Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Hubris (Page 2 of 2)

Photo of lots of pills

American Carnage: 3-Dec-17


Globaloneyism?

What we learned this week:

• The wheels of justice grind very, very slow, but they are grinding towards folks who allegedly but probably committed treason against the country, but who will almost certainly not do jail time, much less pay the ultimate penalty historically paid by traitors.

• Speaking of future criminals, perhaps they might wish to take instruction from the example of Slobodan Praljak.

• Terry Crews can tell you that it is currently acceptable to be a sexual assault victim … unless you’re a black male. Then people adopt a “meh” attitude. I.e., #MeToo is quite trendy at the moment, but is likely to become passé rather quickly.

• Gronk probably needs to be reined in and it’s probably already too late.

• Life is about to get particularly hellish; CVS is buying Aetna and Disney is buying (part) of Fox. Also, Congress’ War on Everyone Except Their Donors is nearing one of its biggest successes of the last 40 years.

• A would-be blacksmith saw a show on tv that instructed him how to make something weapon-ish, which undoubtedly included a post-ironic “don’t try this at home” small print warning; he then tried that at home, burning down three downtown blocks of buildings in a town near Albany, NY.

• Alabamians (whether it’s a majority of them will be seen on 12-Dec) have no problem with pedophilia rationalization, especially while the Elephant Tides or whatever their stupid name is are winning. There is no surprise here at this reality.

• Nazis are just “the normal people next door” and nothing bad should happen to either them or the New York Times for pointing this out, says The New York Times.

And I’m not linking to any of that because … reasons. Google what you don’t understand.

Good night, y’all.


[Text by HawkEye. Photo by “FreeStocksDotOrg” via Unsplash.]

Resuscitate Net Neutrality

Look, give me an early Dec. 14 birthday present and make some calls. To put it bluntly, you ain't gonna like what…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

[Corporations suck. And they’re not people. Assholes.]

Protesters in the Streets

American Carnage: 17-Nov-17


The Diddler’s Club

What we learned this week:

• Al Franken is the latest member of the “People Who Diddled People Who Didn’t Want to be Diddled” Club. This Diddlers Club, of which we’re all so very proud, officially now consists of the nation’s President; at least two former presidents; two or three sitting United States Senators and lord knows how many more; a Supreme Court Justice; god knows how many Members of the House of Representatives and their staffs; governors of various states; members of various state legislatures, including a member in Ohio who was exercising his member with another man’s member, cheating on his wife as he attempted to pass virulently anti-LGBTQ legislation; the impeached Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who may become a United States Senator next month; journalists of various stripes; sports figures and commentators; Catholic priests and Protestant preachers; college professors; doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs and at least one family member. It’s quite a roster, very inclusive.

• In other words, we learned what women have been trying to tell us about the lives they have to lead because they have something every heteronormative man seems to badly want: a vagina. Also some men, because they have what every homonormative man wants: a penis.

• What’s the matter with Kansas? The hypersecretive autocratic government which took power over the last ten years operates incompetently and in «extremely secretive, weird ways».

• I missed this back in September, but one acolyte of “Christian” nutbag autocratic Bill Gothard, who has platinum status in the Diddler’s Club (and he’s in his eighties) is in trouble in Arkansas. «Kenneth L. Dewitt applied Gothard’s principles of Godly behavior while running a prison ministry for imprisoned Arkansas women. The Godly principle apparently involved Dewitt having incarcerated women come in under his “umbrella of authority” and submit to God’s plan for women: repeated diddling because … men. Dewitt is “is currently serving a five-year sentence at the Ouachita River Unit after pleading guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault of prisoners.” Gothard couldn’t be reached for comment; he was probably unreachable in a private jet giving private dictation to one of the shapely arrows in his Quiver.

• If you don’t recall the sordid details of Reality TV stars The Duggars, who were Gothard’s proudest achievement and America’s favorite voyeuristic targets (19 blond white kids, what’s not to like?!), «here’s a link from 2015 that pretty well explains the entire wreckage of Gothard’s slimy trail, stretching back to the 1950s. [Full disclosure: My parents ponied up to pay for me to go to a Gothard Basic Seminar and an Advanced Seminar back in high school. Family members have been fully involved in the “ministry” and continue to angrily defend the old goat even now that’s he’s been sued by, what, 30 or so?, abused men and diddled women. IF we were still talking to each other and IF I was masochistic enough to be there for Thanksgiving dinner, Gothard would be a topic that would have to be avoided ere blood was shed on the turkey carcass. /End disclosure.]

• One more piece of recent Gothard news: IBLP, Gothard’s “former” ministry from which he has disassociated with just like Trump, cachinged last month on the sale of a property they owned in Australia. «They scored $9.5 million U.S. dollars on a property valued at just $6 million». And they won’t even have to practice the usual offshore tax haven chicanery to avoid a hefty tax bill; they’re an American “church” and therefore exempt from taxation. Maybe they’ll have a come-to-Jesus moment and repent and spread the money among Gothard’s Diddlers Club targets. Right after the Holy Spirit heeds their prayers and pigs fly from Melbourne to Los Angeles. Aside: I love how the Aussie press just tells it like it is in this case: “US religious cult.” You have NO idea, my Aussie friends!

• I said only one more Gothard piece. I lied. There’s an article in The New Republic that discusses the … politics and peccadilloes, shall we say … of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame. I mention it because Gothardites and other similar evangelical fellow travelers have always had a very weird (at least to me) fetish for the 19th century, and their worship of Wilder and Little House is repeated in a million ways over everything from Gunsmoke and John Wayne to learning how to cook like pioneer women. Some of them even submit to the kind of abuse meted out by 19th century husbands, but that’s a different paragraph. «Little House, Small Government» is a nice starter primer to this phenomenon, although it’s sadly too short to be able to explore the evangelical connection or the fetishization of dying on the Oregon Trail.

• Turning to more uplifting in the face of bigotry, abuse and violence news, there’s a fascinating account in a publication I’d never read called Emergency Physician’s Monthly. «It’s the story of what happened to one hospital’s ER team the night the NRA slaughtered some folks» listening to what now passes for “country” music. It’s a highly recommended read, as are the other articles on the site.

• Speaking of the wild frontier, the usually lily-white Outside magazine actually printed «a lament from a young man who went west» to work some seasonal jobs at Montana resorts. Why did he not have a great season? His skin color wasn’t up to snuff. (Which of course meant he worked in “housekeeping.”) The article explores his experience with the casual “lighten up” (har har, get it?) type of racism from coworkers and guests which finally wore him down and sent him packing back east to relative safety. Remarkably, his white coworkers calling each other “ni—-s” as a “joke” was about the worst that happened to him. It’s amazing he wasn’t shot or jailed; it’s even more amazing that Outside printed the report. I grieve for his loss of innocence, and hope he has all the success in life he wants. I’d also like to shake his hand; he’s braver than I.

• Closing with one Diddlers Club story that’s so fun. Ohio state rep. Wes Goodman, family values warrior and, of course, Republican, resigned his seat after he was caught using his state office for some consensual diddling with a person who was not his wife and not a woman. Yes, yet another one of those “Fags must die! If you agree, meet me in my car at the local park for some cocksucking followed by the signing of a petition demanding the death penalty for fag kissing!” kind of people, as usual, hoisted on his own petard, or his boyfriend’s whatever. As someone quipped on Twitter, “Goodman’s wife is probably so pissed, he’s having to move into a log cabin!” (Get it? Log Cabin Republicans are the gay ones who haven’t figured out yet that they support a party which has members who seriously, sincerely, would go Leviticus on their gay, rich asses given half a chance. Goodman’s website has been scrubbed today; but the good old friend, the Wayback Machine, is providing nice clear copies of things the good man has written. Unfortunately, his Twitter account has been locked down, but that’s not a barrier either. Here’s Wes’ priceless take on the Family: “Healthy, vibrant, thriving, values-driven families are the source of Ohio’s proud history and the key to Ohio’s future greatness. The ideals of a loving father and mother, a committed natural marriage, and a caring community are well worth pursuing and protecting.” Oh, how fun. Don’t you love closet cases who talk about “vibrant, thriving” committed natural marriages when the only thing that’s actually “vibrant and thriving” is their relationship to their boyfriends’ cocks? Little Wes is a cutie. He and Aaron Schock, if that old gym queen manages to avoid prison, should totally get together. They’d make a truly hot, power Log Cabin Republican partnership. I hope Wes is a bottom, ’cause I doubt Aaron lets just anyone go balls-deep on his bleached ass.

• And, oh yeah, there was another NRA nutbag gun attack. It is now officially news if a mass shooting does NOT occur on any given day.

So, ain’t our America nation grand? After reading all this stuff (and then writing about it) I feel extremely … greasy. Like the country has gone much bukkake all over my gay face. I need a bath and some penicillin. And this country is 100%, pure Grade A, psycho nuts insane, from the demented consummate con man in the White House to … well just about everyone else. Not at ALL what I thought living in the U.S. during my middle age would be like. Can’t wait to become elderly. ‘Cause that shit is also seriously fucked up in major ways too.

Good night, y’all.


[Text by HawkEye. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov via Unsplash.]

Bang Bang, Crash Crash.

Not surprised. Grieved. Shell-shocked. But not surprised. Worst death toll yet in Orlando, five in a domestic in hometown Roswell, another one averted in West Hollywood where friends are marching for our right to live and love today. It’s an endless list … they’re just like car wrecks now … 32,675 dead on the roadways in 2014 didn’t make us blink, while 475 dead in 372 mass shootings in 2015 made us yearn for more anger and violence … so there’s lots of room for more … the merrier. There’s tons of land for cemeteries.

Sing it: “This land is your land, this land is my land … this necropolis was made for you and me.”

The Dawn of Childish Just Me

William Bradley’s ‘The Dawn of ‘Just Me’: Zack Snyder’s Neoliberal Superheroes’, just published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, contains a telling paragraph, the first part of which exactly sums up someone I personally know. I suppose it’s true of Zack Snyder, the person and the director, as well. Seems bang on:

‘In the end, I don’t know that Zack Snyder’s Superman films demonstrate a coherent philosophy. They seem to be the reflections of a guy who read a lot of superhero comic books as a child, made his action figures fight each other, saw a lot of special effects-driven blockbusters, read some Ayn Rand, got stoned, listened to some Rush, and then, as an adult, was loaned copies of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The Dark Knight Returns and came to believe that the entertainment of his childhood could be made acceptable for an adult audience if it was just made a little bloodier.’
—William Bradley, The Los Angeles Review of Books

This paragraph also captures an aspect of this kind of persona rather well:

‘Or the scene toward the beginning of Watchmen (2009), during the weekly “beer session” shared between Dan and Hollis. Note how Dan announces that he needs to get going, despite the fact that he still has about two-thirds of his beer left. Imagine you had a guest over, and that guest opened a beer while you were talking, and then promptly set the beer down and announced, “I must leave now.” You would assume that you had said something offensive to prompt such an abrupt exit. That, or your guest is an android who does not yet properly understand human protocol surrounding conversations over drinks.’
Ibid.

Mr. Bradley appears to have met some of the same people I’ve met.

70 Years On

[Fair warning: Not a happy or basset-y post. (Didn’t help my, shall we say, outlook on life, that our water heater failed and flooded the den and we’re down to weak cold water in the bathroom and heating water in pots on the stove like we did in 1975.) And it contains opinion at the end which you may or may not like. Just do what I do often with Facebook; hide or don’t read this post. Happier/doggier/noncontroversial posts will be return when I’m in a better mood.]

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation by elements of the Red Army’s First Ukrainian Front of the Polish city of Oswiecim and the German konzentration/vernichtung lager system surrounding it. Auschwitz (Hell realized on Earth) is quite real. I’ve been there. The only difference between 27-Jan-45 and today is that you can visit this hell without getting burned. They sell postcards and photobooks in Hell on Earth’s gift shop, actually. It’s jarring, but quite human, to buy postcards at the gravesite of 1.1 million murdered people.

I took pictures there 15 years ago this April. It was quiet and beautiful and a nice springtime day in rural Poland. Hell had moved to other places long before I got there.

Yes, the Shoah is real. And no, it shouldn’t happen again. But it has happened/is happening again since ’45 and it will again after this anniversary. The first concentration camp was set up by Spain in Cuba in 1897. We had them scattered throughout the American west during the 19th century and we’re still operating one at Guantanamo Bay today. The Russian gulags are probably still operating as well, and no telling what North Korea is like; it’s darker than the Polish Warthegau/Generalgouvernement areas were in 1943. But we do know that millions have probably died there.

The Auschwitz complex is huge and covers many miles in up to 45 different satellite camps. Auschwitz I – Main is the site of Gaskammer/Krema I, where Zyklon B was first used. Now the main camp houses a museum with human hair (many still braided as it was when it was cut off) and luggage and eyeglasses and prayer shawls and cooking pots and dentures and shoes. You can stand in Gaskammer I and see the purple stains on the wall, remnants of Zyklon B.

Auschwitz II – Birkenau is down the road a couple of miles from the main camp. It is the most photographed/well known; Gaskammers/Kremas II – V are located there and it was in those buildings that most of the 1.1 million Jews, Gypsies, mischlinge/halflinge, political prisoners, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other undesirables met their deaths.

Auschwitz III – Monowitz/Buna is where slave labor (those who were selected for work instead of extermination) produced synthetic gas and rubber (using fuel from such sources as Standard Oil of the US, which continued to provide Germany with Ethyl gas (remember that brand?) up until the early months of January 1942. IBM provided the machines that tabulated and kept tabs on the undesirables. General Electric, Ford (and Henry and Edsel themselves) and other American companies and individuals helped out too. And yes, we knew the camps were there (and had aerial photos), but refused to bomb it out of existence, fearing we would “kill innocent people,” a concern that apparently was out of fashion by 1945, re. Dresden and Hiroshima.

I took pics of the main camp, Auschwitz I: One as we got ready to walk through the famous gate with its encouraging “Works Makes [you] Free” sign (stolen a few years back, recovered in pieces and now in the museum, replaced by a replica). Another of the highly electrified no-man’s land separating the prison blocks from administration blocks at Auschwitz I. Yet another of Gaskammer/Krema I, where Soviet prisoners of war became the first to inhale Zyklon B en masse. Underneath that chimney are two crematory ovens. To the side is the gallows where they hung the camp commandant in 1947. Just to the side of the gallows is the pretty white house where his wife and five children lived; they played in the yard as their father burned people next door. And more (I hope to get the time to post them here soon.)

We then went a mile down the road to the more famous Auschwitz II – Birkenau, the vernichtungslager (extermination camp). It housed workers and Roma and Sinta families and the Sonderkommando responsible for pulling bodies from the gaskammers and putting them into the ovens. Most Sonderkommando, after a certain time, followed the dead up the chimney. I took more pics; one of the latrine for Birkenau slave labor. No, there were no toilet seats or running water. Use of these communal spaces was permitted twice a day; when you left for work and when you came home to bed. Another pic I took was of the view SS officers in charge of “selections” had: the trains arrived from all over Europe, passed through the arch in the guard house and were parked on this siding. The selection chose a small quota for work; everyone else went up the chimney … sometimes in as little as an hour.

Today, speeches were made, the last 300 survivors were paraded in a tent and one noted, “Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they are Jews … Once again young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes [skullcaps] on the streets of Paris, Budapest, London and even Berlin.”

The response? Statements by world politicians were issued with the usual words, but without an effort to actually fly to Cracow and drive 45 minutes. The leader of the liberating nation sent his regrets; seems the Red Army is a bit preoccupied in the Ukraine again. So he stayed in Moscow and posed with a rabbi lighting a candle. American and British politicians roused themselves briefly to post platitudes on Twitter, then went back to plundering their respective treasuries. Germany’s bundeskanzler called Auschwitz “a disgrace.” And executions for all kinds of reasons proceeded apace this week in Saudi Arabia, Syria, China, North Korea … Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma …

Sorry to be on the pessimistic side … but I’ve been there. And if we can’t learn from setting our own eyes on Auschwitz/Birkenau (and events of this century so far indicate we have not) … then … there will be more anniversary commemorations in other places in the world.

Finally

I was the first registered Republican in my family. I cast my first vote in a presidential election for Ronald Reagan, the second for George H.W. Bush. I listened to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, thought I was a Dittohead, and was one of the few who watched and liked his television show. I actually cried when George Sr. and Barbara left the White House to Bill and Hilary in January 1993.

And then the Republicans lurched to the fringe, became immoderate, aggressive, in-your-face, and triumphal, became harnessed to extremist religious philosophy. They attacked anytime President Clinton breathed. Limbaugh yelled (in 1992) that he was happy to be in the opposition; it’s more fun, you can snipe and bitch and moan and not have to actually do anything. The Republicans launched their Contract on America (er, I mean for).

And then, in 1994, came Harry and Louise. Corporate money flooded in, and the Republicans steamrollered and destroyed health care reform, dooming hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to premature death over the next 16 years. The militias and ti-foilists, precursors to the Tea-baggers, came out. And all that culminated in terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s murder of 168 people in my own backyard in the service of a right-wing political philosophy.

I mourned the loss of health care, as well as the Murrah Building, and ranted and railed against my party. In 1996, I registered as a Democrat, voted for Bill Clinton and then watched the Republicans continue to make war, year after year, against the middle class, and especially against gay and lesbian Americans like me.

I’ve been trying to remember exactly what the turning point for me was. And I’m almost 100% certain it was health care reform. When the Republicans attacked and destroyed the possibility of a saner, more humane health care payment system, they also attacked and destroyed me. I returned to the Democratic fold where my family had originally been for the better part of a century.

I didn’t turn on the Republicans, as the saying goes; they turned on me.

Their behavior right now, as we wait for the final House vote, is beyond disgusting. No lie too big or too outrageous to read into the Congressional record or give to the cameras at CNN.

But to me, it doesn’t matter what happens in November; I realize the Democrats will probably pay a price. And I don’t care. It takes courage to do the right thing, they’ve finally grown a bit of a pair, it’s the right start. And if they lose control, fine. The resulting nastiness will, once again, prove to Americans who too easily forget history, that the right does not have our best interests at heart, only those of corporate boards and religious charlatans.

Will watch the final vote and the president’s statement following. And be finally relieved that 100 years of obstruction of a basic fundamental human right has finally ended.

The Right Way

“The whole world is watching what we do here. We’re going to win or lose this war depending on how we do this.”

Ali Soufan

The story of the United States of America joining the long and black list of nations who abuse and torture prisoners and then invent all sorts of justifications for it is dribbling out slowly. «A new article in Newsweek» is one of the best I’ve seen so far at laying out both the nitty-gritty and some of the bigger cultural issues at play.

The article centers on the story of Ali Soufan, one of the FBI’s top experts on Al Qaeda who also ‘had a reputation as a shrewd interrogator who could work fluently in both English and Arabic.’ It was Soufani who successfully discovered both the Jose Padilla dirty bomb plot and the identity of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (one a preventive and one a prosecutorial piece of detective work) within the rule of law, without using torture:

“Last week Soufan, 37, now a security consultant who spends most of his time in the Middle East, decided to tell the story of his involvement in the Abu Zubaydah interrogations publicly for the first time. In an op-ed in The New York Times and in a series of exclusive interviews with Newsweek, Soufan described how he, together with FBI colleague Steve Gaudin, began the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. They nursed his wounds, gained his confidence and got the terror suspect talking. They extracted crucial intelligence—including the identity of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the architect of 9/11 and the dirty-bomb plot of Jose Padilla—before CIA contractors even began their aggressive tactics.’ … “I was in the middle of this, and it’s not true that these [aggressive] techniques were effective,” he says. “We were able to get the information about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a couple of days. We didn’t have to do any of this [torture]. We could have done this the right way. ” [Emphasis added.]

What did ‘the right way’ look like?

“As the sessions continued, Soufan engaged Abu Zubaydah in long discussions about his world view, which included a tinge of socialism. After Abu Zubaydah railed one day about the influence of American imperialist corporations, he asked Soufan to get him a Coca-Cola—a request that prompted the two of them to laugh. Soon enough, Abu Zubaydah offered up more information—about the bizarre plans of a jihadist from Puerto Rico to set off a “dirty bomb” inside the country. This information led to Padilla’s arrest in Chicago by the FBI in early May. ”

But Bush/Cheney and the CIA didn’t want ‘the right way,’ followed (it was too calm and too much namby-pamby ‘police action’ for them) and manufactured, through the compliant devices of the likes of John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the means to ramp up torture. And the only objections that seemed forthcoming appear to have been centered on the potential political blowback, not on the inhumane, immoral, and illegal acts being undertaken:

“Pasquale D’Amuro, then the FBI assistant director for counterterrorism … and other officials were alarmed at what they heard from Soufan. They fretted about the political consequences of abusive interrogations and the Washington blowback they thought was inevitable, say two high-ranking FBI sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. According to a later Justice Department inspector general’s report, D’Amuro warned FBI Director Bob Mueller that such activities would eventually be investigated. “Someday, people are going to be sitting in front of green felt tables having to testify about all of this,” D’Amuro said, according to one of the sources. ”

The issue, as usual, follows America’s cultural fault lines. There are (hopefully a minority) Americans who, in this case, are so steeped in fear and anger that they have no problem using any means necessary, including those of history’s worst human offenders as well as contemporary terrorists, in order to feed that fear and anger. The fault lines not only run through society, but through all government service as well:

“… in early 2002, Soufan flew to Guantánamo to conduct a training course. He gave a powerful talk, preaching the virtues of the FBI’s traditional rapport-building techniques. Not only were such methods the most effective, Soufan explained that day, they were critical to maintaining America’s image in the Middle East. “The whole world is watching what we do here,” Soufan said. “We’re going to win or lose this war depending on how we do this.” As he made these comments, about half the interrogators in the room—those from the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies—were “nodding their heads” in agreement, recalls McFadden. But the other half—CIA and military officers—sat there “with blank stares. It’s like they were thinking, This is bullcrap. Their attitude was, ‘You guys are cops; we don’t have time for this’.” ”

Americans on one side committed to the rule of law and cognizant of the possible price that has to be paid to follow it; on the other side those who would jettison it when the going gets rough and their fear and anger get control of them. The same is true in the general society. There are Americans who are so fearful and anger that they stock the house with guns and loudly tell anyone who will listen that ‘if anyone tries to break in their house, they’ll blow ‘em away!’ and then tries to pass laws that arm teachers (ostensibly to prevent more Columbines) and carry guns into restaurants and so on and so on. There are Americans who accept that life is sometimes dangerous and short and that if something happens the police are there to ‘protect and serve.’ And then get on with their lives.

Meanwhile, the torture story goes on. The documents being examined tell the story about how our nation willfully abrogated the rule of law and committed acts for which we prosecuted and executed or jailed perpetrators in other nations within our living memory. And the perpetrators, like many Germans and Japanese of the 1933-45 period and communists of the Soviet and People’s Republic periods, will probably never be brought to heel for what they’ve done. Especially if they think like Torturer James Mitchell:

“Although Soufan declined to identify the contractor by name, other sources (and media accounts) identify him as James Mitchell, a former Air Force psychologist who had worked on the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training—a program to teach officers how to resist the abusive interrogation methods used by Chinese communists during the Korean War. Within days of his arrival, Mitchell—an architect of the CIA interrogation program—took charge of the questioning of Abu Zubaydah. He directed that Abu Zubaydah be ordered to answer questions or face a gradual increase in aggressive techniques. One day Soufan entered Abu Zubadyah’s room and saw that he had been stripped naked; he covered him with a towel. The confrontations began. “I asked [the contractor] if he’d ever interrogated anyone, and he said no,” Soufan says. But that didn’t matter, the contractor shot back: “Science is science. This is a behavioral issue.” The contractor suggested Soufan was the inexperienced one. “He told me he’s a psychologist and he knows how the human mind works.” Mitchell told Newsweek, “I would love to tell my story.” But then he added, “I have signed a nondisclosure agreement that will not even allow me to correct false allegations.” ”

How convenient. And how very … American. And human. And disgusting.

Torture

Isikoff on Torture.

Germans Join UN Racism Conference Boycott

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced that Germany will join the U.S., Israel and other countries in a «boycott» of the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism after “a draft declaration circulated earlier this year made Israel responsible for the entire Middle East conflict, while human rights violations in Muslim countries were largely ignored.”

Preparations for the conference have been “dominated by Libya, Cuba, and Iran.” Holocaust Denier and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to address the conference tomorrow, 20-April, the 120th anniversary of Hitler’s birth.

Italy, Canada and Austria are also boycotting, as well as the Netherlands:

‘Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said in a statement that countries with questionable human rights records were seeking to abuse the gathering “to place religion ahead of human rights and unnecessarily curtail freedom of speech, to negate discrimination against homosexuality, and to place Israel alone in the accused bench”.’

Britain and France will attend as scheduled, although the Brits will be “watching carefully” developments and the French want to “articulate clearly their human rights position.”

I suppose this lands me amid the ranks of conservatives on this issue, but I support the U.S. boycott. Racism should not be fought with … reverse racism, not to mention historical ignorance.

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