Tag Archives: Egypt

Syria’s civil war: Fools rush in

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a German newspaper in Damascus

Reuters image

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the new Saddam Hussein: not a nice guy, by all accounts, but is he really worth dragging the United States into yet another war in the Middle East? Is the war hawks’ — chickenhawks’ — interest in American military action in Syria’s civil war actually about the welfare of the Syrian people, or would it be just another opportunity for the U.S. military to flex its muscles again on the world stage (against a much weaker opponent — of course)?

If the allegations that the government of Syria killed hundreds of Syrian civilians with nerve gas are true — I suspect that they are, that the disturbing-enough video footage that I’ve seen of the apparent civilian victims of nerve gas is not faked — I am not sure why this particular method of the slaughter of civilians is considered to be worse than, say, how hundreds of Egyptian protesters were slaughtered by the Egyptian military earlier this month, or how hundreds have been slaughtered by U.S. drone strikes, including the confirmed deaths of almost 100 children.

Hey, how about that “shock and awe” that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians? Talk about “liberating” those Iraqis! We took away all of their problems!

I mean, dead is dead; why, exactly, the use of chemical weapons is a “red line,” as U.S. President Barack Obama put it a year ago, but being shot to death by your nation’s military while you are protesting the military coup against the president whom you’d democratically elected, or being snuffed out by an American bomb or an American weaponized drone, is regarded as A-OK eludes me.

That Saddam Hussein reportedly gassed and killed thousands of Kurds in the 1988, and that the unelected, treasonous Bush regime used this, about 15 years after the fact, as one of its many changing “reasons” to invade Iraq in 2003 (actually, Saddam Hussein was, to Washington, D.C., a “good” dictator, or at least a tolerable one, until he nationalized Iraq’s oil fields, closing them off to Big Oil* — then he was a “bad” dictator) does not mean that every time that chemical weapons are used somewhere on the planet, the U.S. military must invade that nation — because chemical weapons!

I’m not a fan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but I’m also not a fan of yet another U.S.-led war in the Middle East while the American empire continues to rot from within (one word: Detroit).

And I’m not alone. Reuters reported yesterday:

Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days — just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans’ resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East. …

I’m not a cold-hearted bastard. The slaughter of one child is the slaughter of too many children. But how many more Syrian civilians would be slaughtered if the United States were to involve itself in Syria’s civil war?

That the president of the United States pronounced the existence of some “red line” and that the U.S. might look “weak” on the world stage if this “red line” materialized but the U.S. did nothing in response — saving face — is not a reason to take your nation to war.

Those who feel differently, those who want to drag us into a war in Syria — well, maybe we can air-drop them into Syria so that they can help the rebels, since they care about the Syrians so much.

But my guess is that, as was the case with the Vietraq War, the majority of those who would drag us to war in Syria are chickenhawks: They’ll talk a mean game — as long as it’s someone else who’s doing the dying.

P.S. In case you think it’s a closed case that the Syrian government gassed Syrian civilians, know this (from AFP):

… Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said about 3,600 patients displaying “neurotoxic symptoms” had flooded into three Syrian hospitals on the day of the alleged [chemical-weapon] attacks, and 355 of them died.

“Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said MSF operations director Bart Janssens.

MSF president Mego Terzian told AFP that “scientific” proof is still lacking.

“Syrian doctors we work with have no scientific proof. They must take hair samples, for example, and send them to a specialist laboratory,” to carry out conclusive tests, he said. …

So, thus far there is no scientific proof that chemical weapons were used. That’s pretty fucking important, isn’t it?

And even if such scientific proof materializes, would it be impossible that members of the Syrian opposition actually staged the attack in order to draw the U.S. military to their aid? Unlikely, one hopes, but again — would it be impossible?

Syrian rebels, after all, have put the deaths at more than 1,000, but the doctors of MSF are saying 355. I tend to trust the word of the MSF doctors, who don’t have the same political agenda that the Syrian rebels do.

Hopefully the United Nations will be allowed to take the lead on the investigation into whether or not the Syrian government gassed civilians — and hopefully the United States, with its partner in crime, Britain, won’t do what it did in Iraq in 2003: bypass the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and invade a weaker sovereign nation anyway.

*CNN noted earlier this year on the 10-year anniversary of the Vietraq War:

Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.

The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access. [Emphasis all mine.]

Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.

“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world’s largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq’s economy or society.

These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.” Today it does.

In 2000, Big Oil, including Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell, spent more money to get fellow oilmen Bush and Cheney into office than they had spent on any previous election. Just over a week into Bush’s first term, their efforts paid off when the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Cheney, was formed, bringing the administration and the oil companies together to plot our collective energy future. In March, the task force reviewed lists and maps outlining Iraq’s entire oil productive capacity.

Planning for a military invasion was soon under way. Bush’s first Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, said in 2004, “Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics. Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly.”

In its final report in May 2001 (PDF), the task force argued that Middle Eastern countries should be urged “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” This is precisely what has been achieved in Iraq. …

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Labor-union members: the new Jews

State workers, union members and others protest ...

Protestors to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ...

Protestors to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ...

Thousands fill the Capitol rotunda in Madison, ...

Associated Press photos

Little Egypt? Thousands of Wisconsinites protest, inside and outside the state’s Capitol in Madison, the plutocratic assault on labor-union members by their state’s plutocratic Repugnican politicians. The state’s Repugnican governor stupidly has threatened to call on the National Guard to stop the protests — just like a despot in the Middle East would do.

Come and get me with your pitchforks and torches, because I am — gasp! — a government employee. And a member of a labor union!

Indeed, we labor-union members are the Jews du jour.

Yup. Just as the Nazi Party blamed Germany’s economic woes on the Jews (and on other relatively powerless minorities), the Repugnican Party today blames the nation’s economic woes on unionized public/government employees.

In 2004, according to the Repugnican Party and its wingnutty allies, it was gay men and lesbians wanting equal marriage rights who were the largest threat to the nation. Then, it became the “illegals.” (With, of course, the “Islamofascists” being an omnipresent threat since the unelected Bush regime failed to prevent the events of Sept. 11, 2001.)

Now, it’s public/government workers, whose ranks include not just the stereotypical governmental bureaucrats but also teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters, doctors, custodians, construction workers, trash collectors, dog catchers, et. al., et. al., who are the cause of the nation’s problems.

Why public/government workers?

Well, they’re (we’re) unionized. Because they’re/we’re unionized, they/we tend to do better — have better working conditions, better pay and better benefits — than do those workers who aren’t in unions.

But is the solution to kill (what’s left of) the unions? No. The solution is to get every American worker in a union so that working conditions and economic conditions can improve for everyone.

The resources are there for everyone. It’s not a problem of a lack of resources. It’s a problem of the grotesquely inequitable distribution of resources. Labor unions help to level the playing field, which is why the pro-plutocratic Repugnican Tea Party fights against labor unions tooth and nail.

The assault on public/government employees works to some degree for the Repugnican Tea Party because:

  • There are many, many dipshits in the lower and working classes who gladly follow the corporately funded and corporately led assault on labor unions, who buy the right-wing propaganda that labor unions are the enemy — when instead they should be pushing for (more) union protection for themselves. (Although misery loves company, the solution to miserable conditions isn’t to help the plutocratic power elite to create even more misery for others, but to try to lessen your own misery. Duh.)
  • There are many, many dipshits in the lower and working classes who buy the plutocrats’ argument that privatization is the best thing (and that government is evil), even though privatized workers are the most miserable workers and government/public workers generally are happier than are their privatized counterparts. (The plutocrats of the Repugnican Party push privatization only because they want to squeeze profits out of everything, but they hide their agenda of profiteering by proclaiming that the private sector can do things better when reality demonstrates that whenever ever-increasing profits is the No. 1 goal, the operation, whatever it is, only gets worse — except for the plutocratic thieves and thugs at the top.)
  • There are many who don’t know any unionized public/government workers, who have no real idea of what it’s like to be a public/government worker, and who thus buy the right-wing noise machine’s myths about public/government workers, such as that all of them (us…) are lazy and enjoy benefits fit for royalty.

I, for one, can tell you that my decade as a unionized public/government worker here in California has not been what I would call glamorous. Last year, under Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came to power only because of an unethical, right-wing-orchestrated do-over election in 2003, I took a 15-percent pay cut due to furlough days (forced days off without pay).

Now, I have what amounts to a 5-percent pay cut due to furlough days — and I’m very happy that California now is led again by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who got the state’s workers unionized in the first place.

I had to pass state job examinations to get where I am (many if not most of California’s state-worker-haters couldn’t pass such an exam…), and for my education and my skills I am quite underpaid. But I cherish the fact that I cannot be fired unfairly, that I have actual rights as a worker, and I have benefits that no money-grubbing, employee-hating corporation would provide. (However, my benefits have been eroding, not increasing, due to the state’s budget crisis.)

I am a public/government worker mainly for the reason that I do not want to be treated like chattel, like a wage slave, by some fucking corporation. I would rather serve the public than make some fat-cat plutocrats even fatter with the fruits of my labor.

And before you whine that you pay my salary, well, I fucking pay state income tax, too, so I pay my salary as well!

If you are employed by a corporation and you find yourself miserable (and you probably do), the answer to your corporately caused misery is to join a union or fight to form a union and to combat abusive corporations, not to combat those of us who are unionized.

The way out of the nation’s mess is not to further weaken our labor unions, but to strengthen them. The super-rich among us need to be de-fanged, not empowered even further.

Just as I admire the people of Egypt for having steadfastly stood up to U.S.-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak for more than two weeks until he finally fled Egypt, I admire the people of Wisconsin for standing up to Repugnican Gov. Scott Walker, who is leading the right-wing charge to strip the state’s labor-union members of their collective bargaining rights that they achieved in 1959.

The Associated Press today reports that

The nation’s most aggressive anti-union proposal has been speeding through the [Wisconsin] Legislature since Republican Gov. Scott Walker introduced it a week ago. After clearing a major legislative hurdle [last] night, it was headed to votes in the Senate and Assembly.

Hundreds of protesters massed outside the Senate chamber on the second floor of the Capitol early [today], hours before the planned vote. Republican leaders said it has the votes to pass in both the Senate and Assembly.

The bill marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees

Thousands of protesters, including children and teachers from more than two dozen schools forced to close due to high [coordinated] absences [in protest], were expected in and outside the Capitol for a third day of protests. Schools in Madison, the state’s second largest district with 2,600-union covered employees, closed for a second day.

Hundreds of people, many of them students from the nearby University of Wisconsin campus, slept in the rotunda for a second night leading up to the vote.

They chanted “Kill the bill!” and “Recall Walker!” early [today]. But there appeared to be little doubt the bill would pass.

The AP also notes:

While other states have proposed bills curtailing labor rights, Wisconsin’s measure is the most aggressive anti-union move yet to solve state budget problems. It would end collective bargaining for state, county and local workers, except for police, firefighters and the state patrol. [Emphasis mine.]

Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was founded in 1936 in Madison.

Gov. Scott Walker has threatened to call out the National Guard on the protesters. Note that plutocrats like Walker recognize that they need thugs to protect them from the angry masses (and firefighters to protect their private property from the angry masses) — thus, as the AP reports, the collective-bargaining rights of state and local police officers and firefighters in Wisconsin very conveniently are not threatened.

Walker is a fucking fool who just might find himself Mubaraked.

Speaking of which, Ted Rall is right, of course, that any revolution in Egypt has only just begun. Thus far, the people of Egypt don’t have a government by, of and for the people. But they’ve taken the first step by ousting their despot.

The plutocratic powers that be here at home aren’t used to massive uprisings of the American people. Among many other things, they got away with stealing two presidential elections in a row last decade and they launched a bogus war on Iraq — and they tell us now, after they’ve spent hundreds of billions of our tax dollars on their bogus war profiteering, that we don’t have the resources to take care of our own working class and our poor.

These traitors, who because of their disproportionate amount of wealth and power are far removed from the average American’s daily experience, obviously take Americans’ continued passivity for granted. I guarantee you that they are not prepared for massive uprisings here at home.

Who’s going to protect them? The same overworked, underpaid cops and soldiers whom they also shit and piss upon? Will these cops and soldiers accept the plutocrats’ bribes, such as exempting them from labor-union-killing legislation? 

How are these underpaid and overworked (and bribed…) cops and soldiers going to feel about being ordered by their plutocratic masters to turn upon their fellow Americans who are only fighting for better working and living conditions?

It might not be too long before our treasonous plutocratic elite find out.

P.S. I love this news photo that I came across. It was taken last month during Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s inauguration. In the poignant photo, a protester with a paper sack on his head makes his point, while a lone state cop apparently guards the Capitol from this “threat.”  

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2011, file photo a protester ...

Associated Press photo

It doesn’t look all that much different from the images that we’ve been seeing out of the Middle East as of late, does it — the working-class thug protecting the status quo?

Again, I have to wonder how far our cops and soldiers will go to prop up their plutocratic masters.

Those cops and soldiers who ever do turn against the people who are fighting for their rights are despot-enabling traitors and need to be treated as such. They need to serve the will of the people — not the will of the overprivileged, treasonous few.

P.P.S. Rachel Maddow, one of the only actual journalists we have left, yesterday reported brilliantly on the right-wing phenomenon of assaulting public/government workers, of making them scapegoats for the nation’s ills. (This phenomenon, by the way, is not new but has been going on for a while now. Billionaire bitch Repugnican Nutmeg Whitman made blaming California’s state workers for the state’s problems a centerpiece of her failed bid for the governorship for which she spent more of her personal wealth [well, the wealth that she stole from her employees and from consumers, not really her wealth] than any other candidate in U.S. history.)

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On blogging fatigue and revolution

Of course, what I have is more like life fatigue, but this is a blog, so we’ll call it blogging fatigue.

I blog when I am moved to blog. I don’t believe in blogging on a schedule. I can’t see anything of worth being produced that way. Not consistently, anyway. My best blogging comes when the spirit moves me, and so if the spirit doesn’t move me, I don’t blog.

I haven’t been blogging much lately because what is there to blog about these days anyway?

Egypt looks like it’s on its way to freedom, and hell, maybe even Iran, too, but we’re a long way from freedom here at home — in no small part because once you mistakenly believe that you’re already free, you see no reason to pursue freedom.

How free are we here in the U.S.A. when the next several years are so fucking predictable?

I predict with a significant degree of confidence that the Richie Rich frat boy Mitt Romney will emerge as the 2012 Repugnican Party presidential nominee. I once thought that his being a Mormon would prove to be an insurmountable obstacle for him, but it’s pretty clear that the Repugnican Party is going with the youthful (well, in comparison to John McCainosaurus, anyway) white male now, as evidenced by the fact that last month Repugnican National Committee chair Michael Steele was dumped and replaced by some youthful white guy whose Richie-Rich frat-boy name no one can pronounce (or spell).

(Yeah, I know, Repugnican Rep. Ron Paul just won the wingnuts’ straw poll — again — but the wingnuts’ ball was packed with Paul supporters. He doesn’t have the Repugnican Party’s backing, so he’s going nowhere.)

No real Democrat will emerge to challenge Barack Obama for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination — or if one does, it will be one who has a snowball’s chance in the rapidly melting North Pole, like Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich — and so Barack Obama will be re-elected in November 2012.

I predict that Romney will do at least a little bit better against Obama than McCainosaurus did, due to Romney being more photogenic than McCainosaurus and due to Obama having lost his luster of “hope” and “change,” but that Obama will get his second term.

There is no reason to believe that at any point in his presidency Obama will change his game significantly. He always takes the path of least political resistance. He thinks that slogans are a substitute for testicles.

I wholeheartedly agree with Andrew Sullivan, who recently wrote:

[Some U.S. senators] have to lead, because this president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In [his recently released federal] budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short-term political interests.

Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short-term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.

To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: He just screwed you over. He thinks you’re fools. Either the U.S. will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far, far more for far, far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.

Yup. Not only does Obama refuse to stand up to the baby-boomer and senior citizen lobbies, which are perfectly happy to leave much less than nothing for those of us who follow them — and it’s not just those of us under the age of 30 who are getting screwed, but those of us in our 30s and 40s, too — but, as Sullivan also notes, Obama refuses to stand up to the military-industrial complex’s bloated-beyond-belief budget as well.

On one hand, the spineless, politically self-serving Obama, by refusing to push for what needs to be done, is only continuing the damage done to the nation by the unelected Bush regime, but on the other hand, Obama’s utter ineffectiveness in solving the nation’s problems demonstrates to us Americans that we’re foolish to continue to leave our nation’s fate in the hands of the ossified system in D.C. — a system that certainly doesn’t have our best interests at heart now, if it ever fucking did (any more than U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak ever had the Egyptians’ best interests at heart).

Out of this realization that our government in D.C. is useless, real revolution, like what we’ve just seen in Egypt, just might take hold here at home.

Of course, revolution is a tricky business.

How many of us who are itching for revolution actually are going to take the advice of those who say, “OK, you throw the first Molotov cocktail!”?

Still, that first Molotov cocktail needs to be thrown.

After all, I need the inspiration to blog regularly again.

P.S. Another reason that I have blogging fatigue is that the nation is so fucking bogged down in high-schoolish diversions that few Americans are willing to have a dialogue about anything that actually fucking matters.

For instance, Salon.com, The Huffington Post and Media Matters — all of which are supposed to be robust members of some progressive media — all have reported that the Archie Bunker-like wingnutty liar Andrew Breitbart’s website has depicted Michelle Obama in a cartoon as — gasp!fat!

Media Matters notes that “this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade-school playground.” True, but Media Matters also not only reports on the unfunny cartoon, but reproduces it, thus elevating the level of our national discussion — not.

Meanwhile, our nation’s and our planet’s problems, such as the fact that the military-industrial complex and the baby boomers are draining the lifeblood of our nation and the fact that Homo sapiens’ continued existence is threatened by global warming, go unaddressed because we’re talking instead about the stupid fucking cartoon in which Michelle Obama is portrayed as fat.

Along these lines, you might want to read Salon.com’s Michael Lind’s little piece, which he begins:

What dumb thing did Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Glenn Beck just say? You don’t need to watch Fox News to find out. The progressive media will tell you. The economy is still in a coma, revolution is rocking the Middle East — but you can be sure that Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will take time to snicker at something silly that Palin or Bachmann or Beck said in the last 48 hours.

Is the constant mockery of these bloviating right-wing demagogues really the best use of precious center-left media time? …

As Lind writes, attacking every stupid thing that comes from the circus freaks on the right, among other things,

[Is] a reactive strategy that gives the initiative to the right. When progressive opinion leaders wait for conservatives to say something stupid and then pounce on it, they cede the choice of topics in national debate to their enemies. No doubt this drives ratings, attracting hyper-partisan Democrats whose greatest pleasure in life is the rather low one of picking apart the statements of Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck…. But it’s no substitute for a liberalism that tells its own story, on its own timeline, and lets the right react.

and

[Is] a waste of effort and attention. We are mired down in two wars in the Muslim world and suffering from the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. The last time things were this bad, in the 1930s, American liberals and leftists were debating the nature of capitalism and government and world politics and putting forth their own, often contradictory plans. Liberal politicians and journalists devoted little, if any, time to dissecting the errors of right-wing crackpots of the period, like the radio priest Father Coughlin.

If nothing else, the crackpots on the right do their corporate paymasters’ bidding by creating diversions from the national discussions that we should be having. These diversions maintain the status quo.

And I, for one, am sick and tired of the back-and-forth that doesn’t change a fucking thing. I can’t even visit the politics section of a bookstore anymore because I already know what to expect: the same old tired arguments that aren’t going to change anyone’s minds. (Or, in a word, gridlock.)

We need actual movement now, not more pointless debate that only keeps us in stasis.

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Make Moobie’s death wish come true

An effigy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ...

Protesters react in Tahrir Square to Egyptian ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Egyptian protesters hang dictator Hosni Mubarak in effigy in Cairo today. To me these don’t look like people who want Mubarak to hang around for another several months.

Embattled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak proclaims that he’s going to hold on to his post until elections in September, that he isn’t going anywhere, that he’s going to die on Egyptian soil.

While it’s their choice what to do — something that way too many Americans and Israel-firsters don’t or won’t get — I hope that the people of Egypt give Mubarak his wish to die on Eyptian soil sooner rather than later if he makes it necessary.

The Egyptian people have given Mubarak the opportunity — indeed, the mandate — to leave office. If he refuses, then the consequences of his refusal to follow the popular demand are on him. The people have offered him a bloodless solution, so if it comes to pass that there are bloody hands, they can only be Mubarak’s.

The people of Egypt are demanding Mubarak’s immediate departure — they have made their wishes clear. An opportunity for Mubarak to empower his cronies over the next several months to essentially extend his rule even past his eventual departure is not what the people of Egypt want. What they want is a fresh start, a new start — not a continuation of the past three decades of bogus emergency rule. 

And new rule: If you’re a Zionist/Israel-firster, or if you are a politician who takes big bucks from the Zionist/Israel-first lobby, you should shut the fuck up about Egypt because you can’t even begin to be anywhere near impartial where Egypt is concerned, since all the fuck that you care about is Israel, as though Israel were the whole fucking universe. It ain’t. So get the fuck over it.

If the majority of the people of Egypt want an Islamic government, that’s their fucking choice. Once we rid the U.S. government of its so-called Christians and the government of Israel is stripped of its Jews, then perhaps we can make the assertion that Egypt should have only a secular government. Otherwise, we’re just preferring our own religion over another and are being fucking Islamophobes.

Democracy is about the will of the majority of the people — it’s not democracy only when the majority of the people make the choice that we want them to make.

We Americans had better first learn what the fuck freedom and democracy actually are before we ever expect to export them to other nations.

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Only thing stopping a free Egypt is U.S.

Responses to my optimistic post of yesterday on the future of Egypt have been pessimistic.

It is true that real democracy is never assured. It is difficult to attain and perhaps even harder to maintain.

But American pessimism on Egypt’s future seems to stem from at least three things that have nothing to do with the abilities and talents and intelligence and resourcefulness of the Egyptian people.

One of these things is the belief, held even by so-called liberals, that other nations can do nothing without American aid, because Americans are superior and other peoples of the world are inferior. (Indeed, the vast majority of Americans need to be reminded that, in the words of anthropologist Wade Davis, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”)

The “white man’s burden” began with the British empire, and this chauvinistic mentality was transplanted to the British colonies that became the United States of America.

A corollary of this phenomenon is that the U.S. government, through its military and its Central Intelligence Agency and other thuggish apparatuses, has a long history of making sure that real democracy never takes root in other nations whose leaders look out for the best interests of their nations’ peoples instead of for the best interests of the American capitalist system and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

The U.S. government and the U.S. ruling elites do their very best to cripple certain nations whose leaders refuse to submit to Washington — like Cuba — and then proclaim that these nations are struggling or failing not because of U.S. attempts to make them fail, because of their supposed inherent inferiority.

Leaders of other nations who actually look after their people’s best interests instead of the U.S. government’s and U.S. ruling elites’ best interests are called “dictators.” Like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (whom the CIA tried but failed to overthrow in 2002). Even though Chavez has been democratically elected repeatedly, with international observers (including Jimmy Carter) certifying that the elections were on the up and up, because of the center-right propaganda happily trumpeted by the “free” mass media owned and operated by corporations that allow only pro-corporate speech, most thoroughly corporately brainwashed Americans incorrectly go along with the label of Chavez as a “dictator.”

Actual dictators, on the other hand, like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has kept his grip on power for more than three decades, get a free fucking pass as long as they kiss U.S. ass, as Mubarak always has done.

The second source of the pessimistic belief of so many Americans that Egypt can’t get it together democratically stems, I believe, from the fact that Americans can’t get it together democratically, and therefore, they don’t want anyone else to. Call it democratic jealousy.

Americans just sat on their asses while two presidential elections in a row were stolen and bogus wars in the Middle East were launched in their name. Americans have just allowed corporations to render our democratic system meaningless, because decisions in Washington are made not by our elected officials, but by the highest bidders via our bribed elected officials. (And speaking of elections, way too many elections are won by the highest bidder.)

Speaking of our elected officials, “Whose side is Obama on anyway?” asks a piece on Salon.com today, noting:

The Egyptian people are fighting, not only to end the 30-year reign of dictator Mubarak, but for democracy. So far, our government has continued its de facto support for the Mubarak regime by paying lip service to the need for “reform” at the same time that it lauds Mubarak as an ally and source of “stability” in the Middle East.

President Obama and his spokespeople have carefully avoided the fundamental issue. The Egyptian people are not asking their government to reform itself. They are demanding an end to the entire autocratic and kleptocratic regime they have endured for even longer than Mubarak’s rule. They want democracy.

The answer to the question of whose side Obama is on is a fucking no-brainer: Obama is on the side of the Israel-first lobby, which wants Egypt to remain under the thumb of a U.S.-controlled dictator. Israel doesn’t want Egyptians to have self-determination, and because the Israel-first lobbyists’ hands are so far up the asses of the elected officials in Washington, what Israel wants it usually gets from its meat puppets in D.C.

Obama isn’t concerned about democracy in Egypt — or anywhere else. He’s concerned about his political survival (and his hollow slogans, which he very apparently views as his vehicle to continued political success [hey, they worked for him in November 2008!]).

Not that Egypt needs the spineless, slimy, slippery, ethics-free Obama and his regime of Clinton-era leftovers. What Egypt needs for democracy to take root there is for the United States of America to leave Egypt the fuck alone. Only without U.S. interference can true democracy take root anywhere. What’s been happening in Latin America for the past several years — because the gaze of the Eye of Sauron, which sits upon the White House, has been focused upon the Middle East instead of upon Latin America since late 2001 — is proof of that.

A third reason for pessimism over Egypt’s future, I surmise, is that the relatively few Americans who aren’t drunk on the jingoistic Kool-Aid know all too well how much their own government historically has prevented actual democracy from taking root elsewhere in the world, and they expect this pattern to be repeated in Egypt.

But this pessimism overlooks the fact that fortunately, the American empire is so weak from the military and economic overextension of the reign of the unelected Bush regime (um, yeah, there were actual consequences of the fact that Americans just allowed the Bush regime to steal the White House in late 2000) that its ability to quash democracy elsewhere now is limited.

But most Americans are drunk on the Kool-Aid, and they are so adverse to actual democracy taking root elsewhere on the planet that even while a new Egyptian leader already clearly has emerged in Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, these intoxicated Americans are wringing their hands, wailing, “But whooooo will lead Egypt?”

What the fuck?

ElBaradei appears to be the Egyptian people’s choice, but Americans are largely fucking ignoring that.

Is it that Americans don’t want the Egyptian people to choose their next leader? Are Americans that addicted to their governmental elites choosing the leaders of other nations, especially those in the Middle East, such as the current leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes, they are. They’re that brainwashed, that ethnocentric. To most Americans, all that is important about Egypt is that Egypt continue to serve the wishes of the government in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. government’s pimp, the Israel-first lobby — the Egyptian people be damned.

My hope is that democracy takes root in an Egypt unmolested by the U.S. government and spreads elsewhere in the Middle East. The United States of America never could transplant true democracy to the Middle East or anywhere else on the planet because the USA only ever has its own greedy interests in mind.

My hope is that in my lifetime democracy spreads throughout the world, like a domino effect, to the extent that democracy is established in the United States of America before I die.

Perversely ironically, it seems to me that the United States of America will be the last domino to topple to the spread of actual democracy.

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Democracy first for Egypt, then for the U.S.?

Mubarak names VP, new PM as deadly protests continue

AFP photo

Egyptian protesters surround a statue of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, Egypt. The protesters are demanding the ouster of autocratic Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A sign that they’re likely to get their wish is that the members of the Egyptian military and the protesters apparently are finding camaraderie, as evidenced by the news photo below that was taken in Cairo today.

Egyptian protesters greet army soldiers atop ...

Associated Press photo

You gotta love the Egyptians. While we Americans are being buried alive in a slew of hollow slogans by a “hopey-changey” president who adafuckingmantly refuses to significantly alter the status quo, the Egyptians are in the streets with the goal of ousting the fossilized President Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

While we Americans refuse to even get off of our fat asses and into the streets, thus far more than 90 Egyptians have died in more than five days of fighting for democracy (for real democracy, not the brand of “democracy” that the U.S. government loves to impose on nations in the Middle East), according to the AFP.

The increasingly embattled Mubarak, following the playbook of ultra-shitty leaders, fired his cabinet (declaring, “I am dismissing the government and will appoint a new one”) in order to show that they were the problem, certainly not he. In a sign that he knows that his days are numbered, for the first time he named a vice president today, as well as a new prime minister.

But the Egyptian protesters apparently are stopping at nothing short of total regime change. They apparently believe (correctly) that a fish rots from the head down, and they’re going after the rotten fish head. (My hunch is that they should reject Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president and prime minister and new cabinet members, too, and pick an entirely new leadership wholly unaffiliated with Mubarak. Megalomaniacs like Mubarak pick only their ideological clones to succeed them.)

The events in Egypt are inspiring.

If only we could have revolution here at home.

Sure, nonviolent revolution would be nice, but when, in the history of the world, did the corrupts powers that be ever respond to niceness?

That’s why it’s a fucking joke that President Barack Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters not to resort to violence: Violence often, if not usually, is the only way to oust the calcified powers that be. It’s not like you can ask tyrants nicely to pack it up and leave and they will.

While Obama has advised the Egyptian protesters to be utterly ineffective in changing the status quo (just like he is), he has advised Mubarak to institute “reforms.”

“Reforms.”

Bullshit.

Like an 82-year-old man is going to significantly change his game now.

“Reforms” are lame-ass excuses for not doing what needs to be done.

When something is utterly broken, you cannot “reform” it. You can only sweep aside the old, broken system and build something new.

Which is what we need to do here in the United States of America, where the will of the people long has been ignored by an entrenched duopolistic partisan system in which the corporateers and the war profiteers and the others with the millions of dollars to buy off our politicians (like the Israel-first lobby [a.k.a. AIPAC*]) long have been running the show under the guise of “democracy.”

We don’t have democracy (true majority rule) here in the United States of America. We have friendly fascism (as Bertram Gross put it) or managed democracy and inverted totalitarianism (as Sheldon Wolin put it). We have a slogan-spewing smooth operator in Barack Obama, who serves not us, but who serves his corporateering and war profiteering masters (including, of course, AIPAC) who bankrolled his rise to the top.

Obama’s type of tyranny — friendly fascism, inverted totalitarianism — is even more dangerous than is Mubarak’s, because while Mubarak fairly openly is a tyrant, Obama employs a veneer of friendliness — a veneer that confuses many if not most, because while they hear his warm and cuddly promises and his soothing slogans, they see that things in a corporately and plutocratically owned and controlled nation that is at perpetual bogus war continue to get worse, not better.

And a majority of us Americans were, after all, duped by promises of “hope” and “change” to cast a vote for Obama in November 2008. (It happened to the best and to the most well-meaning of us, including to yours truly.)

But I assure you that Obama’s greatest hope is that a critical mass of Americans do not wake up during his watch.

*Speaking of the devil (AIPAC), while I disagree with newly elected Repugnican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on most issues, I love his balls for suggesting that the United States of America cut aid to the sacred fucking cow that is Israel.

Both Repugnican and Democratic politicians slavishly kiss Zionist ass for fear of being branded as “anti-Semitic” and for having the Israel-first lobby fund their political opponents over them in their election battles.

The United States this fiscal year is giving Israel $3 billion in military assistance, notes The Associated Press, adding that last fiscal year Israel got $2.8 billion, and starting next fiscal year is slated to get $3.1 billion a year for five years.

In his defense, Rand Paul’s spokesman released a statement that “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Senator Paul — our current fiscal crisis makes it impossible to continue the spending policies of the past. We simply cannot afford to give money away, even to our allies, with so much debt mounting on a daily basis.”

Unfortunately, while Paul wants to cut around $20 billion in foreign assistance, and wants to cut $16 billion out of the bogus wars in Vietraq and Afghanistan (while both wars should just be fucking ended altogether; the United States no longer can afford to meddle in the Middle East when things literally are crumbling here at home), he also “would make significant cuts in education, housing and energy,” according to the AP.

Speaking of the fact that charity should fucking begin at home, the AP also reports that on the topic of de-funding Israel,

Rep. Nita Lowey of the New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said the United States cannot renege on its commitment to the only Democratic nation in a dangerous region.

“Using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Israel is inexcusable,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is unclear to me whether Rand Paul speaks for the tea party, the Republican Party or simply himself. I call on all those who value the U.S.-Israel relationship to make it clear that our nation will not abandon our ally Israel.”

But using our budget deficit as a reason to abandon Americans here at home is perfectly acceptable to the Israel-first lobby, you see. Americans can fucking starve to death — as long as we continue send Israel $3 billion a year with which to slaughter Muslims!

And note that it’s a Democratic politician defending the Israel-first lobby here. No doubt that she gets plenty of money from the Israel-first lobby. I mean, she’s the top Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees foreign aid — you don’t think that AIPAC & Co. have paid her off?

In fairness, I don’t support cutting Israel off cold turkey, necessarily. Perhaps the assistance could be cut gradually from $3 billion a year to zero a year over a period of five years or so, which would give Israel at least some time to adjust to the new fiscal reality.

But to continue to arm Israel, which then uses these U.S.-funded arms to slaughter Muslims, which then causes even more unrest in the Middle East, which then “justifies” continuing to send $3 billion in military aid a year to Israel — yeah, this bullshit has to stop.

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How about the ‘PC flu’? (Part II)

To follow up on what I posted on April 28:

Scientists say that the majority of the genetic code of the new human-swine-bird-hybrid influenza virus comes from swine — and that it is accurate, therefore, to call the new outbreak of influenza “swine flu.”

(Quotes from virologists include: “Scientifically, this is a swine virus” and “It’s a flu virus from a swine; there’s no other name to call it.” That’s good enough for me.)

Ha ha ha! Take that, Israel!

The World Health Organization announced today that it will stop calling the current influenza outbreak “swine flu” in order to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of pigs, such as has happened in Egypt.

I’m all for preventing the unnecessary slaughter of pigs — in fact, all of us probably should go vegetarian anyway — but why do I have the sinking feeling that primarily the WHO caved in to the pork industry? And maybe even in to Israel as well?

In any case, “swine flu” already has stuck, and I think that it thus is irresponsible to change the name of the outbreak at this point in the game. Changing the name at this point probably will cause some confusion, such as whether the new name adopted by the WHO — the onerous “H1N1 influenza A” — is yet another new outbreak of influenza.

It will remain “swine flu” to me.

Oink.

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