Monday, December 21, 2015

Western Propagandists Hail Pointless Saudi “Election”

Well break out the champagne! (Actually you better not- alcohol is a crime in Saudi Arabia.)
Saudi Arabia held an “election” in which they actually let women vote!

So pay no attention to all those weekly beheadings for “sorcery,” “witchcraft,” adultery, “blasphemy,” drugs, apostasy (deciding you'd really rather not be a Muslim anymore) and daring to question the absolute power of the “King” and the fanatical dogmatist religious “authorities” who are a key bulwark of the rule of the gang of superparasites called “the royal family. See, Saudi Arabia is making “progress.”

What can one possibly “elect” in a nation ruled by an absolute hereditary dictator? Well, there were various local offices, people responsible for picking up the garbage and such.

Of course, most women didn't even know about this Great Opportunity to Make Their Voices Heard. And even if they had, some male in their family who controls their lives would have had to agree to drive them to the polls. (Women are banned, by criminal law, from driving. Oh, they also need to be accompanied by a male chaperon in public, lest they run off and copulate in an unauthorized fashion.)

But as I said, Western propagandists were quick to celebrate. The U.S. government propaganda network NPR was particularly disgusting in this regard, practically releasing party balloons in celebration of the alleged milestone. (But in fact, a crudely cynical, meaningless stunt, with the purpose of tossing some pathetically threadbare camouflage over the true nature of the regime as extremely oppressive, deeply misogynist, and absolutely autocratic.) As far as reporting on the vicious repression, such as the coming execution of teenage protesters (after beheading, the heads to be sewn on and the bodies crucified, as an object lesson to anyone else with a complaint).

The truth is, in terms of atrocities, Saudi Arabia is arguably worst than ISIS. Note the sickening hypocrisy of “the West” in terms of its attitudes towards one and the other.

The idea that “the West” has any values other than greed, materialism, and the most cynical lust for power is shown to be ludicrous by its longstanding relations with this barbaric, feudal desert hellhole.
As usual, the “West” is a major aider and abettor of repression, with training of secret police and the military, provision of weaponry and the instruments of repression. Obama just hailed the appointment of Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights commission, (a very sick joke indeed).

Speaking of women in Saudi Arabia, the women they import from poor countries as virtual domestic slaves are subject to all kinds of cruelties, including beheading on trumped-up charges.

You have to go to media outsiders for the facts. Or to human rights groups like Amnesty International.

Harry Shearer regularly covers Saudi awfulness on his weekly radio program Le Show. (Archived at Look for the “Le Show” tab at the top.

Abby Martin devoted one of her new program's episodes to the vicious nature of Saudi Arabia and the history of U.S. cohabitation in a shared political bed. [“Inside Saudi Arabia: Butchery, Slavery &History of Revolt // Empire_File005.”]

Check it out. It's worse than you think.

The Incredible Invisible Repression of Protest At the Climate Change “Summit”

We've just had two weeks of daily “coverage” of the big bosses (aka “world leaders”) holding a hot air “summit” in Paris to once again go through the motions of trying to agree to do something about the global warming being caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly oil and coal). They ultimately birthed a statement, after much labor, setting a “goal” of limiting global warming to 2 degrees centigrade, or maybe 1.5. 196 nations signed the non-binding, unenforceable “agreement.” In other words, they agreed to fine sentiments, as if they all got together to sign a Get Well Soon card to the earth.


For this, they heartily congratulated themselves (self-congratulations echoed in government propaganda media such as NPR- U.S. and BBC- UK).

But the saturation media coverage somehow missed the repression of protest, which was banned at the conference. Using the excuse of the recent terrorist attacks weeks earlier, the French state upheld the much-ballyhooed “values” of “the West” by acting worse than Putin or the Chinese rulers. Only at the very end did several thousand gather miles away from the conference to vent by marching in the streets.

Not only was the total repression of protest not fit for a story in the establishment propaganda system, it wasn't even fit for passing mention. Truly, the “West” has the most effective and efficient repressive apparatuses in the world. Because the repression itself is repressed. That is, it is seemingly invisible, allowing the oppressors to pretend it is nonexistent.

Sinister Strategy of Slimy Syrian Dictator Assad Apparently Worked

Think back to the beginning of the mas rebellion against Assad, provoked by his wanton murder of protesters calling for his ouster almost 5 years ago. Early on, he smarmily claimed to be fighting “terrorists,” in a transparent attempt to link his exsanguinous butchery waged to cling to power to the “War on Terrorism” declared by the U.S. in 2001.

Then, when ISIS appeared in Syria, he turned a blind eye to them, instead focusing his military attacks on “moderate” rebels and civilians, allowing ISIS to gain strength. ISIS, for its part, attacked other rebels mostly and seized territory from them. Assad thus was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, that “Islamic radicals” were his enemy and the rest of the world should back him. (Ironically, Obama also created a self-fulfilling prophecy. For the first few years of the uprising, he refused to arm the rebels for fear that the weapons would end up in the hands of jihadists. Thanks in part to his fecklessness, jihadists indeed have taken over part of Syria.

Well, what do you know- Assad's cunning strategy is working.

The U.S. is falling in line behind Russia (John “Skull and Bones” Kerry just went to Moscow to kiss and make up with Putin, a bit, to agree on a somewhat common strategy in Syria). Enemy number 1 is ISIS, it's agreed. Assad is supposedly going to go at some indeterminate future date, after he and the people he's been murdering form a unity government (!!!) and there are “elections.” (Assad “won” the last “election” in Syria, by the way.)

Looks like Assad managed to pull it off. Incredible.

If those in power everywhere weren't amoral (and downright immoral), such a thing couldn't happen.

For that matter, our species must be profoundly diseased in the first place that a system such as the Syrian regime can even exist at all. That society is a chamber of horrors, ruled by terror, run by sadists and murderers.

Meanwhile, the most important fighters against ISIS, the Kurds, find themselves regularly bombed by the U.S. ally Turkey, while the U.S. stints on aid to them, interferes with their oil sales (in deference to the pathetic Iraqi regime in Baghdad, which pretends to rule that whole country) and quashes their desire for a state of their own, again to appease Turkey and Baghdad. And in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS stooges, France and Britain are dropping more bombs, which are probably killing more hapless civilians that ISIS personnel.

How brave.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sickly U.S. Economy Deemed Well Enough For Tiny Interest Rate Rise of 0.25%

Boy, was that a long buildup or what!

After several years of financial market commentators and kibitzers speculating on when the U.S. Central Bank, the Federal Reserve (commonly referred to as “the Fed”) would start raising short-term interest rates from almost zero, where they sat for a prolonged period after the near collapse of the financial system in 2008 caused by the reckless and irresponsible shenanigans of finance capitalists, the Board of Governors of the Bank finally did the deed on Wednesday, December 16, and started what is presumed to be the long-awaited up-cycle in interest rates. The rates set by the Fed have an immediate impact on interest rates for businesses and individuals (called “consumers” in market parlance) such as business loans, car loans, mortgages, and the already exorbitant rates charged on credit card debt and student loans. Banks immediately raised the rates they charged upon the Fed action- within minutes if not seconds. (But not what they pay depositors. [1])

The Fed certainly babied the financial markets over the rate rise. For months, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin and other Governors gently hinted that there would soon be a rise. When it finally came, it was all but officially announced in advance so there would be no surprise and no “shock” to financial markets. Even so, after U.S. stock indexes rose about 1.5% the day before the Big Day, evidently in approval, on the day itself they fell the same amount. This sort of unpredictable and irrational behavior is typical in the stock market. While rationales are always offered after the fact of stock market moves to provide “logical” explanations for the bizarre behavior, these aren't the actual reasons. Some of the reasons lie in the herd behavior of speculators and the momentum generated by computerized trading. But in order to sucker the rubes into buying stocks, market shills have to make the market appear comprehensible. On Friday, two days later, the Dow average fell 2.10%, the S & P 500 fell 1.78%, and the Nasdaq 1.59%. This is the time of year for a phenomenon called “year end tax selling.” If stocks continue to slide next year, the Fed will be blamed. Whenever stocks fall, finance whiners spew out various sophistries to blame the government for it. (But they don't give the government credit when stocks rise.)

Yellen, on announcing Wednesday's rate increase, referred to the seven year period of virtually zero short term interest rates as an “extraordinary” period, and the 2008 mess as “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Telling words. I wonder how bad the next inevitable crisis will be?

Crisis in capitalism are nothing new in America, by the way. They just are mostly ignored. In the 19th century they came every decade or so, sometimes several within ten years.

Ideological fanatics have been claiming for years that the Fed was making a terrible mistake, even committing malfeasance, by not raising interest rates to “head off inflation.” The fact that inflation has averaged below 2% since 2008 has no effect on their near-hysterical rantings. No doubt they won't be mollified by a mere 25 basis point rise in short-term rates.

For those confused by talk of a rate rise of 25 basis points: A basis point is finance-speak for 1/100 of one percent. So 100 basis points is 1%, 150 basis points is 1½ %, and so on.

Now you know what a basis point is! See? The esoteric jargon of the high priests of finance isn't so impenetrable after all!

1] Banks loan out money at around 5% for mortgages, various rates for car loans, and charge businesses varying rates depending on “creditworthiness” and other factors. On credit card debt they rake in 13-20%.What banks PAY for the money they use to loan out if it's your money in a savings account is on average 0.06%. That's the average rate of bank savings deposit accounts nationally in the U.S., as calculated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as of December 14, 2015. [I found some online sites with grossly incorrect average savings deposit rates.]

So if you had $1,000 in a savings account for a year, you would be paid the princely sum of 60 cents for the entire year. On the other hand, if you carried a $1,000 balance on a credit card at 20% interest, you'd pay the bank $200 in interest for the year. That's fair, right? I mean, they're loaning you OTHER PEOPLE”S MONEY, after all.

If you wanted to lock up your money for the next five years in a bank so-called Certificate of Deposit (CD), on average you'll be paid at the princely rate of 0.79% a year for the next five years. Checking account deposits not only don't pay interest, the depositors have to pay fees on top of that. Plus banks have all kinds of “gotcha” fees. This when their actual costs are lower than ever, thanks to computer automation. (They typically charge $30 if a check you deposit bounces- that actually costs them pennies to process.)

Now compare the measly 0.06% interest they pay you vs. the 13-20% they charge on credit card debt, and the multiplier is over 200 and 300 TIMES. Or an increase of over 30,000%. Not a bad business to be in.

[For comparison, in the UK, the average interest paid on savings in 2014 was 1.48%.]

Friday, December 11, 2015

Queen Hillary No Longer Amused By Mr. Trump

“I no longer think he is funny,” opines Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic nominee for president and next in line in the Clinton Regency. [1]

When exactly was Trump funny?

Apparently what makes him no longer funny is his most recent spate of demagogic outrages, this time directed against Muslims.

Clinton was referring to TV late night comedy shows allegedly ridiculing him. I know that the granddaddy of that genre, Saturday Night Live, in fact promoted Trump by having him on as a guest host, and took a few toothless nibbles at him. You can't say they pulled their punches because they didn't throw any. [2]

Trump has been attacking Muslims in a series of escalating threats, first saying mosques need to be monitored, then that all Muslims should be tracked, and now that Muslims must be barred from entering the U.S. This last one was Trump taking advantage of the mass killing in San Bernardino, California, by a young couple of Pakistani extraction (U.S. citizens, so banning foreign Muslims would be irrelevant in that case) who killed 14 people (co-workers of the husband) and wounded 17 others. (Police subsequently gunned them down.) The media has kept the pot boiling ever since, with obsessive, pointless “coverage” of the event-free aftermath. (A big coup was broadcasting the ID card of the mother of one of the shooters, a wholly innocent person as far as is known. This was done by “reporters” tramping through the family's apartment.)

Trump, no doubt gleeful in Dennis the Menace mode of the latest brouhaha he has whipped up, naturally “stood behind his remarks,” as the phrase goes. Actually he once again started boasting about himself. One thing that is reliable about Trump, is that whenever he opens his mouth, he brags about himself. This time he gave himself credit for “starting a debate” about the “issue” of barring Muslims, surveilling Muslims, maybe making Muslims sew crescent symbols of their religion on their clothes. He claimed it was all over the media, on every network, as he usually does. The man, being a vain narcissist, absolutely wallows in attention.

Trump is nothing if not an opportunist. He also has the cunning psychological instincts of a sociopath. He knows how to manipulate people to his own advantage.

Trump's ethnic-cleansing-style demagogy has apparently burned a few bridges in the Arab world. A store chain based in Dubai is pulling Trump-branded good off the shelves. And a former public supporter of Trump in the United Arab Emirates has been induced to change his mind. [3]

Big-talking Donald had plans to “build” 30 hotels in the Persian Gulf region (total built so far: 0). He was also selling his name to be put on a 62-story skyscraper in Dubai (also never getting beyond the imaginary stage). Understand, despite his propaganda about himself, Trump isn't a “builder.” He's a licenser of his own name. Almost all the buildings and junk with “Trump” on them aren't his property.

Trump claims to be unconcerned with making himself a pariah among rich Arabs. He likewise was willing to burn his bridges to Macy's, to Hispanic Television (which dropped his “beauty pageant”), even to lose his dopey, cruel TV show. He has been systematically sacrificing is business interests while he rabble-rouses. So we can safely conclude that this presidential election, unlike the previous one when he enjoyed teasing the media about whether he was “serious” about running, he means it. This time, he really is interested in being president.

I have been made aware of Donald Trump for 40 years now by the U.S. establishment media, which has long treated him as someone to look up to, if not downright idolize. (And I have met people who idolize him, in particular for his obnoxious, abusive behavior on his awful, erstwhile TV show, “The Apprentice.”) The establishment media created this monster, now let them deal with him and figure out how to neutralize his malign influence.

The fact that such a pathological creature as Trump is made into a figure of public esteem by the propaganda system is a small but telling symptom of the ethical and intellectual degeneracy of that system.

Of course, there have been even worse characters elevated by the propaganda system, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Obama...the list is actually quite long. Even murderous psychopaths lusting for a nuclear war like Curtis LeMay have been put on a pedestal of honor and respectability by the propagandists who masquerade as “journalists” and “pundits.” [Sic!]

Throughout history, the U.S. elites have periodically played with fire by whipping up nativists, jingoists, racists, and the vilest reactionaries. Sometimes controlling the violent, terrorist elements of the rabbles they rouse has proven challenging. Sometimes they don't control them too well, as when FBI “informer” Gary Rowe was one of the assassins of civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo. Or when the FBI directed a violent fascist terrorist group in San Diego, the “Secret Army Organization,” which almost assassinated a “leftist” professor.

But then, the FBI and their police accomplices do plenty of assassinating on their own, for instance of Sandra Bland and Ibragim Todashev.

Trump with "Sultan" Ahmed bin Sulayem of Dubai, 2008. Maybe after Trump bans Muslims from entering the U.S., he can designate the "Sultan" as an Honorary Christian, so he can get past Customs. Like the Nazis making the Japanese allies Honorary Aryans, or Apartheid regime exception categories. (Seems the only racists who really stuck to their guns were American Southerners. No exceptions there. More than once African diplomats traveling through the South discovered they were just nig- I mean, Colored. The State Department often had to smooth some ruffled diplomatic feathers.)

1] Clinton made the remark on a late-night comedy-chitchat show “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” an NBC show which airs after most people have gone to bed. Taped in advance, the appearance of Clinton was scheduled for after midnight, that is, very early on Friday December 11. But there was wide media reporting of her comment in advance, on December 10, by NBC itself, ABC, CNN, etc., and British newspapers such as the Guardian and Daily Mail. I don't know whether this was merely because NBC might have spread the news, or Clinton's cadres ran around whispering it in “journalists” ears. Probably both.

2] Saturday Night Live, an NBC show known familiarly as SNL, is often quite reactionary. It “humanizes” various despicable characters at times, as indeed many entertainment shows do. I can still recall the service the awful show “Laugh-In” did in helping elect Nixon in 1968, by having him on saying “sock it to me.” See? Just a regular guy! That show in fact was based on ripping off the style and trappings of the counterculture while being devoid of meaningful content.

SNL is controlled by a Canadian by the name of Lorne Michaels. He's one of those “legends in the business.” It is regarded as obligatory for comedians trying to “make it” in the comedy business to kiss Lorne Michaels' feet. Therefore there is nary a word of criticism of him in media by celebrities, just sycophantic fawning. Personally I am existentially allergic to people who are too powerful, and Michaels is definitely too powerful in his cultural pond. Michaels apparently either doesn't like blacks, or is racist, as he excludes them from the cast except for a single token black (periodically replaced).

3] Big wheel Emirati businessman Khalaf al-Habtoor proclaimed his support for Trump in a column published on August 9th in the Abu Dhabi government propaganda newspaper, the National. Al-Habtoor sang Trump's praises for promising his presidency would result “in bringing back [sic]his country’s superpower status.” I hadn't noticed the U.S. had LOST that status. And note, this was well after Trump's despicable attacks on Mexicans began.

But that was then. Now al-Habtoor has suddenly changed his mind about backing the bigot. “If he comes to my office, I will not let him in. I reject him,” al-Habtoor informed the Associated Press. Apparently anti-Mexican bigotry is no problem for this raghead, but dissing Muslims is going too far. (Oops! My bad.) [That brings to mind a joke: What's the difference between a camel jockey and a spic? I dunno, why don't you ask a white supremacist?]

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Trump Finally Reaches Limit of How Far Other GOP Candidates Will Follow Him

Some of the candidates, anyway.

Trump's latest outrage was bellowing a vow to ban ALL Muslims from entering the U.S. (So the rich Saudis and other Arab allies of the U.S. would be banned? And Muslim students the U.S. hopes to groom to be future agents of influence on behalf of U.S. Imperialism in their homelands? And Muslim business people? You can see why this finally crossed a line.) As usual, he “doubled down” (the media's term) on it when gently questioned about it by establishment “journalists.”

Most of the Republicans trying to be their party's candidate for president in 2016 criticized or denounced Trump's ridiculous threat, to various degrees.

However, three “candidates” in fact tacked in Trump's direction, saying they'd do something similar. They are the most extremely reactionary and irrational of the “candidates,” the Bomb-Thrower of the Senate, Ted Cruz, and two religious zealots, Mike Huckabee, a notorious purveyor of hate, and Rick Santorum (whose last name was converted on the Internet into an appropriate synonym for the froth of excrement and semen that drips out of rectums after anal sex). (Huckabee, on his radio show, described Occupy Movement members as “filthy,” using the language of dehumanization and disgust that opens the door to persecution and eventual murder of the targets of vituperation.)

All three poll under 1%. That is why I put “candidates” in quotes when referring to them. They aren't really candidates. Not “serious” ones. But the establishment propaganda system (aka “the” media) thinks otherwise. (Or pretends to, because one thing U.S. media always does is try and push people's minds as far to the right as they can and generate support for virtually any noxious, anti-human reactionary around.)

But actual candidates, with much more popular support, who run outside the two-party dictatorship, are routinely ignored by that same media, or given exiguous coverage. Nader, Greens, Socialists, Libertarians, and others are examples of this.

The reason the other GOP politicians lusting for the presidency denounced Trump was because they correctly calculated that the overtly racist, xenophobic, hysterically bigoted people Trump is aiming his dangerous demagogy at are too few in number to elect one of them president, and would be outnumbered by those revolted by pandering to such scum. So this isn't a matter of principle, as their boilerplate, pious “American values” rhetoric would have us believe.

It took a lot for the GOP pack (a plurality of it anyway) to finally stop Me-Too-ing Trump's vulgar, revolting demagogy. Remember, he started off this summer by proclaiming, in racist, nativist fashion that Mexican “illegal” immigrants were “rapists” and other riffraff, (but perhaps “some” were “good people,” he “supposed,” sounding ostentatiously dubious about it). He has made many outrageous statements since. Indeed, he has a decades-long history of racist behavior, not just statements, well documented in “alternative” media like the Village Voice.

Ben “Pinocchio” Carson actually started the Muslim-bashing phase of the campaign by stating that it would be unacceptable to have a Muslim president of the U.S. (But he said it in such a mild-mannered tone of voice that the reaction was muted. That's how he gets away with his outrageous shit. Saying it softly.)

Of course, outrage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I apply normal human morality to determining what is outrageous. But in the U.S., which is an extremely right-wing nation, with a power system that is fascist at its core, Bernard Sanders calling himself (falsely) a “democratic socialist” is more problematic to the elites (indeed barely tolerable) than candidates vowing to outlaw all abortions, or Carly Fiorina falsely insisting that an illegally made, surreptitious anti-Planned Parenthood video showed a live baby, kicking and bawling on a table, while PP personnel discussed harvesting its organs. Even after being very mildly confronted about this blatantly false statement by the right-wing TV “news” show host Chris Wallace (on Murdoch's Fox “News,” she shouted back at Wallace that she indeed had seen the (nonexistent) video, and Wallace backed down.

The worst part of all this is that the U.S. is globally dominant, and is by far the most powerful empire in history. So it empowers the most reactionary, vicious forces in numerous nations, resulting in the deaths of millions of people, and the ruining of the lives of hundreds of millions more. History in numerous countries would have proceeded on a far more benign path if not for the U.S.

Viewed from that perspective, it is a tragedy of world historic proportions that the natives of the Western Hemisphere didn't drive the European invaders into the sea several centuries ago.

One final note about Trump. Trump is, and has always been, a media creation. The media, first in New York City over decades, and now nationally, has always given him undeserved attention. The reasons for this are complex. It is NOT because he is some kind of master manipulator of the media. This is the “sophisticated” cop-out defense that media people and “analysts” give when they need to explain away the media's complicity with Trump, and is one of the excuses routinely trotted out in other instances to keep their own covert agendas and ideology under wraps. Why is Trump's every nasty utterance “newsworthy?” They keep saying he's “leading in the polls.” Well, he has the backing of around 30% of the 25% of the electorate that are registered Republicans. Sanders has 30% of the larger number who are Democrats. So Sanders actually has more people for him than Trump does. But compare the volume of coverage the two get. [One survey found that Trump got 28 times as much TV coverage as Sanders.}

Trump actually has the support of at most 8% of the electorate. The media let people mistakenly believe that it's 30%, by blaring that number and duping the credulous and unskeptical.(It's 30% of Republican primary voters, the most rabidly right-wing voters in the country.)

U.S. media always leans as far right as they can get away with without completely blowing their pretense of “objectivity.” If the excuse for their favoritism is that Trump gets (the media's) attention by being provocative, the obvious reputation to that argument is that Sanders certainly says things that are provocative. But his “provocations” are ideas that are anathema to the corporate oligarchy, ideas that they don't want people to be exposed to, such as universal single-payer health care. (Not that Sanders is actually great. He is a staunch supporter of U.S. militarism, and wants to imprison Edward Snowden, so I would be very reluctant to vote for him.)

Now there is some hand-wringing among elites over the possibility that Trump could actually be the GOP candidate, or even worse, President. Well, you all made your bed by building him up, so if that happens you'll just have to lie in it. (Unfortunately so will the rest of us, and not just in the U.S.)


Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Cowards of Texas

Greg Abbott, the reactionary Republican Governor of Texas, has seized on the “issue” of desperate Syrian refugees fleeing death and destruction to play to his racist, xenophobic, Muslim-hating base by loudly announcing that no Syrian refugees will be “allowed” in Texas.

Only problem is: he has absolutely zero legal authority to block them.

The Federal Government has sole say-so on legally admitting non-citizens into the U.S. Specifically the State Department makes the determination and issues visas. In this case, the Syrians are to be granted temporary refugee status. If admitted to the U.S., they have the right to be in the U.S. Last time I checked, Texas was part of the U.S., although Abbott's predecessor, indicted criminal Rick “Big Oaf” Perry, made noises about seceding from the Union, à la the Confederacy. (That would make the second time Texas has seceded. It was one of the first seven states to quit the U.S., after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in November 1860, before Lincoln even assumed office in March 1861. And Texas would still have been part of Mexico if not for U.S. backing its takeover by White Men. Talk about ingratitude.) [1]

Abbott beat his breast in self-righteous (and not incidentally, self-serving) fashion, saying his first duty was to protect Texans. As if they would be in any more danger than from other Texans murdering Texans. And Texas cops murdering people (such as black lives activist Sandra Bland).

Abbott also sent an obnoxious letter to U.S. president Barack “DroneMan” Obama, saying Texas “refuses” to accept Syrian refugees. This of course ignores the fact that the State of Texas has no say in the matter, and the letter has no force at all, except as political grandstanding, which is the real point, as it plays well to white racists and reactionaries (that is, Republicans), who hate Obama for all the wrong reasons and enjoy seeing some demagogic politician “standing up to” Obama.

Abbott has strapped on his legal spurs and sued the International Rescue Committee (originally a CIA-front organization set up by CIA éminence grise Leo Cherne) to stop them resettling Syrian refugees in Texas. (He doesn't have any legal grounds to do this, as I just explained.) The IRC so far hasn't shown itself to be intimidated by the fact that Gunslinger Greg is aiming at them, telling him basically to shove off. (If only more people weren't craven in the face of reactionary attacks. Notice how far the mild explanations and appeasement moves by Planned Parenthood have gotten them. They'd be better off invoking their Second Amendment rights and announce the formation of a clinic protection militia.)

Here's the cowardice. Texas is an open-carry gun law state. Macho Texans strut around with guns strapped to their waists, ankles, in the smalls of their backs, in their boots and glove compartments and under their hats if they want. They openly brandish long guns. This is supposedly for self-defense. Well, what is the point if you're too scared to defend yourselves?

Anti-gun control loudmouths, like Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, say the solution to massacres in the U.S. is more guns. Guns in schools, guns in movie theaters, guns in shopping malls, guns in bars, guns in parking lots, guns in churches. GOP politicians, and the outré narcissist Donald Trump, all parrot LaPierre's line. A universally armed populace, packing heat in public, is the answer to shooting sprees. (And when police arrive on the scene, they can just shoot everyone they see with a gun, I suppose.)

Ben “Pinocchio” Carson recently said the Holocaust could have been stopped in its tracks if only the Jews had been armed with guns.

So a state with millions of pistol-packing He-Men can't take out a few terrorists?

What a bunch of cowards.

I speak as a resident of New York City, where we are barred from even owning a gun. A place that has been attacked repeatedly by Islamofascist terrorists, and that is still a dream target of theirs. There are many Muslims, including Syrians, living here. Muslim garb on women is a common sight, including chadors and veils. As far as I can tell, nobody's afraid of them, nobody's worried they're wearing suicide bomb vests or packing a Kalashnikov.

Man up, you chickenshit all-hat-and-no-cattle gutless rednecks!

“And so I say to you, Do not be afraid to cower in fear!”

1] The Obama regime has announced that out of several million Syrian refugees who fled their devastated homeland, where several hundred thousand have already died in over four years of civil war, and are in camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, or currently washing over Europe like a human wave, the U.S. will take in 10,000 over the next two years. And it will take 18-24 months to vet each one first, before they are allowed in.
There are around 33,000 traffic fatalities annually in the U.S. For the years 2010-2014, there were between 14,000 and 15,000 homicides yearly. The FBI attributes two-thirds of those to firearms. (Anti-gun people like to lump together suicides and accidental deaths by firearms with murders. That number is higher of course.)

Cancer kills around 550,000 people a year in the U.S. now, largely caused by carcinogens that theoretically people needn't have been exposed to.

But millions of people are made frantic by the possibility of a few, a few dozen, or a couple of hundreds of people at most being killed by some terrorists. (The deaths at the World Trade Center in 2001 were mostly caused by the explosives planted and detonated in the twin towers by state terrorists working for the Bush-Cheney gang. See Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.)

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South African High Court Declares Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Murder After All

Here's a piece of moderately good news in this horrible world we're stuck in.

Five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa have overturned the verdict of the trial judge in the original trial of amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius, who executed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his own home in February 2013 after she made the fatal mistake of arguing with him. They found that the trial judge, Thokozile Matilda Masipa, erred in acquitting him of murder and finding him guilty instead of lesser charges ( culpable homicide and a gun charge). They threw out her verdict and imposed a conviction of murder, and sent the case back to her to resentence Pistorius.

The Supreme Court ruled that “As a result of the error of laws referred to and on a proper appraisal of the facts, he ought to have been convicted not of culpable homicide on that count but of murder,”

Masipa had meted out a sentence of just 5 years to Pistorius, and a suspended sentence of 3 on the gun charge. In South Africa, people sentenced to no more than 5 years are entitled to release after just one-sixth of their sentence. Thus Masipa gave him a very generous gift. When his original release date came up (ten months into his sentence) and he was about to be freed, the public uproar was such at his release was delayed 2 months, forcing him to serve a whole one-fifth of the sentence.

Pistorius' family and their spokeswoman actually had the unmitigated gall to publicly whine that it was “unfair” to Oscar to have to cool his heels two more months in a prison hospital ward (to protect him), as if the earliest possible release was his entitlement.

Given Judge Masipa's proven bias in favor of the pistol-packing Pistorius, I anticipate she will sentence him to the minimum for murder, 15 years. He will get credit for the 1 year he did in prison, and maybe for the months of mansion-detention he has “served” since his release. I don't know how much of a 15-year sentence in South Africa must actually be served before eligibility for parole. As Pistorius is an unrepentant murderer who denies his guilt, he should have to serve the entirety of whatever sentence he gets.

The motivation and cause of the baffling reasoning of the trial judge have always been inscrutable to me. I have speculated half-facetiously that maybe she unconsciously resents pretty white blond women, and thus was inclined to let Pistorius off easy. Or maybe she wanted to prove how “fair” she is to white defendants by bending over backwards for this one. Or perhaps she admires athletes. Or has an amputee fetish. Who knows? Maybe she's just a lousy jurist. Certainly her decision in the trial flew in the face of the facts and of common sense.

Now, the high court has ruled her decision also flew in the face of South African law.

 OhhHH! I don't WANNA go back to jail!!

For the details of the case and original sentence, see “Murderer Oscar Pistorius Released FromPrison Early, Will Serve Rest of Sentence in Mansion-Detention,” October 20, 2015. For my analysis of the original trial and circumstances of the murder, see “Murderous Athlete andErstwhile Media Darling Oscar Pistorius Beats Murder Rap,” September 13, 2014.