Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Football: The Season of Joy: Time For A Change

(2) FOOTBALLNot to be caught up in the mania of the season, the Boston Globe took the time to write an editorial suggesting UMass drop football. It notes that the new NCAA rules allowing the five most powerful college football conferences in the country to pay its players makes it almost impossible for schools like UMass which is not a member of such a conference to field a competitive team.

The Globe is right. Its solution is wrong. I read recently of a better solution. UMass should play a spring schedule competing among teams dedicated to providing top notch football without paid players.

Ted Connolly advocates this in his compelling presentation. He spells out 8 reasons why a “non-big 5 spring league makes sense.” I hate the term no-brainer but thinking through his presentation that best describes his proposal.

One reason I like his proposal is the lull that comes after the football season ends. I know baseball begins but that really doesn’t seem to do much for me during the springtime.

Here’s what an article in January said about American sports.

“In 2014, 35 percent of fans call the NFL their favorite sport, followed by Major League Baseball (14 percent), college football (11 percent), auto racing (7 percent), the NBA (6 percent), the NHL (5 percent) and college basketball (3 percent).

In 1985, the first year the poll was taken, the NFL bested MLB by just one percentage point (24 to 23 percent), but since then interest in baseball has fallen while the NFL has experienced a huge rise in popularity.”

You didn’t need the Harris Poll to tell you this. You knew it in your gut that interest in baseball is declining. 46% of fans call football their favorite sport compared to 14% for baseball. That leaves a huge base of fans pining for something in the spring. College spring football will fill the gap.

There’s also a compelling argument to changing the season and using students who have gone to school to be educated as players. It is becoming clear that in the major colleges the people playing the sports are the equivalent to MLB’s minor leagues where the players are employed by the teams.

The regional director of the National Labor Relation’s Board made a decision earlier this year which “was premised on a flat-out rejection of the notion that big-time college sports are amateur pursuits by ‘student-athletes’ who are students first, and athletes a distant second,” He wrote that the football players at Northwestern were employees of the university and entitled to vote on whether to be unionized.

Just like the baseball players in the minor league are employees, so are these students at a major university. They are hired hands; hired not to get an education but to play ball. That again is something we knew looking at the graduation rates of some of these schools. So isn’t it time to stop the pretense and recognize these big time football colleges are nothing more than minor league teams for the NFL with the exception they don’t cost the NFL anything to run.

Think of it, spring is the time to really be at a sports event. March, April and May are the perfect months for being outdoors. An eight or nine game season with playoffs could easily be fit into that time schedule. The game would be exciting with evenly matched teams. We’d be seeing the game as it was meant to be played with college kids who are in school to be educated rather than groomed.

It would be a nice cleansing of the sport. It could be run at an affordable cost to the colleges and university with no need for multi-million dollar coaching contracts and training arenas. It would give me something to look forward to in spring. Who knows, even Holy Cross might take up football again.

The Boston Globe’s Plan For Mayor Marty Walsh. Part 2: A Conversation

IMG_2327In part one I noted how the Globe set about to tear down Quinn’s reputation. It turned the governor’s race into a contest between Mr. Clean Dukakis and Mr. Go-Easy-on- Corruption Quinn. Quinn lost.

The state lost a man who would have been a great governor. The country gained a guy who thought he could portray an image of a warrior because he drove around in a tank wearing a helmet. Had Dukakis grown up in where I had he would have known not to have done that stunt. But coming from Brookline he saw a different world. He saw the world the Globe wants to see; one far removed from what most people know.

I always thought the greatest difference between Quinn and Dukakis was the disposition of the men: Quinn was always smiling while Dukakis always glowered. That was also one of the great separators between Billy Bulger and Alan Dershowitz, the smile. Perhaps it wasn’t that the Globe didn’t like the Irish from the inner city but it just didn’t like people who found enjoyment in life.

Having done in Quinn who was from Auckland Street in Savin Hill, the Globe now must deal with another Irish politician Boston Mayor Marty Walsh who also is from Savin Hill. He lives on Tuttle Street separated from Auckland street by Sagamore and Saxon streets. Tuttle Street is where many of my friends lived. Good guys like Timmy O’L . . .  and Tord S . . . and lesser good guys like Tommy D . . .  We hung around together, both good and bad for that is how it is in the inner city, finding enjoyment in the company of each other.

It was on Tuttle Street in the backyard of Roy F. . .  where I first learned to make gunpowder. Bobby R. . .  lived at the end of the street where it runs into Hartland Street and Billy M. . .  lived across the street.  From Bobby’s house we could look across into the little variety store that was owned by Baldy Sheehan – a man who was taken straight into heaven on his passing having had his purgatory on earth trying to run a store among a bunch of us wild ones.

When Marty got elected a person who I talk politics with said: “How long do you think it will be before the Globe starts going after him?” I shrugged: “How do I know? They’ll give him a little honeymoon.” He laughed and said: “Walsh will be lucky if they give him a six month honeymoon.” I nodded. He said: “You know it’s coming.” I nodded again. He went on, “you know what they did to Bob Quinn. It won’t even have to be on the level.”

I suggested to him that perhaps those days were gone and that paper had changed its attitude toward the Irish politicians from the three-decker neighborhoods. “No way,” he said. “You gotta understand. Walsh can only survive if he dances to the Globe’s tune.” He got up and said: “The lunch is on you. I’ll pick it next time.” I was reaching for my wallet when he returned.

I asked him if he decided to pay. He shook his head and sat down. “Going out it came to me how it will do it. It will use the “some-people- say- if- true” trick like it did with Quinn and others, you know, some people say Walsh is a racists, if true, he should step down – something like that.” He then smiled as if he had come up with a brilliant thought and left me to find the money to pay the bill. This was supposed to be the next time for paying but with this friend next time never seemed to come around.

I wondered if he was right. Had nothing really changed at the Globe after all these years. Had the Yankee/Irish animosity stayed as much a part of it today as it was in the past? The Globe still did old globbering routine against people as we see with John O’Brien and Patricia Campatelli so why would it not still do the hatchet job on the inner city Irish?  Would Walsh be in its crosshairs. It didn’t take long to get the answer.


Ukraine: How Obama Talked It Down The Drain

Ukraine Map of GreenThe green area on this map is what some believe is the ultimate goal of Dictator Putin. it is to take all of the east and south of Ukraine land annexing it to Russia making Ukraine a landlocked country. How much of his goal he will achieve remains to be seen.

Elmer who comments here has better connections inside Ukraine than I do and follows the news more closely than I am doing. He recently called my attention to an article that set forth the following: “Russia’s military goals are evolving. Moscow’s tactics are based on the principle of razvedka boem, or employing military means to assess an adversary’s strength and willpower.” (my emphasis)

I’ve been suggesting all along that that this is Putin’s mindset. He’s going to go as far as he can go (like they said in Oklahoma about in Kansas City). He will determine this by taking one step, gauging the reaction, and then deciding what to do next.

The article also talked about the genesis of the present situation. “Russia is in shock. Having stated as recently as December 2013 that “Ukraine is now ours,” Moscow suddenly finds itself with no influence in Kiev at all.” I put it another way stating that the Ukrainians decision to fight Yanukovych’s alignment with Russia was a slap in the face to Dictator Putin which he could not let stand.

George Kennan who probably knew the politics of Russian dictators better than anyone in the West told us about them. He said their sense of insecurity is too great, they consider themselves the repository of all truth and as being infallible, and are quick to take advantage of the weakness of others. I’d like to think people who run our country understand this.

In seeking his revenge for being rejected, Hell knows no fury as a Russian dictator scorned, he has set out with the use of his military to begin dismembering Ukraine. As he does he waits for the response from the West. I’ve noted that since he first gathered up his forces to enter Crimea all that he has heard is words, words, and more words. Nothing of significance has happened. You’d think that of all places, Europe, with its experience in not responding to invasions of other countries by a dictator, one would see a bolder response.

Our Secretary of State John Kerry has been dealing with Russia’s Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov since the crises began. We’re not privy to their discussions but from all it appears Lavrov has given Kerry nothing. That is why I wondered why Kerry was going to meet him again in London last Friday.

Remember they met in Paris on March 5. Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister said: “Things have moved in a good direction.” Kerry said he was encouraged by signals from the Russians: “I believe I have something to take back to President Obama, and I believe Foreign Secretary Lavrov has something to take back to President Putin. All parties agree it’s important to resolve this issue through dialogue.” 

Dialogue on one side, action on the other. Because of my background I could not but think of the dialogue between Henry Hill and Estee Lauder. She was upset that Hill and his hoods were robbing her apartment. He took her out for drinks to talk it over.

Kerry met with Lavrov the next day in Rome. When Kerry returned home on March 7 he had a telephone conversation with Lavrov where Lavrov tried to scare him. He told him: “that any sanctions against Russia “would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”

President Obama in the face of Russian invasion took minor steps to impose visa restrictions on “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine” among other things.

The Russians invaded and then scheduled a vote in Crimea where the people will have two choices: one whether to join Russia; and two whether to join Russia.

Meanwhile words poured out of the White House about our dismay. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel started to throw out words suggesting massive political and economic consequences. She said: ““None of us want it to come to this, but we are prepared and determined” to act.”

Meanwhile Dictator Putin saw nothing was happening. Merkel talked about a meeting coming up on Monday to talk about measures to take. Putin loves it when the West talks; usually nothing happens.

Kerry with the backing of Merkel’s threat of more talks, on Friday flew to London to meet with Lavrov again. Earlier in week he refused to fly to Moscow because of Moscow’s rejection of American proposals. Russia flat-out refuses to negotiate with the present Ukrainian government which it considers illegal and plans, as shown by the map, to take as big a bite out of Ukraine as it can.

Kerry met with Lavrov yesterday for six hours of talk.  According to the article Kerry said the US “continues to favor a direct dialogue with Russia.”  Lavrov said: “Russia will “respect the will of the Crimean people” [who they hold at gunpoint] and he criticized the threat of U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia as “counterproductive.””

The article said that Kerry stated: “there will be an even greater response if Russia further increases tensions in Ukraine.”  If all we offer is a greater response to what we have done which is practically nothing I’m sure the Russians aren’t particularly worried.

He went on to say: “There will be consequences.”  The White House said it is “regrettable” Russia is going forward and warned it will respond “quickly.”  One feeble response decided upon is one of those U.N. security council resolutions drafted by the U.S. that says Sunday’s referendum on the status of Crimea “can have no validity.” That resolution will be vetoed by Russia and is such a feeble response it was not backed by Ukraine’s government.

The Speaking to reporters in Washington after the London talks, U.S. President Barack Obama said he remains optimistic for continued dialogue with Russia.

Maybe its me but isn’t there a time when you stop talking and acting. I know Obama prefers talk to action but really, he’s been talking with Putin and Kerry’s been talking to Lavrov since February 21 and Russia keeps moving forward as if nothing was ever said. There have been no real sanctions imposed and no specific ones have been proposed to deter Russia’s actions. It’s vague talk.

The overwhelming scent  in Moscow is of weakness everywhere in the West. Putin knows Obama loves to hear himself talk so he’ll let him talk on and he will patiently listen. In the meantime he will rebuild his Russian empire. As for Kerry, could we have a worse guy than him in this position?


Thoughts On Obama’s N.S.A. Speech – The Neighbors

P1010271A couple of President Obama’s lines gave me an eerie feeling. I asked myself does he really believe this? I’ve heard others say it lately and it seems to me to be the most erroneous statement any person with a smidgen of knowledge of history can make. A logical follow through on it would be to suggest there is no need of anything like a Bill of Rights.

Using it makes me think the president or his speech writers think we are a nation of Simple Simons. Here’s what he said as part of his “few broad observations: . . . After all, the folks at NSA and other intelligence agencies are our neighbors. They’re our friends and family. They’ve got electronic bank and medical records like everybody else. They have kids on Facebook and Instagram, and they know, more than most of us, the vulnerabilities to privacy that exist in a world . . . . “

I guess from that we are supposed to say: “oh, it’s only my neighbors who are doing this so it must be all right.” I’ve written about this before.The great majority of the genocides of the last 2 centuries were carried out by neighbors. It wasn’t invading armies but the people next door.

Where to begin? After WWI I suppose is a good starting point. The Holodomor, aka the Great Famine, introduced by Joe Stalin to suppress the Ukrainian people, the neighbors were used to inform on others so that they could keep their own meager supplies which were eventually taken from them by the special police who were recruited from among the population.

Then all the Jews who lived in peace with their German neighbors suddenly found that their neighbors no longer wanted to associate with them. When the thugs came down the street destroying Jewish property, few neighbors tried to stop their Aryan brothers fearful of being on the wrong side of the authorities. It was the neighbors who helped with the round ups, drove the trucks and trains that carted the Jews away, and kept silent. I recently read of one woman of Jewish heritage who moved to France and lived there 20 years, even becoming a Catholic, but when the Nazis moved in she too was taken to a concentration camp by her neighbors.

It’s not just that Europeans can’t be trusted, I need not go into what happened in Africa between the Tutsis and Hutu in Rwanda in 1994. People who had lived side by side for generations were suddenly murdering each other. Who can forget the videos of the river with all the bodies floating in it. Afterward, few could explain why they had turned on their neighbors.

Slide from there a few years earlier into Asia with the Chinese Cultural Revolution where those not deemed sufficiently loyal were sent off to re-education camps; it was such a good idea that some years later the Khmer Rouge, another one of those Communist groups decided to experiment on its own people. Google “killing fields” if you want to know more about that horror.

It’s not just an African/Asian problem. From South America we have the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo who are trying to find out what their neighbors did with their children in Argentina; again in Europe those with a few years under their belts can feel the horror that happened in Sarajevo when snipers, former neighbors, sat in the hills surrounding the city shooting anyone who dared walk the streets of this international city. Oh, here you can Google the words “sniper alley.”

A word or two or three tell us how much faith we can put in our neighbors. Keep in mind Holocaust, Holodomor, Killing Fields, Sniper Alley, Rwandan Genocide,  and Gang of Four whenever someone tell you not to be afraid because those who are coming to visit you in the name of the state are your neighbors. That Obama used those terms makes me wonder whether I’m missing something when I suggest the N.S.A. did nothing wrong.





The Obtuse Americans:


Obtuse according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means:: “stupid or unintelligent : not able to think clearly or to understand what is obvious or simple.”

Where I suggest Americans are clearly coming up short is their failure to see the continuing obsequiousness of those in official positions to the many police forces operating in our land. These police forces not only operate without normal scrutiny, in secrecy, and behind opaque curtains but their most questionable actions are praised and justified by those officials who do this in a knee jerk fashion ignorant of the facts behind them.

Evidence of this is the recent statement of the Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin who justified the killing of Miriam Carey by stating the decision to kill her was “understandable” because Capitol Hill is a target for those who hate the United States, and someone in a car is a threat.” That seems to encompass a broad range of people.

Durbin’s statement was made without any idea of the facts that gave rise to the killing. Decency would demand he withhold judgment until we know what happened. But in this home of the free and the land of the brave, perhaps Durbin knows he can say anything he wants because we will never truly find out the background of the tragedy.

I’d like to know one simple thing: what happened at the White House that caused the chase to begin? Do you know? The New York Times is content to tell us: “Ms. Carey tried to barrel through a checkpoint outside the White House at 2:12 p.m. She hit an officer who tried to stop her and who rolled over the hood of her car.”  That seems to be contradicted by a civilian witness (see Friday’s post) who said Miriam Carey “looked scared or lost” and the Secret Service police officer who was struck by her car was attempting to put a barrier in front of her car at the time of the occurrence.

Here’s the problem, we don’t know what happened and until we do we cannot make any judgments. Despite this our elected officials in Congress have already given the police a standing ovation. Having had their actions approved what is there to prevent the cops from going on their merry gun shooting ways.

It seems strange that the killing of a young woman is handled in such a cavalier manner. There seems no outcry anymore over police killings. Is it because we know it does no good since in this new era the American people have no right to know what prompted police killings but only preserve the right to cheer them?

I’ve been asking about the FBI’s relationship with Mark Rossetti the top-level informant. As for Rossetti, the FBI has told us it is investigating his relationship with it for over 24 months. The FBI refuses to answer a simple question: why was he a top echelon informant when he was a known felon suspected of several murders. How in Zeus’s name does it take over two years to investigate what happened in a local FBI office?

There are other matters such as whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an informant and why was it the FBI bungled the search for him after the Marathon Terrorist Attack. But worse of all when it comes to law enforcement is we live in a country where a person can be killed by the cops and we can learn nothing about it. Not only that, people who may furnish some information about it are forced to keep silent.

Have the American people forgotten about the killing of Ibragim Todashev on May 22, 2013 (was it that long ago?) by the FBI that is still being investigated even though he was gunned down by FBI agents in a room in front of other cops?

Speaking of Todashev, his girlfriend has been arrested “for speaking to members of the news media, . . . ” about him. She was in custody of immigration when his homicide occurred and was scheduled to be deported. Apparently she was released on the condition she keep her mouth shut. Yes, I know, this is the underside of America we shouldn’t be concerned with since it relates to foreigners but what can be done to them can be done to us.

I suggest it is obvious it in not in the interest of a free people to allow their police departments to kill people and not to have their actions subject to close scrutiny. Yet in present day America there is little demand that the reasons behind the killings be explained. Nor are their any public inquests into them.

The cops kill someone, the politicians cheers, and the public remains mute. Maybe you don’t think it is strange. But in my many years I’ve never seen anything like it. I suggest that when the people fail to recognize the need to exercise control and supervision of their police forces they have become quite obtuse.



Distant Thoughts on the Whitey Saga

2013 08 02_3998When I wrote my last post: “Whitey The Ordinary — Just Another Hoodlum Who Didn’t Grow Up” I had no idea of the hiatus that would occur between that post on September 16, 2013 and now. The reasons for the silence are a special assignment I undertook that totally kept me away from the computer and any writing; and on top of that a joyful out-of-state addition to the family.

These events necessitated that I put distance between myself and the subject matter of this blog. Perhaps my post noting the ordinariness of Whitey was an auspicious stepping off point. As time passed and distance widened I began to see more clearly the basic banality of Whitey Bulger the man. Much more interesting than the person are the events that conspired together to take such a commonplace criminal and elevated him to the point he became some sort of criminal extraordinaire. Those are the events I hope to focus my efforts on explaining.

Trying to write anything else about Whitey himself is a waste of time. No man, who has in reality done so little of any merit, has ever had so much trivia written about him than Whitey. What is there about the man that is worth emulating or admiring? Absolutely nothing. He is a debased man devoid of any redeeming qualities.

The only matter of interest that remain is how such a low life came to occupy such a position of prominence. Could it only have happened because of the unique circumstances in Boston? That is a subject worth exploring. But to spend any more time on Whitey the person is of little value.

Now when I think of Whitey I think of how the George Zimmerman affair was thrust into the national spotlight as if gun murders were a rare event in America. In 2011 there were over 6,000 murders with handguns in this country. Zimmerman gained prominence because some made it into a racial murder, that is the white murder of an African-American youth, when that wasn’t the case.  Some suggest that the DOJ added its two cents worth.

Take away the medias shouting and it is just another one of the 367 handgun murders in Florida in 2012. The absurdity of making this into more than it was clearly shows how something quite mundane assumes an air of importance. Two uninteresting persons struggling through life become daily news fodder. As late as this week we find ABC News tells us his wife is having difficulty serving him with divorce papers, his mother-in-law accusing him of stealing a television, and NBC news has all of America listening to his wife spell out their domestic woes.

That is the magic of media. The capability of making a boar into a prince and a sow into a princess. Or, in Whitey’s case, the ability to put a shine on a sneaker.

Another reason to move on is that Whitey is really yesterday’s newspaper that is good for little more than putting aside in its special bin and waiting for the recycling truck to take it away. Whitey is living, if it can be called such, in a 24-hour-a-day well lighted cell with jailers, like voyeurs, watching his every move. His only hope for the future is that his next cell may have a more comfortable mattress. All he is now is a mechanism through which people can make money. He will be sentenced to die in prison.

As a person he should have as much relevance to us as a passing cloud. We’ll read more about him but it’ll all should have as much interest to our lives as George Zimmeman’s wife’s appearances on network television.

Yet we will be treated to news about the victims’ families  looking for more money with the help of the DOJ. We saw how the DOJ in the Caswell Motel case tried to steal a motel from its long-term owner. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it try to seize Billy Bulger’s pension to compensate the victims of Whitey. After all, the prosecutors are convinced Billy had a hand in all these matters.

The recipients of Whitey’s letters from the jail house are seeking to make money off of them. They are offering them on eBay. The DOJ will be seizing them and having its own auction.

We’ll be treated at sentencing time to the parade of family members each clinging to their last minutes of fame gained through Whitey’s notoriety pouring out their venom on him both in court and outside patiently lining up to regurgitate their statements to the television cameras. Their newsworthiness gained through no merit of their own but through their misfortune means they too will quickly fade into obscurity.

Then, of course, we’ll hear of the sentence imposed by the court. It will amount to hundreds of years, as if anything over 5 or 10 for an 84-year-old person matters. Perhaps, some interest will be warranted in the proceedings if Whitey decides to make a statement in his own behalf. And I’d suggest there is a good chance this might happen.

Whitey won’t let the sun go down on him without a final goodbye. He had deluded himself into believing that he has something worthwhile to offer us or that there may by a sympathetic ear to any of his complaints. Why shouldn’t he when so much has been written about him?

I’d suggest that anyone expecting the truth from him should look elsewhere. If he had an ounce of decency he’d leave quickly and silently. It is time to let him go and to try to understand how it was that such a vile person caused such a commotion.  I get the feeling that the Whitey saga was a betrayal of Boston.



The Grand Boston Media Conspiracy

P1010271I’ve been interested in and writing about the uniformity in view-point among the Boston media concerning the matters surrounding Whitey. I did notice while attending the trial all of the Boston media people except one, Dave Boeri, seemed to enjoy a cozy relationship with each other. There was no sense of all being other than on the same team looking at the case through the same eyes and cooperating with each other.

In reading the recent books about Whitey by the Globe writers I noticed how much repetition there appeared to be. It seemed that much of their works came from the same sources. I thought it unusual that four people wrote two books when they could very well have combined and written one, or, each gone their separate way and written four.

So on one hand having figured there was some agreement among the media to produce a uniform story about the Whitey matters it came as no surprise when I read at the end of one of the new books the following by the authors of Black Mass:

“When all of us were working the “Whitey beat” for our respective media, the idea of sharing materials was out of the question given the competitive nature of journalism. It’s refreshing that when a project is noncompetitive and the context is entirely different from the daily news scrum, they did not hesitate to share their perspective or records, primary source materials, and photographs. We’d also like to acknowledge the first-rate work of friends and former colleagues at the Boston Globe who have continually advanced the public understanding of the epic Bulger story. 

As I said, I was not surprised this is the case. I know the anti-trust laws do not apply to this situation. However I’d suggest that combines similar to this which were the subject of those laws were outlawed because when all get together to decide upon an outcome it is usually not the public good or understanding that is advance but the opposite is brought about.

Yet, guessing there is a conspiracy and then having some of the participants in it voluntarily tell of it is a different kettle of fish. I have to admit I was more than a little flabbergasted to see them give up the conspiracy so easily, in fact, much easier than Two Weeks gave up Whitey.

Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, the authors of what should be described as the novel Black Mass, that as I’ve previously shown had much in it that was invented and made up out of whole cloth, could be called the god fathers of the Whitey stories.

They have set the parameters within which it had to be worked and the beliefs that those who followed had to subscribe to in order to operate within the conspiracy. Others could join as long as they stayed within the grand outline set out in Black Mass. Some of  those others who apparently cooperated with them were named. Most notable were Howie Carr, Peter Gelzinis, Kevin Cullen, and Shelley Murphy, all Boston media types.

They all have the same view of things. None dug any deeper than allowed and none dared to suggest that any of the others have the whole thing wrong. It would seem to me that after the days of competition in producing the daily news, one seeking to present the truth in the less intense atmosphere, would like to go off and take a fresh and independent look at the matters surrounding Whitey rather than joining the mob.

Sadly the conspiracy forbade a chance for fresh ideas and we’ve been pounded with the same basic story since Black Mass that first set out the internally conflicting idea that the FBI recruited Whitey to help in the fight against the Mafia while a the same time admitting Whitey had no way to help in that fight.

I’ve got to say that at least Howie Carr picked up on the inanity of that when he suggested an equally silly idea that Whitey was recruited not because of any Mafia connections but because his brother Billy, then a low ranking state senator, would someday in the future be able to get good jobs for the FBI agents who retired. All of this showed how difficult it was to escape from the group think.

I’ll touch upon more things from their books from time to time but more and more it seems the media has lost its desire to ferret out the truth. At least that seems true about the local Boston media.

On another note: I did notice that the US Senate is considering a bill that will give protection to journalists from the ever-increasing snoopiness of our government. One of the difficulties is defining who is a journalist. Right now the protection would only extend to those belonging to or connected with big news media. I can only wonder if this is not a step to shut down independent voices like this blog that offer a contrary view. If only the big guys get protections then who will be left to expose their conspiracies.

War With Syria (7): Seize The Day

P1010187General Wesley Clark on the Ed Show on MSNBC yesterday made the incredible statement that our attack on Syria is not an act of war. Aside from making me wonder how such a man could rise to the level he did in the military, it shows how the government is pulling out every trick in its book to go after Syria.

Secretary of War Kerry says this act of war is an unbelievable small strike. It is now being supported by Hillary Clinton. and all the leaders of Congress such as Pelosi and Speaker Boehner. How is it that all the leaders are so anxious to take this unprecedented act of war which runs contrary to the view of the majority of the American people?

In attempting to hide the United States’ anxiousness to go to war and minimize what is occurring by describing this action as he did, Secretary of War Kerry said if Syria gave up their chemical weapons in a week it could avoid an attack. My first  reaction was why a week? A couple of days ago we were being told by President Obama there was not need for a rush. He said that “an attack would be “effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.” If we want to avoid a war, give them a month to give up their weapons and say any use in the interim would void all deals.

It is confusing to try to figure out what is at play here. It sure reminds me of the Iraq War with the different reasons for the attack. What do we really want out of this? Yesterday I thought the attack was to punish Syria for having used chemical weapons, not for intending to use them in the future. We were predicating our attack on the heinous murder of the 400 plus children.

Now it seems different. We say give up the chemical weapons and we won’t attack. This seems a more sensible reaction to their use but I have a suspicion that we’ll be hearing some other reason for carrying out the attack.

After Kerry made his offer, immediately Russia seized the opening. It said it is asking Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. Syria initially said it will consider Russia’s offer. It now has said it accepts the Russian plan.

Now I would think we could breathe easier, take our time, and see what happens?

Apparently not. Secretary of War Kerry appears to have again wandered off the ranch. He is taking back his offer. It appears he caught everyone off guard. What happens now?

Everyone scrambles. The president wants to emphasize that had he not threatened the attack this Syrian deal never would have happened. That’s true, we can give him credit for this even though it seems he never thought of making this demand himself.

The president plans to talk to the nation tonight at 9:00 pm. His speech writers are busy trying to explain why we still need to get Congressional approval for attacking Syria even though it appears the reason for doing so no longer attains. The Israeli lobby group is descending on Capitol Hill to demand that we attack.

Interesting the NY Times referred to AIPAC as the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Some suggested AIPAC complained and the story was changed. That’s power folk when you can get the NY Times to alter a story even though the Times said that was not the case.

It is reported that Obama called Netanyahu asking for Israel’s help in getting the vote through Congress. Obama is not turning to the American people. He’d rather get aid from the Israeli government to get his vote passed? This gets stranger and stranger.

The question now is, what did Israel get in exchange for agreeing to back Obama as he fights to maintain the credibility of his presidency. I explained this before. But it is not just Israel that is pressing for an American attack, Saudi Arabia is also pushing hard for it. Yet neither of these countries fear Syria.

Both of these countries see Syria as an intermediate step on the attack on Iran. How wonderfully our president and secretary of war have walked us back into this trap which first got us involved in the war in Iraq.

Remember that Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 1993 to 1996 said: “It’s bad for Israel that the average American gets it into his or her mind that boys are again sent to war for Israel. They have to be sent to war for America.”

It was in the fake Iraq war when they were first sent for Israel. Are they again going to be sent again?

Here’s what the president should say tonight: “I will ask Congress to hold off on any authorization for an attack on Syria for one month. That will allow the United Nations, Russia, and Syria sufficient opportunity to take the necessary steps to put all chemical weapons under the control of the United Nations. If that is done and there are no further uses of chemical weapons by the Syrian government I will withdraw my request.”

President Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground. He can put American foreign policy back into American hands where it belongs. It is time we stop using Americans to fight the wars of others.

War With Syria (6) – Things To Know

japan declares warIf you listen to the president or read about his pitch for the upcoming Syrian war it is nice to keep in mind the following:

1. This is an act of war. We are attacking a sovereign nation with implements of war. It is like the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor, or the Germans invading Poland, or our previous invasions of Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Whatever reason or justification is given it remains an attack on a nation that has not attacked us.

2. The ostensible reason for us now attacking is not that the use of poison gas by Assad is something that is so unique it calls for us to go to war is false. When Iran was our enemy, Saddam Hussein used it against the Iranians and we shrugged.

3. When one nation decides to attack another, the ultimate result depends upon the will of both nations and their allies. When the president speaks of a limited attack, he is only telling what we will do in the first instance. He has no way of controlling the response to our attack. That response, if any, will require us to respond back. That’s how big wars start.

4. This is an unprecedented action by the United States. We are not operating to defend ourselves or with the approval of the UN or pursuant to a treaty or to prevent a an imminent disaster (Libya). It is one step beyond all previous reasons to go to war. Perhaps some day it will be used as a precedent for attacking a country where a friendly dictator is ousted by people we consider hostile.

Walter Dellinger mentioned in the above article noted the planned attack is not: “covered by any of the previous precedents for the unilateral use of executive power. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t become another precedent, but when the president is going beyond where any previous president has gone, it seems appropriate to determine whether Congress concurs.”  

5.  Pause and think of this: at no time in our history have we ever gone to war for something like this. Then juxtapose that with the idea the president won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Then ask yourself have we become way too much of a militaristic state when we invent new reasons for going to war. Then ask what is it about this situation that requires this extraordinary and unprecedented action.

6. Israel has a large role in what we plan to do. Our Secretary of War John Kerry threw in the Israeli card to get the backing of this unprecedented attack. Haaretz reported that AIPAC the highly influential American-Israel lobby group, has deployed hundreds of lobbyists to push for a Syrian attack. A strong Israel backer sets out many reasons why this is a mistake. It seems clear that we will be going to war in large part because that is what Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel wishes.

7. It is no secret that Secretary of War John Kerry ardently desires that he bring about an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement. This elusive goal has eluded many for decades. Kerry is intent on working hard for Israel to bring this about. He stated that: “I think it’s important that the Israeli people and the government see that coming to the talks, taking the risk of moving toward peace is worthwhile.” This attack on Syria must be understood in light of Kerry’s goal where he is risking America’s wealth and lives to try to have it as his legacy that he brought about that peace agreement. He recognized, he must cave in to Israeli wishes to  bring it about.

8. Secretary of War Kerry’s view of attacking another nation  seems strangely unrelated to reality. He said we will attack “without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war, . . . That is exactly what we are talking about doing — unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” If he is of the mind that going to war with another nation with chemical weapons is an unbelievably small matter he is either deluding himself or trying to delude the Americans.

9. The pro-Israel magazine Commentary had an interesting article in July taking about how America is trying to get Israel involved in fighting Syria. It failed. Syria did not fall for the bait. The article noted that if we started an: “Israeli-Syrian war [it]would force Israel to destroy Assad’s air force, thereby greatly increasing the chances of a rebel victory.” That is exactly what we plan to do in this strike. Having failed to get Israel involved because neither party wanted go at each other, we now have to do our own dirty work to help the rebels.

10. The bottom line is we are entering into an unprecedented war in which many will die to prolong a civil war in order to get a peace agreement between two people who will never be at peace.

War With Syria (5): Blow Back

2013 09 03_4073The Congressional calendar notes that Congress does not come back to Washington until September 9, 2013.  It also shows that on September 13 Yom Kippur begins at sundown. Therefore I have to figure Obama will be given the go ahead for the attack at the latest on the 13th. We won’t go to war with Syria until the Ides of September.

The Syrians will have a couple of weeks to disburse its forces but as retired Marine four star general James Cartwright said on television Sunday: “most of the targets associated with the limited strike are fixed. Buildings, facilities, areas, so they’re going to be there. . . . We’re not going to strike the stockpiles of chemical weapons. . . . because the dispersal of the gases and chemicals would affect large areas around that activity. . . .  You want to go at the facilities. Go at the places where production is done. Go at the places where potentially they would move across channels of communication, bridges, things like that, that would allow them to move it. They’re looking at the command and control in this area. . . . They’re not going to move.”

On the 15th or shortly thereafter Obama will launch this attack that will do what General Cartwright has spelled out. The Syrian government and its allies may or may not hunker down until the attack ends. What about blow back?

Hezbollah has already mobilized its forces. It has threatened to launch missiles from Syria against Israel when the US attacks claiming it does not want to embroil Lebanon in the crisis. I’m not sure that is feasible because Hezbollah forces in Syria are north of Lebanon while Israel sits to the south so the likelihood of an effective attack are near zero.

If Israel were attacked it is not going to stay its hand from attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon just because that is Hezbollah’s desire. I’d assume Hezbollah may not want to fight Israel over this matter. It knows it would face an overwhelming retaliatory force looking for a little revenge after the last war.

This also seems to be the common belief. Hezbollah’s saying it will is just more of its bluster. The same is being said of Iran. But one source suggests that the extent of the attack will determine the response.

There are two other parties that are of concern: Iran and Russia. Russia is making noises but at the same time pulling its naval personnel out of its Syrian base at Tartus. That’s a sign it won’t do much more than complain; Iran seems to be in no mood for a fight even though the attack may squash the beginning of a rapprochement between the US and Iran.

My estimate is we are planning a long and sustained attack with our cruise missiles like we did in Baghdad to take out its bridges, electricity plants and communications centers. It will last for one to two weeks and cause major damage to Syrian infrastructure. No one will come to Syria’s aid.

But that doesn’t mean there will be any blow back. Like with Afghanistan it may not come immediately or in a form we can anticipate but it seems to me that history teaches you can’t launch a war on another country without suffering for doing it.

After we severely diminish Syria’s war fighting capabilities, we leave it pretty much in the same situation with an ongoing civil war. Some have suggested that we are very happy with this.

Trying to understand whats afoot, here’s what a person from the Middle East says about us“Washington does not really care about those children killed last week in a chemical attack, just as it didn’t care about the Iranians or Kurds killed in previous ones. Consequently, my feeling is that a vicious, and viciously short-sighted, realpolitik in Washington would probably like nothing better than to let its enemies fight indefinitely in Syria, burning the country to the ground as they do so.”

General Dempsey of the Joint Chief of Staff pretty much agrees with that observer“The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance. But it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.”

Those with an interest in the Syrian battleground, the civil war among many different people with shifting alliances, know that in recent months the tide has shifted in favor of Assad. What we will do is to destroy some military assets of the Syrian government in order to diminish its ability to fight. In effect, leveling out the battlefield so that the brutal fighting in Syria like the Energizer Bunny keep chugging along.

There are already over two million people who have fled Syria and four million displaced in Syria. The UN has characterized the refugee crisis as one of the greatest tragedies of this century. Is our attack on Syria going to help any of those people? If not, why are we doing it? Haven’t they suffered enough with the 100,000 already killed, their ancient cities destroyed, and the utilization of poison gas.

And how is it we show any resolve or courage by launching missiles from far off locations killing others while at the same time expressing a great fear of putting our own men and women at risk. Is this an act that will add to our prestige or glory? Or is it the action of a man boxed in a corner who hopes the war card will let him out?