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Unspinning Official Stories 2010

Growth loving media cover-up decade's top story;
almost another billion humans on Earth already

        1 January 2010: Whether the decade's end was last night or will be next New Year's Eve, it was 10 years ago today or yesterday (I forget which) that, as the last century ended, embedded media tooting their horns about the grre-e-a-a-t stories of the 20th century all piously noted the death of Mother Teresa while every one of them forgot, discounted, or covered up the hands-down biggest story of all - the explosive and ominous growth of the human race past 2 billion, past 3 billion, past 4 billion, past 5 billion, and almost in exact sync with the century's end, past 6 billion in less than 100 years.
        So it's only business as usual that the same news media that have tacitly conspired for 20 years to convince us or themselves that humans virtually stopped reproducing in the early 90's, now that their gigantic lie has been dramatically contradicted, will give us no big story this week about the fact that even the most certainly politically contaminated estimate has added another 800 million people, while more credible estimated world human nose-counts have already nearly reached another billion in only 10 years - in just the first decade of the 21st century.
        At 8:30 p.m. New Year's Day, population clock counts ranged from the US Census Bureau's rapidly growing estimate of 6,793,836,600 to University of North Carolina's somewhat faster growing estimate of 6,973,027,500 . When next year's (mostly estimated) census is in, the highest estimates will certainly put world human population at over 7 billion.
        Take it from me that the highest estimate is only CLOSEST to enough, because, obviously, nobody counts all the poor people in all the shanty towns in the world. The extreme variations between "population clocks" should tell you these are wild estimates, and, since the very same insiders who are most in denial about overpopulation are the ones with most power to edit reality, setting aside community counts which serve different purposes, general population counts are always most likely to be under-counts.
        Meanwhile, wild horses were reported a couple of days ago to be overpopulating Nevada, and a fisherman, apprehended for shooting at a sea lion in the Sacramento River, told authorities "he was tired of watching the protected animals taking his fish." The first story did report that there are 18,500 wild horses in Nevada but not that there are 2 million people in the same state. The second story didn't give the number of sea lions taking the fishermen's fish in the Sacramento River OR the number of fishermen taking the sea lions' fish. But my guess is that the ratio is similar to that of horses to humans in Nevada.
-Glen Roberts

US meddling, people's failure combine to doom revolutions

 21 February 2010: Chile's recent electoral regression (returning their presidency to conservative hands) and, just before that, Honduras's actually inevitable mini-revolutionary failure can both probably be chalked up to the poisonous influence of Washington, but, whatever you think you think, dear readers, and no matter how many of you think it, it's plain to me that "the" people in both places had a lot to do with the torpedoing of their own future.
    At the time of Manuel Zelaya's ouster and first response, my own logical doubts that he had any chance in a country occupied by BOTH the US AND the Honduran people earned me some virulent censure from suddenly fervent bloggers who considered me a traitor to THEIR pro-democracy stance, a religious stance I can't betray since I've never shared it. As a revolutionary for civilization, I'm a communist, because civilization, should it ever be achieved, must be largely defined by strict adherence to an absolutely fair social and economic contract. But, in fact, to any charge that I lack faith in the wisdom of "the" people, I plead guilty. I have NO faith in "the" people's wisdom or in their revolutionary reliability because I am a realist, and in the real world there's not much evidence to justify any such faith.
    In the real world, besides ceremonially resting (without much apparent risk to the rich) in the slippery hands of "the" people, who can almost be counted on to switch back and forth between their own side and the wrong side from one election to another, any hope of wresting actual control from the so-far firmly grasping hands of the rich behind all supposedly (conveniently) democratic scenes, must rest in the hands of frustratingly uncertain revolutionary leaders (who are also, of course, people).
    In several posts starting last July 2 ('09), besides pointing out the true Obama/Clinton agenda, I declared my hope that Zelaya would succeed, join ALBA, and enlist his country into what I hoped was a new quarter-globe socialist revolution. And I think that if the Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean presidents had at that time very pointedly joined ALBA, and if ALBA leaders had then decisively withdrawn from the OAS and taken firm steps on Honduras in the name of ALBA, unambiguously declaring that the US must never again be allowed to overthrow Latin American states, Zelaya might have succeeded, Chile's election might not have been lost, and Obama might have been forced to reverse his move into the Republican camp.
     But none of that happened, and now, major western media have disappeared ALBA from the news, a strategy that has worked in the past, as all weaklings submissively jump on the insider band wagon. Maybe not, but Chile is going to be at least four years behind the pace now, and you can bet the CIA is working hard to end the Kirchner era in Argentina. And, though the Venezuelan and Bolivian revolutions are clearly still moving forward (slowly), no dramatic international moves to invigorate any all-Latin America revolutionary move (that I know of) is surfacing as of today, Sunday, February 2l, 2010.
     Maybe my hopes aren't realistic. I think they are. I think that (as always) it's the world outside my head that's not realistic. But my support for ALBA (Latin America's Bolivarian Alternative) is based on my assumption, based in turn on good but not perfect evidence that ALBA and other leftist Latin American leaders, including now maybe irrelevant Michelle Bachelet, recognize the unfairness of competitive economics and that each went into office aiming to eventually achieve social and economic equality in his or her country.
    I do not assume they are all as philosophically sophisticated as they should be, but I have been assuming that each understands or is at least capable and on the verge of understanding that the purpose of a civil state is to provide ALL its participants a good life, and that their undoubtedly varied concepts of an ideal civil state are at least evolving toward an approximation of my own definition of a Civil State.
     Actually, calls for clarification within ALBA several months ago by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa suggested that some or most of the ALBA leaders really are politically, socially and economically on my screen, but I've never read or heard anything clearly indicating that any of them, except possibly Fidel, are as ecologically or philosophically as sophisticated as they ought to be. And this is important because, in reality, the political, social, economic failure of humanity is overshadowed by their ecological and philosophical failure.
     My support for ALBA is academic, of course, since it's clear to me that all political and social crusading is vain in a collapsing, i.e. literally dying ecosphere.
-Glen Roberts

A rare glimpse of realism in the Middle East

  3 March 2010: Al Jazeera posted an interview this morning with two Iraqi politicians, actually two front men for the US, who were actually asked a question about the future of secularism in Iraq. It was the question that put the word in THEIR mouths, but it didn't fit very well.
     Maybe it's positive that there is even half hearted talk of a secular state in the middle east, even if the idea is wedged into the discussion with a reporter's shoe horn. But the response reported in this article WAS half hearted and, more important, pre-electoral, i.e. campaign rhetoric,
     Every note I've tried to post on Al Jazeera recommending an end to religious government in the middle east has disappeared down a hole, So I was startled to see the subject poke its nose above the nap this morning. But, no problem, it vanished quickly enough, and I don't expect to see it poke up again soon.
     The otherwise pointless blather quickly devolved to talk about politics, a non-subject the interviewees were more comfortable with. And then the reporter disgraced himself by bringing up what he apparently considered somebody's hope for more nationalism - another kind of religion. They were all over that, of course.
     Why do the politicians in countries the US is "building" look and talk so much like US politicians?
     The proper business of a would-be civilized state and its leaders should be the welfare of its people and procedures for providing them a good life, including economic and social equality, i.e. civilization.
-Glen Roberts

Whatever's up down south needs clearer focus

   4 March 2010: Too slow. Too slow. Maybe so long overdue that being too late doesn't really matter anymore, but too slow, anyway. Something IS happening in Latin America. But so like the movement of rheumatoid old men is the happening that to tell WHAT is happening is even harder than spotting that it IS happening.
     OK, YES. It's faster than the coming of "change" under Obama in the US, but "hope" for the US started wilting when Tom Jefferson retired. I'm talking about more progressive places.
    Two days after I wrote two weeks ago that I saw no sign that day of any dramatic moves to revitalize the new Latin American socialist revolution, 32 countries meeting at a Latin American president's summit in Cancun talked about too many other things but, in the midst (maybe at the top) of the agenda, they talked for sure about a new Latin American organization to replace the OAS (or so Hugo Chavez suggested), leaving the US out. Wow! Reading this in Al Jazeera I thought, maybe I spoke to soon.
    But BBC only reported some anti-UK discussion of the Falklands at a meeting of some sort in Cancun. US papers eventually reported some such meeting as if it were a peon labor union workshop acknowledged and OK'd by the boss. They made a much bigger, disgracefully one-sided story of a Cuban convict who starved himself to death, without bothering to compare the singular event with the thousands of similar deaths that take place annually in US prisons.
     Mexican newspapers featured pictures of Raul Castro and Hugo Chaves clasping hands over their heads in Cancun and reported some anger directed at right-wing presidents Alan Garcia of Peru, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and the newly elected but not yet right-wing president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, for urging inclusion of the US.
     The worst of it was that the discussion was continued until the presidential summiteers meet again in Caracas next year. Next YEAR? OK. I'm going to hope, without much clarification coming from anywhere, that the new international group proposed is intended only as an umbrella for several already US free regional Latin American groups that already exist, including ALBA, which have lots of international activities already underway, like the project to help Haiti set up a health care system, to be led by Cuba. International mutual assistance is a Cuban specialty, and Raul's much heralded participation in the Cancun meeting signals Cuba's intention to be deeply involved with any new organization to be founded. That's the best of it.
     But I'm not happy with an organization that might indiscriminately include 32 countries, some of which will certainly act as proxies for the US, balk at key moves toward socialism, and clog the works. I'm not happy with the emergence of yet another organization - with the further alphabet-soupization of Latin American progressivism. This proliferation of organizations confuses and minimizes the point, which would be better served if all the existing regional groups attempting to make Latin American business Latin America's business all joined ALBA, which began with a Cuba/Venezuela alliance, which made most sense most emphatically.

-Glen Roberts

Americans still don't understand their own laws

   30 April 2010:  Americans still don't understand their own laws: Just as in the case of Proposition 8 in Calfornia, all coverage of Arizona's new anti Mexican-American law studiously shuns any reference to the obviously relevant 14th Amendment equal protection clause.
    The John Waynes keep talking as if there was no issue except illegal immigrants, and the protester against the law seem incapable of clearly declaring, "Hey! We're not objecting to your barbaric treatment of immigrants. We're objecting to the way you're obviously intending to treat American citizens, depriving them of their right to equal protection under the law if they happen to LOOK like immigrants to a cop."
     And the newspapers and politicians are no better. Why is the Obama administration blathering about "unlawful preemption of the Federal Government's role in securing the country's borders," when that is NOT what the issue is, and it's a stupid issue to bring up considering that the Federal approach to border security is just as ugly as Arizona's. Obviously, they want to appeal to the stupid right by making it a right wing emotional issue and by avoiding logic. Meanwhile if there is a glimmer of awareness by the media that it is the 14th Amendment being violated, why does the Times muddle the point with reference to a "civil rights challenge asserting that the law encourages racial profiling?" Are they trying to sound politically correct?
     I think they are trying to avoid a clearly logical and legal approach, because letting the public go on thinking law is like calling for an emotional show of hands on the Jerry Springer show allows for the further dismantling of existing progressive law on emotional and religious grounds that the people will stupidly support. And very relevant to that thought, they fear a clear 14th amendment victory would collaterally knock over Proposition 8 in California and derail hopes for an equally stupid anti-abortion law which is certainly coming up next.
     For a better understanding of the logical role of a civilized state and of why the few rational law makers in US history have enacted laws limiting government authority over participating citizens, see Civil State on this website.
-Glen Roberts

Eco-panic 60 years late

  30 April 2010:  Words like frantic and ecological crisis in reference to an actual ecological crisis are strangers on the front page of the LA Times, but don't worry.
        With the Mississippi delta and all nearby game refuges and the Gulf of Mexico undeniably threatened by an underwater rupture freely spewing out oil south of New Orleans, it's hard to do, but they're still trying to convince readers this is a one-time local EVENT.
        The Exxon Valdez has to be mentioned because the public DOES know something like this has happened before. But they keep calling it a spill, just as if it were no worse than a leaking ship and NOT a torrent that could empty a subterranean oil bubble vastly bigger than the holds of a fleet of tankers into the gulf.
        The president's panic reaction, suddenly reversing his call for an offshore drilling drive, is extreme, but I assure you Obama hasn't realized that greedy capitalism's onslaught against the natural world has gone too far and has got to stop. He's just worried about his image. With luck, Sarah Palin will be worried enough about her image to shut up briefly.
        But, exept for the rare use for a few days of some usually omitted words, the reaction isn't likely to get really real real soon, or if it does it will only be because Mother Nature stages a horrendous disaster - which, of course, she will.

-Glen Roberts

When slicks gush and goats are scaped

  2 May 2010:  Torn between their duty as corporate bards to sedate the suckers and their suppressed carny barker urge to shock them, the media headline a comfortably familiar slick spreading from a spill, but halfway to a near secret subparagraph revelation that a torrent of oil is pouring from a rupture in the ocean floor (about what I guessed night before last - see below), they let slip this chimeric (Freudian?) image: "...crews struggled to contain the slick which is gushing ..." Hey! Slicks don't gush. They spread. What's gushing is a volcanic oil blow-out way way down deep under water where no amount of struggling will stop it until it empties the reservoir feeding it.
        They then more slickly scapegoat one corporation to go on hiding the general human guilt and the bigger, more alarming story. The world's not facing one company's one local mistake. This oil eruption is connected to global warming, disappearing species and rain forests and coral reefs and water tables, acid rain, dying lakes and oceans and etc. etc. The problem's not BP and one coastline. It's more and more people everywhere needing more and more resources and a greedy careless uncontrolled growth and profit driven monster system of capitalism that lives on only by destroying the eco-world to keep filling its market's evergrowing belly.

-Glen Roberts

The next worst disaster

  11 June 2010:  Each time you read that "this is the worst eco-disaster in US history," remember that in any developing situation records are made to be broken. There will be another "worst eco-disaster" and another and another and, while the scape-goat for the gulf oil blow-out is a British corporation, the scape-goat for the next one may be an American corporation, and while the pay-off for this one will come from the pockets of British pensioners, whose paychecks depend on investments in large corporations including British Petroleum, the next one may result in a blow-out of pension funds for Americans.
-Glen Roberts

What's wrong with humanity? How do they stay so dumb?

  14 July 2010:  I'm not asking what's wrong with the media, because, even if they are both ethically and intellectually wrong, I don't think they're making a mistake. I don't think they necessarily know what they're doing, either. But whether instinctively or cunningly, by keeping the public confused, they're assisting and obscuring the crimes of the system they're part of. Better to ask what's wrong with me. Why do I go on hopelessly explaining and re-explaining to a stubbornly deaf race the lies they're being told, the tricks being played on them?

     But the best question is "WHAT - IS - WRONG - WITH - HUMANITY!?!?"

     Why do humans never get any smarter? Why, after thousands of years of scientific progress, do they keep believing in ghosts? Why do they never stop letting themselves be sent out to fight and kill each other? How can they be so easily taught to demonize the poor and idolize the rich? Why, no matter how much they suffer for it, do they keep falling for every scam their rich oppressors and their oppressors' media pull on them? Why do they never learn their language well enough to figure things out? And why do they keep reproducing and inflicting all their stupidity and its consequences on more and more victims while stupidly denying the limitations of space? What's wrong with them?
    Well, for one thing, they're not philosophically very sharp, are they? Even though they HAVE separate brains, functional to a point, as philosophizing mechanisms, their brains either don't work or aren't under their own control. There's no use calling that unbelievable, by the way. It's a fact.
    Thousands of years after the development of writing catalyzed a leap forward in the accumulation and supposed sharing of knowledge, hundreds of years after the invention of printing jump-started the worldwide spread of available knowledge, and in the midst of a computer revolution, which is expanding access to every facet of knowledge, while people have evolved technologically, and to varying degrees economically and even socially, and in some quarters politically, it IS an indisputable fact that over 99% of humanity have STILL not even slightly evolved philosophically.
     Philosophy itself has evolved. To write the documents on this site, I've got to have come a long way past Epicurus. But not only have not even 1% of humans come with me, almost 100% of the human race remain philosophically between cave men and the ancient Egyptians.
     People who wear clothes, drive cars, take high tech pills, do complex math problems, and can put on a show of moving printed words off a page, through their eyes, presumably through their brains, and out their mouths as real words - STILL - seldom speak their own languages coherently and, confronted by realistic discourse about any of the to-them most important ancient human delusions, apparently either can not or will not understand either what they read or what is said to them.
     Their entire pseudo understanding of the world they've lived in for a million years without ever paying any sustained coherent philosophical attention to it is faked by aping endlessly rehearsed expressions and reciting memorized slogans. But, you may say (if there IS a you out there who can read these sentences), they certainly act as if they had passionate convictions. Sure they do, but it's an act, and even the act of acting is merely copied.
     Here and there there's an inventor, one human in a thousand (you, my reader, I hope), whose brain always functions on its own and who can articulate his own ideas or analyze and corroborate the ideas of others - and, maybe, now and then there's a minute at a time when maybe even one out of three humans can manage a spontaneous series of coherent thoughts about something besides simple business, cars, sports, sex, cosmetics and celebrities - but, for the most part, humanity's too numerous heads are, like the Scarecrow's, stuffed with shredded newspapers and TV scripts. No wonder they're easily brain washed. If it wasn't for brain washing, they'd have no political, social, economic, ecological, or philosophical thoughts at all.
     The insidious media teach humanity that brainwashing is something weird done by the enemy to their foreign subjects, but brainwashing isn't foreign or exceptional; it's the rule everywhere. Human thought, including all appearances of serious conviction, is NORMALLY the product of brainwashing. What looks and sounds or reads like conviction is all around, as blatant as commercial packaging. But it only looks and sounds or reads like conviction. In fact, it's not. The woman on the screen who tells you the best thing to buy for your family is acting. The party hack who tells you YOUR candidate will END the scams and CHANGE the system is acting. The Secretary of State who tells you Cuba must "get its act together" is acting.
     Logically, conviction should result from hard brain work - energetic fact gathering, analysis and synthesis that prove a particular conclusion is certainly or very close to certainly true. So, finding myself surrounded by apparently passionate conviction, I ought to be able to assume that - wow! - there's a whole lot of thinking going on.
     But there's not. In fact, in the world of human thought trading (the well-named market-place of ideas), even passionate conviction is sold and bought in the ready-to-wear department. And like any other commercially packaged product, it is sold by repetitive sloganeering, not by compelling argument.
     The NORM is brainwashing. Brainwashing is the NORM. I said that twice so you'd get it, the same way normal humans get almost all their convictions. Apparently honest and earnest convictions NORMALLY get from the shelf into human heads by being routinely, relentlessly and conspicuously repeated - by the media, of course.
     So when I tell you that every time a normal human "decides" to vote for X because Y isn't "experienced" or "tough," he's parroting the media, I'm not talking about an aberration. I'm talking about something normal, and, since it's normal, examples abound.
     If you think it's outrageous that I should claim to be right about this and everybody else wrong, by the way, you're wrong. Why is it outrageous? The everybody else referred to believes in gods, patriotism, democracy, freedom, family values, evil, the magical effect of buried gold on the value of money, the impossibility of stopping what's idiotically called progress, etc. etc. It's not a stunt; it's EASY to be right and everybody else wrong if your brain works. After all, I DID my real brain work. I DID think out my conclusions. And almost any logically right conclusion arising from actual thought almost always contradicts majority opinion, because majority opinions NORMALLY result not from careful thought but from brainwashing. And examples are so numerous and obvious, I don't NEED to name them.
     If I were pointing out something UNUSUAL - if I were claiming a THINKING people known for THINKING things over had somehow been fooled about ONE THING, for instance how and why they're going to vote on this or that, it might be outrageous, but I'm not.
     I'm pointing out that a people whose every apparently earnest conviction is actually a religious belief (and religion itself is the first elephant-sized example) are OF COURSE parroting their high priests, mass media and each other when they blabber phrases like "sustainable development," "property rights," "our brave men and women in uniform," "the American way," "choice of physicians," "our precious freedom," "hardworking Americans," "political experience," etc.etc.; and I'm pointing out (not claiming - pointing out) that they always conscientiously vote as they're told they'll vote and piously buy "green" products and knowingly sneer at North Korea because they're well brainwashed by the media, which NORMALLY write, produce, direct, and stage almost the entire dumb show called human thought.
-Glen Roberts

Did big shots stop the oil, or did the oil just stop?

  9 August 2010: I have a theory about the Louisiana oil blowout. This is just a theory, but it makes sense.
     It made sense to me on April 30 and May 2 (see below), when I predicted the underwater gusher would ultimately release enough oil to fill a fleet of Exxon Valdezes and that it wouldn't stop until the oil reservoir under it was empty. And in fact, that much oil DID spew out in the ensuing months. So it makes sense now to guess that my other prediction has come true, that the mother oil lode, if not empty, is so close to empty that there's no longer enough pressure from below to blow out the latest cement plug BP boasts has stopped it.
     What I'm suggesting (this is my theory) is that they DIDN'T stop the blowout. They just ran out of oil in that particular hole to stop. They and the media poured millions of dollars and millions of words into a stupendous sideshow designed to convince the public that a chimeric state/ corporation combo was heroically engaged in multiple high tech strategies to WIN a war against nature, when, in fact, after they'd fumbled their reckless way into yet another inevitable ecological disaster (another battle to be lost in an already lost war), they spun their wheels expensively but uselessly until the unnatural disaster just naturally (at least publicly) ended on it's own.
     So now they're taking a bow because, coincidentally, WHILE they were (Wow! How high tech can you get?) pumping cement into a hole, the reservoir ran dry. Just a theory. I'm not claiming it's true. I can't be right about everything. But next time this or something worse happens, don't expect the now more knowing big shots to quickly save the day by pumping mud and cement into another new hole they've dug themselves into.
     Also, don't imagine that, with one puncture loosely patched, the eco-system has stopped collapsing. Human population and human hunger for resources are still exploding. Stupid Republicans AND stupid Democrats AND their stupid president AND their stupid counterparts all over the world are all still blindly eager to continue their assault on the world's resource base, and the eco-system is still collapsing and will go on collapsing.
-Glen Roberts

Demand for US war aid keeps war profits flowing

  9 August 2010:  My headline above is simply factual, like it or not. BBC's story this morning of an Iraqi general's claim that US military assistance is needed for another 10 years because the Iraqi army won't be ready before 2020 is trumped up news noise designed to keep the public confused.
     No army in the world will be "ready" before 2020, or 2030 either, including the US army. All armies have to continually need more and more preparation and modernization and of course newer and better arms and US advisers always on the scene, so the army preparing and modernizing and arming and advising businesses can continue to thrive.
     Strange that the Taliban needs no help from the US at all, isn't it?
-Glen Roberts

Time tampers with your mind

  14 August 2010: Time's cover picture of a mutilated Afghan woman turned my stomach. But so did the magazine's stupid claim that the picture shows "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan."
     We're IN Afghanistan! Atrocities like this don't happen for lack of US troops all over the world. They're caused by a mental illness even more pervasive than US troops - religion. But (1) commercial media won't criticize religion (which is good for business), and (2) the rich owners of rags like Time WANT US troops everywhere - permanently! And they'll use any tasteless means to pitch their plan.
     That's right! While the media may have kept YOU looking the other way, the US has entered an era of permanent warfare and global occupation. And Time's warped logic, whether stupid or insidious, is a pitch for that ugly ongoing clearly capitalist venture.
     With the eco-world crashing and other businesses failing, rich US insiders may have only one reliably stable business to fall back on (to keep profits flowing for themselves) - i.e. WAR - already the world's biggest business, by the way, and one that (unlike oil) is safely dominated by the US.
-Glen Roberts

Prisoner release in Cuba misinterpreted by US media

  14 August 2010: US media are sure to misinterpret every story they tell you about Cuba, because they misinterpret Cuba, both on purpose and because they really don't understand it. I don't fully understand Cuba's decision, now, to move some prisoners to facilities closer to their families, and to release others, though, apparently unlike The Times, I have read Cuba's explanation, which is appended below. But I can tell you some things to help uncorkscrew the misinterpretation you get from The Times or from Hillary Clinton doing photo ops.
        First, if you believe there are "rogue states" (besides the US), whose leaders rub their hands together and say, "Heh heh heh," or gnash their teeth and say, "Curses! Foiled again!" you'd do well to set that myth aside and forget it. Cuba is not a "rogue state" and, in stark contrast to Clinton, Biden and Obama, its leaders have GOT their act together.
        Second, ignore the oddly scatter-shot implication that having political prisoners is heinous for some countries, though not others. Lots of countries have political prisoners. The US, maybe the only country to make it a political crime to defend your own country from the US, may have the most. Cuba's currently notorious political prisoners, all of whom were duly charged, tried, and convicted, were jailed for treason, which is a crime in most countries.
        Third, don't believe the tale that the 75 Cubans jailed in '03 are heroes like the Hollywood image of the French resistance in WWII, being punished for speaking freely. In fact, they were caught conspiring with Cuba's self-declared enemies, the eternally frantic exiles in Miami supported by Washington and a series of US interests officers in Havana. It doesn't matter what their activities were. They weren't convicted of being writers. They were convicted of being paid, trained, and supervised by US agents to subvert and try to overthrow the revolutionary government.
        Fourth, Cuba did not just now suddenly become ashamed and decide to repent by releasing political prisoners. Ever since their arrest, the '03 detainees have, a few at a time, been being paroled early. This policy is now being accelerated. A Cuban statement about this was published in Granma and is reproduced below.
        Finally, I'm telling you for sure, ostentatiously starving himself does not make a Cuban dissident or anyone else a respectable authority on anything.

Cuban statement published in Granma:
        Today, Wednesday July 7 at midday, Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino was received by Cuban President Raul Castro. The meeting was also attended by Spain’s Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

Hours before the meeting took place, Cardinal Ortega had held a joint working meeting with Ministers Moratinos and Rodriguez Parrilla.

Today´s meetings dealt with the process opened last May 19 when President Raul Castro Ruz received Cardinal Jaime Ortega and the president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia Ibañez.

Up to date, the development of this process has allowed the release of one prisoner and the transfer of another twelve inmates to the provinces where they reside.

In the context of today’s meetings, and giving continuity to the aforementioned process, Cardinal Ortega was informed that over the next few hours another six prisoners will be transferred to their provinces of residence and that another five will be released and will be able to travel to Spain accompanied by their families.

The Cuban authorities also informed that the remaining 47 prisoners of the group arrested in 2003 will be released and will be able to leave the country. This process will conclude in a three-to-four-month period starting from now.

This process has taken into account the proposals previously expressed to Cardinal Ortega by the relatives of the inmates.

-Glen Roberts

Fidel's uniform is headlined by confused US newspaper

  4 September 2010: Appearances by Fidel are always, to US media, opportunities to demonstrate their political naivete in general and their ignorance of Cuba in particular. Saturday's LA Times reaction to a speech by Fidel the day before, which focused mindlessly on Fidel's uniform, was an AP story without a by-line, which probably means it was written in America, probably slightly mis-using a Granma press release from Havana as an excuse to rehash some tired rhetoric.
     Besides a photo cut-line you'd do well to cross out, which declares that "his choice of dress suggests that he may be seeking to return to a bigger political role," readers are misled by a line stolen from ancient cold war copy about Russia and China, calling the uniform "a symbolic act in a country where small signals often carry enormous significance." What? Cross that out, too. I don't know if it was ever even true about Russia or China. But, in fact, Cuba is a place where leaders, almost uniquely, very close to always mean what they say. US media never report that because, as business oriented Americans, they can't conceive of it.
     In the first place, Fidel was attending a student peace rally. The Granma story (which you can link to from this website) gives some space to a student speaker, too.

     The rally began at 7:30 a.m. The first speaker was the president of the Cuban Federation of University Students, Maydel Gonzalez, who expressed the Cuban students’ support of the struggle to prevent a nuclear war.
     "The university is a symbol of peace. We are here to prevent war. We are all committed to a love for life. Let us unite and bring this message to all corners of the world, war is not an alternative," said the youth leader.

     Fidel was undoubtedly there partly to publicly show he's relatively healthy again, i.e. no longer wearing loose convalescent clothing and no longer confining his appearances to physically easy settings, but also, by supporting the students, whose 2010 pacifism is very timely in a world where wars are spreading, war profits are growing, and the US is deploying more troops more widely, to underscore that Cuba is a country at peace, qualified to critique the brawling world by its honest position on the sidelines, picking fights with no one and with no enemies except those rogue states which arbitrarily call Cuba their enemy and act accordingly.
     To me, the significance of the story is (1) that Fidel is still popular with a lot of Cuban youth (if not all) and can still expose himself without fear on a scene as impossible to protect as the university stairs; (2) that his 32-minute speech outdoors, standing up, amounted to a better show of strength than the last time I saw him in public; and (3) that Fidel, the columnist, obviously the elder statesman, though he still sees the big picture more clearly than US politicians and certainly still speaks better than they do, may be, with age, getting a little uncharacteristically confused, since his focus on an imminent nuclear war seems to me a little overblown and a little off target. But only a little.
    I think there is actually more will in the world NOW to prevent a nuclear war than ever, and, though the danger of nuclear war always exists and is exacerbated by the growing hysteria of religious nuts everywhere who are capable of using any weapon they get their hands on AND by public acceptance of a succession of belligerent US presidents overtly refusing to rule out a nuclear counter attack or even a pre-emptive attack, what looms much larger and would be a subject more worthy of Fidel is the fact that the US (and its allies and all their arms industries) are ALREADY engaged in what looks like a state of permanent global warfare for profit.
-Glen Roberts

Undercover US diplomacy eclipses Iran/hiker saga

  15 September 2010:  The first story I saw on the three American hikers arrested in Iran a year ago included a picture of the Azmar Mountains, and my first and, for then, last reaction was to wonder why they'd hike in such barren looking mountains. But, even though any religious state gives me the horrors, since I doubt Iran's potential as an instigator of nuclear war and have no fear they'll attack me or my friends, except as a target of media hit-pieces, I have less interest in Iran than those who dutifully adopt the nightmares assigned to them by US presidents and media.
      But when the woman hiker was released, looking at the front page picture of her and her mom today, I wondered who put up the $500,000 bail, whose private jet picked her up, if she and her friends were Jewish, and, again, why they were hiking in those dreary mountains?
      Since the rah-rah Regressive Times, straining to convince naive American readers that the hikers had to have innocently strayed into Iran (just because it was evil Iran), gave me no answers, I went to the internet and learned, yes, all three were Jewish and also journalists somewhat connected to pro-Israeli publications and therefore surely too sophisticated (I, as a journalist with Latin American hot spot traveling experience, would hope) not to have known the exact location of the Iranian border,
      I learned I wasn't the first to note the dreariness of the mountains and read the defensive protest against such cynicism by a friend of theirs who even angrily posted a picture of a scenic waterfall near their hiking base camp, the mountain town of Ahmed Awah. I looked up the Azmar Mountains and the town and saw the same picture of the same waterfall. I zoomed in on a map of the town's location, ostentatiously INSIDE a finger of Iraq that extends INTO Iran and almost up against a radically zig-zagging Iranian border, obviously a mountain crestline border dividing two watersheds, that I'd have sure as hell known all about.
      So you can believe their story if you want, but I don't. I doubt their connection with the CIA (suggested by internet bloggers), or that they were any kind of spies, though US pseudo progressives have been confused enough even for a CIA "pro-democracy" connection ever since 1990. But what I really suspect is that they were trying to secretly enter Iran to carry out a secret investigative reporting mission of their own. I don't know that. I suspect it. If that's it, they have my sympathy and Iran has my contempt for (typically) wildly calling journalists spies. In any case, while the continued detention of her friends in Iran may prevent Sarah Shourd from speaking about their treatment as prisoners, now that she's free, nothing stops her from verifying their cover story, if it can be done.
      More interesting to me, though, I learned that the "private jet" that picked her up was an Omani jet, and that the family government of Oman had "play(ed) a critical role in organizing the bail," and that her mother was waiting for her in Oman, indicating things didn't happen as suddenly as media implied and that the US was heavily involved. I looked up Oman/US connection and learned that, though Oman has been run for over a century by a family dictatorship (supposedly an unspeakable sin in democracy-loving DC), the US, the UK and Oman are as cozy as three bugs in a rug, the Omani military, besides being armed by the "good guys," being virtually run by the Brits, and a very large US business empire being virtually in partnership with the sheikdom.
      Apparently the rich little country provides their western partners a convenient channel for low-public-profile big-time financial ventures, like laundering the half million dollar ransom paid to Iran. So you can hold your breath without my help waiting for the exciting conclusion of the innocent American hikers story. I'm more interested in what I learned today about the Oman connection, and I think you should be, too.
-Glen Roberts

No new era is beginning; not the right one anyway

  3 November 2010:  Every cloud has a silver lining, if there is a cloud. That it was the House, not the Senate, that just went Republican in America means Nancy Pelosi is out. She can now retire to Dharamsala and learn to spin a prayer wheel. If all the other misleaders of the San Francisco pseudo-progressive community go with her, maybe a group of real progressives they've been standing in front of will surface.
        Meanwhile, Sacramento will trade Arnold for Jerry, but so what? As soon as the media stopped headlining polls, I knew Meg Whitman was no longer a threat (OK - hooray), but today's headline that hypes "Brown the old pol as the fresh new face" is eye wash. The only justification in the story for the phrase, a suggestion that Brown will return authority to local government, is old old very old stale hat. It's media language. My message to Brown: I didn't vote for you, because you NEVER used your campaign platform to say anything real. Get me socialized medicine in your first term and I'll vote for you next time.
        With GOP control of the House, a kind of desperation based fascism could begin in Washington, except that America is already fascist. Maybe, being more stupidly courageous than Democrats, the Republicans could reach a new level of fascism, but probably not for long, because the insiders have fumbled their brainwashing of the lumpen a bit, turning them into Costa Ricans, whose perception of vibrant democracy is just to keep changing sides back and forth.
        The funniest reaction to the elections in today's paper is a headline claiming an opportunity for Obama. Of course, Obama has never met an opportunity he couldn't fumble, but they're not talking about an opportunity, anyway. I confess I didn't read the story, but I don't need to. I read the last one, and I know perfectly well, without looking, that the "opportunity" hyped in the story is an opportunity for bipartisanship, which is just media blabber, the most disgustingly important part of which is the prefix bi. When one of the parties is the Republican party and the other the Democrats, bipartisanship is really only what business calls stability and what progressives, if there were any, would call paralysis. Of course, they've got Obama's number, and more bipartisanship is exactly what you're going to see. It'll be just as if we hadn't gotten rid of Pelosi, after all.
      Meanwhile, and this is more newsworthy than any of the above, I know a person with actual brains down in Miami West (San Diego County) who, deep in the shadow of a pale losing Democrat and completely unknown to the lumpen who wouldn't have been smart enough to vote for her, anyway, as an anonymous half of one bottom-of-story post-election reference to "two other candidates," might be said, with a smile, to have lost the race for a Congressional seat to a Republican surfer who has trouble putting two coherent English sentences together in a row. Maybe because they're trying to convince themselves they're still firmly in control, during this election, the media have more completely than ever before erased all 3rd and 4th parties from the public screen, and the voting American lumpen have no way of knowing (independent research and thinking being tricks they've never tried) that it's 3rd and 4th party movement that has finally boosted Latin America out of the political mire Americans still willingly endure.
-Glen Roberts

Ignore 'Shut up!' order in today's LA Times

  17 November 2010:  Pious, violin-accompanied patriotism is the thin mask of fascism American media are supposed to promote, as if they themselves were members of the lumpen workforce, rather than mouthpieces for the insiders who own them. But sometimes they lose their patience with us outsiders, drop the mask and (speaking from their insiders' mouths) order us to shut up and do as we're told (or maybe get a rifle butt in the head?).
        For instance, in big letters above today's editorial page lecture to the rest of us, the LA Times snarls, "Shut up and be scanned," i.e. shut up and let airport checkpoint cops strip you naked. Remember when in the movie "Missing," Chilean soldiers searching a girl rudely felt her tits, terrorizing her and collaterally emasculating the guy she was with? That was to remind Americans who were safe from such barbarism that they were seeing fascist goons in action. In fact, Hollywood used to regularly make oppressive checkpoint scenes like that the symbol of ugly, in-your-face fascism. Didn't they? Maybe they don't, anymore, now that some of the world's ugliest checkpoints are US airports.
        Maybe you read the editorial today and thought the Times excuse for telling you to shut up and submit was convincing. I did NOT read it, because I knew it wasn't signed and I don't read unsigned editorials (my name is Glen Roberts) and because I didn't have to read it to know that the excuse was the same as it is for all the fascist checkpoints in the world, none of which ever stop the designated bad guys or stop the anger prompted by checkpoint fascism from eventually erupting, either.
        Screw you, Mr. Anonymous editor. I won't submit, and I won't shut up. Since the first and last time I was "selected for screening" six years ago, I've simply never again flown in or out of a US airport. And I advise the heroic software engineer, John Tyner, who made the news yesterday by refusing to be scanned (thus prompting the Times to order the rest of us to shut up and submit) to follow my example. I also urge him not to shut up.
        In 2004, I flew 13 times, twice in the US where I was "selected for screening" both times and subjected to a degrading, embarrassing, intrusive procedure conducted by arrogant law-and-order types, including, in one of the two ordeals, a minority woman overseer who had apparently never had such a good opportunity before to bully WASP's and was milking it for all it was worth. My other 11 flights that year, in Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, all involved far more civilized and polite boarding procedures, none with pat-downs. I also crossed 24 border check points that year, where nobody seemed to be worried about either drugs or terrorists, except at the, as usual, arduous and insulting US border between Tijuana and San Diego. For instance, going from Colombia to Ecuador, two countries with border issues, I spent about two and a half minutes flirting with each of two friendly women, handing over my Colombian visa to one and getting an Ecuadorian visa from the other. I judge that the reason for the dramatic difference is that none of the countries I visited has as many enemies as the US has.
        So, since I'm convinced that that's the problem, and it's the problem that should be confronted, not innocent travelers, I invite John Tyner and other fed up Americans to join me in (hopelessly of course) issuing some rude orders of our own to the US government - to (damn you!) stop making so many enemies for the rest of US - and to try (intelligently for a change) to actually reduce the growing threat to flying and non-flying Americans by honestly trying to change what America is and is correctly perceived to be - by dissolving NATO, the G-20, and the WTO; by closing the hundreds of US military bases all over the world and bringing US troops home; and by joining the UN as a member, not as a bully, to work with other countries toward the creation of an entire civilized world in which everybody has a good life, instead of a business domain for the benefit of 1/10 of 1% of humanity.
-Glen Roberts

Holes appear in news fabric; not many; don't get excited

  13 December 2010:  Al Jazeera reports today (the Times doesn't) that the new government of Australia doesn't believe Iran is a rogue state and has more fear of Israel. This, of course, is a wicked wiki-leak. Don't give embedded investigative reporters any credit they don't deserve. I don't know if Iran is in any sense a rogue state and, more importantly, I don't know why I should think so. But I do know that Washington is a rogue state, far more dangerous than Israel, which IS dangerous, but not as dangerous as the insiders who run America, to whom war is obviously a highly profitable business venture, who are now at war (without permission from dormant US citizens) in 3 countries, who are apparently trying to start 3 more wars, and who have enough military deployed everywhere to start all the wars they want.
      Meanwhile, in reference to the dead and the other dead, it's past time I acknowledged a fairly recent change in US media editorial policy. The Times showed today (not for the first time, though nearly so) that they can be shamed (or something), when they headlined "6 NATO TROOPS SLAIN" and then in the bottom line told us that maybe "all six...were Americans." Somebody (not me, though I tried for years) has persuaded them to stop headlining deaths in two categories.
      Then, about those Hinkley, California cancer rates, you could learn in the last two paragraphs of a long story, if you read that far, that some people doubt the numbers in a new survey showing the cancer rate there to be only normal. Though I haven't followed that story, I know I've read some statistics in the past that contradicted today's headlined stats exonerating big business, Pious, violin-accompanied patriotism is the thin mask of fascism American media are supposed to promote, as if they themselves were members of the lumpen workforce, rather than mouthpieces for the insiders, so there may be legitimate doubt. But the transition from fact to headline in the Times goes from "...said epidemiologist John Morgan" in small body type, to "the state finds no statistical excess" in medium size subhead type, to very big headline type that says the cancer rate "ISN'T high" on the regional front page and "IS proportional" on page two.
      I'll tell you (and frequently do) that what is is and what is not is not, but I never believe Times headlined assertions about what is and what isn't. And neither should you.
      Meanwhile, more tacitly-Times-approved baloney falls apart when you look closely. In another story that starts on the front page and is told with a butter-filled mouth of U-Tube's intention to start flagging anything that "promotes terrorism," you'll learn on page 7 that they'll rely on users to do the flagging but that they "aim to draw a careful line." Today's Dilbert cartoon showing Dogbert "recalculating my lack of faith in reading opinions on message boards" IS relevant (because it IS). You have to realize that, by "careful," U-Tube may not mean "carefully objective." How could they? They probably mean carefully not risky for themselves. Meanwhile, the spread of Jerry Springer Show democracy goes on.
-Glen Roberts

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