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It’s hard… 30 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pakistan, Total fucking lunatics, WAR!.
61 comments

The White House hasn’t had success brightening relations between the two countries. | AP Photo

It’s hard out there for a pretzel.  Especially one in the “brightening” business (who made up that line?!).

From the Politico article… firing on all engines it seems:

[“W]e have shown the limits of what carrots-only can do” as an approach, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said Monday during an Aspen Institute forum in Washington. “In early 2010, under the energetic leadership of Richard Holbrooke, the United States put together a very large and comprehensive assistance program for Pakistan. … It turned out to be too much. Pakistan choked on some of it and didn’t believe the rest.”

Blair said the carrots the Obama team offered to Pakistan coincided with some progress — followed by substantial backsliding.  . . . .

Covers all the bases:   We tried for the ungrateful Pakis, but too hard… too many carrots no sticks.  We were too good for them!  Who knew.  Our man in Islamabad died from the effort but before he died, he was very energetic (what a fucking crock). 

We’re not believable – because we try too hard! - but we did manage to slap some sense into the renegade Pakis.  Then, somehow, it was all sloppy muddy at the top of the mountain and we slid back down to a ruined base camp.

Makes about as much sense as the quotes in the report.

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Flight 27 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, UK.
55 comments

Starlings in the dusk skies above Gretna Green morph into the distinctive shape of a dolphin which is being  chased across the sky by a whale with its mouth open
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Starlings in the dusk skies above Gretna Green morph into the distinctive shape of a dolphin which is being chased across the sky by a whale with its mouth open
Picture: North News

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Options 25 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Moscow, NORCOM, Pakistan, Total fucking lunatics, WAR!.
83 comments

Don’t worry!  It can’t be the twilight of the American Empire, we still have options for war…. that table, the one reserved for war options, is loaded to the gills!!!  We never empty that table…

You want Northern War?  Southern War (always tasty! and a bonifide Reagan favorite!)?  War in the East?!  War in the West ???   Or, best for last… multidirectional war:   Iran and China!!

We have options.

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Snicker Snax…. a second cartoon in the gallery also dealt with sabre rattling at China, employing a wicked satire of Slob.  YUM.

The streets 23 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Egypt, Occupy Wall Street, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
64 comments


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Egypt protests: Tahrir Square violence enters fifth day –
Egyptian police have fired teargas at protesters during a fifth consecutive day of unrest in Cairo. At least 35 people have been killed since 21 November in the crackdown by security forces on demonstrators, who are demanding that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces transfers power to a civilian government.

Protesters attempt to get rid of a teargas canister - Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP

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Uncrushable 22 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Egypt, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Occupy Wall Street, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
47 comments

From a so wonderful gallery of Occupy poster art at the Guardian.  Occupy Penang, Occupy Arkansas, Occupy Las Vegas (that place is REALLY in trouble), Toronto, Canberra, of course London…. one mocking the dreadful, commercial poster of Obama in 2008… on and on it goes.

 So hard to pick, but finally of course, OWS had to lead the day:


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Occupy Wall Street – Photograph: Buzzfeed.com

I don’t think they can crush it. Tho obviously they have only just begun to try.

In that vein as I was reading this very good piece, I wondered if one could ever  retrieve the other Martin, not Martin of the dream speech (much less that travesty, as I call it, Three Gorges Dam Martin)… but a more complex version.

November 22, 2011

 
 
Are We Going to Hell?

Violence Goes to College

by VIJAY PRASHAD

Before the assassin’s bullet cut him down, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been preparing his sermon for Atlanta’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church. The sermon was called “Why America May Go to Hell.” The theme of the sermon was simple, that the failure to address the acute social crisis in the country had already begun to lead to dangerous violence. A protest in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, on behalf of striking sanitation workers led to mayhem. King escaped from what he had thought would be a non-violent march and remarked, “We live in a sick nation. Maybe we just have to admit that the day of violence is here, and maybe we have to just give up and let violence take its course.”

Such a statement is unusual in King’s repertoire, which is mainly positive and hopeful. By 1968, the carefully wrought counter-revolution to the liberation movements would soon make its appearance. The most dramatic instances were the assassinations of the standard-bearers of liberalism (King in April, Robert F. Kennedy in June). Less dramatic would be the shooting of college students, busy fighting the remnants of segregation and refusing to go shoot at the Vietnamese. Little remembered now is the killing of students on February 8, 1968, when South Carolina’s highway patrol officers shot and killed Delano Middleton, Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond as they tried to protest a segregated bowling alley in Orangeburg. No longer was the violence to come from below. It was more likely to come from above, to be the violence of the counter-revolution. 

Campus militancy reached its highest point perhaps by the spring of 1969, when about a third of most students participated in one way or another in the demonstrations. It was in this context that California’s Governor Ronald Reagan said of the students, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.” On May 4, 1970, four lay dead in Ohio (Jeffery Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer – average age 19 years and 6 months). Reagan got his bloodbath.

. . . . .

There is a gallery of photos of the Occupy Librairies too…. In the closer shots, clearly showing uncracked spines and crisp covers, I see lots of new books. IMO people were, in an appreciable measure, donating newly purchased books to the libraries.


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London
‘Will Hutton’s The State We’re In is shelved alongside Subcomandante Marcos’s Zapatista Stories, Dean Koontz’s The Husband piled on top of Brian Friel’s Translations’ … the Occupy London library at St Paul’s Cathedral
– Photograph: Richard Lea

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In highly peevish news, some people are still stuck on what women do.  And does it have, you know, VALUE.  Because of course what women do for the cause must be vetted.  Must be found to have value.

Lordy.

Wintering 20 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in Egypt, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, la vie en rose, Occupy Wall Street, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011.
73 comments


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Flamingos gather on the coast of Nea Kios, in Nafplio, southern Greece. Flamingos use this particular wetland as a resting place during their migration south in the winter [Evangelos Bougiotis/EPA]

Angry Arab pops up with this today:

Israeli solidarity with the Egyptian (nude) Blogger

 
I don’t want to send that message directly to them so I will send it here. I read that a few Israeli women stripped nude in solidarity with the Egyptian blogger who stripped nude. Why do Israelis intrude into our lives? Why do you get into areas in which you are clearly uninvited and in which you are clearly unwelcome? You are such a bothersome presence. Arabs have made it very clear that they (unlike the tyrants that you like) don’t like you and don’t want you in their midst. It is none of your business what Arabs do and don’t do. Spare us your act of solidarity when you are racists who everyday in your live you take advantage of the racist system that Zionist set up for you. We don’t need your silly and fake solidarity. You are not invited to our lives and our activities. You are such an unwanted presence. Take your solidarity and go away. And stop intruding on every aspect of our lives. After we liberate Palestine, and when you are forced to live in a system based on equality (after we subject you to the same military rule that you imposed on the Arabs inside Israel), you may engage in solidarity but even then it won’t be wanted. You really are without dignity when you know full well that Arabs don’t want to do anything with you, and you keep acting like you are invited to our parties, uprisings, lives and events.
 

Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 7:26 AM

 

Oh No. Whooops.  NO. As far as I am concerned, and not knowing preciselyWHO the women are on the Israeli side, but they may most certainly stripe nude if they wish, in sympathy, support, solidarity, identification, whatever is the motivation, with the Eqyptian blogger.  Who is herself responding to repression of women under the conservative Salafi rules… and in fact in other posts Angry Arab writes of the increasing conservative Orthodox religious, on the Jewish side!, imposing separation of the sexes on public buses (women to the rear of the bus) and elsewhere. 

Perhaps the Israeli women are thinking, oh I don’t know, BROADLY.

I think it is bad business to tell women what to do, what they may or may not do, to lecture them.

Everybody is allowed personal autonomy, I don’t care how politicised a situation or a country is…. if it practicises apartheid or not.

He seems a tad obsessed:

I disagree with my feminist comrades

 
I disagree with Sara and other other feminist comrades at Nasawiyya who I so admire and support. It seems to me that there are so many other issues that women have to worry about in our region (and beyond) to be distracted by this sensational act by one person. If the issue is about sexual liberation and challenging the taboos of religion and state, I am all for it. But this is too shallow an act (and may even echo too many other Western shallow acts) to be taken seriously as a feminist act. Yes, of course, we need to denounce the various reactionary and right-wing voices of condemnation. But the pictures were also circulated for cheap titillation, which I guess is fine if people want to do that. But the feminist movement has other more important priorities to be reduced (or caricatured) by the exhibitionism of one woman (or man). Comrade Khodor (a progressive Lebanese) wrote a letter to `Alya’. I keep wanting to avoid this issue which is filling the pages in Arabic and English but I feel it keeps following me. There are so many other important issues. I am more worried about the status of Tunisian women after the victory of An-Nahdar: and about Western endorsement of misogynistic regime in the GCC countries. These are more serious threats to women and their freedoms, it seems to me.
 

Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 8:26 AM

Pity he can’t see, it is all part of a whole.  Hell it is all part of  a whole with the long suffering and, for many years now, striking Eqyptian cotton workers.

FFS 19 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Occupy Wall Street, WAR!.
82 comments


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6/23: Lieutenant John Pike walks up and down the line spraying students in the face    [Image: Wayne Tilcock, The Davis Enterprise - from a gallery at BI]

So, does Lt John Pike feel bigger and better now that he has marked his territory?

FFS.

*****

I lifted this from a link Madman provided in the last thread..just the arrangement of the Mic Check is much more expressive of how it went down than the version I first read:

[T]he attack on the students is provoked by nothing except their refusal to obey police orders. The usual chaos ensues for a few minutes. Victims shriek in pain, while some in the crowd frantically search for water. Several of the protesters are cuffed and dragged away, rather than receiving the medical attention they need. It is outrageous. It is unforgivable. And then something amazing happens.

The remaining students, who far outnumber the contingent of police, slowly start to encircle the officers while chanting “Shame on you!” The chants get louder and more menacing as the crowd gets closer, herding the police into a defensive huddle. Officers raise their weapons toward the crowd, warning them to back off, but at this distance and in these numbers, their riot gear would offer them little protection should crowd suddenly charge. Sensing their advantage, the students change their chant to the more defiant “Whose university? Our university!” Tensions rise. One twitchy trigger finger and anything could happen. Then a lone voice initiates the familiar call and response of the human mic:

Voice: “Mic check!”
Crowd: “Mic check!”

Voice: “We are willing…”
Crowd: “We are willing…”

Voice: “To give you a brief moment…”
Crowd: “To give you a brief moment…”

Voice: “Of peace…”
Crowd: “Of peace…”

Voice: “In order to take your weapons…”
Crowd: “In order to take your weapons…”

Voice: “And your friends…”
Crowd: “And your friends…”

Voice: “And go.”
Crowd: “And go.”

Voice: “Please do not return…”
Crowd: “Please do not return…”

Voice: “We are giving you a moment of peace.”
Crowd: “We are giving you a moment of peace.”

The crowd then starts chanting “You can go! You can go!”, and after a few moments the police turn their backs to the crowd and do exactly that, wisely taking advantage of the offered truce, and eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd. . . . .

Police Evicted from Occupy UC Davis after Pepper Spraying Peaceful Protesters

Watching… 18 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Occupy Wall Street.
28 comments


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And so, while they couldn’t be an active part of the protest, they stopped to show their support. The sound from this sea shell horn echoing down 6th Ave was haunting and strangely timeless. Marchers cheered in reply. [Robert Johnson Business Insider Gallery]

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Whether you agree with protesters or not, they have everyone’s attention    [Robert Johnson Business Insider Gallery]

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Looks … 17 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, California / Pacific Coast, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Occupy Wall Street, San Francisco, WAR!.
64 comments


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GOPers say the president’s ‘lazy’ comment will get plenty of play on the campaign trail. | AP Photo

Looks like what he is… another con.

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From a participant at Oakland Occupy and Philadelphia Occupy, a former Oakland resident who teaches political theory at Drexel (bolding is mine):

[B]ut other unexpected dynamics surface as well, some of which play into the hands of the Occupiers. As Occupations spread from Oakland to Berkeley, the sheer number of available police becomes a question, as individual forces rely on mutual aid programs for costly, large-scale eviction efforts. Word emerges that Oakland’s efforts to remove the camp were sped-up due to the constraints imposed by the impending student strike tomorrow. Here the fallout from the brutality of the first Oakland eviction blows back on the police forces themselves: citing the excessive force in Oakland, Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to block mutual aid assistance between the Berkeley PD and UCPD.

And even those more than willing to participate in brutality have begun to demand more booty and protection: in the run-up to the second Oakland eviction this morning, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department demanded not only $1,000 per officer per day, and the City of Alameda also demanded increased legal protection in the case of a repeat of the brutality that left Iraq veteran Scott Olson critically injured at the hands of an ACSD officer. This increasing legal scrutiny, financial strain, and sheer numerical limitations bode well for the future of Bay Area occupations and those across the nation.

I use the language of war consciously, not out of some desire for violent conclusion but out of a recognition that violence is already there. As our Egyptian comrades made clear in a statement in solidarity with Oakland, “It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose.” Despite the asymmetrical nature of the war that confronts us, the implements are the same: few can deny the shocking militarization of police departments in recent years, or that this heavy weaponry has been all but openly deployed against the Occupiers. If Clausewitz famously argued that war is politics by other means, a formulation which Foucault slyly reversed, the practical reality of the Occupy Movement is that the two are much more difficult to disentangle from one another. Every word from the mouth of these Democratic Mayors, every leak whispered from a cop to a reporter is a rubber bullet in potentia.

I use the language of war because we will not back down, and because as a result, the war will be brought to us.

But more importantly, I speak of war because this is not a one-sided affair, and we should not allow our opponents to strip us of our status as equals simply because we do not respond in kind. Our power is nothing to scoff at, although it circulates in a manner largely distinct from that which we oppose. Just two nights ago, Occupy Portland swelled into the thousands to defend Chapman and Lownsdale squares, facing down riot police, forcing their retreat, and winning the night in the most absolute of terms. Last night, the plaza was cleared and campers removed, but traces of such a stunning initial victory remain in the confidence and compromise of the occupiers as they regroup and go once more into the breach.

And as I finish, I receive late word from Oakland that the occupiers have re-taken Oscar Grant Plaza without more than a symbolic police presence, and even later word of a massive crackdown of Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Another skirmish lost, another battle won, but the long war stretches out before us like an interminable horizon.

 
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There is a also a good treatise at Cpunch on violence/non violence… I happened not to have grown up in a home that prattled the glories of Gandhi… and I recall reading an assessment of Martin that has always made sense to me, that he was not purely nonviolent, he used the violence of the State. Makes sense to me. It certainly looked that way, over and over….

[F]irst, as Mike King and others have pointed out, the belief that so-called non-violence works and that it is the legitimating feature of a protest, is part of a delusion that afflicts the more privileged- which often means more white- members of the occupy movement. I myself have fallen prey to this in the past. “Protest non-violently and everything will be ok. Remember Dr. King and all he accomplished. If you work with the system it will bend to your needs.” This is all part of the ideology of a privileged though often well intentioned group of people who simply don’t have to deal with the violence that ensures the domestic order of the US-led capitalist-imperialist machine. Are the unemployed, homeless, under-paid and overworked, imprisoned, and dispossessed masses not subject to brutal levels of violence on a daily basis? Is the American capitalist system not propped up by imperialist adventures that tally their casualties in the millions? Indeed, have the nonviolent protest movements of the past actually brought to fruition a free and equal society? Adhering blindly to the rhetoric of violence/nonviolence is a de facto denial of the brutality suffered by literally billions throughout history, and it unfortunately does little to bring about historical justice.

Second, there is a fundamental misrecognition of the role of the state in a capitalist society at work in the ideology of nonviolence. The state, as Marx once said, is the bourgeoisie’s internal committee for the handling of its own affairs. One of the biggest affairs to be handled in a capitalist society is, of course, the fundamentally unjust and unequal class-relationship between capital and labor. Capital, by its very nature, relies on this unequal relationship; and history, by all accounts, has shown that the owners of capital, and its managers and representatives within the state, will consistently apply the most brutal levels of force to maintain this class relationship. What could be clearer than the fact that this power will not be relinquished without a fight?

Finally, non-violence could never be more than one tactic amongst a variety of tactics for the Left to employ in pursuit of broader strategic goals. In American protest politics, however, it often appears as an end in itself. This is a fallacy, which mistakes means for ends, and it needs to be rooted out aggressively as a hindrance to the ultimate goal, which, for revolutionaries, is the end of an oppressive, class-based, racist, sexist, violent system that has its roots deep in the capitalist mode of production. This is where the real violence is, and it is the collective desire to see this system confined to the dustbin of history- not the adherence to an empty ideology, come what may- that is the true litmus test for any revolutionary struggle.

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And a last bit from a visitor to Zuccotti Park over the past weeks:

[S]everal union tradesmen stood nearby. One in particular caught my eyes because he was covered in dust. Then I learned that he had been a first responder on 9/11 as a union plumber and had never washed the clothing out of respect for those that died. His sign said: “Hey NYPD I am a real 9/11 WTC first responder wearing the dust of your friends and families from 10 years ago. SHAME.” A carpenter, Dave Buccola, was standing there and I thought his face was familiar. We had several interesting discussions as he talked about coming in from Brooklyn over the past two months and staying at some times.

….

One of the speakers focused on how confusing the movement must look to the authoritarian folks looking at it.

“We are a horizontal movement.  The cops think that power looks like shouting orders.  We do things differently here.  We use consensus processes.  There means we create space to hear as many voices as possible and seek decisions that are not just majority decisions but decisions that everyone consents to.”

….

The movement speakers know that their efforts will meet fierce, perhaps violent opposition, but know that a movement dies when it stop moving.  Hopefully, you can join us either here or at your closest rally on Thursday.

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Centre Street near Chambers: Marchers stream across the Brooklyn Bridge. (Photo by Pearl Gabel for New York Daily News)

Historic 16 November 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Total fucking lunatics, WAR!.
62 comments


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Taiz, Yemen: A woman holds up a mortar projectile during a demonstration against President Saleh. The shell has allegedly been fired by forces loyal to Saleh during recent clashes with opposition fighters     [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

Historic! … and not the way Slob and his slobbery cadres planned… 2010 and 2011 WILL go down as historic… with Slob as the shitty little gate-keeper, dressed in some retro formal butler uniform.  He strikes me as so happy to serve!

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I heard a very frightening thing today… Unpaid college loans can haunt you into your retirement years.  They may indeed go after your Social Security.  It is legal now to do that…. People who owe these horrific amounts of money will never never never get out from under it. 

This was so planned, to thieve and steal and dupe the American people.

But let’s talk about the rats in the Occupies.  Riight.

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