Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haiti: Newest Target in War on Terror

Trouble was brewing in Haiti long before the now infamous January earthquake left over 200,000 dead and Port-au-Prince in a charred heap of helpless rubble. The United States government involvement and often occupation of the storied democratic nation has only worked to sour relations with Haitians while in recent years literally killing any chance of restoring democracy to Haiti. The U.S.'s support of former 'President' Batiste Artiside, one of the most notoriously corrupt Haitian dictators, throughout the 2000s led directly to the lawlessness and looting which reigned right up to and through the horrific earthquake tragedy.

But now rumors of renewed occupation are rife across Haiti and even more insinuating in European political circles. French and Italian relief effort ministers have blamed the United States for inefficiency and misplacement of begging priorities int he relief effort. While French minister Alain Joyandet was the first to criticize that U.S. involvement resembled a covert takeover and attempt at occupation upon putting a questionably immediate focus on achieving military dominance over the island. The Associated Press reports that Italian minister Guido Bertolaso characterized the U.S. military's action as"out of touch with reality". Bertolaso also made calls for establishing an international position to coordinate civilian humanitarian efforts.

Meanwhile, a defiant and ever-obviously ineffective Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refuted claims by admonishing those who dare criticize U.S. efforts. According to Ap, she stated "I deeply regret those who attack our country, the generosity of our people and the leadership of our president in trying to respond to historically disastrous conditions after the earthquake."

In ignoring her own advice that, "we are foolish to keep our head in the sand and pretend that we can't [accept reasonable criticism]", Clinton lashed out at those who recently grabbed too much attention by speaking up. Yet, the paternalistic tone of U.S. foreign policy antagonizes the world beyond any other degree in recent times. The military demands red carpet treatment always for Americans, and even in horrific disaster the Americans must be spotlighted as the heroes, and as that, entitled to command any and all relief operations. To the U.S. command, they are also entitled to the island's long term self-government over any practical objection and without any qualm of the moral hazard it reaps internationally or the lust for revenge it satiates to those far away who are death-defyingly defiant.

Clinton is the epitome of the pig-headed American, imperial with ambitions and shallowly low in moral qualm or class. As the top 'diplomat', or rather hard-headed enforcer, it constantly astounds and amazes that she's the best America has to offer.

But that almost sums up what Clinton and her shadowy band of puppet masters want it to be all about. Security is becoming a dangerous phenomenon and Clinton boasts herself as a big fan. But what she and other international conspirators do not boast themselves on is people, and it's become painfully clear that people were certainly left out of this equation.

The people of Haiti are the ones suffering and for Clinton to mar that by chiding the international community and furtively waging war on Haiti, she and the U.S. government are sorely mistaken of what the word "relief" means.

The AP also reports a confirmed 60 U.S. deaths in the Haiti earthquakes. It remains unclear how many of these deaths involved U.S. military personnel.

A Dozen Predator Drones to Pakistan: Fill 'er Up Boys!

As headlines zipped across the news ticker last week I couldn't help but ask, 'Why the hell is the U.S. giving the government of Pakistan a dozen of our most-secretive and recently effective aircraft, the now infamous Predator Drone?' After all, Pakistan is already a nuclear weapons giant, developing an effective bomb over 10 years ago in 1999.

In addition, the Pakistani government is highly unstable, extremely unpopular and headed by a U.S.-backed puppet in President Al-Zadari who is a 'softer' version of the belligerently hard-fisted military dictator Perez Musharraf who resigned in 2008amid constitutional controversies. Many Pakistanis still suspect Musharraf was involved in the assassination of political icon and opponent Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

Meanwhile, the once-fabled but now real but small cadre of idealistic, disparate and unconnected young men tagged the foreboding "Al-Qaeda" is growing their presence and gaining once-unattainable political popularity in Pakistan.

It's not hard to remember the famous images of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983 or Kennedy, Carter, Bush I and Obama foreign policy advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski pep-talking Afghan mujahadeen fighters that same year.

It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that your friends today may very well become your enemies tomorrow.

With that in mind, perhaps it isn't a great idea to give a highly unstable developing nation and almost certain future enemy our most top secret weapon. And if we don't know how to properly caretake of such a weapon with massive implications, perhaps we shouldn't even be using it ourselves.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scott Brown: Ironically, a Neo-con Brings a Ray of Hope

Ironically, Scott Brown's recent election victory for U.S. Senate for Massachusetts has changed the outlook on national politics. In particular, in the health care debate, victory may burst the cloture-secure pro-health care industrial complex bill count, whose ramming through is still in peril. While Brown has done little to deserve the clamor and attention, the carefully groomed neo-conservative signifies a growing unrest with the continued business as usual out of Washington. Hypocrisy can no longer slide by unexcused but that doesn't necessarily mean the next dupe elected won't fool the public.

Yet, Brown who is now pitched as the "new hope" stands dangerously close to conducting politics with a fascistic edge. He has been quoted as saying "Waterboarding is enhanced interrogation. It is not torture." In an age when even children's films can emphasize the twisted logic of an imperial giant, Brown's naive statements are not those usual held high by a statesman.

The man who was 1982 Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" during his tenure at law school at Boston College is a born attention grabber and with an acting streak so convincing he may well be dangerous in his eloquent ability to woo supporters.

Meanwhile, his opponent, Martha Coakley displayed her ineptitude in campaigning and even as an even worse purveyor of ideas. While her resume read impressive, any real leadership she couldn't even come close enough to grasp. Coakley essentially, was a failed cause from the start.

While personally I can say proudly I am very happy that Brown's election means a chance to stop the unconstitutional health care "reform bill" that was paid and written for and by the very interests who work only to gain greater profits, often at the expense of the patient. But I'm hardly a fan, as his incoherent tirades lauding the War on Terror and mouthpiecing the American empire as an all-knowing force for only good reflect his ill will and possibly dark dealings.

But at least for the moment, in a day where it takes a fascist to stop a fascist, I might actually not mind having just one more around.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti: Disaster Made Worse

Shocking devastation grips Haiti. Reeling from a 7+ magnitude earthquake which trapped, crushed and killed as many as 200,000 people, Haitian cities like Port-au-Prince resemble a dismantled heap of rubble much more than the familiar likenesses of themselves.

For the earthquake which ocurred one week ago, supplies to help the surviving and save the missing are still amassing and coming in. The woeful delay however is not due to any failure of logistics or lack of aid, but rather top-down mismanagement that is strangling the island to a standstill and failing to help those in need.

As the U.S. military heads up the United Nations rescue program, more emphasis is being placed on who's in charge of the rescue effort rather than who the rescue effort is hoping to help. Sadly, little aid has reached Haitians who are being kept increasingly behind automatic M4 rifles for 'protection' and also behind any credible chance of actually stemming the damage of the horrendous disaster.

While much of the management failure can be intuited by a half-asleep observor, hard evidence also confirms the failure.

On Saturday, as the wrtech stench of flesh and death still simmered in Port-au-Prince, the U.S. government delayed multitudes of aid supply planes containing valuable medicines and food for reeling inhabitants of the now toppled island. And why? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needed the landing space and a massive security-based no-fly zone to give an address not to Haitians, but the world, in an effort to grandstand America as the almighty good-intentioned giant eager to assist the helplessly depraved Haitians.

This sort of diplomacy may have worked with President Kennedy in Berlin ("Ich bin ein Berliner"), but is far distant from achieving any world harmony and peace today.

Even worse, as reported in The Telegraph by Laingo and Leonard, French Minister of aid recovery to Haiti, Alain Joyander, recently accused Clinton and the Americans of turning the rescue effort into a subtle blueprint for occupation and a deliberate means of restoring American-enforced 'law and order' to the long ignored and impoverished nation.

To those who view Haiti as small, vulnerable and amenable to United States wishes, we must remember that Haiti stands as our greatest ally in the long historical struggle for freedom, autonomy and political independence. After becoming the second real western democracy in 1798 and overthrowing and expulsing imperial France from their island, we have many more reasons to praise Haiti than most think.

Thus, in the endless history of nations, it is essential to remember the past struggles and honor them with due respect. While more and more aid is needed desperately for Haiti, we should continue to help. But also to make sure recovery is the real goal and overlording and hoarding condemned as the most dreadful sin.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The Ignored Holiday

America is a nation well known for having an abridged idea of holidays. Wrought by intensive non-stop labor and little time for rest, early immigrants had few designated days on which to celebrate. This trope continues into the 21st century as Americans work constantly and celebrate very little, besides the addition of tradition-based holidays to the national calendar.

Americans have about 6-7 days each year where perhaps a majority takes off work. These include: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And interestingly enough, all of these holidays are celebrated mainly on vague notions concerning values, morality and good will.

Yet Martin Luther King, Jr. Day stands alone, unparalleled by any other day as a designation purely to remember a specific mass movement that revolutionized America. In its uniqueness, this clever holiday has much to offer America. Its importance should emphasize the courageous and upright acts of Dr. King and the vision he and millions of others strove to make reality.

To honor King, and more importantly his ideas of equality, rememberance should be the main goal of this solitary and often ignored national holiday.

Growing up as a younster in a well-insulated all-white private elementary school, Matin Luther King, Jr. Day was presented to students as a foreign, pseudo holiday.
We attented school that day in ordinary fashion, with only the minimalist attempt to observe or even discuss the achievements of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

One year when our lone black pupuil took the day off, our teacher politely instructed us that it was "O.K." as the student deserved it, being black and all. But what poor Mrs. Fox did not realize was its intention as a holiday for all Americans, as a lesson unto our history and the course of our nation.

Most Americans are sorely mistaken when it comes to the third Monday in January. After all, the Civil Rights Movement's whole point was equality for all, rather than the unfettered reign of the brute force of group supremacy.

If Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not celebrated and held in respect, the message screams out clearly that the Civil Rights Movement and its objectives are unimportant. So let this tract be a lesson to all people, particularly employers who need to give the holiday thought, reflection and official observance if it is to have any real meaning at all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Death of Struggle?

Good old fashioned hit' em hard came around down
and self-defense's right to strike lays trampled on the ground.
No one seems to notice the flag bearer fall
Our sacred values, our very own with too much gall.

Riff-raff considered unconsidered,
and those with might not ever allowed to fight.
Knock 'em down with a pre-emptive strike
Humiliate 'em all and laugh in embarassment alike.

It is hidden or maybe left behind,
but that ardent swagger's gone alright
and conformity left only to stand in its sight.

With tentacles so epic reaching ablight,
the conquering vandals cover all with fright.

Time to bring it on.
If you still have some, you may lay it on.
With broken spirit and threatened lives, will the brave
stay on through the night?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hunter S. Thompson: Rebel Life

Hunter S. is mostly remembered for his drug-induced classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but what many of his fans do not study, although they know of his various stories published over the years for the likes of Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Scanlan's Monthy and Pageant. His in-your-face style of gonzo-journalism is staggeringly impressive and elegantly pleasing.

Describing the Kentucky Derby in "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved", Thomspon catches the essence of carnivalesque revelry taken straight from the past.

Thompson when writing about his illustrator Ralph Steadman, soliloquizes that,

"Steadman wanted to see some Kentucky Colonels, but he wasn't sure what they looked like. I told him to go back to the clubhouse men's rooms and look for men in white linen suits vomiting in the urinals. 'They'll usually have large brown whiskey stains on the front of their suits,' I said. 'But watch the shoes, that's the tip-off. Most of them manage to avoid vomiting on their own clothes, but they never miss their shoes.'"

In exploring social unrest, Thompson enshrines the memory of hispanic martyr Ruben Salazar and eulogoizes his progressive acts in life. In "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan", Thompson bitterly describes the controversy surrounding Salazar's untimely death and explains the brutality that was turning America into a police state.

Thompson remembers,

"What the cops are saying is that Salazar got what he deserved - for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he happened to be in their way when they had to do their duty. His death was unfortunate, but if they had to do it all over again they wouldn't change a note.
This is the point they want to make. It is a local variation on the standard Mitchell-Agnew theme: Don't fuck around boy- and if you want to hang around with people who do, don't be surprised when the bill comes due- whistling in through the curtains of some darkened barroom on a sunny afternoon when the cops decide to make an example of somebody."

And in an opus of political theory, Thompson's coverage of the 1969 Aspen, Colorado mayoral election featuring Joe Edwards' bid for a pedestrian only downtown is timeless and essential reading for any political activist. Covering election-day get-out-the-vote effort and the campaign process as a whole, Thompson gives thoughtful insight into a valiant attempt to regain a small mountain town's indepedence and dignity.

In this classic piece, activism is the focus with Thompson playing well the role of campaigner and political theorist. With Thompson, all of the sudden possibilities become boundless, and solutions ready and ample.

He explains,

"Our program, basically, was to drive the real estate goons completely out of the valley: to prevent the State Highway Department from bringing a four-lane highway into the town and in fact to ban all auto traffic from every downtown street. Turn them all into grassy malls where everybody, even freaks, could do whatever's right. The cops would become trash collectors and maintenance men for a fleet of municipal bicycles, for anybody to use. No more huge, space-killing apartment buildings to block the view, from any downtown street, of anybody who might want to look up and see the mountains. No more land-rapes, no more busts for "flute-playing" or "blocking the sidewalk" ... fuck the tourists, dead-end the highway, zone the greedheads out of existence, and in general create a town where people can live like human beings, instead of slaves to some bogus sense of Progress that is driving us all mad."

"Freak Power in the Rockies" is a tour-de-force, one of Thompson's finest works.

In it all Thompson maintains his swagger and some of his satirical honesty chuckles the reader and brushes off upon them Thompson's own creative individuality. His unique interpretation of life, socciety and their ails beckons a continuing intellectual conversation on the things that make us human and the conditions we must mind, confront and deal around. The late Thompson manifests as an American hero unmatched in recent times.

His rebellious, independent nature begs each person to experience life on a new plane unhindered by learned considerations. In his effort, Thompson succeeds and teaches devotees the chaotic serenity of life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Resolutions for 2010 and Beyond

-Support charities
-End interventions
-Eat healthier, exercise
-Audit the Federal Reserve Bank
-End polarization
-Promote pedestrian spaces
-Exalt free speech
-Expose hypocrisy
-Limit waste
-Stop War

"To manage the affairs of our world family society, we need law - not artificial, arbitrary human laws, but real law: natural absolute law that is invincible and universal." - Michio Kushi, Other Dimensions

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rand Paul: Inching Toward U.S. Senate

One 2010 U.S. Senate candidate who raised some of the most campaign dollars out of anyone in America is Rand Paul. In a tight primary race in Kentucky Paul faces Trey Grayson, current Kentucky Secretary of State who's backed by the Republican establishment. While Grayson has raised an impressive $1.1 million so far, dark horse Rand Paul has raised $1.7 million just since he began campaigning this fall. And in a recent independent poll, Paul showed stunning competitiveness as he edged favorite Grayson by nearly 15% points amongst likely Republican voters.

Rand Paul is one of the few truly independents, unbought and unbossed, whose once dim chance of election into the Senate brightens each day. His views are nearly identical to his father's, Ron Paul, former 2008 presidential candidate. He professes libertarian views which advocate limiting the scope of the federal government, specifically by cutting taxes and anti-competitive entitlements, eliminating bureaucratic waste and maximizing individual liberty. His anti-bailout, anti-corporatist rhetoric has obviously demonstrated solidarity with a large contingency of concerned Kentuckians who are sick with the way Washington does business. It is no secret the special interest run the country and in Rand Paul, a competitive alternative to the pay-to-play state emerges.

His sensible, common-man approach to tackling perplexing issues impresses and his ability to advocate for a government run by the People trumpets good old-fashioned honesty in steep contrast to the co-opted movements whose deceptive slogans entice but offer little content.

America is ready for fresh faces, but not yet wholly competent for fresh ideas. Paul embodies the necessary new ideas which are in fact very old. But its starkly practical and prescient solutions are revolutionizing. And Paul is an excellent messenger to usher in a new era of political awareness and autonomy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Neo-Racism and the War on Terror

On Monday, the administration of President Barack Obama announced that due to the failed Christmas Day attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, the Transportation Security Administration has announced the induction of mandatory full body scanning along with extra security checks and searches for people traveling to the United States from nations that are "state-sponsors of terror". Due to one alleged act of tried terror, people (including U.S. citizens) flying from Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran and Lebanon, will now be required to be essentially strip searched while similar restrictions appear to await U.S. citizens flying domestically.

A highlighted map of these marked countries almost appears like a strange elongated seatbelt band stretching across north Africa and the Middle East. Including mostly majority Muslim nations too, the TSA has upped the ante on th4e screening of the most laughable and stereotypical terror suspect. For the first time in U.S. history, race and country of origin are now the primary conditions or requirements rather to gain access to passage into the new world.

For those living in these blacklisted countries, they are now (for the first time since 19th century-style imperialism) officially internationally recognized as subhuman and inferior to the many shades of what now qualifies as white. This designation parallels another ideology remarkably similar to the last century's greatest tyrants. And not only are these people inferior, they are assumed dangerous and at that an imminent threat to all people everywhere. The preposterous notion propounded by the U.S. government is simply that that's what they get for being non-white in the wrong place.

In this wicked form of neo-racism, those inferior are assumed guilty and must first prove their innocence. If they choose not to cooperate, places like Guantanamo Bay await them.

Not only is this neo-racism bigotry at best, it's alarming to other nations who view the War on Terror as an ideological lever used ever so skillfully by the West to achieve shadowy political and economic objectives. And worse, it's a strategy bound to make fast enemies and quickly turn long time allies into ardent foes.

Perhaps the most humorous part of this debacle of white supremacist policy is that their own regulation is ultimately unenforceable as foreign nations staff and direct their own airport security in their own fashion, regardless of what President Obama may choose to pompously dictate to them. Already, journalists are reporting no change in airport security in the blacklisted countries.

There is little the U.S. can do to police the world anymore at a time when more smaller countries demand a larger voice in world affairs. While a clash may not be eminent, America in arrogance will only suffer and become a 'rogue' state as it already is in the eyes of much of the globe. While airport security is important, leaders should not play politics with the chauvinistic white supremacist policies that seek to harass, punish and harm those merely for existing as equal human beings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

U.S. Forces Attack Militants, Schoolchildren Alike in Afghanistan

In another shocking twist in the never-ending War on Terror, Jerome Starkey of The Times of London reported last week of a chilling special-operation which claimed the lives of over eight Afghanis in Ghazi Khan, a village in eastern Kunar province.

The U.S. continues to cower behind blanket-naming those among the dead in the war zone as "militant insurgents". However, upon closer examination and information gleaned from several eye witness account, it now appears that seven of those killed were children, shamelessly slaughtered after being rustled out of bed in the chambers of an Afghan boarding school.

Most damagingly, the school's headmaster reported the deliberate way in which the students ranging from ages 11 to 17 were killed. Other reports describe the students handcuffed before being summarily executed. Starkey reports that even President Hamid Karzai, the notoriously corrupt U.S. puppet acknowledged and condemned the slaying of the youngsters on his website.

In deliberately targeting civilians and minors as fair game, U.S. troops have made their situation as perennial occupiers untenable and increasingly dangerous. Little logical support can be parlayed for such actions when the nearly 100,000 strong foreign forces outnumber any still left Taliban by hundreds to one.

The War now lapses into the unnavigable, much like the Soviet-Afghan did when the effort disintegrated as early as 1983.

The history of empire is eminent and if nature has its way, little will come of a prolonged occupation already bordering on a nine years. Yet, in the new age of blowback and technological parity between strong and weak nations alike, a retaliation could be forthcoming far down the line. For a child whose best friend shed blood and cruelly paid the price, revenge for the gross atrocity will be no difficult matter. America eventually will face the repulse of such hate and malice now force-fed by our own soldiers to Afghan children.

If any morally reprehensible solution may come to sight, an investigation into the gruesome killings that occurred at Ghazi Khan must be forged. For even this small conciliation of a hearing may at the very least change attitudes to show American people do care no matter how cruel the dark special forces who portend to represent them may act.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shrieks for Full-Body Scanners Grow

Power is unwielding and intoxicatingly opportunist so that upon each hint of possible crisis becomes a welcome chance to enact radical and sweeping change. It was Rahm Emanuel, presidential Chief of Staff who put it best when he told the Wall Street Journal, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." "And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you that you didn't think you could do before."

After the failed Christmas Day plane bombing, another fearful atmosphere of crisis now prevails. While Americans remain aware of the attack, the general non-chalance toward the so-called failed terrorist attack contrasts starkly with the behooved huffing voices on the District of Columbia's congressional floor.

News reports over the weekend indicate increased congressional calls to intervene in Department of Homeland Security policies setting Transportation Security Administration procedures of screening passengers boarding aircraft in the United States. In particular, loud voices call for legislation enacting mandatory full-body scanning of all passengers.

To those unaware, full body imaging entails passengers being X-rayed, similar to what occurs to carry-on luggage. These high-ray machines produce lifelike bodily images of subjects, literally seeing entirely through all clothing, revealing a nude image.

Yet, the TSA insists their scanning limits what remote scanners view as facial features and genitalia are blurred. The TSA also maintains viewers monitoring the scans are placed in a remote location unable to see or be seen by the photographed subject.

Legislation mandating high X-ray scan imaging whose product borders on pornographic and involves certain moral and ethical violations, if not legal crimes, should never be forced on American people simply attempting to travel. If enacted, disastrous results will follow and an even greater curtailment of liberty will ensue. Domestic and international travel will become grounded and the world will revert to an isolationism in travel far grander than ever existed during Cold War times. Full body image scanning must be stopped!

Congress' hawkish calls to punitively harass, humiliate and degrade the blameless traveling public are open warfare upon the American People. These calls remain incongruous with public opinion and imply regulations which are legally questionable and ethically bereft. If the Union is to survive intact and in spirit, liberty must be preserved. For what little remains, the Union may, as some suggest, be beyond the pale.

Interest Rate 2010: How Low Can You Go?

As 2010 brings new air to life, the Federal Reserve Bank decides to keep it like the old. Carrying record-low interest rates (for inter-bank lending), the Fed's hypocrisy reaches similar ridiculous heights. At 0.25%, the interest rate has remained rock bottom since December 2008 in an effort to stem the abruptly relaxed tide of inflation originally set to be unleashed in coincidence with the global economic meltdown of 2008-09.

The pattern mirrors a similarly eruptive time during the early '00's when interest rates held low at 3-4%, then down from the 'normal' 7-8% during the late '80s and early '90s. But what deflated interest rates really mean is that the dollar-presses will be ratched up in an effort to print out a record cache of federal reserve notes which will greater devalue the American dollar, domestically and abroad.

There is no new sign the Fed will raise interest rates, an act which would undoubtedly bring sharp inflation an harsh despair to many. But while raising interest rates would adversely affect man, putting off this ultimately necessary measure will only delay and increase the enormous burden of the fettered crisis.

Not only is it irresponsible to not account for the fabulously speculative heights of unhealthy lending, it is criminal in practice as it saddles future generations with heaps of insurmountable debt for which they never personally incurred.

The Fed's failure to address this crucial decision only unmasks their mimed benevolence and tears apart their facade of stability. It is increasingly clear the ineptitude of Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke and Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner are prolonging the economic crisis and corruptly rewarding the very entities whose criminal irresponsibility robbed the wealth of a blind nation.

It is upon the Fed for the burden of proof to fall. If interest rates are not raised the necessary 8-9% or even greater in the next year, and it is not done before foreign nations take action to dump the American dollar as the primary oil trading unit, America will face an economic collapse so grand it will make the enduring Recession look like a small down blip in the abysmal line charting economic stagnation.

The writing is on the wall. If we are to allow business to survive, it is fast time for the Fed to change how it does business.