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Archive for the tag “US”

Unfathomable, Unacceptable!

Good day readers, I have been busy and away from this blog for a while, but today I was compelled to write about something I saw, thanks to twitter. Before I get started, thanks for following my blog, even when I don’t post for a while. Now on to the topic of the day.

UNTHINKABLE

The Yomiuri Shinbun (Shinbun means newspaper in Japanese) is a right-wing newspaper that is known for its far right stance. However, the latest editorial from that fascist rag takes the cake in terms of insensitivity, historical revisionism, and blatant misogyny. In an editorial on August 2nd titled

“Refute recent moves in U.S. to distort comfort women issue”

the newspaper issued the opinion that Korean-Americans who have set up monuments to the victims of Japan’s war time sex slavery system administered by their armed forces is “distorting” the “comfort women” issue. First the paper ridiculously refers to those trying to honor the memory of those victims as “anti-Japanese” as if to be honest about history and mourn the oppressed is to hate Japan. Of course that doesn’t say much for the moral character of Japan, but leaving that alone for the moment; the newspaper is once again, like many right-wing fascists in Japan have done for decades, is trying to revise history to be one that fits their agenda, and fits with their nationalist myth making. Let’s go through some of these ridiculous claims, and see if they hold any water. Just because I’m fair like that.

They point out that the monument erected in California reads “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes…to be coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan between 1932 and 1945.” The newspaper refutes this with “The distorted and exaggerated phrases “sexual slavery” and “more than 200,000” are enough to significantly degrade the honor of Japan.”

Let’s examine those two claims. One, they are asserting that the so-called “comfort women” system was not sexual slavery. Is that true? Well, what is the definition of slavery? According to Merriam-Webster online the definition of slavery is:

slav·ery

noun \ˈslā-v(ə-)rē\

1 : drudgerytoil
2: submission to a dominating influence
3
: the state of a person who is a chattel of another
: the practice of slaveholding
Now take that definition and read this testimony of a Korean woman about her servitude:

“[…] it was not out of our own will, we were forced into it. I was beaten until I lost hearing. I was tortured. They didn’t see us as people, but as objects.” –Lee Ok-sun, comfort woman (as cited in Wabnitz, 2007)

Well, that certainly sounds like slavery to me. There is a colossal mountain of historical documentation that shows that these women were forced into sexual slavery in service to the Japanese Imperial Army.  There are journal articles upon newspaper articles upon photos and government papers and reports and on and on and on that verifies the reality of the sexual slavery of these women. Yet apparently the Yomiuri doesn’t let a little history deflect them from “upholding the honor of Japan,” Those honoring the victims of that horrible fascist government aren’t dishonoring Japan, those who built the “comfort women” system of sex slavery are the ones who dishonored Japan. That’s like claiming the witnesses of a murder are more guilty of killing because they reported it. It’s cognitive dissonance on crack.

Ok, so let’s examine the second claim, that being that 200,000 sex slaves is an exaggeration. Let’s turn again to an academic source for that.

“It was not until 1993 that the Japanese government stopped denying its involvement in the creation of comfort stations—establishments that saw the systematic rape, torture, and in some cases murder, of approximately 200 000 so-called comfort women.”
and another
“Comfort women” is the bitterly ironic euphemism for the approximately 200,000 women, mostly Korean (about 90%) that the Japanese Imperial Army tricked or abducted into military brothels, called “comfort stations” and forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Although most of the comfort women were Korean, women from Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, and the Philippines were also forced into this sexual slavery. The comfort women system was a sweeping network that existed throughout Japan and its growing empire in China, Hong Kong, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, the East Indies, Burma, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Saipan, Guam, and the Coral Sea Island Islands (Factbox: Disputes, 2007).” ()
Sorry, seems like a pretty established fact. I could pull out hundreds of articles of evidence that shows that the sex slavery system of Imperial Japan was that extensive, but I figure these idiots would ignore the evidence, or just claim that it’s a vast “anti-Japanese” conspiracy like they always do. Un-fucking-believable.
The end the article by claiming there is no evidence for that which the rest of the goddamn world knows there is a mountain of evidence for, and claim that the famous “Kono statement” of 1993 needs to be changed, or redacted. At the same time they try to appear humanitarian by writing “It is true there were actions by the Japanese government in wartime that injured the honor and dignity of many women. If the comfort women issue were to be judged under the standards of human rights awareness that exist today, there would be no chance for Japan to politically win the issue.”
No fucking sir, nice try you weasel fascist fucking ratfink, whoever you are. They were crimes against humanity by the standard of human rights OF THAT ERA, which is why so many of your leaders were hung like the fascist fucking rats they were. You can’t on one hand say that the Japanese government committed atrocities, and on the other hand say that they weren’t that bad of atrocities and so Koreans have no right to be angry about Japan’s continued idiocy, and stubborn historical revisionism.
Dear Japan, stop trying to weasel out of the horrible history of your imperialist expansionism. Stop trying to wiggle out of the responsibility your government still holds for the deaths, tortures, and rapes of millions of people. Stop trying to prop up your bullshit national myth on the backs of the victims of your imperialist fascist aggressions. Take responsibility for your history, and establish a future where no one will ever again be afraid that that horrible history would ever repeat itself. Take a note from Germany, that has to its credit, largely owned up to the sins of the past, and has criminalized the denial of the holocaust, and Nazi symbolism. Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on Japan, and SHAME on the Yomiuri Shinbun. You are not fit to print advertisements, let alone speak about serious issues. Either stop distorting history, drop your projections, and own up to the past, or just at least do the world a favor, and shut the fuck up.
Postscript
Inb4 “you hate Japan”: I live here, and my wife and children are Japanese citizens.
 Inb4 “What about America”: I have no great love for the fascist US government, and I fully acknowledge the crimes of the US state. No red herrings or diversions allowed here.
Sources:
Durham, Helen, and Bebe Loff. “Japan’s “comfort women”.” The Lancet357.9252 (2001): 302.
Heit, Shannon. “Waging sexual warfare: Case studies of rape warfare used by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.” Women’s Studies International Forum. Vol. 32. No. 5. Pergamon, 2009.

TRAITOR

What is a traitor? Well, according to the dictionary 

trai·tor
/ˈtrātər/
Noun
A person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.

Oh, ok. It is someone who betrays someone or something. Is being a traitor always a bad thing though? I think the answer to that is an easy no, and here’s why.

Edward Snowden: Traitor

The news in the last couple of weeks has been full of the story of Edward Snowden, a man who has given, not just the NSA, but the whole US and the US State Department a black eye. The internet is exploding with angry democrats, who are foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs just wanting to get their claws on this traitor to the US. Now, the story in detail has been written to death online, so I’ll let you fill yourself in on those details elsewhere, but let’s step back for a minute though and think about what being a traitor to the US really means.

Traitor to the US

I would like to announce, first, that I am absolutely a traitor to the US. 

I am a traitor to the country that was founded on the graves of millions of slaughtered, raped and exploited Native Americans.

I am a traitor to the country that built it’s material wealth on stolen land, with stolen resources and with the stolen labor of untold millions of African slaves, Chinese laborers, and wage slave immigrants.

I am a traitor to the country that is responsible for the violent overthrow of many many legitimate foreign governments, including the Kingdom of Hawaii, Panama, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and too many more to list here.

I am traitor to the government that has committed many many war crimes, from the atomic bombs on Japan to the murder and rape of the Philippine people and again, too many to list here.

I am a traitor to the government that has killed over a hundred thousand innocent people in Iraq, and has destroyed the country of Libya, and is seeking to destroy Syria.

I am a traitor to the country that has since its genesis been engaged in endless war, aggression, and colonialism. 

Yes, I am a PROUD PROUD TRAITOR to the world’s greatest evil, the capitalist imperialist racist exploitation murdering enslaving bombing impoverishing monolithic behemoth that is the United States of America.

See, being a traitor isn’t always a bad thing. When you betray the US, you are choosing loyalty to humanity, to the working class of the world, to the oppressed peoples of the world, to those who have suffered under the brutal boot of the US. 

By being and continuing to be a traitor to the US, I will and forever will remain, loyal to my principles of equality, and first and foremost to the working class, and I’ll never betray that.

 

Nobody ever flees capitalism?

So I received a tweet tonight from an account called @NLicense that asked the following question:

stupid

It always tickles me that these blockheads never stopped to consider their own question. Not only did they not bother to think about the answer to their own question (which no doubt in their minds can be dismissed with a simple “Because America is the best, no one suffers under capitalism” and a flippant wave of their hand) but they probably didn’t bother to consider that this is another of the bullshit cliche arguments that communists and socialists have to put up with every single day. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s an unanswerable question, even though the premise is a bit asinine. So, let’s cover this topic. Why do lots of people come to the US, and not very many leave?

Point 1

Ok, so how is it a faulty premise? Well, tons of people have tried to flee the US. Seriously. Let’s start with one of the most obvious cases. Slaves running from their “owners” to Canada. Yeah. In fact, it is estimated that 100,000 slaves ran from the US, escaping their bondage on the underground railroad.

Another aspect of the slavery portion of this answer to the above question is that millions were brought to the US against their will. The transatlantic slave trade that lasted for about 300 years brought over millions of slaves, millions of whom would die on the infamous Middle Passage, or shortly after their arrival. Families were torn apart, brother from sister, husband from wife as the United States engaged in the ugly and profit driven slave trade.

The shame of the hundreds of years of slavery is still with us. It doesn’t stop there, however.

This land, the fertile soil of North America was stolen in the first place. It is an uncommonly fertile land, with rivers, plains, fertile soil, game and natural resources. All of those? Stolen by violence by the European invaders. The native houses burned, the fields taken, the country gone. Stolen. I fail to see how the naturally occurring abundance of natural wealth that is in the US is to the credit of the people who raped, killed, slaughtered and committed genocide to get it. I fail to see how it is to the credit of capitalism how the North American continent was taken by force, and then cultivated using slave labor. But it doesn’t stop there.

What is America anyway? Its borders have changed dramatically over the past 200 years. What was 13 colonies along the coast was expanded by buying from the French what was not theirs to give. Then the US systematically stole the rest of the land too. Then it took at the very end Hawaii, a sovereign state whom we decided it was OK to visit upon with slaughter and imperialism once again. We took the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, then killed a million of them when they tried to gain independence. We attacked Cuba, and Haiti, all those people wishing to be left alone, but we visit them with weapons and hatred. Just try running from the US. They’re really good at catching people and bringing them back.

America has lived for more than 2 centuries on stolen land, ill gotten wealth, and borrowed time. And the chickens are coming home to roost. http://rt.com/usa/leaving-us-america-country-289/

Do you see the above link? Oh wait, people have been leaving the US?

Of course they are. They have been leaving for a long time. The government of course doesn’t want you to know that a lot of people are leaving, and have throughout history, but it’s true.

Now that I have destroyed the premise of this ridiculous question, let’s play a game wherein we humor the above moron. Let’s say that Americans never flee the US, they only flee socialism and communism.

Point 2

Even if that were true it wouldn’t mean that the US is a better place, a more moral place, or anything like it. See, if the US has bombed or invaded many countries in the last century, overthrown governments, supported terrorists, has a stranglehold on international business and finance, stole all their own land in the first place, built up their empire on the backs of the slaves, the Chinese, Japanese, Irish and other peoples, if they have cheated at the game from the start, murdered millions of people who dared oppose their tyranny and imperialism and hoarded all the wealth they got from exploitation and slavery, well, does that make us the best country in the world, or the worst?
I think you know what my answer would be.

If people are coming in droves to the US because we destroyed most of the rest of the damn world through colonialism, war, slavery and exploitation, does that mean we’re the best at anything other than colonialism, war, slavery and exploitation?

The world will one day be a much better place. That new age will dawn the day the United States of America collapses into the dustbin of history where it belongs with the Napoleons, the Hitlers and the Romans.

The Asian Century

Being sick and having nothing better to do at the moment, I started surfing the internet, reading articles and of course taunting a few people on twitter, as I am wont to do. I happened across an article in the Huffington Post by the senior program director at the Carnegie Council, Devin Stewart. In this article, entitled “The Asian Century Crumbles” Devin tries to dispel the idea that the age of American dominance and hegemony is coming to an end.  He cites such works as Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World” and other works as examples of a the wrong headed idea that America was declining, and that Asia was rising. He states that not only was the idea of an America in decline wrong, but that Asia isn’t doing so hot either. He states that the Asia we are seeing emerge is not one of internationalist harmony, but one of conflict and regional disputes. He describes a few problems with the idea of an “Asian century”. First he says that it can’t be because of the aforementioned territorial and nationalistic disputes, and the fact that just recently Japan, and South Korea as well as others have elected nationalist conservatives to the highest offices. China’s expanding military strength is of concern to her neighbors, he says then accusing China of destabilizing the region. However, let’s really look at the facts. The US and Western colonial powers have been instrumental in helping to create most of the instability that now exists in Asia. From the colonial possessions of India, Indonesia and others, to the carving up of China, and even the militarization of Japan, it falls largely on the shoulders of the West. Furthermore, the most threatening force in Asia, militarily has been, and still is the US. Especially with the US’s recent announcement of a “pivot” to the Asian region, now that they’ve finished completely fucking up the Middle East, is proof that the US can’t leave Asia or control of it, to the people who actually live here. No, the US is determined to now shape Asia in its image, as it has tried to do so many other places. In fact, that point comes through very clearly in his absolutely ridiculous article. The whole thing reeks of ethnocentric bias, of bullshit liberal insanity and hubris, and a good strong helping of that sickening concept known as `American Exceptionalism`. In fact, I’m going to skip the other bullshit part of his moronic article, and take a quote by him at the end that really sums up the condescending way he looks at non-Western countries. “Instead, for many decades to come, Asians will likely seek to increase their freedom and equality to accompany their growing prosperity – the universal values that define the American Century.” Really? The so called “American Century” was one that was defined by equality? We’re talking about the 20th century, right? The one that had Europe killing more people than ever? Is that the American century where, for more than half of that century the US had a system of racial segregation, lynchings and an overtly racist political system? Was that the same century where we had a Great Depression that killed off an estimated 7 million Americans thanks to the greed of Wall Street? Is this the same century that ended with millions of Americans going homeless, hungry and uneducated? Is this the same century that the US invaded tens of countries killing millions of people? How interested do you think Vietnam is in becoming a little America? How interested do you think  Iraq and Afghanistan are in becoming part of America? Universal values my ass. The only values America has ever seemed to have is a combination of arrogance and hubris. This article is the epitome of the intellectually vacuous nature of the political discourse in the US. This guy claims ten years of study in Asian politics, but I honestly think he understands less than any given person walking down the streets of Beijing, Seoul, or Tokyo. This region is growing, it is evolving and it is changing. I hate to break it to you Devin, but America is in decline. So is Europe. Your so called “democracy” has suffered faked elections, riots in the streets, assassinations, civil wars and political corruption on a grand scale. This isn’t even mentioning the torture and lack of human rights in the US and Europe, nor does it even touch the “freedom” the millions of prisoners have in the US. The whole world is moving toward equality and freedom, but it is not going to come under the star spangled banners of the west. It will come with the popular liberation of the peoples of the world, the revolutions of the proletariat that will shake of the plague of capitalism like a bad case of the fleas. And all the American Exceptionalism in the world cannot stop the forward progress of humanity. All the American hubris in the world cannot stop the destruction of the capitalist empire. All the bombs in the world can’t kill the resolve of the working class when they rise up and decide that they’ve had enough. The only universal value, is that one day the means of production will be for the benefit of all humanity, instead of just for a few. Think outside the box, and reject this wrongheaded and intellectually vapid idiocy of capitalist imperialism.

In case you want to see this moron’s idiocy for yourself, please check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devin-stewart/the-asian-century-crumble_b_2352088.html?show_comment_id=216874197#comment_216874197

Liberal Mindset

I’ve been doing some reading and studying, a lot of it. This blog is basically a place to hash out my ideas and my learning process, and share my views and thoughts with other people, namely you my valued reader. I have to admit that like all writers, I am doing this almost as much for me as I am for you. What this journey of thought and political discovery has led me to is some startling realizations about the society we live in, the state and the future of humanity. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I have all the answers. However, I think I have stumbled upon some insights that have made me rethink previous positions, and reassess how I see politics and economy a bit. So why the title of liberal mindset? Because I think that the liberal mindset of the “left” in the US is holding back the working class from realizing its real potential, and I’m going to tell you why.

Socialists for Bourgeois Government?

What is the ultimate goal of socialism? Is it to have a chicken in every pot and a house for every family? Or is it something more than that? I would venture to say that the ultimate goal of socialism is the completely change how societies are run. We aim to as Marx said, “overthrow the existing order of things”, and to establish a new society for the benefit of all, instead of just a few. Now we should take a look at the prevailing “socialist” groups in the Western world (the world with which I am the most familiar) and ask ourselves if we moving towards our goals, or away from them. Are we really achieving our objectives? I would answer no, that we aren’t coming close to realizing our goals. The reason is very simple. Take a look at the CPUSA, a political party that I some time ago used to be a member of. When I first joined that party it was the result of my political awakening, and my desire to be an advocate of communism. I wanted to work for the emancipation of the working class, and the destruction in the end of class society and the state itself. Inspired by the rousing words of the Communist Manifesto, I wanted desperately to bring about the fall of capitalism. That goal, those feelings have not changed. What changed was my awareness that the CPUSA was not what I thought it to be. The more I was involved in the organization, the more I realized that it had become the political equivalent of a stone age tool. Sure it may be interesting to look at, but it’s pretty meaningless as an actual tool for accomplishing anything practical whatsoever. I’ve talked before about their current incarnation as red-dyed democratic party cheerleaders, but I want to focus on something that just happened to accentuate why the left in the US has lost its bearings. In a recent post on their site “Peoples World” the party condemned the so called “right to work” laws that were just passed in the state of Michigan. They start out the article by stating that “By taking their first votes to pass anti-worker “right-to-work” legistlation (SIC) on Thursday (they have to wait five more days to finish the job), Michigan’s Republican Party and Gov. Rick Snyder have now resorted to open class warfare.” What the fuck are you talking about? Do you even know what class warfare is? Have you read a single goddamn page Marx? Do you know what class warfare is? The very existence of the bourgeois state is class warfare!!! The state, and yes, Democratic and Republican parties alike, are representatives of the capitalist class!!! The state only exists to advance the rights and privileges of one class over another, and it certainly isn’t a new thing. “Resorting to class warfare” is a phrase uttered by those who have no freaking clue what class warfare is, let alone a clue how to win such a war. The US is also almost completely bereft of unions, and the unions that do exist have lost their bearings as the true representatives of the workers anyway. What the CPUSA and other faux socialist organizations have done is replace their revolutionary spirit with one of acquiescence and have joined forces with a sick political system to perpetuate the capitalist state. “We can’t achieve revolution, we can’t achieve anything but crumbs from the table” they seem to be saying. They uphold Obama as the answer to their questions. OBAMA! For fucks sake this is a man that gave trillions to the banksters as a way to keep the capitalist fucking state intact and stable. They state in the article that they want a good economy, and that workers rights are essential to that aim. Oh yes, I am completely for workers rights. I really am. That’s why I am a socialist. However, in the large scheme of things the right to work laws are not really all that important. I know that I’m going to catch some hell for saying that but let’s look at the real story here. While this capitalist system exists, the unions cannot progress beyond a union mindset. They can’t, it’s not in their interest to. Think about the contradiction here. We as socialists are supposed to be pushing for the complete destruction of the capitalist state, yet you have the CPUSA fighting for its continued existence! How does that in anyway make sense? What we should realize is that the CPUSA and parties like it have a complete disconnect from the lives of workers, from the material conditions that they face, and no understanding of the modern capitalist system whatsoever. They support and defend a corrupt capitalist system at the expense of the people. They are class traitors, stabbing us in the back. They tell us that they support the workers while they do the opposite. Workers rights will not be secured by the victories in the increasingly alienated state, or by meaningless laws about unions. They will be secured by nothing else than the full goddamn emancipation of the working classes by the seizing of the means of production. These piddling little laws taken as “class warfare” -which, if you know even a little bit of Marx, you’d know is a continuous aspect of class divided society- is the height of ridiculous liberal bullshit. I’m sick of seeing supposed communists fighting little diversionary battles. What we should be fighting for is the overthrowing of the corporations, and the overthrowing of the wage slavery that funds them, not the continuation of said system. Are you content to stay in this system with its wage slavery and capitalist mode of production? Then you are not, my friend, a communist. You are at best a social democrat. And that’s being kind. What will bring about the emancipation of the working classes? It will be none other than the greed of the capitalist class the crushes the working class under its heel. When that oppression affects so many people, when their chains are too hard to bear, when they are starving and they are beaten and jailed and killed in the name of capitalism, these are the things that produce a class consciousness. It does not come as a result of welfare state politics. This liberal welfare state mindset is helping capitalism to continue, not ending it. The left has become the group of people in our societies most responsible for the perpetuation of this horrible capitalist system of wage slavery. We have become the epitome of the misled, the vacuous and misinformed masses who fight for the perpetuation of the very thing that keeps us in chains. Raising taxes on the rich will not free us, ending the so called “right to work” laws will not free us. In fact, they will keep us enslaved. We communists are for the full emancipation of the working classes, and the contradiction is that the capitalist system as it exists is not going to allow that. So what’s the answer?

Envisioning a New Society

We must realize that the only way that we are going to move forward is quite counter-intuitive. We must increase the alienation of the working classes. This means that we must let capitalists take the workers for all they’ve got so that they realize that their interests are directly opposed to the goals and motivations of the capitalist class. We must end liberalism, the force that keeps the working classes enslaved, and that means opposing a welfare state that keeps the working classes just happy enough to not revolt. The progression of economy and politics is one that must lead to the abolition of the capitalist state, and one that must lead to the abolition of the need for welfare, for taxes, for the whole capitalist state apparatus. We must work towards building a whole new society. Our so called socialists seem to have missed the entire point of Marx and Engels, and in a coming blog post I am going to take a look at Engels’ work titled “On the origin of the state” and what it means for our current understanding of contemporary politics. The point for today though is a rallying cry against the liberal bullshit that is perpetuating this evil system of enslavement, and the parties like the CPUSA that is helping them to keep their power. Down with capitalism! Down with wage slavery! Down with starvation welfare society! Down with nationalism imperialism and the people who support it! We must unite as workers to bring about the full destruction of this system, a complete overturning of the order of this society. No amount of welfare or union protecting laws is going to change that. Stay tuned comrades, there’s more to come.

Gangnam Style and Michelle Malkin

Reports are popping up online about a song that the South Korean rapper, Psy wrote that apparently called for the killing of American soldiers. Here is the alleged song in English:

Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives

Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture

Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers

Kill them all slowly and painfully”

Now it’s not surprising that Koreans hate the US military, after all we’ve been occupying their country continuously since 1950, but in reading the different reports about this song and the nationalistic idiots wringing their hands about it (“Oh dear, his music is ever so catchy but he has political sentiments I disagree with, oh dear”)

But what is more interesting than Malkin’s shrill predictable ranting about Murika and how everyone who hates the greatest country in the history of slaver-er I mean the world, should die and stuff, is the comment below the article on her site. For your amusement, and (I apologize) disgust, I present to you the best and the brightest of those who read the racist reactionary blog of Ms. Malkin

On December 7th, 2012 at 11:35 am, Dexter Alarius said:

PSY will be performing for the White House

And why not?
“Gang-nam Style” is how the Chicago thugs govern.

Get it? Because Obama’s from Chicago, and he’s black, and GANG-nam style. get it?

On December 7th, 2012 at 12:01 pm, WaterBoyz said:

Wonder if The Muslin Brotherhood will get more invitations as well?

Muslin? Isn’t that a fabric?

 

On December 7th, 2012 at 12:34 pm, NotaSlickFan said:

“GagNam” style is simply monkey noise, just like all other crap-rap. Roland, you just keep Roland with the filth. Sleep with dogs and you get fleas, lie in the muck with pigs and, well, you are obviously what you are. God bless all active and former U.S military personnel on this December 7th.

Wow. Rap is “monkey noise”. That’s not racist. At all. Not.

On December 7th, 2012 at 1:31 pm, Regulus said:

The problem all along with interposing ourselves via our military between certain countries and the real world — Europe and South Korea come immediately to mind — is that we have created the equivalent of “nation-state teenagers.”

Any fourteen-year-old is old enough and bold enough to mouth off at his parents, and to regard them as the stupidest, most un-cool people on the planet, but he’s in no position to accept any kind of adult responsibility, and doesn’t want it to boot.

A lot of our “allies” are the same way. Safe behind the guarantee that our armed forces will protect them, and unwilling to accept responsibility for their own defense, yet secure enough to trash-talk us because they think that dinner will always be ready for them on the table at the end of the day.

The “good” news is, it won’t be long before “Uncle” Sam won’t be able to afford the teenagers anymore, and they’ll be free to learn life’s adult lessons the hard way sooner than they imagine…

OK, so apparently South Korea is a bunch of teenagers who can’t take care of themselves, and the US has been babysitting them, and nobody appreciates how we’re “giving them freedom”. So we’re going to take our ball and go home.

Oh for the love of fuck, yes, please please, whatever the shitty reasoning, please take the “ball” and go home. For the love of god go home and never come back.

This my dear readers has been a slight detour into the minds of the criminally insane population in the US that unfortunately hold a lot of sway. The inmates are running the asylum, you might say. Till next time.

Some State Solution: The Problem with Israel

Some State Solution: The Problem with Israel

Is Israel, by the evidence of its history and policies, a racist, apartheid state? I would argue that for all intents and purposes, it is. That is not an assertion that should be made lightly, it is a grave charge against a state, and one that should be taken seriously. Then I must here present my reasons for labeling the state of Israel racist, and apartheid. Israel is in the news once again, as they send overwhelming firepower into the Gaza strip, punishing the Palestinians for their rocket attacks into Israel. To many people around the world, this story is quite the familiar refrain. Someone on one side starts shooting, and before you know it, the whole area is alight with rockets, missiles, bombs and gunfire. Often it would seem that people who aren’t familiar with the history of the conflict throw their hands up in exasperation. “That’s just the way that area is, they’ve been fighting for thousands of years, and they’ll keep fighting for thousands more.” That is quite an unfortunate assessment however, as there are reasons for this modern conflict, and those reasons aren’t as ancient as some would have you believe. These  problems go back to before the genesis of the state of Israel, back to the 19th century and the start of a Zionist movement.

 

The geographic area commonly called Palestine has a long and storied history, and has been the home of some of the world’s greatest religions and cultural traditions. Jerusalem is sacred to all of the Abrahamic religions, accounting for billions of believers worldwide. It has also long been a source of conflict as different religious and cultural groups vied for supremacy and control over the small sliver of land in the Middle East. That long and storied history however is far too complicated and long to include in this short essay, so it will have to suffice to begin a little more recently in the story, namely the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

 

The state of Israel was created following the end of the second World War, however the movement to create such a state began in earnest in the late 19th century. There are a number of factors that would many people sympathetic to the Zionist cause, their hope for a homeland. Jewish communities in Europe had been long subject to horrible discrimination, slander, and even mass murder. Pogram was a common word in many countries, and many died for simply being the wrong member of an ethnic and religious minority. Perhaps it was thought that if the Jews had their own homeland, that they would be free forever from the scourge of racism and religious bigotry. Centuries of antisemitism had resulted in the murder of multitudes of Jews,  the destruction of their property and their disenfranchisement from the societies they lived in. Understandably, they wanted an end to that bigotry, and an end to living in fear. The problem is that the establishment of the state of Israel as a “Jewish state” has not solved those problems. They continue to live in a world that is rocked by war, hatred and ill will. The state of Israel did not solve the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry because it is impossible to solve problems of racism by nationalist xenophobia.

So if we know that Jews were running from persecution and mass murder, some may wonder why anyone would deny them a national home where they would feel safe. A haven where they would have their culture, traditions and people protected. The answer is a simple one, and it is one whose reasons have been played out time and again in multiple different scenarios throughout history. The problem is that we’re defining “Jewish” as a cultural and religious identity, an ethnic identity, and asserting that they should have an exclusive piece of land just for them, and no one else; which does reveal some problems. How does one define what a Jew is? How far back in one’s family tree does one have to go before they are considered Jewish? Is it only a religious and cultural identity? Is there a perceived biological aspect to the identity of “Jewishness”? Why should any country be able to deny the entry or settlement of people on the basis of race, class, national origin, religion or other factors of a similar nature? Does the history of oppression of a group of people give them the right to persecute and or exclude other perceived groups of humans? Is that morally or logically tenable as a building block of national policy and identity? The question arises whether or not Israel by its history and policies is a racist, apartheid state. I would argue that for all intents and purposes, it is. That is not an assertion that should be made lightly, it is a grave charge against a state, and one that should be taken seriously. Then I must here present my reasons for labeling the state of Israel racist, and apartheid.

 

During the British Mandate of Palestine in the early 20th century, the demographics of Palestine were much different than today. That alone, of course is not grounds for worry, however the differences between now and then, and how it came to be are historically significant. The Jews returning to the Palestinian region before, during and after World War Two did not simply slip into town and join the rest of the populace living in peace. During the British Mandate of Palestine, a majority Muslim population existed side by side with Jews, Christians, Druze and other minorities. The program of returning the Jews to the ancient land of Israel increased hugely after the war, and pushed out many of the original Palestinian inhabitants. It created a humanitarian nightmare. In the 2009 book by Richard Becker titled “Palestine, Israel and the US Empire”  this time in Palestinian history is explained.  Becker describes the Irgun, a Jewish terrorist group aiming to seize the entire land of Palestine from the hands of the British, and then the Palestinians, resorted to the horrific massacre of civilians, documenting eye-witness accounts of the horror. This was part of an ethnic cleansing campaign that would dramatically change the demographics of Palestine, and would steal away land from Palestinians who had lived there for many centuries. One such massacre was in a village called Deir Yassin. Becker states “On April 9th, 1948, the Irgun wiped out the entire population of Deir Yassin. The Irgun soldiers arrived in the village and announced that the residents had 15 minutes to leave. Then the attack began. The Zionist soldiers blew up homes with their inhabitants still inside, fired at will and at close range, and committed other atrocities. When it was over, more than two hundred lay dead.” (Becker, p. 61) That campaign of terror he describes was repeated many times as they drove out the Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, causing a large humanitarian crisis. In discussing the  Palestinian right of return in Chapter 18, he mentions just how large that exodus of refugees really was. In 1948, the expulsion of almost three fourths of the Palestinian population caused 750,000 refugees, and the 1967 war led to another 300,000 refugees. (Becker) Israel took the land from the Palestinian people, and now have relegated them to tiny slivers of land in what used to be their own country. They are denied the right of return, and are forced to live within the confines of the Gaza strip and the West Bank. This is reminiscent of the regime of apartheid in South Africa that lasted until recently. Some wanted to create national homes away from the other ethnicities, to keep them separate. The population of the West Bank and Gaza now number in the millions of  people, people who still don’t have the right of return to their homes and their villages.

 

Aside from the history of the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes and villages and being forced into defacto Ghettos, what exists in the State of Israel today that would designate them an apartheid state? We only have to look at the words of Israeli politicians, and the Israeli people themselves. Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian newspaper recently revealed the results of a poll first published in the Haaretz newspaper detailing what the Israeli public thought about apartheid and the Palestinian people. She said that the poll revealed that more than two-thirds of the respondents thought that the 2.5 million residents of the West Bank should be denied the right to vote should the area be annexed. Furthermore, three out of four Israelis polled wanted separate roads for Palestinians and Israelis, and 58% of respondents already considered Israel an apartheid state. (Sherwood )  Israel has denied the Palestinians a state of their own. Israel has demanded that they hold elections, and then blockaded those who dared to vote for the party Israel didn’t approve of, causing more humanitarian crises. Israel has assassinated at will Palestinian officials, and then condemned the Palestinians for fighting back. Palestine seems to be in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of position. This all arises from the goal of establishing a state that was of, by and for one religious group, at the expense of everyone else. That bad idea has now gone on for decades, causing thousands of deaths, many of them civilians, even children.

 

The irrational fear and distrust of the Palestinian people by the Israelis is evident in the speech of their politicians. In 2008, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper, Matan Vilnai, the Israeli deputy defense minister called for a genocide stating “The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” (The telegraph) Shoah is the Hebrew word for holocaust. There have been many examples of this kind of speech.

 

In the book “Racism: A Very Short Introduction” by Ali Rattansi, he explains that racism can be based in cultural, or religious terms rather than overtly biological ones. He says “In practice, though, cultural demarcations are often drawn and used in a form that naturalizes them by implying that they are more or less immutable.” (Rattansi, p. 104) The Palestinians have been labeled as inherently violent, as incompatible for life in a society alongside the Israeli population. They have been subjected to apartheid, separated from the rest of their society for decades now, with no end in sight.

 

I believe that if we are to end the violent conflict in Palestine, we must bring about an inclusive, one state solution. We must heal the wounds, not by continuing to keep them separate, but by uniting them together into a peaceful coexistence. I believe it can be done. I think a two state solution would just legitimize the crimes of the Israeli state, and foster further resentment. Israel, in its current form as an apartheid state must end, for there to be peace again.

 

                                         CITATIONS

1)      Sherwood, Harriet. “Israeli poll finds majority would be in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies.” Guardian 23 OCT 2012, Online n. pag. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/israeli-poll-majority-apartheid-policies>.

2)      Becker, Richard. Palestine, Israel and the US Empire. 1st Ed. San Fransisco: PSL Publications, 2009. Print.

3)      Rattansi, Ali. Racism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

4)      ” Israeli minister vows Palestinian ‘holocaust’.” Telegraph 29 FEB 2008, Online n. pag. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1580339/Israeli-minister-vows-Palestinian-holocaust.html&gt;.

 

 

 

The Problem with China

Before I begin this post, I want to head off some possible criticisms, nip em in the bud, to use the common parlance. I am not promoting the US, Japan, the EU or any capitalist run system over that of China. I am not, I repeat, NOT advocating various forms of nationalist and imperialist aggression, I am simply highlighting a problem I see on the left, everywhere, and particularly in the case of China. I also want to highlight the fact that I am not an expert, I am a student, and I am still struggling with a variety of positions that I have been considering. This is meant to spark dialog, to incite discussion, and to provoke thought. Please join the conversation in the comments section below, and feel free to criticize my position on this, and really anything. If you feel I am wrong, and you want to challenge me on it, please do so, but come prepared with documentation, and sound reasoning. And since every discussion of nationalism or China is bound to cause tempers to get a little heated, please keep this a civil discussion. Attack ideas, not people. At least in this case. Now, without further ado, the question at hand.

Is China Socialist?

I understand why many revolutionary communists support the government of China. I really do. However, I feel that there is a growing current of communist thought which discourages any criticisms of China and its program, and the government that runs it. Being one of the few “socialist” countries in the world, many wish to protect the legacy of the Chinese proletarian revolution, and further the cause of socialism in the world. The problem I see, is that this is self defeating. As scientific socialists, as scholars, we should be held to a high standard of intellectual honesty. The name of a political party is not as important as the real material conditions on the ground. It doesn’t matter if the flag over them is red, yellow, blue or green. It matters how the division of labor is carried out, who is benefiting from the state, and who is running the country. When we examine China closely, we see that there have been deep and systemic problems in its model from the very start. To answer our question of whether or not China is socialist, we need to look at China’s history, and see the basis for the modern state of China, and where it is headed.

A Great Revolution

China was once called “The sick man of Asia”. It was dogged by imperialist aggression during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and under the weak and corrupt imperial government of China, it let the Western powers walk all over it. There were signs in Shanghai that read “No Chinese or dogs allowed.” China was humiliated, abused and exploited. Without going into a detailed history of China (you can study that in your own time comrades) let me just say that what China was subjected to under imperialist aggression is despicable and disgusting. The British forced opium on the people, the Americans enjoyed extraterritoriality, as did many Western powers, and China was being carved up like a Christmas ham to please the palates of the capitalists and aristocrats of the capitalist powers. The government of China was powerless to stop them. Japan also took part in this aggression, taking Chinese land and humiliating the Chinese in war and in the peace treaty that followed. (See the Treaty of Shimonoseki for more information) Japan would eventually even go as far as to massacre thousands in Nanking, and take possession of Manchuria, establishing a puppet regime there called Manchukko. What happened to China is wrong, what the imperialist did is wrong, and that can be said without reserve or any caveats.

Long story short, the Communists, led by Mao Zedong eventually helped to defeat the Japanese, and then defeated the KMT nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek. On the 1st of October, 1949, Mao declared the People’s Republic of China as a sovereign state. It was a huge victory for the people of China, and they regained their pride as a people, as a nation. Eventually even the Western powers acknowledged the rightful government of China as being in Beijing, not Taipei, and China then embarked on economic expansion that allowed it to raise millions out of poverty, and establish itself as  world power. (I realize that this is a very short version of China’s modern history, please don’t think I’m trying to be comprehensive here)

China Today

The problem is that China today has lost much of its connection to the revolution that culminated in a communist victory, and it has abandoned many of the original goals and methods of the revolution. Let’s look at some facts about China. Is it a socialist country? We will tell by the material conditions of the Chinese people, not by the mere claims of the government of China.

International corporations

International corporations have been allowed to run rampant in China, fearlessly and blatantly exploiting the Chinese people. Horrible working conditions, low pay and heavy handed control tactics have combined to create a multitude of problems that only benefits China’s ruling class. Foxconn comes to mind. China has allowed, for the benefit of the government, horrible terrible abuses of the Chinese people. These abuses include dangerous working conditions, long working hours with little or no overtime pay, suicides, and much much more. This benefits such companies as Motorola, Apple, Amazon.com and others. This kind of worker abuse is being allowed in China, and protests against it are squashed by the government.

Human Rights

The same people who protest angrily against the violations of civil liberties in the US and Europe, are the same ones who ignore horrible human rights abuses in China. Unfair trials, massive use of the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, censorship of radio, TV, the internet and newspapers and every other possible medium, China is not upholding the rights of  human beings in their country. The suppression of the people means that they are losing the support of the people, and are undermining the validity of the revolution they claim to be continuing. (Once again, before I get inundated with “the US does it too” note that I don’t consider the US a socialist country either.) You cannot claim to be the voice of the people, when you crush protests, throw political opponents in prison, censor all media that dares criticize the actions of the government and kills thousands of Chinese citizens every year. That is not the work of socialism.

The rulers of the Chinese communist party have established themselves as the bourgeoisie in China. They have allowed capitalism to spring up, they have ignored the contradictions in their ideology, and they are building the fall of the people’s republic. They have established a state capitalist form of economics, and one that has abused and betrayed millions of Chinese. The Chinese communist party has become a end unto itself, for its own power. There is no accountability, there is no transparency, there is no democracy, and it is NOT a socialist country. It once was, it once had the promise of socialism, but has now thrown that out the window. It has sold its soul for entrance to the WTO and the capitalist club, and it cares not about the material conditions of the Chinese people.

I am fully aware that I am going to catch hell from some of my comrades for expressing this opinion. I fully understand that some think that it is more important to support China,than criticize it. However, if we cannot criticize, we cannot think, and if we cannot think, then why are we communists at all?

Communism must be democratic, it must uphold economic equality, it must uphold the people as the ruler, not a government that is beyond criticism. We will not achieve communism by handing over the lives of our people to corporations, but by handing over the means of production to the working class. I will not continue to support the Chinese government. It silences dissent from the left, those who dare to push for economic equality and rights for workers are silenced, that is not socialism. China has become a country that is ruled by those who are communists in name only. If we cannot admit that China is no longer socialist, if we cannot think critically about China, then we should just throw in the towel now. China is ruled by the bourgeoisie of China. Party members who run state corporations are becoming millionaires at the expense of the workers. This must not stand. China needs to change course, it needs to acknowledge these problems, instead of diverting attention by attacking its neighbors with territorial claims and stoking nationalist hysteria. China has already fallen to capitalism. It is not upholding socialism. If we are to be communists, we must be honest.

In conclusion, China is not socialist. It is not democratic. It is not free. It is not what it purports itself to be. Until the working class is truly in control of the government, and the means of production, it is not a socialist country. State ownership in and of itself is meaningless. What matters is who runs the state, and who benefits from that ownership. What do you think? Is China a socialist country? Am I overreacting? Bring your argument. Let’s talk about this.

 

 

 

Tattoos, Japan, and Hashimoto

It may seem a bit frivolous to write on this rather political blog about tattoos in Japan. After all, this is a political blog, and most people would wonder (at least in the English speaking world) what the hell tattoos have to do with politics. In Japan though the issue of tattoos is currently a small manifestation of a much larger problem. Before we cover the political implications of this story, let’s cover briefly how tattoos are viewed in Japan, as it will be important to understanding this problem

Irezumi & Japan

Irezumi is Japanese for tattoo. It has a connotation of the flowery swirling artistic tattoos replete with crashing waves and jumping carp. Many people around the world will be familiar with this type of art, having seen it in one place or another before. The problem is that in Japan tattoos of any kind are associated with Yakuza, Japan’s famous mobsters. Yakuza are known in Japan for having extensive body tattoos that cover much of their bodies. Because of this connotation, different businesses ban anyone with tattoos altogether. Many public baths, hot springs, swimming pools and other businesses will deny entry to people who are tattooed. There is still a social stigma against the body art. The younger generations though, have a different view of tattoos. Like many old attitudes in Japan, the social stigma against tattoos is not as strong as it used to be. However, that doesn’t stop some old fashioned people from trying to use the old stigma to their advantage.

Enter Hashimoto

 

Toru Hashimoto (橋本徹)used to be the youngest governor of a prefecture in Japan, when he was Governor of Osaka Prefecture. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Osaka, leading his new local political party, the “Osaka Restoration Association.” A hardline nationalist, he has made huge waves ever since he entered politics by being a lot bolder compared to many of his older and more reserved colleagues. However, it’s not just his youthful demeanor that is catching the world’s attention.; it’s also his right wing policies.  While one thing he did was good (opposing the reactivation of nuclear power plants in Japan) many of his actions since being in politics makes one wonder. He recently forced all Osaka teachers to sing the national anthem “Kimi ga yo” that many have a problem with. Kimi Ga Yo is a remnant of the emperor worshiping past when Japan was attempting to colonize all of Asia. He is fighting to prevent municipal employees from engaging in any political activity, denying them their constitutional right to participate in their government and their communities. His most recent one though, is the most bizarre. He is making city employees take surveys, asking them if they have any tattoos in any place that might possibly be visible at any time. If the workers do have tattoos, they are to get the removed. He has threatened that all who refuse to answer the survey will not only be denied any promotions or raises, but may also be  suspended.

Why this Story?

You may be wondering why I’m blogging about this issue. Surely most of the world doesn’t care about tattoo policies for public servants in Osaka, Japan. This is important, because it is, I believe, very indicative of the problems that Japan faces.

Japan is facing a tough time of it, and the future is not looking too bright for many of its citizens. Due to one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Japan’s population is shrinking. This means that , along with their extraordinarily high life expectancy, that their society is rapidly ageing. With more people leaving the workforce, and not nearly as many people entering  it to replace them, Japan faces a monumental demographic problem. This could cause very dire problems for the Japanese not too far down the road.

Japan is littered with US military bases. From Sasebo, to Okinawa, to Yokosuka, to Misawa, thousands upon thousands of US military personnel are stationed there. The people of Japan want them gone, but the government continues to ignore the cries of the oppressed people such as the citizens of Okinawa who have put up with a heavy military presence since the end of World War II. Rapes, assaults and environmental disasters have marked the long visit of the Americans, and there is no end in sight.

Japan is facing energy problems left and right. The price of gasoline is going through the roof as Japan struggles to keep its lights on. All of its nuclear power plants deactivated, Japan is mostly surviving on the power of oil for its power. Even before the nuclear crisis, Japan was using far too much oil. They need to transition to clean, safe, affordable and renewable energy to meet the needs of the Japanese people.

I raised all these issues to make a point. Just like in other countries like the US or the UK, reactionary politicians are using trivial, unimportant hullabaloos to gain popular support, all while the country sinks further into trouble. While the Japanese people are facing terribly important decisions, the Japanese government, with nationalists like Hashimoto play the fiddle while Osaka burns. Instead of focusing on really addressing the problems that Japan faces, he prefers to attack innocent city workers for the non-crime of having tattoos. I hope the Japanese people reject this idiocy, and demand substance from their politicians. They need to rise up and tell the likes of Hashimoto that they will not be bullied, they will not be intimidated, and they want results from their government. He is restricting civil and human rights with these policies and he must be stopped. He is not good for Japan, he is another self-serving careerist who wants nothing more than to stroke his own narcissistic ego and hold more power. Unless Japan starts demanding a change in their useless government, they may not like the changes that are coming. When you keep putting off your problems instead of facing them, you’re just making things worse.

 

 

Armed Revolution?

They tell you to vote. They tell you that matters, that democracy will win out in the United States of America, and that it is the only way to achieve progress. I understand, we would all like for the world to be perfect, and for political differences to be argued like the statesmen of old, instead of bloody, violent revolution. Some people won’t stand for that. You see, they talk about the market place of ideas, of freedom, of human rights, but they’re the biggest hypocrites on earth. They won’t allow anything other than their Christian fascist idea of America, not even if it is slightly nudged a tiny bit left by neo-liberals. For all their rhetoric about freedom, they only care about the freedom they tell you that you can have. Of course, that’s contradictory, but their not the best at realizing their own cognitive dissonance. To the point:

People for the American Way have reported that a GOP group has called for an armed revolution should Obama get reelected in November. Not, let’s regroup and fight another day in the voting booth, no, an armed revolution to overthrow the United States Government. Ironically these crazy conservatives are the same one who supposedly worship the US constitution. Here, I’ll let these fascists speak for themselves:

The newsletter by the way is the “Constitutional Conservatives” from Stanardsville, Virgina. In a column called “Whitehouse Watchdog”, editor Ponch McPhee (the hell kind of name is that anyway? Ponch?) states the following:

“We have before us a challenge to remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.

An individual who has come to power within a Nation which yields it’s strength over the entire world.

An elected leader who shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might.

In the coming days and weeks ~ we the people must come to grasp as a common force, our very soul’s, that our future as a sovereign nation is indeed at risk.

If every single individual that you know, would contact 25 other individuals ~ we can make a difference that will be heard across the Commonwealth and in Washington.

The ultimate task for the people is to remain vigilant and aware ~ that the government, their government is out of control, and this moment, this opportunity, must not be forsaken, must not escape us, for we shall not have any coarse (SIC)  but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November ~ This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.”

He cries bitter tears because the nation is not bowing down far enough to his personal interpretation of the bible, his moronic economic references, and high conservative platitudes topped with an icing of ridiculously outrageous hyperbole. He ends the idiotic rant by calling for an armed revolution to overthrow the government should Obama win again. Now, as the faithful readers of my humble blog will know, I am no fan of Obama, nor am I voting for him in November. However, I think the GOP consistently overplays its hand. It thinks it represents, and speaks for every American. If they start an armed revolution, they just might find out how true that’s not. You want an armed revolution in the US? To make it even more right wing? Give it a shot, I’ll sit back and laugh while you plunge the US into bloody conflict and division it may never recover from. There’ll be plenty of leftists who want it too, but I don’t think they realize that. That’s not surprising since these Christofascist morons can’t see beyond the ends of their collective individualist noses, let alone foresee what would happen if a violent civil war broke out in the country. Links to stories and newsletter below:

Sources: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/gop-newsletter-calls-armed-revolution-if-obama-re-elected

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/greene-county-virginia-gop-obama-revolution_n_1501510.html

http://gcrcgop.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/march2012.pdf

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