The Catalan Coup Chronicles 24 September 2017: The Catalans Keep On Keepin’ On

The state crackdown on the Catalan drive to vote on their future on October 1st, coincides with what is perhaps Barcelona’s most important festival, that of the Mercé (the Feast of our Lady of Mercy), which signals the traditional end of the summer season.

It is celebrated with the parading of papier maché giants (gegants) through the streets and a breathtaking exhibition of human towers (castellers) in the rather small Saint James Plaza (La Plaça Sant Jaume) in the heart of the old city, where both Barcelona City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat (The seat of Catalan Government) are located.

If you have never seen an exhibition of castellers (human tower making) you should really go on YouTube and take a look.

Catalans see this practice as being deeply emblematic of who they are as people in that it places enormous emphasis on what they often refer to as their exaggerated bent toward associacionisme, which could be roughly translated as their compulsive need to join together in voluntary civic organizations of a decidedly multi-generational configure to celebrate their culture, and more simply, the art of living together in joy and solidarity.

There are casteller clubs or collas, located all around the country, where people practice all year round to perfect this physically grueling, technically demanding, patience-challenging, and at times, dangerous, form of collective art.

At last reports, all was going smoothly with the Mercé in the face of the enormous pressures being unleashed upon the city by the central government. Indeed, like the stoic and patient castellers they are gathering to watch, the people appear to be reveling in their ability to hold out with grace and smiles on their faces upon their faces in the face of this unwanted outside force from the centralist authoritarians.

As reported yesterday, the Spanish government sent representatives to Barcelona to convince the head of the Catalan police force (Els mossos d’Esquadra) to cede his command to the dictates of the central government. He has refused to do so.

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Largest Newspaper in Spain Blames Russia and for Catalonia Pro-Independence News

Providing still more graphic proof of its pathetic and truly cringeworthy descent from the status of a great liberal paper to that of a shameless corporatist rag dominated by baseless Atlanticist talking points, Madrid’s El País has recently suggested that behind the current drive for a vote on independence in Catalonia there there can be found the diabolical hand of Putin’s Russia. In a story that appeared yesterday on the El Pais website, David Alandete wrote:

“The same apparatus for the spreading of fake news that Russia has used to weaken the United States and the European Union, has been deployed in full force in Catalonia, according to a detailed analysis of Pro-Russian websites and Facebook profiles carried out by this newspaper with tools of digital analysis. In the wake of the covert campaigns in favor of Brexit, Marine Le Pen and the German Ultra-right, the Kremlin has come to see the Catalan independentist movement as yet another way to deepen European divisions and consolidate its international influence. They use webpages that publish rumors, activists like Julian Assange, a legion of bots, and millions of automatized pages on social media to insure that lies are shared millions of times on the web.”

But the brilliant journalist at Spain’s leading newspaper was not content to stop with this morsel of infantile thinking.

Casting his eyes across the Atlantic toward the libertarian website, One of the very few media outlets in the United States which has covered the Spanish government’s ongoing coup in Catalonia, Alandete suggested that the site and its most important writer, Justin Raimondo, were integral parts of Putin’s efforts to undermine the West’s hallowed democracies.

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The Only Thing You Need To Know About ‘The Vietnam War’

The Vietnam War” began airing on PBS this week.

But, besides the fact it was not legally a “war,” THIS – directly from the lips of Vietnam “War” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara – is the only thing you need to know about it…

Mr. McNamara, didn’t you ever read a history book?” – The Fog of War

The Vietnam War: A Tragic Mistake?

I’ve watched the first three episodes of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series on the Vietnam War, which take us from the French colonial period beginning in the 19th century to the end of 1965 and a mushrooming U.S. military commitment. The narrative thread, it seems to me, is the notion of the war as a tragic mistake, most especially for the United States.

The series begins with a voice-over that suggests the war was begun in good faith by America, even as other American voices in the series suggest otherwise. I kept a notebook handy and jotted down the following notes and thoughts as the series progressed:

  1. There were divisions among the Vietnamese people, but they were more or less united by one idea: resist the foreign invaders/occupiers, whether that foreign presence was French, Japanese, the French again, American, or (both earlier and later) Chinese. And there’s no doubt Ho Chi Minh would have won a democratic election, as promised at Geneva. Which is exactly why that election never came.
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Presidential Bomb Threats at the UN

Donald Trump denounced North Korea and its president Kim Jong-un as "depraved" before the United Nations Sept. 19, saying the nation "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life." Of course North Korea can barely feed itself, and yet has to defend itself against an onslaught of Western hostility, UN sanctions, and ongoing US/South Korean war games which are rehearsals for an invasion of the North. It tests rockets and bombs to be sure, just as the US and its allies and adversaries do all year round. It’s big business.

Trump’s claim that North Korea is threatening is preposterous since it has no deliverable nuclear weapons at all. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that North Korea is no danger to the United States. In June 2016, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that Pyongyang may have between 13 and 21 warheads. The CIA, whose job it is find hostile weapons (even where they don’t exist) says Pyongyang has at most about 21. US intelligence agencies’ combined estimates are that while it may have miniaturized a nuclear warhead, North Korea has no missile that can drop them on the United States. The Federation of American Scientists is more skeptical and estimates it has "potentially produce[d] 10-20 nuclear warheads."

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