What Goes Around Comes Around: Whipping Progressive Warmongering 2.0

President Obama, VP Biden, & Hunter Biden in 2014, the year Ukraine’s elected government was toppled by a CIA-sponsored coup and Hunter got a lucrative job in the Ukranian energy sector. Image source: Getty Images via DK.com

There are many roots apparent in weaponizing Ukraine as a cat’s paw to fight Russia.

The most significant but least visible is the goal of weakening China’s ally before proceeding to attack them. One of the more visible roots is that our current president was VP during the Obama years when wars became ok with liberals because they were promoted by a handsome, articulate Black man. 

Image source:  Shutterstock via Institute for Policy Studies

The culture wars we have are meant to replace the revolution we need. 

We are led to believe there is a fundamental difference between wars waged by Democrats vs. wars waged by Republicans. There isn’t, because their corporate sponsors in the weapons industry are the exactly the same and because many in Congress own stock in those corporations. So while Ukranians die, they profit.

My good friend Bruce Gagnon stumbled on an old report back from a “progressive” phone call designed to whip up support for Obama’s surge in Afghanistan. It is of interest primarily because the mechanisms of manufacturing consent are so visible. I’m reposting it here so we have it handy as we reflect on why the U.S. government is galloping toward WW3 and possible nuclear confrontation while suspending women’s reproductive rights, presiding over crushing inflation and runaway climate change, failing to deliver healthcare, and literally looking away as the pandemic death toll reached 1,000,000. Daily assaults on independent voices attempt to silence dissent: Abby MartinLee CampChris HedgesAlice WalkerConsortium NewsMintPress News — a long list, and growing. The Department of Homeland Security, which was created — like the war in Afghanistan — after the unfortunate events of 9/11, now has a Disinformation Governance Board

When you’ve lost the consent of the governed, narrative management is largely futile. Cue the next disaster!

First posted Dec 2, 2009 at space4peace.blogspot.com


This morning I got an email from a friend who tipped me off to a conference call for “progressives” to discuss Obama’s Afghanistan speech last night.

The call announcement included this: “The narrative so far is that the left is against sending more troops and the right is for it,” said Jim Arkedis, Director of the National Security Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. “But that’s not the reality of the situation. There are reasons for progressives to take heart from much of the President’s new strategy, as well as reasons to tread carefully. We want to make sure all those voices are heard.”

This made me quite interested so I dialed in. The call began with everyone in the audience on mute as the following people make opening statements.

* Rachel Kleinfeld, CEO, Truman National Security Project
* Jim Arkedis, Director of the National Security Project, Progressive Policy
* Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), Senior Adviser, National Security Network
* Andy Johnson, Director, Third Way National Security Program
* Lorelei Kelly, Director, New Strategic Security Initiative
* Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress
* Frankie Sturm, Communications Director, Truman National Security Project (Moderator)

Frankly I had never heard of any of these people before and I’ve been working in the “progressive movement” for the past 30 years. A couple of the organizations they work for I had heard a bit about – they are DC-based “think tanks” that usually are heavily funded by corporations to project their message.

Here is a bit of what some of them said in the opening:

Rachel Kleinfeld: “Thrilled by last night’s speech….it’s a realistic goal we have been given…dismayed that progressives don’t see that his will reduce the violence of this war.”

Jim Arkedis: Described himself as a former counter-terrorism analyst at the Pentagon…..”Think of the US like an NFL defense….by adopting this counter-insurgency strategy it essentially takes the other sides offense off the field…..this is about peace and stability.” He slammed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who was on the news this morning criticizing the plan as being from the “far left.”

Lorelei Kelly: “Progressives need to abandon the old talking points from Iraq and Vietnam….progressives need to get inside this debate, President Obama is trying to create a new way….these policies need support….The American military is probably the most progressive agency we have today.”

One of them brought up CodePink’s recent visit to Afghanistan and subsequent statements made by Media[sic] Benjamin to say that some peace groups understand that we need to stay there and stabilize the country. Another called Obama’s plan the “full spectrum approach” that progressives must support – we “need the military” to get to a positive conclusion.

Finally they unmuted the listeners and then opened it up for “questions”. I didn’t ask a question but instead read a quote from the Robert Scheer article which came from former Marine captain Matthew Hoh where he said, “In the course of my five months of service in Afghanistan … I have lost understanding and confidence in the strategic purpose of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. … I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.”

A woman listener from West Virginia (CodePink) said she had family killed in these wars and they need to stop. A woman from Georgia said we need to end the wars. A man from upstate New York said they were organizing protests and that Obama had betrayed us.

Next they put us on mute again and told us that we could only ask questions and that we’d better be good. When they unmuted I accused them of trying to silence the voices of the people as it was clear that they only wanted us on the call to listen to the talking points put out by the White House.

I know this is true because last spring I did a couple blogs about the Obama administration daily sending out talking points to groups like these that today hosted this “conference call”. You can see one such story about this by Jermey[sic] Scahill here

One of the groups mentioned by Scahill in his article is the Center for American Progress which was represented on the call today as one of the “expert” speakers.

While on the call I quickly did an Internet search on the Truman National Security Project just to see what I could learn about them. Their advisory board stands out like a sore thumb:

Advisory Board
Madeleine K. Albright
Principal, The Albright Group LLC

Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

William Marshall
President, Progressive Policy Institute

William J. Perry (former Clinton Secretary of Defense)
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institute

John D. Podesta (former Clinton operative)
President and CEO, Center for American Progress

Wendy R. Sherman
Principal, The Albright Group LLC

First chance I got I read the list off and commented that it was now abundantly clear to me that this call was intended to deliver Obama team talking points to us and that they were not in the least interested in what we had to say…..these folks organizing this call came from the right-wing of the Democratic Party I said…… earlier I had strongly challenged one of them who stated that the peace movement should stop protesting and support Obama’s plan!

They couldn’t wait to finish the call and I am happy to say that it did not go as well as they had hoped. I thank Mark Roman for tipping me off and I want to warn everyone to be on the lookout for these “pseudo progressives” who will now be coming out of the woodwork to tell the public and the media that only the far-left is against Obama’s war in Afghanistan. Good “progressives” they will say are going to support Obama’s war surge.

In the old days they used to call these folks “Scoop Jackson Democrats” after the senator from Washington state who was a pro-war leader. They have wised up and now call themselves progressives and will steal the rug out from under our feet if we are not watching closely.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

You no longer need to look for such pro-war progressives. They are shouting at you from every corner that Ukraine must be defended, and that your dissent is not only unwelcome but downright seditious. Trained to hate the Russian Federation’s president and assign blame for Ukranian suffering solely to him, their diatribes have a signature: use of the same nasty and insulting terms for that person. 

Trained to love Ukraine’s president, whose background as an entertainer has proved almost as convenient as his Jewish heritage, used constantly to deny the truth that it is actual Nazis we are arming. 

Some in Congress would even have us declare war and send troops (rather than just trainers and mercenaries) to fight by their side. How much would your congressperson and senators stand to profit if the U.S. openly declares war on Russia?

How much more dangerous would it be than bullying an impoverished country like Afghanistan?

What use will money be if humans and their works are reduced to ashes and radioactive rubble by nuclear war?

Mainers Brave Bitter Cold To Join Thousands Across The U.S. Demanding: No War With Russia!

photo credit: Martha Spiess

Yesterday thousands rallied across the U.S. to protest the threat of war with Russia, expansion of NATO, and arming Ukraine at taxpayer expense. 

photo credit: Bob Klotz

Around 30 people stood in Topsham at the big intersection where thousands of people passed by during the hour long protest. Sponsoring organizations Maine Natural Guard, Peaceworks of Greater Brunswick, Peace Action Maine, Maine Veterans for Peace and WILPF-Maine sent representatives. It was also exciting to see members of many other organizations in our state join us including Maine Poor People’s Campaign and 350 Maine. 

WMTW Channel 8 and WABI Channel 5 news both ran segments on our protest that included my statement: “I have grandchildren. They don’t want nuclear war. My children don’t want nuclear war. And all the people you see standing out here don’t want nuclear war.

What happened to diplomacy? Let’s sit down and talk. Let’s talk about our mutual security needs and work something out.”

Many of the messages shared yesterday reflected a concern that nuclear war could be a consequence of U.S.-NATO military attacks on Russia. 

Cynthia Howard in Topsham photo credit: Martha Spiess

Although the corporate press have repeated that unnamed sources believe Russia plans to invade Ukraine, no evidence for this claim has been produced.  Ukraine and NATO nations have moved approximately 150,000 troops and nuclear-capable weapons to several borders with Russia, and in response Russia has increased to around 100,000 the troops stationed on its own border with Ukraine. 

Russia has repeatedly said it has no intention of invading Ukraine.

The president of Ukraine has asked the U.S. and NATO to tone down their bellicose rhetoric as it is alarming the people of that nation.

Note that Russia has a long-standing no first use policy on nuclear weapons. The U.S. does not, nor has it signed the United Nations treaty on the ban of nuclear weapons after more than a year in effect.

photo credit: Russell Wray

Elsewhere in Maine yesterday a group including Veterans for Peace members gathered on a bridge in Ellsworth. Russell Wray reported: “We stood for an hour and got quite a bit of positive response, honks, thumbs up, and even clapping.” It was bitterly cold throughout, and Rob Shetterly reported that he thought about jumping into the Union River to warm up. We also heard that a group stood in Bucksport.

An online rally at noon brought together representatives of national and international peace groups including the Black Alliance for Peace, United National Antiwar Coalition, the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, World Beyond War, WILPF-U.S and many more. Recording on YouTube & Facebook

Bruce Gagnon and I were on from Maine, and Bruce spoke to his experiences visiting Russia and the Crimea and Donbass regions of Ukraine following the 2014 coup that installed a Nazi-aligned government there. Bruce’s same day blog post about U.S. mercenary corporation Blackwater joining the Nazi Azov battalion in Donbass may be read here.

Photo source: Organizing Notes

Militias displaying Nazi insignia are common in Ukraine and operate there with the tacit agreement of the government.

I spoke about how U.S. imperialism is in trouble abroad as Russia and China released a joint statement on security, economic development, and public health policy just prior to the opening of the Winter Olympic games in Beijing. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is in trouble at home with extremely low approval ratings. No national plan for public health in a pandemic as U.S. deaths approach 900,000 without universal healthcare and galloping inflation further impoverishing those struggling to feed and house themselves are contributing to loss of faith in the current government’s ability to respond to people’s needs. 

Promoting a land war in Europe seems to be a desperate strategy to improve the Biden administration’s approval ratings as nonstop war coverage by corporate press outlets tends to improve a war president’s standing in opinion polls.

Meanwhile, in calls with investors, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin expressed pleasure that the worsening situation in Ukraine is helping their profits.

See reporting by Sarah Lazare here.

Feb 5 demonstrators in New York City, photo courtesy Codepink