Backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Govt.: the second occupy crackdown

28 Mar

Editor’s note: This article was originally written back in Mid-2013, but I guess I never got around to publishing it. Oops. Still, there are some good insights that should be shared. I might have not used the same sources in the past, but it still is well-sourced nonetheless That’s all.

As the mainstream media focuses on topics mostly of domestic nature combined with the usual infotainment, there is something horrifying going on a world away as I write this article. Another occupy crackdown this time in Turkey, not in the U.S. Still, this is significant because the nationwide crackdown on occupy in late 2011, was directed by the DHS who coordinated all the crackdowns to happen almost simultaneously and even more revealing as Dave Lindoroff writes:

“the massive hypocrisy of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, which…have tried to co-opt and claim…the “We are the 99%”-chanting Occupiers, while actually acting in the interest of Bank of America and its fellow financial sector mega-firms in trying to crush the movement itself.”

Basically, Obama helped crackdown on the Occupy movement. So much for democracy. Now, more than fifteen days ago, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Erdogan was called a “friend” by Obama as his country is a NATO ally and is helping the US increase “pressure on the Assad regime and working with the Syrian opposition.” A “fact sheet” published by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 16th shows that the U.S. Govt. has an interest in helping Big Business grow in Turkey saying that among other things, both countries would work together to promote an “innovation agenda” that would promote the protection of those dreaded “intellectual property rights,” have an increase in “regulatory transparency, and the ease of doing business.” Part of the reason for this is that from 2011 to the present there have been “new investments by Cummins, Pratt and Whitney, AES, Dow, GE, 3M, AMGEN, and Pfizer” in the country, which the document says is “illustrative of increasing U.S. private sector interest in Turkey.” Already, Turkey, played a role in “the struggle for influence between regional and Western powers over NATO missile deployments,” missiles likely to defend from an attack from Iran, allowed: US troops to amass near their border supposedly to stop a Syrian attack in late 2012, their country to be turned into a NATO base for Syrian ground operations, and them to be part of a NATO scheme to overturn the dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. In addition, for a while now the U.S. has supported the Turkish government, supporting the Prime Minister of Turkey for six years (1983 to 1989), Turgut Ozal, a ruthless man, who continued “torture and long prison terms for political opponents and government critics” to which the US attributed it to “the violent nature of the Turkish people.” What could go wrong?

A lot has already gone wrong. The ruling party is “moderate [and] pro-western…with Islamic leanings.” Tear gas canisters clearly saying “Made in the U.S.A.” were hurled at protesters, which I speculated was made by NonLethal Technologies thanks to a helpful post on the Occupied Wall Street Journal. One might ask: why are people in Turkey protesting in the first place? In a well-written article in Vice Magazine, Zeynep Lokmanoglu wrote that

“On the night of May 27, bulldozers and backhoes rolled into Gezi Park, a tiny island of trees and grass at the center of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, and started ripping it apart….No community organizations or local people were asked what they thought about the plans for the park, devised by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)…Four days later, after nonviolent protesters occupied the park and survived attacks by the police that included tear gas and water cannons, they’ve won at least a temporary victory thanks to a court decision…Protesters began gathering in the park as early as Monday, May 27…Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the AKP wasn’t interested in starting a dialogue with the occupation…At dawn on Thursday, May 30, the police entered the park, firing tear gas and burning tents. The bulldozers were stopped, however, when opposition politicians…stood in front of them and demanded to see proper permits…[On 5/30/13] a live feed from the park showed an almost festival-like air, as drum circles formed and rock bands performed…As new tents replaced the burned ones, topics of discussion among the occupiers included the controversial plans to build a third bridge over the Bosporus Strait, the laws restricting alcohol consumption that passed last week, and the recent demolition of the historic Emek Theater…Then it went to hell…thousands of people were hit by stones and beaten up…At least five were taken to the ICU for head injuries after the attack by the police, and…bystanders…were also subjected to the pepper spray and tear gas. Midway through the fourth day of protests, a crowd gathered in Taksim Square despite three more violent attempts by police to disperse protesters. On Friday, more protests near the square were being planned.”

The situation did not get better on Friday.

I followed the #OccupyGezi protests as they were called on Twitter. An article in Reuters described protesters as calling for the whole government of Turkey to resign as in their words, “Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon[s]…at demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities” while the Prime Minister of Turkey, Erdogan, “is pushing ahead with a slew of multibillion-dollar projects he sees as embodying Turkey’s emergence as a major power” including the destruction of this last green space in Istanbul. An article in The Guardian followed this up, noting that the State Department officially said they supported the protests (but this means nothing), that “police went on the rampage against protesters who had been sitting reading books and singing songs” and the tweets by ruling party members supporting the bloody crackdown on protesters who came from all across the political spectrum. There was more: people marched to the country’s parliament building in Ankara; the police attacked a nearby barracks to stop soldiers from helping the protesters; Turkish military forces began giving gas masks to protesters; police fell asleep with gas masks on; inside a store in Istanbul people were tear gased; and video of police brutally dispersing protesters surfaced on Russia Today, all while the country’s mainstream media ignored the protests all together. On twitter user, also wrote that they were “confused by Turkish Police…Attacking Military…Hotels…Hospitals…[and] Protesters” all at the same time. These repressive measures resulted in huge crowds elsewhere and supportive messages from OccupyWallstNYC and Adbusters both alluding the actions to the occupy movement started in Liberty Park. Some even said that these protests mirror what most revolutions look like 99% of the time. There were two crowdsourcing places for pictures and other posts about the protests, one on Crowdvoice and another on tumblr.

This is Istanbul Rising. This is what democracy looks like. Join a solidarity rally in your city if one exists, create one, write a song, or do what you can to stand with the brave Turks who are standing up to the system which is trying to stamp them out with the boot of repression, the 2nd occupy crackdown.

Challenging my work: A hard but necessary task.

17 Mar

It is important to engage in self-reflection on my ideas which I have written in articles. The first of these articles that I am deeply questioning is one I wrote about NSA surveillance for Global Research Centre, which I now know is a cespool of pseudo-intellectualism.[1]

The parts of the article in regards to expansiveness of NSA and government surveillance still seems sound to me in every way.[2] However, some of what I wrote I am deeply questioning now:

“The current American empire, with state capitalism, is not simply a police state, a surveillance state but is rather a national security state with mass surveillance and police repression…More frighteningly, we have approached the world George Orwell wrote about in 1984 or mass surveillance as envisioned in the movie, The Truman Show…[there is a] American national security state…People of the US, let us unite against this fascistic American imperial-national security state which has grown out of control!”

I still hold the belief that the US is a worldwide empire. But, I also know that there are a number of other imperial powers in the world like Russia, and China, but in the words of section 12 of the 9/11 Commission report, in speaking about terrorism against the United States, “the American homeland is the planet.” I do not think this view is ideal or good for those in the world, but it wouldn’t be better for the homeland of Russia or China to include the whole planet either. Rather, all imperial powers should be opposed. Imperialism is imperialism, no matter what flag is flying.

There is something in this quote is deeply troubling. The way its written, it makes the US seem like some evil terror state where no one has the right of free speech, freedom of press, assembly or other civil rights and liberties. While it is true these civil rights and civil liberties have been degraded and that the constitution is only a “parchment barrier,” I do not recognize in this article well enough, the ‘state-corporate nexis of power’ as Noam Chomsky has spoke about, or the full power of ‘private tyrannies’ which is how Chomsky describes corporations in the same video. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I feel like I exaggerated the power of mass surveillance in the US. Yes, a plutocratic republic, if one calls it that, exists in the United States, with those with the biggest gobs of money call the shots. Yes, there is mass surveillance and police crackdowns on protest movements. A literal police state which consists of police as a force for social control, as Dead Prez sings about in their song, Police State, is present in America. The idea that there is “police repression” is not completely right, as it should more likely be called police brutality, which is continually directed at poor, minority, and disadvantaged people, not necessarily the whole population. However, I’m not sure that the United States is a country where “the activities of the people are strictly controlled by the government with the help of a police force” as Merriam-Webster defines it. Such a definition wreaks of totalitarianism, which is not in place in the US since all voices of dissent have not been silenced. There is still some space for discussion even if it heavily marginalized. Still, some say that the US has inverted totalitarianism, which is “a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics,” and a place of ‘illiberal democracy.’

There is something more in what I said that exaggerates the horrid and brutal nature of the mass surveillance and terror complex: that the US is becoming close to a 1984 world or like the Truman Show. Both of these scenarios are based in mass surveillance. While there is  a large amount government surveillance by the NSA, CIA, FBI, and others, one cannot say that the US is at a 1984-style state, but rather that the measures currently in place could get us to such a state. The same with the Truman Show which getting closer to the intrusive surveillance by the US government. This does not mean there is not surveillance by local and state governments as well, but the original article was really only touching on the surveillance by the US government.

Now, I still stand by the claim that there is a national security state. This state which began in 1947 with the National Security Act, still seems in place, it is has just changed form. I claim at the end of the article that the people of the United States should ally against a “fascistic American imperial-national security state.” I can say it is also true that the US state has imperial qualities as well. However, to say it is ‘fascistic’ is a bit too far. While definitions like those of FDR, John T. Flynn, and John Weiss seem to fit the US model, these definitions are too narrow and don’t fully define the word. Wikipedia says that it is:

One common definition of fascism focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.

While some could argue that some of these elements are in place in the US, it is absurd to say that this applies to the US (see the other definitions of the word as well). It also seems currently, that those in the top of the elite wouldn’t want to get to such a system anyway, as they like it the way it is. However, one can still speak about ‘creeping fascism’ as Cornel West has called it in the past.

There is one characterization of the US terror complex and national security state that seems to have more appeal. That is the idea of the ‘deep state.’ A former congressional Republican aide, Mike Lofgren described the ‘deep state’ as follows:

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

This description seems to fit with the idea of what Washington Post writers Dana Priest and William Arkin called ‘Top Secret America’ which was a series on the newspaper, a book, and a PBS series. It also fits with the idea of a ‘Secret Government,’ ‘Shadow Government’ or a ‘double state’ where “institutions like the National Security Council and the CIA running the show, while the ‘dignified’ institutions—the courts, congress, and the elected members of the executive branch—play a supporting, public relations role” as noted by Privacy SOS. Lofgren’s point was expanded on by Robert Hunziker in CounterPunch, a user on the blogging site, Firedoglake, which had a video of Lofgren being interviewed by Bill Moyers, and Bob Burnett writing on the Huffington Post.I want to be clear that I’m not trying to be hard on myself, but rather critique my own work, and change my ideas. It is natural for anyone to change their views from time to time, from year to year, and no one should be ashamed of it, or chastise someone for it. Once you are informed, it makes it that much easier.


[1] On June 10th, the second article I would write for Global Research Centre was published about NSA surveillance. In an earlier article, the first for the site, I wrote how the Socialist Party USA candidate Stewart Alexander was a better choice than Obama or Romney. Later, I would write another article about the French war in Central African Republic for this ‘alternative news outlet.’ After finding this article on a white nationalist forum after I had been pushing the editors of the site to publish the whole article, not just the edits, I decided that that Global Research Centre was a cespool that really had no intellectual value. After all, this ‘news outlet’ is concerned about a ‘New World Order,’ a word that in conspiracy lingo means a ‘one-world government’ which is not what the word means in reality, absurdist conspiracy theories, and criticism of US foreign policy but never anything criticizing China or Russia’s aggressive actions as well. As a result, I published a longer version of the article I had published on Global Research Centre, this version titled ‘Stabilizing Central Africa for Big Business‘ on a Norwegian site called State of Globe. While the site also publishes conspiracy theories, it is better than publishing elsewhere, as I can easily go in and re-edit the piece if need be.

[2] The article’s detail is still very important, with link after link to support my case. There’s even a few links which don’t work because I linked them incorrectly (see here, and here). I think that I cited Russia Today too many times as well. I also think I made Intellistreets sound like some horrid Orwellian program, which really is still very bad and violates people’s privacy, but I believe that I overstated its effect by citing articles from places like Russia Today, the Examiner, and the Daily Mail, which should be read critically with an eye for spinning things out of proportion. I also think ideas like having another Russ Feingold would be a good idea which I’m not sure about now.

Is US military policy anti-LGBTQ+ ?

3 Mar


This article is meant to be a follow up of the one I did earlier. I will do further research on this subject later, but this is a good start. First, I looked at countries by US military personnel, specifically those that had more than 1,000 personnel, which turned out to be thirteen countries (Japan, Afghanistan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Kuwait, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Philippines, and Portugal). Further information on these thirteen countries can be found in the notes section. [2] This covered a number of questions, but some that were excluded as well [3].

Here’s the great ‘ole stats and ‘fun facts’ about these thirteen countries

  1. In 10 of them, homosexuality is legal and in 3 (which are all in the Muslim World), homosexuality is illegal specifically in male-to-male relationships (Kuwait, Bahrain, and Afghanistan).
  2. In two of them, countries can expel foreigners who have HIV (Kuwait and Bahrain), but only one can ban foreigners with HIV from entry (Bahrain)
  3. Joint adoption of same sex couples is NOT LEGAL in 11 of these countries, and only legal in the two others (Spain and Belgium)
  4. Only in three countries are same-sex couples are offered most or all rights of marriage (UK, Spain, and Germany) while in the rest, they are not offered these rights
  5. Only in two countries (Spain & Portugal) is gay marriage legal, while in all of the others, gay marriage is not legal
  6. Inciting hatred against someone based on sexual orientation is only prohibited in two countries (Spain and Belgium) while it is NOT prohibited in the rest
  7. In four countries, hate crimes based on sexual orientation are considered an aggrevating circumstance (Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and United Kingdom) while in the other nine countries this is not the case
  8. As for prohibition of discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, six countries prohibit it which are all in Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal) while seven do not (Japan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Afghanistan)
  9. In ten countries there is an equal age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts (Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Philippines, and Portugal) while it only unequal in one: Bahrain.
  10. As for votes for LGBTQ+ rights’ in the United Nations, there is a divide. Seven countries have voted for these rights (Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal), three have opposed them (Bahrain, Kuwait, and Afghanistan), and three have neither opposed nor supported them (Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines

This data may seem insignificant, but it puts a question if the National Military Establishment really is providing “the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country” as said on the DOD website or if the US Navy is really ‘a global force for good.’


With Don’t Ask Don’t Tell now repealed, it puts the US in the ‘wonderful’ company of countries like state capitalist powers Russia and China, along with oil-rich Canada and the dictatorship in Burma, among others.

Screenshot from 2014-03-03 16:07:08

I plan to do further analysis on those countries that have declared homosexuality illegal (for either female-to-female or male-to-male relationships) to see how US military and geopolitical interests intersect with this reality.

Decide for yourself what this means to you.


[1] See this Guardian article for the full chat logs, which are those NOT discussed in the Wikipedia article, which are those with Assange [who he was NOT connected with, but only communicated with] or Lamo.

[2] Here are the thirteen countries in the where the US has the most troops:

1. Japan–> 54,885 personnel* + 9,003 civilian personnel + 2 other personnel part of OCO deployments

2. Afghanistan–> 53,422 personnel (operation enduring freedom) + 92 personnel (operation new dawn) [OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) deployments]

3. Germany–> 47,117 personnel* + 12,775 civilian personnel + 103 other personnel part of OCO deployments

4. United Kingdom–> 13,070 personnel* + 2,028 personnel + 7 other personnel part of OCO deployments + those in the British Indian Ocean Territory (521 personnel* + 90 civilian personnel)

5. Italy–> 11,886 personnel* + 5,572 civilian personnel

6. Kuwait–> 12,139 personnel

7. Bahrain–> 3,036 personnel* + 500 civilian personnel

8. Kyrgyzstan–> 2,798 personnel + 3 civilian personnel

9. Turkey–> 1,959 personnel* + 613 civilian personnel + 7 other personnel part of OCO deployments

10. Spain–> 1,695 personnel* + 354 civilian personnel

11. Belgium–> 1,324 personnel* + 631 civilian personnel

12. Philippines–> 1,169 personnel* + 13 civilian personnel

13. Portugal–> 1,108 personnel* + 906 civilian personnel

NOTE: The personnel in Cuba at GITMO (830 military personnel and 379 civilian personnel) are not used in this analysis because the US govt. has bad relations with the country. I used the most recent data published by the DMDC (Defense Manpower Data Center) which is part of the National Military Establishment, also called the Department of ‘Defense.’

[3] Note, these questions were excluded from the analysis as they apply to so few countries:

  • Are Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual people prohibited from entering the country? (most of the world says no except Lesotho and Belize)
  • Is transgenderism considered an illness? (only in Algeria and Chile)
  • Is there a constitutional prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation? (only five countries in the world have this… I believe)
  • Country cannot expel foreigners with HIV [while the map on ILGA says only Japan and Kyrgyzstan cannot do this, 'no data' is available for other countries, making it deceptive], Country allows people with HIV to enter [the ILGA says Japan,  Kyrgyzstan, and Kuwait but this cannot be used because other countries have 'no data' on the subject], and the possibility to  change your gender on official documents [while ILGA says this only includes Japan (only with sex reassignment surgery), Spain, Kyrgyzstan, and the Philippines, there is 'no data' on the rest of the world]
  • Same sex couples are not offered some or most rights of marriage?… none of the countries in this analysis fell under this question
  • The question ‘Does the country have anti-masturbation laws? If not, does it allow masturbation?’ is discarded because there isn’t enough research to apply it
  • The question relating to the deferral of blood if gay men have sex with each other is disregarded as it seems that is doesn’t have bearing on this analysis

Maps of LGBTQ+ discrimination and support worldwide

15 Feb

I tend to not focus on the LGBTQ+ community as much as I should.[1] I have written about the LGBTQ+ community in the US for White Rose Reader and expanded it to an international focus when I argued that one would be against equality if they supported a war in Syria. This article shows those maps for public consumption and compares them to maps of presence of industrialized powers across the world (France, UK, US). [2] I recently made some additions using maps from Wikipedia.

The first set of maps instead comes from the website of the NGO, ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association) which focuses on rights for Lesbian, Gay, Trans* and Bisexual peoples worldwide, at least in their view, which I took using screenshots on my computer:

Many of these countries are located in Africa but also a sizeable amount in the Middle East.


Less countries than before with Iran as the worst offender (death), likely because of the religious law imposed on the country after the 1979 revolution. Not all the people of Iran agree with this law, I would imagine.


Once again, the majority of the countries are in the ‘Eastern Hemisphere’ but interestingly, the US still keeps troops in Afghanistan and has not pressured the government (should they?) to change its laws over gay relationships.


Very few countries prohibit Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people from entering their countries. Only two countries in the world, according to this map, have this prohibition: Lesotho and Belize.


This a very shocking one and it is surprising that countries in the world still do this, but in Algeria and Chile, being transgender is considered an illness.


This one is even more surprising in that Russia, China, and US have something in common: expelling foreigners who have HIV! Other countries that do this include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Armenia, South Korea, Moldova, Equatorial Guinea, and Bahrain.


This one is even worse and scarier. Sudan, Yemen, Qatar, Bahrain, Russia, Turkmenistan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Equatorial Guinea all don’t allow foreigners with HIV to enter their countries. That’s not right.

Now onto the maps that I made using the ILGA report focusing on what they term ‘State-Sponsored Homophobia.’ There seems to be a lack of explanation about restrictions on trans* people others in the soup of gender, sexual and random diversity. This is NOT to say that those in the countries listed here agree with the laws in place, but rather these maps show that these laws exist. And here are the maps:


83 countries where homosexuality has been declared illegal, many in Africa and a number of countries in Asia,


Only a small amount of countries extend this right, but it is still important to note them


Very few countries extend just some rights to marriage


Big countries like Brazil and South Africa extend most rights to marriage along with a number of others mostly in Europe.


Gay marriage is instituted in few countries, but those that didn’t extend it aren’t necessarily lesser countries.


Few countries extend this prohibition, but those that do are spread across the world. Similar countries to those in the map before this one have in place these types of hate crime laws.


Interestingly enough, the US has laws against these types of hate crimes, but not others as noted in the above two maps


Very few countries have these constitutional prohibitions, but for those that do, it is important to point out.


Almost all of Europe prohibits discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. In the US, a similar measure has been debated in the US congress, but it has major problems as I noted in my article, ENDA and the Capitalistic Marketplace.

homosexual 3

A good amount of countries have an unequal age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts, which is important to note

homosexual 2

Many, many countries have an equal age of consent, including many in the Americas and a large swath across Eurasia. Very few countries in the Mideast and Africa extend this.

homosexual acts death penalty

This map is very important because it shows the most extreme measures against homosexual acts. A chart combining the one below with this one is above, for a wider picture

homosexual acts illegal

When making this chart, along with the one above this one and the one earlier with the red highlights, I was horrified. Its crazy to see that one’s relationship should be declared illegal just because the said country says so. That just isn’t right.

homosexual acts legal

Most of the world takes this position, but those that aren’t part of this are as important.

While I couldn’t find much information on this front, I thought it would be worth one’s while to share.
This map is as important as the one above and is likely more expansive than this.

This map is one of the most important, as it shows clearly which countries favor ‘LGBT rights’ (as the map key defines it) and which do not.

Decriminalization of homosexuality by country, using ILGA and other data

blood donations

This map is still important as well even if it doesn’t seem that way

This map specifically looks at gay marriage across Europe.

This map specifically looks at gay marriage across Europe.

This map looks at laws affecting homosexuals in Asia

This map looks at laws affecting homosexuals in Asia

Laws that concern homosexuality in Oceania

Laws that concern homosexuality in Oceania

Other information on these issues can be found on this comprehensive wikipedia page, the data compiled by the IGLHRC, the maps on the website of ILGA, and the still-debated Yogyakarta Principles (also see here).

Now for the maps of deployments of UK, French and US troops. See any similarities between those countries with harsh laws against LGBT people (as the ILGA defines it) and the deployments of UK, French and US troops

Map of current French military deployments

Map of current UK Military deployments


Map of current US military deployments

Countries in which the U.S. has a military presence in 2013 This map shows the current deployments of the US military. Most of the deployments on this map that are less than 100 troops are usually less than fifty military personnel, just for public knowledge. The lightest blue means less than a hundred US troops; the aqua teal mix, which is a little brighter, means more than a hundred troops; and the darkest blue on map means more than 1,000 troops. This map has those listed as part of Overseas Contingency Operation Deployments integrated in, while military dependents and civilian personnel are omitted.

That’s all. Decide for yourself what this all means.


[1] In the past I have used Gender, Sexual and Romantic Minorities (GSRM) or Gender, Sexuality and Romantic Diversity (GSRD) but now I realize  no one will know what I’m talking about, so I’m using LGBTQ+ instead to promote more understanding.

[2] Also see the basic guide to where the US has intervened since 1798 and The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases

Obama’s one percenter energy plan

31 Jan

The video service I was using, Pinta, hated me so much. I was able to crank out a video earlier with it, but now it is being completely ridiculous and not working for me. I was going to make a video about Obama’s energy policy, specifically criticizing his ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy. Now, lets start with some history.

The origin of the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy

In around 2012, President Obama and his administration came onto an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, but their idea was not new. In fact, this idea was actually the position of the John McCain campaign for President in 2008. In August 2008, CBS News reported that McCain told reporters at a campaign stop in Surgis, South Dakota, that he had an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. The article didn’t go into more specifics, but in a debate the next month, McCain said that “look, we’re sending $700 billion dollars overseas to countries that don’t like us very much. Some of that money ends up of terrorist organizations. We have to have wind, tide [power], solar, natural gas, flex fuel cars and all that. But, we also have to have offshore drilling and we also have to have nuclear power…nuclear power is not only important as eliminating our dependence on foreign oil, but is also important as far as climate change is concerned” (0:00-0;25 and 0:45-0:53 in the video). Then Obama later says that “that means yes, increasing domestic production of offshore drilling…what we gonna have to do is to approach it through solar, wind, biodiesel, and yes nuclear energy [and] clean coal technology.” (2:08-2:14, 2:23-2:35).

Watch it all below:

Interestingly, in a 2012 article in the New York Times, some Republicans thanked Obama for taking on ‘their’ all-of-the-above energy strategy, like John Boehner, but thought Obama was being hypocritical. Supposedly there was a debate in Congress in late 2008 about an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy with Democrats backing a proposal on an energy plan that used dirty and ‘clean’ energy, with the term described as being coined by the Republicans (see here, here, and here).

There was someone who also went into a longer explanation of the strategy at a rally in Des Moines, IA on October 25, 2008: Sarah Palin, then-governor of Alaska who had challenged oil companies in some regards.

Here is a transcript for what she said with the infamous ‘drill baby drill’ being spread around (important parts are bolded):

John and I will adopt the all of the above approach to meet America’s great energy challenges. Yes. [crowd cheers] Those hundreds of billions of dollars being re-circulated here in America– that means harnessing alternative energy sources, like the wind and the solar and the biomass and the geothermal — and the ethanol!

And we’ll develop clean coal technology. And we’ll drill for the billions of barrels of oil that we have right now warehoused underground, including our resources offshore. We will drill here and drill now. And now’s when you chant ‘Drill baby drill.’ Drill baby drill. [Crowd cheers, chants "Drill baby drill!"] Drill baby drill. [crowd continues chant] Drill baby drill and mine baby mine.

It is for the sake of our nation’s security and of course our economic prosperity; we need American energy resources brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers. Yes!

Some, such as David Swanson and Scott Wallace, have said that Obama has ingrained the ideas of ‘drill baby drill’ into his policy. But there is something even more scary. How Obama framed his strategy was scarily similar, except he put it under the viewpoint of sustainability instead of just economic growth (certain parts are bolded)

This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years…And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk…The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy…And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy.”- State of the Union 2012 when Obama announces it is administration policy

“You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more…We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less energy for our buildings and our plants and our factories — that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  And that’s the only real solution to this challenge. Now, it starts with the need for safe, responsible oil production here in America.  We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon.  And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.”- February 2012, first speech on the strategy outside of Congress

“If we’re going to take control of our energy future and avoid these gas price spikes down the line, then we need a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more.  We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks; in our buildings and plants.  That’s the strategy we’re pursuing, and that’s the only real solution to this challenge.  Now, we absolutely need safe, responsible oil production here in America.”- February 2012

“If we are going to control our energy future, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy.  We’ve got to develop every source of American energy — not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels.  We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories.  That’s the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down.  It’s pretty straightforward.  That’s the only solution to this challenge.  And that’s the strategy that we’ve now been pursuing for the last three years.  And I’m proud to say we’ve made progress.”- March 2012

“President Obama speaks about an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy – not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power and biofuels – while building more fuel-efficient cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon and investing in other technologies that help us use less energy altogether.”- Description of speech Obama gave in March 2012

“But what we’re also going to be doing as part of an all-of-the-above strategy is looking at how we can continually improve the utilization of renewable energy sources, new clean energy sources, and how do we become more efficient in our use of energy…If we’re going to end our dependence on foreign oil, if we’re going to bring gas prices down once and for all, as opposed to just playing politics with it every single year, then what we’re going to have to do is to develop every single source of energy that we’ve got, every new technology that can help us become more efficient.”- March 2012

“Since taking office, President Obama has supported an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. As part of that effort, the Administration has focused on expanding production of natural gas. After all, we have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. And this Administration will continue to take steps to develop this energy resource in a way that can help fuel our economy”- May 2012 blogpost by Heather Zichal

“Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy.  The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades. One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change…It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too.”- January 2014, same rhetoric

“Thanks in part to our all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here at home than we buy from the rest of the world.  We generate more renewable energy than ever, and more natural gas than anybody.”- January 2014, these ideas are repeated again


I remember going to a protest against mountaintop removal which was a bit lame in just wanting to deliver a petition to a government office, but people were chanting ‘clean coal is a dirty lie’ and other sayings. Here’s what Obama has said about clean coal
through the years:

Also these videos:

(I don’t like 1Sky, but this shows Obama’s support of Clean coal)

(around 0:53 in this video)

(this video shows how a Republican uses Obama’s words to support clean coal)

(interesting how republicans supported Obama’s energy proposals)

(and more)

More can be found here.


Obama wants to ‘drill baby drill’! (and build a lotta pipelines)

In 2008, John McCain called for “sensible standards of environmental protection” while also calling for increased oil & gas drilling and Obama’s words aren’t that different. To be clear, fracking is really, really BAD. Read about why fracking is so bad here, here, and here for starters. Here’s what is said on the matter:

“Over the last three years my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.  And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.”- Said by Obama in February 2012

“…domestic oil and gas production…has increased each year he has been in office, with domestic oil production currently at an eight year high and domestic natural gas production at an all-time high…[along with] Administration…efforts to promote safe and responsible production on public lands and waters. Total federal oil production (offshore and onshore) has increased by 13 percent during the first three years ofthe Obama Administration combined, compared with the last three years of the previous administration…During the last three years, we have held lease sales on public lands in 23 different states.”- March 2012 ‘fact sheet’ put out by the Obama administration

“Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years….We’ve approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines, and we’ve announced our support for more — including one that I’m going to be visiting tomorrow in Oklahoma. And we’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  More than 70 of those rigs are right here in this area…In fact, business is so good that today the biggest problem is finding enough qualified truck drivers to move all the oil that’s coming out of these wells down to the refinery.  Too much oil — that’s a good problem to have…And over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres just like this for oil and gas exploration in 23 different states…Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources. And that includes an area in the Gulf of Mexico that we opened up a few months ago that could produce more than 400 million barrels of oil — about 38 million acres in the Gulf…We’re drilling all over the place.”- Said by Obama in March 2012, speaking in Maljimar, New Mexico

“Domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year President Obama has been in office. In 2012, domestic oil production climbed to the highest level in 15 years and natural gas production reached an all-time high…The Administration is also taking steps to ensure we can safely develop our vast supplies of domestic natural gas…Since President Obama took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has decreased every year.”- Page on website about his energy policy

“President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy focuses on continuing to develop these resources…Developing our natural gas supply [with] the United States [being]…the world’s leading producer of natural gas [with a] nearly 100-year supply of it…At President Obama’s directive, the Department of Interior is working to finalize a national offshore energy plan that opens new areas for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, making 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources available for development…President Obama directed agencies to approve and expedite pipeline projects that will move oil and gas from domestic drilling sites to refineries quickly and efficiently while protecting the health and safety of nearby communities and environments.”- January 2012 blogpost about his energy strategy by Megan Slack

“That’s why President Obama directed his Administration to expedite the permitting and construction process of a new pipeline that will help crude oil make its way to Gulf Coast refineries more quickly, and doing so while protecting natural resources and the health of local communities along the pipeline’s proposed path.”- Megan Slack in March 2012

“Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years…Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some. So we are drilling all over the place — right now.  That’s not the challenge.  That’s not the problem.  In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it to where it needs to go — both to refineries, and then, eventually, all across the country and around the world…Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast.  And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project [building the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline] a priority, to go ahead and get it done…So what we’ve said to the company is, we’re happy to review future permits.  And today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf a priority.  So the southern leg of it we’re making a priority, and we’re going to go ahead and get that done. The northern portion of it we’re going to have to review properly to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected.  That’s common sense.  But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years -– including one from Canada.  And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people…So, yes, we’re going to keep on drilling.  Yes, we’re going to keep on emphasizing production.  Yes, we’re going to make sure that we can get oil to where it’s needed.”- March 2012 on the Keystone XL pipeline specifically

“First of all, we are drilling. Under President Obama’s Administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.We’re operating a record number of oil rigs, and the President has opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration both on and offshore that will help bring even more of them online. But prices are still high.”- March 2012 blogpost by Megan Slack

“President Obama has made it clear that our country needs an all-of-the-above strategy to develop American energy – energy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and generates new jobs for Americans. On Tuesday, we took another major step forward in President Obama’s commitment to responsibly expand development of America’s abundant natural gas resources by approving the Greater Natural Buttes gas development project in Utah. This project, proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, could produce more than six trillion cubic feet of natural gas over its life, support more than 4,000 American jobs during the different phases of development, and infuse millions of dollars into local Utah communities…In 2011, U.S. natural gas production grew by more than 7 percent – the largest year-over-year increase in history. U.S. gas production is now at an all-time high and oil production is at an eight-year high.”- May 2012 blogpost by Ken Salazar

“Since 2008, U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased each year, while imports of foreign oil have decreased”- email file released by the Obama administration

“we need an energy infrastructure system that can keep pace with advances in production.  To promote American energy sources, we must not only extract oil — we must also be able to transport it to our world-class refineries, and ultimately to consumers…Although expanding and modernizing our Nation’s pipeline infrastructure will not lower prices right away, it is a vital part of a sustained strategy to continue to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and enhance our Nation’s energy security.  Therefore, as part of my Administration’s broader efforts to improve the performance of Federal permitting and review processes, we must make pipeline infrastructure a priority, ensuring the health, safety, and security of communities and the environment while supporting projects that can contribute to economic growth and a secure energy future.  In doing so, the Federal Government must work in partnership with State, local, and tribal governments, which play a central role in the siting and permitting of pipelines; and, we must protect our natural resources and address the concerns of local communities.”- An Executive Order allowing an expedited permitting process for oil & gas pipelines across the US

“A key part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy is expanding production of American energy resources…The most dramatic expansion has been in natural gas…That is why, in line with his goal of expanding safe and responsible production of natural gas, today the President issued an Executive Order to create a new Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources.”- Heather Zichal’s blogpost in April 2012

“I put forward in the past an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but our energy strategy must be about more than just producing more oil.  And, by the way, it’s certainly got to be about more than just building one pipeline…Now, I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline, the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf.  And the State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal.  That’s how it’s always been done.  But I do want to be clear:  Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest.  And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution…Now, even as we’re producing more domestic oil, we’re also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than any other country on Earth…We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.”- June 2013 speech at Georgetown University

“The Administration is committed to promoting safe and responsible domestic oil and gas development as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy to increase domestic production and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Since the President took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has decreased every year, and domestic oil and natural gas production has risen every year…The Administration’s current five-year strategy for offshore oil and gas leasing makes all of the highest resource areas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), including frontier areas in the Alaskan Arctic, available for exploration and development.Together, these areas contain more than 75 percent of the estimated, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in our oceans.”- Statement of Administration Policy, June 2013, as issued by the Office of Management and Budget

This which very very telling:

“Natural gas is helping to reduce carbon pollution, and the Administration is taking steps to make production safer.  The Administration is developing new environmental standards for oil and gas drilling on public lands and will continue to invest in research to ensure safe and responsible natural gas production…The President is calling on Congress to work with the Administration and State and local governments to create Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones, helping regions come together to make sure shale gas is developed in a safe, responsible way that helps build diverse and resilient regional economies that can withstand boom-and-bust cycles and can be leaders in building and deploying clean energy technologies…The Administration will help States and localities coordinate review of proposed private sector projects to invest in new energy-intensive U.S. manufacturing plants relying on natural gas.”- ‘fact sheet’ about this year’s state of the union.

Then there’s the BLUEPRINT FOR A SECURE ENERGY FUTURE, released in March 2011, which seems to state a major policy. It says that the US Government will work to:

“reduce our dependence on oil, we must focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity, including renewables like wind and solar, as well as clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power…At the same time, we are encouraging exploration, development, and production—rewarding industry for effectively and responsibly utilizing resources that belong to the American people…Recognizing that America’s oil supplies are limited, we must develop our domestic resources safely, responsibly, and efficiently, while taking steps that will ultimately lessen our reliance on oil and help us move towards a clean energy economy…America’s public lands and Federal waters provide resources that are critical to the nation’s energy security. To encourage robust exploration and development of the nation’s resources, the Administration has offered millions of acres of public land and Federal waters for oil and gas leasing over the last two years…Domestic oil and gas development, both onshore and offshore, should take place in the right places to minimize harm to the environment as well as to public health and safety…The President recently directed the Department of Interior to determine the acreage of public lands (onshore and offshore) that have been leased to oil and gas companies and remain undeveloped…Recent technology and operational improvements in extracting natural gas resources, particularly shale gas, have increased gas drilling activities nationally and led to significantly higher natural gas production estimates for decades to come…Over the course of the last year, the U.S. and Mexico have been working together to develop a transboundary agreement that would facilitate the safe and responsible development of offshore oil resources near our common border.” (and it goes on and on)

Then, Obama thought pumping stations for natural gas was a great idea. What?

“One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.  Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas.  I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.  My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.  And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations. It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too.”- State of the Union 2014

Dirty Energy Doctrine

In 2009, Obama said that “we have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy…But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy” and supported a carbon cap and trade bill which benefits big business. This was only the beginning, and was not much at all. I’ve written about what I call the Dirty Energy Doctrine before (here and here). In Late 2013, Obama made this known:

“…let me take this opportunity to outline what has been U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa and what will be my policy during the remainder of my presiden[cy]…The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region…We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy. We will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people….when it’s necessary, defend the United States against terrorist attack, we will take direct action. And finally, we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction…we’ll continue to promote democracy and human rights and open markets because we believe these practices achieve peace and prosperity…these objectives are best achieved when we partner with the international community and with the countries and peoples of the region…Now, the notion of American empire may be useful propaganda, but it isn’t borne out by America’s current policy or by public opinion.”

Earlier that year he added onto this:

“And it’s true that because of the extraordinary advances in technology that we’ve made in the United States, we are likely to be a net natural gas exporter as soon as 2020.  And so one of the things that I’ve discussed with your Presidents is how can we potentially use that as a bridging mechanism.  I’ve got to make a decision — an executive decision broadly about whether or not we export liquefied natural gas at all.  But I can assure you that once I make that decision, then factoring in how we can use that to facilitate lower costs in the hemisphere and in Central America will be on my agenda…And given the small size of many Central American countries, it’s critical to create a regional market.  And that’s not just transmission lines.  It’s also having the rules in place that allow the free flow of energy back and forth.”

An article in the Washington Post on the subject noted that the ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy was going global, noting a speech by then-National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. You can read that article here.


There is probably a good amount of stuff I haven’t covered here, but I was hoping that this would provide a good start.

Tumblr’s horrible new terms of service

29 Jan
Screenshot from 2014-01-27 23:28:25
Tumblr is a U.S. company and subject only to U.S. laws and jurisdiction, so for the moment these Terms of Service (and any other terms, policies, or guidelines that we provide to you) are only available in English.

Hello! Welcome to Tumblr’s Terms of Service. Please read this carefully before using our site, services, or products. This is a contract between you and Tumblr. We’ve also included several annotations that aren’t a part of the contract itself, but are intended to emphasize key sections and help you follow the text. We’ve tried to be fair and straightforward. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions or suggestions!

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Please read these Terms of Service and our Community Guidelines (collectively, the “Agreement“) carefully before using (the “Site“) and/or the other domains, websites, products, applications, mobile applications, services, and/or Content provided by Tumblr, Inc. (all of those collectively with the Site, the “Services“) (Tumblr, Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware corporation, collectively with its agents, representatives, consultants, employees, officers, and directors, “Tumblr,” “we,” or “us“). By using or accessing the Services, you (“Subscriber” or “you“) agree to be bound by all the terms and conditions of this Agreement. If you don’t agree to all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you shouldn’t, and aren’t permitted to, use the Services.

We’re just letting you know, here, that we were recently acquired by Yahoo! Inc. This section also includes an agreement where you’re agreeing to agree to the terms of this agreement.

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What does the Communist Party USA want for the world?

28 Jan

This article is the beginning of a series that looks at the platforms of alternative parties, and it will try to look at how each party would govern the United States. In doing so, I won’t take a position on any of the ideas in the platforms of the said parties.

The first article focuses on the platform of the currently weak Communist Party USA (CPUSA). During the cold war, there was the reign of what people such as Naomi Klein and Leo Panitch, both of whom are on the left, call authoritarian communism. In order to promote public knowledge, I’ll link to it here, but I do NOT endorse any activities of the party or this platform. I can say that it bases its ideology on Marxism-Leninism, has been discredited in the minds of some, as it has been associated with former and current ‘socialist’ states and the USSR/Soviet Union.

The positions of CPUSA are outlined in a section titled ‘Bill of Rights Socialism in the USA,’ with the rest being basically a really long essay on topics including capitalism, monopolies, big business, etc… [1] Anyway, these positions include:

  • Removing “power of the transnationals from the U.S. political system” and worldwide while eliminating the ability of corporations to pollute
  • Make a plan, once in power, that considers what parts of production will be owned by the government, looking for strategic planning, seeking “material and moral incentives at all levels of the economy,” possibly even using capitalist “market mechanisms in combination with strategic planning and regulation” and methods for “daily functioning of the economy.”
  • Making sure that “the forms of ownership will reflect both political developments and the needs of economic development and sustainability” meaning that not everything may not be government-run[2]
  • Maintaining the separation of church and state and freedom of religion
  • Having in place a centrally-planned economy, which they call “a strategically planned economy” that is “sustainable”
  • Public or government ownership from local to state to the national level, including “mixed economy forms that best fit production and social needs” but interestingly the preservation of one’s personal “personal possessions and property”
  • Having government-run, or publicly “funded quality education and programs for children”
  • Preserving and extending “the rights to free speech, to free assembly, to freedom of religion, to a secular government, to be free from corporate [power]”
  • Having a more effective and efficient economy
  • Funding social programs, and working to “shorten the workweek,” while making sure that workers are paid a living wage or on the “quantity and quality of work” at least.
  • The Communist Party will work to win no matter what, through confidence-building and “working to win contested elections.”
  • The “personal private property of workers” would stay intact, but “only the private ownership of major industries, financial institutions, and other large corporations, and the excessive luxuries of the super-rich” would be eliminated,
  • Small businesses or family farms would be kept, but not the big industries, because in their view “small business owners, professionals, and farmers, who currently suffer from the heavy hand of monopoly, are important potential allies of the progressive majority.”
  • Making sure all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and pushing for a “no first-use of nuclear weapons, no preemptive nuclear war, and no extension of the arms race into space”
  • Tackling environmental problems with the help of the world, but no set plan to combat climate change
  • Seeing ‘socialism’ as the first step, then having a communist society as the last step, where “the essentials of life will be plentiful and readily available to all, and the repressive apparatus of government will wither away leaving purely administrative functions.”
  • Making sure that the party is the ‘most advanced segment’ of the working class, pushing for ‘socialism,’ engaging in “proletarian internationalism” and organizing on the “principle of democratic centralism” which means there is NO dissent from majority votes and everyone has to follow the ideas of the majority [read more about it here]
  • Deeply committed to Marxism-Leninism: “…the primary aim of Marxism-Leninism is the establishment of, or development into, a socialist republic through the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard composed of “professional” revolutionaries, an organic part of the working class that comes to socialist consciousness as a result of the dialectic of class struggle.”- Wikipedia

So from all of this, decide what you think for yourself about the Communist Party. You decide for yourself if their rhetoric is even worth a damn, or if its just bullshit. I’ll try to do a better job with the other parties in laying out what an America under their watch would really be. As I said earlier, this article is not an endorsement of the Party or its platform in any form, just to be 100% clear to those right-wing trollers. And yeah, there aren’t any ‘communists’ in Congress, right-wing reactionary Allen West. That’s all.

[1] Whether they are actually socialist is a matter of debate. Socialism and socialist are used in reference to the CPUSA, but considering their other positions, they could be twisting this word around.

[2] Earlier, they imagined that there would be for government or ‘social’ ownership of numerous parts of the economy, including huge industrial companies, multinational corporations, big banks, big energy companies, big healthcare companies, and more, running them as “public utilities” with “publicly elected boards,” basically another way of saying nationalization of much of the national economy. Additionally, they hoped that there would be government-run, and public programs that would result in universal and free education up to the college level and health care, and a vague guarantee that “jobs would be built,” along with other aspects.

A War Made in France: Central Africa at the Crossroads

27 Jan

A lot can change in one week. Over one week ago, one of my articles about the French-led war in Central Africa Republic was published in State of Globe, a Norwegian publication. While the peace movement seems silent on this war, I will continue to write in hopes of spurring action from others.

Before one goes further it is important to back up to understand the political situation in the country, especially the change of leaders. In March 2013, a coup overthrew long time President Francois Bozize, bringing Michel Djotodia to power, who stayed until occupying forces, especially the French, thought that he wasn’t doing enough to maintain security. On January 10th, he resigned and Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet took power, staying only for ten days, but ordered a security crackdown on supposed troublemakers in the capital of the country, Bangui. Both of these leaders, like Bozize, were friendly to the Chinese investors, which seemingly is another reason for their ouster. In their place, the National Transitional Council (CNT) elected a new leader, named Catherine Samba-Panza, keeping the pro-Chinese Nguendet at the head of the CNT. While she was declared as “politically neutral” by BBC, there is some doubt of this. Unlike Nguendet, she did not give her first interview to the Chinese, but rather the US propaganda source, Voice of America (VOA). In the interview, she told VOA that she was hoping a woman president in the country would help “calm down those who have hatred in their hearts.” and said that “the population is extremely poor. People also need to feel safe everywhere in C.A.R.” Elsewhere she said that she wants the fighting to stop, while also calling on “the international community to help us quickly restore order in our country which today is on the brink of chaos.” Importantly, UN Special Representative Babacar Gaye, a graduate of the French version of West Point,[1] and former leader of numerous ‘peacekeeping’ operations in Africa said that Samba-Panza “could help restore hope,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who declared that France is not the policeman of Africa said  Samba-Panza was a “very remarkable woman,” and UN secretary genderal. Ban Ki-Moon also applauded her election. On top of this, the deputy speaker of transitional council, Lea Koyassoum Doumta, said that the next president “must be somebody who can unite Central Africans, restore security, ease tensions, put everybody back to work and pave the way for free, democratic and transparent elections,” all which will be good for business. This approach of pushing for a new election is exactly what the French and other countries involved in Central Africa want as well, all for their own reasons, allowing a corporate insurance lawyer to ensure their current (or future) investments in the country are not ruined.

All the while, the reality which isn’t always as obvious was still there. French and African troops, numbering 5,600 in all, remain in the country, but as BBC noted in the last sentence of an article talking about future UN involvement, said that “sporadic violence has continued, despite the presence of 1,600 French troops and 4,000 African Union peacekeepers.” Still, former African leader Alexendre-Ferdinand Nguendet who said that “anarchy was over” in the country, likely to alleviate fears. The EU has begun deploying to the country, with 400-600 troops joining the ranks of the African forces in six months. What was missed by most media outlets and observers, is that a number of international donors have pledged $496 million to fund the humanitarian assistance for the country, with only $200 million being “earmarked for immediate humanitarian needs [within 100 days and]…the remainder set aside for financing medium-term projects to help the country get back on its feet.” Specifically, the European Commission gave about $60 million, the U.S. and France giving about $90 million, Sweden giving about $13 million, the World Bank giving about $100 million and the African Development Bank giving $75 million. In the eyes of EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, this money puts “an end to the Central African Republic being an aid orphan, forever.” However, this eschews the reality of the country under the boot of the French, and how the country’s government has been implementing programs of the IMF, WTO, and World Bank, many of which have been stalled by violence in the country, creating an ‘unfriendly’ business climate.

In an unrelated interview on The Real News Network on January 20th about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Paul Jay made an interesting point about African elites, which relates exactly what I’m talking about. He told Deyvon Love, an activist who is part of the Baltimore-based Leaders for  Beautiful Struggle (LBS) that in Africa you find people who are “just capitalists and they’re making money…and with some black elites [are]…loving every minute of it, ’cause they’re bathing in money…if you could recover the amount of money that black elites have stored in Switzerland and various offshore banks as they slice off pieces of the IMF and World Bank loans and various other kind of NGO stuff and shove in their pockets, and their pockets are sitting in bank accounts…this isn’t just about, you know, self-identifying I want to be rich white. I mean, this is also just about I can make a lot of money here and I want to be rich and powerful.” While the current leader of the country doesn’t fit this description, it is clear that former leaders going all the way back to the independence of the Central African Republic fit the specifics that Jay is talking about.

This connects to the role of France, which basically lords over the economies of fourteen African countries through currency backed by the French treasury and central banks, which France has a veto over, issuing the CFA Francs.[2] Antoine Roger Lokongo, writes in Black Agenda Report that France regards Central “CAR and other former French colonies in West and Central Africa” as its backyard, tied to the country through by defense agreements as well, along with CFA Francs pegged to the Euro, meaning that “France is intervening in Africa for the sake of its own survival as a country as well as a power…[since] total independence for CAR, both political and economic means the end of “Françafrique.” Lokongo continues, saying that “European powers are now united in their fear of China’s strong presence in Africa” in order to stop agreements with the Chinese, and other newcomers to the continent, and pushing out Djotodia because they didn’t want him. Importantly, he notes that France still has a lot of power over the events in the country, ending with the remark that “every ‘resource war’ in Africa has hidden hands pulling the strings behind it.”

It seems destined that a pro-French and pro-’Western’ leader will take hold in the upcoming elections, ensuring the country’s submission to Western forces. After all, France has extreme power over the country’s economy. Lest us not forget that Africa is a continent where the US has intervened consistently since the time of Jimmy Carter (and before inconsistently) as noted in a recent analysis which looked at how US armed forces have been used by Presidents and the US government since 1798. On top of this, the US government is pushing its investment on Africa even more forcibly than before, recently announcing a summit with African leaders in August of this year. All of this brings one to why the Central African Republic is at a crossroads. One could say that the country could continue down the path of staying on the side of the neo-colonialist powers, or could join that of the Chinese or newcomers. [3] However, there is another path: an alternative, independent route that rejects both of these forces. This may be unlikely but it is something more to hope and push for, rather than accepting these forces as a reality. In a country where the minimum income is only $1,080 a year, much more can be done.

For the betterment of the people of the Central African Republic, the peace and justice movement should join along in the condemnation of the French-led war, by engaging in rallies, marches, and other acts of nonviolent resistance, while connecting with those all ready protesting the war in Central Africa and France. In the end, this mad imperialist scramble in Africa must end, along with a push for a new, and revised Freedom Charter to be implemented all across Africa, and rejection of all policies that keep in place the status quo of capitalistic competition.

Burkely Hermann is an activist who writes numerous blogs to educate the populace about international, local and national issues. He tries to mimic the idea of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense to appeal to the common people and pushes for nonviolent direct action.


[1] École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (ESM)

[2] Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

[3] Non-’Western’ countries other than China in the continent include Russia, Turkey, South Korea, and so on.

This was originally published in CounterPunch‘s Weekend Edition on January 24-26, 2014, but this is more reliable version until the corrections are made to the piece.

Note: I realized why the EU supported the war in Central Africa. I believe it could have to do with the fact that Banque de France is a member bank of the European Central Bank which manages the euro, and is tied the CFA Franc in this manner since the EU has ok’d the Franc Zone in part of Africa. Read about that here.

A basic guide to where the US has intervened since 1798 [UPDATED]

23 Jan

For hours and hours I sat laboring away at making maps of the interventions, mainly using the most recent Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2013 prepared by the Congressional Research Service and other documents on the current White House website. This is meant to make one question if this type of strategy of using armed forces in so many places is wise. As a note, there were no uses of armed forces in the presidencies of George Washington (1789-1797), Zachary Taylor (1849-1850), Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), and James Garfield (1881), which makes up for the gaps in the data. Each map comes with a little description that I wrote so that it can be understood a bit better. I don’t know all of the history around these presidents, but but the maps do tell a tale on their own.

A list of U.S. Presidents, listed in the order in which they entered office.
John Adams (1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)

interventions John Adams and    Thomas Jefferson
There were few uses of armed forces in the administrations of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, mostly which were in the Western Hemisphere. Specifically these included the nations of Mexico and Dominican Republic, an area where there would be more interventions by the US, to come.

James Madison (1809-1817)

James madison interventions
In US history up to this point, James Madison was one of the most interventionist. US forces went into the Caribbean, went into Spanish Florida six times, intervened in the Pacific island of Marquesas, and in North Africa (modern-day Algeria and Libya) to fight the Barbary pirates.

James Monroe (1817-1825)

james monroe interventions
James Monroe didn’t intervene as many places across the world. Still, there was US Navy action off the coast of Africa, continued presence in the Caribbean, invasion of present-day Oregon and Washington states, Puerto Rico, an island in the Bahamas and most importantly, Cuba. 1822 would be the first time US troops set foot on Cuba, and they would be back throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)

interventions john quincy    adams
While he was in office four years, John Quincy Adams, only used US troops on two occasions: in Cuba in 1825 and Greece in 1827. The pattern of intervening in Cuba continued.

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)

andrew jackson interventions
Despite his anti-Indian and racist drive to push American Indians westward, Jackson really put the Monroe Doctrine to use. During his time as President, US military forces entered Mexico, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, and Peru. Also, he used US troops in Sumatra as well.

Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)

martin van buren interventions
Unlike his predecessor, Van Buren did not use US troops anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, all of the uses of US armed forces were in the Eastern Pacific, and Sumatra.

William H. Harrison (1841) and John Tyler (1841-1845)

Harrison and Tyler interventions
Interventions reverted back to the Western hemisphere under the Tyler Administration, with US forces being used twice in Mexico even though there was anti-piracy by the US navy off the coast of Africa in 1843. Importantly, in 1843 that changed drastically when US forces stepped foot in China for the first time, a country that would see many US armed forces intervening in years to come, but not by the next two successive Presidents.

James K. Polk (1841-1849)

james polk interventions

James Polk also intervened in Mexico, this time in a full-fledged war from 1846-1848, with the US winning much of what Americans call ‘the Southwest.’ The only other place US troops were used was in Smyrna (present-day Turkey) in 1849.

Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)

fillmore interventions
Millard Fillmore, interestingly set the tone for the rhetoric later used to justify the American empire, saying that “acquisitions of certain possessions [countries] not in our jurisdiction” were important for US. He proved this to be right in some sense, using US armed forces in Argentina, Turkey, Nicaragua, Japan and off the coast of East Africa.

Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)

pierce interventions
Franklin Pierce continued the intervention frenzy, beginning a short period where the US intervened in China numerous times. Still, US armed forces entered the countries of Panama, Uruguay, and Nicaragua, continuing the Monroe Doctrine, while also sending troops to the Samoa Islands as well.

James Buchanan (1857-1861)

james buchanan interventions
Buchanan was one of the most interventionist in a long time, sending the first troops in Africa since the Administration of James Madison in 1860. Overall, US armed forces entered six countries: Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Turkey, Angola, Paraguay, Uruguay, and China, along with the Samoa Islands.

Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)

lincoln interventions
Since the Civil War or ‘war between the states’ was using up a lot of the resources in the US, interventions were limited. Lincoln was still able to send US forces to Panama and Japan before he was assassinated in 1865.

Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)

johnson (after lincoln) interventions
Johnson didn’t follow in the footsteps of Lincoln in terms of use of the US armed forces. In fact, he was a big interventionist as well. US troops under his watch entered seven countries: Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, China, Columbia, Japan, and present-day Taiwan

Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)

grant interventions
Ulysses S. Grant scaled it back tremendously. US armed forces only were used in Mexico, Panama, Korea and the Hawaiian Islands. Of these interventions, Mexico was focused on the most, with the US continuing to intermittently between 1873 and 1896.

Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885)

arthur interventions (flag add)
Arthur focused more on the Western hemisphere, continuing to intervene in Mexico, and also in Panama. Still, US forces stepped on African soil in 1882, specifically in Egypt.

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889)

cleveland interventions (flag add)

The method of few uses of US armed forces continued under the Cleveland administration. US troops continued to enter Mexico, while also stepping into Haiti for the first time in 1888, along with a Pacific Island, and Korea as well the same year.

Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)

harrison interventions (flag add)
Harrison upped the ante, but only used US forces in Americas. The US continued to intervene in Mexico intermittently, along with also intervening again in Haiti in 1891, along with three other places: Chile, Argentina and Hawaii.

Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)

cleveland interventions (flag add) [2]
Unlike Cleveland’s previous administration, his approach had increasingly grown interventionist. He begins a wave of interventions in China, which continue into the previous administration, but not into that of Theodore Roosevelt. Six countries are intervened under his watch: Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia, Brazil, China, and Korea.

William McKinley (1897-1901)

mckinley interventions
Unlike his predecessor, McKinley seems to focus increasingly on Asia. The US only intervenes once in the Americas, specifically in Nicaragua other than in the Spanish-American war where US troops enter Cuba. Importantly, the US intervenes in China twice and suppressed a rebellion for independence in the Filipino-American war.*
*The Philippines had been promised independence after the Spanish were defeated but the US decided to give up on their promise.

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt (1901-1909)

teddy roosevelt interventions
Teddy Roosevelt opens the can of worms when it comes to intervention. US troops step into Africa for the first time since the administration of Chester Arthur, specifically in present-day Ethiopia and present-day Morocco. Other countries were Roosevelt used US forces included Honduras, Columbia, Panama (to get its independence so the US could build the canal), Haiti, Cuba, present-day Syria, and Korea.

William H. Taft (1909-1913)

taft interventions
Taft begins a trend that continued until the administration of Eisenhower: intervening in China, starting intermittent interventions that continue from 1912 to 1941. Taft continued the interventionist posture, sending US troops into five countries: Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, and present-day Turkey.

Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)**

wilson interventions

Wilson continued the interventions like a madman, taking a very militarist position, intervening directly in China three times. Under his eight years in office, US troops set foot in twelve countries: Soviet Russia, Turkey, Croatia, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and China. Under his administration begins the US occupation of Haiti (until 1934), Dominican Republic (until 1924), Nicaragua (until 1925) and Cuba (until 1922)

** Sorry for the red type on Wilson’s name on the map, but that was done accidentally and I don’t feel like fixing it.

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

harding interventions
Even though there was disillusionment with WWI, Harding kept intervening. He kept the military occupations in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua going, while he let the occupation of Cuba lapse in 1922. Still, he decided to continue the interventions in China, had another intervention in Soviet Russia and another in Turkey.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

coolidge interventions
While his campaign slogan was trying to convince voters to be ‘cool for Coolidge,’ what the interventions he did around the world were not cool. While the occupation in the Dominican Republic lapsed, the one in Nicaragua lapsed but was continued shortly thereafter, resulting in a military occupation continuing until 1933. At the same time, US troops continued to go into China, and also went into Honduras while they were at it.

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

hoover interventions
The number of interventions for some reason or another slowed down under Hoover. US troops were only in three countries: China, Haiti and Nicaragua, the last two which consisted of military occupations.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)

fdr interventions
While two occupations (Haiti and Nicaragua) ended under his presidency, with the advent of WWII, the US became more involved in the world which included troops going to protect Dutch Guiana (present-day Suriname), naval actions near Germany, overseeing Britain’s colonial possessions in the Americas, along with military occupations in Greenland and Iceland. Unrelated was the continuing interventions in China until 1941 and another in Cuba in 1933.

Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)

truman interventions
While Truman didn’t intervene in any country in the Western Hemisphere or the Americas, the US presence in the world was still strong. US armed forces went into seven countries: Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

ike interventions
Under the Eisenhower administration, the use of armed forces in Africa began again, specifically in Egypt. In his administration was the last use of US armed forces in China of any President as a government unfriendly to the US had taken power. Other than this, US armed forces entered five countries: Vietnam, Cuba, Guatemala, Laos, and Taiwan. As for Vietnam, the US war which would last until 1975, began in 1955 under his watch.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

jfk interventions
While JFK didn’t intervene that many places, he did something important: expand and continue the war in Vietnam. Specifically, he increased US involvement in the war, started US involvement in Laos in 1962 which would continue until 1975. He also committed US armed forces to Thailand, Dominican Republic, and Cuba.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

LBJ interventions
While only intervening in four countries, LBJ did something important: increasing US involvement in Vietnam into a full-fledged war. Additionally, the US war in Laos continued, along with an occupation in the Dominican Republic and the beginning of the bombing of Cambodia. On top of this, there was the first intervention in Africa in a while, in the Congo, which proved, once again, how the US supported the horrid regime of Mobutu in the country.

Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974)

nixon interventions
Only a few interventions continued under Nixon’s administration. Those that occurred were important. The wars in Laos and Vietnam continued throughout the Nixon administration, along with the bombing of Cambodia, ending in the following administration. On top of this, US troops entered Cyprus as well.

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)

ford interventions
While the major wars ended under Ford’s administration (in Vietnam and Laos), the US wanted to exert it was still powerful. So, US troops entered Lebanon, Cambodia, and South Korea during his administration.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

carter interventions
Jimmy Carter for some reason or another only sent US armed forces into two US countries: Zaire (Congo) and Iran. The intervention in Africa, other than again supporting the intervention of Mobutu, would continue a trend to the present in which the US would send troops to Africa.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

reagan interventions
The eight years of Reagan not only hurt working and poor people, but they were littered with interventions, specifically six in countries of Africa (Chad, Libya, and Egypt), one in Europe (Italy), three in the Mideast (Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran) and four in the Americas (Bolivia, El Salvador, and Honduras).

George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)

bush interventions

George H.W. Bush changed the pattern, only making one major intervention in the Americas other than the so-called ‘Andean Initiative in [the] War on Drugs’ specifically in Panama to remove Noreiga. Specifically the US begins intervention in the Persian Gulf area which began under Reagan, if not earlier, with a war in 1991 in Iraq (with bombing until 2003), and US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, US troops are sent into the Philippines, and four countries in Africa: Somalia, Zaire (Congo), Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

The pattern of intervening in Africa continued under Clinton, who seems like a huge militarist. Specifically twelve countries in Africa had US armed forces enter them: Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Rwanda. Other than this, under Clinton’s administration, US armed forces were used in nine countries Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq (continuing the bombing which ends in 2003), Albania, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Dominican Republic, East Timor, and Cambodia. Of these, US troops stayed in East Timor until 2002, while continuing in former Yugoslavia through the Bush administration and into the Obama administration.

George W. Bush (2001-2009)

bush 2 interventions
While the bombing of Iraq ended in 2003 and the use of US troops in East Timor, under his administration, that doesn’t make him peaceful, and in fact he was very militarist. After starting a major war in Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001, US armed forces were also used in a number of other countries: Haiti, Lebanon, Yemen, and Bosnia. Finally, there were six countries in Africa that US armed forces entered under his administration: Ivory Coast, Liberia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. On top of this, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba began in 2002 and stays open under the Obama administration.

Barack Obama (2009-Present)

obama interventions
While the US war in Iraq ended under Obama’s administration, he has used drones more than ever in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere which is not noted on this map, but is important to remember. Additionally, the war in Afghanistan continues full force, along with continued presence of US armed forces in Serbia, a sort of war in Yemen has continued, increased US troops in Jordan, and use of US armed forces in many countries of Africa. Specifically, US forces have entered eight countries in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Niger, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Libya, and Egypt. While I correctly noted on State of Globe that “the Obama Administration has used the US armed forces more times in Africa than any other President in US history,” in terms of countries entered, the Clinton administration still wins. Only four more countries for Obama to send US troops to, then he ties with the record of Clinton, and five more and then Obama will have sent more troops to Africa than any President in US history.

The number of interventions in Africa over US history, those in China from the Taft to the Eisenhower administration (and before), along with US interventions in Japan and Latin America could be good topics of study. In the end, I hope this serves as a good guide for what countries were intervened where since 1798 and help spark some analysis.

- Burkely

P.S. If you have any corrections or want to make additions, please post in the comments below. Also, I used this template for all of them, if you want to use it as well.

original template for presidenct    interventions

UPDATE #1: Some tweets from Leo have resulted in updated maps for Eisenhower, Reagan, JFK, Clinton. Information has been double-checked to make sure of its validity and make sure for myself, some of which is incorporated into the maps themselves. Here are his specific tweets:

Also see this from a bigger book on counterterrorism:

“At dawn on 18 June [1954] a group of B-26 bombers and three P-47 fighters appeared above Guatemala City, dropped leaflets, and then began strafing and bombing runs. Targets were selected largely for their psychological effect: military drill areas, ammunition dumps, oil storage tanks. One of the pilots, American Jerry DeLarm, later told NBC’s John Chancellor how he “blew up the government oil reserves and subsequently when the political situation was up in the air and required decisive action-the main powder magazine of the army.”

Leo also asked about the intervention in Dominican Republic under JFK, and this is explained in the following tweets:

A guide to the different anarchist blocs

21 Jan

A while back there was a post on tumblr showing the different blocs that exist, but I seem to have lost that, so I might as well reconstruct that right now. It is almost silly to describe an anti-capitalist bloc, just because many of those who participate in the blocs are inherently anti-capitalist (please correct me if I’m wrong), unless it is a demonstration where such a bloc is formed.

Black Bloc

Black Bloc protesters in Germany (unknown date)

This is highly disputed among activists, and wikipedia defines it as a “tactic for protests and marches where individuals wear black clothing, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items…The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass, and promotes solidarity.” David Graeber, who was credited at giving the occupy movement its theme (‘we are the 99 percent’) wrote about this in the Occupied Wall Street Journal, noting that “Black Bloc is a tactic, not a group. It is a tactic where activists don masks and black clothing…as a gesture of anonymity, solidarity, and to indicate to others that they are prepared, if the situation calls for it, for militant action…Black Blocs do not represent any specific ideological, or for that matter, anti-ideological position…They are not united by ideology, or lack of ideology, but merely a common feeling that creating a bloc of people with explicitly revolutionary politics, and ready to confront the forces of  order through more militant tactics if required…“Diversity of tactics” is not a “Black Bloc” idea. The original General Assembly in Tompkins Square Park that planned the original occupation, if I recall, adopted the principle of diversity of tactics…and at the same time we all also concurred that a Gandhian approach would be the best way to go. This is not a contradiction: “diversity of tactics” means leaving such matters up to individual conscience, rather than imposing a code on anyone.” If you wish to read more on this subject, this and this are good starters. You can debate about if you accept Black Bloc, but having a basic understanding is the first step.

Pink Bloc

Pink Bloc contingent at Seattle Pride, June 2012

It is much harder to find resources on Pink Bloc than it is for Black Bloc. Translated text (which doesn’t make much sense as the translation is horrible) from a French Wikipedia article, describes Pink Bloc as aiming to promote queers, transvestism, challenging patriarchal oppression and “seeks to transcend the boundaries between violence and non-violence,” having “no leader or representatives but is based on a set of peer groups…small groups of people who know each other, trust each other and give specific targets for action.” The translation goes on to describe Pink Blocs as “part of a broader political movement, often called ” anarcho- queer ” or more frequently…radical queer” while these groups fight for the “rights of undocumented immigrants, the right to abortion, the termination of…”gay capitalism”…[and] the decriminalization of prostitution and recognition of sex changes.”

There’s even a video of the Pink Bloc contingent at Seattle Pride in June 2012, described by a youtuber as “marching to the beat of their own chants! Informing onlookers of the Seattle Police Departments recent queer bashing and with banners that said such things as “STONEWALL WAS (A) POLICE RIOT” and “QUEER LIBERATION IS CLASS STRUGGLE” It was a complete success, resounding with the parade onlookers on the sidewalk.”


(Anarcha) Queer (+feminist or +trans) Bloc

Queer & Feminist Bloc // San Francisco, CA, USA // February 20, 2012

This bloc has many different names, but has ideas seemingly rooted in queer anarchism, which is, according to Wikipedia, “an anarchist school of thought which advocates anarchism and social revolution as a means of gay liberation and abolition of homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heteronormativity, heterosexism, patriarchy, and the gender binary.”
As a bloc, there have been protests against the Westboro Baptist Church, a specific group as part of a larger Black Bloc protesting the DNC convention in 2008 organized by Bash Back!, protesting the WTO in 2000, organizing an “anti-fascist queer bloc” to “protest and shut down the Third Position fascist band ‘Death In June’ concert” in September 2013, fighting to free Cece McDonald and challenge “the commercialization and corporatization of Pride” in June 2012, anti-war actions, resisting budget cuts and more in London in 2011, an action to shut down a port off Oakland (as also noted here), pictures that are part of OccuPride, and there is (was?) a queer bloc in Dallas.

The best description of Queer Bloc is by a user named Andi, who is a professor involved in a college course about queer theory and more, who writes:

The “queer bloc” style of antiglobalization protests and their critique of the “pink dollar” is built partially on the gay and lesbian liberation movements of the 1970s that theorized the only way to dismantle the hetero/homo binary was to overthrow the capitalist, industrial project wholly.

That’s the best description of queer bloc I’ve found so far. If someone has a better one, I’d love to see it.

Green Bloc

As you can guess from the name, Green Bloc is mostly focused on environmental destruction, exploitation, climate change, etc… As a contingent at the 2011 May Day march in Toronto,  ‘Green Bloc‘ says that “We march for environmental justice. We march for justice for migrants. Join Us! Wear Green, bring signs, bring placards, and bring your friends! Resisting environmental destruction means resisting displacement. We demand FREEDOM from Colonization, Military and Economic Wars, and Environmental Degradation.” Other Green Blocs have focused on bringing on a revolution rather than just “merely protesting against corporate globalization” by helping push for change in the local community for a start, resisting bio-engineering (also another instance here), and holding a protest outside the New York State Office of Homeland Security.

Blue Bloc

Humanity Confronts the “Blue Bloc” in Chicago (may 2012)

The police. That should seem pretty obvious. As Mickey Z describes it, “the Blue Bloc is made up of the local, state, and federal law enforcement…officers and agents who have unleashed a coordinated, relentless, and often unlawful assault on the Occupy movement…the Blue Bloc possesses a wide array of taxpayer subsidized, military-style weaponry…in the name of taking on an enemyarmed…with signs, chalk, musical instruments, cameras, and mobile libraries and kitchens.”

Red Bloc

Australian Trotskyist organisation Socialist Alternative at an anti-Work Choices demonstration in Melbourne, shortly before the federal election in 2007

Red Bloc is also unique in its own way. Wikipedia describes it as a “distinct contingent at rallies or protests notable for carrying red flags. It is similar in nature to a black bloc, although members of a red bloc tend to be from Communist or Socialist organisations” while not citing any references or sources. Other events seem to define what the Red Bloc is a bit more. One event in June 2013 says to “bring your Red Flag and show your opposition to the imperialist policies of the G8.”

Stopping here…

And now I find the guide to anarchist blocs. Dang! So, here’s a reprint from that post, if it ever happens to get deleted from tumblr:

A Guide to Anarchist Blocs

black bloc (anarchism without adjectives) [not sure I agree with this...]

Red Bloc 001

red bloc (socialism, communism)

pink bloc (queer anarchism)

white bloc (anarcho-pacifism, anarcho-humanism, Christian anarchism, Buddhist anarchism)

purple bloc (anarcha-feminism)

Green bloc at the Copenhagen climate demo_full voice

green bloc (green anarchism, anarcho-primitivism)

“yellow bloc” (cops playin it safe, a.k.a. anarcho-capitalism HA) [has anyone actually heard of a yellow bloc of anarcho-capitalists?]

“blue bloc” (police riot) [note: blue/black is anarchotranshumanism, but I’ve yet to hear of a blue bloc of anarchotranshumanists]

If anyone has any blocs to add or corrections, please note them in the comments below.


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