Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Imperial Demon Watch: Evo Morales

"I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every ten are and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."

-----Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the U.S.

"We're here to change our history . . . We're taking over . . . ."

-----Evo Morales, first Indian president of Bolivia, 2006

Things have changed considerably in the century since Teddy Roosevelt's brand of Nordic supremacy unblushingly held center stage. These days Indians don't need to drop dead to establish their virtue; all they need do is stand submissively on the political sidelines while neo-liberalism picks their pockets and sells them their wallets.

Somehow Indians in Bolivia weren't supposed to mind two decades of neo-liberal policies promising the moon while delivering lower per capita incomes than they started off with. Or being the poorest country in South America but holding the second largest natural gas reserves in the hemisphere. Or having no access to heat, clean water, or medical care while a light-skinned elite enjoyed a Texas-sized luxury life at their expense. In other words, in the 21st century "good" Indians aren't cadavers, they're unprotesting victims of a savagely lopsided distribution of wealth. It's not massacre, it's just death on the installment plan.

Unfortunately for the elite that dominates the economy, submissive Indians are in short supply these days in Bolivia, which elected Evo Morales on the novel platform of reversing 500 years of colonialism and genocide against the indigenous majority. Infused with a gentle charisma and a refreshing ethical sensibility, Morales is apparently determined to see that the nearly six million Amerindian Aymara and Quechua (out of nine million total inhabitants) are treated with at least minimal justice for the first time ever. This in itself is more than enough to put the Pentagon and C.I.A. on red alert, but Morales also condemns the IMF-administered neo-liberalism that was hailed as the proverbial free market "miracle" until privatization of the water supply provoked uncontrolled rioting among those who couldn't afford the required ransom. Stubbornly adhering to World Bank orthodoxy, Washington's Bolivian client government insisted that "no subsidies should be given to ameliorate the increase in water tariffs." All users, including the poorest of the poor, had to pay full cost, which entailed a doubling of rates for many.

Not surprisingly, Morales' rise to power coincides with escalating popular resentments against such neo-liberal austerity. In 1989, Bolivia, a recipient of U.S. military aid, found that Washington was quite unconcerned when its president declared a state of emergency and jailed hundreds of union leaders and teachers who stood accused of threatening the government's anti-inflation policies with their wage demands. Since the denial of human rights did not involve an eclipse of investor privileges, no issue was made of them.

Then in the 1990s, Jeffrey Sachs, a leading Harvard economist, carried out what was regarded by experts as a highly successful program of aggressive privatization and "free trade" in Bolivia. The country had accumulated a huge debt under a series of brutal dictators who dished out the usual ugly repression to maintain their hold on power. Bolstered by its IMF prescriptions and Sachs as its star advisor, the West went in with a template of stabilizing the currency, increasing agro-exports, and slashing production for domestic needs and subsistence agriculture. It worked. Growth rates rose from negative numbers to between four and five percent annually, the currency stabilized, debt declined, and foreign investment more than doubled. Unfortunately, the dazzling statistics obscured an increase in poverty and malnutrition and the collapse of the educational system. Not to mention that what stabilized the economy was coca exports, not coffee, which made later complaints about Morales undermining Washington's "war on drugs" more than slightly hypocritical, if not outright farcical.

In fact, some specialists in Latin American economics estimated that coca accounted for two-thirds of Bolivia's much praised exports. Plenty of the money involved went to U.S. chemical companies that were exporting chemicals to Latin America far beyond its industrial needs - chemicals used in cocaine production. Drug processing requires ether and acetone, which are imported into Latin America, often in drums displaying U.S. corporate logos. The fact that U.S. companies were helping fuel an international drug epidemic didn't get much attention in the corporate media. It wasn't until Evo Morales assumed the presidency and defended the many uses of the coca leaf that do not eventuate in cocaine production that the media began to evince a tender sympathy for cocaine addicts.

As the era of wholesale privatization staggered to its ignominious end, Morales demanded President Sanchez de Lozada's resignation over the issue of allowing natural gas to enrich foreign corporations and domestic elites while the Indian majority suffered in abysmal poverty. Describing demonstrations against his government as an Indian uprising against white minority rule, Morales narrowly missed winning the presidency in 2002, when U.S. ambassador Manuel Rocha warned Bolivians that they shouldn't vote for him. But three years later, on the strength of rising indigenous, campesino, and other popular forces, Morales won 53.7% of the vote in an eight-candidate race, amassing the largest Bolivian electoral advantage in almost three decades while becoming the first indigenous president in the country's history. Roman Loayza, head of Morales's party, the Movement Towards Socialism, later summed up his program: "We want to finish off the neoliberal economic model."

Such developments show that Latin America is falling out of the U.S. orbit of control. For the first time Indians are entering the political arena, and in substantial numbers. This may have effects on the large indigenous populations in Ecuador and Peru, which are also large energy producers. Some groups in Latin America, eager to recover their natural resources from foreign control, are even calling for an Indian nation. Some of them don't want their resources to be developed at all, preferring to maintain their own traditions and culture, rather than allow their resources to be siphoned off to subsidize traffic jams in the U.S. Naturally, such developments are a big threat to U.S. elites, who have no intention of seeing the "American Dream" curtailed by a bunch of upstart Indians who somehow got it into their heads that democracy means majority rule.

The problem for the business class, however, is that Morales may be just the curl on an indigenous tidal wave. Arriving in power with a 74% approval rating - unprecedented in Bolivian history - he promised to return the natural resources of the country to the people via nationalization of the energy sector. After delivering on the promise four months later, Mitofsky International found his approval rating had risen to 81%. Meanwhile, his party, the Movement Towards Socialism, holds 60% of the seats in the Bolivian Constituent Assembly while his supporters are eager to see him stay in power 50 years or more. On the other hand, hardly anyone expects good to come of U.S. influence in the region. According to a 2005 poll, 61% of Latin Americans have little or no confidence in the U.S..

Upon assuming office, Morales quickly attracted attention with his distinct approach to governance. He met world leaders dressed in jeans and a striped jumper ("Majorities never wear ties," he says), banned corruption, and cut his salary in half, so he could hire more teachers (he makes the equivalent of $1,875 a month - George Bush makes over $33,000.) Foreign diplomats in La Paz confirmed that he was that most oxymoronic of oxymorons: an honest, incorruptible politician. Who can ever forgive him?

Morales's arrival on the scene poses a direct threat to the U.S.'s "drug war." He will not bow to Washington's demands for oversight over Bolivia's army and domestic policies, which the U.S. seeks as part of its soaring ambitions for "full spectrum dominance," nor will he ban the coca leaf, which has played a central role in indigenous culture for millenia. While opposing cocaine for the world's addicts, he says he cannot reject the coca leaf, or at least not until the U.S. agrees to bulldoze its tobacco fields in order to save the vastly more numerous cigarette addicts from lung cancer. Such insolence.

While the U.S. has established a Department of "Homeland" Security that is rapidly converting the Constitution to a museum piece, Morales has established something akin to a Department of Decolonization to make institutional racism obsolete. He has also established a water ministry to provide clean water to millions of Bolivians who don't have it, arguing that the water privatization that took place in the mid-90s was not constitutional, since the contracts with the water companies were never approved by the Bolivian congress.

In May, 2006 Morales nationalized Bolivia's natural gas, requiring some 25 natural gas companies to renegotiate their contracts within six months or face expulsion. The new decree called for them to sell at least 51% of their holdings to the Bolivian state, but still allowed them to make a profit. Nevertheless, Morales was condemned for his "dictatorial" and "authoritarian" attacks on "democracy." Some democracy. Citing the prestigious Financial Times of London, M.I.T. professor Noam Chomsky reports that nationalization was supported by 95% of Bolivians. But serving this overwhelming majority is mere demagoguery, while fulfilling the greedy dreams of a 5% investor minority is "democracy." Perhaps this is why Morales says that "capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity."

That same year Morales also carried out an agrarian reform, which allowed for the redistribution of idle lands in order to correct a grossly lopsided distribution that favored a few dozen super-rich families at the expense of the impoverished majority. Under the new law the Bolivian government can seize unused and unproductive land from private landowners and give it to poor farmers and indigenous communities, so long as it first pays them just compensation.

In May 2007 the Morales government announced it would withdraw from the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, since it is a vehicle for U.S. and European corporations to undermine efforts by Third World countries to nationalize their natural resources and public services like water. During his talks, Morales calls on the international community to join "an ongoing global campaign against this type of investor rule."

This kind of stance makes relations with the U.S. touch and go, and Washington refuses to grant visas to Morales's cabinet members. In September, 2007 Morales complained of mistreatment when he arrived in New York for the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations. U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia Philip Goldberg mocked his call for the UN to be transferred to another host country, saying he wouldn't be surprised if Bolivia also wanted to change "the site of Disney." Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, who, like Morales, is an Aymara, responded that what Goldberg said "is an offense to the country," and also to the "campesino and indigenous movement of the continent," and reflects "a racist attitude." "We hope that the Ambassador retracts these declarations of his," said Choquehuanca, who also declared that Goldberg was "not a valid partner for us." According to Univision, the largest Spanish language T.V. network in the U.S., prior to the remarks about the U.N. and Disney, there had not been a single month without friction, polemics, denunciations and mutual accusations between the two governments since Morales took power in January 2006.

The Social Summit in Sucre in September 2007 pointed up a showdown between the indigenous majority and Bolivian commercial elites. The summit established various principles that the new Bolivian Magna Carta should protect, among them that racism for linguistic, ethnic or cultural reasons be punished as a "grave crime against society and the state," and that all public officials learn an indigenous language. It also spoke of taxing great private fortunes, expropriation without compensation of large estates, re-election and revocation of terms in office, election of judicial authorities, recognition of indigenous justice, and the elimination of the (light-skinned-majority) Senate in order to have a legislative power with only one branch.

Morales' opposition in Sucre, violently resisting the indigenous-dominated Constituent Assembly, took over all the major public buildings using dynamite and Molotov cocktails, demanding the resignation of "the shitty Indian Morales." Parts of the city were in flames as the members of the Assembly fled the castle where the body was meeting, and soon rioting mobs controlled the city, leading to the deaths of three people and injuries to hundreds. This was the prelude to right wing and business interests in Santa Cruz declaring their autonomy from La Paz.

The traditional U.S.-sponsored coup d'etat may not be capable of coming to their rescue. Honoring Che Guevara on the fortieth anniversary of his death on October 8, Morales declared that Bolivia's new Constitution would not permit the installation of U.S. military bases, and he requested that the rest of Latin America impose a similar ban. Inflaming his enemies further, he declared the same month that a retirement pension equal to the minimum wage would be granted to all Bolivians, to be paid out of a special hydrocarbon fund. This was Communist heresy to Morales's wealthy opposition in four eastern provinces, who see no reason to have their privileges reduced to provide old age security for all. Theirs is a particularly stingy attitude, since conditions in Bolivia don't permit much lingering on the public dole: Bolivian miners die in their mid-forties.

These elites boycotted passage of a new Constitution aiming at strengthening indigenous rights in early December 2007. A national referendum will be needed to determine whether the Constitution is to take effect. The four eastern provinces have declared their autonomy from the Bolivian government, demanding local authority over natural gas royalties, agricultural policies, and police forces. Officials in La Paz characterize these efforts as racist moves to resist attempts to redistribute the wealth to the country's poor. Morales describes them as flatly illegal. In response, the pro-business groups assert that the real racism is against the non-indigenous and that Morales's policies are driving away private investment from Bolivia. The four provinces have "thriving export-oriented agricultural and energy industries" according to the New York Times. However, the issue is not their dynamism, but their narrowly distributed gains and the ongoing destruction of indigenous cultures.

Is a new day dawning in Bolivia? Only time will tell, but for now consider MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) Senator Gaston Conejo Bacope's description of the December 14 celebration of the new Bolivian constitution:

"The doors of the National Palace were opened to the people, musical bands, and native groups. President Evo and Vice-President Alvaro, the constitutionalists, the leaders of the Armed Forces, and the ministers, all danced, danced cheerfully inside the Great Hall. In a playful, childlike circle, to the strains of folk songs and Indian flutes, drums and whistles, the commanders of the three Armed Forces, the civic security police, and assembly members, danced hand in hand with indigenous women in beautiful native attire; female ministers and deputies danced with men representing 36 different communities and nationalities. The true people of the country - soldiers and Indians, the racially mixed and the middle class, intellectuals and workers, unpretentious society members and humble peasants, patriots of all stripes - danced joyfully together, celebrating the political and legislative change that Bolivia has begun."

If this is not yet a new day, at least it's a new crowd, and an authentic diversity in the halls of power. That is certainly worth celebrating.

Happy New Year.


"Bolivian President Evo Morales on Latin America, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Role of the Indigenous People in Bolivia," Democracy Now Online, September 22, 2006

"Bolivian President Evo Morales on Indigenous Rights, Climate Change, Iraq, Establishing Relations with Iran, Che Guevara's Legacy and More," Democracy Now Online, September 26, 2007

"Bolivians Now Hear Ominous Tones in the Calls to Arms," New York Times, December 15, 2007

"Bolivia Moves to Nationalize Oil and Gas Industries," PBS Online, May 2, 2006

"The Final Battle in Bolivia," Z Magazine Online, December 2, 2007

"The Real Reason People Fear Evo Morales," Alternet, October 3, 2007

"Bolivian Horizons: an Interview with Historian Sinclair Thomson," Z Magazine Online, November 7, 2007

"Bolivia's Evo Morales Wins Hearts and Minds in U.S." Common Dreams, October 1, 2007

"New Politics in Old Bolivia: Public Opinion and Evo Morales," Benjamin Dangl, Upside Down World, November 29, 2007

"Bolivia: 'A Project For The Liberation of the Poor,' Federico Fuentes, Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2007

"Bolivia's Leader Says States' Dispute Can Be Resolved," New York Times, December 20, 2007

"Bolivia's new leader vows change," BBC News Online, January 22, 2006

"Coca is a way of life," The Guardian Online, February 9, 2006

"Profile: Evo Morales," BBC News Online, December 14, 2005

"NS Profile - Evo Morales," New Statesman Online, January 23, 2006

"Protesters in Bolivia Seek More Autonomy," New York Times Online, December 16, 2007

"Bolivia: Guarayo Indians Struggle To Hold Onto Their Land," Upside Down World, December 28, 2007

"Evo Morales juro como presidente," Univision En Linea, 6 de septiembre de 2007

"Morales anuncia que nueva Constitucion no permitira bases de EEUU en Bolivia," Univision En Linea, 8 de octubre de 2007

"Relacion de EE.UU. con Morales se agrio esta semana con tintes de culebron," Univision En Linea, 5 de octubre de 2007

"La gira mundial de Evo Morales," Univision En Linea, 10 de enero de 2006

"Estrategia electoral de Evo Morales," Univision En Linea, 2 de abril de 2007

"Morales defiende nacionalizacion y explica que no puede expropriar petroleras," Univision En Linea, 1 de mayo de 2007

"Evo, el Mandela latinoamericano," Prensa En Linea, December 22, 2007

Amy Chua, "World on Fire - How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability," Anchor Books, 2003 (See Chapter 2)

Noam Chomsky, "What We Say Goes - Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World," Metropolitan Books, 2007, pp. 5-6, 47, 81-2

Noam Chomsky, "Deterring Democracy," Hill and Wang, 1991, p. 117

Noam Chomsky, "Interventions," City Lights, 2007, p. 199

Noam Chomsky, "Keeping the Rabble in Line," Common Courage Press, 1994, pp. 50-2

Noam Chomsky, "Rogue States - The Rule of Force in World Affairs," South End Press, 2000, pp. 77-8

--------Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker) and "Portraits of Empire," with Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

2008: So What's New?

by Frank Scott

The horrible Iraq war continues, with official opposition meekly calling for a responsible redeployment of troops. That’s like stopping crime by asking rapists to responsibly redeploy their genitals. And the credit bubble has become a deflating balloon whose escaping gas promises far more lethal contamination before it is totally empty. While global awareness of environmental problems has advanced, our theocrats still preach the economic fundamentalism at the root of the problem, with only murmured complaints from Democrats more beholden to capital than Republicans. And now the bad news.

After the November vote, no matter who moves into the subsidized housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue , slavish support for Israel’s endless assault on Palestine will continue. While there may be small differences on running the crippled economy , they amount to simply employing different decorators to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. In the Middle East, the metaphor might better be hiring consultants to improve elevator service at the Twin Towers .

When dealing with the Jewish state, at the root of present war and threatening more, there is no difference between Huckabee and Clinton, or Romney and Obama, or Edwards and McCain. And that may be the worst news , since that policy has already caused so much devastation elsewhere that we forget, or more honestly deny, its impact on the 911 disaster and those which followed in Europe. For the agents of continued race war against Islam, the fire next time is to be in Iran, and if the fanatic christian regime and its biblical brothers of the zionist bloc have their way, hell may have its day.

Could an independent presidential candidacy make a difference? Too soon to tell. Though pure libertarianism is nothing more than demented individualism, some think it makes more sense to support an honest conservative who wants to end war, than a dishonest liberal who'll continue all wars. The crackpot realism which had many suppress their ideals and support the warrior candidate last time will see them lose again if they submissively line up behind the corporate shill with enough money to buy the nomination. It remains to be seen if those who oppose the war, but are without a party or a candidate, can be organized in support of an alternative with some hope of even minimal success in the short term.
What’s needed is a long term focus that doesn’t reelect servants of the creators of our problems, and foolishly expect them to bring about the radical changes needed to solve them . Neither of the ruling party factions will stop warfare or start health care for every one of us, as long as they remain dedicated to maintaining corporate welfare for only some of us. The serious concern about climate change is already being guided into feel good , cosmetic proposals having more to do with capital’s plan to green the market with advertising rhetoric, while avoiding the economic system’s role at the core of the problem.

The increasing turmoil in our credit scheme to finance war and waste while denying just about everything else will only become more widespread. Our corporadoes work through their federal outlet store, the government , to produce immaterial finances for capital, while increasing material layoffs for what once called labor and has been relabeled a middle class. It is that shrinking population sector which joins the poor in being subjected to both economic assault and media perversion . We are constantly told, for example, that the president of Iran, holder of a doctoral degree, is an ignorant , hard line threat to one and all, while hearing uncritical repetition of the idiocies that spout from the menacingly empty head which rules the USA.

Intelligence leaks that showed Iran was not developing nuclear weapons were met with hyperventilating anger and hysterical disbelief by those who insist that nation is an enemy of all mankind . The fanatic Christian regime was exceeded in passion by the rabid zionist machine , as both screeched about lies , plots and coverups. Although Iran has as much right as any nation to create nuclear weapons, especially given the nuclear arsenal in Israel , which is pledged to destroy Iran - contrary to the reverse propaganda believed by many here - the leak indicates dissension in the establishment. This is good news for those who seek an end to the slaughters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine , but it also shows how powerless the antiwar opposition has become.

We must rely on factions which serve the empire, to get us out of a dreadful situation created by ; other factions which serve the empire! And the really bad news? They may be our only immediate hope.

It seems the only way to stop a war with Iran, which could bring more tragedy than has yet been experienced or imagined, is to support the ruling class servants who are aligned against the idiots in power . Since the officially sanctioned opposition is no such thing , and alternative candidacies are not yet operational, our only hope is to back those factions within the CIA, the Pentagon and the Intelligence bureaucracy who believe the empire must be maintained, but not under its present controllers. These establishment forces will probably support the official opposition provided in the presidential election, though we don't have to go that far. But for the present, don’t hang by your lip waiting for the supposed liberal left to challenge the unholy alliance with Israel and pending war with Iran. In order to achieve those ends, we need the internal opposition, and much more external clamor for impeachment, and economic change that means no war, anywhere. Always hope and work for the best, but always be prepared for the worst. Happy 2008? Let’s see.

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

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the
fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be
archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that
the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.
Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on
other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author

frank scott
email: frankscott@comcast.net

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Hundreds Die at Christmas Sale:

Consumers, shoplifters, sales clerks, children and pederasts were caught in a swarm of frenzied marketers rushing to a sale at the Mall in Disneyland. The scene of trampled bodies, bloody children and wailing parents brought a very bad day to the bottom line.

The Mall promised a new sale to begin as soon as the debris was cleaned up. “We’ll have carolers and clowns and hopefully everyone will forget this tragedy and just think about spreading joy and buying stuff”, said a Mall spokesperson wearing a Mickey Mouse hat.

Homeless Drowning in Bay Area Oil Slick : Thousands Stay Home Playing with their pets,um,companions.

Bay Area homeless people, seeing the outpouring of help for drenched birds after a recent oil spill, doused themselves with raw petroleum and laid down at local beaches, hoping they would be taken home and cleaned up by good Samaritans and other less biblically inspired souls.

After two of them drowned in particularly rough surf and three days went by without them receiving any help, they decided to continue loitering in downtown areas where they harass people and their pets, um, companions, by flaunting their anti-upscale looks, smells and habits.

Important Debate over Water Boarding Continues: Many still being tortured while liberals decide if it is merely a form of extreme surfing

Concerned civil libertarians continued their heated debate over water boarding, while prisoners and other critical people screamed “ what about torture itself, you ninnies” as the discussions went into their third year.

Coincidentally, the third millennium of debate over how to properly conduct war continued, while tens of millions of past war dead called out from the beyond "schmucks, how about not making war in the first place”. The ADL charged anti-Semitism was being practiced by the dead in use of a yiddish term never meant to be addressed to mixed audiences . Alan Dershowitz threatened to bring hate crime charges against the disrespectful dead, and was in turn threatened with a law suit by fans of the Grateful Dead for possibly defaming their good name.

Capital Punishment Controversy threatens to continue until thousands more are capitally punished

Heated discussions over which forms of murder to use in humanely murdering murderers almost led to violence as nonviolent supporters of wrist slapping opposed supporters of electrocution who opposed supporters of the gas chamber who opposed lethal injection . Quakers and Liberals argued that having prisoners participate in the discussions would bore them to death and that would be a more civil way of killing killers.

Crowds outside the forum meeting at the Center for the Study of Centers could be heard chanting “ end capital punishment” and “those without capital suffer its punishment” and “while you’re at it, end capitalism” , but the arguments inside grew so heated and passionate that the outside chanting could not be heard over the endless filling of water pitchers and crunching of munchies supplied by the caterers.

“This is shocking” said executive director Leopold Loeb,” we’ve never had raised voices like this. Our discussions have always been mature, moderate and middling enough to assure that we’d get continued funding from our benefactors at the foundation”. A foundation spokeswoman said “ Our desire has always been to keep people talking and not doing anything that might cause serious change , so that we might keep sending checks”. The future of the center is at stake, Loeb remorsefully murmured, in a subdued and moderate tone.

The ACLU is pondering whether it should represent a rock show which has been banned for its alleged threat to civility. The Extreme Alienation Heaviest Metal tour features bands called “Hate Crimez” , “Extermination” and “Genocide”, and offers to impregnate the first three rows of ticket buyers with the HIV virus and have band members spit, vomit and urinate into the mosh pit.

Promoters boast that all lyrics are certified as hate speech and claim their ability to participate in the free market economy is being denied by communist terrorists refusing them a venue for their performances. The show has successfully played major arenas in Israel and Germany, but sensitivity to hate crimes, harsh language, identity groups , family values , law suits and sanitation issues have led to problems in the USA.

Iran Still Labeled Nuclear Threat Despite Lack Of Any Evidence

Administration and Democratic opposition both warn: “They may not have a program to make nuclear weapons, but they could steal nukes from Israel, and then where would we be?”
Plans continued to start the genocide in Iran, and stop the genocide in Darfur.

stay tuned.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Annapolis: Gall on Steroids

The recently completed Middle East "peace" talks at Annapolis and Washington were the usual carefully orchestrated USraeli farce with the dismal outcome well known in advance. In keeping with longstanding Jewish supremacist tradition, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people - democratically elected Hamas - was not invited to the talks. (Hamas committed the unpardonable sin of developing strong resistance to military occupation and combining it with grassroots organizing in service to the poor. Such are the actions of unredeemably bloodthirsty terrorists.) The preferred submissive negotiating partner - Mahmoud Abbas - helped invest the proceedings with the required illusory dignity, before they eventuated in yet another postponement of engaging with the issues - borders, the fate of 4.5 million Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements, water rights, the apartheid wall, closures, checkpoints, Gaza, Lebanon, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the complex network of racist laws and administrative arrangements that have imprisoned the Palestinian people for decades. Facts on the ground favor Israel, so why negotiate the issues? After all, the world is quite accustomed to the horrifying violence that is inseparable from such evasive dawdling. Ho hum.

President Bush professed interest in someday seeing an "independent, democratic, viable" Palestinian state established in whatever fragments of Palestine Israel ultimately decides it can do without, hailing this as a great prospective victory for Jews and Palestinians alike. He added that Israelis' just aspirations are "to be recognized and welcomed in the region where they live," neglecting to note that the exercise of Jewish sovereignty over Arab lands is precisely what has drenched the region in so much blood, not to mention repeatedly brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. No matter. Partition and a Bantustan statelet will insure that liberty takes root "in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza," he promised, which, in turn, will "inspire millions across the Middle East" to imitate the "hopeful vision" that makes such blessings possible. Apparently, only cynics can doubt that this is so, given how well the president's liberty project has turned out in neighboring Iraq.

Like his predecessors in the Oval Office, Bush explains improbably that the principal obstacle to peace is the "terror and violence preached by Palestinian extremists" - mere preaching, mind you - not actual mass murder carried out by Israeli tanks, fighter jets, and helicopter gunships, which slaughter defenseless Palestinian civilians with nightmarish regularity. Bush insists that the Palestinian Authority become once again the security police for Israel, so that they can "dismantle the infrastructure of terror," which does not, of course, refer to the vast apparatus of torture and destruction commanded by Israel, but rather, to the efforts of suicide bombers to fight back against it. Naturally, President Bush sees Palestinian resistance to occupation as a crime, including self-defense against Israeli soldiers shooting at unarmed children, and demands that it stop. How fortunate for Jonathan Swift that he never had to learn what an amateur he was at satire.

In his official statement on Annapolis Bush went on to feebly state that Israel must remove "unauthorized outposts" - perhaps a rusty tower or two - and terminate "settlement expansion," without mentioning that all of the settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal, and that Israel ignores this while continuing to expand the size of the existing 100+ settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, which behavior it regards as perfectly consistent with a settlement freeze. And why shouldn't it? As Moshe Dayan observed over thirty years ago, all of the territory of Israel is built over former Palestinian villages, which makes it difficult to refrain from continuing the theft, especially in "Judea and Samaria" (the West Bank and Gaza), which we know belongs to the Jews because the Bible tells us so.

Meanwhile, while Hizbollah, Hamas, and Iran call for the wishes of the Palestinian people to be respected whatever they may be (including, if they want it, a two-state settlement), Israel denounces them all as vile terrorists while continuing to annex and dismember dwindling Palestinian lands, hold thousands of captives in jail (including 46 members of the Palestinian parliament), and bar use of over 90% of Palestine to its indigenous people in perpetuity. Such is the behavior of "the Middle East's only democracy," as Israel and Washington never tire of telling us Israel is.

Some democracy. Amnesty International revealed in its 2003 report Combatting Torture, that since "1967 the Israeli security forces have routinely tortured Palestinian political suspects in the Occupied Territories." Eitan Felner, executive director of the Israel human rights group B'Tselem, told Le Monde in 1998 that "Israel is the only country in the world that has legitimated torture both juridically and rhetorically." (It's not hard to believe reports that Abu Ghraib derived at least in part from Israeli interrogation practices). B'Tselem states that Israel doesn't compare well with other democratic states on this score: "The normative difference between Israel and other democratic countries is reflected in the scope of the use of torture in interrogations. While Israel uses it routinely and against thousands of interrogees, in other liberal democracies, torture is exceptional and rare."

Israel, of course, complains of being held to a double standard which overlooks the exceptional circumstance of being surrounded by "terrorists." But looking at the years leading up to the new intifada, what is remarkable is not how much Palestinian terror there was, but how little retaliation there was from within the Occupied Territories, where shocking Israeli brutality had been manifest for decades. Even after the new intifada exploded, the relative death tolls were roughly 20 Palestinians for every Israeli in the early weeks, only gradually reaching 3 to 1, at which point Jewish indignation knew no bounds. Three dead Palestinians for every dead Israeli is an outrage, but only to Israel. Palestinian lives don't count.

Another unique feature of Israel is its separation wall, which is slated to vastly exceed the former Berlin Wall in length. The wall is locking entire Palestinian communities within its confines, with their livelihoods on the other side of the wall. According to Noam Chomsky (agreeing with Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling), who has for years criticized applying the word "apartheid" to the behavior of Israel on the grounds that it's inflammatory, the separation wall is turning Palestinian communities into "dungeons, next to which the Bantustans of South Africa look like symbols of freedom, sovereignty, and self-determination." Progress is a remarkable thing.

At his 1969 trial Sirhan Sirhan stated what the problem in Palestine is well enough to have spared us the awesome crime of 911, if anyone had bothered to take him seriously: "Well, sir, when you move - when you move a whole country, sir, a whole people, bodily from their own homes, from their own land, from their businesses, sir, outside their country, and introduce an alien people, sir, into Palestine - the Jews and the Zionists - that is completely wrong, sir, and it is unjust and the Palestinian Arabs didn't do a thing, sir, to justify the way they were treated by the West.

"It affected me, sir, very deeply. I didn't like it. Where is the justice involved, sir? Where is the love, sir, for fighting for the underdog? Israel is no underdog in the Middle East, sir. It's those refugees that are underdogs. And because they have no way of fighting back, sir, the Jews, sir, the Zionists, just keep beating away at them. That burned the hell out of me."

Thirty-eight years later the United States is still pretending this problem doesn't exist. The obtuseness in this attitude is difficult to capture in words. Call it gall - on steroids.


B'Tselem, quoted in Norman Finkelstein's "Beyond Chutzpah - On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History," pp. 155-7

Sirhan Sirhan quoted in Godfrey Jansen's "Why Robert Kennedy Was Killed," frontispiece

Noam Chomsky, "Hegemony or Survival - America's Quest For Global Dominance"

Noam Chomsky, "Interventions"

Osamah Khalil, "Mission Accomplished," 11/29/07, The Electronic Intifada

Stephen Lendman, "Tragedy and Travesty at Annapolis," 11/26/07, Counterpunch.org

Col. Dan Smith, "Two Ships Passing in the Dark? - The Meaning of Annapolis," 11/29/07, Counterpunch.org

"Starting From Annapolis," New York Times editorial, 11/28/07

"Israelis, Palestinians Open U.S.-Backed Conference With Vague Statement on Timeline, Goals," 11/28/07, Democracy Now.org

"Mr. Palestine," Economist, November 24, 2007

"Big Turnout, Small Result," Economist, December 1, 2007

Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker) from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caves, Malls & Holidays

by Frank Scott

The consumption frenzy that is the annual celebration of market religion once began after Thanksgiving , but as economic problems grow the season of overspending starts even before Halloween. During this time when many seek spiritual joy through shopping but often find material sorrow through debt, we really should consider what it is we celebrate, and why.

Long before humanity invented religion or calendars , our ancestors huddled in caves during the darkest cold, discovering in the process that we needed one another to survive. The winter solstice brought our primitive communist forebears together to cope with fears, but also strengthened faith that the darkness would ultimately lift, that light would return and bring a rebirth of nature . And this was always the case, thereby setting a tradition for the celebration of future light , and the warm security provided by the community of kinfolk and tribes .

In the 21st century another darkness is descending, not as a result of nature but by our systemic attack on nature. Continuous war and threats of environmental and economic breakdown present us with more crises than we’ve ever had to face, not simply as families or nations, but as a race . And while we slowly learn that despite geographic and cultural differences, we are one human family, those differences are manipulated by rulers and used to keep us in mental darkness that threatens our future survival.

So as we enter the season of further increasing already unpayable debt, we should consider this natural impulse to come together at special times , and its perversion into a mass marketing orgy that covers evidence of a society going mad under a cloak of senseless individual consumption.

During our earliest days life was a struggle for all , and not just some. But as we evolved we found that clinging together was the best way to survive, as when the coldest, darkest nights offered no other security. That impulse is still with us, though it seems hard to find in our present divisive reality of competitive and warring national organizations that corrupt individual instincts by perverting the social nature of their origins.

While much of the religious impulse is toward material good for the whole human community , dualistic racial supremacists control the dominating biblical faith, and threaten to do the same with Islam . Their fanatic absolutism denies our commonality by separating us into individual cults. It rationalizes violence as protecting some of us from the rest of us, in support of governments which wage war for political economic systems. But when we gather in places of worship it is usually to create communities, not destroy them. The contradiction between our spiritual dreams and our material reality must finally be confronted. It can no longer be considered balanced while preaching charity and togetherness for a season, and accepting brutality and alienation the rest of the year.

The holidays are never joyous for the billions living in abject poverty, nor those invaded, occupied and made refugees by a warped moral code that glorifies waste and celebrates pain. When we have reached a material level which could assure decent comfort to all humanity, what allows this situation to prevail? The reason is not supernatural or mythological; it is political and economic and needs to be changed by the democratic human family which has been manipulated into being dysfunctional for far too long .

Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate a holiday season not only with those at our dinner table or religious service, but by extension with all those unable to physically join us where we huddle in greater material comfort than our ancestors could ever dream? We don’t want to return to the material status of those ancestors, and it could happen if we don’t gain control over our environment . But we might advance as a race, both spiritually and materially, by relearning their solidarity in times of stress and need.

Political systems use religion to keep people focused on an immaterial future and oblivious to the material present , but the best religious motivation brings people together for the betterment of all, here and now. While politics is creating radical change in much of Latin America, it does so balanced with strong religious belief . In the same way, religion has provoked political movements in the Middle East to improve people’s material life and to fight against their oppression. These movements are portrayed as menacing by ruling forces that would maintain a system of commercially immoral despotism and call it enlightened moral democracy.

It is no longer weather or seasons which oppress humanity, but political systems of domination, and even when climate change seems most dangerous it is often due to the political damage of uncontrolled economics.

Our ancestors clung together hoping for a rebirth of nature, which always came. We live in a time when the death of nature is threatened, not by mysterious means but by very earthly forces which need to be overcome. We could try to exercise the spirit of the season in the communal way in which it was born, and revive its past social impulse as a means of working for present social change .

Rather than throw our money into the cash nexus that is a major part of our problem, if we shop for presents this season we might at least consider buying them from organizations working for another world, of peace and social justice. We would further its possibilities by helping to create a celebration of humanity, and not simply an economic bottom line that could cause our civilization to bottom out. Let’s spend, if we must, with acts of thoughtful hope for the future, and however we choose to label them , have happier holidays in the process.

Copyright (c) 2007 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the
fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be
archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that
the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.
Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on
other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author

frank scott
email: frankscott@comcast.net

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why They Shouldn't Hate Us - Countering Irrational Muslim and Arab Grievances Against USrael

Although we're making substantial headway on destroying the freedom Al Qaeda hates us for, there's still a long way to go and resentment levels remain high.

This is mainly because Arabs and Muslims are neurotically sensitive about being blockaded, bombed, strafed, occupied and terrorized for their own good. U.S. research psychologists are puzzled by this reaction and have to date uncovered no clue as to why USrael isn't universally adored. They are adjusting appropriately by getting more selective in their pursuit of the facts and will soon only admit data that confirm their hypothesis - that USrael is uniquely lovable. Terrorism should vanish entirely after that.

In the meantime, the Bush Administration continues to take prudent security measures like imposing bloody occupations on Afghanistan and Iraq, plotting a coup against Iran, and blocking all investigation of Israeli war crimes. Inexplicably, this has failed to stem the rising tide of anti-USrael hatred to date, but their resolve is firm and they expect it will work out beautifully any day now.

False Grievance #1 - Occupied Palestine

Israel's occupation of Palestine is simply self-defense against terrorist maniacs. Consider it from a logical point of view. If I took over your house to liberate my family from homelessness and you showed your poor manners by failing to take it in stride, and then after years of shooting up the place I finally decided out of the goodness of my heart to let you live in shackles in the basement, you would have no reason not to cheerfully accept your fate, would you? Of course, you wouldn't. And if you took it upon yourself to attack me instead, I'd be justified in torturing and killing you in order to preserve the peace and security of the neighborhood, wouldn't I? Of course I would. See how simple it all is once you stop and apply a little reason to the situation?

So what is all this tiresome nonsense about Palestinian rights? How can terrorist maniacs have rights?

False Grievance #2 - U.S. support for reactionary dictators

It's difficult to understand how this could bother anybody. First of all, look at the Persian Gulf region. Other than oil, there's not much economically to exploit. And once that resource runs out, the people are screwed if they haven't developed a modern economy. So just how exactly can we get a democratic majority to support siphoning off the region's one resource to underwrite an extravagant consumer lifestyle in the West, a policy that will leave the Arab states bankrupt and undeveloped in the not-too-distant future? The obvious answer is that we can't. So that means that we have no choice but to heap arms and aid on repressive dictators who fill up graveyards with those who have the poor sense to resist USrael's control of the region, while Arab masses endure wretched poverty awaiting the future catastrophe we are steering them toward.

How can anyone get angry about that?

False Grievance #3 - Iran

Here's a case where an elected government recklessly tried to take control of its own oil in the interests of the people. The C.I.A. engineered a coup (1953) and the people found themselves swimming in blood instead of oil. The pro-Western Shah took over and achieved quite an impressive record of supermilitarization, forced modernization, and systematic torture. Amnesty International rated his human rights record the worst in the world, and he almost sank into the sea from the massive load of armaments sent on by Washington.

Then after the Shah was overthrown in 1979, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians, some with chemical weapons. While this excitement was going on, the U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian plane and killed 290 people. With utmost tenderness George Bush Sr. declared: "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are."

All of this was for the best of motives, but "militant Islam" has brainwashed Muslims into hating us for no reason at all. There's no telling when they'll get over it.

False Grievance #4 - Permanent U.S. Military Presence

It's hard to see how this trivial item even got on the list. Would we mind if the United States was dotted with the military bases of a foreign power come to liberate us? Of course, we wouldn't. We would greet our occupiers as liberators and strew their path with flowers. We would be polite and respectful as armed 18-year-olds barged into our living rooms and ordered us about in a strange tongue. We would make do without water or electricity or decent food and happily accept the machine-gunning of loved ones as they drove across town. We'd shrug off sodomy, rape, and other tortures as the birth pangs of democracy.

We would do all of this because history shows that military invasions are all about improving the lives of the invaded, and we would be grateful to be among the beneficiaries.

------Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker), and "Rise to Empire" (forthcoming) all with Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

War of the Words: The Holocaust

During an exceptionally rude introduction of President Ahmadinejad of Iran, a university president announced that the holocaust was the most documented event in history. While this overstatement was in keeping with most of his remarks, it provokes a question: exactly what do we mean when we say “the holocaust”?

When someone is called a “holocaust denier”, what is being denied? Confusion over those words is being used to cloud minds and threaten another war in the middle east, once again for reasons that cannot be substantiated in the material world but are simply political excuses to commit mass murder.

Those who express doubt about some key aspects of the story of nazi persecution of Jews in Europe during the second world war are often imprisoned or face threats to their very lives. We witnessed the spectacle of a head of state invited to speak at an American university and introduced with the most scurrilous language imaginable, all provoked by that leader’s alleged “denial” of the holocaust, along with his supposed existential threat to the Jewish state of Israel. And when speaking of one, the other must be addressed, since there is no rationale for the Jewish state of Israel without “the holocaust”.

There is no question about the dreadful treatment of European Jews by the nazis, their racist persecution , their deportation from homelands to concentration and labor camps where tens of thousands died under the most deplorable conditions . Nor is there any question that many suffered massacres outside of camps , whether conducted by Germans or others acting under their rule. These things, as the crude academic claimed, are well documented. And there is little doubt about them, except for honest questions about the actual death toll.

But critics wonder about the centrally organized and secret plan to annihilate all the Jews of europe, and the use of mass extermination gas chambers to murder hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people. No such devices were ever found, and verification of their existence depends entirely on stories told by traumatized survivors , confessions made under severe stress if not outright torture, and photographs of empty buildings or reconstructed ruins said to have once been used as gas chambers.

Consider whether we would uncritically accept the reality of America’s ugly racist history of lynching, with no more evidence than hearing stories of the horror told by miraculous survivors, and seeing photos of trees alleged to have once had bodies hanging from them.

Any critical person can wonder, but millions of us have been so shocked at films of the terrible conditions of the liberated camps, and especially the piles of emaciated dead bodies, that little thought is given to asking how those terrible scenes of suffering and death could have had anything to do with gas chambers, let alone crematoria. And if a plan was afoot to secretly murder millions and cremate their bodies to remove evidence, why and how could so many have been left plainly exposed to public view?

The near total physical breakdown of Germany near the war’s end never seems to enter consciousness as possible reason for some of the drastic scenes revealed at those camps. While many German cities were devastated by bombing, with their citizens reduced to homeless refugees often near starvation, should we imagine that under such conditions prison camps, which were dreadful places to begin with, would somehow be able to furnish adequate food, shelter and medical care to all inmates?

When President Ahmadinejad referred to myth surrounding the story, he was not denying that Jews suffered, anymore than holocaust revisionists - who are slurred as “deniers” - make such a charge. But they, and he, and thousands the world over who have read critical works that barely see the light of day in the west, join in questioning vital aspects of that story. Bigots who smear them with nasty labels are playing with words, and in lethal fashion.

Anyone who would deny the racial madness of the Nazi ethnic cleansing of European Jews might be an idiot, or simply consumed by hate. But those who deny the right to question the existence of gas chambers or other details of the story, and vilify those who dare to do so are either ignorant, or more likely, driven by a more dangerous hate. Anything forbidden to be questioned must be held suspect by thinking people, and the more that criticism is suppressed, the more dangerous the possibilities for the world, and not just the suppressors.

Ahmadinejad repeatedly says that whatever crime Europeans committed against Jews is no reason for the terrible persecution and suffering inflicted upon the Palestinians, who were guilty of nothing. Most of the world agrees with him, as do many in the west, though hardly anyone in American politics will risk stating that obvious fact. The power exerted by the Israel lobby is such that even when a former president, or establishment scholars site the moral injustice and the threat to our nation posed by one sided policies in the middle east, they are slandered as anti Semites , the way that revisionists are smeared as deniers.

While thousands of Jews in Iran are apparently living without fear, thousands of Jews in America have been led to believe that Ahmadinejad threatens them with another holocaust. That is not just irrational , but dangerous for all humanity. This situation is being used to help provoke a further bloody war in the middle east, but reason must prevail over fanatic beliefs and psychotic fears or all of us will suffer . The war over these words and their clear meaning must not be allowed to perpetuate more injustice, and worse, threaten a global disaster .

Copyright (c) 2007 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the
fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be
archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that
the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.
Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on
other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author

frank scott
email: frankscott@comcast.net

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chavez Threatens to Close Private Clinics If They Don't Lower Their Prices

Translation from the Spanish by Michael K. Smith. Original available from Univision.com. Everything Venezuela proposes or does has to appear in quotation marks, as though they were speaking a foreign language. From capitalism's point of view, they are.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reiterated today his "warning" to private clinics in the country that he will expropriate or close them if they don't reduce the costs of medical services they offer patients.

In an official ceremony transmitted on the Venezuelan national radio and television channel Chavez said that he will wait "a little longer" to see if the clinics listen to reason and lower the costs of services they extend to the public.

The head of state threatened this past April to "close" or "expropriate" private clinics that refused to respect "strict regulation" of costs of medical services that his government is setting up.

Upon inaugurating a dialysis unit today on the island of Margarita, Chavez deplored that a private clinic charges $418.60 for a single treatment, when a chronic kidney patient requires 12 treatments a month, which raises the cost to $5023.25.

"It's criminal what private clinics are doing everywhere, there are almost none that escape this. What a lack of feeling; the perverseness of privatization, of the commercialization of medicine. I am not going to continue tolerating this!" affirmed Chavez.

He rejected the argument made by clinic directors that it would be unsustainable from an economic point of view to reduce costs to the levels desired by the Executive, between 25% and 30% below the present ones, according to parliamentary sources.

This Wednesday the association of private clinics presented a proposal of medical service prices to the pro-government National Assembly, which was judged to be "unsatisfactory" by the deputies, due to numbers that "are much higher" than those anticipated by the Executive.

On Wednesday Deputy Tirso Silva disclosed that surely the Executive "is not going to accept" the private proposal, on account of which he anticipated that in a week the government might be dictating the regulation to the health sector.

Irwin Pena, spokesman for the association of private clinics, said this Friday that it "surprised" him that government authorities would consider "inflated" the price proposals presented by the private clinics, which, he added, obey a structure of costs and not whim.

This past April the Health Ministry announced the beginning of "a process of regulation" of medical services, whose costs in the country "indisputably respond to speculation," according to an "evaluation" carried out by the Offices of Commerce, Finance, Health, and Labor.

Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," and "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker), from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com.



In a show of solidarity with the LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transvestite) movement, Democratic leaders called for all party caucuses at the 2008 convention to be held in public toilets

BEST FINANCED DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES for president establish controversial positions...

All three express support for gays, heteros, blacks, whites, latinos, native americans and disabled minorities, with carefully nuanced praise for silent majorities that help make us a great and unified nation...

TOP DOZEN OR SO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES claim respect for individual rights above all, especially individuals in top 1% of American wealth, who deserve more respect for being so rich...

FRED THOMPSON announces faith in god, praise for the family, adoration of the free market, mesmerizes audiences to sleep without use of drugs, then promises to drop out of campaign and go back to professional, um, acting...

GIULIANI REMINDS EVERYONE that unlike most of the other candidates, he was in New York when 911 happened, and is therefore best qualified to, uh, be president of the United States

FED LOWERS RATE to Historic negative .5% ...

Bold move hoped to greatly spur economy, vastly increase borrowing, end fears of economic collapse, and bring troops home from Iraq by 2024

DEMOCRATS IMMEDIATELY EXPRESS SUPPORT for troops and economy, as Clinton, Edwards and Obama offer to take out campaign loans of one billion dollars each to help boost borrowing, and invite troops to their homes for dinner when war is finally over...

but not all the troops, only a select few chosen by lottery...

but from all ethnic, racial, religious and life style choices...

but none who are from gay life style choice and who are married to other gay life style choice persons...

but all troops of all persuasions, single or married, will be allowed in the lottery...

but no gay troops who are married to other gay persons can win, though they have equal rights to enter...

See Democratic party platform for complete explanation of lottery rules and other nuanced, thoughtful, contradictory and otherwise confusing positions.

NEW INDEPENDENT PARTY announces presidential ticket of Brittany Spears and O.J. Simpson, claiming people find them much more newsworthy than whatsername and whatsisname of the other parties.

POLLS SHOW men find Spears more popular than Hillary, O.J. with strong support from blacks and retired athletes, ticket a real threat in major media markets...

OPRAH INVITES SPEARS AND OJ to her show, but remains faithful to Obama, or Clinton, or Edwards , until ratings are clear...

HILLARY URGES PAPPARAZZI to follow her around with the same urgency that Spears seems to invite, claiming her own personal scandals have been far more globally important than those of “this little tart”, then says “ Oops, i did it again”...

GOSSIP columns fill with new items linking mainstream candidates with down stream independent ticket

BILL CLINTON insists he never had sex with BRITTANY;

O.J. still says he’s innocent of any and all crimes and has never met HILLARY;

BRITTANY loves being a mother and says she doesn't know who BILL CLINTON is, asks “was he with the Funkadelics?”

OBAMA says he never supported OJ but his kids love Brittany’s records

EDWARDS says he identifies with common people because his father once had a job

NEW FRENCH LEADER THREATENS WAR with Iran over non existent nuclear weapons, and war with USA over existent butchery of french fries committed by American fast food outlets...

BUSH TELLS FRANCE "BRING IT ON", is then led to quiet room in the basement of the White House where aids say he will rest until Israel Lobby starts the next war...

DEMOCRATS IMMEDIATELY EXPRESS CONTINUED SUPPORT for the Israeli Lobby and our troops, wherever they may next be sent...

stay tuned...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Summer of Hate?

We enter the Fall having experienced many celebrations of what advertisers dubbed the 1967 Summer of Love, hardly matched by any such seasonal spirit in the present. Anger and bigotry combined for a recent epidemic of judgmental righteousness that threatened a national lynch mob at the slightest provocation. Outbursts of public distemper are normal in America , but growing frustration at a government held in contempt , an opposition judged even worse, and an economy that is an enormous credit bubble close to bursting , has created an atmosphere of often seething rage, but rarely directed at real problems.

Public displays of animosity towards a ball player alleged to have used steroids to break an historic home run record could be understood at least partly due to his being black. But the athlete broke a record held by another black , though the difference in their treatment may find its origins in our history of slavery and the division created between house and field negroes. When owners took sexual pleasures with their slaves, they always brought the resulting offspring into the home as house servants, because of their lighter skin. The descendants of those slaves became the black middle class, more successful politically and economically than their darker kin , and polite and deferential to whites as well. Whatever his class background, the old home run hero was deemed humbly acceptable to the white power structure and baseball fans, who generally came to his defense at the time of his record breaking performance and the attacks he suffered from racists because the older record was held by a white.

The new hero, despite overwhelming credentials as the best player of his generation, was labeled an ungrateful and arrogant upstart who showed no respect for anyone, especially reporters. The reaction to his historic achievement was often despicable, with insistence that his record was meaningless because he took drugs, though no such proof existed. This in a culture in which millions cannot survive without pharmaceutical products enabling them to stay awake or go to sleep, escape reality or face it, prevent or induce procreation, and remember or forget anything . In this context, steroid use among athletes is not only common and silently accepted by the corporate sports establishment, but rather low on the American drug taking spectrum.

Another black sports hero received worse treatment. A football star accused of sponsoring vicious dog fights on his property was held to public scorn as a monster , legally prosecuted and vilified in the court of public opinion. His judgement was terrible in gambling away his lucrative career on an ugly sport that still thrives in many American communities. But the reaction from a nation that not only tolerates hunting and eating animals but worse, the slaughter of humans in wars, boggles the mind. Frustration and anger about real social problems was once again directed at a celebrity scapegoat. Cruelty to animals is deemed worse than cruelty to humans, by some who often hold their fellow beings in much lower esteem than their pets, as evidenced by our multi billion dollar industry in the care and feeding of our domestic animals, while millions of us lack housing or health care.

But not only race played a role in the recent epidemic. All those deemed politically incorrect, whether morally or racially, were fair game.

Sex crimes against children are easily among the most fearsome and frightening, but an atmosphere of righteous indignation at such criminals has lent itself to a spirit of injustice that permits any excess directed at such criminals. Those who have served jail terms and paid a debt to society for their crimes find it impossible to live anywhere when they are free, with entire communities coming out in force to deny them housing . Laws have been passed - by the same politicians who are helpless to confront problems of poverty, war or health care - to protect children by not allowing these ex convicts to live within 2,000 feet of any place where children might congregate. Death Valley or the Great Plains may be the only places deemed habitable for such offenders.

Possibly worse, the frenzy over such crimes has created a media market for attracting alleged perverts and setting them up on dates with minors. A major TV show specializes in entrapment of men lured to supposed meetings for sex with under aged boys or girls, with these meetings set up by that TV show, often having to overcome resistance by the alleged sexual predator. Though women are also serving jail sentences in our frenzy to protect children from sex but hardly anything else that threatens them, the show has thus far dealt only with men . When the man finally responds to the bait, he finds a TV crew and the police waiting to confront him and broadcast his shame all over the network. After one man killed himself upon being disgraced this way, there was only righteous clucking over having removed a monster from our midst. There is a law suit for entrapment against the psycho perverts behind this program, but in the fanatic atmosphere created it will be difficult to find any justice.

The most recent indication of a national witchcraft trial atmosphere was the arrest of a U.S. senator alleged to have engaged in suggestive actions with a commode cop who spends his work day hanging around public toilets waiting to find such behavior. If the sordid waste of taxpayer money wasn't bad enough, the homophobic sentiments were worse, especially coming from members of the accused senator’s own party. His behavior was labeled disgusting and unforgivable, by people who appropriate billions of dollars to wage wars of mass murder . The hypocrisy is staggering, as is the zealous hatred masquerading as righteous justice.

But while the number of these outbreaks may indicate another moment of near breakdown in the American facade of rationality, they may also show that public anger is ready to be directed at the source of our problems, if only leadership were provided.

As the government prolongs an insane war in Iraq and threatens to start a newer, crazier one with Iran, frustration may hopefully soon be directed at real issues and not those manufactured by media . At that point, it may be necessary to impeach not only the executive but much of the legislative branch as well. A revolutionary democratic movement to create a world of real social justice would bring us closer to material and mental well being . That is a bigger social undertaking than allowing misguided anger to be directed at scapegoats, but it would make much more sense. We never really had a summer of love, but we would do well to create a real, and longer, season of peace.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

ADL, The Aggressive Demonization League

by Michael K. Smith

Founded in 1913, the Anti-Defamation League has long since become an Orwellian inversion of its civil rights incarnation, pursuing slander and distortion with obvious relish, targeting Holocaust revisionists with special venom. As the great anti-Zionist critic Alfred Lilienthal pointed out nearly thirty years ago, "The ADL's earlier emphasis on stamping out genuine prejudice and bigotry gave way long ago to acts of defamation, spying, and publishing spurious literary productions, motivated by support of Israel and effected by eliminating critics of Zionist tactics." (The Zionist Connection, p. 405)

Consider ADL's trashing of Holocaust revisionist Bradley Smith, available on the ADL website. Smith, currently enjoying a refreshingly open-minded response to his ideas in Mexico, has recently outlined revisionist claims as centering on the following:

(1) It can't be demonstrated that Germany had a policy to exterminate the Jews of Europe or anyone else by putting them in gas chambers or killing them by abuse and neglect

(2) It can't be demonstrated that 6 million Jews were "exterminated" during WWII

(3) It can't be demonstrated that homicidal gas chambers existed in any camp in Europe under German control.

(4) It can't be demonstrated that the awful scenes of the dead and emaciated inmates captured on newsreel footage at Dachau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen were the victims of intentional killing or starvation.

(5) It cannot be demonstrated, as the Holocaust Industry claims, that there are "tons" of captured German documents which prove the mass murder of Jews and others in homicidal gas chambers.

(6) It cannot be demonstrated that, as was claimed during war crimes trials, that Jews were cooked to make soap from their fat, or skinned to make lampshades from their hides.

(7) It cannot be demonstrated that during the war the Red Cross, the Pope, humanitarian agencies, the Allied governments, and prominent figures such as FDR, Truman, Churchill, Eisenhower all knew about "gas chambers" but really did not want to talk about it.

In seeking to evaluate ADL's criticism of Smith, we naturally turn to the evidence advanced against his claims. In the present instance this is an easy task. No evidence is provided. ADL shirks debate in favor of characterizing Smith as a failure, a crackpot, and a Jew-hater. Purity of motive, not persuasiveness of argument, is their sole concern.

ADL starts off by claiming that Smith "tries to present himself" as a free speech activist, when in reality they feel he is a "propagandist for the Holocaust denial movement." No evidence is introduced to support the assumption that there is a contradiction in being a free speech activist and promoter of Holocaust revisionism. But it must be obvious that being a free speech activist does not depend on holding any particular view of the Holocaust, orthodox or unorthodox. All it takes is to defend people whose speech rights have been denied. There is no doubt that Smith has done this - defending Ernst Zundel, Robert Faurisson, and Germar Rudolf - among others, who have been repeatedly tried for heresy for questioning the existence of homicidal gas chambers in WWII. The ADL simply ignores this.

ADL also criticizes Smith on the grounds that he is motivated to promote "anti-Israel propaganda," suggesting that there is something sinister in this. But if one objects to apartheid on principled grounds, what's wrong with engaging in anti-apartheid activism? I don't recall ADL complaining that criticizing South African apartheid was a form of anti-white racism, so why should we assume that criticizing Israel's apartheid is anti-Jewish hatred?

ADL goes on to smear Smith as a "Holocaust Denier," i.e., a racist of the worst sort. But why is it racism to want to revise our understanding of the Holocaust, so that we do not regard as true what cannot be proven? There can't be racism in trying to get the facts right, which cannot be done when free inquiry is punished with financial ruin, heresy trials, imprisonment, beatings, and book shreddings, a dreadful sequence imposed on Holocaust revisionists with dismal regularity. If the facts are as obvious as ADL believes they are, why the need to resort to such draconian measures?

ADL passes over the crimes committed against revisionists without any criticism at all, as though it were perfectly natural to punish people for speech. Consider this: "Although an arson attack on IHR's building that month (July 1984) apparently caused the Institute to indefinitely divert its attention from Smith's manuscript ("The Holocaust Cult and the Suppression of Free Inquiry") Smith's enthusiasm for the IHR and Holocaust denial only grew." This is a very curious comment. The suggestion is that we should allow ourselves to be intimidated by fire-bombings. No doubt we all are indimidated by acts of barbaric violence, but to imply that we should meekly submit to such terrorism is very odd. By that logic, Martin Luther King should have abandoned his effort to dismantle Jim Crow after white racists bombed his house.

ADL likewise provides no critical comment about Smith's work on the IHR newsletter "Prima Facie," merely belittles it on the grounds that it didn't last very long because of budget constraints. So what? Many fine publications have quickly gone out of business due to financial pressures, and there is no known correlation between quality of social commentary and success in the marketplace.

In attempting to discredit the Institute for Historical Review, (for which Smith formerly worked) by referring to the Mermelstein trial, in which the court forced the Institute For Historical Review to pay a reward offered to anyone who could prove the existence of gas chambers, ADL doesn't provide any evaluation of the trial and also neglects to mention that IHR in fact did not recant its revisionist beliefs in spite of all the "legal" pressure brought to bear on the organization in an attempt to force it to do so. And ADL admits that a subsequent lawsuit was dropped. Apparently, orthodoxy is hard to impose by judicial fiat.

The ADL returns to its "failure" theme in its references to the Institute For Historical Review's Media Project. No substantive criticism is advanced, rather, ADL simply asserts that Smith failed to "provok[e] discussion about the landmark documentary Shoah," a failure that could easily be accounted for by the fact that the Holocaust Industry is massively funded and completely dominates the media irrespective of what the facts about the Holocaust are. But ADL doesn't investigate the reason for the "failure," merely implies that Bradley Smith is a racist loser, as though that characterization had some bearing on revisionist claims.

ADL continually resorts to "small is ugly" rhetoric, belittling Smith's work on the "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust" on the grounds that initially the committee allegedly only had two members. Even if this is true, so what? Lots of great undertakings have started small; in fact, nothing great can be achieved if you are unable to start small. This kind of anti-small commentary shows that ADL is incapable of dispassionate analysis, continually injecting its prejudice instead.

The rest of ADL's commentary on CODOH is equally lacking in substance. In an attempt to discredit Smith via guilt by association ADL claims that CODOH was initially funded by William Curry, a "self-proclaimed anti-Zionist" who used his money to promote two beliefs: "that Israel has no right to exist and that the Holocaust was nothing but 'World War II propaganda.'" No evidence of the alleged funding link is given and no direct quotes of William Curry's are provided so that the reader can verify the claims. But I see nothing wrong with saying Israel has no right to exist, if in fact Curry said it. No state has a right to exist and Israel's constant insistence that its "right to exist" be recognized is a demand for special rights nowhere recognized under international law. Meanwhile, our neo-con war engineers are quite openly engaged in ending states that they label "rogue." So if states have a right to exist, ADL should be complaining about that. They're not.

Turning to the second alleged claim, that the Holocaust is "nothing but" WWII propaganda, the implication is that Curry claimed that nothing terrible happened to Jews at all during WWII. Since we don't have any quotes from Curry himself, not to mention the context he may have uttered them in, we can't evaluate the claim. But as a general matter revisionists do not, in fact, deny that Jews were treated brutally at the hands of the Nazis. What's at issue is whether or not homicidal gas chambers accomplished the killings, whether the killings were intentional or a byproduct of deteriorating wartime conditions, and what the Jewish death total was. There is nothing inherently racist in pursuing such questions, any more than it is racist to claim that American Indians were wiped out by disease rather than deliberate genocide.

As for Smith's "Campus Project," ADL decribes it as placing "Holocaust-denying advertisements" in college papers. But what is a "Holocaust denying advertisement?" ADL provides not a clue. The original public challenge Smith issued, according to ADL, was, "The Holocaust Story: How Much is False?" This, in fact, is not a denial at all, but a perfectly straightforward query about the relative accuracy of conventional views of the Holocaust, leaving open the possibility that these views are 0% false. It is the kind of question we should be asking all the time, not just about the Holocaust, but about our conventional understandings generally. After all, we live in a media-driven, propaganda-saturated environment 24-hours a day, and we therefore hold all kinds of false beliefs. The only way to correct them is to examine and debate them, which the Holocaust Industry refuses to allow.

ADL comments that Smith's ads calling for open debate were "almost universally recognized as a piece of specious anti Semitic propaganda" by college editors, although a perverse few said the ads deserved to be aired on First Amendment grounds. ADL neglects to point out that the latter position is also taken by such dangerous radicals as John Stuart Mill, who pointed out in "On Liberty" that suppression of views regarded as completely false are grounded in a presumption of infallibility. Unfortunately for the ADL, surrendering its presumption of infallibility would lead to questions it doesn't want to answer, like: "When are we going to hear the German side?" and "How do we know the gas chambers really existed?" According to Deborah Lipstadt's "Denying the Holocaust," a book ADL recommends as an excellent debunking of revisionist claims, such questions are evidence of horrifying bias. How so?

Returning to its "small is ugly" theme, ADL attributes Smith's failure to get national publicity for his campus project to "increasingly savvy student communities" rather than an "organized attempt at repression," which they claim Smith attributed the failure to. No information is provided with which to resolve these differing interpretations. Rather, ADL accuses Smith of "conspiratorial megalomania" in allegedly saying this: "The Industry has all the money, all the press, all the professors and all the politicos. None of us can go head to head with the Industry. CODOH is in a guerrilla war [and is composed of] a small band of idealists struggling to overturn a great tyranny. That's what the Industry is, an agent, for great cultural and military tyranny. It promotes and legitimates cultural tyranny in the nations of the West, and military tyranny in the Middle East . . . . The display-ad tactic has become what CODOH tactics must never become - predictable. The Industry understands what we are going to do each academic year, and when we are going to do it, and it is prepared for us. Almost everywhere I probe with the display ads, I'm being stopped in my tracks . . . I'm being neutralized . . . . They are on to [my] game plan."

There is nothing conspiratorial here and it hardly requires megalomania to recognize the immense influence of the Holocaust Industry in making life difficult for a single activist devoted to free inquiry on the Holocaust. The steady outpouring of tear-jerking Holocaust movies, radio shows, newspaper articles, videos, and DVDs alone makes life difficult for anyone attempting to get a dispassionate view of this tragic event, and the frenzied dedication to labeling critics of Holocaust orthodoxy Jew haters makes Smith's comments here perfectly understandable. Unfortunately, reasoned evaluation is not ADL's business.

ADL continues in prejudicial mode when referring to Smith's autobiography as consisting of "recycled" essays on his life (all writers revise and recycle) and his "now-defunct" Web site breakhisbones.com (websites go in and out of existence all the time). The suggestion is that Smith is a tired hack and a failure. But no evidence is provided for this view and it's irrelevant to all the points at issue in any case.

Curiously unable to understand free speech at all, ADL characterizes Smith's defense of "extremist" European revisionists imprisoned for their beliefs as mere attempts to "portray himself as a free speech advocate," instead of actually being one. And since European revisionist publications are really "extremist attempts to deny the Holocaust and demonize Jews," we needn't worry about the fate of thought criminals languishing in prison. This refreshing admission of contempt for free inquiry and expression is regarded by the ADL as a form of wonderful humanitarianism. The subtext says it all: those who say things that find favor with the Holocaust Industry are entitled to free speech; those who don't are transparent frauds whose rights can be trampled on in the interest of "stopping hate." Intriguing theory.

ADL ends by psychoanalyzing Smith's alleged motives, which requires the skills of omniscience that defenders of Holocaust orthodoxy apparently alone possess. The allegation here is that Smith is peddling his writings because they are "his only means of financial support," as though making a living as a writer were a grave sin. Again, it's the subtext that counts: earning money as a writer is admirable as long as you don't displease the Holocaust Industry. If you do the latter, you are a hate-monger and a fraud.

ADL asserts that "Smith dismisses the records of World War II (which records?), including thousands of documents that were used immediately after the war in the Nuremberg trials, as having been forged by a secret committee (no footnote provided, how do we know this charge is true?); he rejects survivors as greedy charlatans (this is a characterization, where is the direct quote confirming this charge?); he even claims that American GI's who saw the death apparatus in the camps were duped by the American military itself, which was also complicit in the conspiracy." (no footnote or direct quote provided, although we should note that the Holocaust Industry concedes that the International Red Cross inspected the death camps while the mass gassings were allegedly going on, but says it was completely duped by the Nazis. So why is it impossible to believe that U.S. soldiers were duped?)

By the way, is "death apparatus" the same as gas chamber or is this another Holocaust Industry sleight-of-hand job?

The ADL asserts that Smith's writings express "an angry anti-Semitism." The evidence is that he (allegedly) describes Holocaust survivor stories as sado-masochistic, muses about "Israel-Jewish 'Samson' and 'Masada' complexes,' describes Hillel as "the leading private Jewish intelligence agency on college campuses," whose rabbis have "broad political agendas but no spiritual one," are sweaty with self-righteousness and bad faith," and harbor a "lust to control the thoughts of others." He is also accused of being scathingly critical of Simon Wiesenthal.

These are strong opinions, but they are not racist. There may in fact be a lot of sado-masochism in Holocaust survivor stories. The facts of the case are more relevant than the psychological animus behind survivor accounts, but if ADL can speculate about Smith's motives, why can't Smith speculate about the psychology of Holocaust survivors? The Samson and Masada "complexes" are well known. Noam Chomsky, who puts no stock in Holocaust revisionism, warns of the Masada complex behind Israeli policy, saying that it could lead Israel to blow up the world. That hardly makes Chomsky a racist. Secondly, there is no doubt that Hillel plays an important role in the policing of college campuses, which are thoroughly surveilled by Holocaust Industry thought police. David Horowitz has a thoroughgoing campaign to discredit any professor who criticizes Israel, let alone raises questions about the gas chambers. Classes are spied on, reports are drawn up, and professors learn to curtail their criticism.

And look at Dershowitz's successful campaign to have Norman Finkelstein fired from DePaul. Finkelstein merely documents the financial shakedown the Holocaust Industry conducts in the name of "never again." He doesn't raise issues about the gas chambers. But that was enough to get him fired. As for the scathing remarks about Wiesenthal, no context is provided by which to judge them. What grievances does Smith have vis-a-vis Wiesenthal? ADL doesn't say.

ADL concludes saying this: "Most troublingly, Smith appears to recognize that his denial of the Holocaust itself contributes to anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence, especially in the Arab world. Smith writes that Holocaust deniers 'understand that [telling] the truth about the gas chambers . . . will result in Arab fanatics having yet one more moral justification for killing innocent, unarmed Jews.' Yet Smith and his cohorts continue to disseminate their lies anyway."

Notice that ADL changes "telling the truth" (Smith word's) into "disseminat[ing] lies." [ADL's words] What is the justification for this switch? Nowhere in the ADL article is any evidence for homicidal gas chambers offered. So why is it a "lie" to question their existence or even declare that they didn't exist? A "lie" is based on the intent to deceive. Where is the deception in questioning that homicidal gas chambers existed or asserting that they didn't exist? Once again, ADL is presupposing what it needs to prove.

And if the truth causes "Arab fanatics" to blow people up, then it's certainly time to start taking their grievances vis-a-vis Israel and the Holocaust Industry seriously. How many more people have to die so Israel's victimology routine can remain uninspected?

Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," and "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker)," from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Pains

Labor Day is always a good time to reflect on labor conditions in the Empire. Between 1913 and 1915 the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations, composed of representatives of capital and labor, held hearings on labor conditions in the U.S. Their final report, written by the labor commissioners on the panel and widely regarded as the Commission’s official statement, provides a succinct overview of the savage class warfare carried out by the private owners of the economy and their servants in government in the late 19th and early 20th century. Particularly striking is the call for national health insurance, which the U.S. still lacks nearly a century later. [Note: In a separate statement the employers on the Commission decried the evils of labor, including the secondary boycott ("unjust, inequitable, and vicious"), the closed shop, contract abrogation, restriction of output, and "irresponsible" labor union politics.]

Why Workers Rebel
The Commission attributed widespread labor rebellion to "numberless thousands of workers . . . who feel bitterly that they and their fellows are being denied justice, economically, politically, and legally." A major grievance was labor's conviction that "income should be received for service (i.e. work) and for service only, whereas in fact, it bears no such relation, and he who serves least, or not at all, may receive most." John H. Walker, president of the Illinois State Federation of Labor, observed that major investors had a different philosophy: "People accept it as all right if they do not do any work at all, and accept it as all right that they get as much money as they can; in fact they are given credit for getting the greatest amount of money with the least amount of work . . . ” The Commission concluded that, morally speaking, "reward can be claimed as a right only by those who have performed service, not by those who through relationship or mere parasitism chance to be designated as heirs."

Distribution of Wealth
The Commissioners determined that whereas the wealth of the country between 1890 and 1912 had increased 188 per cent, the aggregate income of wage earners in manufacturing, mining, and transportation had only risen 95 per cent, and thus workers had been denied the full value of their toil, not to mention any voice in how the "surplus" was to be used.

Meanwhile, "at the other end of the social scale, are fortunes of a size never before dreamed of, whose very owners do not know the extent nor . . . even the sources, of their incomes." The Commission found that in the United States there were "forty-four families with incomes of $1,000,000 or more, whose members perform little or no useful service" but whose total income of at least $50 million a year was "equivalent to the earnings of 100,000 wage earners at the average rate of $500." Citing "a statistician of conservative views" the Commission noted a decidedly lopsided distribution of ownership: (1) "The 'Rich,' 2 percent of the people, own 60 percent of the wealth." (2) "The 'Middle Class,' 33 per cent of the people, own 35 per cent of the wealth." (3)"The 'Poor,' 65 per cent of the people, own 5 per cent of the wealth."

Furthermore, the unequal pattern was self-perpetuating in that "the great fortunes . . . have already passed, or will pass in a few years, by right of inheritance to the control of heirs or to trustees." These fortunate few "occupy within our Republic a position almost exactly analogous to that of feudal lords," as they "control the livelihood and have the power to dictate the happiness of more human beings than populated England in the Middle Ages." The Commission called on Congress "to check the growth of an hereditary aristocracy, which is . . . menacing to the welfare of the people and the existence of the Nation as a democracy." It also recommended reducing the incomes of the rich and raising wages "to a level of decent and comfortable living," further proposing "the enactment of an inheritance tax, so graded that . . . . it shall leave no large accumulation of wealth to pass into hands which had no share in its production."

Turning to unemployment, the Commissioners attributed its existence to lopsided distribution of purchasing power and underutilization of land and natural resources. The first left the workers "unable to purchase the products of industry which they create," while the second, a consequence of producing for profit rather than use, put "a large proportion of the public land . . . into the hands of speculators" who kept them out of cultivation hoping for a higher resale value later, while small farmers were pushed into bankruptcy and workers went hungry for lack of work.

Since work was offered solely at the convenience of the employer, workers were idled "on the average from one-fifth to one-fourth of the working time during the normal year." But unemployment negatively affected ALL workers, idled or not, because there were "few who do not suffer bitterly many times in their career because they are unable to get work." Furthermore, whereas "capital can offset the fat years against the lean," unemployed workers "must starve or suffer a rapid physical and moral deterioration" when the market regularly renders them "useless and worthless."

The Partisan Courts
The Commission found that theoretically neutral courts in fact consistently favored the owners of capital by "restrict[ing] the activities of labor organizations" and "depriv[ing] them of their most effective weapons, namely, the boycott and the power of picketing"; upholding the employers' "power of arbitrary discharge, of blacklisting, and of bringing in strikebreakers"; and striking down "legislative attempts to restrict the employers’ powers."

The Origin of Violence
Responsibility for violence, said the report, "can usually be traced to the conditions prevailing in the particular industry," which were characterized as "oppressive conditions." The most incendiary tactic in the employers' arsenal was "almost without exception the attempt to introduce strikebreakers to take the place of the workers who have struck or who are locked out. The entire problem of policing industrial disputes grows out of the problem of the strikebreaker and the attitude of the state toward him." (emphasis in original)

After observing that the courts were entirely supportive of their use, the Commissioners pointed out that "the strikebreaker is not a genuine workingman but is a professional who merely fills the place of the worker and is unable or unwilling to do steady work." In the rare case he was a real worker, "he [was] ignorant of conditions or compelled to work under duress."

Commenting that exploitative conditions for labor could be found "throughout history" the Commissioners observed that, "Violence is a natural form of protest against injustice."

Unions they judged to be not only legitimate but essential, for "without organization of the workers their collective claims can not be considered"; furthermore, "without the right to appoint such representatives as they choose, workers are at the mercy of the employer’s power of discharge," while "the [employer’s] refusal to consider grievances leaves only the alternative of the strike."

Rights, Privilege, and Exploitation
The Commissioners found that whereas the conduct of business is "permitted only so far as its exercise is in the public interest," striking workers "have a right to the jobs which they have left until their grievances are in some way adjusted." In fact, they deemed it a mark of social responsibility to protest unjust conditions, on the grounds that a worker striking in pursuit of better conditions "has a keener interest in [the job] than when quietly submitting to distasteful conditions."

Furthermore, "working conditions can be improved only by strikes" and "no strike can be won if the employer can operate his plant without difficulty." The "private guards, detectives, and vigilantes" hired by employers "are openly partisan and can have no other purpose in connection with a strike than to break it." Meanwhile, "corrupt and subservient" courts "have time and again permitted the militia, under color of so-called 'martial law,' to usurp their functions," with members of said militia being "in the employment and pay of corporations." If not stopped, "the encroachment upon fundamental rights" by these companies could produce a situation where "the liberties of all citizens are hanging in the balance."

After investigating the employers' use of the state constabulary, the Commission judged that during strikes "it appears to assume . . . that the strikers are its enemies," with the result that "violence seems to increase" every time it is used, leading to "citizens not in any way connected with the dispute" being "brutally treated," while the constabulary "escape[s] punishment for their acts."

Employers routinely suppressed labor's right to free speech, a policy "carried out with a degree of brutality which would be incredible if it were not vouched for by reliable witnesses," often precipitating "bloody riots" and wholesale arrests of the innocent.

The toll of all this on individual character was devastatingly negative, as young workers "full of ambition and high hopes for the future" were inevitably demoralized by their "failure in establishing themselves in some trade or calling," becoming income nomads willing to suffer any conditions, with the result that they "begin to lose self-respect." The appalling living conditions casual workers endured were "generally sufficient to weaken the physique and destroy the moral fiber of even the strongest man "in a single season," not the least due to the constant "spread of dangerous diseases by migratory workers."

Absent formal organization of the labor force, "improvised labor markets" were set up in "pool rooms, cafes, grocery stores, lodging houses, even [on] street corners and public parks," leading to "groundless rumors send[ing] people scurrying over the city and the country on a wild-goose chase." Foremen sold real and imaginary jobs merely to generate fees, in a business that "reek[ed] with fraud, extortion, and flagrant abuses of every kind." Workers were "charged out of all proportion to the service rendered," were "sent a long distance" and "made to pay fees and transportation," only to discover that no jobs existed. Foremen liked to "discharge men constantly" to generate more fees, which led to the "three gang" method of fee extraction: "one gang working, another coming to work from the employment agent, and a third going back to the city." Workers were lied to about their actual wages, the length of the job, living conditions at the job site, and were not told when they were being used to break strikes.

Employers' insistence on "low wages, excessive hours, methods causing nervous strain, and general insanitary conditions" caused poverty and attendant high rates of illness among workers, as evidenced by "insufficient diet, bad housing, inadequate clothing, and generally unfavorable surroundings in the home."

The Commissioners recommended that government establish a system of guaranteed sickness insurance for all, which would make benefits a right rather than a demeaning charity. This practice, they noted, was already the norm in Europe, where "experience has proved the superiority of Government systems to private insurance."

Scientific Management ("Taylorism")
The dismemberment of tasks celebrated in "scientific management" of the work force came in for lengthy critique. This form of production was found to lead to monotonous concentration on "one or two tasks" precluding "discovery and development of special aptitudes" and "tend[ed] to divide the workers into two unequal classes," a few who occupy "managerial positions" and many "bound to remain task workers within a narrow field." The practice tended to "weaken the power of the individual worker as against the employer" and "transfer[red] to the management the traditional craft knowledge," leaving the worker an ancillary tool of production who was "therefore easier of displacement." Furthermore, scientific management tended to "weaken the solidarity" of workers and "prevent the formation of groups" that could advance their interests. In fact, "almost everything points to the strengthening of the individualistic motive," since "each worker is bent on the attainment of his individual task" and "can not combine with his fellows to determine how much that task shall be." Slowing the pace of work "merely lessens his wages and prejudices his standing without helping his neighbor." Commendation was meted out individually and "personal rivalry is stimulated by the posting of individual records or classification of the workers by name into Excellent, Good, Poor, etc." The "gospel of scientific management" instructed the worker how he "can cut loose from the mass" and advance over it. Without unions there was no democratic possibility in scientific management, since "the individual is manifestly in no position to cope with the employer on a basis of equality." To wit:

"The claim to democracy based on the close association of the management and the men and the opportunities allowed for the voicing of complaints is not borne out by the facts, and in the general run of scientific management shops, barring the presence of unionism and collective bargaining, the unionists are justified in the charge that the workers have no real voice in hiring and discharging, the setting of the task, the determination of the wage rates, or the general conditions of employment. This charge is true even where the employers have no special autocratic tendencies, much more so therefore where, as in many cases, they are thoroughly imbued with the autocratic spirit. With rare exceptions, then, democracy under scientific management can not and does not exist apart from unionism and collective bargaining."

In short, scientific management was objectionable because it (1) "weaken[ed] the competitive power of the individual worker" (2) "thwart[ed]the formation of shop groups and weaken[ed] group solidarity"; (3) "[was] lacking in the arrangements and machinery necessary for the actual voicing of the workers' ideas and complaints, and for the democratic consideration and adjustment of grievances." (4) tolerated collective bargaining "only when it [was] not understood." (5) treated unionism "with abhorrence."

Therefore, "scientific management must . . . be declared autocratic in tendency, a reversion to industrial autocracy." It rendered impossible the "establishment of stable conditions of work and pay" and "inevitably tend[ed] to the constant breakdown of the established crafts and craftmanship and the constant elimination of skill." Under a scientific management utopia "any man who walks the street would be a practical competitor for almost any workman's job." This "would . . . render collective bargaining impossible," as intended.

In a supplemental statement Chairman Frank P. Walsh found "the basic cause of industrial dissatisfaction to be low wages," which were maintained "through compulsory and oppressive methods" designed to deny workers "the full product of their toil." Millions of Americans were "denied . . . that degree of economic well-being necessary for the enjoyment of those material and spiritual satisfactions which alone make life worth living." Furthermore, "bitterness, bred of unfilled need for sufficient, food, clothing and shelter" was "nourished . . . by resentment against the arbitrary power [of] the employer." Walsh's bill of indictment against employers pulled no punches:

"Employers from coast to coast have created and maintained small private armies of armed men and have used these forces to intimidate and suppress their striking employees by deporting, imprisoning, assaulting or killing their leaders. Elaborate spy systems are maintained to discover and forestall the movements of the enemy. The use of State troops in policing strikes has bred a bitter hostility to the militia system among members of labor organizations, and States have been unable to enlist wage earners for this second line of the Nation’s defense. Courts, legislatures and governors have been rightfully accused of serving employers to the defeat of justice, and, while counter charges come from employers and their agents, with almost negligible exceptions it is the wage earners who believe, assert and prove that the very institutions of their country have been perverted by the power of the employer. Prison records for labor leaders have become badges of honor in the eyes of many of their people, and great mass meetings, throughout the Nation, cheer denunciations of courts and court decisions."

Speaking for the Commission, Walsh found "the unrest here described to be but the latest manifestation of the age-long struggle of the race for freedom of opportunity for every individual to live his life to its highest ends." Mechanized production posed a considerable obstacle to this, for it allowed "unskilled workers [to be] substituted for the skilled" and produced "great corporations possessing enormous economic power." This, in turn, meant that "work formerly done at home or in small neighborhood shops, [had] been transferred to great factories" in which the worker was reduced to an "impersonal element under the control of impersonal corporations," voiceless and without human connection to the enterprise and its products. Entire families had been swallowed up by the factory system, Walsh noted.

Returning to the theme of parasitism, Walsh pointed out that "while vast inherited fortunes, representing zero in social service to the credit of their possessors, automatically treble and multiply in volume, two-thirds of those who toil from eight to twelve hours a day receive less than enough to support themselves and their families in decency and comfort." Economic insecurity ran rampant, with workers liable to economic disaster from "accident, illness, the caprice of a foreman, or the fortunes of industry." Life off the job was equally oppressive, for "the lives of their babies were snuffed out by bad air in cheap lodgings, and the lack of nourishment and care which they can not buy." Meanwhile, breadwinners killed or "maimed in accidents" visited ruin on their families, who "receive[d] a pittance" in compensation - or nothing at all. Walsh found the Bill of Rights inoperative where private corporate power reigned supreme:

"We find that many entire communities exist under the arbitrary economic control of corporation officials charged with the management of an industry or group of industries, and we find that in such communities political liberty does not exist, and its forms are hollow mockeries. Give to the employer power to discharge without cause, to grant to or withhold from thousands the opportunity to earn bread, and the liberties of such a community lie in the hollow of the employer’s hand. Free speech, free assembly, and a free press may be denied, as they have been denied time and again, and the employer’s agents may be placed in public office to do his bidding."

Contrary to capitalist dogma, a worker was a dependent employee, not a free agent, "For the house he lives in, the food he eats, the clothing he wears, the environment of his wife and children, and his own health and safety, are in the hands of the employer, through the arbitrary power which he exercises in fixing his wages and working conditions."

Nevertheless, employers were not responsible for such conditions, as they were merely following "the natural bent of men involved in the struggle of competitive industry." Walsh placed primary responsibility for injustice "upon the workers, who, blind to their collective strength and oftentimes deaf to the cries of their fellows, have suffered exploitation and the invasion of their most sacred rights without resistance." Other responsible parties include "the great mass of citizens who . . . have failed to realize that their own prosperity is dependent upon the welfare of all classes of the community and that their rights are bound up with the rights of every other individual." Walsh warned that the situation was irremediable without class consciousness from below, for "until the workers themselves realize their responsibility and utilize to the full their collective power, no action, whether Governmental or altruistic, can work any genuine and lasting improvement."