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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,585

Journal Archives

"Ed Snowden, Russian TV star, hands Putin a propaganda coup"

That's the headline of an article from the "news" channel on which you provide your services as a commentator (for free, as you've said). It indicates the typical (and predictable) right-wing view of Snowden. Oh look, it also rhymes with your own views.

You are apparently free to push your opinions here, but it remains a fact that they are more often heard on the right than the left. This will continue to be the case insofar as authoritarian affirmations tend to be more a right-wing specialty (not that the left or designated "left" is immune).


Bold statement!

I don't think 99% are watching you and your colleagues on FOXNEWS, but there are many other distractions, so it is true that too many people don't understand that Wall Street (meaning the owners and managers of the major institutions) is a criminal syndicate, their enemy in a murderous class war from above, and a driving force in the ongoing destruction of the biosphere itself.

I can't imagine why anyone informed would think it was a good thing that many people are so hopelessly ignorant about their own interests, not to mention right and wrong. Of course, some well-informed people still want for some reason to protect the banksters, or at least sustain their own denial. Perish the thought, in your case.

Fuck the Walton Family Foundation

Like the rest of the billionaire "philanthropic" foundations, it is devoted to the pet social engineering projects of its founder and controllers. This one is most heavily involved in sustaining the corporate school reform.


This bogus movement, a war on teachers and children and the public education system, is largely the product of financing from Walton, Gates and the Broads. While there is a lot of neoliberal logic driving it, one wonders how powerful it would be without the ample foundation money creating most of the astroturf for it.

It makes no difference whether the Waltons put their swag into more luxury homes or a pretend charity. Either way, they are making the world a worse place. It doesn't even matter if the charity does good. They shouldn't have the money in the first place.

No one should wield this kind of money as a private individual. 99.999% of it should be expropriated through a 100% inheritance tax above a few million in assets. I'm not a fan of the state owning anything, so we need to come up with models of collective ownership of capital at the levels of localities, regions, industries, states and nations. Foundations should exist: but as bodies under the control of larger collectives than the whims of some robber baron who decides it's time to play "philanthropist" and reshape society according to his singular vision -- which almost inevitably means, according to his own economic interest disguised as some charitable project (like the Gates' promotion of more tech in education).

Who says they, or Gates, or Bloomberg, or Rockefellers, should decide what society becomes simply because they or their parents or their great-grandparents were successful in gathering wealth under the capitalist system? Fuck them all. They are the wealth hoarders.

So did this guy desert the imperialist army or not?

All those soldiers should come home, of course, since they shouldn't have been sent there in the first place. Even better if they had not believed the propaganda and enlisted.

But now I'm having trouble figuring this case out. So much haze around this. I'm wondering if he deserves our exceptional support, or if he is only being wrongfully praised as a war resister.

Fantastic - it's the Commies at fault!

No, Svoboda's presence in a government is the result of the senior partner party's choice to form a coalition with Svoboda. If this was impossible, there was nothing stopping Fatherland and Yatsenyuk from calling parliamentary elections at a time when the country was still at peace, instead of allowing violence to escalate so that they could implement the EU-IMF economic program. God forbid the people should have gotten to vote, since of course the time before they had elected the other set of kleptocrats.

My focus is not on them "merely existing," so you are engaging in sophistry as usual. My focus is on them being welcomed into the government, given the defense ministry (until they fucked up with their extremism), and allowed to push through measures like the abolition of Russian as a language of the state.

My focus is also on the way you support them, twisting yourself up on behalf of ethnic chauvinism to the point where (given that your preferred government indeed abolished Russian prior to the president's reversal of it) you imply it's a minor matter for U.S. states to enact "English only." Clearly, you think it was better to have this coup government instead of waiting for the next election. You're implying Yatsenyuk, IMF, etc. is something worth fighting for even by these means of destroying the country. Too bad you're not the one there on the ground fighting to help them out.

PS - Those fucking commies, why didn't they vote for a government that included fascists?

Laughable disinformation.

The most pathetic of your moves is in believing there is any way to obscure the direct sponsorship of the banker Yatsenyuk by NATO, State Department, NED and the Western oligarch class of Peterson, Gates, etc., through Pinchuk, Horizon Capital and others. In this case it's of course particularly hard for you to distract from this with weak attempts at ridicule because of one of the main sources telling of this close and warm relationship is, of course, Yatsenyuk himself.

Partners of the Ukrainian coup d'etat prime minister... http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024946300

This connection is so self-evident that you could at least be honest and admit it. Yatsenyuk is the West's man, chosen by the State Department, encouraged to make a coalition with neo-Nazis as needed, and concerned solely with implementation of a neoliberal program as dictated by IMF and EU. Instead you engage in the false characterization that I point to this obvious connection only out of some anti-Western bias. It is your attitude that if there is regime change anywhere in the world, the West is never behind it and anyone who says so is a self-hating Westerner (or whatever). Sad that you choose these blinders.

On the other hand, you have no trouble with conspiracy theories no matter how lacking for evidence, as long as they involve dastardly Russians. No trouble seeing Russian imperialism in everything they do: in this case, every bad claim about them, whether it is true or not, is accepted. However, I have no need for a good guy-bad guy narrative. Ukraine has traded a predatory oligarch kleptocracy that favored Russian interests for a predatory oligarch kleptocracy in the pockets of Western interests. Nothing unusual in that; unfortunately regime changes of bad guy for bad guy are close to the norm. The difference in the new regime is that it wasn't elected, didn't disguise its function as an implementing arm of the IMF and EU, and was willing (and stupid enough) to ally with fascists and stir up ethnic troubles as a means of dividing the people. This backfired in Crimea and moved eastern Ukraine toward a new Yugoslavia-type war among competing ethnic nationalists (one hopes it can still be avoided).

The "stalled bill" abolishing Russian as a language of the Ukrainian state was enacted on the very first day of the coup government under Yatsenyuk. It was the law of the land, and only later reversed by the interim president. Before the reversal, the message had been sent: the new government had welcomed ethnic Ukrainian fascists who blamed all problems on Russian plots and Jews, and had catered to them immediately by abolishing Russian as a language of the state. Furthermore, the first choice of defense and security minister was one of the fascist party leaders. This is the most important ministry in most times, and even more so given the civil conflict -- an even more clear signal to ethnic Russians that the new government was willing to put the fascist attack dog in charge.

This was incredibly stupid, but what does one expect from a plunder team allied with fascists? Predictably, the overwhelmingly Russian area of Crimea, which was already home to Russian forces and bases, wasted no time in going its own way. This hardly required the "infiltration" of paramilitary forces from Russia itself. Seeing what had developed in Kiev, the majority of Ukrainian army forces who were already in Crimea went over to the Russian side. The subsequent election was stage-managed and under authoritarian-hysterical conditions, and I don't support annexations on principle (because of the obvious "Yugoslavia" effect this will encourage) but there's no doubt the result was a valid expression of the will of the overwhelming Crimean majority. The Kiev government should have and could have sought a deescalation at that point, before major hostilities began, and held parliamentary elections in peace throughout the country. As the eastern separatists began their protests, the Kiev government chose the way of crackdown and massacre, risking a civil war.

You still have time to save a little bit of face, not to go down as DU's most extreme apologist for Ukrainian fascism. Simple question: do you support the inclusion of Svoboda as a partner in the Kiev government? Would you have chosen a different route than to include fascists, even if this meant elections instead of a successful coalition? That is an essential litmus test at a time when fascism is on the rise throughout Europe. They don't get majorities, they don't come to power without assistance from liberal bourgeois parties who are ready to make a deal.

This is an ancient right-wing smear.

The crazy thing is that the U.S. supported the Khmer Rouge through China, after Vietnam invaded Cambodia to overthrow them and stop the genocide in 1979. But what does history matter?

For decades the right-wing has engaged in a vicious smear campaign to suggest, falsely, that Chomsky supported the Khmer Rouge. It's no surprise to hear this old lie coming from a "Conservative Democrat," emphasis on the conservative. After all, Wolfowitz and Perle and Co. started as staffer to the insane hard-line cold warrior, Sen. Henry Jackson, a Democrat. Some Democrats were neocons before there were even neocons -- a tradition that goes back to Truman.

What Chomsky actually did was to compare U.S. press coverage of atrocities by Khmer Rouge to those of the simultaneous atrocities by the U.S. client state dictatorship, Indonesia, in East Timor following the visit there by Ford and Kissinger in 1975. Coverage of the Khmer atrocities was plentiful because they were "communists," even though they later received U.S. government support once the Vietnamese communists overthrew them and stopped the genocide. Coverage of similar atrocities in East Timor was almost non-existent. By pointing this out, Chomsky was apologizing for the Khmer Rouge, at least in the insane logic of the American right wing.

That meme apologizing for Ukrainian fascism...

You may have seen this meme since last week's elections to the European parliament, and the simultaneous snap presidential elections in Ukraine:

It's good news that the proportion won in the May 25th presidential election by the leader of the extreme-right Svoboda was very low.

Despite the presidential election results, however, this group remains in the Kiev government. Svoboda has been a junior partner since the February 2014 coup, in a coalition with the Fatherland party, which also accommodates ethno-nationalism. The Kiev government continues to implement an extreme neoliberal program as dictated by EU and IMF -- the same set of policies that have ruined the lives of people in Greece and elsewhere in the EU, after being pioneered for many years in the IMF's class war on the third world.

Those who defend the Kiev government must answer this. The Ukrainian ethnic-nationalist fascists of Svoboda, who present apologetics for Nazi collaborators from the WWII period, and who engage in thug violence against perceived Others on the street, currently hold key power positions in the Kiev cabinet. A past Svoboda member is in charge of the security forces currently attacking ethnic Russians in the east.

How would the international left act, if Golden Dawn held the security ministry in Athens? Would anyone try to excuse it by saying that Golden Dawn was only a junior partner in a coalition, or didn't hold that many ministries? Would they consider it a mitigating factor that Golden Dawn was actually not very popular with the voters? Wouldn't an electoral defeat for Golden Dawn be even more of a reason to call for the expulsion of Golden Dawn from an Athens government?

The meme graphic is opportunistic and methodologically invalid. In any presidential elections there can be only one winner. EU parliament elections are often used for protest votes, since the EU parliament has little real power. In the most comparable recent election in Ukraine, for parliament in 2012, Svoboda took 10% of the vote. Anti-fascists should rightly see this as a crisis, as they do when Golden Dawn takes a comparable percentage of the Greek vote.

The May 25th Ukrainian elections were otherwise suspect, declared after the February coup and held under conditions of civil conflict in the eastern provinces, with low turnout compared to earlier, undisputed presidential elections.

Progressive popular movements were among the broad coalition of political orientations expressing themselves in the Maidan movement. That doesn't mean that the government that took power after Yanukovich fled the country in February merits apologetics from the international left community. This government was planned in advance by the State Department. Prior to the coup, the prime minister, Yatsenyuk, a former central banker, announced on his foundation page that he is in partnership with the State Department, NATO, and NED (a U.S.-government agency that engages in "regime change" operations).

The international left needs to resist false dichotomies wherein, if they oppose Putin, they must therefore support the current Kiev regime backed by the State Department.

Svoboda's poor performance in the presidential election should not be the occasion to make excuses for their continued participation in the Kiev government. No one's saying that Ukrainian people are more susceptible to being fascist than other European peoples. Clearly, fascism is a Europe-wide problem right now. What we are saying is that unlike in France or in Greece, bad as the situations are there, the Ukrainian fascists are in the government! The fault for that lies not with the Ukrainian people, but the Kiev government, the Fatherland party, Yatsenyuk and his partners: NATO, EU, State Department, NED, and a variety of Ukrainian and Western oligarchs.


(Why did they call a snap presidential election but no parliamentary election? We'll see what Poroshenko does about it, if anything.)

Documents released by Snowden

demonstrate beyond any doubt that Clapper lied.

Clapper is an unindicted criminal.

Snowden is supposed to go down on bogus "espionage" charges against which no defense is allowed.

In a related case, architects of the supreme international crime, a war of aggression, prosper in retirement, travel freely, are awarded medals and honors. The helicopter murderers are free. Chelsea Manning was held in solitary, tortured, convicted. Only she pays the price, for showing the truth.

So far Snowden's learned that lesson and outsmarted your authoritarian state, no mean feat. More power to him.

Kerryworld Logic: Will the U.S. deport asylum seekers?

I've learned from the present Secretary of State that "patriots don't run." For some reason, he thinks Snowden, who has stood up to speak truth to power at great personal sacrifice (and who is defamed on this board every day) is a "runner."

Going by Kerry's logic, what about this?

between 2009-2011 the U.S. granted asylum to 1,222 Russians, 9,493 Chinese, and 22 Ecuadorians, not including family members, among many others from a variety of countries. The U.S. acknowledges these people as patriots, men and women who took a dangerous and principled stand against a government they felt had gone wrong. A double-standard is no standard at all.

The reality:

Having watched Manning, Snowden (and Kerry if he’d admit it) knows what he could expect from American justice. Trials under the Espionage Act, which the U.S. says is how Snowden will be charged, quite specifically prohibit discussion of anything except proof or rebuttal that the accused did leak classified information. A jury is not allowed to rule on, or even hear about, motive and intent.

John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who was the first to go on-the-record with the media about waterboarding, pled guilty in his Espionage Act case last year partially because a judge ruled he couldn’t tell the jury about his lack of intent to harm the United States. In the case of State Department official Stephen Kim, the judge ruled the prosecution “need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage U.S. national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially.” In the Espionage Act case against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, the government filed motions to make sure the words “whistleblowing” or “overclassification” would never be uttered at trial. In Chelsea Manning’s trial, Manning’s defense wanted to argue she intended to inform the public, that the military was afflicted with a deep and unnecessary addiction to overclassification, and that the government’s own internal assessments showed she caused no real damage to U.S. interests. All this information was ruled inadmissible.

A SuperMax cell is not a very good bully pulpit. Kerry is either lying, or his hopelessly ignorant.

John Kerry, here’s a deal Snowden might accept: When the Department of Justice agrees to charge James Clapper, national director of intelligence, for lying under oath to Congress about the surveillance of Americans, Snowden will know American justice is fair and equally applied, and come home for a trial. Better yet Kerry, promise that both trials will be televised live with no sealed documents or secret sessions. Deal?

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