Trump trolls Puerto Rico, wants storm victims to clean up the mess by hand

If President Trump is as dumb as you’re sure he is, who is writing his brilliant shtick? Could the capitalist cretin in chief have projected less empathy for victims of Hurrican Maria when he responded to calls for federal disaster relief by tossing rolls of paper towels to beleaguered Puerto Ricans? These gags don’t write themselves!

Next Trump posed with military brass and told reporters the caption should be “the calm before the storm.” Asked to explain, Trump replied “you’ll see.” The phrasing is cliche, but the mise-en-scene is must see TV.

BP Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout

Oil drilling platform rigAt up to 30 gallons per second, is it a spill, a leak, or a torrent? Of course “Oil Spill” no longer means substance fallen out, nor leak, amount escaped. It describes the mess that’s left, and the Deepwater Horizon is still being downplayed as potentially worse than the Exxon Valdez, but nowhere near the biggest, in the other Gulf, during its 1990 namesake war, the deliberate draining of a pipeline. The second largest oil “spill” occurred just down our coast in 1979, and is referenced more descriptively as the IXTOC I Blowout. As the BP/Transocean well empties into the Gulf of Mexico, wouldn’t our emergency response be better served to call this disaster a “blowout?”

Spew, gush, geyser, the imprecision of these words tend to sputter, BP’s ongoing environmental fiasco a BLOWOUT!

We have no one’s word but British Petroleum’s to trust about the rate at which their oil is polluting the sea. First they said 1,000 barrels, then 5,000, though we learn 100,000 was being discussed as not outside the realm of possibility. Outside experts had only the telltale expansion rate of the initial oil slick to derive a candid measure of the outflow. Now that the oil has reached the coast, the measure is once again up to those who command the deep water submersibles. They can tell us they’ve capped a third leak, or a fourth or fifth, they could tell us the Madonna directed them where to deposit their giant concrete dome and how would we know?

Let’s call BP’s latest spill a “blowout.” With no help forthcoming for three months if that, we might as well project this blowout’s probable record-setting impact. How large did BP concede was the capacity of this well? No need to calculate the spill when we know the size of the bucket.

We don’t down-class hurricanes just because they haven’t reached us yet, then upgrade them as we feel their effect. Minimizing the size of this disaster can only justify being less prepared.

Good news for Haiti

Haiti presidential palace succumbs to earthquake
On the bright side of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, American puppet René Préval has been cut down a few notches, a whole couple stories actually. Here’s the presidential palace before January 12 and after. The pretender Preval has been Our Man in Port-au-Prince subsequent to the US-arranged a coup in 2004 to depose the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide (for the second time). The popular Aristide was a threat to exploitation interests.

While Americans rally to provide relief to the Haitians, let’s not be too incredulous about the state of their poverty. Here’s A.N.S.W.E.R.’s recent statement to highlight this teaching moment:

All of us are joining in the outpouring of solidarity from people all over the hemisphere and world who are sending humanitarian aid and assistance to the people of Haiti.

At such a moment, it is also important to put this catastrophe into a political and social context. Without this context, it is impossible to understand both the monumental problems facing Haiti and, most importantly, the solutions that can allow Haiti to survive and thrive. Hillary Clinton said today, “It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to daunt Haiti and the Haitian people.” This hypocritical statement that blames Haiti’s suffering exclusively on an “act of God” masks the role of U.S. and French imperialism in the region.

In this email message, we have included some background information about Haiti that helps establish the real context:

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive stated today that as many as 100,000 Haitians may be dead. International media is reporting bodies being piled along streets surrounded by the rubble from thousands of collapsed buildings. Estimates of the economic damage are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Haiti’s large shantytown population was particularly hard hit by the tragedy.

As CNN, ABC and every other major corporate media outlet will be quick to point out, Haiti is the poorest country in the entire Western hemisphere. But not a single word is uttered as to why Haiti is poor. Poverty, unlike earthquakes, is no natural disaster.

The answer lies in more than two centuries of U.S. hostility to the island nation, whose hard-won independence from the French was only the beginning of its struggle for liberation.

In 1804, what had begun as a slave uprising more than a decade earlier culminated in freedom from the grips of French colonialism, making Haiti the first Latin American colony to win its independence and the world’s first Black republic. Prior to the victory of the Haitian people, George Washington and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had supported France out of fear that Haiti would inspire uprisings among the U.S. slave population. The U.S. slave-owning aristocracy was horrified at Haiti’s newly earned freedom.

U.S. interference became an integral part of Haitian history, culminating in a direct military occupation from 1915 to 1934. Through economic and military intervention, Haiti was subjugated as U.S. capital developed a railroad and acquired plantations. In a gesture of colonial arrogance, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the assistant secretary of the Navy at the time, drafted a constitution for Haiti which, among other things, allowed foreigners to own land. U.S. officials would later find an accommodation with the dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and then his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, as Haiti suffered under their brutal repressive policies.

In the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. policy toward Haiti sought the reorganization of the Haitian economy to better serve the interests of foreign capital. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was instrumental in shifting Haitian agriculture away from grain production, paving the way for dependence on food imports. Ruined Haitian farmers flocked to the cities in search of a livelihood, resulting in the swelling of the precarious shantytowns found in Port-au-Prince and other urban centers.

Who has benefited from these policies? U.S. food producers profited from increased exports to Haitian markets. Foreign corporations that had set up shop in Haitian cities benefitted from the super-exploitation of cheap labor flowing from the countryside. But for the people of Haiti, there was only greater misery and destitution.

Washington orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—not once, but twice, in 1991 and 2004. Haiti has been under a U.S.-backed U.N. occupation for nearly six years. Aristide did not earn the animosity of U.S. leaders for his moderate reforms; he earned it when he garnered support among Haiti’s poor, which crystallized into a mass popular movement. Two hundred years on, U.S. officials are still horrified by the prospect of a truly independent Haiti.

The unstable, makeshift dwellings imposed upon Haitians by Washington’s neoliberal policies have now, for many, been turned into graves. Those same policies are to blame for the lack of hospitals, ambulances, fire trucks, rescue equipment, food and medicine. The blow dealt by such a natural disaster to an economy made so fragile from decades of plundering will greatly magnify the suffering of the Haitian people.

Natural disasters are inevitable, but resource allocation and planning can play a decisive role in mitigating their impact and dealing with the aftermath. Haiti and neighboring Cuba, who are no strangers to violent tropical storms, were both hit hard in 2008 by a series of hurricanes—which, unlike earthquakes, are predictable. While more than 800 lives were lost in Haiti, less than 10 people died in Cuba. Unlike Haiti, Cuba had a coordinated evacuation plan and post-hurricane rescue efforts that were centrally planned by the Cuban government. This was only possible because Cuban society is not organized according to the needs of foreign capital, but rather according to the needs of the Cuban people.

In a televised speech earlier today, President Obama has announced that USAID and the Departments of State and Defense will be working to support the rescue and relief efforts in Haiti in the coming days. Ironically, these are the same government entities responsible for the implementation of the economic and military policies that reduced Haiti to ruins even before the earthquake hit.

Gulf Coast poor versus Wall Street RICH

Bailouts for the big boys and slander for the poor! What else is new in America? Not a word in the corporate press about the irresponsible criminal investments by the super rich of the banking and insurance companies, but look how they talk about the supposed irresponsibility of those who chose to try to ride the big storm out? And not one iota of examination of why so many people choose to not physically flee these hurricanes that come their way over and over and over each Hurricane Season?

Who gets the public assistance, too? Most of those that choose not to leave storm areas do so because they simply don’t have the savings to just drop everything and run. Whether people run or not who comes to their aid? And who comes to the aid of the rich with their bad investments? It’s two different stories now.

Our hurricane emergency systems seem to have much in common with those of Haiti. You’re on your own, Suckers! ‘Cause the good old government of the USA is way too busy invading and occupying other countries to actually provide people inside our country with the necessary relocation and re-development funds to adequately protect themselves. It’s too busy bailing out the Big Boys. In short, it’s just too busy saving the wolves and killing the sheep. Thank much about you and your family? Not likely.

America only cares about itself

haitiHaiti under water. Whole cities are submerged in the aftermath of hurricanes that did little damage to the US. Hundreds, if not thousands, dead. And Haiti, an occupied country, occupied thanks to the President of the United States, George W. Bush. Occupied Haiti, thanks to the Democratic Party that went along with the Republicans to occupy Haiti with foreign troops and keep it under foreign military rule.

Have you heard a word about the US rushing supplies and assistance in to Haiti? Or is it only the US rushing to re-equip the Georgian military for yet another attack against Russia and its allies? Do we have time to help Haiti when we are in a rush to go to war with Iran? Do we have any concern at all for Haitians? Haiti and the Hurricanes

Not really. America really only cares about itself.

Martial Law undeclared in New Orleans

WE INTERRUPT WITH BREAKING NEWS- New Orleans is under MARTIAL LAW. It’s a scoop! The Breaking News keeps announcing the anticipation of Hurricane Gustav, without explaining the images which speak the obvious. The National Guard have arrived, and they’re not carrying sandbags. The soldiers are sitting in parked Hummers, with assault rifles across their knees.

As if what undid New Orleans and Baghdad was the looting pursuant to Katrina and Shock and Awe. Hurricanes and floodwaters can demolish homes in the wrong neighborhoods. The homes on higher grounds have to fear the looters.

So a curfew has been announced, starting at 9PM tonight, with no set end time. Is that a curfew or Marital Law? If the power goes out, how are you supposed to learn when “curfew” has been lifted? If you’re found outside your property lines, you face arrest for ignoring the mandatory evacuation. You’ll be presumed to have intentions on your neighbor’s property.

The Mayor of New Orleans is warning that potential looters will be sent directly to Angola [Prison.] There will be no quarter, he appears to be saying, no temporary holding facility between court and sentence. You’ll go directly into the General [Prison] Population. Adding, “May God have mercy on you,” as if pronouncing the last rites on a condemned man.

Can he do that? Can they throw away the key on citizens innocent until proven guilty? Mayor Ray Nagin is speaking down to his constituents as if they are adolescents he can scare straight. But I’m sure the same TV audience which cheers when their Law and Order heroes smack down suspects who don’t confess, are loving these tough words of warning. Here’s a black man speaking as if he knows that his constituents 1. have no self respect, and 2. can’t wait to loot.

I see the same public desensitivity to excessive police presence, as became apparent at the DNC. We may stand aghast, but few question if it’s appropriate. Tons of cops, heavily armed, even pointing their guns at you. Unless you find yourself brutalized, it’s just added security. And so long as you don’t have a problem with whose rule of law is being enforced, who can argue with absolute power?

Perhaps security developments in New Orleans are not called Martial Law, because they’re closer to everyday law as we’re coming to see it.

Here are Mayor Nagin’s condescending words:

You need to be scared.
You need to be concerned.
And you need to get your butts movin’
Out of New Orleans. Right now.

That’s the scare tactic used to justify police crackdown. It makes me laugh.

And then finally,
I just talked to the Sherif and to the Police Chief,
I just want to send a strong message out to anybody
who’s thinking about lingering around
and becoming a looter.

Looting will not be tolerated.
We have doubled the police force,
Doubled the National Guard force
that we had for Katrina,
And looters will go directly to jail.

You will not get out -uh uh-
You will not get a pass this time.
As a matter of fact,
anybody who’s caught looting
in the City of New Orleans
Will go directly to Angola.
Directly to Angola.
You will not have
a temporary stay in the city.
You go directly to the Big House
In General Population.
So I want to make sure that every looter,
Potential looter, understands that.
You will go directly to Angola Prison.
And God Bless You, when you go there.

Not in My Name

Hello, I participated in the most incredibly diverse rally in front of the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Here are my remarks:

Cynthia McKinney Remarks Al Nakba Rally,
“Not in My Name”
United Nations, New York
May 16, 2008

On my birthday last year, I declared my independence from a national
leadership that, through its votes in support of the war machine, is
now complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and
crimes against the peace.

I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every veteran
maimed, and every child killed.

I noted that the Democratic leadership in Congress had failed to
restore this country to Constitutional rule by repealing the Patriot
Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, and the Military Commissions Act.

That it had aided and abetted illegal spying against the American
people. And that it took impeachment off the table.

In addition, the Democratic Congressional leadership failed to
promote the economic integrity of this country by not repealing the
Bush tax cuts. They failed to institute a livable wage,
Medicare-for-all health care, and gave even more money to the
Pentagon as it misuses our hard-earned dollars.

We can add to that list, too, an abject failure to stand up for human
rights and dignity.

If the Democratic and Republican leadership won’t respect the right
of return for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors, how can we
expect them to champion the right of return for Palestinians?

If this country’s leadership tolerates the wanton murder of unarmed
black and Latino men by law enforcement officials—extra-judicial
killings—how can we expect them to stop or even speak out against
targeted assassinations in the Middle East?

If the Democratic and Republican leadership accept ethnic cleansing
in this country by way of gentrification and predatory lending, why
should we expect them to put an end to it in Palestine?

If the leadership of this country impedes self-determination for
native peoples in this country, why should we expect them to support
indigenous rights for anyone abroad?

And sadly, the sensationalist corporate media would rather trick us
into thinking that reporting on a pastor, a former Vice Presidential
nominee, and a former cable TV magnate constitutes this country’s
much-needed discussion of its own apartheid past and present, so why
should we expect an honest discussion of apartheid and Zionism?

I hope by now it is clear. Our values will never be reflected in
public policy as long as our political parties and our country remain

Hijacked by false patriots who usurp the applause of the people and
all the while betray our values.

I’ve decided that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will
operate any longer as business as usual—not in my name.

That Democrats and Republicans will use my tax dollars and betray my
values, not one day longer—not in my name.

That neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have earned my most
precious political asset—my vote.

And that now is the time to do some things I’ve never done before in
order to have some things I’ve never had before.

And so here today, I declare my independence from weapons transfers:
including Apache Helicopters; F’16s; sidewinder, hellfire, and
Stinger missiles.

I declare my independence from occupation, demolished homes,
political prisoners, and babies dying at checkpoints.

I declare my independence from UN vetoes, expropriated land, stolen
resources, and the installation of puppet regimes.

I declare my independence from all forms of dehumanization and am not
afraid to speak truth to power.

And I am happy to join with peace-loving people around the world who
know that there can be no peace without justice.

Let us never tire in our work for justice.

Thank you.

What kind of idiot do they take you for?

In the hands of Republicans, the filibuster seems to be a silver bullet. They used it today without firing a shot. The Democratic majority wanted to fashion some legislation, but lacked the 60 votes to stop a filibuster. As a result, no go. It now takes 60% of the Senate to pass a bill, where it used to take the Republicans only 51%. What’s going on here?

That’s a question the media won’t ask. Or answer. Someone must have polled the American public and discovered that the term filibuster is misunderstood, and can thus mean whatever the media needs it to be.

In the hands of Democrats, to filibuster is to impose partisan gridlock upon conservatives trying to help our blessed nation. How dare the Dems even threaten such divisive stubbornness?

As a Republican tool, the filibuster is a trump card, a fait accomplit. They needn’t even roll out the overnight cots for round the clock monopolizing of the microphone. Saying you’ll filibuster is threat enough to make the Dems back down.

Are civics no longer taught in high school? I remember a filibuster was a tool opponents of a bill could use to force a little reciprocity from the majority party sponsors. A filibuster meant holding the floor of the Senate hostage for as long as you and your colleagues could hold out. Hopefully provoking the sponsors of the bill to consider some concessions in the phrasing. To do a filibuster you had to be prepared for a marathon speaking session, a continuous tag team of allies holding forth on the debate until somebody dropped. It was politically risky to be seen shutting down DC just to keep your rivals from having their way. And so filibusters were always rare.

Back when the Republicans dominated Congress, filibusters were like hurricanes in Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire, they hardly happened. The media cautioned that the political fallout would be too great for the Democrats if they should try so vaingloriously to oppose the mandate of the electorate, self-evident by the nature of the GOP having the 51% majority.

What’s become of the media’s admonitions now? Where are their words of caution to the Republican minority? What even has become of their definition of filibuster? Now to filibuster is to fire a shot across the bow, to feign showing your fangs to make your opponents back down. You don’t have to do it, you don’t have to take the heat for doing it. If the “majority” doesn’t have the margin to stop it, it’s as good as done. And the Democrats dutifully follow the choreographed capitulations and the media dutifully doesn’t question the illogic.

If my naval analogy was appropriate, let me add that the shot across the bow was not delivered by a ship of inferior firepower, it always came from the superior ship as a warning that it had come within range and would decimate its target if the lesser rated craft did not immediately heave to.

Bucket brigade then tar and feather

Ranchers assembled to ask Senator Salazar to oppose PCMS expansion.
I’d like to ask you to look closely at the the photograph of ranchers assembled in Trinidad to reject the PCMS expansion and Senator Salazar’s support of the taking of their land.

(Salazar and the Army will only commit to say that no one’s land will be taken who doesn’t want to sell it. In the meantime, Army public relations can continue with their rumors that plenty are approaching them to sell, prompting the real ranchers to hedge their bets themselves, compounding the problem no one can get financing or investors because the big bets are on the Army getting the land in the end. So Salazar’s promise is empty and as devious as what actions will ensue. What, is he going to say he was just a good ol’ boy caught in the middle?)

I ask you, what do you see in the picture? Do you see farmers and ranchers and feed store workers getting together to fight a common cause? Do you see a social atmosphere where being a neighbor is redefined and strengthened? Sure. The first, or third, or tenth time. But how many times more must these people remobilize, taking time from their work, their livelihoods, most probably from the little leisure time they have? What’s going to come of the time and energy stolen from them?

When counties and regions face floods or hurricanes, the people come together, luckily for not too extended a duration. When it’s done, there’s disaster relief and efforts expended to see how to keep such calamity from visiting again. So what do you do about politicians, in this case in cahoots with the war business, from raining their greed upon the people? You weather it and then what? Can you dam it further upstream? Can you hire a better weather service to warn you when klepto-politicians are circling for another blow?

Each and every rancher in southeast Colorado has reason to despise Salazar. He’s robbing them of their lives. It’s time for the rest of us to be good neighbors and show our solidarity with them and oppose the traitorous senator ourselves. We don’t have to look far to find more reasons. It’s time to pile up the sandbags, hold fast to what’s dear to us and hang tight. When the onslaught subsides, let’s dam the door to Ken Salazar’s office and never let him back to our state. We’ll keep his homestead estate as partial recompense. Actually we have to charge Salazar and his cohorts with criminal mischief and sue him for the damage he’s done to the Southeast Colorado ranchers, for their lost wages, lost business, and sideswiped lives.

Actually, one can see from whence the tar and feather tradition comes. Right to the state line.

Selling arms to the enemy

Finnish Air Force200,000 Kalashnikovs collected from the streets of Bosnia by US forces were recently shipped off to Iraq via the usual arms dealers/contractors. It’s said the shipments were intended for the Iraqi-coalition soldiers but the guns have disappeared and it’s feared they are being used to fire at US troops.

Holy Fucking Shit wouldn’t you say? This would be the kind of story a so-called-liberal-press would love to expose! American war profiteers selling weapons to both sides! Where are the reporters? The world press is running with it, apparently our reporters are not.

The other day I was perusing a collection of paintings of WWII aerial dog-fights. The book had a not-so-subtle patriotic bent such that scenes mostly depicted American fighters shooting down enemy planes. My attention was thus grabbed by a dogfight depicting a swastika-clad Finnish plane having shot two red-starred Russian planes.

Noteworthy however was that both combatants were flying American planes. The US shipped thousands of planes to its Russian ally throughout the war. The Finns flew Hawker Hurricanes and Brewster Buffalos. These weren’t planes left-over from before the war. Our industrialists supplied these planes to Finland during the war. Our war-profiteers were making money from both sides of the war!

Recognize the plane? That doesn’t look like our swastika on the wings, does it?

A season of French hurricanes

Hurricane Pepe

Who is naming these hurricanes? Hurricane Gaston? Hurricane Frances? Hurricane Ivan?

Sounds like a republican in the National Weather Service is naming this season’s major storm systems, recalling the countries who most opposed the war in Iraq. Is that idea too far-fetched?

GASTON? That’s a common name for a boy, in France! FRANCES? Well I suppose that’s something a little less subtle for Americans who don’t recognize any french. And IVAN? Let’s see, who else opposed us about the war?

What’s next? Hurricane Fritz? Gunther? Maybe just GERRY! The fourth signatory against us was Belgium. What’s a Belgian name? Hurricane JACQUES BREL!

It shouldn’t come as a suprise that the NWS might be politicized. After all, even The National Science Foundation is being made to refute the cataclism that is global warming, against all international consensus. Which leads me to another worry:

Absentee ballots. Everyone is hyping absentee ballots as a means to pre-empt republican operatives from stealing the elections. But those ballots have to be mailed in. We have to be able to trust the US Postal Service to deliver our ballots. Do we know there aren’t republican directors planning to re-direct non-republican votes into a circular file?

This just in. The next storm system after Ivan… brewing in the Atlantic… threatening the Dominican Republic… It’s… Hurricane JEANNE! JEANNE D’ARC?

It occured to me that weather systems are usually named in alphabetical order. They’re named early on, and the ones to hit shore are the ones we hear about. It looks like there were two other minor storms they thought might make the news: DANIELLE and HERMINE!

Kerry’s French some people say.