Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Headline News from a Rational Empire

Market seesaws wildly on news that $85 billion taxpayer bailout resembles attempt to extinguish forest fire with a hypodermic needle. Treasury Secretary Paulson vows to "go the distance," promises taxpayers will "pay back every last dime that has been stolen from them." Fed Chairman Bernanke assures brokers that public will pick up tab for "anything you want to rob in the future, too." McCain declares economy "fundamentally sound"; Obama calls for "kinder, gentler piracy."

Obama accuses McCain of "same old, same old." Outraged Palin condemns Obama for ridiculing McCain's advanced age.

McCain accuses Obama of advocating sex education for infants. Obama praises McCain's service record, says getting shot down is "a magnificent achievement every American ought to take pride in." Independent voters form breakaway "Nausea Party," promise a "barf bag in every polling booth." Voter support soars.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement hires Mexican kidnapping ring . . . Impressed by record of 43,281 kidnappings this year, Washington contracts Mexican drug cartels to track down illegal immigrants in the U.S. "These people really know how hide and seek is played" said Michael Chertoff of the Department of Homeland Security. The drug barons' new duties will apparently only involve bookkeeping adjustments, since most of them are already on the Drug Enforcement Agency's payroll fighting the "war on drugs."

Rice accuses newly installed Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo of "terrorism without borders." "He refuses to take any salary and says the elimination of poverty is his number one priority," complains U.S. Secretary of State, adding that his Christian Bolshevism is "spreading all over Latin America." She recommends that Lugo, a former priest, "stop reading that liberation theology garbage."

Obama says "Jesus died for my sins," McCain says he is "saved and forgiven," both candidates embrace "pulverize thy neighbor" foreign policy in name of Christ. Human Rights Watch condemns Hugo Chavez for not appointing more coup plotters to high office.

U.S. extends control to 3% of Afghanistan, declares victory amidst sea of opium poppies. With Kabul a maze of blast walls, sandbags, and concertina wire, U.S. airstrikes wipe out 12 orphanages and 18 schools, killing 541 Afghan children. President Bush declares "mission accomplished," expresses regret so many "Taliban militants" choose to live in "harm's way." Obama urges "tougher action" and more U.S. troops.

Washington hails preservation of "Iraqi sovereignty" with new security agreement calling for American control of Iraqi exports, investments, contracts, military bases, marital relations, and tooth decay. U.S. ambassador retains right to arrest and torture at will. U.S. soldiers awarded permanent immunity for anything they have done or will do. Joyous Iraqis turn cartwheels in the streets.

Treasury Department says Israeli helicopter gunships serve "charitable, religious, and educational purposes." I.R.S. confirms donations for blowing up Palestinian apartments do qualify for tax deduction. "Community development, that's what we're looking for," said Noam Schmuck of Peace Through Ethnic Cleansing. "And there's no question that Jewish community thrives on getting rid of Arab loiterers who've been hanging around for centuries to no visible purpose."

Obama and McCain campaigns declare bankruptcy. Fed nationalizes presidential campaigns on strength of news that both candidates are wholly owned subsidiaries of collapsed securities firms. Obama refuses to concede, declares determination to "get down on my knees and fight like hell."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's The System, Stupid

With major private institutions collapsing onto taxpayer’s shoulders almost daily, we continue to hear that our system is strong and sound. Sure. And the easter bunny created the universe. We are also told this is the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and that we can believe.

The 20th century depression was a phase in the long range disintegration of a system which has been living on borrowed time and money ever since. Nature and politics are now forcing it to repay some of its colossal debt, but with no collateral save a public willing to absorb further enormous burdens that jeopardize the future of all humanity. The official story holds only the financial community at fault, with greedy dealers and deregulators guilty of all that has gone wrong. Once we get rid of them things will get back to what they were before unregulated free market fundamentalism took over, and everything will be just fine. Sure. The way it was before the easter bunny created the universe.

Folks, we are not simply dealing with a part of an economy going wrong, but with an entire system that is in process of falling apart.

And we certainly won’t solve our problems with the next election, which will make the future seem less precarious for a few of us , while increasing the danger for all of us . The new executive gang will try making repairs at the top of a structure which is rotting at its foundation.The longer we continue supporting corporadoes who only differ on which group of millionaires to pay off with public funds, the shorter the time before we seal our own fate as victims .

Capitalism’s free market religion has brought fortune, comfort and affluence to millions the world over, but in the process it has murdered almost as many, impoverished many more, and brought devastation to the natural and social environment on which humanity depends for survival.

Whether its current stage is called a time of sluggish growth, which is official economc theory , or a time of chaotic collapse, which is the reality for those made homeless, jobless and lifeless by its practice, there is agreement that it is a crisis. So? We have these bust cycles all the time, say the high priests of the faith, and we always survive them with another economic boom. The late breaking bulletin for these fundamentalists is that the booms are getting shorter and are shared by less people, while the busts are becoming longer and taking more people to an economic graveyard which threatens to ultimately include society itself

The gap between a wealthy minority and the rest of humanity is greater than ever before in modern times, and resistance to the savage inequities of the system is growing. This resistance is not always unified and often unclear on exactly what it is against beyond injustice , but since injustice is at the system's core , it’s a worthwhile place to start.

That there is starvation , hunger and massive poverty in a world where affluent minorities go on diets while feeding their pets does not escape the consciousness of the majority doing the suffering. Millions of working people need no economic degrees to understand the injustice of some sitting around doing nothing and getting richer , while they struggle to survive and get poorer. That experience is balanced by a new breed of the educated middle class which lives its morality every day, instead of only once a week in a church, synagogue or mosque. That new class is attempting radical forms of social organizing , even if not always in the political parties necessary to affect long term change. Globally, they are not just raising money to feed the poor and unemployed , but raising consciousness and helping organize people to reclaim their land, their rights, their jobs and ultimately to end poverty, once and for all.

The system protectors and their employees will have none of it, whether in the USA, Bolivia , Venezuela, the Middle East , or anywhere else . And they will still run the world after the November election.

While our perverse democracy’s multi million dollar ad campaign grinds our brains into pulp , important issues are reduced to the race, sex and religious beliefs of the major presidential product line. The idiocy of the campaigns is matched by the emptiness of the candidates, a void which can make the simplest expression of moderate thoughtfulness seem a brilliant and probing argument for change. And despite surface political differences , they all support more war , increased military spending, the mythical market , and deep devotion to the Jewish state of Israel which is a major reason for our bloody conflicts in the middle east , and the hateful retaliation they provoke.

No matter which major party affirmative action team wins, it will attempt to strengthen this imperial anachronism by borrowing more billions from foreigners , floating fake electronic money to pay them off , and giving the real bill to taxpayers . New loans will pay off old loans made with other borrowed money to pay still older loans , until this massive Ponzi scheme reaches a climax . It could come sooner than we think.

The myth of a privately controlled free market is only sustained by the reality of publicly financed bail outs of wealth and capital. Unless we demand democratic control of any publicly funded operations in the marketplace, the bottom line will remain the same: They profit, at our loss. This system is morally and financially bankrupt, and we sustain it only by jeopardizing our own future. Some would revive the New Deal that saved capitalism after the last depression, but if we reshuffle those cards we only delay the inevitable. We need an entirely New Deck in order to save humanity from a system which will eventually lead us to total disaster.

Copyright (c) 2008 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

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frank scott
email: frankscott@comcast.net

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is Charlie Gibson Qualified To Be a Journalist?

Reading through the transcript of Charlie Gibson's September 11 interview with Sarah Palin gives an excellent view of corporate contempt for any form of populism. Rather than practice journalistic impartiality, Gibson prefers to frame questions that he hopes will make Palin look bad. He starts off asking her if she regards herself as truly qualified to be vice-president, and when she replies that she does, he asks her if it didn't take some "hubris" on her part to accept McCain's offer to be his running mate. Gibson could just as easily have asked her if it didn't take some nerve to accept the offer, but this much more common word would not have stood as good a chance of making Palin appear "ignorant," which is what Gibson was eager to do.

Gibson asks Palin if being commander of the Alaskan National Guard and hailing from a state so close to Russia are sufficient "credentials" to be vice-president in "a very dangerous world." He neglects to cite any evidence that support his assumption that "credentials" result in superior political judgment and better foreign policy. The long history of bloody U.S. interventions carried out by U.S. presidents and their cabinet secretaries strongly suggests that there is no positive correlation between establishment credentials and good government, quite the contrary. But Gibson either doesn't know or doesn't care about this. Furthermore, his use of the cliche "dangerous world" shows him to be an eager recipient of ideological hand-me-downs, and his lack of awareness of the massive contribution U.S. foreign policy makes to keeping the world far more dangerous than it needs to be highlights a very bi-partisan ignorance.

Gibson asks Palin if she has ever met a foreign head of state, as though meeting heads of state were a pre-requisite to international understanding, or even just made such understanding more likely. There is no evidence that suggests this would be the case. There are far better questions that Gibson left unasked, such as, "What should our policy be in Palestine?" Why didn't Gibson ask such an obvious question? Osama bin Laden has made it very clear that USrael's conquest of Palestine is a major grievance leading to attacks such as occurred on 911, and the Palin interview was conducted on the anniversary of those attacks, yet Gibson asks nothing about what is widely regarded as the "mother question" in the Middle East. His only interest in Middle East policy is to ask what to do about the allegedly "existential" threat Iran poses to Israel. He cites no evidence that Iran's nuclear program has or intends to produce an atomic bomb, merely assumes we are faced with a "nuclear Iran," with "nuclear" intended to be understood as nuclear weapon, not nuclear electricity. Furthermore, he uses the word terrorist uncritically, offering no definition of the term that would allow us to acquit the Bush Administration of the charge that it is a terrorist government for having killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and invaded a sovereign nation without provocation. In short, Gibson thinks ideologically, which is not what allegedly professional journalists beholden to value-free information gathering techniques are supposed to do.

On Iran, Gibson is completely subservient to the Israel lobby's view of the country. Here is how he asks about what the U.S. response to a nuclear Iran should be: "What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?" (italics added)

It is difficult not to be troubled by this response. Just how does one decide to feel something? And since when do feelings dictate bombing raids on foreign nations? Gibson is so intent on revealing Palin to be a moron that he overlooks his own stupidity.

Gibson quotes Palin saying that U.S. leaders are sending soldiers "on a task that is from God" and asks her, "are we fighting a Holy War?" That political leaders regard war as sacred is not exactly news, so what is the point of the question? It can only be to discredit Palin for her strong Christian beliefs. But how are these beliefs any more politically dangerous than the conviction of virtually the entire political class that Israel is a Holy State? In his memoirs Jimmy Carter says Israel was "ordained by God." Nevertheless, Carter is not discredited for having made this claim, but for having pointed out that Israel is an apartheid state (though Carter believes that it is so only in the Occupied Territories). That Israel can torture and murder on a massive scale largely thanks to the "humanitarian" aid flowing by the billions from Washington and the tax exempt contributions of American Jewish donors, ought to be at least as alarming as Palin's belief that U.S. soldiers are on a Divine Mission, but Gibson is entirely unconcerned about it.

After Palin states that she would favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, Gibson asks whether the U.S. wouldn't then be obligated to intervene militarily to protect Georgia against Russia. His only expressed concern is whether or not such a war would be "worth it" to the United States. The lack of any moral concern in the exercise of force is exactly what allows the Bush neo-cons to masquerade as ethical idealists bringing democracy to a "backward" Middle East (except for Israel), but again, Gibson shows no concern about this, persisting in his "realist" political line. That the U.S. has supported the most reactionary political forces in Central Asia for decades, amassing a staggering civilian death toll, is not mentioned by Gibson, a rather significant omission of essential background information that makes it impossible for viewers to judge the policy question properly. And let us recall the by now classic statement on mass murder of civilians being "worth it" to the United States. Asked in 1996 by Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes whether the economic sanctions on Iraq that killed "more children than died in Hiroshima" was truly worth whatever political gain the policy was alleged to have achieved, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright responded, "we think the price is worth it." This is the realist philosophy that presumes itself qualified to lead us to a bright future.

Furthermore, Gibson's use of the term "existential" to refer to the alleged threat that Iran poses to Israel is itself part of a religious ideology that holds the West possessed of civilized values and the Islamic republics permeated by wickedness that can only be overcome by force. Until this backward Western theology receives the attention it deserves we will all be caught up in Holy Wars that enrich the few and bring anguish to the many.

Socialism or Barbarism

Recent events solidify America's position as foremost practitioner of hypocritical policies which would be laughable if they weren't so dangerous. A nation that destroyed Yugoslavia in alleged defense of breakaway efforts by Kosovo can express horror at seeing Russia support breakaway states from Georgia. Russia’s possible over reaction but completely understandable crushing of Georgia over its attack on Ossetia, revealed the ridiculous military defense fiction of NATO in its imitation of America’s leading politicians - No Action, Talk Only. That helpless creature of the 20th century becomes more useless in the 21st.

While the dreadful Bush regime nears its end, the policies in place since long before it took power will continue destroying the American empire no matter which new gang attempts to control the crumbling operation. But so long as major media serve as stenographers for establishment power, the public will continue to be treated as preschool children and given naps between sweet treats and nursery rhymes. In fact, if we let under paid child care workers take over our government and media, we’d all be much better served.

Reference to an alleged Russian power play by political and media mind managers can lead people to swallow the worst forms of fantasy as representations of reality. The english speaking Georgian president who regularly cites american political heroes as models for what he calls his democracy is a case in point. Try imagining an American president speaking Russian and quoting Stalin and Lenin as his heroes and you get some idea of the suspension of thought needed to accept this lap dog as an actual leader of his people, and not an agent of fast fading western imperialism.

Many of us, especially our major party presidential tickets, believe that the awesome majesty of the universe was created by something with a penis, so nothing should surprise us when we who vote for them swallow the fantastic fables and lunatic legends perpetuated by our consciousness controllers. No better example, perhaps even beyond the foreign policy fiasco of Russia and Georgia, exists than the recently completed conventions of our ruling Hypocratic and Theocratic parties. These massive tv productions, with programmed crowds that make a reality tv show audience seem like a bunch of hermeneutics of philosophy grad students, approach the spectacle of American Idol or the Olympics but with less real meaning.

Accepting an increase in warfare in Afghanistan so we can decrease warfare in Iraq as its hopeful signs of “change we can believe in”, the ecstatic crowd at the Hypocratic Con indulged in group hysteria over selection of our first semi-black candidate, who will do exactly what his white owners demand. This amounts to positive change in a population reduced to finding progress in the look of a performer, while totally neglecting the substance of actual performance.

Meanwhile, the Theocratic party gang picked a previously unknown woman from Alaska for vice president, stressing the importance of whether the mens or ladyies room is used before the executive sends troops to their death. Should the Theocratic ticket somehow succeed - against all odds but given the dreadful nature of the Hypocrats, all things are possible - many may wish for a quick demise at the top so that this woman can take over and quickly bring down the entire facade of empire. While opposition hit teams dig up dirt and trash her character, she may turn out to be the closest thing to an average american in the entire multi billion dollar fiasco. She certainly believes in the penis bearing creator of all and everything, opposes abortion, shoots guns, supports the market, loves Israel and has a family. Perfect. She could take over tomorrow.

But seriously folks, as the old comics used to say, what can we do about a situation that gets crazier and more frightening even as mainstream mind shapers depict it as logical, democratic and sanity enhancing? More than ever, we need to question everything we are told by major media and our corporate government and to believe nothing until we are convinced by material evidence from sources we can trust. This means we should also question some of the gibberish that poses as independent media or online detective work, since many of the stories carried are on a par with the science fiction and fantasy we are given by our main stream consciousness corporadoes. Be critical and skeptical of all, and if you haven't the time to investigate, find someone you trust who has the time. And then continue being careful and critical of that source.

This government is a tragedy but it will be followed by one that is as tragic in that it will support the system with only cosmetic changes that may please some sectors - temporarily - while destroying others. Which is exactly what we are doing now, and have done for far too long. It is fast coming to a point at which we, and all inhabitants of the planet will have to act as though it’s all of us or none of us. And in the words of Rosa Luxemburg in the 20th century, echoed by Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and growing numbers around the world in the 21st, we will face a choice: socialism or barbarism.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin Haters Making Her a Hero

Liberals never learn. Having forgotten their hysterical claims that Bush would revive the draft and repeal Roe v. Wade if given a second term in office, they are now wetting their pants over the "threat" of censorship emanating from Sarah Palin. It's funny how they didn't protest in recent months when Amazon banned Michael Hoffman's book critical of Judaism. There's nothing like selective morality to keep the barf-o-meter at high nausea.

The surge in Iraq has "succeeded beyond our wildest expectations,"crows Obama, to the resounding silence of the liberals, who prefer to imagine him as an anti-war candidate, even as he fellates the Israel lobby and promises to slaughter more Afghans while celebrating our "triumph" in Iraq. This has to be the peace "that passeth understanding."

With their usual boundless stupidity, the Democrats are turning Palin into a hero with their condescending criticism of her beliefs and lack of qualifications for high office, as though Bush hadn't demonstrated for all time that the country can have, not a vice-president, but a president, who is an absolute moron. This little detail seems to have slipped by Charlie Gibson.

By the way, has Gibson forgotten the subtle and sophisticated Democratic statecraft that turned Vietnam into a land of wreck and ruin? Thanks to the finer understanding of the world possessed by JFK's "Best and Brightest," the U.S. dropped eight million tons of bombs and almost 400,000 tons of napalm there, leaving behind twenty-one million bomb craters. It killed over two million Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians, wounded over three million more, and scattered fourteen million traumatized refugees throughout Indochina. It rained down 18 million gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants, leaving forests bereft of trees, animals, or birds, and cursing Vietnam with extraordinary rates of liver cancer, miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects. Vietnamese mothers are still giving birth to mutant babies. Ho hum. The war grinds on.

Thank God the corporate media overlooks such trivialities, focusing on the real issues. For example this is sample criticism of Palin from the New York Times:

"...Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge..."

This horrifying revelation no doubt has left millions of high minded liberals ready to renounce their citizenship. Even worse, Palin's teenage daughter was impregnated and - gasp - didn't have an abortion. What is this world coming to?

We've seen this routine before, as when Teresa Heinz-Kerry looked down her nose at Laura Bush for being a mere librarian and housewife. Shocking though it is, millions of women find no shame in either occupation and persist in the peculiar belief that raising one's own children is preferable to paying someone else to do it while climbing the corporate ladder. There's just no accounting for taste.

The question which arises from all this nonsense has nothing to do with Sarah Palin, to wit: Are liberals qualified to make intelligent political judgments? Apparently not. There is no constitutional requirement to have a thick resume in order to become vice-president. Furthermore, there is no non-political way to select candidates for high office and Democrats make explicitly political judgments in appointing candidates to high office all the time. How else do you suppose we ended up with government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich? Because the rich are most qualified to rule? Please.

Furthermore, Joe Biden's long resume didn't prevent him from cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a disastrous decision that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. And now this seasoned veteran has the nerve to brown-nose Obama by saying that Obama's vantage point from outside of the federal government may have given him the extraordinary insight that the invasion was not a good idea. Oh really? Then why did Admiral Shanahan and General Zinni and members of the U.S. intelligence community take out a full page ad in the New York Times warning that a war with Iraq would destabilize the Middle East, increase terrorism, invite blowback on the U.S., and waste resources essential to the U.S. economy? Were they outside the federal government too? And if they could see what was coming, why didn't Biden? Recall that Palin is faulted for not having given much thought to Iraq. Compared to what Biden has done, how bad is that?

By the way, if being outside the Beltway improves one's political judgment, shouldn't that count in Palin's favor? In Alaska she's about as far away from Washington as one can get. If that improves one's political insight, she should be among the smartest political minds in the country.

Turning to sex education, Sarah Palin is far from the only politician to preach abstinence. Bill Clinton did it regularly when he was president, lecturing black teens on the wisdom of sexual restraint, an amazing display of chutzpah given his own predilections. And so successful was Clinton in concocting a Blow Job Defense that millions of teens took to heart his theory that fellatio is not really sex and indulged themselves with what they took to be a presidential pardon. No one has accused Palin of anything like the sleazy sexual offenses committed by Bill Clinton, including routinely blackmailing his conquests, and Clinton is a much-celebrated elder statesman. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

Revealingly, Charlie Gibson did not correct the most serious error Palin made in her interview with him, namely, that Iranian Prime Minister Ahmadinejad had claimed that Israel as a "stinking corpse, should be wiped off the face of the earth." Why anyone would want to attack a corpse was left unexplained by both parties, nor did Gibson bother to point out that what Ahmadinejad actually said was that Israel would "vanish from the page of time," as corpses habitually do. In short, it was a prediction, not a threat of destruction. But on this, as on all crucial matters, the two parties have very little to distinguish them.

The so-called Red state dummies have met their match in the idiot liberals. May the dumbest shit win?


Sources:

"Iraqi surge exceeded expectations, Obama says," Associated Press, September 4, 2008,

BBC News, June 14, 2004, "Vietnam's war against Agent Orange," http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3798581.stm

Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, "After the Cataclysm - Postwar Indochina & The Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology," (South End, 1979) pp. 7-9

Alexander Cockburn, "Panic!" September 13-14, 2008, www.counterpunch.org