Monday, September 28, 2015

U.S. Funnels More Weapons To Its Enemies

Gee, why does this keep happening? 

A new force of around 75 Syrian men trained by the U.S. to fight ISIS (and ONLY ISIS- they are barred from fighting the forces of the Assad regime, which is the priority for most Syrians) handed over "about a quarter" of their trucks and ammo to the Islamist al-Nusra Front, which is habitually "linked" in some unspecified way to the demon al-Qaeda. The newly-minted mini-army was apparently rushed into "battle" just days after the embarrassment of the Congressional testimony of General Lloyd Austin, who was forced to admit that the U.S. only had "4 or 5" combat-ready Syrians so far- having spent $42 million so far of a budgeted half a billion bucks on an effort that was claimed to be designed to create a force of 5,400 Syrian troops by year-end to fight the foe designated by the U.S., the Islamic State or ISIS. The idea apparently being to wipe some of the egg off the Obama regime's face.

The latest snafu involving the hapless surrogate force occurred when the fighters needed to pass through al-Nusra-controlled territory, and the gear was ceded as a sort of toll. At least that's what the Syrian surrogate fighters are saying.

At first the U.S. government vehemently denied that their mercenaries/puppets had handed over a chunk of their U.S.-supplied military gear to an enemy, but within hours were forced to admit it was true.
Let's see, how many times has this happened so far? It's happened repeatedly in Syria, although usually the military supplies have been taken by force.

It happened in Iraq, where ISIS seized large quantities of U.S. military equipment, including modern artillery and tanks, from the fleeing Iraqi "army."

And it happened of course in Afghanistan, and still happens, and not just since the invasion of 2001. Remember the glorious "defeat" of the Soviet Union in the 1980s there? Guess who got the arms the U.S.poured into the hands of jihadists then? Well, jihadists, and eventually the Taliban (and, yes, al-

I suppose the same thing happened when "South" Vietnam fell. The "South" Vietnamese armed forces had been lavished supplied by the U.S. The U.S. didn't get all that stuff back.
But it's great business for the U.S. military-industrial complex. It's a trillion dollar industry based on waste (and death and destruction).

Don't think about what a better world this would be if only half the trillions squandered were spent on positive works for humanity. You'll just get depressed. Or cry. Or both.

In Surprise Move, Obama Extradites Al-Jazeera Journalist To Egypt to Serve Prison Sentence

In a move that took political and legal observers by surprise, President Barack Obama today ordered the detention and extradition of al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste to Egypt, where he was convicted and sentenced to three years for terrorism offenses and spreading “false news.”

The request to extradite Greste was made personally by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Mr. Obama on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting being attended by foreign leaders.
Aides to President Obama said that the President was repaying a favor from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose security forces detained and broke the arm of activist Medea Benjamin in a Cairo airport several years ago at Mr. Obama's request. President Obama was said to be angered by an incident in which Ms. Benjamin interrupted a speech by the President with shouted questions criticizing various policies of his administration.

A spokesperson for the Committee to Protect Journalists said the news was “stunning,” and seemed to be at odds with the President's regular invocations of the need to respect press freedom. Others, however, said that given the Administration's record of surveillance of members of the press and prosecutions of whistleblowers, the move could be viewed as a logical progression in the Administration's relations with the media, which at times have been characterized by a degree of friction.

Asked by a reporter why the U.S. was acceding to the Egyptian deportation request, President Obama responded, “You know, there's a saying, One Hand Washes The Other. Or as I learned in law school, You Scratch My Back And I'll Scratch Yours. Harboring fugitive criminals- That's Not Who We Are!TM And being ingrates isn't Who We AreTM either!”

Various press freedom and human rights organizations have been critical of the Egyptian prosecution of Mr. Greste and two other al-Jazeera journalists, both of whom were imprisoned but since pardoned, unlike Mr. Greste.

Mr. Greste, an Australian national who has already been taken into custody, could not be reached for comment.

An Australian official, asked for comment, stated that “Australia respects the laws of friendly nations, and advises Australian citizens abroad to observe the laws of the countries in which they are guests.”

Another Australian official, speaking anonymously, added, “Greste made a big stink about our offshore asylum detention centers, demanding we allow reporters in and 'end the secrecy.' Listen; If you kick us in the shins, don't come whining to us when you're in a pickle and expect us to bail you out, Mate!”

Nah, that didn't really happen. It's a satire. But some of it is true. Greste really was convicted and sentenced, and currently faces arrest if he returns to Egypt. He could also be extradited from any African Union nation, all of which have extradition agreements with Egypt.

Australia really does bar reporters from the offshore detention camps. Greste really did call for an end to secrecy. And several Australian regimes have openly expressed their hostility and contempt towards their citizen Julian Assange, who is currently trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy in London and under secret indictment by the U.S. Oh, and when an Australian TV crew was murdered by the Indonesian army during their initial invasion of East Timor, the Australian government went along with the cover-up. So this little fantasy is hardly far-fetched.

And while Obama issued a pro forma call on Egypt about press freedoms, he says lots of things he doesn't mean. He gave a nice speech about climate change and how “we” had to do something about it, while in Alaska, on the occasion of granting Shell Oil drilling permits in the Arctic. (As I've mentioned before, Obama's deceits, double-crosses, and con games are a constant, and go back at least as far as his first presidential campaign in 2008, when he vowed to filibuster- filibuster- the telecom immunity bill that would bar anyone from suing AT&T, which illegally allowed the NSA to tape their trunk lines to steal every phone call and email passing through their system- and then he voted FOR the evil law.)

By the way, Obama really did have el-Sisi's goons break Medea Benjamin's arm. See “Obama Has Egyptian Military Regime Break American Peace Activist's Arm,” March 8, 2014, and “Medea Benjamin’s Arm “Wakes Me Up Every Single Night in Pain,” July 2, 2014. 

"Hey, what are friends for?"

Friday, September 25, 2015

John Boehner Resigns as Speaker For Life of U.S. House of Representatives

Oh wait, he wasn't "Speaker For Life." I must have gotten that misimpression from the way the bourgeois media blabberariat have been carrying on all day about it. You'd think it was actually a momentous event that signaled a political change. Which it does not.

Who gives a damn if one reactionary politician is replaced by another one? That's all that's happening here. All this garbage about "ultra-conservatives" (NPR's euphemism for extreme reactionaries) "pressuring" him is insignificant. There aren't enough of them to vote him out anyway.

This awful corrupt extremist, a lifelong enemy of women (he opposes their right to terminate pregnancies, insisting instead that the government should control their bodies), who spent 30 years in the House, can now get rich(er) and play golf.

Oh, and he's a crybaby too. All it takes is the sight of an American flag or a little girl holding a freshly-baked apple pie, and he turns on the waterworks. But he got a pass on that. If he'd been considered a leftist, you can bet there would have been an endless campaign of media ridicule about his crying. (Sure, it's fine for men to "show emotion." But don't cry unless there's something to cry about, you maudlin jerk!)

And just for the record, "Boehner" should be pronounced "boner." It's not "Baynor." Baynor is pronounced baynor.

 There there, Johnny-Boy, dry your tears.....Feel better now? (Ya Big Crybaby!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi Berra Is Dead. Endearing Baseball Figure A Factor In American Sentimentality Towards the Sport

Former New York Yankee catcher and manager Berra was 90. He was inducted into the baseball industry's “Hall of Fame.” He was also a part of ten so-called World Series Championships won by the team. (Only U.S. teams that are part of the cartel named Major League Baseball are actually allowed to compete for the series, so “World” is simply false.)

Who couldn't like Yogi Berra? A charming clown who was catnip for sportswriters, Berra, a former catcher and later manager in baseball, was given to utterances that amused by being blindingly obvious or displaying a fractured logic.

Let's revisit some of Berra's funny utterances that were made into memorable sayings by media repetition:

“You can observe a lot by just watching.” -Can't argue with that.

“If you come to a folk in the road, take it.” -Uhh, could you be more specific?

“We made too many wrong mistakes.” -And not enough right ones, apparently.

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” -Well, math wasn't his strong point. Let's grant that.

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” -Okay, ratios are confusing to the math-challenged.

“I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.” -Like I said, weak on math. On basic arithmetic, come to think of it.

“We have deep depth.” -That's the best kind of depth, too.

“You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there.” -Kinda true, in a Mobius-strip-logic sort of way.

“Pair up in threes.” -He did have his own concept of math, remember.

“You wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you.” -Unarguably true.

“Even Napoleon had his Watergate.” -Indeed. Funny thing, that.

“I don't know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.” -He shoulda tooken* his own advice and just watched them to observe a lot. (*Yeah, I channeled a bit of Yogi's penchant for grammatical malapropism there.)

“Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.” -I don't see anything wrong with that one, actually. If by “good” one means overpriced brand-name luggage.

“It's like déjà vu all over again.” -No list of Yogisms is complete without that masterpiece of redundancy. Or complete until it's finished. But what if the déjà vu you experienced was of a previous episode of déjà vu? A mental roomful of mirrors? It'd be like you're seeing yourself seeing yourself, if you get what I mean. You can't look in a mirror without a mirror.

And then there's the ever-useful- “It ain't over 'till it's over.” -Actually a good thing to remember in some situations.

But this next one makes me wonder if our oh-so-trustworthy establishment media might have made up a few of “Yogi's” utterances, or at least “perfected” them: 

I never said most of the things I said.” -Clearly he was grammatically challenged. Read that as “the things attributed to me,” and it makes perfect sense, of course. [ESPN has posted a video with a talking head insisting that Berra did so say the things he denied saying. Is this a case of the media protesting too much?]

Berra could almost seem like a wise fool. Another character whose existence as a media character, Casey Stengel, another media-concocted character, similarly came across as an offbeat player/baseball figure who was innately likable and charmingly idiosyncratic. [Stengel had some things to say about Berra, such as "He'd fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch." Sounds like a comment that speaks volumes about Berra's favor with the Gods of social good fortune.]

These characters, real people who were also creations of the baseball business and collaborating sportswriters and broadcasters, helped create and perpetuate the sentimental feelings people have towards the game. Along with “baseball lore” and sports pieces “recalling” decades-old games and characters and “legends” (perhaps literally legend), all this has created a cloud of sentimentality around professional baseball, which attracts people, cements fan loyalty, and manufactures an ersatz community. Hence you see people wearing baseball caps on city streets to proclaim their local loyalty and give themselves a feeling of belonging, even though they actually exist in a state of alienation in an atomized urban environment. (I have been observing this first-hand for decades, just by watching. You can see a lot that way.) But all theyre really doing is consuming an entertainment product (while politicians pick our pockets to buy billion dollar stadiums for billionaire team owners).

And distracting yourself from the important business of politics and economics and the structure of the society you live in.

But hey, go ahead and kick back and watch a game. Nothing wrong with entertainment and leisure, in moderation. Promoting obsession with sports- that is, not with playing or genuinely participating, but with voyeuristic spectating- is the business of ESPN, “sports” radio yak shows, the sports sections of newspapers and sports mags like Sports Illustrated. There's a huge and profitable industry around sports in general, which also serves a political function of distraction and neutralization of a large part of the populace.

“A lot of guys go, 'Hey, Yog, say a Yogi-ism.' I tell 'em, 'I don't know any.' They want me to make one up. I don't make 'em up. I don't even know when I say it. They're the truth. And it is the truth. I don't know.”

So long, Yogi. You'll live on in our hearts forever. (That's not really true. We're all gonna be dead someday. Just like you. But you'll “live on” as long as there's a U.S. media and it chooses to flog “your memory”- actually their maudlin rehashings of the legend they created around you. Assuming there's a buck to be made.)

I checked three sites for quotes, and all had the same 50 ones, only in different orders. Which adds to evidence that “Yogi Berra” wasn't just an actual person, but a media concoction.

There isn't even consensus on how tall he was- a basic fact. A commentator who's “met him a million times” says he was 5'7”. Elsewhere his height is cited as 5'8”.

Keep in mind that much sports commentary and lore is literally legendary, plus U.S. media is generally unreliable.

The simplest list is at “Yogi Berra's 50 greatest quotes,” Detroit Free Press.

For the same quotes and career overview, there's “Yogi Berra quotes: celebrates the wit, wisdom of a baseball legend.”

The rightwing tabloid rag New York Daily News, owned by Canadian Jewish real estate billionaire and ardent Zionist propagandist Mortimer B. Zuckerman grouped the quotes by topic, and has a timeline of Berra's life and career. “Yogi Berra's most famous quotes: The wit and wisdom of the late Yankees legend.”

For the same (but fewer) quotes, with the addition of quotes by other ballplayers about Berra, see “Yogi Berra Quotes,” Baseball Almanac.

Obama's “ISIS Czar” Bails Out

With astute timing, retired four-star Marine Corps general John Allen, the man in charge of the U.S. effort to cobble together a united front against the Islamofascist “Islamic State,” which has conquered large swaths of Iraq and Syria, imposing its malign and extremely repressive rule on the remaining inhabitants in those areas (as well as practicing slavery and systematic rape of sex slaves, and destroying World Heritage Site archaeological treasures for good measure, and of course the standard beheadings and amputations for “UnIslamic” transgressions), is rushing out the door on the heels of embarrassing Senate testimony less than a week ago by General Lloyd Austin, head of Central Command, that the U.S. had only “4 or 5” trained Syrian fighters to pit against ISIS in Syria. [See previous essay, below, for that.] [1]

Allen will no doubt go on to a lucrative career “in the private sector,” as they say, peddling his connections and influence on behalf of corporations whose “business model” is feeding at the public trough.

Allen, the “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,” has been in the job only since September 2014. He plans to abandon the listing ship of Obama's anti-ISIS policy by the end of this year.

But I may be too unkind to Allen. Supposedly his wife's ill health (she has an unspecified auto-immune disease) is the reason he's stepping down. Which sounds suspect. Does she need around-the-clock care from him? Doubtful. But if true, it would probably be the first time in modern U.S. history that a man who spent his entire adult life clawing his way up the greasy pole of power really DID decide to throw it all away “to spend more time with my family” in the stock phrase that is used as a fig leaf when high-level apparatchiks get the ax or leave due to an unacknowledged internal conflict; verbiage that is symptomatic of the reality that our rulers aren't frank enough to explain honestly what they're doing and why.

I suspect Allen's frustration with Obama's indecisiveness and fecklessness in dealing with ISIS is a more likely reason he's leaving after barely more than a year. That, and his reluctance to be associated with a dismal failure of a policy and strategy, a failure and ineptitude thrown into stark relief by Austin's stunning testimony a few days ago.

After a year of half-assed, indecisive U.S. involvement in the resistance to ISIS, the “Islamic State” “caliphate” is more stubbornly entrenched than ever, periodically braying about its latest atrocity or assault on civilization. (It's big on dynamiting UN World Heritage Sites, the physical remnants and evident of humankind's past experience, a barbaric assault on memory, an attempt to lobotomize our species.)

Allen published an op-ed back in August 2014, stating that the Islamic state is a “clear and present danger to the U.S.” that “must be destroyed,” and only U.S. power was equal to the task. Yet, with ISIS more entrenched than ever, Allen is precipitously abandoning the fight against this “clear and present danger to the U.S.” which “must be destroyed,” after barely a year. The month after Allen's urgent essay appeared, Obama tapped him in September 2014 to “lead” the anti-ISIS effort. Given what has transpired since, we must suspect that Obama hired him precisely to co-opt a critical voice agitating for a forceful U.S. effort. Better to have him inside the tent pissing out that outside the tent pissing in, as a cynical political saying goes. [2]

On the other hand, Allen in his piece argued for precisely what seemed to be Obama's policy, the cobbling together of a coalition of nations and groups (same as Secretary of State John “Skull and Bones” Kerry's ballyhooed Mighty Coalition of 22 nations and groups, that so far seems to have not much more substance than the ghostly divisions Hitler spent the last few weeks of his life pushing around on a map in his bunker deep under the Chancellery in Berlin) and “boots on the ground” to consist of Kurds, Syrians, Iraqis, and whomever.

Maybe it just wasn't done “muscularly” enough. Certainly the initial indifference of Kerry and Obama to the fate of Kobani, in Syria on the Turkish border, where the Kurds (whom the U.S. allegedly backs) was deemed of no importance, until it suddenly dawned on Obama and his power clique that it would generate negative publicity if Kobani fell to the Islamofascists, and then abruptly reversed themselves and launched U.S. airstrikes, enabling the Kurds to fight off the jihadi psychopaths.

As far as the “coalition,” those 22 whatever, Kerry might just as well have said to ISIS “We're going to HUFF and PUFF and BLOW YOUR CALIPHATE DOWN!”

Turkey, very belatedly, announced it would bomb ISIS- but that was just a cover to restart a war with the Kurds. Nice. (More on that in my essay Erdogan's Kristallknacht. Just scroll down until you get to it.)

Here are some excerpts from Allen's jeremiad against ISIS. He starts by painting it as a global threat (which is a stretch), and says the ISIS execution of putative American journalist James Foley-

"will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America." [WOW! A threat to the white homelands!]

Sounds serious, right? He continues:

"President Barack Obama, our commander-in-chief [sic: Allen was retired from the military at the time and perched in a sinecure at the Brookings Institution, that hive of bourgeois policy plotting], was right to order airstrikes on IS elements in northern Iraq. He was also right to order humanitarian relief for the Yazidis and other desperate Iraqi minority elements fleeing the onslaught of IS elements, but until the grisly death of James Foley much of the American public was only beginning to awaken to what IS is and the enormity of the threat it represents."

So in the third paragraph he's praising “our commander-in-chief,” Obama, a theme he returns to at the end. Was he apple-polishing to get a job? That could have been one motive, but not the sole one. (It paid off as the following month Obama elevated him to “ISIS Czar,” in the headline description of his role.)

Another excerpt:

"The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS. It is also the only power capable of organizing a coalition’s reaction to this regional and international threat. As a general officer commanding at several levels in the region, I can say with certainty that what we’re facing in northern Iraq is only partly a crisis about Iraq. It is about the region and potentially the world as we know it." [You're “certain” of that, huh? The whole world...]

And just what happened with that coalition organizing? Secretary of State John “Skull and Bones” Kerry announced with great fanfare a mighty alliance of “22 nations and organizations” he cobbled together to annihilate a band of what was then a few thousand armed terrorists who had just put the entire Iraqi army to flight, capturing their heavy weapons in the process.

Allen ended the piece with more apple-polishing directed towards Obama (man, was that guy lobbying for a job or what?), and a table-pounding sounding of the alarm over IS:

"Bottom line: The president deserves great credit in attacking IS. It was the gravest of decisions for him. But a comprehensive American and international response now —NOW— is vital to the destruction of this threat. The execution of [American] James Foley is an act we should not forgive nor should we forget, it embodies and brings home to us all what this group represents. The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later."

So why quit so soon if the problem is so urgent and critical and with potentially earth-shaking dire consequences? Just because your wife is unwell? Hire a home care aide. You can afford it.

But I agree with Allen's next-to-last sentence there. Of course, lots of other people do similar or identical things. The Saudi Arabians, for example, with their hundreds of beheadings a year, and amputations. And the U.S. has done and does horrid things, including the extermination of tens of millions of people during its history. Nevertheless, wiping out ISIS would be a good thing, and help a lot of their current and potential victims. It would be a positive use of U.S. power (a rare occurrence in itself).

1]Obama's Islamic State War Czar Stepping Down,” Bloomberg View, September 22, 2015, and “Report: Obama 'ISIS Czar' Stepping Down,Military Times, September 22, 2015.

2]Gen.Allen: Destroy the Islamic State Now,” Defense One, August 20, 2014. Note that this was published prior to Obama choosing Allen. So Obama knew what he was getting with Allen.

 Obama and Fearless Warrior, Shoulder To Shoulder. That was then. This is now.

Those ISIS punks don't scare me! (But I sure don't want to be connected to failure!
Time to pull the ripcord on my golden parachute!)
[Unfair caption, maybe? Time will tell. But too amusing for me to resist.
Note to the observant: the photo predates Allen getting his fourth star.]

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

U.S. Deploys Mighty Army of “4 or 5” Soldiers to “Degrade” Islamic State aka ISIS

Yes, literally 4 or 5 men. Not 4 or 5 divisions, or brigades, or regiments, or battalions. Not even 4 or 5 companies or platoons or squads. Four or five individual fighters.

This is according to the Congressional testimony on September 16th of the ultimate commander of those “4 or 5” men, U.S. Army General Lloyd Austin, head of the so-called “Central Command,” the U.S. military command that enforces U.S. domination (or attempts to) over a large geographical area centered around the Arabian Peninsula oil sheikdoms and including Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and as far north as Kazakhstan. [See official Pentagon map below.] [1]

"It's a small number," Austin trenchantly observed. Ah, finally! A statement by a U.S. officer that is indisputably true, for a change.

Austin was testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, whose members were vocally underwhelmed by the report. [2]

But take heart! Defense” Undersecretary for Policy Christine Wormuth informed the Senators that as many as 100 trainees might be ready hurl themselves against IS by the end of the year. (Or maybe not.)

The U.S. demands that its Syrian recruits refrain from fighting the forces of the tyrant Bashar al-Assad, and instead aim their guns only at the U.S.' current enemy, Islamic State. (The U.S. government insists on referring to IS by an older name, ISIL. [3]) This absurd insistence, coupled with U.S. paranoia about weeding out “extremists,” has made the process of creating this phantom army slow-going.

It bears remembering that on July 31th, the first group of 54 U.S.-puppet anti-IS fighters were destroyed in Syria by the Al-Nusra front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. (Gee, that wasn't supposed to happen!)

Price so far: $42 million. A half a billion bucks is budgeted for this quixotic public relations stunt.

But wait! In a funny coincidence, just five days after Central Commander Austin's poorly-received Senate testimony, Central Command issued a press release on September 21th trumpeting the addition of 70 “graduates” of the training program to the fight. (You gotta wonder how well they've been trained!) [4]

Recall that earlier this year Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama announced his plans to “degrade” ISIL, and plans were announced to create a Syrian puppet force of 5,400 fighters for this purpose. (The U.S. president is designated by the U.S. Constitution the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.) Now we have to try and puzzle out whether Obama meant it, and failed, or was that just another of his patented con jobs where he deceives people. (He did this type of thing even before becoming president, even as he was running in 2008, when as a U.S. Senator he vowed to filibuster a bill that would grant immunity from lawsuits to AT&T- and all phone companies- for illegally permitting warrantless NSA surveillance using their facilities. Well, not only did he NOT filibuster the bill, he voted FOR it. There are many more examples since.)

With Obama, he always tries to hide what he's actually doing, while saying the opposite. He's done it with prison “reform,” where he recently launched a propaganda campaign in which he bloviates about how “we” lock up too many people (while he refuses to order the prosecutors he controls to stop pushing for draconian sentences, stop persecuting medical marijuana stores, and has used his presidential pardon and commutation authority to free fewer than 100 prisoners- vs. the 1,000 plus the “autocratic” Putin has freed). At the exact same time he gives Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic, he gives a speech about climate change! The man is completely shameless.

So with such a cynical con man, it can be tricky figuring out if he really intended to do something (did he really intend to close the military prison and torture center at Guantanamo Bay?) and failed, or was it all a sham from the get-go?

Obama certainly had political reasons to pretend to fight ISIS. Since Republicans apparently want a U.S. invasion (but they coyly and cynically don't say so overtly) a “plan” to field a 5,400 man army of Syrian mercenaries was a way to deflect political heat off himself. We may never know the truth, but probably someday enough inside info to come out to correctly analyze it.

1] The Wikipedia entry on the U.S. Central Command has basic facts about its creation, history, commanders, alleged purposes, and so on. It's evident from the list of commanders (a veritable Rogues' Gallery of infamous mass killers) that the post is a stepping-stone to higher positions. A number went on to positions on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Chairman, and one, the much-feted David Petraeus, became a CIA Director.

2] See for example “You Can Literally Count the Number of U.S.-Trained Syrians Fighting ISIS on One Hand: Lawmakers slammed the U.S. plan to defeat the Islamic State group in a heated Capitol Hill hearing,U.S. News & World Report, September 16, 2015.

3] “Islamic State” is the name of a self-declared “caliphate,” a horrible, barbaric, primitive state that is supposed to represent perfection, created by the terrorist cult that formerly went by the names Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or of ash-Sham (ISIS) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It is a mutation of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, itself a mutation of the original Al-Qaeda. Through each mutation of these Islamofascist spawns of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the trap the U.S. set for the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan beginning in 1979, the resulting group has become more vicious, barbaric, and intolerant. Its Salafist ideology comes from the Saudi-promoted Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam.

4] Sept.21: Additional new Syrian forces deployed to Syria, U.S. Central Command, September 21, 2015 RELEASE #20150902 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” The propaganda bulletin starts with a ludicrous boast, and is written in the manner of all official U.S. military propaganda, namely relentlessly upbeat, which oftentimes reads as satire worthy of Joseph Heller's classic novel Catch-22.

Here's what it says:

TAMPA, Fla.– [Yes, that's where their HQ is] Approximately 70 graduates of the Counter-ISIL Coalition's Syria Train and Equip program have successfully re-entered Syria complete with their weapons and equipment and are currently operating as New Syrian Forces.

With support from the Coalition, the NSF will fight alongside vetted opposition forces and employ their training and equipment acquired through the T&E program to enhance the efforts of these larger units already in the fight against ISIL.

The contributions of the NSF will be additive to those already being made in Syria by tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and other anti-ISIL forces, who have re-secured more than 17,000 sq. km. of territory previously held by ISIL, along with critical border crossing points between Syria and Turkey. While the NSF do not operate under the command and control of the Coalition, we will continue to support and enable them as part of the ongoing campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.

As the U.S. has consistently stiffed the Kurds, that bit about the “contribution” of the Syrian Kurds etc. is particularly galling. I hope the Kurds don't read it. It would be a bitter pill indeed. And it's really a bad joke to call 70 fighters an “additive contribution.” It's virtually useless. What's going on here is others are doing the fighting and dying, while the U.S. conducts half-assed airstrikes and talks about fielding a mythical force of “moderate Syrians” who are barred from fighting the dictator that the Syrian people rose up against in the first place.

U.S. Central Command map of “CENTCOM Area of Responsibility” 
(for imposing U.S. Imperialist “interests”).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ben Carson's "Me-Too-ism!" Islamophobia

Exemplary role-model-black Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon with reactionary politics who thinks he'd make a good president and is running for the GOP (Gang Of Plunderers) nomination for president, has wasted no time in tailing after Donald Trump's rank demagogic demonization of Muslims. Three days after Trump egged on a demented Muslim-hater at a rally in New Hampshire, the hitherto obscure Carson (as with so many reactionaries, the corporate media is working diligently to build up his public profile) was invited onto one of the Sunday morning political propaganda shows (NBC's Meet the Press) and delivered unto us his mild-mannered version of Muslim-bashing. He opined that no Muslim should be president because Islam is "incompatible with the Constitution." He didn't bother to explain why Islam (and not, say, Christianity, or Hinduism, or Buddhism) is "incompatible." The NBC propagandist hack doing a burlesque of a journalist, Chuck Todd, saw no reason to ask the rather obvious question, "How is it incompatible?" Off the top of my head, I can't think of a reason.

[Other obscure reactionaries the U.S. media has built up and made (in)famous include the crackpot sleazeball Dinesh D'Souza, a convicted criminal; fascist harridan and vicious provocateur Ann Coulter; and bizarre far-rightwing crazed former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, one of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who was singled out for constant television appearances.]

Let us now compare the anti-Muslim invective of the Trump event to the "kinder and gentler" Carson echo of that Islamophobia.

Here's a transcript from the audio of the New Hampshire "town hall" meeting September 17th. (Emphases are speakers.')

Trump: "And we're gonna have some fun now because instead of making the speech which I've been doing over and over and over" [he's going to take questions instead.]

Trump: “Okay this man I like this guy,” pointing to the very first questioner.

Deranged Islamophobe: “[Inaudible] from White Plains. Amen. Okay. We have a problem in this country, it's called Muslims. We know our, current [he spits the word "current" with contempt] president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”

Trump: “We need this question.”

Deranged Islamophobe: “Birth certificate [inaudible]. But anyway, we have training camps, growing, where they want to kill us."
Trump: "Hmm-hmm."

Deranged Islamophobe: "That’s my question: When can we get rid of them.” [Like Hitler "got rid of" "the Jews"? Deportation and...?]

Trump: "We're gonna be looking at a lot of different things. And you know a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying, that bad things are happening out there we're gonna be looking at that and plenty of other things."

Notice Trump's vague threat at the end. Plenty of  WHAT "things"?  [Audio clip here.]

When I did an Internet search for the details of the incident at the "town hall" meeting with the racist reactionary xenophobe and Trump, many headlines on numerous major corporate media stories were exactly the same, the anodyne "Trump declines to correct man who says Obama is Muslim."

Well, that's certainly putting it mildly. He also "declined to correct" the man that Obama IS American, and that "Muslims" do NOT have terrorist training camps in the U.S. from which they are preparing to "kill us." Those characterizations of the "encounter," an encounter in which Trump didn't merely passively "decline to correct" the man, but enthusiastically egged him on ("I like this guy," "we need this," etc.) and then acted as if he agreed and promised to do something (unspecified as usual with Trump) about the deadly Muslims (all of them want to kill us according to the deranged hater, who said "Muslims" are the "problem" "we" have in America)- those media characterizations are so watered down and so minimize the violent derangement of the man (who obviously is a public menace and may well bomb or shoot Muslims or Sikhs- his ilk can't tell the difference and in fact have killed some American Sikhs already- and may well have already vandalized "Muslim" targets) that they verge on a cover-up.

Trump is a dangerous demagogue who incites and encourages violently delusional emotions among the xenophobes, racists, anti-Muslim bigots, white supremacists (who have been endorsing them on their websites) and American fascists. Whose numbers are constantly inflated by the corporate media, that always tries to give the impression that the majority of Americans are "conservative" (meaning reactionary). This is a manipulative play on people's naturally conformist tendencies in order to drive the public ever farther to the right. People are told year after year how everyone else is "conservative," and they unconsciously conform their own attitudes to what the propaganda is telling them. This is how the corporate media has eliminated abortion in 90% of U.S. counties, and why the abortion-haters are on the verge of driving a stake into the heart of legal abortion in most of the U.S. (Of course, abortion itself will never be eliminated. It will just revert to the butchery of illegal abortion.)

U.S. corporate media constantly inflate the size and influence of the reactionary grass roots. For example, Trump is polling at about 29% support among Republican voters. Now Republicans are about 20% of U.S. registered voters. So Trump is backed by less than a third of 20%- around SIX percent of the voters. But the impression the media gives is that there's a huge groundswell behind Trump.

It just ain't so.

But he can still win GOP primaries, of course, and/or amass enough delegates to either get the GOP nomination or exact a steep price from the party. (He's a fantastic dealmaker, you know. He even says so himself! In fact, he wrote a book, The Art of the Deal, in order to boast about- I mean, to share his secrets of dealmaking with you.)

While inflating their numbers, major media has also always minimized the deranged, delusional, dangerous, and violent mindset of these indigenous fascists in order to legitimize them.  Instead of marginalizing, or even criticizing rightwing and racist fanatics, (much less demonizing, as they do with leftists, black militants, "terrorists," "communists," "criminals," "welfare cheats," "drug pushers," "sex offenders," or whatever group- homosexuals used to be one of the groups targeted for hatred-incitement), the corporate propaganda system treats them as a respectable part of the political spectrum, whose deranged ideas are legitimate.

This is part of the long-term policy of that media in pushing the U.S. and public opinion to the right.

And as part of filtering out anyone with progressive impulses from attaining the presidency, "the" media has decreed that the first hurdle- barrier, actually- to anyone being a "serious" candidate for president is to win or do well in two very small, virtually all-white, reactionary and unrepresentative states, Iowa and New Hampshire. FIRST you must pass muster with a bunch of white reactionaries to be a "credible" candidate.

I have long been frustrated that this very obvious fact is ignored by those who should be loudly denouncing it- namely alleged progressives and leftists. That's true of The Nation magazine, which marks the left side boundary of the establishment political spectrum and acts as a get-out-the-vote auxiliary for the Democratic Party. (They really made that obvious by their hysterical attacks on Ralph Nader for daring to run for president. The Nation's plan for political change is to preserve the two-party corporate dictatorship in perpetuity and always force us into the Hobbesian choice of voting for the allegedly "lesser" evil- which has brought us to where we are today, a total police state which has written into law the "right" to imprison  its citizens indefinitely in military detention with charges or trial, signed by the Great Redeemer Barack Obama.) It is true of the "alternative" media. There should be a hammering away every four years on this scam. Instead the sheep are left undisturbed in their slumber.

The idea that two tiny, white, reactionary states have near-veto power over who can run for president should be loudly mocked at every opportunity. But maybe some people who pretend to want "change" really don't want to shake up or even challenge the system. I suggest they stop faking it then. Defrauding the public is unethical.

“Don't worry, this Islamophobia I'm injecting into the body politic won't hurt a bit.”

Why, if you closed your eyes, you'd think you were listening to a white racist! Fancy that!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sudden End To Tony Abbott's Awful Australian Premiership

Australia is getting its fourth prime minister in two years Former “Communications” minister Malcolm Trumbull pulled off a intraparty coup, defeating Abbott in a party vote, (Boy, watch out with all those prime ministers, Australia, or you'll end up looking like Italy!) The vote, by “Liberal” Party members of the Australian parliament, went 54-44 against Abbott. (Australian prime ministers are the heads of their parties, not elected by the public.) The “Liberal” Party is a right-wing party.

Turnbull is a former “investment banker” (financial parasite) and lawyer. His not-entirely-flattering nickname is "The Silvertail," an Australian epithet for wealth and privilege. Both Abbott and Turnbull are former Rhodes “scholars,” which is supposed to prove to us they're smart.

Abbott was prone to making outrageous statements, which members of his party worried was hurting the party's standing with the public. He is also a sexist dog, which he either couldn't or wouldn't hide, instead displaying his patriarchal male-domination attitudes publicly. (He is a former Roman Catholic seminarian, which helps explain that. The RC Church is a male-supremacist, authoritarian institution.)

His policy “achievements” included abolishing a newly-established carbon tax in response to global warming, and replacing it with billions of dollars in bribes to polluters to voluntarily reduce emissions- with no penalties. Australia burns coal for energy like there's no tomorrow- which there won't be for many species and a lot of people, as we travel down the road of a planet made hotter by the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

He also appealed to racist xenophobes by violating international law by his interception of refugees at sea and imprisoning them on a Papuan island, in miserable conditions and sweltering heat, which Papua New Guinea proved willing to do for pay.

Typically of Australian prime ministers, Abbott was an eager lackey of U.S. imperialism. For example, he gleefully insulted Russian premier Vladimir Putin at “summit” meetings of “world leaders” (country bosses) in retaliation for Russia defending its interests in Ukraine. (One example: in October 2014 Abbott threatened to “shirtfront” Putin at an upcoming “summit.” A “shirtfront” is an Australian football move consisting of a shoulder charge into an opponent's chest. Russian officials retorted that Putin is a judo expert. Unfortunately no cage-match between the foes was scheduled, so we're left to speculate, as in fantasy sports, who would win. Maybe someone can make a computer game out of it. There could be other grudge-matches too: Obama vs. Netanyahu, Merkel vs. Tsipras, Maduro vs. Santos- could be exciting! Political junkies who play video games would love it.)

Australia, like Britain, the nation that spawned it, is a loyal toady and accomplice to the U.S., sending troops to U.S. wars in Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It is one of the “five eyes” NSA-led global spying and privacy destruction network (comprising electronic spying agencies of the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), and hosts major electronic interception hives. Australia also was treated to a CIA coup in 1975 to get rid of a “leftist” who was seen as a threat to all the spying. [1]

For a taste of Abbott's asinine and destructive demagogy, see Five Teenagers Vs. 200 Australian Cops; also Tough-On-Terrorism Tony Abbott Unleashes 800 Australian Police to Arrest Man With Sword. For analyses of his prancings on the “world stage” in support of his U.S. and UK masters' “interests,” see America, the Ingrate Nation, and the obliquely-derogatorily titled Tony Abbott Is An Insufferable Jackass. (Did you catch what I was hinting at there?)

Tony didn't see that knife aimed at his back by his own
former propaganda minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Well, Fuck You too, Tony!

The silver lining: Now Tony will have more free time to
provide people the opportunity to admire his gorgeous body!

1] The Australian PM at the time, Gough Whitlam, had the crazy idea that he was the top authority figure in the country with the power and the right to run it. The Australian, British, and above all U.S. secret police agencies soon proved him wrong- in fact very badly mistaken.

Whitlam refused to allow his personnel to be vetted (thus approved or vetoed by) one of the Australian secret police agencies, the Australian “Security” “Intelligence” Organization (ASIO).

Worse, Whitlam thought he had a right to know what operations the CIA and NSA were running from Australian soil, including the NSA spy center at Pine Gap. This proved intolerable to the fascist secret policemen of the U.S., UK, and Australia, who prompted arranged Whitlam's overthrow. (Read the sourced articles referenced below for the details.) Among the culprits was CIA boss William Colby (who oversaw the murder of around 50,000 Vietnamese when he headed the Phoenix Program), the sinister and vicious CIA criminal Theodore Shackley (who helped engineer the Chilean coup of 1973), MI6 head “Sir” Maurice Oldfield (I don't recognize aristocracy), and U.S. ambassador to Australia Marshall Green, whose qualifications for the job was his role in the 1965 Indonesian coup that overthrew Sukarno, installed the fascist general Suharto, and was followed by the CIA-orchestrated murder of about a million Indonesians- making Green an accomplice in mass murder on a Nazi or Maoist or Stalinist scale. And various Australian reactionaries within that country's power structure were co-conspirators. (MI6 even bugged Australian government cabinet meetings at U.S. behest.)

Victor Marchetti, a CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, said "This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House... a kind of Chile [i.e. coup] was set in motion." Gerald Ford was president at the time, but it would have made no difference who the president was. All U.S. presidents are compulsive imperialists and give the so-called “intelligence community,” the powerful state-within-the-U.S.-state, nearly free rein. Witness Obama, a virtual servant of the NSA, CIA, and FBI. (Or JFK, a guy who jerked on the CIA's leash and paid with his life.)

CIA officer Frank Snepp, who was stationed in Saigon, has revealed that the line laid down inside the CIA was that “the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”

And Christopher Boyce said that "Whitlam was viewed as an Australian Ho Chi Minh," Boyce worked as an “intelligence” contractor, and was privy to the CIA's infiltration and subversion of Australian politics and society. This so outraged him that he turned against the U.S. by selling “secrets” to the Soviet Union, for which he was publicly demonized as a “traitor” and “spy” and imprisoned for 25 years. A trashy, sensationalized allegedly “non-fiction” book, The Falcon and the Snowman, and the rest of the anti-Boyce propaganda produced, omitted his true motive. (At times the U.S. functions exactly like a totalitarian society.)

The governor-general of Australia, “Sir” John Kerr, a long-time CIA operative, invoking the authority of the Queen of England (!), “fired” Whitlam, who accepted this, instead of telling Kerr “the 'Queen' of England doesn't rule Australia. Australia is a democracy, and I was elected- unlike you, who represent a foreign power [and are an agent of a foreign secret police agency]. Shove off.” I guess then the CIA would have had to arrange his assassination, or a military takeover, branding Whitlam's continuance in office “illegal.”

As the Australian coup demonstrates, the fascists of the Deep States in the so-called “Western democracies” actually run things (as they also proved on Nov. 22, 1963 and Sept. 11, 2001, for example).

See “The CIA's Role In Australia's Coup: RIP Gough Whitlam,” dailykos, Oct. 21, 2014; “When the US Pulled off a Coup in Australia,” Alternet, March 17, 2014; “The British-American coup that ended Australian independence,” Guardian, 23 Oct., 2014; “Boyce still believes CIA dismissed Whitlam,” The Australian, Feb. 18, 2014. (To get past the Australian's paywall, you have to go through the Google search results I linked to.)

Much better and more detailed than the short Australian piece is an Australian television interview with Boyce on SBS, The Falcon Lands, with video and transcript, 18 Feb., 2014. It's an interesting interview and I recommend it. One interesting insight is that the Australian labor unions were (are?) controlled by the CIA, and the head labor “leader,” Bob Hawke, piped up to deny CIA infiltration of the unions, then became prime minister (probably with CIA help). Australia is one of those nations that is sold down the river to the U.S. by indigenous stooges of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. works assiduously to put its foreign lackeys into positions of power in other nations. Boyce describes the studied disinterest of the Australian elite in news of CIA control of their society, which would indicate that U.S. puppets ruled the roost- and still do, judging from the behavior of the just-deposed Abbott. Don't expect Turnbull to be different. People who rise to his level know to play ball with the U.S.- or end up like Whitlam.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jeb Bush “Knows One Thing For Sure” about Brother George: “He Kept Us Safe”

For sure, huh? So refresh my memory: WHO was president of the U.S. on September, 11, 2001? The day that “3,000 Americans were murdered in the Greatest Act Of Terrorism On American Soil Ever” as we have been indoctrinated?

Why, it was George W. Bush. The same George Bush Jeb “knows” “kept us safe.” (For some reason, Trump didn't point out this very obvious fact.)

You see, in November 2000, five GOP operatives on the Supreme Court coronated him president.

But as Ronald Reagan said, “facts are stupid things.”

Jeb then had the brass to cite a photo of his brother with his arm around a firefighter at the site of the demolished World Trade Towers to substantiate his point! Amazing. No risk of reminding people of how “safe” Bush kept “us.” (By the way, government agents demolished the towers plus 7 World Trade Center. Go to the many educational videos put out by the thousand-strong organization Architects and Engineers For 9/11 Truth and unbrainwash yourself.)

The mob of hand-picked GOP cadres making up the audience howled lustily and cheered when Jeb said “He kept us safe.” Were they all Bush operatives? Or just complete imbeciles?

Here's the relevant exchange from the debate transcript:

BUSH: Here's the facts: When Donald Trump talks about judgment, what was his position on who would've been the best negotiator to deal with Iran? It wasn't a Republican; it was Hillary Clinton. That's what you believe. I mean, the lack of judgment and the lack of understanding about how the world works is really dangerous in this kind of time that we're saying.

So is that the judgment that you bring to the table, that Hillary Clinton...

TRUMP: If you think about it...

BUSH: ... is a great negotiator, that she could bring about a better deal on Iran?

TRUMP: Your brother -- and your brother's administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn't have been elected.

BUSH: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.I don't know if you remember...
BUSH: ... Donald...
BUSH: ... you remember the -- the rumble? You remember the fire fighter with his arms around it? [sic] He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism, and he did keep us safe.

TRUMP: I don't know. You feel safe right now? I don't feel so safe
Bellow on, O Mighty Trump!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Erdogan's Kristallnacht

The self-aggrandizing president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has unleashed mobs to sack the offices of the legal Kurdish party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP) all across the country. 126 party buildings have been sacked. That this massive violence occurred simultaneously in numerous locations proves it was obviously organized. (For some reason Newsweek called the attackers “nationalists,” whatever that's supposed to mean.)

This comes ahead of new elections Erdogan has called, just weeks after the last parliamentary elections in which the Kurdish and other opposition won enough seats to keep Erdogan from gaining the super-majority he sought in order to give himself dictatorial powers. So the sore loser has decided to stage another election. Maybe he'll just keep staging new elections over and over until the people get it right. Burning down and otherwise destroying the opposition's offices should help him by disorganizing his opponents.

The “democratic and freedom-loving West” hasn't had much reaction to this. No surprise there. When military regimes ruled Turkey, and the fascist Grey Wolves terrorized progressives, the U.S. and Europe were fine with that too.

This comes a month or so into an aerial bombing campaign against the Kurdish guerrilla organization, the PKK, in their encampments in Iraq and Syria, ordered by Erdogan, breaking a truce with the group.

The U.S. government's national radio propaganda network, NPR, which is beamed via local affiliates into every corner of America, has bent over backwards to hide the assault of the Erdogan regime on the Kurds. Take this example from Sunday, September 13, a morning “news” broadcast on NPR, emanating from Washington, D.C., at 11 am D.C. time. The female propaganda reader sets up a brief piece by saying the conflict “boiled over,” noting the deaths of more Turkish cops along with Kurds. Then NPR “reporter” Peter Kenyon's piece is played. Kenyon says “hundreds have been killed since violence resumed.”

This is pure, disingenuous obfuscation.

“Violence” didn't happen to “boil over” or spontaneously “resume.” Using the thin cover of pretending to attack ISIS in Syria, Erdogan ordered his air force (with its U.S.-supplied warplanes and U.S.-supplied ordnance) to bomb the Kurdish PKK camps outside of Turkey, breaking a long-term truce with the group. The Kurds naturally fought back, rather than rolling over and dying, by attacking Turkish SOLDIERS and POLICE (who are primary oppressors of the civilian population), NOT civilian targets. (Which doesn't stop the U.S. and Turkey from branding the PKK “terrorists.” I submit that the actual terrorists, those who terrorize civilians, are Turkey, with its long history of persecution and killing of Kurds, and the U.S., the Arsenal of Fascism and Reaction, and the ringleader in global class warfare against poor people everywhere.)

Erdogan, by the way, is an Islamist. But apparently he's the U.S.' kind of Islamist.

Regarding the state-sanctioned mob attacks on the political opposition in Turkey, NPR and the rest of the U.S. media has pretended that it was something that just happened, without even hinting at state complicity. (Notice how very differently they play every act of violence in Russia, for example, all of which are laid at Putin's doorstep, no evidence required.)

All this raises the gravest suspicions about who the terrorists were who bombed a rally that was the pretext for Erdogan's pretending to start bombing ISIS while ordering air raids against the PKK. Those terrorists may well have been Turkish state terrorists.

Erdogan has been busy on other repression fronts. He has been rolling back the limited freedoms and rights that all too recently came to Turkey. Besides his restarting of the war against the PKK and his imitation of Kristallnacht, he had the Istanbul prosecutor target a magazine for the crimes (actual criminal violations in Turkey) of “insulting the Turkish president” and “making terrorist propaganda.” The magazine was raided, and the offensive issue banned. [1]

[Turkey, like other U.S. allies, may just be following Obama's lead here. People here have been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for translating or passing along jihadi propaganda. And causing Obama to feel disrespected got Medea Benjamin's arm broken and shoulder dislocated. Then there is the long campaign against journalists by Obama, such as James Risen of the New York Times, the massive phone tapping against the AP, the criminal investigation of a Fox reporter, and the attempts to destroy Wikileaks and imprison Julian Assange. Oh, and the new, official Pentagon policy of murdering journalists they don't like. But Obama could be said to be following in George Bush's footsteps. Bush of course repeatedly bombed the offices of Al-Jazeera, and the U.S. Army murdered a number of journalists when it invaded Iraq in 2003. See Obama Regime Codifies Policy of Murdering Journalists U.S. Doesn't Like, August 10; Bush Created "Enemy Combatants." Now Obama Has Invented" Unprivileged Belligerents," Formerly Known as Journalists, August 11; and From The Horse's Mouth: Pentagon Lawyer Confirms Targeting of Journalists, August 16.]

There are numerous other instances of Erdogan's oppressiveness. Erdogan suppressed Twitter because it was a source of information about the corruption of him and his government. He already strangled and intimidated the regular media to knuckle under to him. He also found it necessary to ban youtube. [2]

No fish is too small for Erdogan to go after. A teenager got an eleven month suspended prison sentence for “insulting” Erdogan by calling him a thief (which he is) at a rally. The teen has to “stay out of trouble” (i.e. be quiet as a mouse) for the next 3 years or its in the slammer for him. [3] (This is a commonly-used tactic against protesters and dissidents in the U.S. also. Stop being political or go to jail. A recent example is Cecily McMillan, the Occupy Movement protester whose breasts were mauled by a cop and was then convicted for “assaulting” him, was imprisoned on Rikers Island in New York City and now has to somehow avoid being arrested again for the next five years on pain of being locked up again, even though she's a target of political persecution. Good luck Cecily.)

But Erdogan hasn't been too busy to find something to do with $615 million dollars of the Turkish people's money. He's built himself a grand palace, four times the size of Versailles, and larger than 30 White Houses put together, as befits a Man of His Historic Greatness. He had to destroy part of a forest to erect it, but trees hardly matter. Similarly, when people protested the destruction of one of the last parks in Istanbul, Erdogan's police brutalized the protesters. (I would be arrested and jailed in Turkey for writing this. So I won't go there! Problem solved! Now, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that Erdogan doesn't have me indicted and extradited from the U.S.!) [4]

He better not think you're a headache, or WATCH OUT!


(I know what you mean about those despicable journalists and pesky protesters...)

1]Turkish magazine Nokta raided and copies seized for mock Erdogan selfie,Guardian (UK), Sept. 14, 2015. Erdogan has been persecuting journalists consistently in Turkey. And even overseas. See “US-based Turkish journalist faces libel investigation for book on Obama and Erdogan,” Guardian, 21 June, 2015. This is a criminal case instigated by Erdogan's lawyer and being conducted by the Istanbul prosecutor.

2] For more examples of Erdogan's totalitarian tendencies, see “Turkey blocks use of Twitter after prime minister attacks social media site: Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens to 'root out' social media network where wiretapped recordings have been leaked,” Guardian, March 20, 2014; “Turkey's YouTube and Twitter bans show a government in serious trouble, Guardian, March 28, 2014; “Turkish police arrest 23 in raids on opposition media,” Guardian, 14 December, 2014 (gee, are you getting the impression the Guardian is on top of this issue?); and “Turkey's PM threatens theatres after actor 'humiliates' daughter [this was back when he was prime minister]:Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemns 'despotic arrogance' of intellectuals and says he will cut state funding,” Guardian, 17 May, 2012. Despotic arrogance, huh? Now who does that really describe? Ever notice how swine in power consistently project their own noxious and despicable qualities onto their foes? Just one of those things, I guess.

4] Here’s How Much Turkey’s Lavish Presidential Palace Costs,” Time, Nov. 4, 2014. The so-called “White Palace” has 1,000 rooms, in case company comes over I suppose. Erdogan also treated himself to a $185 million personal jet. Hey, wouldn't the Prophet Mohammed have done the same?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

"Jeb" Bush Hails Brother George As A "Great President"

From which we must conclude one of two things: either "Jeb" Bush is a big fat liar, or if he really believes that, he's full of shit.

Or maybe he meant "great" in a bad way, as in "My brother started a disastrous war in the Middle East, wrecked Iraq as a viable nation, destabilized the entire Middle East, instituted torture as U.S. policy, shredded the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus to boot, allowed a financial meltdown and deep recession, and left the poor blacks of New Orleans to their fate after being hit by a hurricane and flood. Oh, great!"

Saturday, September 05, 2015

With The Power Invested In Her By Her God, Kentucky County Clerk Declares Marriage Licenses Null and Void

Kim Davis, the Christian fanatic and elected county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, has decreed from her jail cell that the marriage licenses being issued in her absence by deputy clerks in the office aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Davis was jailed for contempt of court after defying the Federal Judiciary, which ordered her to issue marriage licenses to gay (and straight) couples seeking to marry. Davis has been refusing to issue any marriage licenses, claiming to do so would violate her religious beliefs. (Beliefs she insists on imposing on others.)

The Federal court got involved when four couples seeking to marry- two heterosexual ones and two homosexual- brought suit against Davis for preventing them from legally marrying in her bailiwick.

The Federal District court judge who was finally forced to jail her, David Bunning, has offered to free her if she would not interfere with her underlings' performance of their duties. She refuses. In other words, contrary to her and her supporters' propaganda, this isn't about her being forced to violate her own conscience, this is about her imposing her will on others. No one is violating her rights. She is violating the rights of others.

Davis has previously avowed that licenses issued by her deputies against her will would not be valid.

There has been fatuous comparisons between Davis' assault on the rights of others (and her refusal to carry out the duties of her public office) and civil disobedience by dissidents fighting to establish human rights or protest crimes against humanity. What she is doing is the exact opposite. She is using state power, the power of her position and office, to violate the rights of others to marry.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Turns Outs Christian “God” Less Powerful Than a U.S. Federal Judge

The religious zealot county clerk in the state of Kentucky who has adamantly refused to perform her duties because of her “religious” objections to gay marriage is headed to the slammer for her contumacious refusal to do the job she was elected to public office to perform.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is being jailed for contempt of court for refusing Federal court orders to do her job, obey the law of the land, and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

US District Judge David Bunning decided that mere fines wouldn't have the desired effect of enforcing compliance with his orders. Davis' attempt to appeal the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected by that court after the District Judge's order was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (Specifically, the Supreme Court refused to stay the order of the lower courts that Clerk Davis issue marriage licenses. The legal principle under which gays are now allowed to marry in America is equal protection of the laws, a key Constitutional doctrine.)

Apparently Bunning's jailing of Davis worked, since her assistant clerks immediately agreed to issue marriage licenses (except for the one clerk who is Davis' son. No nepotism in Rowan County, eh?).

Earlier, Davis was confronted in her office by a male homosexual couple who she'd repeatedly stonewalled in their attempts to obtain a marriage license. They demanded to know “under whose authority” she was refusing to issue marriage licenses. “Under God's authority,” she replied. (This little contretemps has been widely viewed on video.) [1]

So, a judge apparently is more powerful than “God,” right Toots? It would seem undeniable, since now you're going to jail and gays are going to get married in your little backwater part of America.

But wait! One of her backers says “God will punish us,” a sentiment given a megaphone by the dominant local newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal. So the judges had better brace for their comeuppance, I guess.

I'd just like to mention that I have a book that lists 2,500 known “Gods” that people have invented over the millennia. I guess Davis would say that they're all false (i.e., imaginary), except hers.

But back to this business of how her “religious beliefs” are being trampled on. What if “race-mixing” was against her “religious beliefs”? It was a common assertion not too long ago in the U.S. to assert that interracial marriage violated “God's” natural order. (Again, one has to wonder why “God” isn't powerful enough to stop what he doesn't like. Or if something is truly against “natural order,” how could it ever even occur? But that's mere logic. “Faith,” that is, irrational dogma, is always “truer” than mere facts and reason.) In fact, it wasn't until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled state anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. (Laws criminalizing “interracial” marriage. A couple convicted under one of those laws had to take it all the way to the top of the judicial system for that to happen.)

By the way, the very-Holy Davis, an “Apostolic Christian,” has been divorced not once, not twice, but three times.

Gee, I thought marriage was supposed to be a Holy, lifelong sacrament for fanatics like her. Guess she just doesn't like icky gay people.

Oh, she also gave birth to twins out-of-wedlock. Five months after one of her divorces, resulting from her impregnation by a man not her husband.

Davis has been married a total of four times. (She's currently remarried to husband Number Two. In case you give a damn about the personal history of this hypocritical fanatic who imposes her “values” on others.) [2]

Her “Unchristian” divorce-and-“fornication-” habit doesn't faze the bigoted religious primitives of her state, however.

According to polls, a majority of the dumb, backward yokels who inhabit Kentucky support the clerk in her dereliction of duty. Apparently it is beyond their ken that she isn't upholding her religious beliefs, but rather is forcibly imposing them on others. Her rights aren't being violated: she is violating the rights of others. Also too deep for them to grasp is the fact that she is free to resign and seek other employment if the requirements of her job violate her conscience. Unlike members of the U.S. military who are forced to participate in illegal wars of aggression and be parties to various war crimes, she can freely quit and walk away. She won't be court-martialed, imprisoned, subject to any punishment at all. In fact military personnel can't quit or walk away. That constitutes desertion, a serious crime.

Of course, like all religious fanatics, these people think their benighted beliefs should be imposed on others. After all, their “God” says so. How frenzied they are, witnessing the rising tide of “sin” swamping their beloved, God-fearing nation! (Some are even saying publicly this is a sign of the nearing of so-called “End Times.” Which I thought would make them glad. Their saviour, Jesus, will return to earth, and they'll be “raptured” up to paradise. What's their beef?)

Kentucky historically and today is one of the more primitive and backward U.S. states. It is a so-called “border state,” the border in question being the Mason-Dixon line, the division between the South and the rest of the U.S. Kentucky isn't one of the Confederate states that seceded from the U.S. in 1861 and started an ill-advised war by firing on Fort Sumter.

Tennessee, a neighboring “Border State,” has a law on the books banning atheists from running for public office. That flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution as currently interpreted. Which wouldn't spare an atheist the trouble, time, and expense of having to sue in Federal court to be allowed to run for office. Enforcing your “rights” is entirely your burden in America.

David rejected a suggestion by the plaintiff's attorneys (the plaintiffs are gays who had to sue her to get her to allow them to marry) made to the court that Davis needn't be jailed if she would just allow her underlings to issue licenses. But in her mind that would still infringe on her “religious beliefs.” Her “conscience” must be imposed on others. Thus Davis gets to preen as a brave martyr, a victim of persecution just like Jesus Christ Himself, who “saved” her. (From what? From death. Apparently she believes she is now immortal. Like Achilles being dunked in a magic river by his mom when he was just a babe so swords and arrows could not pierce his skin, being “Baptized” in “the blood of the lamb,” a splash of Holy Water, makes one impervious to death. Of course, Achilles' mom miss two spots on her boy's heel, where she was grasping him as she dunked him- which proved his undoing when he caught a poisoned arrow in the heel during the Trojan War. At least according to ancient Greek “history.” )

Religion, for many people, is a way to assert superiority- and power- over others. The most obnoxious, indeed unbearable examples of that today come to us courtesy of Islam. (Warning: Don't you dare practice sorcery in Saudi Arabia! They'll chop your head off. Literally.)

Kim Davis looking busy while refusing to do her job.

Pious Kim practices parting the waters for future Sainthood.

Blessed Kim facing down the media lions, shielded only by her invincible Faith.

Davis heroically holding off the forces of Godless secular humanism: 
“Back, ye accursed Spawn of Satan!”

1] “'Did God Tell You to Treat Us Like This?': Protests Grow over Clerk’s Denial of Same-Sex Marriages,” Democracy Now!, September 3, 2015.

2]Defiant Kentucky county clerk JAILED for refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Jubilant gay rights activists chant 'love won' and clash with her supporters after landmark decision,” Daily Mail (UK), 3 September, 2015.