Capitalism has entered the Twilight Zone: NATO deploys warships to Aegean Sea to stop the movement of refugees to Greece

US navy ships as part of NATO

There is an alarming development that makes you question if neoliberalism hasn’t entered the Twilight Zone. NATO, one of the chief military forces involved in creating the refugee crisis from Syria & the Middle East, has ordered warships into the Aegean Sea to patrol the Turkish coast & stop the flow of refugees. They of course present it as thwarting criminal networks that smuggle refugees. Anyone willing to swallow that story might be too stupid to live, as the ineloquent so bluntly put it.

Sending warships against plastic dinghies? Is that how they stopped refugees from the African coast? Did they torpedo them? Rescue them? Turn them back? Is that the EU answer to the refugee crisis?

Ever since FRONTEX, the EU agency for policing immigration, started its military operation against refugees from the African coast last year, there’s been an almost complete news blackout. We know there are naval vessels from several European countries prowling the central Mediterranean in an operation described only in ambiguities. They claimed they were out to stop human traffickers but there was absolutely no elaboration of who these traffickers were. Were they fishermen trying to make extra bucks by helping people get to Spain or Italy? Or were they sophisticated criminal enterprises? How sophisticated do you have to be to provide plastic dinghies & rickety boats to refugees?

As the EU began to close down the corridor from Syria to Turkey to Greece, we again began to hear about those traffickers. Were they the guys selling plastic dinghies to refugees? But of course the trade would not exist at all if the EU were operating by international law & helping refugees flee safely from war zones. Instead of warships, they should long ago have sent ferries to transport refugees.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is heading up the NATO military offensive in the Aegean against refugees. So now we know what she was negotiating in Turkey this week when she said she was “not just appalled but horrified” by the suffering caused by Russian bombing in Syria. Russian bombers, human smugglers, evil fairies from outer space all aligned against poor NATO & the European Union. Meanwhile, there are 50,000 people in a war zone at the Syrian-Turkish border unable to cross & unable to go back because of massive bombing.

NATO is a 28-nation military alliance headed by the US Pentagon. There isn’t a nation on this planet–particularly those 28 nations–where people should not be picketing & protesting the deployment of warships to stop refugees. Just when you think neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, can’t get more savage, they prove their malice has inexhaustible sources fed by hell.

(Photo is the US NATO fleet from US Navy)

The murder of Irene Garza by a Catholic priest: 56 years of impunity

Irene Garza

An 83-year-old ex-priest named John Feit was arrested Tuesday in Arizona for the 1960 murder of a 25-year-old woman named Irene Garza. Ms Garza was a teacher. She went to confession with then Fr. Feit at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen & was pulled five days later from an irrigation canal. Asphyxiation was the cause of death.

There’s no point in speculating on the 56 year default of prosecutors who apparently had evidence for indicting Feit. We don’t know enough about the details of the case. But we do know in 1960 it was considered unthinkable a priest would be so monstrous. Revelations about the issue of priest sexual assaults did not start coming out until the 1980s & later when the victims began to speak out. It should be said that the women’s movement had significant impact on dragging the crime of child sexual assault out of the darkness.

The church hierarchy transferred Feit shortly after the murder to a monastery & on to several other locations which is shamefully how they handled all priests so charged. Let me say as a personal aside, that when I was in the convent in 1962, a young nun who molested Down Syndrome children was simply transferred to work in an old folks home & assigned to do novenas for redemption.

Family members claim authorities sheltered Feit–for whatever reason, including possible disbelief. But police took it up later as a cold case file in an era when there was no longer impunity for priests. Nor any disbelief left to tap.

When Bishop Daniel Flores, head of this Catholic diocese, was asked today by a reporter if the diocese would stop moving priest offenders to evade prosecution, he got all mumble-mouthed & dummied up instead of taking a decisive stand against sexual crimes by priests. And here we thought Pope Francis had cleared that mess up in the church.

Flores is going to be traveling with Pope Francis in Mexico. Maybe we should tweet the Pope to straighten out Flores. You can’t leave a man in charge who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow about murder or about culpability.

Photo is Irene Garza. May she finally Rest In Peace.

Barrier walls all over the planet: a sign of neoliberal dysfunction

New Macedonia-Greece wall ( EPA:NAKE BATEV) Feb 11 2016

Israeli wall on Jordan border ( EPA:ATEF SAFADI) Feb 11 2016


“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”

That’s a line from US poet Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” a poetic lament of estrangement between neighbors. But it could just as well be the anthem of modern times when separation barriers between countries & territories are being erected at a record pace. There are now hundreds of the damn things. Many are to deter undocumented immigrants & refugees–like the wall on the US-Mexican border. The several Israeli walls are to enforce apartheid. All the walls are militarized & to enforce exclusion.

They’re made of steel, cement, razor wire, & many are electrified. They have watch towers, checkpoints, electronic surveillance & sensors, border patrols, & attack dogs. Some go on for several hundred miles taking out the ecology on the route, including migratory routes for birds & wildlife. The US border wall blasphemes sacred burial sites of Native Americans.

It tells you something when you take a look at the list of governments erecting the things: India between Pakistan & another between Bangladesh; Russia; North & South Korea; North Korea & China; Thailand & Malaysia; Saudi Arabia & Iraq; Saudi Arabia & Yemen; Iran & Iraq; Kuwait & Iraq; Northern Ireland; Egypt on the Gaza border; Cyprus; Spain & Morocco; Morocco & Western Sahara. The European Union has erected so many against refugees that German human rights activists have placed Berlin Wall memorial crosses at EU border fences to memorialize the deaths of tens of thousands of refugees because of EU policies.

The top photo are Macedonian soldiers erecting a second “protective fence” on the border between Greece & Macedonia. Protective fence against what? Refugees fleeing from war & bombing or from sweatshop economics? What’s to be afraid of? The bottom photo is the new Israeli wall being build in the Arabah valley along the border with Jordan.

The ‘something there is that doesn’t love a wall’ is the compelling, deep human desire for community, for solidarity, for bonds of human love. So the issue now is how can the best of the human heart overcome the savagery of neoliberalism that wants to tear us asunder & make us hate one another?

Tear down those damn walls! Solidarity is our anthem.

(Top photo by Nake Batev/EPA; bottom photo by Atef Safadi/EPA)

Why the political groveling before Israel?

H. Clinton & Shimon Peres 9:15:15 (Xinhua:Reuters) Feb 11 2016

The remarkable Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy, wrote an article in Haaretz last November after Hillary Clinton published her groveling, money-grubbing love letter to Israel. The article titled “Hillary Clinton is No Friend of Israel” is an iteration of the long-held anti-Zionist view that a Jewish-only state in Palestine is a death trap for Jews, not a sanctuary from persecution & pogroms.

In the article, Levy asks: “What happened to the Hillary Rodham Clinton who in her youth fought for civil rights & against the Vietnam War, & as a lawyer specialized in children’s rights? Did she not hear what her dream state is doing to Palestinian children? What happened to the glorious career woman who was considered liberal & justice-seeking on her way up? Did she forget it all? Does money buy everything? Or, when it comes to Israel, do all principles suddenly change?”

No one will fault Levy for getting Clinton’s political biography all wrong. But until it became advantageous to misrepresent her youthful politics, it was evident that Clinton was always a conservative ideologue. There is not a shred of evidence she ever participated in the civil rights or anti-Vietnam War movement & considerable evidence to the contrary. Nor was she ever a part of the feminist movement except as an elite participant involved in demobilizing it as a social movement & making it an expedience to be manipulated & coopted to serve US foreign policy.

Levy’s article really raises the broader question of why all US politicians have to vow obeisance to Israel, a foreign country–& not just US politicians, but from around the world. What mesmeric makes a small colonial settler state so vital? We can dispense with any illusions that governments give a rat’s ass about freedom of Jews from persecution. Racisms & colonialisms of every kind are essential to the very matrix of the modern capitalist system. It couldn’t function without marginalizing & demonizing millions of people–& ethnicity, gender, & skin hue are the easiest ways to do that.

One reason, of course, is that Israel is a linchpin to control over the Middle East, serving as a military fortress to hold back the spread of democracy. That was played out mightily in the Egyptian uprising of 2011 where the Egyptian people wanted to advance solidarity with Palestinians but were violently thwarted by the machinations of the military junta backed by US militarism–brokered by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Israel also serves to legitimize colonialism which is coming back with a vengeance under neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism. Israel, which calls itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” might give a kinder, gentler face to colonialism & apartheid if it weren’t so barbaric with bombing Gaza & expropriating Palestinian lands in the West Bank to hand over to Jewish settlers from all over Kingdom Come.

When Levy says Clinton is not a friend to Israelis because of its monstrous crimes against Palestinians, it is because she legitimizes & facilitates the development of political psychosis & undermines the development of human solidarity that would make a democratic secular state possible where Jews & Palestinians can live as brothers & sisters.

Honoring & building the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel can help build the bonds of solidarity necessary for peace & democracy. Buy nothing with a barcode beginning 729.

This photo is the obligatory photo op of Clinton with Israeli terrorist & former president Shimon Peres taken last year after her groveling professions of love.

(Photo from Xinhua/Reuters)

Gloria Steinem’s more serious political offense is supporting US-NATO war in Afghanistan

Afghan woman on street (EPA:HEDAYATULLAH AMID) Feb 11 2016

There is plenty of justified anger at Gloria Steinem for impugning the political integrity of young women. But included in many of those criticisms are historically ignorant, misogynist, & politically motivated attacks on what is called “second wave feminism.”

That would be because the writers didn’t do their homework & just spouted off the top of their heads–or have an axe to grind against feminism. If anyone actually studied the politics of Gloria Steinem, her comments would come as no surprise but be understood as the pattern of her convictions. She has always been completely establishment in her politics. People often bring up her CIA employment to discredit her but little can be known about that since she is secretive & litigious about it. What can be known is her involvement in undermining the independence of the women’s movement by railroading it into the Democratic Party–which is exactly what happened & what she is most politically culpable for.

Hopefully, this regrettable incident will lead young feminists & others to do their homework & not rely on prejudices, impressions, & concerted attempts to discredit second wave feminism. In politics, there should be no saviors, no demigods, no hero/heroine worship, & none beyond the scope of honest judgement–but only teachers. Hopefully, young women will learn from this charade to disdain idolizing & blowing smoke & replace it with thoroughgoing political analysis.

As insulting as her comments were to young women–& as misguided & misogynist the critiques of her toward older women & second wave feminism–her more egregious offense is aligning herself with Zionists in the women’s movement & her support for the US-NATO war in Afghanistan under the guise of liberating women.

This woman in Kabul is an image of how the US occupation & war has liberated Afghan women. It’s long overdue that Steinem get called out for supporting this.

(Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/EPA)