Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thoughts on the NSA Leaks

Coverage of the NSA scandal stands out as frankly gawdawful. The guardian's central claim as 'direct access' was revealed as a fabrication, a direct result of dishonesty and ignorance. Instead of owning up to his error Greenwald lied and denied that he ever wrote that "direct access was true." The media went beserk over a false report arguing that Nadler 'admitted' that the NSA can wiretap without a warrant. Ideologues refused to correct the mistake after the report was revealed as a hoax which confirms their bias.

Civil liberties alarmists and similar ideologues are their own worst enemy. By distorting facts they create confusion (just like Owlman) in the public's mind making the goal of NSA reform much more difficult. People cannot change something if they do not understand what the something actually is. On an individual level they have damaged their own credibility by failing to accurately report elementary facts. Snowden's credibility has crumbled, his claim of drunk driving recruitment in Switzerland turned out to be false. Even if it was true the Swiss probably would not have strong feelings one way or the other.

 Greenwald isn't as smart as he would like to think. Snowden's leaks came at the perfect time for him: right after he was getting raked over the coals for justifying terrorist attacks. If he had reported the facts honestly or at least had an IT expert explain what 'direct access' means Glenn could have blotted out his past shame and given his career a massive boost. Instead he produced falsehoods, acted like a child in toys 'r us in response to criticism, and acted like David Gregory's stupid question was a call for persecution against him. He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Ripostes to criticism have been just as terrible. Many like the self-parodying Cenk Uyghur (who is so progressive that he thought it would be cute to name his show after genocidists) minimized the fact that the direct access claim wasn't true to the point of lying. Conor Friedersdorf tweeted that Greenwald's " critics point to one line in his PRISM story to "prove" that he lacks credibility." That 'one line' was the direct access claim upon which most of his stories rested upon. (Conor also retweeted neo-fascist Justin Raimondo who  has expressed a wish that the Axis power had conquered the USA.) They call for government honesty and transparency all while refusing to apply those values to their own lives.

Snowden's revelations unleashed hypocritical hyperbole hurricanes. PRC officials argued that Obama was just like big brother echoing Soviet tactics of comparing the USA to the society depicted in a book banned in the USSR. The guardian compared the NSA to the Stasi, false and amusing nonsense because the guardian has published pro-GDR revisionism. In CIF a dismal character named Bruni de la Motta whined that east Germany has been "demonized" and that "the fall of the Berlin Wall and unification meant the loss of jobs, homes, security and equality." Naked support for the Iranian dictatorship is common in the guardian's papers, the IRI shuts down cafes that do not install cameras to surveil customers. They have even published multiple articles in support of North Korea!

As any honest adult knows the USA is not a totalitarian state as confirmed by how people can write anti-Obama articles without fear of reprisal. To write such thing trivializes suffering under dictatorship. Though being better than dictatorships is the lowest standard a state can meet and does not justify NSA policies. The best way to judge Obama's administration is to compare the USA to other first world democracies, many of whom are held up as superior.  Gary J. Schmitt concluded that that the USA is "no more aggressive in pursuing domestic counterterrorism than a number of other democratic allies and may arguably be considered less aggressive than France or the United Kingdom. Yet no objective observer would classify either France or the UK has anything but free and liberal."

Snowden stated that the British GCHQ is "worse" than the NSA. One of Cheltenham's advisers state that the agency has "a light oversight regime compared with the USA." The Tempora program has a data collection than dwarfs the NSA and the ability to monitor 600 million communication each day. Under the  Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act other UK agencies can easily obtain phone records with fewer checks and balances than member of the American alphabet soup. The act also allows authorities to arrest anyone suspected of terrorism without a warrant.

 Under the European Union's Data Retention Directive all EU states retain metadata for two years so that police and intelligence agencies can access the data. Metadata retained under the directive is far more extensive than the NSA program since the EU metadata includes names. In France companies must retain ISP and telecom data which police can access them without a magisterial permission. French AMF agents can obtain any documents, phone records, with impunity. . In Sweden the authorities have the power to monitor all phone and internet communications without warrants unlike the NSA.

In Europe "wiretapping is de rigueur—practiced more regularly and with less oversight than in the United States." An FBI agent described how Italian police have "much broader wiretap authority" he stated that the process of getting a wiretap is "very quick and informal" compared to the USA. In "Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands" wiretaps are just as "routine" as they are in Italy. European anti-NSA protests are shameless hypocrisy.

Other policies targeted by civil liberties alarmists are mild compared to those of other first world democracies.  Critics of the decision to kill Anwar Al-Awaki launch into near-mania at the thought "killing citizens." The UK practiced a shoot to kill policy against its fellow citizens in response to the IRA: a threat that seems pathetic compared to Al-Qaeda.  The anti-NDAA movement ignore that preventive detention of terrorist suspects is "common in the democratic world" particularly much of Europe, Israel and Canada. Canadian authorities detained hundreds of people without trial in response to Quebec terrorism, American authorities did not respond the same way to FALN attacks. Britain also practiced preventive detention on a mass scale while the USA has yet to actually detain anyone people suspected of the Boston bombings were not detained.

Outbursts erupted over a ruling about police taking DNA evidence, Scalia's dissent along with his support for rocket launcher ownership will probably make him the next darling of libertarians. The subject of Scalia's rage is almost nothing compared to Dutch law which empowers police to take DNA not only from people under arrest but from any locals near the crime scene. British police have the right to take DNA samples from anyone over ten who has ever been arrested. Italian police can take DNA without consent.

Civil liberties alarmists argue that the USA is lurching into authoritarian rule when in fact American intelligence and law enforcement operates under far more restraint and checks and balances than the agencies of the finest European democracies. The USA does not have a domestic intelligence agency unlike most democracies. Canadian RCMP agents have international jurisdiction and can carry out searches without warrants. French DCRI agents can operate domestically and have powers of arrest while the CIA do not. For all its faults the CIA was designed so it would not be a secret police unit while secret police  are a fact of life in Scandinavia.

Similarly the USA does not have restrictions on religious freedom like the Swiss minaret or French hijab bans and it does not have free speech restrictions like most of Europe or Canada which has lead to pundits arguing the USA needs to limit free speech. So to the anti-American the USA is either a land of tyranny or chaos depending on mood swings. Context is ignored by extremists because "we're less extreme than France or Sweden" doesn't sound as scary as "we're becoming like 1984."

Alarmists often invoke the founding fathers to suggest that 21st presidents have betrayed them. Its shocking...for anti-American ideologues to express a positive opinion of American history. In doing so  they reveal their own historical illiteracy the founders were not a monolith they often hated each other and held widely different views. Many founders would probably condemn Obama or Bush for not doing enough John Adams responded to trivialities with the alien and seditions act that made criticism of the government a crime.

The record of post-911 presidents is benign compared to most glorified American leaders. Lincoln decimated Habeas Corpus while FDR interned Japanese-Americans and practiced warrantless wiretapping. The reality is wiretapping and surveillance is more restrained now than it was in the 1940s through 1970s.

With all that in mind that doesn't mean we should let the NSA off scot free. As vigilant citizens we must not shrink from our duty of repairing, reforming or restraining flawed institutions like the NSA.  We must aspire to greater things than being better than real or make believe dictatorships or even the greatest European democracies.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Alice Walker and Alibi Anti-Semitism

Alice Walker's opinions and decisions about Israel have been energetically defended as criticism of Israel. Some even insisted that she couldn't be anti-Semitic because she had a Jewish husband. An amusing tactic since claims that people with Black associates cannot be racist is a common defense of anti-Black racism.

Walker argued that her refusal to have her books translated into Hebrew were simply a human rights boycott which makes little sense. Her books have been translated into Chinese and other languages spoken in countries whose human rights abuses easily eclipse Israel. She opined that translating into Hebrew would her complicit in real or imagined (its clear which category her anti-Israel views fall into) abuses. By her own reasoning she is complicit in PRC atrocities!

What made Israel stand out to her? Clearly not human rights since she has no objection to Chinese translations. Her inconsistency affirms that anti-Semitism was behind her translation choice. She singled out Israel because of its Jewish nature.

Walker put her defenders in a position so awkward that they nearly drowned in this liquid by making comments that even Ali Abunimah would have a hard time defending. Alice entered her own wonderland by becoming a follower of David Icke. Yes, really.

"I have not known of David Icke until recently; I owe the introduction to my partner who encouraged me to share a couple of videos with him. What I admire most about David Icke is the freedom of his mind. It will go anywhere and often does in bringing together bits and pieces (sometimes whole chunks) of our mysterious human (and other) reality on this planet.

One of my favorite videos is of David Icke at the Oxford University Debating Society in England three years ago. If you haven’t been exposed to his thinking this is a good place to start. But perhaps I’m one of the few who hasn’t till now been exposed."


"What I was remembering was how [Malcolm X] called our oppressors “blue eyed devils.” Now who could that have been? Well, we see them here in David Icke’s book as the descendants of the reptilian race that landed on our sweet planet the moment they could get a glimpse of it through the mist that used to cover it (before there was a moon). No kidding. Deep breath! Yes, before there was a moon! (Oh, I love the moon; can I keep it? Please?). Anyway, there they came, these space beings (we’re space beings too, of course, not to forget that). But they looked…. different than us. And they were.

They wanted gold and they wanted slaves to mine it for them. Now gosh, who does this remind us of? I only am asking. You do the work. Apparently their own planet needed this metal to continue its, apparently, long life. Credo Mutwa, Zulu shaman – and I am on my knees here in gratitude that he held on long enough to tell us about this – calls them the Chitauri, which has become my favorite word of all time (well, of this time that I’m learning all this): my partner and I go around saying Oh, Chitauri, whenever we get a glimpse of one or two of the Chitauri offspring, aka Illuminati bloodline families and their puppets, on the telly. It’s quite the stress reliever, just knowing what we’re looking at."


Obvious points about Icke's neo-nazism aside, what can we learn from Walker's public psychasthenia? People who defend comments about Jewish related affairs as 'criticism of Israel' often have something to hide. Particularly when they do not offer proof that they are only criticizing the Jewish state, they are really arguing thats its impossible to criticize Israel and be anti-Semitic. Racism depends upon denial and socially accepted behavior to make it normal.

  Extremists carve out their own environments to cocoon themselves from reason. 'Alternative media' (hate sites and dictatorship propaganda outlets in need of useful idiocy) do not exist simply because fringe ideologues need places to publish their rants about the international Jewish conspiracy to fluoridate Richard Falk's precious bodily fluids. The alternative media and other spaces exist as echo chambers to strengthen their delusional views.  

The tactic of arguing that Jew hatred is mere criticism of Israel - alibi anti-Semitism - is more than a transparently fake defense its an attempt to make Jew hatred socially acceptable. Walker's opinions give us an example of alibi anti-Semitism can lead to double standards to endorsing a Shoah denier. Its unlikely that Alice is ever subjected to criticism which is important for a healthy adult life. Just as Walker was to swept up in her narcism and sheltered from criticism to understand the truly vile nature of her beliefs alibi anti-Semitism exists to quarantine people from criticism so their opinions fester even further. Alice Walker has unintentionally demolished the non-argument of presenting mankind's oldest hatred as criticism of Bibi.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Common Extremist Responses to Criticism

Extremists do not respond well to criticism. They are legends in their own minds who believe themselves to possess pure truth. Any words that violate that delusion trigger impotently angry responses without substance. These various non-arguments have become favored thought terminating cliches.

"Thats just a smear!"

The s-word (no not ) is beloved by most extremists, it amounts to "the critique is slander because I say it is." Obviously it must be proved that criticism is baseless defamation, simply claiming it to be proves nothing. The acceptance of the quoted tactic would come with a heavy price: any criticism made by extremists would be rendered null and void. If shouting smear so strenuously sends any criticism into the cornfield then your opponents can do the same thing.

Its only useful as an insight to the extremists' mentality. They believe that they are always correct because their ideology is absolute truth, the mindset that has lead to so many atrocities (fortunately the people I wrote this post with in mind only massacre quality of the internet). Therefore any criticism of them must be false.

Fringe ideologues and usually hypocrites, the habit of crying 'smear' is often made by those who genuinely defame people. When notorious Jew hater Ali Abunimah libeled Thor Halvorssen (and providing the internet with unintentional comedy only rivaled by militia members insulting the SPLC) Ali mewled that Thor had 'smeared' him. Its also central in alibi anti-Semitism, someone defending Jew hatred will claim will claim that they or someone else was 'smeared' as an anti-Semite.

The smear defense can be so false that it can defy comprehension. When Mona Seif was criticized for tweets about Israel various bloggers leaped to her defense like the toad taking a bullet for magneto. Her defenders insisted that she was a noble lady 'smeared' as anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel. Yet her own tweets described attacks on Israeli civilians as legitimate "resistance" and she was angry that anyone even raised the possibility of such attacks coming to an end. Dead Jewish civilians elate her, the thought of such violence ending enrages her.

Mona stated her support anti-Semitic slaughter was written in English to make her position clear, she may be a soulless Jew hating abomination but she is at least unlike her fans. (Its difficult to tell who's more immorally perverse and putrid, Mona or her defenders.) Sometimes resorting to crying smear often suggests that a critique is correct.

"That is a violation of academic freedom."

Academic freedom has become a battle cry against criticism and academic accountability. People who cry academic freedom have a childish belief that tenure is a gawd given right, not a privilege that can be revoked. Academic fringe ideologues and their fans view academia as a refuge from the real world. Where else could you churn out barely comprehensible semi-literate bilge in service of adolescent identity politics and get paid for it in money instead of guffaws?

The idea of academics being removed and/or censored for opinions is absurd since it would only cripple their respective universities. That concept is central to moans of 'academic freedom' and it can be refuted since extremist frauds in academia remain fully employed. Thomas Dilorenzo has written some of the most racist and comically inaccurate books ever published, he insulted Boston bombings victims by defaming them as 'bootlickers.' Joseph Massad's body of work is almost entirely homophobic, misogynist and anti-Semitic its heavily inaccurate as many critics have documented.

Both men and others remain fully employed and tenured at the colleges which are degraded by their presence. That doesn't stop them from trying to cannonize themselves as martyrs. Dilorenzo has whined about "he academic left's attempted silencing of dissent" which should offend those who "believe in academic freedom." Massad claimed that the campus watch website is an affront to "academic freedom" and an attempt to "to terrorize faculty into following the Israeli line and to intimidate us by having us avoid addressing thes issues." I don't trust CW as a source but seriously 'intimidate' and 'terrorize?' Usually someone's imagined victim status is the direct inverse of their actual status, its hard to imagine Massad being terrorized by something other than spiders or the idea that the people who hired might actually read his work, fortunately for him its barely comprehensible.

Obviously if there was a policy of eliminating perfessers for certain views Massad, Dilorenzo and an entire rogues gallery of frauds would have already gotten the boot thus improving our universities which exist to teach people. They do not exist to provide a forum for those who try to make their delusional identity issues (whether its the idea that the confederacy was a utopia or that Arab culture is beyond criticism) fact. If anything we need less academic freedom to make sure that our universities mold our young people into capable adults instead of producing manchildren addled with extremist mythology.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Are the Far-Left and the Golden Dawn Enemies or Allies?

The far-left have responded to the Greek Golden Dawn's rise with more pretend heroism than LARPers. Comment is Free published articles like "Greece's Golden Dawn isn't a political party – it's more like a criminal gang." Counterpunch railed on about the "rise of facism in Greece." I share their loathing of GG but 'anti-imperialists' are effectively on the same side as the Greek brown shirts.

The left has a mythology of a proud history spent fighting fascism which is more fiction than fact. Their past predecessors were originally opposed to the second world.  Left wing outlets responded to the Nuremberg laws by arguing that the US wasn't in any position to criticize Germany because of Jim Crow, whataboutery which is the leading tactic of outlets like counterpunch. CPUSA mocked people suffering under Axis occupation with songs like "the yanks aren't coming." The left only supported war against the Axis powers after the USSR was invaded, they were motivated by support for Stalin. Those on the left imagine fascists as nasty people who just hate non-Whites and welfare, they remain willfully ignorant of the commonalities they share with far-right ideologies.

In the aftermath of Communism's downfall the anti-imperialist left began supporting movements and states solely based on their opposition to the West. Were they motivated out of desperation or sheer hatred that their dreams were revealed to have been hollow lies blown apart by the winds of change? The motive though is irrelevant, if you try to understand the extremist mind you'll only die crazy.

Similarly he far-right became orphans in a world where fascism had largely been extirpated by the second world war. Like the extreme left the far-left had nothing but hatred of the west and a few regimes to support. The post-WWII brownshirt had Salazar and the neo-Stalinist has Castro.

The far-left and extreme right continued to develop shared opinions. Both because viciously anti-Israel in that respect the far-right has a little bit of high ground over leftists since they are at least honest about why they hate the Jewish state. Anti-Israel leftists prefer to dress up anti-Semitism in talk of national liberation, post-colonialism all steeped in the prejudice that holds that Jewishness is a foreign presence that must be cut out. Ali Abunimah presented his anger at the existence of Israeli currenty and Hebrew signs as opposition to 'colonialism' when really it was anger that Gaza was not fully Judenrein.

Of course shared viewpoints predated modern times. The extreme right and left wing ideologies were always deeply anti-American and anti-Semitic. Communists, socialists and other ideologues filtered anti-Semitism through their viewpoints portraying the Jews as oppressors of the poor. While the USA was reviled as the capital of capitalism responsible for exploitation of the working masses.

Right wing anti-Semitism doesn't require any explanation though its anti-Americanism is obscure. Fascism has always been consistently anti-American, the ideology depicts the USA as a corrupt, Jewish controlled foul state that produces the modernity they reject. Emilio Gentile described anti-Americanism as "very widespread in fascist culture." He wrote that Italian fascists believed they had to "wage a holy war against the American monster to save Italian civilization." With such vehement mutual anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, shared political views among the two sides became inevitable.

The extreme left and right continued to develop the same stances about middle east issues. Both came to support Hezbollah, Baathist Syria and other regimes because of anti-Israel extremism. Dinosaurs longing for the east bloc saw anti-Israel terrorism as third worldy heroic resistance guerrilla warfare. While the far-right correctly identified middle eastern dictators and terrorists to be continuations of European fascism.

Far-rightists trail blazed positions already held by modern left wing extremists. John Wright of sociality unity proclaimed that he is "with Assad." David Duke was pro-Assad before it was kkkewl. He traveled to Damascus in solidarity with Bashar Al-Assad, the extreme left shares a position on Syria with the Klan.

Iran apologia and blatant support for the regime has become common among 'anti-imperialists' but they're a little late to the party. Neo-fascists made up a great deal of Khomeini's early foreign support. The National Front were among the 1979 revolution's most vocal and devoted supporters, a position shared by the BNP. One Italian fascist explained that there are "groups of traditionalists [in Italy] that are great admirers of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. They say that Europe is in decadence and that the salvation of Europe can come from Islam. On many occasions in their publications they have paid tribute to Ayatollah Khomeini and to the Islamic Revolution, and some of the Italian converts come from this background."


Neo-fascists abandoned any enmity to surviving Communist states, gone were the days of  socialist-fascist brawling in front of beer halls. David Duke expressed his support for North Korea and Cuba while After all aren't the Castro and Kim dynasties really just nationalists who are in the same boat? Le Pen expressed his view that Communism "has been replaced by another deadly utopia: Globalism, new internationalist ideology and materialism that has the sole aim to maximize the profits of big capitalists at the expense of the Nations and their peoples" clearly the man is a fan of Naomi Klein's work.

With that history in mind are the 'anti-imperialists' and the Golden Dawn and other similar cults enemies? The GD has a strong anti-capitalist policy mirroring leftist opposition to modern capitalism, GD's manifesto states enmity to "vast exploitative wealth, either locally or internationalist." Occupy Athens!

The GD has an obvious anti-American ideology with posters calling for the audience to "resist the USA." While the party is vehemently opposed to Muslim immigration they support a variety of Islamist entities due to the bond of shared anti-Western hatred. The Golden Dawn stated that they "stand in solidarity with Iran and their efforts to combat international Zionism, and also admire certain anti-corruption laws they have." The 'Freedom Road Socialist Organization' stated that they stand "in solidarity" with the "Iranian government" because of the Mullahs' anti-American and anti-Israel policies. Two very similar statements made under the exact same reasoning.

 Support for Hezbollah continues to grow, take Max Blumenthal's self parodying defense of Nasrallah for example most praise Hezbollah for its social services. The Golden Dawn expressed a desire to "become like Hezbollah" and praised the services the hezis provide.

Like much of the left the GD hold that corporations and capitalists are responsible for much of mankind's misery. GDers believe that capitalism is a "god" and talk of  "the kingdom of money, the domination of the economy over politics." Its impossible to detect any difference between that narrative and the leftist thesis of  corporate controlled governments. Occupy Wall Street believes that "corporations will take over the world and destroy it."

The far-left, Golden Dawn and the general extreme right are de facto allies. Both have little vision and even moderate factions have failed to present viable alternative to western democracies as confirmed by OWS rape courts that were designed to protect rapists. Certain leftist extremists are naked about the common ground they share with the far-right and advocate alliances. Prominent leftist writers urged people to support Ron Paul because of his anti-war politics, ignoring his white supremacism. Even Black leftists have allied with those who fantasize about putting them in chains. Cynthia McKinney stated that she's "not afraid" to ally with  White supremacists while Alice Walker endorsed David Icke's paradigm. (So much for the feeble defenses that there was nothing anti-Semitic about her refusal to have her books translated into Hebrew, still that could just an attempt to spare Jews from further suffering by reading her books Jews have been through enough.)

The two are motivated by hatred of the west in particular anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism veiled as opposition to Israel. The far-left and far-right are effectively one ideological entity who will ally with any monster opposed to the democratic world out of anger at a world that has left them behind.