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Showing posts from January 25, 2009

Wither Wall Street, Ralph Nader

Soon after the passage in 1999 of the Clinton-Rubin-Summers-P. Graham deregulation of the financial industry, I boarded a US Air flight to Boston and discovered none other than then-Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers a few seats away. He was speaking loudly and constantly on his cell phone. When the plane took off he invited me to sit by him and talk.

After reviewing the contents of this Citibank-friendly new law called the Financial Modernization Act—I asked him: “Do you think the big banks have too much power?”

He paused for a few seconds and replied: “Not Yet.” Intrigued by his two word answer, I noted the rejection of modest pro-consumer provisions, adding that now that the banks had had their round, wasn’t it time for the consumers to have their own round soon?

He allowed that such an expectation was not unreasonable and that he was willing to meet with some seasoned consumer advocates and go over such an agenda. We sent him an agenda, and met with Mr. Summers and his staff.…

Norman Finkelstein Speaks in Edmonton, January 22, 2009

Unlike the crap American Zionist rags (official and otherwise) peddle to their intended audience -- you -- inside Israel, people tell the truth. Note that this was from last October, and the target turned out to be Hamas, not Hezbollah. Enter as evidence at the war-crimes tribunal. I bold key points below.

I found this by googling "haaretz disproportionate gaza" after hearing Finkelstein's reference to this article. Go to Haaretz's homepage and try entering "disproportionate" in its search engine. See what you get. I'm sure its an honest error; we all know how bad Israelis are at web-based technology.

ANALYSIS / IDF plans to use disproportionate force in next war
By Amos Harel
Tags: IAF, Second Lebanon War

What will the next war look like? Recent statements from several senior Israeli military officials offer a surprising answer: Perhaps much like the last one.

Following on the Israel Defense Forces' failure in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the army is lik…

'Times' Journalist Ethan Bronner On Gaza Conflict

A truly professional piece of propaganda; a joint production of Bronner and the aptly named Gross. Note the comments on the page linked in the title above; most people get it.

I don't have the time now, but this can be refuted point-by-point. But it is quite well-crafted propaganda, which will be obvious to those in the know, yet invisible to those wedded to racist arguments. The more you know, the more you realize that literally every second clause is at best a distortion. I may get to that at some point; it's too tempting not to, and might be useful.

The grossest Gross agitprop was the quip about how "normal" Gaza City sounds; Bronner picked up the cue like the professional actor he is. Yes, you'd never know a war had occurred: "you" being the intended target of this propaganda: liberal American Jews.

Note that criticism of Israel is limited to professional outrage over not being allowed in. Poor little Bronner.

The Inner History of Devices, Sherry Turkle

Contemporary science has done a great disservice to Sigmund Freud, suggests Sherry Turkle, who believes the psychoanalytic tradition can teach us much about the often concealed connections between physical objects and our thoughts and feelings. On the occasion of the publication of her latest book, The Inner History of Devices -- the third in a trilogy -- Turkle speaks of the importance of technology as a subjective tool, as a window into the soul.

When she first arrived at MIT, Turkle relates, colleagues viewed devices like their computers as simply instruments for accomplishing work. Turkle set out on her life’s work to demonstrate that technology serves a much greater purpose in our lives. People turn their devices “into beings, which they animate, anthropomorphize.” Her research and writing involves the ways people invest themselves in physical objects, and how those objects “inflect inner life, relationships, carry ideas, sensibilities and memory.”

Turkle’s latest work, as s…

The UK's DEC-Gaza Appeal Is Taking Foreign Donations....

Here's how to do it:

Dear Mr Tarnopol,

Thank you for your email and your support for our Gaza appeal.

Giving a donation like that [i.e., online here; the amount in pounds will be changed to dollars (or whatever)] using your credit card should work although it might be easier to donate via bank transfer. If you wanted to do so the details are as follows:

Bank: Co-operative Bank

Address: 80 Cornhill, London EC3V 3NJ

Account name: DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal Acct 19

Account Number: 653 18685

Sort Code: 08-02-28


IBAN No: GB22 CPBK 0802 2865 318685

Thank you in advance for your support.

All the best

[Took the name out, just in case.]

Donations Assistant
Disasters Emergency Committee
1st Floor, 43 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1DU
tel: 020 7387 0200 fax: 020 7387 2050

Legal Jeopardy For American Torturers Here and Abroad? A Q & A Session With An Expert on the Issue, Philippe Sands | John Dean

Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 Remarkably, the confirmation of President Obama's Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder, is being held up by Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who apparently is unhappy that Holder might actually investigate and prosecute Bush Administration officials who engaged in torture. Aside from this repugnant new Republican embrace of torture (which might be a winning issue for the lunatic fringe of the party and a nice way to further marginalize the GOP), any effort to protect Bush officials from legal responsibility for war crimes, in the long run, will not work. It is difficult to believe that Eric Holder would agree not to enforce the law, like his recent Republican predecessors. Indeed, if he were to do so, President Obama should withdraw his nomination. But as MSNBC "Countdown" anchor Keith Olbermann stated earlier this week, even if the Obama Administration for whatever reason does not investigate and prosecute these crimes, …

Obama: Regime Rotation, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

Excellent analysis. Key quote:
After the Bush administration’s record of essentially trampling on any semblance of half-decent PR, leading to the very concept of US world leadership being vehemently opposed or incredulously ridiculed around the world, the arrival of Obama is set to rehabilitate American hegemony and restore some sense of credibility and even respectability to US military and financial power. After Obama's powerful inauguration speech, enough to make even a grown non-American man such as myself (nearly) weep (ok I'm exaggerating, but you get the drift...), Americans and even the entire world, can for the first time in perhaps a decade feel proud and satisfied that all is going to be taken care of.

Yet this sense of jubiliation is symptomatic of the fact that the Obama administration will pursue (and has already pursued) policies of hegemony rehabilitation and systemic stabilization. This will not involve a meaningful change of course, but rather a perpetuation of…

In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending Event, By Paul Craig Roberts

January 26, 2009
“The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the…

With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again, Chris Hedges

Posted on Jan 26, 2009By Chris Hedges The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel’s callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. There were no major newspapers, television networks or radio stations that challenged Israel’s fabricated version of events that led to the Gaza attack or the daily lies Israel used to justify the unjustifiable. Nearly all reporters were, as during the buildup to the Iraq war, pliant stenographers and echo chambers. If we as journalists have a product to sell, it is credibility. Take that credibility away and we become little more than propagandists and advertisers. By refusing to expose lies we destroy, in the end, ourselves. All governments lie in wartime. Israel is no exception. Israel waged an effective war of black propaganda. It lied craftily with its glib, well-rehearsed government spokespeople, its ban on all foreign press in Gaza and its confiscation of cell phones and cameras from its own soldiers lest the re…

Glenn Greenwald: To favor due process is to favor Terrorists' Rights

As per usual, Greenwald identifies the proto-fascist nature of our rhetoric and actions. Exceedingly dangerous times -- yes, even without Evil Bush in charge.
The Associated Press has an article today discussing the closing of Guantanamo and what type of proceedings should be established for the remaining detainees to determine their guilt or innocence. This was the headline AP chose, one that, as is typically the case, was then repeated in newspapers and onnewswebsitesaroundthecountry:The same manipulative, Orwellian slogan adopted today by AP -- "terrorists' rights" -- is what Bush followers have used for years to justify their extremist torture, surveillance and detention policies and to demonize anyone who opposed those policies as being "soft on Terrorism" or even "pro-Terrorist." Here, for instance, was the headline of a 2004 Op-Ed by John Yoo in the Wall St. Journal, arguing that the U.S. had no obligation to abide by the Geneva Conventions in…

Obama on Israel-Palestine, Noam Chomsky

Barack Obama is recognized to be a person of acute intelligence, a legal scholar, careful with his choice of words. He deserves to be taken seriously -- both what he says, and what he omits. Particularly significant is his first substantive statement on foreign affairs, on January 22, at the State Department, when introducing George Mitchell to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.Mitchell is to focus his attention on the Israel-Palestine problem, in the wake of the recent US-Israeli invasion of Gaza. During the murderous assault, Obama remained silent apart from a few platitudes, because, he said, there is only one president -- a fact that did not silence him on many other issues. His campaign did, however, repeat his statement that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that." He was referring to Israeli children, not the hundreds of Palestinian children being butchered by US arms, about whom he could …