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Distraction barely accomplished in Syria

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Former “President” George W. Bush and current “President” Pussygrabber have a lot in common: Both are baby boomers who were born into wealth, both evaded the Vietnam War, both lost the popular vote and thus had and have no democratic legitimacy, and both believed and believe in using military action to fascistically help themselves politically, knowing fully well that, as has been the case their entire over-privileged lives, they themselves won’t bear any of the pain and suffering caused by their own actions and inaction.

“Mission Accomplished!” “President” Pussygrabber incredibly stupidly proclaimed (via Twitter, of course) after U.S., British and French forces struck what they said were the Syrian government’s chemical weapons sites.

Syria is no 9/11 or post/11 Iraq, but Reuters does remind us that

Trump’s message [of “Mission Accomplished!”] echoed the words of a banner that hung behind former President George W. Bush when he gave a speech in 2003 from the USS Abraham Lincoln during the Iraq War.

That visual dogged Bush’s presidency as the war dragged out, with worsening American casualties, for the remainder of his two terms in office.

Again, “President” Gee Dubya had proclaimed “mission accomplished” way too early. The U.S. had illegally, immorally, unjustly and unprovokedly invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003; on May 1, 2003, Gee Dubya gave his incredibly laughable “mission accomplished” speech (Wikipedia even has a stand-alone entry titled “Mission Accomplished speech”) — replete in a “Top Gun”-like flight suit (just like Pussygrabber, Gee Dubya himself never saw war, of course, his daddy very apparently having saved him from Vietnam by getting him into the Texas Air National Guard).

But U.S. involvement in the wholly bogus Vietraq War that the unelected* Bush regime had created didn’t officially end until December 2011.

There was plenty more death and destruction and pain and suffering to follow in Iraq after May 1, 2003, including the carnage in Fallujah in 2003 and 2004 and the wholly inexcusable Abu Ghraib House of Horrors that was exposed in 2004.

In October 2005, the Washington Post reported that 2,000 U.S. troops had been killed in the Vietraq War, more than 90 percent of them after the mission supposedly had been accomplished by May 1, 2003. Wikipedia similarly notes that “The vast majority of casualties [in the Vietraq War], both military and civilian, occurred after the [“mission accomplished”] speech.”

The unelected Bush regime had strong-armed only two European nations, Britain and Poland, into supporting its launch of the Vietraq War, and the French wisely refused involvement, for which the U.S. right wing ruthlessly excoriated the nation (even branding French fries as “freedom fries,” because we Americans are always mature and high-minded).

Germany and Russia, as well as Canada and Latin America, also refused their support of the launch of the Vietraq War, but for some reason these wise nations for the very most part escaped the excoriation that France received.

Again, Syria is no Iraq, of course; “President” Pussygrabber has had no 9/11-like event to try to use to justify the invasion of another nation, like the treasonous Bush regime had 9/11 to use to justify the invasion of Iraq even though none of the 9/11 hijackers was from Iraq and even though no connection between Iraq and 9/11 ever was found.

Attacks on U.S. soil and war against other nations (especially following the quite-rare attacks on U.S. soil) are great for presidential ratings. Here is Gallup’s graph of Gee Dubya’s approval ratings throughout his disastrous eight-year occupation of the White House:

George W. Bush's Job Approval Ratings Trend

Note the spike that Gee Dubya got because of 9/11, the biggest spike he ever got, and note that his second, much smaller spike came in and around March 2003, after he launched his bogus Vietraq War.

The trend was downhill from there — Gallup notes that Gee Dubya’s average approval rating in his first term was 62 percent and in his second term was 37 percent — but Gee Dubya managed to leverage the ongoing Vietraq War to get a second term, albeit narrowly (he got 50.7 percent to John Kerry’s 48.3 percent of the popular vote).

Can Pussygrabber do what Gee Dubya did — use bogus warfare to get a second term?

I don’t think so, not absent another 9/11-level event, which I highly doubt is going to happen.

And with an approval rating stubbornly stuck around only 40 percent, Pussygrabber wouldn’t have the level of support that he would need to launch a bogus war like Gee Dubya did.

But mostly, probably, Pussygrabber really would need 9/11 redux. (The American sheeple supported the Vietraq War because they just wanted what felt to them to be revenge for 9/11; they didn’t care that the unelected Bush regime was planning to invade the wrong nation. Some Arabs [albeit no Iraqis] had attacked us on 9/11, so we were going to attack an Arab nation, so help us God!)

So what the fresh strike on Syria has accomplished politically for “President” Pussygrabber is about zero. I expect his approval ratings to remain stuck around 40 percent for the foreseeable future. We Americans know “our” “president” well by now, and I see only tiny movement, if any, from the anti-Pussygrabber camp or even the somehow-still-neutral camp to the pro-Pussygrabber camp.

And Syria never struck the U.S., and so most Americans don’t give a shit about Syria, which the vast majority of them couldn’t find on a good map.

The unelected* Pussygrabber regime still has a litany of scandals and political problems, including the fact that the feds are investigating Pussygrabber’s personal lawyer, special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into the treasonous Pussygrabber regime’s treasonous ties to Russia is ongoing, Stormy Daniels just won’t go away, and one day (maybe even soon) that long-rumored pee tape just might emerge.**

Pussygrabber probably won’t get a second term***, and even if he does, impeachment in a second term, by which time the Democrats might control both houses of Congress, ever looms. (After all, Bill Clinton was a fucking Boy Scout compared to Pussygrabber.)

In the face of all of that, lobbing some missiles at Syria — and tweeting “Mission Accomplished!” — is as nothing.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong; absent an attack on U.S. soil by another nation, Pussygrabber began to brazenly falsely demonize the denizens of Latin America as a serious and growing “threat” to the U.S. even before he was “elected.”

Fascists always must have their scapegoats, from within and/or from without, to divert attention from their own treason and other criminality.

*Again, in my book, if you didn’t win the popular vote, as was the case with both Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber, you aren’t the legitimate president of the United States of America. And, of course, if you never legitimately were elected in the first place, your “re”-election is bullshit, too.

**If there were no pee tape, Pussygrabber wouldn’t have nagged former FBI chief James Comey to look into the matter. (I believe the imperfect Comey on this.) I mean, you don’t worry about the public emergence of something that doesn’t even fucking exist, do you?

***As I type this sentence, PredictIt.org has 57 cents on a Democrat winning the White House in 2020 and 43 cents on a Repugnican. That seems about right to me. I put Pussygrabber’s chance of being “re”-elected at about 40 percent, the same as his approval rating has been for months now.

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Barack Obama to attack Syria himself in Air Force One

The way that it’s going, if U.S. President Barack Obama wants to bomb Syria, he’s going to have to drop the bombs himself from Air Force One. But he won’t be lonely on his trip; he’ll have “embedded” “journalists” along with him for the ride. And maybe the French will provide some wine and cheese for the mission.

Seriously: The British Parliament’s very wise decision yesterday not to join the U.S. in another boondoggle in the Middle East is a blow to Obama (as well as to Conservative Party British Prime Minister David Cameron).*

Now all that Obama has, pretty much, is the conspicuous silence of most of his fellow Democrats (in name only), most of whom are party hacks who don’t want to buck the Obama White House but who also know that the majority of Americans don’t want a military attack upon Syria — and, of course, the corporately owned and controlled “news” media.

The New York Times on Monday declared in an editorial:

… [President] Obama put his credibility on the line when he declared last August that [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s] use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line” that would compel an American response. After the first attacks, earlier this year, killed between 100 and 150 people, the administration promised weapons for the rebels but delayed in delivering them.

This time the use of chemicals was more brazen and the casualties were much greater, suggesting that Mr. Assad did not take Mr. Obama seriously. Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won’t be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching. …

Wow. The Times widely is considered to be the thinking person’s media organization, and is widely to be considered “liberal.”**

Yet the Times’ central “argument” is that once you threaten to do something, you must go through with it — or risk being deemed “weak.” That’s a wise, high-minded stance? Even if something is a really bad fucking idea, you should go through with it anyway — to save face?

My own city’s main “news” organization, the Sacramento Bee, like the Times, also widely is considered to be center-left, yet in an editorial today the Bee proclaims that “The president has previously said there would be consequences if Syria crossed the ‘red line’ of chemical warfare. His reputation – and U.S. standing in the world – will suffer if that turns out to be an empty threat” (apparently the Bee’s editorial writers read the Times…) and “If it can be convincingly demonstrated that the recent massacre in Syria was the result of chemical weapons, and that Syrian forces were responsible for it, Obama will have to act, hopefully with a few allies.”

I’m guessing that that editorial was penned before the British Parliament yesterday voted against joining the U.S. in its latest boondoggle in the Middle East even if it definitively is demonstrated that the Syrian government used chemical weapons as charged.

AFP notes that “It is believed to be the first time since 1782 that a British government has lost a vote about military action,” which to me is a measure of what an incredibly fucking shitty idea it is to militarily attack Syria right now.***

So why are our corporately owned and operated “news” organizations gung-ho on an attack on Syria?

“Corporately owned and operated” is the key.

Corporations love war and the profiteering that goes along with it. Corporations not only benefit nicely in their war-related contracts (as well as in their ongoing regular military contracts) with the federal government, but the U.S. military often opens up other sovereign nations’ natural resources — like Iraq’s oil — to corporations for their free and unfettered exploitation.

War is bad for individual human beings, but great for corporations.

Also, of course, war is great for “news” “coverage.”

This is not new.

The Spanish-American War of 1898, Wikipedia states, “is considered to be both a turning point in the history of propaganda and the beginning of the practice of yellow journalism. It was the first conflict in which military action was precipitated by media involvement.”

Wikipedia goes on to note that “William [Randolph] Hearst, the owner of the New York Journal, was involved in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and saw the conflict as a way to sell papers.”

I remember how the corporately owned and controlled “news” organizations handled the Vietraq War. First, they (including, of course, the New York Times’ infamous Judith Miller) for the most part uncritically repeated the Bush White House’s lies about the “reasons” to invade Iraq. Like the cowards in Congress, these “journalists” cowed to the post-9/11 hysteria and hyper-jingoism and for the most part dared not question the ever-changing “arguments” for war that the members of the Bush regime were spewing.

Then, when the invasion of Iraq that they’d wanted and pushed for actually came, they treated it like a fucking sports event, like the fucking Super Bowl.

It even had its own slogan: Shock and awe! (Actually, now that I think of it further, it probably was much more like a “professional” wrestling event…)

The “journalists” were “embedded!” in Iraq, they couldn’t tell us enough.

“Embedded,” of course, meant in bed with the White House and the Pentagon.

Sure, the Pentagon allowed the corporate media weasel-whores to feel special, rubbing shoulders with high-ranking military officials while they dutifully acted as public-relations stenographers, not as journalists.

The price for remaining “embedded,” of course, was that the “journalist” never reported anything that the Pentagon or the White House didn’t want him or her to report.

So: Our “journalists” gained some “access” but at the price of being censored. So what good was that “access” for which they had to sell themselves out? When the powers that be are tightly controlling and regulating the “access,” how meaningful can that “access” possibly be?

At this point, Barack Obama’s strongest supporters for a military attack upon Syria, apparently, are France and the American corporate media weasel-whores who want to jump into bed with him.

Former “President” George W. Bush, recall, in the post-9/11 political environment had the majority of Americans, the U.S. Congress, the British government and the corporate media weasel-whores behind him, which allowed him to launch the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War even against the wishes of the United Nations Security Council.

In this political climate, thank Goddess, I don’t see Obama pulling off any significant military attack on Syria.

If he does so anyway, it will be, I think, a Richard-Nixon-level political mistake that he and his party will regret.

*I heard former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — a war criminal who already should have been executed for his participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq — blathering on news radio this morning that if only Obama had defined the mission in Syria better, and had not “led from behind,” Britain would have jumped right on board.

Never fucking mind that maybe, just maybe, the larger issue is that after the Brits were punk’d big time with the Vietraq War and Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, they didn’t feel like being punk’d by the U.S. government again and so soon after the last time, and so this time, they ignored the White House’s cry of “wolf!”

As much as I’m not a fan of Obama and as much as I oppose his sketchy proposal to attack Syria, we can’t blame this, too, on him; the lion’s share of the blame for it rests squarely on the members of the unelected Bush regime, including Rumsfeld, of course, who lost the trust of the British over the bogus Vietraq War.

**Well, since being “liberal” these days mostly means being a Democrat in name only, a center-right sellout who changes his or her stance on important issues based upon the party affiliation of who is supporting and who is opposing those issues today, the Times actually indeed is “liberal.”

***One who is progressive and sane (which, to me, are one and the same) hopes that the majority of the citizens of the Western world finally are turning against military action as a way to resolve international (and intranational) conflicts and see that militarism almost always only benefits our plutocratic overlords, not us commoners.

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Obama solidifies his status as a thug

Updated below

U.S. journalist Greenwald embraces his partner Miranda upon his arrival at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

U.S. journalist Greenwald walks with his partner Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

Reuters photos

The courageous American journalist Glenn Greenwald — who, unlike the cowardly traitors in Washington, D.C., actually respects and defends the Constitution of the United States of America — receives his partner, David Miranda, at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport after his partner was detained for nine hours yesterday by British thugs — lapdogs of the Washington elite — at the Heathrow Airport in London, where Miranda had stopped on his way from Germany to his and Greenwald’s home in Brazil.

Wow is the Obama regime out of fucking touch.

To have had the government officials of the United Kingdom — Washington, D.C.’s obedient little bitches (the UK, recall, was the only major nation to join in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) — for several hours detain and interrogate the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald and confiscate his cell phone, his lap-top computer and his memory sticks — was supposed to accomplish what, exactly?

If you are smart — and neither the thug in chief Barack Obama nor anyone else in the Obama White House (nor, pretty much, in all of D.C.) is — you always calculate how a strike at your enemy might harm or hinder your own political position. There is this thing called blowback, and when you abuse your power to actually attack your political enemy’s family, you might find that this blatant thuggery gains you even more enemies than allies. 

No doubt the megalomaniacal Obama thinks that he’s some fucking bad-ass and that by having had the UK detain Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, with whom Greenwald is in a civil union, he is going to frighten — to terrorize, and to terrorize for political gain, which yes, makes it a form of terrorism — anyone else who, like Greenwald, would dare to challenge the D.C. elite by exposing their treason against the American people, even when the D.C. elite brazenly and obviously treasonously are violating the most basic provisions of the U.S. Constitution, of which no one, not even the bad-ass President Hopey-Changey, is above.

Obama is painting himself and his pathetic, plutocratic-ass-kissing, Constitution-violating, corporation-loving party into a corner. Obama and his bots for years now have believed that they don’t need us members of the actual (a.k.a. the “professional” and the “sanctimonious”) left, that they can act just like Repugnicans — with impunity and for perpetuity.

Except that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are even bigger traitors than Obama and the Obamabots are, and that without the support of the actual left, the so-called “Democratic” Party is only going to continue to weaken. You can claim to represent the interests of the majority of the American people while actually representing the interests of only the plutocratic elites for only so long.

Memo to the DINOs (and you are, I realize, legion): We actual members of the left don’t have to vote for the “Democratic” presidential candidate. In 2000 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and in 2012 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. And I’d do it again.

Even if the DINOs who now comprise the “leaders” of the “Democratic Party” don’t worry about losing votes — even if they are confident that enough deeply disappointed and disgruntled Democrats will hold their noses and still vote for the latest center-right offering labeled as a “Democrat” (and labeled as “the best that we can do”) — in order to consistently and decisively win elections, you need the enthusiasm and the dollars of your base, and once you have lost that, good luck in your fucking elections.*

Having the family members of your political opponents detained, when neither these family members nor even your political opponents have broken any law, is, as Greenwald himself put it, despotism. (“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic,” Greenwald correctly proclaimed.) It is, as I have put it, terrorism — the use of fear and intimidation for political gain.

In this case, the political gain is that the D.C. elite intend to continue to blatantly violate the constitutional rights of the American people by making the mere exposure of their crimes against the Constitution itself a “crime,” while they, the real criminals, remain free (instead of in prison, where they belong) to continue to commit their crimes against the American people and our Constitution.

The Obama regime officially has lost all credibility. The transformation of the so-called “Democratic” Party into the Repugnican Lite Party is complete.

The only question now, it seems to me, is whether enough of us actual patriots — those of us who actually care about our Constitution and our freedoms — will fight against the despotic “Democratic” Party (as well as against the even worse Repugnican Tea Party) or whether the United States of America will go out with a boom or with a whimper.

P.S. Glenn Greenwald, I am delighted to see, has vowed to fight on with even more determination than before. As a result of the despotic detention of his partner by the UK, the U.S.’s No. 1 partner in crime, Greenwald proclaimed, “[I’m] going to write much more aggressively than before, [and] I’m going to publish many more documents than before.”

That’s exactly how you respond to thugs: You do even more of what you were doing before. You don’t back down, because that’s what they want you to do, and you use their continued thuggery as evidence that you are on the right track. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t be attacking you.

Update (Monday, August 19, 2013): In case you actually believe that maybe the Obama regime was not behind the unlawful detention of Greenwald’s partner, know that the UK Guardian reports today that “the White House confirmed that it was given a ‘heads-up’ before David Miranda was taken into custody for nine hours at Heathrow [Airport in London],” but that “the U.S. distanced itself from the action by saying that British authorities took the decision to detain him.”

But did the Obama White House instruct or even ask the British government not to detain Miranda? Very most likely not.

And why was Miranda’s name on a “terrorist” watch list no doubt authored by the U.S. government in the first fucking place? Simply because he is a close associate of a journalist whose reportage the White House dislikes?

These are serious, Nixon-level abuses of power. These are not tiny things.

Finally, I recommend that you read Greenwald’s column on these latest events. Among other things, he writes:

…. They [the British officials who detained and questioned Miranda with at least the knowledge of the White House] completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists,” and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name. …

And the money shot:

… This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.

But the UK puppets and their owners in the U.S. national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.

Beyond that, every time the U.S. and UK governments show their true character to the world — when they prevent the Bolivian president’s plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did [yesterday] — all they do is helpfully underscore why it’s so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark. …

Greenwald adds that Miranda’s cell phone and lap-top computer remain with UK authorities, who had no legal or ethical right to forcibly take them from Miranda in the first place.

Those who aren’t abusing their power and who thus have nothing to hide have no reason to go to lengths against individual citizens of the world like this.

I hope that Miranda sues the holy living fuck out of the British government, which is as fascistic as its U.S. counterpart.

*Well, of course, one could argue that both the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the “Democratic Party” and the “Republican Party”), having stopped representing the interests of the American people long, long ago, rely increasingly on corporate millions and millions to fund their shams of “campaigns,” so no, they don’t need the dollars of individual voters, but still, how long can two duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, corporately owned and controlled parties that stopped representing the interests of the majority of the American people go on?

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Was the London murder a murder or a ‘terrorist attack’?

Updated below

Michael Adebolajo: Murderer or “terrorist”? Is he a “terrorist” because he’s Muslim? And of Nigerian descent?

First off, let me be clear: I am not at all OK with the grisly murder of 25-year-old British soldier and Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby just outside of his barracks in London yesterday. And I reject the idea of killing one person in retaliation for killings that other people committed. In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.

One of Lee Rigby’s two very apparent murderers, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of London, “a British-born convert to radical Islam,” according to Reuters, notoriously calmly explained to someone with a video camera — while he still held a knife and a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands (see the video still above) — why he and his companion, also of Nigerian descent, according to Reuters, attacked and killed Rigby, whom they reportedly first ran down in a car and then started hacking with a meat cleaver and knives: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

In Greenwich Village this past weekend, 32-year-old gay man Mark Carson was shot to death in an apparent hate crime; reportedly, Carson’s accused murderer, Elliot Morales, 33, who was apprehended by police, had used anti-gay hate speech before he shot Carson to death.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the murder: “It’s clear that victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay. There’s no question about that. There were derogatory remarks. This victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Reuters reports that many posit that recent advances in same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. — including three states having gone for same-sex marriage earlier this month — might have been behind the murder of Carson.

Yet the murder of Carson is called a “murder” and the murder of Rigby is called, automatically, a “terrorist attack” or “act of terrorism.”

What’s the difference between an act of murder and an act of terrorism/“terrorism”?

The murder of Carson, I surmise, was meant to send this message to all gay men or even to all non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals: You are not safe walking the streets. You might be the next one to be shot (or stabbed or beaten up or whatever).

That’s not a form of terrorism — an act of violence (a murder, no less) apparently committed with the intent to strike fear within a whole class of people?

Michael Adebolajo very apparently was using Lee Rigby as an example — he killed him in effigy of all British soldiers, in effect — just as Elliot Morales very apparently was using Mark Carson as an example — he killed him in effigy of all gay men, in effect.

So if Adebolajo and his cohort are “terrorists,” why isn’t Morales a “terrorist”?

My answer to my own question is that when a member of a historically oppressed minority group (like gay men) is murdered, it’s not considered to be a big deal. We can call it just a “murder,” as though it didn’t extend beyond just the murdered victim at all, but was just one of those random things — an act of God, Wolf Blitzer might say.

But when even one soldier is murdered — even on a public/civilian street, and while not on duty, which very apparently is how Rigby was murdered — that’s considered an attack on the plutocrats, the elites, of whom the commoner-funded military (Britain’s as well as the United States’) is just an arm.

The plutocrats, the elites, can’t maintain their overprivileged status without whole armies at their command, and the plutocratic elites are far, far more important than any of the rest of us ever could be, so the murder of just one of their soldiers — even in a non-combat situation — automatically is branded as “terrorism,” a more serious crime than plain-old murder.

I disagree that Rigby’s murder was an act of “terrorism.” Rigby’s murder was much closer to a murder than to an act of “terrorism.”

If we’re going to call Rigby’s murderers “terrorists” instead of just plain-old “murderers,” then we’re going to need to call Elliot Morales a terrorist, too — because his crime very apparently was motivated by his religious and political beliefs, just as Adebolajo’s and his partner’s crime was motivated by theirs.

The act-of-murder-vs.-act-of-terrorism problem largely can be solved if  the usage of the “t” terms — “terrorist,” “terrorists,” “terrorism” — returns to the terms’ status before 9/11. Cases of murder committed by an individual or two people apparently acting on their own and not as part of a known terrorist/“terrorist” group — such as the apparent case with the Boston Marathon bombings (I refer to the two Tsarnaev brothers, of course) and the apparent case with the British soldier who was murdered yesterday — are probably much closer to murder cases than they are to terrorism/“terrorism” cases.

We don’t refer to the two Columbine High School killers as “terrorists,” for example, even though they slaughtered many more people than did the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo.

That’s at least in part, of course, because the two Columbine killers were two white “Christian” kids, and you’re much more likely to be branded as a “terrorist” if you are Muslim — and even more so if you are a non-white Muslim.

That shit needs to stop. We can’t have a two-tiered system of “justice” in which it’s only “terrorism” if the (accused) perpetrator is Muslim or non-white or both. If we must go hog wild with the “terrorism” thing, then it must apply to so-called “Christians” and to other non-Muslims and to whites and to other non-blacks as well.

Update (Sunday, May 26, 2013): Columnist Glenn Greenwald, who once wrote for Salon.com but now works for The Guardian of the United Kingdom, on Thursday also tackled the question of “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?”

In his column, Greenwald notes that

An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being “terrorism”: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as “terrorism.”

Yup. Here, I think, is the money shot of Greenwald’s analysis:

The reason it’s so crucial to ask this question [of whether or not an act of violence constitutes “terrorism”] is that there are few terms — if there are any — that pack the political, cultural and emotional punch that “terrorism” provides. When it comes to the actions of western governments, it is a conversation-stopper, justifying virtually anything those governments want to do.

It’s a term that is used to start wars, engage in sustained military action, send people to prison for decades or life, to target suspects for due-process-free execution, shield government actions behind a wall of secrecy, and instantly shape public perceptions around the world.

It matters what the definition of the term is, or whether there is a consistent and coherent definition. It matters a great deal.

There is ample scholarship proving that the term has no such clear or consistently applied meaning. … It is very hard to escape the conclusion that, operationally, the term has no real definition at this point beyond “violence engaged in by Muslims in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims.” …

Actually, it seems to me, in the Western world, especially in the U.S. and the UK, “terrorism” has come pretty much to mean just “violence engaged in by Muslims.” Even the acknowledgment that such violence might be “in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims” usually never is made in Westerners’ discussions of “terrorism,” since that obviously would be to bring Westerners’ guilt into the discussion, and most Westerners, it seems to me, will have none of that.

Greenwald also notes that “earlier this month, an elderly British Muslim was stabbed to death in an apparent anti-Muslim hate crime and nobody called that ‘terrorism,'” and adds that the term “terrorism” “at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Yup.

There are news reports, such as this one, of actions perpetrated against Muslims in Britain by non-Muslims in “retaliation” for the slaughter of the British solider in London. This report (from Slate.com) states that “The incidents [so far have ranged] from name calling and abuse on social media, to the painting of graffiti, attacks against mosques, and pulling off women’s headscarves in the street.” (“Attacks against mosques” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. I wish that the writer had given us the details there, or if he didn’t have the details, to have stated that fact.)

Of course, such low-level, “harmless” terrorism is what the Jews in Nazi Germany experienced before the Nazis ratcheted things waaay up.

This leads to yet another question: Is an act in which someone is not injured or killed “terrorism”? Is it only “terrorism” if someone is injured or killed? These thugs pulling Muslim women’s headscarves off — that is not done with the intent of terrorizing these women?

Is such terrorizing OK if it’s considered in “retaliation” of, or just in reaction to, another incident? Would this be “counter-terrorism”? Or would this be something like just plain-old “justice,” since we non-Muslims never use the “t-” word to refer to any of our own actions?

Anyway, as I wrote in my first paragraph of this post, “In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.”

As a gay man, I’m never happy to read about the slaughter of a gay man because he’s gay. To use an example that hit close to home, in July 2007, 26-year-old Satender Singh, a Fijian of Indian descent, was killed in my area (Sacramento) because he was suspected of being gay.

Whether he was gay or not I don’t know, but the two men from Eastern Europe who were charged with his murder very apparently thought that he was, because, witnesses said, the Slavic thugs who attacked Singh expressly targeted him because he was, they said, a “faggot” and a “sodomite,” among other things.

According to the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, witnesses also reported that these Slavic thugs “bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a ‘good church’ like theirs.” This was right before one of the thugs delivered a blow to Singh’s head, a blow that later caused his death. (Great “Christians,” eh? Well, even the Nazis considered themselves to be great “Christians.”)

While I truly wish that the homophobic Eastern European immigrants here in California would fucking respect and honor how things are done and are not done here in California (and not act here as it’s OK to act in their backasswards countries in Eastern Europe) — and if they don’t like our freedoms here, including our freedom from their brand of theofascism, they are free to return to Eastern Europe — never would it have occurred to me that it would have been OK to randomly attack (apparent) Eastern European immigrants on the street in “retaliation” for the murder of Satender Singh.

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Worst. Oscars. Ever?

Oscars Live Report

Melissa Leo accepts the Oscar for best actress ...

AFP and Associated Press photos

The writers of this year’s Oscars ceremony couldn’t even make Anne Hathaway and James Franco in drag funny, and Melissa Leo’s accidental use of the f-word while accepting her best supporting actress Oscar was the biggest surprise of the evening.

I like James Franco and Anne Hathaway, and I had thought that they might actually make pretty decent Oscar hosts. I was wrong.

Much of it wasn’t their fault. The writing of the Oscars ceremony was for shit. Franco was unusually wooden, and Hathaway wasn’t as bouncy as I’d thought she might be. If she isn’t careful, the role that she played in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” — that of the rather empty-headed White Queen — might come to define her.

But again, most of it was the writing. There were too many self-referential (and unfunny) lines about trying to capture the youthful audience with this year’s show and too few funny lines, period.

That “The King’s Speech” would win the most number of awards was a given, so there were few surprises.

When the most talked-about element of the show is that the best supporting actress winner accidentally uttered the f-word on live television (which was bleeped out due to a few seconds’ time delay, apparently), you know that there’s a problem.

I like Colin Firth — he was great in “A Single Man” — but his performance in “The King’s Speech” wasn’t the best performance of the year. Javier Bardem did a much better job in “Biutiful.”

I like Natalie Portman enough, but her Oscar win for best actress for “Black Swan” wasn’t the best performance of the year. Jennifer Lawrence did a better job in “Winter’s Bone.”

“The King’s Speech,” to me, suffered mostly from weak subject matter. That a former king of England overcame a stutter isn’t very compelling material, which one of the film’s producers seemed to admit himself in his acceptance speech for the Oscar for best picture — he indicated that he’d been concerned that no one would find the material worthy enough to back its production and distribution, if memory serves.

“The King’s Speech” is well made — well directed, well written, well acted, well designed, etc. (indeed, virtually every moment of the film screams out “Give me an Oscar already!” [and this screaming worked]) — but do those things matter when the storyline itself is so ho-hum? Just as “truthiness” has replaced the truth, is “Oscariness” going to replace actual Oscar-worthiness?

Admittedly, I have yet to see “The Social Network” or “Toy Story 3,” but that these two highly commercial films, along with the highly commercial “Inception” (which I did see), won so many nominations, including for best picture (for all three), makes me wonder in what direction the Oscars are headed. That a film is a commercial success doesn’t automatically mean that it isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it seems as though the Oscars are becoming more like the People’s Choice Awards.

And the tech-emphasis-heavy Oscars, including not just so many nods to “The Social Network” and “Inception,” but even a mildly-funny-at-best Auto-tune segment, tried way too hard to be hip.  

And do we really need 10 films nominated for best picture when in the other major categories (actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director) there are only five nominees? I’d like to see it reduced to no more than seven or eight nominees for best picture.

Finally, while I have no problem with Brits and Australians, the Brits and Australians on this year’s Oscars seemed to have outnumbered the Americans. Are we Americans this devoid of filmmaking excellence?

If we are, then maybe we should move the Oscars from Los Angeles to London or Sydney.

Just sayin’.

I consider the Oscars to be the “Gay Super Bowl,” and this year’s Gay Super Bowl was dismal.

P.S. Oprah Winfrey’s appearance on the Oscars was a little creepy — I once read someone refer to her as a corporation, and that’s fairly accurate — and ABC’s little corporate plug was offensive, but I do recommend that you see “Inside Job,” the winner for best documentary, the award that Winfrey announced.

“Inside Job,” about the Wall Street criminals who put our nation into economic collapse (um, yeah, it wasn’t the members of public-sector labor unions who did that), is a must-see, and I love the fact that the filmmaker, in his acceptance speech, pulled a mild Michael Moore and noted that not one of the Wall Street crooks has yet to see the inside of a jail cell for his or her crimes (which, in my book, amount to treason).

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Julian Assange, my hero

File photo of WikiLeaks founder Assange holding ...

Reuters photo

WikiLeaks crusader Julian Assange of Australia, shown above in a photo taken last month, is closest that we have to this guy:

I’ve been following the WikiLeaks saga for some time now but until now I have yet to comment. (I actually wanted things to gel a bit before I opened my mouth, believe it or not…)

The inescapable conclusion that I have drawn is that Julian Assange‘s biggest “crime” is that he has stepped on the toes of the powers that be.

Tell a lie and no one really cares. (Look at the volume of lies that the right wing pumps out on a daily fucking basis, and look at how Liar in Chief George W. Bush and his henchpeople had complete impunity for their relentless lying.) Tell the forbidden truth, however, and look out!

Most of the dirty truths that Julian Assange and his associates have put out there pose no threat to national security or to public safety. That’s just bullshit, a red herring put out there by the right wing and the powers that be (yes, including members of the Obama administration).

If the right wing really gave a flying fuck about public safety, we wouldn’t have seen the almost 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001 (even though then-“President” George W. Bush the month before had received a presidential daily briefing warning “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”) or the almost 2,000 confirmed deaths from Hurricane Katrina.* (You might argue that 9/11 couldn’t have been prevented, but the deaths from Hurricane Katrina most certainly could have been, as there had been ample warning of the impending catastrophe.)

And “national security” sure is flexible, isn’t it? It was perfectly OK when the stupid white men of the unelected, treasonous Bush regime outed Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame** for petty political revenge against her husband, then-Ambassador Joe Wilson, but we just have to put Julian Assange in prison. Some wingnuts have even called for his assassination.

Assassinating (or even imprisoning) Assange, of course, would only make him a matryr, and hundreds or thousands of us who are on the verge of bloody revolution against the power elite would take his place.

The powers that be need to be very, very careful.

Speaking of the powers that be, I love this news photo:

Prince Charles, Camilla

Associated Press photo

That’s Britain’s Prince Charles and his consort in London on Thursday showing complete and utter shock that the rabble — some of them wonderfully yelling “Off with their heads!” — were able to reach their Rolls Royce during a student protest against the tripling of university tuition.

How could this security breach have happened? everyone is asking — when the real question, in my book, is Why, in the year 20fucking10, when so many of us are in need, do we still have royalty?

That’s an issue for the Brits to resolve (although I firmly am on the side of the students whose future is being compromised by Britain’s selfish power elite), but the equivalent question here in the United States of America is why we still have our own aristocrats, the plutocrats and the corporatocrats who do such things as fight tooth and nail for tax cuts for the wealthy while they fight to push the age for eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits for members of Generation X (and those who follow Gen X) to age 70 (when most of us will be dead before then for lack of health care).

Why do we allow these thieves to steal from us, to destroy our planet, to keep us in perpetual wage slavery and in perpetual bogus warfare, and overall to destroy our future? Why, when there are so many of us than there are of them, and when in reality they need us and we don’t need them, do we allow these wolves to continue to feed on us?

What Julian Assange has done is reveal to the world the communiques of the wolves, for it is by their keeping their behind-the-scenes maneuverings as secret as possible that the wolves maintain their control over us sheep. Destroy the wolves’ secrecy, and you destroy their power. Destroy their power, and you destroy them.

Julian Assange has taken serious shots at the wolves. Therefore, in my book, he is a hero.*** And should anything happen to him, thousands of us, minimally, should rise up and take his place.

P.S. While there is much about libertarian Ron Paul that I don’t like, including his homophobia, his being anti-choice and his support of “states’ rights” (which can be used to support all kinds of oppression of minorities), there are some things about him that I do like, such as his opposition to torture and domestic surveillance, and I love his recent impassioned defense of Julian Assange against the power elite on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. You should watch it here.

P.P.S. I just now found this news photo, taken yesterday at the British embassy in Madrid:

Wikileaks supporters demonstrate in support of ...

Reuters photo

Wow. Apparently many of us have the same idea…

*And despite its ubiquitous campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” the Obama administration handled the catastrophic British Petroleum oil spill about as well as the Bush regime would have: in a way that put a corporation over the environment.

**I recommend the film “Fair Game,” which chronicles this treason by the Bush regime. The film screams “Give me my Oscars already!” but it’s worthwhile nonetheless.

***I certainly don’t assert that Assange is an angel. None of us is. However, I separate the information about the power elite that he has revealed to the world from the details of his personal life.

The right wing’s tactic in cases like this is to try to assassinate the rebel’s character — if not the rebel him- or herself — in order to divert attention away from the damaging information about the power elite that the rebel has revealed.

Way too many of us see this bullshit for what it is, however. If Assange is guilty of any sexual misconduct, that is a separate issue, and Assange’s work of exposing the power elite is larger than is Assange. And should anything happen to him, we must continue his work, because if he weren’t on to something, they wouldn’t be on him as they have been.

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