Women don’t kiss ass anymore; get used to it!

So many times when someone on social media gets testy with me they accuse me of egotism & building a cult. Narcissism & grandstanding in politics get on my nerves too so I make it easy on my accusers & dump their asses. But I’ll tell you what’s really going on. A lot of people, regrettably men & women, want women to speak timorously, want us to hedge our opinions like we’re uncertain, want us to blow hearts & kisses so as not to offend, & apologize all over the place. They want us to be uncertain, cowed, deferential. We’re only allowed to speak in a strong voice if we’re credentialed with advanced degrees.

This is when feminism meets Godzilla & our tormentors learn the meaning of the block button–social media’s special kind of hell.

Child immigration damns neoliberal immigration policy

Infant immigrant in Med Sea (Sascha Jonack:German Armed Forces) May 16 2015

This infant was rescued with his/her mother in the Mediterranean by a German frigate. (There was no explanation for why a German warship was in the Mediterranean.) Originally, I was going to do a post on the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children immigrants on every international route; on the thousands of children in US foster care because of massive deportations under the Obama regime; of the wrenching trauma for children left behind when parents leave for work.

The frightened little face of this baby renders words unnecessary & shows up the barbarism of neoliberal immigration policy.

May he/she have a blessed life.

Immigration is a human right! Open the borders to every man, woman, & child. No human being is illegal.

(Photo by Sascha Jonack/German Armed Forces)

Kangaroo court justice in Egypt

Mohamed Morsi (Reuters) May 16 2015

A Cairo criminal court today issued a preliminary death sentence for former president Mohamed Morsi, deposed by the military in 2013 after massive protests against his rule. It’s a preliminary ruling because the court is legally bound to send the case to the grand mufti for consultative review. According to the checks & balances in a kangaroo court, the grand mufti’s opinion is not binding on the court since he’s not a rubber stamp operation & has disagreed with the death sentence in hundreds of cases.

Morsi is already serving a 20-year sentence for ordering the arrest & torture of protesters while in power in 2012. Who could disagree with that verdict? Except that it was handed down by a judiciary which has faithfully served military dictatorship for decades.

Media isn’t particularly good at coherent narrative but there appear to be two cases going on in the courtroom simultaneously–just to make sure we understand the kangaroo character of justice here. One part of this case is called the “Hamas Espionage case” & includes 20 imprisoned defendants, including Morsi & other members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), as well as 16 others who fled the country. There’s a litany of charges against them including spying for Hamas, colluding with Hezbollah & Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, & smuggling foreign agents into Egypt to destabilize the country. The court handed down preliminary death sentences to 16 of them but did not include Morsi.

The other case which got Morsi & 100 other defendants the death sentence is his alleged role in the Wadi el-Natrun prison break during the 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubarak. The prison, north of Cairo, was used to jail MB activists, including Morsi, under the regime of Mubarak. An earlier court concluded that Hamas & Hezbollah colluded with the MB to orchestrate a jailbreak. Morsi was among the 20,000 who escaped. The prosecution accused them of vandalizing & setting fire to prison buildings, murder of prison guards, attempted murder, looting prison weapon depots, & releasing prisoners from Hamas, Hezbollah, the MB, assorted “jihadists,” & ordinary criminals. The mind reels before such legal horse manure.

Morsi may or may not face a public hanging since he dutifully served the same masters as the the Mubarak & Sisi juntas. He was no rebel or champion of the oppressed but a violent opponent of the Egyptian uprising. They reduce their options for future minions & useful stooges if they execute him. What these show trials are all about is not getting Mohamed Morsi but targeting the Muslim Brotherhood & destroying every vestige of popular resistance.

It doesn’t matter how reactionary or violent the role of the MB during Morsi’s tenure. When the military junta re-took power in July 2013 & ousted Morsi, they turned on the MB who had exhausted their role in reversing the revolution. The Sisi regime used violent assaults on the MB as a scapegoat to destroy the Egyptian uprising. You can detest the role of the MB but you cannot in justice stand mute while the regime goes after them hammer & tongs, assaulting them, shooting them down, arresting & torturing them, declaring them a terrorist organization. The defense of the MB today is the defense of the Egyptian revolution.

One thing that’s quite evident in this trial is how linked the Palestinian struggle is to the Egyptian revolution. When the kangaroo court made Hamas a centerpiece in the trial it is because solidarity between Palestinians & Egyptians is the very heart of social transformation in the Middle East.

Our fullest solidarity with the MB under attack & our strongest condemnation of this kangaroo travesty.

(Photo of Morsi in the docket from Reuters)

Forbes magazine: our own little slice of satire

Sweatshop game (2)

Who needs Charlie Hebdo when you’ve got Forbes? The magazine, which is partially owned by Bono from U2, has an entire stable of trained seals who bark on cue in defense of sweatshops & child labor & against the BDS movement, accusing it of bullying celebrities.

In researching something in Forbes, I happened across the 2012 review of an iPad game available at the app store. It appeared to be sarcasm, which was surprising from the dull minds over at Forbes, but it’s indistinguishable from the sweatshop paeans written by Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, & Jeffrey Sachs, so maybe not.

The game is named Sweatshop & the gamer is put in the role of a sweatshop owner “in an unnamed poor country, making bags, trainers, & other fripperies for relatively rich westerners.”

One game figure is Boy “representing the workers, & making communistic demands for water breaks, toilets & the like” & another is Boss “representing the urge to wring every possible cent of profit from every worker” & who advocated the torture of employees “for the fun of it.”

There are different kinds of workers represented in the game–from children, “who are slow but cheap” to robots which are faster & more efficient than humans but “also bleed less after industrial accidents.”

Don’t be too sure it’s sarcasm. We know from when the owner Steve Forbes ran for president in 1996 & 2000 that he’s a complete dunce & dour to boot–a classic case of privilege makes you stupid. The bon mot is not one of his gifts. The verbal blunder is more his style. Wit is beyond his grasp–unless you count putting your foot in your mouth.

Overall, the reviewer said Sweatshop was a fun game which didn’t “wear its message too heavily.” One doesn’t know whether to be creeped out or just aghast at the cynicism. Or both.

(Photo is cover of Sweatshop)