• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dispersit Superbos in Mente Cordis Suis

Interviewing on Sixty Minutes, this past Sunday, President Urbama I admitted that the United States had "underestimated" the emergence of ISIS in Syria.   Obama added that the agencies had overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi Army to fight such Sunni extremists. 

How is this possible?  History's greatest, most extensive spy apparatus that dragnets every pebble of information in the world, that data-mines the corneas, breathing patterns and bank accounts of millions upon millions, that eavesdrops on phone conversations, net-chats and emails, that algorithms thought patterns and body gestures, that tracks the movements of ants from space, that engages in mass "attitude manipulation" and that has totally trashed constitutional due process and civil rights and privacy and civic trust in favour of turning the world into a Global Security Lockdown--  the regime ("government" is too civil a word) that has done all of this in the name of fighting terrorism managed not to get a heads up  an an emerging terrorist threat?

he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To Invoke & Pervert

Needless to say, Obama’s peroration before the General Assembly  was all that we expected it to be.  Predictably enough, after acknowledging the slight imperfections in our inherent goodness, he launched forward with Babies to the Fire, denouncing the unspeakable, yet depicted, horrors and evils of the Satanic Caliphate.

"But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world’s great religions. With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm, they have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels – killing as many innocent civilians as possible; and employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities.

Casting the Innocents (Alexander Nevsky, 1938, Eisenstein)
"First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed.  This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world."
The only surprise was that he did not resurrect the kadaververwertungsanstalt.  Otherwise, Obama sounded entirely like Pope Urban II,

"From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. They circumcise the Christians, and the blood of the circumcision they either spread upon the altars or pour into the vases of the baptismal font. When they wish to torture people by a base death, they perforate their navels, and dragging forth the extremity of the intestines, bind it to a stake; then with flogging they lead the victim around until the viscera having gushed forth the victim falls prostrate upon the ground. Others they bind to a post and pierce with arrows. Others they compel to extend their necks and then, attacking them with naked swords, attempt to cut through the neck with a single blow. What shall I say of the abominable rape of the women? To speak of it is worse than to be silent. "  [1
So, here we are, on the anniversary of 9/11, once again sounding the trumpet for another crusade, although this time the bluster is hedged about with demurrers.  Not for Obama the unapologetic bluster of a Bush; rather the honeyed poison of an Urban. 

But the man who applies this salt should be prudent, provident, modest, learned, peaceable, watchful, pious, just, equitable, and pure. For how can the ignorant teach others? How can the licentious make others modest? And how can the impure make others pure?  ...  first correct yourselves, in order that, free from blame , you may be able to correct those who are subject to you. If you wish to be the friends of God, gladly do the things which you know will please Him.   .. Let therefore hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves
 And so Obama,

"We have not invested adequately in the public health capacity of developing countries. Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so. And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.  . . .
"We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.  ....  We believe that right makes might – that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future. ...  America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030.  ...  I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within our own borders.  .  . .
"I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.   . . .
"But we welcome the scrutiny of the world – because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems and make our union more perfec ...  We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.
But true to pattern, as Urban II had invoked the will of God, so too Obama sought to clothe his war on ISIS in the mantel of just necessity.  After deploring the rape of virgins and the slaughter of innocents, Obama intoned,

No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.
The significance of this statement is apt to be overlooked until one takes note of the conditions the Church places on the invocation of the Just War Doctrine, viz:
 [The] Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:
1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; 
2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective
3. there must be serious prospects of success; 
4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [Catech. Cath. Church § 2309].  [2]
The Church’s just war doctrine, while reinforced by the example of Christ, derives in major part from Cicero who is generally credited with being the first to enunciate pre-conditions for just war,

Then, too, in the case of a state in its external relations, the rights of war must be strictly observed. For since there are two ways of settling a dispute: first, by discussion; second, by physical force; and since the former is characteristic of man, the latter of the brute, we must resort to force only in case we may not avail ourselves of discussion.  ( Cicero, De officiis (On Moral Duties), 1.11.33-1.13.41.)

For Cato as for the Church, the essence of a just war is necessity — necessity, not expedience.  The Church’s preconditions nail down what Cato had left a tad fuzzy: necessity must be demonstrated not merely argued.  

The second condition of a just war is explicit and clear to anyone who understands English, viz:  all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective.

But “must have been shown”  is not the same as “There can be no reasoning – no negotiation” The second condition requires that non violent attempts at resolution be made and having been made be shown to be fruitless.   Hypothetically asserting that it would be pointless to engage in negations is not a demonstration of anything.  It is a mere assertion.  If necessity is left to mere assertion then the entire construct collapses into a heap of rhetorical amour-propre.

Thus, the Church’s doctrine prescribes a mode of conduct not a mode of argument.   At no time did Obama claim to have attempted negotiations with ISIS.  Instead he supplanted the requirement of necessity with an ipse dixit of hypothetical impossibility.

The speech delivered this morning was trademark Obama.   It contained all the usual nods to humanitarian ideals and progressive goals.  It feigned a humble acknowledgement of our own imperfections. It held out the “hope” of a more just and equitable world.    But all this, as usual, was the cotton candy fluff around the big stick of “diplomacy by force”.

We chipsters are not persuaded that the doctrine of just war is itself justifiable.  Contrary to oft-asserted mistake the doctrine is not found in either St. Augustine or St. Anselm.  The passage usually cited from Augustine’s City of God, is a literal aside wrenched out of context from a discussion of the Roman Empire’s linguistic and cultural homogeneity.

Early Christians (like Augustine) were quite familiar with Cato’s moral teaching and were equally adamant that there could be no appeasement of violence.  By that they meant exactly the opposite of what we mean today.  They did not mean that we had to fight violence but rather that we needed not to hand ourselves over to violence — that we had to suffer it instead of giving in to it.

"A Christian must not become a soldier, unless he is compelled by a chief bearing the sword. He is not to burden himself with the sin of blood. But if he has shed blood, he is not to partake of the mysteries, unless he is purified by a punishment, tears, and wailing. He is not to come forward deceitfully but in the fear of God.” (Apostolic Canons of St. Hippolytus XII-XVI)

“The safety of the City of God, however, is of such a kind that it can be possessed, or rather acquired, only with faith and through faith; and when faith is lost, no one can attain to that safety.” (Augustine, City of God, Book 22, ch. 6.)
Thus, Clement of Alexandria described the Church as “an army which sheds no blood.”

"If you enroll as one of God’s people, heaven is your country and God your lawgiver. And what are His laws? You shall not kill, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Protrepticus 11, 116)

The evidence is overwhelming that the early Church did not espouse a just war doctrine but rather forbade a resort to violence in all cases.  Period.

But the apple of self-preservation is too tempting.  The rationale for a resort to violence was first enunciated by St. Constantine-Cyril in 851 when those pesky Muslims were besieging Constantinople.   During a diplomatic parlay in 851, Caliph Mutawakki’s negotiating team opened up with quotes from the Gospel of Mathew,

"Your God is Christ. He commanded you to pray for your enemies, to do good to those who hate and persecute you, and to offer the other cheek to those who hit you. But what do you actually do? If anyone offends you, you sharpen your sword and go into battle and kill. Why do you not obey your Christ?" (The Orthodox Church and Society VIII.2)

To which St. Constantine-Cyril responded

"Christ is our God Who ordered us to pray for our offenders and to do good to them. He also said that no one of us can show greater love in life than he who gives his life for his friends That is why we generously endure offences caused us as private people. But in company we defend one another and give our lives in battle for our neighbors, so that you, having taken our companions as prisoners, could not imprison their souls together with their bodies by forcing them into renouncing their faith."

It was unalloyed Greek sophistry which quick-switched from referencing the collective we to talking about the we as individuals.   Nay! Nay! We are not defending ourselves.  Perish the thought.  We are defending our neighbor — the old, the weak, the virgin, the innocent; each of us defending the other — like Christ — laying our lives down for others.  No greater love hath man than this: than to bash the skull and pierce the gut of his adversary for the sake of his fellow man.   All of which ignored the salient fact that Christ laid down his life by suffering violence, not indulging it.

We mention these things not with any expectation that the United States (or even, for that matter France) will espouse Christian pacifism, but to illustrate how far Obama has fallen from any semblance justness.

The Church’s doctrine of just war is a compromise — an appeasement of violence.  It forgoes the gold and goes for the brass, seeking restrict violence to cases of last and necessary resort.

It is not an unreasonable rule but it is little better than Cato and falls short of Socrates.  Obama does not even touch Cato’s toga.  His speech before the U.N. General Assembly was more of the same high sounding, self-inflated exceptionalism for which he and his countrymen are renown.


But surely, it will be said, ISIS is a bunch of brutal barbarians who cannot be allowed to mow a path of blood with the Crescents of their scythes!

Like others we were appalled by the images of the beheadings and at least like some others have tried to fathom the mind behind the hand in such deeds.

Our quandary was put into perspective by a Canadian — a rather Tory type at that — who responded to a comment on how slow and sadistic the beheadings were by remarking that they were at least quicker than executions in Missouri.

Where was the incredulous outrage when U.S. soldiers strung up and beat a 21 year old Afghan cab driver for four days running until, as the coroner put it, his legs were, pulpified.   

Is death by “pulpification” any less brutal?  At the time, we called this matter to the attention of several senators and not one bothered with a reply.   After all, it is not brutal when we, the exceptional Murkans, do it.

This is not to condone violence by a specious tu quoque but rather to point out the wages of violence when one gives in to it.

Humans whether American, German or Russian, whether Jewish, Muslim or Shinto, do terrible things, without exception, when they resort to violence.  ISIS should not be held to an arbitrarily higher standard.  It is par for the course. 

Dilawar’s pulpified body was never broadcast on the nightly news nor are we treated to the collateral death inflicted on wedding guests by our drones; and, when Israel, reduces neighborhoods to rubble and children to limp and charred flesh it is called a “justified reprisal.”

Which perhaps sheds some light on ISL’s dark motives. 

There is a controversial rule of war which allows belligerents to take reprisals against the opposing party.  Reprisals refer to acts which are illegal if taken alone, but become legal when adopted by one state in retaliation for the commission of an earlier illegal act by another state.

Reprisals are (or have been) allowed against non-combatants in retaliation against acts of sabotage or killings by partisans and other non-official combatants. 

Needless to say, much misinformation and propaganda surrounds this murky and unhappy aspect of international and customary law.  All countries — including the exceptional United States — have engaged in reprisals.  Most of the German reprisals during the second world war were illegal not in principle but because they were excessive. 

Nevertheless, despite the volumes of arcana and hair-splitting, the law of reprisal ends up being an attempt to put a reasonable face on all hell and its minions.  No real sense can be imposed upon eruptions of chaos.

There is thus a trend in international law toward outlawing all reprisals (and certainly all reprisals against non-combatants), but this is counterbalanced by an equal and opposite tendency to accept routine and predictable collateral damage as legitimate. In other words, when the "non-reprisal" is done impersonally and with banality.

Pondering these things, it seems to us that ISL’s notorious beheadings are conceived by them as forms of reprisal; and they have, in fact, usually been accompanied by some sort of retaliatory justification.

What this indicates is that ISL’s conduct (to the extent that a unitary control purpose can be supposed) is not animated by pure and arbitrary sado-barbarism, as Obama has claimed, but rather by the more conventional cruelty in pursuit of a geo-political purpose. 

It is a significant distinction.  There was no negotiating with the U.S. thugs who pulpified Dilawar because their conduct was no less and no more than indulgence in sadism for the sheer pleasure of it.  They were not trying to achieve anything other than to inflict pain on Dilawar and thus there was nothing to negotiate or bargain.

But when like cruelty is retaliatory and is used as a means of attaining some military or geo-political alternative, then (despite the sordid distaste) there is something which can be achieved by negotiation.

The people who control U.S. policy understand this.  They (more than the rest of us) know what a disgusting enterprise the making of sausages is.  They have been, are and will always be disposed to negotiating with cads of the lowest order if they think something can be gained thereby.  A few beheadings will not stop America in her tracks!

The spectre of arbitrary and sadistic brutality is invoked merely to buttress the a priori argument that there could be no point in trying to negotiate with such inhuman beasts and therefore a resort to violence is justified.

The only thing demonstrated on Wednesday is that is the shameless hypocrisy of U.S. policy.

Urbama I

©WCG, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Globalization of Homeland Security

President Obama has announced that he will urge the U.N. security council this Wednesday to pass a sweeping new resolution which would impose global travel bans on fighters intent on enlisting in overseas wars.

According to press reports ( here & here), the resolution will require all countries around the globe to adopt legal, financial and administrative measures to monitor, list, freeze and quarantine “foreign terrorist fighters” as well as to implement programs to “prevent[] the radicalization” of their populations. 

In anticipation of Obombo’s address, former U.K. prime minister, Tony Blurr, raised his shrill voice to call for a propaganda crusade against, what he called, “Islamism.”

Welcome to the Global Security State.


Legal measures, like electronic equipment, are usually tricked out with various bells and whistles that attract the superficially minded consumer.  And so, typically enough, the press has focused on the resolution’s proposed measures — that is, on all the buttons and functions it places at the state’s disposal.

But lost in the legal gadgetry is the law’s animating principle which, in this case, is to take prophylactic measures against intents and attitudes.

An “intent” is a mental formulation directed at attaining a chosen object or objective.  It is the purely conceptual or abstract correlative of a “desire” which is the emotional component of the same objective.  As a rule, nothing is done without it being intended, which is why the law presumes that a person intended to do what he in fact did.

Accordingly, if a person is found fighting alongside swarthy, towel-headed warriors, it is presumed and inferred that intended to do so.  Similarly, if he boards a plane carrying a grenade launcher and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “Caliphate Jihadist” his intended objective is fairly clear.

But most “foreign terrorist fighters” do not skulk about in uniforms.  The whole point of terrorist and mercenaries and other unofficial, non-state actors is that they are disguised and, as such, are indistinguishable from the general population.  

We have made this observations since Day Two of the current era and most recently again in connection with Obama's September 12th peroration on the terrorist threat.  What remains baffling is why the press is so utterly clueless.

Given that “foreign terrorist fighters” do not usually disclose their intents and given that the proposed laws seek to detect and prevent those intents from being carried out, how is this to be accomplished without monitoring all of us regardless of our intents and desires?

Given that intents relate to some future activity, it stands to evident reason that the proposed measures seek to penalize something which has not yet occurred.  But preventative punishment is the very heart of tyranny. 

Jurist types often speak of prophylactic measures which has a neutral medical ring to it and which conjures up some sanitary, precautionary, health measure like condoms or vaccines.   But law is not medicine.  Law operates — and always operates — by compulsion and pain.  This is the simple truth of the matter.  The words penalty and punishment both derive from the Latin word, poena meaning pain.  The law threatens pain for the doing or not doing of something and inflicts pain for the doing or not doing of something. 

In law, any type of taking or restriction is considered a punishment as much as a physical infliction.  For example, a person on probation is considered to be in legal custody because even if he is not confined to a cell his freedom of movement and choice is still monitored and restricted, even if mildly.

Whether one speaks of pro-phylactic or pre-ventative measures, the problem is is that they inflict a pain for something which has not yet happened. A person who has had his right of travel restricted on the basis of a suspected intent has been punished for something he has not yet actually done.  Similarly, a person who has had his bank account frozen has suffered a confiscatory “taking” without trial and on the basis of something which has not yet occurred.  

This prophylaxis represents the sadistic inversion of all that we consider civil and decent; it is pure taliation.

This arbitrary infliction of disabilities, detentions and punishments is nothing new.  It is the mechanism of all tyrannies and, as we have said before, the very essence of the so-called “war on terrorism”.    One can properly punish a terrorist for having done something and traditional legal tools allow this to be done with due process.

But to prevent an unseen, unknown actor from doing something potential puts the whole of society under suspicion, restriction and ultimately punishment without trial and on mere suspicion ... a suspicion which by the very formlessness of the supposed crime will always exist.   Once that takes place, the presumption of innocence has been replaced with punishment of predicted guilt and (as has often been said about Nazi Germany) the question is not “what is forbidden” but “what is allowed.”

This is what the war on terror is about and what Obama’s proposal proposes to do is simply to globalize the U.S.’s homeland security regime. 

The cute thing here, is that a person is always somebody’s “foreigner” so that once the regime has been globalized there is no distinction between “native” and “foreigner” and it becomes meaningless to say that any aspect of the law does not apply “to Americans” but only to “foreign terrorist fighters.”

Suppose for example that Congrease actually amends the Patriot Act so as to preclude warrantless searches of phone and email records of U.S. citizens and residents.  Big deal. That restriction will not apply in Abu Dabi where Americans are “foreigners.”   Thus Abu Dabi can monitor those chats and cooperatively share the information it has gathered with the country of origin of those foreigners.


As if all this were not bad enough, the inimitable Tony Blurr has managed to clang the other side of the gong. 

Along with the proposed taking of preventative measures against intents, he has made clear that the resolution also requires taking prophylactic measures to induce the correct and approved attitude. 

The conjunction “and” is one of the nastier little words in both law and politics.  It is nasty because it is small, quick and no one ever hears it.  When a politician stands on his hind legs and bellows, “We must take strict and stern measures against rapist, child-molesters and other criminals,”  everyone cheers wildly for revenge on the rapists without hearing or thinking or considering what the term “other criminals” might include.

Over and over again in the so-called war against terrorism we have heard politicians crying for and bragging about measures against “terrorists and criminals.”  Hardly anyone pauses to consider that “criminals” includes a teenager smoking an illegal joint, a drunk driver, a burglar.  The point is not whether dope smoking or burglary are “good” or “bad” but the extent to which we are willing to dispense with  due process in dealing with those behaviors.  An “exception” for “terrorists and criminals” is not an “exception” at all but a new rule of non-due process  — of taliation.

And so in this case, Obama’s proposed resolution does not seek merely to globalize the national security state, it also seeks to globalize the propaganda war against illicit modes of thought. 

Although the text of the resolution was difficult to find (and certainly not published by any mainstream information source), it

Calls upon all Member States, in accordance with their obligations under international law, to cooperate in efforts to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, including by preventing the radicalization to terrorism and recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters, preventing foreign terrorist fighters from crossing their borders, disrupting and preventing financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, and developing and implementing prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for returning foreign terrorist fighters...

Of course, nothing in the actual text, calls for agit-prop against “Islamism” but Tony Blurr’s clarion call illustrates precisely the twist and use “preventing the radicalization” will be given not only by himself but by political wedge organizations like ICSR masquerading as “research institutes” with which Blair collaborates.

Funded by Marks & Spencer heirs, ICSR dedicates itself to “researching” and polemicizing the “Islamo-radical” threat.  But their purview extends as well to Europes’ “New Right.” 

Summarizing ICSR’s agenda, Blair blathered, “The truth is that Islamism, unless fundamentally reformed, is incompatible with modern economies and open-minded, religiously pluralistic societies."

One really must wonder how the synapses in Blurr’s brain work, or not.  Earlier in the same interview he spoke of Salafist Islam.  In the next sentence he made a point of saying that this was not simply a fringe group; and, in the sentence following, he spoke of “Islamism” generally.  Is he so brain dead as not to understand the different implications of the words he bandies about with reckless abandon?

The dismal point is not that Blurr is no smarter than a desk-sergeant but rather that the desk-sergeant who will be monitoring our intents on behalf of the Global Security Apparatus is no smarter than Tony Blair.  {shudder}

Even supposing that Blair meant to confine his warnings to the threat of Salafism, that is little consolation to the rest of us, because the salient feature of Salafism is that it is a fundamentalist ideology which rejects “modern economies” and the neo-liberal modus operandi.  What makes Salafism evil in Blurr's mind is its opposition to the status quo.

Of course Blurr decks this out as a rejection of multi-cultural, pluralism on the assumption that all good and right-thinking people believe in multi-coloured pluralism.   But, assuming that to be the case,  once again, that nasty and.  He also couples the issue to a rejection of “modern economies.”  Would the Bolivarian, sustainability movement qualify as “incompatible”?  What about Popes Benedict and Francis both of whom have spoken out against the "modern economy"?   Do the “New Right” or “Fourth Way” movements, both of which reject the concept of global corporate economies and which endorse “cultural protectionism” also qualify as “incompatible”? 

Of course they do.  Shills like Blurr, blabber about Salafism because by doing so they lull the rest of us into not caring that the State is going after them and those.  But on closer examination, it is clear that the going after is against anyone whose views are deemed incompatible with the existing regime.  

Let's be frank.  Obombo and Blurr's One Percent Regime tosses out the chicken feed of individual freedoms (foetus flushing, gay marriage, electoral farces, and choice of detergent or phone) while promoting the social irresponsibility of plunder, privatization and austerity. 

The "modern economy," which Blair and Obama promote, monopolizes water,  depletes fisheries, uproots forests, fracks aquifers, pollutes the ocean, contaminates the air and impoverishes millions in the first world and billions in the third.  It is an economy which disempowers  workers and denies people their economic rights.

Although it is a truth most "liberals" find too uncomfortable to bear, the same relativism which allows modern society to be  culturally non-judgemental renders it equally non-judgemental economically -- which is to say that the value of exchange ("commerce") supplants all human concerns and values. What rules is simply the fetish of the commodity which allows and even encourages "pluralism" so long as it does not impede commodification and profit.

Neither Obama nor Blair are particularly important as historical forces in the Hegelian sense.  They are stage actors manipulated from behind the curtains -- or, in Obama's case, from the teleprompter in front.   They are only important for the forces they run for and give voice to.  Beneath the glitzy kewlness, of their "modern economy" is a Hobbsian dystopia where the race is to the cunning, callous, cruel and indifferent.  Under Obama's proposed resolution, any movement or any ideology which "rejects" the approved values of neo-liberalism needs to be "de-radicalized" and the masses themselves immunized against conceiving, much less considering, ideological alternatives.  

In the end, Obama’s New Resolution calls not only for global monitoring of everyone for incompatibility but also for global mind-massaging to induce compatibility with the neo-liberal, extractive, consumer security state.

Oh Security!  Oh Joy!

Sauve qui peut!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Over there! Over here!

Obama gave a little speech the other day and, once again, little heed is paid to the fine print.   In his address to the nation on Wednesday night, the president invoked the "threat" the Islamic State of Iraq and Lebanon posed to the world and promised to "degrade and destroy" the self-proclaimed caliphate.

Polls indicate that a plurality of Americans are happy with this crusade so long as it does not involve  "boots on the ground" but can be accomplished in the Pac Man manner by remote control killing.   The basically callous idea is that bloodshed is fine so long as it does not "involve" us.   But it does involve us.   This is what the president said,

"If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

 "I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. "
But "wherever they are" includes "some Americans here ... "in their home countries."   This non-war war will not only  take place over there but over here as well.  And that means that the U.S. Government will be hunting "potential threats" over here.

Do Americans suppose that these terrorists will wear some distinguishing badge or mark that makes them easily huntable?  Back in 2008 CIA Chief, Mike McConnell told Congress that Al Qaeda had improved its ability to recruit operatives capable of "blending" into American society and attacking domestic targets.   It was a "Duh Moment" in Congrease.

But if these fighters "blend in" with the rest of us, where exactly does that leave the rest of us?  Thirteen years ago to the day, we warned that the war on terror was a war on ourselves,

"What the Government will have to presume is that everyone is at least a potential terrorist. In the most fundamental sense that is a presumption that is entirely antithetical to the concept of civil friendship, i.e., societas."

It took seven years for Mike McConnell to stumble onto the obvious;  and still no one got it.  It took six more  years before Snowden leaked the obvious; and still people talk about targeting them  in ways that don't target us. 

It cannot be done because by definition terrorism and terrorist are unofficial, undercover, amorphous, formless.   And this means that the threat -- that is, the potential harm -- could lurk anywhere.... over there and over here.  That puts everyone under suspicion, and under suspicion, under surveillance and under surveillance, in prison.

Sounds like a loosing proposition to us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Police Impunity & Judicial Depravity

Once again,  State Thugs,  beat the crap out of someone for no apparent reason other than that the victim of yet another CopAktion had the temerity to ask why he was being detained.

Ever so slowly, the general public and even some denizens of officialdom are starting to ask murmuring questions about the "militarization" of the police and the disturbing nature of a police culture of hostility and aggression.

What no one is reporting or talking about is the culture of JUDICIAL depravity and prostration that abets police brutality. 

Does anyone think that the Robed Hypocrites don't know what the cops are up to when they come into court with their fake and phony "resisting arrest charges"?   Of course they do.  Cops brazenly call it testilying, and they know the courts will swallow whatever  S.O.S.  they serve from the stand. 

Impunity breeds brutality  and the judicial branch is most responsible for what goes on on the streets.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Washington Wonders

Washington Wonders never cease.   The New York Times published today an article-cum-info graphic listing all the foreign governments, corporations and hinwis who contributed to or sponsored Washington policy think tanks.  The list includes some of the most prestigious tanks in our nation's capital.   Mirabilis dictu,   the State of Israel was not listed as contributing to a single one.  Not a one.  We had no idea Israel was so disengaged from U.S. policy decision making. 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The American Disconnect

The Sotloff family released a statement today in response to the brutal beheading of their son by ISIS warriors.

The statement was touching in its unadorned recitals of Mr. Sotloff’s life and in its reaffirmation to emerge from the ordeal of his death without fear.

The loss of a parent or child is the most grievous loss humans can suffer and the anguish of seeing a son cruelly beheaded is impossible to fathom.  No one can begrudge the Sotloff family anything.

We were, however, struck by the following portion of the family’s statement:
"We Americans want to tend to our own lives, work our jobs, farm our farms.   But time and time again, we are sucked into world crises and often perplexed about which policies to pursue and criticised for what we choose."

This statement represents a complete disconnect from reality.  Perhaps the American people want to “farm their farms” (to the extent any family farms are left), but if they are “suckered” into anything it is by their own government. 

The United States — that is that nation state that exists and acts by that name — is not dragged into crises but itself constantly creates crises by its own interposition, meddling and belligerence. 

Americans will continue to suffer the consequences of their government’s subservience to corporate interests and imperialist ventures until they disabuse themselves of isolationist down home aw shucks family farm fantasies.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Bowings of a Sociopath

Triggering a flurry of pro-forma criticism from Western governments, Israel has seized 1000 acres in the West Bank in order to build a settlement in Gush Etzion, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  The area is close to where three Jewish teenagers were murdered in June.

Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said the decision to build in the Etzion bloc was the Zionist answer to Arab terror.  “Hamas murders and we build.”

What kind of logic is that? 

Theft by any other name is just as foul.  Israel is not “building” it is seizing.  What one does with stolen land or property after it has been taken is a distinct issue from the taking of it.

Dishonestly switching terms, Bennett attempts to confuse others into overlooking that Israel has stolen land belonging to others. 

“We continue to build our country as we always have,”  Bennett warbled on.  For over 120 years, since the dawn of Zionism, we have built and the world did not like our building....  Aww such touching pathos.  Jews build while the whole world cavils!

This is truly the mental process of a sociopath in whose twisted mind his own misconduct is transformed into earnest good doing. 

But it doesn’t end there.  Bennett’s statement implicitly acknowledge that this do-good, building of a new world was actually punitive pay back for murders attributed to Hamas.

First of all there has never been any proof, not a scintilla, that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish teenagers.  Hamas has denied any involvement and, given its usually candid acknowledgement of responsibility for past actions, its denial does not warrant rejection out of hand.  Moreover, Hamas is primarily a presence in Gaza, not in the West Bank where the murders occurred.  Lastly, given that Hamas was preparing for critical Palestinian elections in June, it is hard too fathom — without engaging in double reverse poker gambits — what it stood to gain by carrying out such a crime. 

But even supposing Hamas were responsible, what possible justification is there for punitively stealing land from a third parties (Palestinian farmers) who have certainly never been implicated in the crime?

This is precisely the type of psychotic reasoning which motivated Kristallnacht.   Yes, Kristallnacht.  In 1938 Herschel Feibel Grynszpan, a Polish Jewish refugee shot Ernst vom Rath,  a junior clerk in the German Embassy in Paris.    Grynzspan  committed the murder out of frustration over Germany’s anti-Jewish policies.   In response, the Nazi government unleashed mob action throughout Germany against Jewish establishments and rounded up 30,000 Jews and packed them off to concentration camps.

The reason collective punishment is primitive and barbaric is that it punishes the innocent whose only “connection” to the crime is sharing some irrelevant characteristic with the actual perpetrator - skin color, religious affiliation, ethnicity, or any other arbitrary attribute.

Howsoever the differentiation is drawn what is involved is a mental process that says: all of them  are equally bad,  guilty, worthless and undeserving of any individualized consideration.  They are, in a word, as cockroaches.

This is the mentality that reigns supreme in the councils of Israel’s government.  The seizure of the land is not simply “illegal” it is a nauseating performance of stroking the violin atop a heap of shit.