Monday, March 27, 2017

Epic FAIL By Trump and GOP To Repeal Obamacare! SAD!

So. The GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) have an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, control the Senate, and hold the Presidency, and they couldn't repeal Obamacare (aka the "Affordable Care Act," and "Affordable" it ain't [1]). As a certain president is wont to say of others, "Pathetic!"

Here's how it went down. During the regime of Barack "The Drone Assassin" Obama, the Republicans who control the House passed bills over 60 times repealing Obamacare. (A bill has to pass both chambers of Congress, the House and Senate, and then be signed by the president to become law. If the president vetoes a bill, both chambers of Congress have to pass the bill again by at least a 2/3rds majority in both chambers to override the veto and become law. This rarely happens.)

Now, with their control of both chambers and the presidency, you'd think it would be child's play for the Republicans to have their way at last with the hated Obamacare. They've only spent practically the entirely of the Reign of Obama cursing at Obamacare and vowing to repeal it. It was also one of the main campaign themes of Trump's candidacy (along with deporting immigrants, building a wall on the Mexican border and making Mexico pay for it, tearing up existing trade deals and magically recreating millions of lost industrial jobs. Oh, and "winning." So MUCH "winning!" Indeed, "we’ll have so much winning, you’ll get bored with winning!" Trump bellowed. [2]

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Republicans' Promised Land, the repeal of Obamacare, something they spent the past seven years vowing to do and that Trump made a major theme of his presidential campaign: the Republicans couldn't agree amongst themselves about a replacement law! So they didn't even vote!

Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, (the highest member of the body, who is elected by the House, meaning that the party with the majority picks one of their own party members for the post) had the responsibility to pass the "replacement" for Obamacare, which Trump and various GOP politicians promised, absurdly, would be cheaper than Obamacare, insure more people, and provide better coverage. All lies, as duly exposed by the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office. 

In any event, just hours before a scheduled vote on the bill, Ryan cancelled the vote. He didn't have the votes for it to pass, even though the Republicans hold a large majority in the House. 

"Moderate" Republicans realized that too many of their constituents would be smashed by the Trump-Ryan replacement plan. Fearing for their reelection prospects, they balked.

Another batch of Republicans, the most extreme reactionaries among the GOP House members who clump together in a group and are self-dubbed the "Freedom Caucus," refused to support the Trump-Ryan bill because it wasn't destructive enough

And of course the Democrats were solidly opposed, united in defense of Obama's signature "achievement," a key trope in his "legacy."

Trump, that Supreme Dealmaker and Negotiator Extraordinaire, unleashed his mighty dealmaking superpowers by holding a jawboning session with Republican House members. 

To no avail.

Trump once paid someone to write a book for him, that Trump has ever since pretended to write himself, titled The Art of the Deal. So Trump, the dealmaking artiste, made a messy finger-painting of a deal.

Trump claims that his favorite activity is making deals. I think what he means is he enjoys taking advantage of people and exploiting them and conning them. He's conned investors, bankers, business partners, contractors, and many others. 

Yet on the day the House was to vote on the measure, having done a last headcount of supporters and opponents of the bill, Ryan cancelled the vote to avoid a humiliating defeat.

Trump, never one to admit failure or accept responsibility, much less blame, just walked away with a shrug, declaring that he's moving on to tax "reform."

Nevertheless, the undeniable bottom line is this:

Self-proclaimed World's Greatest Negotiator, Ace Dealmaker Donald J. Trump FAILS!

Maybe he should fire himself.

1]  85% of the people who visited the government website to purchase insurance as they are now required by law to do, under penalty of a fine collected by the IRS if they don't, didn't purchase insurance there. At least one reason was expense. Those plans aren't cheap, and not everyone qualifies for a government subsidy to partially offset the cost.

On the other hand, the expansion of Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor, helped people in those states not ruled by cruel Republican governors who forbade the expansion in "their" states. (GOP apparatchiks sitting on the Supreme Court as "Justices" allowed this refusal to go along with the law.) Unfortunately Medicaid pays so little to health care providers that most doctors won't accept it, and those on Medicaid have to rely on public hospitals or on clinics with second and third rate doctors. And forget about dentists. Almost none accept it. Only bad dentists accept Medicaid. (I speak from experience.)

2]  Yeah, he said that.

He also said, "We gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning and you'll say please, please It's too much winning! We can't take it anymore!" It's on video. 

See, the U.S. will "start winning again" when he's in charge, he said, ad nauseam, while campaigning, so much winning that  "people are gonna get sick of it." "You're gonna come up, and they're gonna call me up from Texas, 'Mr. Trump, sir, you have thousands and thousands of calls from Texas. They're all your friends. They heard you speak one night. Mr. Trump! They're very upset. President Trump, they're very upset,'" Trump vowed.

He predicted getting "thousands and thousands of calls from Texas" from people upset with him because he'll be "winning" on every issue.

He claimed  people will be saying "'Everything is a win. You're winning on trade. You're winning at the border. You're winning with your military. You're winning on health care.' We're gonna repeal that horrible stuff and replace it." (Umm, or not.) ["Donald Trump goes on epic rant about winning," (CBS News, June 18, 2016.)

He repeated the theme, immediately contradicting himself. "We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning," Trump said Wednesday. "Believe me, I agree, [he agrees with himself!] you'll never get bored with winning. [Which is it? Bored or not bored?] We never get bored. We are going to turn this country around. We are going to start winning big on trade. Militarily, we're going to build up our military. We're going to have such a strong military that nobody, nobody is going to mess with us. We're not going to have to use it." [Real Clear Politics, September 9, 2015.]

Well, Mr. Trump, no one is tired or bored yet with all your winning, but some people have had more than enough of your bluster and braggadoccio.

Believe me.

 






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

FBI Secret Police Boss Tacitly Admits Trump Wiretap, While Denying It

FBI secret police chief James Comey testified to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, and disclosed what the U.S. media considers a "bombshell;" namely that the FBI has been running a so-called foreign counterintelligence investigation since July 2016 into possible ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. He also averred that criminal charges could be brought, depending on what was found.

Well, obviously such an investigation would involve monitoring of phones. And since Trump ran his campaign out of his lair in Trump tower, those phones would likely be tapped. And the calls of campaign aides to Trump would capture conversations between him and them.

The U.S. media is absurdly pretending that the likes of Comey would never lie. What nonsense. In fact, the first secret police poohbah who was trotted out publicly to deny Trump's claim of being tapped was known egregious liar James "Pinocchio" Clapper, Obama's former Director of National Intelligence. That U.S. corporate propagandists could pretend Clapper has the slightest credibility shows how cynical and unethical they are.

In any event, ALL of our phones are tapped ALL the time by the NSA, a military agency. The media propagandists want us to believe that if the FBI and NSA bosses deny something, we should absolutely trust them. (Both claimed to be unaware of any taps on Trump.) Secret police agencies are in the business of deception and concealment. Lying is their usual mode. Only a fraction of what they say is ever truthful.

NSA veteran Russ Tice has told us about the NSA's practice of spying on the communications of all the members of the top echelons of U.S. power, including their putative "overseers," the judges of the FISA court and Congresspeople on the intelligence committee. They even spied on an Illinois State Senator who was preparing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004, a guy by the name of Barack Hussein Obama.

Here are links to Clapper's most notorious lie:

Short version: "James 'Pinocchio' Clapper's biggest whopper."  

Longer excerpt with context: "7 Minutes of Lies & Evasions From DNI James 'Pinocchio' Clapper culminating in his notorious whopper."  

Here is the link to the excerpt from the Tice interview. From there you can go to the full interview. "NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Describes top NSA domestic targets."  



Monday, March 20, 2017

Rex Tillerson Is The Most Irrelevant Secretary of State Since William Rogers

 Rogers was Nixon's Secretary of State. Kept out of the loop, Nixon ran foreign policy himself with his henchman Henry Kissinger, a sycophantic brownnoser to power. Kissinger was Nixon's National Security Adviser until Rogers was tossed overboard and Kissinger became Sec. of State.

Nixon was a pathological creep who held his cabinet members in contempt.

I don't know if Trump holds Tillerson in contempt. He probably thinks he's better than Rex because he's richer (presumably). Tillerson has been nearly invisible. The top staff positions at State other than Tillerson are vacant. Trump is proposing to slash the State Department's budget by 28%- a huge downgrade.

Tillerson makes pronouncements that disappear almost immediately, like pebbles tossed into a pond.

For some reason, Tillerson refuses to allow the media to accompany him. Either he doesn't want to be observed, or Trump decreed this. On his current trip to Asia, he brought along on his plane just one pseudo-journalist, a propagandist who is designated to function as a shill. Two GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) operatives formed a fake "news" outfit a few weeks ago, and hired this young women with zero journalistic background or experience to pretend to be a reporter. She is the sum total of the "press pool" accompanying Tillerson in Asia.

Tillerson just made an empty threat to go to war with North Korea, employing the usual U.S. gangster lingo, the euphemism "all options are on the table." Except that war with the deranged, nuclear-armed North Korean regime would be an act of insanity. Aside from its nuclear weapons, the North Korean totalitarian cult has 10,000 artillery pieces aimed at Seoul, South Korea, the capital and commercial center of that nation. I don't think the South Koreans would appreciate having it obliterated.

But Tillerson has wasted no time in prnetsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt      oving himself truly loathsome. Since the bloodthirsty Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines last June on a platform of murdering "drug dealers an users," over 6,000 mostly poor Filipinos have been murdered in their homes and on the streets by Duterte's hit squads and independent "vigilantes." When pressed on this in Congress, Tillerson refused to condemn or criticize it.

See "Rex Tillerson Sets Off Alarm Bells in the Human-Rights Community," The Nation, January 12, 2017.



"I am NOT irrelevant, DAMN it!"

Monday, February 13, 2017

More Evidence Trump Voters Are Idiots. YES THEY ARE! YES THEY ARE!

More Evidence Trump Voters Are Idiots. YES THEY ARE! YES THEY ARE!

We're hearing a lot of apologia for the approximately 25% of the U.S. adult population who are morons. We're lectured to stop "condescending" to them, that we need to "talk" to them to "understand" them.

The problem isn't that people capable of rational thought and action don't "understand" Trump voters. The problem is that millions of Trump voters are SO IRRATIONAL that they vote against their OWN OBVIOUS SELF-INTEREST.

Case in point: this headline from the New York Times:

California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers
Well DUHHH! Didn't these idiot farmers notice that their workers were Mexicans? And didn't they notice, for a whole two years, Trump attacking Mexican immigrants, calling them "rapists," and vowing, OVER and OVER and OVER AGAIN, to BUILD A WALL and MAKE MEXICO PAY for it? Those were effectively campaign slogans of his!    
This is one of many examples of the self-destructive nature of Trump voters, There will be more in the years to come.
Democratic voters suffer from a similar if less severe case of false hopes invested in con artists who they think will save them. But that's another story, which I have touched on in past essays.
For the vast majority of people in the U.S., if they voted for the party whose policies would benefit them, and avoid parties whose policies are harmful to them, the correct choice would be the Green Party. It would basically take a treatise for me to demonstrate that fact, which this is not. If large numbers of people would read it, it would be worth the effort. Merely stating it as fact sounds dogmatic, but it is not. I'm not particularly committed to the Greens. They simply are the best choice available. (Of course, to actually change the U.S., the malign power of the Deep State, the permanent military Goliath and the “black” government of secret police agencies, would somehow have to be neutralized. Congress would have to be captured, and the Judiciary largely restaffed with new judges. Oh, the media would have to be something other than the mouthpiece of corporate oligarchy and imperialism. Speaking of the corporate oligarchy, it too would have to be cut down to size. So voting Green is really just the start of a daunting political project. Only a change of consciousness on a mass scale among the population of the U.S. would make all this possible. That's a necessary (but not sufficient) precondition.
There's a hoary clichĂ© that two things one should never discuss at family gatherings are religion and politics. That's because, for most people, both are matters of “faith” (irrational attitudes and belief) and not susceptible to rational discourse.
But then, the lack of rationality seems to be the curse of homo sapiens. (Global warming, anyone?) And an ingrained viciousness. (War, torture, repression...add your own examples.) That viciousness not only eliminated the Neandertals (I suspect) but helped make this species globally dominant, to the detriment of innumerable other species, and increasingly of itself.

If you want to waste your time reading a long, repetitive article that reports the obvious, you can read it by clicking on the title: California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers,” New York Times, February 9, 2017.




Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Trump: The American Emperor Nero

The Roman Empire had some venal emperors infamous for cruelty and deranged malignity. Now the U.S. empire has one. (Arguably not the first. Think of the vulgar, genocidal Andrew Jackson, the fanatical racist and pioneer of radical purges and witch hunts Woodrow Wilson, the pathological paranoiac Richard Nixon, the fascist racist Ronald Reagan, to name some. And except for Nixon, all are lionized in the U.S. pantheon. Poor Nixon has merely been rehabilitated.)

Trump is different in the modern era in that he wears no mask. What you see is the real him. This is quite different from standard political practice going back well over a century.. He puts on no act, as virtually every other president has. Trump can't be bothered trying to project a false image of rectitude, of restraint, of sober and judicious judgment. He's an in-your-face demagogue. For some reason, Trump needn't restrain or censor himself to be "respectable." He floats in a zone above respectability. He considers fawning his due. And somehow that works. It is accepted as legitimate that he should have power.

Like Nero, he is self-obsessed and self-indulgent to an extreme degree. Like Nero, he is given to extreme acts, made on impulse. Like Nero, he is a highly destructive force who causes great damage to people's lives, and who weakens structurally the empire over which he reigns. (That second part is the upside.)

Typical of emperors, Trump brooks no dissent, and is indifferent to the cries of protest from the rabble below. Millions around the world have already marched in the streets against him, to no visible effect. (Just as millions marched before the regime of Bush II invaded Iraq in 2003, to no avail. That's "democracy," bourgeois class dictatorship-style.)

Only a week into his reign, Trump has turned the lives of students, families, scientists, academics, workers, upside down, if they were unlucky enough to hail from seven countries that Trump capriciously decreed none shall enter the U.S. from. Including dual citizens and green card holders- later amended, sort of. (You can review the piteous tales in the New York Times, or at NPR, or even the BBC, among other places.)

And Trump has already committed his first atrocity, putting the scalp of an 8-year-old girl on his belt, who was murdered by "heroic" U.S. Navy Seals on a terror raid in Yemen. BONUS POINTS: the child was the daughter of the reviled Al-Qaeda propaganda Anwar al-Awlaki, assassinated by Obama. [1]

That makes the second child of the enemy propaganda the U.S. has offed. Two weeks after finishing off Awlaki, Obama iced his 16-year-old son, a nephew, and others.

But the terror raid in Yemen that bagged an 8-year-old and other civilians was plotted under Obama, so by rights he should have to share the credit with Obama, although Trump is not one to share credit- or anything, really.

Trump probably won't murder his own mother, or castrate a young man and marry him, as Nero is reputed to have done. (The man unfortunately resembled Nero's dead wife, whom Nero missed.) So I guess Trump won't be "so bad." One can always relativize things in order to swallow them. Similarly, the Democrats "aren't as bad as" the Republicans, so might as well vote for them, right? No point actually trying to take power away from the criminal two-party political cartel that monopolizes it. Let humanity keep suffering instead.

Decades of voting for "the lesser evil" has only resulted in greater and greater evil. Time for a change, sheep.




HAIL, TRUMPIUS!

Nero from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1]  I only learned of the killing of the child from "alternative" broadcast media. The establishment's media called it a raid on terrorists, and wrung its hands over the single U.S. casualty. The U.S. government's domestic radio propaganda network, NPR, appended a single sentence to the end of its report, that neighbors reported "civilians" were killed. Given the prominent demonization of Awlaki during his lifetime, one must conclude that the omission of the death of his daughter at the hand of U.S. commandos must be no oversight, but deliberate.





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump Hits The Ground Running on Establishing Authoritarian Regime

On his very first day as president- and it was just a half day, as Trump was sworn in as president on noon, January 20- Trump already is quashing with an iron fist merely implied criticism of himself.

An employee of the Federal National Parks Service, which is part of the Department of the Interior, retweeted two tweets that failed to glorify the New Leader, the Magnificent Trump. One tweet claimed the crowd at Trump's inauguration was smaller than Obama's. The other noted, correctly, that upon taking the reins of power at noon on January 20th, the White House website, whitehouse.gov, was scrubbed of various policy areas, such as those dealing with disabled people (Trump infamously mocked in juvenile fashion a reporter with an affliction that causes spastic movements of the limbs) and women (Trump has bragged about how he grabs women "by the pussy" whenever he feels like it). References to climate change and other bĂȘte noires of the right also immediately disappeared, replaced by chest-thumbing bellows about "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community" (meaning in practice supporting to the hilt police summary execution of African-Americans) and a "Making Our Military Strong Again" (who knew it was weak?).

A ukase immediately came down from on high to the Interior Department, ordering the immediate suspension of all the Departments twitter accounts:

"“All bureaus and the department have been directed by incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice,” Park Service employees were ordered on the very afternoon of the investiture of the Great Man. [1]

But lest you think that Obama represented light to Trump's dark, recall such things as Obama's government-wide diktat to all parts of the Federal government, that each employee should function as a spy and report on any "odd" behavior by fellow employees, apparently to put potential malcontents under scrutiny to prevent leaking. Furthermore, failure to report oddballs is itself an offense. Pretty nightmarish.

Obama perfected the perfect secret police state, in which the NSA secretly collects and stores everyone's phone calls, emails, text messages, tweets, Internet searches, and has advanced software to search this gigantic trove of data. They collect surveillance camera footage from thousands of cameras. Where license plate recorders are in use, they have records of where your car has been. Same with using EZ-Pass to pay tolls. Obama empowered all 17 U.S. Federal "intelligence community" agency members to freely access the NSA database. The FBI, DEA, and other police use it to cook up criminal cases against victims, hiding the warrantless search and Unconstitutionally obtained evidence from the courts and defense lawyers. The DEA has a formal unit dedicated to laundering the evidence through "parallel construction," inventing a legal explanation for how they acquired their evidence.

The FBI and the rest have free access to your financial records, your medical records, your credit card records, your airline ticket purchases, your everything.

Obama brought us "legal" indefinite imprisonment of Americans in military gulags without charges, as a matter of law- a law that currently is in force. And Obama has brought assassinations, including of American citizens, into wide acceptance.

Typical of Democrats, Obama is a slick operator who wears a velvet glove over the mailed fist, the better to delude and conceal, whereas the Republicans wear thin cotton gloves- or in Trump's case, no glove at all for disguise. Obama's many, systematic repressive acts has created the most thorough secret police surveillance state that has ever existed. This is his contribution to American history, and his bequeath to all his successors.

Meanwhile, in "violent" protests in Washington, D.C., (likely led by police agents provocateur posing as radicals, as per standard police practice) 90 people were arrested. No, 250. Wait,it was 90. Make that 100. On fifth thought, it was over 200. That, in sequential order, are the numbers reported on air by U.S. government radio propaganda network NPR yesterday and this morning.

As the French saying goes, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

1]  "Interior Department told to stop tweeting after unflattering retweets about Trump," Washington  Post, January 20, 2017.


Friday, January 20, 2017

No Honeymoon For President Trump

The current change in U.S. regime has certainly been different from the pattern of most of the last century or so. The usual practice is for the power structure to be at least outwardly respectful to the new Leader, and formally deferential. Media fawn over the new chief executive of the U.S. Government. The honeymoon can last for years in the case of an arch-reactionary like Reagan. Nixon had a second honeymoon in 1972 when he ran for reelection, when except for the Washington Post, the Watergate burglary was virtually ignored by the media- to the disgruntlement of Senator George McGovern, the Democratic candidate for president that election year.

The New York Times spent the first year of Jimmy Carter's presidency putting his smiling visage on their front pages almost daily, in a strenuous effort to repair the damage to the public esteem for the presidency in the wake of Nixon's forced resignation and his hand-picked successor Gerald Ford's pardoning of Nixon to protect him from criminal charges. But by the last year of Carter's rule, the Times was smitten by Reagan, and did its best to sabotage Carter's reelection, such as by putting a photo of him on the front page running a marathon and looking exhausted, and describing him as panting and weak. The media also ginned up a fake "rabbit attack" on Carter to make him look ridiculous.

With Trump, the media assault has been unrelenting. It began after he won the Republican nomination, when it apparently dawned on the media czars and their minions that Trump would be dangerously destabilizing an unpredictable with presidential power. (Until then they had made him the center of mostly benign media attention for months.) The assault increased in intensity and virulence after he "won" the presdiential election November 8, with fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, by winning in the Electoral College, that extremely peculiar U.S. version of electoral  "democracy." A shabby piece of libel, an alleged "dossier" or "report," cooked-up by a former British secret policeman from MI6 (Christopher Steele, currently in hiding) who was hired by Republican primary opponents of Trump to come up with derogatory information about Trump, and then peddled by the Brit to the Democratic camp, was used by the so-called "intelligence community" and U.S. media to smear Trump as a pervert who had hired Russian prostitutes to piss on a hotel bed in Moscow in which one of the Clintons had slept, and the Russian secret police covertly videoed the whole thing and are now using it or are going to use it to blackmail or control Trump. That such a cheap spy-novel fantasy is taken seriously shows the desperation of part of the U.S. power elite, including the main secret police agencies, to hobble Trump.

And when Trump refuses to buckle, and instead denounces the "intelligence" agencies for this tawdry behavior, he is attacked by the commentariat for "attacking" "his own" intelligence agencies and "siding with Putin," and admonished by "experts" (various secret policemen, secret police veterans, and members of the established nomenklatura) that he'll have to learn to "work with" the CIA, FBI, et al, and sit at their knees to learn from them.

Now, Trump is awful, for sure, and his cabinet appointments are the worst in modern history, worse even than the egregious ones of Reagan. But this tawdry propaganda campaign throws into stark relief the unethical nature of the power establishment. It also proves once again that the Deep State agencies, in particular the CIA, FBI, and NSA, truly are states within a state that care first and foremost about their own power and prerogatives. Their loyalty to the state as a whole, to the U.S. government, and certainly to the president, to whom they are nominally pledged to serve, is far less important to them than their own self-aggrandizing schemes. After all, the CIA arranged the assassination of the president in 1963, with the FBI as a full participant in aiding and abetting the crime by helping cover it up. And the entire U.S. media played along, and still do to this day by maintaining the absurd fictional account of the assassination by the Warren Commission. (By the way, Gerald Ford, the guy who pardoned Nixon, was one of the Commissioners and functioned as FBI spy on the Commission.)

It's unfortunate that "alternative" media and public figures have so lost perspective and are so incapable of objectivity that they are playing right along with every propaganda assault on Trump. Between Trump's distortions of reality, and the distortions of reality being fostered by the elements of the power establishment desperate to undercut Trump on foreign policy mainly, (they seem not too troubled by what he threatens to do domestically), people will be disoriented without a lodestar of objective truth to turn to.

Instead of becoming foot soldiers in one side of an intra-ruling class power struggle, progressives should chart an independent course, a principled course, and ultimately the actually pragmatic course of declaring a pox on both houses of the power elite and devise ways to take advantage of their conflict. Playing them off against each other, for example, not legitimizing the slanders of the anti-Trump faction. Heaven knows, there is plenty of legitimate information about Trump to use against him, without trying to paint him as a Putin puppet who engaged in a lurid defilement ritual involving urination.


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Trump, Imitating U.S. "Intelligence" Agency Method, Claims Secret Knowledge Refuting Russian "Election Hacking" Charges

Oh, the irony!

One of the long-standing modus operandi of U.S. secret police agencies (euphemistically referred to as "intelligence" or "law enforcement" outfits) is the claim to secret information, which means if you knew what they know, you'd see that their propaganda and ideological assertions were true! Of course, they can't tell you what the alleged information is, because it's "classified," that is, "secret," and revealing it would risk exposing their "sources and methods," and even RISK PEOPLE'S LIVES!, but you should just trust these righteously upstanding, loyal and True-Blue Patriots. (The same "patriots" who daily urinate on the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, systematically violating the alleged "rights" of Americans they don't like, as they have done since their inception. Of course their have to break U.S. law by persecuting people whose beliefs or activities they don't like, to "protect our freedoms." How's that for an Orwellian mind-bender!)

This tawdry, dishonest trick of bluffing was analyzed decades ago in a book co-authored by a former CIA officer and a former State Department official, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. [1]

Well, it turns out that others can play the same mystique of intelligence game.

Namely Donald Trump.

Starting months ago with anonymous secret policemen whispering in the ears of their media enablers, there has been a propaganda campaign (and the propaganda could be partially or wholly true, keep in mind- propaganda sometimes is) tarring Russia for allegedly sneaking into email accounts of Democratic Party apparatchiks, including that of John Podesta, a sort of eminense grise behind the Clintons. These communications then surfaced on WikiLeaks, the hated information-exposing operation headed by Julian Assange. (The U.S. government has had WikiLeaks and Assange under siege for over five years now, trying mightily to destroy the organization. The first WikiLeaks "crime" that sparked U.S. outrage was the online publication of "classified" U.S. State Department cables and military reports and, most notoriously, the infamous collateral murder video showing the murderers' eyes view from a U.S. Army helicopter in Iraq murdering journalists and civilians on the ground in Baghdad, and attempting to murder children in a van. U.S. Army Specialist Chelsea- formerly Bradley- Manning was persecuted for sending this data to WikiLeaks.) [2]

The emails from Podesta and Democratic National Committee apparatchiks revealed a concerted campaign to destroy the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton rival Senator Bernie Sanders, including various nasty subterfuges. Pulling up this rock also gave a general view of the smarmy interior of the Democratic Party, usually kept carefully hidden from public view. (If they'd wanted to, the establishment media could have revealed the truth about the Democratic Party decades ago, but the two-party political cartel of the Democrats and the Republican Party, aka the GOP- Gang Of Plunderers, is a key pillar of corporate oligarchy, and "the" media is fundamentally the mouthpiece of that oligarchic power structure. The two-party political cartel and the corporate media are pillars of the power structure and are fundamentally allied, no matter their conflicts and disagreements which lie on a more superficial level.)

We also got to see the text of the Secret Speech that Hillary Clinton was paid a cool quarter million dollars to read to a Goldman Sachs audience, those wizards of financial chicanery, which confirmed what should have already been obvious- that the Clintons are handmaidens of the top echelons of U.S. capital, and Clinton's campaign rhetoric to the contrary was just the standard Democratic Party mendacity. (Her rhetoric was pulled to the "left" by the competition from Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.)

By and by, government officials were forced to reveal their faces to sell the "Russia Hacking Sacred U.S. Democracy" story. So first we got James "Pinocchio" Clapper, he of the false Senate Intelligence Commitee testimony, Obama's "Director of National Intelligence," pointing the finger at Russia. Then came the CIA, an agency of professional liars and deceivers, avowing that Russia Was Guilty. The FBI hedged a bit, apparently to allow it to wiggle out later if the whole thing was exposed as false.

Finally Obama demanded conclusionary reports from the CIA and FBI by the time he finally exits the White House on January 20. Congresspeople of both parties waxed wroth at the Russian "interference" in "our election" and "subversion of our democracy." Obama then imposed sanctions on Russia as punishment, expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian facilities in the U.S., announcing more attacks on Russian assets, and threatening unspecified covert acts of retaliation. (Putin cleverly parried Obama's hostile attack by refusing to retaliate in kind, even inviting the children of U.S. diplomats in Russia to attend Kremlin Christmas and New Year's celebrations! Stuffed, Obama!)

Trump has adamantly refused to conform to this campaign, despite daily brickbats hurled at him by numerous branches of the media (including the "comedy" show "Saturday Night Live" on NBC, which portrayed Trump as a "Manchurian Candidate" of Putin [3]).

Then Trump played the "I know things you don't know" card, the card the secret police habitually play. Trump said he knew “things that other people don’t know” that would be revealed “on Tuesday or Wednesday.” (Don't hold your breath.)

A few salient points about the bad faith and fraudulence of this entire "Russia Tried To Damage Our Democracy" propaganda campaign, which U.S. media mostly refuse to breathe a word about:

-Clinton got 2.9 million more votes than Trump. She "lost" because of the idiotic, archaic Electoral College, a political straitjacket that the Democrats refuse to blame, much less reform or abolish, even though the same thing happened to them in 2000. They prefer to be slaves to the dead hand of the past, apparently. Thus do U.S. "Founding Fathers," in their graves for two centuries, impose their will on the present. Sick. [4]

-Clinton led Trump in polls by 14% until FBI secret police chief James Comey reignited the issue of her private server State Department emails just before the election, causing her lead to vanish.

-We have the right to the information provided by WikiLeaks, allegedly via Russia. (Assange denies it came from Russia.)

-The feckless, cowardly Democrats habitually scapegoat others for their losses, instead of making an honest accounting and taking positive, constructive action. In 2000 Ralph Nader was their designated scapegoat. Today it's Russia.  They are cowardly punks who never challenge GOP election stealing, in 2000, 2004 (Ohio stolen), and this year, with massive voter disenfranchisement and invalidation of valid ballots. (See Greg Palast's work.)

-Finally, and most importantly, just how hypocritical can the U.S. get with all this screeching about "foreign interference"? No nation on earth has done more interfering in other countries than the U.S.! From massive CIA intervention in European politics after World War II (funding politicians, parties, newspapers, paying gangsters to beat up leftists, etc.) to COMPLETELY DESTROYING DEMOCRACIES in places like Iran (1953) Guatemala (1954) Brazil (1965) Chile (1973), and various other military coups. The U.S. INVADED the Dominican Republic in 1965 when it didn't like who won an election there.

So now U.S. elites are screeching about Russia letting the American public in on some Democratic Party poohbahs' dirty secrets? BOO-HOO! Get over it.


"I got special secret information stored right in here! I'll gladly tell you about it tomorrow if you'll give me a headline today."

1] The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, by Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, 1974. But nothing changed, the populace remains ignorant and willfully naive, and the same old tricks of mass manipulation work. With the cooperation of a venal media, of course, without which the secret police couldn't get over with their shit.

Marchetti was a CIA officer and assistant to the CIA deputy director,  Marks a former Foreign Service Officer.

2] "Collateral Murder" videos on youtube.com. You must watch this if you never have yet.

3]  Posted on youtube.com by "Saturday Night Live" [NBC]. "Donald Trump Christmas Cold Open - SNL," published December 18, 2016. The SNL opening skit was crude and obvious, apparently to make sure that even the politically unsophisticated would get the message. I found it funny anyway, and grossly distorted. But then, satire is based on exaggeration. "Rex Tillerson" (Trump's designated Secretary of State who just resigned as head of ExxonMobil) also appeared in the skit.

A "Manchurian Candidate," which comes from a novel by that name, refers to a programmed assassin whose mind is under external control. That's beyond being a stooge, beyond being a puppet. It's being a hypnotized zombie.

4] The Democrats won't even back the movement among states to agree to give their Electoral College votes to whoever wins the "popular" vote. The plan is that when states with a total number of Electoral Votes equalling a majority of Electoral College votes (270 or more ) agree to join, the plan becomes effective. So far state legislatures controlling around 160 Electoral College votes have passed the necessary legislation.

For details on the Electoral College, and how the U.S. has historically been anti-democratic, see "In the Self-Proclaimed 'World's Greatest Democracy,' the Candidate With the Most Votes Just Lost," November 14, 2016.



Wednesday, January 04, 2017

American Propagandist: The Unbearable Sanctimony of Barack Hussein Obama

And hypocrisy, too.

On December 29, 2016, Obama delivered a verbal tongue-lashing to Russia over what the U.S. government and media claim is proven fact- that Russia "stole" emails from Democratic Party apparatchiks and funneled them to WikiLeaks. (This in turn prompted an establishment conspiracy theory claiming that WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange are Russian agents, conveniently ignoring the fact that WikiLeaks is set up for receiving anonymous uploads of data. But then, these are the same people who claim Edward Snowden is a "traitor" and "Russian agent" who "fled to Russia," ignoring the fact that they trapped Snowden in Moscow's airport, where he sat for six weeks, by canceling his passport while he was in transit to Latin America. Dishonestly ignoring facts in order to promulgate lies- euphemistically called "false narratives," is habitual behavior with most of the U.S. political/media elite.)

Obama said on the 29th, in announcing his initial punishment of Russia: "“The United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behavior."

Apparently, using computer malware to sabotage Iran's centrifuges, and having your NSA spy on the personal communications of heads of state of allied nations, and engaging in economic espionage against foreign corporations, and spying on the communications of European parliamentarians en masse, and trying to steal every phone call, email, text message, Internet search, fax and everything in the whole world, is within "established international norms of behavior."

But ferreting out emails from one of the two U.S. political cartel parties, and sharing it with the world, (something that U.S. officials also do anonymously, in "leaks," actually plants, in the media), THAT is outside "established international norms of behavior."

The "norms" that the U.S. dictates, which boil down to: The U.S. Can Do Whatever It Wants, And The Rest Of You Have To Do What The U.S. Says.

Gall, nerve, chutzpah, brass- call it that. Imperialist arrogance is more to the point, however.

The only question about Obama is- to what degree is he self-brainwashed with his own guff, which makes him a hypocrite, versus his awareness of how cynical he's being. Where does Obama fall onthe hypocrisy-cynicism spectrum? Ultimately it's a minor question.

If Russia indeed revealed that useful information about the inner machinations of the venal Democratic Party and its sleazy con artists, and Hillary Clinton's "secret" speech to Goldman Sachs, more power to them. We the people who inhabit this planet, are entitled to that information. Our rulers are NOT entitled to deceive us, as they endeavor to do every single day. A side effect of the conflict between rival national regimes with an insatiable hunger for power is that occasionally things are revealed as they battle each other for tactical and strategic advantage. That's all to the good. Don't look a gifthorse in the mouth just because it's Russian.

Long Live WikiLeaks and freedom of information.


Obama tries to intimidate Putin in Stare-Down. Hangzhou, China, September 2016.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New York Times Propagandizes Shamelessly For Obama

And so too does, shamefully, Democracy Now!, if a bit unintentionally.

Take as our starting point this headline from the "liberal" New York Times:

Obama’s 78 Pardons and 153 Commutations Extend Record of Mercy. [1]

Let's take a look at this "mercy."

On December 19, Obama "pardoned" 78 individuals, meaning their convictions were erased, and commuted (shortened) the sentences of 153 prisoners, meaning they won't have to wait as long to get out of prison.

In some cases, it means they won't die in prison. As in this case cited by the Times:

Anthony DeWayne Gillis of Supply, Va., was convicted in 2005 of possessing cocaine, making false statements and possessing a firearm in “furtherance of drug trafficking.” He was sentenced to 145 years in prison. Mr. Obama’s grant of commutation reduces the sentence to 20 years.

Meaning he'll be out in 2025. See? Obama's all heart!

One might reasonably ask, What sort of cruel country imposes such draconian sentences in the first place? But the Times doesn't ask that question. Instead we are meant to be touched by the compassion of the Merciful Obama.

The Times article points out that commutations do nothing to restore rights lost for the rest of their lives to people with felony convictions. Oh, and those pardons all go to people who have already finished serving their sentences. And the Times doesn't tell you how many of Obama's commutations merely lopped a few months of time off prisoners soon to be release anyway. (It was a large percentage in his previous commutation media blitzes.)

So there is much less than meets the eye in the Times celebratory headline.

Of course, by buffing the image of the chief executive of the nation-state, they reinforce the perceived legitimacy and humaneness [!] of the system the Times is an integral part of. That is their motive, not some imaginary "liberal bias."

Every time Obama has deigned to show a bit of "mercy" towards Federal prisoners, he gets a blitz of positive propaganda from the press. He went through most of his presidency being extremely parsimonious in his issuances of clemency and pardons, for which criticism began to build up, belatedly.

The Times puts his "acts of clemency" total to date at 1,324, pardons and commutations combined. Of these, over 1,000 were commutations, "more than 50 times the number of people whose sentences were commuted by President George W. Bush and more than the past 11 presidents combined." Gee, sounds impressive. This is out of a total of over 200,000 convicted Federal prisoners, and tens of thousands more immigrant prisoners not convicted of anything. But he looks good compared to the remorseless cruelty of his predecessors. (On the other hand, Horrible Russia has freed 20,000 prisoners by official pardon in the last few years, including the 3 members of Pussy Riot, whose case was of such interest to the Western media. If only they paid 1/1,000 the amount of attention to U.S. political prisoners.) [2]

During past tranches of Obama Mercy, U.S. Government propaganda network NPR has put on groveling prisoners, in tears of gratitude for The Master's Mercy, so psychologically beaten down are they. Obviously the prisoners sought are those in deep self-abnegation who will show the proper ring-kissing gratitude towards the emperor.

What's unmentioned in all the fawning gratitude is the fact that Obama deliberately kept 6,000 drug war prisoners locked up for longer. That is six times the number whose sentences he has reduced, many reduced by only a few months, and over four times his total "acts of clemency." (Commutations plus pardons, but he's given pardons to people only after they've completed their sentences. That way, no one can criticize him for letting "criminals" off "easy." He cares much more about avoiding criticism than about freeing prisoners.)

Here's how he kept those 6,000 prisoners locked up. Congress, also being "merciful," reduced the "disparity" in sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine from 100 to 1 to "just" 18 to 1. That means, under the previous law, 1/100 the weight of crack cocaine gave casualties of the drug war the same sentence as an amount of powdered cocaine. In other words, it took 100 times the same amount of powder cocaine to receive the same sentence as for a given amount of crack. That's soo unfair! They should get the same prison time, right? (How about no prison, because the government has no right to outlaw cocaine if people want to use it- and they obviously do.) So Congress "reformed" the law by reducing the "disparity" to a mere 18 to 1 ratio.

With that change in the law, lawyers for victims serving sentences under the prior law filed suit in Federal court to apply the new law retroactively to current cocaine prisoners in Federal prisons- the aforementioned 6,000 prisoners. Which, if they had won, would have shortened the sentences of those prisoners.

In comes Obama. He sicced his then-Attorney General, the millionaire corporate lawyer Eric "Friend of High Finance" Holder, Jr., on them, to fight them all the way to the Supreme Court. Where the government, as virtually always happens when it's the government versus "criminals," prevailed.

Now, if the U.S. government had simply not opposed the suit, the prisoners might have won.
Furthermore, if the government had come in on the prisoners side, and said "We agree, they should be resentenced under the new law," almost certainly the Supreme Court would have said Okay.

If Obama had simply nothing, then someone else would have taken responsibility for freeing those prisoners- Congress and the courts. Instead he exerted himself to keep them in prison, away from their families and friends.

Why Obama thought it was so important to keep these 6,000 mostly black and Hispanic prisoners locked up longer, you'd have to ask him.

But this story is never mentioned in all the puff-pieces about Obama The Merciful. [3]

And oddly, it goes unmentioned by most progressives when they report on Obama's Mercy. I mentioned Democracy Now!  a program that should know better, because they just did it again. It should be told, to put Obama's Mercy in proper perspective, alongside his numerically far greater cruelty, and also to make people aware that Obama did this, as it is only through repetition that people remember.

Let the likes of the NY Times and its establishment ilk burnish Obama's "legacy." Progressives should NOT be doing that. Or have they learned nothing in eight years about Obama?

While we're on the topic, Obama won't be commuting the 35 year sentence of political prisoner Chelsea Manning, who he first tortured for two years in the Marine brig at Quantico. (Manning is in he U.S. Army, so they had no business sticking him in the Marine brig in the first place. And it was the UN Rapporteur on Torture that found the conditions constituted torture.) Then he staged a "trial" at which no official transcript was kept, and army spies peered over the shoulders of journalists who managed to force the Army to let them into the "courtroom."

Nor will he commute the sentences of other political prisoners, innocent men like Leonard Peltier. And he sure won't be pardoning any of them.

And Obama the Merciful won't be apologizing for breaking the arm of Medea Benjamin, or murdering 16-year-old American Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, his cousin, and five other people while eating in a restaurant. Or any of the other family members of putative jihadists the U.S. singles out. (If they really want to defeat jihadism, they need to go after Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani military "intelligence," the ISI- Inter Services Intelligence.)  [4]

Nor will Obama be expressing regret for his cheerleading the last time Israel "mowed the lawn" in Gaza, killing 550 Palestinian children in the process, many more adults. (One Israeli child was killed by Hamas' return fire. That prompted Obama to express sympathy and understanding- for the Israeli "need" to bombard Gaza for the third time in a decade. It's to protect "the children," you see.)

But one could write thousands of pages about Obama's cruelties and repression, which he hides behind a cynical mask of benignness and thoughtful concern. I don't think any more is necessary to make the case. Not that he is atypical for U.S. presidents in this regard. Empires are about imposing domination, so emperors must be ruthless and cruel. It's a requirement for the job.

1] "Obama’s 78 Pardons and 153 Commutations Extend Record of Mercy," New York Times, December 19, 2016.

2] See for example "NY Times Obsessed With Plight Of Dissidents- But Only In Certain Countries," August 8, 2012; "Pussy Riot Get Exact Same Sentence As Tim deChristopher," August 25, 2012; "One Member of Pussy Riot Freed; Tim deChristopher Still In Prison," October 10, 2012.

3] Glenn Ford of Black Agenda Report discussed this on The Real News Network. That's how I learned of it. See "A Critical Look at VICE's Story on Mass Imprisonment with Obama and Holder," October 1, 2015.

It's worth noting that the U.S. has the highest rate of imprisonment as a percentage of the adult population of any country on earth. That includes places like North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia. The U.S. has more people imprisoned than any other nation, including China, even though China has over four times the population.

The number of people locked up in Federal and state prisons and local and county jails is about 2,500,000. That is almost one of every 100 adults.  The U.S. has 25% of the world's total prisoners. It currently has 4.38% of global population, derived from UN population estimates.

For good measure, U.S. police killed over 1,200 people last year, the most ever recorded.

U.S. Census current population estimate.

4] For Medea Benjamin's mauling, arranged by Obama, see "Obama Has Egyptian Military Regime Break American Peace Activist's Arm," March 8, 2014. For the murder of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki et al, see "Obama Ordered the Murder of a 16-Year-Old American," November 19, 2014.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Payment Extracted From Russian Government for Liquidation of Aleppo

As the murderous Assad regime snuffs out the last pockets of resistance to its evil reign in the city of Aleppo, Syria, a 22-year-old Turkish policeman took it upon himself to impose a small price on Russia for its aerial bombardment of the city, including all of the hospitals. Shouting " Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!" the off-duty cop shot dead the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, at "a posh art gallery" in the Turkish capital of Ankara. [1]

A video of the incident aired on Turkish media showed the man, a riot policeman named Mevlut Mert Altintas proclaiming in Arabic  "We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad." We see once again that it often takes a zealot or fanatic to have the courage (and indifference to his personal fate) to sacrifice oneself and attack into the teeth of Power. (Some reports say Altintas was killed. If not, he's in for some savage torture. For one thing, the Erdogan regime will want him to “confess” to “the conspiracy” that Erdogan and Putin have already posited led to this killing.)

Edward Snowden in a way fits the description of a self-sacrificing zealot, but of course his action was non-violent and very beneficial, if ultimately as futile as the assassination of the ambassador. But in both cases, at least some cost is imposed on the oppressors of humanity. That is worthwhile.

The day before the assassination, the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian foreign and war ministers met in Moscow to conspire on the ongoing crushing of the rebellion of the Syrian people against the despotic and ultra-cruel regime of Bashar al-Assad, an absolute dictator who inherited the dictatorship from his mass murderer father Hafez. (No slouch in the killing department himself. Like father, like son, apparently.)

With utter predictability, the state terrorist Russian president Vladimir Putin, Karlov's boss, immediately branded the killing terrorism, and vowed revenge. “The only answer to the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey must be the intensification of the struggle against terrorism,” Putin said darkly on Russian national television. “And the bandits will feel it,” he added menacingly. (No doubt to the approval of Donald Trump, who admires "strength." That makes Trump an authoritarian, of course, since fetishizing power is a key aspect of authoritarianism. But then Trump's authoritarianism has been on display for years, in his role as a Business Boss.) the Kremlin foreign ministry also weighed in with the"T" word, calling it “a terrorist attack,” I'd call it retribution for Russian crimes against humanity.

Showing he understands nothing, Putin also misunderstood the avenging gunman's motive entirely, even though the assassin said quite clearly what his motive was. Putin framed the killing in conspiratorial terms, seeing a “provocation aimed at rupturing ties between Russia and Turkey” in the act. "The crime that has been committed is undoubtedly a provocation aimed at derailing the ties between Russia and Turkey, as well as the peace process in Syria," Oh, undoubtedly. and I just love your "peace process" in Syria! Nothing like bombing people into submission to achieve "peace."

Yes yes I know, there are jihadists in Syria. But the 80% of the Syrian population that oppose Assad are not "jihadists" and "terrorists." This uprising began with street protests inspired by the Arab Spring, which started in Tunisia. The Assad regime responded by murdering protesters in the streets, and kidnapping and torturing people. THEN people took up arms, when they had no choice to defend themselves. Obama and his minions intoned "Assad Must Go," but Obama didn't want to support the rebellion with the necessary arms, especially anti-aircraft small arms, in part out of fear they'd end up in jihadists' hands. After a year or two, jihadists did appear in Syria, so Obama could rationalize, See? I was right.

The mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, hopped on the conspiracy theory bandwagon, opining that the killer's intent was to disrupt Turkish-Russian relations. Why not take the gunman at his word? He saidshouted why he did it!

I guess politicians, being cold, callous beings, cannot imagine that there are people motivated by the suffering of others. That is just beyond their ken. So they must fabricate imaginary conspiracies and convoluted political conjectures. (The U.S. media and other elite sectors do that all the time too. For example, J. Edgar Hoover, the now-deceased longtime FBI secret police chief, thought that the movement for black civil rights was a "communist conspiracy." And president Lyndon Johnson thought that the massive popular movement against his war on Vietnam was being created in Moscow! He ordered the CIA to uncover this "plot" that somehow turned millions of Americans into zombie puppets of the Kremlin. I kid you not. That is how blind our rulers are to their own criminality- that they have to deny any possibility of fault by themselves that is provoking opposition from normal humans. Positing malign conspiracies is one way rulers evade facing up to their own responsibility for the reactions provoked by their crimes and oppression.)

The destruction of Aleppo, which has included the systematic bombardment of every hospital in the city and targeting of schools, among other atrocities, is characterized as a "liberation" from "terrorists" by the cynical Russian and Syrian governments, rhetoric adopted by knee-jerk anti-Americans in Western countries whose human rights principles are apparently lower in priority than their need to assume that whatever side the U.S. opposes are Good Guys. This stems from their simple-minded, lazy habit of seeing the world in binary terms. (Readers of this blog will have no trouble discerning that I am unsparing in my criticism of the U.S. for its crimes. Those who cannot see other sources of evil in the world have a most peculiar blind spot) Even though the U.S. has been largely AWOL in Syria, these ideologues blame the U.S. for the Syrian tragedy. They also consider Hillary Clinton a "warmonger" for wanting to intervene. Had the U.S. supported the rebellion in the first year, the Syrian people would have had a fighting chance to free themselves of the gothically cruel Assad regime. A bombing campaign to destroy Assad's air force would have stopped the dropping of barrel bombs and chemical agents, for example. Russia only sent in its air force to assist Assad in his slaughter a year ago. (The uprising is now five years old.)

The Washington Post claims that "Russian authorities vowed to reveal a larger plot — and some [UNNAMED] in Moscow suggested that the West was to blame for its support of moderate rebel factions in Syria." Unlike how it treats with ridicule discussion of actual conspiracies by the U.S. Deep State, this fanciful conspiracy theorizing is reported respectfully by U.S. media like the Post.

"Putin stopped short of that, [i.e. of blaming the West] saying only, 'We need to know who guided the hand of the murderer.” That is, who to take out our rage on[3]

There he goes again, with a conspiracy theory. As if passionate (or obsessive, if you want to put a negative spin on it) individuals need to be someone else's puppet to act. Not everyone on earth is a puppet or a puppet-master, Putin.

Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, already "knew" it was a conspiracy, and what it was about: “We know [sic] that this is a provocation aiming to destroy the normalization process of Turkey-Russia relations,” Erdogan said immediately in a speech he rushed to give. “But the Russian government and the Turkish republic have the will to not fall into that provocation.” It must be nice to be able to "know" things without having to investigate or discover actual facts. Makes life so much easier to just assume that whatever you want to believe is true. [4] 

Note Erdogan's repeated use of the word "provocation," a favorite word of Russian conspiracy-mongers that traces back to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, and probably earlier. Do I detect pandering to the Russians?

Erdogan called Putin to offer condolences, and the two reportedly pledged cooperation against "terrorism." "Terrorism" being code for opposition to state power, including non-violent opposition or even just protest. That's also the U.S. function definition, by the way, as the FBI, DHS, et al routinely brand protesters considered "left wing," such as the Occupy Movement, "terrrorists." So see? Even enemies can agree on something!

Here's a bet, Turkish autocrat Erdogan will blame Gulen for the assassination, or else the Kurds.

One more thing. A single man, motivated by conviction, has imposed more of a cost on Russia for its crimes in Syria than the Mighty Superpower Tough Talking U.S. The U.S. has only jawboned and condemned Russia over Syria. It hasn't even imposed economic sanctions, as it did to punish Russia for interfering with the U.S. takeover of Ukraine. That speaks volumes about actual U.S. "values" and goals. It doesn't care one whit about human rights, self-determination, or freedom.

Unwanted politics intrudes at "a posh art gallery."

A minion of autocracy bites the dust. He won't be dining on caviar tonight.

1]  "Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov shot dead in Ankara," Aljazeera, December 20, 2016. Aljazeera quotes the gunman thusly:

"'Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria,' the attacker said in Turkish after gunning down the ambassador, as seen on a video shared by Turkish media from the scene.

"'Whoever took part in this cruelty will pay the price, one by one... Only death will take me from here,' the man said while holding a pistol.

"He then continued in Arabic, saying: 'We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad.'"

2] "Turkish police officer, invoking Aleppo, guns down Russian ambassador in Ankara,Washington Post, December 19, 2016. The New York Times quoted Putin in almost the same words,  but claims he made the remarks "in an emergency meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and other top officials." The Times version of the quote is  “There can be only one answer to this — stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this.” "Russian Ambassador to Turkey Is Assassinated in Ankara," NY Times, December 19. The Times quoted the gunman as declaiming,  “God is great! Those who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for jihad. God is great!” The Post has him yelling, “We are those who pledged jihad to Muhammad!” Referring to Syria, he added, “Every single person who has a share in this atrocity will pay for it!”
3]  Washington Post, ibid.

4] New York Times, op cit. Funny thing, the guy who messed up Turkish-Russian relations was Erdogan himself. About a year ago, he had his jets shoot down a Russian fighter-bomber over Syria next to the Turkish border (the Turks and U.S. media falsely claimed or implied it was shot down overflying Turkey- it had strayed for a few seconds over the border but was shot down over Syria) because Erdogan was unhappy that the Russians were bombing ethnic Turkmen Syrian rebels. The Russians responded by cutting off the lucrative traffic of Russian vacationers to Turkey. This changed Erdogan's attitude, so he mended fences with Russia. 

Turkey's role in Syria is a mass of contradictions, and shows what a treacherous sea of boiling cross-currents "the conflict" there is. Turkey mainly wants to destroy the Kurds, which the U.S. supports in the Kurds resistance to Assad. But the U.S. makes distinctions between "terrorist" Kurds and "moderate" (i.e. "Good Guy") Kurds, which the Turks don't. Turkey for a long time supported jihadists in an underhanded fashion, allowing them to cross the Turkish border and obtain supplies through Turkey. Jihadists are U.S. enemy Number 1, or maybe Number 2, after Russia, these days, depending on which American ideologue/polemicist/apparatchik/or general you ask, and the day of the week.

Assad has shelled and bombed Turkish border villages several times, and Turkey semi-wants to see Assad gone. Russia is backing Assad in a major way, along with Iran, which has sent troops to help Assad crush the Syrian people, and the Lebanese "terrorist" (to the West) militia Hezbollah is also fighting on Assad's behalf. (Or rather it's the militia arm of Hezbollah, which is a religious/political organization and movement.) So U.S. ally Turkey, where the U.S. has air bases, is bombing U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria, and Assad foe Turkey is getting friendly and cooperative with main Assad backer Russia, whose air force is pulverizing rebel-held cities and towns. 

To make things more interesting, various Arabian peninsula Sunni autocracies- and the U.S. is good buddies with all those repressive monarchies, and supplies them with weapons and munitions and training- are funneling weapons and supplies to the jihadists in Syria-  the jihadists the U.S. wants to exterminate.. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are known to be doing this. 

But no hard feelings: the U.S. is currently helping the Saudis and other associated oil monarchies wage an aerial bombardment campaign of terror against Yemen. They've bombed 58 hospitals so far, with the jets the U.S. sold them, dropping the bombs the U.S. sold them, and flying to and from their targets with the aid of U.S. tanker planes refueling the jets dropping the bombs. And U.S. officers are in the Saudi command posts helping pick targets.

Is that all clear now?



Monday, December 19, 2016

Loser Donald Trump Elected President of U.S. Today By 300 "Electors"

Today the man who lost the November 8th U.S. presidential election by about 2,900,000 votes is being elected president by about 300 people as part of the "Electoral College," a peculiar institution created by the U.S. Constitution. This is the fifth time in U.S. history that under the strange, bizarre version of "democracy" in the U.S., the loser won.

The last time it happened, in 2000, the Democrat was also the loser, as now. (Al Gore vs. Bush the Younger.)

The reason this happens is that all but two of the fifty states (plus the District of Columbia, the Capital City of the Empire) do not allocate their Electoral votes proportionally to the so-called "popular" vote in their states, but have a winner-take-all system, so all the voters in those states that voted for the loser in that state get zero representation in the "Electoral College." Under the Constitution, states are free to make their own rules as to how to allocate Electoral votes. (The "popular" vote is what in every other country on earth is called the vote.)

Electors are supposed to be a barrier to the popular rule running amok or voting "irresponsibly." Yet it has been transmuted into its opposite, where the Electors are supposed to rubber-stamp the majority vote in their states, in some cases under penalty of state law. There is a pejorative label invented for those who use their own judgment in voting, as originally intended by the authors of the Constitution: "Faithless Electors."

There are two possible ways to break out of the archaic, anachronistic Electoral College political straitjacket. One is to amend the U.S. Constitution, a nearly impossible task because of political opposition. It requires a two-thirds vote by both houses of the U.S. Congress, then ratification of the desired amendment by three-fourths of the state legislatures. Or the convening of a Constitutional Convention, which has never happened since the first one, which wrote the Constitution.

The other way is already afoot, a move for states with a total of at least 270 electoral votes (the number needed to win as it constitutes a majority) to vote all their electors to whichever candidate wins the overall national vote. So far, states with about 150 electoral votes have agreed to implement this scheme when enough states to control 270 votes or more sign on.

For a deeper explanation of the Electoral College, see:

"In the Self-Proclaimed 'World's Greatest Democracy,' the Candidate With the Most Votes Just Lost," November 14, 2016.

On how FBI secret police chief James Comey fatally sabotaged Clinton's campaign, see:

"Much Ado About Emails: FBI Stirs the Pot Again Over Clinton Private Computer Server,"  October 29, 2016.

On how Trump dealt with the surfacing of the 2005 video in which he described his techniques of sexual assault, see: 

For the many methods of GOP election-stealing, see: 

"How to Rig an Election: The G.O.P. aims to paint the country red," By Victoria Collier- Harper's magazine, Nov. 2012.

Journalist Greg Palast has done in-depth investigations into how the GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) stole the election, by not counting Democratic votes, voter suppression, and so on. For his discussion specifically on the recounts the Green Party was blocked from having in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (where 70% of the votes were cast on electronic voting machines with no paper trail that the GOP has traditionally used to steal elections by programming them to switch votes from Democrat to Republican candidates), CLICK HERE. Palast says it's actually a count of ballots that weren't counted because of biased invalidations.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

China Snatches U.S. Navy Spy Apparatus; U.S. Demands Its Return

An underwater, unmanned "drone" operated by the U.S. Navy was seized by the Chinese Navy. China claims it was in Chinese waters, the U.S. claims it was in international waters. [It was in the South China Sea, which China now claims as a virtual Chinese lake. Hence the disagreement.] The U.S. has demanded that China give its drone back, and China said okay, it'll give it back- (when it's good and ready, no doubt). (A curve ball was thrown into the play by president-to-be Donald Trump, who said China should keep the drone. Don't ask me why. I suppose he just always has to grab the spotlight, and that often requires saying something outlandish, in order to stand out. He is a narcissist, an exhibitionist, and an egomaniac, remember. In fact, I'm sure he won't let you forget that for the coming four years, at least.)

The U.S. government domestic radio propaganda network, NPR, absurdly claimed that this spy device was engaged in "scientific" research- as if the U.S. Navy is a scientific research organization.

The Pentagon propaganda office issued a statement under the name of its chief mouthpiece Peter Cook asserting that the underwater spy vehicle was gathering "military oceanographic data...." [My emphasis.] I guess the propagandists at the Pentagon and at NPR didn't get their stories straight. But NPR regards it as one of its missions to always protect the U.S. government, so that could account for the misrepresentation of the drone's mission.  [1]
 
China will doubtless disassemble and study and copy their booty. They did this sort of thing before, when a U.S. spy plane was forced to land on Chinese territory after a Chinese fighter jet clipped and damaged it in flight. (The hot-dogging Chinese pilot was killed in his reckless act, which infuriated the Chinese towards the U.S. But since the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, after the CIA gave its location to NATO, supposedly in ignorance that it was the Chinese embassy, the Chinese are I think predisposed to blame the U.S. for their losses in confrontations with the U.S. By the way, that embassy bombing is NEVER mentioned in the U.S. Amnesia handicaps ones ability to deal realistically with the world and its other inhabitants.)

This incident is another small step in China's nibbling away at the edge of U.S. power in the Pacific. A much bigger milestone is Philippines death squad president Rodrigo Duterte telling the U.S. to kiss-off, and openly embracing China. The Obama regime has responded like a deer in the headlights, seemingly frozen. When Duterte called Obama a "son of a whore" and publicly cursed him, the U.S. barely reacted to this effrontery. Then the Philippines won a court case against China for China appropriating islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. reacted to that by talking like a mediator, instead of clearly siding with the winner, the Philippines. This signaled weakness. Obviously the U.S. wishes to avoid confrontation with China- but that means the U.S. must retreat in the face of growing Chinese power and "assertiveness."

The Philippines then abandoned its claim and started cozying up to China, under Duterte.

Duterte brags of personally murdering "criminals." No doubt the mild verbal remonstrances the U.S. has to make over his "human rights record," in order to maintain its image as the beacon of freedom and democracy and human rights, irked Duterte, even though the criticisms were strictly pro forma. Duterte is a crude thug, unsophisticated to play the game with winks and nods and understand that some things are just political theater, not to be taken seriously. (The U.S. "objecting" to relentless Israeli colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is a long-running, very tired political play.) A murderous goon like Duterte is temperamentally more comfortable with the tyrants of Beijing than with the two-stepping hypocrites of Washington.

A bit of background: The Philippines was a U.S. colony until after World War II, when it became a neocolony and client dictatorship. It was a Spanish colony until the U.S. seized it as war booty during the Spanish-American war of 1898, when the U.S. also gained control of Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and carved Panama out of Colombia for its own uses. The Filipinos had the crazy idea that they should be independent, so several hundred thousand of them had to be killed to convince them to stop resisting U.S. conquest. President Theodore Roosevelt, an iconic figure in U.S. pseudo-history (quasi-mythology) sent hearty congratulations to the U.S. military commander of the invasion and occupation force for his fine work in suppressing Filipino resistance.

During World War II, the Japanese occupied the Philippines. Their brutality alienated the Filipinos, just as Japanese barbarism alienated the other victims in their "Co-Prosperity Sphere," such as the Koreans and Chinese. In this, they made exactly the same strategic blunder as the Nazis. Their ideology of racial "superiority," hyper-militarism and fascism proved too much for the colonized to bear, unlike other imperialisms which are tolerated by the conquered for longer time-spans.

Two giant U.S. military bases, the Subic Bay naval base and Clark airfield, were long occupied by the U.S. Some years after U.S.-backed dictator Marcos was overthrown, the U.S. was asked to vacate those bases. The U.S. has been angling to get those or other bases in the Philippines back ever since.

For a number of years now, U.S. "special forces" have been semi-covertly helping the Filipino military hunt and kill Islamofascist rebels in the Philippines. Duterte now says he wants the U.S. military out, and the U.S. can keep its money too.











 
                       EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT! DUTERTE DUMPS DIRT ON U.S.!


Instead of the U.S. successfully constructing a coalition of nations to contain China, things seem to be going the other way, first with the U.S. gratuitously picking a fight with Russia over the Ukraine, which the U.S. gleefully destabilized, and driving Russia into China's arms (witness a recent multi-billion dollar economic deal and joint naval maneuvers between Russia and China), friendlier ties between India and China, and now the Philippines rushing to embrace China and spurning its long-time dominant political spouse the U.S.

The U.S. is so powerful that it has gotten away with some major blunders (the Indochina War, siding with jihadists against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and fecklessly allowing Pakistan to become a nuclear weapons power, for example), but with China's rise, the stakes may be higher than ever. In the two World Wars, other nations did the heavy fighting and dying, and the U.S. picked up the chips at the end of the games. But all-out war with nuclear-armed China is out of the question, as obviously a land invasion is!

China is ruled by a patient one-party dictatorship that has less pressure from domestic public opinion when it comes to how it conducts foreign affairs than in the U.S. case. It also has a much more unified ruling class, whereas in the U.S. the Republican Party seems determined to destroy the Democratic Party and monopolize political power. No matter what a Democratic president does, even if it is identical with Republican policies, he is attacked by the Republicans. That won't be a problem for the next four to eight years, with a Republican president and Congress, and the Democrats inclined to bark but never bite. But U.S. politicians are still remarkably short-sighted, and this is reflected in its conduct of foreign affairs. Part of this is due to their need to get reelected (every two years in the case of House Representatives). Part is due to Americans' temperamental impatience. And part is a disinterest in history, which to Americans is like intellectual broccoli, something off-putting.

But ironically, it may be the mercurial, notoriously short-attention-spanned Donald Trump who makes some changes. [2]

1]  Here is the Pentagon's statement. The title links to globalsecurity.org, which reproduced the Pentagon statement. If you want to have the Pentagon record you computer ID so they can track you, put you in the NSA database, and maybe plant spyware/malware on your computer, I have also provided the Pentagon's URL for the statement, from global security, below the statement. Note that the type of data the Pentagon admits the drone was collecting is pertinent to anti-sub warfare, especially "sound speed." To destroy subs, one has to track them by listening for them. Sound travels through water at different speeds depending on salinity and temperature, for example. So this drone is not so innocent, to quote a song.

"Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Incident in South China Sea, Release No. NR-448-16," December 16, 2016.

Using appropriate government-to-government channels, the Department of Defense has called upon China to immediately return an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that China unlawfully seized on Dec. 15 in the South China Sea while it was being recovered by a U.S. Navy oceanographic survey ship. The USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and the UUV -- an unclassified "ocean glider" system used around the world to gather military oceanographic data such as salinity, water temperature, and sound speed - were conducting routine [sic!]operations in accordance with international law about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, Philippines, when a Chinese Navy PRC DALANG III-Class ship (ASR-510) launched a small boat and retrieved the UUV. Bowditch made contact with the PRC Navy ship via bridge-to-bridge radio to request the return of the UUV. The radio contact was acknowledged by the PRC Navy ship, but the request was ignored. The UUV is a sovereign immune vessel of the United States. We call upon China to return our UUV immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law.

http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1032611/

2] See "Is Trump An Unwitting International Relations 'Realist'?," December 16, 2016.