Ricky “Manure” Perry drops out of presidential race

Rick Perry

The first Republican candidate for president has pulled out of the race after his poll numbers dropped to one percent from a high of two percent. Even the cattle farmers he served so well as governor of Texas wanted no part of Rick Perry in the White House. The cattle market still hasn’t recovered. Neither has the English language down here.

He made his announcement in the livestock barn at the Iowa State Fair since heifers & mules are the only crowd he’s been able to gather for quite a while now. They’re in pens & can’t get away. “I share this news with no regrets,” he said. The livestock snorted their approval & were echoed in cattle barns across the state of Texas.

Good riddance, Rick. One down, 15 more idiots to go.

Slavoj Žižek on the refugee crisis: xenophobia, Islamophobia, Stalinism

Zizek

Call me a lowbrow product of US public education, but I’ve never understood the intellectual appeal of Slavoj Žižek, called “the Elvis of cultural theory, even though there are study seminars, international journals, & conferences explicating his ideas. I always thought him at his most cogent in his comparative analyses of European toilet styles. It’s just a quirk of mine to detest buffoonery mixed with serious studies. Or maybe he’s just too deep for me.

Now our man has written an article on the refugee crisis in Europe for the London Review of Books where he attempts to give a Marxist theoretical spin to xenophobia & authoritarianism. The whole piece is the intellectual version of Bernie Sanders. What fool it was said Stalinism was dead hadn’t read Žižek.

There are many grotesque statements in the article but this one certainly takes the cake:

“Refugees should be assured of their safety, but it should also be made clear to them that they must accept the destination allocated to them by European authorities, & that they will have to respect the laws & social norms of European states: no tolerance of religious, sexist or ethnic violence; no right to impose on others one’s own religion or way of life; respect for every individual’s freedom to abandon his or her communal customs, etc….Such rules privilege the Western European way of life, but that is the price to be paid for European hospitality. These rules should be clearly stated and enforced, by repressive measures – against foreign fundamentalists as well as against our own racists – where necessary.”

The entire article is an indictment of Žižek’s politics exposing him not as a fool but as a petty-minded nationalist, Islamophobe, & Stalinist. We should feel unburdened of any further need to explicate his thought. But then it’s another quirk of mine to detest social hatred parading as socialism.

(Photo is screen shot of Zizek)

For those who want to read the full article: http://www.lrb.co.uk/…/slavoj-z…/the-non-existence-of-norway

Brass tacks on the Iran deal

Let’s get down to brass tacks about that Iran deal we’re supposed to be so excited about. It’s 159 pages of tranquilizer & like all such agreements the devil isn’t in the legalese & technical crap but in the backroom deals so there isn’t much clarification from reading the damn thing.

Progressive people express enthusiasm over the pact but I’d just like to know why China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, US, & EU–all of which have nuclear weapons–have a right to extract any kind of agreement from Iran–though I fully understand Iran would agree to things just to stop sanctions.

As for Saudi Arabia’s objections & Israel’s grandstanding opposition to the deal, what’s up with that!? Even experts queried can’t give a coherent analysis. It’s not that I don’t think they have realpolitik reasons; I just can’t figure out what they are that would require such theatrics & machinations.

As far as I can see, the agreements these bozos make is between themselves. Working people have no vested interests in defending any of these regimes, including Iran. But please straighten me out if you think I’m missing something. Until then, I don’t give a damn if the agreement passes the US Congress or not.

Special Israeli police erect metal barriers against those “passive” Palestinian women at Al-Aqsa mosque; they’re afraid to get their asses kicked

Women protest aat Al-Aqsa (Ahmad Gharabli:AFP:Getty Images) Sept 11 2015

A propaganda pivot for justifying US intervention into the Middle East is the need to rescue Muslim & Arab women who are passive in the face of violence & abuse from men. They didn’t just develop that narrative for Afghanistan. It’s long been central to violence against Palestinians. It’s a twisted use of feminism orchestrated by Zionist crackpots like Phyllis Chesler, an American feminist who used to write unreadable tracts on psychology & now writes mountains of rancid tracts against Palestinian women. Her sisterhood ain’t that powerful compared to her sense of Jewish superiority.

Unfortunately for Chesler, she’s being exposed as a blowhard by Ahed Tamimi, the 13-year-old Palestinian girl & countless other women & girls who repeatedly stand up unarmed to Israeli soldiers in the West Bank–& here in this photo by women at Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem protesting an Israeli blacklist preventing 40 Palestinian women from entering the mosque because they “cause trouble & damage.” Israeli police are allowing other Palestinian women to enter after presenting identity cards.

Special Israeli police units erected metal barricades against the women to prevent them from entering & against their protests when police usher Jewish extremists into the mosque to tour & worship–which is expressly prohibited by an Israeli agreement with the Islamic Endowment that runs the entire Al-Aqsa compound. Non-Muslim worship is forbidden at the site. Of course if the women were all that passive, metal barricades & special police units would not be required.

Here Palestinian women & men shout slogans & hold up the Quran protesting the blacklist & the admission of Israeli troublemakers. So much for that misogynist narrative about Arab women!

Build the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel & demand no aid of any kind to apartheid Israel.

(Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Misogyny remains a problem on the left

If you asked me, after nearly 50 years of political activism, what was the most difficult thing for me, I would answer the misogyny & disrespect of male activists; the putdowns, the snide remarks, the rolling eyes, the umpteen ways they have of saying you don’t count, you’re a nothing. And because I’m working class, my sensitivity to all that was quite acute.

It took me years to learn how to defend myself against that crap & I honed those skills working in a predominately male factory. Many of the men objected to unfair treatment & tutored me to effectively respond to harassment.

I don’t believe people should put up with any kind of abuse, especially of the sniping kind, & I’ve always wanted to teach aggressiveness training to women & others who don’t know how to parry insults. It takes practice, you have to change your energy a bit to accommodate aggression, but the rewards are many–especially confidence & self-respect. The moments in life I most regret are not those when I awkwardly protested abuse but those when I felt constrained not to. One doesn’t have to find just the right words but only learn to cop an attitude that you have boundaries that no one violates without a counter thrust. That doesn’t come easy for most people because it requires aggression & most of us detest that. But social hatred often makes it necessary.

So all of that to say I approached a fellow about his Lilliputian socialist group endorsing our election campaign & helping set up speaking engagements. He was favorable & said he’d propose it but “If we get anywhere with this, try not to be cranky or raise festering old grievances.” He added “You may think that sounds mean, but all I can promise is to speak frankly.” He’s the same guy who calls my posts “rants & fulminations.” Well I promise to speak frankly too & I don’t care if it sounds mean.

My adrenalin shot sky high but I thought for a moment I should stifle it in the interests of an endorsement & some speaking gigs. In a pig’s eye! One should never grovel to get something. It’s unseemly & takes a toll on dignity. So I let my adrenalin do the talking. That isn’t crankiness kicking in. If a woman doesn’t take crap she’s called all sorts of things; the vocabulary of abuse is extensive. So I probably lost the endorsement but for heavens sake I haven’t lost my self-respect.

PS: If anyone would like to know the simple formula for defending yourself let me know & I’ll teach you the art of aggression. It’s my way of reducing the quotient of misery in the world. Just know you’ll be henceforward known as cranky & festering with grievances.

Commemoration of the two 9/11s: US 2001 & Chile 1973

Chile 9:11 memorial (Photo by Ivan Alvarado:Reuters)

This is a post I wrote in 2013 commemorating the two 9/11s. Little has changed in that time except the president of Chile & in July a Chilean judge ordered the arrest of seven army officers under Pinochet for questioning about the 1986 torture of Rodrigo Rojas & Carmen Gloria Quintana who were doused with petrol & set on fire. Being hauled in for questioning is not the same as being prosecuted & incarcerated for monstrous crimes–& it leaves thousands of other murders & crimes unaddressed.

I do not mean to slight the victims of the the US 9/11. May they RIP because they & their survivors have not received justice either–especially because the attack on the WTC is used to justify the 14-year war against the people of Afghanistan.

The common denominator in all these crimes in the US government. The only way to halt its international crime spree is to rebuild the international antiwar movement expressing solidarity with all who have suffered so much for so long.

*********

There are two 9/11s to be commemorated: the US-backed Chilean coup in 1973 & the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in 2001. No one with all their marbles intact denies the horror of 2001 but the tragedy is smothered in US war apologetics, anti-terrorist hysteria, & drone assaults while the carnage of 1973 is ignored to cover for the barbarisms inflicted on the Chilean people with the direct involvement of the US under the tutelage of Henry Kissinger. The official death estimates for both events are about the same (3,000 +) but guided by his conviction that “Sometimes democracy must be bathed in blood” & trained in death squad terrorism by the CIA, Pinochet’s military initiated a reign of terror that disappeared over 10,000 people & killed, tortured, or imprisoned over 40,000. Over a million fled into exile.

Volumes of idiocies have been written trying to justify the barbarisms of Pinochet’s rule by deference to what Milton Friedman called “The Miracle of Chile.” The so-called miracle is the imposition of neoliberal economics that halfwits & economists who sing for their supper claim transformed Chile from one of the poorest countries in Latin America to the second wealthiest on the continent. The string of five regimes following the end of direct military rule in 1990 have left not only Pinochet’s constitution but also his neoliberal economic policies intact–partially because they agree with the policies (& are enriched by them) & partially because they’re afraid of poking a stick at the military still waiting in the wings.

The economic model installed by the military junta was classic neoliberalism which opened the country to foreign plunder & enriches a few at the expense of working people. In their relentless opposition to neoliberal education policies (making higher education out of reach for most), Chilean students have exposed the massive fault line between the classes as a result of neoliberalism–which is the barbaric phase of capitalism.

Current Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, talks out of both sides of his ass in addressing Pinochet’s legacy as the forces of justice close in on his regime which includes many figures who collaborated with Pinochet. Military officials, judges, & politicians are now apologizing for their roles in the dictatorship & asking for forgiveness. Well if it’s forgiveness they want they can go to a priest for confession. Justice demands coming clean publicly & prosecution in a court of law. A handful of pathetic “mea culpas” or one Our Father & three Hail Marys in contrition doesn’t cut it & mocks the tens of thousands who were murdered.

One of Pinochet’s most ardent defenders was Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of Britain, now thankfully rusting in peace. With allies like Kissinger & Thatcher, Pinochet went to his grave without prosecution but once again his victims still haunt justice. These photos of his victims are displayed at a ceremony to commemorate 40 years since the coup at the Parque Por La Paz (Park for Peace) on the grounds of the former Villa Grimaldi torture center in Santiago. Of course justice will not be fully honored until all those involved in these unspeakable crimes against the Chilean people are exposed & prosecuted–even postmortem.

(Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Neoliberal gentrification & homelessness in Jakarta

Kapuk Raya, Jakarta  (REUTERS:Darren Whiteside)  Sept 10 2015

The little guy is peeking out of a tent shelter set up after a fire destroyed about 300 dwellings in the Kapuk Raya area of north Jakarta (Sept 9th). Over 1,000 people were left homeless. There is very little information about the fire, including what fire officials think caused it. All we’re told is that the dwellings were in a densely populated area alongside factories. Fire forensics are not likely to be forthcoming because there’s a pattern here operative in many cities across the world of arson for purposes of gentrification.

The Kapuk Raya area is in the very heart of a district targeted for a massive infrastructure development program. The government is so committed to the program that is currently preparing 17 government regulations, 11 presidential decrees, 2 presidential instructions, 63 minister regulations & five other regulations just to implement deregulation & the privatization of public lands to make it easy for private investors & developers.

The Kapuk Raya area is walking distance to the Java Sea, an area being developed as a tourist mecca. There are amusement parks, mega-malls, restaurants, golf courses, discotheques & karaoke bars. Holiday Inn just opened the fifth of 17 planned grand hotels in the same neighborhood. All of this “infrastructure development” to attract millions of well-heeled tourists requires the eviction of thousands of residents–most of whom are seasonal workers & rural people who came to Jakarta after being forcibly expropriated by palm oil agribusiness plantations & displaced by scorched earth deforestation.

The Indonesian government has long & notoriously used forcible evictions of slum dwellers. There is no suggestion in the media that this fire was arson for purposes of gentrification. An investigative reporter should be at the site talking to burned-out residents since there is generally no point in talking to fire officials. Around the world it is common for arson to be employed to burn down slums–along with bulldozers & riot police. In most of these slum fires, residents claim firemen showed up late, had no water hoses to fight the conflagrations, stood around when they did show up & let residents battle the fire on their own.

Arson is considered the least line of resistance in slum evictions. It is also a human rights crime endangering the lives of children, elderly, & infirm.

Housing is a human right. Massive public housing projects of affordable & suitable housing are required.

(Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

Police hunting refugees & immigrants like animals

Refugee confronted by police dog (Dan Kitwood:Getty Images Europe) Sept 20 2015

A refugee & his little girl are here confronted by a Hungarian policeman with a police dog. Why on earth would you pit animals trained to be vicious against unarmed, defenseless refugees, many of whom are small children?

On a personal note, I live just a few miles from the US-Mexico border & used to walk daily in a nature preserve near the Rio Grande River where undocumented immigrants frequently cross to find cover in the woodlands. After three incidents of watching the border patrol chasing down parties of immigrants with four-wheelers, police dogs, mounted police, & scouting patrols I was too traumatized & horrified to continue walking there. I had never seen human beings hunted like that & found it extremely distressing. It felt like being caught in a horror movie.

Immigration is a human right. Cut the crap & open the borders.

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe)

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)