Monthly Archives: June 2014

AMERICANS ARE DOCILE IN THE FACE OF DECLINE—they still consume a surfeit of too much booze and TV news, too much steak and chocolate cake”….and drinking purple Koolaid….

For many years, a staple feature of the Venice Boardwalk in Los Angeles was a tall grey-haired black-man on roller skates with an electric guitar and power pack strapped to his back.  I have no idea whether this was his real name, but he was generally known as “Harry Perry, The Kama Kosmic Krusader” (that would be “KKK” wouldn’t it?  strange initials for a black guy….maybe… maybe not).  But one of “Harry Perry’s” more memorable songs was about the degeneracy of American White Middle Class people, and I can only say this old African American hit the nail right on the head, when he sang about the WASPS in the suburbans taking in a surfeit of soft life: “TOO MUCH BOOZE AND TV NEWS, TOO MUCH STEAK AND CHOCOLATE CAKE.”  Now Yahoo echoes this reality with a not-so-amusing, in fact deeply depressing, take on the same story:

The rich can stop worrying about a middle-class revolution
By Rick Newman
June 27, 2014 11:18 AM
Daily Ticker

A stagnant economy has undoubtedly put a lot of financial stress on the middle class. And that is bumming out America’s 1 percenters. “Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society,” entrepreneur Nick Hanauer wrote recently in Politico, in an open letter to “my fellow zillionaires.”

Hanauer — an early investor in Amazon (AMZN) who says he has been involved with more than 30 startups — cites the well-documented rise in income inequality during the past 30 years as the ultimate cause of a Mad Maxian dystopia he envisions. “If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us,” he writes. “One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand.”

He’s not the only wealthy worrier. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins complained earlier this year about the “persecution” of the rich through high taxes, while magnates such as Sam Zell, Wilbur Ross and John Mack have griped of late about the unschooled masses scapegoating America’s moneyed elite.

Chill out, rich folks

The rich ought to chill out. While the masses may envy their wealth, there’s no evidence of a revolution brewing, or even a well-behaved civil disturbance. Americans are clearly dismayed at the direction the country seems to be heading, but they are also docile in the face of decline and confused about possible solutions. Hanauer fears mobs heading for the castles of Greenwich and Palo Alto, but America’s disaffected these days are more likely to vent their rage behind closed doors as they shake their fists at Fox News or MSNBC and leave cranky comments on websites such as this one. If there’s a populist threat to the plutocrats, it’s years or even decades away.

Here’s the proof: Before the pitchforks, there will be higher taxes on the wealthy — yet there’s meager support for more redistribution of wealth. Polls show that slightly more than half of Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy for specific causes such as helping reduce poverty, which makes it sound like tax hikes have widespread support and are inevitable. But here’s the catch: An even higher portion of Americans are disgusted with the government, with little trust that it spends tax money wisely. That’s why Republicans can consistently block tax hikes on the wealthy with little payback at the voting booth.

If there’s simmering outrage at this state of affairs, it’s not evident in the public square. The “Occupy” movement against the financial elite enjoyed a moment in 2011 but has largely fizzled. Hanauer argues that the occupiers helped sharpen the focus on income inequality, but The Tea Party is probably a more lasting phenomenon. And the Tea Party’s gripes about the wealthy are limited to corporate welfare and crony capitalism that puts government bureaucracy at the service of the rich. As for wealth and income inequality, the Tea Party generally takes a laissez-faire, free-market view: Those who can get rich, should.

Labor unions have represented the workingman’s concerns for a century, but they’re on the wane, too. Union membership has been in steady decline for at least 30 years, with no rebound on the horizon. The United Auto Workers couldn’t unionize a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee earlier this year, even with the tacit support of the company itself. Michigan became a “right to work” state in 2013, diminishing the power of unions in their own backyard.

More power for the wealthy

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has enhanced the power of the rich through two decisions during the past several years that have eviscerated limits on campaign donations to political causes and candidates, which favors those with millions to spend to influence election outcomes. Two well-regarded academics, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University, argued in a recent paper that economic elites have gained so much power that “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

Hanauer sounds more like President Obama than a self-important plutocrat when he suggests ways to even out the wealth and income gaps. He favors a minimum wage of $15 per hour and chides wealthy business owners who feel they, rather than their customers, make the economy hum. “We rich people … have convinced ourselves that we are the main job creators,” he writes. “It’s simply not true. There can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy.”

Most economists would agree with that, but Hanauer risks hyping the consequences of a growing wealth gap when he warns that “revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly.” That may be true in repressed states that don’t allow ordinary people to express their frustrations. But in functioning democracies (and even in the United States), there’s plenty of warning when social unrest is percolating. These days, all you have to do is read the blogs and follow the right Twitter (TWTR) accounts. If you do, you’ll encounter plenty of angst — but not much revolutionary zeal.

The economic trends Hanauer identifies are, in fact, real problems. America as a whole will suffer if the fortunes of the middle class don’t improve. There are solutions, however, and they’ll probably materialize in the usual American way — right before disaster strikes. It’s nearly inevitable there will be government spending cuts and, yes, tax hikes, when the government’s finances become unsustainable, which could take a decade or more. When it happens, the politicians in Washington will find ways to spread the pain around and America will muddle through. The rich will have to pay more, but they’ll still be rich. And they still won’t have to worry about pitchforks.

Rick Newman’s latest book is Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/why-the-rich-are–mistakenly–worried-about-the-middle-class-151842954.html;_ylt=A0SO8zMCuLBTO2MA2ktXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MGpwODQ0BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDM2NV8x

A Lament for Austria, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Hapsburg Dynasty, on the Centennial of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

I cannot say whether my own fondness for the late 19th century/early 20th century results from the fact that I was, in large part, raised by my grandparents who were born and grew up in that last generation before World War I, but whether from personal prejudice or not, I think it is fair to say that the late 19th Century in Europe was the apogee, the Zenith, of Western Civilization, and it’s been straight downhill since 1914 for everything that one might value in the traditions of the West.  This decline actually began a half century earlier in the United States with its own fratricidal “rehearsal” for the 20th century in 1861-65.  But it was Europe’s “Great War” that brought the most beautiful things to an end, and one of the most beautiful things to be destroyed in that War was the Hapsburg Empire of Austria.  

Previous moments of glory for Hapsburg Austria had included (1) the reign of Maria Theresa, mother of Marie Antoinette, and the not entirely unrelated life and career of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in the late 18th Century, (2) the final defeat of the Ottoman Turks on September 11, 1683 (yes, September 11 has always been a critical day in Christian-Muslim relations, apparently, or at least for over 330 years now), (3) the battle of Lepanto in the Gulf of Patras in the Ionian Sea off the western Greek Peloponnesian Peninsula (Peloponnesos) on October 7, 1571, and last but not least, (4) the first siege of Vienna by Suleiman the Magnificent which ended on October 11-12, 1529 with the retreat of the Ottoman forces, literally, from the Walls of Vienna.  

Hapsburg Austria was instrumental in saving Christendom, and so Austria’s final destruction as a world power in 1918 may be symbolic of the final demise and destruction of Western Europe as a truly Christian continent in the world.

Although everyone knows the title of Adolf Hitler’s Mein KampfI am willing to bet that few have read it closely enough to recognize why Der Fuhrer would hate the title of this essay and have no sympathy with its content.   In brief, Mein Kampf starts off with an indictment of Hitler’s native country, its role in history, and its very existence.  It’s pretty clear to me from his introductory diatribe against the “Eastern Empire” and its 700 year ruling dynasty, the Hapsburgs, that Hitler had only the shallowest comprehension of European history.  This failure to understand history was most notable in Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of Russia, the single “event” which turned his nearly victorious conquest of Europe into an abject failure, but that’s a separate topic for another essay.

On June 28-29, 2014, the Hundredth Year since Gavrilo Princip’s  (pardon my saying so) idiotic act of assassinating the Austrian heir apparent, I cry for the loss of Austria as a world power, for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and for the Hapsburg Dynasty as among the most valuable and stabilizing elements of European history EVER.  

Though p’raps I may incur your blame, the things are few I would not do to convince you that the demise of Austria as a power in Central Europe is truly much more at the root of the troubles of the rest of the 20th Century (and even today) than is normally given credence or credit.  

(1) Hapsburg Austria was the most stable power on the Continent, with a longer-continuity of rulership (since their Rheinisch Swiss origins in the early 11th Century, taking charge of Austria in 1276, and remaining there until 1918) than any monarchy in all of Europe save that of England, and rendering Austria the most stable institutional configuration in Europe after the Vatican first and England Second.

(2)  Austria—etymologically “Österreich, the Eastern Empire” (or more metaphorically, the Empire of [Christian] Easter)—defined the eastern boundary of Western, Christian Europe for most the same six and a half centuries of Hapsburg domination.   Both before after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, the Armies and Navies of Austria kept the Saracens and other Muslims at bay, doing on the East Side of Europe for nearly three gifts of a millennium what Charlemagne did in 800 by defending the Pyrenees  Mountains on the South from the Islamic Caliphate of Cordoba in Spain.

(3)     Austria was a greater center of music and arts than any other region of the German speaking world during most of that time, but especially after A.D. 1600. Nuremberg in Bavaria was Vienna’s nearest competitor.  Berlin never amounted to much of anything until the later 19th Century.  Frankfurt, Mainz, and Cologne, and Württemberg all pale compared with Vienna, equal at most to Salzburg.  The monastery of Melk knows few if any peers anywhere in the world.  Mozart simply knows no peers anywhere.  Vienna during the 19th Century was a much more stable center of intellectual and scientific development than Paris, albeit quieter.

(4)    The Nineteenth Century, which effectively died on 28 June 1914 at Gavriolo Princip’s hand, was defined by the greatness of Vienna, Paris, and London in nearly equal terms.  But, remarkably, Austria, second oldest of the monarchies, and center in 1815 of the reactionary Congress of Vienna, where Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich orchestrated not only the end of the Napoleonic Era set the stage for a very conservative post-revolutionary generation-and-a-half Europe brought to an end by the uprisings of 1848 which followed the publication of Marx’ & Engels’ Communist Manifesto in February of that year.  

Ironically, in light of what followed in Europe, by 1914 Vienna, Austria was clearly the most liberal and most enlightened, free-thinking spot in Europe, even including England.  Just how liberal was Austria?  For the heinous crime of assassinating the Heir Apparent Archduke and his Duchess-Consort, Austria knew in 1914 no  more severe penalty than life imprisonment.  How liberal indeed? At least as amazing as the abolition of Capital Punishment in Austria, it is remarkable that Hitler’s homeland was not only not anti-Semitic, but Vienna had a higher status Jewish middle and professional class than anywhere else in Europe: Sigmund (and his daughter Anna) Freud, Alfred Adler, and Melanie Reises Klein in psychology and psychiatry, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg in music, among many others.   Some have speculated that “familiarity bred contempt” in the young Hitler who went to private school in Linz side-by-side with the much wealthier future Jewish-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (born, coincidentally, to Austria’s second wealthiest Jewish family, second only to the Austria Rothschild’s only 6 days after Hitler, on April 26, 1889, and thus also celebrating his 125th birthday this year).  The anti-Semitic scandal known as Dreyfus affair was French and Benjamin Disraeli, although the U.K.’s First (and only originally) Jewish Prime Minister, converted to Christianity and died a practicing Anglican.   Alfred Adler and Ludwig Wittgenstein also converted, but until 1938, Vienna was perhaps the most comfortable place in Europe to belong to the continent’s most traditionally detested minority.

(5)   So in short, Austria was far ahead of its time in so many ways: multi-cultural and embracing more “minor” nationalities than any other place, liberal in every social and cultural regard, and yet supremely civilized in the best traditions of Western European Christendom, led by a Kaiser of ancient lineage.  Multi-culturalism as defined in Austria-Hungary somehow did seem “degenerate” as it does today and certainly, not cause the degeneration of European civilization in Vienna, but offered a strong and positive “road not traveled by” (multiculturalism under German Christian leadership) since the collapse of that empire in 1918.

Austria’s natural and architectural beauty survived the brutality of allied bombing during World War II better than the rest of the German Third Reich, and Austria endures until today, little larger than Switzerland where the original castle Hapsburg was located not so far from the Rhein and the Carolingian relic principality of Liechtenstein (where some of my ancestors come from), but it is strange that Prague and Budapest were once respectively the Second and Third Cities of the Austrian Empire, Prague being Mozart’s preferred venue for premiers, and that Trieste was Austria’s harbor from which the great Austrian Navy was launched for roughly 400 years.  But by the truncation of Austria to its very German nub, Europe after Versailles lost the great balancing power of Central Europe, and the greatest historical “defender of the Faith” against Islamic and other Eastern Invasions….  

Of course, once again, in the 1950s through 70s, Vienna was once again at the gate of the terror that was the East (this time defined by Communism)….but it had lost all realistic power and position of leadership to do anything about it—leaving a power vacuum which ultimately was filled, ironically, by the American Empire, about as far to the West as one can imagine…. Had Austria survived, or could we reconstitute the Christian Led nature of Austrian multi-cultural liberalism, the world today would be a much better place.

Adolf Hitler may have once been Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” but he never got his Picture on the Cover of the Rolling Stones….

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/heil-hipster-the-young-neo-nazis-trying-to-put-a-stylish-face-on-hate-20140623

Heil Hipster: The Young Neo-Nazis Trying to Put a Stylish Face on Hate
Inside the tote-bag friendly, “Harlem Shake”-happy world of Germany’s “nipsters”

Patrick Schroeder
http://www.photosofkaos.com
By THOMAS ROGERS
June 23, 2014 10:00 AM ET
It’s a rainy Sunday evening in May, in the town of Weiden, in northeastern Bavaria, and Patrick Schroeder, whom the German press has dubbed the “Nazi-hipster,” is preparing for his big webcam entrance. As the opening sequence for his weekly Internet TV show, FSN.tv, plays silently in the background, he ties a bandana stitched with the slogan “H8” around his mouth and fiddles with his mouse. A map of Germany in 1937 hangs on the wall above him.

It’s hard to get the timing for the intro “just right,” he explains, and once the graphics stop playing, he strides into frame and raises his arm, curling his hand into a fist and wishing his viewers, a few hundred members of Germany’s extreme right, a lovely evening. He calls this gesture his “professional wrestling entrance move,” which he claims was inspired by WWE-style theatrics, though it also, not inconveniently, looks a bit like a heil Hitler Nazi salute.

Schroeder is 30 years old, about six feet tall, with the boxy musculature of an MMA fighter, his blond hair shaved except for a jaunty strip along the top of his head. He’s dressed all in black, wearing armbands slightly reminiscent of those favored by vintage Avril Lavigne and speaks quickly and loudly, with a strong Bavarian lilt. When he laughs, his upper right lip rises up, making him look both threatening and insecure. “If the Third Reich was so bad, it would have been toppled,” he argues, before the filming begins. “Every half-intelligent person knows there is no system where everything was bad.”

Berghain: The Secretive, Sex-Fueled World of Berlin’s Coolest Club

He won’t elaborate, for legal reasons, but he’ll happily share his topline thoughts about everything from Obama (whom he grossly describes as America’s “neger president”) to why black people don’t belong in Germany (“It’s against nature — there’s a reason we’re not walking around in the sun, in Ghana, with our skin color”), to why American neo-Nazis are “primitive” (“It’s like they’re always dressing up for a costume party”) and — because, just like many other Germans, he loves American TV — his strong feelings about the series finale of How I Met Your Mother (“The mother dying was a good reminder that the world isn’t a great place”).

Inane rhetoric notwithstanding, Schroeder comes across first and foremost as a dedicated self-promoter, and he clearly enjoys putting on a show: For the next two hours, he sits at the computer and chats with his remote co-host about the latest Nazi news — recently banned groups, European elections — and riffs on pop culture. He peppers his statements with self-deprecating asides and eye-rolls, and he occasionally interrupts the chatter to play Rechstrock, neo-Nazi rock songs.

FSN.tv is Germany’s only neo-Nazi Internet TV show, and in the two years since it has existed it has turned Schroeder into a well-known, if highly controversial, figure in the German extreme right, largely because he has been open about his desire to give the German neo-Nazi movement a friendlier, hipper face. Schroeder sometimes conducts seminars showing neo-Nazis how they can dress less threateningly and argues that anybody from hip-hop fans to hipsters in skinny jeans should be able to join the scene without changing the way they look, an idea that, for many older members, is an affront to their anti-mainstream values.

Over the past year, partly because of leaders like Schroeder and partly because of the unstoppable globalization of youth culture, the hipsterification of the German neo-Nazi scene has begun to gain steam. This winter, the German media came up with a new term, “nipster,” to describe the trend of people dressing like Brooklyn hipsters at Nazi events. Experts have noted that the German neo-Nazi presence on Tumblr and other social networking sites has become sleeker and more sophisticated. Neo-Nazi clothing has become more stylish and difficult to recognize. There’s even a vegan Nazi cooking show. “If the definition of the nipster is someone who can live in the mainstream,” Schroeder explains, “then I see it as the future of the movement.”

Patrick Schroeder and his co-host Vendetta on his weekly Internet TV show, FSN.tv.
These are strange times to be a neo-Nazi in Germany. The Federal Constitutional Court is gearing up for a hearing on the latest attempt to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), the country’s oldest and biggest extreme-right political party. Regardless of the verdict, the party is close to running out of money and Nazi opponents have become successful at shutting down its public appearances (in April, a high-profile Berlin NPD march was successfully blockaded by several thousand protesters). The murder trial of the lone surviving core member of the National Socialist Underground, a far-right terror cell that is accused of killing 10 people between 2000 and 2007, is also ongoing in Munich, and focusing the nation’s attention on extreme-right crimes, and a recent study found that the number of people with extreme-right sympathies has sunken from 9.7 to 5.6 percent in the last 12 years.

At the same time, Germany and German culture have become more porous and international than ever: A federal survey found that nearly 20 percent of Germans have an immigrant background, and another new study found that immigrants and Germans are becoming increasingly similar. German TV broadcasts The Real Housewives, the Top 20 pop charts include songs by Calvin Harris, Coldplay and Pitbull and thanks to the Internet, teenagers can pirate the latest episode of Girls a few hours after it airs in America. And now another American export has arrived: In 2012, the daily Welt heralded the “hipster” as Germany’s “new object of hate” and just this February, the country’s biggest tabloid, Bild, offered a guide to “hipster types” for its readers. (Example: “The fixed-gear fanatic never goes anywhere without his bike.”)

For people like Andy Knape, the rise of the German hipster presents both an opportunity and a dilemma. For the past two years, the 28-year-old Knape has been the head of the Junge Nationaldemokraten (JN), the youth wing of the NPD. His office is located in the state parliament of Saxony, in the eastern part of Germany, and overlooks the city’s majestic opera house, which largely burnt down after the city’s firebombing and was rebuilt after the war. A poster of an elderly woman with a shotgun and the words “drastic security measures” hangs on the wall, next to a photo of several steely-eyed white people smiling.

The Hidden War Against Gay Teens

As head of the JN, Knape’s job is to make the NPD, and its extreme-right politics, appealing to young people (one of his biggest goals, he explains, is to “preserve German culture”) and he’s a good salesman — 5’8″, fit and dressed in a grey T-shirt and Converse-style sneakers, he wouldn’t look out of place on an American college campus. He first entered the scene when he was 13, in Magdeburg, because his brother was also “right-wing oriented” and he “started to ask himself lots of questions.” Eventually, he says, he began going to NPD demonstrations, and got more involved. Although his eyes betray a palpable aggressiveness and many of his talking points seem clearly rehearsed, for a man in charge of an organization being monitored by the Bundesverfassungsschutz — Germany’s domestic security agency — he is surprisingly soft-spoken. When he speaks he tends to curl up in his chair.

Like Schroeder, whom he sees as an acolyte, Knape wants to give “nationalism” a friendlier, cooler face (in the NPD, and many other extreme-right organizations, “nationalist” often functions as a politically acceptable euphemism for “Nazi”). For Knape, who grew up with American pop culture, the idea of policing what young members of the scene watch or listen to is silly — he’d much rather hijack it, and use it to bring young people into the fold. Michael Schaefer, the JN’s excitable 31-year-old press person, chimes in: “We’ve taken over the nipster,” he says, giddily, before catching himself. “I mean nationalist hipster, not Nazi hipster.”

The term hipster has, of course, always been notoriously slippery. Back in his 2010 book What Was the Hipster?, Mark Greif described the term as meaning a “consumer” who “aligns himself both with rebel subculture and with the dominant class and thus opens up a poisonous conduit between the two.” But in Germany, as elsewhere, the newly discovered hipster is often reduced to its more superficial component parts: “skinny jeans, a bushy beard, bright sunglasses” (Welt), “strange, nerdy and somehow different,” (Sueddeutsche Zeitung), “self-important culture snobs” (Tagesspiegel). Here, the hipster is simultaneously a uniform, a cooler-than-thou weltanschauung and signpost of globalized American youth culture and consumerism.

“We don’t want to cut ourselves off,” Knape says, about hipster culture. “I see rap and hip-hop, for example, as a way of transporting our message.” In recent years, a number of extreme-right hip-hop acts have emerged in Germany — with names like Makss Damage and Dee Ex. Despite the awkward politics of using hip-hop to preach the virtues of German identity, they’ve amassed a small, but significant presence within the scene. Dee Ex, for example, has over 7,000 likes on Facebook and posts photos of herself in a revealing outfit on her blog. There is now neo-Nazi techno (biggest act: DJ Adolf) and neo-Nazi reggae.

Knape, on his end, has also gotten increasingly invested in online culture: “The Internet allows us to reach people we can’t reach on the street.” Now young people can get in touch with him over Facebook or e-mail without their parents, or anybody else, finding out. “They don’t need to out themselves immediately,” he says. Knape is especially proud of his viral-video outreach: last year, his group filmed a “Harlem Shake” video. In the JN video, people in masks bounce around junked cars while one of them holds up a sign saying “Have more sex with Nazis, unprotected.” It has over 17,000 hits on YouTube. (“New, modern, but not decadent,” Knape says about the video, which you can watch below.)

But, perhaps partly because of this internationalization of German culture, Knape struggles to define the “German traditions” he’s trying to preserve. It’s understandable: Germany, even by European standards, is a supremely contrived state composed of 300 formerly distinct political entities. Founded in 1871, it is also younger even than Canada — there’s a reason Hitler had to reach back to centuries-old, mythical folklore when trying to sell people on the idea of Germanic superiority. Knape says he wants more people to mark the “Sonnenwende” or solstice — a celebration the Nazis tried to revive in the Hitler era — for example, and to preserve the German language. He is concerned that “these days, we see a lot of people mixing German and English” — though he acknowledges that when it comes to technology, it’s “not easy to avoid.” He notes, with some resignation, that there is no German word for “hashtag.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/heil-hipster-the-young-neo-nazis-trying-to-put-a-stylish-face-on-hate-20140623#ixzz35dgsvMjn
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Heil Hipster: The Young Neo-Nazis Trying to Put a Stylish Face on Hate
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In their latest 2013 report, the Bundesverfassungschutz concluded that there are approximately 22,000 members of the extreme right in Germany, including 9,600 who are “willing to engage in violence.” According to official statistics,they committed 473 violent crimes against foreigners last year — a shocking 20 percent rise over the previous year.

In September, for example, three suspected neo-Nazis brutally beat a 15-year-old in Saxony, allegedly because the boy was half Taiwanese. The same month, a Turkish immigrant was nearly beaten to death by a group of nine alleged neo-Nazis in a train station in Saxony-Anhalt and this February, a group of more than a dozen neo-Nazis walked into a community center in the town of Ballstaedt, in the state of Thuringia, and began assaulting the attendees at a party, sending two of them to the hospital.

Despite its shrinking status, the NPD remains the most important manifestation of the German neo-Nazi scene. The party — which was founded in 1964 by Hitler loyalists, and which the government has tried to ban, unsuccessfully — is the public face of the movement, which is otherwise composed of various loose, small organizations spread across the country. But it has never managed to attain the five percent of the popular vote necessary for a political party to hold seats in the German federal parliament and only holds a few seats in the state parliaments of two German states.

The NPD’s main platform is anti-immigration: A 2009 document sent out by the Berlin party head, for example, advocates banning “foreigners” from owning property in Germany. A 2012 investigation by Spiegel, Germany’s leading news magazine, found — surprise — widespread anti-Semitism within the party. In 2011, a Vice reporter photographed a barbecue stamped with “Happy Holocaust” outside an NPD office, and the same year, one NPD campaign poster featured a candidate on a motorcycle above the words “Give gas.” It was posted, among many other places, in front of Berlin’s Jewish Museum.

Although the extreme right has existed in Germany, in various forms, since World War II, the neo-Nazi scene as it exists today largely took shape in the 1980s, and spread dramatically after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Especially in the post-reunification East, where young people were suddenly robbed of the Communist strictures and institutions they had grown up with, extreme-right politics provided an easy outside explanation for their economic and cultural alienation: multiculturalism, asylum seekers, American “imperialism,” Israel and global big business.

In the 1990s, the skinhead became the embodiment of the neo-Nazi ethos — masculine, angry, violence-prone — and the news was awash with images of bullish, shaved-headed men with steel-toed combat boots and bomber jackets. During the neo-Nazi crime-waves of that decade, the German public learned to watch out for the brands favored by the extreme right: Fred Perry, which was worn because of its laurel wreath-logo, New Balance, chosen because “N” could stand for “Nazi” and, most prominently Lonsdale, the British sportswear brand. Although Lonsdale had always been popular in the left-wing British skinhead scene, it also offered German neo-Nazis the option of spelling out most of “NSDAP,” the German acronym for the Nazi party, under a half-open bomber jacket.

Today, Lonsdale is a popular sporting label in the United States, but in Germany it is still, despite its best efforts, widely seen as a Nazi brand. Geurt Schotsman, the politically-progressive owner of the brand’s German license, has been trying to rid himself of the neo-Nazi association for over a decade — with a campaign called “Lonsdale Loves All Colours,” a sponsorship of the Cologne Gay Pride parade and, this spring, official support of two left-wing German football clubs, Leipzig Roter Stern and SV Babelsberg. “If we had a huge budget, we would make a billboard campaign, and maybe that would solve the problem,” Schotsman says, “but we don’t have a huge budget.” In 1999, Schotsman underwent the drastic measure of blacklisting stores with extreme-right associations, causing Lonsdale’s German business to drop 35 percent — a tumble from which it is still recovering.

Around the turn of the 21st century, the skinhead look waned and the scene underwent another philosophical and aesthetic transformation. “Society had started to react against the extreme right, and it became less attractive for young people to stigmatize themselves,” says Simone Rafael, the editor-in-chief of Netz Gegen Nazis, a blog that monitors the extreme right. As a result, a new extreme-right group, the Autonomous Nationalists (AN), began aping the look of the extreme left — black hoodies, black pants and even Che Guevara T-shirts (with the words “Not only Che would be with us”) — and incorporating traditionally progressive issues like environmentalism and animal rights into neo-Nazi ideology. “Once [neo-Nazi leaders] saw it was successful, it was taken up by the scene,” says Rafael.

Almost simultaneously, in 2002, a Brandenburg-based clothing brand called Thor Steinar began to sell stylish-looking clothes, reminiscent of Aeropostale, with Germanic runes and emblazoned with provocative, ambiguously extreme-right slogans, like “Ski Heil.” Thor Steinar was brought to court for its logo, which looked like a banned neo-Nazi symbol, but it later rebranded and in 2009 was sold to a company based in Dubai. It has registered its trademark in the United States — this spring it opened up its first British store in the North Finchley neighborhood in London — and in recent years, a slew of imitator brands have popped up, with names like Erik And Sons and Ansgar Aryan (the latter currently employs Patrick Schroeder in the sales department), allowing members of the extreme-right to surreptitiously identify each other in public.

These developments helped spur the notion, now championed by Knape and Schroeder, that young neo-Nazis should be allowed to dress however they want, as long as they have the “right” anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic ideas. This newly relaxed approach allows neo-Nazi leaders to attract young people from different subcultures and makes neo-Nazis more difficult for their opponents to identify. “Now the neo-Nazi youth culture is really broad,” says Christoph Schulze, one of several left-wing activists who assemble the annual Versteckspiel (“Hide and seek”), a glossary of symbols used by members of the extreme-right to surreptitiously identify one another.

Those aforementioned symbols include everything from number codes (the most obvious: “88” to replace “Heil Hitler” — because “H” is the eighth letter in the alphabet) to logos (an eagle catching a Christian ichthys — a symbol of Germanic strength over “degenerates”) to sayings (“14 words,” which stands for a quote by American white nationalist David Lane). “The movement is always changing,” Schulze says. “One thing goes out of fashion and there’s already something new. This year it’s the hipster.”

The nipster came to widespread attention in February of this year, when a photographer snapped a picture of a group of men wearing skinny jeans, unruly beards, plug piercings — and, in one case, a tote bag with the words “don’t shove me, I’ve got a joghurt in my bag” — at an NPD march in Magdeburg. The photo quickly went viral in Germany and bloggers came up with the new portmanteau. Taz, the left-leaning Berlin daily, made a list of other hipster stances the Nazis could adopt (“change your favorite band when they become too mainstream.”).

Daniel Koehler, director of research at the Institute for the Study of Radical Movements in Berlin, says the nipster is less new than many people think — he’s been seeing them at extreme-right rallies for the past two or three years. “When we first saw it, it was something weird,” he says, “but now it’s pretty normal.”

“It’s a pretty new phenomenon,” Rafael says, noting that it marks a departure from the “manly” culture usually favored by the neo-Nazis. “It’s a good example of how this kind of thing is used very strategically,” she explains, echoing Schroeder. She has also noticed the emergence of a much hipper online neo-Nazi presence: “It’s a way of bringing the ideology into other circles, of finding entry points into hipster culture — blogs, selfies, Tumblr and so forth.”

She points to neo-Nazi Tumblrs, like Kindstattgross, which post stylized images of Nazi rallies and other heavily filtered extreme-right imagery. “I clicked on one of these Tumblr blogs, and suddenly discovered that there were tons and tons of them, where you wouldn’t recognize the message, and they are becoming more subtle and confusing people who aren’t part of the extreme right scene,” explains Rafael. (It’s also worth noting that neo-Nazis have started using the #nipster on Instagram.)

In recent years, a growing number of neo-Nazi groups have staged savvy viral campaigns, including one where they dressed up as the Sesame Street Cookie Monster and distributed pamphlets to schoolchildren, and another involving a man in a bear costume calling himself the “deportation bear” and posing in front of Hanover Turkish shops. “They can easily produce something that has the appearance of looking hip,” says Koehler. “These aren’t just dumb East German youth — they understand how to package their political ideology.”

Tim and Kevin, two 21-year-old self-proclaimed “nationalists and socialists” (“but anyone who reads this will know we’re Nazis”) from Hanover — who did not want to give their real names — say they have also noticed more people in the scene dressing like “hipsters,” with skinny pants and tote bags. “It’s noticeable,” Tim says, over the phone, and explains that everything that emerges in German mainstream culture ends up in the [neo-Nazi] scene, just with a delay. “We don’t walk around the city center with our eyes closed,” he says, “we see what people are wearing on TV.” He also agrees that the Nazi Tumblr style has gotten “more youthful” and “looser.”

In February, Tim and Kevin started Balaclava Kueche, Germany’s first Nazi vegan cooking show. In each episode, the two chatty, fast-talking men wear facemasks and earnestly explain to viewers how to make an array of vegan dishes (the first episode: mixed salad, tofu scramble). “The left-wing doesn’t have a prior claim to veganism,” says Tim. “Industrial meat production is incompatible with our nationalist and socialist world views.”

Both Tim and Kevin claim to live a straight-edge lifestyle — no alcohol, no drugs — and got involved in the scene in their late teens. “There was an election and I read up on all of the parties, and I wound up getting interested in the NPD,” says Kevin. “Hitler isn’t part of our era, but he’s part of our ideology and that time, in terms of aesthetics and discipline and brotherhood, was a model for today,” Tim adds. He also argues that the Allies carry the blame for the outbreak of World War II and that if people are going to dwell on the Holocaust they should also dwell more on Stalin’s crimes.

They started Balaclava Kueche as a fun project, to both encourage other people to stop eating animal products and portray their politics in a fun, sympathetic light. Early on, they attended NPD rallies, but were repelled by what they saw. “I don’t think the rallies make much sense,” Kevin says. “Most of the people there would scare people away with the way they look, and with their shitty sayings.” They see viral campaigns, like the “deportation bear” as a highly effective way of reaching out to people.

And then there are the Identitaeren, a two-year-old group with origins in France that has gotten widespread attention for its use of stylish viral videos to promote anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment. Although claiming to be anti-Nazi, they, like many members of the extreme right, espouse a concept called ethnopluralism, which argues that ethnic groups should only live in their respective home countries. Nils Altmieks, the movement’s boyish, 27-year-old current leader, argues that Europe should be for Europeans — and not, for example, Africans — and cites the United States as an example of the dangers of embracing heterogeneity. “Multiculturalism isn’t a contribution to cultural understanding, it’s a cornerstone for conflict,” he says, over Skype. He becomes wishy-washy when pressed about the exact borders of Europe (“Some might view Russia as European”) and can’t account for countries, like Canada, with high immigration and low crime.

German extremism researcher Alexander Haeusler has warned that the Identitaeren are insidiously attempting to make “racism modern and hip.” Last year, group members filmed themselves disrupting a multiculturalism conference with a blaring boombox and they also have a dedicated video blogger — a stylish-looking young man who often wears thick plastic glasses frames and a hoodie and whose most recent dispatch is about the moral peril of eating ethnic food. In other videos they’ve dumped rubble in front of the office of a Green Party politician and posed with silly-looking 300-inspired shields in front of the Brandenburg Gate. “We aren’t consciously a hipster movement, but today’s young people grew up with this background,” says Altmieks. “This is part of society.” His favorite movie, he says, is Braveheart.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/heil-hipster-the-young-neo-nazis-trying-to-put-a-stylish-face-on-hate-20140623#ixzz35diDHoHo
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oincidentally or not, the emergence of the nipster has taken place at the same time as the rise of a new far-right political scene in Europe: In this May’s European elections, the National Front — the anti-immigrant party headed by Marine Le Pen — won the biggest voting share of parties in the French elections, and the British United Kingdom Independence Party won 27.5 percent of the vote in the U.K. Many people link these parties’ success to their ability to package themselves as a friendlier, less-threatening far right. Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde has argued that these parties largely swept into power by linking the euro crisis “to their core ideological features: nativism, authoritarianism and populism.”

The current German wave of, for instance, hip, vegan neo-Nazis functions in a similar way. Rafael says they attempt to slide into debates where young people wouldn’t expect them, and then sell their politics as a palatable outlet. “They use subjects like globalization and animal protection as entry points, and then offer a very simple worldview that makes complex subjects very easy to understand,” says Rafael. “Of course, in the end, it’s always about racism and anti-Semitism and nationalism.” The danger — in both cases — is that extreme-right positions might quietly shift into the mainstream.

Over the past two years, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an associate professor at American University in Washington, D.C., has been conducting research with young people in Berlin schools who are on the periphery of the extreme-right. She says that, if anything, the change in neo-Nazi fashion has made it more difficult to step in when young people are being embroiled in the scene. “If you were a teacher,” she says, “you used to be able to identify a skinhead in your class and you could think of ways to intervene. But now it’s harder to mainstream society to understand who these young people are and to engage with them.”

Miller-Idriss suggests that for a generation raised on Facebook and Twitter, it may no longer feel ridiculous to, say, love Rihanna in real life but disparage black people on Facebook. “The social media space allows young people to have different expressions of their identities in different places,” she says. “This generation of youth likes the idea of having more control over their own identity. They’ve realized your style doesn’t have to be connected to your ideology. You can dress however you want to and still be a neo-Nazi.”

With this in mind, Koehler thinks there is a need in Germany for a new, broader educational campaign on how to identify members of the extreme right. “A short while ago we did a study with judges and lawyers, who thought they weren’t encountering neo-Nazis because they weren’t seeing any skinheads,” he says, “but they have no idea anymore what a neo-Nazi looks like.”

The stakes in the fight against extremism, of course, are more than just semantic. Several weeks ago, after Dortmund’s local elections, a group of about 20 neo-Nazis appeared outside city hall to protest the recent banning of an extreme-right group. They yelled “Germany for the Germans” and “foreigners out” and began singing the national anthem before attacking people outside the building with pepper spray and broken bottles, injuring ten. Dortmund city councilors have been meeting under police protection ever since.

Back in Bavaria, Patrick Schroeder is driving around downtown Weiden with his former co-host, Martin, a clean-cut 27-year-old computer programmer. Martin is not his real name, but he’s already lost his job twice because of his politics, and is worried about jeopardizing his newest position. Both men are complaining about the repression they face on the job market as neo-Nazis — since finishing his training as a salesman, Schroeder has only worked for companies tied to the scene. “We’re the new Jews in Germany,” he says, “except we don’t wear stars.”

They pull into the parking lot of a local Ernest Hemingway-themed restaurant and walk into a room crowded with people watching a soccer game. Heads turn. Schroeder is wearing a T-shirt of an extreme-right band called Terrorsphaera (“Terrorsphere”) with blood-like paint splatters. Martin, on the other hand, is dressed in gingham shirt, and looks like a character on Silicon Valley. The waitresses are all blonde and wearing “We love Germany” T-shirts, in honor of the upcoming World Cup, and as he sits down, the multiple men in the room give him dirty looks.

Although Schroeder is excited about the new wave of Internet activism, it appears that he’s worried that today’s young people are only interested in sitting at home and watching YouTube clips instead of going into the streets. “It’s a long road from listening to music to actually doing something,” he complains, while sipping a beer. And although there are no figures to back this up, others, like the Balaclava Kueche guys, suggest that such indolence represents the fickleness of the Internet generation. Some might also see that behavior as a sign of the movement’s slackening appeal.

That’s why Schroeder trying his best to mobilize his online following. He organizes an annual Live H8 concert, a gathering of neo-Nazi bands that he hopes will “help the mainstreaming of our music” and become “the most extreme Nazi concert” around. But he’s angry that people have been trying to pressure the venue owner to cancel the concert. “In this country, if you’ve got the wrong opinion, everything is against you,” he sighs. Such is life as a nipster these days. (This year’s concert was banned from taking place by authorities at the last minute.)

Schroeder also seems aware that the concepts of Germany and Europe — and, for that matter, America — are becoming increasingly theoretical. In the background, a soccer game is playing on the bar’s big screens, and it helps launch him on a tortured metaphor explaining why Asian immigrants don’t qualify as Germans. “It’s like if the Chinese bought 22 Brazilians and gave them Chinese passports and used them to win the World Cup,” he mopes. “If everybody’s the same, then what’s the point?”

Then he remembers that professional soccer, which is currently on the TV at the restaurant, operates on just that concept — and that the region’s most successful team, FC Bayern Munich, is partly made up of non-German players. “I still watch it,” Schroeder admits, “because there’s nothing else.” A few moments later, a goal is scored, and the bar erupts in cheers. Schroeder smiles at the TV, then catches himself and looks away.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/heil-hipster-the-young-neo-nazis-trying-to-put-a-stylish-face-on-hate-20140623#ixzz35djQlgac
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It’s been a really bad Decade in America—A Dying Veteran’s letter to Bush & Cheney

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/dying_vets_fuck_you_letter_to_george_bush_dick_cheney_needs_to_be_read

DYING VET’S LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH & DICK CHENEY NEEDS TO BE READ BY EVERY AMERICAN
03.19.2013      11:11 am

The wrong side of history
U.S.A.!!!

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

—Tomas Young

The Crucifixion of Tomas Young (TruthDig)

 

A Quarter Century of America’s Shameless Deceit and Machiavellian Manipulations in and against Iraq—Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/06/14/washingtons-iraq-victory-paul-craig-roberts/print/

PaulCraigRoberts.org – http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

Washington’s Iraq “Victory” — Paul Craig Roberts

Posted By pcr3 On June 14, 2014 @ 7:53 am In Articles & Columns

Washington’s Iraq “Victory”

Paul Craig Roberts

The citizens of the United States still do not know why their government destroyed Iraq. “National Security” will prevent them from ever knowing. “National Security” is the cloak behind which hides the crimes of the US government.

George Herbert Walker Bush, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency who became President courtesy of being picked as Ronald Reagan’s Vice President, was the last restrained US President. When Bush the First attacked Iraq it was a limited operation, the goal of which was to evict Saddam Hussein from his annexation of Kuwait.

Kuwait was once a part of Iraq, but a Western colonial power created new political boundaries, as the Soviet Communist Party did in Ukraine. Kuwait emerged from Iraq as a small, independent oil kingdom. http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/iraqkuwait.html [1]

According to reports, Kuwait was drilling at an angle across the Iraq/Kuwait border into Iraqi oil fields. On July 25, 1990, Saddam Hussein, with Iraqi troops massed on the border with Kuwait, asked President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador, April Glaspie, if the Bush administration had an opinion on the situation. Here is Ambassador Glaspie’s reply:


“We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”

According to this transcript, Saddam Hussein is further assured by high US government officials that Washington does not stand in his way in reunifying Iraq and putting a halt to a gangster family’s theft of Iraqi oil:

“At a Washington press conference called the next day, State Department spokesperson Margaret Tutweiler was asked by journalists:

‘Has the United States sent any type of diplomatic message to the Iraqis about putting 30,000 troops on the border with Kuwait? Has there been any type of protest communicated from the United States government?’

“to which she responded: ‘I’m entirely unaware of any such protest.’

“On July 31st, two days before the Iraqi invasion [of Kuwait], John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, testified to Congress that the ‘United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq’.”

(See here among other sources: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1102395/posts [2] )

Was this an intentional a set-up of Saddam Hussein, or did the Iraqi takeover of Kuwait produce frantic calls from the Bush family’s Middle Eastern business associates?

Whatever explains the dramatic, sudden, total change of position of the US government, the result produced military action that fell short of war on Iraq itself.

From 1990 until 2003 Iraq was acceptable to the US government.

Suddenly, in 2003 Iraq was no longer acceptable. We don’t know why. We were told a passel of lies: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to America. The spectre of a “mushroom cloud over an American city” was raised by the National Security Advisor. The Secretary of State was sent to the UN with a collection of lies with which to build acceptance of US naked aggression against Iraq. The icing on the cake was the claim that Saddam Hussein’s secular government “had al Qaeda connections,” al Qaeda bearing the blame for 9/11.

As neither Congress nor the US media have any interest to know the reason for Washington’s about face on Iraq, the “Iraq Threat” will remain a mystery for Americans.

But the consequences of Washington’s destruction of the secular government of Saddam Hussein, a government that managed to hold Iraq together without the American-induced violence that has made the country a permanent war zone, has been ongoing years of violence on a level equal to, or in excess of, the violence associated with the US occupation of Iraq.

Washington is devoid of humanitarian concerns. Hegemony is Washington’s only concern. As in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan,Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq, Washington brings only death, and death is ongoing in Iraq.

On June 12, 500,000 residents of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, benefactors of Washington’s “freedom and democracy” liberation, fled the city as the American trained army collapsed and fled under al Qaeda attack. The Washington-installed government, fearing Baghdad is next, has asked Washington for air strikes against the al Qaeda troops. Tikrit and Kirkuk have also fallen. Iran has sent two battalions of Revolutionary Guards to protect the Washington-installed government in Baghdad.

(After this article was published, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani dismissed the widespread news reports–Wall Street Journal, World Tribune, The Guardian, Telegraph, CNBC, Daily Mail, Times of Israel, etc.–that Iran has sent troops to help the Iraqi government. Once again the Western media has created a false reality with false reports.)

Does anyone remember the propaganda that Washington had to overthrow Saddam Hussein in order to bring “freedom and democracy and women’s rights to Iraqis”? We had to defeat al Qaeda, which at the time was not present in Iraq, “over there before they came over here.”

Do you remember the neoconservative promises of a “cakewalk war” lasting only a few weeks, of the war only costing $70 billion to be paid out of Iraqi oil revenues, of George W. Bush’s economic advisor being fired for saying that the war would cost $200 billion? The true cost of the war was calculated by economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes who showed that the Iraqi war cost US taxpayers $3 trillion dollars, an expenditure that threatens the US social safety net.

Do you remember Washington’s promises that Iraq would be put on its feet by America as a democracy in which everyone would be safe and women would have rights?

What is the situation today?

Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, has just been overrun by al Qaeda forces. These are the forces that Washington has claimed a number of times to have completely defeated.

These “defeated” forces now control Iraq’s second largest city and a number of provinces. The person Washington left in charge of Iraq is on his knees begging Washington for military help and air support against the Jihadist forces that the incompetent Bush regime unleashed in the Muslim world.

What Washington has done in Iraq and Libya, and is trying to do in Syria, is to destroy governments that kept Jihadists under control. Washington faces the prospect of a Jihadist government encompassing Iraq and Syria. The Neoconservative conquest of the Middle East is becoming an al Qaeda conquest.

Washington has opened Pandora’s Box. This is Washington’s accomplishment in the Middle East.

Even as Iraq falls to al Qaeda , Washington is supplying the al Qaeda forces attacking Syria with heavy weapons. It is demonized Iran that has sent troops to defend the Washington-installed regime in Baghdad! Is it possible for a country to look more foolish than Washington looks?

One conclusion that we can reach is that the arrogance and hubris that defines the US government has rendered Washington incapable of making a rational, logical decision. Megalomania rules in Washington.

This article is published jointly with the Strategic Culture Foundation http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/06/14/washington-iraq-victory.html [3]

Article printed from PaulCraigRoberts.org: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

URL to article: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/06/14/washingtons-iraq-victory-paul-craig-roberts/

URLs in this post:

[1] http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/iraqkuwait.html : http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/iraqkuwait.html
[2] http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1102395/posts: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1102395/posts
[3] http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/06/14/washington-iraq-victory.html : http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/06/14/washington-iraq-victory.html
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Gilad Atzmon: THE JEWISH PLAN FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/the-jewish-plan-for-the-middle-east-and-beyond.html

FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014 AT 12:09PM GILAD ATZMON
By Gilad Atzmon

Surely, what’s happening now in Iraq and Syria must serve as a final wakeup call that we have been led into a horrific situation in the Middle East by a powerful Lobby driven by the interests of one tribe and one tribe alone.

Back in 1982, Oded Yinon an Israeli journalist formerly attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, published a document titled ‘A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.’This Israeli commentator suggested that for Israel to maintain its regional superiority, it must fragment its surrounding Arab states into smaller units. The document, later labelled as ‘Yinon Plan’, implied that Arabs and Muslims killing each other in endless sectarian wars was, in effect, Israel’s insurance policy.

Of course, regardless of the Yinon Plan’s prophesies, one might still argue that this has nothing to do with Jewish lobbying, politics or institutions but is just one more Israeli strategic proposal except that it is impossible to ignore that the Neocon school of thought that pushed the English-speaking Empire into Iraq was largely a Jewish Diaspora, Zionist clan. It’s also no secret that the 2nd Gulf War was fought to serve Israeli interests – breaking into sectarian units what then seemed to be the last pocket of Arab resistance to Israel.

Similarly, it is well established that when Tony Blair decided to launch that criminal war, Lord Levy was the chief fundraiser for his Government while, in the British media, Jewish Chronicle writers David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen were busy beating the drums for war. And again, it was the exact same Jewish Lobby that was pushing for intervention in Syria, calling for the USA and NATO to fight alongside those same Jihadi forces that today threaten the last decade’s American ‘achievements’ in Iraq.

Unfortunately, Yinon’s disciples are more common than you might expect. In France, it was the infamous Jewish ‘philosopher’ Bernard Henri Levy who boasted on TV that ‘as a Jew’ campaigning for NATO intervention, he liberated Libya.

As we can see, a dedicated number of Jewish Zionist activists, commentators and intellectuals have worked relentlessly in many countries pushing for exactly the same cause – the breaking up of Arab and Muslim states into smaller, sectarian units.

But is it just the Zionists who are engaging in such tactics? Not at all.

In fact, the Jewish so-called Left serves the exact same cause, but instead of fragmenting Arabs and Muslims into Shia, Sunnis, Alawites and Kurds they strive to break them into sexually oriented identity groups (Lesbian, Queer, Gays, Heterosexual etc’)

Recently I learned from Sarah Schulman, a NY Jewish Lesbian activist that in her search for funding for a young ‘Palestinian Queer’ USA tour, she was advised to approach George Soros’ Open Society institute. The following account may leave you flabbergasted, as it did me:

“A former ACT UP staffer who worked for the Open Society Institute, George Soros’ foundation, suggested that I file an application there for funding for the tour. When I did so it turned out that the person on the other end had known me from when we both attended Hunter [College] High School in New York in the 1970s. He forwarded the application to the Institutes’s office in Amman, Jordan, and I had an amazing one-hour conversation with Hanan Rabani, its director of the Women’s and Gender program for the Middle East region. Hanan told me that this tour would give great visibility to autonomous queer organizations in the region. That it would inspire queer Arabs—especially in Egypt and Iran…for that reason, she said, funding for the tour should come from the Amman office” (Sarah Schulman -Israel/Palestine and the Queer International p. 108).

The message is clear, The Open Society Institutes (OSI) wires Soros’s money to Jordan, Palestine and then back to the USA in order to “inspire queer Arabs in Egypt and Iran (sic).”

What we see here is clear evidence of a blatant intervention by George Soros and his institute in an attempt to break Arabs and Muslims and shape their culture. So, while the right-wing Jewish Lobby pushes the Arabs into ethnic sectarian wars, their tribal counterparts within George Soros’s OSI institute, do exactly the same – attempt to break the Arab and Muslims by means of marginal and identity politics.

It is no secret that, as far as recent developments in Iraq are concerned, America, Britain and the West are totally unprepared. So surely, the time is long overdue when we must identify the forces and ideologies within Western society that are pushing us into more and more global conflicts. And all we can hope for is that America, Britain and France may think twice before they spends trillions of their tax payers’ money in following the Yinon Plan to fight ruinous, foreign wars imposed upon them by The Lobby.

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity politics and Jewish Power in particular – available on Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

Triskaidekaphobia anyone? How was YOUR Full-Moon Friday the Thirteenth this year?

They say there won’t be another like it until 2049—35 years from now, during which year, should I live, I will be 89.  The disturbing thing about that is that I can remember lots of events 36 years ago—the year was 1978.  I turned 18 years old and was living in Honduras, Central America, working with future Bowditch Profession William Lionel Fash, Peter Mathews, Claude Baudez, Rene Viel, and Berthold Riese, among many others, on the Proyecto Arqueológico Copán in Western Honduras.  I took out Honduras residence so that I could receive a small salary from the World Bank.  Copán was a magically isolated place back then.  I am still regularly in e-mail and occasional telephone contact with the young lady, a truly luscious and ever so delicious blonde, whom I was dating back then.  

So, the question arises, IF I am alive, will I be able to remember 2014?  As Woody Allen once said, “I’d like to grow old gracefully, but maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll be one of those old men with a cane walking into restaurants drooling and and screaming about Socialism and knocking everything off all the tables.”  I have done a lot of screaming about Socialism in my youth and middle age years, so maybe I’ll have THAT out of my system—I can always hope, right?