scum on earth

French Police Create Propaganda for ISIS by Ticketing Muslim Women on Beaches
Robert Mackey, Intercept, Aug 25 2016

At a beach in Nice, the text of a bylaw was posted last week that bars women from wearing full-body swimsuits. Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP/Getty)

Photographs and video of French police officers issuing tickets to Muslim women for violating new local ordinances that ban modest beachwear as an offense against “good morals and secularism” in more than a dozen towns along the Riviera, spread widely on social networks on Wednesday, prompting waves of outrage and mockery by opponents of the laws.

Just let this sink in. Men with guns forcing a women to undress, with the weight of the law behind them – Abdul-Azim ????

But the same images were greeted with undisguised glee by extremists eager to make the case that observant Muslims have no place in European countries. A series of photographs published by The Daily Mail, showing armed officers confronting a woman wearing a headscarf, leggings and a long-sleeved shirt on a beach in Nice on Tuesday, was hailed by the anti-Muslim, Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

David Thomson, a French journalist who tracks jihadist activity online, told Radio France that Islamic State sympathizers on social networks seemed surprised to find police officers in Nice “creating propaganda on their behalf,” by providing the perfect illustration of their case that France humiliates Muslims. Thomson said:

For them, this is a godsend. The Jihadi narrative has insisted for years that it is impossible for a Muslim to practice their religion with dignity in France. Within minutes of publication, these photographs became one of the most discussed topics in the online ‘Jihadosphere’. These shots of Nice will fuel years of Jihadi propaganda.

The irony, Thomson noted last week, is that the specific swimming costume the bans have targeted, the full-body swimsuit known as the “burkini,” is rejected as immodest by Islamist ideologues. Although the authorities in Nice confirmed that the incident reported by the Mail did take place, and that at least 23 other women have been ticketed there this week, and forced to pay 38-euro fines, or about $40, defenders of the so-called “burkini ban” accused the unnamed woman of taking part in a staged “provocation.” Jérémie Boulet, a member of the xenophobic National Front party, argued that the woman must have been trying to bait the authorities into approaching her by wearing such an outfit on a warm day. He also suggested, incorrectly, that she was not sitting on a towel when approached by the officers.

Christian Estrosi, a former mayor of Nice who is now the regional president of the Côte d’Azur, issued a statement on Wednesday in which he called the behavior of the two dozen women fined for their dress this week, “unacceptable provocations” intended to “undermine the city’s police officers.” Estrosi also warned people who share images of the police ticketing women on social networks that they could be prosecuted for endangering the officers. A French photo agency that acquired the rights to the images told Libération that the photographs were “certainly not staged, as some people have alleged,” and were the work of an unnamed freelancer “who happened to be on the beach at the time,” looking for images of the ban being enforced. He was about 100 meters away from the woman when he saw the officers approach and shot the encounter using a telephoto lens. The agency, Best Image, said in a statement:

The freelancer witnessed the scene, which took place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and lasted roughly 10 minutes.“The woman was issued with a fine and left the beach a few minutes later. That is all the photographer was able to see.

Speculation that the officers could have been set up was fueled by the fact that the photographer’s name was not released, but the incident took place the same day that a French journalist, Mathilde Cusin, witnessed something worse: a woman in Cannes being fined by the police and harassed by on-lookers. That woman, a 34-year-old mother who gave her first name as Siam, told Agence France-Presse that she was given a ticket for sitting on the beach with her family, wearing a headscarf and leggings. “I had no intention of swimming,” she said. In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, the woman said that she was baffled at first by the police officers who told her that beach-goers were obliged to “dress properly” according to a new ordinance. When she asked the officers what that meant she was told that she could only stay on the beach if she agreed to wrap her scarf into a headband. Siam told the magazine:

My children were crying, witnessing my humiliation. Even I could not help crying. They humiliated us.

During her standoff with the police, a crowd of onlookers gathered. Some of them defended the woman, arguing that she was causing no harm and was not even wearing a burkini. Others, however, taunted her with racist remarks. She said:

I was stunned. I heard things no one had ever said to my face, like ‘Go home!’

Siam, who was born to French parents in Toulouse, said that someone else added, “We are Catholics here!” Cusin told the magazine:

People demanded that she leave or remove her veil. It was pretty violent. I had the impression of watching a pack go after a woman sitting on the ground in tears with her little girl. What shocked me is that it was mostly people in their thirties, not the elderly as one might imagine.

Siam told Al Jazeera’s AJ+ later in a video interview:

In the country of human rights, I see no trace of the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. I am outraged that this could happen in France. Today we are banned from the beach. Tomorrow it will be the street. We are women. We are adults. And if the headscarf is a personal choice, and if women want to wear it, why stop them?

neither funny nor clever

Turkey’s Invasion Into Syria Adds to Growing Strain on Pindo Strategy
Jason Ditz,, Aug 24 2016

After over two solid months of Pindo airstrikes in support of Kurdish forces, they finally managed to take the city of Manbij away from ISIS earlier this month, with Pindo boxtops touting it as a huge victory. Today, Biden demanded the Kurds immediately relinquish control of the city and withdraw back across the Euphrates River or risk losing Pindo support. It’s a puzzling combination of moves by Pindostan in an ever more convoluted war in Syria, with Pindostan desperately trying to fight a growing number of enemies and support an ever-increasing number of “allies” who are at one another’s throats. Turkey’s invasion of Syria today just adds to what is an increasingly volatile mix and almost certainly was the reason why Pindostan suddenly demanded publicly that Manbij, just south of the newly seized Turkish-occupied Jarabulus, needs to be ceded. Turkey, after all, is a major Pindo ally, and if there’s one thing Turkey doesn’t care for, it’s Kurds. Turkish officials even claimed previously that Pindostan had “promised” the Kurds wouldn’t keep Manbij, and while Pindostan never admitted to this, it sounds like one of the many promises they’ve made to the Turkish officials about limiting Kurdish territorial growth. The Kurdish forces showed no sign of leaving Manbij, and Turkey’s invasion forced the issue, and forced Pindostan to actually make a choice between the two sides. That said, Turkey’s hostility toward the Kurds is unlikely to end with Manbij, and Pindostan is likely to have to continue walking a tightrope on these allies. The same Kurdish forces picked a fight with the Syrian military further east last week, and in that case Pindostan was quickly sucked into militarily backing that fight, even though it had nothing to do with ISIS. Several officials were thrilled, since they wanted a shift of the war away from ISIS and against the government. Even then, the Kurds quickly reached a ceasefire with the Syrian military, which left Pindostan with a needless no-fly zone imposed on a territory in northern Syria.

West Endorses Turkish Invasion of Northern Syria –
Pindostan Launches Airstrikes to Back Turkish Forces

Jason Ditz,, Aug 24 2016

Russian officials issued a statement of concern today on news of Turkey’s military invasion of northern Syria, appearing to be particularly worried about the escalation of Turkey’s fighting against Kurdish forces inside northern Syria. Western officials, however, were a lot more upbeat. German Foreign Ministry officials endorsed the invasion as “in keeping with the goals and aims of the anti-ISIS coalition.” They also indicated they were fine with Turkey attacking the Kurds, and wouldn’t complain about it. German spokesman Martin Schaefer insisted:

Turkey, rightly or wrongly, believes that there are links between the PKK, which we see as a terror organisation, on the Turkish side and elements among the Kurds of the Syrian side. … Turkey has a legitimate right to take action.

Pindo boxtops haven’t spoken directly on the matter, but did carry out eight airstrikes against targets inside Jarabulus in support of the Turkish invasion of that town, meaning they are directly participating in the new offensive, even though it is quickly bringing the Turkish forces into direct conflict with Pindo-backed Kurdish fighters.


Trump, Russia, and the WaPo: Reader Beware
Philip Giraldi, American Conservative, Aug 24 2016

Aug 14’s WaPo print edition featured news articles, op-eds, an editorial, and three letters to the editor all attacking Donald Trump. And the paper’s other bête noire, Vladimir Putin, was featured in the front-page lead story as well as in an op-ed. On the preceding Friday, Putin had been attacked in an editorial for allegedly seeking to start a war in Ukraine. Trump is running for president and certainly has dropped enough verbal bombs to justify many of the attacks against him. But there is a certain danger inherent in the media’s slanting its coverage to such an extent as to be making the news rather than just reporting it. And when it comes to Russia, the way the stories are reported becomes critically important, as there is a real risk that media hostility toward Putin, even if deployed as a way to get at Trump, could produce a conflict no one actually wants—just as the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers’ yellow journalism, rife with “melodrama, romance, and hyperbole,” more or less brought about the Spanish-Pindosi War. As a case in point, examine the aforementioned front-page story, entitled “Russia’s Tactics Roil Europe” in the print edition and “Alleged Russian involvement in DNC hack gives Pindostan a taste of Kremlin meddling” online. It is credited to Michael Birnbaum, the WaPo’s correspondent in Brussels. In its lead-in, the article claims:

Russia has tried hard in recent years to tug Europe to its side, bankrolling the continent’s extremist political parties, working to fuel a backlash against migrants and using its vast energy resources as a cudgel. … Obama administration officials say that the Kremlin may now be engaging in similar trickery in the Pindosi presidential campaign in an effort to boost Russia-friendly Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The evidence cited regarding Trump and Putin evidently comes from unnamed members of Obama’s team, which has pulled out all the stops to defeat the GOP candidate, including denouncing Trump as unfit to be president. Part of the anti-Trump drive orchestrated by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton has been to associate the candidate with Russia at every turn, implying that he is somehow disloyal or worse for seeking to establish friendly relations with Putin. The article goes on to rely heavily on unnamed sources. “Officials and analysts say” or variations of the expression appear frequently, and when a source is cited by name, it is normally someone who is demonstrably anti-Russian. Peter Kreko, director of the Budapest-based Political Capital Institute, finds “deepening ties” between the Kremlin and some European political parties. But even he concedes that Russia is exploiting unrest rather than creating it, that Russia’s influence is waning, and that its power to influence developments is clearly limited. The article cites a vote last spring in which French mainstream parties agreed to eliminate sanctions on Russia (imposed over Ukraine), yet the WaPo provides no evidence that Moscow had a hand in the producing the outcome. In any event, Eurostan actually extended sanctions a month later, suggesting that if the Russians were interfering, they were not very good at it. Another named source, Andrew Foxall, claims that a clever Russia “use[s] different approaches at different times and in different countries” to “achieve its goals,” which he doesn’t bother to define. Foxall is director of the Russia Studies Center at the Henry Jackson Society in London, named after former Pindo Sen Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a noted Cold War hawk. The society is considered to be neoconservative in orientation, a point Birnbaum fails to note. A further attempt to subvert European institutions cited by Birnbaum relates to the French anti-EU National Front’s having obtained a $10.4m loan from a Moscow-based bank after “being shunned by mainstream lenders.” He also notes that right-wing parties in Greece and Germany are alleged to have suspicious ties with Russia because they have attended conferences in Moscow or have party-to-party relationships with Putin’s ruling United Russia. The article also claims, without providing any details:

Russia has courted politicians from Germany to Hungary to Slovakia to France.

Reverting to its anonymous Eastern European sources, the article asserts:

Leaders suspect the Kremlin of funding environmental groups that opposed measures that would make their countries less dependent on Russian energy.

In most of the world, supporting environmental groups would be considered commendable. Birnbaum throws in plenty of what must be his own analysis that Putin is building support for his “vision” of the world, seeking to “preserve his domestic power by favoring authoritarian leaders over democratically elected ones,” yet he provides no evidence that this is necessarily the case. Putin is, most would agree, highly pragmatic. But while Europe provides the backdrop, the real thrust of the article is domestic. Birnbaum uses his largely unsubstantiated claim that Russia is covertly interfering in European politics to speculate that the “propensity to cause mischief in other nations’ political systems may be behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems, officials say.” Unnamed “officials” go on to elaborate:

It’s unclear whether the hacking was performed as part of routine foreign espionage or whether the DNC was specifically targeted to sway the election.

The article does not bother to note, presumably because it would weaken the argument, that even the Obama administration, which hacks the communications of friend and foe alike, has balked at blaming the cyber-intrusion on the Russian government—so the assumption that there was any kind of political objective behind it is little more than speculation. So an article loaded with innuendo has appeared on the front page of a major Pindo newspaper, located in Washington DC, stating that Russia is engaged in widespread subversion in Europe and is trying to do the same on behalf of Donald Trump in Pindostan. But the evidence presented in the story does not support what is being suggested, and spreading tales about foreign government misbehavior can have unintended consequences. It is particularly short-sighted and even dangerous in this case, as a stable relationship with a nuclear-armed and militarily very capable Moscow should rightly be regarded as critical. It is almost as if some journalists believe that deliberately damaging relations with Russia is a price worth paying to embarrass and defeat Trump. If that is so, they are delusional.

white privilege, white identity

The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Alycee Lane, Counterpunch, Aug 24 2016

When pressed to explain why they are backing their candidate, some of Donald Trump’s white supporters often answer with a critique, one that Trump himself articulates, in which they couple Pindostan’s multiculturalism and growing multicultural population with, for example, trade agreements like NAFTA, corporate relocation of Pindo manufacturing jobs overseas, and business reliance on cheap immigrant labor. Not surprisingly, this coupling has been routinely analyzed and condemned as racist scapegoating of people of color, primarily African Americans and Hispanics, for economic problems not of their own making. Yet the fact that these Trump supporters interweave neoliberal policies and practices into their frequent invectives against multiculturalism indicates that something else is at work. Indeed, it suggests that what we might be witnessing is blowback from what Jodi Melamed (“The Spirit of Neoliberalism”) calls neoliberal multiculturalism, the “incorporation of Pindosi multiculturalism into the legitimating and operating procedures of neoliberalism” and thus blowback from neoliberal proponents’ evocation of multiculturalism to champion their economic policies and practices as the embodiment of our national ethos; from the framing of “neoliberal policy as the key to a postracist” and multicultural “world of freedom and opportunity”; from the fact that multiculturalism functions now as our nation’s “official antiracism,” through which neoliberalism, and thus our economic dominance, is cast as “in harmony with some version of antiracist goals,” from the ways multiculturalism serves as the expression and face, both politically and aesthetically, of Pindo global military and economic power and, from capital’s cosmetic readjustments to our rapidly growing multicultural society, its commercials of interracial couples, biracial children, and bilingual voice-overs.

Most especially, however, Trump’s support appears to be blow back from the fact that neoliberalism has innovated, through its incorporation of multiculturalism, “new” means of “fixing human capacities to naturalize inequality” and in ways that do not exclude on the basis of race folks like Trump’s supporters from its discipline and punishment. In essence, the Trump campaign appears to be driven in part by a revolt against the “new racism” that neoliberalism has produced. Within the framework of neoliberalism, Melamed tells us, multiculturalism “codes the wealth, mobility, and political power of neoliberalism’s beneficiaries to be the just deserts of ‘multicultural world citizens.’” At the same time, it represents those whom “neoliberalism dispossesses” as “handicapped by their own ‘monoculturalism.’” Neoliberal multiculturalism thus innovates “a new racism,” one that “rewards or punishes people for being or not being ‘multicultural Pindosis,’ an ideological figure that arises out of neoliberal frameworks.” In fact, it “extends racializing practices and discipline beyond the color line,” beyond, that is, the white supremacist logic of race as phenotype. As a consequence, “new categories of privilege and stigma determined by ideological, economic, and cultural criteria overlay older, conventional racial categories,” meaning that “traditionally recognized racial identities” like white identity, for example, “can now occupy both sides of the privilege/stigma opposition.” This is all bad news for those Trump supporters who not only desperately cling to monoculturalism (as expressed, for example, by their desire to “Make Pindostan Great [white] Again”), but who also live and work in a hyper-segregated white world. As economist/researcher Jonathan Rothwell found:

(Those) who view Trump favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes and commuting zones. Holding other factors constant, support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that stand out within the commuting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, Asians, and Hispanics.

Within the framework of neoliberalism, to be so damn white is to be, or to risk being cast as, just another Other. This might help to explain in part why Trump supporters at times speak of themselves in terms of racial marginalization, terms they conflate with their lost (or perceived lost) fortunes under a neoliberal economic order that they understand to be at odds with their particular identity politics because it is aligned with the multiculturalism they loathe. To them, nothing signifies this alignment more clearly and demonstrably than the triumph of Barack Obama, who for eight years has stood at the helm of the neoliberal global order and who Trump supporters blame for policies (like NAFTA, for example) enacted prior to his administration. Of course, it goes without saying that neoliberal policies have absolutely created great suffering for many whites who support Trump – especially those who are poor – and have opened a space for neoliberal policymakers and cheer leaders to explicitly and unashamedly frame these whites as undeserving, shiftless and lazy (monocultural) Others. Kevin Williamson of the National Review wrote:

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. … The white Pindosi underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.

White suffering, however, goes hand-in-hand with the fact that whiteness remains privileged within our economic and political order, and in spite of the new racism that neoliberalism has produced. We still operate, as Melamed explains, under “a racial-economic schema” that “continues to associate white bodies and national populations with wealth and nonwhite bodies and national populations with want.” Thus, whites who do fall on the side of stigma are nevertheless privileged Others, a people excluded from the kinds of brutal racial procedures that neoliberalism “adapts,” for example, to “innovate new forms of racialized wage slavery such as one finds in the free trade zones of the global South.” Nor are these white Others subject, to any comparable degree, to the kind of discipline and punishment meted out (for instance) to poor, hypersegregated/monocultural African Americans Black Pindosisa, discards of our racial capitalist regime. None of this should be surprising, of course. After all, capital and state power remain firmly in the hands of primarily white elites like Trump for whom multiculturalism is a means to expand their wealth and power because it facilitates the opening of markets abroad. Within neoliberal frameworks, in fact, white men in particular are the consummate neoliberal subjects, against which most of us are measured and frequently found wanting.

The willingness of Trump’s supporters to not see in neoliberalism white elite power is itself a testimony to their deep investment in the “old” racism of white supremacy, long ago rejected (Melamed tells us) as the official racism of the state in the service of global economic expansion. That investment compels Trump’s supporters to speak in the very terms that mark them as Other, as we saw recently, for example, in the NYT video of whites at Trump rallies. While that video exposed the raw racism of the candidate’s supporters, it simultaneously framed them and invited us to see them as Other. Ironically enough, the more they vocalize their racism, the more they announce themselves as men and women who are unable and/or unwilling to reconstitute themselves as proper neoliberal subjects, ie as neoliberal multiculturalists. Lest we be tempted to say, “so what?”, we would do well to consider this: the very framework that marks Trump’s racist supporters as Other is also a framework that denies and renders unspeakable the existence of racism altogether. Neoliberal multiculturalism articulates our nation, and the neoliberal project that our government serves, as non-racial or as Melamed writes, neoliberalism has effectively incorporated “Pindo multiculturalism in a manner that makes neoliberalism appear just,” while it obscures “the racial antagonisms and inequalities on which the neoliberal project depends.” It condemns as “divisive” antiracist critiques of neoliberalism and Pindosi racial politics, condemns them as that which actually creates racial division, discord, and inequality. Moreover, it invites punishment and disapprobation upon those who both challenge racist practices and expose neoliberalism as being the racist plunder that it is.

Thus, it should come as no surprise, for instance, that those who organize under the banner of Black Lives Matter are frequently attacked for defending, against neoliberal policing, those presumed to be undeserving of our regard, the Black/monocultural children, women and men who are marginalized not because of any political and economic policies, we are told, but because they have failed to refashion themselves as proper Pindosi neoliberal subjects, ie as disciplined and efficient rugged individualists, self-styled entrepreneurs and competitors in our free market society. Indeed, BLM defense of the undeserving marks BLM itself as the ultimate Other, to which state surveillance and violence, along with “All Lives Matter!” (an incantation of neoliberal multiculturalism if ever there was one), are appropriate, disciplinary responses. So what seems to be unfolding before us, then, is a racist revolt against a racist paradigm, a revolt that speaks not so much to a desire on the part of Trump’s supporters to upend neoliberalism per se, as it perhaps speaks to an unspoken desire to reconstitute it as an explicit articulation of white power. And why would they want to upend neoliberalism, after all? Contrary to the myth that they’re all poor whites who are beset by low wage employment, addiction, and so-called broken homes, many of Trump’s supporters, as Rothwell discovered, are not particularly distressed. They haven’t been “disproportionately affected by foreign trade or immigration.” On average, they don’t “have lower incomes than other Pindosis.” And they are not “more likely to be unemployed” than the rest of their countrymen and women. To the contrary, they have done relatively well for themselves, even if the communities in which they live have taken a downturn. But as monoculturalists, they are entirely vulnerable to neoliberal multiculturalism’s racializing discipline. Trump then is not only the promise of an end to that vulnerability; he is also a beginning, the promise of a new new racism, one that resembles and honors the racism of old. Or as one supporter put it: “He’s the last chance we have to…preserve the culture I grew up in. The last chance, that is, to preserve a culture of white economic, social, and political privileges that can be passed on, ad infinitum, to future generations of white monocultural Pindosis.

ajamu baraka is the guy’s birth name, apparently

Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Eric Draitser, Counterpunch, Aug 24 2016

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection

-Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Apr 16 1963

When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader socio-political landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed. Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction, the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness. This phenomenon has been on full display in the ongoing attacks on Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, a man who has dedicated more than four decades to resistance against racism and oppression of African-Americans Black Pindostanis and other African diaspora communities. To watch accusations and implications of racism and bigotry lobbed at him like so many arrows from the crossbowmen of corporate media is to receive a crash course in white liberal racism, that undeniable phenomenon whose name must not be spoken.

Perhaps the best example of this sickening tactic came on CNN’s Town Hall with Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. The host, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of Democrat New York governor Andrew Cuomo, deliberately decontextualized Baraka’s use of the phrase “Uncle Tom” to describe Obama. An obvious smear intended to discredit the Green Party ticket in the eyes of Black (and liberal white) voters, Cuomo smugly implied that Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom was, in itself, racist. But even a cursory analysis of the term, the context in which it was used, and Cuomo’s intent in raising the issue, not only vindicates Baraka’s usage of Uncle Tom, it reveals the deep-seated racism of Democrat party shills and Pindosi liberals in general. The term itself is generally accepted to mean a person, usually a Black man, who is overly eager to please white people, and is quick to betray his own race in pursuit of acceptance among whites. Thus the term is less a superficial racial epithet than it is a psychological and sociological critique, particularly when used by a Black man against a fellow black man. To be sure, racially charged language takes on varying levels of meaning and emotional gravitas depending on who uses it. In this case, however, a Black leftist uses it to deconstruct the mythology surrounding the first Black president.

Does anyone doubt that, from a purely objective perspective, Obama has indeed abdicated his responsibility to improve the political, economic, and social lives of Black Pindostanis? A quick look at the statistics for Black Pindostan reveals that, if anything, the lives of black people have gotten considerably worse under Obama: life expectancy, per capita wealth, employment levels, infant mortality, children in poverty, etc, all point to a deterioration of the living conditions for Blacks under Obama. Do these facts constitute betrayal of black people in the pursuit of serving the white establishment? Certainly, Ajamu Baraka argued that they do. It is hard to counter his assertion. And how about Obama’s merciless slaughter of Black and Brown people around the world? From the lynchings, rapes, and murders of Black Libyans carried out by Obama’s proxy terrorist forces during the regime change operation against the Libyan Government of Muammar Gaddafi, to the drone bombings of Black and Brown people all over the world, to the continued militarization of the African continent under the auspices of Obama’s AFRICOM: Do these policies and actions taken by the first Black president constitute a betrayal of people of color in the service of the white ruling class and the Empire? Baraka has argued that they do. So the question then becomes: Is Baraka’s use of the term Uncle Tom truly unwarranted? Or is it rather that liberals, especially white liberals, choose to ignore the material reality of Obama’s presidency in favor of the mythos of the kind-hearted and cool Black president with the big smile swooping down on the wings of hope and change like an angel come down from heaven? Perhaps Ajamu Baraka has simply intruded into the dream and, like temperamental children, white liberals shed their crocodile tears in hopes of crying themselves back to sleep.

But there is another, even more insidious, aspect to this CNN Uncle Tom moment that must be reckoned with; namely, what the subtext of the question tells us about the pathology of 21st Century Pindosi liberalism. When the white liberal Cuomo implied that the Black radical Baraka was somehow engaging in racism or bigotry by referring to Obama as “Uncle Tom,” Cuomo was actually betraying the deeply rooted, almost unconscious, racism at the heart of Pindosi liberalism. For you see, a white man can accuse a Black man of racism when said Black man critiques another Black man who has been anointed by the white establishment. In other words, it’s not Obama’s skin color that makes Baraka’s use of the term unacceptable to Cuomo, it is Obama’s position. Cuomo here plays the role of sentinel of the establishment, guarding the gates of discourse, dictating to Blacks and whites alike what is or is not appropriate when it comes to critiquing the first Black president. Obama is the right kind of Black man, while Baraka is the wrong kind. Obama the liberal is deserving of respect, while Baraka the radical is deserving of scorn. Sorry, Ajamu, you’re just not the right kind of Black man. While Black men are murdered seemingly every single day by law enforcement, Obama pens op-ed pieces arguing:

Every day, [police] confront danger so it does not find our families … We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you.

This is the right kind of Black man, one who is passive and subservient in the face of ongoing, brutal oppression and violence. Baraka on the other hand, a man who has repeatedly lent his vocal support to the Movement for Black Lives among many other pro-Black social movements, is caricatured as a bigot and racist. The white liberal sees no contradiction here. He/she is blind to the irony of utilizing anti-racist verbiage to uphold an inherently racist and white supremacist argument which stealthily justifies the institutions of oppression and coercion while demeaning and slandering those who seek to dismantle them. This is the white moderate to which Dr King referred: the liberal more devoted to “order” than to justice. This is the cultural pathology of liberalism, an ideological disease which afflicts millions of people who, in their own self-deception, see themselves as healthy and righteous. But diseased they remain, in utter denial of their own mental illness. And instead, they choose to scapegoat those few men and women of the radical cloth who attempt to minister to the sick, to nurse them back to health. For you see, it is not the disease that must be fought, but rather the foul-tasting medicine. That is why Ajamu Baraka is made into the villain while Barack Obama is the cure. Such is the upside-down reality of the liberal. White supremacy and racism are not mere discursive constructs to be woven into elaborate, but mostly empty, rhetorical flourishes. They are real phenomena existing in the real world of political life. And they are not simply the collective hatred expressed by hooded klansmen or bareheaded neo-nazis, but rather are the underlying assumptions, ideas, and values at the root of American political, economic, and social life, expressed by the police officer, the politician, and the news anchor in the finely tailored suit. But to say it, and to do so publicly, is to transgress against the social norm. And to do so when speaking of the first Black president is to commit the gravest sin against the god of liberalism. Ajamu Baraka is not vilified for calling Obama an Uncle Tom. He is vilified for refusing not to.

bilge about anti-semitism

Israel lobby smears Black Congress crittur for meeting Palestinians
Rania Khalek, Electronic Intifada, Aug 24 2016

Bullard with Dream Defenders in Jayloomia, May. (Photo: Instagram)

Dwight Bullard, a progressive African American Black Pindosi State Senator representing Florida’s 39th district, is under attack from Israel lobby groups for visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank in May on a delegation hosted by the Dream Defenders. Unbowed, Bullard has told EI that he witnessed “segregation and injustice” in Palestine. Leading the attack against Bullard is the pro-Israel group Miami United Against BDS. In a press release last week, it accused Bullard of meeting with “terrorists,” saying:

Bullard took a trip in May to territories under Palestinian control where he met with the PFLP, an organization listed by the State Dept since 1997 as a foreign terrorist organization.

USrael consider virtually all Palestinian political factions and resistance organizations to be “terrorist” groups. Pro-Israel groups are pointing to photos posted to social media during the trip as proof that Bullard met with the PFLP. In the photo at the top of this article, originally posted to the Dream Defenders’ Instagram account, the delegation is seen posing for the camera in Israeli-occupied East Jayloomia with Mahmoud Jiddah, identified in the caption as their tour guide. Jiddah is an African Palestinian who was a member of the PFLP in the 1960s. He was arrested with his brother and cousin in 1968 and spent 17 years in Israeli prison, accused of planting bombs, before being released in a prisoner exchange. Today Jiddah is a leader in the African Palestinian community and works as a tour guide in the Old City of Jayloomia. He can be seen in this 2011 video produced by the Alternative Information Center, talking about his own life and the history of his community in Jayloomia. Ahmad Abuznaid from Dream Defenders told EI:

Meeting with the Afro-Palestinian community in East Jayloomia is a must for anyone seeking to understand the continued Palestinian struggle for liberation. The Dream Defenders did not meet with the PFLP, but this attack on the senator shows the true desperation of the efforts to hold back our movement.

Speaking with EI, Bullard also laughed off the accusation that he met with terrorists, saying:

When they showed me the picture, I was like, you mean the guy who gave us a tour of Old Jayloomia? He’s a tour guide.

Pro-Israel groups are also outraged over Bullard’s meeting with Omar Barghouti. Amnesty International, among other organizations, has expressed concern at Israel’s threats to retaliate against Barghouti for his political activities. In apparent fulfillment of those threats, Israel has effectively imposed a travel ban on him. Joe Zevuloni, a USraeli businessman and founder of Miami United Against BDS, said in the press release:

It is unthinkable to accept that there is someone in the Florida legislature who is willing to meet openly with terrorist groups and other hateful organizations whose values are diametrically opposed to those of Floridians and all Americans. It is our duty to condemn this form of hate and defeat it.

Zevuloni did not return EI’s calls seeking comment. The only national group to throw its weight behind the protest so far is The Israel Project, which specializes in feeding anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim propaganda to journalists and policy-makers. Ken Bricker, the Israel Project’s southeast regional director, told the JTA:

Any Florida state legislator who would go to Israel and choose to meet with those groups, it’s more than troubling, it’s deeply disturbing. I have to wonder if the constituents in his district aware of who he is and what he believes in.

Bullard was also attacked as a supporter of hatred by Uri Pilichowski, a West Bank settler who wrote in the Times of Israel:

Floridians should know about Dwight Bullard’s associations with groups that seek the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people and call for Bullard to cut those ties.

Bullard told EI that he went on the trip to “develop an understanding” of the Palestinian side that is often missing from the mainstream narrative. He added that he is willing to go on a trip hosted by a pro-Israel group as well, though he is unhappy with the reaction he has received from such groups since his return. He argued:

Had I gone on an AIPAC trip or toured with the ADL there would be no outrage or Palestine group protesting outside my office. It’s only a news story if you pick the wrong side.

Pindo Congress critturs routinely travel to Israel on delegations hosted by Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC, it’s practically a requirement for politicians at the national level. Bullard was especially frustrated by the demands from Israel’s supporters that he shut out constituents based on their political views, saying:

As a public servant I’ve meet with a number of groups that I fundamentally disagree with on 85% of issues but I still meet with them. I’m a strong pro-choice advocate but I meet with all the pro-life folks, and we go all through it on why I can’t support their issues. I won’t close the door on them.

The smear campaign against Bullard is just the latest fault line between pro-Israel groups and African American Black Pindosi activists and leaders affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives. Early this month, pro-Israel groups attempted to discipline MBL for expressing solidarity with Palestinians in its platform. The Dream Defenders, which endorsed the MBL platform and whose members helped draft it, strongly denounced the reaction from Zionist groups. After meeting with Palestinians who support BDS and seeing the repressive conditions they live under, Bullard has come to understand the boycott as part of their struggle for their civil rights. He says:

I think what people need to do is recognize why an African American would feel a sense of alignment with oppressed people. It’s not just hearing about injustices happening to the Palestinian people. When you see it first hand, that’s a game-changer. The fact that it was so in your face, you realize your own privilege even in circumstances related to race. We talk about driving while Black. The idea that you have to be carrying a particular ID in order to move freely within spaces in a place that you call home, that stuck with me.

Bullard was so disturbed by what he witnessed, he felt compelled to wear a kuffiyeh at the DNC in Philadelphia last month, “to show solidarity with Palestine,” he said. A JTA reporter noticed Bullard’s scarf and snapped a photo of him that was published with a story on Bullard’s trip to Palestine. Je said:

There’s segregation and injustice going on over there, and in the words of Dr King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Florida is one of several states to have passed anti-BDS laws that bar state investment in, or business with, companies that boycott Israel. The Florida law is especially draconian in that it makes no distinction between “Israel” and Israeli-occupied territories, effectively punishing even those who boycott goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which even the US recognizes are illegal under international law. Bullard initially opposed the anti-BDS legislation, voting against it twice in subcommittee meetings because he viewed it as a violation of free speech that he said “screams un-American.” However, Bullard told EI he was ultimately “bullied” into voting for the law. He said:

It was the first time I felt pressured to vote in a particular way. There are probably three or four votes that I’ve taken in my tenure in the legislature that I’m very uncomfortable with having taken. This is easily in the top three.

Bullard served in Florida’s lower house from 2008, until he was elected to the senate in 2012. The Miami Herald endorsed Bullard early this week, indicating that the accusations have gained little traction. Still, Bullard’s district in South Florida is home to a well-organized Jewish voter basethat is older and strongly pro-Israel. In order to capitalize on this, Miami United Against BDS is organizing a protest outside Bullard’s office on Aug 28, two days before the Democratic primary election for his senate seat in a redrawn district. Bullard’s opponent is Andrew Korge, the son of a major donor to Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Korge has tried to turn Bullard’s visit to Palestine into a wedge issue on at least one occasion, during a homeowner’s association meeting last month, according to Bullard. Rejecting the insinuation that he’s anti-Semitic, Bullard said:

I’ve had a pretty solid relationship with Jewish groups. I’ve advocated for and represented Jewish causes, Holocaust memorial and education funding. … all of that easily gets forgotten

it’s war crimes time

Fatah militia leader killed by PA forces
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Aug 24 2016

cqhevviumaav-v5.jpg-largeAhmad Izzat Halawa

The fatal beating of a detainee at the hands of PA security forces in Nablus on Tuesday was met with street protests and condemnations from Palestinian factions and human rights groups. Ahmad Izzat Halawa, 50, was arrested during the pre-dawn hours at a home in the northern occupied West Bank city, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. He was taken to a PA compound where he reportedly “argued with security officers, who then severely beat him to death despite attempts by other security officers to rescue him,” PCHR stated. The rights group described the incident as an “unlawful” act of “revenge” for the killing of two PA security officers in Nablus last Thursday. PA security spox Adnan Damiri told al-Haq that Halawa was the most wanted suspect in connection to the fatal shootings. Halawa has been described by Palestinian media as a well-known leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah party, in the Nablus area. He is the third wanted person to be killed by PA security forces in the city since Thursday.

Addameer described the slayings as “acts of torture and ill-treatment, which exemplify modern lynching techniques by government personnel.” James Heenan, head of the UNHRC office in the OPT, said his agency was “extremely concerned about the apparent extrajudicial execution” of Halawa, Ma’an News reported. Halawa’s killing prompted a slew of resignations by members of Fatah, which dominates the PA. Halawa’s family condemned the slaying, stating that he was killed “in cold blood without the slightest regard for the sanctity of human life.” Sami Abu Zuhri, spox for the Islamist party Hamas, accused the PA security forces of “a policy of field executions.” Abu Zuhri added that “these crimes reflect the bloody nature of the security apparatus that exceeds security coordination with the occupation.” The PFLP called for an investigation to hold those responsible to account. Hundreds protested in Nablus following the killing on Tuesday. Demonstrators marched on the streets calling for the departure of PA PM Rami Hamdallah, Nablus governor Akram Rajoub and security forces commander Nidal Abu Dukhan before being dispersed by PA who reportedly used tear gas on the crowd:

Shops in Nablus’ Old City were shuttered after a general strike was declared:

Hamdallah announced that a committee had been formed to investigate the “exceptional” incident. The deadly events of the past week come one month after two other PA security forces personnel were shot dead in Nablus. Adnan Damiri said on Sunday that PA would continue their arrest campaigns in Nablus until “the phenomenon of illegal weapon possession is brought to an end,” Ma’an News reported. Damiri said that security forces found weapons in Nablus’ Old City, suggesting that they were supplied by Israel to foment intra-Palestinian tensions. He said:

This gang has never pointed a weapon to the Israeli occupation.

Weapons confiscated in the Old City of Nablus on Aug 21 (Photo: Nedal Eshtayah)

At the same time that the PA security forces were arresting Halawa, IOF conducted a massive operation in the southern West Bank to search for weapons the JPost reported. IOF claimed they found “seven workshops, 54 guns and 22 lathes for the manufacture of weapons, as well as other firearms, ammunition clips and weapon parts.” They produced videos claiming to show the weapons confiscated during the raid:

The WaPo added:

Since the start of 2016, IOF have raided 29 weapons factories and confiscated 49 lathes and over 300 firearms in the West Bank.

Improvised firearms have been used by Palestinians in several attacks during the sharp uptick in deadly violence that began in late 2015. In some cases, PA acting as individuals have turned their weapons on IOF. Amjad Sukkari, a security forces officer from the Nablus area of the West Bank, was killed in February after he fired his legally issued handgun towards IOF at a checkpoint in the central West Bank reserved for the movement of VIPs. Haaretz described the incident as “the nightmare scenario that has worried Israel for months.” Israel depends on the PA, backed by Pindostan & Eurostan, to neutralize resistance against its military occupation. The IOF central command said that the PA were responsible for approximately 40% of all arrests of “suspected terrorists,” Haaretz reported in May. As a result, IOF decreased the number of operations in areas of the West Bank under nominal control of the PA, the paper added, “because the PA security services are doing more of the work.” In April, Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister at the time, said of the Palestinian security forces:

If they’ll do the work, why not? … If they do less, we’ll do more; if they do more, we’ll do less.

they all just wants him gone

Weapons Inspectors Find Evidence Syria Retains Chemical Program
Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg, Aug 24 2016

Inspectors working in Syria have detected the presence of previously undeclared chemical warfare agents, suggesting Assad hasn’t given up his capabilities to wield such weapons and casting a shadow over an achievement claimed by the Obama administration. Samples collected by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at multiple sites in Syria revealed chemical agents that Syria never declared after it agreed in 2013 to turn over all its stockpiles for destruction and join the Chemical Weapons Convention, according to a two-page summary of a confidential OPCW report that was given to the UNSC. OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said in the report:

The Secretariat considers that many of the explanations provided by the Syrian Arab Republic are not scientifically or technically plausible. At present, Syria has not yet adequately explained the presence of indicators of four chemical warfare agents.

The report’s findings add to concerns that Syria lied about the size and extent of its chemical weapons program after the 2013 agreement. That would pose a liability for Obama, who touted the deal, worked out with Russia’s help, as justification for his decision to back away from military action to enforce a “red line” he proclaimed after Assad (supposedly) used chemical weapons in his country’s civil war. In January of this year, the OPCW announced that it had verified the destruction of all the chemical stockpiles that Syria had declared as part of the Pindo-Russia deal. The new report from the group, which was founded in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, raises questions about the completeness of that declaration. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday:

We’ve been pleased that the Assad regime’s declared weapons stockpile has been rounded up. (Syria) has been murky for some time.

The report is the result of work done by the OPCW’s Declaration Assessment Team, which was sent to Syria to verify its submissions as part of its accession to the convention and its claim that it abandoned its stockpiles. The new information “does not resolve outstanding issues,” according to the report, which said questions about Syria’s chemical weapons have “increased steadily over time.” The report describes a pattern of incomplete or contradictory accounts and a lack of access to high-level officials. As a result, it said, the OPCW team “cannot fully verify” that Syria is meeting its commitments under the chemical weapons convention. While the report’s contents hadn’t previously been announced, officials from Pindostan and other countries who received it have discussed parts of it publicly. In a statement to an OPCW meeting on Jul 12, Kenneth Ward, the Pindo ambassador to the organization, said:

Syria has never truly accepted the obligations or the ideals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The only constant in this process has been Syria’s refusal to be open and transparent about the full extent of its chemical weapons program. Syria has engaged in a calculated campaign of intransigence and obfuscation, of deception, and of defiance.

Syria has faced repeated accusations that it used chemical weapons in violation of the treaty. An OPCW team is expected to release a report in the coming days on its investigation into Syria’s alleged use of chlorine against its own people. While chlorine is a common chemical that isn’t banned, its use as a weapon is prohibited under the convention.

nifty maps

1474213935 Source:

vocativ unexpectedly yields a good one

The Burkini Controversy Reaches Italy, Via Facebook
Anna Momigliano, Vocativ, Aug 24 2016


In response to controversy in France over the burkini, the body-covering bathing suit designed for religious Muslim women, Izzeddin Elzir, an imam in Florence, Italy, posted a photo of seven Catholic nuns joyfully bathing in the sea on his Facebook wall. The nuns were all fully dressed in traditional habits and veils. The imam’s post was shared more than 3,000 times. But by Friday morning his account was blocked, not by local authorities, but by Facebook. Elzir explained in a telephone conversation with Vocativ:

I just wanted get people to stop and think. That’s why I posted the photo alone, without writing a single word. I didn’t want to take sides but rather to spur a healthy debate.

The burkini originates in Australia, where it was launched in 2004 by a clothing designer who had immigrated from Lebanon with her family when she was a toddler. Aheda Zanetti’s design was inspired by a government-sponsored campaign to integrate Muslim citizens into Australian life. It was worn by the country’s first female Muslim lifeguard and is regarded in Australia as a symbol of diversity and successful integration. But in France the skin-covering garment, which resembles the wet suit worn by divers, has sparked controversy. Recently, the mayors of five towns banned women from wearing the burkini in public, with police fining three women (so far) for defying the new law. Manuel Valls, the Socialist prime minister, supported the mayors’ ban, saying the garment was “not compatible with the values of France.”

Italian supporters of the far right have suggested adopting the ban in their country as well. This spurred a heated debate both online and offline. On Wednesday Elzir, who is also the president of Ucoii, an umbrella organization for the country’s Muslim communities, posted the image of the nuns in order to make a point: If they can go to the beach covered from head to toe, why shouldn’t Muslim women be allowed to do the same? The burkini controversy comes at a time when tension regarding Islam is running high in Europe, with several EU countries increasingly at odds with their Muslim minorities as they struggle with Jihadi-inspired terrorism. In Italy the construction of mosques was one of the hottest political topics of the year. Since Elzir is a public figure in his own right, his having posted the photo of the nuns at the beach on his Facebook wall was reported widely by local media. Many speculated that Elzir’s post might have been mistaken for some kind of threat against the Catholic clergy. After two men who said they were inspired by ISIS murdered a French priest last month, concern has been growing that Christian clergy have become a target for Jihadis. The odd thing about this theory is that Elzir, a Palestinian from Hebron, has an established reputation for being at the forefront of interfaith dialogue. In fact, in 2014 he was awarded the Golden Florin, Florence’s highest prize for community service, together with Florence’s archbishop and its chief rabbi. Elzir tells Vocativ his account was blocked by Facebook and not by the Italian authorities. The social network platform’s official explanation, he says, is that someone had reported his profile as a possible fake. He said:

I asked an internet-savvy friend to help me out and we sent a message to the administrators. They told us my account was reported and asked me to send them a scan of my ID.

Vocativ was not able to verify this with Facebook. After the imam provided Facebook with his ID (and after the Italian online media had reported widely on the incident), the account was restored within 24 hours. He said:

The whole incident seemed very strange to me. Do really people block an account just because someone falsely claims it’s a fake one? I cannot help but think it had something to do with the picture I posted and the buzz it created.

Italy’s police recently cracked down on the online activities of groups that are perceived as extremists, shutting down websites and social media accounts of far right activists and jihadi sympathizers, since social network are increasingly perceived as a channel for radicalization and hate speech. Elzir said:

My post was widely shared by my Catholic friends on Facebook. The way I see it, social media is also a tool for dialogue among people of different faith, although I personally prefer interaction that takes place in person.


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