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

Monday, December 29, 2014


The Woodchip Gazette's  GOLDEN BRIOCHE AWARD  for 2014 goes to,




that the United States is "less racially divided"
than it was when he took office


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Speaking Through Gags

It is time for King Felipe of Spain to step up to the plate and bat down a law which is constitutes a direct assault on civil society and freedom.

Col. Tejero Couping the Congress

As most people (and perhaps some Americans) are aware, Spain has been gripped by fairly ongoing protests since the financial collapse of 2008.  To date, the government has been unable to restore the economy and so the protests continue.

Given its ineptitude and the total failure of its economic policies, Spain’s right-wing ruling party, the Partido Popular, has  passed a law outlawing unauthorized protests.  Nicknamed La Ley Mordaza (the Gag Law) it enacts criminal penalties for protesting without a permit. 

But it does far more than that.  The law which was given the historically ominous name of Law for the Protection of Citizen Security imposes draconian limitations and penalties on the right of public assembly and protest.  It makes it unlawful to:

1. Photograph or record police – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
2. Peaceful disobedience to authority – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
3. Occupy banks as means of protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine. 
4. Not formalizing a protest – 600 to 30.000€ fine. 
5. Carry out assemblies or meetings in public spaces – 100 to 600€ fine. 
6. Impede or stop an eviction – 600 to 30.000€ fine. 
7. Being present at an occupied space (not only social centers but also houses occupied by evicted families) – 100 to 600€ fine.
8. Meeting or gathering in front of Congress – 600 to 30.000€ fine.

It provides for: 
9. Police black lists for protesters, activists and alternative press have been legalized. 
10. The payment of judicial costs, whose amount depends on the fine, in order to appeal.
11. Random identity checks and racial profiling of immigrants and minorities.
12. Police can now carry out raids at their discretion, without the need for “order” to have been disrupted. 
13. External bodily searches are also now allowed at police discretion. 
14. Government prohibition of any protest at will, if it feels “order” will be disrupted. 
15. Any ill-defined “critical infrastructure” is now considered a forbidden zone for public gatherings if it might affect their functioning. 
16. There are also fines for people who climb buildings and monuments without permission.

 These particular provisions of the law make clear what it is about:  it is about protecting the oligarchy.  It is a law entirely worthy of Francisco Franco.

Not surprisingly every other party across the entire political spectrum voted against the law.  But the PP, which controls both chambers of the legislature prevailed.

On 23 February 1981, a right wing cabal attempted a coup aimed at squelching Spain’s renewed democracy.  Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos, stepped forward and put an end to the coup .

For that he was always remembered gratefully by the people of Spain notwithstanding his later failings.

Colonel Tejero’s action was an assault on democracy from outside the law, whereas the current Gag Law was, without doubt, enacted in accordance with due and democratic process.

But one would have to be an imbecile not to realise that assaults on freedom can come from within the law as well.  Such was the case with the Law for the Protection of the People & State which was enabled by a Reichstag controlled by a single party.

La Ley Mordaza puts the Spanish Monarchy in a very uncomfortable position.  As constitutional monarch, King Felipe is duty bound not to interfere with the democratic process.  Nonetheless, the Spanish Constitution makes it incumbent on the monarch to sanction the laws and to serve as the commander in chief of the armed force and as the symbol of national unity.   It was under this incumbency that Juan Carlos denounced the 1981 coup.

Historical crises are seldom clear and are always discomforting.  That said, Felipe should dare to be the King.  If he does he will earn the gratitude of the nation.  If he does not, neither the monarchy nor the unity of Spain will survive.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting a Grip on Torture.

Former CIA director, JamesWoolsey,  has stated that "enhanced interrogation" is   not torture unless it causes permanent physical damage.

Certainly!  It's  also not torture if rectal flushes are made with all organic and humanely raised ingredients.

People need to get a grip on this thing.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Credit and Shrugs Where Due

We Chipsters are glad that the Senate has finally released its “Torture Report” and, much as we are loathe to, we applaud Senator Feinstein for shepherding the report from darkness into light.   Given the political realities of Washington D.C., that was no easy task.

That said, we roll our eyes with boredom at the now engulfing tsunami of opinion, counter-opinion and “in depth news analysis.”   Screeches the New York Times

Really?  We never would have guessed.

The problem with Amurrikans is that they neither remember nor deduce.  Their brains are toggles that switch on or off at the presence or absence of triggers.  What spews out of their mouths could as easily be reduced to strings of rubber stamped “concepts.”

We remember an interview many many years ago when Mike Wallace of Sixty Minutes asked the then Shan of Iran whether it was true that his secret police shoved “broken Coke bottles” up detainees’ rectums.

An indignant Shah guffawed.  “Uhh, no! We have much more sophisticated methods of obtaining information than that.”
“Such as what, your highness?”

The Shah, annoyed at what he evidently considered a kindergarden drill, muttered something about more effective techniques.
A wide eyed Wallace, evidently thinking that he a cornered the Shah into one scoop of an admission, expressed astonishment that such techniques were used and openly admitted to being used by an ally of the United States in this day and age.

An equally astonished Shah, evidently realizing he was talking to a child, replied: “...And from whom do you think we acquired learned these methods?"


The long list of Latin American dictators installed at U.S. connivance and supported with U.S. funds and advisors attests to the long history of this country’s propagation of torture.  And if the United States teaches torture to its satraps and puppets abroad can there be any reasonable doubt that it employs those same techniques itself?

It is a minimally decent thing that the Senate publicly acknowledged the misdeeds of the United States and it is nice enough to hear at least a partial mea culpa.

All the rest is stuff and nonsense. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Payback for Payback

It was reported last week that OPEC decided not to increase oil production thereby insuring that gasoline prices will continue to remain low or lower.

That’s great news of Holiday Gas Guzzlers in Mobilia... including (it must be said in the interests of ‘fair reporting’) the chipsters.

But why?  Why would Venezuela not at least attempt to prevent a slide in its revenues? That is, after all, what crude prices are about.  If Venezuela needs anything it needs revenue... even more than toilet paper.

Well, most likely Venezuela had little alternative but to cow tow to Saudi Arabia’s lead.  But why would the Saudis themselves not seek to keep prices afloat?  They never particularly gave a damn for the American guzzler-driver.  Remember 1970?  Why should the be-sheeted shieks give a rat’s ass now?

One of the chipsters came up with the theory that Saudi Arabia was trying to undercut The Frackers.  It’s a good theory but the question occurs: why not before?  Why now?  Did OPEC finally wake up to the potential competition from fracked oil?  Actually there is no competition. 

Another one of our chipper editorial board came up with the theory that the cartel’s decision was in fact the opening salvo of economic war against Russia. 

The United States aims to break the Russian economy and to this end called in its chips with the Saudis who have little choice but to grit their teeth and payback.

The chipsters  voted and decided that the second alternative was what was actually afoot.  The United States is venturing where Napoleon and Hitler trod before.  That it does so by stealth and stocks is immaterial.  It still seeks to slap down Russia where she belongs.

Will Putin be the one-eyed general?