Thursday, October 27, 2011

Libyan Support for Gaddafi

These quotes are from a Counterpunch article I read today. It reminded me how badly misinformed we are about the important issues of the day. The corporate media keep us in a state of "perfect disinformation" as Paul Craig Roberts says. We know nothing about Libya, despite the fact that hours of broadcasting have been dedicated to this story. All we hear is how horrible Gaddafi was and how much Libyans hated him and how badly they wanted to be bombed by NATO in order to be saved by the west.

Occasionally we do hear a different point of view. A point of view not dependent upon corporate media or the desire to maintain access with the white house.

"When the bodies were first exhibited curious people came and some said bad insults. But by the next day the atmosphere has completely changed. People came to honor Colonel Gadhafi for his courage in dying for what he believed was best for Libya and that was to keep Libya free from colonialism. I don’t believe the media is accurately reporting this."

“We also visited the Mahari Hotel in Sirte where we saw more than 50 bodies of Gadaffi supporters. Some had their hands behind them bound by plastic handcuffs and were executed at close range. Others had been taken from hospital beds and murdered. This crime is just one more example of the lies of the TNC and NATO. NATO forces commanded and controlled their rebels and knew what they have been doing. NATO is responsible for destroying much of our country and for what will surely happen in the coming days.”

Now the real resistance will begin! The Libyan people are now even surer than they were during this summer that the TNC sold our country to the NATO colonial countries."

Read the whole story. It is liberating to take the red pill.

Low Black Turn Out in 2012, Despite Obama Love

When I went to my polling place in 2008, I saw a line that went out the door, down the block, and around the corner. Even in a presidential election year I had never witnessed such a sight.

I assumed that many of the people waiting to vote were going through this process for the first time. It wasn't really surprising, I had heard many people say that they were excited at the prospect of seeing a black president, something they never thought would happen.

But I don't care what they tell a New York Times reporter, the never bothered to vote before 2008 crowd will not be back in 2012. Those of us in the black community who publicly criticize Obama are few, but many Obama lovers will go back to their disengagement. In 2008 he won red states like Indiana and North Carolina because of high black turn out. That won't happen again.

Black people won't bad mouth him, and they won't vote for republicans, but the people who have lost jobs and homes and hope won't be standing on long lines to vote in 2012. They will not verbalize their disillusionment, but they will stay home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obama Tells More Lies About Gaddafi

It was bad enough that the Obama administration is responsible for Moammar Gaddafi's gruesome end at the hands of a lynch mob. Now they have to heap lies upon his mutilated corpse. The New York Times reports that the "rebel" government, Obama's own puppets, have found a treasure trove of documents linking Gaddafi to a plot to topple the Iraqi government.

It is utterly absurd that Gaddafi would have any reason to overthrow the Iraqi government, and even if he did, why would he leave written evidence of such a plot? No matter. The bizarre assertion will be accepted by the corporate media, "serious" pundits, members of congress and most Americans.

Obama's lies about Iran and Libya are as bad as Bush's tales of yellow cake and aluminum tubes which supposedly proved that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. If the media and congress react to Obama's lies in the same way they did about Bush's, then we are headed for more war.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wikileaks Hastened End of U.S. Occupation

Barack Obama wanted to keep some troops in Iraq past the 2011 deadline, but he also wanted those troops to have immunity from Iraqi prosecution. He might have worked out this deal with prime minister al-Maliki, but a Wikileaks revelation may have scuttled the back room deal. In 2006, "U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi."

There were numerous atrocities committed during the eight year long occupation, but this particular incident was revealed in the release of a Wikileaks cable and the resulting revulsion made it impossible for business as usual to take place.

If this revelation did keep the U.S. from continuing its occupation, the two men most responsible for ending the terror which America inflicted on Iraq are Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. Manning has been imprisoned without trial for over one year. He has not been brought to trial and yet president Obama has declared him guilty. Julian Assange will probably be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges from the UK and will likely then be extradited to the United States.

These two heroes should be recipients of the nobel peace prize instead of Barack Obama, instead they have been caught in the maw of American law. Why should Moammar Gaddafi have been killed by a lynch mob when George Bush and Tony Blair live without fear of prosecution? He didn't do anything that American and European leaders haven't done, yet he was summarily executed. Bush, Blair and now Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy have killed thousands. They will be lionized, make millions when they leave office, and be allowed to die peacefully in their beds.

There is no justice in this world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Repeat, Bush Agreed to Leave Iraq by the End of 2011

Who can forget the wonderful moment when journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoe at President Bush? It was December 14, 2008 and Bush appeared in Baghdad with Prime Minister al-Maliki to highlight the security agreement which included a pledge for the U.S. to remove its troops by
December 31, 2011.

Al-Zaidi was having none of it, and hurled one of the best insults of all time. “This is the farewell kiss, you dog.”

In any case, I write this to repeat what I said earlier. Obama is doing nothing more than what he was obligated to do by his predecessor.
Bush Signed the Agreement to Get Troops Out of Iraq by the End of 2011

Obama should get no credit for taking combat troops out of Iraq. In 2008, the Bush administration signed a Status of Forces Agreement, SOFA, to get combat troops out by the end of 2011. Obama had no choice but to abide by this agreement. Also, like his predecessor, he is trying to finagle ways to keep military “advisers” in that country, in this case up to 5,000 military contractors. Obama has as much teflon as Reagan, getting credit when he deserves none.

Nothing to see here, keep it moving.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Obama Kills Again

The peace prize laureate has struck again. It was only a matter of time before Muammar Gaddafi would be killed. As always, my Black Agenda Report colleague Glen Ford was incredibly prescient when he said back in February that the Libyan president was “on the outs.” Actually that turned out to be an under statement, as Gaddafi is now very much dead.

There is nothing good, absolutely nothing good about the United States and NATO deciding to over throw a sovereign government. It is up to people throughout the world to have all the rights of self-determination. They must decide for themselves how or if they want to change a government. Not that the west really cares about who is or isn’t cruel to their own countrymen and women. The humanitarian power grab is the first line of defense in explaining the unspeakable. Now Libya’s oil is ripe for western plunder. On the outs indeed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Demand the End of Wall Street

“There is no reforming Wall Street, only its dismantling and simultaneous replacement by public institutions for allocating capital for human needs and development.”
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

As usual, Glen gets to the heart of the matter. The question of what Occupy Wall Street should demand is more complicated than most people are willing to acknowledge. Capitalism has been in crisis for quite some time, and the post-2008 bail outs have proven that it is a system on life support. TARP and the federal reserve have not resuscitated the patient despite giving it CPR, that is to say public money, over and over again. Glen tells us what we must do rather than what we must demand because, “. . . there is no point in demanding anything from your enemy, except that he drop dead in a hurry.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chris Floyd on Occupy Wall Street

I started out as a skeptic. I wanted Occupy Wall Street to come up with an agenda, and to dump the democrats once and for all. I have been writing, speaking and thinking about issues for a long time now, and I realize that I am ahead of other people who are new at social action.

I have had second thoughts after attending the Times Square rally last week. I saw and felt the energy, and yes the joy created by people who are taking the first steps to doing something different. Chris Floyd, one of my favorite bloggers, puts it this way.

"It seems to me that the whole point of the Occupy movement, in its multiplicity of forms, is to MAKE A START. To not simply bow the head and bend the knee, and give up and say, Oh Lordy, the Man is too powerful for me, He controls everything, there's nothing anyone can do. The point, it seems to me, is just to show up and stand up and say out loud, as Thoreau said, "We disassociate ourselves from this rigged, corrupt, immoral system."

Isn't this what dissidents have been urging people to do for years now? I know this site has been full of commenters -- and my own blog posts -- calling for something exactly like this. Saying: Do it individually, if you have to, do it en masse -- but DO SOMETHING! Stand up, speak out and disassociate yourself from all this evil. Start looking for other ways: try this, try that, try the other, and if all that fails, try something else -- but DO SOMETHING."

I am still concerned about the lack of specificity and I'm not comfortable with the slow and amorphous nature of the consensus method of having discussions. Still I am glad that this movement has begun. I have to remember that I started out just wanting to end a war. I never thought I would be proudly saying that I have no intention of voting for another democratic president. I had to start somewhere.
Diet Soap Podcast

One of my favorite things to do is appear on Doug Lain's Diet Soap Podcast. This week we talked about Occupy Wall Street and the Obama administration threats against Iran. Listen up. It is a great way to spend an hour.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protest in Times Square Last Night

I was at Times Square last night as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest. I didn't see this particular incident, but there were nearly as many police as protesters. It was ironic, being in the seat of consumption and corporate promotion, but I guess that made it a great location.

I'm not sure what will become of OWS. I have concerns because their anger is a bit diffuse to me. The organization by consensus mode is not conducive for formulating a list of concrete demands, which is the foundation of all successful mass movements.

I think those of us who have ideas about where OWS should go ought to go and get involved. I have to put myself on the line a bit and make good on my own ideals just like the OWS organizers have done.
New York State Prison Population Declines

First the good news. New York state's prison population has dropped by almost 20% since 2000. The end of the Rockefeller drug laws, which gave judges no discretion in handing down some of the harshest sentences in the nation, has not only decreased the state's prison population, but decreased the rates of racial disparities as well.

These statistics prove that the war on drugs was meant to do nothing more than put as many black people behind bars as possible. Sentences were driven by drug convictions, and the drop in those convictions results in few people in jail. Now there are roughly 7,700 fewer black people in New York prisons than there were in 2000.

The bad news is that the United States still has more than 2 million people in jails and prisons, a larger number than any other nation. Budgetary constraints are forcing some states to release prisoners early, but every state is not like New York. Despite an overall drop in crime, some states continue to build prisons, many of them privately owned and with an obvious interest in putting and keeping more people behind bars. The New Jim Crow is still alive and well, but successes must be noted.

Friday, October 14, 2011

War Criminal President

I have been privileged to read the wonderful work of Arthur Silber for some years now. His blog, Power of Narrative, is one of my all time favorites. Despite the fact that I have never actually met Arthur, I consider him to be a mentor of mine. His words crystallized all that I had been thinking about the state of our country and the world. His analysis is clear and simple, we have a ruling class, and they use the quadrennial electoral extravaganza to fool us into thinking that we actually have democracy.

Back in 2008 when all but a handful of us collapsed like love sick groupies for Barack Obama, Silber was one of a group of writers who as they say, had Obama's number. As Silber put it, the choice of McCain or Obama was nothing but a choice of war criminals. He argued in favor of a McCain victory because progressives, in their faux activism, might oppose his policies. Silver was correct in his assessment. Progressives stood down when Obama won, and have accepted cuts to entitlements, endless war, and the biggest transfer of public wealth to the private sector ever in history.

In just the past few months, Obama assassinated Osama bin Laden, over threw the Libyan government, assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki and is now threatening Iran. The Iran threat has been ratcheted up by yet another terror plot which would never have existed if the FBI hadn't created it. This time we are told that Iranians made a pact with Mexican drug dealers to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. It is psy-ops at its worst, or perhaps its best, depending on how one looks at it.

All of the usual "serious" suspects, from establishment think tanks to wimpy pundits, accept this bizarre tale uncritically. Obama is doing with Iran what he did with Libya, getting NATO to co-sign his killing spree. The British foreign secretary had this to say, presumably with a straight face. The plot "would appear to constitute a major escalation in Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism outside its borders.” The New York Times repeats what the administration says, what better way to maintain its access.

When Obama assassinated al-Awlaki, the administration leaked classified information to the Times in order to justify its actions. I suppose the leakers should be treated like Bradley Manning, who is accused of a less serious release of classified information.

Obama has gotten away with policies that the right wing only dreamed about. Ronald Reagan gave up his efforts to kill Gaddafi and Bush demurred on making war against Iran. Bush wanted to cut social security, but democratic outcry made it impossible. No so with Obama, who has gotten his party to go along with his dirty deeds. John McCain may have sung Bomb Bomb Iran, but it will be Obama who gets away with carrying out the crime.

When he does, what will the peace movement do? It is clear that the protests leading up to the invasion of Iraq were more anti-Bush and anti-republican than they were truly anti-war. Will the same people who joined me in the streets of New York in 2003 join me again when bombs fall on Tehran or Isfahan?

The NATO backed "rebels" in Libya are slaughtering black people with impunity, a modern day lynch mob paid with cold hard cash from the west. Our voices are muted, and black Americans continue making themselves politically irrelevant by saying nothing about Obama's policies, even one as evil as this which targets a black population.

Today the administration announced that 100 American troops are headed to Uganda on a "humanitarian" mission. The missions are always humanitarian but they end up the same way, expanding imperialism and creating misery.

So my friend Arthur Silber was right. We have a war criminal at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and he will probably be there until January 2017, at which time he will be succeeded by another one.

Arthur has been in ill health and hasn't posted since August. I wish him well, mostly because he is a friend, but also because we need to hear from him at this time.