Sunday, August 31, 2014

Canadian Monarchist Advises: Rally 'Round the President'

Response to William Thomas, “America – He’s Your President for Goodness Sake!”[1]

In 1990, the famed M.I.T. Professor Noam Chomsky famously - or, from the opposing perspective, infamously - stated that: “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”[2]

There is no reason to think that Chomsky exempts subsequent presidents from this assessment.

For instance, Chomsky notes that Obama is implicated in “a global assassination campaign.”

“There’s a global assassination campaign going on... [T]he New York Times story... is more or less a leak from the White House, because they are apparently proud of how the global assassination campaign works. Basically President Obama and his national security advisor, John Brennan, now head of the CIA, get together in the morning. ...[T]hey decide who is going to be killed today.”[3]

Elsewhere, explaining that “easy suppression of one’s own crimes is virtually ubiquitous among powerful states,” Chomsky asks readers to “consider,” as an example, “Obama’s terror weapons (drones) in Pakistan.”[4]

Despite these facts, one writer urges Americans to “rally around” the president, complaining that Obama is being treated “disrespectfully.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the blogger in question hails from Canada.

Of course, Canada is part of the “Commonwealth” countries whose head (some say “titular” only) is the woman more commonly designated the “Queen of England.” In reality, she is just as much the Queen of Canada as of “England.”

The “Official Website of the British Monarchy” reports, concerning the Queen’s “unique relationship with Canada”: “The Queen personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians. Legislators, ministers, public services and members of the military and police all swear allegiance to The Queen. It is for this reason that all new Canadian citizens swear allegiance to The Queen of Canada. Elections are called and laws are promulgated in The Queen’s name.”[5]

Given this frame of reference, one can imagine that this unfortunate Canadian is possibly projecting his country’s fascination with “royalty” onto his southern neighbors.

Indeed, there may even be a movement to elevate the “chief executive” to a status whereby he “personifies the state and the personal symbol of allegiance,” etc., etc.

This is not the heritage of the United States, however.

Even today, school children do not “pledge allegiance” to the president. They “pledge allegiance to flag of the United States of American; and to the Republic…”.[6]

Setting aside the questions of whether this is wise or historical, it is surely a far cry from swearing allegiance to the president.

The idea that Americans should fall lockstep into line behind the head of one of the three separate-but-equal branches is first of all ahistorical.

Arguably, the federal-level governmental figure with which the average American might, from a Constitutional point of view, feel close camaraderie, would be his or her Congressional Representative. After all, it is the House of Representatives that is supposed to be the clearest and most direct vehicle for the People’s voice in the corridors of power.

Beside this, it is highly questionable that Obama – alone among presidents – is suffering under some disproportionate level of mockery.

“Comics had mimicked presidents as far back as Theodore Roosevelt’s time…”.[7]

The famed columnist and wit, “H. L. Mencken mocked [Calvin Coolidge’s] daily naps,” seemingly ranking him below the brutal Roman dictator, Nero, who at least “fiddled” while “Coolidge only snored.”[8] In fact, Coolidge was mocked to such a degree that when the president’s death was reported in the press, the satirical writer “Dorothy Parker reportedly asked, ‘How could they tell?’…”[9]

Other presidents have been mocked as well. One thinks immediately of the comedy show Saturday Night Live’s portrayals of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.[10]

Various lists of “most hated presidents” are readily available through easily conducted Google searches. Investigation will show that many of these figures were ridiculed in their lifetimes – and often during their presidential tenures.

It may be suggested that such derision is, collectively, a sign of healthy dissent. As an oft-repeated proverb has it: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

The United States is not ruled by a dictator. Or is it? And if it is, should this matter in terms of whether the subjugated peoples express their displeasure about the crimes of “their” leaders?

When repressed populations have a healthy sense of indignation, even genuine kings are not immune from humiliation. During the period before America’s Revolution: “The King himself was pelted with rotten fruit when he appeared.”[11]

“Rally around the leader” is a game of population control.

Speaking of the absurdity of cheering for his high school’s sports teams, Chomsky once stated: “[I]n high school …I suddenly asked myself at one point: ‘Why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I don’t know anybody on the team. They have nothing to do with me. Why am I cheering for my team? It does not make any sense.’”[12]

Answering his own questions, Chomsky noted: “But the point is, it does make sense: It’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority and group cohesion behind leadership elements. In fact it’s training in irrational jingoism.”[13]

I say: Keep mocking the president – any president, every president. Derision, I think, puts a check on blind “submission to authority” and “jingoism.”

[1] <>.

[2] Noam Chomsky, "If the Nuremberg Laws were Applied...," speech, ca. 1990, reproduced online, Chomsky[dot]info, <>.

[3] Steven Garbas, “Noam Chomsky on the era of the drone,” Satellite, Sept., 2013, <>.

[4] Noam Chomsky, "There is Much More to Say," ZNet, May, 2011, <>.

[5] <>.

[6] “Pledge of Allegiance,” <>.

[7] Louis Liebovich, The Press and the Modern Presidency: Myths and Mindsets from Kennedy to Election 2000, Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 2001, p. 99.

[8] Jacob Heilbrunn, “The Great Refrainer: ‘Coolidge,’ by Amity Shlaes,” New York Times, Feb. 14, 2013, <>.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Liebovich, loc. cit.

[11] Daniel P. Mannix, The Hellfire Club, reprint ed., New York: Ibooks, 2001, p. 110.

[12] Quoted in Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, video, 1992, reproduced on YouTube, <>.

[13] Ibid. For the specific quotation, see YouTube, <>.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

F.B.I. Agents Provocateurs in Ferguson, Missouri?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Juvenal

Who (if anyone) is investigating the possibility that there is a link between the FBI and the New Black Panthers group - both of which were supposedly on the ground together in Ferguson, Missouri?

In the late 1960s, partially under the auspices of the now-infamous Cointelpro Operation, the (original) Black Panthers organization was the target of both "Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and police infiltration".

As recently as 2007, Orlando, Florida's flagship newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, reported that "a neo-Nazi march through the streets ...that triggered a major police mobilization" in that community had, in fact, been "organized by ...[a] paid FBI informant" named David Gletty.

A 2012 New York Times opinion piece rehearsed the litany of ostensible terror-"dramas" that were actually "facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists".

No wonder why U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) once remarked that "The FBI has shown, beyond a shadow of doubt, that it cannot police itself."

Locally, peaceful daytime protests in Ferguson have been hijacked at night by violent elements. An article posted at KMOV's website states: "A spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol says outsiders are to blame for the violent protests that have wrecked the community of Ferguson."

Now, according to Fox News, we discover that militants from the so-called New Black Panthers are organizing in Ferguson.

Given the FBI's sketchy history, and given that the present violence is being incited by mysterious "outsiders," why should the public have any confidence that the violence is not (at least in part) the work of federal agents provocateurs?

Matthew J. Bell,


Rhonda Y. Williams, "Black Women and Urban Politicis," Peniel E. Joseph, ed., Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era, London & New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 89.

Henry Pierson Curtis, "Neo-Nazi Rally Was Organized By FBI Informant," Orlando Sentinel,

Feb. 15, 2007, <>.

David K. Shipler, "Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the FBI," New York Times, Apr. 28, 2012, <>.

Sen. Grassley Quoted by Gary Field, "No Early Release of Crime Lab Report," USA Today, Mar. 18, 1997, p. 3A.

"Highway Patrol: Outsiders are destroying Ferguson," KMOV, Aug. 17, 2014, <>.

Todd Gitlin, "The Wonderful American World of Informers and Agents Provocateurs," Huffington Post, Jun. 27, 2013, <>.

See the article "FBI Warns New Black Panther Leader in Ferguson Inciting Violence," Fox News, Aug. 13, 2014, <>.\

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Response to Frank Steiner

Response to Frank Steiner, "The Philosophers’ War on Israel," The Beacon, Aug. 20, 2014, <>.

The Israel lobby displays a staggering level of disdain for the intelligence of the American people. Whenever Israel is in the news, you can rest assured that the well-heeled coalition of pro-Israeli propagandists are working overtime trying to ensure that vacuous slogans like "the freest state in the Middle East" endlessly circulate to offset the negative PR-value of images documenting the collective punishment of the subjugated Palestinian population.

The self-serving whining of professional pro-Israel lobbyists (like American Israel Public Affairs Committee President Frank Steiner*) belies their pretended contempt for the petitioning efforts of academics that they shamelessly smear as "third rate."

Despite this transparently politically-motivated and sanctimonious lecturing, reasonable people do not consider near-genocidal military reprisals to be "morally praiseworthy" methods for quashing the Palestinian campaign for national autonomy. In fact, as professor Norman Finkelstein points out: "International law prohibits an occupying power from using force to suppress a struggle for self-determination, whereas it does not prohibit a people struggling for self-determination from using force." [1]

Regarding the incessantly repeated Israeli motto "freest state in the Middle East," this - to the extant that it comes out true at all - is of a piece with "complimentary" statements such as "Mickey Spillane was the noblest of the mobsters." Doubtless the gangster Spillane did seem noble in comparison to psychopaths like Meyer Lansky, Louis Lepke, and Bugsy Siegel. But even "gentleman gangsters" are unquestionably criminals.

Israel is an apartheid state that systematically relegates non-"Jews" to the status of second-class citizens (at best). According to the late Professor Israel Shahak:

"Israel 'belongs' to persons who are defined by the Israeli authorities as 'Jewish', irrespective of where they live, and to them alone. On the other hand, Israel doesn't officially 'belong' to its non-Jewish citizens, whose status is considered even officially as inferior. This means in practice that if members of a Peruvian tribe are converted to Judaism, and thus regarded as Jewish, they are entitled at once to become Israeli citizens and benefit from the approximately 70 per cent of the West Bank land (and the 92 per cent of the area of Israel proper), officially designated only for the benefit of Jews. All non-Jews (not only all Palestinians) are prohibited from benefiting from those lands. (The prohibition applies even to Israeli Arabs who served in the Israeli army and reached a high rank.) The case involving Peruvian converts to Judaism actually occurred a few years ago. The newly-created Jews were settled in the West Bank, near Nablus, on land from which non-Jews are officially excluded."[2]

Likewise, it may well be the case, historically speaking, that "no state facing the existential threats on par with those facing the state of Israel has ever demonstrated the level of respect for human dignity and worth as has the government in Jerusalem...".

However, translating this into straightforward English, it is simply a declaration that, in past Empires, rock-throwing protesters exhibiting insufficient obeisance (i.e., committing lèse-majesté "crimes") to the Imperial rulers would be summarily exterminated. The modern manifestation of this is the defiant Palestinians who, despite the futility of their gestures, lob the equivalent of model rockets at the military behemoth that is the American-funded Israeli state.

That Israel does not just wipe out the oppressed Palestinian population is hardly to be credited to Israeli self-restraint. The fact is that there are simply too many eyes on Israel for it to do so.

Israel's "moral superiority" is attested by the declaration of Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, who "eulogized" the mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein (who slaughtered 30 Muslims while they prayed [3]) by saying: "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail." [4]

So much for the "singular beacon of freedom."

The notion that "Israel's right to defend itself" - a favorite line for pro-Israeli partisans - is being "violated" by those who insist that Israel not be immune from International Law, was put paid to by the esteemed Professor Noam Chomsky. Chomsky highlighted the seldom-noted (by the aforementioned pro-Israeli propagandists) logical leap obscured by the insipid phrase.

"The mantra that is endlessly repeated is that Israel has the right to use force to defend itself. The thesis is partially defensible. The rocketing is criminal, and it is true that a state has the right to defend itself against criminal attacks. But it does not follow that it has a right to defend itself by force. That goes far beyond any principle that we would or should accept." [5]

"But let’s not bother with rigorous intellectual inquiry."

No, let us deemphasize the sober analyses of philosophers such as Jeff McMahan and Jason Stanley and turn for our moral advice to professional pro-Israel lobbyists from AIPAC. How can we doubt that their caviling is anything but the impassioned entreaties from a disinterested party? I mean, it's not as if AIPAC was "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel." [6] It's not as though AIPAC was playing with hundreds of millions of dollars - and with much to lose, financially and politically, should the tide of American public opinion turn against Israel. Oh, wait.

For more information, see Michael Hoffman's book The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: Independent History & Research, 2002, .
* "Frank Steiner," C-Span Biographical History, <>.

1. Norman G. Finkelstein, "...The Law Supports Hamas...," normanfinkelstein[dot]com, Jul. 20, 2014, <>; citing James Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, 2nd. ed., Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006, pp. 135-37, 147; Heather A. Wilson, International Law and the Use of Force by National Liberation Movements, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988, pp. 135-36; and A. Rigo Sureda, The Evolution of the Right to Self-Determination: A study of United Nations practice, Leiden: Bril, 1973, pp. 331, 343-44, 354.

2. Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, London: Pluto, 1994, p. 3; Brooklyn, N.Y.: Baruch Spinoza, p. 4.

3. "1994: Jewish Settler Kills 30 at Holy Site," BBC, <>.

4. Clyde Haberman, "West Bank Massacre; Israel Orders Tough Measures Against Militant Settlers," New York Times, Feb. 28, 1994, <>.

5. Noam Chomsky, "'Exterminate all the Brutes': Gaza 2009,", Jan. 19, 2009, rev. Jun. 6, 2009, <chomsky[dot]info/articles/20090119.htm>.

6. Quoted in John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008, p. 154.