Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Raid on Rochester Bus

Caught in Transit: The Rochester Border Patrol Station from NewsHouse on Vimeo.

Fascism in Upstate New York

In the old days, the Bush years, I had it easy. I would go on and on with great indignation because I was convinced we were heading towards fascism because of an evil president and his equally evil henchmen and henchwomen.

Now we have a new president, with the letter D behind his name, and we still are headed toward fascism. If you take the Lakeshore Limited train in western New York you can be questioned by the Border Patrol and arrested if you can’t prove citizenship.

A recent New York Times article tells us the grim story of racial profiling and police state tactics which caused at least one legal resident to be imprisoned for two weeks. Border Patrol agents stop people who they consider suspicious and ask them to prove their legal status in the country. This is deeply troubling for several reasons.

As the Director of the International Services Office at the University of Rochester pointed out, hardly any white people are stopped or detained. “Only one of the ten or more people who have been detained recently would be considered caucasian.” So there you have it. A democrat, the first black president, yada, yada and yada, is up to the same old tricks as the despised Bush.

Actually he is worse than Bush. He is worse because more is expected of him, he is worse because liberals are more snobbish than anything and will put up with whatever the system dishes out as long as the dishing is done by a smarty pants ivy leaguer instead of a dumb one.

So if you go through Rochester or Buffalo on a bus or train you had better have your papers ready.

Wish I’d Said That Too

When I posted the words of Reclusive Leftists in the previous post I had a sense of deja vu. Chris Floyd had similar words not long ago.

Many of the writers seem to be operating on the assumption -- or under the delusion -- that Obama actually had some kind of political-economic-social agenda that he wanted to enact as president, and that he is now "failing" to enact it, "squandering" his opportunity. There still seems to be a belief that he ran for president because he wanted to do something with all that power.
But Obama is not "failing"; he is doing exactly what he set out to do: be the president. That's it. That's all he wanted to do. And he's doing it. The panic now emanating from the White House is not that of a man watching a chance to realize his deeply held ideals for a better world slipping away from him; it's just the flopsweat of a guy trying to stay perched on top of the greasy pole for another term. From his earliest days in office, it has been clear that Obama, like Clinton before him, had no real political program to enact; he was happy to do whatever it took to get enough votes to put him into office, while also assuring the real brokers of national power -- Big Money, Big War -- that he was a "safe pair of hands" who would never seriously disturb the blood-smeared operation of their giant sausage grinder.

To tell you the truth, though, I’m still not convinced that Obama actually wants anything, at least not in a political sense. He seems to me an utter blank. He’s a self-propelling election device that exists solely to get itself elected. It continues to amaze me that so many people somehow thought this empty suit was a savior. Even his campaign message was just a recycled leftover from one of Axelrod’s earlier clients.

So what does he want? I don’t know. Perhaps he has obligations to his financial backers. Wall Street bankrolled his campaign, and those vampires have been slavering for a chunk of Social Security for years now. Maybe there was a deal. Who the f*k knows.”

Reclusive Leftist

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iraq: Mission accomplished?

No, the occupation of Iraq has not ended. All troops have not left, and the number of mercenaries may double.

Don’t F*k with Iran

"The mass graves that used to be for burying Saddam's soldiers have now been prepared again for US soldiers, and this is the reason for digging this big number of graves.”

My title is short and sweet for a reason. I could go on and on about how the United States undermined democracy in Iran 60 years ago when it over threw the Mossadegh government (with the help of the U.K.) I could point out that the United States with its then ally Saddam Hussein attacked Iran and fomented a decade long war which killed 1 million human beings. I might also add that unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory of Non Proliferation Treaty and has allowed numerous inspections of its nuclear production sites.

But I’ll just get to the point. Iran is a can of whup ass, and that fact is the only thing which has forestalled a United States attack until how. Iran has launched a satellite and has now officially begun operating a nuclear reactor with the help of Russia. This is a technologically advanced country, and should not be trifled with.

Fear of defeat is the only thing which keeps the United States in line. It is imperative that the nations it declares enemies maintain enough strength to keep dumb ass Americans from thinking they can invade and occupy at will.

In case the point is lost on anyone, President Ahmadinejad unveiled a new drone with great fanfare.  "This jet, before it heralds death for enemies, is the messenger of salvation and dignity for humanity." I certainly hope Admadinejad can back up his words with action. It is imperative that Israel and the United States fail if they dare to attack Iran. There is nothing like a good old fashioned ass whipping to keep rogues in line.

The Occupation of Iraq Continues

No, the United States military has not left Iraq. The overly hyped exit is:  A) the result of a Bush era agreement (no thanks to the Dalai Obama), and B) not the end of an American presence. There will still be 50,000 troops left in the country.  Not only will these supposedly non-combat troops remain, but the number of private security will double to 7,000.

Where will the exiting troops end up? Afghanistan of course. There is still no end to warfare for this country.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Et tu Howard Dean?

So Howard Dean is channeling Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Peter King? I was a big fan of Howard Dean, in the days when I still had faith in the democrats. I defended him when the corporate media and the democratic party turned on him. I played hooky from work to get him to sign a book at a Barnes and Noble. No more.

Today Dean said that the Islamic cultural center slated to be built near the world trade center, should be moved. Not only did he go there, but he clearly had not been paying any attention to the debate at all. He referred to the "congregation" that doesn't exist. The so-called mosque is in fact a cultural center which will have one room set aside for prayer. Dean said that Islam was still in the 12th century and he also claimed that Muslims also considered the "mosque" an afront. Really? Which Muslims? The Uncle Tom Muslims?

Next week I will write about the racism, psychosis, and just plain asshattery which is being spawned in this debate. I certainly hope that center is built as planned in the location the organizers have designated.

"The best time in my life"

Eden Abergil is an ordinary young Israeli. She completed her military service in the occupied territories and went on with her life.

She was so nostalgic about her days as an occupier that she posted photos of herself on her Facebook page. The photos of Eden depicted Palestinians bound and blind folded with the smiling young soldier seated beside them.

Thanks to Breaking the Silence, a group dedicated to exposing the violence of the occupation, Abergil’s photos were made public. Abergil removed the photos after an international outcry, too late for the cyber world, but whines and pouts that she has been mistreated. “I still don’t understand what’s wrong.”

As far as we know, Abergil didn’t pose for pictures with dead bodies. Apparently that is quite common among IDF soldiers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ali Abunimah Explains the Obama Back Stroke

"What the critics are engaged in is collective vilification, delegitimization and incitement against Muslims in the United States and they are doing it deliberately and for political purposes. This is what needs to be recognized and confronted and sadly I do not see the president or any other senior politicians in the United States doing that." - Ali Abunimah

When I first heard that Obama supported the Islamic cultural center near the world trade center site, I couldn't believe my ears. Would I actually be able to praise Obama? Well of course I couldn't. He disavowed his statement less than 24 hours later. Ali Abunimah explains.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama Back Tracks on Support for Islamic Cultural Center

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable." - Barack Obama on August 13, 2010

"I was not commenting on and will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding." - Barack Obama on August 14, 2010

There is nothing worse than cynical, manufactured outrage. The debate over the construction of an Islamic cultural center to be located near the world trade center site is the latest example of this despicable phenomenon.

There is no legal way to stop the building of this center, which by the way is not a mosque. The group owns the site, they have the right to own it, and that should be the end of that. The local community board, made up entirely of area residents, gave approval for the center. Not to admit defeat, opponents then turned to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in an attempt to landmark the current site and prevent anything new from being constructed. The commission correctly affirmed that the site is not worthy of designation and the story should have ended there. How naive of me.

Mayor Bloomberg, who I generally disagree with on every issue facing our city, rightly affirmed his support for the project again and again. He is the only profile in political courage to emerge from this story. Yesterday at an iftah, the Ramadan evening meal, Obama stated his support for the center, or so I and millions of other people thought.

Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Peter King, John Boehner and company all pounced on the president's remarks, and like a good little suck up, he obeyed the professional right. He always does. The left, professional or not, gets the ACORN treatment.

The attacks on Islam are just sickening. Opponents of the center go on and on about the terrorists being inspired by Islam and killing in the name of that religion. In fact, their act was primarily political. Osama bin Laden made that clear in the days when he used to give interviews. He was angry at America's support for Israel's human rights violations against the Palestinians. He was angry that U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia.

It is easier to talk about Muslims wanting to kill us all because we aren't Muslims. Nine years after 9/11 they have even more reason to be mad. Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are all victims of mass killings at the behest of Uncle Sam. If we talked about the real reason for their anger we would have to question our government and our willingness to support, passively or actively, its criminal actions. It is much easier to foam at the mouth because a center which includes a prayer room will be located two blocks north of "ground zero."

As for our president, what can I say. He is always a double talking back stabber.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Professional Left? Hell yes!

“. . . if anyone needs to be "drug tested," it would be those denying that many of Bush's most controversial policies and actions have been embraced in full by Barack Obama.”Glenn Greenwald

So, presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs wants me, and you, to STFU. Most importantly, his words represented perfectly the feelings of  his boss, who wants us to be quiet and let him do what he likes without so much as uttering a peep.

In an interview with The Hill, Gibbs whined about the “professional left” who have the nerve to want “Canadian health care” but who still wouldn’t be happy even if “Dennis Kucinich was president.” Anyone who dares point out that Obama is carrying out Bush policies “Ought to be drug tested.” On the one hand, I’m angry with Gibbs for openly expressing his obvious contempt, on the other hand, he did get some things right.

Yes I would like Canadian health care. It saves more lives and more money that our system. If Kucinich were president I wouldn’t be happy because that would mean he had morphed into the monsters who climb atop the greased pole of American politics. Only a corporatist who fully backs the empire and all of its authority will be allowed anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama and his successors will be Bushites too. Some will be smart, some will be dumb. Some will appeal to the blue and some to the red but in the end they will all work to achieve the same ends.

I have never heard Gibbs or his boss complain about the professional right. The week before his inauguration Barack Obama ran off to have dinner at the home of George Will where he was joined by the likes of Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthamer, leaders of the professional right. 

There really isn’t anything new here. Obama kept Bush’s defense secretary, his security apparatus, and his wars. He pursued the same policy of bailing out the banksters. Health care reform is more of a bailout of private health insurers than anything else.

The professional left had better wise up and abandon this guy before it is too late.  As far as I can tell, we couldn’t be any worse off if Obama is a one termer. We might actually get a better democrat if we dump him. As one of my favorite sites, Stop Me Before I Vote Again points out, the left won’t be anything until they dump the democrats.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "Tell Me"

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Enjoy and don't pass up a chance to see them live.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Missionaries Killed in Afghanistan

“Human beings will do anything, anything. I am convinced. That's why when all those beheadings started in Iraq it didn't bother me. A lot of people here were horrified, "Whaaaa, beheadings!" What, are you fucking surprised? Just one more form of extreme human behaviour. Besides, who cares about some mercenary civilian contractor from Oklahoma who gets his head cut off? Fuck 'em. Hey Jack, you don't want to get your head cut off? Stay the fuck in Oklahoma. They ain’t cuttin' of heads in Oklahoma, far as I know. But I do know this: you strap on a gun and go struttin' around some other man’s country you better be ready for some action Jack. People are touchy about that sort of thing. And let me ask you this... this is a morale question, not rhetorical, I am looking for the answer: what is the moral difference between cuttin' off one guys head, or two, or three, of five or ten - and dropping a big bomb on a hospital and killing a whole bunch of sick kids? Has anybody in authority given you an explanation of the difference?” - George Carlin

Medical missionaries were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. “Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were ‘spying for the Americans’ and ‘preaching Christianity.’”

I couldn’t help but think of the late George Carlin’s words. I don’t know if the individuals killed were spying or prosletizing, but I do know that their deaths were no worse than the deaths of thousands of Afghans killed by our government.

They were innocent you say? So were the people killed by Uncle Sam. Don’t mourn for one if you don’t mourn for all

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Obama’s Lies About Iraq

Seventeen months after President Barack Obama pledged to withdraw all combat brigades from Iraq by Sep. 1, 2010, he quietly abandoned that pledge Monday, admitting implicitly that such combat brigades would remain until the end of 2011. – Gareth Porter

Here we go again. Barack Obama gets anti-war credibility when he deserves none.

Lest we forget, it was Bush who signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) back in 2008.  SOFA requires the U.S. to be out of Iraq by 2011, Obama’s double talk is irrelevant because Bush set the stage for a U.S. withdrawal.

Not only that, but the Obama plan, like Bush’s, permits up to 50,000 troops to remain in Iraq. They will not be called combat troops, they are advisers or supporters or whatever.

So let’s recap. Bush signed the agreement for a reduction of some forces but not all, Obama must abide by the same agreement and he keeps pushing back the date for the phony withdrawal.

Nothing to see here. Keep it moving.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

“We are sort of a mongrel people.”

Oh no he didn’t! Yes, the president did. When he appeared on The View last week he said that black people were “sort of a mongrel people.”

I am no mongrel. Like all black Americans I have some white ancestry. My grandmother was part Creek Indian. That does not make me a dog, the species for which the term is usually reserved. Humans should not be called mongrels, ever. Calling a human being a mongrel is an insult and cannot be seen any other way.

Obama once again showed his contempt for black people. I guess he likes Michelle and his own family, but the rest of us are just domesticated animals as far as he is concerned.

I thought it interesting when the president referred to himself as a “mutt.” Of course he was referring to himself. One could argue that he had the right to compare himself to a dog, but he certainly doesn’t have the right to use such language in regard to anyone else.