Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingrich Cries In Iowa

Talking about his mother's illnesses (she died in 2003) Newt Gingrich shed what is described as copious tears for a group of voters he was wooing.

Interestingly, the topic of his mother's illnesses was raised by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who pitched an obviously prearranged question at him.(An Oprah-esque question to remember a moment with his mom that changed his life.)

But we needn't get too cynical here. Gingrich probably really does have feelings. Dogs and cats have feelings, so why wouldn't politicians?

"Gingrich Sheds Tears in Meeting With Iowa Mothers"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Israeli Chief of Staff Threatens Another Invasion Of Gaza

To celebrate the third anniversary of the Israeli devastation of the Gaza strip and the killing of around 1,300 Palestinians, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli “Defense” Forces, General Benny Gantz, threatened another major attack on Gaza, telling Israeli Army Radio that "Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation." "The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip."

That’s for sure. And their definition of “terrorist” is “any Palestinian.” Last time that included three daughters of a Palestinian doctor, for example, whose house was bombarded in a totally unprovoked attack, one of many atrocities committed during that invasion. (But hey, a single Israeli was killed by a rocket fired into Israel. Gotta teach those Palestinians a lesson!)

Just to underline the point, a few hours later Israel launched two airstrikes on Gaza- against “terrorists,” of course. And a tank cannon fired into the territory.

Gantz promises the next aggression will be “swift and painful.” Just like last time, when in addition to the slaughter of people, the civilian infrastructure and private businesses were deliberately targeted and destroyed. Apparently the Israelis won’t be satisfied until they reduce Gaza to the economic level of rural Somalia.

This comes at a time of virtually no fire coming from Gaza. Hamas not only hasn’t been launching rockets into Israel, it actively tries to stop various militant grouplets from launching rockets. Israel doesn’t care, and holds Hamas responsible for any and all munitions sent ineffectually over the border from Gaza.

Interestingly, this is coming at a time of an attempted rapproachement between Hamas and the PLO, which rules bits and pieces of the West Bank (subject to Israeli raids and death squad operations, some aided and abetted by the Palestinian “Authority”). The division of the Palestinians was a great coup for the U.S. and Israel. A major attack on Gaza would probably prompt a “terrorist” response and help bust up any unity move between Hamas and the PLO. As the PA is totally dependent on tax revenues controlled by Israel- which has already threatened to cut them off if the PLO reconciles with Hamas- and welfare from the U.S.-controlled UN agencies and stooge Arab monarchies, it is in an impossible position.

Of course, the Palestinians have been in an impossible position pretty much since 1948.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gall, Squared

Joseph Biden lectures Maliki that any criminal charges against politicians should be done in accordance with “the rule of law.”

That’s rich, coming from a country that just passed a law mandating indefinite imprisonment in military gulag without trial for accused “terrorists.” (Its own citizens can meet this fate optionally on the whim of the President- that’ll be a great way to coerce guilty pleas from political activists.)

This coming from a country that ignores its own laws whenever it wants, that routinely violates international law. A country that has institutionalized torture, assassination, and indefinite imprisonment without trial or legal charges.

[BBC report, 12/21/11.]

Shameless Gingrich “Stands By” His Own Shameless Lies

The media has belatedly exposed the fact that, contrary to his claims, Newt Gingrich's cancer-stricken first wife didn't want a divorce. The long-suppressed (by the court? the media? who knows?) legal documents in the case show that.

But the shameless, obnoxiously narcissistic and self-regarding Gingrich says he “stands by” his years of  lies contradicted by reality.

Oh, his ex-wife also had a hell of a time prying child support out of the Premier Asshole.

More “family values,” GOP-hypocrit style.

Doesn't matter. Republican jackasses will just get mad at the media for making Newt “look bad.” Isn't that just like the “liberal” (corporate oligarchical) media, making a Republican look bad! Shoot the messenger!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

U.S. Finally Letting Go Of Failed “Relationship” With Pakistan?

Looks like the U.S. Is having a bad breakup with its frenemy Pakistan.

NYT 12/26/2011 top of p. A1: “U.S. Redraws Pakistani Ties With Limits” “New Agreements Will Affect Security”
Like all “important” NYT stories is sourced almost entirely to shadowy, anonymous Government officials-
[I wonder if the self-proclaimed “Newspaper of Record” held the story until the day after Christmas to spare its “important” readers heartburn?] [Posted on NYT website as "U.S. Prepares for a Curtailed Relationship With Pakistan"]

Dateline Islamabad: “With the United States facing the reality that its broad security partnership with Pakistan is over, American officials are seeking to salvage a more limited counterterrorism alliance that they acknowledge will complicate their ability to launch attacks against extremists and move supplies into Afghanistan.”

The U.S. will be cutting back drone strikes in Pakistan (suspended since the November battle with Paki  troops that the Pakis lost, losing 26 soldiers), the CIA will be hemmed in to the Embassy, and the Pakis will be upping their shakedown fees for allowing U.S. supplies to transit Pakistan to Afghanistan. (Presumably the theft and destruction of a portion of said supplies will continue as before.)

A little deconstructing of that first paragraph is in order: “Broad security partnership” refers to the Pakis snookering the U.S. and milking it for billions in arms and shakedown money in “transit fees” for shipping supplies to the U.S. expeditionary army in Afghanistan while ripping off portions for sale to terrorists- I just read an article describing the U.S. military gear for sale in markets there- and the Pakis, while sheltering bin Laden, dribbling out intel, and at the outset selling to the U.S. as “terrorists” foreign Muslims unfortunate enough to be on its soil, for shipment to Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. “Counterterrorism alliance” means letting the U.S. Kill certain Islamofascist terrorists but continuing to protect others, and indeed use them to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The Paks are holding to their demand for an apology from the U.S. For winning that November battle, while they refused to participate in an investigation, and are holding fast to the lie that their troops weren't firing on a U.S.-Afghan commando unit. This lie inflames their population to hate the U.S. And falsely believe itself victimized by the U.S. (To illustrate how twisted the Pakis are, they think they were victimized by the killing of bin Laden. They also think India is victimizing them, not vice versa. That mental illness is also a characteristic of the fascist mentality, which believes itself to be the victim of outrageous crimes by those it in fact commits outrageous crimes against.)

One Paki poobah whined in the article that “the U.S. treats Pakistan like a rainy-day girlfriend.” That's one of their milder beefs.

Get a load of this from the third to last paragraph of the story- When the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, called the real ruler of Pakistan, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on December 21st, and asked, as the Times said, “if the relationship could be repaired” [i.e. “can't we get back together?”] Kayani moped that, in the Times' words, “Pakistan needed some space.”

The Paks are really into this jilted girlfriend jag. They've been nursing a grudge over being “abandoned” by the U.S. after the Soviet Union was driven out of Afghanistan. So in the Pakis' minds, the U.S. walked out on Pakistan, then came back when “he” needed “her” again. How neurotic is that?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Note On Nomenclature

What, oh what, to call the Sunni Muslim terrorists? Lately I have settled on the unsatisfactory shorthand “Islamofascist.” There are clear problems with this.

Fascism originated as a violent reactionary response to Bolshevism and to economic crises of capitalism after World War One. It is really something capitalists resorted to in order to protect their economic interests, with had sometimes-unintended consequences for them. Later the U.S. encouraged it in Latin America, where it occurred natively during and after World War Two in military dictatorships like Argentina and Paraguay. (Both of which, incidentally, were havens for Nazi war criminals sent there by U.S. military “intelligence,” the CIA, and the Vatican. The Vatican in fact provided false documents for thousands of such mass murderers.)

The Sunni terrorists of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban/Pakistani persuasion obviously are different in this economic dimension. They are a religious-political movement. (Fascists of various stripes have been allied with Christian churches, in particular Roman Catholicism, but religious doctrine was not their motivation, nor claimed justification, nor were they attempting to spread religious doctrine.)

But if we speak of “Islamic terrorists,” that pushes us in the direction of painting Islam as terrorist per se. It elides the fact that we are talking about a particular Saudi-based sect (Wahhabism) of a branch of Islam (Sunnism). Also, most of the victims of their violence have been Muslims, which needs to be mentioned with sufficient frequency that people keep it in mind. [Unfortunately this applies to some degree to the word “Islamofascist” too, although hopefully the “fascist” part indicates a distinction is being made from Islam generally.]

The U.S. media never refers to Oklahoma City terrorist bomber Timothy McVeigh as a “Christian terrorist.” Yet he was a zealous Christian fanatic, which was a strong part of his motivation and ideological justification. Like the Islamic terrorists, his brand of Christianity was atypical, although unfortunately the Islamic religious terrorists are much less atypical of Islam in terms of their numbers of adherents and sympathizers. But “Christian terrorist” is certainly not besides the point, it very much goes to the point of McVeigh’s ideology and motivation.
In both cases, what is meant by “Christian” and “Islamic” needs explanation, since both words encompass numerous subsets, which in total have billions of adherents. In other words, it gets complicated.

And since we cannot repeat a book-long explanation of the distinctions every time we mention these killers, we do need a shorthand.

I hope at least “terrorist” is uncontroversial. People who deliberately target civilians over and over would seem to qualify. Especially if they make no bones about it. (At least the U.S. military lies about it and denies killing civilians, hypocrisy being the tribute vice pays to virtue. And I don’t think all civilian deaths at U.S. hands are deliberate- but many are. ) And the deliberate creation of terror as an instrument both of political coercion, and of rule in the case where they seize state power, as the Taliban did, justifies the terrorist label. [Examples: Public displays of gruesome executions, burying women up to their heads and stoning them to death; hangings witnessed by hundreds or thousands to set an example; amputation of limbs, including fingers of children for the “crime” of wearing nail polish; throwing acid in schoolgirls faces to stop them from going to school; assassinations of “collaborators;” well, one could fill a book, and others have, which you can refer to if you need more.]

The bottom line is, we are talking about Islamic religious fanatics who are sadistic and violent and use terrorism to try and gain totalitarian control over the lives of other. (They banned music in Afghanistan, among many other things, and destroyed massive amounts of art and historical treasures.) Not sure what a good one or two word label for these loathsome anti-humans would be. I might be stuck with “Islamofascist” for the time being.

See my blog essay of September 22, 2009, Are Islamic Jihadists Fascist?  for parallels between fascists and today’s Islamic terrorists. Are Islamic Jihadists Fascist?

Is There No End To Discovering New Evils Done By Nixon?

Now the bourgeoisie are suddenly letting us know that Newt Gingrich met with Richard Nixon over dinner in 1982 to plot his takeover of the House of Representatives. This according to the New York Times. (I wonder how long they sat on this information? Sometimes the NY Times hides information for years.) Nixon told him exactly how to do it, according to the article.

[“For Gingrich in Power, Pragmatism, Not Purity,” NY Times, 12/21/11, p. A1. Click on link at end.]

The article continues for an entire page inside, consisting mostly of dish against Gingrich. The first paragraph of the jump page gives away the Times agenda. It quotes the hard right reactionary and ex-Representative Vin Weber saying “Gingrich is more Nixonian than he is Reaganite. Not in the Watergate sense, in the strategic sense. He is not an ideologue.” And as everyone knows, Reagan Good, Nixon Bad, notwithstanding Weber's qualifier. Especially to Republicans, who are in the process of getting ready to pick a Presidential nominee- the Iowa caucuses are about to occur- who see Reagan as a political divinity.

For the past week or so, the media, particularly the NY Times, has been full of Republicans saying that Gingrich would be an awful President, he's temperamentally unsuited, he's a flake with a short attention span whose ideas are all over the map, and he's untrustworthy. (Shades of John Boehner! Or Barack Obama, he of the constant veto-no-veto double-crosses.) Supposedly, many GOP politicians think Gingrich would be a disaster, as a candidate or as President. The NY Times evidently thinks so since they keep repeating that story of GOP misgivings about Gingrich. (Not that it isn't a legitimate story. And the story of the GOP's voters coolness towards Mitt Romney has also been repeated over and over.)

For many people who suffered under Nixon's rule, it was always obvious what a pathological person he was and how dedicated he was to doing evil. Belatedly, the bulk of the bourgeoisie turned against him in 1974, for various reasons, some obscure (hidden from public view). They never acknowledged his evil however, portraying him as tragically flawed, like a character out of a drama. That is a whitewash, of course. But if your storyline is that the very worst thing the man ever did was burgle the Party HQ of the Democrats, it's no wonder.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingrich’s Class Warfare

Newt Gingrich attacked Mitt Romney for killing jobs at Bain Capital. (Which is true.) He raps Romney for “bankrupting companies.”

Hey Newt, you Republicans are supposed to worship at the feet of the filthy rich.

Gingrich himself is only moderately rich- from influence-peddling and verbose speeches. That is, a multimillionaire, not a centimillionaire like his class superior, Romney.

But here’s his real class warfare- his “tax plan.” According to the Tax Policy Center,[] Gingrich’s evil scheme slashes taxes on the rich and their corporations by well over a trillion dollars, while increasing the burden on those lower on the income scale. (Don’t all Republican tax plans do that?)

But this isn’t important or interesting enough for the corporate propaganda system (aka “the media”) to pay much attention to. Like a magician, the system distracts the audience’s attention from what’s significant to what’s insignificant. They give us horse race style saturation coverage of the candidates’ daily grubbing for a few thousand votes of extremely reactionary whites in Iowa.

The Big Tease (And I Do Mean BIG)

Chris Christie, unasked, suddenly says he'd consider accepting an invitation to run for VP on the GOP ticket. But maybe not. How coy of him!

The blowhard blimp just got done doing a months-long tease over will-he-or-won't-he run for President. Apparently he loves the spotlight too much to stop toying with his political fan club, which includes various filthy rich plutocrats.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Self-Proclaimed “America's Toughest Sheriff” Murders Another Prisoner

Not for the first time, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's goons have murdered another prisoner. This time it was a Hispanic (they're usually Hispanics; Arpaio's runs an operation of racist persecution of Hispanics) and a military veteran to boot. (Another example of why it's foolish to fight for U.S. Imperialism- you aren't fighting for freedom, you're enforcing a repressive system.)

Past victims died in various ways, including being chained to a chair and beaten to death. This time the victim was sadistically Tasered numerous times and dumped in a cell to die.

The Federal Department of “Justice” finally got around, after years and years of Arpaio's reign of terror (which included assaults on Government officials who dared make a peep against him) to issue a report criticizing him.But the Federal Government is complicit in many of the human rights crimes the DOJ report details. (While leaving a lot out.) Arpaio tried to stonewall the lengthy investigation. Now he gets another 60 days to stall.

Characteristically defiant, he portrays himself as a victim of persecution by a “criminal immigrant”-coddling Obama regime. His white racist base stands firmly behind him.

Of course he's a lousy Sheriff. Contrary to myth, fascists don't make effective crime fighters. He blew off hundreds of sexual assault crimes in the county without investigating them, including rapes and sexual assaults against children and toddlers. (But hey, the victims were mostly Hispanics.) Arpaio's goons do make numerous false arrests however, including of political opponents.

Unfortunately, Obama's Secretary of “Homeland Security” is Arpaio ally and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Arpaio endorsed Napolitano for Governor, and Napolitano enabled Arpaio by getting him Federal privileges to target Hispanics.

Arpaio gets a $300 million budget, the county's largest. The local rulers are blocking hearings on the DOJ report.

Arpaio has been running his mini-banana republic for 20 years. Of course, Arizona is the state that brought us Barry Goldwater, the Godfather of the modern American fascist movement. So no surprise. (Goldwater used to deduct “payroll taxes” from his Hispanic serfs and pocket the money. Typical unethical behavior by a hard rightist. But that's a good thing to do- just read Ayn Rand for the “proof.”)

A Silly Criticism Of The “Intelligence Community”

It's being called an “intelligence failure” and a big “embarrassment” that the CIA and it's junior partner and clone, the KCIA (South Korean secret police) didn't find out about the death of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il until the hermetically-sealed near-hermit cult state announced it, 48 hours (apparently) after the fact.

So? How soon did anyone need to know? Why was it so essential to know the second he croaked?

One alleged “reason” is so the U.S. could “prepare” for how to deal with North Korea under the pudgy son who inherited the cultship. As if much changes, or an extra two days to make new schemes is so essential.

Contrary to the mythology and mystique created by the media about the secret police agencies like the CIA, they're not omniscient (thankfully!). (The CIA of course has a hand in creating this propaganda mystique, as does the FBI. Talk about being hoist on one's own petard.)

There is plenty of well-earned criticism, indeed moral condemnation to the strongest degree, that can (and should!) be made of the so-called “intelligence community” for its many crimes against humanity, including mass murder. Nitpicking over the lack of perfection in things like finding out something as soon as it happens, which will inevitably be learned by everyone soon enough, is the kind of petty cavil that bourgeois reporters and commentators use to pretend to be skeptics and critics, when in fact they're really stooges and aiders and abettors of the secret police. They would never criticize the secret police about what really matters.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Raymond Kelly And Bashir Assad

New York City Police Commissioner (the Field Marshal of Pharaoh Michael Bloomberg Billionaire’s self-described “army”) and Syrian tyrant-sadist Bashir Assad have some things in common. Both issue deceptive “reasonable” verbiage designed to deflect criticism and anger and feign innocence of the crimes of the thugs under their respective commands. They cynically issue unctuous pronouncements mindbendingly at odds with reality.

Assad keeps promising “reforms” and calls for “dialogue,” and just staged an absurd “election” in the middle of murderous attacks on Homs and other towns.

Kelly claims to be concerned about the “safety” and “health” of the protesters he attacks.

Another example; after his goons arrested and manhandled and blocked reporters from the scene of the police offensive on the Occupy site in Liberty nee Zuccotti Park, prompting a letter of concern to the NYPD from the local establishment media, including the NY Times, Kelly made a show of “reminding” his officers in a directive to respect the rights of reporters. Soon after that, more reporters were arrested. Likewise, after civil liberties lawyers made an issue of his cops' illegal searches and arrests of people on the street with small quantities of marijuana in their pockets,

Kelly issued yet another phony directive to “remind” cops of the alleged “policy” on marijuana arrests .

In New York State, it's only supposed to be a “crime” if it's in plain view. The sneaky game the cops play to “criminalize” blacks and Hispanics on the streets, and to generate fingerprint and photo IDs of this population, is to command them to empty their pockets, which legally the victims can refuse, but they don't know that, however they DO know that defying the “authority” of the cop is asking for a beating and arrest. So they comply, and presto! Their personal stash is now in “plain view.” Did Kelly's “directive” make the slightest difference? No. Nor was it intended to. It was for show only.

Of course, New York City is a civil liberties and human rights wasteland. Half a million black and Hispanic men are illegally stopped and frisked yearly. 400,000 marijuana arrests a year are made- in a city of 8 million. This is a direct result of Pharaoh Michael Bloomberg Billionaire's policies.

Yes yes, there are important differences. Kelly's goons only murder a handful of people a year- Assad has killed 5000 since March. And the NYPD's torture methods are far milder than Assad's. (Pepper spray in the eyes, beatings, pain inflicted with batons and pressure points, Taserings, handcuffing in stress positions, and so forth, are the standard NYPD methods. Not drilling holes in knees with drills, etc.) That's obvious. What is interesting is the parallel in their political/propaganda method.

Of course, rulers in general are deceptive bastards who cynically shine people on with bullshit. The brutally thuggish dictator/Governor of Puerto Rico is another good example, as detailed in an article in The Nation.

Blaming “outside agitators/foreign powers” is another scapegoating technique rulers use to discredit protests and uprisings against their oppression. This also deflects blame from the real cause of unrest: their own evil rule. We see that in Russia today with Putin claiming that protests against his electoral fraud is created by Western subversion, by Assad blaming foreign enemies, Israel, the U.S., whoever, for resistance to his rule, and in Libya by the late, unlamented Qaddafi (well, some leftie jackasses lament him, and so do Africans who he sprinkled money on, but he's mostly unlamented) who claimed foreign jihadists spiked the sodas of youth with hallucinogens that made them rebel.

Lyndon Johnson was convinced the anti-Vietnam War movement must have been created and directed by Moscow- who could have a moral objection to an immoral war?-and insisted the CIA prove it. (In yet another “intelligence failure,” they couldn't. If only George Bush Sr. or William Casey had been running the Agency then!)

People who are immoral literally cannot comprehend the moral outrage of their opponents, so they invent fanciful political conspiracy explanations which they at least half believe. The job of the secret police (so-called “security services,” “intelligence agencies” and “law enforcement”) is to “prove” these establishment conspiracy theories.

Ironically, you see who purveys actual crackpot conspiracy theories.

Latest PsyWar Ploy Against Bradley Manning

Recent photos of U.S. Army political prisoner Bradley Manning indicate yet another creepy mind-manipulating ploy being used against him. News photos of Manning being led into "court" on the military base at Fort Meade, Maryland (which is also the main base of the National Security Agency, the giant Pentagon global electronic spying organization that strives to spy on all communications of everyone, everywhere) shows him being "escorted" by one soldier who looks like a twin of himself, only a head taller. Same receding chin, face, eyeglasses. Sort of a big brother. Obviously they searched through their personnel to find this guy, who Bradley would subconsciously trust and look up to, and presumably carelessly make self-incrminating statements to and/or items of intelligence value. The news media, while running these pictures, pretends not to notice. Or maybe they aren't very sophisticated. Obviously psychiatrists/psychologists are plotting against Manning along with the rest of the oppressive power structure Manning is trapped in, thanks to the secret police informer Adrian Lamo. Manning carelessly confided in Lamo, it is said.

 Here are three of the photos: