SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

By Gar Smith
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 10:09:00 AM

Ballot Boxers

California's new June 2018 election ballot has just been released and it's landed with a thump. There's a lot (perhaps too much) to choose from—including 27 candidates for governor and 32 contenders for US senator!

The following two listings immediately caught my eye.

(1) The gubernatorial contestant with the best-sounding name: "Thomas Jefferson Cares" (That's both a great name and a campaign slogan).

(2) Wildest name on the ticket for the governor's race: Hakan "Hawk" Mikado. (A name that's ready-made for a crowd-chant!)



Barry Unburied 

America's penchant for associating entertainment with mayhem is on full display nightly on TV in shows like American Crime Story, SWAT, Seal Team, CSI, Criminal Minds and Waco but now we've got a new "dark comedy" with SNL-fave Bill Hader playing a hit-man pursuing a side-gig as an actor. The message of this disturbing blend of homicide and hilarity may be found in Barry's existential question about his seemingly conflicting life-choices: "Why can't I have both?" 

Yes kids, you can be a cold-blooded killer and a warm-hearted entertainer at the same time. 

And, in this spirit, we have the following headline from the SF Chronicle's review of a new drama called "Killing Eve" from the BBC: "Offbeat drama 'Eve' adroitly combines whimsy, killing." 

Grounds for Conviction 

"Darn Ol' Duck" Trump says he wants to attack Syria because the US "suspects" Bashar Al-Assad may have "possibly" committed a "probable" war crime during an "alleged" attack. 

Here's a quick note to the man combat-vet-and-US-Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) calls "Cadet Bone Spurs": 

Bad precedent, Mr. President. 

If attacking someone solely on the basis of suspicion and unproven allegations were sufficient grounds for action, you would have been impeached and clapped in the slammer months ago. 

Why You Can't Base Foreign Policy on a YouTube Video 

A comment tagged to the following video says it all: "This video from 'rebels'-held area in Syria is one of the reasons why you don’t rush into war based on YouTube videos." 


From the flags on the wall, it's fair to assume this video was recorded in Syria. Little more is certain beyond that, although the captions reveal the release was targeted for both English-speaking and Chinese audiences. 

The initial assumption that this is merely a training exercise for school children does not hold up. The children are not being shown survival tactics: they are simply portraying victims. 

Perhaps, then, it's a training experience for the young men wearing gas masks and responding as doctors? It makes sense that the "doctors" would want to practice applying oxygen masks to the children—but there is no medical need to put aside the oxygen masks in order to slather make-up on the children, making it appear they are "foaming from the mouth." 

Uncomfortable conclusion: Perhaps the conspiracy theorists are right. Maybe some of the footage we've seen presented as "evidence of attacks on civilians" has been staged. 

The "Crisis Establishment" and its History of "False Flags" 

Former Congressmember Ron Paul (R-TX) has called out both the Trump and Obama administrations for relying on "false flag" incidents—i.e., staged provocations—to justify US military actions around the world. The risk that an unnecessary confrontation with Russia could trigger a much wider war was the topic of a recent installment of Paul's "Liberty Report." 


Mattis Admits: "No Evidence" to Justify Trump's 2017 Attack on Syria 

Russia's EU ambassador has called reports of a chemical attack in Syria a "staged event." 

Even a growing portion of Trump's Alt-right supporters have called the alleged Syrian attack a "false flag" operation—designed to keep US troops in Syria. 

Chemical weapons experts Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Gareth Porter and Theodore Postol all question the "official" US narrative that Assad employed deadly gas. Even Defense Secretary James Mattis now admits the US had "no evidence" that Assad used chemical weapons in 2017. (But that didn't stop Trump from attacking Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles.) 

Maybe Trump Could Just Threaten to Sue Assad for Libel 

Now Trump appears prepared to launch another attack on Syria. Almost simultaneously, he tweets "open area immediately for medical help and verification" while warning "Missiles are on the way." 

It looks like Trump doesn't want evidence: with the Mueller investigation closing in, he wants a distraction. 

Meanwhile, Here's a Verifiable Crime 

While we don't yet know with certainty what happened in Douma—or who was responsible—we do know for a certainty that Israel attacked Syria without warning (or pretext) and wound up killing 14 people, including four Iranian nationals. With Russian forces hovering nearby, it's starting to look like the Syrian conflict could become "the war to end all wars"—by bringing an end to all life on Earth. 

Fox Bites Trump over Threat to Attack Syria
Talk about a rare voice of reason from an unexpected source: Fox News has challenged Washington's rush to war over Syria. 

Fox commentator Tucker Carlson recently eviscerated the argument that the US "must attack Syria," pointing to the blowback from other US interventions—in Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 


Trump's 180-degree turn from his campaign promise to end unwinnable foreign wars and put the needs of American voters "first" has left many of his supporters lost and confused. This raises the unlikely prospect for bipartisan collaboration to challenge the War Machine. 

At the same time, however, Democracy Now! and The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald have drawn criticism from the anti-war left for endorsing the mainstream media's still-unsubstantiated claim that Assad is responsible for the attack in Douma.  

Please, can't we all just get along?