Thursday, July 31, 2014

Republicans Love Israel (i.e., Hate Palestinians) But Democrats Are Not So Sure

A new poll by Pew Research shows Americans sharply divided by political party regarding support for Israel.

It is fair to say, on the basis of these polling numbers, that Republicans are solid supporters of Israel, political independents are less confident about that support, but still have a strong plurality in support for Israel, and Democrats poll most conflicted, basically seeing Israel and the Palestinian authority in Gaza, Hamas, as equally to blame for the “current violence” in Gaza.

The numbers break down like this, according to Pew’s graphic:
This graphic a plurality of Americans (40%) believe Hamas is "most responsible" for the current violence in Gaza. But that of course means that 60% of Americans do not think that. In addition, a clear majority of Republicans do blame Hamas more than they do Israel for the violence, while only a slim plurality of Democrats think Hamas is the real culprit in the current Gazan war. Independents are more reflective of the total. The large number of "DKs", don't-knows, suggest that only in the GOP is there strong support for Israel. Some Republicans are thinking that makes the difference a campaign issue, but again most Americans do not agree with the Republican position, and are closer to the Democratic Party point of view. Graphic from Pew Research report.
With such a huge break between political parties on the question, the Washington Post has raised the question of whether the Democratic Party position is dangerously anti-Israel—i.e., so out of the mainstream that it could cost the Democrats significant numbers of votes.

Well, it isn’t exactly the Washington Post’s liberal contingent asking this question, it’s Jennifer Rubin, the Jewish-American neocon blogger for the WP, who points out, in alleging Barack Obama’s “liberal” politics make him a natural enemy of Israel:
“Either out of conviction or because of a lack of support for Israel from his core supporters, President Obama, the most liberal president to hold office since the founding of the Jewish state, unsurprisingly has been the president least helpful to Israel in a time of war…This may give the GOP bragging rights when it comes to being the most pro-Israel political party, but it is bad news for Israel and for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Why?

Rubin says that unless liberal Democrats—which Barack Obama is not, and most Democrats are not—are run out of the White House and from control of the Senate, the “US-Israel relationship” will “go south” (to Alabama?).

Trying to make political points on the fact Democrats are actually disturbed—more than Republicans—by the scenes of horrible suffering inflicted on so many Palestinians, mostly civilians and hundreds of children, by the Israeli military, just might be a big mistake for Republicans.

It is all too easy, and all too compelling (given the plenitude of the graphic evidence of Israel’s war crimes) to see a linkage between the Republican hatred of America’s poor and suffering citizens, and its indifference to the poor and suffering people of Gaza.

For the most part, as I pointed out in my story yesterday, Americans are actually quite ignorant about the reasons for US support for Israel, and about the large amount of money the US is giving to Israel to mount its daily slaughter of Palestinians.

In fact, the Pew Poll shows this with an especially large number of “DK” respondents, in other words people who simply “don’t know” what to think or why to think it about Israel’s mass murder of Palestinians.

And, in one telling poll question, the Pew study shows that over time, this has been where the erosion of support for Israel has been strongest.

Most of the numbers on this question about the proportionality of Israel's response in conflicts have remained static since 2006. While the crazy "Not gone far enough" people—who want Israel to murder even more Palestinian babies—have come back home from their "About right" vacation in 2009, the "About right" smugcluster has also given up votes to "Don't know", which jumped up 6 points from 2006. Americans are still far too complacent or even bloodthirsty in their polling on these most influential foreign-policy question,s but the pro-Israel contingent has lost its clear majority. Graphic from Pew Research report.
Compared to responses over time to the question about the “Israel’s response to conflicts” and whether that response had gone too far or been about right, the “about right” respondents have declined to the lowest level in eight years. But that has not meant the “gone too far” respondents have increased—they have only ticked up two points to 25% since 2006. But there has been a noticeable increase, six points, to 24% in respondents saying they “don’t know”.

The first step to people changing their minds is the erosion of confidence in their previous opinions to a place where they decide it is safer to just say nothing at all. For more and more Americans, this is the case about their former support for Israel.

Instead of viewing the Democratic Party’s more divided view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a problem for Democrats, the Republican Party should understand that, once again, the GOP is being left behind by evolving public opinion on the most influential foreign policy question the United States faces.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

US Aid To Terror-State Israel More Than $121 Billion Since 1949

Most Americans have no idea that Israel receives more foreign aid money from the US than any other nation—and almost all of it military aid. The figures noted in the graphic and in this article come from a Congressional Research Service report, "U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel", released in April of this year. This report notes: "Some observers, including opponents of U.S. aid to Israel, argue that U.S. assistance to Israel supports Israeli arms purchases without providing sufficient scrutiny of controversial Israeli military actions that—these observers assert—contravene various laws and international norms, particularly regarding treatment of Palestinians."
Many Americans understand that the United States gives money to Israel.

But most Americans would be surprised to learn that the Israeli military receives a substantial subsidy (about $3 billion) each year, from American taxpayers, who have paid Israel more than $121 billion in total aid going back to 1949, about $70 billion of which has been in the form of military grants to Israel, with much of that money paid in the years since 9/11.

This is ironic, if you think about it, because without such robust and deadly military support from the United States to Israel, the 9/11 attack likely would never have happened in the first place. And nor would the last 13 years of overwhelmingly bloody idiocy in American foreign policy, as the US blundered from one insane horror show, like Bush’s Iraq War, to another.

The very existence of al-Qaeda was inspired by a hatred of the West and what many Muslims viewed as US crimes against Islam, the chief example of which was the unquestioning support the United States has shown to the terrorist occupation army of Israel.

Osama bin Laden said, in his 2002 letter explaining to Americans his motive for ordering the 9/11 attack:
“The British handed over Palestine [in 1948], with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals…Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily.”
Many Israelis were no doubt pleased the 9/11 attacks occurred, because they viewed al-Qaeda, and its claim to be defending Palestinians, as discrediting the Palestinian cause, and they saw the attacks against the US as a guarantee that military support money from America to Israel would keep flowing.

A recent Reuters report explains that government budget-cutting in Israel, in alignment with “a five-year austerity plan” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, means Israel is depending on the United States to make up the difference in defense cuts.

Even as the United States itself is struggling with budget cuts to all programs, including the military, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice explained the US considers its military support of Israel to be an “investment”:
“Our two nations are forever bound by our shared history and our shared values, and every American dollar spent on Israel's security is an investment in protecting the many interests that our nations share.”
Most Americans also assume that the continued US support for Israel, even the substantial subsidizing of Israel’s military by the US, is somehow in the interest of the United States.

But is this a clear assessment of the facts, based on a clear understanding of shared, and divergent, national interests? Or is it a disastrous evasion from common sense, caused by Israel’s continuing ability to derange, to the point of self-destructiveness, America’s Middle East policy?

Why, for example, do Americans support Israel and not the Palestinians?

Do Americans even know the answer to this—any more than they know they have been giving massive amounts of money to enable Israel to commit the most horrific crimes against one of the poorest, most oppressed, people on the face of the Earth?

Money is policy. And policy has consequences.

Americans need to know what their country is supporting, and more importantly to know why it is doing so. Otherwise, Americans will continue to be bewildered about what is happening in the world and will find themselves once again needing to ask—“Why do they hate us?”

Maybe one of the answers is that for far too long the US has been supporting the wrong side in the most influential conflict of the past half-century. It is difficult for nations to admit they have been so wrong for so long. But it is madness for the US to stay the course of militarily funding the terror-state Israel.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New York Times' Pro-Israel Bias On Infographic Display

Is this how things really are at the New York Times? And is the fact it does often seem this is how things are influence other American MSM outlets to parrot the Times' pro-Israel bias? We should note that the Times is often criticized by pro-Israel groups for not being sufficiently lockstep with the Israeli government's pronouncements. But, considering the facts (especially those concerning the Times' main journalistic players in Jerusalem), that is a dubious suggestion, and evidence that Israel is actively and successfully lobbying (or bullying) American media to publish Israeli propaganda as factual news.
That there is an American media bias in favor of Israel and against Palestinians (and especially Hamas), has been clear from that start of the latest Gazan war.

While papers like the New York Times, published for over a century by descendants of the same Jewish-American family, try to give the superficial impression of providing fair coverage of the war, the subtext of many Times articles is that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force), is responding to a terroristic onslaught of Hamas rockets, which have killed and injured many Israelis.

For example:

1. Mirroring the American MSM tendency to refer to any Palestinian attack on Israel as coming from "terrorists", or "extremists", in reporting the story, "Gaza Deaths Spike in 3rd Day of Air Assaults While Rockets Hit Israel", the Times' Jerusalem correspondent, Isabel Kershner wrote about the increasing intensity of the Israeli air campaign (which preceded the ground assault in Gaza):
"Palestinian deaths from Israel’s aerial attacks in Gaza rose sharply on Thursday, while militants there fired more than 180 rockets into Israel, reaching new targets spread across a vast area of the country."
The "Palestinian deaths from Israel's aerial attacks" are distinguished from the "180 rockets", by the fact that Israel always launches attacks on Palestinians, while only "militants", or "terrorists" or "extremists" launch attacks on Israel. So, on the one hand, a legendary people and a heroic state, acting in "self-defense", launch air attacks, or now devastating ground assaults, on stateless "Palestinians"—whatever they are—while the Palestinian response to this, presumably conducted by Hamas, the democratically-elected leadership in Gaza, is the shadowy perpetration of unauthorized and illegitimate outlaw organization.

This continual drumbeat of the subtext of so much American MSM reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, helps to create a positive feeling about Israel's legitimacy, and a negative feeling about Palestinian illegitimacy. After all, why shouldn't Israel's attacks be counted as coming from "militant" Zionists? Isn't that the case?

Further, the "vast area" being hit by all these new rocket launches sounds very dire, doesn't it? But buried deep in the article is this surprising revelation:
"As the air campaign entered its third day, the Palestinian death toll rose to at least 78, a majority of them civilians, according to officials in Gaza. No Israelis have been reported killed." [Note: this was the case at the time the story was reported.]
Really? Hundreds of rockets flying all over Israel and the impact of that is "no Israelis have been reported killed"?

Why not report that in the first paragraph? But Kershner, who is married to an Israeli writer, who is a member of an Israeli national security think tank, figured it was more important to leave the false impression that Israeli airstrikes and the 180 rockets from the militants posed equally dangerous threats to each other.

2. Kershner was also responsible for the reporting on the death of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, kidnapped and murdered—and his body burned—by Israeli terrorists. Kershner is quick to point out that the killing of Khdeir had touched off "rioting" in Palestinian East Jerusalem:
"The killing of the teenager set off fierce riots in the ordinarily quiet and relatively well-to-do East Jerusalem neighborhood where he lived, threatening to ignite broader unrest and underlining deep fissures in Israeli society."
Only the day before, Kershner had also reported about the funerals of the three Israeli boys. Her article noted how all Israelis had come together to remember the three boys:
"People from across this small but deeply divided country were united in grief. Many said they were also uplifted by a rare sense of commonality and inspired by the grace and self-restraint of the bereaved families, who have become public symbols."
When Kershner's boss, Jodi Rudoren, the Times' Jerusalem Bureau Chief, reported three days later on Khdeir's funeral, it was evident that the idea was to present the Palestinian version of coming together as a threat to Israel's security:
"Before the body arrived, young Palestinian men, some with faces covered by kaffiyehs, filled the main street, chanting about blood and guns, sacrifice and struggle." 
First off, Rudoren (her Times bio notes "Jodi was included in the 'Forward 50,' a list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews"), recently admitted she allowed the Israeli government to dictate to her what stories she could, and what stories she could not, publish in the New York Times. This reportedly came as news to the managing editor at the Times, Dean Baquet. The Public Editor at the Times said about Rudoren's ready acceptance of foreign-state-imposed censorship on the Times: "I find it troubling that The Times is in the position of waiting for government clearance before deciding to publish."

One thing Rudoren made sure she did publish, in reporting Khdeir's funeral, was the drumbeat equivalence statement about the Palestinian rockets:
"The funeral was accompanied by some clashes between mourners and Israeli security forces that injured some mourners and police officers. It came against a tense backdrop of recent rockets and airstrikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip and fears that they would explode into a full-scale battle."
Again, the "backdrop" and presumably some kind of justification for the "full-scale battle"—mainly to be fought between Israelis and Palestinian women and babies, the chief targets of Israels anti-terror strikes—was the equivalent threat posed by the "rockets". Again, this was a misrepresentation of the facts.

Finally, regarding Rudoren's kowtowing to Israeli government orders regarding what she should report, we have this disturbing story, which helps illustrate the basic problem of having someone like Rudoren, who can hardly be described as unbiased, as a bureau chief in Jerusalem.

3. And then yesterday, there was this rather amazing infographic support for the same, misleading, pro-IDF meme about the terrible threat posed by the Palestinian rockets:

The clear implication of this graphic, supplied as a helpful summary to the world by the New York Times, is that, while the effectiveness in killing people of the rockets launched at Israel is obviously less impressive than the numbers of Palestinian women and children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza, still the rockets had caused 46 Israeli deaths. And, as everyone knows—certainly they know this in Israel and in most American evangelical Christian houses of nuttery (including in Congress), one Israeli life is worth at least 1,000 Palestinian lives, so actually Israel is losing the war on that count. But, also lost in that twisted assessment of the data is the fact the rockets have actually only accounted for 10% of the Israelis killed so far in the Gazan war. The rest were Israeli soldiers killed in combat with the Hamas defenders of Gaza. Note that the most recent totals show 2,612 rockets fired at Israel and 54 Israeli deaths total.
The message seems clear—if bereft of any facts—Hamas missile launchers, often (according to IDF) located in places like UN-run schools, caused the deaths of many Israelis since the start of the war.

Only if a person read the article (see Day 19), would they encounter an explanation for the real cause of the Israeli casualties:
"42 Israeli soldiers killed in combat"
Combat—against Hamas forces defending Palestinians from the Israeli invaders—not from Palestinian rockets fired into Israel.

Readers should ask whether the New York Times is really so inexperienced at doing professional, accurate, infographic elements of their articles that they would accidentally (and continually) misrepresent the facts in this manner. Or is this a blatant example of the New York Times pushing an IDF-friendly propaganda message to misinform its readers?

It is one thing for the New York Times to act as a propaganda ministry for America's lunatic war machine. That is bad enough. But for the Times to perform that same service for Israel is a betrayal of any reasonable notion of journalistic integrity—and contradicts the claim the New York Times is an American paper, serving the interests of the American people.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Israel Slaughters Palestinians, Obama And Democrats Support The Genocide

In Israel’s latest affirmation of its bloody, generations-long, occupation of Palestine, little Palestinian children are ground up and spat out like vermin by the Israeli military. The child pictured above was wounded by Israeli attacks in Rafah, on July 21, 2014. No doubt the survivors of Auschwitz would be proud to see what Israel has come to, slaughtering babies in the name of vengeance and Lebensraum.
Mass-murdering monsters are having a great July!

Putin
is shooting down airplanes full of children in Ukraine, and Netanyahu is slaughtering babies in Gaza.

In both cases, the United States is, as Sonny Corleone once warned against, standing around with its dick in its hand.

In fact, it’s worse than that. In both cases, the United States, which is to say the hopeless, helpless Barack Obama, is aiding and abetting the slaughter.

In the case of Russia, while Obama postures like he’s concerned to do something about Putin’s gradual but determined efforts to destabilize Ukraine (resulting in last week’s horrific downing by Russian-backed separatists of a Malaysian jet carrying 295 passengers), the US president has repeatedly made it clear he won’t stand up to Putin militarily, and that he considers Putin’s and Russia’s partnership with the US more important than Russia’s piratical behavior.

In the case of Israel, the American backing of Israel’s war crimes is even more explicit, with the United States Senate, including every single member, recently voting to affirm Israel’s latest invasion and slaughter in Gaza. What this means, with respect to the political process in the United States, is that when any of these Senators, for example the much-loved and much-unexamined Elizabeth Warren, chooses to run for higher office, they cannot honestly dispute the charge that they are big fans of genocide.

The Senate Resolution 498, introduced by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has some interesting claims. For example:
“Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis and dozens of Americans in rocket attacks and suicide bombings.”
Is that true?

In fact, the numbers of deaths from suicide bombings in Israel are in the hundreds over many years. But, the number of deaths from rocket attacks by Hamas in Israel are relatively few.

Meanwhile, the Senate resolution does not point out how many Palestinians have been killed in numerous Israeli attacks over the years—the numbers are many times the Israeli losses, and no one (except the Israeli government) accepts the idea that the majority of these Palestinian deaths represent Israel acting in self defense.

So deranged is the Israeli government on the issue of the huge numbers of Palestinians being slaughtered by Israel, that one Israeli government minister, Naftali Bennett, claimed the Palestinians in Gaza were committing “self-genocide”, by “sending their women and children to stand next to missile launchers in order for them to get killed”.

Of course, if Israel knows there are women and children standing next to missile launchers, why would the Israeli military deliberately murder those people by attacking the launchers? If the answer is that Israel counts achieving a military objective as more important than the lives of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians, that sounds a great deal like an attempt at justifying mass-murder terrorist attacks by Israel.

The American government is complicit in those terrorists attacks by Israel, and in the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people. That has always been the case.

And that is a big reason why the United States is, understandably, so widely despised throughout the Muslim world. If that weren’t enough to make Muslims hate America, add to this the Bush and Obama anti-Muslim terror wars, and the question is not why do “they” hate us?—but why the hell wouldn’t they?

In Obama's "Complicated" World Mass Murder Is Not As Important As Money

Question: who is the mass murderer in this picture? At least the fellow on the left knows what he's doing when he hands out deadly air-defense weapons to a bunch of pirates. The fellow on the right also knows what he's doing when the world is crumbling into crises—he's golfing and fundraising, as if everything is copacetic. And that is a big reason the American people increasingly despise Barack Obama. 
Nope, nobody is going to drone-strike Vladimir Putin just because he murdered almost 300 people, including 85 children. That would be uncivilized. And you know, could start a nuclear war or something.

In fact, Vladimir Putin could invade Ukraine (even more than he has), slaughter its people (more than he has), and take control of the whole country, and Europe and its senile American daddy would sit watching it, as if it were a cheaply made reality program on YouTube.

The deep, increasingly deadly, cowardice that is paralyzingly any effective response to Putin is enabling the Russian leader to slaughter people like cattle, to further destabilize Ukraine, hoping to weaken it prior to a full-scale Russian invasion, and increasingly Putin's madness is provoked by Europe's and America's impotence (manifested by an endless run of "last chance" threats), with Putin supplying one rogue group after another with weapons to further destabilize the world.

Despite Putin's clearly dangerous behavior and designs, his foolish, greedy, and spineless opponents in the West still (disgustingly) want to be Putin's business partners, in working out "solutions", instead of his sworn enemies.

And all of that comes down to Obama-doctrine distancing, which seeks to deescalate—despite the increasing global body count of Obama’s foreign policies.

Yesterday, explaining once again why only silly little children any longer believe in nations standing up for truth, justice, and the American way, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Meet the Press that the world isn't about fighting enemies—it's about the complex job of working with sometimes unruly partners:
"The fact is we live in an extremely complicated world right now, where everybody is working on ten different things simultaneously. Russia is working with us  in a cooperative way on the P5+1. We just had important meetings in Vienna, in order to try to deal with Iran's nuclear program. Russia was constructive and helpful and worked at that effort. Russia has been constructive in helping to remove 100% of the declared chemical weapons from Syria. In fact, that was an agreement we made months ago, and it never faltered, even during these moments of conflict. So this is more complicated than just throwing names at each other and making declarations. There has to be a continued effort to find a way forward. And that's what we're trying to do but we made it clear even as we do that there is no naïveté with respect to what President Obama has done with these very tough sanctions."
So, it is not naïveté that blinds and binds Obama to what Putin is doing. What is it then? That Obama is in fact a silent, but mostly cooperative partner in Putin's piracy? Effectively, that is in fact the case.

At the very least, an unmitigated denunciation of Putin and Russia, seems to be the least he West could do to stand up to the Russian thug. Yet, Kerry says that is useless name-calling. Meanwhile, sending troops (Marines, NATO, NYPD?) to secure the crash site—immediately—would have been the correct and presidential thing to do. Obama did not do that and now the Russian proxy army ("separatists") occupying eastern Ukraine are looting the site and the bodies like the pirates they are.

People in the West live under the control of bloodthirsty maniacs, whose courage knows no bounds—so long as the people the courage is inflicted upon are poor and brown and barely capable of fighting back. Ask the USA and NATO to actually do their jobs and stop Russian thugs from slaughtering and plundering innocent people and these brave defenders of capitalism suddenly have a busy schedule of golfing and fundraising to attend to and cannot be expected to get confrontational with partners working on ten different things simultaneously who also have lots of nuclear weapons.

In fact, as Obama made clear on Friday, the United States is only prepared to go so far in using sanctions against Russia. After all, some Western capitalist might get hurt or something:
"With respect to the effect of sanctions on the [US] economy, we have consistently tried to tailor these sanctions in ways that would have an impact on Russia, on their economy, on their institutions or individuals that are aiding and abetting in the activities that are taking place in eastern Ukraine, while minimizing the impacts on not only the U.S. economy but the global economy. It is a relevant consideration that we have to keep in mind. The world economy is integrated; Russia is a large economy; there’s a lot of financial flows between Russia and the rest of the world...It is something that we have to obviously pay close attention to."
Not truth. Not justice. Money is the deciding factor in determining the role the US will play in the world.

Precisely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A System That Fundamentally Opposes Interests Of Labor And Capitalists Must Fail

This 1920 political cartoon pretty much sums up the relationship between working people and the United States government (the protector of rich people). Uncle Sam, who likes to see everyone working, and not causing "trouble" (for rich people), uncovers the socialist IWW (International Workers of the World) leading workers in a rail strike. Uncle is having none of that, as his number one job is to protect American business from labor. As the National Archives explains this cartoon: "The I.W.W. leadership was viewed with great disdain and fear by company owners and by many government leaders, and the country was already gripped by the "red scare" about socialist/communist ideas." By the time the capitalists had wrecked the world, once again, in 1933, and Americans were suffering horribly in the Great Depression, the "socialist/communist ideas" no longer seemed so worrisome, even to Uncle, who tried out a child's menu portion of socialism in the New Deal. Of course, it wouldn't last.
We are told, constantly by the fascist MSM, that while there are obviously downsides to unrestrained or laissez-faire capitalism (like massively increasing poverty, severe economic and social instability—and the resulting political and military chaos), it is the system most likely to benefit the most people, and especially the people that have always mattered in society—the rich people.

We are told, constantly by the fascist MSM, that America is the model of the world when it comes to the freedom to choose what you want to do—if that is defined to mean “what you want to do—within the narrow scope of choices offered by a capitalist economy and its defects”.

People chant: jobs! jobs! jobs! as if having the opportunity to make somebody else wealthy in return for getting crumbs on the dollar of your labor is better than starving on the street, or as if a system where that’s the choice for the vast majority of people is worth keeping.

The capitalist system deranges people’s thinking, from the nitwitted president currently in charge of the maniacs and monsters of the United States government (the Congress is completely despised and trusted only by crony capitalists, who own it), to the poor workers, who (we are told again and again by the "liberal" side of the fake debate) just want a chance to work hard—to stay poor.

The few people who speak up to say: but this is nuts!, at the least let’s raise the minimum wage, are denounced as “socialists”—like that’s a bad thing—and America haters. Again, that derangement comes down to how you define things. And if America is, as it always was, made by and for rich white men (sardonically referred to as "the people"), it will be defined in such a way that the interests and values of the rich are the only ones given respect and authority and power.

That is where the myths of the American dream and working hard to succeed come into play in the terrible, cynical game. For a while, after the much-hated labor unions had finally won a few concessions from business, many workers (not most, but many) had better chances than before to give their families, their kids, better lives. The capitalist apologists who tell you that was all about "the system" working are lying.

It was about the rich people being afraid. For a while, they were afraid—and they were taxed, regulated, and looked upon with justifiable suspicion by most Americans. That all changed when the Republicans managed to convince the stupid white people in the nation—i.e. half-educated rubes down South and in the West—that voting for rich people was a way to insure that the "right" to be a racist, woman-hating, gun-loving fool would be protected.

Off came the regulatory protections against unrestrained capitalism. On came the war against labor unions, and against worker rights and at least a modest share of the wealth unions had obtained in the first half of the 20th century. On came the war against minorities, against poor people, against women (the majority demographic), and most recently and repulsively, against immigrants.

Clear Evidence Of The War Against Working People

So, we now learn that in Seattle, an alleged socialist worker’s haven, where the city leaders had the compassion and supposed wisdom to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, the city’s business community, viewing itself as the chump in the city’s plan, is fighting back. As Reuters reports this week:
“A Seattle business group has submitted signatures to try to force a public vote to repeal a municipal measure that would raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour, a leader of the organization said on Thursday…The proposal would ask Seattle voters to repeal a $15 minimum wage increase that was approved by a unanimous vote of the City Council last month and signed by Mayor Ed Murray.”
Why would voters do such a thing?

Oh, how about these two reasons:

1. The business community is well organized and obviously well funded to dominate any media campaign informing people before the public vote. The opposition, made up of the many workers who actually need to have their measly paychecks increased to a minimum of $15/hour, certainly have no financial resources to oppose the businesses.

2. The business community is using a heinous (and usual) form of coercion, threatening that whatever is in the interests of workers—given that this must automatically be opposed to the interests of businesses (since it represents higher costs) will force many companies to leave Seattle altogether, and this will ultimately harm workers by sending them from low-wage to no-wage.

That the debate should be carried on in these terms, without the business community being deemed domestic terrorists, is a sign of the essential absurdity and hopelessness of the capitalist system gasping its last.

For one thing, the business community, always seeking lower and lower costs, has a plan: and that is to drive wages down to the lowest point possible—not lowest point a decent human being would allow himself to pay to poor fellow human beings, but lowest possible. And that is why so many undocumented workers are preferred to legal workers in the USA.

Given the first priority of business, to make money, eliminating the human worker from the system, first by impoverishing workers to the point of slavery, and second by automating all operations so that no humans are required—thus even making slavery economically more costly than automation—the position of the American worker is doomed.

What that means is that no matter how cheaply a business can be made to run, by impoverishing and eliminating workers, a key component of the alleged benefit business is supposed to supply to society, has gone missing. The market is not filling up with more and more workers making more and more money. Quite the opposite. So where will the demand to sustain business growth come from?

Millions of American workers have simply dropped out of the work force over the past six years. That is a key reason the unemployment rate has dropped. The “recovery”, which is true for businesses and rich Americans, has never happened for everyone else.

But that's OK.

Why?

Because in this age of globalization, rich people can simply sell things to people—all over the world. And if that doesn't make them enough money, the rich (and the very soulless smart beasts on Wall Street) have an even better idea—running stock market scams on the aspiring rich.

All of this comes down to a simple, ancient, truth: if you allow someone to dominate you, to tell you what to do (because they claim it is good for you), to tell you what is right and wrong (because their definitions of morality and justice really work out great—for them), to tell you your life has value only insofar as it serves the wealth-building (stealing) schemes of capitalist monsters, you deserve what you're getting.

There are alternatives to being a fool.

Wolf Up!—or sheep out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is The World Falling Apart?—Again That Is?—Pundits Are Debating The Question

An imperial solution: Irish troops serving the British Empire, slaughter Chinese troops serving the Qing Dynasty, in the Battle of Amoy, August 26, 1841, one of a number of terrible and humiliating defeats suffered by China in the First Opium War. What is the First Opium War, and what has it got to do with you and your world in 2014? Good questions. And you need to know the answers to get this very complicated 2014 version of the world falling apart. Because, always, the world is also falling into some kind of context-driven place as well—and sometimes even some kind of peace—after the slaughter.
Exactly 100 summers ago, the world voted with its marching armies to tear itself apart. Empires fell. Millions died. In the months leading up to and just after the start of World War I, called at the time the “Great War”, pundits tried to sort out what was happening and why.

The same thing happened in the months prior to September 1, 1939, when the Nazis invaded Poland to begin World War II. The pundits and the pols tried to figure out what would happen next.

In both cases, both wars, while (most) everyone agreed war was a bad idea, most also agreed that the march towards it seemed inevitable, as if believing in a certain outcome helped cement the conditions and actions that would fulfill that prediction.

And once again, in 2014, the pundits are asking if the march towards global war—or global chaos anyway—is happening with inevitable certainty.

In Politico yesterday, Mike Allen noted and linked to different sources, including financial advisors, politicians, and foreign affairs experts, who were viewing the world right now as being particularly, dangerously, unstable.

Allen quoted Mark Grant, an investment manager, from a recent email sent out to clients:
“The level of concern for our safety has certainly intensified. If Damascus and Baghdad were to fall then the extremists controlling some new country may begin to look past their borders to inflict punishment on the rest of us that do not share their views.”
While calling Grant "notoriously alarmist", Allen noted that Grant's concerning analysis of the world "dovetails with [the] memorable analysis that’s the second story on The Wall Street Journal’s front page, 'An Arc of Instability Unseen Since the ’70s'. That WSJ story put things in blunt terms:
"The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn't been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam."
The WSJ article even offers this extraordinary opinion, that the United States has been so weakened and strained by over a decade of chasing terrorists—and in many cases manufacturing them wholesale by stupid blunders—that fundamentally important treaty obligations might be beyond America's ability to honor:
"There is a growing skepticism in Asia about whether the U.S. would abide by its commitment to defend Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries if their territorial disputes with China escalate into conflict, according to Asian diplomats."
When you're hearing words like Vietnam and Munich (as in Chamberlain's 1938 Munich sellout), you know that despite the enormous military power of the United States, the perception is of the USA empire in decline, not ascending.

Are things really as bad as the pundits, and some pols (like John McCain) are claiming?

Or is this a brand of anti-Obama hype, mainly pushed by the right wing to suggest the President is an incompetent manager of America’s world? Just that way of thinking, that the world is America’s to manage, is incredibly outrageous to most other nations, who understandably find a range of ways to push back against that kind of arrogance.

As in 1914, as in 1939, as in 1989 (when the Soviet empire collapsed), in 2014 the world is adapting to a host of changed conditions, not the least of which are represented in the eternal struggle between reason and hysteria on the parts of leaders and their peoples.

In some cases, such as in the Islamic world, faith is being used to whip up hatred and to encourage the belief in a spiritually-directed realignment of the global power structure. While nations in the West fear this movement, and view it as dangerously destabilizing, the fact is that groups such as ISIL (or now IS, the Islamic State), have revealed the rusted bonds that are holding together the remnants of a Middle East drawn by Europeans, to secure cheap oil supplies, at the end of World War I.

That indigenous peoples are motivated to throw off the shackles of a century of capitalist, imperialist, exploitation by the West should not be surprising.

Meanwhile, in Asia, the problem is China, which is seemingly playing the bully in the South China Sea and elsewhere, pushing around a host of its neighbors, including US allies, in order to establish its dominance in the region. While the United States naturally opposes China’s aggressive stance in the region, and has treaty obligations, especially to Japan, that could threaten a regional or global war if things got militarily out of hand, the desire of China to establish a dominant position is not difficult to understand.

Not so long ago, well within Chinese memory, the power relationships were much different than they are today, and China could not stop European nations from treating Asia and especially China like a conquered territory. For example, in one of the most heinous acts of the 19th century, Great Britain decided to deal with what it viewed as an unfair trade balance (or imbalance) with China, by addicting the Chinese nation to opium.

The Chinese government was politically and militarily weak, and Great Britain forced China to give away huge trade concessions, and even the port of Hong Kong (which Great Britain kept as a colony until 1997).

Eventually all the major European powers and the United States would use military force to coerce China into doing what the imperialist Westerners demanded. While most Americans have no idea what the Opium Wars were about, and certainly do not care to know, the humiliation suffered by the Chinese nation at the hands of the West is not forgotten in China.

Also not forgotten is one bloody consequence of that humiliation, a political destabilization, that led to the disastrous Taiping Rebellion, which cost 20 million Chinese killed in one of the deadliest wars in history.

Again, Americans particularly are educationally vacant when it comes to China, and its seemingly quite good reasons for feeling paranoid about the intentions of—pretty much everyone else in the world.

While that is an attitude not exactly inclined to win friends, China's size and wealth mean that it most definitely can exert considerable influence.

Whether that influence takes the world to war, or takes China to a new role as political and military power chief in Asia, we shall have to see.

Ultimately, all the pundits and the pols can do is hypothesize and hope and plan—for what exactly is what should concern all the rest of us.