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Showing posts from March 16, 2008

Worth the Sacrifice? -- Nader on Five Years in Iraq

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Bush's illegal war of aggression in Iraq, the Fabricator-in-Chief made a speech at the Pentagon, whose muzzled army chiefs had opposed his costly, ruinous adventure from the start for strategic, tactical and logistical reasons.As benefits the dictatorial monarch of yesteryear, evicted by America's first patriots, this modern-day King George blistered the truth, somersaulted the facts and declared that a "strategic victory" in Iraq is near. He called the war "a just and noble cause." Sugarcoating the terrible, impoverished state of daily life in Iraq, he acknowledged "the high cost in lives and treasure," but said the recent situation in Iraq made it all worthwhile. "Worth the sacrifice" is how he put it often in previous statements.At the same time, his V.P. his Prince Regent, Dick Cheney was having this exchang…

The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat

Excellent book I've already read (Eric's a friend of mine). Dig it: click the title of the post for more info.

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

The noted NASA scientistwho's stood up to the Bush administration's oily attack on science.

The guests:
Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space, NASA's premiere climate research center and adjunct professor at earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University.Mark Bowen, author of Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming. His previous book is Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains.

Five interesting quotes that are Wright-on

Warning: These are all by Americans of dubious value, as you will see. I finish with excerpts by a speech of Lincoln, the "brand" which the Obama PR machine has most obviously tried to co-opt.
"God damn the U.S. for its vile conduct in the Philippine Isles." -- William James, philosopher, psychologist, 1902."We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors." -- Mark Twain, 1902, North American Review.True, we have crushed a deceived and confiding people; we have turned against the weak and the friendless who trusted us; we have stamped out a just and intelligent and well-ordered republic; we have stabbed an ally in the back and slapped the face of a guest; we have bought a Shadow from an enemy that hadn't it to sell; we have robbed a trusting friend of his land and his liberty; we have invited clean young men to shoulder a discredited mu…

Video Primer on Israel/Palestine

Having posted a bunch of these Alternative Focus videos, I figured I'd make them all accessible here. Viewed together, they provide a powerful antidote to the daily propaganda on I/P foisted upon us.
History of a Conflict (On Israel/Palestine), 2006A Palestinian WomanSalman Abu Sitta: The Geography of OccupationBulldozing PeaceThe Camps: Palestinian Refugees in LebanonOrpheus in Nazareth

Can anyone tell me whether Hill or Obama will dismantle current bases in Iraq?

This is not a rhetorical question: please let me know, "offline" or not.

Note the language on each candidates site:

"Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq."In other words, this is all in the future tense. What about the billions (literally) that have been spent already? Are going to pull up the stakes?
Clinton to Bush: Get Congressional Approval Before Moving Forward on US-Iraq Security Agreement "'The President has ignored the American people's desire to end this war and is now engaging in a process that threatens to commit the United States to permanent bases in Iraq. This is unacceptable and I hope the President asks Congress to review this agreement. If he doesn’t, Congress must act.' ... And now, with this agreement, President Bush is attempting to create a long-term presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, including the possibility of establishing permanent bases there.Senator Clinton has consistently opposed the cr…

Fed Bailout of Bear Stearns First of its Kind Since Great Depression

From Democracy Now! --
The nation’s fifth largest investment bank Bear Stearns nearly collapsed last week. It was saved only after the Federal Reserve took extraordinary measures to help JPMorgan purchase the eighty-five-year-old firm. The Fed has become the lender of last resort for other investment banks in a move that marks one of the broadest expansions of the Fed’s lending authority since the 1930s. We speak with Nomi Prins, an author and former investment banker at Bear Stearns, and Max Fraad Wolff, an economist and writer. Guests:Nomi Prins, former investment banker turned journalist. She used to run the European analytics group at Bear Stearns. She is the author of two books “Other People’s Money: The Corporate Mugging of America” and “Jacked: How "Conservatives” are Picking your Pocket." She is now a Senior Fellow at Demos.Max Fraad Wolff, economist and writer. He is an instructor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs, New School University. He is a frequen…

Orpheus in Nazareth

Arab Israeli citizens in Nazareth, Israel created Orpheus, a nonprofit group, to promote classical music among the Arab population in part because the Israeli government has been neglecting music education among their Arab population. Orpheus hires music teachers, trains students, and produces classical music concerts. Producer: Ed Sweed (2006)

Alternate Focus is available on the Dish Network, Free Speech TV, Channel 9415, Saturdays at 8:00pm EST and on cable stations near you. Check website for details.

Bulldozing Peace

Bulldozing Peace, a documentary that researches how Israel acquires Caterpillar bulldozers from the U.S. Government through its foreign aid or military aid and then converts them to war machines to demolish Palestinian homes and olive groves and build roads and walls on Palestinian lands. These activities are against the laws of the U.S.

The documentary also focuses on Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was killed by one of these bulldozers.

Alternate Focus is available on the Dish Network, Free Speech TV, Channel 9415, Saturdays at 8:00pm EST and on cable stations near you. Check website for details.

Salman Abu Sitta: The Geography of Occupation

Professor Salman H. Abu-Sitta of the London-based Palestine Land Society gives a personal account of how he became a refugee in Palestine in 1948. Using data from his research, Abu-Sitta shows how over 600 Palestinian villages were systematically depopulated by the advancing Israeli forces, leaving many others dismembered by an arbitrary cease-fire line. With maps and demographic statistics, Abu-Sitta shows that, in effect, Zionist policies were an ethnic cleansing campaign that resulted in a massive transfer of native Palestinians to the countries bordering Israel, where thousands remain within 100 miles from their original communities. Producer: Ed Sweed

The Camps: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

A documentary filmed in late 2005 that brings the viewer close to the living conditions and unresolved problems for Palestinian refugees in the Lebanon camps. Viewers see the camps with a focus on the issues of health, unemployment, education and the cultural memory of this community of refugees expelled in 1948 and 1967 from their homes in historic Palestine. Producer: Red Hill Films

Alternate Focus is available on the Dish Network, Free Speech TV, Channel 9415, Saturdays at 8:00pm EST and on cable stations near you. Check website for details.

A Palestinian Woman

This documentary short film brings the viewer close to the conditions isolating Palestinians within their communities. It is filmed next to the separation barrier that Israel continues to build in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Terry Boulatta, mother, teacher and community activist, shows how the 27 foot high wall surrounds her neighborhood in East Jerusalem, dividing it from the adjacent community of Abu Dis, severing the historical bonds of the two communities. The wall contributes to the suffocation of life, the latest reality for Palestinians under occupation.

Terry takes us on a half hour drive to get from one side of the wall to the other, a trip that previously took only four minutes. We learn of the terminals and checkpoints through which Palestinians must pass to travel within their own territory.

Terry speaks of the illegal settlements and land confiscations as elements of apartheid, making the settlers "the masters of the land."

Alternate Focus is availab…

The Bases Are Loaded: US Permanent Military Presence in Iraq

Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a "premature" withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of "megabases" with lavish amenities. Much of what is taking place is obscured by denials and quibbles over the definition of "permanent." The Bases Are Loaded covers a wide range of topics. Gary Hart, James Goldsborough, Nadia Keilani, Raed Jarrar, Bruce Finley Kam Zarrabi and Mark Rudd all add their observations about the extent and purpose of the bases in Iraq.

Alternate Focus is available on the Dish Network, Free Speech TV, Channel 9415 and on cable stations near you. Check for details. Alternate Focus is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit or…

The Audacity of Chutzpah, Dana Milbank, WaPo

As pointed out on ICH, isn't there something wrong with the following quote?
Kurtzer attempted to defuse the Wright controversy. "For many of you who belong to synagogues and Jewish community centers, as I have all my life, we would not want to be judged by the words of rabbis who sometimes say ridiculous things," he reasoned.The others used their time to raise doubts about Obama's fealty to Israel. "Senator Obama has said that he commits in his first year as president to meeting with President Ahmadinejad of Iran," Lewis said. McCain, Eagleburger added, "will not talk with the Syrians, will not talk with the Iranians, will not talk with Hamas and Hezbollah. . . . He isn't going to push the Israelis."

History of a Conflict (On Israel/Palestine), 2006

Excellent documentary for those who lack the time to read up on this. Here's what Alternate Focus says about themselves, FWIW. Some more documentaries of theirs can be viewed here.

Info on Charles D. Smith: CV (PDF). Here's the sixth edition of his book, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History With Documents, published in 2007 (for those who have the time and inclination to read).

Kucinich on the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War

Blurb:On this, the 5th anniversary of the war against Iraq, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the leading anti-war voice in the U.S. Congress, asks all citizens to engage in a renewed quest for peace and a national civic activism to ensure that candidates -- from the Presidential race on down -- understand that ending the war is crucial to rescuing our own nation.

Here's H.R. 1234, Kucinich's plan. Don't see Saint Obama supporting it.

Obama's Speech on Race

Watch the whole thing here. My reactions to follow, once I've seen it! Here's the transcript.

Or, if you prefer, here's CNN's version of, I assume, the full speech. (The previous link is to C-SPAN.)

First thought: why aren't other candidates asked to justify their connection to, say, the Falwells of the world, with the same force and frenzy?

Second: what is so terrible about the notion that American foreign policy set the stage for 9/11? It's called "blowback," and I don't see white scholars, left (Chalmers Johnson) or right (Michael Scheuer), getting flak for that.


Assuming these are accurate, let's take a look:
All Quotes Attributed to Pastor Jeremiah Wright“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye.”
“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have d…

What is the WTO? Chomsky Answers....

If you still see an error below, go here. Bottom line: the West protects or liberalizes based on its needs. The WTO is not "free trade." No one is really "free trade," outside of some libertarian think tank.

Also: the "philosophy" tag is meant seriously, as you'll see. We're talking about the further demolition of Enlightenment liberal rights-theory here.

Talk to Jazeera - Khaled Meshaal - 05 Mar 08

So, let's see what he has to say. The blurb:
A report released this week by the American magazine Vanity Fairdisclosed a plan by the US administration to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas by arming rival Fatah forces through millions of dollars worth of weapons. This as Israel waged its deadliest round of attacks on Gaza since 2000.

Al Jazeera's Hashim Ahlbarra meets with Hamas' Khaled Meshaal, head of the group's political bureau, and asks him about the report.

In this episode of Talk to Jazeera, Mishaal talks about the leaked US plan of arming Fatah and instigating a civil war in Gaza.

He also talks about rocket fire from the coastal strip and answers questions about a possible truce with Israel.

Mishaal says the surfacing of this report vindicates Hamas' coup of Gaza, claiming that it was a pre-emptive measure forced upon them to preserve their existence and the voice of those who voted for them.

Al Jazeera also questions the leader on Hamas' logic behind…

"I Came, I Saw, I Destroyed!" | Uri Averny

WHAT HAPPENED this week is so infuriating, so impertinent, that it stands out even in our familiar landscape of governmental irresponsibility.
On the near horizon, a de facto suspension of hostilities was taking shape. The Egyptians had made great efforts to turn it into an official cease-fire. The flame was already burning visibly lower. The launching of Qassams and Grads from the Gaza Strip into Israel had fallen from dozens a day to two or three.And then something happened that turned the flame up high again: undercover soldiers of the Israeli army killed four Palestinians militants in Bethlehem. A fifth was killed in a village near Tulkarm.THE MODUS OPERANDI left no doubt about the intention.As usual, the official version was mendacious. (When the army spokesman speaks the truth, he is ashamed and immediately hurries on to the next lie.) The four, it was said, drew their weapons and endangered the life of the soldiers, who only wanted to arrest them, so they were compelled to open …