Boycott professional sports

If you know what’s going on in the professional sporting world, you just can’t support any of it in any way. It’s apparently among the most racist of the cultural institutions in America.

I confess I’ve never been a big fan of professional sports anyway, so it’s not a great sacrifice on my part to decide to boycott them, but lots of folks who are big fans should start to speak up and stay away, because they’re folks who don’t really believe in what’s happening there, the exploitation of black people by rich white guys.

There’s not much excuse for it really. Blatant racism, blatant political and financial corruption, total violation of all of the basic values that America supposedly stands for, including most recently freedom of speech.

Shaun King lays it out pretty clearly in a recent Medium article (The Unbearable Whiteness of NFL Ownership): 31 of the 32 NFL owners completely caved in to Trump and banned free speech on their fields, under the treat of firing players, etc. In addition, King points out the lily-whiteness of professional ownership:

Of the 92 major professional sports teams in the U.S. — between the NFL, NBA, and MLB — there are only six teams with people of color as majority owners, and just one of them is an African-American.

One.

This is intolerable for me. It is the consequence, as King explains, of the process of integration into the dominant capitalist system. There’s big money made in professional sports, so the big money boys flock to it. Ain’t free market economics wonderful?

In round terms, the top one-tenth owns 20% of the wealth, and the top 10% owns 90%. That’s the root of the problem, along with the racism at the heart of all our institutions, which is a holdover from slavery and Jim Crow of the past. Combined with the recent fascist/white supremacy surge, we have an intolerable social and economic situation, of which the professional sports issue is just a slice.

 

Wikipedia Is An Establishment Psyop – Caitlin Johnstone – Medium

This is about way more than Wikipedia! Caitlin lays out some sense that you won’t find in the dominant narrative. Such as:

Propaganda is what keeps Americans accepting things like the fake two-party system, growing wealth inequality, medicine money being spent on bombs to be dropped on strangers in stupid immoral wars, and a government which simultaneously creates steadily increasing secrecy privileges for itself and steadily decreasing privacy rights for its citizenry. It’s also what keeps people accepting that a dollar is worth what it’s worth, that personal property works the way it works, that the people on Capitol Hill write the rules, and that you need to behave a certain way around a police officer or he can legally kill you.

Also summarizes her case about why there’s so much out there about the Russians and how bad they are. This is the opening paragraph:

If you haven’t been living in a hole in a cave with both fingers plugged into your ears, you may have noticed that an awful lot of fuss gets made about Russian propaganda and disinformation these…

— Read on medium.com/@caityjohnstone/wikipedia-is-an-establishment-psyop-c352c0d2faf

The fascist conundrum that is Israel

The Gaza Massacre–as it’s now being accurately referred to by some–is horrible and sad and yet another black mark against the thugs who run Israel and the thugs who run America.

Another great post from Caitlin Johnstone, although it’s a week old now, lists a number of the things that make it difficult to write about or have conversations about Israel. When most people in America simply support it because “they are God’s chosen people,” it’s hard to even know where to begin if you want to talk to someone about it.

But we need to have that conversation, because this latest massacre is likely just the beginning of a full-scale genocide against the Palestinian people, and it’s our problem because we support it. In fact we more than support it, we are it. The Israeli government and military are really just proxies for us, and it’s our tax money that bought what killed those Palestinians.

A deeper understanding of the relationship is that we’re both just proxies for some overriding oligarchy that uses the illusion of nation-statehood to further its own interests everywhere. As Johnstone says,

There’s good conspiracy theory and there’s bad conspiracy theory. People who say America controls Israel or Israel controls America are engaged in bad conspiracy theory. We don’t live in a world where the lines between nations mean anything to those with real power; in reality “Israel” and “America” are both purely conceptual constructs which only exist to the extent that people believe in them. There is no actual “Israel” which can exert control over an actual “America”, and vice versa. It isn’t nations and governments pulling the strings of real power in the world, it’s a class of plutocrats who aren’t ultimately answerable to any government. This class of plutocrats uses governments like Israel, the US, the UK, and the KSA to advance its agendas to exploit, loot and plunder the rest of humanity.

Our support for Israel also is the primary factor that keeps terrorism going in the Middle East, as they all see Israel as their ultimate enemy and the biggest threat to their existence. The terrorists have made no secret of the fact that it’s their main reason for attacking us and regarding us as the Great Satan. Immediately after 9/11, Bin Laden put out a statement, publicly explaining that the reason for the attack was that we continued to support Israel and we maintained bases in Saudi Arabia.

But you’ll struggle to find any of that mentioned in the national dialog. Not in the media, even most progressive media, nor in the political rhetoric at any level. It’s toxic to mention it because so many people think Israel is a holy cause and to fail to support it would be bad faith or something.

There is plenty of reason of course, not to support Israel… look up Jews for Justice — I suppose they still exist — and you’ll find a well-documented, clear and rational explanation of just how horrible Israel is and always has been. And obviously they’re not anti-Semitic. In fact it seems even anti-Semitic folk love Israel. Maybe because they’re such fascist and racist assholes that they miss the fact that most of the people in Israel are Jewish, even though it’s not a religious state, and even though most of those Israelis probably are not practicing Jews, they’re Jewish nonetheless.

The simple fact is that Israel’s horribleness has nothing to do with it being Jewish and everything to do with it being an outpost of the Empire. So that’s another factor that makes it very hard to talk about in a rational way. People are in denial about the very existence of the Empire, so it takes a long and patient workup to get them to see anything related to that dominant reality of the world.

That point is also addressed in a great forum in the June Harper’s Magazine. The forum “Combat High” is an excellent, though depressing, read. (It may require membership to access, but here’s a link: Combat High.) The participants all seem to agree that Americans in general don’t know enough about what’s happening in the world–especially in the machinations of Empire–to care.

In the discussion of where and how many U.S. troops are stationed around the world, Jason Dempsey, who served as an infantry officer in both Iraq and Afghanistan and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior adviser to the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, says, “Most Americans don’t know enough to care.”

It’s a sad commentary.  A nation of people who claim to embrace Christian and democratic values and yet we don’t care that our military and its subsidiaries around the world kill people for little or no reason other than to support the oligarchy and protect its financial interests.

How the Emperor rules

consistent theme here is the course of Empire. The US military domination of the world at the service of the international oligarchy is, for me, a self-evident truth that needs little demonstration, so it’s often hard for me to understand how so many of our citizens are seemingly oblivious to this state of affairs.

Friday’s postfrom Caitlin Johnstone, the Australian writer I’ve been reading for a year or so now, contains one of the best explanations of how people are lulled into the illusory view of the US and its allies as the champions of freedom and democracy. It also is an excellent summary of historical and current events that illustrate just how accurate the notion of Empire is for characterizing our world.

Occasioned by the installation of the torturer-in-chief as CIA head, the article is not an easy read, as it catalogs CIA’s techniques in stomach-turning detail, but it lays out the case for understanding all that’s happening these days as the course of Empire, the consolidation of power in the hands of the oligarchy, and the refining of the narrative that keeps our folks cheering on their own enslavement.

It really couldn’t be more fitting that the US now has an actual, literal torturer as the head of the CIA. It also couldn’t be more fitting that it has a reality TV star billionaire President, an Iraq-raping Bush-era neoconservative psychopathas National Security Advisor, a former defense industry directoras Secretary of Defense, a former Goldman Sachs executiveas Secretary Treasurer, and a former Rothschild, Inc. executiveas Secretary of Commerce. These positions have always facilitated torture, oppression, war profiteering and Wall Street greed; the only thing that has changed is that they now have a more honest face on them.

And — which makes it worth slogging through the horrors — she manages to find a way to see all this as an encouraging development, in that it signifies the loss of control of the narrative, which makes it possible that eventually our folks will wake up!

We can only hope that it’s not too late when it comes.

[If that link doesn’t work, as Medium is a big churlish sometimes, search for her title “The Friendly Mask of the Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off” by Caitlin Johnstone. I highly recommend her writing on the political machinations of the current regime, as she seems to have a brave and unbiased approach to the whole thing, partly perhaps on account of living in Australia where the shenanigans are obvious but there’s a little less danger in speaking your mind.