Trump booed at baseball, establishment hates that

This 28 October 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Lock him up‘: Trump greeted with boos at World Series

Donald Trump was booed loudly when he was shown on the video screens in the Nationals Park stadium where he attended game five of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.

Trump left the game with one inning to go.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Trump’s booing at the World Series makes Democrats and the media nervous

31 October 2019

Donald Trump was loudly booed Sunday when he was introduced to the crowd during the fifth game of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Video footage shows many in the crowd of 41,000 standing up and jeering the president. According to the Washington Post, the noise level hit “almost 100 decibels. Chants of ’Lock him up’ and ‘Impeach Trump’ then broke out.” Signs and a banner calling for his impeachment were later displayed.

Determining how much of a cross-section of the American population the Washington crowd represented is a futile—and unnecessary—endeavor. Trump received only 4 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia in 2016, but no doubt many of the attendees reside in suburbs and outlying districts.

In any event, there is nothing astonishing about Trump’s reception on Sunday. The current president, due to his criminality, brutality and fascistic ravings and policies, is one of the most widely despised political leaders in American history. Generally, Trump, like most authoritarian or would-be authoritarian figures, strongly prefers to appear only in thoroughly vetted or politically secured venues. ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers pointed out on Twitter that this was the first DC sports event for Trump and “a rare public appearance for him at a place in DC that is a) not the White House b) not a federal building c) not owned by him”. After this mortifying experience, the president is not likely to show his face again in an unvetted public place any time soon.

In the end, however, like many other unprecedented or startling events occurring in the US at present, the World Series incident was not truly or simply “about Trump”. In fact, virtually the entire American political, media and corporate establishment is wildly unpopular. The grotesque social inequality, mass destruction of decent jobs and pensions, calamitous results of health care and education for profit, decades of neocolonial war and bleak prospects for tens of millions of young people have combined to undermine belief and confidence in the capitalist system and its political front men.

It was this latter element, the pervasive popular disaffection and the danger it signifies, that caught the attention of and seriously troubled certain politicians and commentators in the wake of the jeering and heckling in Washington. For such individuals, the sight of large numbers of people on their feet training their anger directly at the top political official in the country clearly conjured up scenes of mass action that frightened them. In other words, although Sunday night’s event was not an act of “open rebellion” by any stretch of the imagination, the “overreaction” to it by the more politically sensitive was a correct anticipation of what they know must be coming.

The Democratic Party has been carrying out a hysterical, filthy, right-wing campaign against Trump, claiming that Russian “interference” in the 2016 election propelled him into the White House, arguing that his policies in the Middle East endanger America’s “national security” and enlisting the CIA and sections of the Pentagon to help oust him from office. All of this has been aimed at preempting a genuinely popular movement against Trump, a movement that would inevitably raise social issues and social demands, including the burning questions of immigration, jobs, democratic rights and war.

The Democrats’ impeachment effort has had the most carefully circumscribed and fraudulent aims because nothing terrifies them more than the prospect of a movement breaking away from their control, a social tidal wave from which they themselves would not escape. In Sunday night’s incident they saw the potential of their worst nightmare coming true.

The first time a US president was jeered at a World Series game is worth recalling. It happened to Republican Herbert Hoover, in the midst of the Great Depression, when he showed up in Philadelphia at Game 3 of the 1931 World Series between the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Writing in the New York World-Telegram, Joe Williams described the scene: “Someone boos. Or it may be a whole section which surrenders to this spontaneous, angry impulse. In any event, the boos rise from the stands and break with unmistakable vehemence around your ears. They grow in volume and pretty soon it seems almost everybody in the park is booing.

“They are booing the President of the United States…

“This must be the first time a President ever has been booed in public, and at a ball game of all places. There is something about a ball game that is supposed to make everybody kin and it’s a high honor to sit in on a ball game where the President becomes a fan, just as you and I.”

The event was correctly seen to have a certain symbolism, occurring during the championship series of “America’s national pastime”. Later, it was viewed as a portent of vast popular discontent.

This is what perturbs the Democratic and media critics of Trump’s hecklers.

The general approach of these elements was to chastise the DC crowd for their lack of “civility”, for the “disrespect” they showed the office of the presidency, etc.

Right-wing Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, the “business-friendly” state that is home to more than one million corporations, including hundreds of thousands of shell companies set up to avoid taxes, offered one of the most noxious responses.

Speaking to CNN anchor John Berman October 28, Coons commented, “I’m enough of a sort of traditionalist about our institutions that even at a time when there is a lot that our president does that I find disturbing, offensive, unconventional, I have a hard time with the idea of a—of a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting ‘lock him up’ about our president. I, frankly, think the office of the president deserves respect even when the actions of our president, at times, don’t.

Coons went on, “It reminds me of things that happen in countries where rule of law is unknown or unestablished and, you know, sort of whipping up public furor on both sides, I don’t think is constructive or helpful. … That’s why I think those of us in the Senate need to approach the impeachment process seriously in a measured and responsible way because our very institutions—our Constitution is at risk by these sorts of—the passions that have been unleashed by the politics of the moment.”

Responding to his many critics, Coons published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post (“‘Lock him up’? We’re better than that”) the following day. He expanded on his themes, again insisting that all opposition to Trump had to be mobilized behind the Congressional Democrats’ impeachment initiative, which has been organized around questions of foreign policy and American imperialist interests.

The Delaware Senator claimed that “in the United States, we don’t simply lock up politicians we disagree with, and we shouldn’t chant about wanting to either. If a president does commit a crime—particularly ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’—the Constitution provides us with a specific process to follow, which the House is now appropriately exploring with its impeachment inquiry.

“As citizens, we can—and should—oppose the president’s bad policies, words and behavior at every turn with all the passion we can muster. But in doing so, we shouldn’t copy his style and his tactics, which are designed with one outcome in mind: division.”

Coons worried out loud about the damage that might be done to “the institution of the presidency” and urged “everyone to remember—especially now—the difference between one president and the presidency. We’re free to criticize the former but should be careful to protect the latter.”

One of the motives for the impeachment drive is the conviction of Trump’s opponents that his lawlessness and recklessness are further discrediting, destabilizing and undermining the institutions that have underpinned bourgeois society in America for, in Coons’ words, “nearly 250 years.”

Michael Cohen, writing in the Boston Globe, noted that “the whole episode has given me a palpable feeling of apprehension about the increasingly dark place to which are politics have moved—and where they are still headed. … It’s hard to see any path forward that doesn’t lead to more enmity and greater, more intense division.”

The Week’s Damon Linker wrote, “We are a single country, a single nation, a single people. This people is deeply, rancorously, polarizingly divided at the present moment. How we might diminish our divisions and the hostility we feel for each other is an extremely important, and exceedingly difficult, question to answer.” Bloomberg opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein argued that those chanting for Trump to be locked up were guilty of “spreading lawlessness” because “calling for your political opponents to be jailed without due process is an authoritarian strategy, even when liberals do it.”

A contributing writer at The Atlantic, Peter Wehner, observed that “it’s perhaps worth recognizing that this wasn’t a one-off, an isolated occurrence. It was a fairly innocent manifestation of a worrisome trend. We’re caught in a downward spiral of antipathy and enmity. Trump is the individual most responsible for this ugly state of affairs. But those of us who oppose him shouldn’t act in ways that unnecessarily create more hostility, more friction, and less understanding. We need to find ways to calm our passions rather than to inflame them. We need to find ways to create more temperate zones.”

CNN’s Chris Cillizza asserted that “even if giving Trump a taste of his own medicine not only makes you feel better but is also the only way to beat him, there are consequences to accepting and internalizing the lowered standards he has pushed into our public sphere.” Steven Petrow in USA Today headlined his comment, “Don’t follow the president’s lead: Chanting ‘lock him up’ isn’t OK,” and argued, “What I am strongly suggesting is: Don’t play dirty ball like Donald Trump.”

This nonsense was echoed by Jennifer Weiner in the New York Times: “If we’ve got to smear and slime and meme and mock our way to victory, who will we be after we’ve won? When does a necessary evil become just evil?”

What upsets all these people, in the final analysis, is the thought of masses of people taking matters into their hands, outside the established channels, including the “authoritative” media outlets.

On Morning Joe, NBC’s morning news and talk show, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (daughter of the late imperialist strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski) angrily tut-tutted about the hostile reception to Trump. Scarborough absurdly repeated several times that the booing of the president was “un-American”, while his sidekick described it as “startling and sad” and “sickening”. Scarborough went on, “We are Americans, and we do not do that. We do not want the world hearing us chant—’Lock him up!’—to this president or any president.” As events unfold and popular opposition finds its voice and footing, Scarborough and others are likely to find many other opportunities for registering shock at what Americans will “do”.

The shock and surprise of the media in the face of Trump’s public humiliation is one expression of the vast social and moral gulf in the US. These people, Democrats or Republicans, are doing very well for themselves and cannot imagine popular outrage under the present conditions.

The specter of social upheaval is haunting the American ruling elite and its hangers-on. A few comments beneath articles on the World Series booing pointed in this direction. One read, “Frankly Trump is lucky that we live in a country with no experience constructing guillotines.” Another wrote: “Trump is fortunate he’s guarded. Otherwise, the populace may have reenacted the French Revolution.”

Indeed, images of the storming of the Bastille, the invasion of the Tuileries palace and the operation of the guillotine must keep America’s more thoughtful rulers up at night. And rightly so.

French writer Alphonse de Lamartine described the popular hostility to the French royal family in June 1791, after their attempt to escape the grasp of the great revolution failed and they were returned to Paris. “The crowd”, Lamartine wrote, continually increased as Louis XVI “passed along, and all the concentrated passions of the city, of the Assembly, of the press, and the clubs, raged with redoubled intensity amongst this population of the environs of Paris. Their passions were written on their faces, though their very violence kept them in check. Indignation and contempt seemed to stifle anger itself, and their insults were only muttered in low, sullen tones. The populace wore a sinister, but not a furious aspect: a thousand eyes glanced death at the royal carnages, but no voice uttered the word.

“This cold-blooded hate did not escape the notice of the king. … From time to time the more violent of the mob broke through the line, pushed aside the horses, and reaching the very door of the carriage, clambered up the steps. These men, in whom no trace of pity was visible, stared in silence upon the king, the queen, and the dauphin, seeming to meditate the very worst of crimes, and to gorge their hatred upon the humiliation of royalty. A few charges of the gendarmerie would then reestablish order for a short time, and thus the cortege proceeded, amid the clashing of sabres and the cries of the men trampled under the feet of the horses.”

Such is the fate of decadent and reactionary ruling classes and rulers.

Juli Briskman, who famously flipped off Trump’s motorcade in a viral 2017 photo, won her race for a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia. Briskman, fired from her job as a marketing executive in the photo aftermath, unseated eight-year incumbent Republican Suzanne Volpe. [HuffPost]

Whoopie Goldberg had to tell ‘The View’ audience to stop booing Trump Jr.

Aruban baseball player Bogaers boycotts Trump

This 14 July 2018 Major League Baseball video from the USA says about itself:

Watch Bogaerts’ walk-off grand slam, Red Sox comeback

Xander Bogaerts caps off the Red Sox amazing comeback over the Blue Jays with a grand slam.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Dutch national team baseball player Bogaerts says no to Trump after grandslam home run

A month after Xander Bogaerts became the best-earning athlete in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with his new mega contract at Boston Red Sox, he hit a grand slam home run in Major League Baseball for the fifth time in his career.

The Aruban did so on Sunday night in the eighth inning of the game against the Chicago White Sox, thereby leading his team to a 9-2 victory. Bogaerts hit the ball over the fence with all three bases occupied.

Bogaerts will not go to White House

After the game, Bogaerts again made a statement by stating that he will not go to the White House on Thursday, where his team will be honoured by President Donald Trump for winning the World Series last year. …

A number of other players and coach Alex Cora are not going either. Cora protests against Trump’s statements about hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico. The American president denied that thousands of people had died in that natural disaster.

In recent years, nearly half of the invited sports teams – such as [American football] Super Bowl winner Philadelphia Eagles – boycotted the White House out of discontent with Trump and his policies. National Basketball Association champions Golden State Warriors were also critical of Trump and were not even invited in advance.

KENNY STILLS CALLS OUT DOLPHINS OWNER FOR TRUMP FUNDRAISER Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills has publicly criticized Stephen M. Ross, the team’s chairman of the board and managing general partner, for his decision to host a fundraiser for President Trump’s reelection campaign. [HuffPost]

Donald Trump’s economic war on Cuba

This 9 April 2019 video from TIME magazine in the USA says about itself:

The Trump administration is moving to end a deal allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with [United States] Major League Baseball organizations.

By Alexander Fangmann in the USA:

Trump administration escalates threats against Cuba

20 April 2019

On Wednesday, in a set of twin events presided over by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced its reversal of a policy shared by Democratic and Republican administrations alike for nearly a quarter of a century by imposing a set of draconian economic sanctions against Cuba.

In addition to reversing a number of Obama-era measures loosening economic restrictions against Cuba, the administration is ending the regular waivers of Title III of the anti-Cuban Helms-Burton Act, which provides penalties even for non-US citizens and companies conducting business on the island. Title III, which has been continuously waived every six months by US presidents since the law was signed by Bill Clinton, authorizes US nationals to sue persons or companies for damages in US courts if they are found to be “trafficking” in property confiscated by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The statements of the two US officials, and Bolton’s in particular, delivered to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association near Miami, made clear that Washington’s ongoing actions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are part of an effort to re-impose the absolute dominance of US imperialism in the Western hemisphere. It is also part of the anti-socialist campaign launched by Trump and the Republican Party in an attempt to whip up support among the far right in advance of the 2020 elections.

Pompeo told a State Department press conference that the full provisions of Title III would take effect May 2. Those sued could have assets in the US seized in recompense or have US travel visas denied or revoked. Justifying the new measures in relation to Cuba’s support for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Pompeo said, “Cuba’s behavior in the Western Hemisphere undermines security and stability of countries throughout the region, which directly threatens United States national security interests.”

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier said at the press conference that 6,000 Title III claims have already been certified, with a potential for up to 200,000. The 6,000 claims already certified have a stated value of $8 billion. Notably, Title III claims have to be for confiscated property worth over $50,000, and the law mandates a $6,700 filing fee, shattering any pretense that this measure would benefit any but the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

Among the highest claims certified so far are those of Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola and Office Depot. Should they prevail in US courts, they would reap their rewards through the seizing of the US assets of foreign companies, mostly European and Canadian, operating in Cuba, exacerbating already sharp global trade tensions.

Pompeo said, “Those doing business in Cuba should fully investigate whether they are connected to property stolen in service of a failed communist experiment.”

Following the announcement, representatives of Canada and the EU, among Cuba’s biggest trade partners, issued a joint statement, saying, “The decision by the United States to renege on its longstanding commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act is regrettable, and will have an important impact on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.” They also stated they would be challenging the US action through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution framework.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, noting, “As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the application of unilateral trade laws with extraterritorial character, since they violate the norms of international law.”

Other measures announced include a reduction in the amount of remittances Cuban residents of the US are able to send to their families on the island to $1,000 every three months. Under Obama, restrictions on remittances had been lifted entirely, and while average remittances are around $200 per month, the restrictions will have serious repercussions for numerous families as well as small businesses, which have relied on such remittances essentially as a form of foreign investment.

Pompeo also said that the US would be shutting down travel to Cuba for anything but family visits, eliminating several categories of travel that had been authorized by the Obama administration, which would now require authorization from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This is expected to have an effect on American tourism to the island, and will reduce family visits by Cubans and Cuban-Americans as airlines eliminate flights and raise fares in response to decreasing demand.

Another measure will ban so-called “U-Turn” transactions through which the Cuban government indirectly accesses the US financial system by making transactions in third-party countries.

Additionally, five Cuban entities will be added to the list that prohibits direct financial transactions with US companies. The only one named so far is Aerogaviota, an airline founded by the Cuban military.

The net effect of all these restrictions will be to further squeeze the Cuban economy, which is already facing shortages of energy and other imports resulting from slow growth, as well as falling deliveries of subsidized fuel from Venezuela. The hope, especially in regard to Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, is to discourage companies from doing business in Cuba or encourage them to exit. The strategy is, essentially, to starve the island into submission.

The political character of the actions of the Trump administration were made especially clear by Bolton’s appearance at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, near Miami, where he spoke to a group of ultra-right Cuban exiles celebrating the 58th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, an abortive CIA-led effort to overthrow the Castro government using an army of right-wing Cuban exiles. He ludicrously compared the counterrevolutionary band, which surrendered en masse to the Cuban military after a day of fighting, to “the brave men of Bunker Hill, Belleau Wood and Normandy.”

Referring to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as the “troika of tyranny”, Bolton’s speech was loaded with blood curdling anti-socialist rhetoric reminiscent of the height of the Cold War. Saying that “the twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere”, Bolton said it was time to “reverse the consequences of disastrous Obama-era policies and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”

Bolton also stated, “Today, we proudly proclaim for all to hear: the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well”, referring to the historic US policy of claiming unfettered dominance over the Americas.

Perhaps most provocatively, he appealed to the ultra-right elements in attendance to be prepared for a confrontation with the growing socialist sentiments in the US itself, saying, “We will need your help in the days ahead. We must all reject the forces of communism and socialism in this hemisphere—and in this country.”

RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED ON U.S. TRAVEL TO CUBA The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Cuba this week, including banning all U.S. travel to the island for tourism in response to the Cuban government’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. [HuffPost]

On Tuesday, the US government published new rules restricting cruise ships as well as some types of educational tours from traveling to Cuba. The aim is to exacerbate an economic crisis on the island: here.

Anti-Cuban Donald Trump’s war on baseball?

This video says about itself:

Baseball Fiesta in Barcelona 1992 – Summer Olympics

Cubans play baseball just as Brazilians play soccer – it’s their national sport. Pick any street in Havana and you are as likely to see impromptu games taking place as you are to see locals walking to the shops.

The sport was introduced to the island by American sailors back in the 1860s. Banned during the first Cuban War of Independence from Spanish rule in 1869 because Cubans began to prefer it to bullfighting, the baseball ban only increased interest in the sport.

Baseball became a symbol of Cuban freedom and independence and even former President Fidel Castro was known to pitch a few balls from the mound in his day.

Cuban baseball players are among the best in the world. The national team became Olympic champions three times. So, the biggest baseball competition in the world, Major League Baseball in the USA, wants Cuban players. However, for a long time, Cuban-United States relations were very bad. That meant Cuban players could only travel to the US, eg, via Mexican criminal gangs extorting them.

Under the Obama administration, there was some improvement in US-Cuban relations. However, Donald Trump has ruined much of that improvement. In spite of that, the baseball federations of both countries did not give up, and have an agreement now.

After United States President Donald Trump’s war on American football … after Trump’s war on United States basketball … now Trump‘s war on United States baseball?

From the Washington Post in the USA:

MLB, Cuban Baseball Federation reach agreement; Trump administration signals it has issues with deal

19 December 2018

Major League Baseball on Wednesday reached a historic agreement with Cuba’s baseball federation, modeled after those with leagues in Japan and Korea, that would regulate and streamline the entry of Cuban players coming to the U.S., the league announced. But it remains to be seen whether the Trump administration’s harder line against the Cuban government leaves room for the agreement to work in practice.

The agreement, the result of years of negotiations between MLB, the MLB Players Association and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), is designed to end decades of fraught relations between MLB and Cuba and eliminate the need for Cuban players to defect. …

However, a State Department spokesman said that players will have to travel to a third country to apply for a visa, like other Cuban nationals, per current U.S. policy.

Video of US President Roosevelt walking

This video from the USA says about itself:

15 mei 2014

Jimmie DeShong motion picture film featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt arriving by car and walking to stands during the July 7, 1937 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.

1937, black and white, 8mm, silent
Running Time: [02:51]
Production: James (Jimmie) DeShong Home Movie
From: Audio-Visual Collection (MG 254), M0254_0000_0000_0001, Pennsylvania State Archives
Copyright: 2014 PA State Archives

Identifiable players and other figures in order as they appear at Griffith Stadium

July 7, 1937 All-Star Baseball Game players and dignitaries:
Joe McCarthy – manager of American League team
Jo-Jo Moore – NY Giants
Charlie Gehringer – Tigers
Lefty Grove – Red Sox
Spud Chandler – Yankees #13
Lou Gehrig – Yankees #4
Jimmie Foxx – Red Sox
Lefty Gomez – Yankees
Red Rolfe – Yankees
Hank Greenberg – Tigers
Beau Bell – St. Louis Browns
Sam West – St. Louis Browns
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis – Commissioner of Baseball
Eddie Collins – General Manager of the Boston Red Sox and former player
Tom Yawkey – Owner of the Boston Red Sox
Carl Hubbell – NY Giants
Dizzy Dean – Cardinals

Parade into ballpark:
Boy Scouts
FDR in convertible car
FDR walking into Griffith Stadium stands

See also here.

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Henry Ford, cars and anti-Semitism

This video from the USA is called JEWS & BASEBALL – about Henry Ford (2010).

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Henry Ford: a life not for celebrating

Monday 28th October 2013

Peter Frost refuses to join those paying tribute this year to various significant dates in the life of the world’s most famous car-maker

The life and achievements of US car-maker Henry Ford is not something any right-thinking individual will want to celebrate.

Ford was born 150 years ago in 1863 in the midst of the civil war.

He left his father’s farm to take up various jobs with steam engine builders where he learnt his undoubted engineering skills.

He is often credited with inventing the motor car. He didn’t.

Ford read about Otto, Daimler and Maybach’s 1885 car in Germany and decided to copy the idea. His first two cars were built in 1896.

Then he had a few of attempts at starting an automobile manufacturing company.

It took three attempts losing a huge amount of his backer’s money and falling out with them along the way.

Ford would make his reputation and his first fortune with the Model T which was introduced on October 1 1908.

The car was very simple to drive and easy and cheap to repair. It was much cheaper than other cars at the time, selling for just $825 in 1908, about £15,000 at today’s prices, and the price went down every year.

It had the steering wheel on the left, which every other company soon copied.

The entire engine and transmission were out of sight — the four cylinders were cast in a solid block and the suspension used two semi-elliptic springs. Many of these features are still present on US cars and lorries today.

Sales passed 250,000 in 1914. By 1916, as the price dropped to $360 (£5,000 in today’s money) over half the cars sold in the US were Model T Fords.

What Ford had done was make cheaper and more available motorcars. By the time Model T production ended in 1927 Ford had built over 15 million and the model T was the commonest car on US roads.

Eventually Ford would build an automobile manufacturing empire that at its peak made a third of the entire world’s motorcar production.

This year, it is said, marks the centenary of Ford inventing the production line and many are celebrating the birth of that dehumanising creation.

In fact Ford didn’t invent that either. But he did much to sentence millions of workers to a mind-numbing lifetime of work on the conveyor belt.

Richard Garrett of Leiston in Suffolk was building his steam engines on a purpose-built production line more than 60 years before Henry Ford claimed to invent the idea in 1913.

Ford was actually a despicable individual whose real passion was his hatred of Jews.

He promulgated his rabid anti-semitism in a series of writings called The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.

This nasty piece of work first appeared as a series of magazine articles and then as a book. It is still in print and still sold by various organisations including the American Nazi Party.

Ford believed there was a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. He blamed Jewish financiers for fomenting World War I so that they could profit from supplying both sides.

He accused Jewish automobile dealers of conspiring to undermine Ford Company sales policies.

Ford’s racist right-wing rantings prompted Adolf Hitler to call the US industrialist his “inspiration.”

The nazi fuehrer kept a life-size portrait of Ford next to his desk in his Munich headquarters.

Ford spent much of his fortune promoting his extremist views. He printed and promoted the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, now well-known as a malicious forgery created by the Russian tsar’s secret service at the turn of the century.

Ford and other fascists claimed it was the Jewish conspiracy’s blueprint for world domination. Ford supplied free copies to every library in the US.

Here is another anniversary — exactly 75 years ago, in 1938, Hitler and the nazis presented Ford with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. It was the highest nazi medal that could be awarded to non-Germans.

As you would expect, Ford hated trade unions — they got in the way of him wringing the last cent of profit out of his workforce.

He used thugs, strike-breakers, detective agencies and a private army to resist union organisation in his factories.

To oppose union activity, Ford promoted former navy boxer Harry Bennett to head a private army, an anti-union paramilitary arm of the Ford Motor Company called the Service Department.

Bennett’s bully boys employed various intimidation tactics to crush any union activity.

The most famous incident, on May 26 1937, involved Bennett’s security men using clubs to beat United Automobile Workers (UAW) representatives.

The police chief on the scene was Carl Brooks, himself trained in Bennett’s Service Department. He and his men stood by and did nothing to stop the attack.

Henry’s son Edsel, when he became president of the company in the early 1940s, tried to come to some sort of collective bargaining agreement with the unions.

Henry, who still had the final veto in the company, refused to co-operate.

The Ford Motor Company was the last Detroit car factory to recognise the UAW.

When a sit-down strike by the union closed Ford’s River Rouge plant in April 1941, Ford threatened to shut down the company rather than settle.

His wife Clara told him she would leave him if he destroyed the family business. The contract was reluctantly signed in June 1941.

Although he never officially aligned with either of the major US political parties, Ford’s prominence as a successful industrialist prompted Woodrow Wilson to invite him to run for Senate as a Democrat in 1918.

Ford lost that race. He made a presidential bid in 1924, but when that failed too he never ran for office again.

Close to Hitler and the nazis, it is no surprise that Ford wasn’t very enthusiastic about entering World War II. He had also strongly opposed any US involvement in World War I.

Eventually the Ford plants in the US did start producing aircraft to aid the war effort. But at the same time his Ford plants in Germany were supplying the nazi war machine with military vehicles and trucks.

Devious Henry, and the Ford Motor Company, managed to profit from both sides of the war.

Even worse, during the war, Ford employed slave labour in Germany on the production lines.

After a series of strokes, Ford died in 1947 of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 83.

We have two choices in the way we remember Ford — either as the industrial genius who perfected the mass production of motorcars and thereby revolutionised the way we live.

Or, as I do, as a reclusive manic man who would tolerate no opposition or criticism, whose vicious attempts to prevent trade unionism at his plants produced strikes and violence, mostly provoked by his own private bully boys.

This was a man who hated and opposed out-of-home childcare, government regulation, eastern European immigration and even new styles in fashion, jazz music and Hollywood movies.

He was a man full of hate — anti-immigrant, anti-union and anti-semitic.

In short Ford was a bigot and a fool who, if his name wasn’t on the blue oval badge on the front of so many of today’s motor cars, would have been laughed at, ignored and towed away to the scrapyard of history a very long time ago.

Henry Ford Was Anti-Semitic. Bill McGraw Wrote About It — And Got Fired: here.

Baseball steroids scandal in the USA

This video from the USA is called 20 baseball players may face suspension in doping scandal.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

Major League Baseball suspends Ryan Braun for using steroids

30 July 2013

Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, was suspended by Major League Baseball (MLB) for the remainder of the season (65 games) for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Braun, Yankee star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen other players have been targeted by MLB following reports by the Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now closed “anti-aging” clinic.

Porter Fisher, a disgruntled ex-employee of Biogenesis, had provided Biogenesis records to the Times which described “the firm’s real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs.” Among its customers were about 20 MLB players.

In March 2013, MLB sued six people connected to the clinic, accusing them of damaging the sport by providing banned substances to its players. It is also believed that MLB was able to obtain additional records and verifying material from many of these six people including its owner, Tony Bosch, by leveraging this lawsuit to exact more incriminating information.

Braun is among several prominent major leaguers who have been linked to Biogenesis. Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera of the Toronto Blue Jays and four players on last week’s All-Star Game rosters—Everth Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta—were also reportedly connected to the clinic.

These players have all denied any wrongdoing, but as MLB’s investigation appears to be nearing its end, other suspensions and punishments are expected to be announced soon.

Any such actions would be subject to appeals and potential arbitration. In Braun’s case, however, he decided to forgo his appeal, accepting what would appear to be baseball’s version of a plea bargain.

Braun had been accused in October 2011, the season he was named MVP, for having tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone after a playoff game. Ultimately, however, an arbitrator sided with Braun’s argument that the test sample had been improperly handled and voided the earlier suspension he would have had to serve.

Braun released a statement accepting his suspension. “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” he wrote. “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers’ organization.”

Braun, who signed a contract extension in 2011, is guaranteed 145 million dollars through the 2020 season. He will forfeit about four million dollars for the period covering his suspension.

Performance enhancing drugs have been an ongoing issue not only in baseball but throughout a wide range of other professional sports around the world. Three of the top track sprinters in the world, including the American Tyson Gay, recently revealed they had tested positive for banned substances, the latest in a long line of doping violations in that sport. The Tour de France, professional cycling’s showcase event, ended last week under a cloud of suspicion because of revelations this year of an elaborate doping program conducted over several years by Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour seven times.

In Major League Baseball it had been an open secret for many years that players were using steroids and similar performing enhancing drugs. Their use had been either tacitly or directly encouraged, particularly under conditions in which baseball was coming under pressure from other sports, including football and basketball, and feared losing some of its market share, particularly in the wake of the 1994 strike. Using steroids to inflate the number of home runs was one way of attracting fans back into the ballparks.

Although MLB “banned” steroids in 1991, it did not begin testing until after the 2003 season. In 2002 former Major Leaguer Ken Caminiti revealed that he won the 1996 National League MVP award while on steroids. In 2003 pitcher David Wells claimed that “25 to 40 percent of all Major Leaguers are juiced.” Former all-star Jose Conseco in 2005 published his tell-all book “Juiced” in which he claimed that as many as 80 percent of players used steroids and that he had done so for his entire career.

Conseco was called before congress in 2005, which was then targeting individual prominent players for questioning about their alleged steroid use. In his statement Conseco explained why professional athletes take steroids:

“Why did I take steroids? The answer is simple. Because myself and others had no choice if we wanted to continue playing. Because MLB did nothing to take it out of the sport….

“Baseball owners and the players union have been very much aware of the undeniable fact that as a nation we will do anything to win. They turned a blind eye to the clear evidence of steroid use in baseball. Why? Because it sold tickets and resurrected a game that had recently suffered a black eye from a player strike [in 1994]. The result was an intentional act by baseball to promote, condone and encourage the players to do whatever they had to do to win games, bring back the fans, and answer the bottom line. Salaries went up, revenue increased and owners got richer. But this comes with a cost.”

This cost that Canseco referred to includes serious medical risks for the players themselves: liver damage, mood swings, depression, aggression, heart disease and cancer.

For professional athletes, a very fine line separates the dizzy heights of stardom from failure and impoverishment. Enormous amounts of money are promised to the athletes who perform well. The athletes who do not perform well are abandoned and discarded, sometimes left with disabling and disfiguring medical conditions as the only reward for their efforts.

Undoubtedly many players have become convinced that using performance-enhancing substances offers the best pathway to success and financial security. Owners, coaches, agents and everyone else connected to the game have proven more than willing to look the other way as long as profits are up.

In the final analysis, the fact that a significant number of top athletes in the US feel compelled to endanger themselves by using such drugs points to the huge pressures to which they are subjected: the unquenchable thirst of the owners for greater and greater profits, the “winning-is-everything” culture promoted incessantly by the media, and the increasing role of professional sports as “bread and circuses” in a period of deep political and social reaction all down the line.

Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball’s top players, was suspended on Monday by Major League Baseball (MLB) through the 2014 season for his use of performance-enhancing drugs. His suspension, along with those of more than a dozen other players, reveals the corrupt character of the professional sports industry: here.

Now that Commissioner Selig has thrown the book at Alex Rodriguez, it is past time for sports media to stop giving a free pass to the man who is most responsible for having allowed the steroid problem to fester for as long as it did — the commissioner himself: here.

Jackie Robinson, baseball and racism, new film

This video is called 42 Official Trailer #2 (2013) – Harrison Ford Movie – Jackie Robinson Story HD.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

42: A tribute to integrating baseball falls short

25 April 2013

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland

One of baseball’s most iconic moments, Jackie Robinson’s breaking the sport’s color barrier in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, an event whose impact resonated throughout America, is at the center of Brian Helgeland’s 42.

Helgeland, best known as the screenwriter of LA Confidential, Mystic River, Man on Fire and other films, focuses his work on the relationship between Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and famed Dodgers president and general manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). The film is set at a time when the Jim Crow apartheid system was still solidly in place in the southern states and racial prejudice was either encouraged or tolerated by many American institutions and much of its media and entertainment business.

The film begins in late 1945 when Rickey, portrayed superbly by Ford, announces to his subordinates his determination to integrate major league baseball. Told he will be breaking an unwritten code and become an outcast, Rickey responds, “So be it. New York is full of Negro baseball fans. Dollars are not black and white, they’re green, every dollar is green.”

Rickey decides that Robinson, a four-sport athlete at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who has played alongside whites, been an officer in the army and is presently batting .350 with the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro team, will become the first black ballplayer in the major leagues.

Upon meeting Robinson, and aware of the latter’s combative temper and willingness to fight back (while in the military, Robinson was court-martialed for refusing to sit in the back of a military bus, but was eventually acquitted), Rickey insists that despite the abuse Robinson will inevitably be subjected to, “he wants a player that has the guts not to fight back.”

Robinson agrees, and in 1946 signs a contract with the Montreal Royals, a Dodger minor league team. The first half of the film details the racism that Robinson and his wife are subjected to in Florida during spring training. Throughout the film, Boseman effectively expresses the player’s restrained rage.

To assist Robinson during this difficult period, Rickey has Negro sports writer Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) travel with and mentor him in dealing with the press. Smith himself has long campaigned for baseball’s integration and, even though a prominent sports writer for the Negro press, is relegated to sit with a typewriter on his lap in the stands because he is barred from the press box.

Robinson survives spring training in 1946 and goes on to have a very productive year with Montreal, becoming one of the favorites of that city’s fans.

In the spring of 1947, Rickey attempts to avoid the overt racism that Robinson had been subjected to in Florida by holding the Dodgers’ spring training camp in Panama. To his dismay, however, several Dodgers express their resentment toward Robinson by signing a petition declaring they will refuse to play with him.

Rickey calls on Dodger manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) to put down this insurrection. “I don’t care if he is yellow or black, or has stripes like a zebra,” says Durocher. “If Robinson can help us win and everything I have seen says yes he can, then he is going to play on this ball club.” The one or two Dodgers who still resist are told by Rickey they will be traded.

Robinson makes the team and on opening day, April 15, 1947, in Brooklyn, becomes the first player since 1880 to break the major league baseball color line. More than half the 26,000 fans at Ebbets Field in attendance are black.

The second half of 42 follows Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers. It depicts various incidents such as the racist diatribe Robinson is subjected to during a game by Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Ben Chapman (Hamish Linklater). Also shown is a game in Cincinnati when Dodger captain and southerner Pee Wee Reese puts his arm around Robinson, in a gesture of support that silences a taunting crowd. This famous moment is depicted in a bronze sculpture unveiled at MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, in 2005.

Robinson goes on to become the major league rookie of the year, leading the Dodgers to the World Series in 1947, and winning over his teammates and fans everywhere by his excellence on the field.

Robinson went on to have a Hall of Fame career, and when he retired at the end of 1956—after helping to bring Brooklyn its first World Series victory in 1955—all but three teams had integrated. (In 1959, the Boston Red Sox, against the wishes of owner Tom Yawkey, became the last team to sign African American players.) Robinson died in 1972.

On April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s first game, major league baseball officially retired his jersey, number 42. The only exception to this policy occurs on April 15 each year, when all major league players wear number 42 in tribute.

Near the end of Helgeland’s film, Robinson presses Rickey as to why he has submitted himself to what has been a difficult ordeal, not only for the first African-American player, but also for the Dodgers’ executive. In reply, Rickey relates the story of how when he was in college, the best player on his team was a Negro named Charlie Thomas, who was ultimately broken by racism. “There was something unfair about the heart of the game I loved and I ignored it. But a time came when I could no longer do that. You let me love baseball again. Thank you.”

Helgeland makes an effort to bring this intense and moving moment, which continues to exercise an impact on anyone concerned about social progress, to life. The weakness of 42, however, is its decision to portray the actions and courage of Robinson and to a lesser extent Rickey simply as attributes of exceptional individuals, largely outside of history.

Baseball and wars in the USA

This video from the USA is about the 2012 World Series; San Francisco Giants beating the Detroit Tigers.

By James Brewer in the USA:

The World Series and militarism

30 October 2012

The 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants professional baseball teams was held during the final days of an American election campaign in which the contending candidates, parties and programs represent little difference as far as the conditions for the vast majority of the population is concerned. Whether a Democrat or a Republican wins the presidential race, plans for advancing war on a global front will proceed apace after November 6. So it is hardly surprising that the powers that be have taken every opportunity to infuse the events around the culminating contest of “America’s pastime” with patriotism and glorification of wars, past present and future.

By now, the stadium flyover by Naval fighter jets in formation is almost routine, but the singing of the national anthem by “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips at the game one opening in San Francisco was particularly striking for its ostentation. Skyrockets were shot over McCovey Cove at the moment the words, “and the rockets’ red glare” were intoned. Of course, the fighter jets’ roaring appearance was timed to occur just after the words “and the home of the brave.”

Prior to game two in San Francisco, a special salute to the US military was orchestrated by Major League Baseball (MLB), both at the ballpark and on the national coverage by Fox Television. A special tribute to World War II veterans, described by MLB as a “public service announcement,” was given by retired newscaster Tom Brokaw. The ostensible reason for the tribute was to remind the public of the heroism by the World War II veterans before they were all gone.

To obtain the most mileage out of the glorification of US wars, the ceremonial pitch before the second game was thrown out by a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who had lost both legs and an arm in action.

Beginning with the World Series held immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, changes have been introduced in the game’s rituals to promote the “unity” of all Americans against its “enemies.” Military personnel are consistently paraded before the fans to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The traditional seventh-inning singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” has been replaced with Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” usually sung by uniformed vocalists.

In both San Francisco and Detroit, the security measures surrounding the games were unprecedented, involving local and state police, tactical squads, federal marshals, Coast Guard patrols, Homeland Security, US Customs, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents, and bomb squads. X-ray scanners and high technology surveillance equipment was utilized.

Prior to the third game, which took place at Detroit’s Comerica Park, a press conference was held by Mayor David Bing’s office concerning security preparations. At least 23 agencies were involved in the security preparations for the game. A sense of peril was implicit in the publicity for the event. The officials proclaimed that the police forces would not allow a single incident to disrupt the “smooth running” of the games.

The economic crisis has devastated Detroit, producing double-digit unemployment and widespread poverty. The price of tickets for the games at Comerica Park ranged from almost $200 for the “cheap seats” to $1,500 for box seats behind the home plate—clearly out of reach for the vast majority of the city residents. The concern of security forces was for keeping the local populace under control rather than protecting them.

The potential threat from America’s enemies is continually played up to provide a pretext for the massive mobilization of state forces around the games. More ominous, however, is what is left unsaid in official discourse. The expanding and pernicious use of tactical policing takes the form of rehearsal against growing opposition to government policy within the US.

The promotion of US nationalism and super-patriotism at an event called the “World Series” must resonate as contradictory at best with a large portion of the population. The big-business organizers of the games are no doubt aware that the US policy of expanding wars is increasingly unpopular. The constant reminder that war is with us is aimed at breaking down popular resistance to US military actions. Just as corporations and banks dictate policy to the politicians and decide what is acceptable in the country’s “democratic” debate, they use their wealth to attempt to dragoon the population into a warrior mentality.

United States girls’ religious baseball ban

This video from the USA says about itself:

Our Lady of Sorrows, Ariz. baseball team, forfeits state title because a girl

A baseball team in Arizona that worked all season to reach the state championship game has forfeited the chance to play for a state title because its opponent has a girl starting at second base. As initially reported by the Arizona Republic, then followed upon by a variety of other Arizona and national sources, Phoenix (Ariz.) Our Lady of Sorrows Academy’s baseball team decided to forfeit its scheduled Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship matchup rather than face off against Mesa (Ariz.) Preparatory Academy, which features a second baseman named Paige Sultzbach.

Because playing Mesa Prep would require competing against a team featuring a girl, Our Lady of Sorrows decided that playing the game would violate the school’s mission to teach boys and girls separately, as the school made clear in a statement on Thursday. The separation of the sexes is a key tenet of the Society of St. Pius X, a separatist branch of the Catholic Church of which Our Lady of Sorrows is a part.

The Society of St. Pius X is a religiously and politically extreme Right organization. Until recently, they were excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

However, not long ago, the pope re-admitted them to the church.

This meant that one of their top leaders, anti-Semitic Holocaust-denying Bishop Williamson, became an official Roman Catholic bishop.

While the cancellation of the state title game is a disappointment for Sultzbach and her teammates, it was hardly unanticipated. The teenager sat out two previous games between the schools because of Our Lady of Sorrows’ religious beliefs, but she was unwilling to sit out the biggest game of the season which she and her teammates had worked to reach.

That desire was only stoked by Sultzbach’s absence in the prior matchups between the teams, as the teen told the Republic.
“I felt like any passionate athletic person would feel (in that situation),” Sultzbach told the Republic. “I don’t want our very first high-school baseball team to win the championship on a forfeit.”

The Mesa Prep baseball team —
While the forfeit will officially make Mesa Prep the ACAA state champion, the school’s athletic director made clear that her team didn’t want to earn its state crown that way.

“What true athlete would want to win or lose a championship game by forfeit?” Mesa Prep AD Amy Arnold, who also happens to be the only female football coach in Arizona, told the Republic. … “I respect their views, but it’s a bit out of the 18th century.”

By Soraya Chemaly, feminist, satirist and media critic in the USA:

A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

Posted: 05/21/2012 12:31 pm

Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn’t let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She’d already had to sit out two games because of their demands. Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

The ‘Inappropriate’ Outfit That Got My Daughter Into Trouble At School: here.