Saturday, February 28, 2015

FBI and New York City Political Police Smash Another “Terrorist Plot” JUST IN TIME to Pressure Congress for More Money


What a very very LUCKY coincidence, I thought to myself a couple of days ago, when the boss of the New York City police (NYPD), William Bratton, announced with great fanfare to the media the Great Work his department and the FBI did in smashing a deadly terrorist plot. Seems three hapless schlubs from Brooklyn (one of the five boroughs of New York City) had planned to fly to Syria to fight with ISIS. Seems like this is a deadly threat to the U.S. (You might think it would be a threat if they wanted to stay here and kill people. Nah.) Of course they’d be fighting in Syria against the Assad regime; which, if you recall, Obama and his then-Secretary of State, Hillary “Queen of the Democratic Party” Clinton were insisting “had to go.” (Well, that was then. Staying in sync with U.S. foreign policy is like playing a game of Simon Says.)


Bratton used his latest Big Media Splash to pointedly say that This Goes To Show Why Congress Must IMMEDIATELY Vote More Money For The Department of Homeland Security. (See my previous essay on this ginned-up hysteria. As I pointed out, if Congress fails to appropriate new funds for DHS, all that happens is that 15% of DHS’s personnel get temporarily furloughed, the other 85% have to work while waiting for their paychecks to eventually come through. Oh, and various pass-through grants to the secret police and paramilitary terror units of local, county, and state police departments and sheriff’s departments have less money to gorge themselves on.)

Well, lucky thing that this latest “terrorist plot” just happened to land in Bratton’s lap! 

I figured it was a case the secret police were keeping on the shelf in case they needed it for just such an eventuality. They’ve done this numerous times before when it seemed like people were starting to awaken from the hypnotic state of terror they’re kept in by the government and media, or when some politicians started getting cranky at the ever-increasing police state power being amassed.

Turns out it’s worse than that. It’s yet another case of the FBI manufacturing a “terrorist conspiracy” itself and then “foiling” it. It simply baits a trap for losers, and reels them in. They’ve spent a year or even two ensnaring their victims into their webs at times. The same pattern, over and over. [1]

Meanwhile all that the establishment media is “reporting” in New York is regurgitations of the propaganda Bratton and the FBI fed them at the “press conference” called to brag about the addition of three more scalps to their “anti-terrorist” belts and make alarmist statements about DHS having to go a few days with only 85% of its personnel. I’ll have more on the media’s complicity in this latest secret police propaganda offensive in a later essay.

NYPD commissar Bratton has continued to beat the drum for more money for repression, continuing to feed his propaganda into the receptive ears of the local “journalists.” Not throwing billions of dollars at DHS RIGHT NOW would be “reckless and irresponsible,” Bratton brayed. He needs more money for his “intelligence analysis unit,” yet another political persecution section of the NYPD.  

The NYPD is already lavishly funded. It is the largest police department in the U.S., with between 35,000 and 40,000 police, plus thousands of civilians employees. There are also auxiliary police on top on that.

The latest public count of the NYPD’s cameras spying on us and tracking us with facial-recognition software and license plate readers is 8,000, all monitored in real time from their gigantic headquarters towers in lower Manhattan. NYPD paramilitary units sport automatic  weapons, armored vehicles, and more. 

The NYPD deploys spy-vans to capture people’s cellphone transmissions at demonstrations it doesn’t like.

But like any bureaucratic empire-builder, Bratton always wants more. To hear his ilk tell it, there are terrible threats to everyone’s safety lurking out there and he needs MORE MORE MORE to “protect” us.

The police state method of fear-mongering to enable them to suck up yet more resources and funds and increase their already-oppressive power has its analog in the military-industrial complex, which does the same. Both are crucially enabled by the establishment propaganda system (aka “the media”), without whose connivance and willingness to act as credulous shills for the self-serving propaganda of the police-secret police and military-corporate complex (with its assorted “think tank” propaganda nests as auxiliaries), none of this would fly. The populace needs to be assiduously brainwashed and manipulated to ensure their acquiescence in this gigantic system of self-serving parasitism whose output is political repression and violence, domestically and globally.

As for the DHS, Congress just voted a seven day extension of their budget, which Obama hurriedly signed. As I explained at greater length in the previous essay, DHS doesn’t “shut down” if the money “runs out,” contrary to the deliberately falsified impression conveyed by U.S. media. I’ll have more on media mendacity later.

1] See for example “ConfidentialInformant Played Key Role in FBI Foiling Its Own Terror Plot,the intercept, Feb. 25, 2015, and “Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorismand ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?,” the intercept, Feb. 26, 2015.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If “Homeland Security” Is “Shut Down,” WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!


Actually, no.


But to hear the bourgeois media tell it, it would be unthinkable for Congress to fail to vote funds for that monstrosity of a Federal government Department on time. They want us to feel as if ISIS terrorists will be pouring across U.S. borders and beheading us. 

There’s a big, staged Perils of Pauline political show going on- the U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill including language that bars Obama from cutting any “illegal” immigrants any slack. That bill can’t get past a presumptive Democratic filibuster in the now-Republican-controlled Senate. (The Senate has its own system of mathematics. There, in effect 60 is a majority of 100, not 51, because it takes 60 votes to “end debate,” i.e. end a filibuster. Ending “debate” is called “cloture.” [1]) And in any event, Obama would veto such a funding bill (supposedly). What’s going to happen? How will the U.S. survive without a Department of Homeland Security?? We’ll all be insecure!!

To which the non-hysterical and non-anxious might reply: how did the U.S. get by for over 200 years without that Department, which was created after the September 11, 2001 joint Al-Qaeda-Saudi Arabia-U.S. Deep State destruction of the World Trade Center Towers in lower Manhattan? (Pay no attention to that other building, the 47 story office building that collapsed straight down in a controlled demolition the same day a block away, at 5 in the afternoon. They didn’t manage to have a plane crash into that one to provide cover.)

The DHS is nothing but a grab-bag of existing agencies thrown together in a mishmash. And will ill effect on the performance of those agencies. For instance, the Secret Service, which provides bodyguards for the president of the U.S. and other officials as perhaps its primary duty, has careened from one scandal and example of ineptitude to another lately. It was torn out of the Treasury Department and stuffed into DHS. 

Another constituent of this stitched-together Frankenstein’s Monster of a Department is the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S.’ coastal navy. (The real U.S. Navy turns up its nose on such petty duties; thus the need for two navies.) The main “law enforcement” function of the Coast Guard is waging “war on drugs,” a venal and illegitimate enterprise that violates people’s right to ingest substances of their own choosing, and interdicting refugees trying to sneak into the U.S. by sea. Presumably, boatloads of ISIS terrorists are waiting to sail in the second the Coast Guard “shuts down” and declare the U.S. part of their “caliphate.”

Then there’s the “Transportation Security Agency,” those hated harassers at airports who delight in humiliating children and grandmothers, it would seem. They also have an important function detaining Muslims and dissidents (whose names some secret police agency put on a shit list) at the U.S. border for interrogation, rough treatment, and seizing cellphones, computers, address books, and etc. to “gather intelligence.” 

But what about the FBI? The CIA? The NSA? The actual Federal agencies that supposedly track and hunt down “terrorists”?

They’re not part of the DHS. 

And “shut down” is a bit of an exaggeration.(Quite a large exaggeration, as you’ll discover farther on in this essay.) I’d be pleasantly surprised if DHS stopped its malevolent operations for one second.
The truth is, there’s nothing stopping Obama from telling Treasury to keep funding DHS’ account- except a scrap of parchment called the U.S. Constitution. But it’s not as if presidents never do illegal things.

The new Senate boss, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, split the part of the DHS funding bill that ties Obama’s hands on selective (un)enforcement of punitive U.S. anti-immigrant law from the authorization of money for the Department, creating two bills that can be voted on separately. Assuming the Senate passes the funding bill sans the bar on Obama’s executive action,that kicks the ball back to the House. There, the fanatical GOP Representatives will have to decide whether to dig in their heels or to blink.

Yawn.

Guess what? A “shutdown” means that only 15% of DHS employees are temporarily furloughed. The rest would keep working and have to wait for their paychecks. [2] And part of DHS, “Citizenship and Immigration Services,” isn’t affected at all because it is entirely funded by the exorbitant “administrative fees” gouged out of immigrants applying for green cards, visas, citizenship and whatever else those caught up in its rigamarole have to fork over money for. (For example, the “application fee” to apply for citizenship is $685- including $85 to take your fingerprints- an increase of $595 since 1997. That’s per person, not family.)

Recall that the GOP “shut down” the entire government a few years back. But “essential” personnel and functions kept on working regarding. “Essential” mainly means the repressive functions of the government.

But those who get their “news” from TV or radio aren’t told that DHS isn’t REALLY going to “shut down.” Broadcasting 24 hours every day of the year, is there really “no time” to mention that? Yet another example of how U.S. “news” is more akin to propaganda, “messaging” designed to manipulate people’s minds.

1] And actually, a filibuster isn’t really a filibuster anymore, not as what it used to be until recently. It used to require, for most of U.S. history, some Senators to actually be on the Senate floor bloviating (“debating”) to stall a vote on a bill. Now filibusters are notional- a Senator advises that he’s “filibustering” and the party leaders exchange notes on how many Senators would vote for or against cloture, that is “ending [the non-existent] debate”. It’s a political minuet conducted by the leaders of the two ruling parties in the Senate.

As for what Obama wants to do by executive fiat, he would stop deporting for the time being about 5 million of the 11 million “illegal” immigrants estimated to be in the U.S., namely parents whose children are U.S. citizens because they were born in the U.S.), and people brought here as children, PROVIDED they’ve been here at least five years AND pay taxes AND don’t have any arrest or conviction records. I should mention, since it rarely is mentioned by the corporate propaganda system, that Obama has deported more people than any U.S. president, ever- over 2 million people. 

He is also cruelly imprisoning and deporting as fast as he can Central American minors who fled hyperviolence at home in three nations turned into hellholes by U.S. foreign policy: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. (Of course he did his usual thing of spewing mendacious rhetoric about how he was going to provide compassionate refuge for these kids, etc.)

Obama has shown how, let us say, “flexible” he is. For years he claimed his hands were tied on deportations by law, that it would be illegal for him to act by executive order. Now he’s done just that. 

Why are there still people willing to believe anything he says?

2] Only 15% of DHS employees would actually stop work; source: Concerns Mount as Homeland Security Shutdown Looks Likely,” New York Times, February 23, 2015.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Terrible Political Peril of the Syriza Betrayal

What happens after people finally break with the cynical parties that misruled them for years, and vote for “outsiders” promising genuine change- and then that new group turns out to be just another bunch of double-crossing phonies?

People are likely to be totally demoralized and left feeling hopeless. They'll feel like they can't trust anyone and will turn their backs on politics entirely. Which means they will be TOTALLY helpless victims putting up NO resistance.

What Syriza has done to the Greek people is terrible and unforgivable.

Syriza Doesn't Even Wait One Month To Sell Out the Greek People

Shameful and pathetic. In Government less than a month, the left-wing Syriza coalition has already caved in to the EuroBosses.

Don't believe it? Read some of the contemptuous gloating in the business and financial press.

The Syriza leaders are dishonestly pretending otherwise, belching forth clouds of mendacious rhetoric. Like those they replaced, they are relying on lies and show to fool people.

A small communist party in the coalition is denouncing them for this betrayal.

In truth, Syriza tried to have it both ways: Stay in the Eurozone, AND get out from under the life-crushing boulder of "austerity" that the financial masters have dropped on the Greek people.

The truth is, they need to bite the bullet, ditch the euro as Greece's currency, and default on the debt, as other countries have done in the past, and survived. (See Argentina and Russia, for example, which did fine in the years following defaults. Their current troubles are due to other factors.)

As Eric Holder Relentlessly Drives Towards Execution of Tsarnaev, He Proclaims Opposition to the Death Penalty


Actions speak louder than words. That’s an old saying. It behooves everyone on earth to keep it in mind whenever manipulative rhetoric spouts from the mouths of Obama regime apparatchiks. (That goes for any U.S. regime in fact.)

Examples of this cynical gang saying the exact opposite of what they’re actually doing are legion. We were fed more of this self-serving guff just a few days ago, served up by Eric Holder, Jr., the rich corporate lawyer who is the top legal repressor in the U.S. as head of the Federal Department of “Justice.” As U.S. Attorney General, he is the chief prosecutor of the nation. Whenever one of the local offices of a Federal prosecutor wishes to seek a death penalty against a defendant, it must be approved by the Attorney General before the trial. The decision to seek the execution of any Federal defendant thus rests squarely in the hands of the Attorney General. So does the responsibility, obviously.

The U.S. government is currently seeking the death penalty against the surviving alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was 19 years old when the bombing was committed in 2013. That decision, as I said, was made by Eric Holder. Only Eric Holder had the power to make that call. [1]

Yet Holder had to gall to spew the following words from his maw a couple of days ago in a speech delivered at the National Press Club [2] in Washington, D.C. (in other words, injected directly into a media vein):

"Now I’ve [sic] speaking personally, not as a member of the administration, so somehow separate yourself here. [Laughter from assembled media hacks.] Um. You know, I-I think there are fundamental questions that we need to ask about the uh, the death penalty. I have not, uh, been shy in saying that I am a person who is opposed, to the uh use of the death penalty..… The Supreme Court’s determination as to whether or not, um, lethal injection is consistent with our, our Constitution is one that, that dah, that ought to occur. From my perspective, I think a moratorium until, the um, Supreme Court made that determination would be appropriate." (Holder emphasized the word “opposed” in his speech. These were his actual spoken words.)
But he’s not too opposed to order it in cases he has ultimate authority over.  And what weird meaning is contained in that phrase he uttered, “somehow separate yourself here.” What  a Freudian slip. It’s like he’s talking to himself. (It doesn’t make sense addressed to the audience.”

Did Holder rehearse this speech in front of a mirror? He should have, because that would have been the appropriate audience for it! 

In fact, to try and make sure Tsarnaev is put to death, Holder authorized seventeen death penalty charges to be lodged against Tsarnaev, out of a total of 30 charges.  And Holder certainly doesn’t have to wait for a Supreme Court decision to deny permission to the prosecutors in his charge to seek death sentences in Federal cases.

Holder’s also the guy who thinks it is perfectly legal and swell for his boss, Obama, to summarily execute Americans and others by drone and cruise missile attacks because “due process isn’t judicial process,” as he lectured a law school audience in 2012. Due process is a bunch of executive branch minions meeting in secret and deciding to kill someone, and then giving the military and/or CIA the green light to kill whomever it is the military or CIA want to kill. Frankly the Bush rationale is preferable. Just call it “war.” Holder thinks an absolute-monarch-style death penalty is fine, but he “opposes the death penalty.” Sure you do, Eric. [3]

Now, obviously this has nothing to do with how one feels about executing Tsarnaev, or whether the Federal government should be seeking to execute teenagers for their crimes. It’s about the blatant phoniness and deceit of Eric Holder. (I wouldn’t even call it hypocrisy. Hypocrisy usually operates unconsciously. Holder knows what he’s doing. He’s a cynic. But he’s a hypocrite too in that he says the opposite of what he does.)

The hanging Judge in the Tsarnaev case, Federal District Court judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., has been furiously pushing the “process” to its inevitable and preordained conclusion, conviction and death for Tsarnaev.

So far, 1373 prospective jurors have filled out questionnaires. Of those, 68% are convinced that Tsarnaev is guilty (so much for “the presumption of innocence” of the defendant, and an “impartial” jury), and a whopping 69%- over two-thirds- had a personal connection to the case.

No problem!  -insist both the judge and the prosecution. (Gee, you don’t suppose they’re on the same side, do you?) The judge has collected 61 potential jurors he considers just fine, with a goal of picking 70, from which 12 jurors and 6 alternates (to replace jurors who drop out or are expelled during the trial) who will be “impartial” will be picked. The defense complained to the Appeals court that O’Toole cuts short their attempts to question the jury pool candidates. O’Toole has show the typical pro-prosecution bias of American judges, especially in political cases. Two weeks before the start of jury selection, the government dumped 2000 pages of documents on the defense, and the judge denied the defense a delay to have time to examine and research their contents. (That’s a standard trick of U.S. prosecutors, complying with the obligation under “discovery” to provide evidence to the defense. That is, if the defense is lucky. Sometimes the prosecution keeps evidence secret entirely- namely exculpatory evidence. Happens every day in both the Federal and state court systems.)

In arguing to the Appeals court panel against a change of venue, one of the prosecutors, William D. Weinreb, solemnly proclaimed with a straight face that jurors would be sure to be unbiased because they have to take an oath swearing that pretrial publicity didn’t influence them! Well okay then! [4]
In addition to developing selective amnesia for everything they’ve been exposed to over the last two years, the jurors will also have to be blind to the post-bombing propaganda slogan, “Boston Strong,” plastered on construction equipment outside the courthouse, which they will be passing every day.
The defense had a whole 20 minutes to argue its case for a change of venue before a three-judge panel of the Federal appeals court for the “First Circuit,” which covers Massachusetts (the state Boston is located in) and nearby states. Previous defense attempts to move the trial, including appealing to the Appeals court, failed. This was the first time they were allowed to present oral arguments to the Appeals court. 

The Chief Judge of the Appeals court, Sandra L. Lynch, airily threw a particularly specious and cynical argument in the faces of Tsarnaev’s defense lawyers. She opined that Tsarnaev wouldn’t suffer irreparable harm if the trial wasn’t moved because after he’s convicted, he can always appeal on the grounds that the trial wasn’t moved! [5]

Right. As if these exalted jurists would vacate Tsarnaev’s conviction on the grounds that his trial shouldn’t have been held in Boston at all when they won’t even grant a change of venue before the trial!

The most amazingly fatuous Alice-in-Wonderland mind-twisting statements emerge from the mouths of U.S. apparatchiks at times.

1] The story is that Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamarlan, a domineering character who apparently held Dzhokhar in his thrall, planted two bombs in backpacks at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and over 260 were wounded in the ensuing blasts, including people who lost legs. The Federal, State, and local police in effect declared martial law in Boston and raided various homes in a hunt for the Tsarnaevs. Tamarlan was killed, and the media put out various police-originated stories about how this happened. (Much murkiness about this still. A man who looked like Tamarlan was forced to strip naked and taken into custody, unharmed, and this event was captured on video. Also it was claimed Dzhokhar ran over Tamarlan in a stolen vehicle while fleeing a shootout with the police, killing him. How Dzhokhar could have driven away and escaped the police is hard to fathom. Pictures supposedly of Tamarlan’s corpse show a body with a blackened face and two large oblong holes in the torso. Given the amount of disinformation the various arms of government and media put out about political matters, it becomes extremely tricky to separate fact from fiction at times.)

After the police gave up the hunt for Dzhokhar, a homeowner noticed someone hiding in a small boat he keeps on his property and called the police. They came with a helicopter and armored vehicle and attempted to finish off the now-unarmed Dzhokhar as a lay inside the boat, firing a fusillade into the boat as he lay inside it and wounding him. This was falsely reported as a “shootout.” Of course, the FBI interrogated him in the hospital without a lawyer for Dzhokhar, so they could claim he made self-incriminating statements. (The FBI follows a policy of never recording their interrogations. Gee, I wonder why. The fact that their media-vaunted “crime lab” was exposed committing massive fraud might be a clue. You want to trust what the FBI says, be my guest.)

2] The “National Press Club” is a gang of snob propagandists, based in the capital of the U.S. empire, Washington, D.C., whose main function is to act as courtiers to the political power structure. Insufferably smarmy and ideological to their core, they barred I.F. Stone, a genuine journalist who wrote the truth about the Vietnam War while they were lying and cheerleading for that crime against humanity. (After his death, Stone was libeled by the hard right-wing noise machine in the U.S. as a “Soviet spy.” They waited until he was dead to do that because the dead can’t sue for libel. There was no outrage over this gratuitous character assassination by the “liberal” media.) Holder assembled these media hacks to deliver his cynical propaganda directly to them.

3] Don’t expect anything better from Holder’s designated successor, Loretta Lynch, a ruthless hussy who literally steals the savings of hard-working small businesspeople and others. She likes to boast about the hundreds of millions of dollars she’s swiped  through “civil asset forfeiture.” Just one of many examples was her seizure of almost half a million dollars from the bank account of a perfectly legitimate company called Bi-County Distributors. She only released her talons from the loot after two and a half years the week before her confirmation hearings to be the next Attorney General of the U.S. See “AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Says Civil Asset Forfeiture ‘Protections Are There.’ Not When Her Office Ignores Them,” reason.com, Jan. 29, 2015, “Loretta Lynch’s Worrisome Answer on Civil Asset Forfeiture,” cato.org, 1/30/15 (she ignores the law on stealing people’s assets while sanctimoniously draping her thefts in the colors of law), and  Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required,” New York Times,  Oct. 25, 2014, among many other sources. The NY Times smarmily covers Lynch’s ass for her by not so much as mentioning her name in its article, even though it discusses her Bi-County case. But still, give the NYT “credit” for finally reporting a few examples (out of countless thousands) of the rampant abuse of “asset forfeiture” that has been going on in the U.S. for at least 30 years now. Generally, the NYT is the last place news is reported. Being years or decades late is common for them, I have noticed.
For a report on how asset “forfeiture” has enabled U.S. cops to act as bandits, see for example the report “Policing for Profit,” March 2010.

The New Yorker had an article graphically describing bandit police stalking their prey on highways in one town. “Taken,” Aug 12, 2013.
  
4] Weinreb of course works for the notorious Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. attorney for the Boston area, whose minions drove Aaron Swartz to suicide, after which she stoutly defended her and their actions. See “Obama Regime Creates Another Martyr,” Jan. 17, 2013; “Brace Yourselves For Unintended Ironies In Aaron Swartz Affair,” Jan. 19, 2013; and “The Most Dangerous Person in the U.S. Congress,“ Aug. 5, 2014.

5] “Defendant’s Lawyers in Boston Bombing Trial Ask for Change of Venue,” New York Times, Feb. 20, 2015, page A14. Online asTsarnaev’s Lawyers in Boston Bombing Trial Ask for Change of Venue,Feb. 19.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rupert Murdoch Still Above The Law

Very very quietly, the U.S. Department of "Justice" announced that it has closed its "investigation" of "News" Corp., controlled by international reactionary propaganda czar Rupert Murdoch, without charges.

The U.S. has a law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, that makes it a criminal offense for corporations to pay bribes outside the U.S. Murdoch's British media properties were caught dead to rights bribing police there. The case is open and shut. Yet the U.S. refuses to enforce the law against Murdoch.

This isn't the first time Murdoch has proved he's above the law. One of his companies in the U.S. engaged in criminal computer hacking against a smaller rival company. No consequences.

Nor does civil law apply to Murdoch. U.S. law used to prohibit a company from owning a television station and a newspaper in the same market. For years, Murdoch ignored this law in New York City and Boston. And all that happened was that eventually the law was changed to accomodate Murdoch's monopoly fascist agitpropaganda empire.

Another violator of U.S criminal law against paying bribes overseas is Walmart, which the New York Times revealed recently had bribes Mexican government officials. [1]

1] And apparently Walmart didn't limit its bribe-paying to Mexico. See "Wal-Mart Inquiry Reflects Alarm on Corruption," New York Times, Nov. 15, 2012. China, Brazil, and India are other countries Walmart apparently bribed officials. For the article on the bribery in Mexico, see "Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle," NY Times,

Crunch Time For Greece

The new Syriza government of Greece has failed to get its eurozone “partners” (as Syriza has taken to calling Germany and the rest) to agree to ease the financial strangulation of Greece. Talks have broken down. Germany et al have presented a brick wall of refusal to budge. The plight of the Greek people doesn't move them a single millimeter.

It took the Greek people a long time to snap out of their political coma. But many still haven't. Syriza, the “radical left” (as the capitalist media has it) coalition that won the election, only got 36% of the vote. However that put it far out in first place in the recent parliamentary elections.

For many years, the Greeks have gone along with the rule of corrupt elites (who paid minimal taxes thanks to rampant cheating). The corrupt political parties bought off the public with make-work government jobs and social welfare paid for by unsustainable borrowing- borrowing only possible because Greece abandoned its currency, the drachma, and adopted the euro. Stupid “investors” treated all eurozone countries as equally credit-worthy, just because their government bonds were denominated in the same currency!

Now Greece is in the position of many a third world nation. The corrupt elites put the country deep into debt for their own selfish reasons. The bill comes due, and the international collection agencies like the IMF and World Bank (and now the European Central Bank) come calling to twist arms into hammerlocks and extort repayment. “Austerity” is imposed- namely savage class warfare against the hapless inhabitants of the country.

In five years, real Greek wages have fallen 25%. The Greek economy has contracted by about the same amount, meaning it is only three-quarters the size it was five years ago. 300,000 families can't afford electricity.

Yet the masters of Europe insist on more suffering for the Greek people. Their sinister accomplices, the traitors of Pasok and “New Democracy,” have been pouring lies into the ears of the Greek public the whole time, telling them that prosperity was just around the corner, that this terrible poisonous “medicine” would restore health to the economy. An absurdity on its face.

Greece “owes” 320 billion euros in debt. That is 175% of GDP. (Gross domestic product, the annual output or in other words the size of the entire economy.) Just to service this huge debt, Greece would have to run an annual government surplus of 4% of GDP.
Greece is bankrupt. But the finance capitalist czars and their politicians, who rule Europe, insist on bleeding the Greek people white to get the money. Money they don't need. Writing it off would be a paper loss for the plutocrats. But they have decided that Greeks don't need medical care, don't need jobs, don't need electricity, don't need food.

Greeks have been schizophrenic. On the one hand, they have been forced by the economic depredations imposed on them to finally stop backing the “traditional” parties, namely the criminal political elite cliques that created the crisis, first through years of economic irresponsibility (enabled by financial shenanigans sold to them by the likes of Goldman Sachs), and then by enforcing “austerity” on the Greek population. “Austerity” is code for attacking the human needs of the population through mass firings and defunding health care, education, and more. As part of the “conditions” for the “bailout” (of the debt holders, NOT “of Greece”), the corrupt political cliques (organized in the “traditional” parties, Pasok, who are fake “socialists,” and “New Democracy,” right-wingers) So the Greek people want the torture to stop, the destruction of Greek society to be halted.

Yet they also cling to the euro as Greece's currency. But they can't have it both ways. Greece has to ditch the euro and bring back a Greek currency. There is no way around that. Especially since the financial rulers of Europe won't stop bleeding Greece, and as long as they control Greece's currency, they have Greece by the throat. The Greeks apparently have a deep inferiority complex. They see being in the eurozone as some kind of status symbol. In fact it is what has helped destroy their economy.

If Greek bank deposits are converted overnight from euros into some Greek currency, that new currency will be “worth” radically less than euros. So unsurprisingly, there is currently a run on the Greek banks, with people withdrawing their savings at a fast clip.

Ultimately the taxpayers of Germany and the other eurozone nations are on the hook for a large part of the debt, as the European Central Bank “loaned” the Greek (mis)government money to pay off their bonds and fund their government. But Germany for one can afford to take a loss. Especially considering that morally they owe Greece billions for the awful crimes (including thousands of murders) they inflicted on Greece in World War II, for which they've never paid a red cent. (If Syriza were really “radical,” they would loudly insist on reparations.) And Germany got its own debt wiped out in 1953 by saying Hey, you want us to help you fight the Soviet Union, right? (They used the same extortion to get a pass on all their Nazi war criminals, who were allowed right back into the German government- forget about hanging them, as should have happened!)

[By the way, it is this anti-fascist attitude on my part which is one reason the U.S. government has persecuted me for decades.]

A typical example of the propaganda campaign that is accompanying this Mafia-style loan sharking collection of debt by the masters was on the UK propaganda arm BBC, which for several days running broadcast to the world over its radio network some German comparing Greece to a crazy man threatening to jump off a ledge, how “stupid” and “self-destructive” for Syriza to insist on debt relief.

And Britain isn't even in the eurozone! But Britain of course is a hotbed of reactionary ideology serving finance capital. London is a hub of parasitic finance capital, and not coincidentally London real estate is used to park flight capital from abroad. The actual citizens of London are being priced out of their own city.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NBC Gives Their Star Propagandist Brian Williams the Heave-Ho (For Now)


When, after a week, the “controversy” over the NBC “news” anchor’s pathetic and juvenile false story about being in combat in Iraq in 2003 didn’t die down (he claimed to have flown in a helicopter hit by an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade), the NBC bosses decided to cut their losses and try and erect a moat around the damaged “credibility” of their propaganda operation. NBC has announced a six-month “suspension” of Williams, without pay.  This leaves Williams’ dangling in the wind for now. NBC wanted to separate itself from Williams’ in the public mind. [1]
 
After a week of public opprobrium heaped on Williams’ head by citizens, not by the commentariat, [2] which mainly concerned itself with the careerist insider-gossip question of whether Williams would “survive” (as if losing a plum job and key position in the establishment firmament is death), NBC’s poohbahs ultimately opted not to stand with Williams’ implausible excuse that he merely was confused by some oddly-recurring memory malfunction.  Deborah Turness, president of NBC News, intoned, “This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position … As managing editor and anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards [sic] of the news division at all times.” The Big Boss at NBC Universal, Steve Burke, unburdened himself of a tongue-lashing directed at Williams; “By his actions Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate.” [3]

Hell hath no fury like a boss who perceives his property is damaged by an employee.

You see, “credibility” is a very valuable “asset” of “news” operations, really the key asset on which their power to manipulate the masses rests- and in turn their commercial viability too.

In the week since Williams’ belated outing as a liar, he fell from 23rd to 835th on a list of the most “trusted” people in the country maintained by Celebrity DBI. Oh yeah, and the ratings of NBC’s Nightly News fell 27% in less than a week. I think that’s all the explanation one needs for NBC’s decision, and its timing. Pay a guy $10 million a year whose public image is plummeting straight down to the core of the earth? Not good business.

But if one wants to explain away Williams’ narcissistic and self-aggrandizing lying as the product of a temporary brain glitch, one has plenty more to excuse. Not just the fact that Williams told the Iraq War (fish) story repeatedly, in public, most recently on his “news”cast January 30, but his history of lying and self-promoting exaggerations and tall tales. Williams lied from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He had another close call in his own mind in 2007, when he claimed that while cheerleading for the 2006 Israeli ravaging of Lebanon he was in a helicopter when Hezbollah rockets flew underneath. [4] Williams even claimed he once “looked down the barrel of a .38” handgun as a teenager, when he says he was robbed in Red Hook, NJ. Conveniently he didn’t report the “robbery” to the police. Residents of the area in question don’t believe Williams story, saying the neighborhood is very safe.

Mark my words: the next act for Williams will be a show of “self-reflection” and “learning from this experience” and how “it’s up to me to regain people’s trust” and how awful he feels that he “let people down,” all in an attempt to claw his way back up to his privileged perch. It probably won’t work, but he’ll land in another cushy, if less exalted, position somewhere in the power structure. The Establishment looks after its own. [5]

An unethical society like America is prone to having con men, fabricators, fabulists, and sociopaths rise to prominence, wealth, and power. Williams is an insignificant example, and only became widely iced because things finally, after years, went awry for the hustler.

“Poor Widdle ME! It’s so unFAIR!” Brian Williams now gets to wallow in self-pity, the usual reaction of the narcissist when bad luck strikes. (Don’t be fooled by the play-acted public “apology” that contained more lies, about faulty memories and confusion. That was nothing but a desperate ploy to hang onto his TV anchor chair.)
1] Undoubtedly various clauses in Williams’ contract with NBC were invoked to suspend Williams AND suspend his salary. Notice the difference from when murderous cops are suspended due to public outrage- they’re invariably suspended with pay. U.S. police departments virtually always stand in iron solidarity with the sadists and killers in their ranks. Suspensions with pay is a tactic to wait for things to blow over.


2] Williams’ chronic self-puffing lies only caught up with him only after years of egotistical prevaricating, when the newspaper Stars and Stripes, a publication aimed at military personnel, interviewed eyewitness soldiers who had been griping on Facebook about Williams’ bullshit and ran a story, which spread knowledge of Williams’ sleaziness among the armed forces generally and from there to the larger public. For more details on Williams’ deception and the larger context of this scandale du jour, see “Why 50 MillionDollar NBC Liar Brian Williams Thought He Could Get Away With aSelf-Aggrandizing Bald-Faced Lie,” posted below.

Ironically, Williams is an assiduous promoter of U.S. militarism, which is camouflaged in U.S. propaganda as “supporting the troops.” What’s actually being supported, indeed powerfully promoted, is U.S. aggression and imperialist domination. In this, Williams was just doing his job. (Unlike Phil Donahue, who had the top-rated show on MSNBC, yet another arm of the NBC octopus, back in 2003 when his show was canceled because he refused to drink the Bush regime’s Kool-Aid and pound the war drum like everyone else in the establishment media. There’s your “free press” and “freedom of speech” and “diversity of viewpoints.” Now we’re seeing the same thing over Ukraine. But I digress.)

3] Steve Burke summoned Williams to Burke’s palatial Manhattan aerie (one of his homes) to inform him of his being cut from the propaganda roster. Burke is chief executive of NBC Universal, a giant media combine that owns many subsidiary corporations in the U.S. propaganda system in both the “news” and “entertainment” arms of that system, including NBC, in which is nestled another corporation, NBC News. NBC Universal itself is owned by yet another corporation, the giant and widely hated cable company Comcast. These corporations are like a series of Russian dolls nestled inside one another.

As for the “high standards” of NBC’s “news” division that its boss Turness indignantly huffed Williams had besmirched, like all U.S. TV operations, NBC has a history of participating in CIA disinformation campaigns quite willingly, as well as spreading FBI propaganda and various lies of “officials.” It also is dedicated to presenting a false picture of reality generally in order to indoctrinate and manipulate the American population. One could catalog thousands of obvious falsehoods purveyed by NBC (and the rest of U.S. corporate media) which conclusively prove the cynicism of Turness’ self-righteousness.

4] He fed this fantasy to a student interviewer at a Connecticut college in 2007. Was she a pretty coed he wanted to bed? There’s a question for investigating. Oddly, during 2006, when he described his Lebanese exploits on war the NBC News blog, he never mentioned this hair-raising close call. Hey, maybe the guy’s problem is he’s too MODEST! Do you suppose? [“NBC’s Brian Williams told varying versions of rocket fire in Israel-Hezbollah war,” Washington Post Style section, February 8th, 2015.


Williams’ stories get better with each retelling by him. The real tragedy in all this is now we’ll never get to hear the version of the Iraq helicopter war story where the pilot is wounded and unconscious and Brian seizes the controls, attacks and destroys the “terrorists” on the ground, and saves everybody.
 
5] No less a personage than Burke unmistakably signaled this ultimate outcome, by saying, even as he was excoriating Williams, this: “He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”
Turness too, in her statement, turned on a dime from a vituperative rebuke to soothing words promoting Williams: “By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.” Apparently not permanently inexcusable.

Turness forgot to mention that which Brian Williams loves most: Himself. (I assume he capitalizes Himself in his mind.)

A fellow self-promoting media hustler, the British import Piers Morgan, ran defense for Williams: “We surely need to get a collective grip and gain some perspective on all this.” Morgan is another ethics-free, media mountebank who oversaw phone hacking in Britain for a rival newspaper to Murdoch’s rags. The man has a point. Williams already explained all this! As he said, “This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran” by fabricating a self-glorifying ersatz “heroic” narrative oh-so-subtly lionizing himself. Just lighten up, everybody!