Tin Soljas — Mercenaries against America

July 26th 2020

For some time, rumors had been swirling around that the costumed clowns would-be Dictator Trump was sending into American cities, beginning with Portland were in fact, mercenaries, scummy for-hire bravos, cast-offs and retirees from the military, or just gun-nut yahoos looking to bag a few people they disapprove of. Medium has a major story this week detailing the presence of gunsels from Triple Canopy and Academi, two disguised dependent corporations of the infamous Blackwater. The article states, in part that the so-called Federal Protective Service “..In fact, FPS spends more than $1 billion a year on these contract security guards who are authorized to conduct crowd control at federal properties, such as those in Portland.”

That’s a lot of money to be spending on hired pork meant only to terrorize peaceful demonstrators. In fact, according to Medium, “There are some 13,000 security guards nationwide employed by FPS via contracts with private security firms, a figure that can be expanded through existing and future contracts.”

These are not federal troops. They are not part of any legitimate policing agency. They aren’t even special agents such as exist in the Secret Service or DHS. They are mercenaries. They are for-hire thugs, glorified security guards with weapons of war. They aren’t in American cities to keep the peace: they are there to shatter it. They want riots, confusion and chaos because that is what Donald Trump needs as an excuse to cling to power.

Americans are better than Donald Trump and his rent-a-pigs, and they have been proving it in Portland, with a March of Moms, a line of real American veterans (as opposed to the “Let’s pretend we’re still soljas” in Blackwater) and in a truly magnificent stand, a naked woman performing yoga poses in front of the mercenaries. (They retreated in considerable confusion!). One guy showed up with a hockey stick to (successfully) bat tear gas grenades back at the portapigs. One heroic vet, Christopher David, 53, joined the protest because he was disturbed by reports of federal officers in unmarked cars arresting people without explanation. They beat the hell out of him with batons, breaking his right arm, and tear gassed him at point-blank range. Showing balls of steel, he strode away from the puzzled and defeated assailants.

While I’m deeply contemptuous of these thugs and the morally diseased people who deploy them, I don’t underestimate the danger they pose. Take Iraq, for example.

There were many different reasons why the American invasion and occupation of Iraq failed, but it was Blackwater that made such a complete calamity for America inevitable, even if the Americans had done everything else right.

First there was the 2004 Fallujah ambush. Four Blackwater mercenaries were ambushed, killed, set afire, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and hanged from the struts of a bridge spanning the Euphrates River. The four individuals weren’t believed to be doing anything more sinister than making a food delivery, but they were seen by the locals as symbols of greater problems. America got off to the wrong foot in that city, riding tanks and humvees into town with huge American flags flying, in direct defiance of orders not to fly flags lest they be seen, not as liberators, but invaders. It was a grotesquely stupid display of ooh-rah patriotism.

Americans, both soldiers and mercenaries, did door-to-door searches, and it’s believed that the mercenaries hit on the bright idea of bringing bomb-and-drug sniffing dogs into the households of the residents. Iraq, like many Islamic nations, has a deep taboo against allowing dogs in the home. Scattered reports of viciousness, molestation and even rape of women, and contempt for Allah circulated. The ambush of the mercenaries resulted in great joy in Iraq and a tepid response in America, where people were unenthusiastic about the use of mercenaries. It’s true that America couldn’t have won independence from England without the presence of mercenaries, but those were German mercenaries, hired by the Crown, and hated by the colonists. Mercenaries don’t have a good odor in America, and nor should they.

In the wake of the hanging of the four mercenaries, a popular uprising drove the Americans out, temporarily. But Blackwater influence in Iraq wasn’t done.

In September 2007, Blackwater gunsels, apparently without provocation, opened fire on a crowd of civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 and injuring 20. Even though America promptly pulled the mercenaries out of the region, it solidified the opposition in Iraq that eventually lead to the Americans being driven out in disgrace.

Why use mercenaries in the first place? American politicians knew the public wouldn’t count them as part of the deployment, and wouldn’t care as much about casualties amongst private contractors. And the Republicans suffered, then as now, from the mad delusion that things such as military operations should be privatized, even if they cost more (some mercenaries in janitorial positions made more than the officers they cleaned for) and were less easy to control. Eric Prince, owner of Blackwater/Academi/Triple Canopy is, along with his vile sister Betsy DeVos, well-positioned in Republican circles. And both are tight with Trump and his mafioso clan.

Mercenaries aren’t soldiers, or even police. Many have little or no training, and discipline is notoriously shoddy. They have little or no training in keeping the peace, but are very adept at disrupting it. They are pure poison to the discipline and morale of both real soldiers and police. And they are a reckless, direct and immediate danger to the people they are putatively there to contain.

There aren’t there to protect the cities of America. They are there to drive them into chaos, so Trump can end the United States once and for all.

Please follow and like us:

Whine and Poses: The unbearable lightness of being a right winger

July 23, 2020

Every so often, a right wing list of grievances makes the rounds on the web, and every several years or so I grab one that addresses enough different issues to make it worth my while. This one showed up, and I thought it was time to do one of those.

1. Joe Biden isn’t winning just like Hillary wasn’t winning.

Hillary did win by 3% of the vote. Biden has between and 8 and 15 point lead in the polls, big enough that the Electoral College can’t overturn it.

2. Bubba Wallace wasn’t a victim.

Nope, and he never claimed to be. Indeed, he was deeply appreciative of the support he received from NASCAR and was happy and relieved to learn that the noose in question was not directed at him or any other African-American.

3. Black lives do matter, along with everyone else.

Until black people have all the rights and privileges of white people, then yes, we have to remember black lives matter.

4. What happened to Floyd should never happen again. But he was still a criminal not an innocent individual.

Floyd was suspected of passing a fake twenty. And that’s all. (The fake twenty never turned up, it seems). By the way, the pig who killed him had a far worse criminal past, protected by his badge and the color of his skin. Multiple incidents of what in regular people would be felonious assault, nine felony charges of tax evasion, and now murder.

5. All cops definitely aren’t bad, nor are they all racist.

No, but we must drive out the ones that are. They ruin the reputation of all cops. And endanger everyone.

6. Trump is the President and doing a great job! Just should keep his mouth shut at times.

I would love to see just one example where Trump is doing a great job. That someone felt he needed to be administered the Montréal Cognitive Assessment Test is not a sign he’s exhibiting top executive reasoning.

7. Rioters and looters have nothing to do with George Floyd. (And should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law).

Rioters and looters are less than 1% of the people who turned up at the protests of Floyd’s death, and mostly had nothing at all to do with the demonstrations. They just saw an opportunity, just as Trump saw an opportunity to send in his Nazi thugs.

8. Police lives matter.

Not at the expense of every one else’s lives.

9. Unborn lives matter.

So do the lives of women and families. So do the lives of the children you force into the world and then brutally ignore.

10. Colin Kaepernick isn’t a hero, and never will be.

Yes, he is, and I’ll demonstrate how he is at point 24. In the meantime, he risked everything for his principles. If right wingers ever get principles, then they might consider taking risks rather than just bullying people.

11. CNN isn’t news (nor is MSNBC)

Please don’t try to tell us that Fox, Sinclair or OAN are news. America desperately needs a not-for-profit news corporation like the BBC or CBC. CBC is one of the main reasons Canada isn’t the mess that the US is in today.

12. Elizabeth Warren isn’t Indian just a fake person.

Did you know that for years, Trump claimed to be Swedish because he felt having a German background might hurt him financially? How do you feel about that?

13. Facebook only censors conservatives.

If by “conservative” you mean bigots, hatemongers, conspiracy crackpots and liars, then yeah, I guess they only censor conservatives.

14. All lives do matter (red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight).

Until all lives are equal, that’s just vacuous nonsense.

15. COVID 19 is being used to gauge just how much of our freedom they can take away.

…and it’s howling nut time…

16. All fear is fueled by the media, this is a fact.

…says the guy who just said that the pandemic was just a government conspiracy…

17. God is still in control and always will be.

And a bang-up job it’s done of running the universe, let me tell you!

18. Epstein did not kill himself. Nascar did kill themselves.

Nascar will probably broaden its appeal outside the realm of treasonous racists.

19. Most people are not racist.

…says the guy who just said Nascar will fail because it rejected the Confederacy…

20. There is NO White Privilege

But didn’t Jesus have to turn white before guys like you would take him seriously?

21. LIFE is What YOU Make of it.

Provided you’re white, wealthy, powerful, and not an utter fuck-up like Trump. And if you’re rich enough, then even an utter fuck-up like Trump can make the most of it at our expense.

22. No one OWES You ANYTHING !

No one owes you your rights. Those are yours by birth. Nobody can tell you what they are, or take them away.

23. I stand for the Flag and National Anthem.

You’re free to do so. Just respect the right of others not to.

24. I kneel only for Jesus.

Again, fine. Just respect the rights of others to kneel—or not kneel—as they please. Your Jesus would have “taken a knee” for the rights of the oppressed. He would have knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick. Follow that example.

And there ya’ have it!

Toxic conservatism in a nutshell!

Please follow and like us:

Down the Rabbit Hole — Alas in Blunderland

July 20th 2020

Not much doubt we’ve stumbled into a meth-driven Hunter S. Thompson fugue state these days. I’ve sometimes wondered what old Hunter would have made of Trumpenstate 2020. He would have been either rolling on the floor, convulsed with laughter and scribbling furiously, or he would have blown his brains out. Can’t really imagine him scratching a cheek and languidly asking, “Wow. How ‘BOUT that?”

But then, it’s not a languid era. You can cry, you can laugh, or you can get your rifle. None of them are particularly good signs of mental health, but our psyches aren’t really equipped to deal with the madness that pervades our lives today.

You have clowns in camo snatching up peaceful protesters and hauling them away in unmarked vans. The Supreme Court has just ruled that those rounded up by the gestapo can be held indefinitely, a system that the Soviet Russians used to refer to as “the Gulag Archipelago.” We have a demented president and a mafioso-corrupt attorney-general praising the gestapo’s actions in Portland, Seattle and now Chicago, and promising to attack other peaceful protesters, presumably in hopes of sparking full-spread rebellion, a Reichstag fire of protest than can justify a Nazi coup against America.

And once they’ve rounded up protesters and thrown them into camps, what next? Well, the administration has been consulting with vicious dirtbag and justifier of torture, John Yoo, on how best to torture their prisoners, and while they’re at it, flout executive law through executive order. Trump wants to issue decrees on healthcare, immigration and “various other plans” over the coming month. He finally had to back way from his preposterously cruel plan to deport all foreign students from the nation’s colleges. A pity. That worked so well for Hitler, ending the war years earlier than if he had maintained a brain trust.

Trump is pushing to open the schools. He’s pretending it’s for the children, but really, he wants to make it possible for parents to return to jobs that may or may not exist. To that end he’s stonewalling on extending unemployment benefits, further cruel coercion meant to prop up an economy that more and more is a vicious joke meant only to serve the very rich. He’ll consider an extension of a month or so if Congress agrees to utterly gut Social Security and Medicare. How fucking kind of him.

Betty DeVos wants to return the kiddies to class, even if it means ten thousand or more of them will die. DeVos, who has never sat in a public classroom and has no educational training of any sort, wants churches and corporations to take over training the brats, and get them past the awkward stage where they’re too little to be of any use in the work camps.

Speaking of demented presidents, we have one that just boasted of “acing” a cognition test. The only time people are administered such tests is when medical personnel are concerned that a person is so far gone mentally that he is a hazard to himself and others. It’s scary enough that they would feel a need to administer such a test to a man in charge of the American military and nuclear weapons, but it’s even scarier that he boasts of “acing” it, even though the final five questions were “very hard.” The sections he found challenging included memory (given five simple words, asked to repeat them back, then and five minutes later) attention (Trump was always notoriously bad at this, and it’s hard to imagine him being able to count down from 100 in increments of 7, ie, 93, 86, 79, 72…), language (accurately repeat simple declarative sentences), abstraction (what pairs of words such as apple and banana have in common) and orientation (present date, month and year, and the name of the place they are in as well as the city). Test providers then praise the subject, no matter how they did on the test as positive reinforcement for future sessions using such tests. The test is 30 points, 26 is considered borderline cognitive decline, and 20 a sign of significant cognitive decline, so Donald could have scored 15, and been praised for how he did on the test. That Trump was even given the test is disturbing; that he boasted about how well he did is horrifying.

He wants to cut billions of dollars for COVID-19 testing and tracking even as the number of cases in the US alone approaches 4 million, because having a raging pandemic is hurting his reelection chances. Back in 1945, the Nazis shot German citizens who made the mistake of wondering aloud how well the war is going. This is the same mindset.

He still refuses to mandate masks, encouraging a destructive, dangerous and foolhardy anti-mask cult who have been attacking people for wearing masks, or for requiring them before allowing people into their homes or places of business. The anti-maskers are becoming more and more belligerent, and they’re playing with fire: public rage against them is mounting. I expect to hear about some anti-masker getting shot, either by a security guard or an armed customer. Only a matter of time.

Speaking of shooting, has anyone noticed how fast the clowns in the NRA all vanished when government thugs started rounding up civilians and carting them off to camps. This is exactly the situation the NRA said it existed to avoid. Well, I always thought they were nothing but thugs, bullies and cowards. Guess I was right. Fuck the NRA, and fuck anyone who’s a member.

Meanwhile the Roberts Court, tossing a few bones to progressives, has quietly destroyed laws designed to protect people against predatory loan sharks, removed more of the limitations on Wall Street instrument manipulations like the ones that caused the 2007 crash, and removed transparency from hedge fund trading. Just another service provided for the greater fascistic control of American.

Remember: this election is our last best chance to avoid a Fourth Reich. If we don’t take the country back in November, our future is very violent and dark.

Please follow and like us:

Red Masque of Death — Covering mouths that could stand a little covering

July 11th, 2020

Basque bus driver Philippe Monguillot, 59, died in hospital on Friday, six days after being attacked by three men and left for dead. His crime: he asked them to wear masks in order to board his bus, as required by French law. Two of the three men are facing murder charges as a result. Fortunately for them, French prisons aren’t the utter death traps that American prisons are, and French have more lenient laws, so they may see the light of day again, hopefully many years from now.

The most noteworthy element of this story is that it happened in France and not in America, because France has a lower proportion of violent lunatics per capita.

Here, of course, there’s an entire movement dedicated to an imaginary right not to wear masks. Most of them are just stupid people. Some, however, are violent lunatics buoyed by the notion that God or Trump or the Constitution are on their side. Trump is, but Trump is a fool. The Constitution isn’t on their side: courts long ago upheld the rights of businesses and property owners to make certain requirements of their customers—shirts, shoes, and now, masks. If it’s posted, some establishments can require ties, or no hats. God, as usual, had no comment.

I had an encounter with one of those this morning. He was trying to harangue and bully the store clerk, giving the bogus argument that the Americans with Disabilities Act not only exempted him from wearing a mask, but he wasn’t even required to disclose what his physical disability was. The clerk, with whom I’ve been acquainted for some thirty years, looked unimpressed, and if I read the angle of her head correctly, a bit disgusted. She didn’t need any help from me. But I was tiring rapidly of the spiel, and the fact that this large hairy unmasked goon was spraying his nonsense into the air, at the clerk and myself, with who-knows-what in the spittle.

The clerk said that the health inspector had been by the past two days, and they were going to start handing out fines. He said that was her problem, not his.

So I spoke up. “Look, just pay for your stuff and get out.”

He glared at me. I’m kinda big and hairy myself, and he promptly forgot his right not to disclose his condition. “I find it hard to breathe in a mask,” he whined.

“Hey, I don’t like masks either,” I replied. “But I’m wearing one. It’s common sense. We have eight times as many cases in the county as we had a month ago. Things are out of control.”

“So what? It’s just like the flu. And the flu kills 640,000 Americans a year.”

“What? It’s more like 30,000 a year, and right now hospitals are sounding panic alarms over the number of critically ill there are.”

George of the Bungle realized he had blown it with the specious number. Without another word, he grabbed his stuff and took off.

Like I said, the clerk didn’t need my help. But getting pushback like that might make the clown reconsider trying to impose a risk on others, at least a little bit.

Yeah, they can be willfully dangerous. But even the more mild-mannered ones are more dangerous from something they may not even believe they carry. Wear a mask, and stand up to the goons. Don’t threaten, but be firm. We can wear them down.

Years back, I was having a bull session with a cop buddy, and presented him with a novel defense to be used by a driver breaking a basic rule of the road. “I have impaired vision in this eye,” I said, pointing to my left eye. Obviously, when driving, you need to be watching oncoming traffic, and people attempting to pass you.” I pantomimed driving, peering around in various directions as my hands wobbled the imaginary wheel, in case my companion was unfamiliar with the concept of driving a motor vehicle.

“Therefore,” I concluded grandly, “It makes sense that I should be driving on the left-hand side of the road, where my field of vision covers more potential hazards.” I tapped my right eye, the good one, in case my point wasn’t obvious enough.

It took my buddy roughly 0.158 seconds to point out the basic problem. “Zepp, if your vision is that fucked up, you shouldn’t be driving at all.”

Well, nuts. Another beautiful hypothesis killed by ugly facts.

There are reasons people can’t wear masks. Disfiguring facial injuries. COPD, asthma, difficulty swallowing. Those are all legitimate and fairly common. Masks, to these people, are a real and evident health threat.

But the correct answer is roughly the same as my buddy’s. If your breathing is that messed up, you shouldn’t be out at all. Even a mild case of COVID-19 will kill you. Stay in. Get the store to deliver, or have someone get your groceries for you. COVID-19 doesn’t care about your Constitutional rights, and isn’t going to cut you any slack because you have existing health conditions. Quite the opposite.

It’s very simple: wear a mask, and if you can’t wear a mask, don’t go out in public. We don’t want you to die, and we don’t want to risk dying ourselves. Wear a mask! Or stay home!

Please follow and like us:

The World Hates America — With Damned Good Reason

July 2nd 2020

When the news broke that the US government had snapped up the entire world stock of available remdesivir, the only drug shown to be effective in treating COVID-19, there was immediate outrage. While it’s not a cure of any sort, it shortened the course of hospitalizations for this disease by some 20%, and improved the survival rate by a similar amount. Make no mistake: this is no panacea. COVID-19 is still an extremely dangerous and deadly disease, and remdesivir or no, the long-term effects remain unknown.

The government snapped up some half a million doses, enough to treat about 50-100,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19. It represents some three months of the world’s supply.

It was a vicious and sociopathic move by the US, and unfortunately, is seen as being typical of how Americans operate. In fairness, most Americans were appalled, and that number will grow once it becomes clear Trump didn’t buy it to save their miserable lives, unless they were billionaires or Nazis.

Gilead, the company complicit in this deeply immoral deal, came under immediate scrutiny by the EU and other developed nations. Gilead signed an agreement with the EU to boost production so demand could be met in the next month or so, when warehoused supplies ran out. The unspoken threat was they had better, or the EU would simply suspend their copyright on the drug and make the recipe available for all other pharmaceuticals. The US would oppose that, of course, being the beacon of light to all corporations all over the world, but frankly, the opinion of the US doesn’t carry much weight these days.

Part of the outrage stems from the fact that the US needs more remdesivir than anyone else, simply from reasons that were self inflicted. Where most of the developed world have brought the plague down to manageable levels, the ones governed by insane fascist bastards—Brazil, Russia, India and America—have totally lost control of their infestations. In America, cases which had run over 30,000 new cases a day in late April, were brought down to under 20,000. But between intense pressure from corporate overlords to reopen and “save the economy,” cruel contempt for the safety of workers, prisoners, native populations and the aged, and a truly crack-brained notion that wearing a mask infringed on personal rights, the US completely blew it on efforts to control the disease. New daily cases are above 50,000 now (over 57,000 today) and are expected to reach 100,000 a day over the next few weeks.

The US was already seen with a mixture of horror and pity. The antics of the Trump regime were bad enough; this self-immolation made the US pariah and object lesson. Now the the pity and horror are admixed with rage. If the Americans are too fucking stupid to control their plague, the thinking goes, what right have they to deny responsible nations this drug which might save lives? The US has reached the same communal level as that of a drunk stealing communal wine from the local church.

So now America is seen with horror, pity, and rage.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Oh, not America’s reputation—it’s thoroughly trashed and will remain that way for decades to come. But Trump’s effort to screw the world isn’t as lethal as it might sound. EU countries, Canada and other places had already stocked up on enough remdesivir to get them through most of July, and they did it without fucking anyone else over. If Gilead follows through on the promise to boost production, little or no harm will be done. And as noted, America is an object lesson: unless you want to see tens or hundreds of your fellow citizens die, don’t follow their example. Tough out the economic lock down, take care of your people, and reopen wisely. Don’t be that guy.

The Republicans have made it clear they won’t extend unemployment benefits or do anything for the millions of people still out of work. To them, open stores are more important than dead Americans. Work, or die. Or both. Report to your work camps for the greater glory of the fuhrer!

The Trump administration is involved in Stalinesque efforts to hide the damage. Just as Hitler secreted his death camps in eastern Europe outside of German borders, Republicans are working hard to hide the extent and damage of the plague, flooding media and social media with false stories about Democrats inflating death numbers, and “wanting America to fail.” The mindset of the GOP, like those of the Nazi party eighty years earlier, is to blame “enemies from within and without” for their failings.

Even now, millions of Americans run around shouting they have a right to go maskless. Police officers in a coffee shop in Oregon today harassed and berated store clerks for asking them to observe the “Masks required” sign on the front door. By the standards of American cops, these were better behaved them some—they didn’t shoot the clerks, or even arrest them. I wonder if those cops think they have a right to go in a day-care center and shit on the playfloor. It’s pretty much the same thing.

Trump is cutting testing so there will be less cases reported. Is it possible to be more stupid?

The EU has banned Americans from visiting. A poll in Canada showed reactions to American visitors ranging from strong aversion (Quebec, where only 24% favored allowing Americans to visit) to projectile vomiting revulsion (BC, where only 6% wanted to allow Americans in). Granted, BC has had a problem with sick Americans sneaking in, and did long before COVID-19 turned up.

The US may or may not come to terms with this disease. But they’ve already lost all their friends, aside from the President’s manipulative buddy in the Kremlin.

Wear a mask. Stay safe. Don’t be one of THOSE Americans.

Please follow and like us: