Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Trump's Address to Congress

Well, well. That was quite the speech, wasn't it? Bar relatively minor points, this felt quite 'Bernian'. The Orange Charlatan behaved "presidentially" and was clearly out to unite the peeps of Mordor and seek bipartisan approval to 'get stuff done'. In parts it was as moving as the former Speechifier in Chief's (Obama's) handiwork.

There was of course the usual Exceptional Nation crapola and at minorities directed paranoia but that's what it says on the tin, anyroads.

Burning Question now is: what and how will be materialised in the upcoming period of Governance?

The Washington Post fact checked the whole thing, so we don't have to.

Looking forward to reading Liberal reactions to this stunner now.

Edit: The arseholes @ Wanket could see no merit in it whatsover, of course. Killary fans will be Killary fans, ya know...

The Neo-Nazi Question in Ukraine

May 2014.

The Obama administration has vehemently denied charges that Ukraine’s nascent regime is stock full of neo-fascists despite clear evidence suggesting otherwise. Such categorical repudiations lend credence to the notion the U.S. facilitated the anti-Russian cabal’s rise to power as part of a broader strategy to draw Ukraine into the West’s sphere of influence. Even more disturbing are apologists, from the American left and right, who seem willing accomplices in this obfuscation of reality, when just a cursory glance at the profiles of Ukraine’s new leaders should give pause to the most zealous of Russophobes.
In a State Department “fact sheet“ released last week the U.S. accused Putin of lying about the Ukrainian government being under the sway of extremist elements. The report stated that right wing ultranationalist groups “are not represented in the Rada (Ukraine’s parliament),” and that “there is no indication the government would pursue discriminatory policies.”
It isn’t too surprising that conservative outlets like FOX News would downplay Russian allegations but the so-called “liberal” press has also contributed to the American disinformation campaign. Celestine Bohlen from The New York Times considers harsh epithets, like the word “neo-Nazi,” which Putin has hurled at the demonstrators in Kiev as part of a Russian propaganda effort to tarnish Ukraine’s revolutionary struggle against authoritarianism.
Yet after simply Googling the terms “Ukraine” and “Neo-Nazi,” the official position of the United States government along with the stance taken by many in the American media both now seem quite dubious, if not downright ridiculous, especially considering that one would be hard-pressed to machinate the lineup that now dominates Ukraine’s ministry posts.
For starters, Andriy Parubiy, the new secretary of Ukraine’s security council, was a co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU), otherwise known as Svoboda. And his deputy, Dmytro Yarosh, is the leader of a party called the Right Sector which, according to historian Timothy Stanley, “flies the old flag of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators at its rallies.”
The highest-ranking right-wing extremist is Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych, also a member of Svoboda, who believes that women should “lead the kind of lifestyle to avoid the risk of rape, including refraining from drinking alcohol and being in controversial company.” This is the philosophy underlying one of his “legal initiatives,” according to the Kyiv Post, “to ban all abortions, even for pregnancies that occurred during rape.”
The Svoboda party has tapped into Nazi symbolism including the “wolf’s angel“ rune, which resembles a swastika and was worn by members of the Waffen-SS, a panzer division that was declared a criminal organization at Nuremberg. A report from Tel-Aviv University describes the Svoboda party as “an extremist, right-wing, nationalist organization which emphasizes its identification with the ideology of German National Socialism.”
According to this BBC news clip two Svoboda parliamentarians in recent weeks posed for photos while “brandishing well-known far right numerology,” including the numbers 88 — the eighth letter of the alphabet — signifying “HH,” as in “Heil Hitler.” This all makes Hillary Clinton’s recent comments comparing Putin to Hitler appear patently absurd, as Stanley adeptly points out: “After all, in the eyes of many ethnic Russians, it is the Ukrainian nationalists — not Putin — who are the Nazis.”
Last week Per Anders Rudling from Lund University in Sweden, an expert on Ukrainian extremists, told Britain’s Channel 4 News: “A neo-fascist party like Svoboda getting the deputy prime minister position is news in its own right.” Well, except in the U.S.
Even more disconcerting has been the emergence of phone intercepts between high-ranking U.S. and Ukrainian officials which make it look as if the U.S. was basically, in the words of Princeton’s Stephen Cohen, “plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.” In other words, the U.S., in addition to providing moral support, may have paved the way for extremists to seize power in Kiev. Such a development would counter the American right’s condemnation of Obama for not “engaging” in the world. The real problem is actually the administration’s over-engagement in this case — as in meddling in the affairs of another state and trying to rearrange its domestic political machinery to suit Washington’s agenda.
This gambit has backfired in a number of ways. Not only has a neo-fascist-laden regime secured power in Kiev but it may have played the U.S. and its allies for fools by insinuating it would become part of the Western sphere when it really had no such designs. As Svoboda political council member Yury Noyevy baldly admitted: “The participation of Ukrainian nationalism and Svoboda in the process of EU [European Union] integration is a means to break our ties with Russia.”
Be they radical mujahideen or neo-fascists, Washington certainly has a penchant for bolstering shadowy forces, usually labeling them with risible euphemisms like “freedom fighters,” in order to satiate short-term geopolitical needs, despite said factions being inimical to America’s true long-term interests.

ISIL: In Iraq’s desert, mass grave horror beneath the dirt

AFP | (Video News Report) | – –

“The sinkhole that could be the largest mass grave in Iraq’s latest conflict is barely visible from the road, nothing more than a small depression behind a desert ridge near Mosul. The Islamic State group transformed the Khasfah into a “place of death”, using it as an execution site and a mass grave where they disposed of victims, according to local residents.”
Informed Comment (Juan Cole).

The New Cold War?

The most astonishing aspect of the post-election discourse on Russia is how little attention is paid to the risks of fueling a new Cold War, let alone of military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed powers. A different New Yorker article in December, by Eric Schlosser, described how many times the two countries came quite close to nuclear annihilation in the past, and how easy it is now to trigger a nuclear exchange merely by miscommunication or misperception, let alone active belligerence:

Today, the odds of a nuclear war being started by mistake are low—and yet the risk is growing, as the United States and Russia drift toward a new cold war. . . . The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict.

Constantly ratcheting up aggressive rhetoric and tension between Washington and Moscow is not a game. And yet it’s one that establishment Democrats – and their new allies in the war-loving wing of the GOP – are playing with reckless abandon, and with little to no apparent concern about the risks. They have re-created a climate in the U.S. where a desire for better relations with Russia triggers suspicions about one’s loyalties.

Glenn Greenwald @ TI.

Cosmic Secret!

G K Chesterton:

"The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage and an unfair disadvantage. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself. Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame. Whether we praise these things as natural to man or abuse them as artificial in nature, they remain in the same sense unique.”

Slavoj Žižek:

Is a “way of life” not precisely such a way of being a stranger on the earth? A specific “way of life” is not just composed of a set of abstract – Christian, Muslim – “values”; it is something embodied in a thick network of everyday practices: how we eat and drink, sing, make love, how we relate to authorities. We “are” our way of life: it is our second nature, which is why direct “education” is not able to change it. Something much more radical is needed, a kind of Brechtian “extraneation”, a deep existential experience by means of which it all of a sudden strikes us how stupidly meaningless and arbitrary our customs and rituals are – there is nothing natural in the way we embrace and kiss, in the way we wash ourselves, in the way we behave while eating…
The point is thus not to recognise ourselves in strangers, but to recognise a stranger in ourselves – therein resides the innermost dimension of European modernity. The recognition that we are all, each in our own way, weird lunatics, provides the only hope for a tolerable co-existence of different ways of life.

Wait, wut? Zionist Entity does Introspection!

Watchdog scolds Netanyahu over handling of 2014 Gaza war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was criticized on Tuesday by Israel's main government watchdog over what it said was a lack of preparation and cabinet consultation over a network of Hamas tunnels that confounded the military in the 2014 Gaza war.
Political commentators did not expect the report, released by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on the government's and military's handling of several aspects of the 50-day conflict, to seriously weaken the prime minister's grip on power.
But the findings pose another challenge for Netanyahu as he tries to maintain an image as an indispensable leader and important player on the international stage amid ongoing criminal investigations into suspected abuse of power, an allegation he rejects.
The long-awaited report accused Netanyahu and his defense and intelligence chiefs of failing, prior to the war, to make his security cabinet - which formulates strategies and approves military action - aware in a timely fashion of the strategic threat they knew the Hamas tunnel network presented.
"Significant and necessary information that the cabinet ministers required in order to make their best decisions ... was not brought before the ministers in a satisfactory manner in the discussions that preceded the (war)," the report said.
In response, Netanyahu said on Facebook that "the tunnel threat was presented in detail to the security cabinet in 13 separate sessions and was discussed in all its severity while examining all of the strategic and operational scenarios".
The report also pointed a finger at the Israeli military, saying it had failed to prepare a proper and detailed strategy to destroy the tunnels and had improvised ways to deal with them only as the fighting progressed.
Hamas fighters used the tunnel network to move between positions in the Gaza Strip and attack Israeli soldiers during the conflict and to mount cross-border raids into southern Israel.
Israel said its military engineers unearthed and destroyed 32 tunnels during the war. Israel has since begun construction of an underground barrier along the frontier with the Gaza Strip that is meant to block such passages, defense and political sources said.
According to Gaza health officials, 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in 50 days of fighting. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.
Eat less, READ MORE (Reuters)!

A South Korean Crook Behind Bars?

Another Enemy of the People bites the dust, it appears...

Prosecutors have indicted Samsung's de facto chief Lee Jae-yong on embezzlement linked to massive South Korean scandal.

The heir to the Samsung empire and four other top executives from the world's biggest smartphone maker have been indicted on multiple charges including bribery and embezzlement, South Korean prosecutors said.

"Special prosecutors today indicted Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong ... for bribery, embezzlement, hiding of assets overseas ... and perjury," said Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman for the team probing the corruption and power abuse scandal that has seen President Park Geun-hye impeached, on Tuesday.

"The potential penalties if this goes to trial, and he is found guilty, are severe," said Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Seoul. "He can get up to life in prison if embezzlement is found to be of a sufficient amount."

Lee was arrested on February 17 over his alleged role in the corruption scandal involving President Park, dealing a fresh blow to the technology giant and standard-bearer for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Samsung is suspected of providing tens of millions of dollars in money and favours to Park and her jailed friend Choi Soon-sil in exchange for government support of a merger deal between two Samsung affiliates in 2015.

The merger helped Lee, the billionaire vice chairman, promote a father-to-son transfer of leadership and wealth at the group.

Eat less, READ MORE!

Making Mordor Strong Again...

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.

On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015.

If Congress were to follow Trump’s blueprint, the U.S. military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The U.S. would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than 9 to 1. [my emph]

Alex Emmons @ TI.

Currently applying for citizenship in Little Mordor...

My daughter and moi are currently applying for British citizenship, as long-standing (20+ years) legal EU residents of Little Mordor.

Cost? £1700 a piece! The poor need not apply?

We will, among other Useful Things, be told to prove we speak Ingsoc, ROFLOL. Or as Thick Prince George would say: "I speak English!":

Thanks fer nuttin', fucktard Brexiteers!

David Horowitz: "beeeep, beeeep, Cognitive Malfunction Alert!"

Fascinating insight into how David Horowitz, former Leftist, owner of crapola site FrontPageMag became a Trump fanatic and wrote a bookywook about it too (small sample):
His new book, Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America, “a guide to fighting the opponents of the conservative restoration,” has been on Amazon’s best-seller list for weeks.
Among its singular contributions to our current political culture is that a prominent conservative intellectual now proposes Republicans take lessons in electoral strategy from Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a game plan until you punch them in the mouth.” From this bon mot Horowitz concludes that in order to win the struggle for America’s future, “conservatives must begin every confrontation by punching progressives in the mouth.” Elsewhere in the book, Horowitz writes: “Republicans must adhere to a strategy that begins with a punch in the mouth.”
Nutzies will be nutzies, of course.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Agnes Heller - On the Danger of Totalitarianism

Eat less and READ MORE on Agnes Heller.

Slavoj Žižek: What our fear of refugees says about Europe

The true question is not “are immigrants a real threat to Europe?”, but “what does this obsession with the immigrant threat tell us about the weakness of Europe?”

Jacques Lacan claimed that, even if a jealous husband's claim about his wife – that she sleeps around with other men – is true, his jealousy is still pathological. Why? The true question is “not is his jealousy well-grounded?”, but “why does he need jealousy to maintain his self-identity?”. Along the same lines, one could say that even if most of the Nazi claims about the Jews were true – they exploit Germans; they seduce German girls – which they were not, of course, their anti-Semitism would still be (and was) pathological, since it represses the true reason why the Nazis needed anti-Semitism in order to sustain their ideological position.

And is it not exactly the same with the growing fear of refugees and immigrants? To extrapolate to the extreme: even if most of our prejudices about them were proven to be true – they are hidden fundamentalist terrorists; they rape and steal – the paranoid talk about the immigrant threat is still an ideological pathology. It tells more about us, Europeans, than about immigrants. The true question is not “are immigrants a real threat to Europe?”, but “what does this obsession with the immigrant threat tell us about the weakness of Europe?”

There are two dimensions here which should be kept apart. One is the atmosphere of fear, of the struggle against the Islamization of Europe, which has its own obvious absurdities. Refugees who flee terror are equated with the terrorists they are escaping from. The obvious fact that there are terrorists, rapists, criminals etc, among the refugees, while the large majority are desperate people looking for a better life – in the same way that, among the refugees from the German Democratic Republic, there were also hidden Stasi agents – is given a paranoid twist. In this version, immigrants appear (or pretend) to be desperate refugees, while in reality they are the speahead of a new Islamic invasion of Europe. Above all, as is usually the case, the cause of problems which are immanent to today's global capitalism are projected onto an external intruder. A suspicious gaze always finds what it is looking for: “proof” is everywhere, even if half of it is soon proven to be fake.

Eat less and READ MORE!

Chris Hedges on Bannon, race and fascism

"Trump is stoking the darkest and most destructive strains of the American psyche. Congress, controlled by the Republicans, is unlikely to use impeachment powers to stop him. The courts are spineless subsidiaries of the corporate and security and surveillance state. The elites will not save us. If we fail to build mass protest movements, ones that cripple the ability to govern, we will be enslaved.

Sebastian Haffner (1907-1999) in his book “Defying Hitler” describes being a law clerk at the Prussian Supreme Court. The courthouse was raided in March 1933 by Nazi thugs. They grabbed the Jewish judges and lawyers and hauled them outside; never would the jurists return to their posts. A Jewish attorney, a former army captain who had been wounded five times and lost an eye fighting in World War I, resisted. He was beaten. “It had probably been his misfortune that he still remembered the tone to use with mutineers,” Haffner wrote.

“I put my head down over my work,” Haffner went on. “I read a few sentences mechanically: ‘The defendant’s claim that … is untrue, but irrelevant. …’ Just take no notice!”

A brown shirt approached him and asked: “Are you Aryan?

Haffner shot back, “Yes.”

“A moment too late I felt the shame, the defeat,” he wrote. “I had said ‘Yes! Well, in God’s name, I was indeed an ‘Aryan.’ I had not lied, I had allowed something much worse to happen. What a humiliation, to have answered the unjustified question as to whether I was ‘Aryan’ so easily, even if the fact was of no importance to me! What a disgrace to buy, with a reply, the right to stay with my documents in peace! I had been caught unawares, even now. I had failed my very first test.”

Haffner left the Kammergericht, Prussia’s highest state court, and stood outside.

“There was nothing to show that, as an institution, it has just collapsed,” he wrote. “There was also nothing about my appearance to show that I had just suffered a terrible reverse, a defeat that would be almost impossible to make good. A well-dressed young man walked down Potsdamer Street. There was nothing untoward about the scene. Business as usual, but in the air the approaching thunder of events to come.”"

Chris Hedges.

President of Mordor plans to give Moar Monies to Super-rich

President Trump will propose a federal budget that would significantly increase defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, an administration official said.

Such a People's Person!

RoW trembles a bit...

Chucky Schumer is pissed because he just wanted to give all the monies to his Uncle Bibi in the Zionist Entity...

WaPo analysis, well worth gander, IMO...

Dubya wades in...

The delusion continues: former President of Mordor Bushco lectures Vlad the Putin, on somfang:

I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.
One of the things I spent a lot of time doing was trying to convince [a] person like Vladimir Putin, for example, to accept the notion of a free press. It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.

STFU, George!


Unhappy to be stuck with you: "Mordor/Taliban with money" alliance

Salon asks a decent question, for once:

In late January, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the minister of defense, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the King Faisal Air Academy. On the occasion, the Saudis reportedly added to their fleet of warplanes a number of brand new F-15SAs. The new planes are a variant of the Boeing-manufactured F-15 fighter jets and are part of a $29.4 billion deal signed in late 2011 that includes 84 new F-15SAs and an additional 68 of the F-15S variant that will be upgraded.
It was a big purchase, but the Saudis were not done. Since 2014, Riyadh has placed orders for another $30 billion worth of American weapons, the bulk of which were requisitioned after Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen began in March 2015. The Saudis have also spent another $22 billion on weapons from the United Kingdom and France. The numbers are staggering, making the House of Saud the second largest importer of weapons in the world after India.
Recently, Intelligence Squared US hosted a debate on the motion that the special U.S.-Saudi relationship has outlived its usefulness. At the end of the discussion, which pitted two teams of two experts against each other, 56 percent of those in attendance were convinced that Saudi Arabia should remain a strategic ally. Based on weapons sales alone, Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly a strategic partner of — and effectively a jobs program for — the American defense industry. A more appropriate question for the event might have been, “Is Saudi Arabia a competent ally?”
A few years ago, the Saudis began rewriting their defense doctrine in response to what officials in Riyadh feared was a weakening American commitment to Saudi security. The Saudis had long expressed concerns to American interlocutors that with all the talk in Washington of “engagement” with Tehran going back to the George W. Bush era, the United States would seek to replace Saudi Arabia with Iran as its primary interlocutor in the Persian Gulf. The fact that former President Barack Obama did not support President Hosni Mubarak during Egypt’s January 2011 uprising, resisted direct American involvement in the conflict in Syria and mused out loud that the real threat to Saudi security was internal reinforced the idea in Riyadh that Washington was not just unreliable but had tilted in favor of Iran.
Eat less, READ MORE!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Denial is a river that runs through the DNC

Observes Doug @ TI:

The brilliance of the new DNC Dear Leader:
“Frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy, Vladimir Putin.”
It was either the Russians, the Illuminati or the Lizard people. I’m sure of it!
The Queen wuz robbed!

Music for our Times: Atrocity Exhibition

Leopold II: Genocidaire par Excellence

The sordid and little known (in the West) story of the Holocaust in the Congo:

After the Berlin Conference of 1884 the 905,000 square miles of the Belgian Congo [now the Democratic Republic of the Congo ] became the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium. His genocidal exploitation of the territory, particularly the rubber trade, caused many deaths and much suffering. Murder and mutilation were common.
Failure to meet the rubber collection quotas was punishable by death. The Force Publique were required to provide a hand of their victims as proof when they had shot and killed someone, as it was believed that they would otherwise use the munitions for hunting food. As a consequence, the rubber quotas were in part paid off in chopped-off hands. Sometimes the hands were collected by the soldiers of the Force Publique, sometimes by the villages themselves. There were even small wars where villages attacked neighbouring villages to gather hands, since their rubber quotas were too unrealistic to fill.
One junior white officer described a raid to punish a village that had protested. The white officer in command ‘ordered us to cut off the heads of the men and hang them on the village palisades … and to hang the women and the children on the palisade in the form of a cross.’ After seeing a Congolese person killed for the first time, a Danish missionary wrote: ‘The soldier said “Don’t take this to heart so much. They kill us if we don’t bring the rubber. The Commissioner has promised us if we have plenty of hands he will shorten our service.”‘
The baskets of severed hands, set down at the feet of the European post commanders, became the symbol of the Congo Free State. … The collection of hands became an end in itself. Force Publique soldiers brought them to the stations in place of rubber; they even went out to harvest them instead of rubber… They became a sort of currency. They came to be used to make up for shortfalls in rubber quotas, to replace… the people who were demanded for the forced labour gangs; and the Force Publique soldiers were paid their bonuses on the basis of how many hands they collected.
The Congo was a playground for sadists. Rene de Permentier was an officer in the Force Publique in the 1890s. He had all the trees and bushes around his house cut down so he could shoot at passersby. He had women prisoners sweep a courtyard. If he then found a leaf in the courtyard he would have a dozen of them beheaded. If forest paths were not well maintained he would order a child killed in the nearest village.
In ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’ Adam Hochschild estimates that over ten million Congolese died during the years that Leopold and the Belgian Government controlled the country. It is likely that more people died in this Belgian holocaust than died in Hitler’s, but no one was ever brought to book and the crime is largely unknown now. Thousands of Belgians served in the Congo and the crimes that took place there were hardly less known to the Belgian population than Hitler’s were to ordinary Germans.
None of the European colonial powers have an enviable record but Belgium’s was easily the worst. So much for the ‘Plucky Little Belgium’ that the British were urged to defend in World War One. There is currently a fuss about France’s recognition of the Turkey’s Armenian genocide. Belgium still refuses to acknowledge its own crimes.
The Belgians left the country in such a state that after independence many millions more died in a series of wars and because of government incompetence. The murder of Lumumba and approximately 100,000 deaths was followed by the disastrous government of Mobutu. The First Congo War of 1996-98 was followed by the Second Congo War [1998-2003]. This is considered the deadliest war in modern African history. The war killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making it the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Again, largely unknown in the West.
In 1908, after an international outcry, Leopold was forced to hand over his territory to the Belgian Government. They controlled the Congo until independence in 1959. The number of murders diminished but mutilations and exploitation continued.

We are turning into Robo Sapien (Die Krupps)

This vid is so extraordinary I warmly recommend watching it in full screen mode. Enjoy!

Für Elly...

My daughter Elly bought me a The War on Drugs CD, for t'Winterval 2016. Brilliant!

How we were:"Gerda, be calm, Hillary might still pull it out."

DIE KRUPPS - "Nazis Auf Speed"

H/T Farmer

Bonus track: 'Schmutzfabrik"

Dummocrats: Comment of the Week

On sidelining Keith Ellison, sharp tongue 'Benito Mussolini' observes deadpan:

This is an encouraging sign for the Democratic Party. Hopefully Mr. Perez will soon announce that Mrs. Clinton has been selected as the party’s nominee for 2020 (although I realize they still need to hold some primaries and caucuses to show their respect for the democratic process before the super delegates select Mrs. Clinton).
It is true that Americans made a dreadful mistake last November. However, the Democratic party has wisely decided that Americans will return to their senses before the next election. The key thing is not to make any policy changes to their existing platform, so as not to scare away corporate donors who may be nervous about the party’s left wing. The party, however, has demonstrated that wing is securely under control by creating the fictitious position of DNC Deputy Chair to keep it occupied.
Ms. Naomi Klein tweeted yesterday, ‘What do you call it when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? Oh yeah: the Democratic Party’. This is a little unfair. Mrs. Clinton has promised not to set up her own e-mail server and the DNC realizes they made a mistake by allowing any challengers to Mrs. Clinton to enter the race. So they have learned their lesson and the results next time could be completely different.

King Hussein of Jordan: Survival of a dynasty

Two parter on King Hussein of Jordan, the Palestinians and the West. Part 1:

A Black Colonialist and Tyrant - Mugabwe's bufftday

There were dancers, musicians, singers and flag-waving students – and, astonishingly, a break in the belts of rain that had been sweeping in across the sodden plains from the Matopo hills for days.
On the podium raised above a muddy school sports field in south-west Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe stepped up to the microphone. Wearing a white shirt, black tie, black cowboy hat and a jacket covered in his own portrait, Mugabe, in power since 1980, stood to thank his supporters for joining him to celebrate last week’s 93rd birthday which was, he said, “yet another chapter in my life”.
Yet if the tens of thousands of government supporters sent into Bulawayo city in the south-west of the former British colony to hear their leader speak were expecting his rousing rhetoric or trademark jokes, they were to be disappointed.
At the beginning of a sombre hour-long speech, delivered in a firm if halting voice, Mugabe described his life as “a long, long journey … a journey with its own joys [and] sorrows”, and spoke of his relatives who had died before him.
“When I look back I wonder why I have remained so long alone and alive. I cannot answer that, but I think sometimes I hear a silent voice saying … ‘each man, each woman, has a mission to fulfil in this world …’ I thank the Lord and say, I accept the mission,” Mugabe said to faint applause.
For loyalists, the dozens of marquees, attendance of hundreds of senior officials, multi-course feast and a vast 93kg birthday cake were barely adequate to mark the occasion. “We value our president’s birthday in a big way, just like many Christians value the birth of Jesus Christ,” Kudzi Chipang, Zanu-PF secretary for youth affairs, told NewsDay, a local newspaper.
Yet the veteran ruler, who in 2013 led his Zanu-PF party to an election victory amid widespread claims of vote-rigging, has given no indication that he will stand down before elections due next year. “You are saying I should stay, so we will be together,” said Mugabe during his speech on Saturday.
Observers say that, despite his increasingly evident frailty, Mugabe’s authority is intact. “There has clearly been some withering of his powers, but he remains the most authoritative figure, and both the party and the government wait on his decisions. He is still the boss, even if there is obviously a growing impatience … about what happens when he is gone,” said Dr Knox Chitiyo, an expert on Zimbabwe at the Chatham House thinktank in London.

Cherchez la femme:

There are two main contenders for succession, both on the stage on Saturday. One is Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has a reputation for extravagance and fierce verbal attacks on rivals. Earlier this month Grace, 51, promised that she would push Mugabe in a wheelchair if needed, so he could campaign in the coming presidential polls, and suggested that Mugabe could be elected even if “nature claimed him” before the polls.
The president last week described his wife as “a very strong character” who was “very much accepted by the people”. On Saturday she told the crowd that Zimbabwe was “blessed to have Comrade Robert Mugabe as the leader of our country and the leader of our revolutionary party”.
Her rival is the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Earlier this year Mnangagwa, 70, posted a picture of himself with a mug bearing the slogan “I’m the Boss”, prompting speculation that he was preparing a bid to oust the president or had already been tipped for the top post. However, opponents of Mnangagwa, a veteran of the bush war which brought Mugabe to power, say he would not have sufficient legitimacy to either quell dissent or rehabilitate the nation on the world stage.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Nelson's Carribean Hellhole: How Empire ate its own Children (again!)

Human history is one of seeking profits by rulers at any human cost. Sam Willis' excellent Beeb 4 doc on the subject of the Empire's Fleet in Antigua's aptly named English Harbour shows again that it wasn't just imported slave labour that paid with their lives for the affluence of Britain's ruling class: British navvies did so too.

Watch it here or remain terminally ignorant forever.

Nostalgia: Hard Left Pop Iconography

The Venn diagram dynamics of the lyrics show 'intersectionality' (Cough!) with some religious texts (Humanism meets God):

We must play our lives like soldiers in the field The life is short I'm running faster all the time Strength and beauty destined to decay
So cut the rose in full bloom 'Til the fearless come and the act is done
A love like blood A love like blood 'Til the fearless come and the act is done
A love like blood A love like blood
Everyday through all frustration and despair
Love and hate fight with burning hearts 'Til legends live and man is god again
And self-preservation rules the day no more We must dream of promised lands and fields That's never fade in season As we move towards no end We learn to die Red tears are shed on gray 'Til the fearless come and the act is done
'Til the fearless come and the act is done

Party of $$$Zion: pro-Palestinians need not apply!

The Centrist wing of the One Party with the Two Wings strikes again (or: Ziowankers will be Ziowankers).
MINNESOTA DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON lost his bid to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel.
Instead, the majority of the DNC’s voting members chose former labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the party. After two rounds of voting in Atlanta, Perez netted 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.
Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. One of the speakers who introduced his nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison, also works as a corporate lobbyist for the D.C.-based Podesta Group. After neither candidate hit a majority of votes in the first round of voting, Harrison was on the floor, whipping votes for Perez.
Ellison — a black man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and the first Muslim elected to Congress — earned initial support from many Democrats until a strong backlash from the Obama and Clinton camps and prominent pro-Israeli activists.
Zaid Jilani @ The Intercept.

Old Musix for a New Cold War

"Click, click, drum. World War something..."

Why that monkey washes his balls in my whiskey...

Nah, I don't know what that means either.

H/T Thersites

Trumpian Islamist Threat Inflation

Five reasons why Agent Orange's madcap scheme is counter-strategic:

1: The Balance of Power Is Overwhelmingly in Our Favor. Let’s start with some good old-fashioned power politics. Imagine for the moment that all of Islam was in fact united in an effort to overwhelm the United States and the rest of the West. If they really were united, do the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have the capacity to do so? Hardly.

There are 47 Muslim-majority countries in the world. If you add all of their economies together, they have a combined GDP of slightly more than $5 trillion. That sounds like a lot, but remember that the United States has a GDP of more than $17 trillion all by itself and so does the European Union. In terms of raw economic power, in short, the “West” has this fictitious coalition of Muslim states out-matched from the start.

The imbalance is even more striking when it comes to military capability. This same imaginary coalition of Muslim-majority countries spent roughly $270 billion on defense last year, and if you take out U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia ($87 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($22 billion), the number drops to less than $200 billion. By contrast, the United States alone spent roughly $600 billion — more than twice as much — and that’s not counting its various allies like the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, or others.

But these raw figures on defense spending greatly understate the West’s advantage. The entire Muslim world produces no indigenous advanced combat aircraft (though Turkey produces some U.S.-designed F-16s under license) and no indigenously designed modern battle tanks (though Pakistan makes a modified Chinese tank and Turkey is working on one of its own). The navies of the Muslim world have no major surface combatants larger than a frigate (though Iran is reportedly building a single destroyer), no aircraft carriers, no long-range bombers, and no nuclear submarines. Indeed, the power projection capabilities of all of these states are extremely limited. And to the extent that these states have much modern military power, it is because the United States, France, the U.K., China and others have been willing to sell or license advanced weaponry, for various strategic reasons of their own. Yet Saudi Arabia’s unimpressive performance in its recent intervention in Yemen suggests that the Muslim world’s capacity to project power even short distances is quite modest.

Thus, even if one started with the wholly unrealistic assumption that the Muslim world is a single unified movement, it’s much, much, much weaker than we are. Maybe that explains why foreign powers have intervened in Muslim-majority countries repeatedly over the past couple of centuries, while the reverse hasn’t occurred since the siege of Vienna in 1529. Not once. It wasn’t Egypt that invaded France in 1798; Saddam Hussein didn’t send a mighty expeditionary force around the world and up the Potomac to occupy Washington and depose George W. Bush in 2003; and Muammar al-Qaddafi didn’t order his air force to bomb Paris in order to oust Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011. Surely this one-sided history tells you something about the relative power of Western states and those from the Islamic world.

2. Islam Is, in Fact, Deeply Divided. From time immemorial, threat inflators like Bannon & Co. have portrayed adversaries as part of some grand unified coalition. Remember the “communist monolith” or the “axis of evil?” Today, fearmongers use phrases like “Islamofascism” or “radical Islam” to imply that our enemies form a tightly integrated and centrally directed movement working tirelessly to bring us to our knees.

But in reality, the Islamic world is more disunited today than at any time in recent memory. It is divided among many different states, of course, and many of those states (e.g., Iran and Saudi Arabia, or Turkey and Syria) don’t get along. There are vast geographic and cultural differences between Indonesia and countries like Yemen or Morocco or Saudi Arabia. There’s also the core division between the Sunnis and the Shiites, not to mention a number of other minor schisms between various Islamic offshoots. And let’s not forget the sometimes-bitter rivalries within the jihadi movement itself, both across the globe and within particular countries. Just look at all the radical groups who hate the Islamic State, and all the jihadis whom the Islamic State regards as heretics because they don’t embrace its full ideology.

These divisions do not mean extremists pose no danger at all, of course, but Bannon’s specter of a rising Islamic tide that threatens to overwhelm us is pure fantasy. Instead of treating all of Islam as a threat — which might eventually unite more of them against us — the smart move is to play “divide-and-conquer.” But that means recognizing that the danger we face is not a hostile “civilization” or an entire religion, but rather just a small number of extremists who are unrepresentative of the larger cultural category (and opposed by most of it). To beat them, we want the rest of the Muslim world on our side.

3: Terrorism Is Just Not That Big a Threat. Really. We live in a world where lots of bad things can happen. You might get into a car accident. You could get cancer. You could mishandle a power tool and injure yourself severely. You may fall off a ladder, slip in a bathtub, or be in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up stopping a stray bullet. Or maybe, just maybe, you might find yourself imperiled by a radical Islamic extremist./

You wouldn’t know it if you listened to Trump, to CNN, to Fox News, or to most of our politicians, but that last danger is miniscule. Not zero, but really, really small. We’ve been obsessed with terrorism ever since 9/11 but the reality is that the risk it poses is way, way, way down the list of possible harms that might befall us.

For example, based on the evidence since 9/11 (and including that attack), the likelihood an American will be killed by a terrorist is less than 1 in 3 million per year, and the lifetime risk is about 1 in 45,000. That’s pretty damn good odds: You are much more likely to die from being struck by lightning, falling out of bed, a heat wave, or accidentally choking on food. But don’t expect Trump, Bannon, Flynn, Gorka, Gaffney, or any of the well-compensated “terrorism experts” to highlight this fact, because their livelihoods and their ability to seize more and more power depends on keeping you very, very scared. And don’t expect the media to downplay the danger either, because hyping terrorism whenever it does occur is a good way to get your eyeballs glued to the screen. (Among other things, this is why Trump’s recent statements suggesting terrorism was being “underreported” are so absurd.)

In some ways, in fact, terrorism remains the perfect bogeyman. It’s easy to hype the threat, and to convince people to worry about random dangers over which they have little or no control. Unscrupulous politicians have long understood that you can get a lot of leeway when the people are scared and craving protection, and it’s pretty clear that Trump and Bannon see this tactic as the ideal way to retain public support (and to consolidate more presidential power), and the specter of terrorism serves well because it scares people but isn’t actually an existential threat that might require a serious, sensible, strategic, and well-thought response. For would-be authoritarians, “terrorism” is a gift that just keeps giving.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying the danger is zero or that sensible precautionary measures should not be taken. But to believe that ragtag radicals like al Qaeda or the Islamic State constitute a threat on a par with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or some of the serious opponents the United States has faced in the past is silly. Frankly, it makes me question the guts, steadiness, and judgment of some of our present leaders, if they are so easily spooked by such weak adversaries. Let’s hope these fraidy-cats never have to deal with a truly formidable foe.

4: “Creeping Sharia” Is a Fairy Tale. Die-hard Islamophobes have a fallback argument: The danger isn’t an actual military attack or a Muslim invasion of America or Europe. Rather, the danger is the slow infiltration of our society by “foreigners” who refuse to assimilate and who will eventually try to impose their weird and alien values on us. One sees this argument in the right-wing myth of “creeping Sharia,” based on trumped-up (pun intended) stories about “Sharia courts” and other alleged incidents where diabolical Muslim infiltrators have tried to pollute our pristine Constitution with their religiously inspired dogma. If we’re not ceaselessly vigilant, we are told, someday our daughters will be wearing hijabs and we’ll all be praying to Mecca.

Seriously, this anxiety almost sounds right out of Dr. Strangelove, and especially Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper’s rants about fluoridation and the need to protect our “precious bodily fluids.” To repeat: There is simply no evidence of “creeping Sharia” here in the United States, and no risk of it occurring in the future. Not only do we still have formal separation of church and state here (at least so far!), the number of Muslims in the United States remains tiny. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, there are only 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States, a mere 1 percent of the population. That percentage might double by 2050 to a vast, enormous, dangerous, and overwhelming 2 percent. Being a tiny minority makes them ideal victims for ambitious power-seekers, but hardly a threat to our way of life.

5: The “Clash of Civilizations” Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. The final reason to reject Bannon and company’s depiction of a vast and looming Muslim threat to us is that this worldview encourages us to act in ways that make the problem worse instead of better. As George Kennan wisely observed in 1947, “It is an undeniable privilege of every man to prove himself right in the thesis that the world is his enemy; for if he reiterates it frequently enough and makes it the background of his conduct he is bound eventually to be right.” If U.S. leaders keep demonizing an entire religion, impose ill-considered bans on Muslim refugees, and most important of all, continue to intervene throughout the Arab and Islamic world with military force, they will convince more and more people that Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were right when they claimed the West had “declared war” on their religion.

Despite the mountain of evidence that shows that anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is overwhelmingly a response to U.S. policy (and not because they “hate our freedoms”), people like Bannon, Gaffney, and their ilk want us to double down on the same policies that have inspired extremists since the 1950s and especially since the formation of al Qaeda. Frankly, given how often we’ve used our superior power to interfere in these countries, it’s somewhat surprising the reaction has been as modest and manageable as it is. Ask yourself how Americans might react if a powerful foreign country had repeatedly bombed the continental United States with aircraft and drones, or invaded, toppled our government, and then left chaos in their wake. Do you think a few patriotic Americans might be tempted to try for some payback?

My point is not to defend terrorism — far from it, in fact — but rather to remind us that it didn’t just come out of nowhere, and it isn’t solely a reaction to the political and social problems of the Muslim world itself. But if you’d like to encourage more of it, then by all means embrace the Bannon playbook.

Stephen Walt in FP.

Start Vaping, Stop Smoking, Stop Committing Slow and Expensive Suicide!

4 weeks ago I stopped buying the lethal stinky sticks and haven't touched a fag since. I switched to electronic vaping.
The Advantages of evaping with respect to dirty smoking (do I really need to?):

* Health
* Save tons of $$$
* Don't stink your environment out
* Don't burn your fingers
* Don't bury your house in ashes
* Don't cover your soft furnishings in tar

Real information from 'Planet of the Vapes' forum

How Obama screwed over the LGBT community

Long ago, there was a time when Obama wasn’t heralded as the guardian of the gays. I think it was way back in… 2008. See, Obama flipped on the issue of gay marriage in Hillary-esque fashion (read FLASHBACK: Hillary Clinton Opposed Gay Marriage Forever… Until Like, Yesterday).

He credits his flip-floppiness to an evolution of sorts – you know, like becoming a homosapien sans the sapien. Progress. After all, going from “marriage is between a man and a woman,” to “Make America Gay Again.” doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, the White House may be a bastion of rainbowed gayness now. But it appears Obama’s still sore over the period of his life when he was on the outs with the gays. In fact, he has a lot to say on the matter…/

In a recent interview with The Atlantic… President Barack Obama, who in 2008 said he was “not in favor of gay marriage,” expressed frustration with the “gay activists,” who he says pestered him throughout the presidency. Obama criticized the lack of “awareness” among LGBT activists, suggesting that both they and immigration reform activists would not have criticized him if they had done “sufficient homework” on the issues they were protesting, adding later those activists made him feel “a little bit hurt.” “During the course of that year… when we were trying to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, probably every speech I gave, I’d have gay activists just screaming at me during rallies. And you just say, ‘Come one, man… In what sense do you think that you yelling at me here is going to advance your cause?'”
Now read the rest at LouderWithCrowder.

Lest We Forget: Nobel Peace Prize Winner O'Bomba's Full Drone Wars Record!

The Bureau collects data on US strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen from government, military and intelligence officials, and from credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. We collect and present quantitative data on strikes and casualty estimates in spreadsheets, and qualitative data in narrative timelines. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. The information contained in the spreadsheets and timelines represents our best estimates.
Get yer data here, Mordorian subjects!

The VLA: When I am Through With You...

... there won't be anything left...

"Golden Oldie!"

Prison Planet: US private prison program rebooted by Trump administration

So Mr Coolio B.H.OBomba actually attempted to do something good and the Orange King of Darkness can't leave it alone!

The Trump administration has scrapped Barack Obama’s program of ending the justice department’s use of private prisons, embracing an industry that has come under sharp criticism from civil rights advocates.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, on Thursday rescinded a six-month-old directive for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to wind down contracts with prison companies, claiming that the measure had “impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.

“Therefore, I direct the bureau to return to its previous approach,” Sessions said in his memo to Thomas Kane, the bureau’s acting director.

The move prompted spikes in the share prices of the major for-profit prison corporations, companies which contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s presidential election campaign and inauguration funds.

In August last year a scathing audit carried out by the justice department’s independent watchdog found that private prisons controlled by the department’s bureau of prisons were far less safe and more punitive than comparable facilities managed directly by the government.

The review prompted the justice department to commit to ending the use of these 12 facilities, known as “criminal alien requirement prisons”, which are mostly used to incarcerate individuals convicted of violating federal immigration law. Last year the prisons housed about 22,000 people at an annual cost of $600m.


Friday, 24 February 2017

The dystopian undertow of Hillary Clinton’s elite feminism

As the botched chances and bitter disappointments stacked up late into the fateful night of November 8, 2016, the ceiling at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan was a soaring collateral casualty. Made of steel-reinforced transparent glass and pitched 150 feet above an expansive atrium, the ceiling had been promised a starring role in Hillary Clinton’s victory speech. It was the reason Clinton’s staff had chosen the Javits Center, a hulking, I. M. Pei & Partners–designed convention cavern, for her blowout election-night bash. The first female president-elect of the United States was to sail into the atrium at some reasonable hour, preferably before midnight EST. She would then mount the stage, gesture triumphantly above her, and declare the glass ceiling figuratively shattered. Instead, as midnight came and went, Clinton huddled with advisers in a nearby hotel room, watching results roll in that, over at CNN, had Wolf Blitzer and his gobsmacked band of pundits picking their jaws up off the floor. Clinton never made it to her party, and the ceiling never got its cameo. Her supporters, some sporting gender-proud slogans on their T-shirts (“Nasty women vote”; “It’s a man’s world, but a woman should run it”) milled dejectedly around the atrium, looking not up at the ceiling, but down at their phones.

How, exactly, had this carefully choreographed moment of executive feminist triumph come so disastrously undone, after so much concerted mobilization of Democratic clout and expert planning and largesse over the past two years? To get to the bottom of this catastrophe, we must begin with the many elite-engineered catastrophes that have gone into Hillary Clinton’s storied résumé. And this requires some careful acts of historical reconstruction, since there is so much Hillary Clinton wanted us to forget. There was her role in helping to bring about the “end of welfare as we know it,” and the disastrous effects of that policy reversal on the lives of the poor. There was the 1994 Crime Bill, which she promoted from the bully pulpit of her historic mid-nineties “co-presidency,” and which coincided with an equally historic rise in mass incarceration—together with that now-infamous clip of her maligning black youth as “superpredators.” There was that ridiculous lie about sniper fire in Bosnia. And there were, of course, the entirely uncontrollable stories about her husband’s multiple dalliances.

Still, Clinton and her liberal feminist supporters wanted us to remember one key moment from that same era: her speech at the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in China. Indeed, her words from that event were available for purchase, on a T-shirt designed by Tory Burch: “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.”/

This celebrated admonition to the Deng Xiaoping regime had a special meaning for Hillary Clinton back in 1995. Three years into her husband’s presidency—and one year after the GOP dramatically recaptured majorities in both houses of Congress—she was struggling with criticism of the activist role she’d played in drafting policy and setting political objectives for Bill Clinton’s White House. So the rhetorical challenge for Hillary Clinton in Beijing was to hit all the right notes in front of an entirely different audience, one assembled by the leading organization of the human rights–industrial complex. By some accounts, she succeeded. Her speech helped to reinforce her Republican-branded image as a meddlesome, unelected do-gooder, even as it went on to win her plaudits among liberal women and the mainstream press.

The speech seemed radical because she made it in a country that was not yet recognized on the world stage as a superpower and that had, in Western eyes, a long history of oppression of women and girls. In reality, however, Clinton’s oration was entirely conventional: she centered women solidly within their families, as wives, mothers, or caretakers. When she used the word “abortion,” it was not to advance the progressive causes of reproductive choice and expanded economic agency for women; instead, Clinton lamented that women were being “forced to have abortions or [were] being sterilized against their will.” Still, the newsworthy, and putatively courageous, legacy of the Beijing trip was that T-shirt-ready slogan about the universal nature of women’s rights.

Over the ensuing two decades, Clinton’s feminist credentials would come under scrutiny, especially as women—liberal and conservative alike—questioned her allegiance to a husband whose affairs and other sexual exploits were apparently legion. Others would question a feminism that eviscerated income supports and other benefits for the neediest women and children. She would go on to carve out her own formal political career, first as the junior senator from New York, then as a presidential contender and Secretary of State, and then as a harshly rebuffed major-party presidential nominee./

Throughout all her travails in the public eye, Clinton repeatedly returned to the sentiments of that Beijing speech. As detractors continued to question one or another entry in her policy portfolio, from her arch-interventionist foreign policy to her robust alliance with Wall Street, the speech was transformed into a kind of talismanic reminder that her own core feminist convictions were unassailable. Indeed, the hypnotic appeal of the Clinton image as a rebuker of Chinese patriarchy was so powerful that she retooled it in a speech she made as Secretary of State to mark International Human Rights Day in 2011 in Geneva.

For the most part, this new speech followed the rhetorical design of the earlier one: a list of abstract principles affirming the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere. But in striking contrast to the stirring sloganeering of the Beijing oration, in Geneva the Secretary of State both reached for a rather startling level of specific detail and maintained a tone that was, considering the embattled status of LGBT citizens across the globe, almost aggressively subdued. Here’s the relevant passage:

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already under way at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

It was unclear on whose authority Obama and Clinton would “combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct” and what was meant when she said they would “respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.”

But in 2011 the country was only four years away from legalizing gay marriage, gays and lesbians were no longer an unseen population but a powerful economic and political force, and no one—except a few of us on the radical queer left—questioned Clinton’s ominous words that plainly hinted at military retaliation. Clinton was newly enshrined as a hero of gays and lesbians everywhere.

We might ascribe Clinton’s changes in attitude to simple political calculation. Throughout her career, she tacked alongside prevailing consensus thinking: that, indeed, is how the former children’s rights attorney wound up colluding in the destruction of welfare and deriding teens of color as superpredators. (Similarly, her leaked remarks to her corporate bosses at Goldman Sachs show her endorsing the need for savvy politicos to maintain a private and a public side to every position—wisdom she attributed, fittingly enough, to liberal piety-monger Steven Spielberg’s epic cinematic celebration of backroom legislative fixing, Lincoln.) Clinton’s record on gay rights was convoluted, as PolitiFact and other fact-checkers have shown. Following her several positions over three decades was a bit like trying to learn a complicated dance step, so often did she shift, turn, and pirouette.

But crass political opportunism does not, by itself, explain Clinton’s rather dizzying dance of righteous political renewal. No, if we home in on the salience of the “rights” phrasing throughout her reformist career, we can espy a curious background logic at work here. Clinton’s positions changed, and subtly recombined, against the backdrop of a shifting political and cultural landscape—one in which “human rights” went from meaning the rights of women and children or the fairly straightforward mandate to pay for wells, roads, and schools to a larger agenda that would incorporate empire-building in a neoliberal age.

Over the decades since Clinton gave her speech, the United States in particular has seen the steady ascent of a brand of liberal feminism far more invested in ensuring that a female candidate like her propel herself through the last great glass ceiling of the presidency than in mobilizing non-elite activism at the grassroots. Increasingly, too, the rise of liberal feminism has meant a surge in carceral solutions to the issues facing women. Over and over, liberal feminists have pushed for longer incarceration sentences, whether in tackling matters like sexual harassment and assault or—disastrously for marginalized women in particular—invented offenses like “feticide.”

On campuses, for instance, instead of calling for greater awareness of how the neoliberal university thrives on the vulnerability of students, male or female, carceral feminists have chosen to expand educational institutions’ ability to surveil and punish students and even female faculty, like Laura Kipnis, accused of Title IX harassment. In response to the supposed rise of sex trafficking (an issue that has been needlessly hyped as a grave danger, despite evidence to the contrary, as sex-work activists like Laura Agustín have indicated), liberal feminists have been corralled into supporting laws that make it impossible for undocumented female migrants to gain any assistance from the state unless they first accuse the people who helped them enter the United States of trafficking. All of this has meant that liberal feminism is, by and large, also a carceral feminism: wedded to the idea that the only way to protect and preserve the rights of women is to turn to the prison–industrial complex as the final enforcer of gender justice.

The Mommy State

On September 11, 2001, we saw two things begin at once: a radical new phase in the consolidation of the national-security and surveillance state; and a newly self-confident, morally assured imperialist mission for the U.S. military. This included the invocation of warmaking as a glorified sort of human-rights crusade—as when Laura Bush famously praised the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan for protecting its women from the Taliban./

By 2008, when Clinton made her first run at the presidency, the nation—together with most of America’s global allies—was firmly settled into a new world-conquering consensus that Chase Madar has usefully called the “weaponization of human rights.” A second front in this weaponization offensive has come courtesy of our celebrity industry. We’ve witnessed, over the first decades of the millennium, the emergence of a new breed of celebrity, one who makes imperial expansion in the guise of humanitarian efforts look charitable and adventurous and, well, glamorous. Think Samantha Power, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Bono—or really, any number of the Clinton campaign’s A-list major donors. On the social front, the advent of a supposedly “post-racial” world in the wake of Barack Obama’s historic 2008 election coincided with the rise of a newly professionalized sphere of “social justice” activism—which now emphatically includes the increasingly powerful LGBT community. From the 1990s onward, the mainstream of this community shifted course, trading the urgent exigencies of AIDS and health care activism for a curiously bellicose and socially conservative agenda. Its key demands were all in keeping with the neoliberal expansion of the American empire: hate crime legislation (which would increase the purview of the prison–industrial complex); the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which would free gays to serve in an imperialist military); and gay marriage (which would in no way serve to challenge marriage’s privatizing stranglehold on health care and other rights).

The causes behind this shift were varied and complex, and included a drive toward respectability. The new generation of gay political leaders shared a manifest desire to be seated at the same table as powerful straight elites. To be fair, even as these new leaders abandoned the loud and angry anti-state activism of prior years, they took quiet aim at discriminatory practices—and they began to reckon with the legacy of the AIDS crisis, which had depleted political energy by eliminating, quite literally, bodies involved in the fight. With something of a political and cultural vacuum developing in the traditional centers of gay activism, and a rising tide of comfortable, neoliberal conservatism, the times were ripe for the ascension of a more affluent gay and lesbian community, one that sought to take its place alongside the existing moneyed elite.

Now read the end at The Baffler.

Liberal snowflakes: STOP rising to Milo Yiannopoulos' bait!

Professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos, self-loathing Jew/Cafflick, gay-homophobe and former Breitfart editor, of "the alt-right antisemites are only in it for the LULZ" infamy (a stance that made Daily Stormer Andrew Anglin nearly self-combust!), has suffered a minor reversal of fortune, we don't need to get into here at the Mordor Associated Press.

Above he's with general toady, Islamophobe and gasbag Bill Maher and you know what: Milo's quite funny. But more importantly: HE'S RIGHT! Liberals: STOP being SNOWFLAKES and IGNORE this nihilistic NUT! Period!

Zionist snotball billionaire Haim Saban on Keith Ellison

BUT THERE’S AN uglier and tawdrier aspect to this. Just over two weeks after Ellison announced, the largest single funder of both the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign — the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban — launched an incredibly toxic attack on Ellison, designed to signal his veto. “He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” pronounced Saban about the African-American Muslim congressman, adding: “Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”
Saban has a long history not only of fanatical support for Israel — “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel,” he told the New York Times in 2004 about himself — but also an ugly track record of animus toward Muslims. As The Forward gently put it, he is prone to “a bit of anti-Muslim bigotry,” including when he said Muslims deserve “more scrutiny” and “also called for profiling and broader surveillance.” In 2014, he teamed up with right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson to push a pro-Israel agenda. In that notorious NYT profile, he attacked the ACLU for opposing Bush/Cheney civil liberties assaults and said: “On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk.”
There’s no evidence that Saban’s attack on Ellison is what motivated the White House to recruit an opponent. But one would have to be indescribably naïve about the ways of Washington to believe that such a vicious denunciation by one of the party’s most influential billionaire funders had no effect at all.
The DNC headquarters was built with Saban’s largesse: He donated $7 million to build that building, and he previously served as chairman of the party’s capital-expenditure campaign. Here’s how Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll, in a November profile, described the influence Saban wields within elite Democratic circles
Glenn Greenwald @ The Intercept.


How about that? PewDiePie roasts the Wall Street (ahem!) Journal

Too funny for words. And if you don't 'get it', you're a schmuck, baby!


In this excellent The New Yorker essay (found via The Baffler) we get a sense that the Murican super-rich are starting to crap themselves. There's definitely a whiff of pitchforks in the air, nowadays...

But this lengthy text is about so much more than that:
Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.
Last spring, as the Presidential campaign exposed increasingly toxic divisions in America, Antonio García Martínez, a forty-year-old former Facebook product manager living in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” he told me. The author of “Chaos Monkeys,” an acerbic Silicon Valley memoir, García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.” Once he started telling peers in the Bay Area about his “little island project,” they came “out of the woodwork” to describe their own preparations, he said. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”
Johnson wishes that the wealthy would adopt a greater “spirit of stewardship,” an openness to policy change that could include, for instance, a more aggressive tax on inheritance. “Twenty-five hedge-fund managers make more money than all of the kindergarten teachers in America combined,” he said. [my emph.] “Being one of those twenty-five doesn’t feel good. I think they’ve developed a heightened sensitivity.” The gap is widening further. In December, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a new analysis, by the economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, which found that half of American adults have been “completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s.” Approximately a hundred and seventeen million people earn, on average, the same income that they did in 1980, while the typical income for the top one per cent has nearly tripled. That gap is comparable to the gap between average incomes in the U.S. and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the authors wrote.
Johnson said, “If we had a more equal distribution of income, and much more money and energy going into public school systems, parks and recreation, the arts, and health care, it could take an awful lot of sting out of society. We’ve largely dismantled those things.”
Read all of it here!

Putin's Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent

Except he's impotent *.

The Grauniad's Keith Gessen on the New Red Scare and threat inflation. In plain English: Putinmania baloney!

(*) according to PropOrNot.

Zionist wanker Nick Cohen laps it all up though: no doubt still pining about how his gal lost to Agent Orange.

Palantir targeted WikiLeaks/Glenn Greenwald

Peter Thiel's spook software suite Palantir 3.0, was used to target free journalists in Murica. Full story here.

Much more on Palantir, at The Intercept, so hurry over there now!

All the News is Fake!

Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

China 1949 to early 1960s
Albania 1949-53
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
Syria 1956-7
Egypt 1957
Indonesia 1957-8
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
France 1965
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Zaire 1975
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Seychelles 1979-81
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Suriname 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Libya 1980s
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Iraq 1991
Afghanistan 1980s *
Somalia 1993
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Honduras 2009
Libya 2011 *
Syria 2012
Ukraine 2014 *

Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?

A: Because there’s no American embassy there.


Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich

Jonathan Pie on Socialism (for beginners and Muricans)

Fake hack Jonathan Pie laughingly tells his truth about "soshalism".

Take heed, America, it might yet come to your shores. Halleluyah, brothers and sisters!!

The FBI's Secret Rules @ The Intercept

President Trump has inherited a vast domestic intelligence agency with extraordinary secret powers. A cache of documents offers a rare window into the FBI’s quiet expansion since 9/11.

ONLY at The Intercept:


Drop EVERYTHING and start wising up NOW!

I can smell the out of context!

alt-right but hilarious nonethless!

Snowflake trigger warning: Nazis get shot in the Nutz!

Kellyanne Conway: not a feminist

(The BS starts at the 4" mark)

You don't say, dearie. Reasonable kommentariat from the gutter snipers at Wonket:

As far as the pro-abortion thing goes? Yes, feminists are pro-choice. Maybe not always for themselves — that’s a personal decision — but we don’t tell other women what to do with their bodies. We also understand that abortions happen whether they are legal or not. If abortion is illegal, rich women can travel somewhere it’s legal and have it done safely, and poor women will turn to less safe and legal measures. Personally, I don’t believe you can be a feminist if you support something in effect being legal for rich women and illegal for poor women. If you really, sincerely want to reduce the incidence of abortion, try advocating for things that actually help with that, like making sure all women have access to birth control. Isn’t it better to do what actually works? I would think so!

As far as the anti-male thing goes? We get it, Kellyanne, you are a cool girl. But it’s not anti-male to discuss the ways men kind of have it easier in our society. Acknowledging that makes you a person who pays attention to things, not a person who doesn’t like men. Like, the other day I was talking to a shorter girl and she was like, “It must be nice being so tall, because I can’t reach anything,” and in response I said, “Hey, at least you can buy pants! Hemming is a lot easier than creating extra pant-leg out of thin air!” And then we got along perfectly fine after that. Acknowledging that it was easier for me to reach something or for her to buy pants didn’t make us anti-each other. It didn’t take anything away from either of us.

Read more at http://wonkette.com/613377/take-a-seat-kellyanne-conway-lets-talk-about-feminism#eKvhthmAyq1uqgQj.99

Friday tidbits (some quite old)

O'Bomba's 'nukular' spending spree:
“The US has certainly not ‘fallen behind on nuclear weapon capability,” wrote Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert at the Federation of American Scientists, in an email to The Intercept. “It is already ‘at the top of the pack’ and has the most capable nuclear forces in the world backed up by overwhelming conventional forces.” In 2013, national security officials in President Obama’s White House determined that the U.S. could safely reduce its deployed nuclear force by one third. Other experts have said it could go much lower. But instead of pursuing reductions that could have saved hundreds of billions of dollars, the Obama administration started investing in a trillion-dollar effort to modernize the arsenal, which budget critics slammed as unaffordable.
You can get a Nobel Peace prize for the funniest things, nowadays... ;-)


Chucky Schumer: Tears of a Clown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl2UbyLKmMY (This man is willing to provide Israel with enough firepower to put a bullet between the eyes of every Palestinian toddler!)

How Clinton wanted Trump to be the GOP nominee. Too clever by half, that woman!


How the Dumbocrats sabotaged Bernie Sanders. With friends like these, who needs Rethuglians?


 DNC chair Donna Brazile passed a debate question to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in March, evidence suggests (she claimed later it was 'no biggie'):


Such a catalogue of incompetence and donor greed was bound to fail: DNC owns the Trump disaster. Nice! :-(

 DNC+GOP = The One Party with 2 right wings. Or: 'Let a Thousand Corporations Blossom!'