Donald Trump is an antisocial ass not a model of independent thinking

Despite his arrant stupidity & malignant social hatreds, many say they admire Donald Trump for blunt-speaking. It’s so easy to be blunt-spoken when you can’t get fired or socially ostracized as a result.

But there’s a catch with being forthright. Sometimes it expresses an independent spirit that won’t be cowed. But often it expresses an antisocial spirit that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about other people. The latter is the kind Trump has.

There’s nothing admirable about his frankness; it’s just the arrogance supremacists of all sorts nurture–which makes him contemptible.

9/11 first responders: no healthcare from U.S. Congress & exploitation of their plight by Red Cross

It’s one of many national shames that 9/11 first responders (police, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians) are still not provided adequate healthcare for the pulmonary diseases & cancers that afflict them as a result of their work in that crisis. There’s money for bank bailouts & several wars but the Congressional coffers are dry when it comes to them. Many are incapacitated, many have died as a result.

Despite the criminal default of Congress, there is another resource they should be able to draw on for help. After 9/11, several charities raised more than $1 billion for assistance; the Red Cross alone raised more than $564 million. There’s no accounting nor evidence of Red Cross dispersals except for $154 million nor any reports about the rest of the dough.

Though Congress won’t come up with healthcare funds, a Congressional committee raked the Red Cross for the lack of accountability. That didn’t change their ways because in 2010 they raised another half a billion dollars for Haitian hurricane relief & Haitians only have six houses to show for that.

My maternal grandmother, who was born in the 19th century & was certainly no social critic, always excoriated the Red Cross as nothing but thieves. That’s how far back their corruption goes & how well it’s known.

Of course, the first demand is that Congress provide these men & women the assistance they deserve but we should keep in mind the treachery & grand larceny of the Red Cross in the next crisis when they come crying for our dough.

Bernie Sanders moralizes about gun violence; remains silent on threats to Muslims

Sorry to poke a stick at a political corpse, but is moralizing about gun violence the best Bernie Sanders can do in response to San Bernardino? His sole comment has been a tweet saying “Mass shootings are becoming an almost-everyday occurrence in this country. This sickening & senseless gun violence must stop.”

What about the war-mongering, the inflammatory & threatening anti-Muslim talk, the Trump demands that Muslims be banned from the US? Shouldn’t a progressive candidate say something about all that? Or is Sanders sticking with provincial sewer socialism come hell or high-water?

Government & media lies & conspiracy theorizing

People who want to understand what’s going on in the world have a hell of a problem because our governments are lying to us & media draws on government press releases & officials rather than investigative work for news analyses. The stories don’t add up & San Bernardino is a classic case in point.

The confusions lend themselves to conspiracy theorizing so that nothing is believable & everything becomes political theater directed by the CIA or Mossad. The Arab uprisings involving millions of people to the school shootings at Sandy Hook now become dismissed as frauds.

Of course governments conspire against us but conspiracy theorizing is a political method based on paranoia, speculations, imagination, suspicions, & fears. Quite frankly, it’s a poisonous method that’s taking over too much political discourse. It’s one thing to say the story doesn’t add up; it’s quite another to say it never happened or that it was a special ops drama.

Some things are verifiable; others never will be unless we get governments to open the books on their operations & surveillance. Chasing the conspiracies of the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, or labeling everything a false flag operation does not serve the movements for social change. Until we change the world, we have to live with the deceptions & uncertainties. But there’s plenty of evidence for what did happen, enough for us to chart a political course.

We don’t have to know if there were three shooters at San Bernardino or two to know that Muslims are being targeted for violence & persecution or that social hatred for them serves war-mongering. That’s where we focus our energy–on rebuilding antiwar opposition, Palestinian solidarity & BDS, & support for immigration & refugee rights. Because that is what we can control based on what we know for sure.

Media news blackout on all U.S. wars

Kabul, Afghanistan ( Rahmat Gul:AP) Dec 8 2015

Last week, media showed a photo of an Afghan man making tea. Today, they show a woman visiting a graveyard in Kabul. The US war & bombing have been going on there over 14 years. What happened to war journalism? It’s even worse when it comes to Iraq & as bad as the coverage of Kashmir.

After the Vietnam War, media attributed antiwar sentiment to its war coverage–neglecting to attribute the intransigence of the Vietnamese or the massive power of the international antiwar movement. The war coverage was puny, like has always been true of war, but it was broader & more extensive than coverage of previous wars. There was coverage of war-weary & injured soldiers in the field & even photographic documentation of war crimes like napalm victims & summary executions of Vietnamese–unlike WWII coverage which was primarily “heroic” moments for propaganda purpose–like the posed shot of raising the US flag at Iwo Jima or US marines landing at Normandy. Is there any coverage at all of the Korean War?

The US Pentagon was concerned by the antiwar effects of Vietnam War photography & during the 1991 Gulf War it banned most media coverage. In response to media protests of exclusion, the Pentagon began “embedding” journalists during the second Gulf War in 2003.

Embedded journalists travel with military units. They actually sign contracts with the Pentagon about what they are allowed to report. So what they see & report is controlled by the Pentagon. As one US Marine official said, “Frankly, our job is to win the war. Part of that is information warfare. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment.”

Some have justified embedding by pointing out that journalists are targeted in modern war, held hostage, even murdered. And that’s true. Journalism is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, even in countries not at war but under occupation, like Mexico, or under dictatorships, like Egypt & Saudi Arabia. It’s a lot safer to ride in a tank or a Humvee than it is to travel by car through territory being bombed indiscriminately by the US.

But how does that explain why embedding journalists means there is no war reporting at all? That there is what amounts to a news blackout on US wars? Charming to see a man making morning tea & a woman visiting her relatives in the cemetery but it’s not war reporting. And war reporting matters when the US is bombing hospitals & the Green Beret are committing war crimes.

We cannot force media, the handmaiden of the Pentagon, to report on US wars. But we also cannot allow news blackouts to govern the level of our antiwar activities.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq! US out of Syria!

(Photo by Rahmat Gul/AP)

US news on an amphetamine blast in place of news reporting

All the news networks are inflammatory about San Bernardino but ABC takes the cake. David Muir, the parvenu being groomed as anchor, reads the news like he’s on amphetamines–which is perfectly suited for the modern Grimm fairy tales they’re passing off as news. Muslim boogeymen & women everywhere.

Yesterday Muir reported, in than panicked style of his, that every day YouTube, FB, & Twitter receive 90,000 messages from ISIS. Their algorithms must be working full tilt. Or does some schnook have to go in there & delete all 90,000 by hand? And how do they know the messages are from ISIS & not some teenage pranksters?

Of course, the marvel is that ISIS can do all that military damage, holding off 44 armies with bombers, & still have such an active social media life. Before they’re taken out, they could do the world some good by explaining their secret for multitasking.