one below has caused me the most uncertainty about going public with it.

I’m accustomed to writing about facts, quotes, documented history, while offering assessments. But this piece extrapolates from the current zeitgeist, going into realms of events that must be speculative and—until too late—unprovable.

Diary

So lucky to be here. Tiny island of dreams.

The serenity is unbelievable, except I want to believe it. Bluest waves with silver froth. Sun through the palms is damn near orgasmic. And solitude! If I can’t finish the book here, it’ll be my own fault.

***

Sort of knew I shouldn’t bring the shortwave. That’ll teach me to donate to NPR. Just can’t resist a “thank you gift.” Will crank it tomorrow.

***

Wish I hadn’t turned on the radio. BBC World Service all there is. Downbeat.

Swim, then write. Plenty of sunblock. As for writer’s block, perish the thought.

Continue reading “It’s the End of the World, and I Feel Terrible”

Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to ‘Russiagate’ Enthusiasts – Whether They Like It or Not

Politicians, pundits and activists who’ve routinely denounced President Trump as a tool of Vladimir Putin can now mull over a major indicator of their cumulative impacts. The U.S.-led missile attack on Syria before dawn Saturday is the latest benchmark for gauging the effects of continually baiting Trump as a puppet of Russia’s president.

Heavyweights of U.S. media – whether outlets such as CNN and MSNBC or key newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post – spent most of the last week clamoring for Trump to order air strikes on Syria. Powerful news organizations have led the way in goading Trump to prove that he’s not a Putin lackey after all.

One of the clearest ways that Trump can offer such proof is to recklessly show he’s willing to risk a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia.

In recent months, the profusion of "war hawks, spies and liars" on national television has been part of a media atmosphere that barely acknowledges what’s at stake with games of chicken between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Meanwhile, the dominant US news media imbue their reporting with a nationalistic sense of impunity.

Continue reading “Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to ‘Russiagate’ Enthusiasts – Whether They Like It or Not”

Chelsea Manning Challenges Anti-Russia Fanatic Ben Cardin

In a typical foray into reckless hyperbole, Cardin told a public forum in November: “When you use cyber in an affirmative way to compromise our democratic, free election system, that’s an attack against America. It’s an act of war. It is an act of war.”

Cardin is far from the only member of Congress to use “act of war” rhetoric about alleged Russian cyber actions. Republican ultra-hawk Arizona Senator John McCain has hurled the phrase at Russia. But the most use of the phrase comes from a range of Democrats, such as Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and the normally sensible Northern California Representative Jackie Speier.

As his party’s ranking member of the key Senate committee on foreign policy, Cardin is at the tip of the anti-Russia propaganda spear. After three decades in Congress including nearly a dozen years in the Senate, he’s an old hand at spinning. No one has worked harder to get political mileage out of “Russiagate.”

Continue reading “Chelsea Manning Challenges Anti-Russia Fanatic Ben Cardin”

News Conference at National Press Club Calls for End of US Warplanes over Syria

Yesterday (8/8/17) Roots Action held a news conference in DC. Speakers spoke about the reasons behind a petition to Congress and Defense Secretary James Mattis calling for removal of all U.S. military aircraft from Syrian skies.

Continue reading “News Conference at National Press Club Calls for End of US Warplanes over Syria”

‘Think Through the Implications of Our Actions’: An Open Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee From Norman Solomon

More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust.

Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I’ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you’ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives.

Until now.

Your longtime wisdom is antithetical to the tweet that you sent out after the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin from your official “Rep. Barbara Lee” Twitter account: “Outraged by President Trump’s 2 hr meeting w/Putin, the man who orchestrated attacks on our democracy. Where do his loyalties lie?”

Continue reading “‘Think Through the Implications of Our Actions’: An Open Letter to Rep. Barbara Lee From Norman Solomon”