Archive | December 2014

Police Brutality and the Fight for Socioeconomic Justice

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Any backlash by people against police brutality and murder, which takes place routinely in this country with total impunity for the racist thugs who commit those attacks and murders, is used by police and their supporters to push back against protesters and make protesting harder than ever. An organized effort is underway by racist police unions, who are starting to look like Nazi SS officers, and their supporters among the rightwing politicians, to stifle any protest. The killing of Brooklyn Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu by a deranged individual has been exploited to put protesters and critics of the police in the defensive. The chief of the police union known as Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, publicly said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” and hundreds of police officers turned their backs on the Mayor during his eulogy for the killed officers for daring to criticize the NYPD, after killing of an unarmed Eric Garner who told them “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he was choked and killed. News media have fallen over one another to praise the killed officers and all police for “putting their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve their community”. New York’s Daily News reporting on the meeting today between Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD bosses, including Lynch, that was conducted “to iron out their differences”, called the NYPD “the city’s Finest”! You don’t have to guess where they stand on the issue of police brutality and murder, especially when they just brutally killed an innocent man in front of bystanders. Even Rev. Al Sharpton, who usually appears by the side of the families of police brutality victims and supports the protests, praised in his MSNBC show the “brave men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect people”. I suppose he knows his limits and values the paycheck he gets from NBC more than the victims of police brutality.

Governor Cuomo expressed “surprise” that the police acted with restraint when faced with anti-police brutality protests after two of their own were killed, which I suppose means he wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t act with restraint and decided to massacre the protesters!

The Los Angeles police also closed sections of the city on Sunday and declared tactical alert and told people to stay in their homes after two individuals opened fire on their patrol car. The officers were not injured. They returned fire and took one suspect into custody and conducted a manhunt for the second. As a friend once said, murdering people and going free does have consequences. In the absence of Justice, consequences become the missing Justice.

There are five things that we all need to understand and be aware of:
1. There is an undeclared war by police against minorities and especially against blacks.
2. Although you can include the poor of all colors as the target of this war, it would be a mistake, as some on the left do, to ignore the race factor and call it strictly a war on the poor. Although it so happens that most blacks are poor, the attacks do have a racial character that has to be acknowledged and understood aside and separate from a general class attack on all the poor, as part of the ongoing class struggle, which takes place under capitalist rule.
3. This war is not new or newly thought out or started at random. Nor is it due to some isolated racist officers or commanding offices in some cities or precincts. The war has been going on and constitutes the continuation of the suppression of African American youth who are deemed dangerous to the system, especially in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement of 50 years ago, even though most anti war, anti nukes, anti capitalist and pro environment movements have been led by the white middle class. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me a bit that the U.S. ruling class is far more advanced in its class analysis than most US Marxists and socialists. Their analysis and anticipation is spot on.
4. This war has been waged not only on the streets, but also in courtrooms, sending tens of thousands of the black youth to prison for extended stay for nonviolent offenses, which whites are usually given probation or a few days for. And, what reason do I have to believe that the decision by the CIA to target the black community of Los Angeles in the 1980’s with distribution of crack cocaine as reported by Gary Webb in 1993 in San Jose Mercury News was accidental?
5. This war and the deliberate and concerted effort to limit people’s right to protest stems from the forecast at the top for a future, which will see frequent and devastating economic crises and downturns, each time throwing millions of people out of their jobs and into the ranks of the extreme poor. Grounds are being set to quash resistance. That’s the reason and purpose of this war.

We must join the protests against the racist police now even if all we want to achieve is economic justice because the road to economic justice starts from the fight against racism and police oppression. That road goes through Detroit, Oakland, Ferguson and South Central Los Angeles before leading up to Monsanto, McDonald Douglas, Northrop, Exxon-Mobile, Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan.

Martin Luther King And The Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement

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For over 50 years, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been depicted as a pacifist, who worked with or in concert with the political establishment, especially the Democratic Party leadership, to bring about racial equality. This is a nice story, but is just not true. Any movement for change that challenges the status quo and demands social and economic justice, it becomes dangerous in the eyes of the ruling class, especially if it finds its leaders through the movement, who give it direction and inspiration and objectify
its goals and demands. The reaction from the ruling class to such popular movements is always well thought out and planned in advance, deliberate, comprehensive and fierce. It uses its police, courts, media and political leadership in both parties to try to discredit the movement and its leaders and put an end to it before it becomes uncontrollable. They spy on and try to dig or manufacture dirt on the personal lives of its leaders, they unleash the police to harass, beat and arrest the protesters and the TV personalities and reporters and newspaper writers spew lies about it and its leaders. Such was the case with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and the attitudes and actions of the agents and servants of the ruling class, from the president to the FBI and from the corporate media to the police towards Dr. King, Malcolm X and others. This type of reaction from the political establishment is natural when you consider whom they serve and what’s at stake for those super wealthy families who control the policies and politics of the nation, who also try to do the same with much of the world.

And, it hasn’t been any different in the years since that ground shaking movement, which had the potential, if not the power in the immediate, to change things in the most fundamental ways in this country, which is built on exploitation, racism, plunder and genocide. Every movement ever since, whether it be against the war in Vietnam in early 1970’s or for nuclear disarmament in 1980’s or against capitalist “globalization” and imperialist institutions like the IMF and World Bank in the 90’s, or the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, they planted police agents within the movement to spy on the activists; they beat and arrested them and held them on false charges; and the media either ignored them or showed a few counter demonstrators to try to “balance” the “two sides” or misrepresented them and their movement. All these organs and institutions, which are in the service of the ruling billionaires and corporate bosses, from the presidency to the police and spy agencies and courts to the media, work together, in concert, to prevent fundamental change.

Today, too, as the protests against police brutality and murders of unarmed Blacks continue in cities from Ferguson to New York and Los Angeles, the organs and institutions of the Empire have been employing the same old as well as newer methods: intimidating the protesters using aggressive police tactics, closing down entire sections of a city with heavily armed police and snipers riding on tanks and armored personnel carriers and stationed at rooftops; beating, harassing and arresting the demonstrators at will and with no cause; planting spies among them and within their organizations and meetings; monitoring their social media and trying to discredit them in the corporate media. After the murder of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, New York Times, CNN and others put the dead 18 year old on trial, by bringing up his past encounters with “the law”, instead of condemning his racist killer. The murder of two NYPD police officers who were killed by a deranged individual, was used in the media to push back against and discredit the protests. Even Al Sharpton who from time to time takes a break from praising President Obama in his MSNBC show to condemn police killings of Black men, felt obligated to praise the two murdered officers as “brave men who put their lives in danger everyday to protect and serve their community”! It was revealed and reported recently that the police has had agents pretending to be protesters to provoke police attack on peaceful demonstrators in Ferguson. It was also revealed after the protests of the Occupy movement that even the CIA was involved in spying on the protesters and there was consultation with the Department of Justice and even the Obama White House on how and when to crack down on protesters.

The point is: the government with all its organs from the White House and Congress to the courts and the police is owned and controlled by the corporations and their super wealthy owners and are tasked with maintaining the status quo for the wealthy. So, when a movement for change is developed, they will naturally try to stop it by all means necessary. That’s what they tried to do with the Civil Rights movement and succeeded in stopping it from going any further by helping to bring about King’s assassination. As Zaid Jilani, writing for AlterNet points out, between the years 1963 and 1965, the FBI bugged at least 14 hotel rooms Dr. King stayed in, looking for “information concerning King’s personal activities” in an attempt to “discredit him.” The FBI sent him a letter threatening to expose extramarital affairs and suggested he commit suicide. “King, there is only one thing left for you to do”, the letter said. “You know what it is…You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation”. President Kennedy complained that King might be a Marxist. Robert Kennedy as the acting Attorney General and on JFK’s orders, in 1963, authorized wiretaps of King’s personal residence. Both JFK’s and LBJ’s support for the Civil Rights movement was mixed at best; they didn’t want to alienate racist whites of the South whose votes the Democratic Party was counting on, but, more importantly, they were afraid the movement for racial inequality might go further and challenge the whole foundations of the capitalist system that was creating poverty among Blacks and Whites, alike. In fact, it was exactly that which Dr. King put his finger on in his later days before being assassinated. He was trying to connect racial injustice with poverty and unite the poor.

While they did everything to try and discredit him when he was alive, in the years following his assassination, they have been praising him. Why? Not because shills like Al Sharpton of the media or the political establishment have had a change of heart about him, but because they know they can’t erase his legacy in the minds of the people. So, instead, they try to revise him and his legacy: his beliefs, his values and what he stood for. They picked the “peaceful” from “peaceful protests”, which he did advocate, and stripped away the rest, rendering him a non-radical pacifist, who only believed in equal rights for Blacks, which he supposedly achieved through peaceful protests and within the legal framework. All of that is pure lie and fabrication. Aside from some exceptions and minor incidents, protests do start as peaceful, but soon look like war zones when the police are sent to crush them, as they always do. And when that happens, the violence is blamed on the protesters, who are then urged by elected officials to break up and go home. But Dr. King was no elected official, so he didn’t owe the corporate lobbyists anything for a lucrative position in government. Nor was he a highly paid newscaster on TV, expected to discredit the protesters. He was a radical in the true sense of the word, who wanted real and fundamental change, which he knew would not come from elected officials, but from the bottom – from a militant grassroots movement of millions protesting in the streets. He was against imperialist wars, which now are a regular event and against capitalist exploitation, which produces and exacerbates poverty. But, if you haven’t before, listen to frauds like Al Sharpton and President Obama mentioning him again next month on the occasion of his birthday to see how they speak of him and what they stress and what they hide about him.

The Civil Rights movement has never truly been welcomed by the ruling class, but, it has been analyzed thoroughly and important lessons have been learned as to how not to let it happen again. After those crucial and historic days, the ruling class has taken some major steps in order to ensure it doesn’t happen again because next time, it could be “disastrous” for the super wealthy and could bring down their empire, altogether. To their credit, they have been hard at work to prevent its reoccurance. They have put in jail a huge number of the Black youth; they have all but destroyed workers’ unions; they have created a massive surveillance system to keep tabs on every activist, including on social media and on every detail of their personal lives in case they need to discredit them; they have militarized the police, giving them heavy weaponry, military training and increased liberties, while curtailing those of the population; using the “war on terror” pretext, they have passed laws, such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which prepare the society for an eventual police state in anticipation and preparation for mass uprisings; and whistle blowers working for the government have been punished harshly to set an example for others.

All these efforts, on legal, tactical and ideological levels, belie a fundamental weakness, which characterizes a system based on exploitation of the masses to enrich a few already obscenely wealthy, a system which, by necessity and by nature, produces poverty and widens the wealth gap between the class of the few and that of the many. And herein lies its vulnerability which explains the fearfulness of the ruling class and its obsession for controlling the masses. The accumulation of the wealth at the top and persisting hunger and poverty at the bottom is as natural and expected byproduct of the capitalist economic system as is the anxiety of the rulers about popular movements and their consequent and persistent push towards a bonafide police state.

We too must learn our lessons and arm ourselves with the knowledge and understanding needed for our eventual face off with the most heavily armed ruling class in human history, armed not just with tanks and attack helicopter and drones and violent police and sophisticated espionage apparatus, but with the most science and technology has to offer, from the psychology of torture to the sociology of crowd control. We have a long and hard way in front of us. The starting line can be anywhere from Ferguson to New York or from Detroit to Oakland. We won’t seek violence, but violence will rain down upon us. I don’t know when, but I do know the reckoning will come, and when it does, it’ll bring a new dawn for humanity, which will look back and wonder: what took them so long.

Racism: A Diversionary Tool for Distracting From Socioeconomic Injustice

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Incited by the racist, misogynist and xenophobe reporters at Fox News and rightwing radio talk shows and some white politicians, the rightwing bigots, who also include many of the white working class, who find the idea of a Black president unacceptable, have been a factor in pushing most Blacks to support the President, despite his obvious siding with big business and the white supremacist billionaires and corporations, ignoring the issues facing Blacks and the poor. Divisions along racial lines among the working class are perpetuated, exploited and used against the working poor to distract them from the real culprits and real problems. President Obama is indeed among the culprit for choosing to side with and serve the billionaires, whose support he relies on for his own political ambitions, but that reality gets lost in the manufactured conflict between the races with the deceived and brainwashed white bigots attacking him for all the wrong reasons and Blacks understandably coming to his defense.

This is a manifestation of the centrality of the struggle against racism in the overall struggle for socioeconomic justice. Another venue or occasion where this issue exhibits itself is police brutality, which drives many among the poor who themselves are victims of both the economic system and police brutality that goes along with it, to not join Blacks to condemn and protest the police. We see the same dynamic playing out against Muslims and Arabs.

The person holding up the sign in this photo obviously isn’t much of a reader, but, he most probably is a Fox News viewer or rightwing radio talk show listener.

“The Interview”

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Reuters reported that Sony’s “Interview” was shown in more than 300 theaters across the U.S. on Christmas Day and drew “moviegoers who trumpet free speech”. “I wanted to support the U.S.”, said one moviegoer. “Sony decided to release the film after U.S. President Barack Obama as well as such Hollywood luminaries as George Clooney and Republicans and Democrats in Washington, raised concerns that Hollywood was setting a precedent of self-censorship”, continued the report.

Reuters reported that Sony’s “Interview” was shown in more than 300 theaters across the U.S. on Christmas Day and drew “moviegoers who trumpet free speech”. “I wanted to support the U.S.”, said one moviegoer. “Sony decided to release the film after U.S. President Barack Obama as well as such Hollywood luminaries as George Clooney and Republicans and Democrats in Washington, raised concerns that Hollywood was setting a precedent of self-censorship”, continued the report.

The movie is being described by US news media as a harmless “comedy” and a “political satire”, made for laughs, ignoring the fact that it’s about assassinating the living leader of a country – not a fictional leader or a fictional country, mind you, but the leader of an actual nation, which the US considers a “dangerous enemy”. If this were made in Denmark or Switzerland or Brazil or in one of many other countries, maybe we could ignore any possible political ulterior motifs it might have or the message being conveyed and objectives being pursued and overlook its real life political implications. But, there are three things that are hard to ignore about this movie: 1) this was made in Hollywood, which has a long and shameful history of being a propaganda tool in the hands of the Pentagon and the CIA, 2) the U.S. has a long history of waging wars with nations it considers an enemy, which almost always come after a propaganda campaign conducted through mass media or a Hollywood movie or both, and 3) the last time the U.S. entered into war with North Korea, the nation lost close to a third of its population to US bombers. Somehow, the idea of the assassination would not sound so funny to those people.

Beyond that, what is also hard to ignore and we should not ignore is what it says about the American culture and psyche, when so many films are about wars, including with “aliens” from outer space or about assassination or killing. The American youth are already bombarded with video games and movies about war and violence and killing. We don’t need another film about assassinating another foreign leader. The issue isn’t whether this or that leader is a crazy dictator. He may very well be. The issue is that such propaganda material make such leaders, in the eyes of the people, into an enemy that has to be dealt with or confronted. There is a difference between a crazy dictator and a crazy dictator who’s “our” enemy. When he’s made into an enemy that needs to be “stopped”, he goes from someone who may be crazy and s dictator to someone “we” have a problem with and “we must do something” about.

Some may say I’m being paranoid and read too much into a “funny” movie (somehow I have a hard time with the words “funny” and “assassination” in the same sentence, especially about a movie that shows in slow motion Kim’s face getting distorted by an exploding tank shell and melting in an inferno and finally being blown up – some funny scene, indeed), but, I can’t ignore history. As George Santayana famously said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Hollywood complicity with US initiated wars of aggression have been repeated too many times to be ignored.

On the Killing of Two NYPD Police Officers

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“Blue Lives Matter” was the caption displayed in large letters on MSNBC, yesterday, when discussing the assassination of two NYPD cops by a Black man, the day before. CNN and all the rest of Empire’s networks have been holding a vigil ever since those killings. They have interviewed just about every member of those officers’ families, as well as their friends, colleagues, relatives and current and former police commanders, commanding officers and police “unions”. They have read letters written by their children, saying goodbye to the killed officers. They have shown their spouses crying. They have displayed the vigil by the police, standing in military formation, saluting their fallen comrades, as if an enemy combatant in Afghanistan has killed two of the occupying army, which we, as Americans, are obliged to mourn and feel angry at the enemy who dared to kill two of our own “brave men”. To humanize an otherwise inhuman police force whose main job is the repression of the occupied poor, who beat and kill unarmed and innocent members of the working class, every single day, with total impunity, which at times seems to even surpass the impunity of US occupying armies overseas, the media of the occupiers and corporate thieves have been showing, nonstop, the supporters of the police mourning and lighting candles and saying how good and brave those cops were. The commentaries and the message they convey are unmistakable: blame the protesters who are demanding change and justice for victims of the racist police.

The networks and the politicians they interview have been referring to the killed officers as “brave men who put their lives on the front lines everyday, to protect and serve their community”. This is what the media that’s owned, controlled and in the service of the 1%, want people to believe: that the police are there to “protect and serve the people”, not protect the class of the super wealthy from the wrath of the oppressed, beating and brutalizing and killing them, everyday, on the streets, to keep them in line and in leashes, out of fear that they may rise up and demand justice.

Compare the incredible display of sympathy by the corporate media for those two cops with their treatment of innocent young Black men who are regularly killed by the police. Not only do they not show any such sympathy for them, they actually try to dehumanize them, by digging up and mentioning past “troubles with the law”, putting THEM on trial, instead of the viscous and racist police who killed them. Where was their reading of letters of the children of Eric Garner? Where was their interviews of his widowed wife and his aunt and friends and relatives and neighbors and people who do similar work to his, etc, as they did with the children and relatives and friends and colleagues of the dead cops?

These shameless double standards and hypocrisy are not accidental. What the Empire’s media and politicians are trying to do is to use the killings as an opportunity to push back against the protests and their legitimate demands for change that are taking place nationally. The goal is to blame, discredit and put in the defensive the protests for heightening “tensions”. They view this incident as an opportunity to gain the upper hand in the minds of the people, to increase the support for the cops, which is understandably at record low, to justify their brutality and to end the anti-police protests. There are already calls for a “pause” in the protests “out of respect” for the two officers!

The fact is that the increasingly militarized police is out of control and acting with total impunity. On average, close to 500 people (last year it was 491), mostly from the poor and minorities, are killed by the police, nationwide, and that only includes cases that are reported to the FBI. The real number is estimated by experts to be close to a thousand. That means anywhere between 1.5 to 3 people are killed by the police, per day, who basically act as the judge, jury and executioner.

What surprises me isn’t that someone, finally, decided to sacrifice his own dear and precious life to kill two of people’s enemy. What surprises me is that it took so long.

Why We Protest

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When reporters interview George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, which they still do as if they have some untapped wisdom to share with people, the only consolation they can offer for causing the death of over a million Iraqis and the displacement of millions more, leaving the country in utter destruction and spending over a trillion dollars of US Treasury and sacrificing over 4,000 US soldiers, is that they got rid of a brutal dictator, who was a war monger and had no regard for human life.

But, how different would Dick Cheney have acted had he been given the powers that Saddam had? My guess is: not very. But, we don’t have to guess. He planned and pushed for a war, through lies and misrepresentation, that caused the death and displacement of so many innocent people and the destruction of a country that neither her leaders nor any of its nationals had done anything to Americans, a war the victims of which were sacrificed purely for geopolitical reasons and profits. And despite the deaths and destruction it caused, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and their cohorts still have no remorse for it. They still continue to defend their actions.

The Bush Administration, and specifically Dick Cheney, also pushed, encouraged and gave the political cover to the CIA and US military to capture men in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, fly them to Guantanamo Bay and torture them, in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, not to mention US law. And as it turned out and we now know, many of those men who were kidnapped, taken away from their families and kept in secret prisons and tortured for years, some of whom are still not freed and are force fed through their noses, were innocent individuals, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, who even now don’t figure in any national debate or conversation, which is typically about whether or not the torture was effective in getting information from the captives. Not only no one is held to account for breaking the law, including international laws, which clearly forbid any use of torture for any reason, there is no accountability for destroying innocent lives. Those lives aren’t important enough to even be discussed, let alone be the cause for anyone to go to jail.

So, was Saddam, as brutal as he was and who was ultimately executed, any more brutal than US leaders like Bush, Cheney and Obama, who have arguably caused more deaths and suffering and more devastation than Saddam ever did or could? Was he more brutal or did he cause more deaths and suffering than Israeli leaders, who continue to enjoy the full support and largesse of US leaders? If the Iraq war that killed so many innocent people was justified for bringing the leader of a foreign nation to justice, as Dick Cheney and Bush still argue and Obama tacitly and even not so tacitly defends them for it, don’t US leaders also deserve to be brought to justice for their crimes, especially if doing it involves no war and no one has to die for it to happen? What makes punishing of a criminal dictator half way around the world right, especially if it takes a devastating war to do it, but not the punishing of American war criminals, who have killed more people and destroyed more lives? The fact is: Saddam had the same mentality as Dick Cheney, who continues to insist that waging a war on the Iraqi people, as well as torturing prisoners, was the right thing to do. The difference between these two men is mainly in the circumstances and the environment in which they lived, not in their values or psyche or proclivity to commit violence or wage war.

Many liberals are disappointed at Obama for not wanting to prosecute the architects of that war and the practice of torture. But, what is natural for the agents, functionaries and servants of the corporate Empire to do and which is therefore expected of them to do, can’t be disappointing. What’s disappointing, rather, is the disappointment some feel over Obama’s refusal to prosecute. Obama never, in 6 years of his presidency or even while he was a candidate, had any illusion as to what he would or wouldn’t do as president, or whom he would answer to. The only ones with the illusion were the people who voted for him. Obama’s campaign wasn’t financed by billionaires so he could bring change in US policies. It was financed to appear to bring change, while continuing the same policies as his predecessors, and he took that mission, knowingly and seriously. The continuity of policies that the US system of governance has achieved through its two corporate parties can’t be matched even by one-person dictatorships with absolute power.

Obama understands full well the ramifications for himself were he ever to prosecute Bush and Cheney. But aside from such ramifications, pardoning his predecessors is as much a part of his job as is ordering drone attacks in several countries, the bombing campaign in Libya, his support for brutal terrorist groups like ISIS to try to overthrow the Syrian government, regularly sending hefty aid to Israel, agreeing to deregulate large Wall Street banks, defending companies like Monsanto against farmers, etc. What we must understand too is that the question of pardoning or prosecuting those in US government responsible for war crimes and torture is nothing personal. It’s not about the person George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or others or the consequences of such prosecution for them, personally. It’s not out of personal affection when Obama goes out of his way and pushes for thousands of documents and photos implicating the previous Administration officials to be not released. Similarly and on the other hand, the decision to punish, and punish severely, those, who feel more loyalty towards justice and human decency than the interests of the corporate class and who, out of compassion and integrity, refuse to remain silent and despite tremendous risks, decide to blow the whistle on government wrongdoings, is also never personal. As it has become clear to many recently and as Glen Greenwald recently wrote in a piece for The Guardian, the U.S. criminal justice system is indeed “two-tiered”, but it never is about a person but always about the class and their collective interests, which those hired must “protect and serve”.

To not understand these connections is to not understand the military industrial complex: the function and duties of its president, the wars it wages or the way it trains its urban police to deal with the working class. A change in the relations between the police and the public will only come with a fundamental change at the top, which will also be required if there can ever be a change in the policy of endless wars or in the systemic unemployment, poverty and institutional racism. As we protest the police for killing innocent black men, it helps to keep in mind that the problem runs deeper than requiring the police to wear video cameras or to have them trained better. They are trained pretty well. In fact, they’re trained, too well!

So why are things so twisted and so upside down that a conscientious 20 year old private (Chelsea Manning) gets 35 years in prison, after being held in solitary confinement for three years in conditions that according to human rights organizations amounted to torture, for blowing the whistle on government atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a former CIA agent (John Kiriaku) is jailed for years for revealing that the government tortures people, which later the government itself comes forward and admits to, while those committing those atrocities and violations of human rights are never punished? And isn’t this also related to the fact that billionaire bankers who defraud people to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars are never charged with any crime and police officers who commit murder in front of witnesses and go free, while thousands of people who don’t belong to the owners’ class or their protectors and servants, especially African Americans, are hauled to prison for the most petty violations, such as drug possession? Are these all separate and unrelated phenomena or are they emblematic of one overarching reality, which is that the class of billionaires and corporate bosses have a lock on the government, the media, the courts, the military and the police and are doing everything to keep the power and keep the rest of us leashed like dogs? Under these circumstances, the only hope for change is a massive, ongoing, nonstop and nationwide campaign of protests. Everything else is a distraction and a fraud.

“Nation of Laws”? “How Can That Be”?

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Yesterday, as it’s happened many times before, it was revealed that the US government has been torturing people.  And as always, liberals are outraged and disappointed.  Not only at the fact that the CIA has been holding people in their dungeons around the world and torturing them, including people who later turned out to have done nothing wrong and happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, but at the fact that those responsible for it will not be prosecuted. But, neither the torture, nor not holding anyone responsible for it is anything new. Every president has refused to prosecute those the US government hires to commit vile and barbaric acts for the military industrial complex. President Kennedy did it. The first President Bush did it. Clinton did it. Bush Jr. did it. And so President Obama, too, is refusing to hold anyone responsible for the latest round of torture.  And how could they not pardon the murderers and torturers who are hired by that same government that they lead and represent? It’s part of the president’s job to have murders and tortures committed, as is to pardon those who actually do those acts. And yet we hear again and again, from politicians and news reporters alike, all reminding us over and over, that “this is a nation of laws”.  Doing all that this violent and criminal government of gangsters and mass murderers does around the world is neither surprising, nor news, and is in fact to be expected of such a government of psychopathic billionaires.  But, telling us that despite all that, this is a nation of laws is an insult to our intelligence and unbearable. What the liberals, including those who supposedly mean well, are also “disappointed” about is that President Obama, too, like the ones before him, is refusing to prosecute those who engaged in torture, just as they were disappointed when he refused to hold responsible billionaire bankers who got away with what would have sent a common person to jail for life. Disappointment here either stems from a total lack of understanding of the realities and facts about the nature of this government or it’s fake and disingenuous and is expressed for the public’s consumption to continue the mass deception.

Rachel Maddow had a good and informative show tonight, but she finished it by asking: “How can this be?”  How can what be? That this “nation of laws”, “model of democracy”, an “exceptional” nation and “the leader of the free world” committed torture and no one has to answer for it? How can that be? You see, once they establish and ingrain into people’s minds the narrative that this is a country built on high moral values, freedom, democracy and justice for all, trying to do good in the world, it becomes easy to label such vile acts as mere errors in judgment or mistakes or the straying from the norm by some rogue individual officers or commanders, who should have known better than to damage the credibility of this “great nation”. Just as the invasion of a sovereign nation and killing or causing the death of about a million people was swept under the rug and called a “mistake” or resulting from “bad intelligence” or the work of a war monger like Dick Cheney.  Was Dick Cheney also responsible for arming and funding the barbaric ISIS fighters, who have been killing the Syrian people in the thousands, while the US looked the other way because they were trying to overthrow a government the US found uncooperative with their imperial agenda and only began fighting them when they started beheading Westerners? That and many other atrocities like that aren’t even discussed or admitted to.

First, when the act is about to take place or is already taking place, such as torture or a coup or an assassination or supporting some murderous force like ISIS, we either don’t hear about it or, in the case of bombing or invading a country, we read in papers and see on TV why it’s the right thing to do. Then, the revelation of the atrocity itself becomes an opportunity to conduct some public relations for that same evil government responsible for it and using that same evil act, which should have never been committed, hammering into people’s heads that “this is not who we are”! And so the lie continues as during every generation, liberals come out and repeat: “We’re better than this” and that “this isn’t who we are”! Of course not! This is the nation where not only billionaire bankers who defraud individuals and governments to the tune of billions of dollars are never brought to justice, but also where white police officers shoot or choke unarmed black men to death and walk free. This is a nation where the FBI “investigates” itself and every single time, without an exception, finds it did nothing wrong when its agents shot and killed someone, including when they shoot an unarmed 27 year old immigrant seven times, including twice in the back of his head, in close range and closing the case, not allowing anyone to review or investigate it because they “investigated” themselves. This is a nation where it matters not what the Constitution says, but what the government finds convenient or expedient to do. The law is clear that there shall not be torture. The law is also clear that the Congress is the one that has to decide on if and when there should be war. The law is also clear about warrantless surveillance of the citizens, as is about what not to do to prisoners of war. The US is also a signatory to international laws, such as the Geneva Conventions. But, when did such laws ever get in their way? The existence of the laws is nothing but for pretense and appearance. If the existence of the laws was enough to call a nation a “nation of laws”, then every nation on Earth, regardless of what its government does is a nation of laws.

The point is not that shadowy government agencies that answer to no one break the laws and do just about anything they want for the empire of the billionaires.  That’s a given. It has been going on and it will continue to go on as long as the government is owned and controlled by those psychopathic billionaires who push their corporate interests around the world. It’s never too difficult to find some low-life unprincipled and immoral lawyers and call them into the White House and ask them to “legally” justify torture, or “legally” justify holding prisoners in Guantanamo, indefinitely, shoving tubes into their noses twice a day, just as it’s not that hard to explain “legally” why those bankers should not face justice or why a white police officer killing an unarmed black man in bright daylight and in front of several witnesses or despite the existence of a video footage showing the entire incident should not be indicted. After all, the law is one thing and its interpretation and enforcement quite another. This much should be clear and frankly, if it isn’t, I don’t know what is. But, to continue to insist that this is a “nation of laws”, as did Obama again, yesterday, followed by pundits that do the speaking on behalf of their billionaire bosses is, as I said, insulting.