Monarchies and military dictatorship bomb democracy into Yemen

Yemen refugee woman (Feisal Omar:Reuters) Apr 17 2015

Photojournalists play such an important role in understanding politics because they capture moments like this which take war from abstraction to violent reality . This fellow is carrying an elderly woman off a ship of war-refugees fleeing Yemen for Somalia. That is the kind of mess the US & its monarchical allies have made of the Middle East–where you flee from Saudi warplanes in Yemen to US drone bombers in Somalia. Many of the refugees coming off these boats may in fact be among the 250,000 Somalians who fled to Yemen to escape US bombing or cross the border into Saudi Arabia to find work.

The US has been militarily involved with drones & special forces in Yemen & Somalia for years which is why both countries are in such utter shambles. The US has buttressed its propaganda about fighting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with farcical spectacles like the underwear bomber & the ink cartridge bomb. Some analysts in the US even suggest the “instability” of the Yemen & Somalia regimes are a result of US interference. Of course it is. Chaos & civil conflict is where the Pentagon sees its fortunes & the very best way to destroy opposition & popular revolution against tyranny.

The Arab uprisings scared the hell out of the US, European, & most Middle East countries. Democracy would undo their at once extemporized & long-range plans for control & plunder of the Middle East. Turning people against each other is a colonial strategy, not viewed in the Pentagon as a regrettable consequence but the very end goal. It is also a monarchical strategy to maintain feudal control over kleptocratic capitalist economies.

To think that of the ten countries involved in bombing democracy into Yemen, seven are monarchies, one a military dictatorship, & two are tyrannies. That only makes sense if you’re completely stupid.

Our fullest solidarity with the people of Yemen & Somalia. Our pledge is to do our utmost to rebuild the international antiwar movement.

(Photo by Feisal Omar/Reuters)

Hunting elephants and that karma is a bitch thing

It’s not wise to get all high & mighty about people who like hunting because many are just inculcated with the “great chain of being” thing & can’t see animals as anything more than brutish & without spirit or emotions. It’s part of the alienation from nature that modern urban dwellers feel. And may be it’s just alienation in general. Or, more likely, they’re just complete knuckleheads.

But I read today about a great white hunter in the lower Zambezi Valley of Africa who led safaris on elephant hunts. He was charged by an elephant bull he was tracking with a client (likely one of those affluent nimrods who pose with their dead prey like the king of Spain & Donald Trump’s dumb-ass kids did).

The elephant was in musth, the frenzied state of rutting season, & in no mood to be taken out by some dilettante hunter & a thrill killer. Our man the professional hunter got off one shot before he bit a hoof & Beelzebub ushered him to that special place in hell reserved for elephant killers.

May he RIP but now he knows for sure that karma is a bitch.

Time Magazine annual list of 100 most worthless people

Time Magazine just published Its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Nominees were sorted into categories of Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Icons. Most of them would better fit under the category Worthless Bums.

Kanye West & Kim Kardashian are included as Titans–& the list goes downhill from there. The Koch brothers are honored; Tim Cook, the head of Apple which employs child labor; Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India who engaged in ethnic cleansing Muslims but was praised in a laudatory essay by Obama as “India’s reformer-in-chief” with an “ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women & girls & unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change.” Wow! Do Indians know that? Do India’s Muslims feel conciliatory now?

There’s the usual line-up of politicians like Putin, Clinton, Merkel, Elizabeth Warren (who’s being primed for office), Xi Jinping of China, king Salman of Saudi Arabia, & Muhammadu Buhari, the former dictator just elected president of Nigeria as the “least awful” candidate. Laudatory pieces for the honored were written by creeps like Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, Paul Wolfowitz, David Cameron. But certainly the coup de grâce of damnation has to be the inclusion of Netanpsycho, the engineer of Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing.

There’s some inoffensive sorts like Malala Yousafzai, Pope Francis, Ruth Bader Ginzberg, Bjork, Taylor Swift on the list. But let’s just cut to the chase here: the list is a great big red alert. Our society is in a political & cultural crisis if these are the people we’re supposed to admire. Most of them should be prosecuted & the other ones considered past their 15 minutes of inglorious fame.

Reposted from April 2013 after bombing of Boston Marathon

Syrian man grieving son (Manu Brabo:AP)

We grieve the death of 8-year-old Martin Richard, whose 6-year-old sister lost her leg & whose mother suffered a brain injury from the Boston bomb. The violence of little Martin’s death exposes the horrors millions of children in war zones endure in a way the US media detaches us from in order to make us indifferent. But the loss of this little boy is a tragedy & a crime not diminished by comparison to the suffering of millions of children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, DR Congo, Palestine, Bahrain, & so many other countries at the hands of US military aggression & global plunder.

Facing the horrors of this child’s death drives home the political imperative of protesting against US wars & of demanding the end of drone bombing of civilians. Children’s lives are more precious that the gold & oil & diamonds they are fought over. They are among the first victims of war & the primary reason for changing the world to make it suitable for them to live & love in. The US government will use Martin’s death to promote more war & less freedom. We must respond demanding no war & more freedom!

Here a Syrian man weeps while holding the body of his son, killed by the Syrian Army in Aleppo, Syria (October 2012). The photo is one among several by an Associated Press team who just won a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism.

(Photo by Manu Brabo/AP)

European Union and Frontex crimes against human and immigrant rights in the Mediterranean Sea

African immigrants (Alessandro Fucarini:AP) Apr 16 2015

The European Union’s (EU) racist immigration policies have created an extreme humanitarian crisis on the Mediterranean Sea. Last Sunday, another boat of African immigrants that set off from Libya capsized & 400 people, including children, drowned. Only about 150 were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. The Italian Coast Guard claims it “intercepted” 42 boats between last Friday & Monday, rescuing 8,500 immigrants. Photos show infants, seniors, pregnant women being rescued; they also show immigrant’s bodies washing up on Italian beaches.

Since the 2011 US-NATO “emancipation” from Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan government has become unstable & the country increasingly violent & chaotic. In such a situation, immigration networks have been able to operate more freely. Frontex (the EU agency that coordinates defense of Europe’s borders against refugees) reported there are at least 500,000 more immigrants in Libya awaiting transport to Europe. That’s not counting refugees from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, & elsewhere embarking at other points. How does Frontex know that? Because it operates a multi-million dollar high tech, sci-fi surveillance program using live satellite imagery, drone surveillance for close-ups, & radar to collect information along the immigration routes & it gathers data from Spanish, Italian, & Greek coast guard.

If Frontex has such a surveillance capacity, why do the number of boat capsizes & immigrant deaths continue to increase? Cause they don’t give a rat’s ass. In a telling omission, Frontex doesn’t record the number of those who’ve drowned in the Mediterranean but a consortium of European journalists reported that 23,000 had drowned between 1999 & 2013. Staggering–& evidence that should be used in a prosecution of Frontex & the EU for criminal neglect & mass murder.

Frontex (i.e., the EU) does not see it’s role as search & rescue but as interception. They are an agency to apprehend refugees & deport them back to their home countries. Between October 2013 & 2014, the Italian government ran Mare Nostrum, a search & rescue operation that ran from the Italian coast right up to the coast of Libya. It was hardly a model rescue operation since Lampedusa fishermen who helped rescue drowning immigrants last October reported the coast guard was negligent & delayed in response. But Italy ended operation Mare Nostrum last October & Frontex operation Triton took over. The Italian navy said it would still respond to any distress call but would no longer proactively search for boats in trouble. Of course maritime law requires even private ships to rescue any boat in need of help so this is no big largesse from Italy.

Rather than replicating operation Mare Nostrum, Frontex will not patrol international waters between Italy & North Africa but will only operate within 30 miles of the Italian coast. More importantly, in violation of maritime law, they do not see their mission as search & rescue but as border control & surveillance. Just when the demand increases for search & rescue in the Mediterranean, Triton, a joint force of European countries, will operate on a third of the budget of Mare Nostrum (cut from a budget of 9 million euro per month to 3 million per month), using only seven boats, two planes, & one helicopter. That rises to the level of human rights criminality. But Frontex hasn’t money to spare for leasing boats because it’s chartering planes to deport refugees back to their own countries.

On Friday, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without borders) announced it would operate search & rescue boats in the Mediterranean between May & October. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed.

Immigration is a human right! Granting asylum to refugees is an ancient humanitarian practice the EU thinks it can thumb its nose at. Abolish Frontex! Dump the EU! Open the damn borders!
Photo is of rescued immigrants; the young woman is holding a number tag issued by the Italian police after disembarking from an Italian coast guard ship in Palermo.

(Photo by Alessandro Fucarini/AP)

Standardized tests are a weapon of mass destruction for public education

It’s not easy figuring out the full story behind the cheating scandal of Atlanta teachers on the standardized tests. Even without all the facts, I do understand that charging them with the RICO statute used for organized crime & racketeering & sending them to prison for years is a mockery of justice.

Those standardized tests, which are a mockery of education, are being defied & denounced across this country by teachers & parents fed up with their tyranny. They are part of the “No Child Left Behind” program which is a weapon of mass destruction lobbed at public education.

I’m going to hazard a guess–call it playing the “race card”–but that pompous-assed white judge would likely not have thrown the book at the accused teachers if they weren’t Black. If the US government weren’t systematically attempting to re-segregate, undermine & destroy public education, “cheating” (or helping their students) would not be necessary.

Attention Islamophobics!

“Attention bigots: when you vandalize a mosque by putting bacon on the door of it – like what happened yesterday in Oklahoma – you are just wasting bacon. Muslims are not supposed to eat pork. But pork is not kryptonite to Muslims. Nor is pork to Muslims like garlic to a vampire. At least google stuff before you waste more bacon!”

from Dean A Obeidallah, a Muslim comedian in the US

Misogyny, idiocy and the Clinton campaign

Snooping around a Facebook friend’s wall–because she’s quite an advocate for Clinton–I found this defense: “When a male reigns the country, he uses brain more than heart. But when a female reigns, she first uses heart, than gives chance to the brain.”

Can we get it out of the way at the outset of the campaign that this odious & misogynist tripe is an insult to the intelligence of women & may overstate the same in men? Whoever is chosen in the US will be little more than a ventriloquist dummy.

More follies of the privileged

Gwyneth Paltrow is going to live for seven days on the $29 per week budget of NYC families on food stamps. It’s part of a challenge from a celebrity chef on the NYC Food Bank board.

Putting aside how massively patronizing it is, our girl is probably happy as a clam. Given the anorexia & bulimia among celebrities, she’ll probably be doubling her normal food intake. KKKKaty Windsor is still on two biscuits a day until the baby comes; then she’s back to one biscuit. So she’d be smart to get one of those charities in London that she waves for to pull the same contest.