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17 February 2007

Obama and Hillary: On Israel/Palestine (and Iran), There Is No Daylight Between Them

See also this.

Some "progressive."

16 February 2007

Two Views of the Democratic Win in November You Probably Didn't See

Truthdig - The Nightmare Scenario

Excellent "dig" led by truthdig, by Sergei Plekhanov:

DIG DIRECTOR

Sergei M. Plekhanov, an associate professor in the department of political science, York University (Toronto, Canada), was from 1988 to 1993 the deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute for the Study of the USA and Canada, and has advised the U.S. and Canadian governments on Russian affairs.
There are some excellent "related links" and updates on the page.

Bill Moyers: "We Stand at a Crossroads"

Laying it down without fear or favor:

Brandeis Donors Exact Revenge For Carter Visit

"Sapere Aude! (Dare to think for yourself)," Norman Finkelstein, The Justice: The Independent Student Newspaper of Brandeis University, on Alan Dershowitz's continuing jihad.

Watch the Frontline News Wars Specials Online

15 February 2007

Part 3 of Harper's Online Forum on Iran

Or, "Yet More Evidence that Being In a Right-Wing Think Tank Obviates the Need for Further Proof of an Abnomral Karyotype."

See Parts 1 and 2 here.

What Happened After Live8...

Or: "Vulture Funds." (RP; other formats here.)

UNICEF Report on Child Well-Being (PDF)

In the top 21 wealthiest countries.

US? Number 20. UK? Number 21.

Hmmmmm....

14 February 2007

The Kucinich Plan for Iraq


Who else running for President is saying anything like this?

Update, 2/15: The Edwards Plan, or what I could find about it on his site.

SPADE Defense Index

Keep an eye on this excellent measure of the military-industrial complex.

This index (itself traded on AMEX -- "DXS") covers 57 companies in defense (sic), homeland security (sic), and space (sic). Here they are. Some surprises, no?

In 2006, it outperformed the S&P500 for the seventh consecutive year, up 19.33%. An interactive line graph on its performance here, compared to other indexes. Or, to quote them:

From 2000-2006, the SPADE Defense Index GAINED 113.86% vs. a LOSS by the S&P500 of 3.47%
Death, as always, is big business.

Dig their glowing February, 2007, newsletter. (PDF)

Onto Iran! Syria! China! Russia! It's all good for business.

War With Iran? Harper's Online Fora

Click title for part one; part two here.

Iran's Offer, via the Swiss, 2003 -- PDF

Buried deep in the A section of the WaPo. Hard to believe, I know.

Raw Story report, with comments by Flynt Leverett, a former Bush NSC official.

Web of Deceit

The West's complicity in Saddam Hussein's crimes and regime.

The book.

Never broadcast in the US, reportedly.

If you have any trouble with the videos below (I have), click on the partially transparent YouTube logo (on the lower-right corner of the screen) to go to YouTube, where you shouldn't have a problem.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

13 February 2007

Chris Dodd Needs Your Signatures and Support

Trying to reinstate habeas corpus.

Dig:

Craig Unger on the Neocon's Next Target

And on Democracy Now! (RP; other options here).

More on Iranning amok from DN! (linking to homepages for stories):

  1. The Times, It Ain't A-Changin'.
  2. Shillary Dodging and Weaving on Iraq; Good-to-go on Iran.

Obama: When $481.4 Billion Just Isn't Enough...

(The number above is the 2008 number for the DoD. It doesn't include money for Iraq, Afghanistan, the Dept of Energy [nukes], the intel agencies, and whatever "black" budgets the magnitude of which is by definition unknown.)

Sen. Obama Suggests He Would Expand Pentagon Budget
In political news, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama has suggested he would increase the Pentagon's budget if elected president. Obama made the comment during a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said that because the Iraq war has depleted our military "there's probably going to be a bump under an Obama presidency in initial spending just to get back to where we were."
Oh, yes: he's another "maverick" shaking up politics. Can anyone say, "manufacturing consent"?

"Moderate," "Maverick" McCain Kowtows to Creationists

Can we kill this PR-bullshit that McCain is anything but a hardcore rightwinger? Thank you.

Finkelstein Dissects Another Dershowitz Bull

Follow the links in the op-ed...

Finkelstein, as anyone who's read his books or articles knows, is neither a self-hating Jew nor an anti-Semite. He's just unafraid to take on taboo issues, and he's infuriating because he is such a good academic excavator. He reads and follows up on footnotes, for example. He exposed Joan Peters' From Time Immemorial, and then (surprise, surprise) Dershowitz's work, itself based on From Time Immemorial.

It's simply not factually true that he's a pariah in academic circles: Raul Hilberg, Sara Roy -- well, go look at his blurbs.

But he does piss off the AIPAC-lovin' types. I, for one, enjoy watching them squirm.

As for "the Big Lie," Dershowitz has got that down pat. He is a clown; why Gould gave him the time of day is one of those mysteries I'll never figure out.

12 February 2007

Dr. Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Attacks on Iran

Among other things. (Windows Media Player). If you can't watch: the estimate is that 2.6 million people will die instantly from a nuclear attack on uranium enrichment sites at Natanz and Isfahan.

Yeah, that seems like a good idea. But I can't compare Bush to Hitler? I think not.

Galloway on the British Foreign Sec'y, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and more

Iran Round-up

The new Jewish question | Review | The Observer

Tony Judt vs. the Lunatics.

Thirty-Six Sure-Fire Signs That Your Empire Is Crumbling


My E-mail to the New York Times

Subject: Gordon's Article on Iran

Dear Newsroom:

OK, are you people just shilling for the Bush Admin, or what? We've seen this many, many times before, with Dame Miller, for one.

How about this: squelch these types of stories now (we all know what they are), and do something to preserve our democracy -- which is what newspapers are supposed to do -- now, do something to prevent war with Iran now.

(You might be interested in this Raw Story report, which is flying around the internet like wildfire.)

That way, you won't have to bump some stupid lifestyle story on how the best duvets can be found in SoHo, or whatnot, for your rich suburban audience to apologize at length, yet again, for what you should have done to help save the country, and lives, back when you had a chance to do so.

The choke hold on democracy is the media; you still have a huge impact on that media. Use it or lose it.

I would think you have enough blood on your hands from Iraq to be nudged in the direction of fighting for truth, and not for advertisers and access to a criminal regime in Washington. Start telling the truth about this country and you'll be the most popular newspaper in history.

I'd send this as a letter to the editor, but, first, it wouldn't get through, and second, if it did, it would be either set next to two "opposing" letters or edited to taste.

Thank you,

Doug
---------------------------------------------
Dear Readers:

Feel free to express yourself as well:

  • nytnews@nytimes.com
  • executive-editor@nytimes.com
  • managing-editor@nytimes.com
  • public@nytimes.com

Democracy Now! on Josh Wolf, Media Wars

The entire show is about a variety of media crackdowns. The headlines lay out what's going on with Iran -- a third carrier group on the way. But pay attention to how the news briefing on Iranian bombs in Iraq went down.

Goodman shows segments from the Frontline series on the news war. Worth viewing (or reading) the entire DN! episode, as well as the Frontline series, which will be available online after broadcast.

Nah, we're not in a proto-fascist state. I'm just "wild-eyed." I'm crying Wolf, not wolf.

PS: Props to Obama for slapping down John Howard.

11 February 2007

The Raw Story | NYT article appears to violate policy on using unidentified sources; Gates: 'Pretty good evidence' Iran behind Iraq bombs

Here we go again. At this point, anyone who believes anything the New York Times prints on Iran is either congenitally stupid, happy to go to war (again), or woefully naive.

From a friend:
The first big salvo....

Despite my geographical distance I've been keenly following developments in the States. Now that the Times (see above link) is again publishing front-page assertions to accord with the Bush Junta agenda, the battle is in full swing. Approval ratings and Congress don't mean a thing to these people, and they're going to get their war. There does happen to be opposition among and between the "elite," but to thwart anything that appears like a popular congressional or other move against their agenda, I am convinced that the Junta will go so far as to invoke martial law. In fact, I think that short of an impeachment miracle fueled by Fitzgerald's prosecution of Libby, Iran will be attacked and thus will begin the neverending war.

You may say "it can't happen here"...but guess what: it's already happening: the fascist takeover of democracy is in full swing.

Sorry to be so vehement about it all, but it makes me sick. The only suggestion I can offer is to take to the streets: march, walk, parade in peaceful but cogent protest.
Here's a look at what will likely be the solution to the deflation of the housing bubble, especially for those with the stones to do what is suggested above. I smell "repurposing." Some other reports on this soon-to-be high-demand real estate.

An excerpt from The Fall of the American Republic (New Delhi: Hindustan Publishers, 2058):
The ironies were crushing. The nation that helped to defeat the first wave of fascism in the mid-twentieth century ended up, in victory, constructing the very institutional, cultural, and global conditions for the resurgence of fascism in the early twenty-first century. In a nation in which Jews had achieved hard-won acceptance and power, elite Jews joined the charge, post-9/11, against "Islamofascism," an Orwellian term of projection, if ever there was one.

But elite American Jews were hardly alone, or even the most powerful force behind the demise of American republicanism. Christian fascists -- long ascendant, long ignored, far more numerous -- had their apocalyptic reasons, and a new Messiah in the White House. Amazingly, elite American Jews had allied with these essentially anti-Semitic organizations in order to protect the former nation of Israel from the destruction that soon ensued after the neoconservative agenda -- ostensibly a plan to protect Israel -- had reached its omega point.

Furthermore, the most powerful source of militarism in the country, the military-industrial-congressional complex, took all comers, ideologically speaking. As long as sales were brisk, there was no need to question the motives of any buyer, foreign or domestic. With hundreds of jobs placed with care in every congressional district, arms makers were safe from congressional assault, had there ever been the urge. Drowned in a never-ending wave of patriotic propaganda after 9/11, and through the Iraq and Iran wars, the populace, though increasingly distrustful, somehow never brought enough pressure to bear on their elected leaders to make enough of a timely difference. Perhaps there was no way of doing so in such a system.

The incestuous relationship between the Congress, the executive, and those in the business of war was itself merely the most obvious and dangerous example of -- irony of ironies -- what looked a lot like Lenin's vision of "the highest stage of capitalism." As in most fascist nations, increasing "cooperation" between government and an ever-dwindling set of powerful, vertically integrated, horizontally cross-owning mega-corporations led to the choking off of democracy. The choke point was corporate (and thus governmental) control of the media. As the unwitting populace worshipped consumption and the Infallible God of the Market (long since deceased, with hardly a Nietzsche around to note the fact), one by one, sources of free information were bought up, controlled, and allied with executive power. The courts had long since been packed with revolutionaries. The Congress, even after the November, 2006, elections, was far too cautious and slow-moving to stop the revolution, to kill it as it crawled out of its crib. Again, as in other similar situations in history, the "opposition" hardly deserved the name. Whether through cowardice, miscalculation, or, most tragically, the psychological inability to accept the horrible truth of the times, the Democrats fiddled as Rome burned.

This psychological affliction was pandemic in proto-fascist America, so used to self-congratulation for its republican history, so ignorant of its true history, and, above all, so shockingly unaware of the level of civic participation necessary to maintain the democracy all claimed to cherish. Living in a fantasy world fueled by media of all types, most Americans clutched with increasing desperation to the illusion that all was well, that the millenial mission of America, its manifest destiny, was on target for delivery just as soon as the world was purified for its attainment. There on the metropolitan hill, always just beyond our grasp but ever-closer, a population of happy Horatio Algers awaited, the Metropolis regnant over a pacified planet. Unfortunately, reality was far worse than the would-be Horatios would allow themselves to dream of, so the nightmare came.

As Rome burned, most simply welcomed another source of illumination, no matter how foreboding, of the markets born of "created demand" (the terms were used without irony, without cognizance of the oxymoron), a demand created by the same industries that marketed "leaders," "elections," "history," national self-image, wars. This affliction, then, was the revolutionaries' greatest weapon against the citizenry, and the citizenry were mostly willing to wield the weapon themselves. The state had become the superego.

As always, there were exceptions; those somehow inoculated against the propaganda, and desperate to pass along the vaccine. They were in the Democratic and Republican parties. They were urban and rural; rich and poor; educated and not educated; black, red, yellow, and white; men and women. They cut across class, race, gender, even political philosophy. With one exception, however. They all were civil libertarians: "red," "blue" -- it made no difference. Without the institutions, laws, and procedures that guarantee civil liberties -- the rule of law itself, separation of powers, independent courts not stripped of their power, and a news media at the ready to ensure compliance by all branches -- no other political decisions were possible in any collective, democratic sense.

Ultimately it truly made no difference, as the affliction of self-delusion was apparently insurmountable. Soon self-delusion was not needed. Millions marched before the Iraq war; millions marched after the nuclear strikes on Iran. But whereas the first marchers were merely ignored, the second were detained indefinitely, their fates unknown but not hard to infer.

By 2010, the first phase of the revolution was complete. The election of 2008 did nothing but provide another media circus for an increasingly breadless populace. (Elections had long since been rigged; everyone knew this at some level, but few could bring themselves to admit it, especially among the "educated classes," given the immediate and inescapable conclusions that would follow.) America -- or at least America's leaders -- had chosen, whether by default or by design. The long economic slide since neoliberal globalization had begun to destroy the American middle class in the 1970s had ended in a Spartan state: a full-employment military dictatorship, constantly at war. The rest of the world -- that is, those who could escape or deter the lumbering, faltering giant -- were content to watch it die from a thousand self-inflicted cuts. Some allies went down with it -- Israel, the UK. Others dissociated themselves, such as that other United States (of Europe).

By mid-century, the empire was beaten, imploded, a devastated minor player, a twentieth-century Albania with elephantiasis -- or a post-Soviet Russia: big, undemocratic, armed, but chastened. America had been contained by a non-aligned movement that could only win, given the demographic and economic differentials. However, the world had, sometimes through sheer luck, survived the military differential, including the nuclear threat, which was surely on the American side. Thus we find ourselves in another tenuous and mad situation: yet another nuclear standoff, America on one side, the rest of the world allied against her on the other.

Perhaps, if we survive this latest nuclear chicken game and our vertiginous environmental crisis; perhaps, having already dodged several fatal bullets; perhaps, having been served so many iterations of the same lesson -- perhaps our world will truly never forget how tenuous the rule of law and of the citizenry is; how corrosive unconstrained corporate tyrannies are; and how correct Jefferson was that eternal vigilance is the fate of any nation audacious enough to attempt to carry on with that great American philosopher's dream. The lessons for India, and the world, are clear. Will we heed them? Perhaps.

Robert Fisk: Iraqi insurgents offer peace in return for US concessions

Council on Foreign Relations on Iraq

Bottom line: it's over, we lost, get out now before it gets worse. I agree with the diagnosis and the prognosis; the cure should be along the lines laid out by Chomsky below, and others: reparations, dismantling of bases, full apology, etc.

Noam Chomsky: The US says it is fighting for democracy - but is deaf to the cries of the Iraqis