Unspinning Official Stories 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

  4 January 2009, An Al Jazeera photo today placed right beside their story of Israel invading Gaza shows George Bush on the phone. He seems to be talking to the Israeli war room. BBC yesterday reported that Bush himself had rejected a unilateral ceasefire in Palestine (that's what it's ALL called in my 1940 world atlas) and had outlined HIS conditions for a ceasefire. What if, while the SF Chronicle is front-paging nostalgic stories of twenty years ago or trying to convince us Al Gore type "green" fiddling around is already saving the world, our neo-Napoleon president declares a national emergency and suspends Obama's inauguration so he can start World War III?
    You might not have noticed his bottom of the news story declaration a few days ago, just before the Israeli bombardment began, that Israel deserves to fulfill their dream and finally win the much larger homeland they were promised in the Bible. Hey! I didn't make that up. Always read to the bottom of the story. And, while you're upgrading your reading habits, go back to 2001 and re-read Bush's proclamations about his own dream of "ending" 35-50 countries to stabilize the world for himself and his fellow insiders. He's not gone yet.
-Glen Roberts

"The Leader of the free world" - Wow!

  10 January 2009, It says in today's SF Chronicle that Obama is "counting the days" until he takes over as "leader of the free world." Q#1: When was THAT election? Q#2: What is "the free world"?
    The second answer first: "the free world" was a World War II era term and then (because U.S. editors just couldn't pull their heads out of those days of neat heroes and villains and war maps and stuff) it hung on as a very inept cold war era term actually based on an old Flash Gordon serial fantasy wherein Flash's Perry-Mason-looking father was "leader of the free world" and the rest of the world was on another planet called Mongo cruelly over-lorded by a paper-doll string of Emperor Mings just begging for a good old American punch in the nose.
    Now the answer to the first question: if any such election (I mean for "leader of the free world") were held any time during at least the last half century anyplace outside the American ignorance bubble, Washington and the CIA would lose it. In fact, Obama's best bet to finally achieve the international respect neo-Roman America doesn't have and doesn't deserve would be to join the UN as a listening member. On page 10 of today's Chronicle, Pakistan's prime minister is quoted as proudly admitting the CIA is still leading THEM around by the nose. "The American CIA and Pakistani ISI have an old working relationship," he boasts. A lot of countries like Venezuela wouldn't second his probably Cheshire enthusiasm.
    The Chronicle story goes on to tell us Obama is asking his critics to send him their economic stimulus plans. Mine's filed under 11 October (month before last), and if I find his address on You-Tube.com (the only clue provided) and send it in, I've got as much chance to reach the man himself with it as I do to reach Michael Moore (which I've vainly tried). Zero. So I suggest instead that he talk to the actual leader of the newly free Latin American world, Hugo Chavez, about re-joining the OAS as an equal member with ears as well as a mouth. The 31 Latin American countries who recently met very pointedly without the U.S. have some ideas about stimulating the economy NOT of the rich but of the rest of us.
    On the other foot, today's Al Jazeera declares that "Most Americans would stop short of tossing their footwear at the outgoing president - not wanting to spend the rest of their lives in one of his administration's secret prisons." Sounds like a wild accusation. U.S. media regularly print such stuff about Cuba, though, and Americans don't doubt it. In fact, though, I doubt that anybody is likely to be jailed in Cuba for any length of time without a legitimate judicial procedure. But this charge by Al Jazeera against Bush's U.S. isn't really far fetched. Is it?
-Glen Roberts

Obama fans need to look up CHANGE  

  21 January 2009, CHANGE? Is that just a slogan or does it mean CHANGE? Come on. What change? I don't think the insiders want or will permit CHANGE.
     Obama's first act as president today was to go to a praying place and pray. Hey, that's NOT CHANGE, folks. That's a familiar staged assurance that America's insider media have written, produced, directed and staged the election of yet another religious (or pretend-religious) leader, just like in the Middle East. Of course, it's politically correct to be or pretend to be religious. But hey! Political correctness is NOT CHANGE, either. It's also the same old shit.
     CHANGE would be to move away from the fantasy world of gods and flags and anti-communism and secret agents and "tough" leaders and overwhelming military force and religiously-believed-in democracy and "free" trade and transparently stacked-deck stock markets and "THE" economy which is only the rich insiders' economy and eternal growth for the sake of business (and to hell with the eco-system} and even entrepreneurial environmentalism (thank you Mr. Gore) and other assorted politically correct posturing and - FOR A CHANGE - INSTEAD OF CONTINUING TO LIVE IN THAT FANTASY WORLD - come live with me in the real world - the one with NO god but Mother Nature - the real world that desperately needs real CHANGE, before the 80% forever poor finally get fed up with being forever poor and revolt bigtime, and before Mother Nature finally steps up her own obviously now on-going surge to the level of zero tolerance and overwhelming force.

    CHANGE, to the establishment, eternally means centrism, which always always ALWAYS means NO CHANGE that would threaten the flow of profits into the pockets of insiders who ARE the establishment. And Obama is afraid to move any further outside the rich insiders' establishment than into the other inside-the-pocket "liberal" establishment, where CHANGE has meant the same short-list of about four nice safe politically correct causes for so long now that the establishment insiders have long ago thrown the pseudo progressive "liberals" a bone and bought them by adopting and tailoring their four nice safe causes into a safe back pocket of centrism (Obama and his staged election being the best imaginable example).
     Obama? Change? Obama is on a short leash. He can talk about eventually bringing the troops home, and respecting other countries ONLY WHILE, like any Republican, staying a "tough" homeland defender and still talking "tough" about upper-class religious America's military support for upper class religious Israel and food basket charity for lower class religious Palestine. But he can't go to the UN as a member and urge the UN to persuade the Middle Eastern countries, whether they ever become democratic or not, to become civilized SECULAR states.
     Obama can mouth the word environment and play the presidential mime role in Al Gore's very conveniently one-trick-pony show about one environmental issue. But he can't direct American schools and urge the UN to persuade the world to direct all its schools to immediately start teaching all children everywhere from the first grade on that one child is enough, two is maximum, and zero is fine, too, since there is no such thing as too few people.
     Obama can talk about eventually closing Guantanamo, but he can't just close the damned place, instruct his State Department to get agreements from all the other countries involved to admit the released detainees with civilized guarantees, immediately evacuate the marines from the once-Cuban enclave and give it back to Cuba, and then go himself to Havana and meet there with all the new truly progressive Latin American leaders and LISTEN to their much less stagnant ideas about what CHANGE should really be.
     Obama and his head are being inflated to mythic proportions, just when America needs to stop talking down to the world and start looking up to the world's real new leaders like Hugo Chavez, and it actually scares me when he speaks of foreign affairs. He obviously still divides the world between them and us; he obviously means to negotiate with the foreigners more diplomatically now just so they'll do what Washington wants them to do; he obviously still thinks the bad guys designated as "evil" by his stupidest Republican predecessors are indeed the bad guys. I'm afraid he knows no more about the "foreign" world than Hillary Clinton. Maybe the appointment of an information oriented man to head the CIA means something. But, if so, why not just expeditiously close the CIA's covert meddling branch (IF they'll let him - they never even let Jimmy Carter know what they were up to) and CHANGE the department into an honest information gathering agency to re-educate him and his government for participation in a new more educated and constructive approach to domestic and world policy?
     Dumping the Republicans in America should be as great as dumping the Jihadists and Zionists in the Middle East would be. But I don't think it's going to be. Everything the new democratic leaders say seems to indicate we're going to go on having mediocre political leadership. CHANGE? I think America is more likely going to go on being SHORT CHANGED.
-Glen Roberts

Media start staging THEIR next election  

  31 January 2009, On January 12, an article on page 10 of the SF Chronicle kicked off the media's 2010 California gubernatorial election. The possessive word media's isn't a typo. It's always the media's election from start to finish.
     This was the standard start: 22 months before the vote, those who saw the article were handed, with no effort needed on their part, a ready-made line-up of THEIR preferred candidates, including some they may never have heard of, and told how they already ranked them, not as philosophical leaders, just as candidates in another exciting candidate race. There's even already a favorite. Those who missed that article will find out in the next one it's Diane Feinstein.
     The Chronicle fielded 10 Democrats and 3 Republicans for their election, no Greens or independents or socialists, though for sure once or twice between now and November of 2010, voters will hear of the media's rejects in separate stories specifically about the rejects as rejects. Voters will be constantly told what they think of the viable candidates -AS CANDIDATES - right up to election day, so they'll be prepared for the result. Don't you realize you've seen this over and over throughout your voting life?
     Just in case you've forgotten or are habitually oblivious, I explained how it works in April of '05 in a letter from Cuba about how similar the Cuban elections are to American elections in this respect. "As you certainly know," I wrote, "the rigging of American elections doesn't usually happen on election day. The voters apparently vote as they wish. But most of them (and that's all it takes in a democracy) wish what they've been trained to wish. Starting long before election day, after entrenched insiders decide which candidates are to be taken seriously and line up their pictures before you in a kind of cast-of-characters article (like the article that appeared two weeks ago, right on schedule), the embedded media then stage a very long-running, very predictable but very slick and expensive multi-media show of irrelevantly trivial and personal but effectively relentless and pervasive propaganda - a daily, hourly, up-to-the-minute smoke cloud - that goes on for months, if not years.
     "Pre-presidential election "reporting" (brainwashing) in America used to go on for only about a year, but, ever since the media were badly scared by their own loss of control when they tried (every minute every hour every day for only a year) and failed to convince Americans that Bill Clinton's sex life was grounds for impeachment, it's been a 2-year frame-up.
     "So, for at least a year but probably two years, these days, not the candidates but the much more reliable media, speaking like matching oracles from within the smoke, tell Americans every single thing they reportedly think, not about issues, almost never about what this candidate or that might do to change or adjust the system to make life better for all the participants, but just about the candidate race as a candidate race, from the beginning until voting day, when the voters do nothing but fulfill their assigned destinies. By election day, they've been literally hypnotized. A relentlessly induced paralysis of their individual and collective will stymies any urge to vote outside the box.
     "The American media, the mercenary bards of the rich, the slickest propaganda machine ever anywhere, write, direct, produce, and stage elections which always end with their type of people still in power, with hardly a word ever spoken about the purposes and functions of government and government officials, because the actual, mainly business purposes of government in America are too shallow or too shameful to reveal. Most of the world follows the American plan, often with American help (whether they want it or not)."

     An Obama supporter, drunk with euphoria, has pointed out to me that Obama's election proves that, no matter how long it takes, the voters eventually always decide who their leaders will be, but that's not what happens, and it's not what happened in the last two years.
     Two years ago, it should have been apparent to anyone that the voters would be given John McCain as a sacrificial goat, since the Republicans had to lose, and Hillary Clinton to vote for, so they could go on thinking democracy works. Though the candidates have to be safe for business, what the media sell isn't just candidates; it's democracy (see democracy in the definitions box on the front page). So not very long at all after the curtain rose, in an era when too many people were getting suspicious of America and what it was up to, a third actor was added to the cast to provide the voters a more convincing democracy show, with an exciting candidate race (they'd be told every day how exciting it was - and they were) between an acceptable woman and an acceptable black man. It was always obvious why the woman was acceptable, since Hillary was no threat at all to the status quo. In the last few weeks, it's become clearer and clearer why Barack Obama was acceptable, too.

-Glen Roberts

The science of economics unclarified for you daily

  17 February 2009, While the "western" world's designated economy experts met earlier this month in a place called Davos and tried but failed to come up with a solution to world financial problems, the main yell of the protestors outside, who couldn't have been Americans, was, "YOU're the problem! Resign!" Get it? No? Try this then.
       If the media accounts of how normality became financial crisis and may now be restored if Obama's supposedly better bail-out somehow works sound like hocus pocus to you; and if the quoted comments of congressmen you know can't even speak English read like pocus hocus, should you feel dumb? Why?
       Just remember that the editors, "think" tankers, and politicians who supposedly understand what you don't understand are the same klunks who believe that digging up gold and reburying it in an official cellar makes money more valuable than beans or lumber or shoes or hard work or wisdom.
       And they're the same klunks who believe that the profiteering of a handful of U.S. billionaires at home and abroad is everybody's major interest but that environmentalists are a special interest group. They also believe the most important thing a president can do is spend trillions of your dollars proving he's tough by bombing places you never heard of and have nothing against to supposedly somehow protect you from "terrorists" you're not afraid of. They believe that a supernatural being nobody's ever seen approves of the bloody exploits of our leading klunks and the sacrifice of uniformed children to unexplainable causes so much that he'll reward us all later in heaven with some deal even better than 27 virgins apiece.
       So maybe what reads like hocus pocus to you IS hocus pocus.
-Glen Roberts

Media fixated on Middle East fumble Latin American story
Why are all the new presidents visiting Havana?

20 February 2009 Maybe their grip on the Middle East is slippery, too, but thanks to Sunday school, Christmas carols, and their own obsessive reportage including countless war maps, even if they've got a lot of them wrong, at least they know there ARE details there. If it wasn't about Mexican food, most western editors couldn't pass the simplest pop quiz on Latin America, which (except for the Amazon and Club Med) most of them think is ALL Gus Arriola's Mexico south of the one and only border.
     It's not that the places they cover aren't important. My hometown's important and, to the Baghdadians, so's Baghdad. But I'm talking about a place that starts right across the border from San Diego, includes half the land area on America's half of the planet (17% of the dry world and 9% of the world population), has oil, winter fruit, art, music, dope, plenty of newsworthy strife, and maybe the world's only respectable revolution, a uniquely harmonious multi-country project that actually may be going somewhere. Don't put words in my mouth. I'm not predicting anything. It may not keep going. But I'm not mistaken. YOU just don't know about it.
     Latin America, which doesn't do suicide bombing and has only a few occasionally tense borders and no international wars, may be the only part of the world currently progressing (muy poco a poco - very slowly) toward political and philosophical civilization, eventually to include (if the CIA and the U.S. Marines will stand for it) actual social and economic equality - which makes it more important than the U.S., Europe, or the Middle East. Yet all the embedded news media are strenuously ignoring Latin America.
     When I lived in San Diego, there wasn't a highway sign in town pointing toward Tijuana or Mexico, and there's not much sign of the approximately 30 countries south of Imperial Beach in the San Diego Union, either. Nor in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, NY Times or any major U.S. media. On the world net, Al Jazeera MIGHT have one Latin American story a day (usually the same one for a week), and BBC and CNN ditto.
     A week ago, Michelle Bachelet, the president of Chile (a country just as modern and twice as big and beautiful as California and maybe more important right now), paid a visit to Fidel and Raul in Cuba, which was certainly 10 X as important as Hillary Clinton's farcical runway stop in South Korea; next day, Venezuelans voted to let themselves keep Hugo Chavez, whom I consider on solid grounds the real "leader of the free world," as their president for as long as they need him; then new Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom almost stepped on Bachelet's heels as he arrived in Cuba specifically to apologize for his country helping the U.S. attack the Bay of Pigs in 1961 - landmark stories all. But western media news-briefed the first, completely missed the point of the second, overlooked the third, and made no connection between them. I was reminded of how all their meager coverage of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's campaign, election, and inaugeration focused on her clothes and compared her image to that of Evita or Madonna; I forget which.
      If you're very young - not even very - just young - in fact, if you're an American of any age informed of the world mostly by your own religiously anti-communist media, you may not know or remember that in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's, there was a strong and rapidly spreading revolution all over Latin America and even slopping a bit into the U.S. in the 60's and 80's against local and colonial capitalist poverty and for socialist dignity and eventual equality, spearheaded by armed guerrillas like FARC in virtually every mainland Latin American country. American barbershop and coffeehouse owls, whose predecessors hooted then of "falling dominoes," now think they think, with media help of course and still NO grasp of their subject, that all that ended in 1990. But it didn't.
     Far from it (see Chapter Two of "Cuban Notebooks" on this website). It didn't end because poverty didn't end and, in spite of western media claims that communism had failed, the Cuban beacon was still there. And, in fact, since Hugo Chavez' emergence first prompted laughable American "suspicion" that he was "going Castro's way," newly elected leftist presidents in EVERY South American country but the tiny Guyanas, Peru, and Colombia have followed him. That's right - almost EVERY ONE. When the FARC take Hugo's advice to trade their arms for amnesty and equal political participation, now fascist Colombia will probably follow him, too, and as soon as the once leftist now quisling Alan Garcia ends his presidential term, Peru certainly will. And that will make a whole continent "going Castro's way" completely off the mainstream media screen.
     What's starting up down south is an economic bloc intended to counter NAFTA by emphasizing the alleviation of social and economic inequality instead of international profit, cut the US out of Latin American economic affairs, and escape from under the thumb of the World Bank and the IMF. It's called ALBA, an acronym which means dawn and stands for the Latin American Bolivarian Alliance, an alliance which will very importantly include Cuba.
     Isn't that a bigger better story than the bloody awful but endlessly redundant and utterly pointless religious tribal or tribally religious feuds of the Middle East? OK, I know all the wars (besides boosting the arms business) are really wars for space and THAT's important, but the editors don't even know THAT.
     Bachelet's visit to Cuba was a landmark because, though she had looked less certainly militant than other new leftist presidents, she clearly came out when she recently hosted a South American summit in Santiago where Evo Morales' eviction of the U.S. ambassador from Bolivia was applauded and supported, and now she is the next to last of the new leftist presidents to make what's apparently become (to wide awake people and certainly the CIA) a necessary pilgrimage, a rite of passage, an initiation for membership in the new Latin American order. They've ALL done it except the most recent, Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo, who, from an election celebration platform he shared with Raul Castro in Asuncion last year, shouted, "Viva Fidel!" Lujo, known as "the rebel priest" before he was elected president, is reportedly planning his Havana visit some time in the next two months.
-Glen Roberts

A freely profitable press is not really a free press
Media rigging elections again years in advance

  6 March 2009: The fourth estate is a miserable failure in America.Though he never used the phrase fourth estate, numerous quotations make it clear that Thomas Jefferson advocated and constitutionally secured freedom for the press precisely so media could serve as a disconnected sector of government, uncontrolled or influenced by government, able to keep the government honest by watching it and criticizing it in the interest of the people.
     Jefferson did foresee the misuse of an embedded press (he didn't use the term embedded but that was clearly what he meant), but he underestimated the force of greed in a free enterprise society and the inevitable misuse of a free enterprise press by the rich (and, yes, by other special enterest groups but mainly by the rich) and, through the rich, by the government itself, making the press in America, as a fourth estate, a miserable failure.
     The media are, right now, rigging elections again - so blatantly that you might think they'd read my exact description of their regular procedure (see 31 January below) and were trying to prove me right. The article on page 1 of yesterday's Chronicle about the "race" to win the California governor election in 2010 is so outrageously, cunningly, insidiously dishonest, I'm damned if I can see why every "news" reader above the lumpen level isn't infuriated.
     Of the 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans the media and their very fishy "Field Poll" have themselves selected and placed before the voters, only ONE has even clearly tossed in her hat. And the Chronicle disingenuously allows that that "leading" Republican, though not previously well known, "got some help from the timing of the poll because (she) has been in the news sinceannouncing her likely candidacy two weeks ago."
     I'll say. In fact, the Chronicle has been strenuously publicizing her for two weeks. But I'd bet (and win for sure) that most California Republicans who supposedly favor her have still never heard or thought of her. And I'd bet (and win) that most California Democrats specifically asked if they felt favorably or not favorably about the candidacy of Diane Feinstein (who hasn't announced her candidacy) had not been thinking about THAT. The election being rigged is a year and 8 months away, and I'd bet most Californians had no idea it was already a "race" with "favorites" already installed until the Field pollsters called and told them so.
     The most appalling thing about this sham news story, except for the actually printed quote from Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Field Poll, that "people have to be comfortable with candidates and they're comfortable with Diane Feinstein," - except for that stunning proof of the fishiness of the Field Poll, the most appalling thing is the revelation that, while 54% of Republicans telephoned refused to offer an opinion, 80% of Democrats were willing to play the game. I'm not a fan of democracy, anyway (see my definition of democracy linked on the front page), but I'm apparently more protective of it's imaginary virtue than are the true believers, including the ostentatiously pro-democracy pseudo progressives, because it's ME telling you this is not the way America's vaunted democracy is supposed to work.
     What good is democracy if THE voters don't even select the redundant insider candidates THE voters then dumbly and dutifully vote for?
-Glen Roberts

Foreign affairs through a trick mirror

  21 March 2009: A BBC headline shouts "Venezuelan Military Seizes Ports! Does that mean Venezuela is seizing Venezuela? No. It means Venezuela has taken another rational step toward nationalization of resources in a country becoming socialist. BBC news reporting prejudice is too apparent. When the news is about Venezuela, rich Venezuelan friends of the U.S. who control Venezuela's biggest news media also control U.S. and British media.
     In yesterday's story on Sudan, the media again forgot to explain U.S. spokesperson Susan Rice's role there. What does she have to do with Sudan's friction with the UN? The UN has a legitimate complaint against the president of Sudan. But the automatic acceptance by media of the US assumption that they have a say about everything dismays me. Why doesn't the reporter ask Rice what business she has issuing proclamations? Media don't need to explain why the world needs a strong UN. They DO need to ask why it needs NATO, and a U.S. business motivated puppet master in Washington.
    Rice's boss's presumption, exactly like that of his predecessor, is just as pervasive, of course. Yesterday, Obama offered a "new beginning" to Iran, but, just reading his lips, his stance toward Iran is the same as Bush's stance, arrogant and baseless. Apparently, all the phrase "new beginning" means is that he's changing the look on his face. Instead of frowning and demanding, he smiles and demands. But he still makes charges without evidence and he still demands with no real authority to demand. Since Iran is a member of the UN, some things Iran does are the UN's business, but what business are they of Barack Obama's? Iran's response that it's the U.S. that needs to change is reasonable.
-Glen Roberts

US won't end Cuban embargo, Biden tells press in Chile

  30 March 2009, He said he wasn't there to talk about Cuba, but exactly as if he'd been sent to Santiago last weekend to remind Latin America who's boss, U.S. VP Joe Biden, speaking (I assume) for Barack Obama, told the world and his hostess Michelle Bachelet (who just got back from Havana) and all the other new regional presidents (who all just got back from Havana) that the Cuban embargo won't end until the Cubans are "free."
     Since Biden's slickly insulting arrogance perfectly echoed the 20th Century U.S. plantation-boss stance south of the Rio Bravo, I'm now awaiting an appropriate response, both from pseudo-progressive American Obama groupies who surely weren't expecting this, and from Latin American leaders who surely haven't been falsely raising their poor constituents' hopes.
     Brazilian President Lula de Silva, who once asked the UN to declare inequality a human rights abuse, spoke out at the ignored Progressive Summit (actually presented by media as a prep for a definitely NONprogressive G20 meeting this week in Europe), accusing rich nations of turning the world into "a giant casino," and rejecting "blind faith in the market." But he's not reported as effectively defending Cuba from Biden's obviously Miami inspired slanders. Maybe he did or will, but that the Brazilian president (and other Latin American leaders) let their so-called "Progressive" Summit meeting be turned into Biden's regressive photo op and press conference and then went nonstop from Santiago to Doha to embrace the Arab sheiks, among the world's worst capitalists with the least interest in equality, makes me wonder how clear Latin America is on their own revolution.
     Just talking about arrogant US bullying and exploitation of the world, Latin America ethically HAS to support Ahmadinejad's refreshingly logical back talk. But there's little to choose between the west and most of the middle east. Besides the insiders further enriching their already obscenely rich ruling families and the outsiders spreading their brutally primitive religion, what agenda does the Arab world have? One hears of socialist gestures there but not much and the internet doesn't turn up much, either. I'm for the Latin American revolutionary ideal of social and economic equality, and I don't think they should surrender any sovereignty to the systemically stratified U.S. OR compromise their integrity by getting ambiguously chummy with the religiously stratified Arabs.
     Latin America is a big enough part of the world that, even with only their own company, they can't be thought of as standing alone. So I don't see how misalliances with the G20 or the Arabs help their cause. Trading is OK, although they have everything between them they may think they need to trade the Middle East OR the U.S. for and Cuba has done more than anybody for its people for decades without U.S. help. So they don't absolutely NEED to trade with any brand of fascists their integrity may antagonize.
    It would mean a lot to this lost world if Latin America stood up all together on the podium I thought they were building and, with a clear conscience, told Biden and Obama AND the feudal Middle East: either normalize relations with Cuba and recognize the virtue of the Cuban revolution and the significance of our alliance with the Cuban ideal of economic and social equality NOW or do without us!
    Of course that would be revolutionary.
-Glen Roberts

Military murders in other countries

  10 April 2009: Once again U.S. soldiers patrolling somebody else's streets, this time in Kabul, break down a door and murder a family and then claim they were fired on first. What were they doing there? Were these foreign troops looking for Osama bin Laden on a residential street in Kabul? If they weren't there, would there BE any firing, and if there would be, has their presence prevented it? Except for people dropping paper ballots into boxes annually, has life in Afghanistan even changed since 2001? Will Obama having his own war there change it?
  Two days ago, an Al Jazeera story quoted the relative of a man murdered by Fujimori in Peru that Fujimori's conviction is a mile post in the "fight against impunity." The word "impunity" was well chosen by Gisela Ortiz. A president has been punished for the impunity of murdering people in his own country. Over 60 years ago, a few presidents were punished for the impunity of murdering people in other countries.
    Three days ago, after somebody besides us, North Korea, launched a satellite. Obama started talking about WMD's and going to the Security Council. Every day we're told and told and told that Obama talks differently than George Bush. But, regardless of his tone of voice or the expression on his face, U.S. rhetoric quoted in this story is exactly like the talk that led up to the attack on Iraq. U.S. war games in Korean waters ordered by Obama (not Bush) deliberately provoked a response which permitted Obama to bluster. He already has one war of his own. Does he want two? Every day we're told and told and told that Obama, unlike George Bush, "will listen." But he's not listening to North Korea's explanation that, after being called "evil" and seeing Iraq, which was also called "evil" and had no WMD's, attacked; while Pakistan, which has the A-bomb, was befriended, they felt they needed atomic weapons to immunize themselves from attack. Is Obama's supposedly changed approach more reasonable than that? Or, if it's about possible murder in another country, does it matter?
-Glen Roberts

Real issues covered up in Thailand

  13 April 2009: As protesters and police struggle in Thailand, media repeatedly interview exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatr. They ask him about the turmoil, whether he'll run for election again, but they never ask him if he has a social or economic agenda. Obviously, as a politician, he tosses in the word democracy free. So what? If I were interviewing Thaksin, I'd ask him what he expects to achieve THROUGH democracy. Does he intend to redistribute wealth in Thailand? Voting is a means, not an end. What are the ends of the insurgency the media think will support him? Cleaning out the sex industry? Keeping U.S. troops out? Leveling slums and building new homes? Diminishing the power of the king? If it's not just a brawl, what's it about? The Thai story goes on and on with no reference to the issues.
-Glen Roberts

Obama is lectured in Trinidad by angry Latin American leaders
who aren't as easily fooled as Americans;
but you'd never guess it from reading US newspapers

     21 April 2009, I can't say much about what went on summit-wise at the "Summit of the Americas" in Trinidad. My best source is Fidel Castro, who wasn't there, through his Granma column, well headed "The Secret Summit," since this was the second Latin American presidents' meeting in less than a month to be disappeared behind a U.S. leader's photo op.
     Almost all western media wrote it up as a clip-out for Obama fans, blurring over the off-THEIR-screen back talk from a crowd that WASN'T Obama's fan club. Like loyal embedded press who didn't understand the issues,anyway, they focused on pix of Obama and read-outs from his slick and speechy but shallow pronouncements, mixing what he said to the press, to the assembly, and to private groups of sycophants, with no concern for clarity or the possibility that anyone in the audience wasn't clapping.
       The impression given is of a remote rose garden meeting of plantation peon reps and their new boss, whom at least the SF Chronicle had expected to be greeted like a "rock star." Some selected grumbling is mentioned, a little in this story and a little in that, as a kind of vague context for the new boss's triumph. But the starry-eyed press is as convinced as Obama himself that the empty oratorical flourishing and self-consciously velvet gloved whip cracking that has become his and Hillary Clinton's trademark will both win the necessary respect of the peons, impress readers, and continue to delight Obama's heroically oblivious supporters.
     I wrote March 30, though (see below), that I would expect a response to Joe Biden's arrogance in Santiago, and behind the newsprint veil, my expectations were met in Trinidad. Apparently, while media have been going on and on and (JHC!) ON about Washington's beautiful new facial expression and studiously or stupidly ignoring the growing world-wide anger of everyone who recognizes the same-ol' American whip-hand, the Latin American presidents who really didn't like being lashed by Biden in March have been lying in wait for their chance at his fool boss in April.
     BBC called it a "sour note" (in the Obama debut symphony they were stubbornly directing) when Evo Morales demanded an apology for the Obama State Department's role in a recent attempt to assassinate him (I don't know about that, but neither do you). But the Bolivian president was actually perfectly on key.
     I'm sure the actual new leaders of the free world came hoping to disarm America's swell-headed pretender with a generous measure of diplomatic applause and friendliness up to a point, but I doubt they were surprised when he stupidly repeated Biden's recitation that the embargo couldn't be expeditiously ended because "the Cuban people still aren't free" (see freedom - undefined). In fact, they arrived in Trinidad already angry.
     Hugo Chavez didn't just run out to the hotel bookstore for a copy of Eduardo Galeano's " Open Veins of Latin America" and present it to Obama as a spontaneous response to the American's presumptuous explanation to a group of new socialist leaders that poverty must be alleviated "from the bottom up (?)". Obviously, Hugo already knew that his junior colleague needed educating.
     Argentine President Cristina Kirchner wasn't just ad libbing in response to Obama's asininely boss-like (or Fox News-like) advice not to blame America for all their problems when she read off a litany of U.S. business, political, and CIA sins against civilization.
    And though Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's address was apparently not pre-written, he was only freshly motivated by Obama's repeating Biden's slander of Cuba when, as part of a list of Nicaraguan grievances against a comprehensive list of U.S. presidents, he expressed everyone's "shame" for attending a supposed "summit" from which Cuba was excluded not by the majority, nor (as the media said) by anonymous organizers, but by the U.S.
     Ortega also vainly reminded the comatose press that Latin America has recently started organizing their own new trading bloc, quarter-world bank, and progressive summit organization - the most important news blacked out of the main stream media story from Santiago.
    Readers may not know, since the media never remind them, that The "Summit of the Americas" is an entirely U.S. stage show, invented by George Bush I just before he left office, for the specific purpose of isolating Cuba, then being described as regularly as a pop song by tacitly obedient American media as "the only country in the hemisphere still not free" (see #10 under Misconceptions About Cuba on this website). All the command delegates know that and, had they not had slight hopes for Obama, it wouldn't have surprised me if they'd all boycotted the Trinidad conference.
     In effect, they probably ended its run, as they refused to sign a "mission accomplished" type summit summary document (written two years ago in the U.S.) until it declares capitalism the hemisphere's worst problem and until it adds Cuba to the membership list.
     After Obama demonstrated the same velvet insult technique that isn't fooling Iran by offering to smilingly "listen" to Cuba's admissions of guilt, and after Raul Castro obviously ironically responded on the radio from Caracas that he will talk with Obama about several things including a prisoner exchange, Hillary Clinton dizzily burbled that Raul seemed to be admitting his errors, but only Obama's team and most of the press were confused.
     Just one news account I read that day called Raul's radio speech "fiery" and "reminiscent of his brother," meaning when Fidel was angry. And the Washington Post registered two days later that he was actually offering to trade Obama any Cuban convicts Obama miscalled "political prisoners" (see my Friendy Critique Of Cuban Press Freedom for the truth about those guys) for the 5 Cubans jailed in America for spying NOT on America but on the Miami mafia. But I believe (I hope) Raul's point, talking about a "prisoner exchange", was that since the embargo, which is based on the WWII American Trading With The Enemy Act is to be continued, the opposing commanders in chief could do some legitimately war-related stuff like that.
     In his column, Fidel virtually told Obama to stop talking and just end the embargo. He characterized Obama's reference to the embargo as "aspero y evasivo." The few accounts that have mentioned Fidel's response translated aspero as terse or gruff, but Fidel meant that Obama's apparent understanding of his subject was abrasively and insultingly inadequate, and he added that, being over half as old as Fidel, Obama was old enough to understand things better than that.
     Fidel really nailed Obama as a specimen, however (pay attention NOW Obama fan club), when he reacted to Obama's ostentatiously diplomatic admission that Cuba's practice of sending medical missions to other countries that need them has been more effective than U.S. military missions in gaining influence for the Cubans. The most highly respected chief of state in the world explained, "We the Cubans don't do that to gain influence."
     President Obama, to whom it is now clear the purpose of power is power, even if he'd read that might not have understood it or even believed it, but outside the U.S. ignorance bubble it's understood and believed, which is why all of Latin America is "going Castro's way (see 20 February below)." But Obama, who was invited to come along but failed the test when his false summit collapsed (but who may have been comforted when he was cheered the next day by CIA torturers he was defending), may not be welcome now in the newly blossoming progressive government's organization, ALBA (dawn), which, though still ignored by regressive media, will hopefully soon be leaving the U.S. dominated OAS behind.

-Glen Roberts
*See If Not Democracy, What?

The time has come, the media say,
to talk of pigs with wings

  29 April 2009: Yesterday the Chronicle devoted almost half its A section to alarming headlines and contradictory news and blather about a possibly emerging flu epidemic and then headed their lead editorial, "Now is not the time to panic." Of course, I didn't read the editorial because it wasn't signed. But I e-mailed friends in San Diego, where 5 of the 3 million county residents had been diagnosed with mild cases of "swine flu" to ask if they were in a panic. They weren't. As for me, only one of probably over 40 million Californians not infected, you may not care what I think since I have not spent a minute, since September 11 2001, fearing a terrorist would strike me. But I'll tell you anyway that I think now might be a good time for a trip to Mexico.
        Oh I know. There's been either 200 or 102 or 2 deaths clearly pinned on swine flu there, and maybe 2000 milder cases (a few or very few or even fewer of which have been verified) in a national population of (approximately or possibly or maybe) about 120 million. It's the "danger zone."
        On today's front page, the Chronicle asks why - that is the Chronicle claims "puzzled" scientists are wondering with all their might WHY - there are so many more unconfirmed cases and not-certainly related deaths in Mexico than anywhere else. After puzzling myself about why they'd be asking such a stupid question, I came up with only a half dozen obvious answers, beginning with (1) it started there and (2) pigs don't fly.
        Obviously the Chronicle, like Backtrack Obama who also doesn't know what to do, is just thrashing around. To sensibly fill the big spread they think they need would require a hard squint at some facets of the problem or pseudo problem they instinctively know they don't want to touch. Too bad, because this MAY be a situation that could use some media with the brains to keep the public properly informed. I say it COULD be, because it could be.
        The most useful actual fact I dug out of the blather (it wasn't up front where it belonged) is that you can't get swine flu from eating cooked pork. A lot more of that kind of information was needed, such as, for instance, that the reason First World cases so far reported are mild is that First World people live in cleaner and less crowded conditions than poor Mexicans and have more resources when they get sick.
        I also learned in today's Chronicle that U.S. pig farmers say swine flu doesn't even come from swine; and from a number of sources since yesterday that Mexican investigators say it damn sure does but they aren't sure ANY cases in Mexico came from swine; and that they aren't sure if all or even many of the cases ARE cases; and that the Mexican government thinks the disease may come from ANOTHER country (that's called keeping your eye on the ball); and that some scientists think the disease may have already been common everywhere and is now being found because they're looking for it, so the more they look for it the more they find it, and the more it looks like a pandemic.
        To belabor a point that needs belaboring, one question the media don't have the wit or the will to answer for me is: are most cases in poor, crowded, unsanitary neighborhoods? I think so, and the reasons I'm not afraid to go to Mexico now, when I won't be tripping over a lot of other tourists, is that (1) I'll be driving alone in the clean interior of my own car, not riding a crowded bus, (2) I'll be drinking bottled water, like all tourists and all well-off Mexicans, (3) I'll eat only hot cooked foods from clean stands or in clean places where nobody looks sick, (4) I'll be staying NOT in crowded dirt-floored shanties but in clean little hotels where the sheets and pillow cases are washed daily, (5) I'll be bathing and brushing my teeth and gargling mouth wash and washing my hands regularly and cleaning my nails, etc. That is I'll be living like a first world person, as I always do, not the way the world's poor majority live. Add that (6) I'll be taking my first world health in with me, with infection and disease resistance built on a lifetime of good nutrition, that is I won't be weakened by any of the endemic diseases and conditions that plague the majority poor, and after decades of Latin American travel I won't be threatened by Montezuma's revenge, either. All this plus odds steeper than the lottery against catching swine flu at all (YET) and, apparently, odds of at least hundreds to one (probably thousands to one) that the case I catch will be mild. Add to that the fatalism of a 72-year-old seasoned traveler and realistic philosopher who knows that the death rate is 100%, anyway.
        I don't mean to foolishly guffaw at the swine flu threat. If it's not just a way to keep us from noticing what's happening in Pakistan, or a way to punish Latin America for siding with Cuba, it's at least a more real KIND of threat than most of the threats the media hype. It could turn out a number of ways, though.
        It could be a false alarm just like the bird flu and West Nile disease. Or it could be as bad as sleeping sickness or an outbreak of cholera or AIDS, devastating to certain populations but not others. It could be a worse strain of flu than the strain they say killed 50 million people once upon a time (never believe catastrophe stats) yet less disastrous because people now are more resistant. Or that could be true in the suburbs but not in the ghettos. Or it could be more deadly this time because there are so many more people living so much closer together and intermixing so much more in so many more ways. Assuming this is a poor people's disease (which I do), it's important that, along with having 6 times as many people now as in 1918, we have more than 6 times as many poor people.
        Anyway, there'll be more pandemics and if this one's not bad enough, the next one or the next one will be. During the 20 years between 1950 when, at 14, I was given my first typewriter and 1970, when I gave up hope that I, anyway, could penetrate human denial - during that time when, unlike now, I was actually on a crusade, I regularly predicted that the eco-collapse of the 21st Century (brought on by overpopulation and the overgrowth of the human encampment, exacerbated by capitalism and its necessary corollary sprawling poverty, facilitated by religion and tribalism) would include endless wars for space and "free running diseases." For free running diseases read pandemics - which has to be plural. I and others like me who struggled hopelessly to make that point back then were called "doomsayers" by media that never identified or quoted us. But now it appears that Mother Nature, who can't be ignored, is starting to make our point for us.
-Glen Roberts

The day before they made their stupid mistake,

  25 May 2009: I vainly explained what the California Supreme Court should do. But I wasn't first in line. Through daily editorial telepathy, the media have been trying hard for weeks to conjure up a wrong state constitutional decision tomorrow (Tuesday, May 26) and, considering that they and the men and women who'll render the judgement belong to the same godly race, I can't hope to out-conjure them. But sometimes humans at least know the rules of their own jobs, so if the logic that's supposed to underlie both California and American law prevails, the Supreme Court will disappoint the majority tomorrow and erase the latest of many religious stains that mar their constitution.
        When I was told by an angry Christian that we had to "keep queers from getting married," I told him there's no way it hurts me, so it's none of my business. A guy who'd been arguing with him asked me, "Are you religious?" I told him I'm not, and the relevance was obvious even to the Christian. He was angry as a Christian, not as a participating member of a secular civil state.
        The purpose of law in a secular civil state is not to serve anyone's god. It's not to serve the state as a foolishly exalted deputy deity, either. It's to serve the members of the state, of course, but ONLY as participants in a social/economic contract which defines and upholds the purposes NOT of irrational and irrelevant religion but of a hopefully very rational secular civil state focused on secular civil matters.
        Librarians don't shush priests in church and orating priests don't disturb the peace in libraries. Religions are for separately superstitious subgroups crossing state lines. States are mechanisms for unified community members trying to take care of real-world civil matters together that they can't easily deal with separately. State law therefore should only regulate participation in the economic contract underlying the state and enforce the social contract that underlies the state. Economic contract matters are confused in America, but the social contract is as old as civilization and perfectly clear. I will not hurt you if you will not hurt me and therefore we will live in peace together as equal members of a civilized state. Any law that exceeds that purpose is invalid, even if it has been foolishly inserted into the state's constitution by a confused majority.
        If the Supreme Court does not tell Californians exactly that tomorrow, then the court will have failed as a mechanism of the state, just as the majority failed as members of the state when they passed Proposition 8 and inserted a primitive religious commandment into their supposedly secular constitution.
        A particular church may marry anyone it wishes but no church has the right to tell other churches or the state who to marry. Religion that doesn't violate the economic and social contract underlying the state is not the state's business, but NO state law or procedure can be tainted by religion. If the court does not tell California exactly that, then the validity and further viability of the state itself as a civilized institution will be in doubt.
-Glen Roberts

California Supreme Court Surrenders Its Credibility

  26 May 2009: Wrongly believing they were deciding who can marry, which is none of their business, the California Supreme Court this morning foolishly upheld a breach of the integrity of the Constitution they are supposed to be guarding, letting stand a lumpen inspired law that obviously violates logic and intelligent legal precedent in two ways: it carves a religious commandment into a secular constitution, and it sets one more dangerous precedent (unfortunately there are already others) by approving a law that is NOT intelligently grounded in the social and economic contract that should underlie any civilized secular state. If you don't understand that, go back to the home page and read my explanation and definition of a Civil State.
       As usual, the regressive judges were aided and abetted (and undoubtedly confused and pressured) by California media which continually characterized the controversy as a circus confrontation between the judges as moderators and the public as a Jerry Springer show type audience deciding through a volume detector which couples they liked the best. In fact, the judges should not have even considered the anti-gay mob purpose of the phrase they were being asked to OK for the Constitution. They should only have considered the legitimacy of the phrase as an unacceptable intrusion into a secular constitution. Just in case it helps promote more intelligent dialogue next time, read the article (below) which I posted yesterday.
-Glen Roberts

North Korea's return to arms shouldn't have happened

  27 May 2009: NORTH KOREA'S RETURN TO ARMS WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED if the Obama administration had kept its promise to "change" the US stance toward the world. But only Obama's and Clinton's facial expressions changed as they went on menacing North Korea and Iran in Bush's own words. Everyone knows that kind of bluster led to the invasion of Iraq. So why wouldn't North Korea want to share Pakistan's and China's immunity from attack?
       They say they only want a deterrent and whatever Obama thinks, it would be a lot smarter to ASSUME that's true, to start "listening" as he promised he would, and to convince North Korea (and the disbelieving world) that the new "changed" US wants to join the UN and help its neighbors achieve total world nuclear disarmament, and NOT to scare anyone into starting a new arms race through continued belligerent confrontation.
        The tribal American media keep on playing this story as part of the comic book saga they've always pushed and which Obama has unfortunately fallen for. But by mistaking himself for Flash Gordon, "the leader of the free world," precisely because the world had hoped for better things from him, Obama is doing more now than George Bush did to split the world between the US and its uneasy allies on one side and a world sick and tired of US bullying on the other.
-Glen Roberts

Reports of Hugo Chavez threatening banks need some shading

    3 June 2009: Hugo Chavez is in the news for threatening Venezuelan banks with "sanctions.' Of course, that's as deep as the story goes. American media are satisfied if their well brain washed readers just get the impression that Chavez is perversely harassing the poor banks.
     In fact, the privately owned Venezuelan banks are reluctant to cooperate with Chavez' plans to spread the wealth. The best solution would be to go ahead and nationalize them, but the Venezuelan president doesn't want to do that yet. Chavez is a courageous, intelligent, capable man with the best civilized intentions, but he's not quite an irresistible force and, besides being unavoidably up against some (not at all immovable but) certainly very stubbornly entrenched old guard and economic and social infrastructure, he is also handicapped by a real need to accommodate his allies - an admirable group of new Latin American presidents with a mandate and a huge poor majority behind them but (in some cases) with less courage and will than he has.
     So Chavez thinks he must transition somewhat gradually away from the capitalist jungle toward civilization. The goal he shares with Fidel and other leftist presidents is surely a fully civilized state with a communist economic sector (see Civil State and Communism under Definitions), but he thinks that for now he must speak only of socialism, a transitional phase which, as long as it persists, is always vulnerable to lingering regressive capitalist institutions. In fact, given the regressive character of Venezuela's still intact wealthy minority, potentially disastrous subversion may be unavoidable without speeding up the transition.
     I'm sure anyone qualified to be reading this website can think of dangers that could arise from speeding up the transition. But I hope it's also apparent that a long history of procrastination hasn't done the world much good, either.
-Glen Roberts

Americans 'spying' for Cuba get long prison sentences

  5 June 2009: Naturally, a BBC story of a Washington couple arrested for spying for Cuba quotes nobody who questions why they should be in trouble. Yet I'm sure most rational people often wonder why any state has secret information about other peaceful states or ANY secrets from its own citizens.
    In this case, Walter and Gwendolyn Myers, who face 20 years in prison, are accused of uncovering US spy reports on Cuba (or secret US plans AGAINST Cuba) - of being spies spying on spies. But, while it does make sense for any honest human to think Cuba has the right to know if the US, which is NOT a peaceful country and has no business spying on Cuba, is secretlyplotting against Cuba, US spying on clearly peaceful Cuba is unjustifiable, dishonorable, and expensive wheel spinning deserving exposure, since (1) Cuba's only military secrets have to be defensive; (2) Cuba's only threat to the US, its leadership in the forging of a new hemispheric economic order less vulnerable to US looting, is just peaceful competition and isn't secret; and (3) US spying apparently does no good, anyway, since, even with all that "intelligence" at their disposal, Obama's, Clinton's, and Biden's speeches prove that those unworthies still know almost nothing about Cuba and understand less.
    What makes sense is for Washington to tell all of us what the "200 sensitive or classified intelligence reports on the subject of Cuba" that the Myers supposedly leaked are about. It's certainly Cuba's business and the American taxpayers' business to know, because collecting Miami lies, which undoubtedly make up the bulk of the material, is a waste of time and space and money which can't possibly lead to anything good, and many of the government's Cuba related secrets are probably about what the US is doing or is thinking about doing that it shouldn't be doing.
-Glen Roberts

Delayed civil court trial can't excuse Guantanamo

  9 June 2009: Monday's news that one Guantanamo detainee will finally be tried in a real court in New York is OK, but I think he was chosen because he's uniquely suspected of a real crime (a blown up building) and his trial will distract readers from the fact that most inmates still in Guantanamo (never having been charged) are technically innocent and may BE innocent victims kidnapped by a rogue US state and stuck in a dungeon for years for no reason that will stand the light of a public trial.
   The still delayed closure of Guantanamo shouldn't license the American people to forget that. The US Attorney General's boast, when he announced the trial, that "the Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case," is, given the circumstances, embarrassing.
-Glen Roberts

And the wars go on

  12 June 2009: Clearly, the US is fighting ANOTHER war in Pakistan. US and US-friendly media may hide this fact behind jargon, but it's a fact. Obama continues to mirror George Bush as a double talker, in his mishandling of US foreign policy, and as a war president.
-Glen Roberts

Like Bush Like Obama on North Korea

  16 June 2009: Obama's claim that "a nuclear-armed North Korea poses a "grave threat' to the world" is insidious, since it's basically a lie and comes from another US president who is himself clearly a threat to the world. In stark contrast to the US, not just under George Bush but always and still under Obama, North Korea has no recent history of "threatening its neighbors" except in defensive rhetoric. Obama is fast adding his own warring history to a long and bloody US record, and he's the one who seems to be provoking and literally baiting North Korea. The UN should step in and Obama should shut up.
    This story reminds me of the lies told by Colin Powell and George Bush before the attack on Iraq. Why do the media always help beat the war drums? Besides quoting US hawks, honest reporters can surely find experts on North Korea as sober as Al Bareidi was on Iraq to quote. Once again, the US is usurping the UN, literally baiting North Korea, and there must be experts who can be quoted on that. Shallow news coverage helps promote shallow and bloody history.
-Glen Roberts

Media fail to provide context for Honduran crisis
or report Obama's part in it

  2 July 2009: You can't elect the truth. You can't determine whether there's a god or whether Barack Obama is a hero or a worm by asking for a show of hands in a coffee house or a barber shop. You can't get at the truth in Iran or Honduras today by counting protesters. There's more to it than that.
    The media who report thousands of pro-coup demonstrators in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula facing only hundreds of pro-Zelaya demonstrators are leaving out the hard fact that the Hondurans openly for Zelaya KNOW they are also against the army and the cops. This isn't like when you (maybe) and I marched in LA and San Francisco against Ronald Reagan. We faced only a slim chance of being clubbed by an over-zealous right-wing cop, NOT the very different risk of disappearance, torture, and death. Honduran labor unions, oppressed indians, and would-be socialists know what they're up against, because what's happening in Honduras isn't new. The army has even thrown out presidents before. And this time, Barack Obama had something to do with it
    To understand what's going on in Honduras today, there are contextual matters you need to know of that go beyond arithmetic. The media are telling you daily (actually very energetically teaching you talking points) that Honduras is "divided - polarized" but not that the split is between a small upper-lower to upper class minority in bed with Washington and a very poor majority - among the poorest people in the world - who have suffered for generations from US exploitation.
    Some stories, more in Al Jazeera than in the LA Times, have noted, deep down in the gray copy and without elaboration, that there is a long-time connection between the Honduran army and US military. Besides leaving out the US embassy, the CIA, and huge US businesses there, all of which regularly tell Honduran officials when to breathe (I stole that from Fidel's column yesterday), that's putting it mildly, since the force that arrested and exiled President Zelaya WAS the always US proxy and puppet Honduran army.
    Maybe you've forgotten (or were always oblivious) that in the 80's, while surrounded by rebellion against a red-white-and-blue system that's never worked for anyone but the insiders, Honduran officialdom stayed doggedly loyal to Washington and were richly rewarded for their dog-like treachery to the region.
     I remember buying a proud Honduran post card back then that showed a squadron of new jet fighters Reagan had just given them. In spite of their poverty, most US aid to Honduras went to their military, because the Honduran army was helping corporate America fight Nicaragua, the FMLN in Salvador, and the (in their opinion) greedy poor. Since 1990 when, following the neutralization of Nicaragua, US media disappeared Central America from the news, you may have forgotten Honduras existed. But the multifaceted US team on the spot didn't, and the Honduran military, like the South Korean military, has always been maintained as a puppet "bulwark against communism."
     That's why it's hard to believe that last week's army coup against President Zelaya, after he broke a cardinal rule of that army's sponsor by apparently joining Latin America's vigorous new move toward socialism, wasn't instigated by Washington. Of course it was. And it wasn't done behind Barack Obama's back. Obama made it clear in Trinidad (see 21 April below)that he has a capitalist insider's view of Latin America, and after the US-backed Honduran army's brutal predawn ouster of Zelaya, the wording of his initial expressions of "concern" were about BOTH the coup AND the political disagreement that prompted it, just as if the acceptability of a president being yanked out of bed at the point of a gun might be negotiable if Zelaya could relieve some of Obama's "concern" by conceding a degree of legitimacy to the armados who yanked him out of bed. Since then, under pressure from the world (and I hope from his naive pseudo progressive constituency), he has relatively lamely dissed the coup, but an underplayed graph deep down in the LA Times story today (July 2) went "Click!" for any reader paying attention.

     US officials said they would not take action on a threatened aid cutoff until after the OAS secretary-general reported to the organization on his attempt to negotiate a settlement. The United States expects Zelaya to agree to change his approach enough for him to work with the political opposition that threw him out, a senior Obama administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue.

     Clearly Obama, as worried as any Republican about the move toward civilized equality in Latin America, has decided to draw a line in the sand in the handiest place, an already thoroughly compromised banana republic with a docile population and a possibly shady president whose ouster may be justified.
     I almost hate to go on (I've been through Honduras many times and have a lot of my own resources and this could become a book), but I have to tell even those readers who think they're agreeing with me that the context is deep in some other ways. I'm sure Hugo Chavez, who immediately shamed the OAS into stepping in, is also drawing a line on principal, both about sovereignty AND about the legitimate need of Latin American leaders to eliminate term limits to achieve the continuity of leadership that made Cuba's success possible. But Honduras and President Jose Manuel Zelaya are at least questionable chess pieces for his side.
     I was up late last night (almost until Wimbledon) re-reading Medea Benjamin's 1987 book (that you should read), "Don't Be Afraid, Gringo," about the depth of poverty and official brutality in Honduras, and I came to an anecdote about Jose Manuel Zelaya - not the current president, his father of the same name - and his at least reputed involvement in the torture murder of several union leaders in 1975. Sons sometimes rebel against their fathers, but follow-up research on the internet (you can do it, too) verified that Mr. Zelaya entered the presidency as a conservative, has been convincingly accused of profiteering and worse, and may be illegitimately now riding the coattails of honest leftist presidents in hopes of redemption. Of course, his very recent left turn may be real, too.
     Also, excuse me but I have to say it (I know pseudo progressives hate this kind of thing), the Honduran people are questionable. Popular belief that all "peoples" are equal is nonsense. Traveling repeatedly through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in the 80's and 90's, I found each nationality distinctive, but I found the Hondurans starkly different. The absence of any insurgency there, while surrounded by revolution, was partly because they had a tradition of trade union activity instead. But the Hondurans are simply not like the Nicaraguans or the Maya or the independently thinking Mexicans.
     For one thing, there's a much larger and poorer (and thus more resentfully and even sometimes belligerently ignorant) poor majority there. The middle class is tiny and the upper LOWER class tend to look down on the really poor. Being in the huge army is about the best deal the poor can get, and Honduran soldiers I've unhappily met are particularly eager to lord it over their less fortunate country men - and any tourists who unfortunately meet them. It's as though Hondurans with any kind of power feel compelled to take out their inferiority complexes on anyone they can. All bureaucratic encounters in Honduras are absurdly oppressive. Getting arbitrarily stopped by cops who invent a reason to extort a bribe is common, and border crossing experiences are the worst I've encountered anywhere.
     As for ordinary Hondurans, frankly, I've always found most of them not very likeable, but unlike the poetic and talkative Nicas, the irrepressibly talkative Cubans, or the humorously cynical Mexicans, probably because they take more guff from their officialdom than I do, Hondurans are reticent, evasive and suspicious, and when I've gotten anyone to apparently trust me enough to speak, I then wondered if they were just going along with me. At least since 1980, the seeds of anti-communist propaganda have certainly been energetically planted and grown spectacularly there. It's ironic that anti-communist propaganda always works better than it should among the poor (including in America), but it works best of all in Honduras, where too many otherwise ordinary people have either swallowed it whole or consider it safer to pretend they have or just find that it suits them. The result is an air of fascism that is bound to be to some extent self fulfilling.
     My point is that, though it seems wrong, the majority in Honduras might really BE (or think they are) in favor of the army coup. If so, the situation could work well for Obama and backfire on Chavez. On the other hand, the army's rush to carry out the coup before the people could vote on a review of the Honduran constitution which would probably have led to suspension of presidential term limits may mean Obama and the Honduran army give the Hondurans more credit than I do.
     But what I'm really worried about, and this worry may be quickly extinguished on Saturday (I hope so), is the plan of several Latin American presidents (on July 2) to accompany Zelaya overland from Nicaragua back into Honduras. I've been across that very uncivilized border many times, and I REALLY fear what the soldiers manning it might do. I'll be glad to be wrong about that. But I hope they change their minds.
     But, to return to the beginning. Neither the success or failure of Obama's or Chavez immediate strategies, nor the legitimacy of President Zelaya, nor the crowd counts or vote counts in Honduras can change this: that Honduras needs to join Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and the rest of Latin America in their move away from US colonialism and the barbarism of capitalism toward civilized socialist equality. ¥ou can't count that truth up. You've got to understand it.
-Glen Roberts

Continuing Honduran crisis calls for finesse, not high noon confrontations

  2 July 2009: Once in Santa Rosa de Copan, a group of laughing soldiers asked me to take their picture in front of their fort. Why not? Then they told me I was in trouble because the picture I'd snapped was forbidden. While I protested with all the good humor I could muster, one ran to the fort and brought back an officer. The officer told me to open my camera and surrender the film or they'd take me inside and break my arms. Since then, I've never trusted the Honduran army.
    I remembered this as President Zelaya circled the Tegucigalpa airport an hour ago urging the soldiers below to let him land and protect his plane. And I also thought, even if some of them seriously tried to do that, one sniper could turn triumph into disaster.
    I'm gratified to see the huge crowd of Zelaya supporters in Narco News photos from the scene (scroll way down on the front page and link Narco News), but I'm glad the mission was aborted today without a tragedy. ALBA is in the right. One thinks they must somehow prevail. But surely they could think of better ways to pressure the Honduran usurpers than by provoking a high noon type showdown.
    Of course, Obama had easier options, and if there had been a catastrophe today (and maybe there still will be - even two dead demonstrators is unacceptable), it has to be laid at Obama's feet. He could have sent a US Marine guard in with Zelaya, telephoned the head presidential hi-jacker, and ordered up some cooperation. I have no doubt of that.
    But that would constitute a victory for the wrong side of the apparent but not (in my opinion) real triangle. Much better if the Latin American "axis of good," as Chavez once aptly called them, handle the situation themselves. Seal the... STOP!

    I just erased the rest of what I'd posted because, on second thought, I don't think Honduras should be sealed off. Sanctions never seem to work and they hurt too many bystanders. I'm not even sure Honduras should have been expelled from the OAS, at least not in alliance with ALBA. The action legitimizes the OAS, which ISN'T legitimate, and it will appear to legitimize the compromises Obama will impose in coming negotiations.
    What's called for, under the aegis of ALBA (which all progressive Latin American countries should promptly and ostentatiously join) is a lot of conversation, no matter how long it takes - stern dialogue, with no sympathy or compromise offered, about president Zelaya's case AND about the case for universal dignity and economic and social equality throughout Latin America, always with overt diplomatic support for the Honduran poor, but, at the same time to promote ALBA - a long and public conversation about Latin American (and Earth) reality vigorously promoting ALBA and civilization (some day) everywhere south of the Rio Bravo, including Honduras. But, in contrast to the American and proxy American way (exemplified by Obama's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, probably Honduras and maybe soon North Korea and Iran), this should be ostentatiously done with less bluster and more finesse.
-Glen Roberts

Exiled Honduran president is going to the dog owners in Washington

  7 July 2009: Why is Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya in Washington (see front page link to www.chavezcode.com)? Daniel Ortega's 80's explanation that, if the neighbor's dog is a problem you talk to the neighbor not the dog, was fine for Daniel, because Reagan wasn't GOING to talk to him, and his point was well made and is still worth quoting. But Obama's not Reagan. Reagan was a straight backward regressive. Obama's the "change" guy - remember?
       Zelaya, like Obama's naive constituents, needs to get it straight that the little smile Obama wears is a smirk. He's a velvet gloved/iron fisted, say-this/mean-that, smirking hypocrite. Instead of plausible denial, he has other equally transparent gimmicks: like smilingly telling Iran or Venezuela or Cuba the outright lie that he's going to actually "listen" to them - SO THAT, having been charmed by the promise they'll then shut up and do what they're told. Since he says almost those very words (both parts) every time, nobody has been fooled yet except his hopeless constituency. Though the trick is even less convincing when it's turned by his stooges, Republican Joe Biden and know-nothing Hillary Clinton, maybe because he's leery of Latin America, he's now left town to peddle his smile elsewhere, leaving Zelaya nobody to talk to but Hillary, and, for some reason, the fool seems to be falling for it.
       Here's what she'll tell him, with an obviously phony smile (trying but failing to imitate her much slicker boss): "Jose, we really want to help, because we are against all badness and anti freedomanddemocracyness, and we're going to try our best to get you back home, but, of course, it's got to be give and take and we've got to consider the Honduran army's feelings, too. Oh, we'll somehow work it out with them, because we all want to be friends, so don't worry, 'cause I'm sure we can persuade them to let you come back and even run for election again - or something like that - we'll see - maybe four years down the line, hmmm? But we have to give them a little something, too, like a promise that you're going to stop talking to that awful Hugo Chavez. Gee, wouldn't that fill the bill?"
        I suspect, since I can't figure out why else Zelaya is IN Washington, that it MIGHT fill HIS little bill, if all he really wants is to be president. I wouldn't want the job. What if the next time the armado who jerked him out of bed jerks him out of bed he shoots? Then we'll be reading Joe Biden's explanation that "we" don't tell sovereign nations what to do. If they want to bomb Iran just in case it might bomb them some day or shoot their presidents when they have good reason to suspect the rats are "going Castro"s way," that's up to them.
-Glen Roberts

Negotiation farce lets US interpret Honduras crisis

  9 July 2009: The cross-town "meeting" of Honduran crisis principals and Oscar Arias in Costa Rica today shouldn't be happening. It is a media event faked by Washington to legitimize a US puppet police state by treating its coup-appointed leader and the exiled president as equals. And there's another more obvious purpose which WILL be served and which, by being so obvious, as predictable media coverage will certainly demonstrate, should both reveal itself as the real issue and reveal who instigated the coup.
    The motive and opportunity belonged to the US - to Obama and Clinton and the insiders they represent. It doesn't matter how straight Arias plays it (and I have no faith in him), in the media this will become a clash between an "emerging free enterprise democracy" and a president who wanted to "go Castro's way." Zelaya, by foolishly going to Washington and turning himself over to Hillary Clinton, put the issue firmly into US and OAS (a US front) hands, and that's the way the US, which desperately wants to stop Hugo Chavez and his allies from "destabilizing" Latin America, wants it.
     In US foreign policy lingo, a stable country is a country from which most of the important resources and most of the profits flow away smoothly to somebody somewhere else who runs the world, the people stay desperately poor enough to accept whatever wages are offered without complaint, and any labor or rebel organizers who try to disturb that pleasant arrangement are promptly neutralized. That's what stable means.
    Almost all Latin America used to be "stable," and the beneficiaries were US insiders, who have long hated Fidel Castro and are now infuriated with Hugo Chavez for trying to take a continent and a half out of their clutches. So, however innocently Jose Manuel Zelaya may have stumbled into his predicament, he provided the US a perfect chance to strike back because the US virtually owns Honduras - which is still "stable," by the way. Ma-a-aybe the US puppet Honduran army's contribution was not made in the USA, but US/Honduras history tells me that it was.
    In any case, the US quickly took advantage of the situation, with Obama making slippery statements aimed at morally neutralizing the conflict and then Clinton taking over stage management of negotiations in a way that also obscures the reasons a president would go left and want to change the constitution to help him do that. In whatever newspaper or whatever TV news show you watch now, in connection with the Honduran situation, watch for a lot of flag waving for democracy and the opportune demonization of Hugo Chavez and ALBA, but don't expect any clear explanation of ALBA's purposes.
     Zelaya erred by going to Clinton and falling into her trap. Arias is wrong to participate. ALBA presidents are wrong to continue cooperating with the OAS, which they should be rushing to replace with ALBA. They should have persuaded Zelaya to stay in Managua and used his situation as a platform to promote and explain their progressive revolution to the world (including poor Hondurans) and to encourage the slower leftist presidents in the region to join, making enough noise about it to collaterally (without any actual subversion) encourage progressives in Honduras to keep protesting and the peoples of other countries to elect progressive presidents.
-Glen Roberts

US president bows to high priest

  10 July 2009: If I were a president visiting Rome, I'd try to meet Sophia Loren. It wouldn't even occur to me to visit the pope. At least, unlike Nancy Pelosi, Obama didn't have his picture taken today kissing the pope's ring. And truthfully, the story of the president at the Vatican didn't offend me as much as the inauguration day story in January of Obama starting his term by going to church to pray, because that came first, so I no longer expect anything better of him.
       But, come on! I haven't even forgiven Fidel for talking to the pope, though, in his case, I knew it was just protocol. It's not a matter of putting the pope in his place. Popes and Dalai Lamas and other imams and high priests of mysticism, denial and regressive and disruptive pseudo morality have no place in a civilized world. Neither do the kind of presidents who don't realize that. And that this is not yet a civilized world is proven by a lot of things, of course, but among them the fact that a philosophically realistic human could not run for and win a presidential office in most countries.
   And that's not just a flow to go with. We live in a real world that needs our attention, which it's not getting precisely because philosophically unrealistic humans are led by philosophically unrealistic politicians, whose blunders are chronicled by philosophically unrealistic editors and historians, and there's no appeal process apparent.
-Glen Roberts

Announced Honduran sanctions aren't the bottom line

 12 July 2009: At the end of his very quickly published denial of responsibility for the Honduran coup, in an essay well written enough to have been waiting in a drawer, Otto Reich, a hard-wired US right-hand man whose name is, as far as I can tell, only a miraculously appropriate coincidence, assures us that IF he'd instigated it, A, B, and C would have ensued and then acknowledges that A, B, and C did, indeed, ensue. Hmmm.
     I can't turn that into a confession, but the Cuban news agency accusation he was denying is certainly credible, because (a) he was also credibly accused of involvement on behalf of the US in the 2002 Venezuelan coup, (b) he was certainly in position and in the mood for involvement in both coups, and (c) the US has a history of using fanatically bitter X-Cubans like Reich, "Brothers to the Rescue," and the Alpha-66 mini-Gestapo to do dirty deeds even the CIA is (sometimes) too fastidious to touch.
     Though any proof of such complicity by a former deputy Secretary of State (under Bush) who is still an agent or associate of very relevant Washington subsidiaries in Venezuela and Honduras would amount to a US smoking gun, I don't think it's necessary. I expect a paper trail to show up sooner or later leading from US officialdom through somebody like Reich to the coup. But that some or all US agencies and entities in Honduras at the time were at least virtual accessories before the fact is certain anyway. They had to be.
     Obama's Obamaesque announcement that he's cutting military "ties" with Honduras (now, or rather right away - after the fact) is like promises to pull out of Iraq, convincing proof of his innocence and sincerity only to his eager-to-hope groupies. Right now it's only words. Obama is getting famous for words that aren't executed. His verbal cutting of Honduran military ties and other aid can't be instantaneous, and as soon as a US engineered compromise between exiled Honduran President Zelaya and the Honduran junta achieves US aims, all the press conference blather can be forgotten while the military ties and aid go on uninterrupted. You can SAY he can't take the chance Zelaya won't double cross him by refusing to compromise, but he IS taking that chance. Embedded American media, after all, can be counted on to blur everything over later or bury it under another celebrity death or something.
    All this is eyewash anyway, because the US embassy (always in contact and collusion with their bureaucratic Honduran protegés), US business interests (always chummy and influential with their rich insider Honduran business friends and associates), the CIA (which you surely know does and keeps doing what it does), and US military personnel (who are deeply integrated with Honduran military IN AN ADVISORY CAPACITY) ARE there and were there before and during the coup, which was gestating and known by insiders (including outsider insiders) to be gestating for some time, during which Obama's office certainly received reports (which I can accurately call progress reports) from all and sundry, including Republican congressmen with Honduran connections. Even US aid is conditional (something Obama is making a show of now but it was conditional while coup plans were being hatched and reported to him, too). And the goal of the coup, NOT to punish an Honduran politician for manipulating the law (come on dammit!), but to stop or "foil" Hugo Chavez and ALBA (to preserve international usury*), and (as Fidel wrote yesterday**) to encourage other such coups in Latin America, was and is a US goal, not a Honduran goal.
     All such actors who knew what was happening and what was going to happen, whether they said, "Wow!" or "Right on!" or "OK - you're following my instructions perfectly," sure as hell didn't rush in or ring up and shout, "Stop!" or it would have stopped. So they had guilty knowledge and didn't call the cops in time, which legally translates to complicity. They were all, including Obama, accessories to a major international crime.
     I knew all that, and you should have, as soon I read Obama's PUBLIC initial response, that he was "deeply concerned" and called on "ALL (my emphasis) political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the inter-American Democratic Charter" and to take care of their own problems "through dialogue free from any outside interference." This was AFTER the violent kidnapping of the president and yet easily translated to any Latin American news watcher not imitating a sleeping stump only as "I sincerely hope the coup masters will let the president come back and that he will agree to stop defying the legislature and the court and hereafter ignore the influence of Hugo Chavez." In other words, compared to the response of the rest of the world, his greeting card verse was worse than just self incriminating. It was wormy, i.e. typically Obamaesque.
-Glen Roberts
*see capitalism **see www.chavezcode.com

US wants to rescue Zelaya with conditions
that will discourage Latin American reform

 14 July 2009: I don't read unsigned editorials, but, since I fell for the headline, I'll alert you that one sentence in today's LA Times Honduras editorial,"Zelaya should give up on his proposed referendum to tamper with the constitution and on the idea of extending presidential term limits," is THE pill. The rest is sugar coating. The writer even refrained from demonizing Hugo Chavez to smooth the pill's way down for California readers whose own idea of term limits is irrelevant to Latin American realities.
    Usurpers of the government in Honduras are now talking to US congressmen through lobbyists suspected of being fellow usurpers,which is OK with Congress, since they and their president regularly usurp Latin American governments, and since most congressmen are bound to sympathize with usurpers sympathetic to US business, anyway, and will see nothing wrong with the conditions the usurpers want to impose on exiled President Zelaya.
     Anyway, their conditions for Zelaya's return, as reported yesterday (July 13) by Eva Golinger, framed by an American ideologue and, according to Golinger, approved by Hillary Clinton, DO EXACTLY CORRELATE WITH AND PROBABLY CONFIRM all my analyses and predictions since the coup came off.
    The "5 main terms" of the reported conditions (my source is Golinger) are that: 1. Zelaya can return to the presidency, but not to power; 2. Zelaya must not pursue any plans to reform the Constitution; 3. Zelaya must distance himself substantially from President Chávez; 4. Zelaya must share governance with the Congress and those in the coup regime; 5. Zelaya must give amnesty to all those involved in the coup.
    OK. Remember that the grounds for the coup were supposedly Zelaya's ILLEGAL intention to stage a public vote for a review and possible overhaul of the Honduran constitution, a supposedly ILLEGAL act because the Honduran legislature and top court had nixed it, and also supposedly because THEY feared that for unmentionable egomaniacal reasons he wanted to change the LAW so he could be reelected for more than one term. Comparing him to Hugo Chavez didn't shore up any supposed legal case in Honduras, but Chavez' name come up I think obviously because Washington and the US business community feared he meant to lift presidential term limits for the same very good but unmentionable reasons Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales did that.

    NOW COMPARE the list of conditions above to my July 12 explanation of Obama's initial reaction to the obviously barbaric, illegal and unacceptable coup when Obama only very lamely said - "that he was 'deeply concerned' and called on 'ALL political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the inter-American Democratic Charter' and to take care of their own problems 'through dialogue free from any outside interference.'" (I pointed out that) "this was AFTER the violent kidnapping of the president and yet easily translated to any Latin American news watcher not imitating a sleeping stump only as 'I sincerely hope the coup masters will let the president come back and that he will agree to stop defying the legislature and the court and hereafter ignore the influence of Hugo Chavez.'"

    COMPARE to my July 9 explanation of virtually certain US motives for the coup: "the motive and opportunity belonged to the US - to Obama and Clinton and the insiders they represent. It doesn't matter how straight Arias plays it (and I have no faith in him), in the media this will become a clash between an 'emerging free enterprise democracy' and a president who wanted to 'go Castro's way.' Zelaya, by foolishly going to Washington and turning himself over to Hillary Clinton, put the issue firmly into US and OAS (a US front) hands, and that's the way the US, which desperately wants to stop Hugo Chavez and his allies from 'destabilizing' Latin America, wants it."

    COMPARE to my July 7 fanciful speculations on what Hillary would tell Zelaya that day: "with an obviously phony smile (trying but failing to imitate her much slicker boss): 'Jose, we really want to help, because we are against all badness and anti freedomanddemocracyness, and we're going to try our best to get you back home, but, of course, it's got to be give and take and we've got to consider the Honduran army's feelings, too. Oh, we'll somehow work it out with them, because we all want to be friends, so don't worry, 'cause I'm sure we can persuade them to let you come back and even run for election again - or something like that - we'll see - maybe four years down the line, hmmm? But we have to give them a little something, too, like a promise that you're going to stop talking to that awful Hugo Chavez. Gee, wouldn't that fill the bill?'"

    COMPARE to my July 2 analysis of Obama's attitude toward the Honduran coup when, after initially shrugging his shoulders: "under pressure from the world (and I hope from his naive pseudo progressive constituency), he (then) relatively lamely dissed the coup, but an underplayed graph deep down in the LA Times story today (July 2) went 'Click!' for any reader paying attention."

   US officials said they would not take action on a threatened aid cutoff until after the OAS secretary-general reported to the organization on his attempt to negotiate a settlement. The United States expects Zelaya to change his approach enough for him to work with the political opposition that threw him out, a senior Obama administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue.

     Quoting myself again, "Clearly Obama, as worried as any Republican about the move toward civilized equality in Latin America, has decided to draw a line in the sand in the handiest place, an already thoroughly compromised banana republic with a docile population and a possibly shady president whose ouster may be justified."

    OK. I'm duly noting (right here, right now) that there are some determined Obama fans who are appalled by people like me who are pointing the finger at their president. But this isn't a conspiracy theory. The case for certain US complicity in the Honduran coup was laid out mathematically in my July 12 posting, based on well known general truths just as hard as any more specific facts.
    Even without any new anonymous quotes or intercepted State Department memos, it's a general but very hard fact that the move to stop Hugo Chavez and ALBA, a hemispheric phenomenon, is a US mission, and Barack Obama, who has not demonstrated ANY comprehension of Latin American issues (of Cuba for instance), with every opportunity to demonstrate a really "changed" stance, has instead shown Latin America and the world only the same old US anti-communist attitude that always mandates such missions. There couldn't be anything more lock-brain Republican than his declaration that he won't lift the Cuban embargo "until the Cuban people are free." That's the very Miami gusano babble that George Bush embraced.
    To his determined supporters who think his supposed cut off of Honduran aid and cut off of military ties proves his honesty, HEY! Honduran aid is only in a pause mode (according to the LA Times today) and US/Honduran military ties have NOT been cut and won't be, and you can put THAT in the bank.
-Glen Roberts

To resolve Honduras crisis, Latin American leaders
must cut US and OAS out of the deal

  20 July 2009: Now that Oscar Arias and Hillary Clinton have failed at their supposed goals for Honduras but may be poised to deliver a coup de grâce, that will include both sides surrendering to US stage management, while another Latin American country's leftward movement is stymied, a coalition of ALBA members still seeking justice for Honduras should cut the US out of the loop, take over the project and proceed in a manner more in keeping with the 21st century Latin American socialist revolution.
     Zelaya should encourage his supporters to continue peacefully protesting and growing but give up his wild plan to return to Honduras as a real-life Victor Laszlo and bring his family to Managua. At the same time, all ALBA and potential ALBA countries should cut diplomatic ties with Honduras but encourage the US to continue aid to the pariah nation, while a task force headed by Zelaya but backed by Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Alvaro Colom of Guatemala work together in an internationally legal way to find a Fidel Castro among the protest leaders in Honduras to run for president there in October in the company of enough other protesters running to re-align the legislature.
     But re-read my July 2 commentary on Honduras and Hondurans. Right now, nobody really knows if the Honduran majority are ready for a civilized revolution, and if they're not, a wrong move by Zelaya could provoke a lot of bloodshed for LESS than nothing, since it would be a black mark on the credibility of a continent-wide revolution that is doing very well peacefully.
     Skipping the bloody theatrics, however, with an internationally observed election in the air, other Hondurans not now in the streets, who want to join, can be aroused by Hondurans abroad, by world wide publicity, and by the candidacy of an open Zelaya compañero not yet vulnerable to arrest, and then if he is elected, he can immediately tell Barack Obama (vainly I'm sure) to end the Cuban embargo, suspend all plotting against Venezuela and Bolivia, and seriously support the Latin American movement toward social and economic equality for everyone or get out of the way.
     And then in January, as the legal and peaceful head of a de facto counter coup (if the US marines haven't taken over by then), he can appoint Zelaya as his vice president; sternly pardon all the June 2008 traitors; unequivocally cut military ties with the US and immediately eject all US military personnel, along with all CIA agents, from the country; and offer the people another chance to approve a revision of the constitution.
     Maybe, probably, that's an impossible dream, but it's critically important that the US be cut out of at least the Latin American part of the loop, because right now, here's what's on tap. The Honduran usurpers have offered to accept other terms but to let Zelaya return only as a prisoner facing jail. Next, Arias (Clinton) will say, well then, to avoid angering the whole world any further (which can't help any Honduran government), why not let him return NOT as president but (to save your own face) with a full pardon - as an ordinary citizen with the same rights as other citizens? And if everyone including Zelaya accepts that deal or anything like it the US will have won the chess game and Fidel's prediction will have come true - that other right wing insurgencies in Latin America will have a green light to proceed.
    There may be no way to avoid that result but it certainly shouldn't be allowed to happen. A civil war isn't the answer. It almost never is. But US (AND OAS) involvement should be dramatically and pointedly condemned all over Latin America, the world, and even inside the US ignorance bubble. Instead of letting this Honduran fiasco become a stumbling block, turn it into a spotlighted exposé of US meddling for the purpose of stopping the advance of civilization away from the primitive (profitable) jungle of capitalism.
-Glen Roberts

Hollywood Honduras solution scenario m-a-a-ay work

 23 July 2009: When I posted my own Honduran solution three days ago (20 July, see above), I hadn't thought of the kind of plan reported today by Narco News (see link at the bottom of my front page) for enough Hondurans (many thousands) to meet exiled President Zelaya at the border tomorrow (or the next day or the next) to pacify the police and army just by their presence and then escort him to the capital with such a show of moral force that the fascists will back down. It's a long walk from the border to Tegucigalpa, and walk they must, to maximize the drama, gather marchers, and let the enemy sweat. It sounds like a movie, but it could work without bloodshed, and I hope it does.
-Glen Roberts

As Honduran flap dies, media revise their lies

 3 September 2009: Western media reported today that the US had just announced its decision to suspend non-humanitarian aid to Honduras. But did any live reporter on hand ask, or did any editor receiving the press release call up and ask, "What about military aid?"
   Do you think you've read this story before? You have - though not quite. The insiders in the government and media who play with your mind often repeat themselves in order to redefine history so you won't be rebelliously confused about things. But if you're not too confused to remember things you're not supposed to remember without official help, you're right. The first time around on this merry-go-round, Obama did indeed declare that Honduran Military aid would be cut off. Obviously, that was nonsense then (as I explained on this website at the time) and nonsense it would remain if ever mentioned again. This doesn't necessarily mean the media have forgotten the issue. The US military connection with Honduras has always been and still is of critical importance. And they can't shoot a reporter if he or she asks about it. But the embedded media play the game their way, not your way. Always.
     And the game today was not to let you know what's up. Very little is apparently up, except for those who think the end-all and be-all of social history is for "the" people to rise up and shout slogans together. You can find out what's up in that vein (even if the mainstream media doesn't tell you) by reading the Narco News every day - which I link to even though I don't share that site's excitement about the current protest activity in Honduras. And by reading Narco News and Chavezcode.com and Fidel's columns in Granma (all linked at the bottom of the front page) for the last two months, you can find out a lot your regular embedded news source hasn't been telling you about the Honduras situation.
     But the truth is that the Honduras situation has bogged down. Hope that Honduras would rise up and go "Castro's way" is just about dead. Exiled President Zelaya's continued flocking together with Hillary Clinton type birds indicates he isn't another Hugo Chavez and strongly suggests he does not really believe his people would follow him if he tried to lead a serious revolution. I think I agree with him on that, because I don't think the people in the Honduran streets right now constitute a resolute majority. And the fact that actually (hopefully really) progressive Latin American leaders are focusing on US meddling in Colombia instead now suggests they may agree, too. Their insistence that the Honduran elections coming up in November not be recognized unless Zelaya is returned to office (which will only be BY the US for US purposes, after all) is uninspired (which is why the US has co-opted the position). What if somebody THEY (the Latin American leaders) like is elected?
    Anyway, the US is certainly not breaking ties with Honduras, especially not military ties, and today's news was only part of a game being played by the Obama administration, which looks exactly like the Latin American game played by all his regressive predecessors to protect US business and profits at ANY cost. The media's job is to prepare YOU for any new "Operation Condor" (or even military action) your misleaders come up with. They'll keep doing their job and the American people will keep falling for their big lies again and again and again.
-Glen Roberts

Honduras "truth" comes via media from DC oracles

 8 October 2009: It's hard to tell if embedded media have the final word now from their favorite insiders or if they're just conjuring an outcome in Honduras that they, as good Republicans, want. I'm reading between the lines. But today's embedded press reports have coup president Roberto Micheletti "softening" his stance and ousted President Manuel Zelaya probably already signed onto the final deal - that is, he gets to be first for peace (and maybe president) rather than right. To the media and their gullible audience all conflict is generic conflict and peace talks leading to peace are the only conceivably desirable end.
    So, if today's reports are right, peace may soon be restored to Honduras, between three and four months after the coup, probably before the elections there in November, under the exact terms set forth by Barack Obama on June 28.
    Terms of agreement reportedly anticipated today make it clear (to me) that an end to "repression of the people" (meaning only that the cops will stop beating up anti-coup demonstrators) will take the place of any concern for the historic plight of the poor; Zelaya's support of US compromise terms will take the place of his supposed former intentions to move Honduras to the left; Micheletti, after a suitable delay, will obey US embassy orders and accept the original Arias/Obama/Clinton plan; media will report peace and reconciliation; and Latin American history will go on as before in Honduras UNDER the familiar US thumb and "FREE" of any pesky influence by Hugo Chavez.
    On June 28 (see July 2 below), after being PUBLICLY surprised by the coup and claiming to be "deeply concerned," Obama called on "ALL (my caps) political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms (by which he meant business as usual), the rule of law and the tenets of the inter-American Democratic Charter" and to take care of their own problems "through dialogue free from any outside interference (by which he meant Hugo Chavez)."
     This was typical wormy Obamaesque which meant what I told you it meant on July 2 and which, in fact, the LA Times, also on July 2, told you it meant in a buried paragraph which, even if it had been printed in red, probably couldn't have gotten past the politically correct denial bump of the pseudo-progressive Obama supporters.

   US officials said they would not take action on a threatened aid cutoff until after     the OAS secretary-general reported to the organization on his attempt to negotiate a settlement. The United States expects Zelaya to change his approach enough for him to work with the political opposition that threw him out, a senior Obama administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the issue.

    The subsequent desperate certainty of US pseudo-progressives that it was Hillary Clinton in peace broker's costume who then betrayed her boss by manipulating the situation to block Honduran participation in the recent Latin American movement to the left is pure denial based on no evidence except their mystic rapport with the Obama myth they still think they elected.
    The embedded media won't even touch the question, but if I'm right, and I probably am and will be eventually in any case, I will be left mystified as to why Brazil let its embassy be used to promote the swindle.
-Glen Roberts

Peace exactly as usual may be close in Honduras

  9 October 2009: I'm in accord with Le Duc Tho on the Nobel Peace Prize (which he declined because there was no peace), except that if they offered it to me, since I've been as effective as Barack Obama in my efforts to civilize the world, I'd take it, rename it the Juan Almeida Civilization Prize and pass it on to Hugo Chavez for his truly constructive leadership of the "free" world away from the capitalist jungle toward civilized socialism.
    As for Obama, he should take the Ringer Prize. He didn't end the Cuban embargo. He didn't close Guantanamo. He's not going to end the war; he's started his own new war in Pakistan. And he's about to deploy his military might to Colombia from where he may very well be planning to launch a fourth war on Latin America. He's not going to give us health care; he's going to subsidize insurance companies. He didn't bail out homebuyers; he went on bailing out mortgagers. He won't end torture; he excused it. He didn't change Bush's snarling foreign policy; he just took away the snarl and continued the same policy with a smirk. He's not going to protect us from religious laws against lifestyles and abortion; he's going to be neutral. He won't oppose regression; he'll compromise with Republicans. He's not an environmentalist; he'll protect business first. He didn't even give us the word hope, which I take it is the sole basis for his taking the prize; it was already in the dictionary, where you can still find it. He's a ringer.
-Glen Roberts

Honduras story posted Oct. 8 still works

 2 November 2009: (You COULD just re-read the October 8 story posted below.) If things go as expected (as intended by Washington all along), maybe this week, maybe the next or the next, leaving out Hillary Clinton's blather and your favorite embedded newspaper's claim that the US has finally restored democracy in Honduras, the ousted president Zelaya's days of dangling out in the cold will be done, his chief nemesis Micheletti will (a) stop stalling or (b) end his assigned charade, and all will be as before, with this month's elections somehow magically purified.
    In fact,if the elections have already been rigged, they're rigged.If all the candidates were already US approved puppets, they're all still US approved puppets. But the official story is that if it happens after an obediently smiling Zelaya is back in office (even if sans balls), the elections are OK.
       Remember how a just elected and immediately ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristides was kept dangling in exile for 4 years until the US put him back in office and restored democracy in Haiti just before the next election of a more familiar and manageable former prime minister. This has been a capsule version of the same comedy.
        The point is that Honduras goes on as before, US dominance has been reasserted, Hugo Chavez has been foiled (your favorite newspaper will imply), the new leftist revolution in Latin America will have apparently stumbled, and, if Fidel is right (which he usually is}, more such regressive coups will have been encouraged.
       However, off your severely censored screen, the new leftist ruling party of Uruguay has just won a second term without lifting term limits, and Daniel Ortega has just won the right to run again in Nicaragua. Keep tuned in here and through this website's links.
       Now read the October 8 story below, pretend it was posted today, and you'll be right up to date.
-Glen Roberts

Was new Honduran script always up US sleeve?

  4 November 2009: I don't know. Today's Al Jazeera report of a Clinton spokesperson's denial of any US determination to restore the ousted Presitdent Manuel Zelaya to office as part of the re-stabilizing of Honduras DOES seem to contradict yeserday's understanding of the deal, but whose understanding was it? It's interesting that Zelaya didn't accuse his usurpers of treachery today; he wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton begging her to assure him he hadn't understood HER wrong.
        This means he knows who's boss. And apparently so does interim President Roberto Micheletti, since his just issued resignation announcement, especially the part about him stepping aside to clear the way for "a government of national reconciliation" (not for Zelaya) didn't necessarily contradict anything Washington has said before and the implication that Micheletti and Zelaya are equally in the way fits perfectly into the comic book story of the US as the virtuously neutral peacemaker, a story that American news consumers, certainly including pseudo progressive Obama supporters, will eagerly swallow. Last week's many implications that the US would put Zelaya back into the presidency can be easily blurred over and forgotten in the US. US media specialize in that kind of stuff, and international media will probably cooperate, too. Al Jazeera is already doing it.
        Zelaya's reported request that Clinton "clarify to the Honduran people if the [US] position condemning the coup d'etat has been changed or modified" seems well calculated to embarrass her and Obama, but it might not. In my July 7 posting, I imagined Clinton only assuring Zelaya that she'd get his usurpers to let him come home with a clean slate, and I still think I imagined right, because, while the rest of the world was clearly enough appalled by the coup makers who barbarously yanked Zelaya out of bed and exiled him in the middle of the night, Obama's first reaction on June 28 had been just as clearly directed at "ALL actors" in the Honduran tiff, as if he were less concerned by the coup than by the disagreement that led to it.
        Al Jazeera, which is not as sharp as a tack on Latin American affairs, quotes a Cato Institute source's doubt that "the Honduran congress (will) bend to US pressure on Zelaya's planned return to power," and the same source's disingenuous assertion that If Zelaya isn't reinstated, "it certainly will be a diplomatic embarrassment for the United States since they pressured so much for his reinstatement and even threatened to not recognise the election results." The point of that absurdity is to con Americans that the US isn't telling the Honduras Congress what to do.
        But they certainly are. The final negotiations, regardless of how long they were dramatically dragged out, began with a night time meeting at the US Embassy (this WAS reported, folks) where the coupsters got their marching orders. The four member panel that contrived the deal was stacked, certainly by the US State Department, 3-1 against Zelaya, consisting of his rep, the usurpers' rep, a US cabinet minister, and a Chilean conservative.
        As for the elections, which are probably already safely rigged, international observation of the voting procedure will satisfy most critics (it always does), Micheletti's resignation will be enough to assure a world eager to be assured that NOT being held under his regime (sort of) will serve just as well as BEING held under a Zelaya regime to purify them; and Zelaya's return to private life (not jailed after all) will seem to counter Hugo Chavez' supposed attempt to subvert another Latin American country, which is the most important US objective.
        Couldn't the Honduran people get so angry at this swindle (it was already a swindle) that they really revolt big time? Yeah. That could happen. But I don't think it will.
-Glen Roberts

I can't suspend my disbelief in the Times

  11 November 2009: What I'm reading today is the LA Times, but it could be almost any main stream Times, Chronicle, Bee, Examiner, Post, Herald, Record or other Republican (or "bi-partisan" Democrat) owned Daily Horn in America. It probably wouldn't change the headlines or even the front page alignment much if they all merged as, say, The Regressive Times. But the front page with almost nothing believable on it today, or the one I'm talking about, just happens to be the LA one.
     A TIME TO MOURN,
    Starting with the cutline under a top-of-the-page photo of Obama as he "passes" tribute (I wish the media would learn the English language) to the victims of the Ft. Hood shooter, what I can't believe is that he said "it was 'incomprehensible' that they were killed at home in a time of war" - at a time when HIS military is dropping bombs and shells on people through the roofs of their own houses in three countries already, and he's starting to deploy troops again in Latin America, too.
     COLUMN ONE - Life in Iran, for better, worse - Years of change test a Tehran couple's ties to each other and to the hard-line militia in which both once were true believers
     At the top left of the front page is this overly creative daily feature (COLUMN ONE) that is often just incoherent enough to suck you into turning to the jump to figure it out. Today's creation is one of the regular hit pieces all American media feel compelled to print at least weekly against Iran, China, North Korea or (most absurdly) Cuba or Venezuela to keep reminding their readers of their well taught and memorized patriotic contempt for those countries - with headlines that assume some common slander is true even though it's not known to be true. Sometimes these hit pieces sneer at the target country for transparently trying to adopt an American lifestyle and they always take advantage of the readers' often rehearsed conviction that things are dramatically bad there
     My first reaction to the sub-headline about "true believers" is that I never believe true believers - and when they switch their true belief to another true belief which the editors assumes will please me, I wonder what they got out of the deal. In this case, a narrative lead (a trick I taught my journalism students but advised them to avoid) quickly confirms my scepticism by telling me how Mr. True-believer lies to his wife that he's been helping the wounded when he's actually been wounding them and she dutifully believes his lie because "she had to." And my next reaction is that I never believe lying thugs, including supposedly waffling thugs. And I just about cease to believe the writer when I read in the next clumsily inserted paragraph that "landlocked Iran lacks a coast" to "escape" from. At this point, the reader is supposed to adopt his memorized Cuba reaction mode to convince himself he knows anything at all on which to base this innuendo. I suspect an editor inserted that paragraph.
     As the strenuously creative narrative continues, the locale unexplainably changes to the mountains, so I'm not sure if "the young man" is the same young husband when he says, "I'm a spiritual person," which just about does it for me. I never believe spiritual persons because what they truly believe isn't necessarily connected to real world experience, either before or after they change their minds.
     I went to page 19 and read the rest, learning nothing all of us don't already know or think we know about the middle east. The story's placement was obviously to keep the anti-Iran propaganda coming at us. Whether it was very narrowly or generally or only less narrowly true I don't know. I have a problem with Iran reporting. I can't go there and see for myself. I'm too old and couldn't learn the language. I have to notice that Ahmadinejad is more articulate and convincing than any American president and that his position on Iran's nuclear energy plans sounds more reasonable than Obama's and is supported by the very reliable Muhammad Al-Baradei. I'm sceptical, though, of the entire middle east, because all the governments there are so stridently religious, the Iranian president is reportedly as religious as Bush or Obama, and I not only never believe religious people, I don't believe any religious person should ever be president of any country. I don't know how many modern day Omar Khayyams there are there who'd be willing to take the job. I wish the Times would do a more honest job of educating people about Iran, but I don't believe they will.
    ARMY IN DARK ON HASAN'S E-MAILS
     This upper right corner piece is part of a series of hmm hmm guessing game stories sort of like the Simpson trial saga, in which various stern experts and men in the street speculate about whether the Ft. Hood shooting could have been prevented. I seriously don't believe it could have. But, more important, I don't believe the speculations or revelations of spooks whose job is to misinform us, and assuming we're all agreed that it's dishonest to open other people's mail, I don't know why any of us should believe people who spy on other people's E-mails.
     PANEL DRAWS LINE IN THE SEA
     Under this mid page headline, I immediately scribbled, "I don't believe you can draw a line in the sea." Or bandage it, either. Finding that the story was about a plan to "restore (some fish) species" by setting aside a few preserves, I went from amused to angry, because I don't just disbelieve, I KNOW the crash of the world wide eco-system can't be resolved by maybe preserving a species here and a species there. Nor by burning low energy light bulbs. The only way to save the eco-system is to reduce the human population and the size of the human encampment starting 60 years ago. But I DON'T BELIEVE the Times will give any space to that story any time soon.
     CALL TO ACTION ON HEALTHCARE
     This is under a picture of Bill Clinton calling Congress to action on healthcare. Except I don't believe he's talking about healthcare. I also don't believe the Times is going to stop calling it healthcare in their headlines unless there is a major readers' revolt. In this very issue, there is a rare letter to the editor that begins, "Your headline was misleading. What the House passed was insurance legislation."
    Back on Oct. 30, which is about the normal spacing between glimpses of reality in the media, the Times ghettoized together on one day (obviously to get them over with and forgotten) 8 letters from people sick and tired of headlines calling insurance company subsidization "healthcare." But in that same issue and forever before that and ever since, the Times has gone on relentlessly headlining Obama's and the Democrats' main scam as a "healthcare plan." It's not a healthcare plan. It's obviously a plan to pump money into the pockets of insurance and pharmaceutical companies while forcing the uninsured to cough up premiums they can't afford. I believe the Times will keep this deception up and will never acknowledge that most Americans, if they thought about it, would prefer socialized medicine.
     WHEN DEATH PENALTY MEANS A BETTER LIFE
     I don't believe this story is plagiarized from Fox News because it's definitely written by a Times reporter I learned not to believe when she was writing about Latin America. I think she's mainly telling the truth here, but I don't believe anyone commits murder in order to get in on the privileged living arrangement on death row, and I don't believe I care enough to pass on any of the shocking details.
     BRITISH LEADER WRITES A WRONG
     I can see quickly that the British Prime Minister was forced by public dismay to apologize for his bad handwriting and some spelling mistakes, but I can't figure out what I don't believe about this story without turning to page A20 and reading it, and I don't believe I will.
-Glen Roberts

Julius Caesar Obama lets slip the dogs of war

  11 November 2009: Right in the middle of today's front page was a propaganda piece headed "Why he named pullout date." I set aside my croissant and coffee, took up my pen and printed under that headline, "He didn't." He in this context meant Barack Obama, and the totally inaccurate phrase pullout date was a squinting reference to a supposed but not actual "pledge" to "pull out" U.S. troops from Afghanistan on a specified "date."
        But day before yesterday, under a banner headline, "Obama vows to break Taliban," and a margin-to-margin picture of Obama talking to West Point cadets, and another headline which first trumpeted the myth of the week: "30,000 more troops to go on 18-month timetable," I'd already caught the nose of truth poking quietly up at the very end of the lead, i.e. that...

               President Obama ... pledged to begin bringing home U.S. forces in 18 months."

        Dear reader, do you detect the built-in equivocation in that "pledge"? Hint: I put it in red. If you don't get it, you're the one whose number the media have and whom they are confidently snowing every day.
        Today, under the headline "Why he named pullout date," the truth with no asterisk or further comment was again tucked quietly in at the very end of a second column paragraph, where "The date, July 2011,..." (which isn't a date and isn't very good math, either) of the supposedly sure-thing pull-out, we're told in a low voice, will be...

               ... when the Afghan troop buildup is supposed to be working well enough against the Taliban-led insurgency that some troops can start to come home.

        You say you understand that. I hope so. It's simple enough. Obama is expanding the war, lengthening it by another 18 months and more, and deepening the guagmire. That's the clear reality. But you got it from six words I dug out and highlighted for you. All the rest of the last three days of headlines and multi-page coverage have been drilling you over and over and in depth to think you believe one of two other comic-book-level improbabilities.
        This is like all the "news" coverage of the so-called healthcare debates, which relentlessly drilled you to believe there were only two options - a Democratic so-called health bill which is really an insurance subsidy bill or a Republican hijacking of the issue to repeal 50 years of social and philosophical progress. By the simple strategy of never mentioning it, the press forbade you to think of the only good option - socialized medicine.
        Now, weighed down by headlines and pix that do NOT recall those six words I've highlighted, and by whole pages of blather by generals and congressmen pretending to be war experts (just in case you thnk there is such a thing), and even by some Obama quotes reminiscent of 1940's cowboy movies sort of like, "Boys, y'all know I'm a peacable man," you're left no choice but to join a near imbecile debate about whether (1) letting the enemy know the US will quit and go home 18 months from now plays into the Taliban's hands, or (2) telling Afghanistan the US is not going to go on doing their fighting for them will get them on their toes at last and inspire our boys, too, by golly.
        If you wonder why the Republican media are supporting a Democratic president by taking him seriously, keep it in mind that old editors love reliving WWII, that Democrats ARE Republicans, and that the same people who own the government and the media also own the arms industry and the banana companies.
        Outrageous as it is to add another 18 months to a war that's too often been supposed to end in similar time spells in the past eight years, US troops are NOT going to come home in 18 months. Actually, US troops have been continuously deployed all over the world for most of my long life. And this is the same Obama talking who pledged to close Guantanamo by next month and to be out of Iraq by this coming May. He's the same Obama who's been drone bombing Pakistan for months in what amounts to a third Middle Eastern war which undoubtedly includes some clandestine troop deployment. He's the same Obama who promised to start talking in a civilized way to Iran and North Korea but certainly didn't. He's the same Obama who promised to cut off military aid to Honduras five months ago if they didn't stop doing what he secretly wanted them to do. And he's the same Obama who was expected by his constituents to end the Cuban embargo on his first day in office and to start talking intelligently to Latin American leaders who are justifiably tired of stupid American presidents he's now exactly imitating by re-occupying old military bases in Colombia in apparent preparation for ANOTHER war in Latin America.
-Glen Roberts

"Success" of Honduran election threatens Latin American political progress

   29 November 2009: Embedded internet news sites barely bothered to report tonight that other Latin American countries won't recognize today's post coup Honduran election because its acceptance legitimizes the coup and will encourage other coups. That's as deep as the reports got. It's probably as deep as tomorrow morning's western newspapers will go.
    I just asked Al Jazeera if they're going to leave that fear unexplained. I pointed out that their own credibility hangs on the answer. The same goes for all embedded media that fulfill my expectations. My own credibility should grow a bit, though.
    That 60% of eligible Honduran voters reportedly voted (maybe that's not true), almost all of them voting for the two regressive insider candidates, is a crying shame. But I long ago predicted it, because I believed based on my own experience in the country that most Hondurans, like most Americans, are thoroughly and successfully brainwashed anti-communists.
    US media will not explain this, but Barack Obama supported the coup against President Manuel Zelaya from the start (Oh yes he did) because, thinking exactly like George Bush or Ronald Reagan (or, let's face it, like any other Democratic US president would), he feared that Zelaya was "going Castro's way," that he was going to succumb to Hugo Chavez' influence, which, by the way, is exactly what the unfortunately regressive Honduran voters thought THEY feared.
    I doubt Obama or his CIA advisors feared Honduras would actually be the next domino to fall in the most under-reported story in the world today, i.e. the movement of one Latin American country after another away from US domination and toward civilized socialism. US military presence inside Honduras is too strong to allow that to happen. But he feared the embarrassment (to Washington) of even a strong Honduran twist to the left and the greater embarrassment if the US were forced, in response, to bare its brutal fascist face there.
     That may happen yet, if the probably minority progressive Hondurans who have been raging in the streets for the last five months decide not to give up - but to go into the mountains. Honduras did not have a guerrilla movement in the 80's, as neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala did, but they have the possible beginnings of one now. That's just a thought I can't expand on without being there, which isn't in my personal cards right now. So to get an idea if that or something else less explosive but maybe still a threat to US hegemony is in the offing, link from the bottom of my front page to Narco News.
     Meanwhile, Jose Mujica, an unrepentant former leftist guerrilla, by winning a run-off election in Uruguay today, succeeded Tabare Vazquez as the second consecutive new left wave president in that country. An important aspect of the Uruguayan election was that Vasquez served only the one term allowed by the constitution, but that's OK because the socialist movement will go on under Mujica. It has become tacitly accepted in Latin America in recent years that the success of the Cuban revolution is owed to the continuity of leadership there. That's why Hugo Chavez sought and got an end to term limits in Venezuela and Evo Morales did the same thing in Bolivia and Daniel Ortega has done the same in Nicaragua. In Argentina, the Kirchners have bypassed term limits by succeeding each other (only once so far). And what the US puppets in Honduras who overthrew Zelaya suspected was that Zelaya was going to abolish term limits so that he could continue in office long enough to do some good.
     All this makes sense because what poor Latin Americans (the vast majority) need most is not democracy but a better life. And to achieve that end, democratic elections that did nothing but change the faces every 4 or 6 years have never done them any good. They need continuity of progressive leadership - either one leader like Fidel or Hugo who will stick to the project or a series of like-minded leaders who do the same until they successfully escape the capitalist jungle and reach a state of civilized socialism.
    It's too bad that Barack Obama right now appears unwilling to understand that, because the most serious obstacle faced by Latin Americans is not the compromising of democracy but the strong actual probability that the US will try to stop them. And THAT's why Hugo Chavez is reacting so angrily to the deployment of US troops in Colombia. It's not, as US media pretend, that he is jealous of his personal power. It's that Colombia is the only large fascist country left in South America, and Washington's stated reasons for a surge of military presence there is, besides the war-on-drugs scam, to be in position to confront US "enemies" in the region.
     This is the situation that justifies fears of more attempted coups in Latin America like the one that just wrapped up its success in Honduras and was very openly approved by the US State Department today. On November 29 2009, that's the way it is.
-Glen Roberts

You have to read between the lines of anti-China news

 25 December 2009: The story of a Chinese dissident, a Tiananmen Square veteran, going to jail for seeking 'political liberalization" may seem unambiguous to readers as well trained by their media as Pavlov's dog to frown at China and communism. But in the context of a daily flow of often near identical embedded media hit pieces against China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia (in short against any country the US State Department has designated as "evil"), even if you don't do some research, you should at least look more closely at the hit piece itself.
    I myself wish there was a single medium I could read that I knew told the truth, so I didn't have to spend hours on the computer or in the library filling in the background for every suspicious story published. I can't speak all languages and go everywhere, so I don't know, but this story resembles stories about Cuba and Venezuela and (in the 80's) Nicaragua that I DO know were grossly dishonest.
    I speak Spanish, I've traveled in 16 Latin American countries, in some of them (like Cuba) VERY extensively, and I know certainly that Cuban dissidents the US press shed crocodile tears for and glibly described as "journalists," when they were tried and jailed in 2003, were in fact willing agents of a clearly enemy foreign power (the US) passing out materials they were sent from Miami or handed in the home of the US Interests Officer in Havana, not to express their opinions but to TRY to stir up a counter revolution in the one country it would be MOST criminal to overthrow.
    I don't know that much about China. But when I read on BBC and in Al Jazeera at 1 a.m. this Christmas morning (as Americans will read in their papers later this morning or tomorrow) that the case against Liu (Xiaobo) centers on his co-authoring of a petition titled Charter 08, which calls for the protection of human rights in China and reform of the country's one-party communist system, I see some blinking red lights, as you should.
    For instance, I wonder what the very often misused word reform means. What does centers on mean - that there was some other less respectable blather all around the center? What was the tone of the petition to a Chinese ear? It was on the internet. How many people did it reach and how many of them were sophisticated enough to see through it - if by chance it needed seeing through? Lots of people nowhere nearly as credible as Tom Paine have written warped imitations of "Common Sense." Most importantly, why are the protection of human rights in China and reform of the country's one-party communist system lumped together in the news report as if the two things were equal in nature. They certainly aren't. One is perhaps innocuous. The other is subversive.
    The Al Jazeera story tells me objectively in one short paragraph that A Chinese court has sentenced a leading dissident to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power." But the possibly not very objective reporter tells me in the next paragraph that Liu Xiaobo, a 53-year-old academic, who was previously jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, had been charged for co-authoring a document appealing for political liberalization. LOOK AGAIN PLEASE! Inciting subversion and appealing for political liberalization aren't quite the same thing, are they?
    The reporter's name is Chinese, not Arab (as you'd expect for an Al Jazeera staff member) or English (as you'd expect for a translator for Al Jazeera's English edition). Could she be a Chinese dissident? US media often use Cuban dissidents, Venezuelan dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and North Korean dissidents as correspondents or as sources of supposedly reliable information about those countries. Outside sources quoted in the story include HRW (the New York based Human Rights Watch), a group I don't trust at all, which I think may have CIA connections, and the US embassy in China, which I know has CIA connections.
    At the very end of the Al Jazeera story (this is what you called buried), it is reported that The petition, which said "we should end the practice of viewing words as crimes," specifically called for the abolition of subversion in China's criminal code - the very crime for which Liu was sentenced on Friday. CALLED FOR WHAT? The abolition of subversion in China's criminal code?
     Now wait a minute! Every high school journalist learns to handle the idea that shouting the mere word "FIRE!" in a crowded theater is a crime. And don't all countries have laws against subversion? The US does. England does. I'd guess all Arab countries do. Laws against inciting a riot are considered very reasonable everywhere. Aren't they? And wouldn't you say inciting a riot is less intense than inciting nation-wide subversion? Laws against declaring war on one's own country are surely always considered reasonable by the concerned countries. Right? And wasn't Liu, by trying to stir up, justify, and lead a wave of subversion, declaring war on China? I think he was. Maybe you're well enough trained to think it's perfectly OK according to Emily Post to stir up internal subversion against a communist country. But do you expect China to agree?
-Glen Roberts

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