Thursday, August 20, 2015

Planned Parenthood Victimization and Right-Wingers' Immunity From Prosecution

Ignored in the ginned-up brouhaha over Planned Parenthood supporting important medical research by providing tissues from aborted fetuses to researchers, with their pregnant clients' consent, at cost with no monetary gain for PP which is a long-standing and legal practice, are the crimes committed against PP by the neo-fascists targeting it for destruction. These are at least two. (But every crime in the U.S., especially when the Federal government brings them, is multiplied several-fold. And they always add on "conspiracy" charges as separate crimes. Conspiracy would certainly apply in this case.)

After the release of doctored, "shocking" (not really) videos of a Planned Parenthood physician discussing selling fetal tissues to anti-abortion fanatics deceiving PP by masquerading as medical researchers, PP's website was taken down by hackers and was offline for several hours. This constitutes various felonies under Federal law. There isn't the slightest indication that the Obama regime is investigating this or will prosecute the perpetrators.
Note the contrast with the cases of Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, and Aaron Swartz, among others. [1]

The second crime, and this one is known to have been committed by the anti-abortion fraudsters, is identity theft. In the video, one of the con artists flashes an I.D., with the name of a high school classmate of the lead anti-abortion hatchet-man. The real woman knew nothing of this, and found herself locked out of various personal account. We're talking Federal felonies here. [2]

But nothing will happen. Remember when the reactionary operative James O'Keefe, who created doctored videos used to attack and destroy ACORN, infiltrated the office of U.S. Senator with phone tapping equipment and was caught red-handed? For the several felonies he was facing, he ended up with a misdemeanor and probation.

Or the deranged white racist rancher Cliven Bundy, who thinks he shouldn't have to pay nominal grazing fees to use Federal lands, and who rounded up a posse of armed reactionaries to take his seized cattle back by force? And NOTHING HAPPENED to him.

Because reactionaries have almost total impunity for their criminal acts. They can attack abortion clinics and personnel freely, until they murder someone. Only then is their any law enforcement.
When they are convicted, their convictions are either overturned on appeal (Tom DeLay, for example) or they get a wristslap and then proclaim themselves victims of political persecution (the crackpot polemicist Dinesh D'Souza, who made straw man donations to politicians and got a fine- and continued to paint himself as a victim of injustice).

1] Hammond was imprisoned for almost a year "pre-trial" by a vindictive Federal Judge, Loretta A. Preska, the Chief District Judge of the Federal Circuit in which the case was brought, since she denied bail to Hammond, deeming him more dangerous than a terrorist or sex offender. Hammond's "crime" was hacking into the computers of a criminal "corporate security" firm, set up by former secret police officials, Stratfor, and exposing their attacks against protesters and dissidents, including computer crimes. He did this at the instigation of an FBI puppet, Hector Xavier Monsegur (who called himself "Sabu" online) who was threatened with 120 years in prison for his own computer hacking if he didn't work for them and he agreed in a matter of minutes.

At Hammond's bail hearing Preska vowed to send him to the slammer for 30 to 120 years after conviction. Since Federal trials result in convictions about 97% of the time, and trials in political cases are purely for show, with 100% conviction rates, Hammond was forced to accept a plea arrangement whereby the government prosecutors recommended a sentence of probation to 10 years. Preska gave him 10 years. [Preska is a Republican and an authoritarian bred at Catholic schools. Her husband was one of the people affected by the Stratfor caper. He's a corporate lawyer at a firm that caters to Fortune 500 corporations, and his wife worked there also before being turned into a judge. Bush the Younger considered putting her on the Supreme Court, then nominated her for a promotion to the Federal Appeals Court in July 2008, but the Senate didn't take up her nomination since Bush's turn as president had only 6 months to run.]

Hammond has a history of political activism and government persecution, with increasingly harsh punishments to force him to stop. See for example Wikipedia entry.

Barrett Brown is a journalist who was targeted for a tangential tie to the Stratfor expose. He too was denied bail. The FBI threatened his mother. Eventually he was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months in Federal prison.

Aaron Swartz was a brilliant computer expert and activist whose "crime" was sneaking a computer into a closet at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a research university specializing in projects for the U.S. military and secret police) and using their subscription to a company database to download research articles (describing research paid for with taxpayer money) which the company sold access to. Swartz felt the public was entitled to see what their money paid for for free. The company ultimately made the articles available freely, but not before the FBI and U.S. attorney moved to imprison Swartz for decades. (A plea offer would have meant less time but a felony conviction, which in the U.S. has severe, lifelong consequences. For example, Swartz would never have been able to sit on a corporate board, which in the tech world could be a major handicap.) Ultimately Swartz committed suicide.

I have written about the Swartz case. See  See "Obama Regime Creates Another Martyr," "The Most Dangerous Person in the U.S. Congress," and "Brace Yourselves For Unintended Ironies In Aaron Swartz Affair."

2] See "Exposed: The Faces and Fake Names of the People Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos," Democracy Now 7/31/15.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Jeff Bezos Borrows Sinister Trick From Mao Zedong

The ruthless boss of Amazon.com, that Pac-Man of retailers that aims to put every other retailer out of business, is feigning shock and hurt over an article in the New York Times. [1] 

The article gave an inside look at the cutthroat corporate culture Amazon's white collar workers are subjected to. The company is a veritable pressure-cooker cum police state in the Red Chinese style, with workers reporting on each other and holding victims up for criticism.

This is not the first establishment-media expose of the hellish work conditions imposed by the slave driver Bezos. Previous stories have reported on the terrible situation of the lowly wage-serfs who fulfill the orders, scurrying around the warehouses like rats on amphetamines to pack and ship merchandise. (Turns out not everything is "virtual" at a "digital-New Economy" company like Amazon. Someone still has to deal with grubby material reality. As for "New," In fact it's the same old capitalist exploitation in this "New" economy.)

These previous stories created no ripple in the media culture. Apparently the differences this time are that the New York Times is a media body with more mass, and thus a powerful gravitational force, and the workers in the article are the white collar ones.

Bezos wasted no time reacting to the negative publicity. In addition to mobilizing cadres of his workers to defend Amazon and avow rebuttals to the Times, Bezos dispatched his chief flack, Jay Carney, to CBS television to deny all. Yeah, that Carney, Obama's former chief mouthpiece. A very practiced liar who worked for a master liar. Before that, Carney came from Time magazine, which says a lot about kind of people who are called "journalists" in America. (And elsewhere, too. Maybe you're starting to see why I call these creatures propagandists, not "journalists.")

And Bezos himself weighed in, pretending he has no idea his company isn't a Garden of Eden of a workplace. He laid down a letter on his employees' heads, in which he acted the part of Captain Renault in "Casablanca," "discovering" there was gambling going on in Rick's CafĂ© Americain. He decried the “shockingly callous management practices” described in the Times article, while simultaneously claiming disbelief (unlike Renault). [2]

“I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market,” exclaimed Bezos. In other words, it can't be true, because Amazon is so big. (It doesn't manage to make profits, by the way. That hasn't stopped "investors" from kiting its stock ever higher.) That's in the spirit of the bumper sticker slogan If You're So Smart, How Come You're Not Rich?

So we have stunned disbelief, rebuttal, and also denial:

“I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either.”

Hint: You DON'T AGREE with this trash article, DO you? Surely Jeff Bezos would see it if it were true. Want to argue with the Boss about it?

Then he laid his trap. He called on any of his serfs who knew of “stories like those reported” to report to him directly.

“Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero,” he purred reassuringly, assuming the pose of an "enlightened" employer.

Now, if the stories are untrue, as he asserts, and someone comes to him saying otherwise, that means he's found a malcontent and possible traitorous source for  the Times.

This is a place that deliberately "culls" a certain percentage of employees every year. It is an utterly ruthless meatgrinder. Now what do you suppose will happen to any employee foolish enough to take Bezos up on his offer and reveal hiim/herself to be "negative" and "disloyal"? (Not to mention a suspected source for the Times "hatchet job.")

Well, What Would Mao Do?

We know what he would do, because he did it.

Mao, in addition to being a ruthless, power-mad totalitarian, was an extremely deceitful, treacherous, and manipulative man. One of his power plays was a ruse labeled "Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom." After many years of repression, people had learned to hide their true feelings. In order to smoke out those who weren't thoroughly brainwashed but merely outwardly conforming, he came up with a trick to get them to expose themselves. He launched a campaign, with great fanfare, the one I just named, in which people were led to believe that the government had turned over a new leaf and decided to allow people to express themselves freely. People were encouraged to write slogans on walls and so on. After a suitable number of suckers took the bait, the repression came. The secret doubters, non-conformists, and those capable of independent thought had announced themselves, making the job of the "security services" (repression forces) laughably easy.

Bezos' letter strikes me as a mini-Thousand Flowers Blooming gambit.

The letter is a feint, designed to lure the naive into exposing themselves for termination. (But only termination from a job, not from life.)

Obama pulled the same nasty trick on millions of "illegal" immigrants, luring them into applying for temporary deferment of deportation if they applied, which requires them to come forward, identify themselves, give up their addresses and phone numbers and place of work, for easy rounding up later. Very few have even been approved so far. Obama has been the King of Deportations, deporting more people than any other president in U.S. history, locking up women and child refugees from Central America fleeing for their lives, and more. He created a reign of fear in immigrant communities with his Orwellian-named "Secure Communities" program. And while pretending to be targeting hardened criminals, people with ancient shoplifting beefs get ripped out of society, losing everything, with families smashed up in the process and scattered to the winds. It's been one ruse after another with Obama on the immigration question. (As on most matters with the Prevaricator-in-Chief.)

The lesson for normal humans is, Don't Ever Trust Anyone In Power.

1] "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace- The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions," New York Times, August 15, 2015.

2] "Jeff Bezos and Amazon Employees Join Debate Over Its Culture," New York Times, August 17, 2015.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Archaeologist of Roman Ruins in Palmyra, Syria, Butchered By ISIS Islamofascist Barbarians

The aged antiquities scholar  Khaled Asaad  had worked at this UN World Heritage Site for over 50 years, looking after a historic heritage of all humankind. His family reports that the "Islamic State" cutthroats hacked off his head, and hung up his decapitated body as a ghoulish threat to anyone who runs afoul of their deranged intolerance for everything outside their stunted ideology.

He was 82 years old. Too bad that after a life's work, he had to see the looming destruction of the concrete evidence of the existence of a prior civilization. Ruins like these provide a window into the past, making us aware of the continuity of our species in time and connecting us mentally with that which went before.
But to ISIS, preserving any evidence of the past such as this is "idolatrous," and thus worthy of death and destruction.

These murderous scum need to be exterminated.

The U.S. must tell Turkey in no uncertain terms to stop bombing Kurds or be kicked out of NATO. And the U.S. needs to back the Kurds, who so far are the most committed by far to fighting back against the Islamofascist barbarians. (The Iraqi "army," hundreds of thousands strong, were abandoned by their officers and ran away in the face of a few thousand terrorists, who seized thousands of U.S.-supplied military vehicles, and weapons and ordnance in Iraq.)

It's true enough that the mess in Iraq is a direct result of the U.S. invasion of 2003. Just as the rise of Al-Qaeda and the conquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban were direct results of the U.S. jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. (Brought to you by James Earl Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, the CIA, and the loathsome Pakistanis and Saudis.) Since the U.S. wrecked Iraq, one can argue that the U.S. has a political and moral responsibility to not just walk away but to stay the course and retake the territory ISIS has seized in Iraq and Syria. This is significantly worse than the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

If Iraq needs to be divided into two or three new countries or a loose federation- which I think is nearly inevitable- so be it. Too bad if Turkey doesn't like it.

["Isis beheads elderly chief of antiquities in ancient Syrian city, official says," guardian (UK), August 18, 2015.]

Monday, August 17, 2015

Latest Assad Regime Terrorist Attack Kills 96 In Syrian Market

Thanks to Barack Obama' refusal to destroy Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad's air force, yet another terrorist attack on civilians has occurred, killing 96 and wounding hundreds in a market.

The Assad terror regime has relentlessly targeted civilians in areas his "government" has been driven out of.
At the start of the uprising against the horrible Assad family dictatorship, Assad's state terrorists scrawled their own wall slogans in response to the people's slogans. The Assad assassins' slogan was: "Assad or Syria Burns."

For five years, they've been making good on that chilling, nihilistic threat.

The Iranian theocracy and the Putin autocracy of Russia are key villains propping up the evil Assad cabal. Iran's Lebanese clients, Hezbollah, has been supplying gunmen to fight for Assad in Syria.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

From The Horse's Mouth: Pentagon Lawyer Confirms Targeting of Journalists

"The term 'unprivileged belligerent is pretty much the same as 'unlawful enemy combatant,'" says Charles A. Allen, the Pentagon's "deputy general counsel for international affairs," in an interview on "On the Media" conducted by host Bob Garfield, an advertising industry veteran. [1]

But not to worry. The U.S. military is only going to kill journalists who have "abandoned" their status as journalists and become spies, enemies. There would be "research" before murdering a journalist, to make sure he/she wasn't entitled to be called a journalist but rather "a member of enemy forces."

Like the four times they bombed Al-Jazeera offices. And shelled the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. And murdered various journalists.

And they and/or the CIA assassinated Michael Hastings. Hastings was considered an enemy by the military after his Rolling Stone article on general Stanley McChrystal exposed the deep contempt McChrystal and his officer staff had for their nominal civilian commanders, the president and vice president of the United States. [2]

The U.S. military has regarded the media generally as "enemies" ever since the Vietnam War. Cadets at West Point are even inculcated with hatred for the media, according to a female instructor there.
The interview consisted of a lot of bland-sounding blather and verbiage from Allen, delivered in a low-key tone, designed to pacify and disarm. Garfield wasn't able to effectively pierce this cotton candy rhetorical shield.

Just as torture isn't torture, it's "enhanced interrogation techniques," journalists aren't journalists when the U.S. military decides to kill them, they're "unprivileged belligerents" and "members of enemy forces," another term Allen used.

Naturally Allen had to feed us some whoppers, like the military's "strong cooperation with the media." Translation: cheerleading flagwaving media nationalistic shills get fed Pentagon propaganda, which they duly broadcast at top volume.

1] "When A Journalist Becomes An 'Unprivileged Belligerent,'" On The Media, August 14, 2015. On The Media is a weekly radio program hosted by NPR affiliate WNYC.

Here's a link to the podcast:
http://www.onthemedia.org/feeds/tags/department_of_defense

See also: Bush Created "Enemy Combatants." Now Obama Has Invented "Unprivileged Belligerents," Formerly Known as Journalists, August 11, and Obama Regime Codifies Policy of Murdering Journalists U.S. Doesn't Like, August 10.

2] "The Runaway General," by Michael Hastings. Rolling Stone, June 22, 2010.

Friday, August 14, 2015

U.S. Hoists It Flag Over Nest of Espionage and Subversion In Havana

Technically this den of iniquity is called the "U.S. Embassy." Like all U.S. embassies, it is a base for CIA spies and military "attaches," who also have an espionage function.

And like any U.S. embassy located in a nation whose government the U.S. wants to change to one more to its liking, it is also a hive of subversive activities. The Cubans should study carefully what the U.S. did not too long ago in Ukraine. (It was willing to spend $2 billion there, according to a boast by Victoria "Wicked Witch" Nuland, the neocon whom Obama  has as an assistant secretary of state for "European Affairs," to overthrow the previous elected government.)

This particular infection-point of malign U.S. power was previously the "U.S. Interests Section," prior to the decision of the Obama regime to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were broken off by Kennedy in 1961 in favor of a campaign of aggression, terrorism, and economic warfare that continued for decades.

An example of the prior activities of this "Interests Section" was the hoisting of large, provocative, insulting banners aimed at the streets below, with the apparent purpose of inducing the Cubans to hate Fidel Castro and overthrow his government. (It didn't work.)

Secretary of State John "Skull And Bones" Kerry flew into Cuba for the rag-hoisting ceremony, and to lecture the Cubans about what he called "democracy" and human rights. (Since the U.S. is very good at destroying both of those, I assume he was being ironic or facetious when he exhorted the Cuban government to provide more of both. But that assumption is wrong, of course. He was actually being dementedly cynical.)

One "issue" the U.S. wants "resolved" is to extort millions of dollars from Cuba to "compensate" Americans who lost property in Cuba after the revolution 56 years ago. Parts of the U.S. media are participating in this extortion campaign, with both the New York Times ("The Newspaper of Record," that's us!- they proclaim) and the U.S. government radio propaganda network NPR running sob stories about children of property owners wanting their holdings paid for or returned to them. So far, the U.S. media hasn't run any stories about all the Cubans murdered by U.S.-sponsored terrorists, or the losses suffered when the U.S. infected Cuba's sugar and tobacco crops, and pig herds, with diseases, or poisoned sugar for export, or snuck in lubricating oil that made engines wear out ten times faster than normal (a Texas engineer working for the CIA boasted in print of coming up with that one) or the billions lost due to the U.S. interfering with Cuban trade, forcing foreign nations and governments to boycott Cuba. (Because, in case you didn't know, the U.S. rules the world.)

Here's another "issue" Cuba could raise. Over the years, U.S. courts have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to the families of "victims of terrorism." I mean per person killed. They've entered such judgments against the PLO, Iran, and others. I suggest Cuban courts award the families of the hundreds killed by U.S.-sponsored terrorism hundreds of millions of dollars (in pesos) apiece. After all, since the U.S. regards itself as a model for all nations to follow, and expects Cuba to emulate it, I think Cuba should definitely show itself to be a good pupil and do this.

And get the fuck out of Guantanamo Bay, U.S.!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Former U.S. President James Earl Carter To Die From Metastatic Cancer

"Jimmy" Carter, president of the U.S. between Ford and Reagan (Jan. 1977-Jan. 1981) posted a brief statement on his organization's website, the Carter Center, which reads in full as follows:


"Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body. I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week." [August 12, 2015]

According to the Washington Post, Carter's two sisters, his father, and brother Billy all died from pancreatic cancer. His mother died from breast cancer. This would indicate a genetic vulnerability to cancers. [1]

As he is 90 years old, and the cancer has already spread (metastasized), it is probable, if not almost certain, that he will die of the disease (or from side effects of treating it).

Ninety years is a long life, so no reason to feel sorry for Carter. That's longer than the life expectancy for U.S. boys born today, and much longer than for those born in the year of Carter's birth.

As we can expect a shower of dishonest  and cloying propaganda about his regime and life after his death, let us preempt the indoctrination to come just a little bit with some taboo truths:

Carter was falsely smeared as a "liberal" and "weak on defense." I recall in the first months of his presidency hearing his Secretary of "Defense," Harold Brown on the radio (if memory serve,s he was testifying before Congress) saying that the Carter regime was going to increase the military budget by 50%. I was stunned. Sure enough, over four years U.S. military spending went from $100 billion a year to $150 billion. Yet the media and various reactionary screechers have created the myth that Carter "gutted" the military. Carter in fact was the precursor to Reagan, both in his domestic policies and outside U.S. borders. (Reagan then doubled military spending in eight years, to $300 billion, and also tripled the national debt, from about $900 billion when Carter left office, to $3 trillion. Then Bush the Elder added another trillion to that in four years as president. His successor Clinton ran budget surpluses in some years. Yet the media persists in implanting in the minds of the idiot America public the patently false idea that it is the Democrats who are the profligate ones running up the debt. The mystery is why the Democrats go along with this canard.)

Carter initiated a phony propaganda campaign of "human rights." While the U.S. continued to support the same murderous dictators it always had, this provided a useful bludgeon to beat the Soviet Union over the head with- even though, post-Stalin, the U.S. had by far a worse human rights record. Just compare Eastern Europe 1953-1991 to Latin America in the same time frame! Or what the U.S. did in Indochina

As the chief executive officer of U.S. Imperialism during his one term as president, Carter committed crimes against humanity as would be expected of a U.S. president. He tried to keep the vicious Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in power, including by arranging for Israel to ship Somoza arms and terror advisers when it became politically awkward for the U.s. to be seen doing so. He began the creation of the contra terrorist army used against Nicaragua, for which Reagan gets all the "credit."

He scoffed at the notion of the U.S. paying reparations to Vietnam, with the sick statement that "the destruction was mutual." (Yeah, the U.S. dropped 6 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, three times the tonnage dropped in World War II, and Vietnam shot down some of the bombers. There's an example of "mutual destruction.")

He hailed the Shah of Iran, the dictator with the world's worst human rights record at the time (as per Amnesty International) as a "great friend." When the Shah was forced to flee for his life, Carter instigated the "hostage crisis" by having the Shah come to the U.S., despite warnings from the new Iranian regime not to give the Shah sanctuary. (The excuse was that the Shah needed medical treatment for cancer- as if the U.S. is the only nation on earth with hospitals. Carter himself knew this would provoke a bad reaction, as he griped to Henry Kissinger when Kissinger called Carter and transmitted an order from David Rockefeller to let the Shah in.)

Then there's Afghanistan. Carter's head of the "National Security" Council, the Machiavellian Zbigniew Brzezinski, had a plot to lure the Soviets into invading Afghanistan. A self-described "communist" government had taken over the country, and were battling a Muhajedeen insurgency. ("Muhajedeen" means Islamic Holy Warrior, which is to say violent, backward religious fanatic.) Carter secretly authorized aid to these terrorists on July 3rd, 1979. On that date, Brzezinski advised Carter in a memo that the “aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” This was something the Polish Brzezinski ardently desired, as the animating passion of his life is hatred of Russia. The U.S. "national security" state also was eager to "pay back" the Soviet Union for the Vietnam War (as if somehow it was their fault!) and wanted to bleed the Soviets. Sure enough, at the end of 1979, the Soviets invaded. [2]

And what the U.S., in cahoots with its partners Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the two nations that arm and fund violent islamofascist jihadism globally, wrought by its vengeful, malicious policy was not only the destruction of any chance of social and economic progress in Afghanistan (the "communists" had instituted schooling for girls, for example, and in other ways tried to drag Tenth century Afghanistan into the Twentieth century), but the opening of a Pandora's box of evil. The U.S. reaped the whirlwind, creating the most spectacular case of "blowback" ever. The Islamofascist Taliban eventually took over the country, and provided a base for Osama bin-Laden's Al-Qaeda ("The Base"). The Islamofascist movement has become more extreme and violent as the U.S. has increased its efforts to destroy the movement, and has now mutated into its most toxic form yet, the "Islamic State," which has conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and has metastasized (if I may ironically redeploy that word in a non-medical context) to Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere.

But Brzezinski and Carter receive no criticism for any of that.

Carter, like many former apparatchiks of the system, waited until he was out of power to speak truthfully and to advocate for policies he should have pursued when he was in a position to do so. His Habitat for Humanity builds a small number of homes for poor people. And he warns that Israel "could become" an apartheid state. (In fact it's been one for years.) He did, while he was president, have the CIA purged of a few hundred of its worst fascist cutthroats. That was a wise move just from the standpoint of his personal safety. (See: JFK assassination.) If nothing else, that allowed cancer and not the CIA to claim his life.

1] "Former president Jimmy Carter, 90, announces that he has cancer," Washington Post, August 12, 2015.

2] See the eye-opening thesis "THE STRATEGIC MIND OF ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: HOW A NATIVE POLE USED AFGHANISTAN TO PROTECT HIS HOMELAND," May 2012, which compiles public source but ignored information and citations. Brzezinski for his part remained unrepentant when asked years later if he had any regrets:  "That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into an Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” (My emphasis.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bush Created "Enemy Combatants." Now Obama Has Invented "Unprivileged Belligerents," Formerly Known as Journalists

Amazingly, the U.S. has openly declared its intent to murder journalists.

As I wrote about yesterday, ["Obama Regime Codifies Policy of Murdering Journalists U.S. Doesn't Like"] under Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Barack Obama, the Department of "Defense" has issued a new manual giving its killers carte blanche to deal with journalists whose work it considers a "threat" in the same manner that "enemy combatants" and "terrorists" are dealt with. These journalists are now to be considered "unprivileged belligerents." A belligerent is an enemy soldier. "Unprivileged" means the normal laws of war do not apply. In short, the Obama regime's Pentagon has declared its intent to murder journalists who displease it too much. (One such journalist, Michael Hastings, was murdered by the government last year, apparently at the instigation of  CIA boss John Brennan. Hastings was reviled by the military for "causing" the firing of general Stanley McCrystal, and held in contempt by establishment pseudo-journalists.) [1]

These categories were specifically created to dehumanize the intended targets of violence to legitimize, morally and pseudo-legally, torture, murder, and indefinite imprisonment in secret locations under barbaric conditions without having to bother with courts, lawyers, or trials. They create the psychological and political conditions to activate these crimes against basic human rights. Thus does Obama take the U.S. further into barbarism, continuing the evil project of his predecessors.
The fact that the U.S. is now openly declaring its "right" to treat journalists it finds annoying as subhuman scum to be eliminated at will moved the New York Times to publish a worried editorial on the matter. (Referenced and linked to in my previous essay noted above.)

The Pentagon document is a declaration of war against journalists who don't toe the U.S. line. Al-Jazeera journalists were targets of lethal U.S. violence from the very start of the "War On Terrorism" in 2001. In the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the target list of journalists was expanded to include "unembedded" journalists, that is, those who would not be stooges of the U.S. military.
What had been unofficial policy, a practice of selective murder thinly veiled under cynical claims of "accidents," is now openly proclaimed as stated U.S. military policy. As usual, the U.S. government does its Alice-In-Wonderland game of calling whatever they proclaim as "lawful." "Law is whatever the U.S. Killer State says it is."

U.S. involvement in or directly murdering journalists goes back at least to 1948, when CBS correspondent George Polk was murdered by Greek fascists and the Truman regime arranged to frame up communists for the crime. Polk had exposed corruption in the the fascist regime of former Nazi collaborations the Truman regime installed in Greece after World War Two. No less a personage than the notorious William "Wild Bill" Donovan, head of the wartime OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, was detailed to arrange the coverup and frameup. (A communist journalist was tortured into "confessing," among other, ahem, irregularities in the "trial." Make that show trial, a term the self-proclaimed "Free World" was fond of throwing at its Bolshevik adversaries. Or as they say in Wonderland, first the verdict, then then trial.)

The U.S. media and "educational" system has done an assiduous job of erasing the story of George Polk from general knowledge, while cynically recognizing the journalism award named after him. Very little has been written about this tawdry crime of U.S. Imperialism and its fascist underlings. I first learned of it years ago when a now-defunct magazine named More published a cover story about it, telling the true story. Then Kati Marton, a former wife of ABC chief "news" reader Peter Jennings and U.S. State Department tough guy Richard Holbrooke (both now deceased) wrote a book that also endeavored to reveal the truth.

Over the decades, the U.S. has been involved in the murders of hundreds of journalists by the various neo-fascist regimes it has installed in its various satrapies around the world, especially in Latin America. It has directly killed a smaller number, some in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, some inside the U.S. (See my essay referenced above for examples.) The particulars of each case leave no doubt that none were accidents or "suicides," and all were deliberate murders.

The U.S. used to put up a facade of denial. Now they have announced they will no longer even bother with that.

1] For a discussion of the hatred and contempt U.S. corporate propagandists had for the genuine journalist Michael Hastings, see "Michael Hastings: my friend and his enemies," the Guardian, (UK), June 19, 2013.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Remembering Investigative Journalist Danny Casolaro, A Martyr For Truth

While writing the previous blogpost this morning (below) about the Obama regime's newly-declared policy of murdering/torturing/imprisoning-without-trial journalists it doesn't like, I was trying to remember the name of the journalist who was murdered by having his wrists slit in a bathtub.

So I did an Internet search (using duckduckgo.com, which claims not to record your searches, unlike Google) for "journalist slit wrists suicide," since the murder was falsely called suicide by "the authorities." Got his name- Danny Casolaro- right on the first page. Then I went to Wikipedia to refresh my memory some more, and- Damn!- Karmic coincidence. He was murdered on this date in 1991. Only a 1-in-365 chance of that.

So I guess that means it's my task to commemorate the man and remind people he lived, what he did, and why he was murdered by the regime of Bush the Elder 24 years ago today.

Danny was a genuine investigative journalist. That is, he actually investigated things that those in power wanted to keep hidden, and he was a journalist in that he thought journalism meant reporting truthfully to the public about matters that properly concerned them. Danny was sufficiently intrepid- or reckless and stupid, his murderers would say- to investigate the so-called "October Surprise." This was the secret deal Reagan's gang made with the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini (aka Evil Demon in U.S. propaganda) of Iran back in 1980 to not free the U.S. embassy "hostages" until James Earl "Jimmy" Carter was no longer president. He was also investigating a number of other secret U.S. Deep State scandals, some of which were CIA criminal operations. (These were Iran-Contra terrorist-financing scheme under Reagan featuring the fascist Colonel Oliver North, an American version of Otto Skorzeny; the BCCI CIA terrorist bank; and the Inslaw theft scandal.)

George H.W. Bush is the prime suspect in the murder conspiracy. He was president at the time, he was Reagan's Vice President for the entirety of Reagan's term (January 1981-January 1989), and he was vice presidential candidate in 1988 when the secret treasonous deal with Iran was arranged. (There's a sinister pattern in U.S. history. The Republicans always accuse the Democrats of treason, the Democrats defensively move to the right to try and prove it ain't so, and the Republicans commit treason, which the Democrats remain silent about. Just as the Republicans undercut the efforts of the Carter regime to free the "hostages," in 1968 Nixon sabotaged the Paris peace talks to end the Vietnam War by secretly instructing the "South" Vietnamese fascist regime to boycott those talks. LBJ knew this through FBI surveillance of the "South" Vietnamese embassy, and warrantless wiretaps of Nixon and others, which he was afraid would be revealed. So Nixon got away with it.)

Bush the Elder was Director of the CIA in 1976. He formed close bonds with fascist cutthroats in that agency, some of whom tried to get him elected president in 1980. (That didn't pan out, but he did get to be Reagan's vice president instead.) During his tenure as CIA boss, the CIA helped smuggle the terrorist bombmaker Michael Vernon Townley into the U.S. from Chile. Townley made and planted the bomb that was used to murder Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C. that same year. A week after the murder, the CIA planted an attributed item in Newsweek, on their "Periscope" page, saying the CIA has determined that the Pinochet regime secret police, DINA, didn't do it. How the CIA could "know" that in just a week wasn't explained. Of course, that was a big fat evil lie, as was subsequently proven. So Bush was a conspirator in an act of international terrorism, a double homicide, and aiding and abetting after the fact. Bush has been tight with the CIA ever since.

The Bush family's ties to terrorism, fascist cutthroats, and criminals are numerous and of long standing, and are no secret except in the U.S. establishment media, which prefers to portray the Bushes in glowing terms. (So much for the "liberal" media.) But if you go to, say, foreign media, or "alternative" media, there is voluminous documentation, as well as in books. See for example "The Bush dynasty and the Cuban criminals," the Guardian, (UK), December 1, 2002. 

A classic fake-out dirty trick was run to discredit the "October Surprise" story. A fake story was generated about Bush himself flying in an SR-71 Blackbird supersonic spyplane to a secret meeting in Spain to cut the deal with the Iranians. This absurd tale was then easily refuted, thus "disproving" the October Surprise "rumor."

A similar style operation was later run on Dan Rather, on behalf of Bush the Younger, regarding that spoiled creep's being AWOL from the cushy slot in the Texas Air National Guard that was arranged by Daddy Bush to keep Bush the Younger out of harm's way during the Vietnam War, yet allowing him to pose as a "veteran" who had "served his country." The real documents were removed from the archives, and forgeries were slipped to Rather's team at CBS, who fell for the bait. When the forgeries were duly exposed, CBS threw Rather overboard. (For some odd reason, American reactionaries have always despised Dan Rather. As Rather is no more "liberal" than the other corporate media talking heads, I never got what their beef was. But highly irrational people are often hard to figure out, especially since their "explanations" for things are equal parts falsehoods and incoherencies.)

These types of covert, nasty operations are one of the hallmarks of both the CIA and the GOP. Both are fascistic, vicious, ruthless, and devious. Both also have a history of murdering people who threaten to expose their crimes. (Scores were murdered just to eliminate witnesses after the assassination of JFK.)

Danny Casolaro had to work as a freelancer. Typically, U.S. media had no use for a genuine journalist who was interested in pursuing critical stories that would shine a light on the criminal nature of the U.S. power structure and expose some of its leading personages as the thugs they are. The U.S. media likes to misappropriate the slogan "speaking truth to power," as if they are brave Davids and not oppressive Goliaths. But those who really do try to speak truth to power are subject to severe retaliation. It could be a broken arm, dislocated shoulder, and torn ligaments, as happened to Medea Benjamin for daring to confront Emperor Obama during one of his speechifyings, it could be imprisonment, or it could be death, as happened to Casolaro.

 Casolaro was only 44 when he died. The beneficiaries of his silencings, Reagan and Bush the Elder, got to live to ripe old ages. (Bush of course is still haunting the earth and arranging who knows what evil schemes with his Saudi partners.) If the U.S. had had a genuine news industry at that time, his murder would have raised an uproar, demands for a real investigation, and followups on the leads he was pursuing.

Wikipedia has some information and links that are useful, although it inexplicably avers that " no evidence of murder was ever found." I beg to differ. His DEAD BODY is rather strong evidence of murder, as well as the totality of the circumstances around his death. Give no credence to that irritating falsehood.

It shouldn't fall to me alone to remind people of this crime, its coverup, and what it reveals about the gangster nature of the U.S. system of power. Really, people who consider themselves progressive or left-wing or opponents of the system of U.S. power, should not let such martyrs- and such crimes- be forgotten. Others have far more resources and support than I do. I think it's irresponsible and even feckless to unwittingly (or wittingly in some cases!) aid and abet a gangster government and ruling class in making sure its crimes stay forgotten.

Danny Casolaro, 1947-1991.

Obama Regime Codifies Policy of Murdering Journalists U.S. Doesn't Like

Another day, another U.S. outrage. Under the Obama regime, the Pentagon has issued a manual on how the U.S. military is to deal with journalists they don't like. They are to be deemed “unprivileged belligerents,” treated as enemy spies, and subject to assassination. [1]

The “privilege” being stripped from journalists would be the Geneva Conventions, an allegedly binding treaty obligation of the U.S. But as the regime of Bush the Younger already declared  those solemn Treaties null and void, Treaties which under the U.S. Constitution carry the same status as Constitutional law, they already are dead letters. The U.S. does what it wants, whenever it wants, as long as it thinks it can get away with it. The only thing that is new here is its open declaration of the fact that journalists are targets of its lethal violence. Although the declaration was done in a smarmy, matter-of-fact way that belies its awful significance. As happens so often in the Obama Regime, they want to slip one past us, reflecting the character of the Con-Man-In-Chief.

And make no mistake- murder is the real intent here. The New York Times asked an unnamed “senior Pentagon official” for an example of  a journalist as “unprivileged belligerent” (i.e. someone it's okay to murder, torture, imprison in secret “black sites” or the Guantanamo Bay military gulag, etc., since there are no rules once you discard the Geneva Conventions) and this creature gave the example of the Al-Qaeda assassins who murdered the leader of the Northern Alliance on September 10th, 2001. [2]

In other words, if they don't like what a journalist is doing, they'll be treated as a “terrorist.” You know what that means.

In fact, we know what it means from how the U.S. conducted itself in Vietnam, especially with the CIA's mass assassination program, Operation Phoenix. Or in Latin America, where it created and directed fascist terrorist regimes to slaughter all told hundreds of thousands. Or in Indonesia, where a minimum of 800,000 people were exterminated in a U.S.-instigated and CIA-planned mass murder.

Once the U.S. labels you a terrorist, your life is in grave peril.

The targeting of journalists actually isn't new in practice, as the U.S. has been murdering journalists for years. What's new is the overtness, the declaration of this vileness as official policy. As with torture and assassination generally, the U.S. no longer feels the need to put up a false front. As with outsourcing CIA subversion to the “National Endowment for Democracy,” the U.S. now does matter-of-factly what it used to try and hide. Whereas before U.S. hypocrisy was the tribute its vice paid to virtue, now the mask is off. Increasingly the U.S. sinks lower and lower into the abyss of immorality. [3]

But typically, the Obama White House was smarmily evasive when asked by the New York Times [2] about the Pentagon's newly declared official policy of targeting journalists, as if somehow Obama wasn't Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and chief of the executive branch of the U.S. Government. He does that a lot, trying to fob off responsibility as if he's just a bystander. He's been doing it on other issues to, like “criminal justice reform,” running around saying “Hey, we lock up too many folks,” instead of ordering his Attorney General to stop seeking maximum charges against people, deprioritize “drug” offenses, and use his own powers of commutation and pardon to free Federal prisoners. He's commuted fewer than 100 sentences- and pardoned no one- in all his years in office, vs. “dictator” Vladimir Putin of Russia freeing at least 1,000. Of course, Russia is oppressive, and the U.S. is “free.” That's why the U.S. has three times the prison population as Russia, and a much higher percentage of its adult population imprisoned.

Or maybe, rather than the U.S. sinking deeper into immorality, it is merely the U.S. returning to its roots. It is, after all, an evil empire founded on the twin pillars of genocide and slavery. Many have struggled mightily over the centuries to make it something better, with mixed results. After a brief upsurge of resistance, protest, and rebellion lasting about a decade from the early 1960s to the early 1970s which consisted of disparate strands of black struggle, opposition to the Indochina war, and the Counterculture, the power structure has worked assiduously, using all its arms (every branch of government at every level, the media, corporations, schools, religion, and more) to beat back these movements and especially to delegitimize the ideological content of those movements and re-brainwash and re-indoctrinate the populace in the “correct” attitudes and ideas.

Another factor was the demise of the main force in the world that could check U.S. power and arrogance, the Soviet Union. This emboldened the U.S. tremendously. Bush the Elder even declared a “New World Order.” Meaning an era of unchallengeable U.S. hegemony.

It hasn't worked out that way, due to various factors, including the rise of China, and the stubborn spread of Islamofascism, a huge example of “blowback” from the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan,where the U.S. allied with the most reactionary Islamic elements and with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the two crucial patrons of Islamofascism.

But the U.S. elites are still drunk on power. Unfortunately for them, this arrogance makes them behave stupidly. So instead of seriously countering the rise of the most dangerous rival that looks set to become the next world hegemon in a few decades, China, they've decide to focus on attacking Russia. The U.S. and its Eurostooges creates a crisis in Ukraine, blamed that crisis on Russia, and used that as a pretext to restart the Cold War (and claiming it was Russia restarting the Cold War, for good measure!).

Meanwhile China repeatedly rips off Western businesses in China, and massively infiltrates U.S. computer networks and steals data, including critical information on weaponry, which China has used to build its own advances jets and missiles. The latest (announced) attack was the theft of personal data on 20 million people in Federal databases. Other than scapegoating the (female) head of the agency in question by firing her (Obama is constantly throwing women overboard like that- the same thing happened with Lois Lerner of the IRS and with the first female head of the Secret Service) the U.S. has taken it lying down. It is afraid to retaliate. It is afraid of China. It is afraid to confront China. And you better believe the Chinese rulers know this.

Thus China now has the psychological upper hand. This makes China the dominant “partner” in the “relationship.”

Some reactionary American demagogues will of course blame this on Democratic “weakness” and fecklessness, a card they've been playing since 1946 or so. (Hey, it still works, so why not?) Of course Republican regimes have also practiced appeasement towards China. U.S. policy towards China should rightly be called appeasement, punctuated by occasional “stern” talk. (Shades of Neville Chamberlain!)

The underlying reasons for this effective surrender and submission to China are two-fold. First, big corporations drive U.S. policy. And those corporations are still blinded by the chimera of “a market of 1.3 billion consumers.” The Chinese have cleverly played foreign corporations like fiddles, stringing them along, forcing them into “partnerships” with Chinese businesses that take all their knowledge and technology and methods, and then grab the whole or most of the pie. But the stupid foreigners never learn. GE has handed over critical jet engine technology (nothing like a capitalist selling the hangman the rope to be used to hang the capitalist!) which the U.S. government permitted. (Can you imagine the Chinese government permitting the reverse to occur?) China is a one-party dictatorship in a society that historically is very conformist and regimented, making it far easier to set coherent policies.

The other factor is U.S. cowardice. The U.S. has been spoiled by two centuries of weak enemies and easy expansion. I think the U.S. is basically a big bully, and deep down, bullies tend to be cowards. They fear adversaries they might actually lose to. (Obviously that is not to belittle the personal bravery of the cannon-fodder who do the actual fighting and dying. Don't confuse me with Donald Trump.)

Unfortunately, a world dominated by China (assuming the current one-party dictatorship is still in power) will be no real improvement over a world dominated by the U.S. So from the human perspective, there is no side to root for in this competition for global hegemony.

But at least it won't be total hegemony. True hegemony over the entire planet is a rainbow in the eyes of imperialists. They think it is real, and they constantly chase it, but they can never attain it. Global dominance however is attainable. So unfortunately the crushing oppression they CAN inflict on humanity is very much in the realm of the possible. Indeed, it has been the actual state of (sub)humankind for millennia.

I MAKE THE CONNECTIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW.

1]The Pentagon’s Dangerous Views on the Wartime Press,” New York Times editorial, August 10, 2015. The manual is cynically titled “Department of Defense Law of War Manual June 2015.” Obviously the actual content is “There Is No Law For US, We Do What We Want!” If you want the Pentagon to capture your computer's IP address, and maybe plant spyware on you, the manual is in .pdf form at   http://www.defense.gov/pubs/Law-of-War-Manual-June-2015.pdf

The Pentagon had it's very own lawyers concoct this 1,204 page pile of excrement, so it MUST be “legal.”

The manual makes a nice bookend to the U.S. Army Field Manual, which instructs soldiers on torture techniques. That's not just my opinion. These torture methods are defined as torture by the United Nations. (But the U.S. holds the UN in contempt, so who cares?)

2] Ibid.

3] Examples of the U.S. targeting of journalists for death include the bombing of the Belgrade TV center in Serbia (one could argue whether those were journalists or propagandists, but just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's journalist is another man's propagandist); the attack by U.S. Army tank on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, killing a Spanish journalist (the Spanish government, a quasi-satrapy of the U.S., helped the U.S. quash legal cases in the matter); the repeatedly bombings of the Al-Jazeera offices in Kabul and Baghdad (interesting footnote that is deeply buried in the memory hole- British Prime Minister and accomplice to U.S. aggression Tony Blair had to talk Bush the Younger out of bombing Al-Jazeera in its home country, the oil sheikdom of Qatar- you'd think that was an important enough fact NOT to systematically suppress); and the murder of American journalists Danny Casolaro, and of Michael Hastings in California, using a bomb planted in his car and the remote seizure of his car's accelerator, brake, and steering via the car's computer systems. Nor is this an all-inclusive list.

Casolaro was murdered on this very date in 1991 while investigating the secret deal Ronald Reagan and his henchmen made with the Khomeini regime in Iran to delay the release of the U.S. "hostages" until Carter was no longer president. (The "hostage crisis" was the key factor in Carter's defeat in the 1990 election. ABC even started a nightly "news" program, Nightline, to harp on the "hostage crisis" every single night. It was hosted by notorious propagandist and Kissinger sycophant Ted Koppel.  It's obvious purpose was to oust Carter, which the ruling class had soured on. The New York Times also spent a year portraying Carter negatively, even running a photo of him out of breath in a marathon and describing him as "panting," i.e. weak and pathetic. Real subtle.)

We should mention in passing U.S. pals that murder journalists. Two of the U.S.' favorite Latin American nations murder scores of journalists- Colombia and Mexico. In fact it is obviously their policy to do so as they've been doing it for years.

But not to be one-sided about this, “bad guy” nations kill journalists too. Iran, for example. And Russia has killed a few- a mere handful, far fewer than those two U.S. buddy nations I mentioned have killed. Which is not to exonerate those execrable regimes. The totalitarian theocrats of Iran hate the “wrong” kind of writers so much that they tried to murder an entire busload of them whom they lured to a fake “conference.” The bus driver tried to drive the bus over a cliff (after jumping out) but flubbed the hit. So the writers all had to be arrested and charged with “crimes” instead.

That latter move is standard procedure in dealing with dissidents and “subversive elements;” paint them as criminals. To return to my own country, that Beacon of Freedom, the U.S. does it incessantly. Just two recent examples (out of innumerable thousands over U.S. history): Randy Credico, who had the temerity to run for Governor of New York State, was punished for this infraction by being arrested and charged wih a non-existent “assault” on police, and Cecily McMillan, who was grabbed by her breasts from behind and mauled by a sadistic New York City cop with a history of violence. (Grantley Bovell, who happens to be black, another example of the fallacy of thinking that the way to change this repressive system is with more black cops.) McMillan blindly swung her elbow backwards, catching her assailant in the head. The Manhattan District Attorney, one Cyrus Vance, Jr., a scion of the ruling class and made member of the U.S. nomenklatura (his daddy was  Secretary of State in the Carter regime), following standard operating procedure when the police brutalize someone, indicted Cecily for felonious assault on a police officer. A group of sheep was impaneled as a jury, and Cecily was duly convicted after a “fair” trial (all U.S. trials are “fair” by definition) and imprisoned at the notorious Rikers Island prison complex, where beatings and deaths are commonplace. Also, she was enjoined from engaging in political activity for five years, on pain of reimprisonment. Because the U.S. is a “free” country, you see. (Reminds me of the South African apartheid regime's practice of “banning” people, to politically neutralize them. Come to think of it, the U.S. was an ally and protector of that regime until almost the very end. Hmmm.)

During McMillan's trial, the female prosecutor very convincingly explained the documented bruises on Cecily's breasts by saying she deliberately created  them herself. (You detected my irony there, I presume.)

But Credico and McMillan are two of  the “lucky” ones. The “unlucky” ones get imprisoned for decades, or are beaten, tased, gassed, or are victims of arson attacks, or are assassinated. (Note to dissidents: whatever you do, don't interrupt a speech by Barack Obama!)

Of course, all the attention of the Western propaganda systems go towards the crimes of enemy nations like Russia and Iran while completely ignoring the often more numerous crimes of the U.S. and its “partners.” (The U.S. media of course is completely despicable in this regard, but the BBC is no better. I have yet to hear a mention on BBC of the murder of journalists and labor organizers, among others, in Colombia. They only “report” on Colombia to demonize FARC, the guerrilla movement there. So is the BBC journalism or propaganda?)

I MAKE THE CONNECTIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Court Jester Jon Stewart Ends 16 Years of Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Jon Stewart's stepping down from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" is being marked as a notable media event by U.S. media. GOP politicians have pissed on his backside on his way out. (It's far from the first time they've lobbed shells on Stewart. Contrary to the mythology Republicans push, Stewart is not a one-sided pro-Democrat partisan. He has skewered Democratic politicians and Obama regime bureaucrats and government organizations under Obama plenty of times. [1])

What Stewart did was akin to the role of court jesters in medieval courts. Truths that no one dare speak on penalty of losing their heads could be referenced "in jest" by the court jester. This provided both an outlet for expression and a check on the ruler getting too out of touch with reality.

In America, reactionary claptrap and demented assertions of absurd non-"facts" is treated as perfectly reasonable and respectable. This causes people who are even semi-rational to feel like they are losing their minds. Stewart's show provided a needed mental salve for such people to hang on to their sanity. It validated what is in fact obvious but that "society" in general denied, namely that much of political discourse, ideology, and action in the U.S. is irrational, noxious, and deranged.

I say it was shooting fish in a barrel because the absurdities Stewart sent up were very obvious. Yet since they are treated as "respectable" by the propaganda system, there was nowhere else in mass establishment media people could turn to except a comedy show.

And as in medieval courts, using humor as cover allows the jester to get away with speaking taboo thoughts.

Stewart though is no radical. Rather, he is a classic American liberal, a person who has no gripe with the system fundamentally, but is too pragmatic and rational to swallow some of the very glaring irrationalities and insanities of it. He is "safe" in that respect, which is why he is feted by what neofascists insist is the "liberal" media. On the other hand, a Randy Credico is marginalized and persecuted by the police with impunity.

I laughed at Stewart's stuff. It was mostly well done, if rather broad and at times crass. Like many others, I found needed satisfaction in seeing barbs aimed at well-deserved targets. We will see what the new host will do.

Stewart isn't the only person in establishment media doing this. John Oliver is another comedian who does the same thing, on HBO.

But in terms of actually changing the U.S., only an organized movement can do that. The Obama regime and various city governments moved with alacrity to crush the Occupy Movement in the latest example of how the rulers of America systematically work to prevent the emergence of any movements that can change the status quo. Currently the Black Lives Matter movement, an unorganized movement of people mostly venting, is their target, as the recent false arrest and probable murder of the outspoken Sandra Bland in Texas demonstrates.

1] In July of 2014, McCain had the gall to stand reality on its head and say of Stewart, "when he says things...that are absolutely wrong, he gets away with it." This is yet another example of how reactionaries project. Of course it is reactionaries like McCain who say factually false things DAILY which the corporate oligarchy's media treats as reasonable. ["McCain Fires Back at Jon Stewart: 'Gets Away' With Being 'Absolutely Wrong;' Jabs Media," "Media Research Center" (sic), 7/21/14.]

Ironically, the source I just cited is a reactionary propaganda sewer.

Or you can view the same story at Talking Points Memo. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Charleston, South Carolina Church Massacre & The Immorality of Forgiving the Unrepentant

[The Alabama Governor ordered the Confederate flag to be removed from state grounds there today.]

Relatives of the nine people slaughtered by white supremacist murderer Dylann Storm Roof in the historic  Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, told him in person at his court arraignment that they "forgive" him for his vicious act despite the anguish he has caused them. (No indication in news reports that he gives a damn about the torment he is making them suffer, or regrets cutting short the lives of nine perfect strangers who welcomed him into their presence in their church, despite the fact that they, as southern blacks, had every reason to shun a  white like Roof barging into their social circle uninvited. He apparently didn't thank the relatives for their forgiveness, either.)

This is, from one angle, exceedingly bizarre. it was less than a week since the slaughter. Roof had not apologized for his murders. He is, as of now, remorseless. He isn't wracked by guilt. He hasn't done anything to atone for his crimes. He hasn't even asked for forgiveness. All the evidence indicates that he considers himself a righteous warrior in a race war he hoped to spark.

Yet here are the relatives, presenting him with the gift of forgiveness on a silver platter, at his arraignment, no less.

Really, this is objectively absurd.

Forgiveness given automatically, unearned, has no weight and is morally worthless. Forgiveness without remorse, repentance, or even apology is cheap indeed. And how much can something gotten so easily be appreciated by the recipient? Certainly a hate-filled, deranged bigot like Roof isn't going to be moved by such a magnanimous gesture. (I can think of few people less worthy of such a generous gift.)

It is also unjust to the repentant. It treats those who go through the hardship and pain of acknowledging to themselves the evil they did, the harm they caused others, who have to endure guilt and shame and humble themselves by asking for forgiveness and trying to atone for their crimes, exactly the same as the guiltless and unrepentant who deny or even revel (overtly or secretly) in their crimes.  And it discourages instead of encouraging reflection, remorse, repentance, and atonement on the part of the guilty. So the effect is objectively  harmful both to society as well as contributing nothing to the redemption and rehabilitation of the evildoer. (Yet these fine Christians think unearned forgiveness can magically redeem the "sinner." Or they throw it into the lap of "God," a supernatural imaginary being, to judge, punish, redeem, or whatever, the offender.)

And forgiveness prior even to punishment is especially pernicious.

Forgiveness eases the mind of the maldoer. In this case, it can only reinforce Roof's conviction that what he did is nothing bad.

Forgiveness is a form of absolution. Roof has no reason to apologize now (except to try and lessen his sentence) since he's already been forgiven.

Now, I understand why the relatives did this. They are deeply immersed in a form of the Christian religion. This form exhorts its followers to love thy enemies, turn the other cheek, hate the sin but love the sinner, cast no stones.

I can also understand why for reasons of their own mental well-being, they might take this path.

I remember the story of a priest who belonged to the anti-apartheid movement. The racist terrorist secret police of the regime (supported until almost the end by the U.S.) sent him a letter or package bomb that blew off his hands and blinded him. Yet he described his feelings and it was surprising to hear that he did not feel anger or hatred. I found this frustrating yet realized for his own mental health it was probably for the best. Most of us would be consumed by anger and hatred, and suffering intense frustration from our inability to punish the culprits. I know I would. The priest presented this as a higher spiritual path. I saw it as a psychological adaptation which was healthy. The "normal" psychological reaction of most of us would create masses of emotional scar tissue, analogous to the physical scars that grow after a horrible burn.

That's not to say that either the priest or the relatives of Roof's victims consciously analyzed their reactions this way. It is more instinctive and intuitive than consciously planned.

But in terms of politics, the health of society, and the advancement of civilization, the forbearance of these victims is harmful. Therefore it behooves the rest of us to not forgive or forget the anti-human actions of fascist and racist scum, and WE should bring retribution to them. Just is a social obligation, not a personal burden on victims (a tleast that's how it should be).

Roof will get deserved punishment. The South African racists never did. I believe that has deleterious consequences to this day.

Now here's a challenge for people who think of themselves as progressives, or reformers, or leftists.
Ronald Reagan has been apotheosized by the U.S. propaganda system. Among his many crimes was his diehard support for the apartheid regime. Congress had to override his veto to impose sanctions on South Africa.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned because the CIA set him up and tipped off the apartheid secret police to his whereabouts. He was also listed officially as a "terrorist" by the U.S. government until 2008.

Hardly any Americans are aware of these facts. Why is that?

Because virtually no one ever mentions them.

Why aren't YOU mentioning them? Over and over? Repetition is what causes people to remember
thing.

You are either an opponent of this gangster system, or you aren't. If you constantly help cover up their crimes, you should stop pretending to be in opposition. Even if you believe in reform, there will never be reform without confrontation with the dirty truths of the power system. Reform only comes from mass discontent and outrage.

Now do your duty or stop faking it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nine (More) Die So Southern States Will Stop Flying the Banner of Slavery (Maybe)

In the aftermath of the massacre of nine people inside the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by hard-core white racist Dylann Storm Roof, South Carolina's reactionary Republican Governor Nikki Haley has called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the state Capitol's grounds (while simultaneously denying it symbolizes racism and slavery- how's that for having it both ways?)
.
Yet another small advance of "racial progress" in the U.S. that has had to be paid for in "black" blood.

On the other hand, the return for the approximately 4,000 lynching victims in the U.S. between around 1890 and 1940 was about zero.

"Blacks" have been paying in blood for centuries in the U.S. for struggling against oppression, or just to live. To sit on any seat on a bus, to register to vote, to eat in a restaurant- people were murdered just to do those things. (And almost all the murderers went completely unpunished, save for a couple imprisoned as old men.)

The reason I put "blacks" in quotes because I really feel unnatural referring to people as a color, and to group and separate them on that basis, as if they were jellybeans. Blacks, whites, browns, yellows, and reds. These colors are supposed to describe "races." But biologically, which is to say scientifically, which means objectively, homo sapiens is just one race, the (supposedly) human race.

Even saying "a white killed nine blacks" is to reinforce the artificial separation and dehumanization.

That is not at all to deny the virulent racism of the murderer. His ideology is clear and manifest, and cannot be ignored. It was his motive for his political crime, an act of terrorism with the political goal of sparking a race war, as Roof himself stated beforehand.

But of course, FBI secret police boss James Comey immediately denied the crime constituted "terrorism." How did he know, and so soon? Because it wasn't "political," he absurdly said.

On the other hand, the FBI considered the Occupy Movement "terrorist," and Keystone XL pipeline opponents "terrorists," and so on, notwithstanding the fact that these are non-violent and officially ostensibly legal people and activities. Once again "terrorism" in the mouths of the rulers is shown to be completely political and ideological in its usage with no meaning other than to demonize those they choose to demonize.

As for relocating the proud banner of white supremacy and the heritage of slavery, it is not clearly a done deal that the Confederate rag, the notorious, long-standing emblem of white supremacy and black enslavement, will be removed from the capitol grounds in Columbia, SC, and flown a bit farther away. When the reactionary scum lawmakers enacted that "compromise" in 2000 which removed the rag from the Capitol itself and moved it to another spot on state grounds, they made it a felony to lower the rag, and required that if any future legislature wanted to take it down, a two-thirds vote by the state legislature would be needed. So we shall see. (Although there is an argument that one legislature cannot bind future legislatures in this manner.)

Moves announced by a couple of politicians to remove the Confederate emblem, the so-called Stars and Bars, from the Mississippi state flag, and from the flag of Georgia, which added it to its state flag in 1956, are even more uphill.

On the other hand, sectors of Big Business have been induced to act. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has announced it will stop peddling Confederate rag merchandise. (No word on whether they're pulling Swastika merchandise. Just kidding; presumably they don't sell those. Nor hammer and sickle flags and belt buckles and bumper stickers and knick-knacks, or Rising Sun emblems to commemorate Japanese imperialist "heritage.") Other large retailers are following suit.

There's two ways to look at this; glass half-empty, or glass half-full. One could say it's a small, symbolic step. But symbols matter. And the fact that at least some Republican politicians, the party of white racists (but not only white racists, hence the delicacy of the matter for Republican politicians) are stepping forward to call for a downgrade in the status of the Confederate emblem, does point to an evolution in general racial attitudes.
The desire to avoid alienating white racists is obvious in the mealy-mouthed evasions of the likes of Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, while the evangelical zealot Michael Huckabee has been positively loathsome, as usual.
At the same time, much guff that is standard apologia for the Confederacy has been trotted out over the past few days. That the Confederate flag doesn't stand for slavery (but in deference to the hurt feelings of blacks, we'll see about making it less prominent, some politicians like Haley are in effect saying). And that undying canard that the American Civil War wasn't about slavery, but about "states' rights."

Nonsense. Just read the secession statement of South Carolina, for example. It's an angry screed against northern states are aren't sufficiently vigorous (in the slaveholders' view) in capturing and returning escaped slaves to their so-called rightful owners. (Very few slaves managed to escape in actuality, as a percentage of the millions of enslaved humans.) Far from states' rights being the motive for secession, it is hostility to the rights of northern states to decline to enforce slavery on their territory that prompted the eleven Confederate states to call it quits from the U.S. and start a war by besieging Fort Sumter with cannon fire.  (As a mark of U.S. depravity, legally the slaveholders had the better argument. They could cite both the U.S. Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Act as trumping the rights of individual states to be lakadaisical about seizing and returning "fugitive" slaves. But some states were quite enthusiastic about enforcing slavery- such as New York. Even free blacks were seized, deemed "escaped slaves," and handed into the clutches of the redneck barbarians.) Far from being forced out of the Union, the Federal government and administration of Abraham Lincoln bent over backwards to coax the southern states to first remain part of the U.S., and then to rejoin it. The abolition of slavery was never the goal of the north, as Lincoln himself stated. It was only under the exigencies of war that Lincoln declared slaves to be free in the rebel states, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation two years into the war, in January 1863.

Here's another thing. Americans are indoctrinated to think of the rebel army of the Confederate States of America as "gallant" and "noble." No more gallant and noble than the Waffen-SS. But about as fanatical and certainly as racist.

[I have two other essays in the works on this matter. One is on the questionable morality of "forgiving" an unrepentant evil-doer, as some relatives of the shooting victims have publicly done. Another will deal with the parallels between the killer Roof and the Norwegian racist mass murderer Anders Breivik. And when will we see a media investigation of Roof's family? I have a question about his middle name, "Storm." Is that a family name? If not, it's an unusual name to give someone. The word has significance in fascist and white supremacist circles. Stormfront is a prominent American white supremacist propaganda outfit. And "storm" is a moniker and concept popular with fascists. Hitler's army of street thugs, the Brownshirts, were called StormTroopers. The word "storm" crops up time and again in Nazism and its military. Storm conjures up fury and power. It represents sudden, violent, all-encompassing change in the environment. It is easy to grasp the emotional resonance the term has with violent, fanatical racists and fascists with a burning desire to remake the world in their own anti-human design.]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NATO Poohbah Resorts To Mysticism In Latest Verbal Attack On Russia

The U.S. announced a few days ago that it is sending hundreds of armored vehicles and equipment sufficient for a 5,000 troop expeditionary force, to Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, and other eastern European and Baltic  nations, to “reassure” its “allies” (clients and lackeys) against Russian “aggression.” [1] In apparent response, Russian president Vladimir Putin has subsequently declared that Russia will deploy an additional 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. (ICBMs are long-range missiles- note the name, Intercontinental. So they are not even directed at eastern Europe!)
 
This Russian announcement prompted NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg  to bloviate that this coming Russian deployment is one of the reasons for the NATO buildup. In other words, the cause of something in the past lies in a subsequent event. The future caused something to happen in the past. [2]

In the universe as most of us experience it, events that occur later in time do not cause events earlier in time.

But apparently the laws of physics are not binding in the world of Western imperialist apparatchiks. And no propaganda statement is too obviously ludicrous not to be treated as true by Western media propagandists. And Stoltenberg knew this or he never would have made his absurd statement.

Whatever one thinks of Putin’s move, it CANNOT POSSIBLY HAVE CAUSED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN IN THE PAST. Unless one is a flaked-out mystic. Maybe Stoltenberg should cast a spell on Putin with some eye of Newt and a bat wing. Or use some magic crystals to ward off the Russian evil.

1] “Russian aggression” refers to Russian support for the eastern Ukrainian separatists, and the reunification of Crimea and Russia, first voted for by over 90% of Crimean residents who participated in a referendum and then ratified by the Russian parliament, the Duma, is called “aggression,” and frequently painted as a precursor to a Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland, etc.- an absurd, paranoiac fantasy used to justify a revival of the so-called “Cold War” by “the West,” that is, the U.S. and its European “partners” and other hangers-on like Canada.) 

2] A European civilian traditionally acts as a U.S. puppet “head” of NATO. NATO is actually run by an American general at all times, and always has been.  The secretary-generals are always picked for their reactionary attitudes and fealty to U.S. imperialism.

Stoltenberg’s statement was : "This nuclear saber rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilizing, and it’s dangerous. And this is something which we are addressing, and it’s also one of the reasons why we now are increasing the readiness and the preparedness of our forces. And we are responding [sic] by making sure that NATO also in the future is an alliance which provides deterrence and protection for all allies against any threat."

Friday, June 05, 2015

U.S. Political Trials Becoming Increasingly Kafkaesque in Age of Obama

We've already seen the sick charades staged in the U.S. military gulag in Guantanamo Bay, occupied Cuba, the so-called "military commissions," where the defense lawyers are bugged and tapped and even the courtroom is surreptitiously controlled by the CIA, as a military "judge" there learned to his surprise when the CIA suddenly cut off the transmission line from the room. "Evidence" obtained through torture is liberally used- in fact is most of what they have to "incriminate" those on "trial."

Then we had the military court martial of Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq to Wikileaks, most notoriously the murder of two Reuters journalists and over a half dozen other unarmed civilians in Baghdad, attacked in broad daylight by a bloodthirsty U.S. helicopter crew as the victims were walking casually on the street, and the attack on a van with children in it which stopped to try and help the wounded victims. (The crew sadistically chortled that that's what they get "for bringing children to a battle" (sic!). "That's right," seconds another crewman. [1] In Manning's legal crucifixion, evidence was tightly controlled, and reporters had severe, repressive restrictions placed on them and were subjected to intimidation. (I mean real reporters. The power establishment media was mostly AWOL from the trial. They saw their role as minimizing public sympathy for Manning, and thus mostly confined themselves to reporting prosecutorial hysteria and government propaganda as fact.) [2]

Now we have the spectacle, in a domestic entrapment-and-frame-up case, being the latest episode of FBI Political Terror Theater, of defense lawyers being openly barred from seeing evidence. In the past, prosecutors would have to secretly violate their obligation to disclose evidence to the defense. This sort of prosecutorial misconduct was routine in America, in both Federal and state proceedings. But just as the secret police and military have new "authorities" to do "legally" what was formerly illegal, such as warrantless searches and seizures and mass surveillance (and torture and assassinations, let's not forget, even though the establishment prefers we remain unconscious of this New Normal most of the time and act like everything's fine- how prescient the movie "Brazil" has proven to be!) so too do prosecutors and courts now "normalize" what once was done more or less covertly and denied. [3]

The prosecutors in the case of Adel Daoud have gotten the judge to agree that the defense cannot know what "evidence" was in the affidavits the government used to obtain various warrants. (Such affidavits are routinely filled with lies, distortions, and gross exaggerations. Since they are filed in secret, without challenge, generally before an arrest during the "investigative" stage of a case, the government can get away with this. So they do.) This even though the defense lawyers had to get so-called "security" clearances from the government itself. In other words, the government had right of approval over who would even be allowed to defend the defendant. (The defendant in this case, as in most productions of FBI Terror Theater, is a hapless and helpless puppet. He's the puppet that gets beaten repeatedly over the head by a character wielding a baseball bat, to extend the metaphor.) [4]

 For example, for at least a decade, the Drug Enforcement Administration has had a entire secret unit devoted to laundering illegally obtained evidence by fabricating how they got the information. They call this "parallel construction," and has been standard practice by Federal "law enforcement" agencies for years. Even though these are known facts, no Federal judge has ordered the disbandment of this unit, sanctioned any Federal agents or prosecutors for them, dismissed any cases or barred testimony from the agencies doing this systematically. Often the information comes from the National Security Agency, the supersurveillance Pentagon arm. The military is barred by law, the posse comitatus act, from law enforcement functions. As usual, those in power pick and choose which laws they feel like obeying. Another dead letter law is the law that created the CIA, which barred it from domestic operations, something it ignored from the day it came into existence.
In the Daoud case, apparently the prosecutors aren't satisfied by how drastically the playing field is already tilted in their favor. Besides refusing to allow the defense access to critical information and documents, they are also insisting that the judge virtually gag the defense lawyers during the trial. There is a list of issues and items that the prosecution is demanding the defense be prohibited from mentioning during the trial. [5]

Of course, precluding a viable defense in political trials is a hoary American tradition. It goes back many decades. During the repression of the 1960s and '70s, a favorite shout of judges at defendants who tried to defend themselves by bringing some reality into the proceedings would be "the government isn't on trial here, YOU are!" Meaning, Don't mention what the government is doing or has done, don't mention their lawbreaking, don't mention their crimes that led to your resistances and protest. More recently, John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer persecuted for publicly criticizing torture, has explained that he had no choice but to take a plea deal after the judge in his case ruled in pre-trial hearings against any viable defenses and Kiriakou's lawyer told him they had no defense left.

This framework of frame-up has been institutionalized. Daniel Ellsberg points out that he couldn't have defended himself if his case had gone to trial. (What happened was that the fact that the Nixon regime offered the judge a bribe in the form of a promised appointment as FBI director, and when this fact became public, the judge felt compelled, reluctantly, to dismiss the charges because of government misconduct. And he had discounted the burglarizing of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office by Nixon's plumbers to get dirt on Ellsberg, the siccing of Cuban fascist exiles on Ellsberg, who beat him up, the plot by Nixon's henchmen G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt to assassinate Ellsberg, etc. It is understood that Edward Snowden would be precluded from offering any viable defenses should he ever be dragooned into a U.S. court for a show trial.

We can expect things to get worse and worse during the never-ending War on Terror. The "trials" are sick farces, show trials, where no real defense is permitted.

1] Search for "collateral murder video" on youtube, Wikileaks, etc. The longest version is about 17 minutes. The military, AFTER the video forced them to "investigate," declared that the murderous helicopter crew thought their victims were armed. Why that gave them the right to kill them on the spot, or to shoot up a civilian van that stopped to help, is not explained. Of course it's not true anyway, as the video shows us what the killers were seeing, and clearly these men aren't carrying assault weapons- most are carrying nothing at all. The journalists had camera. The crew chose to falsely report to the remote flight controller at base that their victims were armed.

2] For a discussion of the repression of reporters by the military in the Manning trial, see for example "Bradley Manning Awaits Verdict After Trial Ends with Prosecution 'Smears' & Harsh Gov’t Secrecy," Democracy Now, July 23, 2013.

For the use of "secret evidence" the defense and the rest of us weren't allowed to see, read "'He Wanted To Help America': Manning Attorney in First Extended Interview After 35-Year Sentence," Democracy Now, August 22, 2013.

3] Of course, torture by the U.S. is nothing new. They've done it for centuries. They trained foreign fascists in torture techniques for decades during the so-called "Cold War." (Which was their cover and alibi for waging global class warfare.) Domestically many police have tortured, as in Chicago where it was institutionalized, and apparently still exists in milder (?) forms at the police semi-black site uncovered by the Guardian (UK; U.S. media doesn't have much taste for uncovering the crimes of their own police) but brushed aside for years  as just guilty defendants lying. Nowadays torture isn't denied outright but defined away as "enhanced interrogation techniques," or maybe "harsh" ones. Once in awhile some U.S. media outfit will even say "brutal." (The Guardian has a whole series on the Chicago PD black site where "off the books" prisoners are taken for abuse and interrogation, held incommunicado. Start with "The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site', " February 24, 2015.

4] "Very Mention of Snowden’s Name Makes Prosecutors Tremble," The Intercept, June 4, 2015.

5] Details of what the defense is barred from mentioning at ibid.

An example of the cynical political uses of "terror plots" to justify increased state power, surveillance, control, and inevitably repression is illustrated in the article "How Dianne Feinstein Misled Congress About How 'Useful' NSA Spying Authorities Were In Stopping Plots," techdirt, August 1, 2014.

In fact, hardly a day goes by without more evidence piling up to prove my points. It has recently emerged that two government agents in the Silk Road website case are themselves under indictment for serious crimes. The defense was kept in the dark about this, and the judge then barred them from mentioning it in court, thus denying them the right to impeach the credibility of the accuser, the government. This is considered a "fair" trial in the U.S. The judge imposed a draconian sentence of two life terms, plus additional years, without parole, on the Silk Road defendant, Ross Ulbricht.
The establishment likes to pretend that its judges are impartial, favoring neither the defense nor prosecution. In fact, the overwhelming majority of American judges, on every judicial level, are effectively part of the prosecution. They bend over backwards to ensure that jurors won't waver or be swayed by defense arguments and will "do their duty" and duly convict. This is why well over 90% of criminal trials result in convictions here.

For good measure, the indicted agents also tricked Ulbricht into "hiring" them to kill someone they duped him into thinking had stolen $820,000 from his site which the agents themselves had stolen. The "murder" wasn't carried out, but Ulbricht is facing trial for being lured into the agents' plot. The agents were DEA and Secret Service men. It appears there are other corrupt agents involved, at DHS. [See "The Silk Road founder's life sentence appeal may rely on an alleged $800,000 theft by federal agents," Business Insider, June 4, 2015, and "Criminal Charges Against Agents Reveal Staggering Corruption in the Silk Road Investigation," Forbes, March 31, 2015.] The theft occurred the very same day a Silk Road employee was forced by the Federal government to turn over his administrative account to them, which they then used to steal the bitcoins without a moment's delay. Like you'd expect to happen in Mexico or Afghanistan. This of course in no way derailed the "investigation." Silk Road, contrary to lurid media depiction, was basically a site for buying and selling outlawed drugs people use for pleasure. This is considered a monstrous crime by our rulers. (Even though many of them have used such substances, including presidents Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, and vice president Gore and many, many others. Hey, I'm not going to call them hypocrites. That's shooting fish in a barrel. Anyway I think cynics is more on the mark.)