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15 September 2007

Living off scraps: The West Bank's bitter harvest

Nah, it's not apartheid. Everyone's perfectly happy in the occupied territories.

Another crack in the ideological wall -- from Yahoo News of all places. Amy Goodman in her weekly column (I know, I know: a self-hater).

More: "The Greatest Story Never Told," by Stephen Lendman. Another self-hater, of course. Here's another good one: "'Unrecognized' Palestinians." More of his "hate-filled" notions can be read at his blog.

Yes, I am not only sick and tired of "pro-"Israeli hyper-Zionists frothing at the mouth, getting gifted professors fired, and so forth. But I am also frankly terrified of yet another new war, this time in Iran, which, among others, the "pro-"Israeli hyper-Zionists (Jewish and non-Jewish; in America or in Israel) are pushing for.

14 September 2007

Noam Chomsky on Iran 4/29/2007 at MIT

Noam Chomsky Q&A at the 2007 Z Media Institute

Chimpy McMurderer's Address to the Nation

Watch it here. Seventeen-and-a-half minutes of steaming horseshit by the epsilon minus ostensibly running the country (yeah, right).

Note the constant use, and not just by Bush, of the definite article to modify "terrorists" -- the terrorists. You know, Al Qaida, Iranians, ecological activists, lefty bloggers -- all the same. Pure propaganda. How fucking stupid does he think we are? What a farce of a speech; anyone who sees anything in it other than propaganda needs to have his or her head examined. There might be a sheep's brain in it.

Another interestingly defined term: "extremists" means "Shiites" or "those who do not bow to the will of elite American fiat."

Ah, the Reaganesque "personalization" at the end of the speech -- by some amazing coincidence, it's a virtual retread of the new Ari-Fleischer-backed commercials for Iraq. Well, it is September: time to launch a new product -- Iran, and the new [sic] Iraq strategy [sic].

By relying heavily on Anbar as a "success story," Petraeus probably signed Abu Risha's death warrant. Scary that the assassination was probably not a coincidence -- that's the "security situation." As for what Abu Risha actually thought, yes, one must turn to Democracy Now! More here:

Compare Bush's speech to Bin Laden's: both are playing a role; each should get a best-supporting-actor award for the other.

Oh, well: it's only to be expected: the Bushes and Bin Ladens go way, way back, as Greg Palast -- via that notorious radical organization called "the BBC" -- has documented here, and more broadly here:

The bottom line is: we're there because we want our hand on the oil spigot to give us veto power over any other nation's potential rise, as per neoconservative -- and pretty much any other American, British, Russian (or, what-have-you) political-elite -- doctrine. We'll stay till the oil is privatized; we'll stay as long as it takes to keep it pumping at the desired rate of the country's (or, to be more accurate, the world's) owners.

As for the civil war, and Petraeus' (and our) funding and arming of both (all) sides, well, Jay Gould put it best in a different context: "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

This sentiment, in both its figurative and literal senses, has simply been globalized; it applies equally well at home and abroad.

End of story. Unless, of course, we do something about it.

Superimperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, 2nd ed, Michael Hudson, 2003 [1st ed, 1972]

PDF; click title of post above.

Two other relevant and classic analyses:

More Kolko books here; more articles here. Recent interview here.

Keith Olbermann: The Promotion Of Failure

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak?

Good question.

Page and Plant, "Unledded"

"Kashmir," with an Egyptian band:

Check out this video: Jimmy Page~Robert Plant Kashmir

Add to My Profile | More Videos

More from that "Unledded" show:

13 September 2007

Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip

Just about the funniest thing you'll ever see. Complete classic.

CrackBerrys: Exploring the Social Implications of Wireless Email Devices

9/11 -- the big cover-up? by Peter Tatchell

This seems a fairly plausible reaction to the 9/11 Report to me. Of course, based on what we know about how the commission and report were fought, tooth and nail, by the Bush admin, should be enough to conclude that at minimum, the admin simply didn't care, or was covering up, at minimum, it's complete irresponsibility. We've all known that for years, including at the time.

12 September 2007

The Funniest Thing Of All Time in the History of the Universe, Literally

Now this is what I call "the voice of the working man." He knows what time it is.

(This is for the three of you who may not yet have seen this classic. Admittedly, there is some profanity. Such as, some variant on the ancient Anglo-Saxon word, "fuck," is used at total of 29 times in two minutes and seven seconds. That's a rate of one "fuck" per every roughly 4.5 seconds -- and he doesn't really get going till about 20 or 30 seconds in... Enjoy!)

Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctine

Excerpt and video; click above.

Later: Found the vid on YouTube:

More here at Naomi Klein's site.

And further video and audio clips, taken from her site:
Democracy Now!

Naomi Klein on BBC's Business Daily, September 12, 2007
Naomi discusses the staggering growth of the homeland security industry. Otto Reich, who served in George W. Bush's first administration, follows and debates Naomi's ideas.

Naomi Klein on CBC's The Current

Economist Milton Friedman once said, "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around."

It is this theory that journalist Naomi Klein explores in her new book: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In it Klein argues that instability is being both fostered and used as a way to engage in policies of economic engineering around the world whether in Pinochet's Chile or today, in Iraq. Her book is provocative, and will surely be controversial and Naomi Klein joined us in our Toronto studio.

Finally, two playlists of Klein speeches:

Why the Human Race is Completely Fucked

Ah, West Hartford, wellspring of my soul: how I look upon thee and rejoice!

The fantasy that the construction of this mega-mansion is somehow "a personal choice" that has no effect on anyone else simply isn't true. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberals -- who used to be called, in our lifetimes, "conservatives," before that word lost all meaning -- were for unfettered freedom -- unless such freedom infringed unfairly upon others'. See John Stuart Mill, for example.

Well, guess what? That's now the case with this house, and with most houses, and with much of Americans' so-called "way of life" so constantly threatened by the dusky hordes, whether from the Middle East or Mexico. The overuse of resources in a rapidly crumbing global ecosystem, to say nothing of nuclear-hair-trigger global political "system" (for lack of a better word -- "mafia war" is more like it), is simply dirty pool. This includes overbreeding. Sorry, folks, we just can't afford it as a species anymore. Yes, I know it's unfair, but if you're over the 2.1 replacement rate, well, tough shit. There will no summer arctic ice, by only the most recent prediction, by 2030. This among other already occurring feedback loops closing around our species' neck.

These and other unpopular, if wholly rational, policies -- such as, oh, I don't know, listening to the IAEA and following up on our non-proliferation-treaty obligations, which are, under the Constitution (supremacy clause), the supreme law of the land, and getting rid of nukes while placing all fissile material creation under international hands ("fissban treaty") -- are, well, necessary (if not sufficient) for human survival.

Chance of it occurring? Zero. Only country, to my knowledge, that has backed international control of fissile material? You'll never guess what -- Iran! Look it up. Go figure, huh? Must be some incredibly devious bazaar-like ruse by those swarthy heathen, no doubt. Oh, wait, they're not Arabs. Same difference; they're evil. Michael Ledeen just told me so, and he's at the AEI and a one-time admirer of Italian neofascism, so I know he's an unbiased source.

I see literally no one but Kucinich on the political horizon -- and he hasn't a snowball's chance in hell -- ready to deal with any of these issues. Any of them: the politerati cackle back and forth over whether Petraeus is either courageous and brilliant or just brilliant and courageous while the henhouse is on fire. Somehow the owners of the country (and their opposite numbers around the world) have yet to figure out that you can't bribe radioactive fallout, nor can you pay a poor person to die of radiation sickness for you. With a major shooting war potentially about to break out (I mean, more so) from Turkey to Syria to Lebanon (for the nth time) to Israel and the OTs, to Iraq (more so) to Iran to Afghanistan (more so) to nuclear-armed, potentially truly scary-Islamist Pakistan and nuclear-armed India -- to say nothing of Russia and China -- well, you know, sticking one's head in the sand won't work too well when that sand is turned to glass. Hard to get the head back out.

But no Democrat, other than Kucinich and handful of others, seems to care; no one's doing anything about it. Couldn't even swear in Petraeus. It's a complete joke: the past two days were political theater. The die was cast long ago, and neither Obama nor (don't make me laugh) Hillary will do a damn thing differently -- especially re: Iran.

But the really important stories are how some early adopters of the iPhone got fucked over and some English kid's been lost for a few months, presumed dead. My heart bleeds for them.

The General Lies, by Robert Scheer

All that needs be said on General Petraeus' performance (and that it was) in front of Congress.

Well, perhaps not all: here's Robert Parry's take. The General was deemed so innately truthful that the Democrat-controlled House and Senate committees deemed a suggestion to swear him in (by Ray McGovern) grounds for expulsion.

And here's Arun Gupta on Democracy Now! giving the backstory on how Saint Petraeus, Noble Warrior, funded both sides of the "sectarian violence" -- Central America, anyone? Oh, pick your "humanitarian intervention;" I just "like" Central America.

J'Accuse, by Gary Hart

Right on.

11 September 2007

'IAF and ground troops targeted Iranian weapons in Syria'

From the Jerusalem Post. Thus it begins. More from the Guardian. I don't see the need for quotes around the word, aggression. Textbook aggression, the supreme international crime. Of course, Israel will claim to be acting in "anticipatory self-defense," but who doesn't claim that? The fact is, Israel has been flouting the no-fly zone since last year's war with Lebanon, as is obvious to anyone who's kept up.

More chess moves leading up to a strike on Iran, Lebanon (yet again), and possibly Syria as well. The neocons and Israeli government clearly want to "settle" accounts before Bush is gone from office. Though, I can't see how any potential successor would make any difference, given the rhetoric of anyone who has a chance.

Ahmadinejad as Goldfinger, Analysis by Khody Akhavi, IPS

Ah, the AEI. What a zoo that place is. Ledeen ought to go back to worshipping Italian neofascists. This stuff would be funny if "the crazies" didn't have so much clout.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the IAEA is reportedly making progress with Iran on keeping them from their statutory right to process uranium for electricity-generating purposes.

Yes, I am against all nuclear energy; yes, even barring a ban, I am for a centralized international refinement regime in which no one country has its own capacity to create weapons-grade material; yes, I'm for a nuclear-free middle east -- and world. There is no other option for long- or even medium-term survival. Perhaps even for short-term; as in, the next few months.

10 September 2007

Some Great Online Art MiniLectures...

From the good folks at smARThistory...

1. Michelangelo's David
2. Tempera Painting in the Renaissance
3. Euprhonios, Terracotta calyx-krater
4. Monet's Gare St. Lazare

Noam Chomsky, Case Studies in Hypocrisy: US Human Rights Policy

Ostensibly from 2000; at least released then. On the postwar reconstruction of international political and economic relations: the Bretton Woods System (IMF, World Bank, GATT) and the UN. Or: why there really is no effective difference between (Clintonian) Democrats and Republicans in foreign and economic policy anymore (i.e., "the Washington Consensus"). Here is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the way. And here's UN Resolution 194, which is based on Article 13 of the Universal Declaration.

You know, more childish rantings about anti-globalization conspiracy theories from a lefty blogger, citing Chomsky.

Update: Here's another way to access this talk:

Running time: 53m 3s
Play RealMedia stream
Case Studies in Hypocrisy:U.S. Human Rights Policy, Part I (Audio Only)
Series: Chomsky
Episode: Case Studies in Hypocrisy:U.S. Human Rights Policy, Part I (Audio Only)
Produced: April 30, 2002 at 22:00:00

Running time: 53m 17s
Play RealMedia stream
Case Studies in Hypocrisy:U.S. Human Rights Policy, Part II (Audio Only)
Series: Chomsky
Episode: Case Studies in Hypocrisy:U.S. Human Rights Policy, Part II (Audio Only)
Produced: April 29, 2002 at 22:00:00

David Brooks Compares Bin Laden to, Well, Anyone He Disagrees With

Such as: admirers of Noam Chomsky's analyses; anyone not completely on board with neoliberal globalization; any "lefty blog[gers]," who are childish ranters; "conspiracy theories," such as global warming (!) and the mortgage crisis (!), and "a lot of the worst ideas from the West." You must see this to believe it.

This is truly frightening: fascist through and through. Any and all dissent about any aspect of what Brooks considers The One True Way is now lumped in with a mass murderer, Public Enemy Number 1: Osama Bin Laden.

Don't let Brooks' faux-centrist, jocular-common-sense, shoulder-shrugging ways fool you: this was a vicious piece of hateful rightwing propaganda. Not the first time Brooks has spouted appallingly immoral fascist drivel.

Democracy Now! Interviews America's Two Leading Antisemites

That sarcastic statement should pull in some "pro-"Israeli googlers. Maybe you no-doubt intellectually honest folks will actually listen to and try to understand what Carter and Finkelstein have to say...

Naaaah, it'll be easier to call me "anti-Semitic" and "self-hating" -- and so much more satisfying than actually thinking and self-questioning. I know, I know: thinking hurt brain; brain no like; baahing with other sheep doubleplusgood.

Having grown up in an upper-middle-class Jewish home in West Hartford, CT, I have had my share of "pro-"Israeli thinking, Leon Uris novels, Fiddler on the Roof viewings, destructive and perverse Holocaust-worship (my mother having lost some extended family in the Nazi holocaust), and all the rest of it -- including the spectacle of watching my parents celebrate (yes, that's the right word) the US invasion of Iraq in 1991, literally making drinks to go with all the bright and shiny explosions on CNN* -- I know a bit about what it's like to overcome one's earlier, mistaken beliefs.

It's OK: you will still be able to love your parents even if you reject some of their beliefs. It's called "being an adult human being" as opposed to "being a moral and intellectual coward who must value the warmth of the family and flock over an honest appraisal of reality." Try thinking it through like a rational human being rather than jumping up and down and hooting on your side of the rapidly disappearing water-hole with your fellow simians: "Jew-legs-good; Moor-legs-bad. Jew-legs-good; Moor-legs-bad...."

Just in case any of my no-doubt intellectually honest opponents don't get it -- the above is Kubrick-plus-Orwell. Please do try to keep up. Also, I am using recently invented rhetorical devices called "irony," "sarcasm," and "satire." I will paste in some definitions of these understandably unfamiliar concepts from the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in order to forestall any confusion in my no-doubt intellectually honest opponents. Print these out and keep them by your keyboards for easy reference:

/"VIrni/ n.

E16. [L ironia, Gk eironeia simulated ignorance, f. eiron dissembler: see -Y3.]

1 Dissimulation, pretence; esp. the pretence of ignorance practised by Socrates as a step towards confuting an adversary. E16.

> Socratic irony: see SOCRATIC a.

2 The expression of meaning using language that normally expresses the opposite; esp. the humorous or sarcastic use of praise to imply condemnation or contempt. E16.

b An instance of this; an ironical utterance or expression. M16.

3 fig. Discrepancy between the expected and the actual state of affairs; a contradictory or ill- timed outcome of events as if in mockery of the fitness of things. M17.

4 The use of language with one meaning for a privileged audience and another for those addressed or concerned. E20.

> tragic irony: see TRAGIC a.

sarcasm /"sA:kaz()m/ n. Also (earlier) in L form *sarcasmus.

M16. [Fr. sarcasme or late L sarcasmus f. late Gk sarkasmos, f. sarkazein tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly, f. sark-, sarx flesh.]

1 A bitter or wounding expression or remark, a taunt, esp. one ironically worded. M16.

> GEO. ELIOT Blows are sarcasms turned stupid.

2 The use of or the faculty of using such remarks; language consisting of such remarks. M16.

> P. P. READ 'I can imagine that you are kept very busy'. The sarcasm was unconcealed.

C. HARMAN Ruth..and Valentine..became prime targets for Nora’s scorn and sarcasm.

*sarcasmous a. sarcastic M17–M18.

satire /"satVI/ n. Also (earlier) *satyr.

E16. [(O)Fr., or L satira later form of satura verse composition dealing with a variety of subjects, medley, mixture. Formerly assoc. w. SATYR n.[1] and so spelt.]

1 A work or composition in prose or (orig.) verse which (usu. humorously) exposes prevailing vices or follies or ridicules an (esp. prominent) individual; a lampoon; a performance or broadcast of a similar nature; Rom. Antiq. a poetic medley, esp. of a satirical nature. E16.

>M. ELPHINSTONE Introducing satires on manners and domestic life into Asia.

HARPER LEE Cather published..a snide satire on Louise’s brother.

b fig. An object, fact, or circumstance that brings ridicule on some person or thing. L17.

>B. TAYLOR An..ungainly person, whose clothes were a..satire on his professional skill.

*2 A satirical person, a satirist. E16–E18.

3 a The branch of literature etc. constituted by satires; satirical composition. L16.

b The use of sarcasm, irony, ridicule, etc., to expose vice or folly or to lampoon an individual. L17.

M. O. W. OLIPHANT A tone of satire in her voice when she noted the late marriage.

*Even though, and I blush to admit it, I was for that invasion (at the time; not now), I was repulsed by the celebration of death, which I thought one should take grimly. Yes, even though mommy and daddy looked upon it and said it was good, and, yes, even though it was only Arabs, not actual people, who were being blown to bits by oh-so-nifty smart-bombs.

(If any of my no-doubt intellectually honest opponents are still confused, see definitions above.)

The Battle for Iraq is About Oil and Democracy, Not Religion!

Excellent analysis. Note well this teaser:

As Gen. Petraeus takes the D.C. stage, he and the media are only giving half of the story. Shockingly, the United States, Iran and al Qaeda have the same goals in Iraq.
Yup. It doesn't really matter what General Betray-Us and Ambassador Crock will have to say; this is all political theater. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will do much of anything different in the real sense: with or without Bush in office.

Whether it's Hillary or Obama or Edwards, whether it's Guiliani, McCain, Thompson -- whether it's anyone other than Kucinich, Gravel, or Paul (none of whom have a snowball's chance in hell, a fact I bemoan only on Kucinich's part), all possible post-Bush administrations will do virtually the same thing, by all indications, in Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, etc.

That is, unless we, the people, do something about it.

Osama Bin Gollum; We Are All Sauron

From the Washington Post in 1999. Think WETA or Industrial Light and Magic has the best technology?

I've been worried about this new power to literally create totally convincing audiovisual reality since Lord of the Rings came out. If it's not happening now; it inevitably will, and will not be detectable. That's a relativistic, postmodern threat to civilization for ya, not the pointless meanderings of some French "philosopher."

Juan Cole reports that the audio track may be from a prior audio tape...but he doesn't think it's a fake.

Anyway, here's the full video and transcript. I can't vouch for the translation, of course. Or the authenticity.

But, as with the 9/11 Truth Movement, the real possibility of fakery or deception misses the larger point.* Whether or not the tape is real, whether or not Bin Laden is what he's been presented to be (i.e., not a CIA agent, etc.), the function of Bin Laden's periodic tapes are the same: to ensure that the US stays on its current course in the Middle East. Assuming Bin Laden is a stooge of the US (or some faction within the government, etc.), that follows. Assuming Bin Laden is a homegrown jihadist, that follows just as strongly.

The best thing for Al Qaida is for the Americans not only to stay in the Middle East, but to increase our military presence there. Obviously.
*In a very real sense, it doesn't matter whether 9/11 was "as presented," or a false-flag op ("they made it happen"), or was simply allowed to happen ("they let it happen"). The result is the same: what we have seen since 9/11 in this country and around the world.

In a country that lets 1500 of its citizens drown in NOLA, denies healthcare to millions, etc., etc. -- why would anyone be surprised if 9/11 was allowed to occur? Only if you have some lingering sense of "innocence" (i.e., "willful stupidity") about human nature, power, and the United States (i.e., "American exceptionalism"), would you be at all shocked by such an occurrence.

Furthermore, it's already known that "they let it happen." For years -- decades -- it's been known that American policy in the Middle East would lead to terror at home. (Um, in 1993, the Twin Towers were almost taken out, remember?) Since making the necessary -- and morally correct -- changes to our foreign policy was as unthinkable to either party then as it is now, the inevitable occurred. That's the real "they-let-it-happen" -- and the "they" is "all of us."

Finally, for thirty years (I'm 37), it has been common knowledge -- and totally obvious, even to a 7-year-old -- that nuclear proliferation would inevitably lead to either a state-to-state war or to a nuclear terror attack, either of which would be followed by a fascist crackdown, a crackdown most likely widely welcomed, if not begged for.

This has been obvious to me since I was 7 years old, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. As with a major earthquake in California, it's only a matter of when. Unlike a major earthquake in California, it is preventable.

We still live in a very free country. For the moment, no doubt, but it's still the case. If we, the most privileged people in the history of the human race, do not put a stop to our government's suicidal policies by forcing a full pullout from Iraq, paying massive reparations, dismantling the bases, reining in Israel (or, if that doesn't work, cutting it loose to fight its own nationalistic wars), massively investing in green energy, putting all fission under international control (as per the IAEA and non-proliferation treaty), among other things, well, then we're finished as a civilization (such as it is), if not as a species.

No, there's no guarantee that doing all of those things would save us (meaning, the species). Other nations may still muck things up. But we can do our part, and it's much the largest part, given we are obviously the reigning superpower. And if we don't do all of things I (and many, many others) suggest above (it's an incomplete list, of course), we are guaranteed to self-destruct. Maybe not tomorrow; maybe not in five years; maybe not even in fifty -- but soon, and inevitably.

But those new iPhones are so shiny and pretty! Head; sand.

09 September 2007

Some Scenes from Citizen Kane

Chimes at Midnight: Battle of Shrewsbury

Chomsky Q&A, Columbia U., 02/07

Bill Moyers Interviews Chomsky, 1988