Tuesday, February 27, 2024

R.I.P. Aaron Bushnell

 Maybe if U.S. Airman Aaron Bushnell had set fire to the Israeli embassy instead of setting fire to himself, his act of protest against the genocide in Gaza would have gotten more attention  from the establishment media machine. As it was, the first instinct of a cop arriviing on the scene was to draw his gun instead of grabbing a fire extinguisher or a blanket with which to smother the flames. I guess the cop feared that without gunfire,  the fire might spread to some pretty valuable real estate in the vicinity.

The police reaction and the ensuing media silence on this tragedyare simply reflective of the fact that the the powers-that-be consider the destruction of property to be far worse than the destruction of human beings.  This also applies to the destruction of oneself in an act of political protest.

 And when it's a military service member who self-destructs so spectacularly to protest against a genocide in which he potentially would be ordered to participate ,it renders thr masters of war and their media lackeys completely speechless.  Their own cowardly acts of self-censorship speak for ithemselves; to the extent that outlets like the New York Times have covered the tragedy, they have done so in as perfunctory and repressed a style as they can indecently manage.

 "Man sets self on fire in front of embassy " is pretty much the gist of it. It's rendered as pathetically humdrum a stunt as the  latest disturbed White House fence-jumping or at least no more remarkable than a particularly gruesome traffic pile-up.

"Move along, folks," the media cops on the beat seem to chide those rubbernecker readers. "Nothing to see here."

It's especially awkward for them as Election '24 is in full gear. Genocide Joe would find it especially difficult to shamble up to eh podium and slur out his thanks to Airman Bushnell for his service and his sacrifice. And his standard closing line of "God protect our troops" would neither fit the occasion nor contribute to the kind of  for-profit patriotic fervor that he's always aiming for. 

And it also wouldn't do for Biden to bring up suicide of any kind during this election year, when deaths of despair in America are at their highest level in years -  despite his boasts of  an economy so booming that only MAGA Republicans are mired in the slough of American life,. They are so cynical when  a Democratic future obviously beckons to one and all.

To hear the politicians tell it, our military heroes and martyrs have all willingly and valiantly killed or died for us. Never do the masters of war tell us the real truth: that the vast majority of people join the military to escape poverty, either actual or threatened. That is because wages have been stagnating for decades. A military job means guaranteed food, lodging, job training and guaranteed, cost-free health care.  Recruiting efforts, largely done in high schools in poor districts, take great care sell the benefits and to downplay the physical and mental risks.

The first place I learned about Aaron Bushnell's death was in the right-wing, sensationalistic Daily Mail. The headline in its follow-up story today was. predictably enough, aimed at arousing outrage against lefties burning Israeli flags in a vigil outside the embassy, and glorifying the airman as a martyr. It is the same kind of stereotypical language the media uses when they cover Muslim jihadists fomenting mayhem in the Middle East just for the crazed fun of it.

But surprisingly enough, the body of the Daily Mail article contains interviews with Bushnell's neighbors and plenty of background and photographs.  Even though it's buried deep within the body of the story, it even quotes a psychologist warning that to the extent that the establishment media will cover the self-immolation in any depth, it will be a smear job, calling into question Bushnell's mental health. Absent any radical tidbits, The Times and its cohort  probably will continue to ignore the story.

Besides, they're too busy covering Joe Biden's campaign appearance on a late-night NBC talk show while studiously ignoring the scores of anti-genocide protesters gathering outside 30 Rock. They're too busy analyzing whether Joe's genocide will hurt his chances in today's Michigan primary - where, we're told, only his victory will prevent the Second Coming of Trump.

They figure if they just ignore Bushnell's death, it will go away. So let's make it impossible to ignore. Otherwise, his death will indeed have been in vain.  

Monday, February 19, 2024

Biden's Holy Wars

Christian fundamentalism is the unbroken thread winding its slinky way throughout the history of the United States.  It writhes on to this very day, above the surface among right-wing factions, and more or less below the surface among liberals who purport to be more rational. This more enlightened, more occult liberal version is either approved or ignored  by the mainstream media.

Joe Biden is a conservative Catholic, whose hardcore religious fundamentalism often escapes the traditional bounds of liberal discretion. He is certainly not immune to the hardcore religious dogma which has kept the colonialist, repressive, inquisitorial mindset alive in North America for upwards of 400 years.  He, like most leaders, has used his religion as a moral excuse for inhumane policies ranging from his longtime opposition to abortion,  via the Hyde Amendment, to his full- throated support of the antisocial austerity policies espoused by the Reagan inspired Democratic Leadership Council he helped to found in the 1980s.

But nowhere is Biden's religious fundamentalism more apparent than in the thick coats of pious gloss he applies to his proxy war on Russia and his fanatical support of the State of Israel's genocide of the Palestinians trapped in occupied Gaza.

Biden went  full fire and brimstone last week when that godless heretic Donald Trump committed  his shocking sacrilege against NATO, even going so far as to invite the great satan Putin to invade the member-states who don't plunk their fair share into the collection basket. It was one of many times recently that Biden has  referred to his NATO not as the European arm of the military-industrial complex, but as a "sacred" fraternity united against undemocratic (read: godless) Russia.

Biden's entire re-election campaign revolves around the enemies without and the Public Enemy Number One and "existential threat" to the soul of our nation within: Donald Trump.The liturgy known as Russiagate is the required catechism. 

Although the dictionary defines the word "sacred" as "dedicated or set apart for the worship of a deity," or "something or someone  "worthy of religious veneration," Biden certainly has a facile way of hurling it about.

"We have a "sacred obligation to our military families," he sermonized last spring, "because there is nothing more sacred or more American."

But on another occasion he argued that "there is nothing more sacred than the right to vote," a right which is enshrined in "the sacred Constitution."

Biden, as a Catholic school pupil during the Cold War, was always taught to say his rosary for the conversion of Russia. He learned all about the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three Portuguese peasant children in 1917, around the time of the Russian revolution, to expressly warn them about a communist i menace so catastrophic that the children  were instructed by the mother of Jesus to only divulge the details to the Vatican, which was to keep the documents under lock and key almost a century. And Biden also learned that the anti-Muslim crusades were not a series of land-grabbing  atrocities carried out over a period of over 200 years, but rather virtuous pilgrimages for the saving of non-believing souls. How do I know this? Because I attended a Catholic elementary school, too, and this was the relentless propaganda that was drummed into me. It was a curriculum and catechism devised and decreed by the Vatican. Some pupils outgrew or disowned this dogmatism. Others, obviously, have not.

So it comes as no surprise, to me anyway, that the two enemies that Biden has chosen to fight are Russia and the Muslims that centuries ago reconquered the Middle East from all manner of European usurpers. It explains why Biden is a self-described Christian Zionist with an unwavering loyalty to the state of Israel, the formation of which officially expelled Palestinians fom the "holy land" in 1948. As a devout, fundamentalist Catholic, he believes that when the end of the world comes, he will be bodily resurrected into heaven directly from Zionist-controlled Jerusalem.

When it comes to war, Biden gets downright medieval in his rhetocic.  His crusade to expand and strengthen NATO to all of Europe and even beyond, his exhortation to the whole world to join forces against Russia is not only a throwback to the Cold War. It's a throwback to Pope Urban II's exhortation in 1095 to nobles, knights, clergy and peasants alike to join in a militant pilgrimage to Byzantium, ostensibly to defend a Greek monarch against the Turks -  but really while they were at it,  to reconquer Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Palestine from Islamic rule.

Pope Urban got around the Church's official aversion to war and murder by redefining what was to become more than two  hundred years' worth  of "crusades" against Muslims  - multigenerational long pilgrimage in which participating European  volunteer-combatants would be absolved of all their sins and guaranteed a place in heaven.

George W. Bush made liberals cringe when he cast his invasion of Iraq as a "crusade." Biden thus far has not verbally succumbed out that retrograde mindset by using the "C" word himself regarding his ideological wars. But he and his fellow hawks are always striving to overcome the Vietnam Syndrome described by neocons, in which our "sickly inhibitions" against war damage whatver war effort is currently underway.

For example, just as Tucker Carlson allowed Putin to tell his side of the story, the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny conveniently died in a Siberian prison - right before his wife was taking the stage at a NATO confab in Munich. Right as the House of Reps was balking at sending more money and weaponry to Ukraine. 

Right as the fate of political prisoner Julian Assange, exposer of Crusader Bush's war crimes, is being decided in a British court.

Just as "Genocide Joe" insisted that he witnessed the beheadings of Israeli babies by Hamas, Pope Urban II before him had urged genocide by atrocity propaganda. He  told his troops of pilgrims that Muslim "savages" were eviscerating their (non-existent) Christian slaves just to see how far their intestines could be  spread upon the ground. The pope also inspired his target audience with the specter of mass sexual assaults by Musliims upon on Christian women. Urban prissily did not go into specifics explaining that talking about the horror would actually be worse than the actual horror. . Of course, Pope Urban didn't have a New York Times to spread the graphic unproven  details for him.. Plus, most people were not that literate back then.

Enlightened liberal fanatics like Biden just can't seem to help embracing the same kind of mythical, mystical past they accuse the "deplorables" of clinging to.

The sacralizing of war and all kinds of ,cruelty is how they justify  their crimes to themselves.. It's what lets all of them  sleep at night.

 It also what makes Biden risk his own re-election for the sake of a religious fundamentalist idea, even it it means the second coming of Trump. Biden seems to be holding on for the second coming of Christ. Until then, his faith turns America iinto a pariah state in the eyes of the world.

We must face the likelihood thathe truly does believe that Israel's murder of 30,000 Palestinians and counting is simply a matter of righteous self-defense.

As Jeff Sharlet observes in his excellent history of American fundamentalism, "The Family.""

"Our attempts to shunt fundamentalists into the outer circle of kooks and haters and losers and left-behinds, undemocratic dimwits who do not understand the story the rest of us have agreed to live by. Our refusal to recognize the theocratic strand running throughout American history is as self-deceiving as fundamentalism's insistence that the United States was created a Christian nation."`

Sharlet writes in his book that the National Prayer Breakfast, begun as a yearly event during the Eisenhower administration, and at which every president siince has delivered a religion--themed speech  actually got its start as an anti-labor, anti-New Deal movement in the 1930s, as a nifty means to promote capitalistic greed and wealth inequality in the name of Jesus. The annual event also serves as a back-channel for foreign leaders - including foreign despots who are officially personae non grata with the State Department -and influential business people to wheel and deal in  safety and comfort, to be a part of the religious experience. The only requirement is a personal acceptance of Jesus.

For his own part, Biden did not disappoint the war profiteers in the audience. At oone point in his speech, he actually seemed to conflate the United States with the body of Jesus Christ:

"But we’re the beacon to the world.  The entire world looks to us.  That’s not hyperbole. 
This is an idea.  This idea was made real before the soul became flesh, before this dream became a fact.  It was prayed for, it was hoped for, it was believed in.  That’s the story of America."

Biden alluded to the famous passage from the New Testament's Gospel of St. John: "The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory as it were the only begotten son of the Father, full of grace and truth."

I rest my case.

Friday, February 9, 2024


Who cares if Joe Biden thinks that he took tea with Marie Antoinette at the Kremlin just the other day? Who cares if he forgets bombing countries with whom we are not actually at war? 

The president is, after all, nothing but a simulacrum or figurehead of power. The real power is invested in his representatives, who represent the corporations and billionaires who own the place.

To show that Biden as a personage doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of these malevolent schemers, loyal pundits like Paul Krugman are falling all over themselves bragging that despite their high intelligence, they forget the year that their own mother died.  So how dare the special prosecutor take the name of Biden's dead son in vain as an example of how senile the president is? I mean, who in their righteous mind hasn't forgotten when they were the vice president of a whole country, o even whether they still might even might still be the vice president of the United States?

Here's my take on ForgetGate. Biden, drawing upon his past feat of graduating near the bottom of his law school class but at a press conference decades later advancing himself to summa cum laude status, was simply perpetrating another con on a different panel of inquisitors. Only this time, he thought he could score points by dminishing himself. Granted that he is diminished, he chose to exaggerate his brain fog as a criminal defense strategy.

 The trouble was, his testimony was a bit over the top, even for him, even a bit sarcastic. He  was acting very passive-aggressively toward his interrogators.

It sure saved hhim the trouble of invoking the fifth amendment against self-incrimination. He probably figured the special prosecutor would simply do a wink-and-nod and release a brief report stating that the theft of classified material did not rise to the level pf a prosecutable crime.

This is the Old Boys Club, of which Biden has been a proud member iin good standing for nearly half a century!

It backfired on him, of course. When you're running for re-election, it's much more preferable to be charged with a crime than to be labeled senile. Just ask Donald Trump, who is so busy with myriad court cases that he barely has time to hold a campaign rally. And if he is off the campaign trail, he has less opportunity to exhibit his own senility.  Dementia and crime are canceling each other right out, in Trump's case. It also helps him when the Supreme Court seems poised to to demolish the Democrats' "lawfare" shenanigans to keep him off the ballot.

I still think Biden will drop out right before or even during the Democratic convention this summer.  That way, the corporations and billionaires, either in  person or via their paid superdelegates, can nominate his successor by undemocratic acclaim. If they have an ounce of sense, this is what they will do. And that is a big "if." The task will be to keep their rusting windup toy well-oiled with medication and well-scripted to stay on message for several more months. First lady Jill will never be far away in a futile effort to swat away any elder abuse allegations along with those pesky "Genocide Joe" epithets hurled against her hubby.

Putting Joe into the retirement home for Aging War Criminals will be delicate undertaking not least because they will also have to find a way of retiring Kamala Harris from the ticket. So I assume they will nominate a woman for either their number one or number two. I am currently betting on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She could well salvage the state for the Dems if only she can convince the anti-Biden Palestinian bloc that she is not also in Israel's pocket. That is another big If.

 And Joe Biden will get an unforgettable sendoff for putting the country before his incredible career of championing genocide,  writing racist crime bills, putting more immigrants into solitary confinement and deporting them than even his xenophobic predecessor did.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Reading "1984" in 2024: A Rambling Rumination

It's long been a commmnplace to attach the Orwellian label to everything  from mass surveillance to censorship to the endless war machine. Centered in a post-capitalist post apocalyptic future, George Orwell's dystopian novel has something for everybody. 

I just finished rereading the book for the fourth or fifith time since I first picked it up as a teenager in the 60s. Back then, I viewed it as the perfect description of the regimented public education system. I saw in the novel a mirror image of my high school, an ugly, dimly lit concrete example of Brutalist architecture. Not for nothing did those of us who fancied ourselves rebels dub it The Brain Factory.

At the time, I didn't pay much attention to ihe name of my school - Indian Hills High, nestled in a white middle class enclave where virtually every street bore the name of an indigenous nation. There was (still is) an Osage Road, a Cherokee Court, a Lenape LLane and Ramapo Avenue. It makes me cringe every time I think about it.

Fast toward 50 years to old age, and now the novel is a whole lot scarier, morphing from what Might Be to what ot Actually Is. 

I'm a lot more class conscious than I was in my youth. I had not really  noticed in in my prior reading how closely Orwell's fictional class system hewed to our own. In just that one respect, "1984" was entirely, eerily prescient. 

The top One Percent was rendered by Orwell as the "Inner Party." Granted, his version of the ruling oligarchy lived much more materially modest lives than our own Billionaire Class. Even Orwell could not have envisioned Jeff Bezos and his ilk.

His "Outer Party," however, bears an uncanny resemblance to what the late Barbara Ehrenreich called the Professional-Managerial Class: the upper 10 or 15 percent of the population serving the top One Percent 

The novel's antihero, Winston Smith, is very much an integral part of the PCM. Toiling away in the Ministry of Truth, He's the very model of our own modern day corporate media, whose dual function is to destroy the inconvenient past and to mold an alternate reality for the mass consumption of even the lowest rung in the hierarchy known as the "proles." In so doing, these Outer Party members must carefully suppress their own dissenting viewpoints, if any, if they want to survive. Winston Smith, as a careerist member of the PCM media division, was very careful in the beginning to toe the Party line himself, hoping that the Proles would be the ones rise up and revolt. I  can envision dozens of Winston Smiths sitting in their New York Times cubbyholes,, stealthily editing  articles that are, say, not entirely friendly to the establishment. Down the Memory Hole go all narratives referring to Occupied Gaza and Israel's 75 year old history of ethnic cleansing of the native population. The Israeli army obliterating that hospital? Never ven happened. There is now "confidence" from anonymous sources in the Inner Party that Hamas destroyed it with a stray missile.

 Dissenters to Party orthodoxy in Orwell's novel are relegated to the Ministry of Love for deprogramming. In real life, they are similarly disappeared, either by censorship or being  fired from a media job. The thought police ensure that free-thinkers are simply never invited to the panel discussions of Inner Party elites which pose as reporting and journalism.

Orwell's novel describes regular Two-Minute Hate sessions as well as more elaborate Hate Weeks for the masses of proles. For our part, we have Cancel Culture and endless political campaign seasons. And don't forget Shark Week.

 We have tightly orchestrated and controlled elections to put even a faint gloss of democracy on our own de facto oligarchy We in the USA still have a uniparty system divided into two factions, Republicans and Democrats. These factions disagree only around the edges, and mainly in matters of popular culture. For example, if Taylor Swift endorses Joe Biden, Republicans say it spells the end of democracy.

 Proles are urged to blame one bickering party faction or the other, and then to pull the lever accordingly every two and four years to vote against something or someone  - before everything stays the same. The main function of  the Uniparty both in Orwell's fiction and in our own reality, is to divide and conquer the proles, imposing on them an austerity so rigid that it forces them to fight each other for the crumbs.

. The ruler of Orwell's Party is an entity called Big Brother. Nobody has ever actually seen this personage in the flesh, probably because he doesn't actually exist iin the flesh.  He is mainly an Idea. a personification of the permanent ruling Structure. In our "reality-based" version, we're treated to a revolving cast of paternalistic leaders - ReaganBushClintonBushObamaTrumpBiden to name just the most recent actors - who all meld into one blob if you stop to think about it. And the Inner Party is perfectly fine with it. They want you to think of presidents  as personifications of the ideal of the United States of America. Why else would Joe Biden kick off his re-election campaign by evoking George Washington? Continuity of propaganda narrative is all they have to offer.

Just speaking for myself, every time my mind tries to conjure up an image of Joe Biden, I I keep getting the face of Bush the Younger. Maybe it's their similar beady little eyes. Maybe it's the similar contrived folksy demeanors trying to cover up their brutal neoconservative thirst for permanent global hegemony. Maybe it's their low I.Q. fanaticism.

Trump was labeled senile when he confused Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi. But aren't they too similar for comfort, each acid-tongued  lady adopting a phony feminist persona with which to scold the Patriarchy in service to the Patriarchy? .

So they want us to think that Election12024 is a consequential death match for democracy or dictatorship, or whatever turns you on. But all it really is,  is an intra-oligarchic brawl between Trump and Biden as persons and party  leaders. It is really about the Inner Party making one of its periodic efforts to win the consent of the governed to give themselves a facade of legitimacy. They don't even much care that those of us in the prole category are increasingly onto their con, particularly those proles born after the brutal final stage of Neoliberal Capitalism. Young people never bought into the quaint and very cruel promise of the American Dream - a concept which had kept their elders more or less asleep these past 40 or 50 years. Now even more elders are beginning to wake up.

It's refreshing that every time Joe Biden gives a campaign speech trying to gin up hate for his opponent, people are showing up to call him out for the genocide in Gaza. His feeble efforts at Orwellian "doublethink" - as, for example,  he claims to champion the reproductive rights of American women at the same time he destroys the reproductive rights of Palestinian women by killing them. This gross display of gross contradictory messaging is not being lost on those dismissed as proles by the Inner Party and their Outer Party sycophants. They are finding it increasingly hard, as Orwell wrote, to be  "competent, industrious and even intelligent within narrow limits" but at the same time to be "credulous and ignorant fanatic(s) whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation and orgiastic triumph."

"All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.... It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest... No Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real."

It reminds me of how often Biden and Antony Blinken and Nancy Pelosi and their mutual Partiers get so emotional whenever they boast about their "unwavering" and "unshakeable" support for a genocide they pretend is a war between two equal combatants. 

It's a wonder their heads don't explode with all that double-thinking effort. Maybe it's because their brains have already collapsed in upon themselves without anybody even noticing.

 Whenever I try to imagine what they could possibly be thinking all I can come up with is is a vast, yawning morass devoid ,of all life and all intellect. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Blinken: Toward a More Humane Genocide

Secretary of State Antony Blinken doesn't so much want the genocide to end as he wants to put a more humanitarian gloss on the ongoing slaughter and starvation of Palestinians by the State of Israel.  Why call for a ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Gaza or the freeze in US military aid - when all that the world really needs is love, sweet love. Not to mention great big globs of self-serving propaganda from American Empire.

Blinken, despite what he called his "relentless" cajoling of Israel to cut back on the genocide,  somehow found enough "me-time"  time to jet off to Davos and schmooze with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at the World Economic Forum. Friedman, appropriately enough, donned a literal puffy vest to signal what a puff-piece of a column would be ensuing from the conversation. 

If you could even call it a conversation as opposed to what might be termed a word salad had not Blinken served up such a gloppy soundbite stew. Here's just one example of what passes for deep thought in the Biden State Department:

So this is – this is actually clear when you look at it and see it.  The problem is getting from here to there.  And of course, it requires very difficult and challenging decisions.  It requires a mindset that’s open to that perspective.  But the choice is there, and ultimately this is about choices.  What kind of society do we want to live in?  What kind of world do we want to live in?  What kind of region do we want to live in?

What kind of plagiarism from a typically turgid Tom Friedman column is this? If we only take the time to look, we can clearly see all the myriad choices that are there for the savoring on the elite tasting menu.

And of course all the elites and war profiteers in the audience tittered appreciatively when Friedman asked Blinken: "Has there ever been a worse time to be secretary of state?"

Not until the end of the fawning interview did Friedman finally Go There snd confront Blinken about the genocide of Palestinians. Or as he put it, what about the naysayers who suspect that the Biden administration believes "Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives, Muslim lives," etc.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No, period.  For me, I think for so many of us, what we’re seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching.  And the suffering we’re seeing among innocent men, women, and children breaks my heart.  The question is:  What is to be done?  We’ve made judgments about how we thought we could be most effective in trying to shape this in ways to get more humanitarian assistance to people, to get better protections, and minimize civilian casualties. 
And at every step along the way, not only have we impressed upon Israel its responsibilities to do that, we’ve seen some progress in areas where absent our engagement I don’t believe it would have happened.  So there are a lot of – there are dogs that didn’t bark.  But that in no way, shape – way, shape, or form takes away from the tragedy that we’ve seen and continue to see.  It’s why we’re at it relentlessly every single day.  And all I can tell you, Tom, is just on a purely human level it’s devastating, but it reinforces the conviction and the commitment to do two things:  to do everything we can in this moment using our best judgment – and of course, we could be wrong about the judgments we’re making – but to try to make a difference in the day-in/day-out.

But it also reinforces my conviction that there has to be – and there is – another way that answers Israel’s most profound concerns and questions.  Israelis have to live with security.  They can’t have a repeat of October 7th.  No country would accept a repeat of October 7th.

Blinken then erects the straw man known as October 7th Denialism. People whom he does not name are out there spreading the word that October 7th is a hoax, It's Holocaust denialism all over again. There are "huge swaths" of it all over the world, he insisted. Apparently if you only take the time to look, you shall see... what you want to see. He stumbled on:

So one of our challenges is to fight that dehumanization, to find ways to defuse it, to take that poison out.  And that’s also a function of leadership.  We need leaders around the world who see that, understand that, and are prepared to act on that.

Technological disinformation is, another go-to straw man argument used by elites to explain all manner of their own antisocial policies, is what is  responsible for people "dehumanizing" one other. He skirts mighty close to blaming the Internet and not 75 years of ethnic cleansing by Israel, to be the crux of the problem.

If you're a sociopath like Blinken and do not possess a conscience, you must be very adept at pretending you have a conscience. You actually try to convince your audience that you have a moral compass - claim that as long as you think lovely thoughts while supplying bombs and money for genocide, you're all good. And it certainly helps when a fawning Times columnist calls your propaganda "heartfelt and impassioned" as if you even had a heart in the first place.

With Valentines Day less than a month away, maybe Blinken can attach candy hearts to those thousand-pound bombs used to kill people. If Israeli officials can only tone down the genocidal rhetoric a tad, maybe the case against them in The Hague wouldn't seem so airtight.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Joe Biden's Funhouse Mirror

 The most telling moment in Joe Biden's official rollout of his re-election campaign was when he blurted out: "As America was attacked from within, Donald Trump watched on TV in the private small dining room off my Oval — off the Oval Office."

It was a particularly awkward gaffe, since the whole theme of his speech was protecting our alleged democracy - and the whole world - from authoritarians and despots who think they own the place. "My Oval Office" is a Freudian slip for the ages in the context of a speech purporting to criticize the toxic narcissism of his predecessor.

 And then there was the inconvenient truth, unmentioned by Biden., that his administration is financing and green- lighting a genocide against the Palestinian people.

The sole theme of the event- and what looks to be the main if not the only theme of the entire re-election bid  was the January Sixth Capitol riot.

Although lauded by the mainstream media with the usual stock raves as "impassioned" and "searing," the fact that Biden raised his decibel level did  not disguise the insipidity and hollow boastfulness of his ode to American aggression and imperialism. Perhaps it was the wall-to-wall American flag drapery that so bedazzled the  media into their state of manufactured awe.

And what about that live enthusiastic auudience in the closed setting? The CNN feed I watched showed only the backs of a multitude of  balding or grizzled heads. And since the exact location (a town near Valley Forge., PA) was a closely guarded secret until right before the performance, it is fairly obvious that these were not regular townsfolk. The Biden team was not about to risk any anti-genocide types disrupting the show. So my guess would be they were comprised of campaign operatives, Democratic Party officials and assorted hirelings.

In lieu of making shallow promises to make voters' lives better, Biden invoked the solemn and very scary occasion of the third anniversary of the January Sixth capitol riot as the rationale for picking him and not Donald Trump. He modestly cast his own re-election n as a "moral choice and a sacred cause" to, it would seem, differentiate himself from Trump's ungodly behavior. As a self-proclaimed Zionist, Biden is certainly taking the whole "shining city on a hill" Puritan settler ethic to a whole new level.

But it was slave-owner and white supremacist George Washington whom Biden evoked in his speech. In doing so, he revised US history by completely erasing Washington's campaign of  ethnic cleansing of native populations, claiming that the first president's aim was "liberty, not conquest.""
"Freedom not conquest!" Biden croaked on, to the cheers and applause of he carefully vetted audience, before going on to boast at length about American conquests in more modern times. 

"But just hink of it, folks.We almost lost America" Biden searingly saId, when the MAGA crowd staged an insurrection at the behest of Donald Trump -  Mad King George III to Biden's  George Washington.

Fulminating at length about how Trump stayed silent during the riot, Biden failed to mention that he, too, had stayed silent during the wild rumpus - even though he was President-Elect at the time. He had, after several hours, only meekly imlored Tump to send his minions home. He saved all the searing bits for his re-election campaign.

Three long years have gone by, and despite his fretting about the "sacred cause" Biden offered no explanation for why such a delay in criminally charging Trump for sedition.  He offered no explanation for why law enforcement was complicit in the "insurrection," or why elected Republican officials at the highest levels of power colluded with Trump and yet  remain unindicted themselves.

If the wheels of justice had sped on, of course, Biden would be lacking both a campaign platform and the ability to collude with his "mainstream" Republicans in creating and enforcing right-wing policies that punish the poor and reward the rich under the "sacred" mantle of democracy and bipartisanship.

"Trump’s not concerned about your future, I promise you," was Biden's fear-mongering substitute for a promise of his own.
" Trump is now promising a full-scale campaign of'revenge” and “retribution' — his words — for some years to come.  They were his words, not mine.  He went on to say he would be a dictator on day one."

So apparently, Biden's unshakeable devotion to Bibi Netanyahu's crusade of revenge and retribution against Palestinians does not translate into supporting Trump getting even with his fellow oligarchs and their paid political and media lackeys. That would definitely include revenge on the Biden clan itself.

"So, hear me clearly.  I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t.  Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States political system — never, never, never.  It has no place in a democracy.  None.  (Applause.)
But it certainly does have a place in state-sanctioned agression, both domestically and internationally. It simply doesn't look good to the rest of the world when American politicians talk violently about one another and inspire their followers to act out violently... against such important political figures as Nancy Pelosi's husband in particular. That, and not millions of people killed in America's never-ending wars, is the a slap in the face of all that Biden considers sacred.

"Great nations," Biden tendentiously garbled "never pretend they're something they're not. That's just what great nations do.. They look in the mirror. And we're a great nation. And we're a great nation. We' really are. We're the greatest nation on the face of the earth."

And before the mirror ever had a chance to "crack from side to side", Jill Biden rushed to Joe's side to escort him off the stage.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Out With the Old Year, In With the Flu

I've never been much for New Years resolutions, let alone even celebrating the New Year. I did watch the ball drop on CNN in the faint hope it would shatter into a million harmless pieces before ever reaching the ground.

But I did plan on blogging this week, until whatever bug is going around hit me. Before taking sick, I'd actually broken my longstanding resolution to boycott the New York Times comment section.  

Paul Krugman has essentially been writing the same column for months. . Over and over and over again he wonders why people are so damned pessimistic about the economy when everything is so great. You can't even call it gaslighting at this point. It's more like  he's belching out massive overdoses of recycled laughing gas to his audience, since the bulk of the responses include such stock phrases  as "Thank you, President Biden" or "You nailed it, Professor! " along with blaming the Republicans and only the Republicans for so nastily spreading false bad tidings and convincing happy people to be miserable.

Adding to the unintentional humor was the graphic photo appended to his "Is America on the Mend?" column:

Now, I think this is supposed to represent scaffolding. But to me it looks like Lady Liberty is trapped behind a maze of barbed wire, yearning to be free but not wanting to be impaled on material every bit as razor-sharp as the shattered Times Square disco ball of my imagination.

So I started out my published response with throwing one of Krugman's own lines right back at him. 

"For if America’s resilience in the face of the pandemic shock has been remarkable, so has the pessimism of the public." Substitute "ruling class" for American resilience, and tens of millions of struggling, stressed-otd US residents for his "pessimistic public" and you've got yourself the class war in a nutshell. It's the entrenched, structural economic inequality wrought by a half-century of neoliberal capitalism. It's survival of the richest, or at least of the top 10 percent of what the late, great Barbara Ehrenreich dubbed the professional-managerial class. The well-off have never been better off. They're also living longer even as US life expectancy has plummeted to the lowest level in decades. The richest Americans added trillions to their composite wealth during the pandemic. Meanwhile, all the Covid-generated public assistance programs, which had actually cut the child poverty rate in half, have all ended. Tens of millions of people have been kicked off Medicaid, leading to record new rates of the uninsured. Emergency SNAP benefits, often to the tune of hundreds of extra dollars a month were suddenly yanked away from families even before Joe Biden prematurely declared an end to the public health emergency. Homelessness (surprise!) is way up. It is truly baffling to me why pundits are so baffled that people are not out there cheering in the streets for this wonderful economic recovery that's benefiting the precious few at the expense of the exploited many.

Surprisingly enough, the replies were highly positive, except for one guy lecutring me that Krugman's column was not about the class war. I was really expecting the reactions to be of the "Are you a Russian plant?" ripostes I was accustomed to, back when I was a more regular commenter./ So that's ecnouraging.

Meanwhile, my next resolution is to both watch and analyze Genocide Joe's campaign speech later today, in which he will unfavorably compare Donald Trump with George Washington. It was supposed to be given on January Sixth, the anniversary of the Capitol riot, which has supplanted September 11th as our most holy day of obligation.  But since a snowstorm is forecast to interfere with the planned snowjob, he moved it up by one day/ This solemn anniversary is meant, I suppose, to take our minds off a genocide being perfromed right before our eyes.

I have a feeling I'm not the only one who believes that our so-called leaders and their apologists are completely, malevolently insane. 

Keep all your excellent comments coming!