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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Opening Night

Playing the War Card

by JACK RANDOM

Senator John McCain is an unquestioned war hero. Though the war he fought was morally bankrupt, we owe him a great debt for his sacrifice. On the political battlegrounds, McCain has often distinguished himself by rising above partisan politics. At the Republican National Convention, however, we have learned that he is not always above the fray.

McCain was right when he called upon the president to denounce the deceptive, misleading and scurrilous Swift Boat attack ads. His acceptance of the president’s promise to attack all 527 ads in lieu of a direct denunciation ignores the political reality that the 527 organizations are the only means of leveling the playing field between conventions. The Senator knows this as well as anyone in Washington and, therefore, his appeasement is the very definition of disingenuous.

To further his fall from grace, his very personal attack on Michael Moore was based on a misrepresentation. Fahrenheit 911 does not portray the Iraq of Saddam Hussein as paradise. The Senator did not see the film.

As for the war in Iraq, while we may admire McCain on many issues (campaign finance reform), the fact is he never saw a war he did not like. To ignore the false rationale for the invasion and to pretend that it had anything to do with the war on terrorism is worse than disingenuous. From a man who is supposed to symbolize plain-speaking truth, it is hypocritical.

Mendacity, thy name is Rudy Giuliani. He rose to national prominence by his spirited representation of America’s greatest city on the day of its greatest tragedy. His badge of courage and resilience, however, has since been tarnished by his relentless effort to garnish political dividends. He has now reached the pinnacle on his journey of exploitation: He has played the role of the political hatchet man at the Republican National Convention. ("But this is not a personal attack.")

The Republicans have disgraced themselves and the party of Abe Lincoln. Their candidate is a War President and they have chosen to become the War Party. They will ignore the fact that this is the wrong war, that it has nothing to do with the war on terrorism, that it has less to do with spreading democracy, that it has made this nation and this world less safe, and that it has cost a thousand young American lives and uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.

They have played the war card. Let us pray that John Kerry and the Democrats do not up the ante.

JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS).