"Switzerland joins Denmark in seizing assets from refugees to cover costs." (Guardian). This is such a great idea. Confiscate anything that might help refugees support themselves (then demonize them for being "a drain on taxpayers," of course). But why stop at "seizing assets" to make them "pay for their upkeep"? Why not, say take their gold teeth? Their hair? You know, for stuffing pillows or something. How about using them as forced labor? So many possibilities -- and plenty of examples from history on what can be done! Of course, a cheaper alternative to the refugee crisis might be to quit waging wars and supporting wars, extremism, tyranny and corruption in their homelands. But that would make our own poobahs feel less important (and less flush with profiteering cash). And we certainly can't have that.*Sorry; the link function doesn't seem to be working today. Here is the story: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/15/switzerland-joins-denmark-in-seizing-assets-from-refugees-to-cover-costs?CMP=share_btn_tw
"And so I said, 'We came, we saw, he died!' And now they've got death and chaos up the wazoo! Have I not done well, Master?"
(Sorry for the dearth in posting. Hope to do more soon, if anyone is still out there. Meanwhile, here's my column from last month's CounterPunch print magazine.) *** Just hours after the UK Parliament’s vote to bomb Syria on December 2, four British jets were scrambling from their base in Cyprus, on their way to strike oilfields held by ISIS. The launch point, Akrotiri, one of two UK bases on the island, was apt: Cyprus was one of the last colonies acquired by Britain — formally annexed in 1925, as the tidal wave of the Empire’s “late Victorian holocausts” was slowly beginning to ebb away. Now it serves the Empire’s withered rump as Britain joins France’s continuing attacks on its own former “protectorate,” Syria.
Tamir Rice, 12, carrying a toy gun, was shot two seconds after the officer arrived. It's overwhemingly obvious that the officer went on the call intending to kill the "suspect" immediately. No warning, no talk, just an instantaneous draw-and-fire. But he faces no charges at all for what was obviously an intent to kill, regardless of the circumstances. Contrast the treatment of Dylann Roof -- an adult mass murderer on the run, subject to an "armed and dangerous alert" (which means that officers should expect to face an immediate and deadly threat).
An open letter to Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War coalition: In your Guardian interview with John Harris, you joined David Cameron and the pro-war Blairites in completely mischaracterising my “Reaping the Whirlwind” blogpost. You said you objected to it because it did not “completely condemn the Paris massacres.” This is absolutely untrue — as you would know if you had actually read the article which your own organisation posted on its website (without asking me) then removed. I ask you now to read this passage from the blogpost: “I write in despair. Despair of course at the depravity displayed by the murderers of the innocents in Paris tonight.” Is that not “complete” enough for you?
Just a quick thought: when did America become a nation of such gutless, frothing cowards? Induced panics -- political, 'moral,' financial, etc. -- are an endemic feature of American history, of course. But to see people positively revelling in their cowardice -- proud of it, boasting of it, building their lives around it -- as they are today seems like something new, in degree if nothing else. Certainly since the McCarthy days, at least.
[NEW UPDATE. The Guardian has just published the letter below, so I've edited the intro here.] As the ersatz angst over Jeremy Corbyn’s links to Stop the War UK flares up once more in the endless plotting of Labour factionalists, my post-Paris blog post about “reaping the whirlwind” has raised its “disreputable” head again. With the latest mentions continuing the universal misrepresentation of the post, I wrote the letter below to the Guardian, in yet another wan attempt to set the record straight:
Look, here’s how it is: a white man dressed in Klan robes and a Nazi armband could shoot up a kindergarten shouting, “I’m a racist fascist terrorist deliberately committing terrorist acts to terrorize society!!!”, and the New York Times would still characterize him as “troubled soul, struggling with personal issues, an imperfect but a good man.” That’s just how it is. There is literally nothing — nothing — that a white killer can do in America that will cause him to be labelled a “terrorist.” Even if, like Dylann Roof, he explicitly states that he is committing an overt act of terror in order to instigate a race war and overthrow American society as it is now constituted. Even then, he’s not a “terrorist;" he's troubled young man, a "lone wolf" who wandered down the wrong path. It is simply impossible in the current American political discourse — even in “sophisticated” up-market media outlets like the New York Times —for a white man to be a terrorist.
The debate over bombing ISIS in Syria rests on what one can only assume is a deliberate misapprehension. The imputation of this "debate" is that we "must do something" to quell and defeat ISIS; and the essential, imperative thing we must do to accomplish this vital goal is to bomb Syria. But of course the UK is already bombing ISIS. It bombs ISIS nearly every day -- in the group's heartland, Iraq. It has flown "thousands of missions" against ISIS, dropped tons of bombs, killed many people. Has this quelled or defeated ISIS, or curtailed its reach? Obviously not.
(UPDATED BELOW) (UPDATED AGAIN) For the past few days, I’ve had the curious experience of being — peripherally, indirectly — a political football. The original piece I wrote on the Paris bombing got picked up by StopTheWar UK, an organization associated with Jeremy Corbyn, and was then used by Labour Blairites and Tory twits to bash Corbyn for the “sickening” article, which showed what an ungodly radical he really was. He was later asked about it by the BBC.
People see the carnage in Paris, and cry, “When will this end?” The hard answer is that it is not going to end, not any time soon. We are living through the horrific consequences of decisions and actions taken long ago, as well as those of being taken right now. The currents and movements set in motion by these actions cannot be quelled in an instant — not by wishing, not by hashtags of solidarity or light shows on iconic buildings … and certainly not by more bombing, destruction, repression and lies, which are the main drivers of our present-day hell.
We, the West, overthrew Saddam by violence. We overthrew Gadafy by violence. We are trying to overthrow Assad by violence. Harsh regimes all — but far less draconian than our Saudi allies, and other tyrannies around the world. What has been the result of these interventions? A hell on earth, one that grows wider and more virulent year after year.