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Tue

19

Oct

2010

Electoral Coup d'Etats
by Stephen Lendman

They're commonplace in developing countries in different forms, at times through what Edward Herman calls "Demonstration Elections," the title of his 1980 book on sham ones in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam. They also occur regularly in countries like Egypt, where for the past 20 years president Hosni Mubarak has gotten around 98% of the vote when he runs. Sadam's Iraq, much of the Middle East, and elsewhere work the same way, holding mock elections pretending to be real, while in the West, especially America, real elections are, in fact, mock ones.

Of course, elections held in occupied countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, install puppet regimes, not legitimate ones, both countries run from Washington, not Baghdad or Kabul.

America's history is rife with electoral fraud, in 1824 for example, the one called the "Corrupt Bargain." Four major candidates were involved, all from the same Democratic-Republican party, today's Democrats who are also Republicans who are also Democrats in our one-party state with two wings - plus the lunatic fringe Tea Party offshoot likely to send extremist morons to Congress, joining legions of others already there.

When all 1824 votes were tallied, no winner emerged, so under the 12th Amendment, it fell to the House to decide from the top three. On February 9, 1925, after a month of furious lobbying, members chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson (later elected president in 1828 and again in 1832), Henry Clay and William Crawford. Outrage followed because deal-makers prevailed over voters. It showed up when Adams nominated Clay as Secretary of State, infuriating Jackson supporters. Thereafter, Clay was dogged for striking a corrupt bargain, depriving Jackson, the highest vote getter of the four.

The 1876 election was even worse because Democrat Samuel Tilden got today's equivalent of over two million more votes than Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, and with 20 disputed Electoral College votes uncounted led by 184 - 165. Yet a secretly struck "bargain of 1877" to abandon Reconstruction and sell out freed Blacks handed the election to Hayes.

Another example was Lyndon Johnson's 1948 senatorial primary win - until the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the most blatant example of electoral theft in US history, according to some observers. Historian Robert Caro is one, documenting how Johnson miraculously overcame a 20,000 vote deficit to gain an 87 vote victory. According to Caro, it wasn't "the only election....ever stolen, but there was never such brazen thievery," and as they say, the rest is history.

With today's modern technology, electoral fraud is easier than ever, Stephen Spoonamore, a leading cyber crime expert explaining how the "structures" of Diebold  and other electronic voting machines are inherently flawed. As a result, "There is a very strong argument" that the 2000 and 2004 elections were "electronically stolen, the hanging chads were just a distraction." Diebold machines especially "are brilliantly designed (to) steal elections," so losers are declared winners, and not just for president. 

Clear evidence shows the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, the Supreme Court initially complicit by halting the Florida recount on spurious grounds, and handing the election to Bush. Months later, when it was too late to matter, the final tally showed Gore carried Florida and the election.
 

Tue

19

Oct

2010

Israeli police look to settlers to fill ranks First army, now police set for takeover
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
 
As US-sponsored peace talks have stalled over the issue of settlements, Israel's national police force has revealed that it is turning to the very same illegal communities in its first-ever drive to recruit officers from among the settlers.
 
The special officer training course, which is chiefly aimed at discharged combat soldiers, includes seven months of religious studies in an extremist West Bank settlement.
 
The programme has provoked widespread concern among Israel's 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population.
 
"The police have already repeatedly demonstrated their hostility to Palestinian citizens, but this move proves that the authorities want to extend and deepen our oppression," said Jafar Farah, the director of Mossawa, an advocacy centre for the Palestinian minority.
 
"Is it really credible that these religious extremists who have been educated to hate Palestinians in the West Bank are going to behave differently when they police our communities inside Israel?"
 
The first 35 cadets in the officer-training programme -- known as "Believe in the police" -- are to start their studies next month. More than 300 settlers are reported to have expressed an interest in the course so far.
 

Tue

19

Oct

2010

Transportation-Jobs and the Agenda for Overt Over-Consuming
by Jan Lundberg

Whether we listen to President Obama, Paul Krugman, Robert Samuelson, the Republicans, Tea Party-ers, or liberal progressives, they all want more “jobs,” a “recovery,” and “prosperity.” As long as lust for “growth” prevails, and the approved social critics also ignore the nature of the system and its collapse, then the runaway train of unprecedented chaos and ecosystem destruction is only accelerating.

We can't afford to cling to the illusions of consumerism's plenty and corporate globalism, for they are fading into history. By now you are either cheering on this radical critique and you stand for fundamental change, or you are perplexed and are asking, “Don't we need more jobs so we can all live decently?”

When one is at the end of one's rope, the answer is not to try to stretch the rope, or, in the real world, attempt to continue the cancer-like endless growth of industrialism that runs on fast dwindling, nonrenewable resources. Still, one asks, “what is the alternative to doing the forever commute, the endless shopping, and trusting the never-ending flow of water, electricity and other services for a huge population disconnected from local ecosystems?” The “alternative” is not really an alternative, but is rather nature's way, the only way, with humans as a cooperative part of it. In truth, the brief fossil-fuel phase and craze of human history is the “alternative,” and it on the way out along with countless species. Still, according to Obama and the rest of the Establishment, the fossil fuel industries and the even more subsidized nuke power crowd are essential and a part of our future. Drill Baby Drill is bipartisan. But whose future is it? What if socioeconomic collapse (petrocollapse) and climate disaster bump aside business-as-usual mega-pollution and maximum consumption?

“Enough!” someone cries, “what can replace the present system? I need to drive a car even if you don't. I need to put my kids through college.” This is all reasonable, but it's obsolete thinking. Imagination has brought about deep questioning and has successfully demonstrated more rational ways of living ever since the hippies went “back to the land.” Their success was not large-scale, but what has sprouted from that passionate movment flowered into appropriate-tech, permaculture, natural building, bicycle culture, DYI (do it yourself, or anarchism), ecovillages, and campaigns for peace and justice. These components of a sustainable society -- and there are many others such as local currency and depaving -- don't appear yet as a cohesive or growing movement in the eyes of the mainstream. The “green” wing of the mainstream has started to learn about farmers markets, different light bulbs, expensive “clean(er)” cars, organic food, and greater recycling. But the “green” consumer is typically as alienated and isolated as his or her parents were in their middle-class oblivious splendor. U.S. culture centers on materialism and work, with families and friends given mostly lip service.

Yesterday (Oct. 12, 2010) the leaders of U.S. society and their lapdog news media served up three revealing articles in daily newspapers such Portland's Oregonian: “Roads, rails and runways” legislation from the White House, Paul Krugman's column defending Obama and Democrats from the charge of expanding the government, and Robert Samuelson's analysis of the stubborn recession. Despite any truth in this coverage, all three pieces serve to confuse, mislead, and, most insidious, discourage grassroots action to change the system.
 

Tue

19

Oct

2010

Latin America: Roads to 21st Century Capitalist Development
by James Petras Ph.D.

Introduction

            Over the better part of the present decade, Latin American stock markets have boomed.  Overseas investors have reaped and repatriated billions in dividends, profits and interest payments.  Multi-national corporations have piled into mining, agro-business andrelated sectors, unimpeded and with virtually no demands by local regions for ‘technological transfers’ and environmental constraints.  Latin American regimes, have accumulated unprecedented foreign currency reserves to ensure that foreign investors have unlimited access to hard currencies to remit profits.  The decade has witnessed unprecedented political and social demobilization of radical social movements.  Regimes have provided political and social protection for foreign and national investors as well as long term guarantees of private property rights.

            Nary a single regime in the region, with the unique exception of Venezuela, has reverted the large scale privatizations of strategic economic sectors implemented by previous neo-liberal regimes in the 1990’s.  In fact the concentration and centralization of fertile lands has continued with no pretense of land or income redistribution on the policy agenda.  While bankers, and investors, overseas and nationals, celebrate the economic boom and more importantly express their positive appreciation by investing billions in the region, leftist pundits claim to find a “resurgent left” and write of one or another version of 21st century socialism.  In particular many prominent and widely published Euro-American progressives and leftists intellectuals and pundits have badly served their followers and readers.  Commentaries based on jet flyovers provide glowing reports of Latin America’s march to the left and national independence.  Such accounts lack any empirical, historical, analytical or statistical foundation.  Writers as diverse as Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Wallerstein, who have never conducted any field research below the Rio Grande at any time or for that matter consulted major investors reaping billions in today’s Latin America have become instant experts on the social and political nature of the regimes, the state of the social movements and current economic policies.  It seems as if Latin America is fair game for any and all Western leftist writers who can echo the political rhetoric of the incumbent regimes.  No doubt this secures an occasional official invite but it hardly serves to clarify the most striking socio-economic features of the current crop of regimes in Latin America and their sharply defined development strategies.

            A wealth of data based on extensive field interviews, statistical studies published by international development agencies, reports by economic consultancies and business and investment houses, as well as discussions with independent social movement leaders provides ample documentation to argue that Latin America has taken multiple roads to 21st century capitalism, not socialism or anything akin to it.

            In fact one of the great success stories celebrated by the business press, is the marginalization of socialist politics, the general acceptance of “globalization” by the leaders of the political class (from the center-left rightward) and the de-radicalization of the intellectual/academic elite who wage battle against neo-liberal phantoms while providing populist legitimization for the politicians of 21st century … capitalism.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Arab-Israeli Search for Co-Existence: From Animosity to Insanity Called Peace Talks

by Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.

Politics is a game of pretension like a stage drama enacted by planned scheme of things, casts, dresses, clichés, performance images and the end goals- a willing suspicion of the disbelief of the performed act. The actors pretend to be something; they are not but make the audience feel entertained with unthinkable. The Western democracies enjoin systematic programs of political good time with billions of dollars budgeted for the information media, performers, perks, imposters and the real actors – politicians making stage shows to win the game. Politics is about winning, not losing the invisible battlefield. There exists a wide gulf in ideas and perceptions how the Israeli politicians define political games and what the Arab rulers perceive of the intents and purposes of politics. The puppet show goes on for ages with the blessings of the European colonialists and the US intermediaries claiming to be the proponent of peace but none knows what peace means in the real world. The Europeans, the US, Israelis and the Arab rulers, all have role-plays in instigating animosity and perpetuating insanity in public affairs, relations and conflict management.

 For varied political reasons, they agreed to dramatize the stage show of a peace dialogue without any agenda for the negotiations between the PLO and Israeli leaders. Often unilateral informal political agendas rebel against the established norms of human civilization. Israel came to Palestine under the British imperialism and the indigenous Palestinians were victimized by both the new Jewish migrants from Western-Eastern Europe and the former USSR – all trying to escape the fear and tyranny of Nazism and European led and the American tolerated Holocaust of the Jewish people. The Palestinians and the Arabs in general were innocent victims of the global tyranny of politics of the few powerful nations to determine the future of helpless and deprived humanity.  Prior to this British conspired revulsion against history, Arabs and Jews have lived in peace and harmony for centuries. When the European institutionalized persecution of the Jews, the Arabs helped and honored Jews in their culture for eight centuries throughout Al-Andalusia (Spain) and during the crusades under Sultan Salahuddin. The rebellious and wicked against peace, freedom and justice were rewarded by the European conquests of the Muslim people, whereas, poor and destitute were scolded by progressive animosity and insanity in international political governance. E.H. Carr points out a learning role of the history. But history sees the people and nations by their actions, not by their claims. The so called superpower nations leading the global political arena have denied the determining role of the history and the resulting war continues to engulf the humanity all over the globe. The Arab-Israeli conflict is explicitly outcome of the superpower politics. Once again, the stage for dialogue is set with superficial issues and ambiguous agendas to undo the prospects of a real peace between the contending parties.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

News For Real: I read the news today, oh boy….
by Stephen P. Pizzo

It needs to be said. The rescue of the Chilean miners is a smashing victory for free-market capitalism.  (Full Text)

The sound you just heard was Orwell hitting his head on his coffin lid. Jesus H. Christ, talk about unmitigated chutzpah. It was, after all, Chile’s unfettered, under-regulated capitalist mining companies who put those miners half a mile underground in an unsafe mine in the first place. Rescuing them would be more accurately described as mining officials frantically working to avoid being tried on 33-counts of negligent homicide. But to the Wall Street Journal it was proof of that the real gold is not in them-thar-hills, but in the hearts of mining company executives.  Gag me with a drill bit. These people are not worth the misery they cause. I suggest we let “Capitalism to triumph” again. Drop the WSJ executive board, all of them, down into that now empty cavern and let the rescued miners rescue them, when they feel up to it. I’d pay big to watch that show.
 
Next story:

China Foreign-Exchange Reserves Jump to $2.65 Trillion

By Bloomberg News - Oct 13, 2010 3:47 AM PT: China’s foreign-exchange reserves, the world’s largest, surged by a record to $2.65 trillion at the end of September, adding fuel to complaints that the nation’s curbs on gains in the yuan are undermining the global recovery...Currency holdings rose about $194 billion in the third quarter, today’s statement from the People’s Bank of China showed. September exports were the second-highest on record at $145 billion, a separate customs bureau report showed. (Full Text)
Okay, let’s put this into context. Right now China (“Communist China”) has $2.65 trillion rattling around in loose change in its pocket. We, the (Uber Capitalists) currently have a MINUS $13.6 Trillion. Another way of looking at that is China has $16 trillion more than we have while we have -- less than nothing, In fact, to reach the point where we have just nothing, we’d first have to repay $13.6 trillion. Then we’d have nothing.
 
How did this happen? Because the Chinese were smarter than us … or at least their leaders were smarter than ours. They decided to play our game, they learned it well, and beat us at our own game. They beat us to a pulp.
 
The Chinese said, “Ah so, you want free markets? Oh, okay.”  They heard all about how our investment community believed that “greed is good,” so they baited their hooks with cheap labor, and the rest is history. American industrialists took it, hook, line and sinker. Asked recently why China refuses to revalue its currency to better reflect its new status in the world, a Chinese official replied, “Because, it would make our products more expensive, we’d be less competitive and it would put many of our workers out of jobs.” 
 
Yeah, well, DUH. At least the Communist Chinese get it. Which, of course, is why they’ve now got it… our jobs, our money, our future. 
 
Maybe American capitalists can retool and spend the 21st century rescuing miners to prove their worth. They can take a hint from the WSJ Editorial Board and become sort of the world’s St. Bernards’ of industrial rescue operations. Of course in order to finance those heroic acts, American capitalists would have borrow the money to finance them  -- from the “Commies” in China. 
 

Tue

19

Oct

2010

The United States fights and pays for Israel's wars: Maidhc Ó Cathail

by Koroush Ziabari in Iran

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published Irish writer living in Japan. Ó Cathail’s articles and commentaries have appeared in a number of media outlets and newspapers including Antiwar.com, Arab News, Foreign Policy Journal, Khaleej Times, Information Clearing House, Palestine Chronicle, Tehran Times and Washington Report.

Maidhc joined me in an exclusive interview and responded to my questions about the 9/11 attacks, the influence of the Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration, the prospects for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the prolonged controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the freedom of press in the United States.

Kourosh Ziabari: The Iranian President’s recent proposal for the establishment of a fact-finding group to probe into the 9/11 attacks stirred up widespread controversy in the United States. American politicians reacted to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s plan with frustration. Is it because they are aware of some evidence which suggests that Israel was behind the attacks?

Maidhc Ó Cathail: I would say that most American politicians are totally unaware of the Israeli “art students,” the so-called “dancing Israelis,” the Odigo warnings and other facts that point to Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, they probably considered Ahmadinejad’s questioning of the official 9/11 narrative to be yet another unwarranted provocation of the United States by the Iranian leader. 
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Gilad Atzmon: You may find it hard to believe,,,, Haaretz let me say it all....
by Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.
Haaretz published today a massive interview with Robert Wyatt and myself. It is a very interesting piece. I may also mention that the Israeli paper didn't censor me. It let me say it all (Jews, Judaism, Jewishness, Jewish left, Zionism, Israeli collective barbarism etc')

Haunted by ghosts

Self-proclaimed anti-Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and prog rock legend Robert Wyatt have joined forces to make musical magic and "political noise"

By Yaron Frid

 
In 1963 a baby was born in Israel. In 1972 a man fell from the third floor (or the fourth - views are divided ) in England in the middle of the night. Both of them took off on the wings of music, and life would one day organize a surprising encounter between them.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Foreclosuregate: Time To Break Up The Too-Big-To-Fail Banks?
by Ellen Hodgson Brown

Looming losses from the mortgage scandal dubbed “foreclosuregate” may qualify as the sort of systemic risk that, under the new financial reform bill, warrants the breakup of the too-big-to-fail banks. The Kanjorski amendment allows federal regulators to pre-emptively break up large financial institutions that—for any reason—pose a threat to U.S. financial or economic stability.

Although downplayed by most media accounts and popular financial analysts, crippling bank losses from foreclosure flaws appear to be imminent and unavoidable. The defects prompting the “RoboSigning Scandal” are not mere technicalities but are inherent to the securitization process. They cannot be cured. This deep-seated fraud is already explicitly outlined in publicly available lawsuits.

There is, however, no need to panic, no need for TARP II, and no need for legislation to further conceal the fraud and push the inevitable failure of the too-big-to-fail banks into the future.

Federal regulators now have the tools to take control and set things right. The Wall Street giants escaped the Volcker Rule, which would have limited their size, and the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which would have broken up the largest six banks outright; but the financial reform bill has us covered. The Kanjorski amendment—which slipped past lobbyists largely unnoticed—allows federal regulators to preemptively break up large financial institutions that pose a threat to U.S. financial or economic stability.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Isn't This One Fine View? On the Road with Ahmadinejad in Lebanon
by Franklin Lamb Ph.D.

Qana.

He came, he saw, he conquered.

As he watched the Iranian President blow kisses to cleaning workers at Beirut’s airport during his departure for Iran early this morning, a Lebanese Christian historian commented “This Persian’s glory at the moment is arguably greater than Caesar’s following Rome’s second conquest of Britain”.

And the Iranian president did indeed throw much more than a stone at US-Israel projects for Lebanon, perhaps energized by the adoring public he encountered.

A grateful nation extended to Makmoud Ahmadinejad what one Bishop claimed was the greatest outpouring of popular support on the streets, all along this country’s sectarian divide, that the Republic of Lebanon has ever witnessed including the May 10, 1997 visit of Pope John Paul II.

An important reason for the outpouring of popular support was the quarter century of Iranian assistance to Lebanon for social projects, and for rebuilding much of Lebanon following the 1993, 1996 and 2006 Israeli aggressions. Massive aid that was detailed by Hezbollah’s Secretary-General in a recent speech and the cost of which is estimated to be in excess of one billion dollars.

Iran’s President is widely believed in the diplomatic community here to have promoted sectarian unity in Lebanon, calmed the current political atmosphere, and delivered on offers of more desperately needed economic projects via 17 bilateral agreements. A particularly appreciated offer throughout Lebanon is Iran’s major pledge of an electrical complex that will deliver 7 times Lebanon’s current power supply, which in 2010 still sees power cuts throughout Lebanon. The current deficiencies range from three hours to 12 hours daily power cuts everywhere in Lebanon plus total blackouts for days at a time in some areas. Iran’s President is widely believed to have achieved a major advancement for Lebanese stability, sovereignty, and independence.

The throngs were cheering, waving, and shouting their admiration. Local media used descriptive words like “rock star, rapturous, massive affection,” to describe his reception.

Wretched Palestinian refugees, tightly shoe horned into Lebanon’s squalid UN camps, denied even the most elementary civil rights by an apathetic international community and some of the local sects, could be seen along the route. Many with eyes moistened, perhaps by Nakba memories and tears of hope for the early liberation of their sacred Palestine and the full exercise of their internationally mandated and inalienable Right of Return to their homes.

Refugees, plenty of them illegal, Iraqis, Afghans, Kurds and others, urging the expulsion of occupation forces from their countries and the restoration of their former lives waved and blew kisses. Lebanese domestic ‘guest/slave workers’ from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Philippines, Bangladesh, and other countries could be seen in the crowds along with Syrian construction workers. Also a sprinkling of Stendhal “Le Rouge et le Noir” characters who, seeking secure advancement in life, have fixed themselves to one or the other, both requiring that they be seen publicly at such an important event.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

A Musical Essay and a Lesson in Humanity: The Tide Has Changed

by Ramzy Baroud

If one tried to fit music compositions into an equivalent literary style, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble’s latest release would come across as a most engaging political essay: persuasive, argumentative, rational, original, imaginative and always unfailingly accessible.

But unlike the rigid politicking of politicians and increasingly Machiavellian style of today’s political essayists – so brazen they no longer hide behind illusory moral façades – the band’s latest work is also unapologetically humanistic.

Those familiar with the writings of Gilad Atzmon – the famed ex-Israeli musician and brilliant saxophone player, now based in London – can only imagine that Gaza was the place that occupied his thoughts as he composed The Tide Has Changed.

The title track, an 11-minute melody, transmits the host of emotions that engulfed many of us when Israel began mercilessly pounding the resilient and hostage Gaza Strip in late 2008. First there were the simultaneous strikes which killed hundreds. Some of us woke up to watch the dreadful images of poor police cadets in Gaza reeling under the ceaseless bombardment in a heap of human flesh. Body parts of young men and their families scattered across burning buildings and pulverized concrete. Those still alive were hauling whatever remained of their bodies across the sea of the dead, mostly in their graduation uniforms.

It was a moment of disbelief, of questioning much of what we’d previously held to be true. It came as a shock and awe to our collective consciousness, and was further bolstered by endless days of constant shelling and tragedy. And the tide began to change as if the moment of death, of release, was the very moment of liberation. Gaza’s thousands of victims may have produced the nudge for millions around the globe to begin to finally confront their inner fear, their subtle sense of shame for allowing a tragedy of that magnitude to continue for all of these years.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

You Might be a Tea Party Member if...
by Bob Fantina
 
You might be a Tea Party member if:
  • You think Iraq attacked the U.S. on 9-11.

  • You believe in Manifest Destiny.

  • You don’t know what Manifest Destiny is.

  • You think the world will come to an end if gay marriage is legalized.

  • You think the world is going to come to an end anyway, because the U.S. passed national health care legislation.

  • You think business will regulate itself for the benefit of the working man or woman.

  • You think President Obama is a Kenyan-born socialist.

  • You don’t know the difference between socialism and fascism.

  • You believe there is glory in war.

  • You oppose both abortion and sex education.

  • You oppose family planning initiatives that would prevent abortions, because they support contraception.

  • You are shocked when Bible-thumping politicians are caught in their mistresses’ beds.

  • You are shocked when right-wing preachers are caught in their boyfriends’ beds.

  • You think Sarah Palin is intelligent.

  • You are a member of the NRA.

  • FOX News is your only source of information.

  • You think torturing political prisoners is acceptable for the U.S., but are enraged if the same treatment happens to U.S. soldiers.

  • You think global warning is a fantasy created by Al Gore.

  • You think Dick Cheney is a true patriot.

  • You think George Bush was a great president.

  • You think all Muslims are terrorists.

  • You believe that the four-times married Rush Limbaugh represents family values.

  • You ever offered your doctor a chicken in exchange for medical treatment.

 
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Making War By the Book
by Tom Engelhardt

On January 1, 1970, when Noam Chomsky’s essay “After Pinkville” was first published in the New York Review of Books, reading was still an antiwar activity, and often a transformative one.  Books and articles changed minds, altered lives, helped you mobilize, and then keep going.  And it almost seemed that everyone who was doing anything was also writing about it.  As Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., noted in 1971 in Armed Forces Journal -- while pointing to “widespread conditions among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in this century by the French Army’s Nivelle mutinies of 1917 and the collapse of [the] Tsarist armies [of Russia] in 1916 and 1917” -- as many as 144 “underground” papers were being published for soldiers.  Some were simply aimed at them by antiwar activists, but a surprising number were written and published by dissident troops themselves.  “In Vietnam,” the Ft. Lewis-McChord Free Press typically wrote, “the lifers, the Brass, are the true Enemy, not the enemy.” 

Recently, I reread Chomsky’s “After Pinkville.”  (“Pinkville” was a generic U.S. military name for the village of My Lai where a company of U.S. Army troops carried out the single most horrific, up-close-and-personal slaughter of the war: more than 500 Vietnamese women, children, infants, and old men were murdered, none resistant, many finishing breakfast.)  Chomsky’s essay remains a devastating account of the kind of large-scale, widespread destruction -- the dimensions of which are now largely forgotten and even at the time were ill-known here -- the U.S. military visited on rural South Vietnam at the height of the war.  As he then summed it up, “The world’s most advanced society has found the answer to people’s war: eliminate the people.”  In that essay, Chomsky was chiding the antiwar movement for not doing more and urging on those of us in it.  It made a singularly powerful impression on me at the time -- and it should have.  He concluded: “Continued mass actions, patient explanation, principled resistance can be boring, depressing. But those who program the B52 attacks and the ‘pacification’ exercise are not bored, and as long as they continue in their work, so must we.”

Today, the U.S. has been fighting two nightmarish wars of destruction on either end of the Greater Middle East, and yet such an essay would, in essence, be almost impossible to write.  There is, in a sense, no one to write it for.  Nick Turse who, in recent years, has traveled the backlands and rural villages of Vietnam and Cambodia interviewing villagers who suffered through the American wars in their countries, knows a good deal about what war really means to those who can’t leave when the going gets tough and stays tough, year after miserable year.  He also knows a good deal about what sorts of war literature were available to Americans, then and now.  His just-published book, The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan, runs distinctly against the tide of twenty-first century war publications in America.  (To catch him discussing the “Pentagon printing press” and the Afghan War in a Timothy MacBain TomCast audio interview, click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.)  Tom

Publish or Perish 
Getting a Read on American War 
By Nick Turse

Quick -- name the five most important, influential, and best known books on the Afghan War.  Okay, name three.  Okay, I’ll settle for two.  How about one?

While the American war in Vietnam raged, publishers churned out books whose titles still resonate.  In 1967 alone, classics like Mary McCarthy’s Vietnam, Howard Zinn’s Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire, not to mention Norman Mailer’s Why Are We in Vietnam: A Novel all hit the shelves.

In fact, between 1962 and 1970, as American involvement in the conflict accelerated and peaked, some 9,430 books were written about the Vietnam War.  From 2002 to 2010, less than half as many -- 4,221 texts of all types -- have been written about the Afghan War. 

 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Baroud Submission: A Musical Essay and a Lesson in Humanity X Inbox X Reply | Ramzy Baroud ✆ show details 23:32 (8 hours ago) Dear Editor, Kindly find my article submission for this week, entitled: The Tide Has Cha

by Ramzy Baroud

If one tried to fit music compositions into an equivalent literary style, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble’s latest release would come across as a most engaging political essay: persuasive, argumentative, rational, original, imaginative and always unfailingly accessible.

But unlike the rigid politicking of politicians and increasingly Machiavellian style of today’s political essayists – so brazen they no longer hide behind illusory moral façades - the band’s latest work is also unapologetically humanistic.

Those familiar with the writings of Gilad Atzmon - the famed ex-Israeli musician and brilliant saxophone player, now based in London – can only imagine that Gaza was the place that occupied his thoughts as he composed The Tide Has Changed.

The title track, an 11-minute melody, transmits the host of emotions that engulfed many of us when Israel began mercilessly pounding the resilient and hostage Gaza Strip in late 2008. First there were the simultaneous strikes which killed hundreds. Some of us woke up to watch the dreadful images of poor police cadets in Gaza reeling under the ceaseless bombardment in a heap of human flesh. Body parts of young men and their families scattered across burning buildings and pulverized concrete. Those still alive were hauling whatever remained of their bodies across the sea of the dead, mostly in their graduation uniforms.

It was a moment of disbelief, of questioning much of what we’d previously held to be true. It came as a shock and awe to our collective consciousness, and was further bolstered by endless days of constant shelling and tragedy. And the tide began to change as if the moment of death, of release, was the very moment of liberation. Gaza’s thousands of victims may have produced the nudge for millions around the globe to begin to finally confront their inner fear, their subtle sense of shame for allowing a tragedy of that magnitude to continue for all of these years. 

As Gaza held strong proving once and for all that unspoken values – human spirit, the will of the people, the collective dignity of a nation – was stronger than all that military genius can possibly generate, millions went to the streets in a most disorganized, chaotic and yet genuine expression of human solidarity witnessed in many years.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari: Israeli policies are manifestly evil: Philip Giraldi
by Koroush Ziabari in Iran

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Now, he chairs the Council for the National Interest as the Executive Director. CNI is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the transformation of United States' Middle East policy.

As a CIA officer, Giraldi served in different countries including Turkey, Italy, Germany and Spain. He is now a Francis Walsingham Fellow at The American Conservative Defense Alliance. He has appeared on several radio and TV programs including Good Morning America, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, BBC, Al-Jazeera and 60 Minutes.

Giraldi works with the American Conservative magazine as a contributing editor and writes a regular column for the Antiwar website. He is an outspoken critic of the hawkish policies of the United States and has publicly decried Washington's unconditional support for the state of Israel.

Philip Giraldi joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the latest developments of the Middle East, the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the possibility of a peaceful compromise between Iran and the United States and the impact of Israeli lobby on the long-term policies of the White House.

Kourosh Ziabari: Why is the Israeli lobby so powerful, influential and authoritative? Almost all of the major media conglomerates in the United States own to well-off Jews who are committed to maintaining the interests of the state of Israel in the U.S. Some experts say that Israel is the representative of the United States in the Middle East region, but some others suggest that it's Israel which determines the future of political developments in the United States. What's your take on that?

Philip Giraldi: The Israel Lobby is so powerful because it deliberately set out to establish control over key elements in the United States. It has demonstrated a number of times that politicians who are perceived as being unfriendly to Israel will face serious problems in being reelected because the Lobby mobilizes to provide money and media support to opponents. This means that congress is afraid to oppose anything that Israel and its Lobby wants. The same holds true for the presidency. Every presidential candidate must be seen as friendly to Israel or he will be attacked in the media and denied millions of dollars in political contributions, making it a safer option to support Israel. Finally, pro-Israeli interests control much of the media and, more important, dominate the opinion and editorial pages, making the only narrative that most Americans hear about the Middle East highly favorable to Israel and highly critical of all Israel's enemies. As a result, Israel is able to control U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East and also much of the Muslim world.
 

Fri

15

Oct

2010

The USA, CIA, and the KKK
by Sherwood Ross

By assigning covert action roles to the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA), it is as if the White House and Congress had legitimized the Ku Klux Klan to operate globally. That's because the CIA today resembles nothing so much as the "Invisible Empire" of the KKK that once spread terror across the South and Midwest. Fiery crosses aside, that's what the CIA is doing globally.

The CIA today is committing many of the same sort of gruesome crimes against foreigners that the KKK once inflicted on Americans of color. The principal difference is that the KKK consisted of self-appointed vigilantes who regarded themselves as both outside and above the law when they perpetrated their crimes. By contrast, the CIA acts as the agent of the American government, often at the highest levels, and at times at the direction of the White House. Its crimes typically are committed in contravention of the highest established international law such as the Charter of the United Nations as well as the U.S. Constitution. What's more, the "Agency," as it is known, derives its funding largely from an imperialist-minded Congress; additionally, it has no qualms about fattening its budget from drug money and other illegal sources. It is a mirror-image of the lawless entity the U.S. has become since achieving superpower status. And it is incredible that the White House grants license to this violent Agency to commit its crimes with no accountability.

Allowing it to operate in secret literally gives the CIA the Ring of Gyges. In Plato's Republic, the owner of the ring of Gyges had the power to become invisible at will. As Wikipedia puts it, Plato "discusses whether a typical person would be moral if he did not have to fear the consequences of his actions." The ancient Greeks made the argument, Wikipedia says, that "No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men." The CIA, like Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's NKVD before it, has provided modern man the answer to this question. Its actions illuminate why all criminal entities, from house-breakers, rapists and bank robbers, to Ponzi scheme swindlers, and murderers, cloak themselves in secrecy.
 
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