The US does not support anti-regime protests in Iran, no matter what Trump & Nikki Haley blither. The US has always lived compatibly with theocracies, dictatorships, military juntas. It cannot abide popular democratic movements & uprisings. The evidence is in its response to the Arab Spring uprisings which we are witnessing in carnage in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain.
Trump talking through his ass & Nikki Haley talking through her clenched teeth said the US will suspend millions in dollars of aid to Palestinians unless they agree to peace negotiations with Israel. The monumental cynicism & dishonesty of that threat is breathtaking. The corrupt Mahmoud Abbas & other PA officials may get millions to pay for mansions & an aristocratic lifestyle in return for selling Palestinian self-determination down the drain but Palestinian working people get squat. When the US bankrolls the military occupation, expropriation of Palestinian lands & new Israeli settlements, the brutalization of Palestinian protesters including teens & little kids, the incarceration of protesters including teens & little kids, & the carpet bombing of Gaza, it is odious that the US would attempt to lay the onus for conflict on Palestinians.
Stand with the Palestinians who have endured 70 years of vilification & damn lies about their freedom struggle. Honor the economic boycott by checking every product you buy to make sure its country of origin is not Israel. The only possible peace is a democratic secular state where Palestinians & Jews will live as brothers & sisters.
A powerful & poignant moment at the funeral last Monday of 17-year-old freedom fighter Fardeen Ahmad Khanday killed in the Indian occupying army’s “Operation All Out” offensive. Thousands attended his funeral prayers. Two other militants were killed along with five counterinsurgency troops.
May they Rest In Peace.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
The US is reducing military aid to Pakistan by $255 million, not eliminating aid entirely despite Trump’s loud-mouthing. It’s a disputed question how much aid the US has actually given to Pakistan because some is direct military aid ($15 billion since 9/11/2001) & billions are in the amorphous category of “non-military” aid which gets funneled through NGOs & USAID which uses it to bribe officials, maintain a spy network, maintain torture centers, & for other such vile purposes. It’s a very familiar process from Afghanistan & Iraq.
Trump’s reduction in military aid does not represent a dramatic “Trumpian” shift in US policy toward Pakistan since under Carter in the 1970s & old man Bush in the 1990s aid was suspended temporarily because of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The greatest reductions have been under Obama starting in 2010 when total aid went from $4.5 billion a year to 2016 when it declined to $794 million. It still remains one of the biggest recipients of US military aid along with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, & Iraq.
It’s not entirely clear what the US is up to regarding Pakistan since it plays a vital role as a US ally in the Afghanistan War. But it also appears Pakistan plays both sides of the street in its association with the Taliban. Pakistan is not often discussed fully enough though it is clearly an important player in Middle East & South Asian politics. This military aid dispute going on between the US & Pakistan is an occasion to examine conflicts & developments in the political relationship between the two countries since it is of considerable importance to Afghans, Kashmiris, Pakistanis & to democratic struggles in the Middle East & South Asia.
My annual commentary on Betty Windsor’s Christmas address will necessarily be brief this year due to the sheer volume of banalities she shoveled into her annual five-minute homily to the nation. The 2017 address was a sustained meditation on home & family. It’s no small feat to render a cliché profound but our Betty did her best. Which unfortunately was not good enough.
She spoke warmly of her children, who she referred to by their titles. She spoke most affectionately of Phil’s “unique sense of humor”–a wit so brim full of racism, misogyny, & idiocy that it has nearly brought the Commonwealth to collapse on more than one occasion. She said after 70 years of marriage & in his nineties, Phil has now found it time to slow down. At full speed, it was never clear if Phil was alive or just a masterpiece of taxidermy rolled out for pomp & circumstance. But that’s another matter. She also spoke warmly of Commonwealth leaders for their “inspiring way of bringing people together,” not realizing that the cheering throngs that greet her titled kids are unemployed & prison inmates forced under compulsion of execution to act the serf. Except Justin Trudeau, who is a natural-born sycophant & loves to grovel when they visit Canada.
Betty has lost none of her wooden charms & feigned empathy. But that’s just the way of feudalism. Time to raze it to the ground.
(Photo is screenshot of Betty’s address)
If you’ve ever been blocked out of your Facebook account for a political posting, you understand how upsetting it is & how important it is for others to stand with you & help you restore your account. It’s also part of the broader issue of censorship on social media which is a civil liberties issue when governments around the world dictate what they allow. You don’t have to post anything inflammatory or threatening to get blocked. You just have to get on the wrong side of the censors by exposing the violent realities of war, occupation, genocide, persecution.
It’s a pain in the butt that we have to concentrate on getting accounts restored but the fight for free speech, including on social media, is fundamental to our struggles for justice. That’s just the way it is.
Many await my annual commentary on Betty Windsor’s Christmas address to the nation which is always such a consolation to the poor. In the ineptitude of her cognitive & oratorical skills, they can see that feudalism doesn’t make you smarter nor certainly superior. This is my commentary on her 2015 address which, believe me, is considerably more interesting than her 2017 address which I am still plumbing for any content.
In her annual Christmas address broadcast from Buckingham Palace, Betty Windsor covered a wide range of subjects in just 5 minutes. She discussed Christmas tree decorations, her honeymoon in Malta, her upcoming 90th birthday, World War II, death & grief, her new grandchild, new Commonwealth leaders, the story of Mary & Joseph’s flight from persecution & the birth of Jesus in a stable.
It’s unusual to see an older woman held in such esteem but without that tiara Betty’s oratorical talents would take quite a drubbing from critics. With that inimitable animation of hers where only her lips move, it isn’t always certain that she isn’t a ventriloquist dummy though we put incredulity aside in the interest of holiday cheer. Her speech was a string of non sequiturs, platitudes, & white lies. Let’s face it: what does WWII have to do with Jesus’ birth? And does she really expect us to believe her kids decorated the Christmas tree behind her when they need valets to wipe their own butts & brush their teeth?
The story of Jesus’ birth in a stable must resonate strongly with Betty & strengthen her affinity with Camilla since they spend most of their time at the race tracks. The only drawback is there are no trifectas on the Christmas story.
We’re told Betty wrote her own speech so it’s a damn good thing she doesn’t really run the country–& not just because of the non sequiturs. Next year Parliament might want to have someone censor what she says because her platitudes & Biblical citations could lead to political unrest. When she spoke about the flight of Joseph & Mary from persecution & the Biblical call for us to ‘love one another’, some wild-eyed human rights activists might think she’s calling for the UK to open the borders & pull back riot police from beating off refugees coming from the Calais port.
2016 will be her 90th birthday & there’s talk that at long last she’ll hand over the moochocracy to Charlie. In a pig’s eye! Betty may be platitudinous & with regrettable taste in consorts, but she’s no reckless fool when it comes to feudalism. She’s assiduously grooming Willie for the schtick.
Our Christmas address back to Betty is: “Down with feudalism.” Your kids will receive remedial job training & finally have lives worth living instead of mooching off the body politic.
Happy new year, Betty!
(Photo is screen grab from video of Betty’s speech.)