Friday, February 26, 2010

Do You Have to Be Jewish to Report on Israel for NYT?

Do You Have to Be Jewish to Report on Israel for NYT? by Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook asks a very good question, and provides some very good insight into it's answer.

This article speaks to the matter of foreign policy influence, but it also scratches the surface of an influence machine that should cause the reader to wonder about influence in other areas, such as Congress, Wall Street, law, medicine and other matters that are important to Americans.

Update: see All in the Family By ALISON WEIR

And Chris Hedges on ‘The Death and Life of American Journalism’

"Corporations, which have hijacked the state, are delighted with the demise of journalism. And the mass communications systems they control pump out endless streams of gossip, trivia and filth in lieu of news."


“The real problem with professional journalism becomes evident when political elites do not debate an issue and march in virtual lockstep,” the authors write. “In such a case professional journalism is, at best, ineffectual, and, at worst, propagandistic. This has often been the case in U.S. foreign policy, where both parties are beholden to an enormous global military complex, and accept the right of the United States, and the United States alone, to invade countries when it suits U.S. interests. In matters of war and foreign policy, journalists who question the basic assumptions and policy objectives and who attempt to raise issues no one in either party wishes to debate are considered ‘ideological’ and ‘unprofessional.’ This has a powerful disciplinary effect upon journalists.” "

Chris evidentially - studiously - avoids the power of the Israel lobby over American foreign policy, instead referring to it as the 'right'. While he is absolutely correct about the right wing war machine, he leaves peeling the rest of the onion to the reader. Perhaps he is victim to the very powers he writes so well about, in the sense that he gets right up to it, face to face, and then backs off from calling the spade a spade. Yes, we have a right wing war machine, the MIC, and we have big money oil interests, and a lot of people have made a lot of money and gained a lot of power over America's behaviour in the ME, but there is no way that the MIC and Big Oil would/could have actually launched a military invasion. That was done because the largely pro-Israel media cum propaganda machine sold it to the American public (or should I more properly say "duped America into launching that invasion").

Why is it so important that we see this problem for what it is? Or, perhaps more importantly, who is in a position to do anything about it?

Maybe the answer is to be found, although obliquely, in Chris's paper: the Internet will replace the media. He says people are moving from print to image based reporting, and he generally says people just aren't interested in real news. I think he's wrong, that people do thirst for good information, but have walked away from print because mainstream print is propaganda, and over the years they have come to see that, and for that reason they abandon it. It's not because they are more interested in image news then print, but that print is so unsatisfying for what it is intended to do, that people opt for the image instead, because at the least the image is entertaining and gives them drama in otherwise very boring lives (cops will get you now for just not wearing a seat belt, if not roadblocks, so you better not go out to the bar and have a few drinks with your buddies and discussing world events. Those days are gone - sold to the public for their protection!).

What people need, and want, whether they say it or not, is good information. They are sick and tired of the propaganda machine that first duped them and now continues as if it never happened. It did happen - just look all around you for the consequences.

I think what's happening is that Americans are psychologically reacting to the propaganda machine, by moving away from it into another direction (the Internet has given birth to at least 20 excellent information resources that I'm aware of so far, not to mention blogs and discussion groups, etc) without necessarily saying or even knowing the reason. What they do know is that they are sick of the propaganda machine. After all these years, all that killing and destruction, all that money wasted, a terrible future for this country as we continue the decline they set in motion - and, today, they are still reporting the "news" with no regard, more less mention, of their own complicity in the greatest duping the world has ever seen.

It's an incredible story, really. It's a huge challenge for a team like Walt and Mersheimer to step up to, but I trust that it will be done. Why? Because truth has a way of getting out, sometimes it just takes longer. The fact is that we have been duped, big time, live-destroying time, and we need to understand that because we can't fix what we don't understand. Too many Americans today are simply unaware of even the presence of this influence machine. Even though they feel the effects, they don't know what it is.

For the moment, let's see it as the challenge before us: to actually put an end the propaganda machine using a combination of print and imagery, the Internet gives us both - and more.

Right now, as we speak, you can bet the handful of people at the top of the machine, who dictate editorial policies over our information supply - are working overtime to harness the power of the Internet for their exploitation, while at the same time implementing ways to stop anyone who gets in their way. You can bet they will be very clever about it - that's what they do - they cleverly dupe people to do their bidding. Again, just look around you and ask yourself if you've been - and are being - duped.

I'm eternally hopeful this will happen, that a "new breed of editors" will emerge using the Internet. As you can see, this is what I'm doing with this blog, albeit in a very minor way. What I'm saying to anyone who will listen is that if 300 million people protested as loud as I am, this mess would be cleaned up within a year or so. Bush and the hardcore Neocon leadership would be on trial for war crimes, the crooks in Wall Street would be on trial, we'd be turning guns into plows, feeding ourselves the world, looking to space for our future, expanding our freedoms and our lot in general.

Some 15 ago, working at Prodigy, I tried to champion a cause: to nurture a "new breed of editors" to replace the American information machine. The bosses rejected the idea and told me to shut up. Now, with the benefit of this many years hindsight, the status quo, and now what is emerging to be the right direction: they really should have listened.



How our tax money is really spent

Haven't you ever wondered why, in the age of the Internet, that we can't access gov't spending records, right down to the detail/check level?

I mean, it's our money the gov't is spending. Wouldn't you think it would all be a matter of public record?

I sure think so.


Ron Paul on Assassinations

Ron Paul on Assassinations by Eric Garris

Ron Paul vs. the Naysayers by Justin Raimondo

"The movement spawned by Ron Paul, however, is a completely different sort of creature: it is, indeed, the exact opposite of neoconservatism in every respect."

Prosecuting Bush for War Crimes by Russell Mokhiber

"And Bugliosi now says that he’s “making progress in finding a district attorney to bring the case.” "

I've purchased and read Mr Bugliosi's book, as should every American.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Liquidating the Empire

Liquidating the Empire by Patrick J. Buchanan

"Estimated combined budgets for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, scores of thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our new castle-embassies: $1 trillion a year.


It is preposterous to argue that all these bases are essential to our security. Indeed, our military presence, our endless wars, and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.


Ron Paul’s victory at CPAC may be a sign the prodigal sons of the Right are casting off the heresy of neoconservatism and coming home to first principles. "


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Terrorism: the most meaningless and manipulated word

Terrorism: the most meaningless and manipulated word by Glenn Greenwald

"In sum: a Muslim who attacks military targets, including in war zones or even in their own countries that have been invaded by a foreign army, are Terrorists. A non-Muslim who flies an airplane into a government building in pursuit of a political agenda is not, or at least is not a Real Terrorist with a capital T -- not the kind who should be tortured and thrown in a cage with no charges and assassinated with no due process.


If we're really going to vest virtually unlimited power in the Government to do anything it wants to people they call "Terrorists," we ought at least to have a common understanding of what the term means. But there is none. It's just become a malleable, all-justifying term to allow the U.S. Government carte blanche to do whatever it wants to Muslims it does not like or who do not like it (i.e., The Terrorists). It's really more of a hypnotic mantra than an actual word: its mere utterance causes the nation blindly to cheer on whatever is done against the Muslims who are so labeled."

Glenn Greenwald is one of the best writers of our time. I've written to ask him to take on the difference between LEFT and RIGHT. If he responds, I'll be sure to post it.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Battle for Marjah: The US Has Already Lost

Battle for Marjah: The US Has Already Lost by Dave Lindorff

"Clearly the Taliban then gains an edge. Its fighters, or at least many of them, believe they are fighting for Allah, or for their country's survival and independence, or for both, and they are willing to die for those causes. What are American forces fighting for in Afghanistan? Hard to say. I suspect many, if asked, would say they have no idea. Some, I'm sure, would say they are "defending America" if asked thanks to their indoctrination, but I also suspect that as they survey the primitive society in which they are fighting, and see the poverty of the people, they will have a hard time perceiving Afghanistan as any kind of threat to their own country or families. Some may say they're avenging the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon "by Al Qaeda" in 2001, but then, even the US government admits that the foreign fighters of Al Qaeda have long ago left Afghanistan, and no Taliban were involved in the 9-11 attacks. So it's hard to see American troops being willing to die for these trumped up "causes." I suspect, again, that most US troops are understandably trying really hard mainly to make sure they don't get hurt or killed."

Israel Goes Rogue by Justin Raimondo

"The bombing and continued blockade of Gaza, the barbaric invasions of Lebanon, and the continuing refusal to correct the widespread human rights violations documented in the Goldstone report – all of this has darkened Israel’s image considerably, even among its staunch supporters. On account of this record, Israel is now widely considered a "rogue" nation, at least outside the US. One of the major reasons for this shift in perception has to do with the wide-ranging activities of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.


We can’t afford to look away anymore: Israel has massively compromised the security of international travel, and has brought this on itself. Now is the time for the US and other Westen countries to rein in their client state gone rogue – before it’s too late. "

Frederic Raphael on ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’

"Zionism was never a popular cause among the Jews of Western Europe or of the United States until the rise of Hitler."


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rising tide of suburban homeless across U.S.

Rising tide of suburban homeless across U.S. 'Truly reaching a stage of being alarming,' one official says - Associated Press

Think about how you can help.

The Richest 1% Have Captured America's Wealth -- What's It Going to Take to Get It Back? By David DeGraw

"The United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis -- and it's gotten even worse since.


"Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three-quarters of all the economy's growth was captured by the top 1%."


Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.


If Americans could just understand how much wealth is being withheld from us, we would have a massive uprising and the Economic Elite would be swept away, into the history books alongside the evil despots of the past."

The Information Super-Sewer
By Chris Hedges

"The Internet has become one more tool hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline. The great promise of the Internet, to open up dialogue, break down cultural barriers, promote democracy and unleash innovation and creativity, has been exposed as a scam. The Internet is dividing us into antagonistic clans, in which we chant the same slogans and hate the same enemies, while our creative work is handed for free to Web providers who use it as bait for advertising."

Chris goes on to talk about how free stuff on the Internet is killing creative people who can no longer sell their creations because they are posted for free on the net.

He's got a point, and his argument is - as always - excellent. I understand what he's saying and agree to a point, but there is a counter argument that also needs to be made, and will be.

Chris Hedges on the Corporatocracy by Chris Hedges


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Country of Serfs

A Country of Serfs By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

"The problems of the American economy are too great to be reached by traditional policies. Large numbers of middle class American jobs have been moved offshore: manufacturing, industrial and professional service jobs. When the jobs are moved offshore, consumer incomes and U.S. GDP go with them. So many jobs have been moved abroad that there has been no growth in U.S. real incomes in the 21st century, except for the incomes of the super rich who collect multi-million dollar bonuses for moving U.S. jobs offshore.


... With the rise of offshoring, layoffs are not only due to restrictive monetary policy and inventory buildup. They are also the result of the substitution of cheaper foreign labor for U.S. labor by American corporations. Americans cannot be called back to work to jobs that have been moved abroad.

Another barrier to the success of stimulus programs is the high debt levels of Americans. The banks are being criticized for a failure to lend, but much of the problem is that there are no consumers to whom to lend. Most Americans already have more debt than they can handle.


... Hapless Americans, unrepresented and betrayed, are in store for a greater crisis to come. President Bush’s war deficits were financed by America’s trade deficit. China, Japan, and OPEC, with whom the U.S. runs trade deficits, used their trade surpluses to purchase U.S. Treasury debt, thus financing the U.S. government budget deficit.


The problem now is that the U.S. budget deficits have suddenly grown immensely from wars, bankster bailouts, jobs stimulus programs, and lower tax revenues as a result of the serious recession. Budget deficits are now three times the size of the trade deficit.


If the Treasury’s bonds can’t be sold to investors, pension funds, banks, and foreign governments, the Federal Reserve will have to purchase them by creating new money. When the rest of the world realizes the inflationary implications, the US dollar will lose its reserve currency role. When that happens Americans will experience a large economic shock as their living standards take another big hit.

America is on its way to becoming a country of serfs ruled by oligarchs."

For a really amazing view into what happened, please see the PBS FRONTLINE show titled "The Warning", which introduces a certain Brooksley Born, who took on the rulers, and what happened.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Hold Onto Your Underwear

Hold Onto Your Underwear by Tom Engelhardt

One of my favorite thinker/writers, Tom Engelhardt makes a great case that, basically, all we have to fear is fear itself.

He puts into context the actual history of the results of the terrorism everyone is so afraid of - versus what has actually happened, and the point he's making is extremely clear: we've been duped.

There is a giant caveat, though. There is a very real threat that can't be countered by Tom's excellent analysis: biological weapons. A handful of strategically placed terrorists armed with nothing more then vials and a carefully planned attack has the potential to make 9/11 or even Hiroshima look like a warm-up exercise.

But we can't connect the dots between the perceived and the real threat, so we spend mountains and mountains of money protecting airplanes and we willingly give up huge chunks of our civil rights - to show how paranoid we really are and how quite willing we are spend our hard earned money on protection schemes, even if everyone knows that each new protection only further depletes our freedoms. Full body searches, Internet, computer and communications taping, road blocks, helicopters overhead and every other initiative in the war on terror have cost us dearly in money and quality of live and civil rights.

The barons at the top of the "news" chain, the few who control it's overall editorial Big Messages of the day (selecting the topics we talk about and those we don't) love the fear factor. At the very least it sells newspapers and keeps people glued to the TV screen in proportion to the degree of fear they're able to puff given any situation.

So here we have a situation where people have been whipped into fear frenzies over and over, spending their homes, savings, retirements in any and every effort to fight the war on terror. If it looks good, we pay for it. And in the background, we have the media barons stoking the next reason to keep the fear going.

So we're in a frenzy, with the "news" fanning the flames every time someone farts in our name. Tom Engelhardt's analysis is spot on, and now, after some 9 years, we have people like Tom talking noticing what he talks about in this article.

Here's the crazy part: we should be afraid, after all. But not because airplanes might be vulnerable against some new form of attack. Maybe someone (or a hundred someones) with a grudge and a shoulder fired missile is waiting behind thin veneers of roofs in buildings near runways, to be next in line?

Is that the threat we should be worried about today? Will something like this become the next 9/11? The attack everyone has been waiting for?

Whether this or some other scenario is actually played out only time will tell. Tom is saying that we've way overplayed the 9/11 hand, and he's totally right. People are afraid of the wrong things, and the "news" is throwing gasoline all over every fire.

Okay, what's the real threat? What is something we should be so afraid of that, if we were aware of it we would actually re-think our whole approach to foreign policy and the terrorism it has spawned (like it or not, believe it or not, the terrorists have reasons for hating us, not the least of which is that we have allowed key ingredients of concepts like justice and freedom to be put aside).

The real threat is something like a biological weapon.

We know what the plague did to Europe centuries ago, and we know what anthrax did here only a few short years ago. Some have read stories about the weapons that scientists have created in labs on all sides in the name of defense. We kinda know these weapons exist and are, for national security purposes, the most hush-hush of all. We remember the breakup of the Soviet Union and the possibility of their vast supply of terrible biological weapons being sold to, essentially, the highest bidder. We've seen what, apparently was just one, disgruntled person in one of our own labs can accomplish.

We've seen the numbers of our enemies grow exponentially after the invasion and theft of control over their land from Palestine to Iraq and others in progress to satisfy our rulers lust for authority in the region. We've also seen that our enemy has no problem at all recruiting people willing to sacrifice their lives for their cause.

Now let's assume that it would only take from ten to a hundred people, each with a vial or two, strategically placed in locations throughout America, with instructions to break the glass all at once at a certain time.

Boom. There goes all the money and civil rights you've given away in the name of security, and there goes our last hope for peace on this planet in our lifetime. The Neocon gang, maybe with a new name, and their media baron friends will seize the moment to whip the people into the biggest frenzy of all time, and they will relish every minute of it.

Of course they will have us retaliate, because that's how they think. They wouldn't outright call it an eye for an eye, they'll have a new catch phrase that spins the same concept in a brand new way. Whatever the words used, you can count on this: the response will not be to turn the other cheek.

So, we have the perceived threat, which we've spent our wad on, and Tom's article pointing out the folly of it all. But Tom leaves it at that, when he should go on to the next step in the progression: the real threat.

Imagine that there are biological weapons in vials that can be carried by individuals into a densely populated areas of several cities, with instructions to wait for a diversionary event, which the media barons are dispensing on a regular basis to sell newspapers. But a blizzard or hurricane would work. Just so long as they wouldn't be noticed as the go where they are instructed to go.

Do such weapons exist? Yes.
Are there people who would gladly die to deliver them? Yes.
Are there thousands of miles of porous borders into the US? Yes.

I could go on with this list, but I'll jump to the part where we realize that the more killing and destruction we rain on people, the more likely this will happen.

What to do?

How about we put Bush on trail for murder, and let that begin the process of unraveling the power structure who took control of American foreign policy and our information supply, and got us into this mess in the first place?

How about we transform our military into a giant Peace Corps dedicated to wiping out the scourges of mankind? How about we work very hard to make amends with the millions of people we have delivered so much misery into the lives of?

How about we make friends instead of enemies? Novel concept, huh? I can hear them laughing at me because I don't understand anything.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Afghanistan - they're ready. No they're not

Afghan Attack Gives Marines a Taste of War By C. J. CHIVERS

"But the captain also said the bulk of the company had been together a year or more. These Marines knew each other well, he said, and had trained intensely for this day. “They’re ready,” he said."

And what, exactly, are they ready for? To be shipped home in body bags? To lose their legs or arms, eyesight? To watch their friends killed or maimed? To kill people up close and personal, so they can carry images of the slaughter in their memories eye for the rest of their lives?

Why is this reporting talking like "the game has started, and our team is on the field", and not the reality of it?

It's a bizarro, up is down, world of "news" reporting that talks like this.

Oh, it's a NY Times report. Now I understand. It's the same "paper of record" that pumped up the population for the military invasion of the ME. Recall Judith Miller's concise page 1 reporting?

Another article, paradoxically from the same (schizophrenic?) NY Times:

"Study Suggests More Veterans May Be Helped by Talking About Killing"
"The act of killing is as fundamental to war as oxygen is to fire. Yet it is also the one thing many combat veterans avoid discussing when they return home, whether out of shame, guilt or a deep fear of being misunderstood ... The study, published last week in The Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that soldiers who reported having killed in combat, or who gave orders that led to killing, were more likely to report the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, anger and relationship problems ... “We need as a culture to find ways to not blame soldiers who are ashamed of killing,” said Ms. Maguen. ... The researchers found that 40 percent of the soldiers surveyed reported killing or being responsible for killing during deployment. ... Twenty-two percent reported symptoms of stress disorder, 32 percent reported symptoms of depression and 25 percent met criteria for alcohol abuse. ... Mental health experts said the new study confirmed findings from research on Vietnam veterans and did not break much new ground. ... “People don’t understand the moral ambiguity of combat and why it is so hard to get over it,” ... “What makes combat veterans ill is not always about being a victim, but, in some instances, feeling very much both a perpetrator and a victim at the same time.”"

Don't you find it odd that the NY Times doesn't put together two of their own stories? How can they pump the Grand Crusade on one hand, with one story, and then on the other hand talk about the consequences, yet keeping both separate from each other, as if they aren't fused together. Story # 1 says "We're ready", and story # 2 says "we're suffering", but there's no connection between the 2 that matters or is going to make any difference. After all, the mission must not be touched or tainted by such connections. Ah! Now I see.

Is it possible the underlying idea is to confuse the reader?

Does it make peoples' heads spin to swing between supporting the Neocon-inspired, "news" supported, crusade to establish Israel's and America's authority in the Middle East, and then turn face and express deep concern for some of it's victims, and at the time cleverly avoiding the cause and effect of making war and it's victims?

Oh, I almost forgot: we're talking about Israel's security! Having launched our military into the Middle East, we can't simply remove them now - that would leave our friend Israel surrounded by enemies - and there's a lot more of them now that we've done all that killing and destruction. No, leaving just it's an option. The only choice left is winning, and so we get to see the "we're ready" pump-up articles for the mission, and some asides of the suffering, but disconnected from each other so we'll continue to support the mission.

How many years has it been now, since the invasion was launched? Just how long does it take to put these thoughts together? No, don't expect it from the wordsmiths at the NY Times, obviously committed to the enterprise, but from yourself and your family, the people who are paying the price.

Update I: See A Separate Peace By Dahlia Lithwick

"Depending on the study you read, somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders."

Update II: See Picturing the Dead By DAVE LINDORFF


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Surveillance Society

HINKLE—Surveillance Society: Obama Takes a Blue Pencil to the Bill of Rights by A. BARTON HINKLE

"Which means, if the Obama administration continues to get its way, the federal government effectively will have carte blanche to spy on American citizens.

The two points lead to one of two conclusions. Either President Obama owes the Bush administration a big apology -- or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation."

The U.S. is Now a Police State By Paul Craig Roberts

"Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties."


"As our Founding Fathers and a long list of scholars warned, once civil liberties are breached, they are breached for all. "


"This shows how far the police state has advanced. A presidential appointee in the Obama administration tells an important committee of Congress that the executive branch has decided that it can murder American citizens abroad if it thinks they are a threat.:

Read here the compelling account of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an American citizen of Pakistani origin - and do something, anything!

Why Are Americans Passive as Millions Lose Their Homes, Jobs, Families and the American Dream?
By Harriet Fraad

"Society-wide depression has struck America. Why it's happened and what we can do about it.

An unnatural economic and psychological disaster has struck America.

Five contributors, each interacting with and shaping the others, have devastated the American moral, economic, psychological, and social landscape.

She makes 5 excellent reasons for this depression.

One reason I don't think she identifies clearly enough is our so-called "news", which is really the American information supply.

She does say "To add to their despair, the tremendous wealth at the top of society has been used to fund right-wing media outlets like Fox News, to name just one example." and "Right-wing media promote the idea that there is no alternative to the status quo."

But she fails to identify the fact that people have been "educated" by our information supply. Think about this in terms of polls. When an opinion poll is taken, is it not also a reflection of how well the people polled are following the "news"? When you see a poll that reports support for the invasion of Iraq, weren't you really looking at the results of the "news" propaganda machine's efforts at convincing you to support the invasion? Of course this was an influence, we just have no way of knowing exactly how much. My guess is that had people been better informed, there would have been very little support at all. But they were fed pictures and stories about the evil Saddam on every mainstream channel and newspaper. It was a one-sided barrage of propaganda that pumped up American for that invasion.

I think the above is crystal clear today, for anyone who already knows or is willing to read up on. The facts are out now.

The propaganda machine being as it is, the next question is: "what else have we been massively duped on?". Here's my #2 choice: supporting Israel, and #3 is that the average American has no idea of how terrible all that debt is for us. Sooner or later they are going to run out of options and clever tricks push the impact into the future. They'll probably start the printing presses as a last resort, which will lead to hyper-inflation, which means your dollars will be transformed into pennies, and if you're barely surviving on a fixed income - too bad for you. And this is going to develop quickly, within a few years, as baby boomers line up for retirement. Nothing unknown here. They are blaming people taking early retirement for the crisis now, and getting away with it because nobody knows better. They knew all along.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Leon Wieseltier, Anti-Semitism, and Israel

Leon Wieseltier, Anti-Semitism, and Israel by Daniel Luban

I can't summarize this excellent article, so please read it yourself.

I have been struck personally by the anti-semite sword, despite heart-felt testimony to the contrary. Truth be told, I've never met a Jewish person I don't like on a personal level.

I'm so charged because I am completely against Israel's politics and the Zionist philosophy that guides it. Gandhi was right to say that "an eye for an eye makes us all blind", the whole idea of preemptive attacks is ultimately unconscionable, and the "ends justify the means" concept is rotten to it's core.

But I didn't get excited about debatable philosophical questions. What got me going was the military invasion of the Middle East, an act that only made sense to the Zionists and their supporters (Cheney and all the greedy bastards in the MIC and Big Oil). With AIPAC's influence in Congress they actually pulled it off. To see this country being duped on such a massive scale was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Yes, I wrote and spoke as much as I possibly could, but it all fell on deaf ears. Same thing happened to Brooksley Born

Gaza (see this video on the Goldstone report) was another mind blower, to me. Israel's contemptuous regard for the Palestinians, the de facto state of apartheid, and the long wait for justice in the cases of Rachel Corrie and the USS Liberty. Now we see this covert assassination campaign across the Middle East.

Watching religion based organizations ruin our world, I can't help but think of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason.

It's been said there are some things that you can learn, but you can't unlearn, so be forewarned that what Paine has to say in the Age of Reason is one such. Considering that his book "Common Sense" was a pillar of the American revolution, you'd think his other work would have gotten attention too, but it was kept out of view by the obvious interests he sweeps aside.

I'll say in advance that he believes in God, but it's the God we can see and touch and feel and smell every time we walk outside and look at the world and the universe around us. The world is on the brink of ruin by groups who follow people who claim to have personally spoken with God. Thomas Paine uses words in a way I never could to explain very clearly why this is so misguided. I only wish I would have been better advised many years ago.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Internet Censorship Alert!

Internet Censorship Alert! Alex Jones exposes agenda to ‘blacklist’ dissenting sites and license users by Aaron Dykes & Alex Jones

"With Obama’s support, most of the developed world has accepted plans for government-approved online activity and Pentagon-monitored internet traffic. The U.S. and UK are facilitating the hijacking of what has, until now, been a highly-democratic Internet. "

It's coming, plain as day. While the Internet is the best tool ever invented for democracy, it is, by that same definition, a threat to those who have acquired power by undemocratic means. That is, those who have purchased their power, beginning with our information supply, and Congress, and virtually every other institution that holds power.

With the Internet, we're increasingly aware of the huge lies perpetrated to sucker us first into invading the Middle East and now continuing their crusade long after any semblance of truthfulness has vanished. What we're up to is, having mightily pissed off huge numbers of people, it may be too late to stop it, but all we have left to try and stop it is the Internet. Without it, all we'll get is more propaganda supporting their cause, and those who disagree will be silenced.

Recently, I wrote about the danger of gov't harvesting the contents of the Internet for it's selective use against it's enemies, and how we can't allow that to happen. Now we're looking at an even more dreaded counterpart to that danger: the silencing of the Internet. Either way, or both ways, the entire notion of democracy is destroyed.


Monday, February 8, 2010

War machine propaganda: lies, distortions and fabrications

Catching Associated Press (AP)'s hand in the war propaganda cookie jar today is this article:

AP Article Fuels Iran War Hysteria by Jason Ditz

"At the end of the day though, the biggest problem with the piece was the reference to “nuke warheads,” a technology which Iran isn’t even accused of moving forward. If Iran isn’t even capable of making fuel rods for medical reactors out of 20 percent enriched uranium it is hoping to produce, it is absolutely absurd and irresponsible to claim that Iran is nearing the capability of producing nuclear-capable warheads, which would require not only weapons-grade uranium which they are not producing, but advanced delivery systems."

How many people noticed that North Korea has had demonstrated nuclear capability all along, and AP drummed barely a beat in that direction. Why? Because it's not really the nuclear issue itself that's on their agenda, but supporting causes for war in the Middle East is, and nowhere is this plain truth more evident then having a real life example of the exact same problem in another area of the world that gets zero attention.

The oil smokescreen.

Let's talk about another war propaganda machine's smokescreen: oil.

There are people, perhaps many, who believe the *real* reason behind the invasion of the Middle East is oil. Smoke and mirrors. Yes, sure, unquestionably, the oil people profited hugely from the invasion and took every opportunity to raising the price of oil and their profits, and on this count they are absolutely guilty as charged for backing the invasion for their own greed. There's no question about this.

But there's a critically important point here that goes unmentioned. It has to do with our support for the oil excuse. Consider this: the rest of the world buys oil from the Middle East, that it's a world market and has been for a very long time without any fuss at all. It's their resource, and they buy things from us as we buy oil from them. The price of oil wasn't a problem at all until OPEC used it to strike back at America over it's support for one of Israel's wars with it's neighbors, which was won owing largely to American money and equipment. That was round # 1, which established the price of oil as a weapon.

The conspiracy story the propagandists pushed through our information supply is that we sneakily went to war for oil. Many people really believe this line. Why was this fallacy permitted to grow instead of being struck down for the distortion it really is? Because it puts the real reason for the invasion behind another smokescreen.

Why the distortion? Because they were selling oil all along to the rest of the world all along, and would have continued doing so without any of our interference at all. It was how they made money. If there really was a need to threaten them, say to stabilize the price (which wasn't necessary until OPEC's retaliatory action), technology solutions abound and we could have used one or two or three of those solutions to keep the market price under control. We could have threatened to finish developing synthetic oil (a program well under way until OPEC reduced the prices and the program was shut down), or technology to harness other natural energy sources such as solar and tidal, not to mention any of the other ways that our engineers could have worked with.

But people were sneakily fed the "it was about oil" propaganda as the "real reason" for the invasion, and they bought it, buying into the story that we needed to make war because we needed to secure our supply of oil. Our supply of oil and it's price weren't threatened until we backed the arrogant, belligerent behavior of our "friend" Israel with all the money and weapons they wanted to put their enemies down, regardless of little details such as right or wrong.

Yes, oil money was involved, of course, but it wasn't the reason for the invasion, it was just a very convenient smokescreen to divert attention from the real reason, that Israel wanted America to seize authority in the Middle East on it's behalf, and it's agents in key places (Washington and our information supply) pulled it off, and then allowed conspiracy stories to spread, such as the oil story - to give people something to complain about.

I don't mean to say I told you so, but... By Stephen M. Walt

"Probably the most controversial claim in my work with John Mearsheimer on the Israel lobby is our argument that it played a key role in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Even some readers who were generally sympathetic to our overall position found that claim hard to accept, and some left-wing critics accused us of letting Bush and Cheney off the hook or of ignoring the importance of other interests, especially oil. Of course, Israel's defenders in the lobby took issue even more strenuously, usually by mischaracterizing our arguments and ignoring most (if not all) of the evidence we presented.


Blair's comments fit neatly with the argument we make about the lobby and Iraq. Specifically, Professor Mearsheimer and I made it clear in our article and especially in our book that the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government. But as the neoconservative pundit Max Boot once put it, steadfast support for Israel is "a key tenet of neoconservatism." Prominent neo-conservatives occupied important positions in the Bush administration, and in the aftermath of 9/11, they played a major role in persuading Bush and Cheney to back a war against Iraq, which they had been advocating since the late 1990s. We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq. However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of "regional transformation" that would eventually include Iran.

At that point top Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum became cheerleaders for the invasion, and they played a prominent role in helping to sell the war here in the United States.


Nor am I suggesting that these individuals advocated this course because they thought it would be good for Israel but bad for the United States. Rather, they unwisely believed it would be good for both countries. And as we all know, they were tragically wrong. "

I read this last article after writing the above. I'm thankful to see it (please read the whole article) because I was going to say the same things but he has more and better information at his disposal.


Moving Social Security onto the chopping block, slowly but surely

Rash of retirements pushes Social Security to brink By Richard Wolf

"Social Security's annual surplus nearly evaporated in 2009 for the first time in 25 years as the recession led hundreds of thousands of workers to retire or claim disability.


Since 1984, Social Security has raked in more in payroll taxes than it has paid in benefits, accumulating a $2.5 trillion trust fund. But because the government uses the trust fund to pay for other programs, tax increases, spending cuts or new borrowing will be required to make up the difference between taxes collected and benefits owed.


Experts say the trend points to a more basic problem for Social Security: looming retirements by Baby Boomers will create annual losses beginning in 2016 or 2017.


"Money has to be found to repay those trust funds." "

First, anyone with his right mind knew this was coming all along

Second, notice how these reports are gradually, slowly slipping into the "news" in bite sized tiny pieces here and then, despite the gaggle of high priced people who have been watching this for years and knew all along what was coming. The watchdogs who are supposed to protect Social Security are the same gang who changed the law to allow banks to gamble recklessly knowing full well the money the lost would be paid for out of our pockets.

Third, this is an extremely critical situation for many millions of people who barely survive on Social Security.

Forth, Social Security is on a collision course with war financing, the monster debt used to pay for wars to this point, the Wall Street monster heist, and the unchecked greed of the interest groups who run Washington.

Between the bottomless spending pit of the bizarro war against a tactic and the efficiency with which we're being robbed blind by every special interest in town, we're way down the road to getting fucked over like never before.

There is a simple and effective way we can stop the fall: remove money from the election process. It can be done - and it's the only way to stop the slide.

Update I: See The Democrats are Coming After Social Security By Shamus Cooke


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wars Sending US into Ruin

Wars Sending US into Ruin by Eric Margolis

"Washington's deficit (the difference between spending and income from taxes) will reach a vertiginous $1.6 trillion US this year. The huge sum will be borrowed, mostly from China and Japan, to which the U.S. already owes $1.5 trillion. Debt service will cost $250 billion.
To spend $1 trillion, one would have had to start spending $1 million daily soon after Rome was founded and continue for 2,738 years until today.
Obama's total military budget is nearly $1 trillion.
The Pentagon now accounts for half of total world military spending.
If U.S. taxpayers actually had to pay for the Afghan and Iraq wars, these conflicts would end in short order.
It is increasingly clear the president is not in control of America's runaway military juggernaut."

Can Bush be Prosecuted? The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

A film based on Vincent Bugliosi's book calling for prosecution of Bush for murder.

National Insecurity By Philip Giraldi

Philip Giraldi talks about the history of the CIA and what's become of it.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Are Americans Passive ...?

Why Are Americans Passive as Millions Lose Their Homes, Jobs, Families and the American Dream? By Harriet Fraad

"Within that morality Clinton committed an impeachable crime by lying about having sex with an intern, while Bush and Cheney did not commit impeachable crimes by lying about the threat from Iraq and thus causing the deaths of over four thousand U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, or by torturing prisoners. It is not considered immoral to spend between six billion and twelve billion dollars a week on the war in Iraq while cutting school and social programs for needy families because "there is not enough money." The secular morality that made America a proudly democratic and egalitarian nation has deteriorated. We are experiencing a national moral, ethical, and spiritual crisis."

Read the rest of this article for the author's view on the litany of woes that have hammered the American dream since the 70's.

She paints a dismal, but hardly complete picture, of despair in America. And she doesn't explore the root causes well enough. For that you have to turn elsewhere. Start with googling "neocons", the gang who jumped into power during Reagan's administration and have held (our) power since, and then connect the dots.


The lynch-mob mentality

The lynch-mob mentality By Glenn Greenwald

"A very long time ago, I would be baffled when I'd read about things like the Salem witch hunts. How could so many people be collectively worked up into that level of irrational frenzy, where they cheered for people's torturous death as "witches" without any real due process or meaningful evidence? But all one has to do is look at our current Terrorism debates and it's easy to see how things like that happen. ..."

Glenn Greenwald is one of our better thinker/writers who really deserves a lot of credit and respect for his stands on issues such as this.

How to Get Our Democracy Back By Lawrence Lessig

"For Obama once spoke for the anger that has now boiled over in even the blue state Massachusetts--that our government is corrupt; that fundamental change is needed. As he told us, both parties had allowed "lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system." And "unless we're willing to challenge [that] broken system...nothing else is going to change." "The reason" Obama said he was "running for president [was] to challenge that system." For "if we're not willing to take up that fight, then real change--change that will make a lasting difference in the lives of ordinary Americans--will keep getting blocked by the defenders of the status quo."

This administration has not "taken up that fight." Instead, it has stepped down from the high ground the president occupied on January 20, 2009, and played a political game no different from the one George W. Bush played, or Bill Clinton before him. Obama has accepted the power of the "defenders of the status quo" and simply negotiated with them. "Audacity" fits nothing on the list of last year's activity, save the suggestion that this is the administration the candidate had promised.

Maybe this was his plan all along. It was not what he said. And by ignoring what he promised, and by doing what he attacked ("too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in"), Obama will leave the presidency, whether in 2013 or 2017, with Washington essentially intact and the movement he inspired betrayed.


At the center of our government lies a bankrupt institution: Congress. Not financially bankrupt, at least not yet, but politically bankrupt.


But consistently and increasingly over the past decade, faith in Congress has collapsed--slowly, and then all at once. Today it is at a record low. Just 45 percent of Americans have "trust and confidence" in Congress; just 25 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job. A higher percentage of Americans likely supported the British Crown at the time of the Revolution than support our Congress today. "

Here's where the author points a huge finger at Congress, but backs away from mentioning AIPAC's influence, yet AIPAC holds great sway over who gets into Congress, as has been adequately documented by others.

You could say "that's only foreign policy", but foreign policy is the stage on which we all ultimately exist on. The military invasion of the Middle East didn't happen because you or I wanted it. Heck, most people didn't even know the mission: to transform that part of the world into subservience, but it was, and remains that to this day. It's not so much a question of where the next outbreak will occur (Iran?), but when.

Why do good thinkers/writers consistently ignore this obvious connection when they are so close?

Please read the full article though, it is absolutely outstanding and, other then this key omission, really nails the problem.

Update I: Here's Bill Moyer's interview with the author


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Will Obama Play the War Card?

Will Obama Play the War Card? by Patrick J. Buchanan

This is utter insanity!

Kissinger on Iraq By Barry Lando

"It is amazing how Henry Kissinger has been able to retain his aura of invincible genius in international relations, continuing to counsel presidents, foreign governments and major global businesses, while occasionally writing lofty Op Ed pieces advising the U.S. on what it should or should not be doing next. This mind you, despite Kissinger’s own history of monumental cynicism and duplicity when he was guiding foreign policy for President’s Nixon and Ford. Indeed, it’s a tribute to the ability of mainstream American media to forgive and forget."

I think it says a whole lot more about the "mainstream American media" then that!

Question for today: how long do you think it will be before Russian weapons appear in the hands of the Taliban? How long was it before American weapons were in their hands when the shoe was on the other foot? Any Russian Charlie Wilson's out there? Maybe a better phrasing would be "how many Russian Charlie Wilson's are there?"


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Crisis is Not Over

The Crisis is Not Over by Paul Craig Roberts

"Is the financial crisis over? Is the recovery for real and, if not, what are Americans’ prospects? The short answer is that the financial crisis is not over, the recovery is not real, and the U.S. faces a far worse crisis than the financial one.


The crisis will not be over until financial regulation is restored, but Wall Street has been able to block re-regulation.


President Obama’s budget deficits for 2010 and 2011, according to the latest report, will total $2.9 trillion, and this estimate is based on the assumption that the Great Recession is over. Where is the U.S. Treasury to borrow $4.3 trillion in three years?


A third crisis is also in place. This crisis will occur when confidence is lost in the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency. This crisis will disrupt the international payments mechanism. It will be especially difficult for the U.S. as the country will lose the ability to pay for its imports with its own currency. U.S. living standards will decline as the ability to import declines.


The financial crisis is essentially a U.S. crisis, spread abroad by the sale of toxic financial instruments. The rest of the world got into trouble by trusting Wall Street.


The real American crisis is the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs such as software engineering and information technology.


The threats to the U.S. economy are extreme. Yet, neither the Obama administration, the Republican opposition, economists, Wall Street, nor the media show any awareness. Instead, the public is provided with spin about recovery and with higher spending on pointless wars that are hastening America’s economic and financial ruin."

Zionism Laid Bare By Kathleen Christison

"Alam demonstrates clearly, through voluminous evidence and a carefully argued analysis, that Zionism was never benign, never good—that from the very beginning, it operated according to a “cold logic” and, per Rumi, had “no humanity.” Except perhaps for Jews, which is where Israel’s and Zionism’s exceptionalism comes in.


How has Zionism been able to put itself forward as exceptional and get away with it, winning Western support for the establishment of an exclusionary state and in the process for the deliberate dispossession of the native population? Alam lays out three principal ways by which Zionism has framed its claims of exceptionalism in order to justify itself and gain world, particularly Western, support. First, the Jewish assumption of chosenness rests on the notion that Jews have a divine right to the land, a mandate granted by God to the Jewish people and only to them. This divine election gives the homeless, long-persecuted Jews the historical and legal basis by which to nullify the rights of Palestinians not so divinely mandated and ultimately to expel them from the land. Second, Israel’s often remarkable achievements in state-building have won Western support and provided a further justification for the displacement of “inferior” Palestinians by “superior” Jews. Finally, Zionism has put Jews forward as having a uniquely tragic history and as a uniquely vulnerable country, giving Israel a special rationale for protecting itself against supposedly unique threats to its existence and in consequence for ignoring the dictates of international law. Against the Jews’ tragedy, whatever pain Palestinians may feel at being displaced appears minor.


In fact, the Zionists knew from the start that there would be no persuading the Palestinians simply to leave voluntarily and that violent conquest would be necessary to implant the Zionist state.


Zionist propaganda then and later deliberately spread the notion that Palestinians were not “a people,” had no attachment to the land and no national aspirations, and in the face of the Jews’ supposedly divine mandate, of Israel’s “miraculous” accomplishments, and of the Jews’ monumental suffering in the Holocaust, the dispossession of the Palestinians was made to appear to a disinterested West as nothing more than a minor misfortune.


Addressing what he calls the “destabilizing logic” of Zionism, Alam builds the argument that Zionism thrives on, and indeed can survive only in the midst of, conflict.


Anti-Semitism remains in many ways the cement that holds Zionism together, keeping both Israeli Jews and diaspora Jews in thrall to Israel as their supposedly only salvation from another Holocaust.


Zionist lobbyists continued to work as assiduously, with results as “miraculous,” throughout the twentieth century, gaining influence over civil society and ultimately over policymakers and, most importantly, shaping the public discourse that determines all thinking about Israel and its neighbors.


In its early days, Zionism grew only because Herzl and his colleagues employed heavy lobbying in the European centers of power; Jewish dispersion across the Western world—and Jewish influence in the economies, the film industries, the media, and academia in key Western countries—are what enabled the Zionist movement to survive and thrive in the dark years of the early twentieth century; and Zionist lobbying and molding of public discourse are what has maintained Israel’s favored place in the hearts and minds of Americans and the policy councils of America’s politicians."


Only a Wave of Democratic Participation Can Save This Country

America’s System Failure: Only a Wave of Democratic Participation Can Save This Country By Christopher Hayes

"As welcome as it was, the removal of George W. Bush was not enough to cure what ails us. It goes to the root of our political system."

Whatever Happened to the Neocons’ Grand Schemes to Control Iraq’s Oil? By Michael Schwartz


Don’t Call It a ‘Defense’ Budget

Don’t Call It a ‘Defense’ Budget by Norman Solomon

" "Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors," the New York Times reports.

The word "defense" is inherently self-justifying. But it begs the question: Just what is being defended?

For the United States, an epitaph on the horizon says: "We had to destroy our country in order to defend it." "

We're defending Middle East policies, particularly those of arrogant, belligerent, paranoid Israel supporters who have a lot of money and thus influence in Washington and the media. The results are amazing. Proof positive that Big Lies can in fact be spun as truth, and elephants can be made to hide in living rooms.

It's not OUR behavior that caused this disaster, it's that of people who bought and otherwise got into positions of power and pulled our country's strings, and they continue through this day, behind a succession of masks, currently the Obama mask, but that will change when he wears thin of it all.

A reminder of the numbers involved comes from:

The US Can No Longer Afford Its Empire by Ivan Eland

"According to Winslow Wheeler of the Center on Defense Information, the annual U.S. security budget – including spending on the wars, the Defense Department, the Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs, homeland security, veterans compensation, international affairs, non-DoD military retirement payments, and interest on the national debt accounted for by defense programs – is well over $1 trillion per year."

That's TRILLION. A number so large that we can't even reasonably imagine a trillion of anything. That's how many of our dollars will flow into their cause PER YEAR.

US: Al-Qaeda Certain to Attack in Next 3-6 Months by Jason Ditz

"According to the Wall Street Journal, several top US intelligence officials have determined that an al-Qaeda attack against the United States within the next three to six months is absolutely “certain.” "

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to be scaring the public, just enough to keep the war machine running smoothly. Whether or not this particular threat happens or disappears like most of them, they will just move on to the next Big Threat. There's always something that can be puffed into a monster while the truth and proper proportion are snuffed. That's how it works - until we replace our information supply, and put the WSJ and their cohorts out of business.

Budgets, War and Blind Ambition: The Limited Minds of the American Elite by Chris Floyd

"What is most interesting here, of course, is not Sanger's noodle-scratching over imaginary numbers projected into an unknowable future, but his total and apparently completely unconscious adoption of the mindset of militarist empire. For as he puzzles and puzzles till his puzzler is sore on how in God's name the United States can possibly find any money at all to spend on bettering the lives of its citizens over the next 10 years, it becomes clear that Sanger -- like the rest of our political and media elite -- literally cannot conceive of an end to empire. Our elites and their courtiers literally cannot imagine life without a permanent war for global dominance, fueled by a gargantuan war machine spread across hundreds and hundreds of bases implanted in more than 100 countries.

And so this consideration, this possible outcome, does not figure in Sanger's "analysis" because it cannot: it lies far outside the scope of his consciousness. The only possible alternative he can conceive to the empire's bloody and bankrupting business as usual is some kind of divine intervention, "miraculous growth" or some "miraculous political compromise."

And make no mistake: the "miraculous political compromise" he is talking about has nothing to do with ending or even trimming the empire. A "compromise" on this issue could only be posited if there was some present conflict over it. But both parties are deeply committed to increasing spending on the wars and the war machine. "

I wonder if Chris Floyd has read Walt & Mearsheimer's report on AIPAC's strangehold on Congress to see why both parties are so deeply committed to the war machine.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Does the US Turn a Blind Eye to Israeli Bulldozers?

Why Does the US Turn a Blind Eye to Israeli Bulldozers? by Robert Fisk

"... But the dream of a "two-state" Israeli-Palestinian solution, a security-drenched but noble settlement to decades of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians is as good as dead.

Both the United States and Europe now stand idly by while the Israeli government effectively destroys any hope of a Palestinian state; even as you read these words, Israel's bulldozers and demolition orders are destroying the last chance of peace; not only in the symbolic centre of Jerusalem itself but - strategically, far more important - in 60 per cent of the vast, biblical lands of the occupied West Bank, in that largest sector in which Jews now outnumber Muslims two to one."

On the State of the Union by Ralph Nader

"American taxpayers will be paying nearly $800 million a year just to guard the U.S. Embassy and its personnel in Baghdad."

Imagine that? Almost a billion dollars a year out of our pockets for an illusion, while homeowners across America are under water.

Check this article out, on the difference between homeowners and corporations dealing with the fallout of the biggest heist in history.

U.S. Turns Up the Heat on Iran

"The Obama administration is increasing the speed at which the U.S. is deploying military defenses in the Persian Gulf, putting ships and anti-missile systems in the area in response to worries about a possible Iranian missile attack and in an effort to put pressure on Tehran."

More airport security won’t do much to stop terrorists. Leaving the Middle East would.

"The answer is expeditious withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Middle Eastern countries, along with cessation of economic and military aid to Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, and the rest of the region."