The Trump & Clinton debate will be a living hell of deceits & ennui

The debate between Trump & Clinton tonight will be a living hell. She’ll be doing her usual lying, stiff-assed imitation of a populist & he’ll be doing his usual colossally stupid & deranged narcissist. In fact, there’s little difference in their politics except that she already has a rap sheet as a war criminal.

The US has a crisis of leadership & it will be fully manifest tonight. But whoever wins, the president is not a free agent & does not on his/her own determine foreign or domestic policy. That’s done in numerous think tanks, with special advisers like Kissinger, in consultation with the Pentagon & CIA. That’s not reassuring since US policies & militarism make the lives of millions around the world a living hell of a whole other dimension.

Sputnik News is wholly owned by Russia & not an unbiased source of news about Russia or Syria

Sputnik News, wholly owned by the Russian government, seems to be Assadist’s chief go-to source for information about Assad & Russian military operations in Syria. It should certainly be read among a number of other sources. But to make it ones primary & most trusted source is politically questionable, not unlike only reading the NY Times or Guardian-UK.

Isn’t it possible to find other media sources not bankrolled by the Kremlin to confirm Sputnik reports? Activists should work less with conspiracy theories & mobilize more of their skeptical skills..

Many Assadists see Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte as one of their own

Have seen at least four FB posts & as many articles written by Assad supporters who claim Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte is in the US Pentagon’s crosshairs. First comes the demonizing, they claim, followed by a war-mongering campaign to overthrow him.

You can only write that kind of idiotic rubbish if you have not spent one moment investigating Duterte’s political history or Filipino politics, particularly its neoliberal capitalist rural & urban policies & the re-militarization of the country in collaboration with the US.

Regrettably it’s the same analytical method applied to understanding Syrian politics, particularly an adamant refusal to investigate credible allegations of human rights & war crimes against Assad. Behind this method is a bereft understanding of capitalist politics & how militarism is an essential part of it, including Syrian, Russian, & US militarism.

It’s become cliched among Assad supporters, including prominent antiwar activists, to either deny Syrian & Russian use of barrel bombs or to make numb-skulled assertions that the carnage created by barrel bombs is not worse than the conventional bombs used by the US.–& to claim anyway that those being targeted with barrel bombs are not civilians but terrorists & “jihadists.” How do helicopter pilots dropping barrel bombs distinguish civilians from “jihadists” when they’re bombing cities? Or when all that high-tech surveillance equipment refuses to provide evidence of who is bombing?

Since when do antiwar activists adjudicate which kind of bomb is the preferred kind for bombing people to death? That is the method of banal apologetics, of rightly opposing US military intervention but justifying Syrian & Russian bombing.

The only principled stand in Syria is to demand the complete, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign foot soldiers & war planes & to demand Assad stop bombing the people of Syria.

European Union drops human rights resolution against Myanmar to protect investments there

Aung San Suu Kyi at UNGA (9:1:2-15) Reuters:Carlo Allegri)

Media is awash with headlines announcing that the European Union (EU) chose not to introduce a resolution at the 2016 UN General Assembly (UNGA) condemning Myanmar for human rights crimes, particularly the apartheid conditions & genocide of Rohingya Muslims. The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini justified this by claiming Myanmar has “taken bold measures to improve human rights” under Aung San Suu Kyi.

After Suu Kyi’s September 21st address to the General Assembly, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers praised Suu Kyi’s firm commitment to human rights & UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon seconded that even though Myanmar will not allow the UN human rights agency (UNHCR) to set up an office in the country. The UNHCR is unlikely to be an impediment to Myanmar’s genocidal policies since in June 2016, their report said subjecting Rohingya to forced labor, sexual & other violence, persecution “would suggest” or “could amount to” crimes against humanity in Myanmar. That’s equivocal, not condemnatory language.

Other than florid diplomacies, the EU, US, & UN chief did not describe what actions the Suu Kyi regime has taken to end the genocide against Rohingya. She has only been head of state since March of this year. In truth, she is only the nominal head of state since Myanmar is still run by the military. Her government does not have control of the military & her government is 25% unelected military officials. The persecution of Rohingya is carried out by the military in league with rightwing nationalist Buddhist monks. So exactly what are the details of the program Suu Kyi has laid out to rein in the generals (who she has a collaborative relationship with) & nationalist monks to stop them from persecuting Rohingya? Will her government be able to prosecute them for human rights crimes? Who will enforce her program when the army is orchestrating the genocide?

No one could expect Suu Kyi to eliminate persecution of Rohingya in just a matter of months, especially when she has the generals making sure she accomplishes nothing in that regard. But why is she so willing to front for them & pretend there is progress? Has she changed her mind from when she insisted the pogroms against Rohingya are religious, not political disputes & that violence is committed on both sides?

What has her government done or even proposed to provide housing for the 125,000 Rohingya living in concentration camps without freedom of movement, to end forced flight & displacement, rape & other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary arrest & detention, extrajudicial executions, torture, & trafficking, all committed by the military & their monk allies in Rakhine State?

What has her regime done to ensure Rohingya access to full citizenship; civil & political rights including the right to marry & to practice their religion; the right to healthcare, jobs, education? It isn’t promising that in May 2016, she asked the US not to use the term Rohingya, which is how they self-identify, but to call them Bengali, as the military & rabid monks insist.

So why did the EU choose to discontinue the 2015 UNGA resolution on Myanmar human rights crimes when 99% of the demands haven’t even begun to be addressed? When it isn’t likely the Suu Kyi regime will ever be able to contradict the military’s genocidal policies without being thrown out of office on her ass?

Suu Kyi is not some rookie or political babe in the woods but a savvy political operator. If you get past the florid bits in her speech to the UN & listen to her exchange with Obama in Washington before the UN speech, she is proposing economic “development” & foreign investment in Myanmar as a necessary precondition for democratic & human rights for Rohingya. Actually she is counterposing development to democracy. She knows exactly what she’s saying & who she’s saying it to.

Since the EU lifted sanctions against Myanmar in 2011, it has been negotiating an investment protection treaty (likely involving sweatshop economics) to open up Myanmar to European multinational corporations. They want terms that would grant them rights & protections in regulatory disputes & other issues & they want them adjudicated not in Myanmar courts but in a European tribunal they can control. The EU set up a European Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar in December 2014. The German company BMW, the Swiss company Nestlé, the Swiss-Swedish industrial firm ABB are among those opening business in Myanmar. It appears many European companies doing so are trying to keep a low profile likely to avoid censure for sweatshop practices.

Since 2012, before she was even head of state, Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton, Obama, & Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Obama has lifted most sanctions on Myanmar & the US now has immense capital investments in Myanmar & some of the biggest US corporations operate there, including Coca Cola, PepsiCo., MasterCard, Visa, Cisco, Gap, Inc., Microsoft, & General Electric. During the years of sanctions, most investment, primarily based on the extractive industries, came from China & Thailand. There is now a competition shaping up in Myanmar between Chinese, Indian, & US business enterprises–& soon EU companies.

What is going on is an attempt to transition the economy from the crony capitalism of the military junta to the scorched earth sweatshop economics of neoliberal capitalism. The EU, US, India, & China want Suu Kyi as a partner in that transition & are as indifferent to genocide of Muslims as she is. That’s why the sanctions against Myanmar were dropped & why the EU scrapped its human rights resolution.The EU is a cabal of European commercial interests, not a champion of human rights.

The only good news is that there is opposition among farmers, students, environmentalists, human rights activists in Myanmar & in exile who oppose sweatshop economics, land grabs, genocide, & understand exactly the role Suu Kyi is playing in that regard.

(Photo of Suu Kyi speaking to UN)

I removed the post from Facebook about Corbyn. I didn’t like the style of educating Mary. I get a lot of guff on FB, including once being called a “whore-phobic scumbag” & today being told to crawl back under my rock.

Let me say bluntly that if I were academically credentialed or were a man, no one would think to talk to me like that. I don’t know what people get out of that kind of abuse but I do know I have no need to accommodate your psychological problems. I’m a pretty tough person but that kind of stuff ruins my day & when you ruin my day, I kick your ass off my wall.

Zero Hedge blog is run by libertarian conspiracy inventers

Articles from Zero Hedge frequently circulate on FB–one hopes because too many people do not carefully vet their sources. It is a disreputable blog with reactionary & conspiratorial politics.

A Zero Hedge article from the FB wall of a presumed progressive is not just conspiratorial but outrageously racist. It is titled “Who Is Behind The Riots? Charlotte Police Says 70% Of Arrested Protesters Had Out Of State IDs” & claims the majority are not civil rights protesters but criminals bussing in to Charlotte. Not outside agitators as is usually claimed, but criminals.

It goes on to explain that billionaire George Soros bankrolls civil rights “riots” beginning in Ferguson with the shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014 & that Black Lives Matter is a communist front movement.

Vilifying, outright lying, & inventing conspiracies is not an uncommon political method & usually involves alternative media, including blogs. Sometimes they put mainstream media to shame. No source of information should ever be trusted without investigation. But for those who circulate this kind of trash, the problem is not lack of vetting but lowlife racism.

(I would post the article but such crap has a way of stinking up the place in a way that’s hard to get rid of.)

Indian authorities monitoring posts on Facebook; Kashmiri student in India expelled for post

Last Monday, a Kashmiri college student at AMU in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India was booked on charges of promoting hatred & anti-nationalism & expelled from school for commenting on a FB post about the attack on the Indian army base in Uri, Kashmir.

He suggested that the operation was stage-managed by India–not at all a far-fetched theory for several reasons–& he referred to the soldiers killed as “swine.” Maybe the epithet wasn’t the smartest or most politic to use but one can understand his anger after 11 weeks of violence in Kashmir. A little rough language should hardly violate free speech rights in a democracy. But according to the Vice Chancellor who expelled him, the police informed the university about the post.

Indian authorities are monitoring FB. Despite that, Kashmiri activists, including Khurram Parvez before he was arrested, continue to post about what is going on. Indian human rights activists also continue to report & render solidarity. That makes it all the more important that those of us outside the reach of Indian authorities stand with Kashmiri & Indian activists in telling the truth about this barbarous occupation for the purpose of building a solidarity movement to help end it.
(On a personal note, many may think I’ve become a “Johnny-One-Note” about Kashmir. I even received messages saying I have an adopt-a-cause mentality or a white savior complex. Save the small-minded criticisms for someone who gives a rat’s ass. If you don’t understand the nature of solidarity with the oppressed, maybe politics is over your head & you should consider taking up the harmonica instead.)

Day 77 of the siege in Kashmir: 105 deaths

GK photo Sept 23 2016

One cannot write an obituary for every one of the 105 people killed in the past 77 days of the siege in Kashmir–though Kashmiri activists on social media have not let any pass without paying respect & mourners defy curfew to hold funeral prayers/protests in their honor.

The murdered were not all youth nor protesters. Some were in their homes, some in fields, some just near by. Most were protesters committed to Kashmiri freedom.Testimonies about them show them to be the best humanity is made of–like the testimonies about those killed in the US Black community or in the West Bank & Gaza.

This is the story of 19-year-old Hilal Ahmad Dar executed by a paramilitary thug on his way home from getting medicine for his 8-year-old brother Zubair, who described what happened. It exposes the lawlessness of military occupation.…/teenager-hilal-…/228328.html

(The article doesn’t identify whether this photo is of Hilal or Zubair. Perhaps someone who knows can let us know.)

PSA in Kashmir by MIR Suhail

PSA in Kashmir MIR Suhail

PSA in Kashmir by MIR Suhail:

This is a valuable article on the Public Safety Act which Amnesty International calls a “lawless law.” The journalist reports that in the eleven weeks of the military siege, at least 2,700 Kashmiris have been arrested & 600 are still in “preventive custody.”

Many arrestees are picked up in night raids & the writer explains how neighbors pour out of their homes to protest & defend them.