Saturday, September 20, 2014

We may all live to be 100—but do we really want to?


I just read a very long article stating that many of us will live a lot longer in the near future—maybe past 100, on MSN. The article looked at some of the changes we can expect from a longer lifespan—both for ourselves and others.
My fist thoughts are that I would like to live to 100, but not if I have to take all the advice on healthy living—lots of “nos.”
There is no red meat; no drinking; no smoking; no to sitting idle and watching too much TV and we should all work to an older age in our lives—way past the present retirement age from 62 to 70.
Once I start adding up all the negatives I have to wonder if I really want to live that long. But before we make up our minds let’s look at the article and it predictions.

Politics

“Longer life has obvious appeal, but it entails societal risks. Politics may come to be dominated by the old, who might vote themselves ever more generous benefits for which the young must pay. Social Security and private pensions could be burdened well beyond what current actuarial tables suggest. If longer life expectancy simply leads to more years in which pensioners are disabled and demand expensive services, health-care costs may balloon as never before, while other social needs go unmet.”
We can see the results of some of these things already. The whole issue of raising the retirement age is an example of this. The last generation gets socialized medicine and a small, but adequate pension, along with other benefits for those above 62. But members of this very generation want to raise the retirement age to 70 and above. This means young people now will not have access to all these benefits for eight more of their years. Some pundits are warning that people over 55 will have a hard time finding jobs if they lose the job they have before retirement age. Many employers don’t want to hire people that old. Also people’s health is not keeping up with the longer lifespan. That means a lot of people will live longer, but they will have more expensive medical needs and they won’t have access to Medicare until the age of 70. This could be a disaster waiting for those who try to retire 20 years from now.
Again from MSN:
“Society is dominated by the old - old political leaders, old judges. With each passing year, as longevity increases, the intergenerational imbalance worsens. The old demand benefits for which the young must pay, while people in their 20s become disenchanted, feeling that the deck is stacked against them. National debt increases at an alarming rate. Innovation and fresh thinking disappear as energies are devoted to defending current pie-slicing arrangements…
The problem of aging leadership
As the population ages, so do the political powers that be - and they’re aging in place. Computerised block-by-block voting analysis and shameless gerrymandering - Maryland’s new sixth congressional district is such a strange shape, it would have embarrassed Elbridge Gerry - lock incumbents into power as never before. Campaign-finance laws appear to promote reform, but in fact have been rigged to discourage challengers. Between rising life expectancy and the mounting power of incumbency, both houses of Congress are the oldest they’ve ever been: the average senator is 62 years old; the average representative, 57.
A graying Congress would be expected to be concerned foremost with protection of the status quo. Government may grow sclerotic at the very time the aging of the populace demands new ideas. “There’s already a tremendous advantage to incumbency,” one experienced political operative told me. “As people live longer, incumbents will become more entrenched. Strom Thurmond might not be unusual anymore. Many from both parties could cling to power too long, freezing out fresh thinking. It won’t be good for democracy.” The speaker was no starry-eyed radical: he was Karl Rove….”
Again we see a lot of this now. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is an example of a politicians working hard to entrench the Republican Party all across the country with voting restrictions (disguised as anti-fraud) that are not only being implemented in Kansas, but he is traveling around the country to help other states enact the same restrictions. The restrictions affect many minorities, especially new immigrants who do not always have the proper paper work to prove when and where they were born.
The Koch Brothers and their allies have been busting unions and they have been recorded at fundraiser bragging that by “knee-capping the unions” they can cut into the supporters of the Democratic Party. Many people are now calling the Republicans and/or the Tea Party as the party of “angry white men.” And we can add to that “OLD angry white men.”
This phenomenon explains why there are so many politicians in Wichita, Kansas and nationally who seem incapable of thinking outside the box. They are rigid and seem oblivious to the changes that have gone on for the last 30 years such as gay rights, changing views on marijuana and needed changes in their attitude towards environmental issues. Many of those politicians are stuck in the past and they are keeping us stuck in there with them. Our politics seem dominated by dullards and obvious dolts.

Economics

One prediction of the future is that older people will retire later and spend more years in the workforce:
“If medical interventions to slow aging result in added years of reasonable fitness, life might extend in a sanguine manner, with most men and women living longer in good vigor, and also working longer, keeping pension and health-care subsidies under control. Indeed, the most-exciting work being done in longevity science concerns making the later years vibrant, as opposed to simply adding time at the end.”
The big question here is how many of us really WANT to keep working after the age of 70? For some of us the desire to quit working is less about our health and more about spending quality time doing things we find more worthwhile. For me there is a difference in the writing I do that may have a positive effect on society’s consciousness as opposed to just shit work, such as putting beans in cans for a factory. We want to feel our lives are not just making money and being productive but also contributing something positive and meaningful in society.
There is also the desire for autonomy. To get jobs today, most employers want to drug test us. They want to see what we post on social media such as Facebook. Some companies want to punish their workers for leading unhealthy lifestyles, such as being overweight or drinking a lot. People can be fired for political opinions that they express on line. Many employers feel they have a right to control the moral or religious beliefs of there employees. An example of that is the recent Supreme Court decision to let Hobby Lobby refuse to provide certain types of birth control for their women employees. 
Early this year, Otto’s War Room reported on Jim Hillhouse, president of Alpha Testing, that he thinks of his employees as “rebellious teenagers” That is from an interview he gave to NPR in reaction to the US Supreme Court’s decision on Hobby Lobby—where certain birth control medicines violate his religious beliefs.
Hillhouse actually said: ‘You go by my rules if you want to live here.’—in response to any of his employees who have a disagreement with his anti-choice position. He actually talked of them as if there were just his children.
Then there is the freedom of speech issue. About a year ago I reported that Meagan May was fired from her job for criticizing the military. I often print my name in Khmer letters to prevent me from getting fired over controversial things I post online. Other political radicals use pen names. The point is that we can’t practice full freedom of speech as long as we have a job.
So basically employers control our lives. They seem to believe that THEY have the right to decide our moral and religious beliefs, health decisions that affect us and even our political opinions. It is if we never really get to grow up and leave home. Some even see us as rebellious teenagers. The only time we get treated as adults is when we retire and they CAN’T take our living away when we don’t show proper obedience to the states we live under.
What I want in old age—in retirement is FREEDOM!  
We don’t need any patronizing parental figures running our lives.

Life styles

Another important aspect of living longer are the sacrifices we must make to do it. Some are not so bad, such as education;
The single best yardstick for measuring a person’s likely life span is education. John Rowe, a health-policy professor at Columbia University and a former CEO of Aetna, says, “If someone walked into my office and asked me to predict how long he would live, I would ask two things: What is your age, and how many years of education did you receive?”
Since I already have a college degree, a teaching certificate, a journalism endorsement and half a masters in special education that I was never able to finish because there were no jobs for me to take, I already have an education. I’m not sure how that makes me more likely to live longer, but I choose to believe it will help. After all, since I have the education—why not?
Other things from that article are less inspirational, such as the usual trashing of America’s favorite bad habits; drinking alcohol, Smoking and eating red meat;
Researchers at the Buck Institute are lean: society’s obesity problems are not in evidence there. Everyone takes the stairs; elevators are viewed as strictly for visitors. If there is a candy machine on the 488-acre grounds, it is well hidden. I met some researchers for lunch in a glass-and-chrome conference room (Buck’s buildings were designed by I. M. Pei and fairly shout “Give me an architecture award!”). Lunch was an ascetic affair: water and a small sandwich with greens; no sides, soda, or cookies. (Brian) Kennedy says he seldom eats lunch, and runs up to 20 miles weekly. Yet, even doing everything right by the lights of current assumptions about how to stave off aging, at age 47, Kennedy has wrinkle lines around his eyes.
Except with regard to infectious diseases, medical cause and effect is notoriously hard to pin down. Coffee, salt, butter: good, bad, or neither? Studies are inconclusive. Why do some people develop heart disease while others with the same habits don’t? The Framingham Heart Study, in its 66th year and following a third generation of subjects, still struggles with such questions. You should watch your weight, eat more greens and less sugar, exercise regularly, and get ample sleep. But you should do these things because they are common sense - not because there is any definitive proof that they will help you live longer….
I find the older I get, the less I want to give up things like red meat. I do eat other foods, vegetables and fish for example, which are recommended for a healthy diet. But there are times when I really want a large stake cooked rare. Many of us are not suppose to drink alcohol and that includes me, due to having had hepatitis for the last decade. But the disease is gone and I really enjoy a pint of beer or glass of wine now and then. I don’t get drunk anymore, but I don’t like to have to restrict too much of my diet. I also like to drink a Coke or Pepsi once in a while and I’m not supposed to have those either.
I think the real issue is not that people as I don’t want to live 100 years…I’m sure that would be swell. But the quality of life is just as important to me as the quantity. I don’t want to do ANYTHING just to live longer. I want to be happy and comfortable. I am now 59 and I want to enjoy the years I have left. I’m willing to compromise—healthier foods most of the time—but at times I eat and drink what I want.
As for our political and economic system—I eventually want a revolution—in the mean time, everyone has to make adjustments and that doesn’t mean to just take from one class of people and give EVERYTHING to another. Older people have a right to the health care they need and fare treatment in the work place. Don’t expect us to work for more of the years of our lives without fare treatment with the benefits we deserve.
Let US decide how we will live out our final years.
- សតិវ អតុ

The aims behind the U.S.'s new war in the Middle East—part 2


Continued from Part 1…..

The second component of their strategy is to bolster the peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government, which abandoned the Yazidis, Turkomans and Assyrians to the IS and instead concentrated on grabbing oil-rich Kirkuk from the central government. But even protecting the Kurds is not a U.S. war aim. For the most part the U.S. and its allies are not giving them heavy weaponry, which would displease Turkey, and they could end up as cannon fodder in the bigger game in Iraq and the region. Protection of religious and ethnic minorities has long been an utterly false pretext for colonial and neocolonial intervention.

Obama's "partner" in Baghdad, the third component, is Haider al Abadi, the new U.S.-installed Prime Minister who replaced the old U.S.-installed (and then discarded) PM Nouri al-Maliki. Abadi declared that his armed forces will no longer carry out "indiscriminate shelling" as they have been doing in Falluja, where Baghdad's massacres are said to have driven many inhabitants to embrace the IS. This seems to be an admission of what has been happening so far. But even after this, the main Falluja hospital has been rocketed again, with more civilian causalities.

Abadi, like Maliki, is a product of the Shia fundamentalist (and historically pro-Iran) Dawa party, and Shia militias are his only reliable troops. Obama has begun sending 12-man teams of U.S soldiers to lead the Iraqi army (even the New York Times calls them "advisers" in quote marks, suggestive of American "advisers"' in Vietnam).

The U.S. turned a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing that drove many Sunnis out of Baghdad when the city was under its occupation, and the looming offensive will likely see more ethnic cleansing on a bigger scale, as has already been the case over the past weeks. This, too, flows from the U.S.'s real war aims, which do not include saving anyone's lives.

Fourthly and most importantly, if the U.S. is to attack the IS in Syria, it must have "partners on the front lines" there, an "anvil" against which the hammer of American-led air strikes can maul IS forces. Without this, some military experts say, Obama's proposals would be tactics in search of a strategy. That role is to be played by a future armed force comprised of soldiers provided by the Syrian "opposition". But the truth is that now this opposition is almost entirely Islamist itself, differing from the IS and each other above all by their backing from Turkey or Saudi Arabia or Qatar, etc., and increasingly relying on the same kind of religious sectarian policies and terror tactics (including cutting off heads) as the IS.

One thing seems sure: the clash between the U.S. and the IS is a vortex that will pull the broader Middle East into a merciless, complex and prolonged series of conflicts. Millions of people are likely to suffer even more horrendously at the hands of reactionary forces, each pursuing their own interests by force of arms. The situation will almost certainly not come down to two neatly defined sides but rather be marked by contradictory and shifting alignments of mutual mortal enemies. As all the region's contradictions become greatly accentuated, it is likely that the clash between the Western powers and Islamism will become an even more important factor.

While the IS has created big problems for the dominant powers and may deal real blows to the U.S., the religious sectarianism necessarily entrained by the goal of a belief-based state is creating a vicious spiral of divisions and mutual slaughter among the masses of people whose interests lie in getting united against the imperialists and their global system. We've seen this in Iraq, where Sunni-Shia religious sectarianism sabotaged the struggle against the occupation and remains a factor that the U.S. is counting on to keep Iraq and Syria under its boot, with or without occupation.

There is no point in trying to figure out which is worse, the U.S. and its partners and clients representing the unacceptable old order on one side or the Islamists seeking an unacceptable new order on the other. The situation is terrible and will never change as long as people feel compelled to choose between one or the other. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PR fiasco—ISIS’s propaganda sucks!


When ISIS (ISEL or Islamic State) began its military campaign in Iraq, they took almost half the country and I was very impressed. That is not to say I would like them to win. Islamic oriented governments almost never get along with Maoists or Marxists of any kind. They usually don’t treat atheists very well. So I can’t really find myself supporting them at all.
Still I started to admire their clever military tactics. But then came the beheadings. I can’t approve of executing a person who isn’t in some way directly responsible for the problems of that rebel army. But such killings aren’t rare in the Middle-east. The reaction of the US public to those Americans being beheaded has not been helpful to anyone—especially ISIS. Before the beheadings most Americans were uninterested in the ISIS problem. US politicians who have invested so much into the Iraqi puppet regime knew they had to do something. They ran their own propaganda campaign trying to convince Americans that ISIS was about to send terrorists to the US and conduct 9/11 style attacks. If most people seemed skeptical, ISIS changed that. The beheadings have infuriated many Americans and they now seem to support Prez. Barack Obama’s war on ISIS.
As said by the characters in the movie Easy Rider, ‘they don’t get running scared’….’they get dangerous.’ After 9/11 some Americans got crazy and attacked Arabs and Moslems randomly without finding actual connections between those people and what one group in the Middle-east was doing. As the hype gets worse, I’m sure Arabs and Moslems are bracing for similar attacks. I personally heard a man in a bar claiming (as if he were some kind of expert) that Moslems here will not criticize or comment on what such groups as al Qaeda and ISIS do. That is far from true.
So ISIS commits more beheadings and then plans actual attacks in the US, Briton and now in Australia to shock people and make it clear they see themselves as at war with those countries. But attacking citizens only invites the contempt of the citizens of those countries. They end up supporting their government’s war against ISIS. Most of us on the left realize that it is really important to drive a wedge between a government and its citizens. If people don’t realize our anger is at the government and their imperialist policies and not the common people—we know that we are doomed to failure.
So why doesn’t ISIS realize this? This is the failure of a religious theocracy and its ideology. It is US against THEM—the Religious against the infidels. Those who don’t immediately change their religions are simply to be eradicated from the world around them.
A recent act of ISIS stupidity was their attacks on the Kurds in almost every Middle-east country. That includes the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK is listed by the US as a terrorist group. The Kurds in Syria have been working with Bashar al-Assad. So can ISIS do what the PKK and Assad have not been able to do—get the blessings of the west. In the next few weeks we will see if ISIS’s ridiculous campaign against the Kurds back fires and reunite old enemies or if the US and its allies will stick to outdated dogma that works against them just as bad as ISIS’s foul tactics and policies.

-សតិវ​ អតុ

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The aims behind the U.S.'s new war in the Middle East


President George W. Bush took the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center as an opportunity to prove his country's military invincibility. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he eagerly welcomed the prospect of war, crying, "Bring it on!", unable to foresee that after nine years of occupation the U.S. would still have failed to achieve its aims, a consolidation of its hold on the Middle East.

The mood was different on 11 September this year when Barack Obama announced a new U.S.-led war in Iraq. This time it was the Islamists effectively crying "bring it on" through the beheadings that signal the determination of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) to raise its black flag in direct opposition to the U.S. Stars and Stripes and its main junior partner, the UK Union Jack.

This time there was no question of the kind of "shock and awe" blitzkrieg that Bush promised would lead to quick and easy victory. Instead, the Obama administration itself seems in shock, forced to display and deploy its military might in what is recognized as a leap into the unknown where it has no good options.

Yet even understanding, to some extent, the risks involved this time, and initially admitting that the U.S. had no real strategy, Obama launched this new war anyway. There was little choice: Compared to al-Qaeda's attacks on what Obama, like Bush, calls "the homeland", today the IS army is a far greater challenge to the present configuration of the Middle East and the kind of reconfiguration of that region that would suit the interests of the American empire.

Judging by Obama's speech, the plan is to first start bombing and shooting and then see what can be done. His new, hastily-concocted four-part "strategy" is more a wish than a plan.

He said that the U.S.'s goal is to "degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL". His chief of staff put it slightly differently: "Success looks like an ISIL that no longer threatens our friends in the region, no longer threatens the United States, an ISIL that can't accumulate followers or threaten Muslims in Syria, Iraq or otherwise."

Other observers have pointed out that weakening or even destroying an enemy army is not usually considered a definition of a war's political goals, which comprise not only what is to be defeated but what this defeat is supposed to accomplish. In this case, the emphasis seems more on "degrading" – containing and weakening – the IS than on eliminating Islamic fundamentalism, let alone defining how the U.S. and its allies hope to deal with the economic, social and political conditions that account for the spectacular rise of the IS and jihadi Islam in general.

Obama announced "a steady, relentless effort to take out [the IS] wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground", adding, "This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully followed in Yemen and Somalia for years."

"For years" might be a realistic prediction of the duration of Obama's new war, but all that this "strategy" has been able to do in Yemen and Somalia is to keep the Islamists from triumphing, so far, and not even decisively "degrading" their forces. Far from any "containment", Islamic fundamentalism has grown and spread exponentially.

The U.S. seems forced to accept the risks because the IS has become the most concentrated and aggressive threat to its domination of the Middle East and beyond. But it is the perpetuation of that domination, and not the IS itself or the disaster it represents for the region's peoples, that defines Washington's basic war aims. Issues like how the U.S. intends to carry that off, or whether or not it is even possible, should not distract from the more basic question: what the U.S. needs to accomplish as it attempts to work through the contradictions and complexities that made it reluctant to enter into a frontal conflict with the IS in the first place. After all, if Islamic fundamentalism in and of itself were the U.S.'s main concern, and not regional domination, it would not have toppled Saddam Hussein and targeted Bashar al-Assad.

Whatever convergence of interests there may now be between the U.S. and the Syrian and Iranian regimes, the factors that brought the U.S. to conspire against and threaten them have not disappeared. Washington will probably continue seeking to achieve its goals, such as bringing about splits and favourable realignments in the ruling classes in those countries, under changing conditions and in view of its overall interests in the region.

The "elephant in the room" is Israel, an American asset that is more indispensable than ever and yet represents a contradiction for the U.S. as it seeks Middle Eastern allies for the Gaza-fication of Iraq and the replacement of Assad's barrel bombs against Sunni communities by U.S. drones and bombers. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry ordered the Egyptian regime to get Al Azar, the Sunni world's highest religious institution, to bless the coalition with Israel's protector, but there is no guarantee that this won't just discredit those old-order authorities and the regimes that need those religious credentials, and help the jihadi drive for a new religious and political order. The U.S. may feel it has to accept the risk of greater instability and try to pull Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria and the Gulf monarchies into this coalition anyway, not only because of Washington's dire short-term need to hit back at the IS but also because the jihadi Islamism that
the IS represents is already a great danger to all these U.S.-dependent states.

Obama's new war amounts to a confession that the status quo is not an option. In this sense, his government is not so far from the Bush administration's conception of the need to "drain the swamp that produces mosquitoes" (jihadis), a project for the reconfiguration of the Middle East that Bush tried to launch with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with disastrous consequences, including the rise of the IS.

The publicly announced plans and goals of the U.S. and its allies (the former and still would-be colonial powers, the UK and France) surely don't represent the whole of their thinking and objectives. But they are enough to give a glimpse of the horrors they have in store for the people of Iraq, Syria and maybe more widely.

They intend to begin with a stepped-up air campaign – the U.S. has already launched more than 150 drone and other strikes, and France has its Rafale combat planes in Iraqi skies seeking targets. Since the IS has become entrenched in medium and large cities such as Raqqa in Syria, and Tikrit, Haditha, Fallujah and Mosul (population almost two million) in Iraq, this makes it all the more likely that many civilians will be killed.

To be continued…..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

US-ISIS War—A coalition of the puppets and minor imperialist to do US dirty work


As Prez. Barack Obama ratchets up the war effort, he is trying to build a coalition of nations—in the Middle-east and elsewhere. The obvious advantages to this are the illusion that this is a united effort by the “whole world.” They want it to look like ISIS (ISIL or Islamic State) is this horrible abomination that all the “civilized nations” must fight against.  Obama also hopes to get other people to put troops in harm’s way so this action does not become too unpopular with Americans who may be tired of sending their sons and daughters to die in the Middle-east. With a coalition other countries can pay for some of the cost of this war. It’s cheaper.
There are mostly two types of coalition partners. There are the small puppet regimes that heavily rely on the US or its allies for economic and military aid. Then there are also those who are imperialist themselves and want a “piece of the action” when the war ends and the spoils get divided up.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most US aid dependent countries in the entire Middle-east. It also has the worst human rights records. The country is an absolute monarchy. There is no more political liberties there then there are in N. Korea. The Saudis publicly behead people for insulting the Royal family. Islam is the only religion legal in Saudi Arabia and women have virtually no rights.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz (عَبدُٱللهِ ٱبنُ عبدِ العزيزِ‎) has been a strong supporter of the fight against ISIS. His country has had its share of al Qaeda troubles and the population is small, making the Saudis an easy target.
"If neglected, I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America," the King said at a reception for foreign ambassadors.
It is obvious that he is using these propaganda tactics to elicit support for his holy crusade to fight ISIS. Saudi Arabia has also backed the pro-Turkey, pro-NATO rebels in Syria, the Free Syrian Army.
"These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street," the king said, urging the ambassadors to relay his message directly to their heads of state.
This statement is ironic considering that the King’s government lops people’s heads off and represses his own people all the time. There is no “humanity” in Saudi Arabia. 
Such aid dependent countries will be the first to send mercenary troops to Iraq and Syria to serve their imperialist masters. Other lackey countries include Turkey which has been one of the main supporters of the FSA rebels.
Then there are the former imperialist countries of the developed world that believe they can take part in these wars and gain political and economic spoils. This would include the UK where British Prime Minister David Cameron described the threat posed by ISIS: “The root cause is quite clear: a poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism that is condemned by all.”
Most of us don’t want anything to do with Islamic extremist, but this statement is more proof that we are living under superpowers that see this as a mono-ideological world and there is no space or tolerance for any ideology that does not include “all that free wheelin’ capitalism” that the US and most of Europe is so glued to. The freedom of $millionaires and $billionaires to reap huge profits from exploited workers in the less developed world is the most important aspect of the first world ideology. All competing ideologies must be completely wiped out. There can be no tolerance for anything other than western style capitalism. And none of this has anything to do with humane treatment of a nation’s citizens. It is all about money.
Whether it is US troops or British troops, we all know this is about money and greed.
-សតិវ អតុ
Down with American Imperialists and their lackeys!

Independent Orman and a Moderate Republican back-lash


The entire nation is watching Kansas to see if an independent, Greg Orman, can unseat longtime Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Kansas is a deeply red state and has been for some time now. This could also affect the upcoming national elections.
As The Wichita Eagle newspaper has been reporting, ‘moderate Republicans are rising up’—after “some conservative Republicans have actively encouraged moderate Republicans to leave the GOP, mocking them as RINOs (Republican in name only).
Now moderates are joining Democrats in what appears to be a backlash against huge gains in the last few years by far-far right-wing Republicans of the Tea Party mold. In recent years moderate Republican incumbents have been beaten in primaries buy new further right-wing candidates. One such example is Jean Schodorf, a former Republican Kansas Senator, representing the 25th District from 2001 to 2013. She was beaten in the 2012 Republican Primary. Schodorf is now running as a Democrat against Kris Kobach for secretary of state. Polls show this as a close race.
At first Republicans blew off any concern that Orman could beat Roberts in a three way contest with Democrat Chad Taylor. But Taylor has withdrawn, even though Kobach has refused to allow his name to be taken off the ballet. Now Roberts, who didn’t do so well in the primary, is fighting for his political future.
Roberts is not alone. Governor Sam Brownback is behind the polls in his re-election campaign, against Democrat Paul Davis. While the state has been dominated for the last 30 years by the Republican Party, the consistent lunge to the right is not as popular. Businesses, including the Koch Brothers have used the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce to endorse the more radical right-wing candidates. Schodorf’s opponent, Michael O'Donnell, was endorsed by the Chamber, during the 2012 primary.
This race may have national implications. According to the Huffington Post;
The recent upheaval in the Kansas Senate race has thrown a small wrench into political observers' efforts to forecast which party will take majority control of the upper chamber of Congress next year.
This election cycle in Kansas shows what can happen when a small group of greedy and abusive far-far right-wing political insiders decide to take over a party and then push out those who won’t go along. The backlash has begun.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The United Voice of US Imperialism say No to Scottish Independence


Members from both sides of the US political spectrum say a Yes vote in Scotland’s independence referendum may compromise the UK-US strategic relationship. A weakening of Washington’s top military ally and the fate of the UK’s nuclear arsenal are key.
Representative Bradley Sherman [D-CA], who has vocally opposed the prospect of Scotland breaking away from the UK, said America’s foreign policy establishment is united in its hope Scotland will remain a part of Britain.

"You will not find anyone involved in American foreign policy – from the president on down – who does not think that this division will weaken the alliance that we have," Sherman told the Telegraph on Thursday.
The US State Department has voiced its support of a Scotland that remains part of Britain, and many Democrats and Republicans have expressed hope a ‘no’ vote wins the day on September 18.
On the question of Scottish self-determination, President Barack Obama said at a G7 summit in June the US has “a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have, the United Kingdom, remains strong, robust, united, and an effective partner.” His stance on the issue remains unchanged, according to the deputy spokesperson for the US State Department Marie Harf.
On Tuesday, Harf referenced Scotland’s referendum as “an internal UK matter,” and was unwilling to offer any words of support for or against Scottish independence. But in a public press briefing on Wednesday, the deputy spokesperson for the US department took a firmer stance, and endorsed Obama’s position on Scotland. Harf added, however, that the issue of self-determination was a question for the Scots, and “ultimately these decisions need to be made by the people of Scotland.”

SEE ALSO : http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/you-can-liberate-john-maclean-if-you.html

http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/is-there-scottish-road-to-socialism.html

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Green Day - American Idiot

Philippines—Capture of ex-NPA in Cagayan de Oro

From Philippine Web Central:

The police and armed forces issued a false statement in saying that Victoriano Dimco, whom they captured in September 5, 2014 in Brgy. Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City, is an active member of the New People’s Army in North Central Mindanao. This is merely a desperate move on the part of the Aquino regime to save face amidst offensive actions of the NPA in the region.
Victoriano Dimco, aka “Ka Berting” is a former NPA member. After almost a decade of service in the revolutionary movement as a Red fighter, he quit in 2007. In fact, he surrendered to the government so he can work and provide for his poor family as an ordinary civilian. Since then he has had no further connection with the revolutionary movement in the region whatsoever. It is not true that he was sent to do intelligence operations while working as a construction worker in Cagayan de Oro where he was arrested.

For more click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The president’s speech—war again naturally


Both Democrats and Republicans have been trying to sell the American people a new war, on ISEL (also known as ISIS or the Islamic State). ABC News Reported that 91percent of the public, poled, believes that ISEL poses a threat. The American people seem very willing to embrace fear if it is a foreign threat. President Barack Obama decided to cash in on this and boost his approval ratings.
“Afghanistan will end this year, “Obama said. “We’re safer.”
But in reality the war in Iraq has not ended since President George W. Bush invaded both Iraq and Afghanistan and created neo-colonial governments in both countries. He used different reasons for invading those countries, but the results were the same—puppet governments with all the major political decision made by the US. There is also a huge investment by this country and few world powers would walk away from such an investment. The US is not the exception to that rule.
When Obama came to office he promised to disengage from Iraq, but as in a shell game, he simply moved the war to Afghanistan. The policies are almost the same.
Obama reminded us, last night, that we are still quite militarily involved in such places as North Africa.
‘We remain vigilant (against terrorists) in the Mid-east and North Africa,‘ he said.
In North Africa, Obama has staged continuous drone attacks against suspected terrorists. These have cause many civilian deaths and amount to assassinations of foreign persons. The drones are judge, jury and executioners all in one.
Obama called ISIL a terrorist organization and a cancer.
“They execute prisoners,” he said. “They rape women. They threaten Iraq and Syria.”
Executing prisoners is nothing unusual in these wars. It is done by nearly all US allies in the region. I have not seen any convincing evidence that ISEL rapes women, but that is standard propaganda that is issued against any group that opposes “US interests.” As far as Iraq, they have been welcomed by the Iraqi people in Sunni areas. Many people in those parts of the country are unsatisfied with the US imposed government. At present Obama has forced out the last Iraqi leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,
(جواد المالك) and has taken an active role in picking a new leader, along with Iraqi President Fouad Massoum, Haider al-Ibadi  (ر العباد العبا). Al-Ibadi is thought to be more inclusive and more acceptable to the Iraqi Sunnis.
Obama admitted that our government has not yet detected threats to Americans here at home as some politicians have claimed.
Obama promised aid to the Syrian opposition to Bashar Hafez al-Assad (
 بشار حافظ الأسد ) including equipment and training. Since ISEL is Assad’s main opposition that means the US will support the Free Syrian Army. This is a group many conservatives have wanted to support. They are pro-NATO and an ally of Turkey. They have helped Turkey fight the Kurds and have attacked unarmed political groups in Syria for not supporting them or for getting along with Assad. They have killed civilians and executed prisoners, just as ISIL.
The worst part of the FSA is that they keep asking for all kinds of military aid from the west. They don’t seem to want to develop their own resources so they can fight their own war. If they believe so much in their cause why haven’t they tried to rely on their own resources instead of trying to sell-out to foreign powers?
The one anti-war group in Wichita is the Peace and Social Justice Center. Although their spokesperson was not available for comment, the organization left this statement on their website:
ON PROPOSED SYRIA ATTACK
What the president is proposing is an act of war, and illegal since international law says only the UN can intervene militarily. If the US accepts that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law, any response by the US also has to stay within a legal framework. Instead of further escalating the conflict by an illegal war, we urge the government to use all available means to press for a thorough investigation through the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Additionally, we oppose any military attack on Syria because:
1) It will not help end the civil war, but only make it more deadly….
The president brought up 9/11, as most politicians love to do, when they want to sell military adventures to the American public. For those of us who oppose the “policeman of the world” empire building approach to foreign affairs, this is a difficult issue because neither Democrats nor Republicans will oppose this role for the US. But that is the political fight many of us have ahead of us.

It’s another 9/11—patriot day in Chile?

Once again we come to 9/11 the 11th of September. Every year people discuss and honor those who died on this day in 2001. This day is important this year because politicians, such as Prez. Barack Obama, are using this day of remembrance for propaganda to further their new war effort in Iraq and Syria. (See The president’s speech—war again naturally, Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner.And they are now calling it Patriot Day.
At the same time I like to remember one of my favorite heroes, Salvador Allende. I always find his final speech very touching and impressive.
Chilean President Salvador Allende, one of the first elected Marxists in the world, was murdered as well as his supporters, on 9/11 in 1973. Allende was overthrown by the CIA backed General Augusto Pinochet, who set up military rule and banned all political parties.
-សតិវ អតុ



Salvador Allende's Last Speech (English translation)

Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973, 9:10 A.M.

This will surely be my last opportunity to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes. My words have neither bitterness nor deception. They should stand as a moral castigation of those who have been traitors to their oaths: Chilean soldiers, titular commanders-in-chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the Navy, even more señor Mendoza, the cringing general who only yesterday manifested his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has named himself Director General of the Carabineros. In the face of these deeds it only falls to me to say to the workers: I shall not resign!
Standing at a historic point, I will repay with my life the loyalty of the people. And I say to you that I am certain that the seed we have surrendered into the worthy conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans, will not be able to be reaped at one stroke. They have the power, they can make us their vassals, but not stop the social processes, neither by crime nor by force. History is ours and is made by the people.
Workers of my Nation: I want to thank you for the loyalty you have always had, the confidence you placed in a man who only was the interperter of great yearnings for justice, who pledged his word to respect the Constitution and the law, and who did so. In this final moment, the last in which I will be able to address myself to you, I want you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, united with reaction, created the climate for the Armed Forces to break their tradition, that which they were taught by general Schneider which was reaffirmed by commander Araya, victims of the same social sector that today will be be expecting with an alien hand to reconquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.
I address myself to you, above all to the modest woman of our land, to the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew of our concern for the children. I address myself to the professionals of the Nation, to the patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition overseen by their professional academies, classist academies that also defended the advantages of a capitalist society.
I address myself to the youth, to those who sang and who brought their happiness and their spirit to the fight. I address myself to the man of Chile, to the worker, to the campesino, to the intellectual, to those who will be percecuted, because in our country fascism has now been present for several hours; in the terrorist assassinations, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railways, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to behave.
They are in jeopardy. History will judge them.
Radio Magallanes will surely be silenced and the tranquil metal of my voice will no longer reach you. It is not important. You will continue to hear it. I will always be together with you. At least my memory will be that of an upright man who was loyal to the Nation.
The people ought to defend themselves, but not sacrifice themselves. The people ought not let themselves be subdued or persecuted, but neither should they humble themselves.
Workers of my Nation, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will go beyond this gray and bitter moment when treason tries to impose itself upon us. Continue to know that, much sooner than later, we will reopen the great promenades down which free men pass, to construct a better society.
Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words and I have certainty that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I have certainty that, at the least, I will be a moral lesson to castigate felony, cowardice, and treason.

Based on a translation by Jmabel