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Title: it-just-keeps-getting-better

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Description:...in the playgrounds of Empire
... a small global elite an elite to whom nationalism and religion are little more than a joke The people of France of Europe and of the world should not count on their politicians or their media to lead them out of their blindness to the economic and geopolitical motives behind the immigrant crisis the proxy war in Syria and their own countries complicity therein and the development of jihadism Meanwhile the war goes on Thursday 19 November 2015 Generalissimo Hollande By credited author on Thursday 19 November 2015 22 40 Know Your Empire French president François Hollande s speech to the Congress at Versailles rode a wave of political solidarity most politicians refraining from trying to make political profit off the terror attacks and standing united against a common enemy with the notable exception of Hollande himself He shamelessly used the situation to undermine the political threat from the Right and advance the implementation of an all out police state The satirical Canard Enchainé called him the General of the Division Hollande announced that France s borders were being closed and that he would ask for an extension of the emergency powers he has put in place which can be maintained for a maximum 12 days without a legislative vote to extend them Today as I write all but a handful of deputies voted to grant an extension of three months Hollande further said that he would seek an amendment to the law governing the application of emergency powers allowing the executive to keep them in place longer without consulting the legislature He said that administrative meaning executive searches and seizures will be able to be made with no court order He promised to hire 5 000 new police and gendarmes in the next two years Long planned budget cuts designed to lower the costs of France s armed forces have been frozen through 2019 He promised that he would seek an amendment to the constitution extending the conditions under which he can declare a state of siege equivalent to full martial law Constitutionalization would put the measure out of the reach of challenges from European human rights legislation and France s own Conseil Constitutionnel which could challenge a law All of these legal and constitutional extensions of powers Hollande suggested are needed to cope with a new context which the Republic will evolve to face presumably meaning a context in which young French men and women are recruited and trained as assassins and suicide bombers by jihadist militias whom France itself and its allies have armed and trained for use as proxy armies against Assad Hollande clearly relishes the opportunity to play the strongman to talk tough while undercutting his political adversaries At one point he even made a brief head wagging gesture that was astonishingly reminiscent of Mussolini Or possibly Nicolas Sarkozy Was it calculated or spontaneous Is he being coached by a consultant the way the old George Bush was after his handlers noticed that a few of his gestures were just a touch too graceful Is he simply aping his likely future adversary Sarkozy who parlayed his stint as Interior police minister into a presidential term by baiting immigrants and ghetto youth even stooping so low as to arrest suspected undocumented parents in a pre dawn raid as they prepared their children for the first day of elementary school Or inside the chubby little bookkeeper is there a swaggering Duce bent on taking the stage And is a full scale police state part of a long standing plan to further tighten the grip of the neoliberal matrix In any case Hollande is now hunting on Sarkozy s lands as the French say Beyond his militaristic posturing he deliberately drew a connection between terrorism and the young people in France s pressure cooker suburban housing projects They move from delinquency to terrorism He promised that he would see to it that young offenders born in France and sometimes third generation immigrants have their French nationality stripped from them Playing on the fears of working class citizens by singling out ghetto youths as being part of a foreign population the Republic is harboring in its bosom is one of the techniques Sarkozy had used to co opt the extreme Right Front National on his way to the presidency Now Hollande whose party is a direct inheritor of the Second International is using the horror of November 13 th as cover for doing exactly the same And the media are falling in line while praising Hollande s stern posturing and hypocritical calls for unity The term Islamofascism is again being bandied about A female journalist on the France 24 news network commenting on the reports that a woman terrorist had blown herself up during the police attack in St Denis Wednesday morning said that a page has been turned and that no woman wearing the Islamic veil can ever be trusted again Are women who wear blouson style jackets and coats now suspect too Or only if they are of Middle Eastern complexion Are all pregnant women now potential suicide bombers Or only those who don t have blond hair and or smoke cigarettes The relatively short term gains Hollande will take to the bank may or may not keep their value on the volatile market of politics But the harm he is doing to the liberty that is supposedly one of France s pillar values won t easily be undone And he chooses to do it rather than face the hypocrisy and the contradictions of France s and its allies policies in the world in general and the Middle East in particular Sunday 15 November 2015 France Victim and Perpetrator By credited author on Sunday 15 November 2015 06 57 Know Your Empire Here in France the official take on the Friday the Thirteenth attacks from the politicians and the media is that our values the values of the Republic have been attacked again The narrative is the same one we heard after the Charlie Hebdo masssacre We are a beacon of civilization and They are barbarians Fundamentally in this country where turning an elegant phrase and finding le mot juste is so highly valued it s no more sophisticated than Junior Bush s They hate us because we re so free No one can deny that this was a terrorist attack But nobody mentions the fact that terrorism is simply a weapon of war used by peoples states who face an overwhelmingly strong enemy The nascent Israel used terrorism against the British and no one would dare criticize it today But no terror is an entity like Islam or well freedom These are not people using terror as a weapon never mind the fact that our Western states sytematically use terror against domestic and foreign populations they re just terrorists by nature by birth just as we are free and democratic by birth And yet we re told that this was an act of war that France is at war and that a state of emergency has been declared A state of emergency is essentially martial law though the term is studiously avoided The executive can declare it for a period of twelve days after which the legislature can prolong it by vote a vote the elected representatives of the people would unhesitatingly take just as the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to adopt the USAPATRIOT Act Indeed France s citizens even though they may well be familiar with Franklin s words are probably willing to surrender a measure of freedom in order to have security The discourse about our values the values of the Republic may be hard to swallow but not only do we swallow it we get on the bandwagon and organize huge demonstrations to show that we are free and unafraid When it s a question of us against Them who will deny that we are we and that he or she is not one of Them We buy into the meme and help put flesh on its bones And it becomes part of our culture and as such that much easier to swallow the next time around until we end up thinking that it really is in our nature to be free and fair and enlightened and that They really are slaves to their beliefs submissive and benighted And the result is that no one ever asks a simple question like Since the Socialist President of France learned to admire the role of Commander in Chief and realized that since the Charlie attacks he has a line of credit for extending the military since France decided to make its modest contribution to the West s civilizing program and help oust Assad and keep the money flowing to its own arms makers and perhaps get back part of its former empire how many people have been killed in Syria and Iraq due to France s bombing How many civilians In any event I haven t heard it asked yet in the French media Everyone is blinded by the light of our beloved Republic that beacon of democracy and solidarity with the oppressed peoples And as a matter of fact will the media really entertain the question of who it is we re really at war with Of who the killers actually were Of who We really are Wednesday 17 September 2014 William Blum By credited author on Wednesday 17 September 2014 14 29 Many of the citizens fall for US government propaganda justifying its military actions as often and as naively as Charlie Brown falling for Lucy s football The American people are very much like the children of a Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living and don t want to know but then wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window Wednesday 13 August 2014 Gaza By credited author on Wednesday 13 August 2014 06 59 Monday 4 August 2014 UNRWA School Shelling By credited author on Monday 4 August 2014 15 55 Documents UNRWA School Shelling Press Statement Jen Psaki Department Spokesperson Washington DC August 3 2014 Share on facebook Share on twitter The United States is appalled by today s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3 000 displaced persons in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed The coordinates of the school like all UN facilities in Gaza have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties UN facilities especially those sheltering civilians must be protected and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools We continue to underscore that all parties must take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties and protect the civilian population and comply with international humanitarian law Tuesday 29 July 2014 Screen shot of Google search showing original version of NBC News story on Gaza hospital strike By credited author on Tuesday 29 July 2014 18 08 NBC News edited a story about strikes near a hospital in Gaza to echo the official IDF version The story originally clearly identified Israel as the perpetrator Also see this piece Continue reading Tuesday 22 July 2014 What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine By credited author on Tuesday 22 July 2014 15 23 Know Your Empire Exclusive The U S media s Ukraine bias has been obvious siding with the Kiev regime and bashing ethnic Russian rebels and Russia s President Putin But now with the scramble to blame Putin for the Malaysia Airlines shoot down the shoddy journalism has grown truly dangerous says Robert Parry Continue reading Thursday 20 March 2014 EU Parliament statement of concern over Ukraine s Svoboda Party By credited author on Thursday 20 March 2014 10 04 Know Your Empire The EU Parliament had issued a statement of concern over the Svoboda Party now in power in Ukraine and considered the legitimate government by the US in December 2013 including the following point European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine 2012 2889 RSP The European Parliament 8 Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine expressed in support for the Svoboda Party which as a result is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada recalls that racist anti Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with endorse or form coalitions with this party Monday 3 March 2014 Twilight of the Gods By credited author on Monday 3 March 2014 13 45 Know Your Empire I ve been thinking back on my youth recently on the 60s and on how convinced we were back then that there was such a thing as progress on how sure we were that by the time we were old the world would have changed I was an American and I had been raised on perpetual progress in all areas technology human rights quality of life and was sure that the world would be a more peaceful and prosperous place by now But now as I watch the news on television I see that sabers are again rattling that the Russians are being warned by the US State department that the consequences will be severe if they attempt to keep Crimea in their sphere of influence The TV news doesn t mention the fact that the crisis in Crimea that is in Ukraine was directly caused by the US and its NATO allies through their fomenting the overthrow of the Yanukovich government Why The supposed reason is that Yanukovich in Ukraine and Putin in Russia are despotic leaders and that the real majority of the people not the elites whom these near dictators serve aspire to true democracy The kind of democracy that exists in the US and France and the UK for example The real reason is that Washington and NATO have a master plan for continually extending their influence throughout the globe and that that master plan involves breaking up what was once the USSR into a number of smaller states that can be brought into the NATO fold and their resources channeled into the coffers of the elites in the NATO countries This is of course in direct contradiction with the promises made at the time of the breakup of the former USSR and the de facto dissolution of the Warsaw pact that NATO would not expand into the territory formerly covered by the Pact Back in the 60s and for decades before then the US and its allies were engaged in the same kind of interference in the affairs of other parts of the world always on the pretext of protecting democracy or midwifing freedom or some similar formulation Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954 are examples that immediately come to mind Never was it admitted that the machinations and when the machinations failed the direct military interventions were in fact intended to protect the vital interests meaning the financial interests of the USA meaning the elite that was in power and is still in power And of course there is another reason for the machinations and the ever present threat of military action that is always in the background justifying the existence of the US NATO military machine and the 1 67 trillion spent on it annually Spent or should we say extracted from the populations of the US and the NATO countries As I grow old and face the world of today where the progress of technology seems to have been accompanied by regression in human rights and quality of life I can only wonder watching the news how my attempts to make sense of my own life and make peace with my own past natural as old age approaches can make any sense in such a context It s as if the leaders of the world were eternally young and eternally stupid like the gods of the mythology our culture is founded on It s as if we when I say we I mean we as Americans as French as German or as British as represented by the leaders we have duly elected through our admittedly imperfect but at least functioning democratic processes were trying to play at being Immortals by interfering in the lives of ordinary people to satisfy our own infantile need to have our way our childish greed never being satisfied with the wealth we have or our pusillanimous desire to know everything everyone everywhere is thinking and saying Is our democratic system really such a model for the rest of the world when those we put in power behave in this way How much longer can we remain human if we continue to allow our leaders to play at being gods source SIPRI Wednesday 18 September 2013 UN Report on Ghouta Gas Incident Points to Evidence Tampering not Syrian Culpability By credited author on Wednesday 18 September 2013 08 43 Know Your Empire The United Nations report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21 does not as newspaper headlines have indicated point to Assad s use of gas 1 confirm that rockets were loaded with sarin 2 or come closer to linking Assad to sarin attack 3 Nor as US officials and some journalists have declared does it reinforce the case that Mr Assad s forces were responsible 4 confirm Damascus s responsibility 5 or undercut arguments by President Bashar al Assad of Syria...

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