Monday, December 24, 2007

Keep the Piñata in Christmas

Pushing the limits of Episcopalian latitudinariansim to an extreme, Rev. Raymond J. Lawrence has called for taking the Christ out of Christmas. (Counterpunch, 15 December 2007, Liberating Christmas from Christianity). Lawrence rightly reminds us that the planetary phenomenon known as the Winter Solstice is something experienced (naturally enough) around the world and has been celebrated by the peoples of the world in different ways from time immemorial. It is not, he insists, the property or copyright of Christians.

All that is true enough; and certainly a bit of historical perspective could hardly hurt an ethnocentric U.S.culture that is bloated with self-righteousness and thinks that “ancient” refers to the 1950’s. However, in calling for a return back to pagan Saturnalia and like festivities from which Jesus Christ was absent, Lawrence reverts to a fundamentalist originalism that has always been the Achilles Heel (so to speak) of Protestantism.

To put it in a nutshell: it is perfectly true that Christmas evolved (in significant part) out of pre-existing pagan solstice holidays -- Celtic, Roman and German. However it is equally and no less importantly true the pre-existing pagan solstice holidays evolved into Christmas. The process of change -- of being and becoming -- which is the life force of true traditionalism must take both the alpha and the omega into account. That is why the Roman Catholic Church has always insisted that tradition -- the evolving life and custom of the whole Church in Time -- is as much the source of truth and revelation as Sacred Scripture. To posit some “truer” pre-existing state of being to which we must go back is the way of stunted growth if not, in fact, death.

What would Rev. Lawrence have next? To take the Jesus out of Easter? And if so, what then would there be left for Christians to celebrate? Julian the Apostate himself could not have wished a greater curse on the Church.

Christmas or at least the Roman Catholic variants of it are in fact an amalgamation and permutation of pre-existing customs and beliefs -- AmerIndian and African, as well as Germano-Roman. The star-shaped Mexican piñata illustrates the point. The piñata’s origin is in fact Italian, it having been the custom of Franciscan friars to hand out little clay-bowls -- pignatta -- filled with dried fruits and nuts to the poor on Christmas Day. The friars brought the custom to the New World where, somehow, the charity-crock got painted up and tassled into a star which could be smashed causing a rain of goodies. How did that happen?

It happened because the origin of the pignatta also happens to be Indian. The celebratory or ritualistic smashing of clay pots was an Aztec ritual. The Aztecs used decorated clay pots filled with water to represent the rain god Tlaloc who would be ritually struck with a stick so as to cause a symbolic rain storm. At year’s end, they used clay pots decorated with feathers and filled with trinkets which would cascade to the ground when the pot was hoisted and hit with a stick. And so it is that with a clay pot and a stick this now Mexican Christmas ritual fuses indigenous symbols of fertility and regeneration into a Christian liturgy of re-born hope.

Cultural and religious evolution are continuous. Since the 1950’s Mexicans have enthusiastically taken to Christmas trees, proving the adage that we shall never see something as beautiful as a tree. Today Christmas in Mexico is a riot of customs embracing Azteco-Franciscan clay pots and feathers, Spanish liturgical processions and festivities known as posadas, rituals from the dark Teutonic forests and accounts of miraculous events in Judea.

Around the world, those celebrations we know as “Christmas” reflect similar processes of permutation and amalgamation with pre-existing customs. Taking the Christ out of Christmas would not make these celebrations richer but poorer.

The process of natural and cross-cultural evolution ought not be confused with the insidious commercial bastardization and perversion of Christmas. Not content with gnashing up resources and the environment, the voracious maw of capitalism devours even the way we think about things. The “fetish of the commodity” -- Marx's term for the dementia of seeing and conceptualizing everything through the constructs and needs of the capitalist system -- today has people talking of something known as “Black Friday”. And what day is this? The day Christ was crucified? The day of some crash, plague, outbreak of war or natural disaster? No. In what surely reflects the depths of cultural perversion, Black Friday is a good thing; it is the day after Thanksgiving when merchants’ account balances go from red to black because consumers are so overspending themselves that they go from black to red. If there is a Saturnalia today, it is to be found in a Goya etching.

This corruption of Christmas which inaugurates Advent with a barrage of advertising in lieu of an Annunciation can rightly be called satanic because it undermines everything the Winter Solstice has symbolised, stood for and been celebrated for in all cultures. Lawrence is right to point out that a reaction against this phenomenon founded in moralizing religiosity goes nowhere. Such a puritanical approach simply substitutes one kitsch for another. But taking the Christ out of Christmas is the wrong remedy for the true ill. It would not solve the true problem which is an economic system and a mercantile class that exploits human hope for profit to the detriment of human wellbeing.

© WCG, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Political Profiling

Why is it that Jewish names keep on cropping up in stories about Venezuela? On the morrow of Chavez’s defeat, some US mudia (CNN or Fox or who knows) was interviewing the opposition for their pronouncements on the state of Venezuela. Both persons were Jewish (one evidently an entrepreneur). They could not find people with Hispanic names to quote? Then I read the following in a leftist take by by Gaël Brustier in Rue89

“ This electoral demonstration embarrasses those who profess an unshakable faith in a neo-conservative vision of the world.
“ The "neo-cons" have, in fact, the air of a discomfited Savonarola. According to them, there can be no critical support for Chavez, whom they don't hesitate to compare to and amalgamate with Ahmadinejad (on the basis of the industrial agreements signed between Iran and Venezuela), "explaining" this way that Chavez is anti-Semitic (consequently Nazi). By this means, anyone who supports the Venezuelan Left or criticizes American hyperpower becomes a Nazi who more or less acknowledges the same....
“This Manichean vision of the world professed by former leftists who have turned right (André Glucksmann in France, to name one), whose verbal violence leaves one stunned, must replace analysis and criticism. “
It’s interesting that others are making the connection, howsoever obliquely it may be stated. At the same time, it worth remembering that all profiling is both useful and easily abused. In detecting "conspiracies" one has to tread a fine line between actually shared traits and accidental properties.

©WCG, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Neo Blasphemy

With a wizardry befitting medieval alchemy, Jewish and Zionist groups have long labored to turn criticism of anything jewish or zionist into a sign of anti-semitism, using the shrill cry of “persecution!” to silence political opposition and even cultural preferences.

And so, one had to reach for the salt, when Haaretz reported (18 XI 07) that Jewish groups in Holland had monitored a 64% rise in anti semitic “attacks”. The article explained that of the 261 “attacks” six or seven involved actual violence. According to the group’s report, the “The research focused only on unmistakably anti-Semitic incidents and remarks.” However, included in “unmistakably” was mail, addressed to Jewish groups, that “accused them of acting like Nazis because of Israel's actions.” In that case, a spokesman said, “we considered these mails to be anti-Semitic.”

The unstated premise of this demonology is that Jews are incapable of acting like Nazis -- which is why saying that they do can only be regarded (so it is said) as an unfounded insult inspired by personal hatred. The theological kernel in the premise is thus that Nazis are that than which nothing more evil can be conceived -- i.e. they be the deebils!

Of course, this is utter nonsense. A more scientific appraisal would begin with the fact that Germans and Jews, cowboys and indians are, like the rest of us, human beings, everyone of whom is capable of both good and evil. As such, inter-group behavioral comparisons are entirely reasonable. The comparison between Nazi and Zionist pseudo racial ideologies, has long been noted. It is hardly difficult to fathom. Both ideologies aimed to preserve a given ethno-cultural identity while annexing territory and “segregating out” the local population. The rhetoric used by both ideologies has at times been indistinguishable.
“The source of national feeling ...lies in a man's blood his racio-physico type and in that alone. ...For that reason we do not believe in spiritual assimilation. It is inconceivable, from the physical point of view, that a Jew born to a family of pure Jewish blood can become adapted to the spiritual outlook of a German or a Frenchman.”
Hitler? Nein. Vladimir Jabotinsky, one of the founders of zionism. (Iron Wall, (1925).) Jabotinsky founded that current of zionism whose political descendant today is represented by the Likud Party. Jabotinsky was equally blunt about the “colonization” of Palestine,
“All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population. Therefore, it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall through which the local population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.” (Op. cit.)
It hardly requires a great mental exertion to see the evident similarities. On the contrary, what requires exertion is the hypocrisy and obscurantism which currently passes for zionist apologetics.

Of course, there is no single variant of zionism just as there was no single variant of national socialism. Political movements are by nature created by a consensus that embraces even inconsistent policies under one umbrella. On the other hand, there is always the pudding ... the net outcome on the ground, so to speak. And it is quite legitimate to compare the Nazi and Israeli puddings on the ground.

On those occasions when Israel’s avid supporters leave off name calling and join the issue on the merits, they invariably point to the “fact” that Israel has not “gassed six million Palestinians in factories of death.” This is said in such tones as to indicate that the speaker believes it to be the piece de difference. Q.E.D. Ergo non nobis and it is “pure” anti-semitism to “even attempt” to make the comparison. But to assert as much is simply to state the demonological premise in another fashion. If “gassing six millions in factories of death” is the touchstone, then comparison is a fortiori impossible.

However, it is not “gassing” that’s the key, but policies of oppression including “genocide.” Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jew who coined the word “genocide” and who made a detailed study of Nazi policies in the occupied territories never mentioned “gassing.” In his view, mass murder was only one of several different types of graduated policies which comprised genocide. Equally important and often-times as effective were: economic embargoes, cultural embarrassments, denial of essential social services, segregations and starvation. In fact, untold millions died of death-through-labor in Stalinist work-camps; and such a fatally punitive regimen when applied to a single ethnic group would count as genocide just as much (albeit with infinitely more personal pain and suffering along the way) as shooting and gassing.

Far from being “beyond the pale” comparing historical facts on the ground -- let the pudding fall where it may -- is the only way to learn from history. Anything else is touhou bouhou.

Stupidly enough, there are those who use the “fascist” and “nazi” as an epithet signifying some ill-defined form of police state or oppressiveness. Used as such, the term reflects that the speaker has perceived that one party has his boot on the neck of the other. While that perception may not be articulated in detail or with the great learning, for all that it is not necessarily inaccurate. No less than apes and dogs detect injustice even if they can’t explain it very well. A scientific or Socratic approach would be to elicit, step by step, what it is the speaker means to say and to test it for veracity.

But that is not what the zionist cabals are about. What they are about is stifling debate and intimidating criticism. In a recent interview given to Wajahat Ali, Norman Finklestein put it thus,
“Whenever Israel comes under international pressure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict diplomatically or on account of its human rights violations, it revives the extravaganza called The New Anti-Semitism. In 1974 the Anti-Defamation League, an Israel lobby group in the U.S., put out a book called The New Anti-Semitism and in 1981 it put out another book called The Real Anti-Semitism. Right after the new intifada began, the Israel lobby again started with The New Anti-Semitism. The purposes of this agitprop are pretty obvious: to delegitimize all criticism of Israel as motivated by anti-Semitism and to turn the perpetrators into the victims. It seems to have less effect in recent years due to overuse: once you start calling Jimmy Carter an anti-Semite, people really begin to wonder.”
Yes... even Man eventually begins to wonder.

©WCG, 2007

Finklestein Interview

Jabotinsky quotes, cited in Leni Brenner “Zionism in the Age of Dictators” (1983)

Monday, November 5, 2007

When Puppets get Puppity.

It was all kind of funny... Pakistan’s general gone mufti re-attached his shoulder boards, sacked n’ stacked his supreme court and suspended elections all -- he insisted -- in order to protect his eight year long “transition to democracy” against assorted terrorist threats.

Anticipating the anguished howl that indeed hit the heavens over Washington, Musharaff was ready with a bunch of handy quotes from Saint Lincoln.
“I would at this time, Musharraf said, “venture to read out an excerpt of President Abraham Lincoln, specially to all my listeners in the United States. As an idealist, Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion during that time of crisis, and this was to preserve the Union… towards that end, he broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he trampled individual liberties.
"His justification was necessity and explaining his sweeping violation of Constitutional limits he wrote in a letter in 1864, and I quote, ‘My oath to preserve the Constitution imposed on me the duty of preserving by every indispensable means that government, that Nation of which the Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the Nation and yet preserve the Constitution?’”
Musharraf went on to quote Lincoln, as political surgeon:
“By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save life but a life is never wisely given to save a life.”
Mussolini couldn't have said it better.

Leaping forward, Musharraf took a page from President Nixon and groused about an “activist judiciary” that was bringing the nation to wrack and ruin.

What Musharraf most likely did not know was that somewhere between 25% to 33% of listeners in the United States still consider “the Original Gorilla” to have been a bloody tyrant. And with good reason. Lincoln subverted the rule of law and for much the same reasons invoked by all state idolaters .

In the 1864 letter from which Musharraf quoted, written but ten days before his assassination, Lincoln expressed his conviction that his oath to “preserve the constitution” was really an oath “to preserve that nation of which the Constitution was the organic law.” By that handy-dandy inversion Lincoln could justify violating the Constitution he had sworn not to violate.

The appeal to “the Nation” or “das Volk” or “the Motherland” is always the same. It is the Golden Calf for which tyrants everywhere justify their violation of law. And if laws can be overridden in order to protect the ultimate, supreme good of "the State"... who is a mere limb to complain when he is sacrificed on doctor's orders for the good of the All?

The difficulty with this appeal, at least in so far as the United States is concerned, is that “our nation” is indisputably the creature of the constitution -- not the other way around. Not only are we a nation of laws we are a nation born of constitutional law. Without that birth certificate there is no United States; and that is why the United States is the most quintessentially liberal country ever to have existed. It is the creature of contract.

Musharraf's uppity act was wilder still if it is borne in mind that he merely applied the same raison d’etat that the present administration itself uses to suspend constitutional liberties, and to do away with judicial review: “to protect the Uhmur’can People from turrurism.” The Pakistani leader hardly needed to have gone so far back as Lincoln. He could have quoted Imbecile's nominee for Attorney General, who just the week before informed the Senate that the president was not necessarily bound to observe the law if he determined he was defending the country.

And so, the Administration was reduced to howling an impotent protest against a puppet that was getting all strings tangled by doing what the puppet handler itself was doing with it other hand on another stage.

Damn! They just don’t make puppets like they used to.

©WCG, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let Them Light Candles

AS reported by news media around the world, Israel decided several days ago to interrupt fuel and electricity supplies to Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel -- actually on the township of Sderot, 1 kilometer from the Gaza border. In view of the Palestinian attacks on innocent civilians, Israel’s intermittent power cut seemed to bespeak a super human patience and forbearance. Why God Himself could hardly be as mild in his judgements. Inconvenient? Well Let them light candles!

But there is always the “fine print”. Overlooked in all the blather about electricity cut offs was the following, courtesy of the New York Times:
"Israel said Sunday day that they had begun reducing fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip and had closed one of the two crossings through which food, medicine and other supplies pass into the area. ... As a result, only limited supplies of basic goods are allowed to enter the strip, and all exports of produce are prohibited. ...
"[According to a government spokesman,] the number of trucks of food and other goods entering Gaza will be reduced to roughly 55 trucks a day from 100 to 120, “We will allow in the minimum amount of food and medicines necessary to avoid a humanitarian crisis,” he said.”
A fifty percent reduction in food supplies? On a per-capita basis that boils down to a starvation diet. The “humanitarian crisis” Israel labors hard to avoid means what? The avoidance of “mass death”? But wait, what do starvation diets lead to?

Perhaps one could take a page from Raphael Lemkin’s seminal work “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.” According to Lemkin, who coined the term, genocide operated on cultural, social, economic and biological levels. Lemkin writes:
“The destruction of the foundations of the economic existence of a national group necessarily brings about a crippling of its development, even a retrogression.”
The physical debilitation and even annihilation of national groups in occupied countries is carried out mainly in the following ways:
1. Racial Discrimination in Feeding. Rationing of food is organized according to racial principles throughout the occupied countries. "The German people come before all other peoples for food," declared Reich Minister Göring on October 4, 1942. In accordance with this program, the German population is getting 93 per cent of its pre-war diet, while those in the occupied territories receive much less: in Warsaw, for example, the Poles receive 66 per cent of the pre-war rations and the Jews only 20 per cent.
2. Endangering of Health. The undesired national groups, particularly in Poland, are deprived of elemental necessities for preserving health and life. This latter method consists, for example, of requisitioning warm clothing and blankets in the winter and withholding firewood and medicine. . . . Such measures, especially pernicious to the health of children, have caused the development of various diseases.
Lemkin’s schema of genocide has not been fully incorporated into international law. Nevertheless, it provides a cogent framework for analyzing genocidal policies from sociological and ethical perspectives. Cutting back on food deliveries in Gaza is strictly analogous to the General Gouvernement’s food “policies” in occupied Poland.

To argue that such measures are “reprisals” against a so-called barrage of rocket attacks on civilian Sderot is simply beside the point. International law prohibits indiscriminate reprisals. The whole purpose of the prohibition is precisely to put limits on the kinds and degrees of retaliation allowed. The limitations presuppose that there is something to retaliate over in the first place. To argue that the “right to retaliate” wipes away limits is simply to wipe away international law itself.

Precisely that kind of “they-started-it” argument was rejected at Nuremberg. The Nazi leveling of Lidice, in Czechoslovakia, was done in response to the unlawful, indisputably terrorist murder of Heydrich, the duly appointed administrator of those occupied territories. What made the Nazi response to that and other partisan acts of sabotage and murder a crime was not that retaliation was not allowed, but rather that the retaliation employed was excessive and indiscriminate, if not altogether an excuse to engage in counter-terror over and above deterrence and extermination over and above lawful reprisal.

Israel's trail of tu quoque’s can ultimately only lead back to the inceptional fact that European Zionists sought to colonize and invade a land that was not theirs by any genealogical or mythological stretch. That aside, the you started it gambit doesn’t work because the “its” are neither militarily nor morally equivalent.

Palestinians and Israelis are engaged in a conflict over land. But in this conflict, Israel -- among the world’s foremost military powers -- holds all the cards. It has control of Gaza’s borders. It has control of Gaza’s finances. It has control of Gaza’s air space. It has control of Gaza’s electricity and power. It has control of all entry and exit into Gaza. When democratic elections produced results Israel did not appreciate, it simply resorted to economic strangulation. No Indian Reservation was so controlled as Gaza whose only historical analog in recent memory are Lodz and Warsaw -- and, like Lodz and Warsaw , Gaza is one if not the most crowded places on earth. To claim some kind of moral equivalence from such state of inequality is simply perverted.

All animals will resist their capture and imprisonment. The human animal is no different. It is entirely natural that Palestinians, not wanting to live under Israeli domination, should resist. One should not expect otherwise . To self-righteously intone that they ought not to resist is to dress up in flimsy moral tissue a demand for abject and acquiescent submission.

Gazan resistance is in fact puny and pathetic. They cannot inflict any real damage on Israel. The facts bespeak the inequalities. According to Human Rights Watch, since 2005 there have been 2,700 Q’assam rocket attacks “into Israel”. The holocaustian horror conjured up by such a phrase qua headline is that of Jerusalem, O Jersualem recoiling under a barrage of missiles. Reading the usual zionist histrionics, one might think that a new “holocaust” was in the making. But these “missiles” (jumbo firecrackers really) have a range of a few kilometers and no more. In fact, just about the only place they can hit is the border village of Sderot. Human Rights Watch reports that as a result of these 2,700 attacks four Israeli civilians have been killed and 75 injured.

Contrast these “horrendous” casualties with the almost daily reports of 9, 5, 17, 23, 4, ...... Palestinians killed in some Israel counter-action. We have gotten so accustomed to the daily reports of Palestinian dead that no one pays attention. Adding insult to injury, these dead are brushed aside as “collateral damages”. Israel routinely has some low level corporal announce that Israel was targeting a “military installation” and oooops ... just happened to blow up the surrounding civilian neighborhood. Needless to say, the “military installation” is the rooftop from which the Q’assam rocket was allegedly fired.

Who the hell is the one taking the punches here? Any moron can see that it’s the Palestinians who are hemorrhaging. How the hell does it all add up here? Very simply this: Palestinians and Israelis are trading punches. In this wretched game of retaliation, Israel consistently gets in the better and more bloody punch. So be it. But now comes Israel decked out in the usual sack cloth and ashes and says that in addition to its regime of retaliatory collateral damage it has decided that it “has to” further retaliate by putting all of Gaza under a starvation regimen.

Shit by any other name stinks just as bad; and putting an entire civilian population on a “minimal” allotment of food and medicine qualifies as genocide.

©WCG, 2007

07/10/30 Israel Restricts Gaza Crossing as Firing Persists - New York Times

Rafael Lemkin on Web:

Human Rights Watch Reports

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Zio-Cons seek to Deride & Deflect Criticism

“I would say, as a card-carrying member of the neoconservative conspiracy,” said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, “that Giuliani, McCain and Thompson are all getting really good advice

Ah yes!. The ridicule that admits. How does this work?

Prima facie, there is no such thing as a card-carrying neo-con conspirator. In the American historical lexicon, the phrase alludes to McCarthy era “card-carrying communists” and is intended to suggest (1) an organized, (2) secret (3) subversive (4) economic & political (5) conspiration. The image conjured up is that of communists infiltrators and spies, meeting in dark corners, leaving messages in telephone booths and burrowing their way into government, a la Tinker Tailor & Spy

Of course the analogy is rife with an inherent ridiculousness. Not only are conservatives not communist but neo-conservatives are, in fact, apostated communists. However, since the unmistakable allusion is to the discredited McCarthy hearings which are generally viewed as an disgraceful example of “witch hunting,” bear baiting and official persecution, the phrase infuses the ridicule with a strong flavor of odiousness.

The art of making something loathsome and ridiculous at the same time is the hallmark of the Meister Sophist, propagandist and rabble-rouser. If you've ever wondered why Bill Kristol has a perpetual smirk on his face, now you know why.

However, in the hierarchy of eristical sophistries, Kristol ascends higher than a mere monsignor; for, it will be noted that in this case, Kristol has inverted the trick. It is not the "card-carrying conservative" who is exposed as ridiculously loathsame, but rather the characterization of conservatives as "card carrying"

No one has actually gotten up and accused that neo-cons of being “card carrying conspirators”. No one has actually drawn an analogy to the Communist Party of the 30’s and 40’. The only one who has done that is Kristol himself. What Kristol has managed is something like a pre-emptive strike, making pre-ridicule of something that has not been said, and letting it be known that it would be ridiculous to even think of saying it. Deride and Deflect.

But Kristol’s tactic has a deeper allusion; one that is intimately and intuitively understood by neo-conservatives themselves. McCarthy’s harum scarum about card-carrying communists was itself an allusion to the older fascist accusastion directed at Jewish-Communists or Jewish Bolsheviks. It is odd how for certain purposes the human ear seems to require certain alliterations; but, in all events, McCarthy took the anti-semitic race card and replaced it with a carrying card. These deeper allusions are congenitally understood and would never be overlooked by neo-conservatives since their founding lights -- Irving Kristol, Norm Podhoretz et al. -- were exactly the people McCarthy and fascists alluded to: Jewish Communist-Leftists.

Of course, the whole point of neo-conservativism is that it founders apostated from anything remotely “left”. With this history in mind, Kristol’s ridicule is structured into the very paring of “card-carrying” with “conservative” and adds a strong dash bitterness to the broth.

What is understood equally by then Jewish-Communists and now Jewish neo-cons , is that the "Jewish-Bolshevik" label of the early 1900's was itself an offshoot of the infamous Protocols of Zion of the 1860’s. For those innocents who may never have heard, the Protocols was a forged document which was allegedly “discovered” by the Tsarist secret police and which detailed a plan for Jewish World Domination. The Protocols became the totem of anti-semites.; and it is fair to say that no one who considers himself a Jew is not alive to any hint of Protocol-talk. Thus, at bottom, Kristol’s preemptive strawman is aimed at denying and denigrating the notion that neo-conservativism might be a Jewish or Zionist “conspiracy”.

But the question has to be asked, why would Kristol go out of his way to dredge all this crap up, just in order preemptively ridicule it? Has anyone accused the neo-conservatives of meeting in dark subway tunnels to plot jewish world domination? Well.... anyone not in Idaho, at least?

Neo conservatives seem to think so. According to Joshua Muravchik, a Jewish fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, "Neocon” is now widely synonymous with “ultraconservative” or, for some, “dirty Jew.” [ here ] Is this paranoia or what? While there certainly has been growing criticism of the pro-Israeli tilt in U.S. policy, critics have gone out of their way to avoid equating "zionism" and "judaism" and have carefully avoided anything that might smack of "dirty Jew" talk. No - it is Kristol and Muravchik who are in fact playing the “race card”. What they are saying is don’t even dare to think, much less say, that we are a card carrying jewish conspiracy.

Why not? Facts are facts. The fact is that neo-conservatices are card-carriers. They carry identity cards that allow them into the halls and conclaves of AIPAC, WINEP, JINSA, and AEI (to say nothing of Israel itself). Let these institutes speak for themselves:

AIPAC (American-Israeli Political Action Committee) was founded to “help make Israel more secure by ensuring that American support remains strong."

WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) was founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk, then research director for AIPAC and later U.S. ambassador to Israel, in order to promote[ ] an American engagement in the Middle East committed to strengthening alliances, nurturing friendships, and promoting security, peace, prosperity, and democracy for the people of the region."

JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security) was established (1) "To educate the American public about the importance of an effective U.S. defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded; and (2) To inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East."

AEI (American Enterprise Institute) was established primarily to promote international neo-liberalism, but it's policy paper track record has been unmistakably and markedly pro-Israel, and Islamic and in favor of "preemptive" strikes against nations it labels as "terrorist".

The policy statements of these organizations themselves make it crystal clear that they are pursuing a pro-Israeli, zionist agenda which they have conflated with U.S. interests. Moreovoer, a cursory look at their actual papers will reveal that they are the ones who most conflate "judaism" with "zionism" and deny the existence of those Jewish voices that are not zionist and that are appalled by Israel's conduct.

I am not here arguing the merits of this agenda; I am simply pointing out that it exists. There is a group of people a substantial percentage of which are Jews, who are united in an political agenda and who meet regularly (behind closed doors, in fact) to churn out papers and strategies to advance that agenda...which, among other things, is unquestionably supportive of Israeli-Zionist aims.

Are the merits of this agenda a proper subject of discourse? Yes. Does Kristol seek to pre-empt debate on the merits by a pre-emptive veiled accusation of anti-semitism? That too yes. Kristol and fellow zio-cons should recall, if they can, that their tactics usually become self-fulfilling prophecies.

©WCG, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mr. Depravity To Spew More Sulfur

The presidential imbecile is scheduled to throw an official temper tantrum before a crowd of Cuban hysterics, White House staffers announced today. According to the New York Times, Bush will warn Cuba, in stern and unbending terms, that he will not accept a transfer of power from Fidel to Raul Castro. Of course, the transfer occurred last year. But never mind.

Imbecile is expected to demand that Cubans continue to resist the Castro regime, as they most certainly must have been doing for the past 60 years.

His Depravity is expected to blather that “while much of the rest of Latin America has moved from dictatorship to democracy” Cuba “continues to use repression and terror to control its people” who have “suffered economically” as a result of Castro’s rule.

No. No. No. Cuba has suffered economically as a result of a US imposed embargo (aka siege) designed to strangle and starve.

No. No. No. The ones who terrorized their people were US-imposed scum like Videla who tossed kids out helicopters, Stroessner who walled up people alive and Pinochet who had women waterboarded and bottle-raped.

It is certainly true that about half of Latin America has moved from US backed dictatorships to US extorted neo-liberal sell-offs. Either way, half the continent continues to live lives of no-win, economic struggle and deprivation while the even less fortunate, the bands of ragged kiddie orphans wandering through Foochimori’s Lima, struggle to find enough sniffing glue to dull the hunger pains.

It is true that, as a communist state, Cuba does not permit capitalist multi-party democracy, that it has curtailed dissent and, at times, imprisoned opposition that went no further than words. At worst, such a record would put Cuba politically on par with a number of Latin-American "democracies" and many others as well. The difference is that the Cuban leadership works for the people's health, education, housing and welfare as best it can; whereas beneath Mr.Depravity's spew of liberal slogans -- odious on account of the policies to which they have been prostituted -- is the naked aim to turn Cuba into yet another third world cesspool where human beings can toil for $1.00 a day and be reduced to picking for scraps on festering garbage heaps.

While the smirking punk that besmirches the Offal Office may congratulate himself on his pimping for corporate brutality and greed; the other half of Latin America has had enough of Hell’s Nostrums, US style "democracy" and malignant US corporations bankrolling murderous bands of White Guard thugs. That half, is closing US bases, sending the IMF packing, founding its own development bank and elaborating economic polices and social programs that actually help their fellow human beings.

May Batista’s snarling exiled Ferengi gag -- and gag deeply -- on Mr. Depravity's sulfurous fuming.

©WCG, 2007

Yet Another Revolting Week (14-21 October 2007)

In what has become a never ending cycle of grotesquerie, the week began with a nominee for Attorney General struggling not to condone torture and ended with the Vice President urging an attack on Iran. In between, the world was fetted with the Imperial Imbecile threatening World War III now that France can once again be counted as an ally.

Simulated Mistakes Worse than Sin

Given the Supreme Court’s je suis trop fatigué performance the week previous, it could hardly come as surprise that the wannabe Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Nation (CLEON) would sound the trumpet for Imperial Prerogative while palavering excuses for torture. Testifying before Congress, former federal Judge Mukasey imperfectly suggested that torture was a “sin” while dribbling marbles over whether “waterboarding” constituted torture. Mukasey just couldn’t figure it out. After all waterboarding only “simulates” the feeling of drowing; and since the “subject” is not actually drowning it can’t be all that bad, right? Well gee..... why don’t we just interrogate victims by feeding them chocolate coated brandy bon bons?

The fact is (for those blessed with the most minimal inferential faculties) that waterboarding “simulates” drowning by cutting off air-flow. There is no other way to simulate drowing. None. And, for all who have experienced it, a lack of airflow is extremely painful causing the body to convulse with all desperate force to locate and get air. Does it really make a goddam bit of difference whether the deprivation of oxygren occurs because your nose and mouth are “blocked” or your head is dunked under water? No, it does not. And most humans will talk -- and talk anything -- if only because it gives them a chance to get air.

Credit where credit is due. Senator McCain expressed incredudilty at Mukasey’s slithering response. Hanoi taught McCain something, that’s for sure.

In old days “simulated drowining” was called dunking. It was done (judicially of course) to witches in New and Olde England. At some point in the late 18th Century, the practice came to be condsidered a national disgrace -- a disguting barbarity of which we were ashamed. We were taught, then, that mankind -- at least the civilized portion of it -- had progressed and that this sort of thing was no longer tolerated. We could point to the Eighth Amendment which prohibted cruel and unusual punishment even for those who were convicted of something -- the authors of the Bill of Rights evidently considering it superfluous to state that torture of the presumptively innocent was also prohibited.

Given his excuse-making for dunking, Mukasey’s avowed condemnation of torture didn’t float very well. According to Mukasey, the infamous Brybee Memo from the Office of Legal Counsel condoning torture was “worse than a sin, it was a mistake.” A “mistake” is worse than a “sin”? Is that the kind of idolatrization of expediency that passes for a “moral construct” in the U.S. government? One is left to suppose that Mukasey regards the the Crucifixion of Christ as a tactical error. Well... dunkings, hangings, “three-meals and a Koran “ (Mukasey’s describption of Guantanamo’s human kennels) are certainly stepping stones.... Jay Brybee is now a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and there is no mistaking that Mukasey will be confirmed as CLEON.

The Kick-Ass Duo -- Yeeeeeehaw!

While Mukasey was entertaining the Senate with his moral low-wire acts, His Imbecility was appalling the rest of the world with his belligerent blatherings. Perhaps Imbecile was simply trying to show friendliness to our new-found, old ally, La Belle France which has, it would seem, joined in the war against terror sans frontiers.

The election of Nikolas Sarkozy as president of France was generally seen as signalling a raprochement with Washington. Sarkozy’s subsequent appointment of Bernard Kouchner as Foreign Minister could only be seen as an accouchement with the zio-con war hawks in Washington. That Kouchner was openly partial to Israel was one thing; that he not too subtly threatened Iran with war was quite another.

Is it at all surprising that imbeciles rush in where devils are backpedaling out of ? Kouchner’s Jolly Roger was hauled down almost as quickly as it had been run up. To keep it down, Vladmir Putin seized the occasion of this week's conference of Caspian Sea Nations to rebuke Kouchner’s “‘misunderstood” remarks. “We should not even think of making use of force in this region,” Mr. Putin declared. That in turn brought a rebuke from Imbecile himself who took to his podium to declare that Iran was threatening Israel and “if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having [the] knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

No one in the mudia saw fit to ask who the hell “you” was. Perhaps Imbecile meant Helen Thomas sitting in the front row? Anyone who can connect dots could see that “you” was none other than erstwhile soul-mate “Puti.” The threat was not directed so much at Iran as it was at Russia. Oh that’s just great. Goes to show Imbecile really has balls.

The dismal week ended fittingly enough with the Administration’s Albrecht emerging from his subterranean cave to scowl and growl and threaten Gotterdamerung should Iran get the fabled ring of nuclear power. Speaking to the converted at the pro-zionist Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an ever-grimacing Cheney said, “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” To this end, Cheney threatened that the U.S. and other nations were “prepared to impose serious consequences” on Iran.

Although Virginia Senator Jim Webb stated last week that a military strike on Iran, was Cheney's “fondest pipe dream”, the subservient Anglo-Murkan press repeatedly intoned that “The vice president made no specific reference to military action.” But Cheney did not need to say the boogeyword -- certainly not to this audience of war-mongering zionist hawks. It is often the case that to understand the speaker one has to understand the audience, and Cheney’s audience on Sunday was none other than the Israeli promoted war-on-Iran crowd. A wink and a slur would do for them.

While Cheney’s scowling could perhaps be viewed as a “downward correction” of Imbecile’s far greater threat, the core question that has to be asked is what kind of criminal madmen could fondly pipe dream about igniting a regional holocaust, to say nothing of World War III? Does the stunted, infantilized Murkan consciousness even grasp the destruction and suffering such words signal?

Resorting to its tried and trite savant mode, the New York Times reported with detachment that the Bush-Cheney remarks were viewed as ratcheting up the diplomatic rhetoric in what is apparently a game of “hold-me-back!” What ought to be remembered is that war whoops usually lead to war.

©WCG, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Struggle for Perfect Security

Homeland Security Leader, Michael Chertoff, has nullified a court ruling halting the construction of a border security fence until further environmental impact studies were completed. Chertoff's swift and summary executive aktion will be appreciated by those who value safety above all else and who have little patience for quibbling courts getting in the way of our National Security.

Ever quick to see the core issue and seize the highground, Chertoff explained that he was confident the lower court would ultimately have been overruled in any case and so was merely hurrying things up a little. Chertoff also told us that dirty Mexicans were strewing lots of environmentally degrading garbage in the area which was far worse than bulldozing the whole damn preserve and turning it into a clean if lifeless swatch of concrete.

Of course, what applies to environmental laws applies to any law and we can all rest secure in the knowledge that one man will decide what is best for us and will let nothing stand in the way of securing the nation as tight as the screw will bear.

©WCG, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Supreme Shame.

This week, the United States Supreme Court covered itself with indelible, shame. It prostrated itself before the Imperial Executive's invocation of raison d'etat and denied judicial view to a German litigant who had sued the C.I.A. for kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture.

It would be unright to say that with "a stroke" the Supreme Court undid the very principle of legality upon which this country was founded. The Court was so utterly supine that its "act" of declining to hear an appeal from a lower court dismissal of the suit consisted in assuming a posture of complete judicial passivity and indifference to its own raison d'etre. A crown agent all but walked into the Atrium of Justice, pronounced two words and the court vanished itself like so much water receding into sand.

There was a time when every eighth grader understood that judicial review was the sole bulwark against the evil of secret state security courts like the dreaded Star Chamber. What made the Star Chamber infamous was not that it was irregular or arbitrary. On the contrary, like any inquisitorial court, the Chamber was governed by precise procedures designed to insure the reliability of its judgements. Except, that is, for those special procedures later embodied in the Fifth and Sixth amendments of the Bill of Rights which have been considered necessary to insure fundamental notions of fairness.

What procedures? Nothing more than the right against self-incrimination, the right to be informed of the charges, the right to confront and examine one’s accusers, the right to produce evidence in self-defense and the right to a speedy, full and fair hearing with the assistance of counsel in open court.

Why "fundamental"? Because the justness and necessity of these rights is either self-evident or it is not. These rights are "axiomatic" because they cannot be proved right or wrong. They comprise the Constitutional Faith on which this country was founded. There are arguments that can be made -- and that have been made even by certain Harvard and Yale professors -- in favor of secret proceedings, interrogations in the dark and torture. They are even "reasonable" arguments based practical calculations of risks and benefits. But, for all that, they are not "what we are about." And "what we are about" -- as a People of a certain political faith -- is reflected in the Bill of Rights and the principle of Judicial Review.

There was a time when every eighth grader had read the story of Lord Coke's confrontation with King James I when the Chief Justice approached the Throne and announced that the King himself was subject to the Law. James grew "mightily wroth" and moved to strike Coke who was ushered away. But it was a judicial shot across the bow of executive power. Three years later, in 1610, Coke handed down the decision in Dr. Bonham's Case. The problem in that case was that Bonham was not much of a doctor and had been tried, convicted and fined by the Royal College of Physicians for practicing without a license. Coke and two other judges ruled that the College could not act as a judge in a case in which it was also a party, even if Parliament had given it the "right" to do so. In rendering judgement, Coke announced that "the common law doth control Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be void ... as when an Act of Parliament is against Common right and reason, or repugnant...." By "the common law" Coke unmistakably meant the judiciary. As Chief Justice Marshall would put it near two hundred years later, in Marbury v Madison, "It is emphatically the province of the judiciary to say what the law is."

"What the law is..." is not a question of mere legality. After all, in Bonham's Case Parliament had passed a law authorizing his trial and conviction by the College of Physicians. But for Coke that was not enough because, in his view, that law was "against Common right and reason." To say as much was something of a judicial pun or feint of pen. Because it would have been logically nonesense to state that a law was illegal, Coke subordinated the common law to something higher -- to something he called "common reason". It is this subordination of legality to higher, concepts of due process, reason and fairness that is the foundation of Anlgo-American constitutionalism, and this subordination of law to reason necessarily entails an ultimate subordination of the Executive to the Judiciary.

Later in his career, after consistently making life difficult for his sovereign, Lord Coke went on to draft the Petition of Right one of a long line of English antecedents to the US Bill of Rights. Building on the principles announced in Magna Carta, Coke declared that all men -- not only Lords, Barons and Peers of the Realm -- had a right against arbitrary state actions and exactions. The petition declared unconstitutional certain actions of the king, such as levying taxes without consent, housing soldiers in homes, setting up martial law, and having men imprisoned, disinherited or put to death "without being brought to answer by due process of law."

Lord Coke's career illustrated that judicial review, constraint on executive power, constitutionalism and individual rights, are all strands in one seamless garment. Each implies the other and without any one the fabric unravels. Ultimately, these principles protect our right to breathe free and unshadowed by fear -- fear of unwarranted arrest, night-time detentions, renditions to dark and unknown places and torture. It was not for nothing that the bronze doors to the Supreme Court depict Lord Coke barring King James from sitting as a Judge.

Not for nothing? This week, a crown agent, in effect, pushed through these very doors and with two words -- "National Security" -- barred the Justices from sitting as Judges and denied a man the right to have his case heard in court. This was a case in which the United States Government violated every known principle of "due process" by abducting, imprisoning and torturing a man without even telling him why and on what basis it was subjecting him to such a nightmare. Like all tyrants, the Government condoned itself with the usual spew about safety and necessity. And hiding in their Mausoleum of Justice, Coke's wretched descendants did nothing. There will doubtlessly be those legal hacks who will try to explain away the Court's judicial decadence by blathering about "ripeness of issues" or the need to await the "appropriate vehicle" in the "correct procedural posture." Bullshit.

Tuesday October 9th was a funereal day for the little that was left of five hundred years of constitutionalism. Odious in the eyes of those who apprize liberty, the scum on the court have earned their place in the gutters of history.

©WCG, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Between the Gringo & the Gachupin

It was a sobering if not unforeseeable denouement from the Spirit of Salamanca where in 2005 Latin American leaders united in a spontaneous show of gratitude for the tireless efforts of King Juan Carlos to promote Ibero-American cooperation. Now, two years later, in Santiago, Chile, at the annual summit of Hispanic nations, an exasperated monarch told Hugo Chavez to shut up, and shortly thereafter walked out of he summit’s plenary session to underscore his royal displeasure at criticism of Spanish economic policies in the region.

Needless to say, the neo-liberal media around the world was all a-blast and a-blather with headlines El Rey espetó a Chavez: Por qué no te callas?” It was only a matter of time before Fox or the Daily News would screech: King to Hugo: Shut Up! The monarch’s language was indeed strong. Spitting out a question without using the deferential subjunctive was a notch above the barrack bark of command. Anglo-Americans who care little about Ibero-America and know even less could easily be persuaded that nasty Hugo at last got his well deserved comeupance. Don’t cry for Venezuela... if the full-of-trouble half-breed gets what’s coming

But yesterday’s events can only be understood in their historical context; and for those minimally acquainted with the disaster and tragedy of Spanish and American history, it was a depressing state of affairs.

From the outset, the relationship between Spain and the AmerIndian World was problematic and paradoxical, to say the least. The Iberian conquest of las Américas was a necessary historical event. Simply put, it is a worse than absurd fantasy to maintain that half the world should have stayed at home for 3000 years until the other half made it from stone age to iron age and could deal on equal footing. Even the Indians understood the inscrutable necessity which drove Spaniards to their shores, which is why, knowing full well otherwise, they wrote apologetically that they had thought Cortez was a god.

Spanish rule brought a necessary technological development and cultural amalgamation to the new world. While these changes partially destroyed the indigenous cultures, they also gave painful birth to new hybrid customs and awarenesses which are marvelous in their own right.

But Spanish rule also brought voracious economic exploitation and political discrimination. This latter was not confined to the effective exclusion of the Indian; it included as well a de jure discrimination against native born Spaniards, or criollos as they were known. Spain adopted a mercantalist policy whereby the the colonies in their social and economic entirety existed as the boiler room for the Spanish Ship of Empire. As in the English Colonies, such policies did much to spur the spirit of resentment and revolt.

However, contrary to nationalist myths, the collapse of the Spanish Empire was not brought about by American independence movements -- by the Bolivarian Revolution, the Argentine uprising and the Mexican War of Independence. Rather it was the collapse of Empire that allowed and indeed necessitated the independence of the American states. The political map of Latin America -- what Ché called “divisiones inciertas e ilusorias” -- was not so much the product of genuine grass-roots movements but simply chunks of empire fallen to pieces. What brought the Spanish Empire to its end was a Bonapartist invasion of Spain following on 200 years of Anglo-American piracy and subversion.

The opening salvo in this assault was Cromwell’s propagation of the Black Legend, a spurious and sado-masochistic libel of Spanish cruelty published under the title of The Tears of the Indians and which was used as justification for the “liberation” of Jamaica. Once liberated, the English promptly imported 500,000 slaves, evidently not giving much of a rats ass about the Tears of the Africans.

But the propaganda of Belgian babies roasted on bayonetes only goes so far. To undo an empire, an ideology is needed. This was found in the liberal mantra of “free markets” and “free trade.” Washed of its perfume, what the ideology came down to was a demand to poach on what Spain felt was hers. An entré. A fair slice of the pie. A bite at the apple. Share a bit of what’s yours Jack, it’s only right.

Needless to say, there were those in the colonies -- mostly criollos -- who could not have agreed more. These liberales -- like liberals everywhere -- embellished it all with copious Rouseauian and Jeffersonian flourishes -- but the bottom line was basically simple. If, say, you owned a ranch that produced 1,000 hides a year, you could make more money selling them on the free global market than you could paying the state monopoly prices dictated by privileged merchants in Seville.

Even worse than the merchant-guilds of Seville were the gachupines -- old country Spaniards who were granted the cream off the top. Armed with royal licenses and patents, they would arrive in the New World, make a killing and return home with a new or refurbished title. To the Indian, it is fair to say, old- or new- world Spaniard was a distinction without a difference. But to the mestizos and criollos, these peninsular Spaniards were loathed for their rapaciousness and for that exquisite arrogance of which only the Spanish are capable. Death to the Gachupines became the battle cry of a hemisphere.

As much as the hammer of Bonapart’s regiments, Liberalism was the wedge that shattered the Spanish Empire which became the felled beast and ravaged prey of English and American pirates, smugglers and carpet-bagers allied with tin-pot “local liberators” and oligarchs in the host lands.

In truth, Hispanic America had simply traded one predator for another. For the next 100 years, both Spain and her once glorious colonies slid into a century of what might be called cold anarchy -- a state of perpetual political unrest and uncertainty whose only beneficiaries were foreign investors and their local presta-nombres (name-lenders), venda-patrias (country-sellers) and oligarchs. The Anglos had won at last and las Américas became the economic colony of the Brits and the Americans with supporting roles by the Dutch and the French.

The acrimoniousness that followed in the wake of “collapse and independence” cannot be underestimated. On both sides of the Atlantic, the Spanish world turned not so much inward as away from one another as if the other did not deserve to exist. On the American side, Argentina was the least resentful; Mexico the most. Mexico’s social-democratic revolution in 1910-1920 and Spain’s national-fascist revolution in 1935-1939 only exacerbated the estrangement. Mexico gave refuge to Spanish republicans and never recognized the Franco regime.

As bad as the political estrangement was the economic stagnation that ensued on both sides of the Atlantic upon years of anarchy, revolt and civil war. Whereas during the colonial period, Hispanic America had been within the developed portion of the world, independence only brought under-development and economic dependence. Argentina did relatively well, especially during the Second World War. In contrast Mexico’s 1910 revolution set back her previously achieved prosperity by 30 years. Spain’s loss of empire had reduced her to an economic midget and her civil war had rendered her destitute midget at that. The grandiosity of fascio-nationalist rhetoric only underscored Spain's hopeless, dried-up condition.

But as is well known, shortly after his accession to the throne, Juan Carlos lent his support to the rejuvenation and democratization of Spain. Less well known were his efforts to re-establish what he called the “Ibero-American community.” Too much bad water had flowed under the bridge to put in place what had been Count of Aranda’s farsighted but shelved plan in 1780 to create a Spanish Commonwealth; but Juan Carlos felt that something like that could still be achieved de facto. Beginning slowly, promoting tourism and cultural exchanges, the young monarch sought to revive the better bonds of memory between the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas.

One of the more popular off-shoots of the royal effort was La Ruta del Quetzal a camping route that would acquaint Spanish kids with the colonial and indigenous culture of Ecuador. It was also no small matter that four years ago, mostly as a result of the King’s efforts, the academic reactionaries of La Réal Academia de la Lengua Española, agreed to incorporate a wealth of Ibero-Indian words into the officially authorized dictionaries. Such efforts ultimately culminated at the 2005 Salamanca Summit where it was agreed to institutionalize the reunions so as to give the idea of Ibero-Americanism an ongoing political and economic presence and purpose.

This week, three years on and with the support of Argentina’s Kirchner, the leaders of the Second Bolivarian Revolution -- Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa -- let it be known they are not about to free themselves from the gringo only to reindenture themselves to the gachupin. They would happily welcome renewed Spanish economic ties, so long as they provided a way of freeing themselves from Yankee neo-liberal plunder. If Spain were willing to do for it’s former colonies what Europe did for Spain in the 1980’s all the better. But a Spanish predator is no better than a NorthAmerican one.

The critique was headed up by the Harvard-educated Correa who criticised the conduct of Spanish companies whose predatory practices had led Ecuador into a “long and dismal neo-liberal night.”

As the Spanish monarch and president Jose Luis Zapatero wilted, Correa redoubled the attack scoring Spanish “birds of prey” -- like Telefónica, Santander, Unión Fenosa, and Repsol -- who, allied with European trusts or U.S. and Canadian multinationals, had produced a "chasm of social inequality in a trail environmental devastation.”

That blast, was followed by Chávez, who rose to criticize former Spanish president José Maria Aznar whom he called a neo-fascist, a lackey and a snake for promoting predatory business practices. Chavez recalled that Aznar had once privately told him that the poorer Latin American nations had “screwed themselves”. Responding to a recent complaint by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce (CEOE) against an alleged “lack of juridical security” in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, Chávez denounced Spanish companies for having (juridically) “sacked” Venezuela.

In fact, by criticising a former president, Chávez was being somewhat less direct than Correa, given the fact that the conduct of the Spanish companies remains the same under the Zapatero’s administration. But this obliqueness went over Zapatero’s head and he demanded an apology from Chávez taking into consideration, he said, that Aznar deserved the respect due someone elected by the Spanish People. Chávez replied, that as a paid lobbyist Aznar was globe-trotting disrespect against Venezuela and that he had a right to defend the Venezuelan People against such attacks.

At that point, as Zapatero and Chávez began to talk over one another, the King exploded and to the shock of everyone present, told Chávez to shut up. Undeterred and addressing Zapatero, Chávez replied that Aznar may have been elected but he was still a fascist.

President Bachelet, the summit’s host, smoothed things over; but not one of the Latin American leaders came to the defense of the Peninsulares. Columbia’s Alvaro Uribe, a neo-liberal himself, later advised Chávez to use less forceful language when referring to known personalities, but he did not defend either the King or his president. The feeling among the American leaders was, that if the summits are to be truly substantive they require frank discussion about conflictive issues.

The frank discussion continued in full force when Chávez was followed by Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega who began by noting that 90% of his country was opposed to the predatory business practices of Spanish companies and then went on to state that European policy had subsumed itself to the “dictatorship of global capitalism, led by the United States.”

He criticized Europe’s policy towards Cuba as hypocritical and stated that both Europe and the United States had historically maintained a policy of interference and destabilization with respect to those Latin Ameircan countries who wished to act with true independence. He called for the creation of a new Organization of American States free from the domination by the United States.

Before he had finished, and with a nod from Zapatero, the King left the chamber.

No doubt Fox News and the New York Times will treat the story in much the same manner as the right wing Spanish press which will huff and puff about how a noble and patient king was exasperated by the uncouth, aggression of a demagogue. The reaction from the left has been more sympathetic:
"Without Videla, Pinochet or Stroessner, these ‘Ibero-American’ summits just aren’t what they used to be. Now these sovereign nations dare top criticise the depradations caused by Spanish multinationals and to defend themselves against Aznar’s attacks waged on behalf imperialist lobbies whose servile creature he is. And when they do, the King looses his cool.
“If the image of the gachupines was already bad enough in Latin America, the monarch’s conduct has done a poor service to his country.”
"Perhaps the tone and words used by Chavez and Ortega were not the ne plus ultra of the Castillian language, but actions not words are what cause social injury and in this respect the balance does not run in favor of the Spaniards in attendance at the summit. .... Borbón y Zapatero forgot that they are not in their colonies and that on this side of the planet they can neither command nor demand. ... Nor were they meeting a group of obsequious lackeys; but on the contrary were obligated to listen and to take into consideration the critiques and opinions of their summit counterparts. Or do Borbón and Zapatero think that Latin America is merely the personal preserve of predatory corporations?
"Both men seem to have forgotten that the Crown and Staff are ultimately not worth a goddamn in these parts if they are not accompanied by honesty, wisdom, and most importantly by democratic legitimacy. Unfortunately, predatory enterprises have always counted on the absolute support of the monarchy and, as we know now, from Zapatero as well. Both are simply mayordomos of interantional capital -- a fact which the Spanish ought to correct...."
King Juan Carlos' efforts at creating an Ibero-American Community were a worthy correction of a tragic history if, and only if, they lead to such investments as respect the natural and cultural environment of the host country and pay back a portion of profit into the social and economic welfare of its people.

©WCG, 2007

References tener-doble-discurso-cuba-onu.html

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Conspiratorial Neurosis

Gilead Atmon has a long article in Counterpunch about the psychology and culture of Jewishness. It’s interesting even if too convoluted. Basically he says that “jewishness” is a form of neurosis.

Being a neurosis (of a particular sort) it would follow that those who suffer from it should manifest the same general symptoms and act in similar ways. Not surprisingly this in turn gives rise to conspiracy theories, which incorrectly ascribe an intent to what is merely a symptomatic pattern. That said, it must also be said that since the emergence of Zionism, the "conspiracy" of symptoms has been accompanied by a parallel and actual conspiracy of actions aimed at realizing the devoted object of the neurosis.

©WCG, 2007