Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another War in the Works

Another War in the Works By Paul Craig Roberts

"Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by President Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed. "

"The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the US government."

"Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran. "


Monday, September 28, 2009

September ‘Surprise’

September ‘Surprise’ Iranian nuke facility revelation: countdown to war begins… by Justin Raimondo

"In his UN oration, Obama declared “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow," a manifestly untrue statement that nonetheless went largely unchallenged. Because "all nations" apparently doesn’t include the state of Israel, which has as many as 200 nuclear weapons and is no doubt developing more."


"This whole campaign against Iran for supposedly harboring a desire to nuke Israel is absurd from beginning to end. A nuclear attack on Israel would not only annihilate the Israelis, but also the Palestinians – which one has to assume the Iranians have no desire to do. It would also invite massive retaliation from the U.S. and universal condemnation. The myth that Israel is going to be the site of a second Holocaust if we don’t stop the Iranians first is one that is being energetically pushed by Israel and her American lobby – and it is a very crude and easily refutable lie. Which doesn’t mean they won’t try to pull it off. After all, the idea that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, although absurd on its face, was relentlessly repeated by the Bushies during the run-up to the Iraq war, and there’s no reason, at this point, to suspect that the new guys in charge are above such tactics."


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Could Get Much Worse if Tolerated

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Could Get Much Worse if Tolerated By William Pfaff

"In Jerusalem, Mitchell’s techniques of confidence-building, isolation of specific issues, rational compromise on the nonessentials while approaching the essential have been a waste of everyone’s time. This conflict concerns God’s specific instruction to the Jewish people to reoccupy Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank."

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not elected to negotiate a solution going against God’s express will, but to prevent a solution by blocking every avenue of negotiation."

Maybe it's time we took another look at the age of reason.


The Economy is a Lie, Too

The Economy is a Lie, Too By Paul Craig Roberts

"When the bubble burst, the extraordinary leverage threatened the financial system with collapse. The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped forward with no one knows how many trillions of dollars to “save the financial system,” which, of course, meant to save the greed-driven financial institutions that had caused the economic crisis that dispossessed ordinary Americans of half of their life savings."


"The consumer has been chastened, but not the banks. Refreshed with the TARP $700 billion and the Federal Reserve’s expanded balance sheet, banks are again behaving like hedge funds. Leveraged speculation is producing another bubble with the current stock market rally, which is not a sign of economic recovery but is the final savaging of Americans’ wealth by a few investment banks and their Washington friends. Goldman Sachs, rolling in profits, announced six figure bonuses to employees."

The United States in Afghanistan By Gabriel Kolko

"At least three-quarters of the supplies essential for America’s and its allies’ war effort flow through Pakistan, and they are often attacked."


"The power of Afghanistan’s nominal president, Hamid Karzai, barely extends beyond Kabul, and his inefficiency and corruption shock many U.S. leaders"


"Obama’s approach to winning the war is far too convoluted to succeed and it is dependent on factors over which he has scant control - not the least being the advice of one of his key advisers, Bruce Riedel, that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the central all-consuming issue for al Quaida.“ This issue must finally be settled; the chances of that happening are close to non-existent. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, has warned Obama on several occasions that ”we are running the risk of replicating … the fate of the Soviets.” As the author of Moscow’s ‘Afghan trap’, he should know."


"Meanwhile, Obama thinks he will win the war by escalation - an illusion that also marked the futile war in Vietnam. He also believes he can “Afghanisize” the war - like Nixon thought he could “Vietnamize” that conflict - even though recruits for Karzai’s army have little motivation apart from collecting their salary, and are scarcely a match for the Taliban - a quite divided, complex organization which today dominates much of the country."


Thursday, September 24, 2009

America has been here before

America has been here before By Eric Margolis

"The director of U.S. national intelligence just revealed Washington spent $75 billion US last year on intelligence, employing 200,000 people. Embarrassingly, the U.S. still can't find Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar after hunting them for eight years."

"America's attempts to build an Afghan sepoy army of 250,000 failed miserably. The 80,000 men raised to date are 95% illiterate and only on the job for money to feed their families. They have no loyalty to the corrupt western-installed government in Kabul. CIA's 74,000 "contractors" (read mercenaries) in Afghanistan are more reliable. "

The question of the day: does it take a genius to figure out that the invasion of the Middle East, for the purpose of establishing military authority in the region, is a complete and undeniable failure?

Oh, you're for the war and not ready to admit defeat? Maybe it's time to re-think what you thought the invasion was all about? Not moved? How about all the killing and destruction? Doesn't any of it bother you even a little? Still want to kill 'em all over there before they attack us here?

Classified McChrystal Report: 500,000 Troops Will Be Required Over Five Years in Afghanistan by Tom Andrews

"Embedded in General Stanley McChrystal's classified assessment of the war in Afghanistan is his conclusion that a successful counterinsurgency strategy will require 500,000 troops over five years."

"This bombshell was dropped by NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday: "

" "The numbers are really pretty horrifying. What they say, embedded in this report by McChrystal, is they would need 500,000 troops - boots on the ground - and five years to do the job. No one expects that the Afghan Army could step up to that. Are we gonna put even half that of U.S. troops there, and NATO forces? No way." [Morning Joe, September 23, 2000]
Mitchell got the figure from an independent source. It was not revealed in the redacted version of the once classified report released by the Pentagon earlier this week. McChrystal has warned the administration that without an infusion of more troops the eight-year war in Afghanistan "will likely result in failure". "


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why President Obama Can't Let Himself Be Blackmailed by His Generals

Why President Obama Can't Let Himself Be Blackmailed by His Generals By Guy T. Saperstein

"The Taliban never attacked America, and no one suggests they have the capacity or interest in attacking the American homeland; they are fighting Americans because Americans occupy their country."

"And if the argument is that we have to stay in Afghanistan so al-Qaida doesn't return, does that mean forever -- at more than $100 billion per year?"

"Does it mean we should invade and occupy all other nations where al-Qaida might pop up? Already, al-Qaida is operating in Somalia and Indonesia, and what should we do about all the many weak and failed nations that potentially could be launching pads for terrorism -- do we invade and occupy them all, as well?"

Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)! By Arianna Huffington

".. Michael goes directly to the beating heart of the economic crisis, showing a hard-working, middle class family being evicted from their home. The knot in your stomach starts to tighten -- and the outrage starts to build."

"... an internal Citibank report happily declaring America a "plutonomy," with 1 percent of the population controlling 95 percent of the wealth"

"In the film, Michael describes capitalism as evil. I disagree. I don't think capitalism is evil. I think what we have right now is not capitalism."

"In capitalism as envisioned by its leading lights, including Adam Smith and Alfred Marshall, you need a moral foundation in order for free markets to work. And when a company fails, it fails. It doesn't get bailed out using trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. What we have right now is Corporatism. It's welfare for the rich. It's the government picking winners and losers. It's Wall Street having their taxpayer-funded cake and eating it too. It's socialized gains and privatized losses."


Monday, September 21, 2009

More U.S. Troops to Avoid Afghan Failure

General Calls for More U.S. Troops to Avoid Afghan Failure By ERIC SCHMITT and THOM SHANKER

"WASHINGTON — The top military commander in Afghanistan warns in a confidential assessment of the war there that he needs additional troops within the next year or else the conflict “will likely result in failure.”

It seems that either the General is a pawn in a game he can't see, or he's simply a warmonger by nature and he'll leave the rationale to his bosses ("mine is not to reason why")

What's really happening? Nobody in his/her right mind thinks Americans are willing to spend the resources it would take to transform that country militarily - so why are we even trying?

My assessment is that the gang who suckered and duped America into a military invasion of the Middle East decided to move public attention away from the chronic failures in Iraq, and they just happened to have a war on the backburner that would serve the purpose: Afghanistan. So they shifted the TV "news" (that Great American Information Supply) away from Iraq and over to Afghanistan.

From this standpoint, it doesn't matter what happens in Afghanistan next, because it's already served a strategic purpose as attention-diverter. The war there will continue for some time until it's settled (with our troops leaving - the best we can hope for), and then we can expect that Iraq will be given the "that's old news" treatment, minimized on TV, and replaced by some new crisis. It is also very true that this whole thing can get out of hand and become much, much, much uglier, but I'm hoping for the best possible outcome: the bringing to justice of the people who made the invasion of Iraq happen with their lies, distortions and media manipulation. If we can do this, we stand a chance to recover from the damage their reign has wrought.

If we don't or can't do this, then the best of outcomes we can hope for is that Iraq and Afghanistan will join Vietnam as more stripes of disgrace across the American spirit.

Robert Fisk’s World: Everyone seems to be agreeing with Bin Laden these days by Robert Fisk

Columnist: Lobbyists thwarting Obama's Middle East peace drive by Daniel Tencer


Thursday, September 17, 2009

All U.S. Presidents Need a War to Call Their Own—and Obama Has His

All U.S. Presidents Need a War to Call Their Own—and Obama Has His By William Pfaff

"On Afghanistan, there seems to be no coherent reason or vision as to why we are there. To “catch” Osama bin Laden, nearly 10 years after his crime? But you don’t have to take control of a country of 250,000 square miles and 33 million people in order to catch a terrorist leader. (Especially when it is taken for granted that he is in Pakistan.) You don’t have to take it upon yourself to solve Afghanistan’s internal social problems or to “defeat” (how, no one knows) the Taliban military, political and religious uprising in the country. What has that really to do with Americans?"


Evil Speaks – Are We Listening?

Evil Speaks – Are We Listening? by Justin Raimondo

"The latest message from Osama bin Laden – an audio recording posted on jihadist Web sites – is truly scary. Not because he threatens us with death and destruction, though he does. Not because he vows that the 9/11 attacks were just the beginning, though this is strongly implied. And not because he’s the kind of guy who gives evil a bad name. Although few would dispute his unique malevolence, the really frightening aspect of his latest message is its clear-headed insight into the way American foreign policy is made – and by whom. "

War Without End by Philip Giraldi

" ... An assessment by France’s highly regarded Paris Institute of Political Studies last week suggested that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda has likely been reduced to a core group of eight to ten terrorists who are on the run more often than not."

"The report from Paris should be regarded as good news, enabling Washington to close the book on the "global war on terror" saga that has damaged the United States more than it has any adversary. Unfortunately, things do not quite work that way and Washington is in fact expanding its anti-terrorism Crusade with a military incursion into Somalia even as it continues to be bogged down in a war that it is losing in Afghanistan. The Afghan war is being fought precisely to eliminate bin Laden even though General Stanley McChrystal indicated last week that there is currently no al-Qaeda presence in the country. .."

"And before Afghanistan there was Iraq. Neocons who had taken charge of policy in the Pentagon and White House of George W. Bush intended to attack Iraq almost from the day they entered into office, a war of choice against a weak enemy that posed no threat to the United States. 9/11 did not lead to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it only provided an excuse. "

Ron Paul on the Afghan Surge Eric Garris


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Obama’s Presidency Isn’t Too Big to Fail

Obama’s Presidency Isn’t Too Big to Fail By Robert Scheer

"A president has only so much capital to expend, both in tax dollars and public tolerance, and Barack Obama is dangerously overdrawn. He has tried to have it all on three fronts, and his administration is in serious danger of going bankrupt. He has blundered into a deepening quagmire in Afghanistan, has continued the Bush policy of buying off Wall Street hustlers instead of confronting them and is now on the cusp of bargaining away the so-called public option, the reform component of his health care program. "


Monday, September 14, 2009

Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low

Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low by the Pew Research Center for the people and the press

"Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. In the initial survey in this series about the news media’s performance in 1985, 55% said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate. That percentage had fallen sharply by the late 1990s and has remained low over the last decade."

The Health Care Deceit By Paul Craig Roberts

Finally, an honest assessment of the health care situation, and it's not pretty.

"The current health care “debate” shows how far gone representative government is in the United States. Members of Congress represent the powerful interest groups that fill their campaign coffers, not the people who vote for them."

"The health care bill is not about health care. It is about protecting and increasing the profits of the insurance companies. The main feature of the health care bill is the “individual mandate,” which requires everyone in America to buy health insurance. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), a recipient of millions in contributions over his career from the insurance industry, proposes to impose up to a $3,800 fine on Americans who fail to purchase health insurance. "

"The determination of “our” elected representatives to serve the insurance industry is so compelling that Congress is incapable of recognizing the absurdity of these proposals."


"A private health care system worked in the days before expensive medical technology, malpractice suits, high costs of bureaucracy associated with third-party payers and heavy investment in combating fraud, and pressure on insurance companies from Wall Street to improve “shareholder returns.” "

Bin Laden reportedly calls Obama ‘powerless’ Associated Press

"The al-Qaida leader sought to drive home key grievances often voiced in the Arab and Muslim world, where Washington's policies are seen as blatantly favoring Israel at the expense of the rights of Palestinians and other Arabs. "

" "We have demonstrated and stated many times, for more than two-and-a-half-decades, that the cause of our disagreement with you is your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine," bin Laden said. "

" "The delay in your knowing those causes has cost you a lot without any result whatsoever," he said in the tape released by al-Qaida's media wing, as-Sahab. "

Related, for balance to this story, see: Bin Laden: U.S. support of Israel led to 9/11 by Juan Cole

FBI Report: One Drug Arrest Made Every 18 Seconds by Ryan Grim

"More than four-fifths of those arrests were for possession only and nearly half were for possession of marijuana. Of the 847,863 marijuana arrests -- one every 37 seconds -- 89 percent were for possession alone. "


Sunday, September 13, 2009

NY garment district battling for survival

NY garment district battling for survival

"... the garment district is just a shadow of its glory days in the 1950s and '60s when some 95 percent of clothing sold nationally was made in the United States."

"Now just 5 percent of clothing sold is U.S. made."

Manufacturing across the United States has been in a nose-dive for some time now, and you don't have to do more then visit your local Wal Mart to appreciate this.

Where does this leave us? Supplying the world with - what? How are we going to trade when we don't make anything to trade with?

How did this happen? The answer is really quite simple in concept: money-people chasing short term profits have sold this country down the river without a paddle. It made perfect sense to manufacture off-shore where labor costs are a fraction of those here, so there was more profit in making shoes in China then here, and so the factories were moved. Multiply this out across the board and here we are today.

The world needed equilibrium. With most of the world's wealth concentrated in just a few countries, the stage was set for massive war, but the goal of sharing the wealth could have been achieved incrementally and deliberately over time though judicious use of tariffs. What actually happened was that nobody (among those with the power) was thinking that way. The allure of short-term profits blinded these people of the longer term consequences - which we are starting to feel today.

Perhaps if we had representatives of the people in Congress - and not lackeys for Wall Street and AIPAC - far more reasonable legislation would have prevailed. Instead we have 2 sink-hole wars sucking our blood, morality and economy on the one hand, some 40 million people without health care on the other, and the short-term profiteers calling the shots at the helm.

Where's it headed, and when will this blight on America end?

I'll mention that I'm not against capitalism and that I'm a self-employed capitalist-minded individual (who read Ayn Rand's books as a kid, btw). The problem is that capitalism at the top has become too concentrated in the hands of too few. We need to get money out of politics and bust up corporations that are "too big to fail". We can't have Big Media controlled by fewer then a dozen people at the top. Think of a game of Monopoly, where eventually one player owns most of the property and the hotels. This is essentially what happened with some key institutions, the media, our information supply being the worst case because what's pronounced on that TV screen is all the information too many people have to work with. Take a look at Unbelievable Ignorance post for a perfect example of this effect at work.


Unbelievable ignorance!

Up to two million march to US Capitol to protest against Obama's spending in 'tea-party' demonstration

Reminds me of supporters for the invasion of Iraq. Misguided, ignorant toadies with no idea what they are talking about screaming and yelling because the Corporate controlled media whips them into a frenzy with distortions and puffed-up semi-truths.

The people pulling the strings of so many puppets undoubtably understand they are dividing Americans against each other in ways the likes of which haven't been seen since the Civil War. Is it another Civil War they wish to inspire? One seriously has to wonder.

Scaping away all the bullshit on the health care issue is a single question: should every American be able to go to a doctor when he/she is sick? Is health care a basic human right or a luxury?

Ask any of these people doing all the screaming and yelling if a member of their family were sick and needed to see a doctor - should their family member be denied from doing so? Of course not.

Their TV keeps ranting about the comparison with health care in Canada and England, puffing every negative they can spot, but systematically and completely avoid any mention of the German health care system Doesn't anyone even wonder why?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

What will you do then?

Once upon a time, a scant few decades ago, a person who got into trouble of some sort could opt for a fresh start by moving to a new state or town, and often get a second chance at life.

Those days, that climate, doesn't exist anymore. There are no second chances. These days everything you do (and especially anything errant, because these systems aren't designed to record your contributions to humanity, just the "bad" stuff) is recorded - forever - and it's available for anyone in a position of authority, or merely with access to the system - to see. The cop who just pulled you over can, in a few minutes, learn more about you then you know about you.

I guess that doesn't scare you, because that's the way it is, and if it did scare you, one might reasonably think you'd have done something about it. But because it happened over time, like a slow boil, too few protested and far too few even understand what happened and is happening.

People who are curious read the reports of the massive amounts of data being collected by gov't and industry (which turns around and sells access to this information to the gov't), and they probably agree with pundits who say the sheer amount of information being recorded is so overwhelming that there is no chance anyone could use or make sense of it all in, say, the "war on terrorism" (which greased the path to it's happening), so any effort to do so will be bogged down forever.

But this perspective needs to be turned inside out to understand the real problem.

Don't think about that mountain of information and how impossible it would be to sort it all out, instead see it as a mountain of information with "keys" that can be used to tap information about you, such as your life history up until today. And computers can do this very, very quickly. In just a few seconds, a database of billions or even trillions of records can be searched using keys such as your Social Security number, name and address or other identifiers.

An experience comes to mind: a few years ago I decided to drive into Canada from Maine. At the border I was singled out for questioning, perhaps because I was driving an old camper, but I don't really know. I was asked to reveal my lifetime's arrest history. I said I had never been arrested. The border agent then went to a computer terminal, did a search, and came up with a 30+ year old arrest incident that I had long believed was not on the public record because at the time I had paid a lawyer a good amount of money and the misdemeanor arrest was reduced to a violation, which I believed would not follow me for the rest of my life. It did, and I was denied entry, and I'm probably now blocked for life.

In the years to come, this ability to collect information about us will improve dramatically. Those cameras taking our picture wherever we go will be able to match your face in the picture with your Social Security number, not the mention the trial we leave every time we use a plastic card, make a telephone call, search the Internet, send an email, etc., etc.

There are 2 points to be made here:

The 1st is that whatever "privacy" you think you have today, you don't have.

The 2nd is that if you ever get around to taking a stand against the people aggregating this power over you, all they have to do to destroy you is reach into this database to come up with a list of your own shortcomings, failings, or whatever you may have done that can be "puffed" into attack stories that make you look like the Devil incarnate. This is already standard fare today, just imagine how much more power will be in their hands as this database invariably grows.

So, the question: what will you do then?


Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama's Big Speech: Math Trumps Rhetoric

Obama's Big Speech: Math Trumps Rhetoric By Alexander Cockburn

"The ravings of the nutball right were what caught the headlines but what no doubt bothered Obama’s political strategists was the growing disillusion of the progressive slice of the Democrats with Obama. The prophet of hope and change was selling them out on every front: escalating war in Afghanistan; billions for bankers; and now on health reform Obama was surrendering without barely a twitch to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries."

Health Care vs. Warfare By Jeff Leyes

"The choice is clear: health care or warfare; the Common Good or Common Destruction."


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Measuring a War Gone to Hell

Measuring a War Gone to Hell by Tom Engelhardt

In the list of metrics is this gem:

"Number of al-Qaeda base camps estimated to be in Afghanistan today: 0. (All reputable experts seem agreed on this.)"

Tom Engelhardt does not mention, nor does anyone else seem to either, the "big picture, what is really happening, question".

Here's my take: the military invasion of the Middle East, which began in Afghanistan and then quickly shifted to Iraq, was always about establishing military authority in the region because that's what Israel's agents in Washington (half the so-called Neocons, with the backing of AIPAC-subservient members of Congress) wanted. They claimed the invasion was to establish "democracy" in Iraq which would then spread through the area. This was a giant good-sounding lie. They weren't looking for democracy at all, but a "friendly" gov't waving the democracy banner, which would in fact be subservient to the primary authority in the region (Israel, with the American military providing the muscle to achieve it's goals). Proof can be seen with what happened with "democracy" in Palestine where voters choose/elected the "wrong" gov't, and that "democracy" was immediately trashed. No, the goal wasn't democracy, it was something that could be called democracy but really a puppet state.

What's the shift from Iraq to Afghanistan really all about? It's an attention diverter, plain and simple, away from the epic, collasal failure in Iraq. No, it's not intended to "win" in Afghanistan, which nobody thinks is possible, but to divert attention to somewhere else for the purpose of buying some number of years while they figure out what to do next. Iraq is already a distant memory, according to the "news". To make matters much worse, of course, if the fact that we still have some 200,000 troops and mercenaries in Iraq while the opposition to the occupation solidifies. Will these people be withdrawn before they are kicked out, or will there be massive fighting in Iraq again? Which will come first is the question, because "victory" is nowhere in sight.

My best quess is that many of the troops in Iraq will be moved out, many to Afghanistan, leaving a relatively small number in Iraq to protect that massive embassy in Baghdad. These forces will be under constant attack (the people of Iraq want the occupier out), and they'll use airstrikes to "secure" their area, which will bring about huge casualties and protests ... eventually forcing the withdrawal of all forces from that country ... at which time Iraq will either break up into 2 or 3 countries, at least one of which will align with Iran going forward.

To make a long story short, we'll leave Iraq with no accomplishment whatsoever, and then we'll leave Afghanistan, with no accomplishment whatsoever.

But it's not that simple, of course. The price America will pay for this hasn't hit us yet, because the money to pay for it came from debt that our children will spend their lifetimes repaying, never mind the cost of losing what could have been, such as universal health care.

To understand how this happened, you have to look to the protaganists and the lies and distortions they spread to conceal their real missions (greed on the part of the Military-Industial Complex and Big Oil, and Israel's security, achieved via their "might is right" belief system) - and continue to spread to this day, and then - in a perverted way - it all starts to make sense. For in-depth details, search on "Ray McGovern" and/or "Juan Cole" starting with links provided here and those in sidebars accompanying these articles, and The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

And the propaganda machine which delivered the "news" with all of it's lies and distortions can be read about by clicking here.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why Not Sanctions for Israel?

Why Not Sanctions for Israel? By Paul Craig Roberts

"Is Iran attacking other countries, bombing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure?"

"No. These are crimes committed by Israel and the US."

"Is Iran evicting peoples from lands they have occupied for centuries and herding them into ghettoes? "

"No, that’s what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for 60 years."

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy by Philip Giraldi