Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The global collusion to silence dissent

The feminist loons are at it again, as some of their leading lights join their efforts to those of a quasi-"criminal justice" system, in a common quest to bring down Julian Assange.

And, of course, it all makes sense. Take a man home with you, in fact, take him into your bed, and then charge him with rape, when the sex doesn't come off exactly as you prefer. Did he break through your window and assault you? Were you forcibly pushed into your apartment, as you unlocked your door? Did he drug you against your will? No, to all these speculations. But, to determined man-haters, that's all beside the point.

Proving that not every woman who professes feminist sensibilities is a whack job, author Naomi Wolf takes on the case of Assange and the spurious "rape" charges against him. Or, more accurately, the "rape" allegations. In a caustic letter to Interpol, the so-called international police force, Wolf mocks this ridiculous organization's arrest of Assange and his placement at the top of its "Most Wanted List." Referring to Interpol as the "World's Dating Police," she wrote,

Dear Interpol:
As a longtime feminist activist, I have been overjoyed to discover your new commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating.

I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims' complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women's apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, 'reading stories about himself online' in the cab.

Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That's what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).

Thank you again, Interpol. I know you will now prioritize the global manhunt for 1.3 million guys I have heard similar complaints about personally in the US alone -- there is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately. I also have firsthand information that John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, went to a stag party -- with strippers! -- that his girlfriend wanted him to skip, and that Mark Levinson in Corvallis, Oregon, did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut -- even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.

Terrorists. Go get 'em, Interpol!

Yours gratefully,
Naomi Wolf

Is there anything more bitter than a woman scorned? Yes, two women scorned! Julian Assange has had to learn this the hard way.

As a follow-up to her letter, Wolf expressed her outrage at those who are exploiting the tragedy of genuine rape, in order to punish the founder of the WikiLeaks whistle blowing website. Following are excerpts:
• • •

How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden's treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don't involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in advance of questioning on state charges of sexual molestation. Lots of people have opinions about the charges. But I increasingly believe that only those of us who have spent years working with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled -- and what a deep, even nauseating insult this situation is to survivors of rape and sexual assault worldwide. ...

I have spent two decades traveling the world reporting on and interviewing survivors of sexual assault, and their advocates, in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone and Morocco, Norway and Holland, Israel and Jordan and the Occupied Territories, Bosnia and Croatia, Britain, Ireland and the United States.

I tell you this as a recorder of firsthand accounts. Tens of thousand of teenage girls were kidnapped at gunpoint and held as sex slaves in Sierra Leone during that country's civil war. They were tied to trees and to stakes in the ground and raped by dozens of soldiers at a time. Many of them were as young as twelve or thirteen. Their rapists are free.

I met a fifteen-year-old girl who risked her life to escape from her captor in the middle of the night, taking the baby that resulted from her rape by hundreds of men. She walked from Liberia to a refugee camp in Sierra Leone, barefoot and bleeding, living on roots in the bush. Her rapist, whose name she knows, is free.

Women -- and girls -- are drugged, kidnapped and trafficked by the tens of thousands for the sex industry in Thailand and across Eastern Europe. They are held as virtual prisoners by pimps. If you interview the women who spend their lives trying to rescue and rehabilitate them, they attest to the fact that these women's kidnappers and rapists are well known to local and even national authorities -- but these men never face charges. These rapists are free.

In the Bosnian conflict, rape was a weapon of war. Women were imprisoned in barracks utilized for this purpose, and raped, again at gunpoint, for weeks at a time. They could not escape. Minimalist hearings after the conflict resulted in slap-on-the-wrist sentences for a handful of perpetrators. The vast majority of rapists, whose names are known, did not face charges. The military who condoned these assaults, whose names are known, are free.

Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned -- for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims' complaints -- sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom -- please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable. ...

For all the tens of thousands of women who have been kidnapped and raped, raped at gunpoint, gang-raped, raped with sharp objects, beaten and raped, raped as children, raped by acquaintances -- who are still awaiting the least whisper of justice -- the highly unusual reaction of Sweden and Britain to this situation is a slap in the face. It seems to send the message to women in the UK and Sweden that if you ever want anyone to take sex crime against you seriously, you had better be sure the man you accuse of wrongdoing has also happened to embarrass the most powerful government on earth. ...

Interpol, Britain and Sweden must, if they are not to be guilty of hateful manipulation of a serious women's issue for cynical political purposes, imprison as well -- at once -- the hundreds of thousands of men in Britain, Sweden and around the world who are accused in far less ambiguous terms of far graver forms of assault.

Anyone who works in supporting women who have been raped knows from this grossly disproportionate response that Britain and Sweden, surely under pressure from the US, are cynically using the serious issue of rape as a fig leaf to cover the shameful issue of mafioso-like global collusion in silencing dissent. That is not the State embracing feminism. That is the State pimping feminism.

Read complete article here.


The Authoritarian Left Comes Out of the Closet, by Justin Raimondo
How the Left has changed its tune on military interventionism, now that the warmonger Obama is in the driver's seat working to repress dissidents.

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The world's war capital

On his blog, Dennis Mangan conducted a lively discussion about today's American military and nationalist sentiment. He tells how his views on the military have altered over time, as this country's "foreign military adventure has become the American military's main mission." He writes:

The great swath of red state supporters of "our troops" have become dupes in our government's mission of forever being at war abroad, with little discernible national interest involved. On the contrary, I'd say the war in Afghanistan, for example, actively hurts our national interest.

Patriotism, said Johnson, is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and in the U.S., the scoundrels have decidedly taken refuge in it, and have co-opted the real patriots' support of the military into support for their endless wars abroad. One needs to distinguish between the military as a bulwark of the American nation and as a tool of the government, and too many Americans can't make this distinction.

Like most Americans, I've supported the military and had a positive attitude toward it for most of my life, but in recent years I've come to think that the majority of wars that we've fought in our history have been huge mistakes, actions of the government that furthered its own interests, not those of the nation as a whole.
In this same spirit, Brad Birzer, reviewing Tom Engelhardt's book, The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's, for The American Conservative magazine, claims that the relaxation of the Cold War during Ronald Reagan's tenure should have offered the West "some breathing room," that is, "a time to rethink the purpose of our nation and reinvigorate republican ideals."

Instead, Birzer maintains, "the past two decades, under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, have revealed America and the West as morally and spiritually bankrupt. Plunder and torture best symbolize the bloated American Empire of the last 20 years, a force that exists merely for the sake of self-perpetuation." He further observes:
• • •

When voters elected Barack Obama in 2008, his supporters acclaimed him higher than a prophet; he was messianic. ... What the Obama administration has delivered, of course, is not only the continuation of the policies of the previous three administrations but a profound exaggeration of them. If anything, we suffer more violations of our privacy and civil liberties now than at any time during the Bush administration, all in the name of a national-security state that keeps the populace in its place while perpetuating war abroad. ...

[In his book], Tom Englehardt probes deeply into the war culture of Washington, D.C. As Englehardt writes, when it comes to conflict overseas “however contentious the disputes in Washington, however dismally the public viewed the war, however much the president’s war coalition might threaten to crack open, the only choices were between more and more.” More drones, more troops, more nation-building. So much for campaign promises and the new messiah who would end war and poverty permanently.

The first military budget Obama submitted, Engelhardt notes, was larger than the last one tendered by the Bush administration. “Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it’s hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere (usually, in fact, many places) at any moment.” ...

As further evidence of our degeneration into a martial empire, the U.S. sells 70 percent of the weapons in the international arms trade. In almost every way, Engelhardt contends, the United States precipitates the militarization of the globe.

How far and fast we’ve fallen since the relatively peaceful days of the Reagan era. Four interventionist administrations later, we find ourselves as the leaders of international vice and terror. What happened, Englehardt asks, to the republic our Founders bequeathed to us? What have we done with and to our inheritance? ...

Engelhardt develops the fascinating argument that the history of the past 11 decades is the history of the airplane and our use of it for war, from the Sopwith Camel to the drone piloted remotely out of Las Vegas. In rather Chomsky-like (or perhaps Orwellian) fashion, one of Engelhardt’s later chapters explores the perversion of words in the English language to make the idea of war more palatable for the public and keep perpetual conflict “hidden in plain sight.” Engelhardt claims the Bush administration redefined patriotism and American identity, polarizing the country. Anyone who challenged the war, the Bush line went, must either be a “wuss” or a traitor.

Read complete article here.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Obedient citizens, WikiLeaks, and a delusional foreign policy

Let's face it. Americans who so willingly accept silence and secrecy from our government rulers do not want the responsibility of thinking too deeply about what others might be doing in their name. Why be forced to make decisions about reprehensible, inhumane actions performed under the guise of patriotism?

How wrong this country's Founders were to believe that its citizens would welcome an open society, in order to keep government functionaries on a leash, to see what they were up to at all times. The Founders sought to insure that these dignitaries, from congressional representatives to military bureaucrats, and their multitude of hirelings, would be answerable to the people, not the other way around.

In Focus on the Policy, Not WikiLeaks, Congressman Ron Paul declares, "In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, however, we are in big trouble." He writes:
• • •

At its core, the WikiLeaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.

No one questions the status quo or suggests a wholesale rethinking of our foreign policy. No one suggests that the White House or the State Department should be embarrassed that the U.S. engages in spying and meddling. The only embarrassment is that it was made public. This allows ordinary people to actually know and talk about what the government does. But state secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name?

The truth is that our foreign spying, meddling, and outright military intervention in the post–World War II era has made us less secure, not more. And we have lost countless lives and spent trillions of dollars for our trouble. Too often "official" government lies have provided justification for endless, illegal wars and hundreds of thousands of resulting deaths and casualties.

Take the recent hostilities in Korea as only one example. More than fifty years after the end of the Korean War, American taxpayers continue to spend billions for the U.S. military to defend a modern and wealthy South Korea. The continued presence of the U.S. military places American lives between the two factions. The U.S. presence only serves to prolong the conflict, further drain our empty treasury, and place our military at risk. ...

There is always an enemy to slay, whether communist or terrorist. In the neoconservative vision, a constant state of alarm must be fostered among the people to keep them focused on something greater than themselves – namely their great protector, the state. This is why the neoconservative reaction to the WikiLeaks revelations is so predictable: “See, we told you the world was a dangerous place,” goes the story. They claim we must prosecute – or even assassinate – those responsible for publishing the leaks. And we must redouble our efforts to police the world by spying and meddling better, with no more leaks.

We should view the WikiLeaks controversy in the larger context of American foreign policy. Rather than worry about the disclosure of embarrassing secrets, we should focus on our delusional foreign policy. We are kidding ourselves when we believe spying, intrigue, and outright military intervention can maintain our international status as a superpower while our domestic economy crumbles in an orgy of debt and monetary debasement.

Related - More by Ron Paul

Don't Start Another Korean War
South Korean leaders, emboldened by the U.S. protection, seek to provoke North Korean reaction rather than to work for a way to finally end the conflict

The War That's Not a War
The sad story is, this war is against ourselves, our values, our Constitution, our financial well-being and common sense
Read more!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NPR-NYC and endless race stories

How painful it must have been for National Public Radio (NPR) to fire a person of color. For a network whose major reason for being centers around pandering to, condescending to, and promoting all racial coloreds (most especially blacks), terminating the contract of Juan Williams, regardless of past gripes with him, must have caused much anguish. It would not be surprising if most of the staff felt inclined to spend some time in counseling.

Here in New York City, NPR programming is distributed through station WNYC, a clone that is indistinguishable from NPR in its icky editorial policies and its overall politics. In listening to the never-ending programs of racial proselytizing and racial handholding, it's hard to know where NPR leaves off and WNYC begins.

There's hardly a program that does not somehow tangentially include some kind of encomium to blacks. No matter the subject, no matter the period in history, no matter the figure under discussion, at least every couple of hours there must be a remembrance of the wrongs done to blacks. To fail to remember such wrongs can only be construed as gross neglect and racism.

When someone like Rush Limbaugh claims that NPR's programming has little to do with blacks, they just don't get it. Yes, white hosts dominate the broadcasts and, yes, they appear to be focusing on what might seem to be white-oriented themes, but listen more closely. There are no two consecutive hours when the racial grievances of the coloreds are not explored. Is there a program about cooking and restaurants? Well, wait until you hear about all those good jobs that were denied to black chefs. Is there a program about camping and outdoor life? Well, wait until you hear about how unwelcome blacks feel in the environment of national parks and the lack of "inclusiveness."

The point is that the whites who listen to NPR-NYC want to hear endless colored sob stories, no matter the initial story themes, and NPR-NYC delivers.

Limbaugh mocks NPR-NYC by claiming that there is only one black-hosted program, "Tell Me More." However, he is wrong. Besides this show, there are two weekend programs hosted by the black Tavis Smiley. On Saturday it's the "Tavis Smiley" show, and on Sundays Smiley co-hosts another program with Princeton Professor Cornel West. Both programs are non-stop colored grievance machines.

What Limbaugh does not understand is that there is no need for black hosts, since the white ones will do more than their share to keep the colored themes prominent. After all, whites love this stuff, so obviously it's good for ratings.

Even when a story focuses on a white figure, such as a popular sportsman, who has been accused of indiscreet or immoral conduct, the underlying idea conveyed is that it's not only black men who are "bad boys." Look at that bad, immoral white man!

As part of the daily pablum, ways are found to elevate the public image of the coloreds, while denigrating traditions or customs attributed to whites. After all, what kind of customs could be worthy of praise if those customs failed to include colored people?

One of my favorite NPR-NYC programs was cited in my 2008 post, Those quaint Indians, in which the white host was flummoxed when two men from India insisted that they preferred to return to their homeland to choose wives from among their own race and traditions. What could be more politically incorrect than such a notion? Is there a greater no-no among the NPR-NYC crowd than disdaining full and total integration? You refuse to mix it up socially? Won't date someone of another race? Well, now, we all know what that makes you!

Do we find enlightenment in any of this programming? On a recent Smiley-West show, a black man called in to tell the truth about who he has to worry about whenever he's on the streets, that is, other blacks who only want to "take from him" and harm him. And what is Brother Cornel West's response to such frankness? He informs the caller that the reason for this seemingly negative behavior on the part of blacks is due to the 19th century Confederacy, where blacks were "terrorized and traumatized." And that, Brothers and Sisters, is your enlightenment for the day.

Needless to say, sacred organizations like the NAACP and the many other civil rights bloviaters, who preach the party line on race, are prominent, frequent guests on NPR-NYC. The black-hosted "Tell Me More," includes "The Barbershop," a segment that is laden with conventional civil rights stories. You might think that you've bumped across some re-play of an old 1970s tape when listening to the whining about "injustice," but, no, it's just another day in the life of NPR-NYC.


Dredging up the past - Part 2
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Sweden's folly

And so we learn of the reality that has come to Sweden. Having avoided terrorist attacks in the past, two explosions on December 11, in busy shopping centers in Stockholm, brought an end to the calm.

Such attacks can no longer come as a surprise to those countries that, like Sweden, are aiding and abetting the Americans' wars against Middle East Arabs. Ongoing assaults will probably become as common in foreign lands as attacks against the invading American troops in Arab territories. Arabs are simply saying to the Swedes, "If you join with our U.S. enemy to help them in their invasions against us, then you, too, will pay the price."

Or, to use the very words of the recorded email message sent by those responsible for the Stockholm attacks: “Now, your children — daughters and sisters — will die like our brothers and sisters and children die."

Would Americans consider this unreasonable, if a years-long invasion was underway on U.S. soil and Canada allied with the invaders and sent its troops to help kill Americans?

Last month, Sweden's foolish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt claimed that plans were underway to withdraw Swedish combat forces from Afghanistan over the next four years. Four years?! Now how much terrorist damage do you think can be done to the Swedish people over four years? The Swedes ought to run Reinfeldt out of town.

These years of military actions, in which thousands of young American men have died and tens of thousands of Arabs have perished, are totally meaningless to the American cause. They are for nothing! What possible meaning can this gross injustice hold for the Swedes? What folly.
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Keep the myth alive

Do we have to do this again? Every single year, in December?

Well, yes, the story with its assorted lies must be told over and over, to make sure it remains part of the American myth. What else makes white men feel so good about themselves other than that monumental WWII, that supposedly saved the world? The war where they got to kill off hundreds of thousands of other white men, along with some yellow ones -- for the sake of what exactly? Perhaps just for the sake of being able to brag to future generations about their superior courage and military prowess, and to make all those repetitious and insufferable Hollywood war movies.

In It’s Pearl Harbor Day – Trot Out the Official Fable, Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute informs us that historians have long known that the true story of the war with Japan was nothing like the "patriotic fable dispensed each year on December 7 for popular consumption." In two insightful articles, Higgs offers detailed accounts of the facts having to do with America's Beloved War on both fronts. See How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor and How Americans Have Been Misled about World War II.

Higgs writes: "It behooves every educated American to learn this honest history and to pass it along to others when an opportunity arises, because the myth has long contributed, and continues to contribute, to a false view of the U.S. place in the world and to a grave misunderstanding of U.S. foreign policy.

"Ceaseless dissemination and widespread acceptance of this view is the very model of how the U.S. government tends to do foreign policy: provoke foreigners to attack Americans, then tell the American people that foreigners have attacked us for no reason and therefore we must strike back to defeat them or at least to teach them a lesson about treating the United States with deference."

Oh, yes, show deference to the USA! USA! USA! Or else.
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Twenty years of offshoring and nine years of pointless US wars

Will it ever be possible to return the American economy to what it was like when the U.S. was a leading manufacturer of goods? Or does offshoring spell doom for the American future? And is China really the problem?

In American Job Loss Is Permanent, economist Paul Craig Roberts talks about the advocates of globalism who, over the years, have insisted that the offshoring of jobs by U.S. corporations increases employment and wages in the U.S. Economist Matthew Slaughter and William Cohen, a former Bill Clinton Cabinet member, have actually made this claim. In Cohen's words: “The fact is that for every job outsourced to Bangalore, nearly two jobs are created in Buffalo and other American cities.” Roberts wonders just where are these jobs in Buffalo, which no one has yet been able to locate. He writes:
• • •

The claim that jobs offshoring by US corporations increases domestic employment in the US is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated. ... Slaughter reached his erroneous conclusion by counting the growth in multinational jobs in the U.S. without adjusting the data to reflect the acquisition of existing firms by multinationals and for existing firms turning themselves into multinationals by establishing foreign operations for the first time. There was no new multinational employment in the U.S. ...

Over the last decade, the net new jobs created in the U.S. have nothing to do with multinational corporations. The jobs consist of waitresses and bartenders, health care and social services (largely ambulatory health care), retail clerks, and, while the bubble lasted, construction.

These are not the high-tech, high-paying jobs that the “New Economy” promised, and they are not jobs that can be associated with global corporations. Moreover, these domestic service jobs are themselves scarce. ...

To keep eyes off of the loss of jobs to offshoring, policymakers and their minions in the financial press blame US unemployment on alleged currency manipulation by China and on the financial crisis. The financial crisis itself is blamed by Republicans on low income Americans who took out mortgages that they could not afford.

In other words, the problem is China and the greedy American poor who tried to live above their means. With this being the American mindset, you can see why nothing can be done to save the economy.

No government will admit its mistakes, especially when it can blame foreigners. China is being made the scapegoat for American failure. An entire industry has grown up that points its finger at China and away from 20 years of corporate offshoring of US jobs and 9 years of expensive and pointless US wars. ...

The major cause of the US trade deficit with China is “globalism” or the practice, enforced by Wall Street and Wal-Mart, of US corporations offshoring their production for US markets to China in order to improve the bottom line by lowering labor costs. Most of the tariffs that the congressional idiots want to put on “Chinese” imports would, therefore, fall on the offshored production of US corporations. When these American brand goods, such as Apple computers, are brought to US markets, they enter the US as imports. Thus, the tariffs will be applied to US corporate offshored output as well as to the exports of Chinese companies to the US.

The correct conclusion is that the US trade deficit with China is the result of “globalism” or jobs offshoring, not Chinese currency manipulation.

Read complete article here.
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