Monday, February 08, 2016

Woman Who Helped Murder Half a Million Children Reserves "Special Place in Hell" For Women Who Don't Vote for Clinton

"There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

Thus spake Madeleine Albright, directing her comment at female supporters of Bernard Sanders, Hillary Clinton's rival for the Democratic Party nomination for president of the U.S., trying to morally blackmail women into voting for Clinton on the basis of vaginal-solidarity, I suppose.

This happens to be the same Madeleine Albright who in 1996 was asked point-blank on television if the deaths of half a million Iraqi children was "worth it."

Albright's answer: Yes. [1]

No one in the U.S. media- or any media I'm aware of- has asked the obvious rhetorical question: how did killing their children "help" the mothers of those victims? Were not those mothers women?

Is there a special place in hell for someone who helped murder them, maybe even more special than the place for women who don't vote for Hillary Clinton? (Whose husband, by the way, killed most of those children, with the help of his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.)

Former CIA infiltrator Gloria Steinem, Official Establishment (read: safe) Feminist, also went to bat for Hillary C., by sneering on comedian Bill Maher's show that young women who support Sanders are just looking for boys. Maher went Whoa, if I said that, but Steinem brushed off the obvious (and ironic) sexism of her comment. (Perceiving it soon after as a political goof, Steinem later "apologized," like she could just erase what she revealed about her own cynical attitude.) [2]

Of course, where does a "progressive" like Steinem get off campaigning for a right-wing imperialist warmonger, vicious class warrior, and recipient of millions of dollars in "speaking fees" from oligarchs appreciative of her servie to their class interests? (And how much did the Clinton's assault on the crumbs dribbled down to poor women "helped" those women. Some people actually resigned from Bill Clinton's regime as a result, and it takes a lot for political types to give up a government gig.)

Hopefully those with a larger audience than I will take up the nauseating cynicism of mass murderer Madeleine.

1] View the video clip of Albright on "60 Minutes" with Leslie Stahl.

2] The feminist collective Redstockings long ago documented Steinem's CIA work in India. Even the New York Times reported it one day, back in the 1970s. Later Steinem and her ally Bella Abzug got the publisher of the Redstockings' book to suppress the information in later editions. On a rare moment when she wasn't relying on establishment media to make knowledge of her CIA work go away, Steinem said “In my experience the agency was completely different from its image: it was liberal, nonviolent and honorable.”

Right. It's just a smear that the CIA has directed the torture and murder of literally millions of people around the world.

See, for example, "A Word From Our Sponsor," New York Times Sunday Book Review, January 20, 2008.



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

167,000 Iowan VIP's Render Key Verdicts in U.S. Presidential Race

A select elite of Iowans, only 167,000 out of all the 3,124,000 people who live in Iowa (in other words, about 5% of the residents, one in 20), have steered the direction of the presidential race- or so the U.S. media would have it. This select group, 0.052 percent of the U.S. population of 321,419,000 (about 1/20th of 1 percent), after months of media anticipation, have finally spoken. And the media brays- the winner is Ted Cruz! With 27.7% of the caucus "vote." (In other words, 72.3% didn't vote for Cruz.) Donald "I Love Me!" Trump came in second, with 24.3% of the GOP caucus vote. [1]

But the "surprise" was Marco Rubio, third with 23.1%, declared the virtual winner by some, such as Don Gonyea of NPR (the U.S. government domestic radio propaganda network), who explained to us this morning that Rubio was a "winner" because he "exceeded expectations" [of the media, he neglected to say] and this "gives him momentum going into New Hampshire."

Ah yes, the Big Mo. I remember decades ago Hunter S. Thompson describing this "momentum" trope of election "coverage" with sly contempt. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernard (I refuse to call him "Bernie," he's not my uncle) Sanders were virtually tied- but the U.S. media insisted on declaring Clinton the "winner." Martin O'Malley was nipping at the duo's heels with 0.6%. Okay, he was left eating dust. (He then "suspended" his campaign for president.) At 6 of the Democrats' caucuses, coins were tossed to pick a winner. This is what "the" media wants us to take seriously! Clinton won 6 of 6 tosses, enabling her to slightly edge Sanders 49.9% to 49.6%. Thus is the Fate of the Republic determined. (The news of the coin tosses came from alternative radio/website democracynow.org. Not on NPR, which has been "covering" the Iowa show to the exclusion of almost all else.)

Now the horses are racing towards the next post, New Hampshire, another virtually all-white state, with the "journalists" providing more breathless commentary. So much artificial excitement! As if anything fundamental is at stake. Even if Bernard Sanders were to run, nothing of the deep power structure would change in the U.S. Any deep changes Sanders attempted would simply be blocked. Even a moderate change like universal health care is seemingly impossible to achieve. Or limiting the amount of money billionaires can deploy to fix elections! A mere five reactionaries, who happen to wear the robes of Supreme Court Justices, overturned the will of Congress and something like 80% of the American people on that score.

Notice how it takes more than a year of hype to get people worked up over their election! I wonder what that is symptomatic of.

1] Population figures latest from U.S. Census, as of midyear 2015, rounded off to nearest thousand. Vote percentages from New York Times. Of course, not everyone is eligible to vote, such as people under 18, and the one out of eight black men branded "felons." So the electorate is somewhat smaller than the population. But the point doesn't change. 167,000 is a tiny number of people to be handed such outsize influence in choosing the president of the U.S.

You might want to read the report, "State-Level Estimates of Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States, 2010," by The Sentencing Project. Here's the first sentence: "The United States is one of the world’s strictest nations when it comes to denying the right to vote to citizens convicted of crimes. A remarkable 5.85 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of 'felon disenfranchisement,' or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony level crimes."


Monday, February 01, 2016

Power Establishment May Be Hoist On Its Own Petard In Iowa

For decades, the U.S. media, propaganda arms of the power structure, has set two early tests for the "viability" of candidates for president. Would-be presidents of the U.S. (a role like chief executive officer of U.S. Imperialism Inc.) have to do well in two very white, rural, reactionary states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Both have small populations and are unrepresentative of the U.S.

These initial filters obviously are designed to eliminate progressives and force candidates to the right. (New Hampshire has changed some in recent years, but Iowa is if anything even more reactionary now than formerly. But New Hampshire's main newspaper is still the rabidly reactionary New Hampshire Union-Leader.)

Well, it looks like Donald Trump is set to win or at least come in second in Iowa.

The power establishment has made no secret of its disdain for Trump. This is because he is a loose cannon, with no fixed ideological positions and no commitment to making himself subservient to the U.S. national security state. This doesn't mean he's an anti-imperialist. But he isn't someone under the control of the Council on Foreign Relations, or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on domestic policy.

Trump swings wildly between diametrically opposite sentiments (it overly dignified the verbal stream that spews from his maw to call them "positions"). One day he doesn't care about ISIS, the next day he'll smash them to pieces and bar all Muslims from the U.S. And horror of horrors, for a day he and Putin had a little mutual admiration society thing going between them.

Trump of course is a narcissistic personality who has degenerated into demagogy. He would be an "irresponsible," and unpredictable, president. Which frankly I would find entertaining. And only people who worship U.S. power should fret that he might "damage" America. Unfortunately it appears that America has to be damaged if it is ever going to be forced to reform itself.

Birds Come Home to Roost in Pakistan

Or make that, giant pterodactyls come roosting.

The recent murderous assault on a university in northwestern Pakistan by some Islamofascists comes about a year after the massacre at the school for children of army personnel, in which 130 people, mostly children, were slaughtered.

Once again we are reminded that the Pakistani military created a Frankenstein's Monster when they birthed the fanatical jihadist movement. Now it has come back to bite them. The rabid dog has slipped its leash and turned on its master.

Pakistan's feckless civilian elite also shares some blame. By refusing to provide normal schools for the poor, parents send their boys to madrassas, brainwashing centers of the most primitive, backward Islamic indoctrination, where future "martyrs" are bred. When you convince people they will live eternally in paradise if they kill themselves for your cause, the seeds are sown for terrorism.

The Pakis occasionally whine these days that they are suffering great casualties from terrorism. Well, whose fault is that?

They've been forced against their will to fight the beast they created. Good luck to them.

Here's an idea: learn to hate India less. The last time the civilian leadership of Pakistan and India reached out to one another, the Paki military sabotaged the meeting between the two heads of state by launching yet another terrorist attack in Indian Kashmir, using one of its proxy cat's paw puppet terror groups.

Too bad the government of Pakistan doesn't actually control the military of Pakistan.


Obama Proves You Can Fool Some of the People All of the Time- Again

Barack "DroneMan" Obama just announced that it's harmful to lock juvenile prisoners in solitary confinement, and therefore Federal juvenile prisoners will no longer be subjected to such mind-damaging treatment.

It only took Obama, an intelligent, well-informed man, 7 years into his presidency to figure this out, and do something about it. Which should rightly make us suspicious of his motives. Is it really that he's a humanitarian and reformer? His record of violent assaults on human rights and institutionalization of greater repression is ample grounds to reject such a possibility. [1]

This announcement was nothing more than the latest salvo in a propaganda cum "legacy"-building campaign, Obama The Merciful. Previously it was announced with great fanfare that Obama was "pardoning" (actually commuting the sentences of) 6,000 Federal prisoners. (As usual with the "Good" Obama, there was less- much less- there than met the eye, and ear. Only 1,000 prisoners were actually let out of prison, or more accurately, scheduled to be let out of prison a bit sooner then they would have been anyway. The others were in half-way houses or on probation. And many more than 6,000 Federal prisoners are released yearly as a matter of course, replaced of course by the newly-incarcerated. Obama's drop-in-the-bucket gesture barely moved the dial on the total number of Federal prisoners, around 200,000, and was imperceptible against the total U.S. prison population of over 2 million, most of whom are prisoners of the 50 individual states. And that doesn't count "illegal" immigrants imprisoned for deportation.)

This Mercy Offensive by the Kinder and Gentler Oppressor is part of Obama's "legacy-building." In the last of his eight years in power, Obama wants to be judged by "history" (bourgeois opinion-manipulators) on just his last year, so like Bill Clinton he can give a vague impression of liberalism.

Some people, but fewer and fewer as time has gone by and experience has wised up "folks," are falling for this. My impression is fewer are hailing it than hailed his "pardons." (Pardoning means erasing the conviction; commutation is shortening the prison sentence. Obama has been commuting sentences, often by only a few months.) So, pace Lincoln, there are still those being fooled by Obama- because they want to be.

1] In brief, Obama's anti-human rights record includes: signing into the law the power to declare American citizens "terrorists" and imprison them indefinitely in a military prison, without charges or appeal, so they can enjoy the same treatment non-Americans get in places like Guantanamo Bay and, formerly, Bagram and other military torture sites and the CIA's "black sites"; waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers and journalists; overseeing the world's most massive and total surveillance system, run by the NSA and utilitized by the FBI, CIA, and DEA, which then launder the information to hide its source and bring trumped-up criminal charges against their targets; issuing orders requiring every Federal employee to be a spy and informer on their fellow employees; blowing up hospitals and using drones to wipe out wedding parties and etc.; his obvious indifference to the system of police repression of blacks and Latinos, the murders of whom are merely the most visible aspect of that repression; the FBI coordination of the repression of the Occupy Movement; and various individual acts of violence, such as the assassination of Al-Qaeda polemicist/propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki's teenage son and nephews; the murder of Obama bin Laden (yes, it was murder; even if the victim is a "scumball" who "deserved it," it's still murder); the CIA assassination of journalist Michael Hastings, who was investigating a very very sensitive state secret at the time (who planted the explosives that blew up those three buildings in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001? Who ordered it?); allowing the FBI to cold-bloodedly execute Ibragim Todashev, and arrange the murder of Sandra Bland; having the Egyptian dictator Sisi doing him the favor of breaking Medea Benjamin's arm, for having the effrontery to interrupt one of his self-righteous speeches; and other victims unknown. [See also TODASHEV.]

Speaking of victims, a note to my non-secret police readers: I was about to embark upon a project that would have taken up my time and focus, namely digitizing video tapes of past performances by a friend of mine, a non pareil songwriter and singer. These one-of-a-kind performances represent art that was only preserved on those tapes. My secret police persecutors, monitoring my computer research on digitizing, and with the advantage of hidden camera in my home, stole the box in which those tapes were stored. This is the most malicious thing they have done to me in over four decades of persecution, which had included false arrests, scores of illegal surreptitious burglaries, a chilling death threat, acts of sabotage and vandalism, the standard warrantless wiretaps and bugs, and the theft of thousands of dollars. So going forward I will be sharing my experiences of persecution which will illustrate the methods typically used by U.S. secret police against people they don't like. I also have specific information collected over these decades of persecution on FBI activities, use of Mossad agents, CIA locations, personnel identities, photos, and etc. If my tapes don't "reappear," I will do my best to make that information publicly available, and spread around to organizations with an interest in such information. Perhaps my tormentors will prefer that to my political analyses. [Just leave them downstairs.]

What persecuted American dissidents need is greater visibility. Why is there no organization and website for the victims to share their experiences and learn from one another? There are various reasons for that, including the heterogeneous nature of the victims, and the suffocating ideological power of U.S. lies that the U.S. is "free" and there are no dissidents here. (Just as there are no homosexuals in Iran, I suppose).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Now It's "Official"- Russian Assassins Murdered Alexander Litvinenko

It certainly took the British establishment long enough to arrive at that long-obvious conclusion. [1]

Ten years ago, two ruthless Russian FSB agents, Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, tricked Litvinenko into meeting with them, and spiked a cup of green tea with radioactive polonium-210. Litvinenko then died a slow, agonizing death over the next three weeks.

Traces of polonium were found in the drain of Kovtun's hotel room, in spots around London where the killers had passed through, even on the airplane they flew on.

The new report concludes that Vladimir Putin "probably" ordered the hit. [2]

I'd make that very very probably. How about virtually certain.

Litvinenko, who became a British citizen, was himself a former FSB (Russian secret police) agent who had become a whistleblower about corruption and murder by the FSB. Worse, he exposed the false flag apartment building bombings in Moscow, pinned on Chechen separatists, as actually being FSB terrorist acts to justify the subsequent all-out war on Chechnya, during which the capital of Grozny was reduced to pulverized rubble. (Litvinenko wasn't the only one to make the claim about the true authors of the Moscow apartment bombings. Unfortunately I haven't seen hard evidence of the claim, or the factual underpinnings of it. So I have to be agnostic about it.)

The Russian state and media have, predictably, scoffed at the British announcement. They also cite their Constitution, which bars extradition of Russian citizens in any event. (The British in the past demanded the extradition of the two known culprits, and were refused.)

The murderous Lugovoi has gone on to bigger and better things than merely being a hitman. He's now a parliamentarian, a member of the Duma, Russia's legislature. And he received an award for his services to the state. Figures.

Two years before Litvinenko's murder, Yasser Arafat was also murdered by polonium poisoning, obviously by Israel. Ariel Sharon had just washed his hands of Arafat, who was blamed for blocking "peace" (Palestinian surrender). Arafat's replacement was Mahmoud Abbas (also styled as Abu Mazen), who had proved a quite willing collaborator with Israel, having the CIA train his "security forces" to oppress the Palestinians in the West Bank, and aid and abet Israeli kidnappings and murders of Palestinians there. But the weapon used to assassinate Arafat only became known recently when Al-Jazeera undertook an investigation and polonium was discovered on Arafat's personal effects. Then Abbas stalled an exhumation and proper autopsy and testing of Arafat's remains. (Gee, I wonder why.)

The Palestinian people always assumed Arafat was poisoned. They just didn't know by what.

What's still unknown is exactly who. But as Arafat was at the time trapped in his headquarters in Ramallah by Israel, and got his food from the Israelis, we know generally who. And we know the order would have had to come from the very top- from prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Polonium, by the way, is produced in nuclear reactors. So it is no garden variety murder weapon readily available to any killer.

1] According to the UK Guardian, it was Litvinenko's widow, who forced the British government to even hold an inquiry, battling for 10 years to expose his killers. The Guardian says" "Her biggest obstacle has been the Conservative government and its coalition predecessor: it initially refused her request for a public inquiry, only agreeing after defeat in the high court and the shooting down, apparently by pro-Russian forces of a civilian jet,  Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17." (My emphasis.) ["Litvinenko inquiry: the key players," Guardian, 21 January, 2016.]

So I guess the Russians are right. This is "political." Which doesn't make it false. There is quite a large volume of evidence, available at the Inquiry's website, linked below.

2] "Litvinenko 'probably murdered on personal orders of Putin'," UK Guardian, 21 January, 2016.
To read the actual report, go to The Litvinenko Inquiry. For a description of the background and the conduct of the inquiry by the government, go to Publication of the Inquiry Report.

"Who, me?" The cutthroat Andrei Lugovoi.
The polonium poisoned teapot.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Islamofascist Brush Fires Breaking Out All Over, and the Dismal Outlook in the World Today

The last week or so has seen a spate of jihadist attacks in widely scattered locales- symptomatic of the transnational nature and ambitions of this violent totalitarian movement.[1] 

In Turkey, a clutch of German tourists were blown to kingdom come, or heaven, or Valhalla, their spirits liberated from their physical molecules (if indeed spirit can exist apart from its material manifestations).

In Mogadishu, Somalia, first a hotel was attacked, then a base of African Union foreign troops. The attackers claim they killed 100, and they took some prisoner. (Or "hostage," if you prefer.)

On the other (western) side of Africa, jihadists struck a "soft target" in Bamako, Mali, a hotel.

Also, in the capital of Burkino Faso, 28 civilians were killed and 50 wounded in attacks on a hotel and a cafe. Six were Canadian missionaries headed to a village to do aid work. It took 12 hours to polish off the four attackers. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were proud to take responsibility.

In Afghanistan, a welcome home party for a freed prisoner of the Taliban was spoiled by a party-pooping suicide bomber, who killed 13 people and wounded 14 others. And the "Islamic State," a recent arrival in Afghanistan, attacked the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, killing seven. (One is tempted to say "serves you right, Pakis." But I'll restrain myself.) And a rocket hit the the Italian embassy in Kabul, injuring two guards.

Speaking of Islamic State (I'd rather not, but they make themselves hard to ignore), in Deir al-Zor, Syria, which they just overran a few day ago, they slaughtered a bunch of people Saudi-style, beheading them, and kidnapped 400, according to the well-regarded Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Finally, in Pakistan, one of the plethora of primitive fanatic terror groups just killed 14 people, mostly police protecting vaccination workers. (Contra Noam Chomsky, these barbarians aren't violently opposed to modern medicine because a few years ago the CIA used a fake vaccination program to try and surreptitiously gather DNA samples from people in the compound in Abbottabad where they suspected Osama bin Laden was holed up, after a Pakistani officer told them about it to collect the reward the U.S. was offering. They obviously oppose vaccination, period. That's why they consistently murder the mostly-female government vaccination personnel. Of course, the CIA's underhanded little ruse gives the Talibanoids a ready-made "justification," at least in their minds.) And some Taliban group ("Taliban" is an umbrella term in Pakistan) attacked a university in northwest Pakistan, killed 22 students and instructors. One Talib took "credit," and another denied it was Taliban.

But lest we forget, far greater violence is meted out from U.S., Russian, French, British and other warplanes trying to beat back either ISIS and/or challengers to the Assad regime in Syria, and by Saudi and other Gulf state warplanes destroying what's left of Yemen, where over 70 medical facilities have been hit, and mosques and weddings are fair game. We hear much, much less about that violence, and never graphically, in U.S. media, nor in some other western media either, such as the British government's main propaganda outlet, the BBC. [2]

Over fourteen years after the arranged events of September 11, 2001, the second "Pearl Harbor" used to put in motion the invasion of Iraq and a suffocating secret police state in the U.S., the "terrorist" problem is far more widespread now. It's hard to see how the U.S. is "winning." Which, like the "wars" on drugs, and on crime, is besides the point. The point is to maintain the increased state power that a state of war gives to those in power, indefinitely. [3]

The Western toleration of Saudi and Pakistani (military) extremism has led to the Islamofascist chickens coming home to roost.

Al-Qaeda was birthed in the U.S.-sponsored jihad against the Soviet Union and the regime backed by it in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda is the granddaddy or first generation of the Islamist "terrorist" groups the U.S. and its "partners" is waging war against. It of course was created in the ideologically red-hot political furnace of the anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan fueled by the U.S., Saudi and other Gulf arab states, and Pakistan. It spawned an unruly son it couldn't control, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, after the American invasion smashed that country into sectarian pieces. Out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq sprang ISIL, which seized territory, declared a caliphate, and became IS, the most virulent form of the Islamofascist movement yet. So what the U.S. is fitfully battling has become both more virulent and move geographically widespread and dispersed.

There are many reasons for this. One is the increased number of weak states and failed states. Afghanistan and Somalia were the first. Since then we can add Mali, Libya, Nigeria, and parts of Egypt. In some cases the U.S. helped destroy the state (Afghanistan and Libya being prime examples), and then lost interest, leaving a power vacuum. In the case of Iraq, the U.S. knocked Humpty-Dumpty off the wall, and all its drones, gunships, and armored vehicles (and braggart bloodthirsty snipers) couldn't put the pieces back together again.

Venal, repressive, corrupt regimes, as in Egypt and Nigeria, provoked extremist resistance in the form of violent jihadi movements. The U.S. consistently supported (and armed) the repressive regimes, sometimes justifying this as pragmatic necessity, which does nothing to avoid the crises that have come to pass.The more the U.S. has gone down the road of supporting repressive regimes, the more it has painted itself into a corner.

The refusal to support democracy and human rights (and cynical lip service to those things while creating death squad regimes, such as in Latin America, does not constitute support) has created what the CIA terms "blowback," and not just in the form of Al-Qaeda growing out of the anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan. The horrible societies in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras (where the Obama regime supported the anti-democratic coup that has plunged that nation into a nightmare of murderousness and insecurity for the populace) has created a relatively minor blowback problem for the U.S. in the form of refugees (mostly women and children) fleeing to the U.S., where the U.S. denies them their rights under international refugee law and has a public relations headache on its hands as it once again needs to paper over its repression, contempt for human rights and international law in practice, by once again spouting cynical rhetoric, a threadbare velvet over a mailed fist of cruelty.

As the economic state of growing numbers of Americans continues to decay, it seems a day of reckoning for the U.S. itself lies a few decades in the future. The more astute individuals within the establishment elite, including some economists, have lately fretted about the long-term threat to the stability of the system from what is euphemistically called "growing inequality," i.e., increasing concentration of wealth at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid.

Still, as an empire founded on the twin pillars of genocide and slavery, and spread relentlessly around the globe with military force and secret police crimes, the U.S. has had a spectacular run.It grew rapidly in geographical spread and power, and came to closest to any empire in history to achieving literal world domination. But even the fall of the Soviet Union did not allow for complete world hegemony, and the rise of China puts paid to that dream. Yet the struggle for ever more anti-human power is an addiction that the U.S. ruling elites cannot kick, because they don't want to. We are living with the consequences of that. Meanwhile the propaganda system helpfully shields our eyes from the sight of Yemen reduced to destitute rubble by Saudi bombing, beheadings of protesters by the Saudis (somehow not at all horrifying, unlike beheadings by ISIS), and the usual U.S. atrocities and war crimes. (Bombed a hospital? Just a mistake.)

Caught between U.S. imperialism and its lackeys and grotesque clients on the one side, and the intolerable Islamofascism on the other, the populations of both the countries in the fire, and we who live outside it yet are conditioned to be afraid by lurid media emphases on the few and far between terrorist attacks in our "homelands" such as San Bernardino, Charlie Hebdo, and the recent Paris massacre, are faced with an unpalatable choice and no obvious alternative option- especially since attempts to create alternatives, whether in Egypt, or in the U.S. (such as the Occupy Movement) are vigorously repressed and suppressed. [4]

All in all, not a very hopeful situation. So Obama feeds us upbeat messages in a "State of the Union" address, and the narcissist and demagogue Donald Trump plays on fear and despair and promises a "return to greatness." Pick your poison.

An antidote will only arise if somehow a pro-human mass movement can arise. The continued refusal of  most "whites" in America to see "blacks" as fellow  human beings, to not be outraged even at the most outrageous police murders, such as the gunning down of a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, playing with a toy gun in a park, by cops who zoomed up in their car, leapt out, and shot him dead in two seconds, (and then manhandled and "arrested" his 14-year-old sister who tried to help him as he was left to die on the ground like a rabid dog), does not bode well. If a populace cannot unite around even such a blatant atrocity on their home turf, much less support a movement like the Black Lives Matter one, it's hard to see them uniting coherently on any ethical grounds. Instead there will be a fragmented collection of single-issue interest grouplets on what pathetically constitutes the "left" in America (capital L in the fevered imaginations of fascists such as the National Review crowd, who seems to included establishment pillars such as the New York Times and Washington Post in "the Left,")

1] I say totalitarian not as an epithet, but as a factual descriptive. Islamofascism insists upon total control of every aspect of people's lives, including their thoughts and beliefs, enforces strict conformity to its dictates, tolerates no opposition or dissent or political force other than itself, and rules without democratic consent. Not that such consent would legitimize it. No majority group has the right to impose oppression on individuals who do not wish to be part of such a system. U.S. racial segregation and oppression was "democratic" in that the majority- whites- supported it.

As far as the fascist part, I wrote previously about the commonalities between "classical" fascism- all fascism, really- and the jihadists. Couldn't find it so don't have a link. In brief, what they have in common are a total lack of moral limits, great ruthlessness, an easy resort to extreme violence, fanatical dedication to achieving their desired ends (by any and all means), utter untrustworthiness, refusal to genuinely compromise (they always double-cross those they do deals with, eventually), and maybe there was some other stuff I forgot.

You could say that it sounds like any imperialism, for that matter, but imperialisms often have a veneer of civilization, which makes them more viable as systems that can last.

2] I'm not a pacifist. Unfortunately violence is part of life at the current backward stage of evolution of our species. Pacifism can only work when everyone's a pacifist, and maybe someday they will be. Personally I'm not a violent person, and like most people I don't enjoy physical fighting.
What's wrong with Saudi violence inflicted on Yemen is both its criminal nature (targeting civilians, hospitals, etc.) and its immorality (no moral justification). And blaming Iran is absurd.

Even some U.S. violence has been justified. Helping the Libyan people overthrow Qaddafi was morally proper. Unfortunately, Qaddafi had destroyed the institutions of state and society, so with his fall there was nothing except people with guns.

The U.S. was very late to put an end to Serbian depredations in the former Yugoslavia, but in that case it proved to be better late than never.

In Syria it's been a case of too late. There was a year of opportunity after Assad turned an outbreak of non-armed protest into an insurrection by his vicious, murderous repression. During that year, U.S. military support for the uprising could have succeeded in toppling Assad. After that it was too late. It has taken the inroads of IS to provoke a serious U.S. military intervention, but at this point a bad outcome is guaranteed.

So we must reject the simplistic thinking which attempts to apply the same lesson and a single rule to every situation, as the anti-war people on the left do and the John McCain bomb everybody establishment right does. A situational analysis is necessary. Reality, and Life, is more complicated than that,

3] Some of us, such as dissidents as myself, have never had any rights. No warrants were ever needed for phone taps, surreptitious home burglaries, room bugs, and searches of medical and financial records. Now under such legislation and the PATRIOT Act, the population generally has no rights. Every year the FBI issues tens of thousands of "national security letters" to search all kinds of personal records held by banks and any other institution under the excuse of "investigating terrorism." Under the rubric of the NDAA signed into law by Obama, any U.S. citizen labeled a "terrorist," no evidence or court finding necessary, can be indefinitely imprisoned without charges, much less trial and conviction, by the military. So far the U.S. courts have upheld this. And currently the number of people officially branded as "terrorist" on various lists is around a million.

Meanwhile the U.S. has expanded military operations to numerous nations. So the "war on terror" has no end in sight. But the very term misunderstands what the adversary is. As even the occasional establishment figure points out, terrorism is a tactic. One cannot wage war on and defeat a tactic. The root from which jihadi violence springs is an ideology. Western propaganda so far as proven ineffectual in defeating that ideology. It deals only with the surface. Nor should we expect that to change, as the U.S.' "allies" in its war are Saudi Arabia, the taproot and spreader of the intolerant and oppressive Wahhabist fundamentalism from which Islamofascism springs, and Pakistan, whose military has been using terrorism as a strategy against India and in Afghanistan. Thus all three nations- those two and the U.S.- are deeply enmeshed in their own contradictions.

4] A "terrorist" attack is one with a specific ideological content, namely jihadist. If the ideological content is, say, opposition to abortion, as in the Colorado Springs attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic there, in which three people were murdered, including a police officer, and nine wounded, it is NOT "terrorist." Got that?


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Another Big Blast of Bombastic Blather From U.S. Emperor Barack Obama

The yearly U.S. state ritual, the “State of the Union” address to Congress, was performed last night by the Federal politicians of America- the president, U.S. senators, and representatives in the House. [1]

Perhaps you've forgotten about it already. I'm a bit tardy since I've been under stress and distraction thanks to my U.S. secret police persecutors. I think I will start posting about that.

This speech, delivered by the president to Congress, is an increasingly empty political show, put on in an attempt by the elites (political and media) to reinforce the indoctrination of the populace. An empty display of pseudo-democracy, it is in part a self-report card by the president, who brags of alleged achievements, and in part yet another injection of America Is Wonderful and Getting Better propaganda.

No doubt the vast majority of the American populace does not sit in front of their TVs to watch this boring, anodyne political spectacle, yet the establishment propaganda system (“the media”) treat it as a Big Event, which it is decidedly not. So they will “analyze” it (make obvious, non-incisive comments about it) and the rival politicians of the Other Party (in this case the GOP, Gang Of Plunderers) will carp in ways that avoid mention of the real crimes of Obama. [2]

Bad enough I am forced to waste any part of my life thinking about Obama and his crimes against humanity.

Obama just this past week cruelly unleashed police state goons to round up endangered Central American women and children to forcibly deport them to what for at least some will be death at the hands of gangs. Some apologists for Obama on the left see this as an attempt to appease the right. But having deported over 2 million people during his reign- a record for any president- and failing to stop rightists from ignoring that fact completely (the white racists and xenophobes insist that “their” country is being “taken over” by Hispanics) I'm confident that Obama, an intelligent (and immoral) man, realizes that deporting a few hundred more won't win him any kudos from rightists, and from the racists and demagogues who insist he is a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist (cf. Donald Trump, e.g.).

Let's remember, Obama is never going to run for office again for the rest of his life. So what he does now isn't determined by electoral considerations. No one should still pretend that he's doing anything he doesn't really want to do.

Obama does these things because he is an oppressor. He has shown this in many ways. Under him, the civil liberties and human rights holocaust begun under the Bush regime has intensified, not abated. This has come about

Obama has treated the outrageous cases of police murders of blacks, even of 12 year old Tamir Rice, gunned down in broad daylight in Cincinnati, a crime captured on camera and yet exonerated by “the authorities,” with malign neglect. At most, he has tried to pour oil on troubled waters to trick the aggrieved into cooling out, to pacify them while doing nothing at all about the “problem.” Obama (and his “black” Attorneys General, first the millionaire corporate lawyer Eric Holder, Jr., and now Loretta “The Confiscator” Lynch) instead act as all their predecessors have, as aiders and abettors of police repression of the black underclass. The reason “bad apple” killer-cops are supported by state power is because the low level of terror these murders create is seen as a useful intimidation tactic to keep the black underclass submissive.

Once again, we see that class trumps race in determining political loyalty and action by particular individuals. And that the power system is so structured that only those dedicated to its underlying values and interests can rise within it.

But I do believe that Obama only fooled those who wanted on some level to be fooled. Unlike people who should have known better (prominently among them directors Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, and the very intelligent Christian philosopher and activist

Here's another massive ongoing crime against humanity that Obama is assiduously aiding and abetting: the relentless Israeli campaign to suffocate the Palestinian people. Obama currently is making a deal with Israel that will run for ten years after he leaves office to increase the handout of free military “aid” to Israel by 50%, to $4.5 billion a year.

By the way, it's “illegal” for Palestinians to even collect rainwater. The Israeli army, the so-called “Israeli Defense Force,” destroys cisterns and anything else constructed to collect rainwater. This on top of the “settlements” taking atleast 75% of the water of the West Bank for their own use.

One thing Obama said in his televised oration that was so outrageous in its brazen cynicism was his vow to “close Guantanamo,” the U.S. military prison-torture center in occupied Cuban territory.

He certainly has his nerve. When he was elected, seven years ago, way back in 2008, he vowed to close the prison within a year. What he has done instead is refuse to release even prisoners “cleared for release” years ago. [And it has just been revealed that the military- which he is the commander-in-chief of, as per the U.S. Constitution- has been deliberately obstructing the release of “cleared” prisoners for years by being uncooperative with foreign officials whose countries have agreed in principle to accept “detainees” for “relocation.” Tactics include refusing to provide medical records (with the cynical excuse of “respecting the prisoner's privacy”!) refusing to allow delegations to stay overnight at the sprawling base, and other forms of stonewalling.]

Once again, Obama posed as a Friend of Immigrants- even placing a “dreamer” as a prop next to wife Michelle- while in the midst of launching vicious predawn raids on the abodes of refugee mothers and children. He's going to “continue the work that needs to be done- fixing our broken immigration system,” applause from Democrats starts- and a laundry list of faux-liberal items off a checklist- gun control, minimum wage, etc. In fact, in almost every case, he never lifted a finger to do a thing, except when he actively worked to make things worse, as in the case of the millions of immigrants forced to live quasi-underground existences in the U.S. In other cases he did very little. [3]

This is the same tune he sang during his national debut, the speech he delivered at the Democratic Party's national convention in 2004. I was revolted by that phony speech at the time, as it was standard Democratic Party deceit that could have been cribbed from an endless series of Democratic Party con men- Mario Cuomo, Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson, et al, who always talk liberal and behave as reactionaries in practice. (Cuomo's sole achievement as NY State governor was a massive prison expansion; Humphrey was a cheerleader for the criminal Vietnam war as LBJ's vice-president; Stevenson was a Cold War Democrat.)

He had to put in a boast about ordering the assassination of Osama bin Laden (he didn't phrase it like that, of course- he's far too dishonest for that) in the context of talking about how much he was “bombing” ISIS. These acts he labeled “bringing to justice,” the usual sinister euphemism he uses for violent retribution.

A sample of Obama's breast-beating bragging from The Speech: “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead. They call us.” Note the combination of national chauvinism and the implied self-serving compliment to his own “stewardship” of the empire this boast displays. This “pride” in their destructive power is surely scary to many of the world's people, who have been on the receiving end of the U.S. “big stick.”

His hosannas for the Greatness of the U.S., and his own fabulous achievements, naturally would have been spoiled by mentioning how the U.S. (and him) rushes bombs and bullets to Israel every time it devastates Gaza yet again, or now it is currently making possible the destruction of large parts of Yemen, and the starvation conditions there, by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state lackeys, flying planes purchases from the U.S., and dropping bombs supplied by the U.S. The Saudis have bombed medical facilities 70 times in Yemen, including a facility for the blind. Taking after the U.S., they just bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF keeps giving out their GPS coordinates, thinking that will spare them attacks. They need to start giving out FALSE coordinates, for empty lots and such, instead. It's obvious that evil nations like Saudi Arabia and the U.S. only use the information for accurate targetting! [4]

I suppose I should mention his ''ruefulness'' about what is called partisan gridlock, the refusal of the rival imperialist capitalist parties (the Democrats and Republicans) to come together in one happy ruling clan. That's been a recurring theme throughout his reign. All I'll say is it is entirely due to GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) fanaticism.

Obama's eighth and last State of the Union speech. I'm glad that's over with. Another ritual of the power class we can do without, being force-fed their guff.

1] The U.S. has a bicameral national legislature, consisting of the “House of Representatives,” with 435 members, elected from 435 electoral districts roughly equal in population and encompassing all the area of the 50 states, and the Senate, with 100 senators, each state having two. Thus, the U.S. Senate is one of the most profoundly anti-democratic elected institutions on earth. The approximately 20 least populous states have forty senators, while California, with the same population as those states, gets two. As the least populous states are mostly very reactionary, such as the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming (Cheney-Land) and so on, this is yet another device that makes and keeps the U.S. a rightwing nation.

2] Here's a typical example of anodyne media “reaction” from the next morning's (January 13) “news” broadcast on U.S. government radio propaganda network, “Morning Edition,” as orated by co-host Steven Inskeep from his script. According to Inskeep, Obama's speech was “both sweeping and relaxed. He [Obama] offered a defense of his record along with a long term vision” blah blah.

Inskeep just last week did a brown-nosing “interview” with Obama, aired over two days on NPR. One thing the weaselly propagandists of NPR know how to do is genuflect before their political masters.

3] The “dreamers” are those cruelly duped young offspring of immigrants, who lack citizenship and grew up in America, whom Obama tricked into believing that somehow their status would be “regularized” and they could live in America without the constant fear of summary deportation (sans possessions and money), be able to go to college, work, live what is considered a normal life.

4] See “A Hospital Bombedin Yemen,” The Atlantic, January 10, 2016






Vicious Maiming of Black Children in Flint, Michigan, by GOP (Aided by Obama EPA)

In an example of both racist contempt and ruthless, remorseless class warfare, the Republican Party rulers of the State of Michigan have been relentlessly poisoning the people of Flint, Michigan, with lead and bacteria-contaminated tap water.

Lead is a neurotoxin, which causes permanent brain damage, especially in children. Scores of children in Flint have been found with greatly elevated levels of lead in their blood. Lead has also harmed the health of adult residents in the city. And lead damages other organs of the body.

The victims of this violent assault are the mostly poor, mostly black (somehow it usually works out that way in America) residents of Flint, one of a number of cities and towns (all but one majority black) in Michigan that have been placed under Tsarist-like rule of appointed “emergency managers,” imposed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Under these arrangements, in which the residents and elected officials of the towns thus seized have no say, the local governments are stripped of their powers, and the “emergency manager,” the GOP local Tsar, has all power, including abrogating labor contracts.

In Flint, one of the GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) hitmen was put in charge of the water system by the “emergency manger,” Darnell Earley. This assaulter, Howard Croft, figured that a great way to save money would be to stop paying for water from Detroit, and pump it directly from the Flint River, into people's homes. Only problem was, that water is highly corrosive and would leach lead and iron from the pipes and into the water and from there, into people's bodies. The iron contributed to the growth of bacteria, apparently leading to an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in Flint, which killed ten people. But the professional penny-pincher Croft figured he could save another $100 a day by not treating the water with chemicals that would prevent the corrosion of the water pipes. You know what they say: a penny saved is a pound (or dollar) earned -for “upscale” taxpayers. (Or in this case, a few billion from the Federal government to tear out the corroded pipes and replace them, if Michigan gets a bailout its Governor is asking for. Funny, Republicans hate bailouts for everyone but themselves and rich plutocrats.) [1]

Anyway, the most important thing in life is that bondholders get paid every dime they were promised,NOT that workers get the pensions they worked a lifetime for, or people get essential services, and not be deliberately poisoned.

The residents knew something was wrong right away, as the water was quite obviously noxious. Their GOP masters and overseers repeated lied through their teeth and said nothing was wrong, the water was fine. A resident instigated two tests of her water. They showed 100 and 400 ppb (parts per billion) lead in the tap water. The Federal “action level” is 15 ppb, meaning something should be done about it immediately. So this water was extremely dangerous. (There's actually no “safe” level of lead.)

These test results were taken to the local EPA office, and an EPA employee did his job, confirmed the lead contamination, and reported his findings to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, naively expecting they would do something about the “problem.” (The fundamental problem is the criminal behavior of the political bosses in the U.S., and the upper classes they represent. That's what causes the smaller “problems” that are focused on while ignoring their causes and contexts, applying either band-aid solutions, palliatives, or doing nothing at all. For example, the “over-incarceration” “problem” is dealt with by highly-publicized releases of small numbers of prisoners “early.” The accompanying hoopla is supposed to impress.)

For his trouble, the EPA employee was rebuked by his EPA superiors, reassigned, and a letter of apology was sent to the GOP-controlled state agency! So the “black” president's EPA aided and abetted the maiming of black children. Nice. [2]

The facts in the previous paragraphs are suppressed by the establishment media to pretty-up the picture. That enables them to pretend it was all a big “mistake,” or a series of errors, regrettable lapses in competence. Hey, to err is human! Maybe these guys are just very very human! The New York Times and others are so mendacious that they simply suppress or virtually ignore the fact that the state apparatchiks deliberately dropped high lead test readings from the official reports to cover up their ongoing criminal assault.

Thus the establishment media is falsely portraying this as a series of “mistakes” by the GOP bosses and their apparatchiks in Michigan. (Not to worry: the GOP state attorney general says he'll be “investigating” the matter. I'm sure he'll get to the bottom of things and clear them up.) 

The facts clearly indicate deliberate, malicious intend. The way the New York Times and Michigan newspapers pull this off is by banning the most damning facts from their pages (and websites). [3]

Governor Snyder and his minions are now trying to toss the hot potato into the laps of the hitherto powerless local politicians. Good luck with that. [4]

For the information on the EPA quashing the uncovering of the high lead levels, and its malfeasance, and detailed information about the struggle to force the Snyder regime to admit that the water was contaminated at all, go to Democracy Now! Democracy Now! has given this story of an atrocity the coverage it deserves, on several days. Go to democracynow.org and search “Flint Michigan.” Or just click on the link I helpfully provided for the stories.

Another good source is “Michigan Knew Last Year That Flint’s Water Might Be Poisoned But Decided Not to Tell Anyone,” Slate, January 11, 2016. This article contains links to more information. It turns out the ACLU- the ACLU! is partly responsible for uncovering this story. (That's the American Civil Liberties Union, a private organization that mainly brings lawsuits against the U.S. and state and local governments in defense of civil liberties. Apparently they're having to take on more and more responsibilities.) See “Lead Astray: An ACLU of Michigan Investigation Has Found a Stream of Irregularities in Flint’s Water Tests,” ACLU of Michigan, September 14, 2015.
Also “Expert says Michigan officials changed a Flint lead report to avoid federal action,” michiganradio.org, November 5, 2015.

And don't pay any attention to all that GOP screeching about the "job-killing" EPA, which they all vow to abolish. It's just another lapdog "regulatory" agency that is the captive and servant of the industries they purport to "regulate," like the FDA, USDA, SEC, et al

I'll tell you what actually kills something: pollution. And it isn't jobs it kills. It's you and me.

1] But Flint City Tsar Earley has- surprise surprise!- landed on his feet with yet another unelected position of power, this time running the school system of Detroit. Hey, cream rises! (Or as the late Hunter S. Thompson once put it, in a takeoff on a famous literary title, “The Scum Also Rises.”) I mean, the man has proven he can Do The Job. Indeed. Calling him “incompetent” is to fail to understand what his assigned task was. Just as calling the “drug war” a “failure,” or mass incarceration a “failure,” or the “war on terror” one, fundamentally misunderstands their true purposes. (Too long to expand on that now. Read some of my other stuff and you'll find out.) Meanwhile, Flint has another GOP-Tsar imposed on it, Jerry Ambrose, who refuses to return to using the Detroit water system. Too expensive, he says.

Oh.

Here, have a bottled water! Now it's free!

By the way, Earley blamed the powerless Flint city officials whose authority he and Snyder usurped, for the move to use Flint River water. The man, typically of hustlers, is shameless. [“Ex-emergency manager says he's not to blame for Flint River water switch,” mlive.com, October 27, 2015.]


The mouthpiece for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, one Brad Wurfel, denied just on December 22 that the high lead levels found in children's blood in Flint had anything to do with the tremendous lead levels in the water. It's like comparing “apples and cars,” he said. (“'Gov. Snyder Should Be Arrested': Flint Residents Demand Justice over Water Poisoning,” Democracy Now!, January 8, 2016.

3] The New York Times has run just a few articles, turgid and verbose as is their method, using lots of understatement (which we're supposed to mistake for objectivity), which blurs and obfuscates the stark reality. This is a standard way the Times protects “authority” in America. They dread the loss of “legitimacy” by the power structure. God forbid you should stop respecting the power-wielders. Of course key facts are omitted, despite the running river of words that impart relatively little information but are great at creating a “color” of hand wringing “concern.” I read them; they're not worth linking too. The sources I cite above are the places to go to inform yourself.

A particularly noxious piece of corporate media propaganda in defense of Snyder is on the website for the Michigan newspapers owned by Advance Publications, “Flint water probe may unleash flood of findings on mistakes,” The hack who wrote it combines an absurd portrayal of the “problem” as a series of Keystone Kops blunders, “mistakes” and “bungling,” not deliberate actions, and pretends Snyder was somehow unaware, and clearly takes a dim view of “critics,” which allows him to dismiss damning facts as mere allegation and opinion, By the way, that “probe” is the Governor's own, controlled gambit.

Not till almost the very end of the piece does this vile propagandist deign to mention this key element of this criminal saga:
The critics contend the EM was more interested in saving money, and because the Flint water was less expensive, he shut off the Detroit pipeline.” 
 
That's it, the entire reference to a key FACT. “Saving money” is also why the Governor's appointed henchmen refused to spend $100 per day to add chemicals to the system that would have prevented the leaching of lead and iron into the water.

The propagandist is Tim Skubick, “Politics Columnist for Mlive.com.” He's so talented that he has another job, as host of "Off The Record" on PBS. (That the U.S. government TV propaganda network, the Public Broadcasting System.) Since “Off The Record” is obviously on the record, I guess the idea is to trick you into thinking you're getting the “inside dope,” as you're being indoctrinated in their twisted way of thinking by being allowed to “listen in.”

Advance Publications is one of the biggest owners of newspapers across the entire U.S. It is owned by the Newhouse family, who also have a stable of slick, bourgeois magazines (the euphemism is “upscale”) collected in another family corporation, Conde Nast, which includes Vanity Fair (a sort of high-toned gossip mag about elite people with occasional investigative news articles) and “The” New Yorker. As with “The” New York Times, my habit is to omit the capital T, as it feels too much like genuflecting to royalty. They ain't so special.

Still, the website for the Newhouses' Michigan newspapers has numerous articles on the unfolding scandal, “STORIES TAGGED Flint-Water,” mlive.com. One article outrageously calls the Flint Water Department “embattled” in its headline. I think it is the people of Flint who have been besieged.

4]Gov. Snyder calls for return of powers to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver,” January 15, 2016, mlive.com.



Earley with water hatchetman Howard Croft
What better tools for a racist assault than people of the same race as the victims? It's perfect camouflage. [Cf. Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Jr., Loretta Lynch, Jeh Johnson, et al. To be fair, they oppress plenty of whites too. And Hispanics! But if you ever had any doubt that blacks can oppress blacks, you're not familiar with African governments.]

Oh you Devil, you!


[sorry about the screwy type and spacing. I've spent hours trying to get the display page to match the draft page- it's impossible. I keep stripping the formatting, even retyping- and stinking greedy Google has no help. Wasted time searching their "help" forums -absolutely useless. What is typed in the draft page simply doesn't display correctly, no matter what.]









Monday, December 21, 2015

Western Propagandists Hail Pointless Saudi “Election”

Well break out the champagne! (Actually you better not- alcohol is a crime in Saudi Arabia.)
Saudi Arabia held an “election” in which they actually let women vote!

So pay no attention to all those weekly beheadings for “sorcery,” “witchcraft,” adultery, “blasphemy,” drugs, apostasy (deciding you'd really rather not be a Muslim anymore) and daring to question the absolute power of the “King” and the fanatical dogmatist religious “authorities” who are a key bulwark of the rule of the gang of superparasites called “the royal family. See, Saudi Arabia is making “progress.”

What can one possibly “elect” in a nation ruled by an absolute hereditary dictator? Well, there were various local offices, people responsible for picking up the garbage and such.

Of course, most women didn't even know about this Great Opportunity to Make Their Voices Heard. And even if they had, some male in their family who controls their lives would have had to agree to drive them to the polls. (Women are banned, by criminal law, from driving. Oh, they also need to be accompanied by a male chaperon in public, lest they run off and copulate in an unauthorized fashion.)

But as I said, Western propagandists were quick to celebrate. The U.S. government propaganda network NPR was particularly disgusting in this regard, practically releasing party balloons in celebration of the alleged milestone. (But in fact, a crudely cynical, meaningless stunt, with the purpose of tossing some pathetically threadbare camouflage over the true nature of the regime as extremely oppressive, deeply misogynist, and absolutely autocratic.) As far as reporting on the vicious repression, such as the coming execution of teenage protesters (after beheading, the heads to be sewn on and the bodies crucified, as an object lesson to anyone else with a complaint).

The truth is, in terms of atrocities, Saudi Arabia is arguably worst than ISIS. Note the sickening hypocrisy of “the West” in terms of its attitudes towards one and the other.

The idea that “the West” has any values other than greed, materialism, and the most cynical lust for power is shown to be ludicrous by its longstanding relations with this barbaric, feudal desert hellhole.
As usual, the “West” is a major aider and abettor of repression, with training of secret police and the military, provision of weaponry and the instruments of repression. Obama just hailed the appointment of Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights commission, (a very sick joke indeed).

Speaking of women in Saudi Arabia, the women they import from poor countries as virtual domestic slaves are subject to all kinds of cruelties, including beheading on trumped-up charges.

You have to go to media outsiders for the facts. Or to human rights groups like Amnesty International.

Harry Shearer regularly covers Saudi awfulness on his weekly radio program Le Show. (Archived at harryshearer.com). Look for the “Le Show” tab at the top.

Abby Martin devoted one of her new program's episodes to the vicious nature of Saudi Arabia and the history of U.S. cohabitation in a shared political bed. [“Inside Saudi Arabia: Butchery, Slavery &History of Revolt // Empire_File005.”]

Check it out. It's worse than you think.




The Incredible Invisible Repression of Protest At the Climate Change “Summit”

We've just had two weeks of daily “coverage” of the big bosses (aka “world leaders”) holding a hot air “summit” in Paris to once again go through the motions of trying to agree to do something about the global warming being caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly oil and coal). They ultimately birthed a statement, after much labor, setting a “goal” of limiting global warming to 2 degrees centigrade, or maybe 1.5. 196 nations signed the non-binding, unenforceable “agreement.” In other words, they agreed to fine sentiments, as if they all got together to sign a Get Well Soon card to the earth.

Thanks.

For this, they heartily congratulated themselves (self-congratulations echoed in government propaganda media such as NPR- U.S. and BBC- UK).

But the saturation media coverage somehow missed the repression of protest, which was banned at the conference. Using the excuse of the recent terrorist attacks weeks earlier, the French state upheld the much-ballyhooed “values” of “the West” by acting worse than Putin or the Chinese rulers. Only at the very end did several thousand gather miles away from the conference to vent by marching in the streets.

Not only was the total repression of protest not fit for a story in the establishment propaganda system, it wasn't even fit for passing mention. Truly, the “West” has the most effective and efficient repressive apparatuses in the world. Because the repression itself is repressed. That is, it is seemingly invisible, allowing the oppressors to pretend it is nonexistent.



Sinister Strategy of Slimy Syrian Dictator Assad Apparently Worked

Think back to the beginning of the mas rebellion against Assad, provoked by his wanton murder of protesters calling for his ouster almost 5 years ago. Early on, he smarmily claimed to be fighting “terrorists,” in a transparent attempt to link his exsanguinous butchery waged to cling to power to the “War on Terrorism” declared by the U.S. in 2001.

Then, when ISIS appeared in Syria, he turned a blind eye to them, instead focusing his military attacks on “moderate” rebels and civilians, allowing ISIS to gain strength. ISIS, for its part, attacked other rebels mostly and seized territory from them. Assad thus was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, that “Islamic radicals” were his enemy and the rest of the world should back him. (Ironically, Obama also created a self-fulfilling prophecy. For the first few years of the uprising, he refused to arm the rebels for fear that the weapons would end up in the hands of jihadists. Thanks in part to his fecklessness, jihadists indeed have taken over part of Syria.

Well, what do you know- Assad's cunning strategy is working.

The U.S. is falling in line behind Russia (John “Skull and Bones” Kerry just went to Moscow to kiss and make up with Putin, a bit, to agree on a somewhat common strategy in Syria). Enemy number 1 is ISIS, it's agreed. Assad is supposedly going to go at some indeterminate future date, after he and the people he's been murdering form a unity government (!!!) and there are “elections.” (Assad “won” the last “election” in Syria, by the way.)

Looks like Assad managed to pull it off. Incredible.

If those in power everywhere weren't amoral (and downright immoral), such a thing couldn't happen.

For that matter, our species must be profoundly diseased in the first place that a system such as the Syrian regime can even exist at all. That society is a chamber of horrors, ruled by terror, run by sadists and murderers.

Meanwhile, the most important fighters against ISIS, the Kurds, find themselves regularly bombed by the U.S. ally Turkey, while the U.S. stints on aid to them, interferes with their oil sales (in deference to the pathetic Iraqi regime in Baghdad, which pretends to rule that whole country) and quashes their desire for a state of their own, again to appease Turkey and Baghdad. And in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS stooges, France and Britain are dropping more bombs, which are probably killing more hapless civilians that ISIS personnel.

How brave.






Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sickly U.S. Economy Deemed Well Enough For Tiny Interest Rate Rise of 0.25%

Boy, was that a long buildup or what!

After several years of financial market commentators and kibitzers speculating on when the U.S. Central Bank, the Federal Reserve (commonly referred to as “the Fed”) would start raising short-term interest rates from almost zero, where they sat for a prolonged period after the near collapse of the financial system in 2008 caused by the reckless and irresponsible shenanigans of finance capitalists, the Board of Governors of the Bank finally did the deed on Wednesday, December 16, and started what is presumed to be the long-awaited up-cycle in interest rates. The rates set by the Fed have an immediate impact on interest rates for businesses and individuals (called “consumers” in market parlance) such as business loans, car loans, mortgages, and the already exorbitant rates charged on credit card debt and student loans. Banks immediately raised the rates they charged upon the Fed action- within minutes if not seconds. (But not what they pay depositors. [1])

The Fed certainly babied the financial markets over the rate rise. For months, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin and other Governors gently hinted that there would soon be a rise. When it finally came, it was all but officially announced in advance so there would be no surprise and no “shock” to financial markets. Even so, after U.S. stock indexes rose about 1.5% the day before the Big Day, evidently in approval, on the day itself they fell the same amount. This sort of unpredictable and irrational behavior is typical in the stock market. While rationales are always offered after the fact of stock market moves to provide “logical” explanations for the bizarre behavior, these aren't the actual reasons. Some of the reasons lie in the herd behavior of speculators and the momentum generated by computerized trading. But in order to sucker the rubes into buying stocks, market shills have to make the market appear comprehensible. On Friday, two days later, the Dow average fell 2.10%, the S & P 500 fell 1.78%, and the Nasdaq 1.59%. This is the time of year for a phenomenon called “year end tax selling.” If stocks continue to slide next year, the Fed will be blamed. Whenever stocks fall, finance whiners spew out various sophistries to blame the government for it. (But they don't give the government credit when stocks rise.)

Yellen, on announcing Wednesday's rate increase, referred to the seven year period of virtually zero short term interest rates as an “extraordinary” period, and the 2008 mess as “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Telling words. I wonder how bad the next inevitable crisis will be?

Crisis in capitalism are nothing new in America, by the way. They just are mostly ignored. In the 19th century they came every decade or so, sometimes several within ten years.

Ideological fanatics have been claiming for years that the Fed was making a terrible mistake, even committing malfeasance, by not raising interest rates to “head off inflation.” The fact that inflation has averaged below 2% since 2008 has no effect on their near-hysterical rantings. No doubt they won't be mollified by a mere 25 basis point rise in short-term rates.

For those confused by talk of a rate rise of 25 basis points: A basis point is finance-speak for 1/100 of one percent. So 100 basis points is 1%, 150 basis points is 1½ %, and so on.

Now you know what a basis point is! See? The esoteric jargon of the high priests of finance isn't so impenetrable after all!

1] Banks loan out money at around 5% for mortgages, various rates for car loans, and charge businesses varying rates depending on “creditworthiness” and other factors. On credit card debt they rake in 13-20%.What banks PAY for the money they use to loan out if it's your money in a savings account is on average 0.06%. That's the average rate of bank savings deposit accounts nationally in the U.S., as calculated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as of December 14, 2015. [I found some online sites with grossly incorrect average savings deposit rates.]

So if you had $1,000 in a savings account for a year, you would be paid the princely sum of 60 cents for the entire year. On the other hand, if you carried a $1,000 balance on a credit card at 20% interest, you'd pay the bank $200 in interest for the year. That's fair, right? I mean, they're loaning you OTHER PEOPLE”S MONEY, after all.

If you wanted to lock up your money for the next five years in a bank so-called Certificate of Deposit (CD), on average you'll be paid at the princely rate of 0.79% a year for the next five years. Checking account deposits not only don't pay interest, the depositors have to pay fees on top of that. Plus banks have all kinds of “gotcha” fees. This when their actual costs are lower than ever, thanks to computer automation. (They typically charge $30 if a check you deposit bounces- that actually costs them pennies to process.)

Now compare the measly 0.06% interest they pay you vs. the 13-20% they charge on credit card debt, and the multiplier is over 200 and 300 TIMES. Or an increase of over 30,000%. Not a bad business to be in.

[For comparison, in the UK, the average interest paid on savings in 2014 was 1.48%.]