Friday, February 25, 2011

News From Lox TV

Iran plans to rape all women and kill all Jews!

New revelations from an Iranian dissident code-named “screwball” reveal shocking plans on the part of that fiendish nation. The former New York hot dog vendor claims he sold one (with mustard and sauerkraut) to an Iranian agent who told him the true story of Islamic fundamentalist plans to take over churches, synagogues and mosques and turn them into falafel stands and sex orgy headquarters. There, women would be sliced and diced after being ravaged by horny Muslims, then sold to unsuspecting Americans as tasty middle eastern treats. The White House, CIA, FBI, congress and the judiciary all found “screwball’s” stories to be based on sound and solid factually verifiable information. “He’s no curveball type of guy, this is legitimate. The fact that he was wearing a propeller beanie and picking his nose while talking to us is no indication that his information is anything but based on sound story telling skills. We should attack Iran immediately, before Israel has to waste all its nukes” said Obama spokesperson, Moishe Giveashitz.

New program for Instant Citizenship

Inspired by the leadership of the president and supportive of America’s desperate search for cheaper labor, a new program of bipartisan Obamanomics will enable immigrants who enter the country illegally to become immediate citizens and begin shopping at upscale Nordmart or downscale Wallstrom stores using new “Welcome Wetback” cards issued by a private non-profit organization dedicated to democratic capitalism and humanitarian usury.

“These newcomers will be able to go into debt as soon as they enter our glorious mall, er, nation, and thereby become equal participants in the patriotic drive to mortgage our future to corporate capital.” said a representative of Yes We Can Buy Now and Maybe Pay Later, a private non-profit formed by the Wall Street triad of Goldwoman Sachs, Bank of Americus and La Raza del Dinero.

Having already replaced much government activity with privately focused and more marketable commodities, the firm will next sponsor a program to offer medical degrees to functional illiterates and former war criminals in order to bring the wages paid to surgeons down to five dollars an hour.

“We will finally solve America’s crisis in health care by making it affordable to all.” said group spokesperson, Dr. Consuelo Mishigass.

Twits Won’t Have to Tweet Anymore

AmaZoogle, universal leader in new uses of the Internet through marketing other people’s ideas, and following its genius twelve-year-old multi billionaire owner, has created a new social networking service. The system, called Litter, will allow pouting, whining, kvetching and verbal threatening via instant complaints of no more than 20 words. These will be transmitted at previously unavailable speeds with use of the new IGD system (Internet Garbage Disposal) which allows venting and ridding of boring or otherwise uninteresting viewpoints, opinions, gripes, attitudes and desperately meaningless outrage in a fashion much quicker, more pointless and with greater energy conservation than any that has existed before.

“Tweeting will become outmoded about thirty seconds after this hits the ozone, or the cloud, or whatever it is our lab nerds call it, ” said company CEO and billionaire copycat, Pilfer K. Crapowitz.

New Lox TV Asian market philosopher debuts.

Overweight bodies and undernourished minds will savor the eastern wisdom and cuisine ads of Lox TV’s new advice personality, Confuse-Us.
The philosopher chef and martial arts expert, mysteriously imported by Lox TV either from Tibet, Mongolia or San Francisco’s Chinatown, will prognosticate on the same subjects covered by other Lox analysts who reside at mental health crisis centers, but with one major difference. His perspective promises more wisdom for consumption by the growing Asian-American market, said to represent the most highly educated and lowly respected in the nation.

Confuse-Us will finally offer an antidote to the cheap, trivial and derisive characters of Asian people perpetuated by main stream media, with ponderous and probing perspectives offered on subjects as varied as the price of new cars, the waistlines of young women or comparisons between brown and white rice, to the meaning of meaning and the possibility of war with Tibet, Mongolia or San Francisco’s Chinatown. A Lox TV biracial multicultural transsexual affirmative action communications and diversity marketing director says “You be sure tune in, even if you no Asian Amelican. We likee you money no matta wha you lookee like”.

Gossip Whistle Blower Makes Shocking Find

Leakywinks claims sordid affair going on between already married Israeli Knesset member and not yet divorced American State Dept. official.

Israelis deny any such relationship, claim more general intimate bonds with total American government with no individual love necessary.

An Israeli spokesperson who lives at the White House said ” why should we need to have love affairs with any specific American leaders when they are all so passionately devoted to us?”

New Demands Made By Falsers

In their continuing battle with Truthers, Falsers have announced a series of support groups to counter those which claim controlled demolition of the twin towers was behind the 911-terror attack.

“We strongly support the continued controlled demolition of the American mind, and while we appreciate the Truthers help in this area, we need to go much further, to the American political economy itself. In that spirit, we offer new self-help, identity and rehab groups to our fellow citizens that can help hasten the day we bring on complete mental, physical and emotional breakdown of the American people and their system.

To that end, we need an ILF to create respect and self esteem for morons (Imbecile Liberation Front), an IAA to enable us to further befriend our neighbors in nature (Insect Adoption Agency)and an AHSR to enable us to even more intimately befriend our pets (Animal Human Sexual Relations). These groups will help us move beyond ridiculous tendencies toward logic, rationality and humanity which threaten to engulf us in a sick malaise of democratic people centered spiritually focused materially based shaping of reality. Just thinking that makes me want to vomit. We need a PLF (pukers liberation front).”

Disclaimer from Legalienate:

We are not saying any of this stuff is true, but we saw it on  Lox TV and therefore it probably  makes as much sense as anything else on TV.
Or in the press.
Or online.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Iran: Getting It Straight

Many Americans who should know better still seem clueless about Iran. It is not U.S. business to foment regime change in Iran, whatever we may think of its rulers and their policies. It is our responsibility to achieve regime change in Washington. With that accomplished the rest of the world would have a real shot at democracy, which under prevailing circumstances it does not because Washington regularly destroys popular rule whenever the occasion presents itself.

It has become fashionable to make appeals to "universal values" as a basis for criticizing the Iranian government (and other anti-Washington governments, too, for that matter). But these self-serving rationales do not wash: George Bush, after all, did the same in justifying his invasion of Iraq.

It may very well be that freedom is a universal aspiration, and there can't be much doubt that personal freedom in the U.S. is far more developed than it is in Iran. But what follows from these facts, if indeed they are facts? That we have the right to judge, condemn, and destroy the Iranian revolution, which retains considerable popular support 32 years after the fact? Certainly not.

In the context of the U.S. overthrowing Iranian democracy, encouraging the Iran-Iraq war, continually threatening to invade and bomb the country, assassinating Iranian cabinet members and a Supreme Court justice, imposing crippling sanctions, blowing up an Iranian civilian airliner and applauding the result, openly insulting the Iranian president on a visit to the U.S., in view of all this, American criticisms of Iran for its "sexist," "homophobic," and "backward" social policies are obnoxiously irrelevant. And given organized Jewry's longstanding efforts to push the U.S. into direct confrontation with Iran, it hardly needs to be said that this is a brand of politics that apartheid Israel truly loves.

For all the good it has done in alleviating personal suffering the LGBT community and its endlessly self-referential "politics" shares a large part of the blame for this attitude. Apparently, the top priority of a country targeted for destruction by Washington and surrounded by its imperial wars should be to immediately grant unrestrained sexual freedom to gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transsexuals. Without complete sexual liberty national sovereignty has no meaning. Sure.

Another factor in the misplaced criticism of Iran may be the contempt for all religion on the part of so many secular social critics. The fact that all prior civilizations grew out of religion, and that the world's first scientific industrial one appears to be leading the human race to extinction, does not seem to bother these people, though it certainly ought to.

The bottom line is that we should develop a real radical politics and stop the ridiculous posturing. Washington has been public enemy number one inside and outside the U.S. for a long time now. Let's achieve regime change there first and leave the discussion of others' shortcomings for later.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Capitalism and Immigration

Numbers USA is one of the less rabid anti-immigration groups, not angrily nationalist, but focused on liberal myths that seek to justify skirting the illegality of mass undocumented immigration. A debunking of this evasion is perfectly justified. One valid point they make is that mass illegal immigration into the U.S. does not, and in fact cannot, alleviate world poverty, as some liberals are prone to claim, and that the real heroes are not those who flee poverty in their home countries, but those who successfully rise above it (the second claim is questionable). Unfortunately, Numbers USA doesn't seem to realize that an individualist solution to poverty is no solution at all, since only a tiny minority are in a position to escape it. In short, Numbers USA's apolitical assumptions leave them with no proper diagnosis of a problem that kills tens of thousands of people every week, still less with any intelligent solution to it.

A rational approach has no reason not to concede that importing one million or two million or even five million immigrants annually into the U.S. will do nothing to end world poverty, though it does alleviate financial distress for many individual families. Obviously, poverty cannot be reduced, much less eliminated, without identifying and rooting out the international structures of impoverishment that sustain intergenerational poverty for billions of people. This, in turn, means that, absent a restructuring of economic relations, illegal immigration flows can only continue, in spite of intense militarization efforts at the U.S.-Mexican border and other forceful measures.

Numbers USA is oblivious to such insights. Its overall take on immigration is politically naive, if not completely apolitical, and therefore cannot lead to constructive solutions. Telling desperate people that they should remain in their countries of origin, where capital has guaranteed that they will slowly starve to death, or fall prey to criminal gangs or government and "private" death squads, is obviously not a constructive suggestion. Unfortunately, the folks at Numbers USA don't even know that capitalism is at the root of the poverty problem.

The only lasting solution to poverty is to abolish capitalism and replace it with a democratic system of allocation and investment that will respond not just to purchasing power, but to voting power. The poor don't have any purchasing power (that's what it means to be poor), so they cannot make a capitalist system respond to their chronically unmet needs. But if economics were no longer treated as though it were somehow unrelated to politics, the poor could make their investment priorities respected at the ballot box. It's pretty obvious they would vote for the only policies that offer them a chance at a decent life: jobs at living wages, environmental clean-up, sustainable development, stable retirement, medical care for all, and so on. If that kind of system prevailed everywhere, the pressure to emigrate would dramatically decline.

But don't expect the folks at Numbers USA to endorse a radically anti-capitalist agenda, no matter how desperately it may be needed. They want to continue with minority control of social investment, and somehow end up with prosperity for everyone.

It can't happen.

See also "Race and Immigration" posted on this blog on October 25, 2010, as well as "Arizona, 'Nazism,' and Immigration Mythology" (May 3, 2010), and "Immigration and Illegality - A Nationalist-Internationalist Exchange," (April 27, 2008)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seventeen Days That Shook The World

The astonishing Egyptian uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in two-and-a-half weeks of immense popular struggle has sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Middle East, putting Washington's imperial clients on notice that their days of impunity are now numbered.

Close to two million flooded into Cairo's Tahir Square. One million assembled in Martyr's Square in Alexandria. 750,000 gathered in downtown Mansoura. A quarter of a million came together in Suez.

Who were they? A cross-section of modern Egypt: Muslims and Christians and Wafds, women and men, young and old. They were internet surfing youth, trade union organizers, the unemployed, students, professionals, parents, children, politicians, party leaders, Imams and priests, judges and lawyers, former military officers and veterans, farmers, taxi drivers, garbage collectors, actors, teachers, artists, poets, movie directors, journalists, and authors. In a word, everyone.

What moved them to take to the streets? Well, for starters, poverty is endemic and thirty percent of the workforce is chronically unemployed. Well-educated college youth with no prospects sit at cafes all day smoking hookahs while the price of a tomato goes up 400% in 24 hours. Corruption is all-pervasive and the necessities of life are allocated by ransom. One has to pay to get clean water, a roof that won't cave in, a crappy car that costs double because of duty taxes, to get one's mail, to pay a bill, to obtain a document, to buy bread, to start a business.

The popular explosion erupted on January 25, "Police Day." Over the next two-and-a-half weeks fed-up crowds surged through the streets, defying curfew, setting up self-governing popular committees, fending off bullets, beatings, and tear gas, and taking back control of their cities from one of the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East.

Totally uninterested in compromise or half-measures, they insisted that Mubarak and his dictatorship go without preconditions. The building housing his National Democratic Party, in power since 1978, was burned. Downtown Suez was seized by protesters, where two police stations were also put to the torch. Security forces shot uselessly into the protesting crowds while tanks and armored vehicles patrolled streets suddenly under the control of popular committees. F-16s and military helicopters roamed overhead, but the people had lost their fear and could no longer be controlled. A long dormant Article 3 of Egypt's Constitution suddenly sprang to life: "Sovereignty is for the people alone who are the source of authority."

The political earthquake approached a general strike, and was to a great extent the culmination of prolonged labor organization and hundreds of strikes on the part of an army of unionists who have been active for years. The police disappeared early on, while the Egyptian army stood ready to mutiny if ordered to open fire on vast crowds of their fellow Egyptians demanding the ouster of Mubarak's corrupt and murderous regime.

Official Washington responded with characteristic cynicism, rhetorically embracing the "legitimate demands" of the protesters while trying to save its police state client, whether Mubarak resigned or remained. The last thing Washington wanted was to see U.S. arms turned on Egyptian democracy protesters before a TV audience of billions.

Father Obama, known in Egypt as the "black Bush," sallied forth with his customary pile of useless platitudes, saying that Egyptians had a right to protest, and that many were decent middle-class people with legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, vice-president Joe Biden added the absurd claim that Mubarak was not a dictator and should not be made to go, since he was a stalwart ally of Washington and Israel, a supporter of the Middle East "peace process," as well as the "war on terror." In other words, everyone should just shake hands and have a pleasant chat about how to tweak Egypt's basically good government. No mention of Human Rights Watch's report stating that torture was "incredibly entrenched" in the Mubarak administration, nor any admission that Egyptian elections were rigged, that bribery was everywhere and employment nowhere, that Mubarak had run Egypt like a giant prison for 30 years, that he renewed martial law every five years, that he lent crucial assistance to crushing what Israel openly regards as its niggers in Gaza.

The U.S. media were equally clueless, praising the Mubarak regime as Israel's "only Arab ally" (on the pretext that what's good for Israel is good for America) and has abetted "U.S. interests." According to the talking heads, this left Washington "in a bind" because the democratic principles being invoked by militant Egyptians were America's very own, but they were being used in an effort to topple a key U.S. ally. U.S. official judgment being by definition infallible, the perplexing riddle was how Washington could continue having its murderous client without tarnishing its democratic credentials. Naturally, the obvious fact that the U.S.'s operative values are anything but democratic, that they are in fact murderously authoritarian throughout the Middle East, in service to corporate profit and Greater Israel, remained unthinkable for American pundits, though not for the rest of the world.

The problem for Washington is that real democracy leads quickly to an anti-neoliberal, anti-Israel agenda, as austerity economics (juxtaposed to record corporate profits) and forced displacement of Palestine's indigenous Arabs have no moral leg to stand on, and vast populations throughout the world are increasingly aware of it.

From Central Asia to North Africa the winds of change are blowing. In Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, the U.S. is struggling. In Iraq, it has handed power to the allies of Iran. In Lebanon, Hizbollah is forming a new government after toppling U.S. ally Saad Hariri. In Palestine, Washington's client Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have zero credibility. In Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria, U.S. client governments are barely holding on. In Tunisia, a popular revolt brought down president Zine el-Albidine Ben Ali, America's ally, while touching off the Egyptian rebellion that has just expelled Mubarak.

The beginning of the political isolation of USrael, the roguest state of them all, is finally underway. Do what you can to non-violently help it.


Shahid, Anthony, Hezbollah Chooses Lebanon's Next Prime Minister, New York Times, January 24, 2011

Leupp, Gary, The Egyptian Revolution, Counterpunch, January 28-January 30 2011

Davidson, Lawrence, Tunisia, Then Egypt, Why Now? - Counterpunch, January 31, 2011

Soldz, Stephen, The Torture Career of Egypt's New Vice President, Counterpunch, January 31, 2011

Jacobs, Ron, Is the Game Really Over For Mubarak? Counterpunch, January 31, 2011

Ghosh, Pothik, The New Arab Revolts, Counterpunch, January 31, 2011

Kassem, Suzy, Why Egyptians Are Calling Obama the "Black Bush," Counterpunch, February 2, 2011

Abou Jahah, Dyab, On the Barricades, Counterpunch, February 11, 2011

Georgy, Joshua Farouk, The Egyptian Uprising in the American Media, Counterpunch, February 3, 2011

Price, David R., Challenging America's Pharaoh, Counterpunch, February 3, 2011

Al-Amin, Esam, Mubarak's Last Gasps, Counterpunch, February 4-6, 2011

Khan, Liaquat Ali, When the Arab Street Enforces the Constitution," Counterpunch, January 31, 2011

Human Rights Watch, Egypt: Impunity For Torture Fuels Days of Rage, January 31, 2011

Asfour, Lana, In the Wake of the Jasmine Revolution, Counterpunch, February 1, 2011

Al Amin, Esam, The Making of Egypt's Revolution, Counterpunch, February 1, 2011

Cockburn, Alexander, Ain't That Good News! Counterpunch, February 11-February 13, 2011

Flanders, Laura, No Words For Egypt, Mr. President? Counterpunch, January 27, 2011

Kampmark, Binoy, The Revolution Shall Be Tweeted, Counterpunch, January 28-January 30, 2011

Democracy: Humanity's Profit System

My country is the world.
Thomas Paine

Workers of the world, unite.
Karl Marx

Demands for social change are accelerating throughout capital’s global empire. Once limited to armed insurrection, now nations like Bolivia and Venezuela elect governments to replace capitalism with democratically controlled socialism. While their approach is not followed everywhere, more people are demanding democratic power with those demands reaching new peaks in the Middle East.

Recent uprisings in the Arab world may endure short-range attempts at western manipulation, but their long-range outcome is clear to all but the morally disabled. Calls for majority rule are coming from masses of people united in their desire, rather than from elites organizing minority rule and calling it democracy. The USA and Israel will try to control the uncontrollable, but the days of western Zionist rule are numbered. This is not just great news for Arabs or Muslims but for all humanity.

After colonialism officially ended, western domination was maintained over former colonies by governments headed by puppets whose regimes were called democratic as long as they remained under the domain of privately controlled markets and adhered to the dictates of Israel. That minority-dominated system has never been under more pressure as disgusted majorities are crying out “enough is enough”. This global trend may not always be focused on private capital’s anti-democratic control, but that is the core problem which can only be solved by democratic public control of the political economics of all nations. The rise of a previously subjugated population in Egypt heralds a move closer to that solution to humanity’s collective problem.

The commerce of profit and loss has been harshly criticized from as far back as biblical times, when usurious interest and moneychangers in the temple were subjects of moral outrage. That criticism continued through the ages, often muted because many seemed to prosper under the economics of “buy cheap and sell dear”. Those paying dearly got products they might not otherwise have acquired while achieving material comfort and social status in the process. But the commercial religion of global capitalism has reached a crisis point of physical and moral degradation nearing total breakdown.

Capitalism’s problems are isolated as single issues to obscure the flaws of the entire system, the way people are divided into minorities to keep individuals from acting as an organized majority with common interests. But climate change, imperial war, racial supremacy, corporate greed and countless other problems are the result of private control of markets organized to run on those profit and loss economics of ancient origin.

After ages in which this system enriched some at the expense of most but with support from greater numbers led to believe they would soon be included in the minority feast, we have reached an impasse that threatens to include all in a majority famine. Nature itself is in terminal danger under the abuse of the un-natural rush for private profit. And as the group to whom the profits flow gets smaller, the riches they accumulate grow larger.

The world’s richest minority is wealthier than ever as a result of public debt carried by the global majority in an economic casino of waste and war. Billions live in poverty while the working middle shrinks under an attack on capital’s primitive welfare state which takes their jobs and benefits to create still more wealth for the top. Glaring inequality and declining material standards are being experienced in the once affluent west as well as among the nations formerly providing much of its wealth. All over the world people are expressing contempt for the system reducing them to outrageous poverty, denying them democratic representation and burdening them with unpayable debt.

The Internet age has helped people to better communicate and identify common problems, enabling them to form seemingly leaderless groups that react to conditions with greater speed than authority can respond to and subdue. The result of this consciousness raising experience can be seen in global outbreaks of these fast reacting groups, as in Egypt. The Internet is a form of communication never before available, and breathless supporters can sometimes exaggerate its affect. The overwhelming majority of Egyptians who participated in the demonstrations were not even owners of computers. But the newer communications media of internet, cell phones, and cable news – especially Al Jazeera - is helping create groups that connect in the physical and not just electronic world. The historic rise of the Egyptian people was hardly based on the Internet, but it could not have happened without that tool used by an aroused population. As this electronic global web is better understood as a tool for community organizing and not just market commerce, the universal march to democracy will take on even more speed.

Even when the west tries to manipulate movements with its color-coded and outside financed uprisings to assure private capital’s control, the long-range outcome of more democracy can only mean eventual public control. Whether the new movements call themselves democratic, socialist, Islamist or artistic, most of their national economies will ultimately be placed under the control of the state and the state will at long last – and for the first time in history - be controlled by the people.

Social justice will begin when minority domination of political economics is finally brought to its end. Democracy means majority rule and the social sharing of wealth, not the selfish squandering of humanity’s product on a minority of billionaires, most of whom never worked a day in their lives. We are moving closer to realizing that democratic ideal as a global and not just national reality. The Egyptian people and the Arab world are playing a major role in that realization.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

News From The Garlic Bureau

Affirmative Action for Capital Inc.

The multinational conglomerate demands new laws and programs to strengthen divisions among people and insure a future for private profits.

“We need more than the old programs of affirmative action, ethnic studies and other identity reinforcing policies that hyphenate everything and obliterate class differences,” said corporate CEO Fulgencio Duvalier. “Multicultural diversity must include further breakdowns of people into smaller groups, especially those unfortunate commodity segments who suffer as social outcasts and need identification as individuals who can prosper with therapy, drugs, counseling and other products available in the free market.”

The firm says that convicted murderers, spoiled brats, sexual degenerates, socially aberrant personalities and other minorities are important markets that need to be developed. In that spirit the multiculturally diverse Nobel Prize winning private non-profit has announced the formation of support groups for those previously reduced to suffering in silence with no mental or physical help available to them.

“We see the need and we fulfill it, ” said their advertising director, Mother Superior Chan Andaluc√≠a Leibowitz.

One new group will offer support to convicted child molesters who have been denied their efforts at adoption, for jobs at child care centers or even as volunteer School Crossing Guards.

“We have so many without jobs that we should be anxious to help the economy by hiring people, no matter what their past experience has been and even if we have to import them. Freedom has its limits, as we all know. You can’t yell “fire” on a fire engine, or something like that. But business is business!”

Lox TV Introduces Reality Show

A family of serial killers will be featured in a new Lox TV reality show. They have been tried for seventeen murders but never convicted. The father of four sons and two daughters is a tri-polar criminal defense lawyer and the mother is a manic depressive schizophrenic social worker. All six of the children suffer from acne, bad breath, persecution complexes and every social disability to have been invented in the past twenty-five years.

The first episode features a confrontation at Thanksgiving dinner when two of the sons try to stab their mother. The father defends their action as he attempts to seduce one of his daughters while the guests, a group of ex-POWS, eat all the turkey before a battle erupts between the Viet Nam and Iraqi veterans. The show was test marketed and received glowing reviews from advertisers.

New Group Demands New Hate Laws

Peter Paul, chair of the radical Smoke Tea Party, has called for laws banning not only hate speech, but boring speech, stupid speech, lisping speech, inarticulate speech, sibilant speech, redundant speech, loud speech, soft speech, repetitious speech and foreign speech.

“What this nation needs more than anything is silence. There’s been too damned much talking and none of it makes any sense, including what I’m saying right now. If we get everyone to shut up by throwing one another in prison and keeping quiet, we’ll have some time to think and maybe then we can pass laws to allow only thoughtful speech and thereby end politics as we know it.”

He apologized for ending a sentence with a preposition when we corrected him and then told us to shut the fuck up.

Clinton Will Move to Chicago to Vote for Emanuel

Former president Bill Clinton defended Rahm Emanuel’s right to run for mayor of Chicago. “ I understand that Rahm holds dual citizenship with Israel and a citizen of our dear friend nation should be able to run for mayor anywhere in America, whether living there or not. I’m ready to move to Chicago to vote for him, and as I have said in the past I will grab a gun and jump into the trenches to defend the Israeli right to run American cities. And I did not inhale, nor did I have sex with that woman, but I support abortion so I’m a feminist. Anybody got Oprah’s phone number?

Obama’s Speech Brings Many To Mindless State of Bliss

Many citizens were once again lifted to the heights, or lowered to the depths depending on their politics and intelligence, by the president’s recent spell binding oratorical splendor. Many democrats, some republicans, quite a few ordinary citizens and formerly employed workers and members of the mainstream media were overcome with emotion that caused them to weep hysterically, achieve multiple orgasms and pass out during the historic state of the union address or recent talk to the chamber of commerce or press conference or whatever by president Barack Obama.

A seasoned observer and famous pundit said “ It wasn’t what he said, because he really didn’t say anything, but the way that he said it that caused me to swoon, wet myself and pass out. It reminded me of all the great orators of our great past, like Martin Luther King, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Flavor Flav and such. Actually, I’m too emotional to speak anymore. I need to write a new column extolling his verbal dexterity and linguistic ability to weave perspicacious clich√© with substantial bullshit and have it come out so profoundly full of emptiness.”

stay tuned...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reagan Officials on Winnable Nuclear War

" . . . it is possible for any society to survive [a nuclear war] . . . nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem."

-----Charles Kupperman Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)

Senator Pell: "My question is, in a full nuclear exchange, would a country survive?"

Eugene Rostov (ACDA): "The human race is very resilient, Senator Pell."

"You have a survivability of command and control, survivability of industrial potential, protection of a percentage of your citizens, and you have a capability that inflicts more damage on the opposition than it can inflict on you."

-----Vice-President George Bush on how to win a nuclear war

"Everybody's going to make it if there are enough shovels to go around. Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top. It's the dirt that does it."

-----T. K. Jones Deputy Undersecretary of Defense

"The United States must possess the ability to wage nuclear war rationally."

-----Colin Gray Arms Control Adviser

"It would be a terrible mess, but it wouldn't be unmanageable."

-----Louis Giuffrida Federal Emergency Management Agency

Question: Would democracy and other institutions survive nucear war?

"I think they would eventually, yeah. As I say, the ants eventually build another anthill."

-----William Chipman Federal Emergency Management Agency

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ronald Reagan's Reactionary Dream Team

Secretary of State - Alexander Haig

A career soldier who revered obedience above all else, Haig dutifully transmitted President Nixon's orders to wiretap journalists and colleagues to the F.B.I., masterminded the carpet bombing of Cambodia and the 1972 Christmas bombings of Hanoi, and helped overthrow the democratically elected government of Chile. At his Senate confirmation hearings he remarked that a "rigid legalistic preoccupation" with international law should not prevent the U.S. from getting rid of governments threatening "American interests."

Attempting to explain the rape and execution-style killings of four American Maryknoll missionaries in El Salvador, he testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the nuns "may have tried to run a road block" and that there "may have been an exchange of fire." He conceded, however, that he had never met any "pistol-packing nuns."

Secretary of Defense - Caspar Weinberger

Harvard and Oxford educated, Vice-President and general counsel for Bechtel Corporation, a crafty, stubbornly combative anti-Communist who regarded detente as a failure for the West, he believed in the end of the world as predicted in the Book of Revelations.

Calling for unrestrained war spending and an accelerated push for first-strike nuclear weapons, he said in his first press conference that the U.S. would "probably want to make use of" neutron bombs in Europe.

Interior Secretary - James Watt

For Watt there were two broad classes of people in the U.S. - liberals and Americans.

An enthusiastic partisan of big business, Watt opposed strip-mining regulations, advocated oil drilling in wilderness areas, and supported the use of motorized rafts in the Grand Canyon.

At his confirmation hearings he assured the Senate that he was capable of balancing economic development and conservation, but left many doubts by adding that he did "not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns."

U.N. Ambassador - Jeane Kirkpatrick

A devoted defender of the Salvadoran junta that killed some 70,000 Salvadoreans between 1979 and 1994, Jeane Kirkpatrick won the heart of Ronald Reagan with her article, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," in which she advocated supporting neo-fascist regimes on the pretext that they were only "moderately authoritarian," while governments allied with the U.S.S.R. were "totalitarian."

She believed that South African apartheid had some "good elements" in it, and rejected the international consensus describing the West Bank as occupied territory. She also dissented from the view that the 1932 Salvadorean matanza, in which the ruling oligarchy slaughtered tens of thousands of peasants, was a singularly traumatizing event: "To many Salvadoreans the violence of this repression seems less important than the fact of restored order and the thirteen years of civil peace that ensued."

Budget Director - David Stockman

Once a student anti-war activist, he abandoned radical politics following the revelation that "the left was inherently totalitarian." Freed of delusions of social justice this chain-smoking number-cruncher transferred his crusader's zeal to slashing social spending.

Stockman opposed the ideals of the Enlightenment, rejected equality as a moral principle, and denied that citizens had any right to government services.

White House Counselor - Ed Meese

A rigid law-and-order man, he called the A.C.L.U. a "criminals' lobby" and rated Joseph McCarthy a great Senator.

As assistant to Governor Reagan in the 1960s, Meese sent helicopters to drop tear gas on the U.C. Berkeley campus. During the pitched battles over People's Park, police killed James Rector, a young black man. Reminiscing about the event during the 1980 presidential campaign, Meese declared nonchalantly that, "James Rector deserved to die."

Attorney General - William French Smith

Formerly a U.C. Regent, he supported Governor Reagan's decision to gas student protesters in Berkeley in 1969, and later led the successful fight to fire Communist Party member Angela Davis from U.C.L.A.

He owned farmland managed by Blue Goose, a firm that flouted immigration laws, paying undocumented Mexican workers substantially less than the minimum wage, while holding them in conditions without housing, toilets, or drinking water. Just in case they got any ideas about collective advancement, his law firm specialized in union busting.

The highest law enforcement official in the country, Smith's goals as Attorney General were to eliminate the Freedom of Information Act, have more right-wing judges appointed, roll back affirmative action, cut food stamp aid, and punish evaders of peacetime draft registration.

Vice President - George Bush

Newly sworn in, he signed a contract in a land deal in Texas stipulating that his lot not "be sold, leased or rented to any person other than of the Caucasian race, except in the case of servant's quarters."

Director of the C.I.A. when the U.S. gave the green light to Indonesia's mass murder campaign in East Timor, Bush never met a right-wing dictator he didn't like. In Manila, he admiringly toasted Ferdinand Marcos'"adherence to democratic principle," charitably overlooking Amnesty International's report that torture was "widespread and systematic" under his rule.

Treasury Secretary - Donald Regan

Ex-Marine, member of the Business Roundtable, Chairman and chief of Merrill Lynch, professional salesman Regan professed a "sled dog theory" of business, which held that "in order to get ahead, you don't just need a team of strong dogs, you also need a puppy - to throw to the wolves."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ronald Reagan in His Own Words

"Now we are trying to get unemployment to go up, and I think we're going to succeed."

-----GOP fundraiser, 1982

"We think that we are helping the forces that are supporting human rights in El Salvador."

-----Reagan on the death squad government that achieved one of the worst human rights records in the world (March 6, 1981)

"Well, I learned a lot. . . . I went down [to Latin America] to find out from them and [learn] their views. You'd be surprised. They're all individual countries."

-----reporting a geographic revelation, December 6, 1982

"We should declare war on North Vietnam . . . We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas."

-----October 10, 1965

"I have a feeling that we are doing better in the [Vietnam] war than the people have been told."

-----October 10, 1967, a few months before the Tet Offensive demonstrated that the U.S. was doing far worse than the American people had been told

Question: "Do you think there could be a battlefield exchange [of nuclear weapons] without having buttons pressed all the way up the line?"

Reagan: "Well, I would - if they realized that we - if we went back to that stalemate, only because our retaliatory power, our seconds, or our strike at them after their first strike would be so destructive that they couldn't afford it, that would hold them off."

-----October 17, 1981

"Those [nuclear weapons] that are carried in ships of one kind or another, or submersibles, you are dealing there with a conventional type of weapon or instrument, and those instruments can be intercepted. They can be recalled."

-----Reagan on how to stop a nuclear war after it's started, May 13, 1982

"Incidentally, the first man who proposed the nuclear freeze was in February 21st, 1981, in Moscow - Leonid Brezhnev."

-----December 10, 1982

"You have to remember, we don't have the military industrial complex that we once had, when President Eisenhower spoke about it."

-----January 5, 1983

"We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry every night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a diet."

-----TV speech, October 27, 1964

"Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources."

-----September 10, 1980

"Air pollution has been substantially controlled."

-----Press release, October 8, 1980

"Isn't it substantially under control? I think it is."

-----Time, October 20, 1980

"A tree's a tree. How many more do you need to look at?"

-----Sacramento Bee, March 12, 1966

" . . . a faceless mass, waiting for hand-outs."

-----Description of Medicaid recipients, 1965

Source: Mark Green & Gail MacColl, There He Goes Again - Ronald Reagan's Reign of Error, (Pantheon, 1983)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When Bonzo Went to Washington - Remembering Reagan on The Centennial of His Birth

He had but the foggiest idea what the policies of his own administration were. When not programmed by his staff he talked nonstop about Hollywood or whiled away the hours watching T.V. Bored with his duties, he came to work reluctantly, amusing himself doodling and nodding off in cabinet meetings. His solution for every problem was a dismissive one-liner accompanied by an amiable grin.

The first telepresident in history, he came alive only for the camera, and appeared coherent thanks to the constant assistance of a Teleprompter. Unchoreographed moments left him babbling like a small child. With curious vehemence and farcical regularity his aides announced that he was in charge and understood what was going on.

He thought by anecdote and debated with sentimental homilies. Inconvenient facts were blotted out with self-justifying stereotypes: of Soviet beachheads, of Cadillac-driving welfare queens, of voluntary ghettos, of Communist hordes descending on Texas, of rich kids getting free school lunches, and of educational loan recipients turned stock brokers. To mobilize support for unpopular budget cuts, he cited anonymous letters from altruistic blind, elderly, and disabled citizens, who urged him to slash their benefits for the good of the country.

His political convictions seemed the product of a creative catatonia. He insisted trees were a major cause of air pollution. He believed Trident nuclear missiles were recallable after firing, and dubbed the first-strike MX missile a peacekeeper. He claimed Karl Marx had invented the progressive income tax. Returning from his first trip to Latin America, he exclaimed that they're all individual countries, which was apparently a revelation to him. He once addressed Samuel Doe, Liberian head of state, as "Chairman Moe."

Carrying out a devastating array of reactionary policies, he slashed social spending and transferred the "savings" to the Pentagon. In the twelve years of Reagan and George Bush I administrations, the U.S. spent $3,700,000,000 on military spending. Major emphasis was placed on an intensification of the Cold War, especially a massive build-up in nuclear weapons and a corresponding elaboration of nuclear war-fighting strategies and ideology. In October, 1981, the Reagan administration called for 1000 warheads on 100 MX missiles, 100 B-1 bombers, the development of an advanced, radar-proof Stealth bomber, the deployment of larger and more accurate D-5 missiles on Trident submarines, and more than 3000 cruise missiles on B-52s and B-1s (plus several hundred more on submarines), the rebuilding of the command and control systems, and a civil defense program outlining procedures to evacuate 150 million American citizens from 400 cities and build blast shelters to protect "essential workers." In its five year Defense Guidance Plan of 1982, the administration revealed plans to fight and win a protracted nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Citing the Bible to justify his massive military build-up, Reagan dismissed the overwhelmingly popular Nuclear Freeze Movement as a Kremlin-instigated fraud. Instead of a freeze, he called for a space-based missile defense system popularly known as Star Wars (in hopes of making a U.S. first-strike more credible by being able to withstand a retaliatory strike). Jauntily, the Great Communicator invited U.S. scientists to plant lasers in the heavens and usher in world peace.

With the exception of a brief period at the beginning of his first term, these policies proved quite unpopular, with the U.S. public preferring social spending to military spending by a wide margin, even if it meant an increase in taxes. Reagan ignored the irrelevant public (his view) and ran roughshod over his critics with generous doses of red-baiting, charging that "pro-Soviet agents" were disseminating "disinformation" to the media and Congress.

He claimed Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev invented the U.S. Nuclear Freeze movement, and he dismissed West European anti-nuclear activists objecting to his plans to have a "limited" nuclear war on their soil as "bought and paid for by the Soviet Union." He expressed disappointment at the demise of the House Un-American Activities Committee, dispatched the FBI to harass those who disagreed with his terrorist policies in Central America, and gave the FBI and CIA broad powers to conduct domestic surveillance, while reviving the McCarran Act to prevent critics of U.S. policy from entering the country. He also insured that films criticizing the U.S. were banned as "anti-American," such as one depicting the life and work of anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott.

Overall the Reagan agenda was to redistribute wealth upward by attacking the limited welfare system, busting unions, reducing wages, and expanding public subsidies to high-technology industry through the Pentagon system. These measures seriously weakened the New Deal social contract, causing a marked decline in social welfare.

Homelessness, AIDS, and antibiotic-resistant strains of tuberculosis surged out of control, alongside an absence of national health insurance, while the Pentagon budget mushroomed to stratospheric levels (now far exceeded by George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama), with allocations reaching $1 trillion in Reagan's first term and continuing to climb thereafter. Meanwhile, tax cuts for the rich caused a rapid ballooning of the federal deficit, an orgy of consumption by the rich, unrestrained speculation and financial manipulation, deterioration of the social safety net for the poor and middle class, reduction in occupational safety, and increased environmental degradation, among other predictable consequences of the blind pursuit of short-term gain for the few. Naturally, the workers burdened with paying off the sea of red ink saw their real incomes decline.

The sharp note of class warfare was sounded from the first days of Reagan's initial term, when he destroyed PATCO - the air traffic controllers union - hiring permanent replacement workers to take jobs away from striking workers, one of many measures taken to undermine labor and impose a Third World model on the United States. A General Accounting Office survey subsequently revealed that Reagan's crush-the-workers hostility had emboldened the private sector to act in a similarly vicious manner. Between 1985 and 1989 private companies resorted to the threat of permanent replacements in one-third of all strikes. Not surprisingly, the decade witnessed a precipitous decline in union membership, a rise in anti-labor decisions from the National Labor Relations Board, and the virtual collapse of OSHA.

A study released by the Economic Policy Institute on Labor Day, 1992, confirmed the details of Reaganomics' dismal aftermath: a majority of Americans were working longer hours for less pay and substantially less security than in the late seventies, and the "vast majority" were "in many ways worse off" than they had been then. Since 1987 wages had been in decline even for the college-educated. "Poverty rates were high by historic standards," said the report, and "those in poverty in 1989 were significantly poorer than the poor in 1979." A 1991 congressional report disclosed that hunger had grown by 50% since the mid-1980s, to include some 30 million people. By the early 1990s, the number of hungry children at Boston City Hospital's malnutrition clinic had jumped so dramatically that the staff had resorted to triage. The worst occurred in winter months, when poor families confronted the choice of starving or freezing.

As inequality widened, the impoverished were demonized with renewed viciousness and blacks were portrayed as undeserving recipients of affirmative action largesse. By the close of the Reagan era, the gap between rich and poor reached alarming proportions, (though relatively tame by today's standards), surpassing Rwanda in the global inequality index. While in 1980 the CEOs of major corporations had earned forty times as much salary as the average factory worker, by the end of the decade they were garnering 93 times as much, a lopsided extreme found nowhere else in the industrial world.

After a 70-year rise to become the world's leading creditor, the U.S. had plunged to number one debtor by the end of the Reagan era. David Hale, chief economist of Kemper Financial Services, estimated that the Reagan years had bled the U.S. of $1 trillion, a then unprecedented financial record, leaving behind a nation with "a pervasive backdrop of economic gloom," and "seemingly awash in a sea of red ink." The "fundamentals are sound," commented a clueless Reagan as the stock market crashed in 1987.

As bad as things were on the home front, the really massive suffering attributable to Reagan was inflicted abroad. Seeking to "excise the cancer of communism" (Reagan), the U.S. murdered upwards of 200,000 Central Americans in counterinsurgency wars against the indigenous peoples of Guatemala, the landless peasants of El Salvador, and the immensely popular Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. Salvadoreans and Guatemalans were killed to keep them from making revolution, while Nicaraguans were killed as punishment for having already done so.

The official crime of the Sandinista government was Communism, a technical term in U.S. national security parlance meaning government for the benefit of ordinary people instead of local oligarchs and foreign elites. To correct these priorities, the CIA organized Somoza's ex-National Guard and a handful of other disaffected rebels into a proxy army that launched torture and destruction from secure bases in Honduras and Costa Rica, supplied by Oliver North's mafia via El Salvador. Remarkable Nicaraguan improvements in health care, literacy, nutrition, and other aspects of social welfare were met by terror, embargo, pressures on international institutions and U.S. allies to withhold aid, a huge demonization campaign, intimidating U.S. military exercises and overflights, the mining of harbors and blowing up of oil refineries, all designed to get the revolutionary government to "cry uncle," to cite Reagan's memorable rendition of a playground thug.

Large swathes of Central America were turned over to rampaging death squads trained at the U.S. School of the Americas, popularly known in Latin America as the "school of coups." While the Catholic Church warned that Guatemalan security forces razing entire villages to the ground were guilty of genocide, Reagan retorted that presiding dictator General Efrain Rios-Montt was getting a "bum rap," and was "totally dedicated to democracy." Similar policies were carried out in neighboring El Salvador, where tens of thousands of civilians were murdered in the Reagan years, many after brutal torture. A typical case occurred in 1981, when the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion arrived in El Mozote, robbed the town, raped the women, and killed two hundred men in church, many beheaded, then dragged the bodies toward the sacristy, where they piled up the bloody remains. As a final insult, they burned a group of children alive inside a house. Unfortunately, such grotesque events were far from isolated incidents. A U.S. mercenary explained the rational basis for such appalling brutality: "The army is not killing communist guerrillas, despite what is reported. It is murdering the civilians who side with them. It's a beautiful technique. By terrorizing civilians the army is crushing the rebellion without the need to directly confront the guerrillas. Attacking civilians is the game plan . . . Kill the sympathizers and you win the war."

To justify its predatory acts, the Reagan administration went beyond all previous records for absurdity in propaganda. Upon assuming office it warned of Libyan assassination squads roaming the U.S. at the behest of Libya's "mad dog" (Reagan's words) leader Moammar Qaddafi. This was part of Reagan's announced "war on terror" (twenty years ahead of George Bush junior). After years of demonizing Qaddafi, Reagan ordered the U.S. Navy and Air Force to bomb Tripoli, killing dozens of civilians, while F-111s attacked Qaddafi's desert compound, killing his infant daughter. The French Embassy was also destroyed in this raid, which the Reagan White House termed "self defense against future attack" - the standard excuse of aggressors throughout history.

Reagan also dispatched 241 Marines to their doom in occupation of Lebanon, and gave the Green Light to Israel's disastrous 1982 invasion of that country, which killed roughly 20,000 people (including the victims of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres) on a surge of Pentagon arms deliveries, and inspired Osama bin Laden to plot brutal revenge. Interimly, however, the Reagan administration supported bin Laden and his foreign Islamofascist (the preferred term of Reagan's heirs today) network dedicated to keeping Afghanistan in the political dark ages. Nearly one million Afghans were killed while their country was torn apart by U.S. and Soviet intervention, followed by almost two decades of terrorism and war under rival factions of Islamic fanatics.

For good measure, the Reagan administration also backed the white South African regime ("constructive engagement"), declared Nelson Mandela a terrorist, and supported apartheid as it went on the rampage in Southern Africa, killing some million-and-a-half people in a doomed effort to preserve white supremacy.

These are but a few of the memorable achievements of the United States' 40th president, whose claim to fame is often said to be that "he made us feel good."


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Chomsky, Noam - The Fateful Triangle - The United States, Israel & the Palestinians, (South End, 1983)

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Binford, Leigh, The El Mozote Massacre, (University of Arizona, 1996)

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George" and "Portraits of Empire," both from Common Courage Press.