Saturday, September 13, 2014

None Dare Call It Gridlock: Where Republicans and Democrats Find Common Ground

by Michael K. Smith

It is an axiom of contemporary U.S. journalistic commentary that Washington DC is so ideologically divided into warring camps of Republicans and Democrats that there is little hope of achieving a meeting of the minds on important issues of the day.  Suffice it to say that we here at find this a highly delusional belief, although obviously a useful fiction for the private owners of the capitalist economy and the Israel-forever fanatics, whose religious justifications of minority rule in general and Jewish supremacy in particular enjoy overwhelming support from all three branches of government.  There is no rationalization too ludicrous for the two "opposed" parties in their pursuit of limitless profit and Greater Israel.

Consider the following policy prescriptions.  All of them are currently in vogue, and enjoy broad bi-partisan support:

Education:  Bust the unions, close the schools, fire the teachers. Ignore incremental rise in test scores over many years, and the public's general satisfaction with the public schools, in favor of handing public funds over to profit-hungry charter schools accountable only to themselves.

Health care:  Ignore the option of extending Medicare coverage to all, essentially the way every other developed country in the world has achieved universal health insurance, in favor of forcing millions more Americans to subsidize the parasitic HMOs that currently siphon off more than $1 trillion a year in unnecessary costs via the hopelessly fraudulent "medical billing" industry.

Environment:  Disperse carcinogenic and mutagenic substances far and wide, so as to make it impossible to determine which profiteers are responsible for the resulting cancers and birth defects.

Energy:  Burn up the ocean of petroleum it took nature the whole of geologic time to create in a few generations, converting the earth to a combination gas chamber/cremation oven.

Economy:  Continue funneling hundreds of billions of dollars a year in public money to dependent corporations via the Pentagon system. Bail out reckless speculators who crashed the economy in 2008, asking nothing in return for the public funds.  Offshore the job base; give tax breaks to outsourcers; channel gains from productivity increases to the rich and super-rich; jail the poor; bury the middle class in debt.

Civil Liberties:  Jail whistleblowers; establish "total information awareness" via state controlled digital communications; abolish habeas corpus; establish torture centers and military tribunals to handle the increasing numbers of state enemies deemed undeserving of constitutional rights; award U.S. president the power to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime without resort to due process of law.

Communications:  Hand public airwaves permanently to private interests free of charge, so that they may continually bombard the public with "programming" celebrating greed, domination, and deceit.

Foreign Policy:  Rob, swindle, torture, and murder all those who passively or actively interfere with massive profit extraction on behalf of a microscopic minority of super-rich, who have no means of productively spending or investing their immense fortunes.   Award permanent unrestrained support to Jewish apartheid state in Palestine, no matter how many 911s it portends.  Continue siphoning off Middle East oil to underwrite suicidal over-consumption in the West, while tens of millions of Arabs remain mired in bitter poverty awaiting total catastrophe when the oil runs out.  Continue issuing pious declarations against "terrorism" while invading, bombing, torturing, and killing civilians throughout the Middle East.

This is but a thumbnail sketch of the terrifying policies currently enjoying bi-partisan support in Washington, with more and worse always on the way.  Given the almost total lack of critical political consciousness and popular organization for change among the citizenry, Democrat-Republican gridlock is an outcome fervently to be wished for.  Better that the two major parties endlessly wrangle over minor budgetary disagreements than that they devote themselves single-mindedly to the agenda outlined above.

Meanwhile, the rest of us had better educate and organize for broad-based, sweeping democratic change in all areas of policy, without fear of naming capitalism and Jewish-supremacy as public enemies. Until we have the courage to do that, we recklessly invite terminal disaster.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Decapitation American Style

America’s anti-humanism can cause shock among hyenas, vultures and other creatures that feed on death in accordance with rather than opposition to nature. But as the empire sinks more deeply into the political economic sewage of its own creation, its weaponized psyche grows more malevolent and the behavior pattern more dangerous. The public has to be nearly lobotomized to allow its leadership to perform at such odds with reality. That is almost the case.

Present postures re the Ukraine and ISIS are so idiotic it’s almost impossible not to think a comedy writer is responsible for the foreign policy directives coming from the mental health crisis center we call our central government.

Outside the ruling circles of the USA and its NATO lapdogs most of the world knows that an elected Ukrainian government was removed by an outside organized and financed uprising and replaced by a local billionaire led regime which would better serve western interests. But consciousness controllers in the USA have portrayed a semi-fascist coupe as democratic action while blaming Russia and demonizing Putin for an invasion that never happened.

Russia’s reclaiming of Crimea, followed by a democratic expression of support by a Crimean majority was treated as a return of the Soviet Union, a revival of the Russian empire and Putin’s vision – inspired by very bad comedy writing or very good drugs – to take over Europe, Asia, Disneyland and Home Depot.

The fact that the southeastern Ukraine has a substantial population that not only identifies as Russian but welcomed returning to that nation is unknown to an american public fed news reports from dementia central, abundant celebrity gossip, and an occasional experience of verifiable material reality but only on weekends between one o’clock.

After having been dropped from Russia in an attempted peaceful gesture toward the west, many Crimeans were happy to again become part of what they see as their homeland. But much of the larger western Ukraine identifies with Europe and economics favored by the American satellites of NATO. The U.S and its euro-servants have worked on propagandizing that sector while surrounding Russia with military bases that were never supposed to be there according to post cold-war deals. But each menacing encroachment on its borders has been treated as aggressive action by Russia. Of course. And women keep raping themselves. And black men keep throwing themselves at police bullets.

Americans have to rely on the good sense of a Russian leader who is depicted as a monster by mind managers of the asylum we call a marketplace of ideas. We have to hope he maintains his mental stability while confronting not an individual nut case waving an axe but an imperial regime led by idiots collectively waving weapons of war that are far more menacing.

And another creation of the empire and its Arab flunkies, ISIS, is being treated as a menace to the USA, with consumers of corporate fables led to believe invasion is imminent if we do not stop these fanatics from converting our dogs, cats and identitarian minorities to their Islamic faith. This is not the Colbert Report or SNL but you almost have to laugh to keep from crying. While the warriors of ISIS have made short work of the demoralized armies of unpopular regimes created by the USA, they number at most twenty thousand men and have no air force, navy or mechanization beyond what they capture and confiscate from the weapons armory awarded them by american taxpayers. The average metropolitan police department here is better equipped and, unfortunately a greater threat to americans than this relatively ragtag gang of zealots, however bloody they may seem to people ignorant of the destroyed states, hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees created by the USA in the middle east under the guise of spreading democracy and the homicidal immorality we practice under its name.

Two horrible beheadings have been enough for the deranged in congress and media to warn of pending invasions of the USA that must be stopped lest all of us lose our heads physically, instead of by the almost equally dangerous form our beheadings take:

Watch the news, read the pundits, check antisocial media, and slowly but surely lose your mind.

When people are reduced to seeing the alleged intellectual lackey to Israel who dwells in the half-white house as a serious peaceful counter to the mad dog moronic lackeys to Israel who reside in congress, we have far more than a problem. It is approaching catastrophe.

Professions of national pride and threats to “degrade and destroy” a group that owes its formation, arms and temporary success to American meddling in the middle east are the wailings of a computer nerd trying to sound like a Mafia Don. But the Mafia at its worst was a humanitarian NGO by comparison to the atrocities committed by this crumbling empire.

Just as Israel seems close to going over the edge as its chosen people-above-reproach reputation finally comes under closer global scrutiny, the USA, as its mythological reputation encounters reality, moves closer to a form of deranged master racism that threatens the entire global community. So far the public only seems willing to accept murderous and ultimately useless bombing and not murderous and even more useless invasion. That isn’t much, but for the moment we can hope that full-scale war that could lead to a nuclear confrontation or terrorist retaliation can be avoided.

The greatest threat to America and the world emanates from the ruling minority in the USA. Our ignorance under almost total corporate thought control is understandable but we need to become educated to the need for social transformation before it is too late. The process of democratic action taken by the growing minority who wish to change the entire system of human relations needs to happen before present hypocritical rule creates a warfare capitalist pandemic from which humanity may not recover.

Friday, September 5, 2014

After Beheading of Steven Sotloff, Obama Pledges to Punish ISIS

American weapons industry will only sell dull knives to middle east fundamentalists.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Norman Finkelstein and the Master Race, Chosen People Disease

Norman Finkelstein's July 30, 2014 appearance at Red Emma's bookstore in Baltimore was recently broadcast on C-SPAN.  In front of a large and highly engaged audience Finkelstein proved himself adept at discussing the legal and moral implications of Israel's ongoing slaughter in the Gaza Strip.  As usual, he was highly informative, passionately articulate, and fully committed to achieving peace in Palestine - so long as it doesn't require the abolition of a Jewish state.   

 But what if it does?

Finkelstein took several shots at BDS activists (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) and any notion of a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which he denounced as supremely unrealistic.

He actually went further, suggesting it was a form of lunacy, lacking backing from even a single member state of the United Nations.  A one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said, would be like proposing a resolution to U.S. immigration problems by eliminating the border with Mexico.

 How appropriate is this analogy?  Does the U.S. Constitution declare the American state to be the exclusive property of WASPs, as Israel does for Jews, thus excluding Mexicans by definition?  Are Mexicans an actual or potential majority of a combined U.S.-Mexico, as Palestinians would be in Palestine if Palestinian exiles in Lebanon, Jordan, and around the world were allowed to come home?  If Mexicans outnumbered the overwhelmingly white American middle class, and availing oneself of one's rights required one to be a white Christian, would it really be reasonable to dismiss calls for a single-state democratic solution to this as a form of lunacy?  This appears to be what Finkelstein is asking us to believe.   
 Finkelstein was particularly critical of BDS basing its campaign on international law, while at the same time dismissing the legitimacy of Israel, in spite of the fact that Israel is a legal member state of the United Nations.  You can't have it both ways, he said; either you favor international law in its entirety or you don't really favor it.

 Good point.  So how does a two-state solution envision the implementation of the Palestinian right of return, as called for under international law?  (Finkelstein side-stepped a question about how a two-state solution would be just to Palestinians, on the basis that the question was complicated, as it surely is, but so what?  The entire issue is complicated.) The answer is, it doesn't.  No matter how borders are drawn to accommodate a two-state diplomatic settlement, many Palestinians with legal deeds to homes in pre-1948 Palestine will be permanently dispossessed, which outcome dissident professor Noam Chomsky (whose views on this topic parallel Finkelstein's) says has to be accepted as "realistic," since Israel will never allow complete implementation of the Palestinian right of return.  Finkelstein, too, said that Israel would "never accept" a one-state solution, so it's best to not even entertain the notion.

In other words, both Finkelstein and Chomsky take the position that what Israel refuses to accept should define the limits of a Middle East "peace."  The only problem with this stance is that Israeli leaders are certifiably insane even by the dismal standards of contemporary international politics, and cannot envision "peace" apart from total Israeli domination of the entire Middle East. 

What these learned professors cannot seem to fathom is that  a Jewish state, no matter how decent, humane, and democratic to Jews, is a massive obscenity to Palestinians on whose land the state is constructed, and until this fact becomes the basis for peace negotiations, there is no possibility of Middle East peace, now or ever.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It Isn't Ferguson: It's the USA


Now that almost all mainstream political and media mind managers have responded, in horror, sympathy or skepticism, to the most recent – as this is written – police killing of an unarmed black man, it is time to consider radical action for social change as opposed to the usual reactionary individual reform.

The attention given this latest outrage has been greater than ever before, which is good no matter what form it takes. Most often it has been understandably critical of the police action, though not many will publicly shout “great” at any alleged racially motivated killing unless they are brain dead, or racists, or more likely both.

The specific facts of the case are not known to anyone but the deceased, who cannot speak, and the killer, who would only be believed or doubted by those whose minds were already made up. We know that the dead man was unarmed and that he was shot six times. We also know that he was young, big and may have been angry, but there is nothing in the biblically worshipped constitution that says you get the death penalty for being a big black man who may be angry. Or, for that matter a dumb white man in a position of authority. In fact, if being a dumb white man in a position of authority were a capital offense, our government would be the site of an ongoing blood bath of executions. Sarcasm aside, what is to be done?

Another in a dreadful series of murders of unarmed black men by police officers frequently dressed and equipped like an invading colonial army in a foreign country – what they often are - should not only invite anger but also concern for society in general and not just the community in which this killing took place.

Police officers sometimes commit violent acts based on individual racist ignorance, the last two words being synonymous. But far more often they act for the social ignorance of their employers, to do dirty work in communities many americans who vacation in foreign countries have never seen except on the TV news.

Who wants to visit ghettos where poor, often darker skinned people live, and without hotels, restaurants, museums and gift shops welcoming to tourists? And given class realities which trump alleged differences in race, how many affluent professionals who accept being designated as “people of color” live in or visit such communities? So the rest of us can think we are personally clean, we employ the police to do the socially dirty work in keeping order among people who have every right to occasionally act disorderly because of the often wretched conditions of their lives. This depraved social situation prevails regardless of the mental or moral cleanliness of any individual police officer’s mind.

While we spend trillions on a warfare state that murders foreigners while maintaining military bases all over the world, and tens of billions on the care and feeding of our pets, and billions to prop up an apartheid state in the middle east that makes us party to mass murders and leads to our being increasingly despised by people all over the world, we tolerate communities of tragic poverty, blatant economic inequality, low income and high crime which are the result of political horrors having little to do with the police officers we employ as veritable colonial armies.

Blaming the police for the bigotries of class, poverty and racism endemic to our system is as stupid as blaming the military for wars. And if you believe that soldiers are responsible for war, whether you are a person of color, no color, or more likely, no brains, be glad there is no death penalty for being stupid.

Even our ruling media corporations are unable to deny some unmistakable facts that can no longer be hidden about our economy:

Inequality is written into the market system under control of private profiteers. It must have vast oceans of poverty to maintain the mountain from which a relatively small number of incredibly wealthy people look down on the rest of us. The increased human suffering this system brings is compounded by what is being done to the natural environment which investment capital treats as just another profit making commodity. That is not simply an aspect of the police, the military, parking lot attendants, school teachers or any other group of workers but rather the necessary social outcome of the system they, and we, are part of and suffering from, until and unless we bring about systemic change that ends that endemic inequality, injustice and human suffering.

Prosecuting one cop who kills a person probably innocent of any crime other than being angry will socially accomplish what all other prosecutions of individual killers do: Nothing!

As long as we lavish hundreds of billions of dollars on producing, selling and using weapons, and compound the moral felony of profit for some at loss for most others by maintaining separations based on skin color, national origin or other divisions created to keep us a mass of minorities controlled by a tiny group of plantation masters who own what we call our democratic homeland, we can prosecute individuals for war crimes and continue killing one another until we run out of scapegoats and face the need to stop the war.

While an idiotic governing group threatens war with Russia over the Ukraine and spreads fanatic hatred in the Middle East with a bombing campaign to supposedly bring democracy and peace while creating death, destruction and refugees, the degradation of inequality, poverty and racism grows much worse at home.

 Life is getting worse in communities where almost everyone is either poor, low income or living with minimal choices if any at all by comparison to what passes for those available to a diminishing group living above poverty. Those former working class members rebranded as “middle” as they went into debt to purchase what they could not afford, have in recent years expanded to include more varied skin tones and ethnic integration, but are in decline as wealth grows only for the minority at the top. As life becomes more dangerous for those formerly believing they were affluent, it becomes more miserable for those never more than barely surviving.

With ugly race and ethnic barriers used to keep divisions among people, the class barriers which are the burden of all need to be understood and fought in order to achieve a democratic system that affords social justice, and equality to all and not just some.

Ferguson is another cancer sore in a nation facing a terminal condition if it insists on simply removing one or another blemish while allowing the organism to continue its deterioration. The personal tragedy suffered in suburban St.Louis needs to be seen and acted upon as a national disorder not limited to one community, and certainly not one aspect of the system of private profits and public loss that reduces us all to accept false identitarian divisions when we most need democratic unity. And real democracy, as opposed to the sham we have that disgraces its name, demands radical action to change the system, not just one or another of its component parts.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Not Just Fast Food Workers: Think About These Poor Souls

August 20, 2014 7:52 pm

Goldman gives junior bankers 20% pay rise

The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed at the company's booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US, on Friday, July 19 2013©Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs is increasing salaries for junior bankers in the US by about 20 per cent in an increasingly frenetic war to attract and retain young graduates.
Some first-year employees will see their salaries increase to about $85,000, according to people familiar with the matter. The change does not affect bonuses, which can equal the salary. It does not affect every new recruit, and is not being rolled out internationally.

Wall Street banks, which have been trying to rein in overall remuneration costs, have come under pressure to improve salaries for their junior staff. Rivals, including Morgan Stanley, have already moved to increase base pay.
Many bankers complain that, while they may be receiving a large bonus in deferred stock, they need cash to spend on expensive Manhattan rents.
The move comes amid a broader reappraisal of pay and conditions at large banks, which are having to deal with private equity firms poaching their staff, Silicon Valley technology companies looking for talent and the death of a Bank of America intern who was working long hours.
BofA announced last month that it would hire more junior staff in an attempt to improve the work/life balance of its bankers. Several banks have attempted to limit work at weekends. Goldman has taken this approach and warned of disciplinary consequences for bankers who breach the new rules.
Last October Goldman announced the findings of a “junior banker task force” set up to improve conditions.
Its proposals included hiring more entry-level employees, called analysts, and providing additional opportunities for these analysts to spend time with their managers and clients.
“The goal is for our analysts to want to be here for a career,” said David Solomon, Goldman’s co-head of investment banking. “We want them to be challenged, but also to operate at a pace where they’re going to stay here and learn important skills that are going to stick. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
In 2012 Goldman ended two-year contracts and bonuses for analysts at its investment banking operations. The move to give these junior bankers full-time employment contracts from the start was designed as a way to prevent them from being poached by hedge funds and private equity groups.
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