Friday, February 25, 2011

U.S. Rulers' Savage New Assault on Workers' Rights

The last citadel of organized labor in America, the public (government) workers' unions, are under assault. Givebacks, reneging on contracts, welshing on pensions, all this isn't enough to satisfy the plutocrats and their political hatchetmen who do their dirty work. Now the very RIGHT to organize and bargain collectively is under attack. In America, only the RICH are allowed to be organized collectively as a class to defend and promote their economic interests. It's class warfare on the overwhelming majority of the population. Controlling literally trillions of dollars of wealth still hasn't satiated their greed. (The Forbes 400 alone are "worth" several trillion dollars.) To avoid ever being taxed at reasonable levels, they are now ruthlessly attacking any government expenditures outside their military and domestic repression. This necessitates smashing any organized source of potential resistance by the population.

In Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana- for starters- reactionary GOP governors are attempting to strip public employees' of their rights by passing laws banning their unions from representing them in negotiations with their employers, the state governments of these states. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Governor and stooge of the Koch brother billionaire thieves, has led the assault. He ran a stealth campaign as a "moderate" Republican to get elected, then revealed himself as a throwback to the 1920s. He plotted to plant agent provocateurs among union protesters in the state capital, to do god knows what violent mischief to justify violent repression and to discredit the unionized workers. The corporate media, including the self-styled "newspaper of record," has totally blacked out this criminal plot, even though Walker was captured on tape mentioning it to Ian Murphy, who got him on the phone by impersonating David Koch. (Revealing that this loathsome little puppet of the plutocrats, who was elected in part with large amounts of Koch money, has apparently never even spoke to his master before, since he was unfamiliar with his voice. He's too insignificant for the Kochs to talk to directly; his status might be that of a midlevel manager in the Kochs' corporate empire.)

The corporate propaganda system has been working assiduously to divide "middle class" people by whipping up resentment against the "lavish" and overly generous compensation deals of public workers. (No such campaign against corporate oligarchs who pull in millions or tens of millions a year routinely.) This "misery loves company" psychological warfare campaign has proven effective for the oligarchs. (And the more downmarket the rag, the more crude and blatant the anti-union propaganda. Check out the NY Daily News, a tabloid rag owned by Canadian real estate baron Mortimer B. Zuckerman, which affects a working class voice, for examples of tawdry union-bashing. In late February they used a dispute over a restaurant bill as a pretext for an attack on public unions day after day.)

Judging from the many resentful comments against workers posted by people who it's safe to assume aren't RICH, the corporate media and right-wing politician strategy of pitting workers against each other is working. It plays on the principle of "misery loves company." Since corporations, which now are sitting on two TRILLION dollars in CASH, and trillions more in other assets CREATED BY THE WORKERS, have systematically whittled away the benefits of their workers, the last bastion of unionism, the public sector, is being portrayed as having undeserved benefits. Like workers in general DON'T DESERVE PENSIONS, or health care (like every other civilized country provides as a public service). Some people are easy to dupe.

Would be nice if the corporate media EVEN MENTIONED ONCE that in the weeks preceding the savage assault on workers' rights by WI Governor Scott Wwalker and his GOP henchmen, he handed a big tax cut to corporations, creating the budget "hole" that is the excuse for destroying the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin's public employees (except the Cops' and Firemen's unions, who supported his election. But tellingly, cops and firemen turned out in solidarity with the other state workers at their Capitol occupation anyway.)

The Tea Party types are like Brownshirts, a reactionary mob organized as a strong arm force for big business interests. (The infamous Koch brothers, who cheat the Govenment out of oil royalties on oil taken from public lands, fund this "movement.")

The More Things Change....

...the more they stay the same.

Here is a headline and subhead from the New York Times of Sept. 12, 2000, top of the front page (p. A 1):


Company Denied An Ignition Problem For Years

Gee, how very like the current situation with Toyota!

Then of course there was the murderous Ford Pinto. Mother Jones magazine (not the New York Times or their ilk) exposed the fact that Ford coldly calculated the cost of

Con Man Kerry Tries To Pull Pathetic Scam On Pakis

Self-satisfied Senator John Kerry, Democratic Chair of the Senate so-called "Foreign Relations Committee" (U.S. Global Domination Committee would be more honest) went to Pakistan last week to try and talk the Pakis into releasing professional U.S. cutthroat Raymond A. Davis. Davis, a former Special Forces soldier- (i.e. a highly-trained killer and ideological fanatic, as this elite unit is limited to hard rightwingers, plus the U.S. military systematically indoctrinates its troops, especially the elite ones), shot and killed two Pakis in the middle of the city of Lahore. He claimed they were trying to rob him. He fired through his windshield, shooting one several times in the back as he was fleeing and killing him. Davis told the police he's a "consultant" to the embassy. Turns out he works covertly for the CIA, apparently scouting targets if not doing the actual assassinations. Now the U.S. is insisting he's a "diplomat," contrary to what Davis himself told the authorities in Pakistan.

Additionally, two of his crew racing to him at the scene of the shooting drove their SUV the wrong way down a one-way street and killed a motorcyclist. These two have been spirited out of the country by the U.S. Davis was working out of  a safehouse, not the embassy.

Kerry's pathetic con angle was to promise the Pakis that Davis would be "investigated" and maybe prosecuted in the U.S. Fat chance. After the U.S. let the Blackwater Butchers of Nisur Square, Iraq, off scot-free after their massacre in which 17 helpless civilians were slaughtered in their cars, stuck in a traffic jam, what kind of shameless gall and cynicism does it take to make such a proposal? With insults to their intelligence like this, no wonder the Pakis are pissed. And what sovereign nation likes foreign assassins running around in their country with a license to kill?

As for the U,.S. pious insistence that the Pakis must free Davis under the bogus premise that he's a "diplomat" with immunity, we have here another glaring example of the U.S.' hypocritical double standard when it comes to international law. The U.S. seized a number of Iranian diplomats in Iraq, which it accused of subversive activities, and subjected them to the tender mercies of its interrrogators. Still haven't heard that they were ever freed. And when a drunken Georgian diplomat killed a pedestrian in the U.S., the U.S. twisted Georgia's arm to waive his ACTUAL immunity (not spurious immunity as in the Davis case), then tried him and imprisoned him. And that death, while loathsome and criminal under U.S. state law, was an accident.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clarence Thomas, Tax Evader?

This corrupt empire just keeps sinking lower and lower into personal decadence. Bad enough that Bush the Elder, Joe Biden, and John Danforth put a known sex offender on the Supreme Court. And that he is bored to death by his duties. (He hasn't asked a question during oral arguments for five years, it was just reported.)

Now it seems he may be a tax evader. The Federalist Society, an extreme right-wing conspiracy devoted to packing the U.S. judiciary with arch-reactionaries, paid all his expenses to attend a four day conspiracy conclave of the sinister billionaire Koch brothers 3 years ago. That should be reported as a gift under Federal law and tax paid. Instead, Thomas lied and said he dropped by briefly and gave a talk. [click on title for link to articles]

Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, former Wall Street Journal reporters, wrote a book about Thomas' confirmation and the character assassination of Anita Hill. They document in damning detail the many corroborating facts and other victims' of Thomas' vulgar harassment. In particular, they show how Biden suppressed the evidence, discouraged witnesses, and lied to his fellow Senators to push Thomas onto the Supreme Court. (The Democratic Party has a long, despicable history of packing the courts with reactionaries, then using the prospect of the GOP appointing reactionary judges to scare people into voting Democratic. As if the Dems didn't aid and abet the GOP court-packing, not merely by refusing to put holds on or filibustering awful nominees, and the GOP does routinely with most Dem. nominees, but by actually voting for the worst reactionaries. Remember, Scalia was put on the High Court by a Democratically-controlled Senate by a vote of 98-0. Including the vote of then-Senator Al Gore. In a bit of poetic justice, Scalia in 2000 helped steal the election for President from Gore, dashing his lifelong dream of becoming President. Boo-hoo, Albert.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Toyota Drivers Uniquely Klutzy, U.S. Gov't Finds

On February 8th we got the news about what caused all those runaway Toyotas and Lexuses- turned out it was klutzes stepping on the gas pedal, which they thought was the brake.

Ray LaHood, an Illinois machine hack pol elevated to head of the Department of Transportation by Chicago machine politician Barack ("Pied Piper") Obama, announced the results of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, written with the help of a NASA engineer no less! (The same NASA whose space shuttles keep blowing up in the sky, so you know these are some crackerjack engineers.)

LaHood, his NASA engineer, and the corporate media didn't bother explaining why klutzes apparently ONLY DRIVE TOYOTAS, since OTHER MAKES OF CARS didn't have the problem of uncontrolled accelerations which couldn't be stopped.

Actually the study gave 3 reasons for the runaway cars. Pedals stuck on floor mats, pedals sticking, and drivers desperately stomping on the accelerators to try and stop their cars.

Hack pol LaHood announced, "The jury is back. The verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period." So now shut up.

SO- Toyota recalled millions of their cars to do what, straighten out floor mats? And DOT fined them millions of dollars because their floor mats got in the way?

In fact, at one point last year, LaHood warned Toyota owners it was too dangerous to even drive their cars, and they should take them back to the dealers immediately.

One key fact, that the New York Times buried in their favorite hiding place- the 3rd to last paragraph of the story, which was itself hidden in the business section to keep most of the general public from reading it- is this: an earlier gov't "preliminary examination" "found only one instance in which an accelerator pedal became trapped under a floor mat and none in which a pedal became stuck or sprung back too slowly." "A likely cause of the unintended accelerations - pushing on the accelerator instead of the brake."
Which means ALL BUT ONE case were caused by KLUTZ DRIVERS, according to the U.S. Government and its "experts." They gave Toyota's software a clean bill of health.
The article made of point of noting LaHood's irritation when a reporter interpreted the report to say that drivers stepped on the accelerator. "Pedal misapplication" he peevishly corrected, a political euphemism to try and camouflage the fact that the Government is calling the victims dimwits.

UPDATE: A couple of weeks later, Toyota is recalling 2 million more cars- for floormat adjustments. They didn't say it's because of 2 million klutzy drivers.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Afghan War Looking More and More Like Vietnam

Revealing and depressing article in The New Yorker February 14, 2011 by Dexter Filkins about the looting of the largest bank in Afghanistan, and the larger issue of the hopeless corruption, venality, and cynicism of Karzai and his crew. (By the way, the Afghan thieves suggest that the U.S. treasury guarantee the looted deposits of the poor saps who had their money in the bank.)

I couldn't help noticing the parallels between the Afghan and Vietnam wars in Filkins' article: Corrupt faux government of kleptomaniacs who couldn't care less about the country they ostensibly rule...U.S. taxpayer dollars poured down a rathole...U.S.-supplied weapons going to the enemy via corruption (and money too in the case of Afghanistan)...a major role played by heroin trafficking, in Afghanistan funding both sides, probably, in Vietnam sold to U.S. soldiers and imported into the enemy highly motivated by a cause, the U.S.-backed side completely cynical and opportunistic.With the Afghans looking ahead to the U.S. leaving, the clique around Karzai has already prepared their own private Swiss-style retirement in Dubai. Oh yes, one more parallel: U.S. officials knowing all this, covering it up, and feeding more American lives into meatgrinder of war when they know darn well the U.S. cannot win. (And who cares about the lives of Third World people anyway?)

article linked to my title. article at

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

U.S. Navy, Jealous of Air Force, Spends $636 MILLION on 2 Drones

The U.S. Navy is purchasing two- count 'em, two- test drones from Northrop Grumman for only $636 million. That's a mere $318 million per unmanned drone.

According to Peter Singer, a cheerleader for war and technofetishist, subcategory militarist, the drone, with the cool 1950s-style sci-fi-ish designation X-47B, is "potential game-changing technology for the naval air wing." The "game" being the killing of defenseless targets from a safe distance.

The Wall Street Journal cites a report from the "Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments," part of the Imperialist superstructure located in the Empire's capital, D.C., as hailing long-range pilotless drones flown from aircraft carriers as having the potential to transform carriers from merely "a power-projection system with outstanding global mobility but relatively limited tactical reach and persistence into a key component of a global surveillance strike network." Well, that certainly makes it worth the price. After all, it's very important for the entire planet to be under the constant watch of the U.S. military, which can then kill anybody who gets out of line- the line laid down by the U.S. No more "nonsense!" in the word of CIA international terrorist Duane "Dewey" Claridge about people rebelling against U.S.-backed oppressive regimes.

But really, isn't it just that same old interservice jealousy rearing its head again? The Air Force has drones, the Air Force is getting all the glory of killing terrorists (or civilians who stupidly happened to be too close to where U.S. missiles landed) in Pakistan and Yemen and who knows where else. The Navy never gets any writeups in the New York Times or Washington Post or breathless tv wow look at that explosion "coverage." Hell, even the CIA is getting more drone action than the Navy! It's humiliating!

(Source: WSJ, 2/8/11, p. A7.)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Why Doesn't the ICC Indict Duvalier?

Gee, it sure does make the International Criminal Court at The Hague look like a political instrument of the Western powers when it never indicts vicious killer kleptocrat dictators like Jean-Claude Duvalier, for example. Sure, Slobodan Milosevic, Bastard Bashir of Sudan, and assorted African monsters deserve to be tried. (And executed, which the ICC isn't empowered to do. Those wimpy Europeans can't bring themselves to kill a mass murderer.) They forgot Idi Amin too- 'cause their buddies the Saudis are shielding him.
Oh, I just remembered: France, the country that has ruined Haiti for two centuries, sheltered Duvalier for the last 25 years.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How Reactionary Lies Become Historical "Fact"

The short answer is: through sheer repetition.

For example, with the current "crisis" in Egypt- in fact a crisis for the U.S. rulers, not for humanity, for whom it's an exhilarating breaking of a tyrant's shackles on a people- reactionaries are trotting out the old lie that Jimmy Carter lost Iran. (Funny how the Democrats let the GOP smear them as quasi-traitors all the time, constantly "losing" U.S. property- China, Cuba (for which JFK paid with his life), Vietnam, Nicaragua, and now Egypt. The despicable Wall Street Journal in particular is pushing this lie.

Let's review the facts. In 1953, the CIA (under orders of that great foe of the military-industrial complex, Eisenhower) and MI6 overthrew the elected President of Iran, Mossadegh, and destroyed Iranian democracy, installing a weak tyrant, the Shah, on his throne. This was done because the "West" didn't like Mossadegh's plans for taking a bigger cut of Iran's own oil to use for the Iranian people. (Leaders trying to use their countries' own resources to benefit their own people is a crime that frequently leads to their overthrow by the U.S.) The CIA set up one of the most monstrous secret police organizations in history, the SAVAK, to make sure that anyone with even a thought of social reform would be tortured and murdered. Amnesty International rated Iran under the Shah as the world's worst violator of human rights.

The Shah managed to murder a quarter million Iranians during his reign, including 10,000 gunned down in the last week before he had to flee in 1979. At that point his army lost its stomach for killing the Iranian people. Unfortunately, since the CIA and SAVAK did such an excellent job of murdering any and all progressives and preventing any civic organizations at all from developing, only Islam was left as an organizing principle for society. Thus the senior religious figure, the reactionary Khomeini, and the religious cadres filled the power vacuum.

How exactly Jimmy Carter overthrew the Shah is a mystery. The Shah certainly didn't shrink from using maximum force to crush the Iranian people. There were idiotic calls at the time for the U.S. to invade Iran and pick up the murdering of the Iranians from where the Shah's army had left off. Maybe if they had killed millions, like they did in Vietnam, they would have "won" and could have reinstalled the Shah. (Oh wait, that didn't work in Vietnam anyway.)

How does this Big Lie become a fact? By constant repetition and the absence of anyone in the bourgeois media calling it out.

Here's another Big Lie that NEVER is exposed, even though simple arithmetic shows it to be false: JFK "stole" the 1960 election from Nixon by "stealing" Illinois.

To see, how ridiculously false this is, all anyone has to do (doesn't anyone ever do this?) is look up the numbers for the electoral count of 1960. Numerous websites, including government ones, have the necessary data.

The electoral count in 1960 was: JFK: 303, Nixon: 219. Illinois that year had 27 electoral votes. Now here comes the tricky part. Assume Nixon "really" won Illinois. What would the outcome have been? To determine whether history was changed by Kennedy family nefariousness, we have to use complex, advanced mathematics: subtraction and addition.

First, we subtract 27 from the election-stealing JFK's 303, leaving him with 276 electoral votes. Then we add 27 to the rightful winner Nixon, who was cheated out of what he earned by a bunch of Ivy League snobs, giving him 246. Voila: JFK: 276, Nixon: 246.

Now, in the actually-existing world that normal people habit, using the mathematical system that actual mathematicians use, 276 is bigger than 246. Thus JFK STILL WINS.

But in the imaginary "reality" that reactionary fanatics inhabit, 246 is bigger than 276, apparently. Or maybe the rule is that whoever gets fewer votes win. Whatever.

There's two points here: 1) U.S. reactionaries are as deranged as Nazis, and tell as whoppingly fantastic lies as the Nazis ever did, and 2) the entire establishment media and commentariat aids and abets them by NEVER EXPOSING OR CONTRADICTING EVEN OBVIOUS LIES LIKE THIS. Even the "alternative" paper, the NYC Village Voice, ran a rant a few years back by reactionary dog playright Tom Stoppard asserting the canard that Kennedy "stole" the election- and the "alternative" rag refused to print a correction pointing out the factual fallacy on which the canard is based. The phonies who control the rag wanted to dupe their readers with right-wing disinformation.

In such an extremely reactionary political environment, it's no wonder that the U.S. is socially, economically, and politically one of the most backward countries on earth. (Yes it is, but proving it will take another, lengthier, essay.)