Arrby on Professional Scam Artists part… tPenguinLTG on Professional Scam Artists part… Arrby on Professional Scam Artists part… captnmike on Professional Scam Artists part… The Politics Of Elit… on Rickety Mansion
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*edit, May 19, 2015 – I just noticed that the Public Citizen article about the WTO ruling on COOL isn’t visible on the Common Dreams website. That is to say, It’s there, but it’s found via a link in their Progressive Newswire section. You can therefore use the search feature on CD’s website to call up the article.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article from Public Citizen’s Ben Beachy follows:
WASHINGTON – Today’s final ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body against popular U.S. country – of – origin meat labeling (COOL) policy spotlights how trade agreements can undermine domestic public interest policies, Public Citizen said today.
The WTO decision is likely to further fuel opposition to Fast Track authority for controversial “trade” pacts that would expose U.S. consumer and environmental protections to more such challenges…
COOL requires labeling of pork and beef sold in the United States to inform consumers the country in which the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
“The president says ‘we’re making stuff up,’ about trade deals undermining our consumer and environmental policies but today, we have the latest WTO ruling against a popular U.S. consumer policy. Last week, Canadian officials announced that our financial regulations violate trade rules, and earlier this year, the Obama administration, in response to another trade agreement ruling, opened all U.S. roads to Mexico – domiciled trucks that threaten highway safety and the environment,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
In a May 1, 2015, letter, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that it will need to repeal the COOL law or else change it if the final WTO ruling were to go against the United States. In contrast, in his recent speech at Nike, President Barack Obama said, “Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”…
Today’s decision on the final U.S. appeal of a 2012 initial ruling against the COOL policy paves the way for Canada and Mexico, which challenged COOL at the WTO, to impose indefinite trade sanctions against the United States unless or until it weakens or eliminates COOL, which is supported by nine in 10 Americans…
Today’s ruling is not subject to further appeal.
The decision initiates a WTO process to determine the level of trade sanctions that Canada and Mexico are authorized to impose on the United States as retaliation for COOL.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows. I will activate the links for your convenience:
Ralph Nader, when talking about Bernie Sanders recently, listed a number of areas where Obama was breaking the law. (There’s plenty of lawbreaking being done by the leader of our Canadian ‘law & order’ government as well – http://bit.ly/1JWgPkQ). Ralph was being interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. I sensed that Ralph was uncomfortable saying what he said. (He noted that the problem is with the power structure. He noted that it wouldn’t matter who you had in there, the outcome would be the same. There is something to that. But that sort of let’s Obama off the hook. No one has to join that terrorist organization. But Nader isn’t prepared to seriously attack a system that he wants to win in.) The topic was Bernie, not Obama. But you can’t not discuss Obama when you are talking about someone who is about [to] run to replace him. (Bernie Sanders, incidentally, has ignored Ralph Nader for 15 years. Think about it.)
Gangsters, like Obama, will look for work in the criminal corporatocracy. The public might be okay with the idea that there is only deliberate criminality in an ‘underworld’, as Peter Dale Scott notes, but the reality is that criminality isn’t confined to conventional criminal organizations, as Michael Parenti explains in his article “The Mafia And Me” (http://bit.ly/1KhzY44).
Indeed, The wolves among us have found that the way to dominate is to break rules. After getting together with the rest of your community to decide on the rules that will make society work for all, you then strategically break rules that will allow you to leap over and get on top of others. Why would you do that? People are free to modify themselves, to reject the golden rule of love your neighbor as yourself and to see winning as life’s most important value. Anyone – rich, poor, dumb or smart – can mod themselves and embrace the Devilish game of ‘riches for the strongest’. It’s a free universe. ‘Riches for the strongest’ is this dark world’s dominant paradigm. With that game, there ‘has to be’ losers. The lawless winners in this world get a kick out of surviving, and winning, by taking the means of survival (and much else) from others. When they do that, it makes them feel strong. When we squawk after being betrayed, deprived, abused for speaking up about it, That’s like blood to vampires. They can’t get enough of it. It’s the glory-seekers glory, for glory that is unseen isn’t glory. That’s why you see a strange tension between what those with power want to hide from you (in their calculation that you might hinder them if you know) and what they want you to know so that you know who God is.
The lawless fear no rules. But they do find them useful. The people get all kinds of rules – murder is prohibited (unless, as Voltaire noted, it’s done by large organized groups), free trade rules, rules about revealing state secrets that jeopardize national security, etc – while the powerful and their allies can break them with impunity.
Really, Is there any better illustration of the mafia character of the global capitalist system than the ISDS (investor state dispute settlement) in free trade agreements? Tax evading corporations are literally allowed to shake the people down. There’s nothing stopping them. Certainly the lawless, perverted, grinning mobsters who go through the undemocratic, captured electoral system so that they can attach the label of ‘democratically elected’ to themselves aren’t going to stop them. Additionally, Obama surely has an incentive to stay the lawless course when he looks upon the $25 million that Bill and Hillary have earned in speaking engagements since 2014 (http://bit.ly/1Fqtih1).
Here we see that Obama isn’t just lawless, in that he’s broken clearly written rules, like the constitution and other American laws, but he’s broken rules that aren’t written as rules one must [follow] – unless you want to point out that leaders who profess to be Christian violate Christ’s edicts when they lie etc.. Anyway, Obama bald faced lies to the American people, and the world that is watching, by claiming that free trade is good for them and those who say otherwise are “making stuff up,” as Lori notes (http://bit.ly/1INIxl3).
These modded people who are now our ‘leaders’ are something else. They are lawless, dishonest, perverted, murderous and macho. It’s not enough that Obama finesses his lies. He’s got to bald faced lie. It may be harder to do, but if you want to prove to yourself that you’re hard… And the economy he cares about isn’t one in which average Americans participate. They are barred from that. Under neoliberal capitalism and a regime of free trade agreements, the people get austerity while the criminal 1% and it’s tools get prosperity. And so the WTO, which is a hit man for the corporatocracy, is free to shake down the American (and other) people, while grinning Obama lies about how great things will be when he aids and abets that shakedown. This is nothing new.
Southern white supremacists used to tell black Americans that segregation and inequality was good for them. When the equality line was losing them more support than it was winning, they opted to focus on the segregation system. But it was all about inequality. It was all about a way for white industrialists – who didn’t hesitate, like today’s ‘leaders’, to ruin the minds and souls of the population by propagandizing people into thinking that racism was in accordance with science and God – to maintain their racialized labor system. The result was ugly enough, with events like the patriotic murder that Chris Hedges wrote about in his book “Death Of The Liberal Class.”
Macho capitalists push until things break. They aren’t terribly… conservative. Or wise. I recall – easy enough to do since I have the book (“Defending White Democracy” by Jason Morgan Ward) before me and will resume reading it when this post is done – reading about the pushback of the southern white supremacists against the gains of the civil rights movement, and how they offered to make black public schools separate ‘and’ equal. They actually put their money where their mouths were in this instance, although that led to interesting outcomes. Here’s the thing, From the start of James Frances Byrne’s employment of the tactic to make segregation and segregationists seem respectable, via a sincere offer of establishing equality for blacks (in the public school system), the offers were also accompanied by threats. This was just prior to the Brown decision of 1954, making segregation illegal. That’s what they were trying to stop. They threatened to completely abandon public schools and they’d look after white kids while poorer black American parents were on their own. They just couldn’t help themselves. It was in their macho nature.
“From the outset, Byrnes balanced his unprecedented equalization pledge with an ominous threat. Once in office, he made good on both. In the fall of 1952, Palmetto State whites voted two to one to strike from their constitution the section mandating public schools. Afterward, Byrnes found himself lumped with less savory southern leaders… Alex McCullough, a Spartanburg newspaperman serving as “research secretary” to Governor Byrnes, resented northern newspapers’ increasing unwillingness to say anything nice about his boss. While southern newspapers regularly printed McCullough’s glowing profiles of South Carolina’s “educational revolution,” northern editors largely ignored the public relations campaign. Instead, McCullough complained, Byrne’s threat to abolish the public schools was being “used out of context to picture him as a relentless persecutor of Negroes.” -pg 138
And, as happens when you join up with a vicious gang, you don’t want to behave in such a way as to condemn the bullies’ behavior. They might turn on you. (Wall Street might turn on Obama if he says no to them or jails banksters.) So you imitate their behavior instead, especially if you have dangled before you the two options of penury and fear vs riches and glory. That the southern racist industrialists and their political allies were holding back their states and even hurting their country’s image on the world stage, with economic consequences, wasn’t enough to make them behave. They could only be forced to behave. (The NAACP, incredibly, went along with an immoral argument that segregation gave communists a reason to disparage the US. They aren’t so ‘ignorant’ now, I hope. Capitalism and force and slavery are one package deal, as we now know very well, if we care to.)
Obama, like my prime minister, Stephen Harper, fresh from cutting our throats with Bill C-51, which he immediately followed up with a push to make it illegal for Canadians to disagree with him about Israel (http://bit.ly/1B9igat), which is something US politicians are looking at also (http://bit.ly/1QZpcQT), are asking “Where’s God?” Those modded men have replaced God and need, badly, to know that a real, inconvenient, party-pooping God isn’t there. It’s an interesting pathology. The God who they’ve replaced, and whose standards they have no use for or they wouldn’t be interested in replacing him, is a God of love. One way to get his attention, then, would be to do things that would force a God of love to step out from the shadows and deal with it. Since these leaders haven’t seen God in their lifetimes, they, along with millions of others, choose to believe he isn’t there and won’t be coming. But they aren’t sure. Lucky us. They commit their abuses on the people, at home and abroad, in the most vicious manner, and await a response that doesn’t come. It’s like a hit of cocaine or something. It gives them a momentary high. But it wears off. And they come back for more. As I said, Lucky us.
But God has his timetable. Those losers aren’t going to manipulate God. They are merely going to fill up their measure and be judged for their crimes by a perfect Source of justice. He doesn’t use baseball cards and signature style drone strikes. There will be no miscalculations. And yes, Obama, change is good.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more… And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new… Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and the sexually immoral and those practicing spiritism and idolatry and all the liars; Their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This means the second death.”” (Revelation chapter 21)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Steven Helling follows:
Although the jurors found Tsarnaev guilty of 30 felony counts last week, their job is not yet complete. On April 21, they will return to the courthouse to hear more testimony. This time, they will determine whether Tsarnaev will get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison…
Steve Helling didn’t quite get it right, Did he? His comment implies that the judge will give the jurors a ‘choice’ whether Tsarnaev lives or dies. He didn’t and didn’t intend to, as we now know. We now know that they had a choice, but the judge hid it from them.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
In society you have gatekeepers, namely individuals who are very free – to the point where they can break rules, big and small, that others can’t – because they possess the ‘right’ political views. What are those ‘right’ political views in our gangster corporatocracy? They can be summed up as: *Agree with the powerful whoever they are and whatever they say.* Some gatekeepers are appointed and some are self-appointed. Anyone can be a gatekeeper. You can be a homeless person and be one. Or you can be a powerful Judge and be one. George O’Toole Jr. is a powerful appointed gatekeeper.
The state (American) decided that it wanted to execute Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, period. What this lawless state wants, it gets. Often it gets it right away. But it never takes no for an answer, so when it meets with no (80% of Massachusetts residents are against the death penalty and 85% of Boston residents are against it), it uses the tools at it’s disposal to overcome resistance and get it’s way. Although the police state rule (post 9-11) about Special Administrative Measures (stripping away client/attorney privileges of criminals branded ‘terrorists’) are one tool it will use, as experts on Democracy Now (May 18 show) indicated, those apply not to presentation in a courtroom but to prisoners in prison. Which helps us to see clearly where George O’Toole Jr. is coming from when he decides to break a rule by not informing the jury about the facts surrounding the range of conclusions they might come to. By failing to inform jurors, who had already been improperly (from one standpoint) screened to include only those who believe in the death penalty, that even if a single juror ruled that he or she felt that life in prison was the proper penalty for Tsarnaev, then that would be the end of it, O’Toole transgressed. A decision of life instead of the death penalty by even one juror (which doesn’t preclude that juror from believing in the death penalty) would mean no re-trial and no execution of Tsarnaev. He omitted that fact and went further by saying that “You need to agree.”
ERIC FREEDMAN: The rule is different at guilt and at penalty. At guilt, if there’s a hung jury, you can, if the prosecutor wants to, retry the defendant on guilt and go through the whole thing all over again. And Etan Patz in New York has been a recent visible example. Penalty is not like that in a death case. If a single juror insists on life, and therefore the jury cannot unanimously come to death, then it’s life—period, done, end of story. And that gives a huge incentive to a juror who’s being overwhelmed by her fellows to hang tight, as opposed to thinking, “This is useless, because, after all, it’s only going to be retried again, and they’ll probably sentence him to death again. Who needs it?” If the juror knows, “I can stand firm, and there will be life,” the juror has a lot of incentive to do that.
George O'Toole Jr. came through for the lawless state. I'm sure that his career is safe. And that's a terrifying thought.
I personally support the death penalty. I also believe in God, by which I mean a Creator God and not humankind. (Beliefs like a belief in a creator God, I'm sure, will influence other beliefs you hold, such as belief for or against the death penalty.) And I try to be principled. I [do] agree with the view that the brain young Tsarnaev possessed when he committed his crime was not developed enough for him to fully realize the nature of his crime, but I don’t accept that as a good enough reason to exonerate him. He was aware enough. The issue, for me, is fairness. If you have a system in which the powerful have proven to be criminal (just review the segment of the Democracy Now show, from which I take this information about Tsarnaev's sentencing, in which Ralph Nader reviews Obama's record) and have used the instruments of the state to commit crimes, including having the innocent put to death after being tried, then you can't support the death penalty for anyone. If you can't do the death penalty right – and absolutely guarantee that only those deserving it will receive it – then you can't enlist my support for having it on the books.
An excerpt from the segment in the May 18th Democracy Now show in which Amy refers back to a previous show in which she and Juan talked to Ralph Nader (about the missing in action Bernie Sanders) follows. I will bold one sentence in the excerpt. I don't think he meant to bring it up, but in the course of talking about Bernie, Ralph ended up reiterating how lawless Obama is. He also very correctly notes that his country is unprepared to deal with the blowback from it's war on terror. What he means is that, with the current makeup of the ruling class, the American government is totally prepared to exploit terrorist attacks and to continue it's own terrorist 'war on terror' and the people. Nader's problem is that he's too close to the establishment to always really call it like it is. He does a good, but not perfect, job in that respect. Which is to say that I wouldn't want to say that Ralph isn't a very decent, principled, courageous man:
RALPH NADER: Yes. Of all people, he should have recognized this. He’s also an expert in constitutional law, and he has violated the Constitution and federal statutes in terms of his drone warfare and other foreign policies right and left. You know what the lesson, Juan, is, that it really doesn’t matter. If the power structure persists, it doesn’t matter who’s in office. It doesn’t matter what ethnic, racial background. It doesn’t matter how much they know, how much they don’t know. They’re all molded by the corporate power structure that controls Washington from Wall Street, to use a symbolic tour.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Ralph, I wanted to ask you about the issue of empire, which you mention that even progressives like Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to question. We have a president who was elected to office as a candidate of peace, of ending the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. He pulled the ground troops out, but he has expanded air wars in Yemen, in Pakistan, in Libya and in Syria. So, your assessment of this issue of how President Obama has done with the question of empire?
RALPH NADER: Well, he’s expanded it, and he’s basically broken every international law relating to national sovereignties. He’s broken some of the Geneva Conventions, all of which the U.S. is a signatory to, U.N. Charter. No wars are permitted under international law in the U.N. Charter, unless they’re for strictly defensive purposes. And obviously, we attacked Iraq. They never threatened us. And we’re attacking all kinds of other areas around the world.
What are we getting for it? We’re getting the massive proliferation of violent groups, offshoots and sub-offshoots of al-Qaeda. There are so many of these groups in Africa and Asia spreading, Southeast Asia, that the Pentagon is having trouble indexing them. But they have all this—kill list, of course, every Tuesday in the White House. And what people in this country don’t understand is that the drones may take a few dozen lives here and a few dozen lives there, but when you’re living—when millions of people in Asia and Africa are living under drones, they hear that whine 24 hours a day, it’s terror, it’s horror. They don’t know whether their homes are going to be blown up from this lightning bolt from the sky. And then we wonder why people are hating us and want to do us in.
And it’s only a matter of time. As we push these fighters to become more skilled, more bold, greater in numbers, it’s only a matter of time when the suicide belts are coming to this country. And our country is totally unable to withstand preservation of its civil liberties and democracy with these attacks. And the whole process of democratic processes, allocation of public budgets, will be completely turned upside down in this country with a couple violent terrorist attacks.
An excerpt from the transcript for the above May 6, 2015 Democracy Now segment follows:
AMY GOODMAN: In this clip, a first sergeant describes his commander’s order to randomly fire on a neighborhood in the Gaza Strip during the assault last summer.
IDF FIRST SERGEANT: [translated] So he gave an order: “Guys, park the tanks in a row. Assume position facing the neighborhood of Al-Bureij and prepare for contact.” Contact means we all shoot at once, after a countdown—three, two, one, shoot. I remember all the tanks stood in a row, and I personally asked my commander, “Where do we shoot?” He said, “Wherever you like.” Later on, I also heard from the other guys that everyone just chose a target. And he said on the radio, “Good morning, Al-Bureij. Guys, we’re going to do a ‘Good morning, Al-Bureij.'” This meant waking up the neighborhood to show them that the IDF is here and to deter them. I remember how the tanks stood in a row. So did ours. And I, the gunman, looked at some house, a very tall house, in the center of that neighborhood some 2,000 meters away, which is about two kilometers. And I asked my commander, “Where in the house do I aim?” He said, “Aim a little to the right, a little to the left, at that window, at that floor. Three, two, one, shoot.” And we all shot shells sporadically, of course. At no point was anyone shooting at us, though…
AVNER GVARYAHU: …This specific clip or testimony was really, as you mentioned, from a soldier who served that was a gunner in the Armored Corps. I think the interesting thing about this testimony is that it’s actually not that unique. We hear very similar stories, incidences, from various soldiers in different places. And the stories that keep coming up are the fact that, basically, soldiers were told to, first of all, almost constantly shoot, which is something that is not the procedure. Just in comparison, during the Second Intifada around the year 2000 in the Gaza Strip, in order to shoot—in order for a tanker or for a gunner to shoot a tank shell, he actually needed permission from his battalion officer. We’re talking in this time around, in this round, soldiers that were very, very young soldiers, sometimes enough—as the tank commander gave these orders. So, basically, soldiers were told almost constantly, “Shoot.” And this is something, as we just heard, many times in areas that they were not shot at from, many times to areas they had no idea what they were actually shooting at.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Avner, one soldier said his unit tried to shoot all of its machine gun ammunition just before getting resupplied, even if their targets had not been identified…
“Bombing of Gaza children gives me “orgasm”: Israelis celebrate slaughter on Facebook” by Patrick Strickland
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Patrick Strickland follows:
Many Israeli Facebook users have posted violent and disturbing content on their personal accounts. Talya Shilok Edry, who has more than one thousand followers, posted the following “status”: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Jack Moore follows:
Right-wing Israelis have been filmed chanting “There’s no children left there [in Gaza]” and “Gaza is a cemetery” in a seeming celebration of their military’s offensive on the territory during a Tel Aviv demonstration.
The protesters are seen waving Israeli flags and singing football-like chants to voice their anger at Arab members of the Knesset (MK) Ahmad Tibi and Haneen Zoabi, and the people of Gaza.
In the translated captions on the video below, the demonstrators are heard shouting: “There’s no school tomorrow, there are no chidren left there [in Gaza]”.
“Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks” by Gianluca Mezzofiore
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Gianluca Mezzofiore follows:
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks.
The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in Hebrew) on Monday.
“The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped,” said Kedar on Israel Radio Bet
In Stephen Harper’s sick, fascist world, Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates should be free while Omar Khadr should be locked up forever and, preferably, tortured.
Stephen Zunes’s article is titled “Obama and Israel’s Military: Still Arm-in-Arm.” The following is an excerpt:
In the wake of Israel‘s massive assault on heavily populated civilian areas of the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Amnesty International called for the United States to suspend military aid to Israel on human rights grounds. Amnesty has also called for the United Nations to impose a mandatory arms embargo on both Hamas and the Israeli government. Unfortunately, it appears that President Barack Obama won’t be heeding Amnesty’s call…
Currently, Obama is on record supporting sending up to $30 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. Such a total would represent a 25% increase in the already large-scale arms shipments to Israeli forces under the Bush administration…
If Israel were in a strategically vulnerable situation, Obama’s hard-line position might be understandable. But Israel already has vastly superior conventional military capabilities relative to any combination of armed forces in the region, not to mention a nuclear deterrent…
Indeed, in an apparent effort to support their militaristic agenda and to discredit reputable human rights groups that documented systematic Israeli attacks against non-military targets… congressional leaders and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of their colleagues have gone on record praising “Israel’s longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and…efforts to prevent civilian casualties.” Although Obama remained silent while Israel was engaged in war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza, Pelosi and other congressional leaders rushed to Israel‘s defense in the face of international condemnation…
If all U.S. aid to Israel were immediately halted, Israel wouldn’t be under a significantly greater military threat than it is today for many years. Israel has both a major domestic arms industry and an existing military force far more capable and powerful than any conceivable combination of opposing forces.
Under Obama, U.S. military aid to Israel will likely continue be higher than it was back in the 1970s…
According to late Israeli major general and Knesset member Matti Peled, — who once served as the IDF’s chief procurement officer, such fixed amounts are arrived at “out of thin air.” In addition, every major arms transfer to Israel creates a new demand by Arab states — most of which can pay hard currency through petrodollars — for additional U.S. weapons to challenge Israel. Indeed, Israel announced its acceptance of a proposed Middle Eastern arms freeze in 1991, but the U.S. government, eager to defend the profits of U.S. arms merchants, effectively blocked it…
The resulting arms race has been a bonanza for U.S. arms manufacturers…
The huge amount of U.S. aid to the Israeli government hasn’t been as beneficial to Israel as many would suspect. U.S. military aid to Israel is, in fact, simply a credit line to American arms manufacturers, and actually ends up costing Israel two to three times that amount in operator training, staffing, maintenance, and other related costs. The overall impact is to increase Israeli military dependency on the United States — and amass record profits for U.S. arms merchants.
Do you bloodspilling fascist Israeli Nazis see the uncaring, fat cat American defense contractors dancing in the street and saying unkind things about you? Try to imagine it, losers.
“America’s Hottest Export: Weapons” by Mina Kime
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
As defense giants like Boeing, Raytheon (RTN, Fortune 500), and Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500) increasingly seek to peddle their wares to well-financed (sometimes by the U.S.) international customers, they have a surprising ally: the President. “Obama is much more favorably disposed to arms exports than any of the previous Democratic administrations,” says Loren Thompson, a veteran defense consultant. Or, as Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, puts it: “There’s an Obama arms bazaar going on.”
Elites everywhere are playing the game of ‘riches for the strongest’ which the people pay for, dearly, in many ways. The game takes different forms. Neoliberal capitalism, which, like American foreign policy, operates on mafia principles, involves predators and the preyed upon. It involves prosperity for the few at the top and austerity for the huge majority at the bottom. And it involves lawlessness, for that’s precisely how the 1% gets to the top. They break every written and unwritten rule that might give them an advantage as they seek to get ahead of and on top of the rest of us – after huddling with us to decide on the rules that we all agreed would be good for society. From a position of dominance, the believers (conveniently) in inequality can now dictate and guarantee outcomes, including economic outcomes that benefit them.
Everything elites and their tools do, they claim they do for good reasons. Sometimes their lies are sensible. They promise peace, prosperity and security. Sometimes their lies are perverse, as when Southern racists in the 30s and 40s told blacks that they benefitted from a racialized labor system, segregation and inequality. They eventually toned down the language – after complaining bitterly and often about northerners infecting their blacks with ideas of equality – trading grand proclamations of white supremacy for a strong defense of segregation (and even segregation with equality), just as they toned down the call for states’ rights (to do wrong) and attempted to nationalize their racial ‘problem’. For example, They told northerners who criticized their steadfast loyalty to Jim Crow that they could do so so easily because they had fewer blacks. In other words, the issue was framed, the way one might argue that the way you deal with withdrawal symptoms in connection with smoking is to have a smoke. How about quitting? How about quitting racism and democracy that isn’t democracy?
If civil rights were too difficult to prevent and white supremacy too difficult to (openly) champion, that doesn’t mean that believers in inequality have gone away. Not at all. Today the haves are the ones eagerly playing ‘riches for the strongest’. The have-nots are the ones losing in that game in which there ‘has to be’ losers. But many of the victims of neoliberal capitalism don’t see that the game’s the problem. Those ones are truly victims. They are ruined by their ‘leaders’ who set the worst example for them.
Those leaders manipulate the people in a number of ways. They lie in a number of ways, including via demonstration thinking and behavior. They pretend to think and behave a certain way so that unthinking citizens will imitate that thinking and behavior believing it to be right. For example, The idea that we are being taxed to death is one mouthed by most rightwingers, including people like Donald Trump. You know something’s up when you recall that he also said previously that taxes are necessary. (And let’s keep in mind that the same politicians who plead poverty preside over a system in which there is about $32 trillion in offshore tax havens. Actions speak louder than words. Some words equal actions.) I started this post just prior to Omar Khadr’s ‘successful’ bid to get out of jail. The Harper government bitterly opposed Omar’s effort. Recall the vile things they said, publicly, about Omar. And yet, as Michelle Shepherd notes, government lawyers didn’t use the horrible labels for, and descriptions of, Omar in court. They merely attempted to argue against Omar’s release on a technicality involving the question whether Justice June Ross had jurisdiction to handle the case before her. Shepherd’s conclusion is the obvious conclusion. Omar is being used for political purposes. From the May 8th Toronto Star, you can read the following:
““Words are just words,” said Saskatchewan Conservative Tom Lukiwski. “I reject the notion he was a child soldier. I think it was a very deliberate, premeditated act, and he should pay the price for that.”
“Added Ontario Conservative Costas Menegakis: “He killed a soldier. He admitted to it. He’s guilty. He knows he’s guilty. I think he should be in prison.”
“In Halifax, MacKay also said that legislative changes were being contemplated that might make it harder for the accused in terror cases to be granted bail.”
“(We) regret that a convicted terrorist has been allowed back into Canadian society without having served his full sentence,” Jeremy Laurin, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, said in a statement. – “‘A great day for justice:’ Omar Khadr free on bail after 13 years in prison” by staff of Canadian Press
“There is nothing alleged about Omar Khadr or “so-called” about the terror he inflicted. The crimes were confessed, in his own words, under oath at trial in Guantanamo.” – Rosie DiManno, “Let the Omar Khadr furor fade away with him: DiManno” – Toronto Star
Take a good look at, and listen to, what Omar’s powerful Canadian enemies say about him and compare that to other words and actions they produce. Stephen Harper wants Canadians whose minds and souls he has helped to ruin, for profit (which, for Harper, means mainly the approval of the US ruling class – formal and informal – and it’s powerful allies), to believe he is protecting them from terrorism and terrorists like Omar Khadr. But over in Kuwait and Iraq we see the care and concern for Canadians’ safety, and the safety of Canadian military personnel, on display. The rules were changed after a targetted attack on two Canadian soldiers in Canada in October of 2014. There would be no allowing photos showing the faces of soldiers in foreign countries. So what does the politicking Harper do? He has a couple of propaganda videos made showing Canadian soldiers’ faces. At first, he tried to pooh pooh it all. But it’s hard to pooh pooh a rule you just made, also for propaganda purposes, in your holy war on terror without raising the eyebrows of even your dullest supporters. The rest of us are wise to what this law & order government is all about, and it’s not law & order. Unless it law & order that keeps the abused Canadian people in their place. Way back in 1995 when Linda McQuaig’s book “Shooting The Hippo” was published, she noted that the government then was happy to cut social spending which it and the business community blamed for problems caused by the politicians and capitalists jointly engineering a revenue problem, primarily via tax cuts and unemployment caused by deficit fighting. But notice what she said about it:
“Interestingly, the bigger spending increases were in areas that had not been the focus of pubic attacks or even public discussion. For instance, about 8 per cent of the debt growth, [Hideo Mimoto] found, could be attributed to increased spending on “protection of persons and property,” a category that included the military, the police and the prison system. This raised the curious possibility that we were following the uninspiring example of the United States. After deep social spending cuts, the biggest item on many U.S. state budgets was now the cost of imprisoning people. (Of course, this begs the question of whether there is a connection between the two. If we spend less on social programs, do we encourage the kind of social breakdown that leads to higher spending on police and prisons? We may be not only undermining the social order with these spending cuts, but also engaging in an ultimately fruitless attempt at deficit control.)” -page 57 of “Shooting The Hippo”
Here we are in 2015 and I think Linda’s speculation can be laid to rest. Her observations can be generalized to the effects of the operation of neoliberal capitalism and economic shock therapy all over the planet. Yes, most certainly, there’s a connection here, as many journalists and activists and authors are pointing out. Here’s Duncan Cameron commenting on that connection in his Rabble article titled “Canada: An Outlaw State.”
The Harper Conservatives are prolonging the mandate for Canadian bombing raids targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) forces inside Iraq, and extending it to include bombings in Syria.
Foreign Minister Nicholson has said Conservatives believe Islamic terrorists abroad represent a threat to Canadian security. Citizens are supposed to understand that by fighting ISIL, Canada is protecting itself from terrorist action on Canadian soil.
The ostensible reason for the bombing is to attack and destroy the former al-Qaeda forces now expanded and regrouped as ISIL that control territory in Iraq, and have moved war-making equipment into Syria. In reality Canada has agreed to serve American Middle Eastern foreign policy, without regard to the consequences at home or for peace in the region…
The Iraq bombing mission has no UN support, and is not even a NATO operation. Yet as the Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner outlined in her important speech to the UN General Assembly, only a truly multilateral world order offers any hopes for securing world peace.
Instead of looking to end violence through peace-keeping, Canadian armed forces have been enlisted to continue decades-long attempts by the U.S. military to ensure that Iraqi oil resources do not end up in the wrong hands. None of this military action is sanctioned under international law.
Here’s an excerpt from Bruce Campion-Smith’s Toronto Star article titled “PM’s office admits security rules breached in two videos”:
The two videos, produced by the prime minister’s own staff for his promotional video channel 24 Seven, were taken off line Tuesday morning.
The Prime Minister’s Office admitted hours later that the videos should never have been made public.
“After a second review, it became apparent that two of the videos should not have been posted,” said Rob Nicol, the prime minister’s director of communications.
“We regret the error and are reviewing protocols for such images.
“The safety of our troops is our number one priority. For this reason, there are protocols in place before images or videos are posted.”…
During the stopover in Kuwait, a member of the prime minister’s staff sent a reminder to media, entitled “ground rules photo.”
“FYI, again, for (Kuwait): no front faces recognizable, no name,” the official wrote.
Now government spokespersons (Peter McKay and, I believe, Jason Kenney, but I can’t find a trace of the Toronto Star article I thought I saw reporting on Jason’s statement) are publicly praising the terrorist Omar for renouncing terrorism. Overnight, literally, Omar isn’t a terrorist? Even though he’s exactly the same person he’s been for years? Whereas, There are terrorist sympathizers masquerading as democrats who have been among us for a very long time, protected by uncle Sam and the Canadian government. Robert Parry reports on Radio Liberty and it’s tradition of quietly, most of the time, supporting Nazis, including today’s neo-Nazis in Ukraine. And the venerable Globe And Mail, along with Canada’s other largest dailies, is supporting the neo-Nazis in Ukraine mostly by hiding their existence from the Canadian public, in effect lying to Canadians about the nature of the Ukraine conflict. Thomas Walkom’s Toronto Star article fairly sums it up, noting that the Omar who Canadians are now seeing and hearing, freely, isn’t the scary terrorist that Harper et al need him to be for political purposes. (Harper himself isn’t backing down, publicly, mind you. I hope he doesn’t. Let’s see what he’s made of.) I would add that it’s probable that, despite the vile accusations spewed out by the Harper camp in relation to Omar, since Omar’s capture when he was 15, There has also been an awareness by that camp, recently, that their hate campaign isn’t working with enough Canadians, now, to justify it. Hence the sudden ‘warmth’ shown toward Omar the terrorist by the same sick crowd who have made other Canadians sick – which is to say hate-filled and ignorant – with their hatred.
I mentioned demonstration thinking and behavior and how that is a form of lying that our ‘leaders’ engage in with us. I will quote from Linda’s “Shooting The Hippo” again. What follows is what I first intended to quote when I was thinking of some examples of demonstration thinking and behavior to give you. In reviewing her book to find the quotes I wanted, I happened upon the above passage where she presciently talked about something going on, but, as Stephen Stills said (but not in connection with Vietnam), “what it is ain’t exactly clear.”
Linda McQuaig, in her book, “Shooting The Hippo,” talks about how she noticed that when the business community that was hollering constantly about the danger and evil of deficits was confronted with the fact that Moody’s rating for Canada was ‘great’ despite the then just announced large deficit, they didn’t seem to care – if they thought no one was looking. It turns out that they like deficits because they like some of the things that deficits can bring, with the right politicians at the helm. For one thing, Politicians, not backed by science, take the position that the way you deal with evil deficits is by lowering inflation, which they also regard as evil (but which are not evil when they are 10% or 12% or lower). James Crow, a former governor of the Bank of Canada went to war on inflation, because he and his ally, Michael Wilson (Brian Mulroney’s finance minister), saw things from their upper class standpoint only. By choice. Lowering inflation raised real interest rates and (in ways I don’t understand) brought about price stability. In other words, the capitalists, the bond holders and others with enough money to seriously invest, liked high real interest rates and price stability and wanted a regimen that could ensure those things, even if that involved creating recessions that hurt most Canadians and, perversely (from one standpoint), increased the deficit. Deficits are also a way for neoliberal politicians to aid and abet privatization. Political leaders plead poverty (and blame it not on the engineered revenue problem but on social, or civilized, spending) and then their partners in the private sector chirp up and denounce ‘socialist’ services and programs and offer their solutions, which are privatization and the efficiency of business management.
We the people are supposed to recoil in horror at the mention of deficits and accept the solutions (austerity) of politicians and their media and business allies, none of which really help the economy or we the people. We are supposed to imitate (in earnest) their call for deficit fighting, requiring politicians who want to be elected to get with that program or find other employment.
“All the rhetoric about the Canadian debt in recent years has led to a great deal of confusion, [Vincent] Truglia says, and he is constantly questioned about just how serious the Canadian situation is. In an attempt to clarify some of the misunderstanding, he issued a Moody’s “special commentary” in June 1993 – right in the midst of a particularly strong bout of deficit hysteria in Canada. The commentary described Canada’s debt as “grossly exaggerated” and pointed out that Ottawa’s fiscal position was “not out of control.” This was not at all what the Canadian investment community wanted to hear. It was almost like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull..
“If Moody’s, one of the key arbiters of Canada’s credit rating, was as powerful as Bay Street legend had it, then clearly Truglia’s special commentary was the secular equivalent of an edict from the Pope…
“Oddly, despite this mythical power, Truglia’s message had almost no impact…
“The reason for Bay Street’s indifference clearly lay in the irritating content of Truglia’s message. Rather than reinforcing the deficit hysteria that Bay Street had carefully been drumming up over the preceding months and years, Truglia was essentially pricking holes in this hot-air balloon. “Moody’s sees no significantly negative trends in the Federal or public-sector debt outlooks which would justify changing the Aaa ratings on C$ debt of the Government of Canada.” That kind of talk, if it spread, could it make it a lot harder to whip up deficit mania in the future.” – pages 44 and 45 of “Death By Deficit And Other Canadian Myths” by Linda McQuaig
Deficits are a ‘look there’ tactic used by politicians pursuing their neoliberal agenda of privatization and deregulation (freeing of corporations and the rich). The people are beginning to understand that where we need to look is not ‘there’ but at the deliberate sabotaging of the economy by politicians pursuing the neoliberal agenda of privatization and deregulation. We need to focus laser-like on the subject of fair taxation. And we need to let the politicians know that we know. (Although I’m not thrilled with Linda McQuaig’s decision to run for elected office, I am thrilled about her involvement with a relatively new Canadian organization called Canadians For Tax Fairness.) But the gangster politicians we’ve had foisted on us wouldn’t know what to do without deficits. They shovel out tons of tax breaks and tax cuts to tax evading corporations and rich people and then complain that there’s no money (and have the audacity to label that a ‘spending’, rather than a ‘revenue’, problem; in effect blaming the victims), which then provides their friends in the private sector with the excuse to privatize. “Socialist health care just can’t cut it. Let business, which knows how to be efficient, handle it.” Health care, education, roads, garbage pick up, water systems… you name it. We pay for them to play. That’s what Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine,” is about. The people are constantly experiencing, unnaturally, economic shocks. And they are not pleasant. And while the people are in a shocked and dazed state, the fascists take and/or consolidate power.
And if we happen to notice that those leaders are being evil, then we are free to fool ourselves into thinking that “Bad must sometimes be good.” Afterall, “Those people are educated, know what they’re doing and are good people. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Didn’t he?” Look around. Everywhere you look where you find corporatocracy leaders playing ‘riches for the strongest’ – Israel, Canada, The US, Indonesia, India, Greece, Ukraine – much of the population is being ruined, mentally and spiritually, the way people are turned into vampires when bitten by vampires. And notice that not all vampires are equal. We are not all in it together as our ‘leaders’ would have us believe. As Chomsky noted, The maid who cleans the rich dude’s mansion isn’t in it together with the rich dude in any positive sense.
As Jesus Christ said, “If the light that is in you is in fact darkness, then how great that darkness is.” Our ‘leaders’ are those with light, meaning smarts, education and skills. However, from God’s standpoint, their conscious decision to act like predators and cause suffering and destruction in the process marks them as having requested destruction at the hands of God, which will come to them when they die physically. At that time, their souls will be destroyed. Selling your soul means making that request. God will force no one to live.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Michelle Shephard follows:
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has said Ottawa will appeal the case but no official notice of appeal has yet been filed. Government lawyers have also not filed a motion to stay Khadr’s release. The Department of Justice will not comment on the case.
Since an appeal doesn’t automatically stop Khadr’s release, Ottawa needs what is known as a stay in proceedings — which would stop the bail order and keep Khadr detained until the government can argue its appeal.
A single Court of Appeal Justice needs to be convinced of three factors to issue the stay, the most contentious being whether the release of the 28-year-old would cause “irrevocable harm.”
While politicians including Prime Minister Stephen Harper have often spoken out against Khadr, Corrections Canada has presented a contradictory portrait.
Justice June Ross said Khadr’s record showed he was a “model prisoner,” both in Guantanamo and since he was transferred to Canada in 2012, in her bail ruling earlier this month.
Government lawyers could also argue that his release would affect relations with the United States, although no evidence was given at Khadr’s March bail hearing that the U.S. objected to Ross’s bail order.
But a U.S. State Department spokesperson told the Star on Friday evening the diplomatic relationship between the countries would not be harmed by Khadr’s release.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
The gangster government of Stephen Harper thinks that all those (workers who speak up, environmentalists, democrats, abused government scientists, social justice activists) who express disapproval of his perverse behavior – which he’s free to stop any time he wishes – are terrorists or commies or unpatriotic or all of the above. He’s modded himself (and all are free to do so) and now enjoys power tripping. Those are now his values. And naturally enough, he supports the powerful who he wants to support him. That’s wise – when you’re pushing others around for no good reason.
As for Omar Khadr being a terrorist and associating with terrorists, which is the accusation that justifies the position of this government that Omar should forever be jailed, Here’s an example of people and groups that Harper thinks should be free:
Barack Obama (http://bit.ly/1I6mBRY), Victorial Nuland (http://bit.ly/1MZut90), Geoffrey Pyatt (http://bit.ly/1bqKVkC), John McCain (http://bit.ly/1o0fr4r), Benjamin Netanyahu (http://bit.ly/1xIqnbE), Arseniy Yatsenyuk (http://bit.ly/1bTrAZS), Andriy Biletsky (http://bit.ly/1uhzLpw), Dmytro Yarosh (http://bit.ly/1PbXMHo), Andriy Parubiy (http://bit.ly/1GU8Vuv), Vasily Vovk (http://bit.ly/1JjnuFv).
How the faithless survive: You ‘choose’ to believe that there’s no God and no one to save you from monsters, like President Obama, whose admin oversaw, among other atrocities, the recent installation of a neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine, which forces you to do the only rational (relatively speaking) thing, namely approve of what the big monster who lives next door does to his victims. That leads you to imitate him or risk, by acting contrary to his principles, appearing to condemn his condemnable behavior. But as Jesus Christ said long ago: “Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.”
*edit, May 26, 2015 – I have the most amazing bulleting in my inbox from the folks at The Center For Media And Democracy. It includes a link to an NBC segment showing their reporter exposing the fascist ALEC. There they are, the politicians and the CEOs and their lobbyists, behind closed doors deciding how to run America. Still believe in voting? Canada might not have ALEC, but we too have fascism. That’s what corporatocracy is. It’s not called corporatocracy because it’s democratic. If it was democratic, it would be called democracy. I will attach a link (and the page it goes to includes both an article and a video) to the mention of ALEC below.
*edit, May 2, 2015 – I will append a screenshot from the Toronto Star showing another article about Omar that the Toronto Star doesn’t allow us to comment on. It was in today’s Star (May 2nd). I might even add in a couple more – just because. But I won’t add more than a couple more.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Thomas Walkom follows:
For Omar Khadr, it never ends. During most of his young life, he has been a pawn in someone else’s political game. He still is.
This time, the pawn-master is Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government announced Friday that it will appeal a judge’s ruling to grant the 28-year-old Canadian bail while he appeals a 2010 U.S. conviction…
The real Omar Khadr never had much of a chance. He was born in Toronto but spent most of his youth in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His parents chummed around with Osama Bin Laden and others in the Al Qaeda leadership.
When the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Khadr’s father sent the 15-year-old off to help Taliban fighters defend the country’s government…
Throughout, he has been at the mercy of others. His father used him to curry favour with the Taliban. The Americans used him in an attempt to find his father, and through him, Bin Laden…
On Friday, James appeared on CBC TV to repeat again and again the government’s mantra: Khadr is a terrorist; the Harper Conservatives oppose terrorism. Therefore they oppose any court ruling that might give this Canadian, who has spent almost half his life in captivity, any kind of break.
Their message to the opposition: We’re out to screw this guy. Challenge us if you dare.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
Yes, The Conservatives hope to use Khadr as a wedge. It’s more like they want to and enjoy doing that sort of thing. “Challenge us if you dare” sums it up. Harper… ought to take up a gun and face Ukraines fighting Nazis for their freedom or any of the killers in the mid east – take your pick, and whoever you pick will belong to a group who at one time Harper et al supported – if he likes violence so much, instead of encouraging young people to do it. But he likes [the] power[ful] and likes to be powerful, like God. One way to do that is by exercising the power of life and death over others. Of course, The real God has standards and his qualities are polar opposite to [those of] Sephen Harper and his gang. Thankfully. How else will this perversity and terror end?
If this was anyone else’s column, you’d see no commenting allowed. The Star and it’s gatekeepers hate some subjects more than others. If they are going to talk about Omar, then they prefer to talk at us while spewing hatred. Do they hate Omar? It doesn’t matter how it started. Their criminal treatment of Omar as a child, and now, deserves to be punished. Period. They are in control of what they do. We certainly have no power over them. Not in this ‘democracy’.
I then responded to my own comment (Viafoura doesn’t provide an editing feature, which would be something the Star requested) with: ** Ha, ha. I forgot for a moment that I was talking about The Star when I concluded that they know what they’re doing and should be punished, and, they are in control. Not that I’m wrong about that. The difference between the Liberal Star and the Conservative government is zero, the few caring journos attached to the Star notwithst[a]nding. ** I was talking about the Conservative government specifically when I made the comment that “they know what they’re doing” and “they are in control.”
I examined, belatedly, the Star’s editorial on Omar Khadr, which, I noticed, included the ‘call out’ icon to indicate that comments were allowed. Which doesn’t mean that a gatekeeper won’t simply yank comments he (or…) doesn’t want. Which happened, because I did comment and then it was disappeared. I then came across a blog that pointed to a website dedicated to freeing Omar Khadr, which I examined. That’s where I saw some discussion of a Toronto Star editorial discussing Omar Khadr, which I only realized after close examination was an earlier editorial. The one that that blog looked at was dated March 26. It had the same title as the most recent editorial (as of this writing), which was printed on April 24th. I didn’t care for either, although those editorials were better than the baying for more torture and blood that the fascists running Canada do.
Still, It’s clear that the Star is trying to have it both ways. They want to snare the self-identified liberals while not turning off every Conservative out there (not that there’s a difference). Here’s a line from the earlier editorial: “This is not to whitewash his tainted past.” Here’s a line from the April 24th editorial: “This is not to whitewash Khadr’s notorious past.” In other words, Khadr isn’t innocent. He’s got a bad record, via association. But the issue isn’t whether we would want to whitewash someone’s bad past behavior. The issue is that here is Omar’s fake friend, the Toronto Star, tainting him, via association, with people and organizations that had influence over him and his course in the past when he was too young and unprotected to make his own decisions. With friends like the Star…
As for “notorious past,” I’ve got quite a collection of disappeared Toronto Star posts if anyone wants to click on my ‘censored’ tag. Those aren’t all Toronto Star comments, of course. But many are. And I’ve begun screen capturing pages showing subjects that the Star would rather we not discuss. I don’t know what criteria the Star uses. I only know that, however you slice it, they don’t allow free discussion. One of the funniest (and saddest) things I’ve seen recently is an article where there was commenting allowed. I saw, alongside the message that ‘commenting was now closed’, that the total number of comments were at zero. Were comments ever ‘open’ for the article?
I’ve been waiting for Omar to catch a break. So has Harper and his soulless gang.
Stephen Harper and his gang can support terrorism and terrorists, openly, and that’s okay. But a victim of terrorism, which the war on terror is actually, has to be tortured for years? Tell me that we are not into a time of deep darkness. Check out the gang who Stephen Harper and his Ottawa gang run with, below.
See the CBC documentary titled “The U.S. vs Omar Khadr.”
Then there’s Stephen Harper’s famous support for Israel, no matter what. See the Canadian Dimension article by Murray Dobbin titled “Harper’s Disservice To Israel.”
From Sasa Petricic’s CBC report titled “Israeli attitudes on Gaza seem firmly behind Netanyahu,” the following:
Some other Israelis do disagree. But in today’s Israel, they express that at their own risk.
Those who oppose the way Israel is attacking Gaza and upset at the growing civilian casualties on the other side have held a number of protests here.
They are frequently heckled and disrupted or just plain refused a permit to demonstrate because the police cannot guarantee their safety.
Several left-wing activists have been beaten up severely, ending up in hospital. After a round of duelling demos in Tel Aviv this past weekend, where extreme right-wing youths shouted down and then attacked those opposed to the war in Gaza, one outspoken demonstrator, Elizabeth Turkov, tweeted, “Numerous protests were held in Tel Aviv against the war for the past three weeks. ALL of them ended with racists attacking us.”
Even more subtle expressions of support for Gaza are discouraged. Non-profit group B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, tried to buy air time to read the names of Palestinian children killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza. The ads were banned by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority for being too “politically controversial.”
Here’s Glenn Greenwald speaking in Canada on Canada, about privacy and security, following the Wednesday, October 22, 2014 attack on Parliament Hill by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Start this poorly edited video at 11.40. To get right to Glenn’s speech, skip to 19.35 Here’s a Rabble article on the subject by Karl Nerenberg: “Who are the victims of Wednesday’s attacks at the War Memorial and on Parliament Hill?”
Here’s a clip, from The Young Turks, with Jeremy Scahill calling a spade a spade in regard to Harper’s boss:
From Roger Annis’s Rabble article titled “Toronto Star promoting the extreme right in Ukraine,” the following:
The three conglomerates that dominate print media in Canada — Torstar, which publishes the Toronto Star, the country’s largest daily newspaper; Woodbridge, which publishes The Globe and Mail, the largest national daily; and Postmedia, which controls the daily newspapers of most cities in English Canada — speak on Ukraine as though they all attended the same indoctrination sessions…
Among the three, the Star has distinguished itself in that three of its writers have used their column and article space to vaunt the fundraising projects of Ukraine’s extreme-right parties and militias and the Ukraine army. These are the forces which have been shelling towns and cities in eastern Ukraine and otherwise committing countless war crimes for the better part of the past year.
I raised a hue about the fundraising in an article dated January 30. It was published in CounterPunch and rabble.ca, drawing attention to two articles in the preceding six weeks, including one by seasoned Star Foreign Affairs Reporter Olivia Ward, which promoted pro-war fundraising. I accused the Star of “running with the extreme right in Ukraine.”
Earlier, on December 29, I published a letter responding to a December 23 article by Star writer Tanya Talaga which first introduced Star readers to “Patriot Defense.” Its campaign, I explained, funds “first-aid” kits and training “being provided to members of the special Battalions, the National Guard, the Army and the Border Service and other security agencies. We are working together with Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.” Note the “working together” language indicating this is a straight-up effort of the rightist battalions (which tolerate Ukraine’s elected institutions at the best of times and are known to threaten to overthrow them if the extreme right is not given its political way). I complained to the writer and to the Star editors, to no avail.
From “The New Cold War: Ukraine And Beyond,” the following:
“A new film examining the arson attack by right-wing extremists on the Trade Union House in central Odessa, Ukraine on May 2, 2014 has been released in Germany. ‘Wildfire: The Oddessa atrocities of May 2, 2014‘ is subtitled in English. The 45 minute film is produced by leftvision.de and Ulrich Heyden and Marco Benson.
“On May 2, 2014, more than 40 anti-fascist protesters were murdered by right-wing extremists during an arson attack on the Trade Union House in the center of the city of Odessa. Many were killed after they had escaped from the burning building. The protesters had taken refuge in the building after their protest camp came under attack by gangs of vigilante extremists. Many of the vigilantes had come into the city that weekend expressly to assert the authority of the new government of neo-conservatives and extreme, right-wing nationalists that came into power in Kyiv two months earlier on the crest of the violent, ‘Euromaidan’ street riots.”
Here’s the documentary:
Robert Parry wrote, on April 17, 2015, an article titled “How Ukraine Commemorates the Holocaust,” which can be found at Consortium News. Here’s an excerpt:
The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government came up with a curious way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust being brought to an end. The parliament in Kiev voted to extend official recognition to Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews.
Though Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media continue to dutifully ignore the key role played by neo-Nazis in Ukraine’s February 2014 coup and in the post-coup regime’s subsequent military offensives against ethnic Russians in the east, Ukrainian politicians can’t stop their arms from snapping into Heil Hitler salutes like the fictional character Dr. Strangelove. They can’t hold back this reflex even as the world stopped this week to recall the Nazi barbarity that claimed the lives of some six million Jews as well as other minorities…
Over the past several months, there have been about ten mysterious deaths of opposition figures – some that the government claimed to be suicides while others were clearly murders. It now appears that pro-government “death squads” are operating with impunity in Kiev…
These deaths are mostly ignored by the mainstream U.S. news media – or are mentioned only in briefs with the victims dismissed as “pro-Russian.” After all, these “death squad” activities, which have also been occurring in government-controlled sections of eastern Ukraine, conflict with the preferred State Department narrative of the Kiev regime busy implementing “democratic reforms.”
But many of those “democratic reforms” amount to slashing old-age pensions, removing worker protections, and hiking the price of heating fuel – as demanded by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $17.5 billion bailout for Ukraine’s collapsing financial structure.
Similarly, the decision by the Ukrainian parliament to bend to the demands of neo-Nazi and other ultra-right groups to honor Ukraine’s World War II fascists is also downplayed or ignored by the major U.S. media.
From Lysiane Gagnon’s La Presse article, via The New Cold War: Ukraine And Beyond (where we find it translated from French), titled “The Ukraine Obsession Of The Canadian Government,” the following:
What, exactly, is Canada doing in the heart of Europe, in a conflict where it has no national interest – a conflict, if matters are handled in a cavalier manner, could engulf the Old Continent? Human folly, alas, has no limit…
The presence of 200 Canadian soldiers more than one thousand kilometers from the combat zone will not change much militarily. Already, 800 Americans and 75 Britons are on the ground. But it will be seen by Moscow as another provocation, following NATO’s moving of missile bases eastward to the Baltic states, two steps from the Russian border, and the European Union’s acceptance of an economic partnership with a Ukraine which has always been in the orbit of Russia.
In was in response to these provocations that Vladimir Putin decided to recover the territory of Crimea. It had belonged to Russia until 1954 when Nikita Khrushchev, in a day of great drinking, it is said, ceded Crimea while maintaining Russian military bases there…
Former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird started the ball rolling in December 2013 when he participated, against all diplomatic rules, in a hostile demonstration against the Russian-leaning government of the day in Kiev.
At the G20 summit meeting last November, true to the frank and brutal approach that characterizes his relations with foreign countries, Mr. Harper speared President Putin with the tone of a small, school yard bully, saying “Get out of Ukraine!”…
Some Canadian officials abroad have even been counseled by Ottawa to leave any meeting attended by a representative of Russia!…
The electoral soliciting began with this absurd project of constructing a monument to “victims of communism” in the heart of the federal capital, steps away from the Supreme Court.
Certainly, communism created countless victims, in Europe, China or Vietnam. But why a monument here and now, at a time when communists everywhere are on the road to extinction? Perhaps the petty aim here is that this big building will crush in its massive shadow the delicate edifice of the Supreme Court, the number one enemy of the Harper government? But of course, the primary aim is to accommodate an electorate eager to do battle with Russia.
Two things. Lysiane asks why Harper is in Ukraine right now. She tosses out quite a few dots and, while she doesn’t explicitly connect them, she does manage nicely to allow the informed reader to do so. She also mentions the absurd monument to victims of communism that Harper had built close to the Supreme Court. She suggests that it might serve to crush that “delicate edifice” in it’s massive shadow. Certainly the Supreme Court has tripped up Harper a number of times.
Michael Klare, probably does the best job of connecting a lot of the dots presented in Lysiane’s piece, connecting them to other dots as well. His article titled “A Republican Neo-Imperial Vision For 2016″ goes a long way toward helping us to make sense of, among other things, Stephen Harper’s actions in regard to Ukraine. Stephen Harper worships the powerful and seeks to be powerful. That’s what he lives for. Robert Parry’s article titled “The Whys Behind The Ukraine Crisis” complements Klare’s piece nicely, but misses a few items, such as this piece, by Christina Sarich, about Monsanto’s interest in the ‘bread basket’ of Europe: “What They’re Not Telling You About Monsanto’s Role In Ukraine.” Michael Hudson’s “Ukraine Denouement” also complements Klare’s article. (Hudson’s main point, in a nutshell, has to do with the way the powerful become powerful in this world, which is something I talk about all the time. The powerful become powerful by breaking rules. Michael, who knows economics, asks whether the IMF will, under pressure from the US, try to stiff Russia? Why wouldn’t it? When it looks like it might lose, with everyone playing by the rules, the US just abandons the game/rules.)
The problem I have with some of these investigative journalists, however, is that they get caught up in meaningless details and the narrative of the establishment that sees the Democrats as being capable of doing less damage than the Republicans. (I don’t at all mean to imply that expertise that they possess results in our being inundated with meaningless details. I wish had their education. I can’t add two plus two and it trips me up often.) It makes no sense. They both take their marching orders from corporations, even if we don’t always see it happening directly. (Linda McQuaig’s book, “It’s The Crude, Dude,” looks at how Big Oil wanted war with Iraq and, apparently, huddled with Dick Cheney before the attack on Iraq in 2003, in order to plan it all out! See pages 84-86. Of course, What is ALEC? CEO’s get together with rightwing governors and decide how best to push rightwing legistlation onto the rest of the US. And ALEC has a lot of imitators out there.)
What’s happening isn’t even in the least bit mysterious. Or noble. Or decent. Or godly. We the people (some of whom have been ruined spiritually and mentally by political and other leaders who don’t care about people) are being made to pay, dearly, for elites and their political tools to play. Fracking, which is adding to pollution and hurting people’s health and ruining fresh water sources everywhere throughout the States, is part of the maneuvers of the US in their bid for dominance – which they euphemistically call ‘leadership’ – of the global capitalist system. The incredibly destructive, and economically damaging Tar Sands are also a part of the maneuvers by uncle Sam and the Canadian government. The fact that the biggest players in the great game of ‘oil/riches for the strongest’ are striving to see who can dominate and continue the very practices that are going to destroy the liveable earth means that these players are unsupportable. Following these blind guides isn’t beneficial. It’s suicidal, spiritually and literally. The game that those losers are playing is ‘riches for the strongest’.
Klare describes a two-pronged approach, to winning, by the US ruling class. (And no great power ruling class is righteous in this destructive, insane game.) One: Ramp up Cold War II. Two: Create a North American energy bloc, or energy superpower as leverage and as a way to forestall leverage by other players. The US created the capitalist, fossil-fueled world post World War II, but there’s no reason why ‘it’ should dominate it. But it just happens to. And it wants to continue to do so. And that’s all that’s happening here.
In regard to Ukraine specifically, Putin has acted relatively reasonably. He truly does have the high moral ground here, which doesn’t make him a good guy. There’s always been the fear, by US planners, that they might lose control of the capitalist order to some other rising bloc, like the Eurasian bloc, which would (naturally) include Europe and Russia and maybe others. The task for the US, then, is to somehow make that seem evil to the American people (who are being soaked so that their ‘leaders’ can play this game) and it’s allies. That’s where ‘evil communism’ comes in. And that’s where the more difficult rehabilitation of Nazism comes in. Afterall, Nazis fought the communists. (People don’t think Nazism is good, but then they don’t think about what it is exactly. They only remember Hitler and equate him with evil. Hitler = Nazis = evil. But the West never had a problem with Hitler, Nazism or fascism. Those were preferred ideologies of the West in fact. But those ideologies sort of became casualties in the war which was forced on the allies when Hitler turned his attention to them. The Right itself continues to refer to some of it’s enemies as Hitlers and certainly joins with others in condemning the Holocaust. So this rehabilitation isn’t going smoothly. Then again, That depends on where you are. In places like Ukraine, it’s going better, although still not smoothly. See “Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Demand Respect” and “How Ukraine Commemorates The Holocaust” by Robert Parry.) Thinking people might ask, “But if democracy means choice, then what’s wrong with people wanting communism?” Exactly.
Imperfect humans are not going to create perfect social/economic systems, but, according to the concept of democracy that most people embrace – until it gets twisted by manipulative elites and their media and other tools – people should be able to decide freely what their politics will look like and what form their social/ economic system will take. Getting what it wants, by force, which is uncle Sam’s way, will always be how it does democracy and global policing, because the military industrial complex profits from war. So there’s that as well.
Uncle Sam’s neoliberal capitalism will never be what sound people desire. Who wants dog-eat-dog when they can have peace and security and prosperity for all? And that explains why the state is so brutal with the people. The people won’t willingly accept what the state, and it’s business partners, want to give it. Chomsky notes that US planners frankly acknowledged that fact, but not publicly. That was the problem that the US ruling class had with, and has with, communism. (Stalin didn’t do communism any favors of course.) Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” thoroughly makes the case that capitalism only triumphed by being backed by force. “Communism may have collapsed without the firing of a single shot, but Chicago-style capitalism, it turned out, required a great deal of gunfire to defend itself: [Boris] Yeltsin called in five thousand soldiers, dozens of tanks and armoured personnel carriers, helicopters and elite shock troops armed with automatic machine guns – all to defend Russia’s new capitalist economy from the grave threat of democracy.” -pg 275
Some of the people who Stephen Harper doesn’t think should be in jail would include various Nazi players in the coup in Ukraine, below. Much information about all of these players can be gained from Consortium News and The New Cold War: Ukraine And Beyond. Michel Chossudovsky has a straight forward report on the US-backed coup in Ukraine and it carries some decent pics to go along with it. See his article titled “The US Has Installed A Neo Nazi Government In Ukraine”