A funny thing happened on our way to the Peloponnese, there to visit our old friends Bruce Robbins and Elsa Stamatopolou in her ancestral village of Psari. (Yes, last night we feasted on Thia Eleni’s stuffed zucchini flowerets: amazing!) We flew through Istanbul because the flights were cheap and non-stop, just another hour to Athens and the train to Kiato—anything is better than going through Heathrow. But we decided to stay four nights in Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, where Europe and Asia do not so much meet as collide.
I took a real dislike to the place. Probably because I’m a parochial American tourist who is totally uninterested in seeing the appropriate sites, whether mosques or museums. My preferred modus operandi in worlds elsewhere is to sit around in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, whatever, watching the people around me and talking to them as possible or necessary. Walking and wondering about where I am also work for me.
I guess we could have done that, but walking in Istanbul is no fun, not even where we stayed, in Belaglyu, the cool section on the European side of town (the western side of the Straits), where the former homes of bankers and pashas have been converted to commercial purposes. The spine of the old neighborhood, Isstiklal Ave, just three blocks up from our Airbnb, was a mall under construction, all noise and dust and hurried shoppers—also a Starbucks, an H & M. Not many tourists in sight. No American tourists, that’s for sure. The State Department has warned us off Turkey (for good reasons).
To get to the mundane sights—we wanted to explore Kadikoy or Uskadar, on the Asian side—you take a water ferry from Emminonu, a small commuter port on the north edge of the Golden Horn. But to get there from Belaglyu, you take the subway to Halic, then cross the river on a pedestrian bridge. It sounds easy, but it’s a trek, about a half mile, because the subway stop is only halfway across the river. Then you stump around the other side until you find the ticket office of the ferry you want.
The subway system is perfectly efficient once you get to the platform. The trouble is that, by my reckoning, the platform at the Shisane station on Isstiklal is 14-18 stories below grade, at least a quarter mile. It took us 15 minutes to get from the entrance on the street to the platform. My guess is that the engineers who built the thing in the 1960s were trying to keep the tracks level, more or less, so they drilled that deep—remember, that subway stop at Halic, over the river, is above ground.
We decided on the fly to visit Uskadar, mainly because everyone on the dock understood me to be saying Karachoy instead of Kadikoy. Karachoy is just opposite Emminonu, not even a half mile of river, Kadikoy is across the Straits, well south of Uskadar. Talk about a language barrier.
The ferry ride was the best part of our brief foray into Asia—you can see most of treeless Istanbul from the Straits. By the time we disembarked, it was almost 2:00, we were both ravenous, and I was craving a local beer, a Bomonti, 50cl. As we hustled up the steps from the docks to find a restaurant, I started thinking that this was not the place to find what we wanted: the cafes closest to the water and likely to gather a good breeze were also adjacent to the mosque: uh oh.
Sure enough, the Sea Point restaurant—like everything else desirable in Istanbul, up four flights of stairs or at the top of a cobblestoned hill—served no alcohol. We ordered an omelette and beef noodles at 2:00. At 2:50 the food arrived. (They got my order wrong, but I wasn’t about to wait for the re-order.) Meanwhile, no breeze, no beer, just Coca-Cola. Ugh.
After lunch, we walked around the interior of the city for a half hour. I never saw a bar or a restaurant. Two coffee shops, OK, and phone stores galore, but nothing that suggested any prospect of enjoyment or indolence. It looked and felt like Jerome Ave in the Bronx—mechanical, industrial, electronic repair, but without the grace notes to be found in the shade of the elevated line and the wholesale liquor warehouses: America without alcohol, ambition without rest.
We disembarked at Karachoy instead of Emminonu, thinking the walk back to the subway would be more direct. It was, but the path led through hell. The sidewalks in Istanbul are narrow and treacherous to begin with, but the little precinct of Karachoy has effectively abolished them by letting the hardware merchants use them as a parking lot for their products. So you’re dodging chain saws or welding equipment on one side and cars on the other.
Altogether, an ugly day.
The next day started off just as badly because I had to get to the Istanbul Apple Store for a charger—of course I brought one, but it was the wrong one. That meant two taxis to the swanky side of town, where everybody suddenly speaks English, and one back. The first driver dropped me at the Apple management headquarters, not the store, and I’m pretty sure he did it on purpose (Turkish cabbies are notorious for their feigned stupidity and their totally arbitrary fares). The second driver took me to my actual destination because the receptionist in the headquarters building wrote out the right address in Turkish. The return trip was a nightmare because even though I was able to say my address in phonetical Turkish, and show him the address of a restaurant nearby, he seemed totally befuddled. He stopped three times to ask fellow drivers where I was going, the last time when we were within 100 yards of the restaurant. I finally recognized the neighborhood and told him to drop me there.
By Friday, we were both exhausted by this city. But we persevered. We spent the afternoon in the Golden Horn, in the vicinity of Istanbul University, the scene of intellectual massacre by political means since Erdogan imposed his state of emergency. We visited the Suleymaniye Mosque, the magnificent blue one designed and built by the great architect Mimar Sirhan in the 16th century to rival Justinian’s Hagia Sophia. It’s a busy, colorful, yet peaceful place—there is no angle from which the structure looks ungainly. And for all its references to Byzantine predecessors, the various domes, large and small, seem to supply a gravitational force that keeps everything at eye level, somehow rooting you here, in this time and space, not drawing you back toward the 16th century but reminding you of your own. All this overlooking those fateful Straits.
Then we headed for the legendary Grand Bazaar, a square mile of grottoes bristling with, well, with whatever you want. 4,000 shops in all, says Wikipedia—which, by the way, you can’t access in Turkey because Erdogan believes it contains too much subversive information—but we visited just two, one to admire the rugs, the other to buy some spices as a gift for our hosts in Greece. In this second place, the proprietor gave us what he called “Turkish Delight,” but it was far from delightful: soylent green painted with purple sugar, how’s that sound? Like a moron, I just popped the gelatinous cube in my mouth, and then had to wash it down with, what else, Coca-Cola. My girlfriend thought this was a hilarious spectacle, me gagging on Turkish candy in the Grand Bazaar, erasing its effects with the quintessential American beverage, meanwhile suppressing the urge to turn myself inside out—and I suppose it was. (She herself wisely took a nibble, grimaced, and discretely discarded it.)
To exit the Bazaar, we climbed 15th-century steps and found our way through open- air hardware stalls until we came to shoulder-width stairs leading down to the street. We were back on the University campus, close to our subway stop.
Our last day in Istanbul was actually fun. We visited Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence in Belaglyu—we’d both been reading the novel of the same name in differently desultory ways—had a quick lunch, and then shipped out for Buyukada, the town that anchors the largest of the four Prince’s Islands in the Sea of Marmora, there to meet the novelist himself for dinner, thanks to the social engineering of Bruce Robbins, who teaches with Pamuk at Columbia. The ferry, packed tightly with families on day trips, took about 90 minutes from Emminonu to the big island. We arrived at 5:30.
As my girlfriend noted while we circumnavigated the center of town, the place looks and feels like Key West or Provincetown without the bars—plenty of restaurants and hotels and canvas-covered stalls selling fast food or jewelry, to be sure, but no drinking establishments as such. We stopped twice, once to share a beer, once to share yet another Coca-Cola.
Pamuk met us under the clock tower at 7:45 and walked us down to a waterfront restaurant, Mitro, where the proprietors greeted him as what he is—a Nobel Prize-winning novelist, a point of national pride, and a critic of the Erdogan regime, not necessarily in that order.
Dinner conversation was equal parts politics and letters. I asked him about the situation of the writer in opposition to Erdogan. He spoke of limits, dwindling choices, the courage of convictions. Twelve of the fourteen periodicals now extant in Turkey are partisans of the regime, and the other two have few opportunities to publish political criticism without reprisals. So this writer speaks his mind in international venues and hopes for the best. He’s suspicious of the so-called left-wing opposition because it sold out the Kurds. He’s constantly beseeched to help fellow writers, journalists, and intellectuals who are in trouble with the regime, or asked to support one party program or another—his name would lend weight to any cause in Turkey. He does what he can, but he refuses, like Vaclav Havel, to reduce his writing life, or his public presence, to a political program.
My girlfriend asked him if his reputation as a distinguished writer—he’s not exactly a household name in the US, but in Europe he’s well known—protects him from the regime’s idiocies. “Up to a point,” he said. Five years ago he might have been untouchable, but as the luster of his prize diminishes with the mere passage of time, and the scope of the regime’s ambitions metastasize with each new “success” in silencing dissent, there’s no telling.
Are you, then, afraid, she asked. And he bravely said, “Of course I am.”
That reminded me of what Philip Roth once said about the intellectual difference between the East and the West—this was back in the late 1970s, when Eastern Europe was already aiming beyond its accustomed orbit as a Soviet satellite. It was simple, he said: Over there, nothing is possible and everything matters, while over here, anything is possible, and nothing matters.
When the conversation turned from politics to letters, things got even more interesting. By his own accounting, this writer is meticulous in every sense, to the point of obsessive-compulsive anality. He collects things, including profuse facts about the Turkish nation’s coming of age in the 45 years after Ataturk, not as verification or proof of his fictional claims, but as if they are themselves already ideas that don’t need explanation. The charm of the Museum (he designed it down to its last detail) resides in this antic, childlike belief in the spirit of phenomenology—the notion that thoughts are things, and vice-versa. Inside the museum, you feel as if the Walt Whitman who wrote “Song for Occupations,” which concludes with warrantee deeds loafing in chairs opposite the poet himself, has been set free in Istanbul. One whole wall has 4,213 cigarette butts pinned to a canvas, under glass, like butterflies under Nabokov’s supervision, each annotated according to the date of the tryst celebrated by post-coital smoking.
As I read Pamuk’s accumulative agenda, the psychological (individual) and the historical (social) dimensions of modernity are meant to meet here, in the sentences that conjure objects—toys, earrings, dresses, keys, time-pieces, tools, automobiles—which refuse the status of the symbolic. They don’t represent anything except everything, the interiority of the modern bourgeois individual. They’re not “external” to such an individual, as ornament is to edifice. Being saturated with desire and purpose, they are the edifice itself.
That’s me thinking, not him talking. Like most novelists, he resists the notion that some theory is validated by his fictions. Like most historians, I do, too.
Late into dinner, the novelist made what he thought was a rueful admission, that he begins writing with a “gimmick,” and keeps going insofar as he can still take it seriously as the occasion for a believable narrative. A Maguffin, we both exclaimed! After appropriate explanation, he liked the effects, or at least the possibilities, of this Hitchcockian device.
For it is a good way to earn the innocence every narrative needs to be convincing. By this I mean that the stories that last, whether fiction or non-fiction, typically mix the accidental and the inevitable, shaping the random sequence of everyday life, of real events, into an intelligible moral-temporal order that, in turn, creates subjectivities—in other words, characters we can believe in.
The “gimmick” or the Maguffin is the white whale, the Maltese Falcon, the earring, the madeleine, the Winchester ’73, the object or incident that won’t stand for random sequence. Somehow it propels us beyond the world as it exists, asking us to find and map and order another, a world elsewhere, which is different but not necessarily better than where we started. I say “order” with emphasis because no matter how incongruent this new world seems, we need to know it’s intelligible and therefore inhabitable—it has rules and boundaries. Of course these will be violated in due time, as the story unfolds, but the world they define is nonetheless new.
This pronouncement makes me think that as a traveller from what used to be known as the New World, I ought to know that to “make it new” is, often enough, to merely acknowledge the old, even the ancient—and to realize that what seems old, even ancient, is not.
Yeah, Scaramucci is a creep, but you gotta thank him for breaking the NYT's taboo on the f-word. How else would it have been able to convey the grotesque melodrama of this White House? To my mind, a rhetorical breakthrough that will let reporters portray the world more realistically, as it is rather than as editors would like.
Packing for a place you've never been creates anxious anticipation, which is the same emotional state as remembrance of all those things you thought were irretrievably past: you're a child again, taking inventory of every detail instead of taking it for granted, the way you can when you grow up and acquire some common sense.
Packing for Istanbul--really smart tourism, right?--takes me back to the day in May 2008 when I moved to Harlem. The landlord had switched apartments on me, so I didn't know where I was going, only that I was leaving New Jersey and never going back, not this time. My destination was 596 Edgecombe Ave, in the archipelago of old Harlem that pointed like an index finger up from 145th Street, the Edgecombe Ave where Du Bois, Basie, Horne, Ellington, and Lewis lived in the 1930s, not far from Marshall and Rollins.
My friends Bruce Robbins and Matt Friedman helped me move that day. There wasn't much to move. "Dude, you live like a graduate student," Matt said. He was right, it was a pretty bleak picture--I had installed a Halloween yard witch as a decorative accent. Still, I said, "Fuck you, Matt, you are a graduate student."
Packing for Istanbul from 123rd Street takes me farther back. The Whole Foods opening--and the Lenox Lounge closing--make me take James Weldon Johnson's Black Manhattan (1930) off the shelf and peer again into into its intricacies of argument and illustration. Johnson was a prodigy, a giant of the Harlem Renaissance who compiled poetry, wrote fiction and music, and served as TR's consulate in Nicaragua. He's most famous, I imagine, for the novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912). His history of Harlem and its downtown predecessors--in the Village, on 53rd Street--is just as imaginative.
Open Black Manhattan to page 147, in Chapter XIII. It's a census/survey map of what we call Harlem. It's surrounded by good history of how this Black enclave came to be--no accident. The National Negro Business League (Booker T. Washington) and the Afro-American Realty Company (Philip A. Payton) made it happen, as they realized the maroons from the Jim Crow South would need a place to live. Payton, who worked for both BTW and Marcus Garvey, bought up blocks of real estate, and wasn't afraid of causing white flight.
Look carefully now at that map. As late as 1925, the Black population was confined, not just concentrated, between 135th and 127th Streets, stretching east toward but not beyond 5th Ave. By 1930, just five years later, the Black population is the Harlem we know, stretching well past 145th at the north, all the way to the river at the east, and down to Central Park at the south.
Look more carefully. In 1925, the farthest southern outpost of Black settlement is 123rd Steet off Lenox Ave, and, if I'm reading the map correctly, that's the lot on which my brand new building rises.
So, as I pack my bags for this place unknown, I reassure myself, I say, you can't know what the future holds. All you can do is get ready for tomorrow. But remember that Payton, Washington, and Garvey actually saw it coming.
Brian Leiter has posted the motion to dismiss "Jane Doe"'s lawsuit v. Laura Kipnis and HarperCollins, which claims that UNWANTED ADVANCES defamed and invaded the privacy of the plaintiff.
I link to it here because the motion is so well written and, as a result, convincing. And because it raises all the relevant issues of the 1st Amendment--its scope and its internal articulation. What does opinion mean, at the law? What are the outer limits of free speech? How does a fact function if both sides agree on it? And so on.
Speaking of my neighborhood's mysteries, I stood on the line at the CVS pharmacy for 20 minutes on Friday, nothing unusual, everybody here is used to waiting for no good reason. But the piped-in music was, as always, athwart the location, which is just two long blocks from the Apollo Theater and a stone's throw from the old Lenox Lounge, where blues and jazz were understood, in every sense and in both places, as dance musics.
I heard three songs while I stood there wondering about the opioids I'd be collecting. So did everybody on the line, but I'd bet my life that I was the only person in the store who had heard these songs before. Dobie Gray, "Drift Away," Joni Mitchell, "Help Me," Dan Fogelberg, "Illinois."
From the 70s, yeah. I almost lost it as I mumbled the chorus and swayed to the beat of "Drift Away." Then I actually started crying when Joni Mitchell's miraculous voice carried me back to a moment in 1978 when falling in love meant dying to an old, old self. I was wearing sunglasses, no problem, nobody noticed.
Then Fogelberg, "Illinois--I'm your boy." I'm standing there waiting for a shot of a narcotic drug, in a place far from anywhere I'd call home, and the song straightens me up, makes me long for nothing more or less than the distance I've achieved from that Midwestern origin.
Harlem Whole Foods opened yesterday in the block between 125th and 124th Streets, right across from where the Lenox Lounge used to sit. When I moved here six years ago, the lot now occupied by Whole Foods (also TD Bank, Burlington Coat Factory, etc.) was empty, and the Lenox Lounge—where Billie Holiday sang the blues and Malcolm X once held court—was a going concern, a real bar and a jumpin’ joint. I hung out there because it made me feel at home.
I’ve shopped for groceries at The Wild Olive off 5th Ave since moving onto 123rd. It’s a cramped, funky place (my guess is 4000 square feet) with strange tastes, or for them: I can buy low-cal taramosalata in the cheese section. It usually smells like reefer and its hours are, shall we say, unpredictable. Long lines in the deli around lunch-time, everybody buying a sandwich, otherwise it’s a ghost town. But the basics are there, and the prices are reasonable.
Now comes Whole Foods. What does it mean? How will it change the neighborhood? Or can it? Is this the epitome of “gentrification,” and, if so, are the “indigenous” people subject to expulsion by the significant rise in rents—and rent-seekers—that such development normally brings?
As you might imagine, I’ve had many conversations with my neighbors over the years on these very questions. One neighbor in particular, who now demands absolute anonymity in whatever I write—can’t blame him—has been especially informative. On several occasions, when queried, usually on the way to or from the Bronx, he has said that he doesn’t give a shit what the color of the money is, if it’s good for Harlem, developmentally speaking, it’s good for him and for the neighborhood.
I’ve had similar, although less interesting, conversations with Caucasian friends, who uniformly expect me to express some guilt about being a white man who can afford to live here, in these riotous real estate times. These conversations always peter out because for once I don’t feel the guilt expected of me.
But still, the new Harlem Whole Foods is a spectacle worthy of a lot of cameras. I mean the steady-cam kind, not just your smart phone. I went there this afternoon to buy some basics, thinking, it’s an event, you’re a witness, don’t be a Luddite, grow the fuck up, and P.S., it’s not about you. It was mere bravery.
What color is the money on these premises? My rough estimates go like this. 90% of the personnel is Black or Latino. 75% of the clientele is Black or Latino. These ratios conform to the larger demographic of Harlem, where “gentrification” has meant a distinct shift in the balance of social class, but not so much in the racial composition of the population. In other words, the white and the black bourgeoisie—not the 1%, mind you, those people could buy a whole block here with the small change of their deals—have collaborated in making the changes that have raised Whole Foods from that empty lot.
True or false, that thought comforts me as I re-navigate the aisles in my remembrance of foods bought.
A produce section the size of a football field. I wanted to stay there, contemplating the packaged cole slaws as against the organic whatever that occupied the opposite wall. I wanted to stay there, wondering how vegetables, mere carrots, could smell that good. Did they spray them with pheromones?
One whole aisle given over to olive oils. Now as a rule, I like olive oil, it’s got that seal of fat approval and all, mono-somethng, but there’s a fucking crowd here debating the merits of the variants? I am not describing downtown white yuppies in Dean & DeLuca, I am expressing frustration at the traffic jam just off the deli.
And the check-out. 25 cashiers and three guys to direct you to the open one. 25 cashiers? The Wild Olive has two when it feels like, and sometimes the lines get long. The deli there makes great sandwiches, but there’s no place to sit down and eat them. Whole Foods has a cafeteria—oh for God’s sake it’s a genuine restaurant.
Am I pleading Mom & Pop? No. What then?
Martin J. Sklar, who is quite possibly the most important historian of the 20th century--I know how daft that sounds--once complied a book of essays called The United States as a Developing Country; it was published in 1992. No matter, here's what sticks with me from W. Arthur Lewis's seminal work, The Theory of Economic Growth (1955), p. 214:
"At any level of income, people can consume only the quantity of consumer goods which exists. Since their incomes derive from producing consumer goods and investment [capital] goods, and since they can buy only the consumer goods, it follows that they must save a part of their income equal to the value of the investment goods which have been produced. . . . What they are thus forced to save may not, however, correspond to what they would like to save at that level of income."
Translation: We are being forced to save, against our wishes, even as our wages get squeezed by every unchecked economic force imaginable, from outsourcing to automation. Insofar as we let the capitalists or the bankers or whoever deduct their incomes from the sum of value we have created, we contribute to saving as against spending, and, to that exact extent, we contribute to our own death--we let them tell us how our incomes ought to be expended. Fuck that.
Speaking of socialism, here's what Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the world's largest bank, said yesterday to financial reporters. Either we contest his claim that private control of investment decisions is beneficial for "the average Americans" or we give up the ghost of socialist principle. We OWN the banks--via FDIC, TARP, etc.--and they're sitting on $2 trillion. Let's learn how to control them. Let's turn Jamie Dimon into a public servant.
"I was just in France, I was recently in Argentina, I was in Israel, I was in Ireland. We met with the prime minister of India and China. It's amazing to me that every single one of those countries understands that practical policies to promote business and growth is good for the average citizens of those countries, for jobs and wages, and that somehow this great American free enterprise system, we no longer get it.
"Corporate taxation is critical to that, by the way. We've been driving capital earnings overseas, which is why there's $2 trillion overseas benefiting all these other countries and stuff like that. So if we don't get our act together . . .
"It's almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid s--- we have to deal with in this country. And at one point we all have to get our act together or we won't do what we're supposed to [do] for the average Americans.
"And unfortunately people write about this saying like it's for corporations. It's not for corporations. Competitive taxes are important for business and business growth, which is important for jobs and wage growth. And honestly we should be ringing that alarm bell, every single one of you, every time you talk to a client."
U.S. NOT IN FAVOR OF TREATY TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS! TO ME, THAT ISN'T NEWS, BUT IT'S SOMETHING WE SHOULD ALL BE THINKING ABOUT *A* *L*O*T*.
FROM THE ARTICLE: "
UN adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons despite US opposition
A majority of the world's countries voted at the United Nations on Friday to adopt a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.
The vote marks the first time in history that a majority of countries moved to approve a binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons. In all, 122 nations voted in favor of the treaty, while only one, the Netherlands, voted against it. Singapore abstained.
The treaty is intended to bar countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, acquiring or even possessing any kind of nuclear weapon.
Not part of the treaty negotiations, however, were the world's nuclear powers, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Russia — all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — who argued that the treaty was unrealistic and that countries like North Korea would not cooperate.
"There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said in March when negotiations on the treaty began. "Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?”- READ MORE:
HOW WE ARE DECEIVED:
FROM THE ARTICLE
By Joe Lauria
In George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith’s job was to delve into The Times of London archive and rewrite stories that could cause trouble for the totalitarian government ruling Britain. For instance, if the government made a prediction of wheat or automobile production in their five-year plan and that prediction did not come true, Winston would go into the archives and “correct” the numbers in the article on record.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In writing a response the other day to a critic of my recently published book on Hillary Clinton’s electoral defeat, I was researching how the U.S. corporate media covered a 2016 British parliamentary report on Libya that showed how then Secretary of State Clinton and other Western leaders lied about an impending genocide in Libya to justify their 2011 attack on that country.
I first searched The New York Times archives to find "the paper never did a staff-written story on this explosive parliamentary report. It only ran an Associated Press article. But when you click on the link for the AP article you get a message saying that it is no longer available on nytimes.com.
Using a combination of different keywords, a search of The Washington Post archives was even worse. I could find no story on the parliamentary report at all. A search of The Los Angeles Times archives likewise comes up empty.
Ignoring or downplaying a story is one way U.S. corporate media deliberately buries news critical of American foreign policy. It is often news vital for Americans to understand their government’s actions abroad, actions which could mean death or life for U.S. soldiers and countless civilians of other lands.
Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.
British newspapers widely covered the story. As did the International Edition of CNN, which has separate editors from CNN’s U.S. website. An online search found no domestic CNN story. There’s also no video online indicating that CNN domestic or CNN International television reported the story.
The Asia edition of The Wall Street Journal had a story. It’s not clear if it appeared in the U.S. edition. Newsweek ran a story online. But it does not mention the United States even once. It laid the blame entirely on the British and French governments, as if the U.S. had nothing to do with the devastation of Libya on false pretenses. The U.S. gave the same false war rationale as the British and French did.
It is as black mark on the Congress’ two foreign affairs committees that neither undertook a similar inquiry (although congressional Republicans did obsess over the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which occurred about a year after the Obama administration facilitated the military overthrow and brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi).
Voice of America, which broadcasts outside the United States, ran a story on its website about the British parliamentary report, though the article confined criticism of the U.S. to not being prepared for the aftermath, not for the intervention itself.
A thorough online search shows that The Nation magazine and several alternative news sites, including ConsortiumNews and Salon, appear to be the only U.S.-based media that accurately covered the blockbuster story that undermined the entire U.S. narrative for leaving Libya a failed state."- READ MORE:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
From A Friend:
" Personally I think the best solution is to ignore politicians and political parties altogether. Just imagine if say next election only a few hundred thousand people voted and everyone stayed at home. Imagine if the turnout was less than 10%. The politicians and media would go ape, but there would be a chance for real discussion and perhaps some positive changes. Nothing is going to change until people realize that they are the ones holding up the system and that ultimately, they are the ones who have the power if they so decide to use it."
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
"Seems that the UK and US are joining forces to provide a very safe haven for various banking/corporate interests to do whatever they like at the expense of the people and a resurgence of the British Empire. This is straightforward social/ethnic cleansing, something which people should be up in arms about - but they're not. Think about this, at any time, any official or corporation can tell you that you have no home, no income, no citizenship, no right to remain, and there's nothing you can do about it. Doesn't matter whether they call it 'making America great again' or Brexit or whatever, this is the upshot of what's going down right now and most people seem to be sitting back and saying 'Oh okay then'."
FROM THE ARTICLE:
""It is jaw-dropping that the Trump administration is blacking out key information about how the Obama Justice Department tried to spin Loretta Lynch's scandalous meeting with Bill Clinton," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a press release. "President Trump should order the full and immediate release of these materials."
The tarmac meeting became a major campaign issue in 2016, and was reignited thanks to recent testimony from former FBI Director James Comey.
In his June testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said Lynch had asked him to refer to matters about Hillary Clinton's email server as a "matter" instead of an "investigation."
"That language tracked the way that the campaign was talking about the FBI's work, and that's concerning," Comey said under questioning. "I don't know whether it was intentional or not, but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate. We had a criminal investigation open, and so that gave me a queasy feeling."
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/…/doj_redacts_talking_points…
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THE U.S. OF A.COULD STOP THIS IF THEY WANTED TO.
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Last week, a United Nations investigation accused the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen of firing those missiles. But are the coalition countries alone to blame? After all, the United States supplies billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment used in the fighting. In 2016, for example, the United States sold $3.5 billion worth of Apache helicopters to the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member that has naval forces in the area where the missiles were fired in March. The U.S. regularly makes similar weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, all of whom are coalition members.
Lawmakers also need to start asking themselves harder questions about whom the U.S. chooses to befriend in the Middle East and why"... READ MORE:
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Late on Thursday Israeli police explicitly said for the first time that the cases concerning the prime minister include charges of “bribery, fraud and breach of trust". A spokesperson for Mr Netanyahu's office said the allegations are "untrue" and politically motivated.
"We completely reject the unfounded claims made against the prime minister," a statement said. "The campaign to change the government is underway, but it is destined to fail, for a simple reason: there won't be anything because there was nothing."
Police first talked to Mr Netanyahu at his Jerusalem home on 1 January as part of a huge corruption sting involving more than 50 influential Israeli business leaders and other public figures." READ MORE:
OUR HEALTH IS IN THE HANDS OF INSURANCE COMPANIES WHO MAKE ENORMOUS PROFITS ON OUR HEALTH DISASTERS. IMO, IT IS A CRIME TO PROFIT FROM THE MISFORTUNE (ILL HEALTH) OF OTHERS, BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY DO:
FROM Adrienne Brietzke:"
THESE ARE THE 2016 SALARIES OF SOME INSURANCE COMPANY CEO's ~
WHO CLAIM OBAMACARE DROVE THEIR COMPANIES BROKE*
Highest-paid health insurance CEO earned $22M in 2016
In the highly compensated world of health insurance CEOs, Centene’s Michael Neidorff reigns supreme.
Neidorff earned a total of $22 million in 2016, making him the highest-paid executive of the eight largest publicly traded health insurers, according to a review of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Still, Neidorff’s total compensation increased only marginally compared to 2015, when he earned $20.8 million. But the next highest-paid executive this year, Humana’s Bruce Broussard, saw a considerable raise: He collected $19.7 million in 2016 compared to $10.4 million the year prior.
What they earned
Total compensation, in millions, for the CEOs of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies
Humana had planned to be acquired by Aetna this year, but that deal—just like the merger between Anthem and Cigna—was blocked in federal court on antitrust grounds. Aetna and Humana then abandoned their merger plans, but Anthem is appealing.
Humana said in its proxy filing that it produced “exceptional results” last year despite the long regulatory review process related to its deal with Aetna, “which created significant uncertainty for our associates and our business prospects.”
The CEOs of the two would-be acquiring companies also scored raises in 2016. Anthem’s Joseph Swedish earned $16.5 million, up from $13.6 million in 2015, while Aetna’s Mark Bertolini earned $18.7 million in 2016, up from $17.3 million. Cigna CEO David Cordani, however, took a pay cut, earning $15.3 million in 2016 compared to $17.3 million the year prior.
RELATED: Health insurance CEO salaries top out at $17.3M in 2015
The only other CEO to earn less year-over-year was Molina Healthcare’s J. Mario Molina, who saw his total compensation dip slightly from $10.3 million to $10 million.
UnitedHealth’s Stephen Hemsley, meanwhile, earned $17.8 million in 2016, a jump up from the $14.5 million he was paid the year prior. The lowest compensated executive in the group was WellCare’s Ken Burdick, who collected $9.3 million last year, compared to $7.8 million in 2015.
Molly Walker contributed to this report.
*INSURANCE COMPANY SCAM~
Health insurance industry rakes in billions while blaming Obamacare for losses
Major insurance companies are enjoying record profits but claim they are losing money under the Affordable Care Act
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"The term ‘populism’ carries with it barely concealed contempt for those who defy the periodic fraud that is American electoral politics to act outside of sanctioned responses. The voluminous ‘the hicks got what they deserve’ articles that flowed from Manhattan based web addresses following Donald Trump’s election proceeded from a premise the election called into question— that the lived experiences of the technocrat and newly displaced working classes were similar enough to warrant similar political responses. That maybe, just maybe, these lived experiences weren’t that similar points to the self-referential myopia of the technocrat class." READ MORE:
Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
I guess my problem is that I have faith in the America that I used to believe we were... I have faith in the idea that it's only a few of us who are Nazi's and bullies and monsters of greed... racists. warmongers... HATERS. I guess I believe that somehow there WILL be an awakening and we ALL CAN get together on believing things like: PEACE IS BETTER THAN WAR, KILLING CHILDREN IS WRONG, ALLOWING OTHERS TO STARVE IS WRONG... you know those kinds of jerky nonsensical ideas that we used to believe we believed in.
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport July 24, while attempting to board a flight to Pakistan. For more than a decade the congressional staffer had worked under top House Democrats, and he had just been accused by the FBI of bank fraud.
It was a dramatic moment in a saga that started in February, when Capitol Police confirmed an investigation into Mr. Awan and his family on separate accusations of government theft. The details are tantalizing: The family all worked for top Democrats, were paid huge sums, and had access to sensitive congressional data, even while having ties to Pakistan.
The media largely has ignored the affair, the ho-hum coverage summed up by a New York Times piece suggesting it may be nothing more than an “overblown Washington story, typical of midsummer.” But even without evidence of espionage or blackmail, this ought to be an enormous scandal.
Because based on what we already know, the Awan story is—at the very least—a tale of massive government incompetence that seemingly allowed a family of accused swindlers to bilk federal taxpayers out of millions and even put national secrets at risk. In a more accountable world, House Democrats would be forced to step down.
Mr. Awan, 37, began working for House Democrats as an IT staffer in 2004. By the next year, he was working for future Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Over time he would add his wife, two brothers, a brother’s wife and a friend to the payroll—and at handsome sums. One brother, Jamal, hired in 2014 reportedly at age 20, was paid $160,000. That’s in line with what a chief of staff makes—about four times the average Capitol Hill staffer. No Democrat appears to have investigated these huge numbers or been asked to account for them.
According to an analysis by the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak, who has owned this story, the family has collected $5 million since 2003 and “appeared at one time or another on an estimated 80 House Democrats’ payrolls.” Yet Mr. Rosiak interviewed House staffers who claim most of the family were “ghost” employees and didn’t come to work. Only in government does nobody notice when staffers fail to show up.
The family was plenty busy elsewhere. A litany of court documents accuse them of bankruptcy fraud, life-insurance fraud, tax fraud and extortion. Abid Awan, a brother, ran up more than $1 million in debts on a failed car dealership he somehow operated while supposedly working full time on the Hill. One document ties the family to a loan from a man stripped of his Maryland medical license after false billing. Capitol Police are investigating allegations of procurement fraud and theft. The brothers filed false financial-disclosure forms, with Imran Awan claiming his wife had no income, even as she worked as a fellow House IT staffer.
"Yes, it is weird that Ms. Wasserman Schultz continued to shield Imran Awan to the end. Yes, the amounts of money, and the ties to Pakistan, are strange. Yes, it is alarming that emails show Imran Awan knew Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password, and that the family might have had wider access to the accounts of lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees."
- READ MORE: