The La Riva/Puryear Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential campaign expresses its strong support for the proposal to the Brattleboro, Vt. Annual Town Meeting to indict President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney for gross violations of international and U.S. law. We salute the courageous residents of Brattleboro who have initiated this action. That Bush and Cheney are guilty of multiple illegal acts is beyond doubt. These range from attempts to overturn basic democratic rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights to numerous violations of international treaties that the U.S. government has signed. The deadliest crime of the Bush-Cheney regime—a government of, by and for the military-industrial complex, oil companies and big banks—is the illegal and unjust war against Iraq, a sovereign state that never posed a danger to the United States. The Nuremberg Tribunal, which tried the leaders of Nazi Germany following World War II, found the Nazi high command guilty of Crimes Against Peace. In 1950, the tribunal—organized and led by the United States—defined Crimes against Peace (in Principle 6, a.) as: "(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; "(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)." The Nuremberg Principles were ratified by the U.N. General Assembly, including the United States, giving them the force of law inside the United States. A war of aggression is defined as any war not waged in self-defense. Robert Jackson, the lead prosecutor in the Nuremberg Tribunals said, "to initiate a war of aggression ... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." It is an irrefutable fact that Iraq never threatened nor had the capacity to threaten the United States—the most powerful military state in history. Not only is the current war and colonial occupation a crime against peace, but so too was the 1991 war waged under Bush I, and the eight years of bombing and blockade carried out by the Clinton administration. There is no doubt that the Bush administration entered into a conspiracy with the governments of the United Kingdom and other countries to carry out the war. Now, as we approach the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the toll of this criminal war is truly horrendous. More than one million Iraqis have died, in addition to more than a million killled in by bombing and sanctions between 1990 and 2003. At least 4.5 million Iraqis have been displaced. On the U.S. side, 4,000 soldiers have been killed and more than 60,000 have been wounded, injured or have suffered severe illness. The toll continues to rise every day. The cost of in resources will amount to trillions of dollars. Bush, Cheney and their collaborators—Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Rice and the rest—should be indicted, tried and brought to justice for their murderous acts. * * * * * The PARTY for SOCIALISM and LIBERATION The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) is a newly formed working class party of leaders and activists from many different struggles, founded to promote the movement for revolutionary change and to fight for socialism--a system where the wealth of society belongs to those who produce it, the working class, and is used in a planned and sustainable way for the benefit of all. The PSL is proud to announce that our party is fielding a slate of candidates 2008 U.S. presidential elections: Gloria La Riva for President and Eugene Puryear for Vice President. In various cities across the country, the party will also run local candidates, including Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner, who is running for Congress in Florida.www.VotePSL.org * * * * * GET INVOLVED Become a volunteer in PSL's 2008 campaign. A vote for La Riva and Puryear is a vote for socialism and liberation, and against capitalist war, racism, bigotry and exploitation. Become an advocate for people's rights and revolutionary change! VISIT VotePSL.org:www.VotePSL.org Sign up to receive updates:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLsignup Put a button on your blog or webpage:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLdownloads Volunteer:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLvol Download literature:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLdownloads Donate:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLdonate Join the PSL:www.pslweb.org/VotePSLjoin
Sleeping in the purr of habit,"nothing newer beneath the Sun ".Staying up for another Sun today, piercing through the Difference, appears the wealth of day.
This text is an introduction to the different reasons and characteristics of the Dakhiometry. The dakhi - evolution + of + "universee" (Austria)In dakhiometry, the universe universee is made of matter and all relationship and interaction between object, express in characteristics of matter that is space - motion. But the space - motion is not the space-time, that is here at this place and that continue to the most far as possible. This is not a line, or a plan, or a volume, that stretch to reach in the ascendancy of the infinity.The dakhiometric space is well definedThe fundamentally different vision, from these classic space concepts, is that the dakhiometry is a conscience that the space - motion is more than figures. It is conscience of matter. This last wears the wealth of the universe, not only by its large distance but, mostly, the space is rich by the fineness of its resolution. Because, the vision of a continuous line was a bad concept, contradictory to the real space that is only locations. The space in which live can develop, is well definite universe of an absolute locations cloud. The absolute location means unique locations.The importance role of the space as absolute locations, can understand rapidly. Since you are all computer system users, you would have the opportunity to observe the difference between images having different resolutions in colors pitch and in pixels. But even with the best numerical resolutions, you knew certainly that these qualities remain again far below the photographic grains one. What does have again a more best resolution ? Molecules, atoms, and elementary particles of the physics ? But there, even with Quantum Mechanics, there is no more spatial resolution. With the Uncertainty Principle, we return again in the Infinitely where no location id defined. In this case, you are in the Continuum, it is to tell, in a world where the continuous line exists, a geometric infinite world. Contrary to the current belief, in the Continuum, it is a contradiction to talk about definition of a line. Therefore, your monitor should have there No-Resolution. You can not read any text, nor look at a nice photo. Now, if you are still using your computer, with a 64 bits or 128 bits resolution, you are proving there that the universe is not a Continuum and that the world is composed of reality quanta.The diakhiometry recognizes a minimal of the space and therefore the universe space is composed of locations down to the minimal state resolution. A minimal being, could make a lot of things, but more than a lot, it is even, the universe constructor. However, he never would know skating and thus to slip as a wave on the ice. It would only jump in the space, from one to an other location, as a frog would make it gracefully, from a stone to an other, over the marsh.There is no longer here, a continuous space of the classic Geometry, neither the Quantum Mechanics' one, that is governed by a Continuum thought, the Principle of Uncertainty. Without being masked by these ideas, the constitution of any thing of the universe, and particularly for the human, can be seen as entirely oriented to a narrow relationship, in the entire large distance, as well as in the just fineness of the space - motion. Everything is united by relationship, but nothing is smelted, indefinite and blurred, because, each thing is unique. The entire space - location of the universe is the place of the existence events, by relationships between uniqueness, and absolute location allows therefore to validate the motion, source of changes.Any object exists wholly as a total physical definition in the universe spaceSimilarly, for a tree, one can observe that it kisses closely the solid, the liquid, the air and beyond the subtle of the light, similarly all thing, particularly the alive, is a unit constructed for the listening of the universe, all along the range of the space - motion. The man is more than the simplistic of a body of Senses, animated by a Spirit. In truth, it is a system of large complexity, dived in the subtle invisible spaces - motion. Just as the tree, he is rooted in the solid and the liquid, by his food and the feeling of to touch, from the infrasonic vibrations to the electromagnetic radiation, just as the tree through foliage, the alive grows into the universe and develops there an existence, into the subtle of the matter where interactions that are developed there, can be recognized as the thinking. Thinking as well as the memory are not a particular property to each object. Because in the subtle of matter, named as the dakhi, one finds there the universal, at there, everything can be linked to the universe in its Whole.And finally, it is in this world of minimal definition that tends the complexity to get in complete connection. Matter that appears through forms, are validated by the space - motion to the resolution of this ultimate world. The Dakhiometry tempts therefore only establish methods to get knowledge in this invisible fineness of the dakhi, the majority state of matter of the universe. It seeks therefore to better know the Breath of the universe.The Breath of the universeThe Breath of the Tao is often translated into an other word, the Spirit. But the Spirit, as the duality Body - Spirit is a misinterpretation. The Breath has to be understood in the senses of the Source, the Root, Energy - food -of- life. The Breath is therefore a matter, accessible for a clear knowledge. Concerning the Breath, It does not concern the Creator - Spirit idea but it means physical Principle, Mother of Life.The difference between Creation and Principle concepts, is as follow:1) - the Creation concept wears in it, the possibility of Fantasy, of Arbitrary. The Creation is a work (beautiful or ugly, it doesn't matter) of the Arbitrary that can take form, only all at once, by universal Laws that it has promulgated. The Creation remains &quto;eternally" fixed in this rigidity. These Laws of Creation, create therefore the world, in one go, whole of a block. This world remains therefore coagulated, since these Laws are Eternal otherwise they would not be Laws. Like a sculptor that can only look at the rigidity of a statue. This last, without doubt, can not surpass himself, beyond this fixed state.2) - the Principle concept concerns the Knowledge. The principle is a state of Knowledge that can generate all world's Predicate. In this senses, by a just Principle, it is allowed to predict the world. If one can predict the world, this means that the world can change and that the prediction is a science born from this Knowledge. With a just Principle, the human does not feel the necessity to seek the "creator" of this principle. It enriches the vision of the world. Because the predicate wealth of the world is a proof of an immutability, without which there is no possible vision of predicates. For example, a mathematical equation and a form of a figure, does not persist in their definition, if they have no root in the Permanence. By this last things can take their senses. And it is because there is possible prediction, that the notion of a direction is legitimate.The universe constitutes in Direct DemocracyWith the concept of Principle, it is necessary to dare to go more far in consequences and to tempt to surpass rigidities of the current thought. It is therefore shown here, a fundamental aspect of the Knowledge that resides buried under the obviousness. Because, we are going to analyze a couple of concepts by which are build visions of the world, namely : universal Laws and Facts of the reality.A) - With a classic thought resting on the Creation, we have a Duality so called Causes-Effect, that erects the thought according to a following postulate :universal laws => Facts of the realityTherefore, it is thus an implicit manner, that the nature is governed by universal Laws and that all phenomenon, is a Fact of these Laws. There is a pre-eminence of Laws on the Fact. Consequently, it is admitted as a postulate that without Laws, the nature would not be.B) - In Dakiometry where the thought is based on the Unit Principle, it is possible to see that there is not Laws and Facts, as two distinct concepts. The thought of the pre-eminence of Laws on Facts of the nature, is a non-finite thought that remains linear, in the form of an open chain. The pre-eminence of a concept on an other, can not constitute a thought. At the very most, this is only an attitude to observe a world, rather than to live the world. It is well the characteristic of a Dual thought, that is non-Perfect, that is to say non-finite and thus, infinite and that one can schematize it with the relativity chain more-than-least-than.- How does one approach these problems, in Dakhiometry ?In reality, there are no Laws guiding Facts happening in the nature. There is only Phenomenon Facts acting, because when events throw up, nature does not worry about what Laws this should obey.- Without Laws as guides, why phenomena are they reproductive ?It is true that phenomena are reproductive and is a permanent phenomenon in the nature. But to hang at all costs the reproduction of phenomenon to universal or Eternal Law, as for Causes creating Effect, is not the result of reflection, but this is only a mechanics of the habit.The universe is not revealed, the universe buildsThe nature is autonomous, along the way of its construction. There are therefore no Laws, on the rails of which the nature has to be guided. The concept of Law in the nature, is the central beam having supported all the thought of a whole civilization. What happen to this thought, without the idea of Law governing the world ?In Dakiometry, one can demonstrate that the nature constitutes and behaves as Memory, correspondingly to the Permanence of the universe. A fundamental property, that can be put in obviousness, is the Permanent Memory that is inherent to each phenomenon. universal Laws as premises to the Nature, can not be rationally explained. While the nature as Memory is a physics that one can explore.The reproductive of experiences and the Principle of InductionThe human knowledge, that remains recorded in languages, translate clearly the memory phenomenon. Thus, words as ubiquity, omnipresence, omniscience, immutability, are evidences of the human conscience, describing precisely, on the qualities of the Memory in the universe. Note that modern notions about the reproductive experiences and on the principle of induction, are characteristics of the Memory obviousness. However, one can tell that these ideas do not allow for as much, a physical approach because one can not know there, what is the physics reproductive in large number. While with the universal Memory that is immutability, ubiquity, omniscience, the reproduction and the induction, flow from clear source.There is a radical difference, between to-obey-to universal Laws and to evolve according to the Unit Principle. In the first case, there can be only a nature in the Determinism, in the last case, there is an opening for the construction, according to characteristics of the Unit. Here, there is liberty and not chance in construction, since evolution defines according to properties of the Uniqueness. This last, is a exclusive condition of the real Absolute Liberty of the nature, because the Determinism is contradictory to the definition of the evolution for construction of Uniqueness. In brief, exactly and strictly, Unique means Absolute Liberty. Now, an another problem seems to rise : Evolution and Permanent Memory can appear as incompatible notions, to first views. However, a deeper examination shows that it is not forbidden to a Permanent Memory to enlarge, because, the addition result of a permanent memory to a permanent memory, is naturally, a Permanent Memory. And naturally, this the proof of the recursive process ! However, in dakhiometry, we more simply say that nature acts uniquely as a Memory.If one may uses again to words universal Laws, but with a meaning linked to the Memory, then one should state differently the relationship between Phenomenon and Laws, as follows :Facts of the reality => universal LawsIt is because Facts are accomplished realities that are printed in Memory. This filling of memory allows next, to read and interpret it and then to formulate them as physical Laws.universal Laws are only jurisprudence and non avatars of the CreationOne can state that the Evolution of the universe are Facts stored permanently in the Memory of the universe. These Facts are realities proved and not something disappearing into the Pasts. On the contrary, Fact belong to the permanence, it is allowed then to pull some Laws. Also, in Dakhiometrie, it is stated that forms of universal Laws that one can establish on the nature, can only be the results of Evolution Facts actually done. Also, one can here assert that universal Laws are consequences of reality Facts. One can understand that, in looking at experiences of the human social Justice. Because, in applications of Laws and Facts, the Justice makes a large room to the jurisprudence, recognizing as Laws. According to these lighting, we may understand that in Dakhiometry it is stated that in the universe, Laws are built on the jurisprudence of the accomplish phenomena and validated by the Memory.With these precision on the nature, as a Permanent Memory, there are no universal Laws preexisting to the universe. There is only the physical Law handwriting ipso facto by the reality of the Evolution. More precisely, the Evolution is a necessary and sufficient condition to generate Physical Laws. With, these new visions on properties of the universe, one can get a vaster notion on Physical Laws, that, while remaining ever true, evolve and become more complex. Rich consequences are numerous. A new idea of Laws and physics Phenomena acquires with the viewpoint following : Laws of the nature are perusals of the alive. They are built in the universe, by traces of life that each individual deposits in the universal Memory.We can recognize here, the natural root of Laws built with the Direct Democracy.And well more again, one can conceive in Dakhiometry, that the Evolution of the universe, can only construct new physical Laws, that yet do not exist in its current state.This is fabulously fabulous ! What a Liberty, what a marvel !It is emphasized that the idea of science progress concerns the discovers of laws that was hidden by a mysterious eternal nature. While the changes in universal laws stated above, is in fact, an evolution of universal laws according to the physical processes of change in nature, that are completely recorded in the universe Memory.Therefore, the fundamental human duty, is to act in such a manner, that each being, with no exception, can live their uniqueness, according to their full Knowledge development. It is a means to justly build the universe. To build the wonder, is not an utopia, but concern the need for everyone, to have access to the physical knowledge of the authentic universe.The dakhiometryReminder of definitionObject : objects of the universe, are all uniqueness, with the characteristics to have a center, to be a Whole, a Complete, Perfect (that is to say having all properties to be autonomous). It is what the new informatic sciences, have justly used in their definitions and conceptions of Objects Languages.This reminder is necessary because somebody yet living in the dual notion of Subject - Object, could have feel to be offended, believing that he was lowed to the Object state. The definite Object above, has no therefore anything degrading, I think that its meaning is nobler than the ancient anachronistic Subject notion.In example, it will be given some analyze on main aspects concerning the physical vision :1) - the reflection of the lightThe mechanism of the reflection and the refraction of the light.2) - The fall of bodiesOne can see also, how one can deduce the fall of bodies and its relationship with a Potential of movement. This last is a real new vision on the organization of the movement in the nature and whose idea of a Field of Force is only a notion falsified. The fall, the potential and the gravitation are only incoherent and sparse descriptions of a general mechanism, truly universal, that is placement of objects and organization of movement, in the universe. The universal Gravitation, even if experiences verify it, is a serious error, in its consequences, because one uses it intensely, to generate an illusory universe, in which thinks of this world are educated3) - The "transmutation" of the movementOne will see also, by deduction of the Conservation of the Action, how a movement can transmute in different movement scales of interaction. A photon would be a particular transmutation phenomenon of movement within the atomic system. The transmutation would be a mechanism of scale change of the movement This change of scale has no common with the notion of "degradation" of the movement, well known in the thermodynamics. Because one knows it, the photon can again disappear, in a inverted process. In brief, the photon and electromagnetic phenomena, are not probably particles of matter that would travel through the universe.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I started looking at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s Iraq plans, and one of the things that I discovered is that both of them intend to keep the Green Zone intact. Both of them intend to keep the current US embassy project, which is slated to be the largest embassy in the history of the world. I mean, I think it’s 500 CIA operatives alone, a thousand personnel. And they’re also going to keep open the Baghdad airport indefinitely. And what that means is that even though the rhetoric of withdrawal is everywhere in the Democratic campaign, we’re talking about a pretty substantial level of US forces and personnel remaining in Iraq indefinitely.Listen to whole segment
February 16, 2008
No matter how great the injustice done to us Palestinians or how deeply our grief curls into time and into the earth, it seems the world still refuses to hear our voice and insists that we shall not exist in history except as squatters, terrorists, or subhuman creatures unworthy of our own land and heritage or of the right to defend ourselves and resist oppression. The latest institution to contribute to the erasure of millennia of our Palestinian culture and history is the Salon du Livre, with great influence from the French Ministry of Culture.
Every year this book fair chooses one country to honor and showcase its contemporary writers. This year, the choice was Israel: a 60 year old country established in place of the ancient land of Palestine with an imported population (Europe, the former Soviet Union, U.S.A., Ethiopia, etc.) in place of the native population, the Palestinians, who were ethnically cleansed from most of the land and who still languish in the abject conditions of refugee camps, under a cruel military occupation, or at the whims of winds that swirl us about in a Diaspora. Israel, with an abysmal human rights record, leading the world with the most violations of international laws and UN Resolutions, has taken a land once multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural and turned into a place of exclusivity for Jews only. This country, called an Apartheid State by moral authorities the likes of Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter and accused of Nuremburg crimes by leading scholars of international law like Drs. Francis Boyle and Richard Falk, is the nation that France has chosen to celebrate at its most celebrated Book Fair.
Yet, until recently, I thought we still had a chance in March. I naively thought that France would welcome our narrative and present my book, The Scar of David, especially since the French version (Les matins de Jenine) is being released on 6 March. It is a story that I pulled it from the depths of my country’s anguished soul and from the most primal scream to be heard and recognized for the violated nation that we are. But no Palestinian [even Palestinian-Israelis] are invited and I was thus encouraged not to come.
How can this be? Do they know that Israel sits on top of emptied Palestinian villages? The crops that Israelis eat come from a soil fertilized and made rich from the bodies of my Palestinian ancestors and fruit from trees planted by those same ancestors, starting with my grandparents and going back centuries if not millennia? I am unquestionably a daughter of Jerusalem, even if Israel deems me not to be human enough to live and thrive there as all my ancestors before me have. Does the Salon du Live wish to pretend, as Israel does, that Palestine and Palestinians do not and never did exist? Do they know Jesus was Palestinian and many Palestinian Christians can trace their ancestry to the first century? There are Palestinians whose surnames are "Canaan". No Israeli has roots that sink as deeply into that land as the dispossessed Canaan family must! Has it occurred to the organizers that those Hebrew tribes that existed in Palestine 3,000 years ago are more likely to be my ancestors [if indeed genetic continuity is possible over such a period], not the ancestors of Russian Jews or any other imported Israeli ethnic group?
Or is the Salon du Livre simply complicit in the ongoing efforts of Israel to rid the world of us and any memory of our heritage, culture, history and gaping wound?
The world has roared with contempt at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alleged desire to wipe Israel off the map. And yet, Israel has actually been slowly wiping Palestine off the map for the past 60 years, in deeds and words. Every day acres of land are confiscated from what little remains to us of Palestine in order to build Jewish-only domains. Every day our men and women, as young as 12, suffer in their jails and torture chambers without charge or trial. At every turn, there is a wall, a bullet, or a checkpoint to deny, starve, or humiliate and break us. Death constantly comes at us from air land and sea with the most sophisticated weaponry. Every hope or dream we might have suffocates in refugee camps unfit for human beings but which our proud people have endured for more than half a century. Recently the commissioner-general of UNRWA warned that "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and–some would say–encouragement of the international community." So, the world watches life being slowly and deliberately extinguished in Gaza, as Israel, with unbearable irony, turns Gaza into a massive concentration camp. And around the world, the voices of our leaders, artists, writers, and activists are silenced, ever we try to speak, to protest, or scream in agony for help. Yet our demise is met not with contempt, but with muffling of our painful narrative and celebration at international book fairs like the Salon du Livre!!
What have we done to deserve such a fate? What have we done to France or to the world that no one will stand against such injustice? Everything has been taken from us and our hearts carved out because we are not Jewish! What has been our crime that we should be so excluded from the human race, forced to negotiate endlessly with our oppressors for the basic human rights accorded to the rest of humanity? Spoken of as if animals when we dare to fight back? Why will no one hear our voice? What hope do we have if even lovers of books will pretend we do not exist and therefore have no story worth reading?
I still plan to go. I figure if little Palestinian boys with rocks are brave enough to fight soldiers with rifles and tanks, I shouldn’t be afraid of facing hypocrites with books and a suspect agenda.
Related: Click here to watch Truthdig’s interview with Alex Gibney.
On the Sunday following Sept. 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney told the truth. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said regarding plans to pursue the perpetrators of that attack: “We have to work the dark side, if you will. We’re going to spend time in the shadows.” The grim, deadly consequences of his promise have, in the intervening six years, become the shame of our nation and have outraged millions around the world. President George Bush and Cheney, many argue, have overseen a massive global campaign of kidnapping, illegal detentions, harsh interrogations, torture and kangaroo courts where the accused face the death penalty, confronted by secret evidence obtained by torture, without legal representation.
Cheney’s shadows saw a moment of sunlight recently, as Alex Gibney won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature for his film “Taxi to the Dark Side.” The film traces the final days of a young Afghan man, Dilawar (many Afghans use just one name), who was arrested in 2001 by the U.S. military and brought to the hellish prison at Bagram Air Base. Five days later, Dilawar was dead, beaten and tortured to death by the United States military. Gibney obtained remarkable eyewitness accounts of Dilawar’s demise from the very low-level soldiers who beat him to death. We see the simple village that was his lifelong home and hear from people there how Dilawar had volunteered to drive the taxi, which was an important source of income for the village.
Dilawar had never spent the night away from home. His first sleepover was spent with arms shackled overhead, subjected to sleep and water deprivation, receiving regular beatings, including harsh knee kicks to the legs that would render his legs “pulpified.” He had been fingered as a participant in a rocket attack on the Americans, by some Afghans who were later proved to be the attackers themselves. Gibney uses the tragic story of Dilawar to open up a searing and compelling indictment of U.S. torture policy from Bush and Cheney, through Donald Rumsfeld and the author of the infamous “torture memo,” now-University of California Berkeley law professor John Yoo.
The Oscar ceremony was bereft of serious mention of the war, until Gibney rose to accept his award. He said: “Thank you very much, Academy. Here’s to all doc filmmakers. And, truth is, I think my dear wife Anne was kind of hoping I’d make a romantic comedy, but honestly, after Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition, that simply wasn’t possible. This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us: Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a Navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light. Thank you very much.”
“Taxi to the Dark Side” can be seen in movie theaters, and the Oscar will surely help open it up to more audiences. Gibney got a surprise, though, from the Discovery Channel, the television network that had bought the TV rights to the film. He told me: “Well, it turns out that the Discovery Channel isn’t so interested in discovery. I was told a little bit before my Academy Award nomination that they had no intention of airing the film, that new management had come in and they were about to go through a public offering, so it was probably too controversial for that. They didn’t want to cause any waves. It turns out Discovery turns out to be the see-no-evil/hear-no-evil channel.”
The Discovery Channel is owned by John Malone, the conservative mogul who owns Liberty Media, one of the largest media corporations on the planet. Malone is famous for his complex business deals that involve spinning off media properties with stock offerings that net him millions. He also has just gotten approval to swap his extensive stock holdings in News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s empire, for control of Murdoch’s DirecTV satellite television system. When Discovery told Gibney they would not be airing “Taxi to the Dark Side,” Malone and Murdoch were awaiting approval for the DirecTV deal from the Bush administration’s Federal Communications Commission. (It was approved on Monday, the day after the Oscars.)
HBO managed to buy the television rights to “Taxi to the Dark Side,” so the film will find its way to those households that subscribe to premium TV channels. As Discovery wrote to a critical member of the public, “In its first pay-TV window, HBO will debut the film in September 2008. We are proud that ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ will make its basic cable debut in 2009 on Investigation Discovery.” So Discovery will show “Taxi” on one of its smaller side channels, after the election, after its business with the Bush administration is wrapped up.
In the meantime, films like “Taxi to the Dark Side” and Phil Donahue’s excellent Iraq war documentary, “Body of War,” have to fight for distribution. Let’s hope that Gibney’s Oscar will help open the theaters and the TV airwaves to these truly consciousness-raising films to turn this country away from the dark side and back to the light.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 650 stations in North America.
By Noam Chomsky On February 13, Imad Moughniyeh, a senior commander of Hezbollah, was assassinated in Damascus. "The world is a better place without this man in it," US State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said. "One way or the other he was brought to justice." Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell added that Moughniyeh had been "responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden". Joy was unconstrained in Israel too, as "one of the US and Israel's most wanted men" was brought to justice, the London Financial Times reported. Under the heading, "A militant wanted the world over", an accompanying story reported that he was "superseded on the most-wanted list by Osama bin Laden" after September 11, 2001, and so ranked second among "the most wanted militants in the world". The terminology is accurate enough, according to the rules of Anglo-American discourse, which defines "the world" as the political class in Washington and London (and whoever happens to agree with them on specific matters). It is common, for example, to read that "the world" fully supported President George W Bush when he ordered the bombing of Afghanistan in 2001. That may be true of "the world", but hardly of the world, as revealed in an international Gallup Poll after the bombing was announced. Global support was slight. In Latin America, which has some experience with US behavior, support ranged from 2% in Mexico to 16% in Panama, and that support was conditional on the culprits being identified (they still weren't eight months later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported), and civilian targets being spared (they were attacked at once). There was an overwhelming preference in the world for diplomatic/judicial measures, rejected out of hand by "the world". Following the terror trail In the present case, if "the world" were extended to the world, we might find some other candidates for the honor of most hated arch-criminal. It is instructive to ask why this might be true. The Financial Times reports that most of the charges against Moughniyeh are unsubstantiated, but "one of the very few times when his involvement can be ascertained with certainty [is in] the hijacking of a TWA plane in 1985 in which a US Navy diver was killed". This was one of two terrorist atrocities that led a poll of newspaper editors to select terrorism in the Middle East as the top story of 1985; the other was the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro, in which a crippled American, Leon Klinghoffer, was brutally murdered. That reflects the judgment of "the world". It may be that the world saw matters somewhat differently. The Achille Lauro hijacking was a retaliation for the bombing of Tunis ordered a week earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His air force killed 75 Tunisians and Palestinians with smart bombs that tore them to shreds, among other atrocities, as vividly reported from the scene by the prominent Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk. Washington cooperated by failing to warn its ally Tunisia that the bombers were on the way, though the Sixth Fleet and US intelligence could not have been unaware of the impending attack. Secretary of State George Shultz informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Washington "had considerable sympathy for the Israeli action", which he termed "a legitimate response" to "terrorist attacks", to general approbation. A few days later, the UN Security Council unanimously denounced the bombing as an "act of armed aggression" (with the US abstaining). "Aggression" is, of course, a far more serious crime than international terrorism. But giving the United States and Israel the benefit of the doubt, let us keep to the lesser charge against their leadership. A few days after, Peres went to Washington to consult with the leading international terrorist of the day, Ronald Reagan, who denounced "the evil scourge of terrorism", again with general acclaim by "the world". The "terrorist attacks" that Shultz and Peres offered as the pretext for the bombing of Tunis were the killings of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus. The killers, as Israel conceded, had nothing to do with Tunis, though they might have had Syrian connections. Tunis was a preferable target, however. It was defenseless, unlike Damascus. And there was an extra pleasure: more exiled Palestinians could be killed there. The Larnaca killings, in turn, were regarded as retaliation by the perpetrators: They were a response to regular Israeli hijackings in international waters in which many victims were killed - and many more kidnapped and sent to prisons in Israel, commonly to be held without charge for long periods. The most notorious of these has been the secret prison/torture chamber Facility 1391. A good deal can be learned about it from the Israeli and foreign press. Such regular Israeli crimes are, of course, known to editors of the national press in the US and occasionally receive some casual mention. Klinghoffer's murder was properly viewed with horror and is very famous. It was the topic of an acclaimed opera and a made-for-TV movie, as well as much shocked commentary deploring the savagery of Palestinians - "two-headed beasts" (Prime Minister Menachem Begin), "drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle" (Chief of Staff Raful Eitan), "like grasshoppers compared to us," whose heads should be "smashed against the boulders and walls" (Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir). Or more commonly just "Araboushim," the slang counterpart of "kike" or "nigger". Thus, after a particularly depraved display of settler-military terror and purposeful humiliation in the West Bank town of Halhul in December 1982, which disgusted even Israeli hawks, the well-known military/political analyst Yoram Peri wrote in dismay that one "task of the army today [is] to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim living in territories that God promised to us", a task that became far more urgent, and was carried out with far more brutality, when the Araboushim began to "raise their heads" a few years later. We can easily assess the sincerity of the sentiments expressed about the Klinghoffer murder. It is only necessary to investigate the reaction to comparable US-backed Israeli crimes. Take, for example, the murder in April 2002 of two crippled Palestinians, Kemal Zughayer and Jamal Rashid, by Israeli forces rampaging through the refugee camp of Jenin in the West Bank. Zughayer's crushed body and the remains of his wheelchair were found by British reporters, along with the remains of the white flag he was holding when he was shot dead while seeking to flee the Israeli tanks which then drove over him, ripping his face in two and severing his arms and legs. Jamal Rashid was crushed in his wheelchair when one of Israel's huge US-supplied Caterpillar bulldozers demolished his home in Jenin with his family inside. The differential reaction, or rather non-reaction, has become so routine and so easy to explain that no further commentary is necessary. Car bombPlainly, the 1985 Tunis bombing was a vastly more severe terrorist crime than the Achille Lauro hijacking, or the crime for which Moughniyeh's "involvement can be ascertained with certainty" in the same year. But even the Tunis bombing had competitors for the prize for worst terrorist atrocity in the Mideast in the peak year of 1985. One challenger was a car-bombing in Beirut right outside a mosque, timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. It killed 80 people and wounded 256. Most of the dead were girls and women, who had been leaving the mosque, though the ferocity of the blast "burned babies in their beds", "killed a bride buying her trousseau", and "blew away three children as they walked home from the mosque". It also "devastated the main street of the densely populated" West Beirut suburb, reported Nora Boustany three years later in the Washington Post. The intended target had been the Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who escaped. The bombing was carried out by Reagan's CIA and his Saudi allies, with Britain's help, and was specifically authorized by CIA director William Casey, according to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's account in his book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. Little is known beyond the bare facts, thanks to rigorous adherence to the doctrine that we do not investigate our own crimes (unless they become too prominent to suppress, and the inquiry can be limited to some low-level "bad apples" who were naturally "out of control"). 'Terrorist villagers' A third competitor for the 1985 Mideast terrorism prize was Prime Minister Peres' "Iron Fist" operations in southern Lebanese territories then occupied by Israel in violation of Security Council orders. The targets were what the Israeli high command called "terrorist villagers". Peres's crimes in this case sank to new depths of "calculated brutality and arbitrary murder" in the words of a Western diplomat familiar with the area, an assessment amply supported by direct coverage. They are, however, of no interest to "the world" and therefore remain uninvestigated, in accordance with the usual conventions. We might well ask whether these crimes fall under international terrorism or the far more severe crime of aggression, but let us again give the benefit of the doubt to Israel and its backers in Washington and keep to the lesser charge. These are a few of the thoughts that might cross the minds of people elsewhere in the world, even if not those of "the world", when considering "one of the very few times" Imad Moughniyeh was clearly implicated in a terrorist crime. The US also accuses him of responsibility for devastating double suicide truck-bomb attacks on US Marine and French paratrooper barracks in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 Marines and 58 paratroopers, as well as a prior attack on the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, a particularly serious blow because of a meeting there of CIA officials at the time. The Financial Times has, however, attributed the attack on the Marine barracks to Islamic Jihad, not Hezbollah. Fawaz Gerges, one of the leading scholars on the jihadi movements and on Lebanon, has written that responsibility was taken by an "unknown group called Islamic Jihad". A voice speaking in classical Arabic called for all Americans to leave Lebanon or face death. It has been claimed that Moughniyeh was the head of Islamic Jihad at the time, but to my knowledge, evidence is sparse. The opinion of the world has not been sampled on the subject, but it is possible that there might be some hesitancy about calling an attack on a military base in a foreign country a "terrorist attack", particularly when US and French forces were carrying out heavy naval bombardments and air strikes in Lebanon, and shortly after the US provided decisive support for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed some 20,000 people and devastated the south, while leaving much of Beirut in ruins. It was finally called off by President Reagan when international protest became too intense to ignore after the Sabra-Shatila massacres. In the United States, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon is regularly described as a reaction to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist attacks on northern Israel from their Lebanese bases, making our crucial contribution to these major war crimes understandable. In the real world, the Lebanese border area had been quiet for a year, apart from repeated Israeli attacks, many of them murderous, in an effort to elicit some PLO response that could be used as a pretext for the already planned invasion. Its actual purpose was not concealed at the time by Israeli commentators and leaders: to safeguard the Israeli takeover of the occupied West Bank. It is of some interest that the sole serious error in Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid is the repetition of this propaganda concoction about PLO attacks from Lebanon being the motive for the Israeli invasion. The book was bitterly attacked, and desperate efforts were made to find some phrase that could be misinterpreted, but this glaring error - the only one - was ignored. Reasonably, since it satisfies the criterion of adhering to useful doctrinal fabrications. Killing without Intent Another allegation is that Moughniyeh "masterminded" the bombing of Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killing 29 people, in response, as the Financial Times put it, to Israel's "assassination of former Hezbollah leader Abbas Al-Mussawi in an air attack in southern Lebanon". About the assassination, there is no need for evidence: Israel proudly took credit for it. The world might have some interest in the rest of the story. Al-Mussawi was murdered with a US-supplied helicopter, well north of Israel's illegal "security zone" in southern Lebanon. He was on his way to Sidon from the village of Jibshit, where he had spoken at the memorial for another Imam murdered by Israeli forces. The helicopter attack also killed his wife and five-year-old child. Israel then employed US-supplied helicopters to attack a car bringing survivors of the first attack to a hospital. After the murder of the family, Hezbollah "changed the rules of the game", Prime Minister Rabin informed the Israeli Knesset. Previously, no rockets had been launched at Israel. Until then, the rules of the game had been that Israel could launch murderous attacks anywhere in Lebanon at will, and Hezbollah would respond only within Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory. After the murder of its leader (and his family), Hezbollah began to respond to Israeli crimes in Lebanon by rocketing northern Israel. The latter is, of course, intolerable terror, so Rabin launched an invasion that drove some 500,000 people out of their homes and killed well over 100. The merciless Israeli attacks reached as far as northern Lebanon. In the south, 80% of the city of Tyre fled and Nabatiye was left a "ghost town", Jibshit was about 70% destroyed according to an Israeli army spokesperson, who explained that the intent was "to destroy the village completely because of its importance to the Shi'ite population of southern Lebanon". The goal was "to wipe the villages from the face of the earth and sow destruction around them", as a senior officer of the Israeli northern command described the operation. Jibshit may have been a particular target because it was the home of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, kidnapped and brought to Israel several years earlier. Obeid's home "received a direct hit from a missile", British journalist Robert Fisk reported, "although the Israelis were presumably gunning for his wife and three children". Those who had not escaped hid in terror, wrote Mark Nicholson in the Financial Times, "because any visible movement inside or outside their houses is likely to attract the attention of Israeli artillery spotters, who … were pounding their shells repeatedly and devastatingly into selected targets". Artillery shells were hitting some villages at a rate of more than 10 rounds a minute at times. All of this received the firm support of President Bill Clinton, who understood the need to instruct the Araboushim sternly on the "rules of the game". And Rabin emerged as another grand hero and man of peace, so different from the two-legged beasts, grasshoppers and drugged roaches. This is only a small sample of facts that the world might find of interest in connection with the alleged responsibility of Moughniyeh for the retaliatory terrorist act in Buenos Aires. Other charges are that Moughniyeh helped prepare Hezbollah defenses against the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, evidently an intolerable terrorist crime by the standards of "the world", which understands that the US and its clients must face no impediments in their just terror and aggression. The more vulgar apologists for US and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the US and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal and other such basics of civilized life). The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing - so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification. To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category. Thus, when Israel destroys Gaza's power supply or sets up barriers to travel in the West Bank, it does not specifically intend to murder the particular people who will die from polluted water or in ambulances that cannot reach hospitals. And when Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of the al-Shifa plant, it was obvious that it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Human Rights Watch immediately informed him of this, providing details; nevertheless, he and his advisers did not intend to kill specific people among those who would inevitably die when half the pharmaceutical supplies were destroyed in a poor African country that could not replenish them. Rather, they and their apologists regarded Africans much as we do the ants we crush while walking down a street. We are aware that it is likely to happen (if we bother to think about it), but we do not intend to kill them because they are not worthy of such consideration. Needless to say, comparable attacks by Araboushim in areas inhabited by human beings would be regarded rather differently. If, for a moment, we can adopt the perspective of the world, we might ask which criminals are "wanted the world over". Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and What We Say Goes, a conversation book with David Barsamian, both in the American Empire Project series at Metropolitan Books. The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published by the New Press.(Copyright 2008 Noam Chomsky.)
First I saw the tufts of hair at the tips of the ears, and then I saw a striped fore´head and finally a pink nose.
“Hey buddy,” I cooed to the stray cat peering at me from under my neighbor’s shed. “Aren’t you pretty?”
Soon his orange sibling appeared and they both perched on the wood railings, blinking at me in the sun. I took a tentative step and in a flash of gray, black, white and orange, they scurried back under the shed.
It turns out that a stray female randomly chose my neighbor’s yard as her den. My neighbor has been putting out food and water, and has tried to catch them to take them to a shelter, but no luck.
I worry about them getting under the wheels of a moving car, or between the teeth of a mean og, but I can’t take them in, as I have two cats myself, and how would I catch them in the first place?
That’s why the book “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside” by Cynthia von Buhler caught my eye. It’s a children’s book based on a true story about a woman who befriends a stray cat. The pages are actually pictures of sets she made out of clay and other materials. Buhler is an artist who has illustrated and written several books, but this book is her first as both author and llustrator.
The story details her attempts to try to coax a stray cat to come inside her home. Each time he comes to her house, she leaves him something, such as milk, tuna and a rug. The text is repetitious; each time she repeats the previous item. It will help the memory of your little reader.
Buhler does talk about her experience in an author’s note at the end of the book. Unfortunately, the first time her real-life stray cat entered her home was also his last; the cat died in her
arms that night. That might be an author’s note to share with your child when he or she is
One day you wandered into my view.
Your fur was tufted and ridiculously askew.
You were a confused vagabond without a home.
It was my intention that you would continue to roam.
You looked at me like we had known each other before.
As though to say, 'Recognize me, feed me…open the door.'
Your delving green eyes pried open my heart with a plea.
Your clawless paws managed to magnetically attach to me.
Your persuasive ways and purring motor have earned you a ticket.
This is your home and you’re an important part of our family unit.
You now fill a previously nonexistent void with constant affection.
Stray cat of mine, you no longer have to worry about rejection.
*Stray Cat* Comfort appears to await herfrom an outstretched handBut she skirts the perimeter of all humanitywith leery glances,pacing, never still.For there is a certain safetyin the freedom to run.Her look is weary.She has known the painof trusting too soon.There may come a time whenshe will never trust again.Though there is the memory ofgentle hands and understanding eyes..Survival moves her limbsto seek shelter, to run awayfrom sudden wrath, to not feel the hurtwhen the back door closesnever to open again.She continues to seekthe hollow where she might findpeace from constant fear.She no longer believesthat there is more to an outstretched handthan passing compassionfrom a morsel dropped.For no one has the time or desireto love and nurture her back to healthor to accept her in spiteof all the scars.She sits briefly, eyes closing with exhaustion.She licks her tired paws.She is hoping this one facewill be there again tomorrow.That gentle voice calling again and againinviting.Dare she hope the nightmare will endand she will findkindness, acceptance, understandingof her unavoidable fear to trust?But for nowshe turnsand moves on.-Susan Bagley
“‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” says Lewis Carroll’s Alice after experiencing a sudden, disorienting growth spurt.
Alice during a growth spurt. (Illustration by John Tenniel, 1865.)
While she meditates on this philosophical conundrum, her body changes again. The girl shrinks. I have asked myself the same question many times, often in relation to the perceptual alterations, peculiar feelings, and exquisite sensitivities of the migraine state. Who in the world am I? Am “I” merely malfunctioning brain meat? In “The Astonishing Hypothesis” Francis Crick (famous for his discovery of the DNA double helix with James Watson) wrote, “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are, in fact, no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Mind is matter, Crick argued. All of human life can be reduced to neurons.
There is a migraine aura phenomenon named after Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s (Lewis Caroll’s) story of myriad transformations: Alice in Wonderland syndrome. The afflicted person perceives herself, or parts of herself, ballooning or diminishing in size. The neurological terms for the peculiar sensations of growing and shrinking are macroscopy and microscopy. Dodgson was a migraineur. He was also known to take laudanum. It seems more than possible that he had experienced at least some of the somatic oddities that he visited upon his young heroine.
These experiences are not unique to migraine. They are also seen in people who have suffered neurological damage. In “The Man with a Shattered World,” A. R. Luria, the Russian neurologist, recorded the case of a patient, Zazetsky, who suffered a terrible head injury during World War II. “Sometimes,” Zazetsky wrote, “when I’m sitting down I suddenly feel as though my head is the size of a table — every bit as big — while my hands, feet, and torso become very small.” Body-image is a complex, fragile phenomenon. The changes in the nervous system wrought by an oncoming headache, the lesions caused by a stroke or a bullet, can affect the brain’s internal corporeal map, and we metamorphose.
Is “Alice in Wonderland” a pathological product, the result of a single man’s “nerve cells and associated molecules” run amock? The tendency to reduce artistic, religious, or philosophical achievements to bodily ailment was aptly named by William James in “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” “Medical materialism,” he wrote, “finishes up Saint Paul by calling his vision on the road to Damascus a discharging lesion of the occipital cortex, he being an epileptic. It snuffs out Saint Teresa as an hysteric, Saint Francis of Assisi as a hereditary degenerate.” And, I might add, Lewis Carroll as an addict or migraineur.
We continue to live in a world of medical materialism. People pay thousands of dollars to get a peek at their genetic map, hoping to ward off disease early. They rush to embrace the latest, often contradictory, news on longevity. One study reports it’s good to be chubby. Another insists that when underfed, our close relatives chimpanzees live longer, and we would do well to follow suit. Republicans and Democrats are subject to brain scans to see what neural networks are affected when they think about politics. The media announces that researchers have found the “God spot” in the brain. Before the genome was decoded and scientists discovered that human beings have only a few more genes than fruit flies, there were innumerable articles in the popular press speculating that a gene would be found for alcoholism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, an affection for purple ties — in short, for everything.
It is human to clutch at simple answers and shunt aside ambiguous, shifting realities. The fact that genes are expressed through environment, that however vital they may be in determining vulnerability to an illness, they cannot predict it, except in rare cases, such as Huntington’s disease; that the brain is not a static but a plastic organ, which forms itself long after birth through our interactions with others; that any passionate feeling, whether it’s about politics or tuna fish, will appear on scans as activated emotional circuits in the brain; that scientific studies on weight and longevity tell us mostly about correlations, not causes; that the feelings evoked by the so-called “God spot” may be interpreted by the person having them as religious or as something entirely different — all this is forgotten or misunderstood.
The man who gave us “Alice in Wonderland” suffered from migraine. He was also a mathematician, a clergyman, a photographer, and a wit. He was self conscious about a stammer and may have had sexual proclivities for young girls. It is impossible to know exactly what role migraine played in his creative work. My own experience of the illness — scotomas, euphorias, odd feelings of being pulled upward, Lilliputian hallucination — figure in the story of myself, a story that in the end can’t be divided into nature or nurture. Migraine runs in families, so I probably have a hereditary predisposition to headaches, but the way the illness developed, and its subsequent meaning for me are dependent on countless factors, both internal and external, many of which I will never penetrate. Who in the world am I? is an unsolved question, but we do have some pieces to the puzzle.
As Freud argued over a century ago, most of what our brains do is unconscious, beneath or beyond our understanding. No one disputes this anymore. The human infant is born immature, and in the first six years of its life, the front part of its brain (the prefrontal cortex) develops enormously. It develops through experience and continues to do so, although not as dramatically. Our early life, much of which never becomes part of our conscious memory because it’s lost to infantile amnesia (our brains cannot consolidate conscious memories until later), is nevertheless vital to who we become.
A child who has good parental care — is stimulated, talked to, held, whose needs are answered — is materially affected by that contact, as is, conversely, the child who suffers shocks and deprivations. What happens to you is decisive in determining which neural networks are activated and kept. Since we are born with far too many neurons, the ones that aren’t used are “pruned”; they wither away. This explains why so-called “wild children” are unable to acquire anything but the most primitive form of language. It’s too late. It also demonstrates how nurture becomes nature and to make simple distinctions between them is absurd. A baby with a hypersensitive genetic makeup that predisposes him to anxiety can end up as a reasonably calm adult if he grows up in a soothing environment.
So Crick was technically right. What seem to be the ineffable riches of human mental life do depend on “an assembly of nerve cells.” And yet, Crick’s reductionism does not provide an adequate answer to Alice’s question. It’s rather like saying that Vermeer’s “Girl (or Woman or Maidservant) Pouring Milk” is a canvas with paint on it or that Alice herself is words on a page. These are facts, but they don’t explain my subjective experience of either of them or what the two girls mean to me. Science proceeds by testing and retesting its findings. It relies on many peoples’ work, not just a few. Its “objectivity” rests upon consensus, the shared presuppositions, principles, and methods from which it arrives at its “truths,” truths, which are then modified or even revolutionized over time.
We are all prisoners of our mortal minds and bodies, vulnerable to various kinds of perceptual transfigurations. At the same time, as embodied beings we live in a world that we explore, absorb, and remember — partially, of course. We can only find the out there through the in here. And yet, what the philosopher Sir Karl Popper called World 3, the knowledge we have inherited — the science, the philosophy, and the art — stored in our libraries and museums, the words, images, and music produced by people now dead, becomes part of us and may take on profound significance in our everyday lives. Our thinking, feeling minds are made not only by our genes, but through our language and culture.
I have been fond of Lewis Carroll’s Alice since childhood. She may have started out as words on a page, but now she inhabits my inner life. (One could also say her story has been consolidated in my memory through important work done by my hippocampus.) It is possible that my headache episodes have made me particularly sympathetic to the girl’s adventures and her metaphysical riddle, but I am hardly alone in my affection. I dare say countless people have lifted her from World 3, a kind of Wonderland in itself, and taken her into their own internal landscapes where she continues to grow and shrink and muse over who in the world she is.
Gaza / PNN – Fifty thousand women, children and men are forming a human chain around the Gaza Strip in protest of the Israeli siege.
The Israeli government issued a statement that Hamas bears “full responsibility” if the situation during the demonstration deteriorates. This statement came from Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Olmert, who again put the onus of occupation on the occupied.
“Israel does not intervene in the demonstrations organized within the Gaza Strip, but it will defend its territory and will prevent any violation of borders.” They are expected demonstrators to break through the Walls and fences that are imprisoning 1.5 million Gazans.
Attacks from the Israelis are expected, as is the case in all demonstrations throughout the West Bank against the Wall. The Popular Committee to Break the Siege, headed by an independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has organized a human chain for Monday in response to the devastating blockade.
The Israeli government has issued orders to completely close all borders, even to government-approved foreign journalists.
Throughout the week the international community joins the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Palestinian cities within Israeli boundaries, in demonstrating against the siege.
And from THEM...
Olmert: We're Prepared For Scenario Of Border BreachThe possibility that a Palestinian mob will storm the border of the Gaza Strip with Israel like it did in Rafah is of low probability, but Israel is prepared to deal with any situation that arises as Palestinians prepare to form a "human chain" along the border with Israel on Monday morning, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said early Monday when he landed in Tokyo.
"I'm not aware of such a warning," he said. "But in the Middle East every far fetched scenario must be taken into account and provided with a good solution. We take scenarios into account even if they are low probability." The prime minister responded to reports of mounting pressure on Israel to end the blockade of the Strip and cease military operations there. "I have not received any specific message from the United States regarding the Gaza issue," he said. "We will strike where it is necessary and we will strike anyone we need to in order to stop the Kassam rockets. We will not accept moral preaching in this matter from anyone. The information is known to all; the extent of the shooting. We don't need to apologize to anyone." In preparation for the large-scale Palestinian protest march, security forces mobilized along the security fence Sunday night in an effort to head off a replay of last month's Rafah border-storming at the Erez or Kissufim crossings. An artillery battery was moved to the Gaza border for the first time in months, and rules of engagement were reviewed as troops prepared for the demonstration Hamas is calling a "human chain." A joint statement issued by the Foreign and Defense ministries blamed Hamas for fanning the flames and endangering Gazan civilians. "Hamas, not for the first time, is orchestrating a premeditated effort to put civilians on the front line. Israel does not get involved in demonstrations that occur within the Gaza Strip, but Israel will defend itself and prevent incursions into its sovereign territory. Israel is working to prevent an escalation, but has made it absolutely clear that if there is an escalation, the responsibility will be entirely on Hamas's shoulders," the statement read. The IDF was unwilling to confirm or deny a Channel 2 news report saying soldiers would be instructed to fire at protesters' legs should they approach the security fence, in order to prevent a recurrence of what happened at the Gaza-Sinai border on January 23. Hamas announced Sunday that it would mobilize the mass demonstration along the Salah-a-Din Route from Rafah on Gaza's Egyptian border to Beit Hanun in the north, to protest the continued embargo placed on the Strip. The protest is geared to attract more international attention than previous protests against the sanctions, due to its size and the photographic value of a chain stretching more than 60 kilometers along the entire length of the Gaza Strip. But security forces are concerned that the protesters - or organizers - will not be satisfied with the symbolic imagery and might try to make good on threats issued by a Hamas leader last month that the Erez crossing would become the next Rafah. In a worst-case scenario, Hamas activists could motivate the crowds to storm the Gaza security fence, particularly at "weak spots" where Israeli communities or army bases abut the strip. Areas such as the Erez crossing, Kissufim, Nahal Oz and Netiv Ha'asara are considered to be particularly at risk. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi held a situation assessment with officers on Sunday night, including representatives of the Home Front Command, to finalize preparations for Monday's IDF response. Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen also held a late-night assessment, in which police decided to raise the national alert level. Some 6,500 police officers, one senior officer said, would be deployed to the Southern District on Monday morning to maintain order. While some Hamas officials have denied organizing an attempt to breach the border, others have hinted that such a human surge - involving women and children - might in fact occur. "The next time Gazan residents protest the ongoing siege, they will do so on the border with Israel, and not on the border with Egypt," Israel Radio quoted one senior Hamas official as saying on Sunday. Over the weekend, the IDF was already rushing large forces to the Gaza border in anticipation of civilian unrest after gasoline supplies in the territory ran out on Saturday for all but emergency service vehicles. Immigration Absorption Minister Ya'acov Edri (Kadima) said Sunday that the government was ready for any scenario resulting from Palestinians trying to breach the border crossings. Also Sunday, an all-day IDF operation in the southern Gaza Strip, near the defunct Dahiniye airstrip, bore fruit in the afternoon, when Givati infantry, Armored Corps units and combat engineers uncovered five tunnels used to smuggle arms from Sinai into Gaza. In the course of the operation, 50 Palestinians were detained for questioning on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist organization. Six Kassams were fired Sunday at the Negev. by Rebecca Anna STOIL The Jerusalem Post 25 February 2008
When I moved to Greece about twenty years ago, I was sometimes asked what I taught in the university. When I replied “Goddesses” or “Greek Goddesses,” I generally received one of two answers from residents of the small town where I lived. “Oh, you mean mythology,” they said, “now we have Christianity, which is the truth.” I later learned that as there is no separation of church and state in Greece, this is what children are taught in religion classes in public schools. The second response puzzled me: “We have the Panagia, she is our Goddess.” From my studies I knew that Greek Orthodox theology did not consider the Virgin Mary – the person to whom the title Panagia refers – to be a Goddess. I presumed that those who responded thus were misinformed.
One of the things I noticed as I felt my way into the life of my adopted country was the plethora of small whitewashed shrine churches dotting the countryside. These, I learned, can be dedicated to Jesus, or God, or the Holy Spirit, but more often are dedicated to a male or female saint or most frequently, to the Panagia. These churches are not used for Sunday services, but rather are visited by pilgrims who light candles and ask for blessings, especially on the name day or birthday of one to whom they are dedicated. Often shrine churches are found where springs gurgle up from the earth, at the mouths of caves, and on mountaintops. Traditionally these shrines are some distance from villages, once requiring communal pilgrimage on foot or donkey on festival days.
I attended such a celebration on the island of Skyros some years ago. The shrine church was located on a mountainside and in the mouth of a shallow cave. It was dedicated to the birthday of the Panagia, September 8. Like most of the locals we arrived by car. However, we still had to walk about twenty minutes along a mountain trail in the falling darkness. When we arrived at the church, we found the path blocked by a large woman who was stirring something in a big copper cauldron. This turned out to be lamb stew. People were seated near her on low benches and they held plates of food and glasses of wine, which were also offered to us. We had to climb over these people to reach the small church. Its entrance was blocked by three lamb carcasses making it necessary to pass under them to enter the church where we found a priest was chanting a liturgy. We lit our candles, said our prayers, and hastened back outside to join the others who soon began singing folk songs. That night I experienced the shrine church tradition as a way of marking the sacredness of the landscape echoing back to the days when Mother Earth was understood to be the Giver of All.
I began to think about the name given to the Virgin Mary in Greece, Panagia. “Pan” means “all” and “agia” means “holy” in the feminine gender. I struggled to translate its full meaning. This title which is used as a name has nothing to do with “Virgin” or even “Mary.” “All Holy” is correct, except that it is gender neutral and “She” is definitely female. Finally I decided that the most accurate translation would be: “She Who Is All Holy.” This would have been one of the names or titles of the Goddess.
In a strange way then, my Greek friends were right. In their “ignorance” of theological distinctions, they understood the Panagia as “thea,” “God-She,” or “Goddess.” Living in with them, I began to understand that this was not only a matter of “attributing” “qualities” of the Goddess “to” Mary, something that many scholars allege to have occurred. It was also acknowledging Mary as one of names of the Goddess. For me, the Goddess had died and was being reborn in the women’s spirituality movement. For my friends and their ancestors, there is a sense in which (despite theology) the Goddess had not died. This is why it made no sense to them when I spoke of the “return” of the Goddess.
These meditations have led me to participate more wholeheartedly in the Greek practice of visiting shrine churches, lighting candles, and asking for blessings. I have begun to think that these simple gestures are and were at the heart of Goddess religion. “She gives to me, I give to Her, we give to each other…the circle of life continues.” I have understood that there is a connection between the well-known Greek custom of offering hospitality and the ritual of asking for help from the Panagia: both are rooted in a deep understanding that what we need has been and will be given to us. I can and do pray to the Panagia at her pilgrim shrines, but I cannot become Orthodox because I know the theology of the church and I do not agree with it. At the same time, magic and secret ceremonies seem less and less important. My rituals are simple and I rarely practice indoors. “The forms change, but the circle of life remains.” Blessed be.
Posted by Ronald Kane Hardy --- February 24th, 2008
Ralph Nader declared his intention to seek the Presidency this morning on Meet the Press, blasting McCain, Clinton and Obama as candidates that are refusing to discuss or address issues that the majority of American Citizens want such as single payer universal health care, reigning in a wasteful and bloated Defense budget, and taking “Corporate Occupied” Washington DC back for the American people.
Through his website, votenader.org, he said he intends to develop Congressional watchdog groups 1,000 strong in each Congressional District and build a movement for the people.
On the “spoiler” issue, Nader noted that if the Democrats can’t pull a landslide victory over John McCain and the Republicans this year above all then they should just pack up and go home.
Nader made no mention of whether he was seeking the Green Party nomination or an Independent bid for the Presidency, however in earlier interviews with Democracy Now he has said that if he were to run he would seek “Green Party ballot lines” as well as run with other third parties or as an Independent in other states if necessary.
Here, I posted about The Take, one of my favourite documentaries of all time. It is about the workers' movement in Argentina, following the 2001 financial collapse. In the wake of the massive wave of "capital flight" that followed this collapse, the Argentinian workers took over hundreds of abandoned factories and kept them functioning and productive. What was different was, firstly, that production was run for need rather than for profit, and secondly, that the workers ran the factories collectively and without bosses! When the bosses tried to come back they were locked out in order for the workers to preserve the more just and equitable system which they had put in place.
The fact that the Argentine workers simply did not need their former employers (read: exploiters) demonstrates plainly that we also do not need the capitalist class at all, nor their rotten system of capitalism which exploits the labour of workers for the benefit of an obscenely wealthy few.
The advertising slogan of The Take was as follows: "OCCUPY. RESIST. PRODUCE." What I most liked about this was the last word: PRODUCE. Just one small word, but for me it embodies a whole new approach to revolutionary politics, and that is: That we don't need to wait until "after the revolution" to begin creating and enacting a worker's economy.
I would add that this is a politics not so much of "resistance", but of "subversion". Allow me to explain: Resistance implies a victimhood, and that we must solely "resist" until such time that we can sieze power at the national level, and only from there may we set about creating a new society. Subversion, on the other hand, is about agency, not victimhood... In wielding our agency (that is, in creating), we simultaneously subvert and transform the present arrangement of things. It is about unleashing our productive powers in the here and now, instead of believing we have to overthrow the system first, in one fell swoop, and merely "resist" until such a time comes. In other words, this new kind of politics does not defer the creative process until after the seizure of state power, but enacts creation in the present. Related to this is an entirely new conception of revolution: one that sees the revolution not as an "event", but rather, as a process.
We have so much to learn from the Argentinian experience! If you haven't yet seen The Take, I would highly recommend doing so as soon as is practicable. So inspiring it was, in fact, that it literally moved me to tears!
[Thanks to GBC for this link]By Sara RobinsonFebruary 20th, 2008 - 6:01pm ET
"Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."
— John F. Kennedy
There's one thing for sure: 2008 isn't anything like politics as usual.
The corporate media (with their unerring eye for the obvious point) is fixated on the narrative that, for the first time ever, Americans will likely end this year with either a woman or a black man headed for the White House. Bloggers are telling stories from the front lines of primaries and caucuses that look like something from the early 60s — people lining up before dawn to vote in Manoa, Hawaii yesterday; a thousand black college students in Prairie View, Texas marching 10 miles to cast their early votes in the face of a county that tried to disenfranchise them. In recent months, we've also been gobstopped by the sheer passion of the insurgent campaigns of both Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom brought millions of new voters into the conversation — and with them, a sharp critique of the status quo and a new energy that's agitating toward deep structural change.
There's something implacable, earnest, and righteously angry in the air. And it raises all kinds of questions for burned-out Boomers and jaded Gen Xers who've been ground down to the stump by the mostly losing battles of the past 30 years. Can it be — at long last — that Americans have, simply, had enough? Are we, finally, stepping out to take back our government — and with it, control of our own future? Is this simply a shifting political season — the kind we get every 20 to 30 years — or is there something deeper going on here? Do we dare to raise our hopes that this time, we're going to finally win a few? Just how ready is this country for big, serious, forward-looking change?
Recently, I came across a pocket of sociological research that suggested a tantalizing answer to these questions — and also that America may be far more ready for far more change than anyone really believes is possible at this moment. In fact, according to some sociologists, we've already lined up all the preconditions that have historically set the stage for full-fledged violent revolution.
It turns out that the energy of this moment is not about Hillary or Ron or Barack. It's about who we are, and where we are, and what happens to people's minds when they're left hanging just a little too far past the moment when they're ready for transformative change.
Way back in 1962, Caltech sociologist James C. Davies published an article in the American Sociological Review that summarized the conditions that determine how and when modern political revolutions occur. Intriguingly, Davies cited another scholar, Crane Brinton, who laid out seven "tentative uniformities" that he argued were the common precursors that set the stage for the Puritan, American, French, and Russian revolutions. As I read Davies' argument, it struck me that the same seven stars Brinton named are now precisely lined up at midheaven over America in 2008. Taken together, it's a convergence that creates the perfect social, economic, and political conditions for the biggest revolution since the shot heard 'round the world.
And even more interestingly: in every case, we got here as a direct result of either intended or unintended consequences of the conservatives' war against liberal government, and their attempt to take over our democracy and replace it with a one-party plutocracy. It turns out that, historically, liberal nations make very poor grounds for revolution — but deeply conservative ones very reliably create the conditions that eventually make violent overthrow necessary. And our own Republicans, it turns out, have done a hell of a job.
Here are the seven criteria, along with the reasons why we're fulfilling each of them now, and how conservative policies conspired to put us on the road to possible revolution.
1. Soaring, Then Crashing
Davies notes that revolutions don't happen in traditional societies that are stable and static — where people have their place, things are as they've always been, and nobody expects any of that to change. Rather, modern revolutions — particularly the progressive-minded ones in which people emerge from the fray with greater rights and equality — happen in economically advancing societies, always at the point where a long period of rising living standards and high, hopeful expectations comes to a crashing end, leaving the citizens in an ugly and disgruntled mood. As Davies put it:
"Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal. The all-important effect on the minds of people in a particular society is to produce, during the former period, an expectation of continued ability to satisfy needs — which continue to rise — and, during the latter, a mental state of anxiety and frustration when manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality....
"Political stability and instability are ultimately dependent on a state of mind, a mood, in society...it is the dissatisfied state of mind rather than the tangible provision of 'adequate' or 'inadequate' supplies of food, equality, or liberty which produces the revolution."
The American middle class was built on New Deal investments in education, housing, infrastructure, and health care, which produced a very "prolonged period of objective economic and social development." People were optimistic; generations of growing prosperity raised their expectations that their children would do even better. That era instilled in Americans exactly the kind of hopeful belief in their own agency that primes them to become likely revolutionaries in an era of decline.
And now, thanks to 28 years of conservative misrule, we are now at the point where "manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality;" and the breach is creating political turbulence. The average American has seen his or her standard of living contract by fits and starts since about 1972. This fall-off that was relieved somewhat by the transition to two-earner households and the economic sunshine of the Clinton years — but then accelerated with the dot-com crash, followed by seven years of Bush's overt hostility toward the lower 98 percent of Americans who aren't part of his base. Working-class America is reeling from the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs and the scourge of predatory lending; middle-class America is being hollowed out by health-care bankruptcies, higher college costs, and a tax load far heavier than that of the richest 2 percent. These people expected to do better than their parents. Now, they're screwed every direction they turn.
In the face of this reversal, Davies tells us, it's not at all surprising that the national mood is turning ominous, from one end of the political spectrum to the other. However, he warns us: this may not be just a passing political storm. In other times and places, this kind of quick decline in a prosperous nation has been a reliable sign of a full-on revolution brewing just ahead.
2. They Call It A Class War
Marx called this one true, says Davies. Progressive modern democracies run on mutual trust between classes and a shared vision of the common good that binds widely disparate groups together. Now, we're also about to re-learn the historical lesson that liberals like flat hierarchies, racial and religious tolerance, and easy class mobility not because we're soft-headed and soft-hearted — but because, unlike short-sighted conservatives, we understand that tight social cohesion is our most reliable and powerful bulwark against the kinds of revolutions that bring down great economies, nations and cultures.
In all the historical examples Davies and Brinton cite, the stage for revolution was set when the upper classes broke faith with society's other groups, and began to openly prey on them in ways that threatened their very future. Not surprisingly, the other groups soon united, took up arms, and rebelled.
And here we are again: Conservative policies have opened the wealth gap to Depression levels; put workers at the total mercy of their employers; and deprived the working and middle classes of access to education, home ownership, health care, capital, legal redress, and their expectations of a better future for their kids. You can only get away with blaming this on gays and Mexicans for so long before people get wise to the game. And as the primaries are making clear: Americans are getting wise.
Our current plutocratic nobility may soon face the same stark choice its English, French, and Russian predecessors did. They can keep their heads and take proactive steps to close the gap between themselves and the common folk (choosing evolution over revolution, as JFK counsels above). Or they can keep insisting stubbornly on their elite prerogatives, until that gap widens to the point where the revolution comes — and they will lose their heads entirely.
Right now, all we're asking of our modern-day corporate courtiers is that they accept a tax cut repeal on people making over $200K a year, raise the minimum wage, give us decent health care and the right to unionize, and call a halt to their ridiculous "death tax" boondoggle. In retrospect, their historic forebears might have counseled them to take this deal: their headless ghosts bear testimony to the idea that's it's better to give in and lose a little skin early than dig in and lose your whole hide later on.
3. Deserted Intellectuals
Mere unrest among the working and middle classes, all by itself, isn't enough. Revolutions require leaders — and those always come from the professional and intellectual classes. In most times and places, these groups (which also include military officers) usually enjoy comfortable ties to the upper classes, and access to a certain level of power. But if those connections become frayed and weak, and the disaffected intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes, revolution becomes almost inevitable.
Davies notes that, compared to both the upper and lower classes, the members of America's upper-middle class were relatively untouched by Great Depression. Because of this, their allegiances to the existing social structure largely remained intact; and he argues that their continued engagement was probably the main factor that allowed America to avert an all-out revolution in the 1930s.
But 2008 is a different story. Both the Boomers (now in their late 40s to early 60s) and Generation X (now in their late 20s to late 40s) were raised in an economically advancing nation that was rich with opportunity and expectation. We spent our childhoods in what were then still the world's best schools; and A students of every class worked hard to position ourselves for what we (and our parents and teachers) expected would be very successful adult careers. We had every reason to believe that, no matter where we started, important leadership roles awaited us in education, government, the media, business, research, and other institutions.
And yet, when we finally graduated and went to work, we found those institutions being sold out from under us to a newly-emerging group of social and economic conservatives who didn't share our broad vision of common decency and the common good (which we'd inherited from the GI and Silent adults who raised us and taught us); and who were often so corrupted or so sociopathic that the working environments they created were simply unendurable. If wealth, prestige, and power came at the price of our principles, we often chose instead to take lower-paying work, live small, and stay true to ourselves.
For too many of us, these thwarted expectations have been the driving arc of our adult lives. But we've never lost the sense that it was a choice that the America we grew up in would never have asked us to make. In Davies' terms, we are "deserted intellectuals" — a class that is always at extremely high risk for fomenting revolution whenever it appears in history.
Davies says that revolutions catalyze when these deserted intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes. And much of the energy of this election is coming right out of that emerging alliance. The same drive toward corporatization that savaged our dreams also hammered at other class wedges throughout American society, creating conditions that savaged the middle class and ground the working class toward something resembling serfdom. Between our galvanizing frustration with George Bush, our shared fury at the war, and the new connections forged by bloggers and organizers, that alliance has now congealed into the determinedly change-minded movements we're seeing this election cycle.
4. Incompetent Government
As this blog has long argued, conservatives invariably govern badly because they don't really believe that government should exist at all — except, perhaps, as a way to funnel the peoples' tax money into the pockets of party insiders. This conflicted (if not outright hostile) attitude toward government can't possibly lead to any outcome other than bad management, bad policy, and eventually such horrendously bad social and economic outcomes that people are forced into the streets to hold their leaders to account.
It turns out there's never been a modern revolution that didn't start against a backdrop of atrocious government malfeasance in the face of precipitously declining fortunes. From George III's onerous taxes to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake," revolutions begin when stubborn aristocrats heap fuel on the fire by blithely disregarding the falling fortunes of their once-prosperous citizens. And America is getting dangerously close to that point now. Between our corporate-owned Congress and the spectacularly bad judgment of Bush's executive branch, there's never been a government in American history more inept, corrupt, and criminally negligent than this one — or more shockingly out of touch with what the average American is going through. Just ask anyone from New Orleans — or anyone who has a relative in the military.
Liberal democracy avoids this by building in a fail-safe: if the bastards ignore us, we can always vote them out. But if we've learned anything over the last eight years, it's that our votes don't always count — especially not when conservatives are doing the counting. If this year's election further confirms the growing conviction that change via the ballot box is futile, we may find a large and disgruntled group of Americans looking to restore government accountability by more direct means.
5. Gutless Wonders in the Ruling Class
Revolution becomes necessary when the ruling classes fail in their duty to lead. Most of the major modern political revolutions occurred at moments when the world was changing rapidly — and the country's leaders dealt with it by dropping back into denial and clinging defiantly to the old, profitable, and familiar status quo. New technologies, new ideas, and new economic opportunities were emerging; and there came a time when ignoring them was no longer an option. When the leaders failed to step forward boldly to lead their people through the looming and necessary transformations, the people rebelled.
We're hard up against some huge transformative changes now. Global warming and overwhelming pollution are forcing us to reconsider the way we occupy the world, altering our relationship to food, water, air, soil, energy, and each other. The transition off carbon-based fuels and away from non-recyclable goods is going to re-structure our entire economy. Computers are still creating social and business transformations; biotech and nanotech will only accelerate that. More and more people in the industrialized world are feeling a spiritual void, and coming to believe that moving away from consumerism and toward community may be an important step in recovering that nameless thing they've lost.
And, in the teeth of this restless drift toward inevitable change, America has been governed by a bunch of conservative dinosaurs who can't even bring themselves to acknowledge that the 20th century is over. (Some of them, in fact, are still trying to turn back the Enlightenment.) Liberal governments manage this kind of shift by training and subsidizing scientists and planners, funding research, and setting policies that help their nations navigate these transitions with some grace. Conservative ones — being conservative — will reflexively try to deny that change is occurring at all, and then brutally suppress anyone with evidence to the contrary.
Which is why, every time our current crop of so-called leaders open their mouths to propose a policy or Explain It All To Us, it's embarrassingly obvious that they don't have the vision, the intelligence, or the courage to face the future that everyone can clearly see bearing down on us, whether we're ready or not. Their persistent cluelessness infuriates us — and terrifies us. It's all too clear that these people are a waste of our tax money: they will never take us where we need to go. Much of the energy we're seeing in this year's election is due to the fact that a majority of Americans have figured out that our government is leaving us hung out here, completely on our own, to manage huge and inevitable changes with no support or guidance whatsoever.
Historically, this same seething fury at incompetent, unimaginative, cowardly leaders — and the dawning realization that our survival depends on seizing the lead for ourselves — has been the spark that's ignited many a violent uprising.
6. Fiscal Irresponsibility
As we've seen, revolutions follow in the wake of national economic reversals. Almost always, these reversals occur when inept and corrupt governments mismanage the national economy to the point of indebtedness, bankruptcy, and currency collapse.
There's a growing consensus on both the left and right that America is now heading into the biggest financial contraction since the Great Depression. And it's one that liberal critics have seen coming for years, as conservatives systematically dismantled the economic foundations of the entire country. Good-paying jobs went offshore. Domestic investments in infrastructure and education were diverted to the war machine. Government oversight of banks and securities was blinded. Vast sections of the economy were sold off to the Saudis for oil, or to the Chinese for cheap consumer goods and money to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.
This is no way to run an economy, unless you're a borrow-and-spend conservative determined to starve the government beast to the point where you can, as Grover Norquist proposed, drag it into the bathtub and drown it entirely. The current recession is the bill come due for 28 years of Republican financial malfeasance. It's also another way in which conservatives themselves have unwittingly set up the historical preconditions for revolution.
7. Inept and Inconsistent Use of Force
The final criterion for revolution is this: The government no longer exercises force in a way that people find fair or consistent. And this can happen in all kinds of ways.
Domestically, there's uneven sentencing, where some people get the maximum and others get cut loose without penalty — and neither outcome has any connection to the actual circumstances of the crime (though it often correlates all too closely with race, class, and the ability to afford a good lawyer). Unchecked police brutality (tasers, for example) that hardens public perception against the constabulary. Unwarranted police surveillance and legal harassment of law-abiding citizens going about their business. Different kinds of law enforcement for different neighborhoods. The use of government force to silence critics. And let's not forget the unconstitutional restriction of free speech and free assembly rights.
Abroad, there's the misuse of military force, which forces the country to pour its blood and treasure into misadventures that offer no clear advantage for the nation. These misadventures not only reduce the country's international prestige and contribute to economic declines; they often create a class of displaced soldiers who return home with both the skills and the motivation to turn political unrest into a full-fledged shooting war.
This kind of capricious, irrational ineptitude in deploying government force leads to public contempt for the power of the state, and leads the governed to withdraw their consent. And, eventually, it also raises people's determination to stand together to oppose state power. That growing solidarity and fearlessness — along with the resigned knowledge that equal-opportunity goons will brutalize loyalists and rebels alike, so you might as well be a dead lion rather than a live lamb — is the final factor that catalyzes ordinary citizens into ready and willing revolutionaries.
* * *
"A revolutionary state of mind requires the continued, even habitual but dynamic expectation of greater opportunity to satisfy basic needs...but the necessary additional ingredient is a persistent, unrelenting threat to the satisfaction of those needs: not a threat which actually returns people to a state of sheer survival but which put them in the mental state where they believe they will not be able to satisfy one or more basic needs....The crucial factor is the vague or specific fear that ground gained over a long period of time will be quickly lost... [This fear] generates when the existing government suppresses or is blamed for suppressing such opportunity."
When Davies wrote that paragraph in 1962, he probably couldn't have imagined how closely it would describe America in 2008. Thirty years of Republican corporatist government have failed us in ways that are not just inept or corrupt, but also have brought us to the same dangerous brink where so many other empires have erupted into violent revolution. The ground we have gained steadily over the course of the entire 20th Century is eroding under our feet. Movement conservatism has destroyed our economic base, declared open war on the middle and working classes, thwarted the aspirations of the intellectual and professional elites, dismantled the basic processes and functions of democracy, failed to prepare us for the future, overseen the collapse of our economy, and misused police and military force so inconsistently that Americans are losing respect for government.
It's not always the case that revolution inevitably emerges wherever these seven conditions occur together, just as not everybody infected with a virus gets sick. But over the past 350 years, almost every major revolution in a modern industrialized country has been preceded by this pattern of seven preconditions. It's fair to say that all those who get sick start out by being exposed to this virus.
Hillary Clinton is failing because this is a revolutionary moment — and she, regrettably, has the misfortune to be too closely identified with the mounting failures of the past that we're now seeking to move beyond. On the other hand, Ron Paul's otherwise inexplicable success has been built on his pointed and very specific critique of the kinds of government leadership failures I've described.
And Barack Obama is walking away with the moment because he talks of "hope" — which, as Davies makes clear, is the very first thing any would-be revolutionary needs. And then he talks of "change," which many of his followers are clearly hearing as a soft word for "revolution." And then he describes — not in too much detail — a different future, and what it means to be a transformative president, and in doing so answers our deep frustration at 30 years of leaders who faced the looming future by turning their heads instead of facing it.
Will he deliver on this promise of change? That remains to be seen. But the success of his presidency, if there is to be one, will likely be measured on how well his policies confront and deal with these seven criteria for revolution. If those preconditions are all still in place in 2012, the fury will have had another four years to rise. And at that point, if history rhymes, mere talk of hope and change will no longer be enough.
Thousands of people chat online every day - but what does it actually sound like?
A new electronic art installation at the Science Museum in London endeavours to show just that.
Listening Post allows its audience to eavesdrop on the online world. Sampling text from thousands of chatrooms, message boards and forums, the artists have created a huge display that attempts to "hear the internet".
Artists Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen have forged a giant curved stand that is built out of 231 small electronic screens.
Those screens display text fragments, which are accompanied by the rhythm of computer-synthesized voices reading - or as some put it "singing" - the words that surge and flicker over the screens.
Those words are uncensored and unedited: they may be four letters but they are predominantly "clean ones", such as "skin" and "bone".
Samples live text from the internet
Displayed in US galleries for past five years
Words rotate on 231 small screens
Installation stands 4m high and 5m wide
A computer programme - designed by statistician Mark Hansen - collects, samples and processes thousands of live online public conversations, which are then sorted to become the raw material.
Then sound artist Ben Rubin has programmed a voice synthesizer to create tones and sound effects that respond to shifts in the data-streams, building up a musical score of online activity.
The artwork then plays out through a series of seven cycles, lasting 25 minutes in all.
The display has been funded by money from the Art Fund and the Science Museum.
Hannah Redler, head of arts at the Science Museum, said the artwork offered an insight into public chatter online.
"It is an awe-inspiring 'portrait of chat' that reveals people's most personal thoughts and most universal concerns."
And David Barrie, director of the Art Fund, said the installation saw art and technology meet.
"Its interest lies, not only in its almost mesmeric visual and auditory impact, but in the poetry it generates from the often banal traffic on the internet," he added.
by Cindy SheehanLast year, on the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo torture camp in Cuba, I had the singular privilege of being able to travel there. Travel to Cuba by Americans is, of course banned, but where in a "free and democratic" society does my government get off telling me where I can travel, or not travel? So, defying the incomprehensible ban, our group of intrepid anti-torture and pro-justice activists set off from Cancun, Mexico to Havana on Cubana Airlines.In my humble opinion, it is imperative that we citizens of the US look at anything that our government says, or does, with healthy skepticism. Knowing that the Bush regime did not invent lying and murder for profit, we can never go back to the days when we believed that the USA was always right and if the US kills or oppresses other humans, then it must be okay because "God Is On Our Side." Especially when we have a "leader" who has a hot line to a God that seems particularly violent and vindictive. The anti-Cuban rhetoric has been prevalent from the establishment since I was born.So, after being an American for almost 50 years (at that point), I expected to find a Cuba that was beat down and broken under decades of communism and the dictatorship of "Comandante Fidel" who just recently announced that he would be renouncing his role as president. Even though I expected to find a depressed Cuba, I also found it, again, very hypocritical of our government to normalize relations with a very oppressive communist government of China, but would not cut the nation of Cuba (which lies just 90 short miles off of our coast) any kind of economic slack. It may come as no surprise to people, but relations with Cuba have only grown worse during BushCo's reign of terror.After a few days in Cuba, talking to people on the street (who are far more educated than the average American due to free university education), I was amazed at how happy and healthy (due to free medical care---which is good, since I had to avail of it myself when I was there) l everyone seems. We visited the medical school which trains doctors from all over the world (including the US) for no tuition with the only requirement being that the new Doctor must work in a poor community for a certain number of years after obtaining a license from the country where he/she wants to practice.Since the "Special Period" in Cuba of starvation and massive deprivation due to the collapse of Cuba's major trading partner: the USSR; all agriculture in Cuba has been organic or permaculture and food is fresh and it tastes like food; not plastic.One of the glaring differences in US/Cuban leadership is that after Katrina, Cuban Doctors and Emergency Medical Technicians organized to go down to New Orleans to help but the USA rejected the offer, even though, our resources were stretched paper thin, economically and strategically, by the twin disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, during Cuba's "Special Period" all the US did for our brothers and sisters down south was to strengthen the embargo against Cuba by forbidding any subsidiary companies that do business with the US to trade with Cuba. The Cubans managed to eke out subsistence through conservation, rationing and ingenuity to struggle through the Special Period. Cuban women are rightly proud of the methods they used to stretch their family's rations by, for example, grinding banana peel to add to the food. However, I did hear horror stories of fathers watching their children slowly starve and cry from hunger. Cubans lost an average of 20 pounds each during the decade of the "Special Period" which was roughly the entire 1990's.When we arrived in Guantanamo Cuba, we found a small town of family farms, (and large sugar plantations) chickens, horse and buggies and horse drawn wagons. The Internet connection was iffy and we did not have hot water for showers, but I was struck by the difference between the average Cuban life and the average American life. If, like during the Special Period in Cuba, America had 80% of our imports and exports curtailed, what would we do? Would we have to dig up our concrete and plant crops to be harvested sometime after we had already starved? Would we have riots for food and other consumables? What would happen if our oil faucet ran dry? It would be pure chaos, but Cuba survived conditions like these due to their already simple way of life.If life in Cuba is as awful as some would claim then why do they have a longer life expectancy than we do here in America and why is their infant mortality rate lower? Do we give up "quality" of life for "quantity" of material possessions? I live in a city now where homelessness is rampant and a huge challenge, whereas in Cuba, homelessness is unheard of. Is the "bigger, better, more at any cost" lifestyle of capitalism more humane than communism? Here in America our lifestyle is obtained off the backs of so many around the world, and here at home, that we have to ask ourselves if it is worth it for a few extra square feet of living space or to drive an urban attack vehicle that guzzles precious resources and belches toxic waste.I hope the trade and travel embargo is lifted from Cuba soon. They do suffer from having to import medical supplies and other goods from China and Europe and we suffer from being deprived of the opportunity to travel to a beautiful country where the people are welcoming and generous with the little that they do have. But with the notice that Fidel is retiring after surviving over 600 assassination attempts by the CIA, even Democratic hopefuls parroted the corporate party line and there is slim chance of a lifting of the embargo. Since the USA has a detention facility on Cuban soil where we torture and hold humans in adverse conditions without the basic human right of due process under the law, how can we condemn Cuba for human rights' violations?After the fall of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba is learning to form positive alliances with other countries in South America and I would challenge our leaders to consider doing the same. Using our military to spread corporate colonialism throughout Latin America has led to the growth of populist governments (Venezuela and Bolivia for example), and instead of trying to undermine these governments, we should work with them to prove that we care more about humane democracy and less about supporting oppressive governments.We need an "open-armed policy" with our neighbors in this hemisphere not an "armed and dangerous" persona. America is certainly perceived as a bully all over the world but in the case of Cuba, it could not be more exemplified.The US talking tough to Cuba is like a lion roaring at a mouse. Reaching across the channel with fair trade and open arms will go farther towards Cuba becoming more free and democratic than strengthening embargoes that hurt families and only strengthen anti-democracy and anti-American sentiments.Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.
As amply demonstrated by Germany and Italy of the 1930s, there is absolutely nothing new about a substantively uninformed, and highly manipulated electorate, euphorically and uncritically lining up lock-step behind a political figure offering a dangerously superficial, media sound-bite rhetoric which indefinably calls for “change.” The consequences of falling prey to such superficiality are dangerous and immense.
The largely consolidated U.S. corporate media in the 21st Century continues overwhelmingly to actively attempt to diminish and/or outright ignore the enormous potential and importance of third parties on the American political landscape, including the Reconstruction Party, the Green Party, and the Peace and Freedom Party, etc. Heaven forbid that the American people collectively, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White come to realize that the Democrat and Republican Parties represent anything but real systemic change. And of course fundamental, clearly defined, systemic change is exactly what the people of the U.S. so desperately need.
This is not lost upon the U.S. corporate media, which is precisely why said media promotes Barack Obama, and others, who represent superficial, feel-good change, which really means window dressing change [i.e. no change at all for the vast majority of people]. Such so-called change is akin to telling a terminally ill patient that if he or she simply feels good about themselves, their illness will not kill them. “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down…” The American people don’t need a “spoon full of sugar;” we need a completely changed diet consisting of systemic change that does not serve the interests of corporations and their military partners.
In a nation that allegedly represents the bastion of democracy, it is the height of absurdity and hypocrisy that its peoples are fed a constant corporate diet consisting of there being only two (joined-at-the-hip) so-called “major” political parties, whose only insignificant differences are rhetorical - and whether or not to economically, politically, and socially suffocate the people quickly [i.e. the Republicans] or a little slower [i.e. the Democrats]. Malcolm X correctly referred to these Republicans and Democrats as “wolves and foxes.” Indeed, they are the joined-at-the-hip “Republicrats,” the corporate/military surrogates of the 21st Century.
It is appropriate at this juncture to reiterate my written comments in this column of February 7, 2008:
“We need to be about the business of thinking and acting outside the box and building political parties that are outside the box, parties that serve the economic, social, and political interests of the masses of people. This is precisely why the candidacy of former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for President and the Power To The People Coalition is of such enormous importance for the present and for the future. This coalition is all about collectively laying the foundation for systemic change – which is the only way that we can enjoy real change.”
Not only do both the Democrat and Republican Parties, in reality, oppose the economic, political, and social interests and needs of the vast majority of people in the U.S. and around the world - neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are seriously exposing, addressing, and fundamentally changing and correcting the enormously flawed and corrupted electoral voting system in this nation. Despite the rhetoric of so-called “change,” it still remains all about de facto voter disenfranchisement as real and large scalevoter enfranchisement does not serve the interests of big corporations and their military partners, which in turn does not serve the interests of the Democrats or Republicans. These are not the actions of a democracy but of a republicracy. It continues to be all about the Democrats and Republicans rhetorically saying one thing while doing quite another.
Resigning one’s self to voting for the so-called “lesser of the two evils” plays right into calculated corporate hands of media manipulations and the disempowering Democrat and Republican Parties. By the same token, euphorically goose-stepping behind the candidacy of Barack Obama, or any other Democrat or Republican, is tantamount to choosing death by hanging as opposed to death by firing squad. This is not exercising a choice. It is dangerous and ridiculous non-choice, especially in America - the so-called bastion of democracy.
Whatever the rhetorical difference in their code words [e.g. terms such as “US interests,” “US security interests,” “US world leadership,” “democracy,” etc.], Barack Obama, and his Democrat and Republican Party counterparts, (with their big corporate donors and advisors) all adhere to the notion of U.S. military and corporate hegemony, with a strong dose of support for corporate apartheid Zionism [Reference and read thoroughly Barack Obamas’ speech last year to the Zionist lobby known as AIPAC]. The term “U.S. interests” has little or nothing to do with the economic, political, or social needs & interests of the majority of peoples in the U.S. or the world; and most definitely nothing to do with justice or real democracy. Unfortunately however, Obama went even further, having called for blocking the right of return of the Palestinian people to their occupied lands, and of course having repeatedly called for the use of “unilateral” U.S. military actions against other nations. The sad and dangerous list goes on and on. It is stunning, for example, and almost beyond belief, that a so-called Democrat could heap praise upon the late Republican U.S. President Ronald Reagan who:
opposed the labor movement and the economic rights of working women and men in the U.S. and around the world
who was a strong supporter of the apartheid government of South Africa
who utterly despised affirmative action and the human rights of Black, Brown, and Red Americans and the working poor
who made horrible economic cut backs to the already inadequate food programs for mothers and children in America
who, in the name of (here we go again) “U.S. security interests” unlawfully and militarily invaded the tiny Black nation of Grenada
Nevertheless, Barack Obama actually heaped praise upon that very same Republican - Ronald Reagan. Of course, various catch-all terms such as “U.S. interests” and “U.S. security interests,” etc., can and do mean everything from “unilateral” and illegal U.S. military actions/invasions of other nations [e.g. Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Grenada, etc.] to U.S.-sponsored coup d’etat [e.g. Iran, Guatemala, and Haiti, etc.], to the insane notion that the U.S. (or anyone else) has the unmitigated right to engage in a nuclear first-strike which would most certainly assure the end of all human life on the planet. It is time to think critically and act accordingly. It is time to be for real.
With reference to the United States, one must apply the political term “third parties” loosely, in that the Democrats and Republicans are, for all practical purposes, one party - the Republicrats. The so-called difference comes down to choosing to die quickly or to die slowly. We must think outside of the Democrat and Republican Party box of death. We must choose not to die at all. We must demand and organize for total and complete universal health care - with no profits to the blood-sucking corporations. We must demand and organize not only for an immediate end to the U.S. war of aggression in Iraq - but also for an end to the very notion that military aggression anywhere by anyone is acceptable. We must demand and organize for an end to the vampiric, blood-sucking corporate and military apparatus - and build organizations based upon fulfilling human needs, not exploiting human weaknesses. We must demand and organize for an educational system that truly educates the people - and not one that brainwashes them to serve as corporate or military cannon fodder. We must remember that, as in the case of the ongoing “Hurricane Katrina” U.S. federal and state government debacle - we ultimately do to ourselves what we do to each other. We must organize outside of (the Democrat and Republican Party death) box. We must consciously and consistently build third political parties throughout the United States. We must struggle and build locally, regionally, and nationally, building third party coalitions wherever possible and appropriate to the needs of the people, collectively. This is about collective hard work - not some corporately brokered and cloned echo of misplaced “hope” and superficial “change.” This is about us - all of us as people - not as unwitting and helpless pawns of U.S. multinational corporations. As I wrote back in April of 2006, “Perhaps people will stop repeating the human-made catastrophes of the past when we cease being ahistorical and truly learn from history’s lessons. Indeed, after all is said and done, we truly are not helpless in this regard.” [Reference The Boston Globe, April 27, 2006].
What time is it in America? It’s third party time!
It’s time to stop mentally goose-stepping, and start critically thinking. What a revolutionary concept. This too, is what “Keeping It Real” is all about.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.
That wall looGeorge Orwell's essay "Reflections on Gandhi", opens with the words "Saints should always be judged guilty until proved innocent..."Thinking about the US military and its willing role in quelling lawful dissent, I felt that Orwell's statement, with a few word changes, would apply to military "heroes".This feeling became a certainty after reading about the "Bonus March" in Professor Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States".Zinn described the fate of American First World War veterans, who "out of work and with hungry families" joined (in 1932) thousands of comrades suffering similar deprivation at the hands of rampant capitalism, and converged on Washington.These men (some accompanied by wives and children) became known as the "Bonus Army".It took its name from the requests of "holders of government bonus bonds that the money be paid out now, when it was desperately needed, and not on the due date in the future".Their plight was pitiful as, hungry and exhausted, they camped in flimsy make-shift shelters, waiting for a sympathetic response."The bill to pay off the bonus passed the House but was defeated in the Senate."Some veterans left in disgust."Most stayed with the faint hope that some relief would be offered.What they met instead was the threat of "four troops of cavalry, four companies of infantry, a machine gun squadron, and six tanks."Machine guns! Tanks! The troops used tear gas against their hapless quarry, and set fire to the shelters (in which were stored whatever goods the veterans had)."In the face of military violence, the people turned to flee, but, nonetheless, two were shot to death, and thousands were injured by gas".As an example of the despicable assaults by the American military in their support of the oligarchy against the weak, the poor, and the down-trodden, this incident was not an isolated happening.And brutal as it was, many other cases were far worse!But it stands out because of the leaders, whose names later became synonymous with "heroism"; as though anything could expunge their previous foul conduct.General Douglas MacArthur was in command, and his aide was Major Dwight Eisenhower. George Patton was also involved.
When solar fears eclipse reason"...ancient belief that an eclipse presaged war and devastation"..."The ancient Chinese believed that solar eclipses were caused by a dragon trying to swallow the Sun. To this day, the Chinese for a solar eclipse is "resh" or "Sun-eat"." *Eclipses Through Traditions & Cultures"Most early calendars were lunar calendars, because the monthly duration of the lunar cycle is 29.53 days, 12.37 months during a solar seasonal year. Every year, the lunar "synodic" calendar of 29.53 days slips by 0.38 of a month or 11.2 days relative to the seasonal "planting" year.At the same time that ancient peoples kept track of how the lunar and solar calenders meshed with each other, they also uncovered some of the factors that lead to lunar and solar eclipses which also require specific timings of the solar and lunar positions across the sky and over the years. In many ways, the ability to predict eclipses was an outgrowth of the pre-existing need to keep track of lunar and solar calender relationships."*Ancient myths revisited with lunar eclipse"During lunar eclipses, native residents in the Arctic still turn over their utensils to prevent contamination."
The PSL stands in solidarity with the Cuban revolution and the Cuban people
Today's statements by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain on Fidel Castro's stepping down are more of the same. Each candidate would continue the same policy of the last 11 U.S. administrations: a policy of blockade, aggression and counter-revolution. Each promises to lift the blockade and normalize relations only if the sovereign government of Cuba is overthrown.
Obama remarked that Fidel's announcement "should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history," and praised the pro-U.S. counterrevolutionaries in Cuban prisons as "heroes." Clinton pledged that as President she would do "everything possible" to overthrow Cuban socialism and "advance America's values and interests." In thinly veiled language, McCain wrote that the United States must seize upon Fidel's stepping down to "hasten the sparking of freedom in Cuba."
The capitalist candidates speak of bringing "democracy" and "freedom" to Cuba. But what they mean is the kind of "democracy" that the U.S. government has imposed on Iraq, which so far has killed more than two million Iraqis and destroyed the country. It is freedom for the corporations, banks and militarists to exploit and to rule.
In the name of democracy and freedom, recent U.S. administrations have passed laws to punish—not help—the Cuban people for daring to to build socialism and be independent of the United States.
The 1992 Torricelli law, signed by George H.W. Bush, is officially titled "The Cuban Democracy Act." The 1996 Helms-Burton law signed by Bill Clinton, is known as the "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Law." George W. Bush's plan, inaugurated in 2004, is called "The Plan for Assistance to a Free Cuba" of 2003.
Each of these U.S. laws—whose expressed aim is to overthrow the Cuban revolution in the name of "democracy'—has deliberately targeted the Cuban people and created suffering for millions.
In a subtle recognition of majority U.S. public opinion—which opposes the U.S. blockade—Obama and Clinton claim that democratic changes and free elections in Cuba could be the basis of renewed relations with Cuba.
No one should be fooled by such rhetoric. For the Democrats and Republicans, acting on behalf of the corporations, banks and militarists, the only Cuban "democracy" they will accept is the kind that returns the island to capitalism, as a neocolony of the United States. But in a country that is struggling to overcome centuries of underdevelopment and colonialism, it is socialism that has provided the basic rights of free quality healthcare and education, and housing for all. Here in the United States, the richest country in all of history, such rights are only a dream.
Obama, Clinton and McCain call for free elections in Cuba. How can candidates who together will spend more than $1 billion in the presidential race demand "free" elections in Cuba? In Cuba, on all levels—municipal, provincial and national—the elections are truly free, and campaign spending by candidates is prohibited.
While members of the U.S. Congress give themselves large salaries and huge payoffs from lobbyists, elected officials in Cuba maintain their regular jobs, and serve without additional compensation for their responsibilities as legislators.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands in solidarity with the Cuban revolution and the Cuban people. Our candidates understand that the first real democratic act in Cuba was the overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Despite the blockade, war and terrorist attacks promoted by the U.S. government, the Cuban people and leadership have struggled to build a socialist revolution, which they will continue to develop and defend.
Fidel Castro's statement is not a retirement from the struggle. It is an honest assessment of his physical limitations to hold government office.
Fidel Castro is admired and loved in Cuba and the world over. His legendary courage and profound belief—from the earliest days—in the heroism and capacity of the Cuban people to make history, is what now enables him to retire from his official posts with confidence.
Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis. Our primary interests are in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we expect to be of assistance to peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact...(more)
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Revealing negligence and security risks and supporting Sibel Edmonds at the FBI.
A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent, one of his tasks at FBI headquarters was to conduct risk assessment for FBI foreign-born translators and analyst applicants. Beginning in 1999, he discovered and began reporting serious issues of mismanagement, gross negligence, security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After he reported these acts to FBI management, he was retaliated against. He also came to the rescue of Sibel Edmonds, arguing how he had “talked to people who had read her file, who had read the investigative report, and they were telling me a totally different story” than FBI officials, who had only perfunctorily investigated her allegations. “They were telling me that Sibel Edmonds was a 100 percent accurate, that management knew that she was correct.” In 2004, after months of harassment for his defense of Edmonds, Cole resigned. A year later, the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded: “the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds’ allegations.”
Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.
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Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez announced on Feb. 12 that crude oil shipments to ExxonMobil are canceled, in a growing confrontation with the world’s largest corporation over Venezuela’s ongoing nationalization campaign.
Venezuela’s move is an immediate response to a London court injunction freezing $12 billion of Venezuela’s oil assets
Venezuelan workers display their
support for the nationalization
of oil resources.
at ExxonMobil’s request.
ExxonMobil, whose 2007 profits of $40.6 billion are the largest in history, has secured similar rulings in the Netherlands and in the United States. Venezuela’s minister of energy and petroleum, Rafael Rodríguez, stated that Venezuela will fight the injunctions vigorously. Venezuela has already presented its legal response in the Netherlands and Britain.
The ongoing dispute arose out of Chávez’s 2007 announcement that foreign petroleum firms operating in the Orinoco Belt would have to surrender their majority-stakes ownership to Venezuela’s state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA). The Orinoco holds enormous untapped oil and gas reserves—perhaps 200 billion barrels of heavy oil and at least 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Although other foreign oil companies balked at first, several of them—StatoilHydro of Norway, Total of France, BP of Britain and Chevron—have signed agreements giving Venezuela at least 60 percent ownership. ConocoPhillips is currently negotiating with PdVSA and will likely sign a new investment agreement.
China and Venezuela have entered into key petroleum agreements, with Venezuela purchasing 18 oil tankers and dozens of drilling rigs from China. China, in turn, has been granted licenses to drill in light-oil regions, as well as in the Orinoco.
Rather than accept a joint venture, ExxonMobil has decided to try to impose the weight of imperialist courts against Venezuela for daring to claim its own natural resources.
Although ExxonMobil’s investments in the Orinoco amount to about $2 billion, it is seeking to seize $12 billion. Its court action is an attempt to preempt an impending arbitration to resolve the dispute, to which Venezuela had agreed.
Chávez addressed the matter on his weekly television show "Aló Presidente" on Feb. 12, two days before the suspension of crude shipments to ExxonMobil. He reiterated Venezuela’s right to control its resources and warned that all oil exports to the United States may be stopped in the future as a result of ExxonMobil’s attack.
"If you end up freezing and it harms us, we’re going to harm you," Chávez said. "Do you know how? We aren’t going to send oil to the United States. Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger."
Chávez also pointed the finger at Washington for increasing aggression against Venezuela. The United States is the biggest importer of Venezuelan oil, between 1.2 million and 1.5 million barrels a day.
Since Chávez’s election in 1998, Venezuela has regained control over much of its energy wealth by assuming majority control and raising royalties on the foreign extractions. The oil companies had historically paid a pittance in royalties, siphoning off vast amounts of wealth while almost 80 percent of the population was left impoverished.
The 1999 Bolivarian Constitution affirmed that the land and natural resources belong to Venezuela. Since then, the oil companies have had to pay billions more in royalties. That regained wealth has been converted into schools, free health care for all, housing, food programs and more.
The showdown with ExxonMobil was inevitable, with its determination to bleed Venezuela after amassing unprecedented profits worldwide. The Venezuelan people have fought to defend their sovereignty time and again for almost 10 years. They are not about to give in to the threats from ExxonMobil or U.S. imperialism.
*All those men were there inside,when she came in totally naked.They had been drinking: they began to spit.Newly come from the river, she knew nothing.She was a mermaid who had lost her way.The insults flowed down her gleaming flesh.Obscenities drowned her golden breasts.Not knowing tears, she did not weep tears.Not knowing clothes, she did not have clothes.They blackened her with burnt corks and cigarette stubs,and rolled around laughing on the tavern floor.She did not speak because she had no speech.Her eyes were the colour of distant love,her twin arms were made of white topaz.Her lips moved, silent, in a coral light,and suddenly she went out by that door.Entering the river she was cleaned,shining like a white stone in the rain,and without looking back she swam againswam towards emptiness, swam towards death.*
On February 11, 2008, more than two hundred participants of the Longest Walk 2 embarked on a five-month journey on foot from San Francisco. They plan on arriving arriving in Washington, D.C. on July 11, 2008. Native American tribal leaders, religious groups, environmentalists, teachers, students, and people from throughout the world are joining the walk with its "peaceful and spiritual call to action to protect Mother Earth and defend human rights."
On February 11, 2008, more than two hundred participants of the Longest Walk 2 embarked on a five-month journey on foot from San Francisco. They plan on arriving arriving in Washington, D.C. on July 11, 2008. Native American tribal leaders, religious groups, environmentalists, teachers, students, and people from throughout the world are joining the walk with its "peaceful and spiritual call to action to protect Mother Earth and defend human rights."
Not long ago, it was taken for granted that the Iraq war would be the central issue in the presidential campaign, as it was in the mid-term election of 2006. But it has virtually disappeared, eliciting some puzzlement. There should be none.Iraq remains a significant concern for the population, but that is a matter of little moment in a modern democracy. The important work of the world is the domain of the "responsible men," who must "live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd," the general public, "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" whose "function" is to be "spectators," not "participants." And spectators are not supposed to bother their heads with issues. The Wall Street Journal came close to the point in a major front-page article on super-Tuesday, under the heading "Issues Recede in '08 Contest As Voters Focus on Character." To put it more accurately, issues recede as candidates, party managers, and their PR agencies focus on character (qualities, etc.). As usual. And for sound reasons. Apart from the irrelevance of the population, they can be dangerous. The participants in action are surely aware that on a host of major issues, both political parties are well to the right of the general population, and that their positions that are quite consistent over time, a matter reviewed in a useful study by Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton, The Foreign Policy Divide; the same is true on domestic policy (see my Failed States, on both domains). It is important, then, for the attention of the herd to be diverted elsewhere.The quoted admonitions, taken from highly regarded essays by the leading public intellectual of the 20th century (Walter Lippmann), capture well the perceptions of progressive intellectual opinion, largely shared across the narrow elite spectrum. The common understanding is revealed more in practice than in words, though some, like Lippmann, do articulate it: President Wilson, for example, who held that an elite of gentlemen with "elevated ideals" must be empowered to preserve "stability and righteousness," essentially the perspective of the Founding Fathers. In more recent years the gentlemen are transmuted into the "technocratic elite" and "action intellectuals" of Camelot, "Straussian" neocons, or other configurations. But throughout, one or another variant of Leninist doctrine prevails.For the vanguard who uphold the elevated ideals and are charged with managing the society and the world, the reasons for Iraq's drift off the radar screen should not be obscure. They were cogently explained by the distinguished historian Arthur Schlesinger, articulating the position of the doves 40 years ago when the US invasion of South Vietnam was in its fourth year and Washington was preparing to add another 100,000 troops to the 175,000 already tearing South Vietnam to shreds. By then the invasion launched by Kennedy was facing difficulties and imposing difficult costs on the United States, so Schlesinger and other Kennedy liberals were reluctantly beginning to shift from hawks to doves. That even included Robert Kennedy, who a year earlier, after the vast intensification of the bombing and combat operations in the South and the first regular bombing of the North, had condemned withdrawal as "a repudiation of commitments undertaken and confirmed by three administrations" which would "gravely -- perhaps irreparably -- weaken the democratic position in Asia." But by the time that Schlesinger was writing in 1966, RFK and other Camelot hawks began to call for a negotiated settlement -- though not withdrawal, never an option, just as withdrawal without victory was never an option for JFK, contrary to many illusions.Schlesinger wrote that of course "we all pray" that the hawks are right in thinking that the surge of the day will be able to "suppress the resistance," and if it does, "we may all be saluting the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government" in winning victory while leaving "the tragic country gutted and devastated by bombs, burned by napalm, turned into a wasteland by chemical defoliation, a land of ruin and wreck," with its "political and institutional fabric" pulverized. But escalation probably won't succeed, and will prove to be too costly for ourselves, so perhaps strategy should be rethought.Attitudes towards the war at the liberal extreme were well illustrated by the concerns of the Massachusetts branch of Americans for Democratic Action, in Cambridge, the liberal stronghold. In late 1967, the ADA leadership undertook considerable (and quite comical) efforts to prevent applications for membership from people they feared would speak in favor of an anti-war resolution sponsored by a local chapter that had fallen out of control (Howard Zinn and I were the terrifying applicants). A few months later came the Tet offensive, leading the business world to turn against the war because of its costs to us, while the more perceptive were coming to realize that Washington had already achieved its major war aims. It soon turned out that everyone had always been a strong opponent of the war (in deep silence). The Kennedy memoirists revised their accounts to fit the new requirement that JFK was a secret dove, consigning the rich documentary record (including their own version of events at the time) to the dustbin of history, where the wrong facts wither away. Others preferred silence, assuming correctly that the truth would disappear. The preferred version soon took hold: the radical and self-indulgent anti-war movement had disrupted the sober efforts of the responsible "early opponents of the war" to bring it to an end.At the war's end, in 1975, the position of the extreme doves was expressed by Anthony Lewis, the most critical voice in the New York Times. He observed that the war began with "blundering efforts to do good" - which is close to tautology within the doctrinal system -- though by 1969 it had become "clear to most of the world -- and most Americans -- that the intervention had been a disastrous mistake." The argument against the war, Lewis explained, "was that the United States had misunderstood the cultural and political forces at work in Indochina -- that it was in a position where it could not impose a solution except at a price too costly to itself."By 1969, "most Americans" had a radically different view. Some 70% regarded the war as "fundamentally wrong and immoral," not "a mistake." But they are just "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders," whose voices can be dismissed - or on the rare occasions when they are noticed, explained away without evidence by attributing to them self-serving motives lacking any moral basis.Elite reasoning, and the accompanying attitudes, carry over with little change to critical commentary on the US invasion of Iraq today. And although criticism of the Iraq war is far greater and far-reaching than in the case of Vietnam at any comparable stage, nevertheless the principles that Schlesinger articulated remain in force in media and commentary.It is of some interest that Schlesinger himself took a very different position on the Iraq invasion, virtually alone in his circles. When the bombs began to fall on Baghdad, he wrote that Bush's policies are "alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor, on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy." It would be instructive to determine how Schlesinger's principled objection to US war crimes fared in the tributes to him that appeared when he died, and in the many reviews of his journals (which do not mention Vietnam until the Johnson years, consistent with the early version of his memoirs of Camelot).That Iraq is "a land of ruin and wreck" is not in question.. There is no need to review the facts in any detail. The British polling agency Oxford Research Bureau recently updated its estimate of extra deaths resulting from the war to 1.3 million - that's excluding Karbala and Anbar provinces, two of the worst regions. Whether that is correct, or the true numbers are much lower as some claim, there is no doubt that the toll is horrendous. There are several million internally deplaced. Thanks to the generosity of Jordan and Syria, the millions of refugees fleeing the wreckage of Iraq, including most of the professional classes, have not been simply wiped out. But that welcome is fading, for one reason because Jordan and Syria receive no meaningful support from the perpetrators of the crimes in Washington and London; the idea that they might admit these victims, beyond a trickle, is too outlandish to consider. Sectarian warfare has devastated the country. Baghdad and other areas have been subjected to brutal ethnic cleansing and left in the hands of warlords and militias, the primary thrust of the current counterinsurgency strategy developed by General Petraeus, who won his fame by pacifying Mosul, now the scene of some of the most extreme violence.One of the most dedicated and informed journalists who has been immersed in the shocking tragedy, Nir Rosen, recently published an epitaph entitled "The Death of Iraq," in Current History. He writes that "Iraq has been killed, never to rise again. The American occupation has been more disastrous than that of the Mongols, who sacked Baghdad in the thirteenth century" - a common perception of Iraqis as well. "Only fools talk of `solutions' now. There is no solution. The only hope is that perhaps the damage can be contained."Though the wreckage of Iraq today is too visible to try to conceal, the assault of the new barbarians is carefully circumscribed in the doctrinal system so as to exclude the horrendous effects of the Clinton sanctions - including their crucial role in preventing the threat that Iraqis would send Saddam to the same fate as Ceasescu, Marcos, Suharto, Chun, and many other monsters supported by the US and UK until they could no longer be maintained. Information about the effect of the sanctions is hardly lacking, in particular about the humanitarian phase of the sanctions regime, the oil-for-peace program initiated when the early impact became so shocking that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had to mumble on TV that the price was right whatever the parents of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children might think. The humanitarian program, which graciously permitted Iraq to use some of its oil revenues for the devastated population, was administered by highly respected and experienced UN diplomats, who had teams of investigators all over the country and surely knew more about the situation in Iraq than any other Westerners. The first, Denis Halliday, resigned in protest because the policies were "genocidal." His successor, Hans von Sponeck, resigned two years later when he concluded that the sanctions violated the Genocide Convention. The Clinton administration barred him from providing information about the impact to the Security Council, which was technically responsible. As Albright's spokesperson James Rubin explained, "this man in Baghdad is paid to work, not to speak."Von Sponeck does, however, speak; in extensive detail in his muted but horrifying book A Different Kind of War. But the State Department ruling prevails. One will have to search diligently to find even a mention of these revelations or what they imply. Knowing too much, Halliday and von Sponeck were also barred from the media during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq.It is true, however, that Iraq is now a marginal issue in the presidential campaign. That is natural, given the spectrum of hawk-dove elite opinion. The liberal doves adhere to their traditional reasoning and attitudes, praying that the hawks will be right and that the US will win a victory in the land of ruin and wreck, establishing "stability," a code word for subordination to Washington's will. By and large hawks are encouraged, and doves silenced, by the good news about Iraq.And there is good news. The US occupying army in Iraq (euphemistically called the Multi-National Force-Iraq) carries out regular studies of popular attitudes, a crucial component of population control measures. In December 2007, it released a study of focus groups, which was uncharacteristically upbeat. The survey "provides very strong evidence" that national reconciliation is possible and anticipated, contrary to prevailing voices of hopelessness and despair. The survey found that a sense of "optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups . . . and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis." This discovery of "shared beliefs" among Iraqis throughout the country is "good news, according to a military analysis of the results," Karen de Young reported in the Washington Post (Dec. 19).The "shared beliefs" were identified in the report. To quote de Young, "Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of `occupying forces' as the key to national reconciliation." So according to Iraqis, there is hope of national reconciliation if the invaders, who are responsible for the internal violence, withdraw and leave Iraq to Iraqis.The conclusions are credible, consistent with earlier polls, and also with the apparent reduction in violence when the British finally withdrew from Basra a few months ago, having "decisively lost the south - which produces over 90 per cent of government revenues and 70 per cent of Iraq's proven oil reserves" by 2005, according to Anthony Cordesman, the most prominent US specialist on military affairs in the Middle East.The December 2007 report did not mention other good news: Iraqis appear to accept the highest values of Americans, which should be highly gratifying. Specifically, they accept the principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal that sentenced Nazi war criminals to hanging for such crimes as supporting aggression and preemptive war - the main charge against Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, whose position in the Nazi regime corresponded to that of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The Tribunal defined aggression clearly enough: "invasion of its armed forces" by one state "of the territory of another state." The invasion of Iran and Afghanistan are textbook examples, if words have meaning. The Tribunal went on to define aggression as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole": in the case of Iraq, the murderous sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing, the destruction of the national culture and the irreplaceable treasures of the origins of Western civilization under the eyes of "stuff happens" Rumsfeld and his associates, and every other crime and atrocity as the inheritors of the Mongols have followed the path of imperial Japan.Since Iraqis attribute the accumulated evil of the whole primarily to the invasion, it follows that they accept the core principle of Nuremberg. Presumably, they were not asked whether their acceptance of American values extended to the conclusion of the chief prosecutor for the United States, US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who forcefully insisted that the Tribunal would be mere farce if we do not apply its principles to ourselves.Needless to say, US elite opinion, shared with the West generally, flatly rejects the lofty American values professed at Nuremberg, indeed regards them as bordering on obscene. All of this provides an instructive illustration of some of the reality that lies behind the famous "clash of civilizations."A January poll by World Learning/Aspen Institute found that "75 percent of Americans believe U.S. foreign policy is driving dissatisfaction with America abroad and more than 60 percent believe that dislike of American values (39 percent) and of the American people (26 percent) is also to blame." The perception is inaccurate, fed by propaganda. There is little dislike of Americans, and dissatisfaction abroad does not derive from "dislike of American values," but rather from acceptance of these values, and recognition that they are rejected by the US government and elite opinion.Other "good news" had been reported by General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker during the extravaganza staged on 9/11. Perhaps we should call the commander "Lord Petraeus," in the light of the reverence displayed by the media and commentators on this occasion. Parenthetically, only a cynic might imagine that the timing was intended to insinuate the Bush-Cheney claims of links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, so that by committing the "supreme international crime" they were defending the world against terror - which increased sevenfold as a result of the invasion, according to an analysis by terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, using data of the government-linked Rand corporation.Petraeus and Crocker provided figures to show that the Iraqi government had greatly accelerated spending on reconstruction, reaching a quarter of the funding set aside for that purpose. Good news indeed -- until it was investigated by the Government Accountability Office, which found that the actual figure was one-sixth what Petraeus and Crocker reported, a 50 percent decline from the preceding year.More good news is the decline in sectarian violence, attributable in part to the success of the ethnic cleansing that Iraqis blame on the invasion; there are simply fewer people to kill in the cleansed areas. But it is also attributable to Washington's decision to support the tribal groups that had organized to drive out Iraqi al-Qaeda, to an increase in US troops, and to the decision of the Mahdi army to stand down and consolidate its gains - what the press calls "halting aggression." By definition, only Iraqis can commit aggression in Iraq (or Iranians, of course).It is not impossible that Petraeus's strategy might approach the success of the Russians in Chechnya, where fighting is now "limited and sporadic, and Grozny is in the midst of a building boom" after having been reduced to rubble by the Russian attack, C.J. Chivers reports in the New York Times, also on September 11. Perhaps some day Baghdad and Falluja too will enjoy "electricity restored in many neighborhoods, new businesses opening and the city's main streets repaved," as in booming Grozny. Possible, but dubious, in the light of the likely consequence of creating warlord armies that may be the seeds of even greater sectarian violence, adding to the "accumulated evil" of the aggression.If Russians rise to the moral level of liberal intellectuals in the West, they must be saluting Putin's "wisdom and statesmanship" for his achievements in Chechnya.A few weeks after the Pentagon's "good news" from Iraq, New York Times military-Iraq expert Michael Gordon wrote a reasoned and comprehensive review of the options on Iraq policy facing the candidates for the presidential election. One voice is missing: Iraqis. Their preference is not rejected. Rather, it is not worthy of mention. And it seems that there was no notice of the fact. That makes sense on the usual tacit assumption of almost all discourse on international affairs: we own the world, so what does it matter what others think? They are "unpeople," to borrow the term used by British diplomatic historian Mark Curtis in his work on Britain's crimes of empire - very illuminating work, therefore deeply hidden. Routinely, Americans join Iraqis in un-peoplehood. Their preferences too provide no options.To cite another instructive example, consider Gerald Seib's reflections in the Wall Street Journal on "Time to Look Ahead in Iraq." Seib is impressed that debate over Iraq is finally beginning to go beyond the "cartoon-like characteristics" of what has come before and is now beginning to confront "the right issue," the "more profound questions":The more profound questions are the long-term ones. Regardless of how things evolve in a new president's first year, the U.S. needs to decide what its lasting role should be in Iraq. Is Iraq to be a permanent American military outpost, and will American troops need to be on hand in some fashion to help defend Iraq's borders for a decade or more, as some Iraqi officials themselves have suggested? Will the U.S. see Iraq more broadly as a base for exerting American political and diplomatic influence in the broader Middle East, or is that a mistake? Is it better to have American troops just over the horizon, in Kuwait or ships in the Persian Gulf? Driving these military considerations is the political question of what kind of government the U.S. can accept in Iraq….No soft-headed nonsense here about Iraqis having a voice on the lasting role of the US in Iraq or on the kind of government they would prefer.Seib should not be confused with the columnists in the Journal's "opinion pages." He is a rational centrist analyst, who could easily be writing in the liberal media or journals of the Democratic Party like The New Republic. And he grasps quite accurately the fundamental principles guiding the political class.Such reflections of the imperial mentality are deeply rooted. To pick examples almost at random, in December 2007 Panama declared a Day of Mourning to commemorate the US invasion of 1989, which killed thousands of poor people, so Panamanian human rights groups concluded, when Bush I bombed the El Chorillo slums and other civilian targets. The Day of Mourning of the unpeople scarcely merited a flicker of an eyelid here. It is also of no interest that Bush's invasion of Panama, another textbook example of aggression, appears to have been more deadly than Saddam's invasion of Kuwait a few months later. An unfair comparison of course; after all, we own the world, and he didn't. It is also of no interest that Washington's greatest fear was that Saddam would imitate its behavior in Panama, installing a client government and then leaving, the main reason why Washington blocked diplomacy with almost complete media cooperation; the sole serious exception I know of was Knut Royce in Long Island Newsday. Though the December Day of Mourning passed with little notice, there was a lead story when the Panamanian National Assembly was opened by president Pedro Gonzalez, who is charged by Washington with killing American soldiers during a protest against President Bush's visit two years after his invasion, charges dismissed by Panamanian courts but still upheld by the owner of the world.To take another illustration of the depth of the imperial mentality, New York Times correspondent Elaine Sciolino writes that "Iran's intransigence [about nuclear enrichment] appears to be defeating attempts by the rest of the world to curtail Tehran's nuclear ambitions." The rest of the world happens to exclude the large majority of the world: the non-aligned movement, which forcefully endorses Iran's right to enrich Uranium, in accord with the Non-proliferation treaty (NPT). But they are not part of the world, since they do not reflexively accept US orders. We might tarry for a moment to ask whether there is any solution to the US-Iran confrontation over nuclear weapons. Here is one idea: (1) Iran should have the right to develop nuclear energy, but not weapons, in accord with the NPT. (2) A nuclear weapons-free zone should be established in the region, including Iran, Israel, and US forces deployed there. (3) The US should accept the NPT. (4) The US should end threats against Iran, and turn to diplomacy.The proposals are not original. These are the preferences of the overwhelming majority of Americans, and also Iranians, in polls by World Public Opinion, which found that Americans and Iranians agree on basic issues. At a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies when the polls were released a year ago, Joseph Cirincione, senior vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, said the polls showed "the common sense of both the American people and the Iranian people, [who] seem to be able to rise above the rhetoric of their own leaders to find common sense solutions to some of the most crucial questions" facing the two nations, favoring pragmatic, diplomatic solutions to their differences. The results suggest that if the US and Iran were functioning democratic societies, this very dangerous confrontation could probably be resolved peaceably.The opinions of Americans on this issue too are not regarded as worthy of consideration; they are not options for candidates or commentators. They were apparently not even reported, perhaps considered too dangerous because of what they reveal about the "democratic deficit" in the United States, and about the extremism of the political class across the spectrum. If public opinion were to be mentioned as an option, it would be ridiculed as "politically impossible"; or perhaps offered as another reason why "The public must be put in its place," as Lippmann sternly admonished.There is more to say about the preference of Americans on Iran. Point (1) above, as noted, happens to accord with the stand of the large majority of the world. With regard to point (2), the US and its allies have accepted it, formally at least. UN Security Council Resolution 687 commits them to "the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons" (Article 14). The US and UK have a particularly strong commitment to this principle, since it was this Resolution that they appealed to in their efforts to provide a thin legal cover for their invasion of Iraq, claiming that Iraq had not lived up to the conditions in 687 on disarmament. As for point (3), 80 percent of Americans feel that Washington should live up to its commitment under the NPT to undertake "good faith" efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely, a legal commitment as the World Court determined, explictly rejected by the Bush administration. Turning to point (4), Americans are calling on the government to adhere to international law, under which the threats of violence that are voiced by all current candidates are a crime, in violation of the UN Charter. The call for negotiations and diplomacy on the part of the American unpeople extends to Cuba, and has for decades, but is again dismissed by both political parties.The likelihood that functioning democracy might alleviate severe dangers is regularly illustrated. To take another current example, of great importance, there is now justified concern about Russian reactions to US aggressive militarism. That includes the extension of NATO to the East by Clinton in violation of solemn pledges to Gorbachev, but particularly the vast expansion of offensive military capacity under Bush, and more recently, the plans to place "missile defense" installations in Eastern Europe. Putin is ridiculed for claiming that they are a threat to Russia. But US strategic analysts recognize that he has a point. The programs are designed in a way that Russian planners would have to regard as a threat to the Russian deterrent, hence calling for more advanced and lethal offensive military capacity to neutralize them (see George Lewis and Theodore Postol, "European Missile Defense: The Technological Basis of Russian Concerns," Arms Control Today, Oct. 2007). A new arms race is feared.Recent polls under the direction of strategic analysts John Steinbrunner and Nancy Gallagher "reveal a striking disparity between what U.S. and Russian leaders are doing and what their publics desire," and again indicate that if these countries were functioning democracies, in which the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders had a voice, the increasingly fragile US-Russian strategic relationship could be repaired, a matter of species survival in this case.In a free press, all of these matters, and many more like them, would merit regular prominent headlines and in-depth analysis.Having brought up Iran, we might as well turn briefly to the third member of the famous Axis of Evil, North Korea. The official story right now is that after having been forced to accept an agreement on dismantling its nuclear weapons facilities, North Korea is again trying to evade its commitments in its usual devious way - "good news" for superhawks like John Bolton, who have held all along that they understand only the mailed fist and will exploit negotiations only to trick us. A New York Times headline reads: "U.S. Sees Stalling by North Korea on Nuclear Pact" (January 19); the article by Helene Cooper details the charges. In the last paragraph we discover that the US has not fulfilled its pledges. North Korea has received only 15% of the fuel that was promised by the US and others, and the US has not undertaken steps to improve diplomatic relations, as promised. Several weeks later (Feb. 6), in the McClatchey press Kevin Hall reported that the chief US negotiator with North Korea, Christopher Hill, confirmed in Senate Hearings that "North Korea has slowed the dismantling of its nuclear reactor because it hasn't received the amount of fuel oil it was promised."As we learn from the specialist literature, and asides here and there, this is a consistent pattern. North Korea may have the worst government in the world, but they have been pursuing a pragmatic tit-for-tat policy on negotiations with the United States. When the US takes an aggressive and threatening stance, they react accordingly. When the US moves towards some form of accommodation, so do they. When Bush came into office, both North Korea and the US were bound by the Framework Agreement of 1994. Neither was fully in accord with its commitments, but the agreement was largely being observed. North Korea had stopped testing long-range missiles. It had perhaps 1-2 bombs worth of plutonium, and was verifiably not making more. After 7 Bush years of confrontation, North Korea has 8-10 bombs and long-range missiles, and it is developing plutonium. The Clinton administration, Korea specialist Bruce Cumings reports, "had also worked out a plan to buy out, indirectly, the North's medium and long-range missiles; it was ready to be signed in 2000 but Bush let it fall by the wayside and today the North retains all its formidable missile capability."The reasons for Bush's achievements are well understood. The Axis of Evil speech, a serious blow to Iranian democrats and reformers as they have stressed, also put North Korea on notice that the US is returning to its threatening stance. Washington released intelligence reports about North Korean clandestine program; these were conceded to be dubious or baseless when the latest negotiations began in 2007, probably, commentators speculated, because it was feared that weapons inspectors might enter North Korea and the Iraq story would be repeated. North Korea responded by ratcheting up missile and weapons development.In September 2005, under international pressure Washington agreed to turn to negotiations, within the six-power framework. They achieved substantial success. North Korea agreed to abandon "all nuclear weapons and existing weapons programs" and allow international inspections, in return for international aid and a non-aggression pledge from the U.S., with an agreement that the two sides would "respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize relations." The ink was barely dry on the agreement when the Bush administration renewed the threat of force, also freezing North Korean funds in foreign banks and disbanding the consortium that was to provide North Korea with a light-water reactor consortium. Cumings alleges that "the sanctions were specifically designed to destroy the September pledges [and] to head off an accommodation between Washington and Pyongyang."After Washington scuttled the promising September 2005 agreements, North Korea returned to weapons and missile development and carried out a test of a nuclear weapon. Again under international pressure, and with its foreign policy in tatters, Washington returned to negotiations, leading to an agreement, though it is now dragging its feet on fulfilling its commitments.Writing in Le Monde diplomatique last October, Cumings concludes that "Bush had presided over the most asinine Korea policy in history. These last years, relations between Washington and Seoul have deteriorated drastically. By commission and omission, Bush trampled on the norms of the historic US relationship with Seoul while creating a dangerous situation with Pyongyang."Charges against North Korea escalated in September 2007, when Israel bombed an obscure site in northern Syria, an "act of war," as at least one American correspondent recognized (Seymour Hersh). Charges at once surfaced that Israel attacked a nuclear installation being developed with the help of North Korea, an attack compared with Israel's bombing of the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981 - which, according to available evidence, convinced Saddam Hussein to initiate his nuclear weapons program. The September 2007 charges are dubious. Hersh's tentative conclusion after detailed investigation is that the Israeli actions may have been intended as another threat against Iran: the US-Israel have you in their bombsights. However this may be, there is some important background that should be recalled.In 1993, Israel and North Korea were on the verge of an agreement: Israel would recognize North Korea, and in return, North Korea would end any weapons-related involvement in the Middle East. The significance for Israeli security is clear. Clinton ordered the deal terminated, and Israel had no choice but to obey. Ever since its fateful decision in 1971 and the years that followed to reject peace and security in favor of expansion, Israel has been compelled rely on the US for protection, hence to obey Washington's commands.Whether or not there is any truth to current charges about North Korea and Syria, it appears that the threat to the security of Israel, and the region, could have been avoided by peaceful means, had security been a high priority.Let us return to first member of Axis of Evil, Iraq. Washington's expectations are outlined in a Declaration of Principles between the US and the US-backed Iraqi government last November. The Declaration allows US forces to remain indefinitely to "deter foreign aggression" and for internal security. The only aggression in sight is from the United States, but that is not aggression, by definition. And only the most naïve will entertain the thought that the US would sustain the government by force if it moved towards independence, going too far in strengthening relations with Iran, for example. The Declaration also committed Iraq to facilitate and encourage "the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments."The unusually brazen expression of imperial will was underscored when Bush quietly issued yet another signing statement, declaring that he will reject crucial provisions of congressional legislation that he had just signed, including the provision that forbids spending taxpayer money "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq" or "to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq." Shortly before, the New York Times had reported that Washington "insists that the Baghdad government give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations," a demand that "faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its…deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state." More third world irrationality.In brief, Iraq must agree to allow permanent US military installations (called "enduring" in the preferred Orwellism), grant the US the right to conduct combat operations freely, and ensure US control over oil resources of Iraq while privileging US investors. It is of some interest that these reports did not influence discussion about the reasons for the US invasion of Iraq. These were never obscure, but any effort to spell them out was dismissed with falsification and ridicule. Now the reasons are openly conceded, eliciting no retraction or even reflection.Iraqis are not alone in believing that national reconciliation is possible. A Canadian-run poll found that Afghans are hopeful about the future and favor the presence of Canadian and other foreign troops - the "good news," that made the headlines. The small print suggests some qualifications. Only 20% "think the Taliban will prevail once foreign troops leave." Three-fourths support negotiations between the US-backed Karzai government and the Taliban, and more than half favor a coalition government. The great majority therefore strongly disagree with US-Canadian stance, and believe that peace is possible with a turn towards peaceful means.Though the question was not asked, it is reasonable to surmise that the foreign presence is favored for aid and reconstruction. More evidence in support of this conjecture is provided by reports about the progress of reconstruction in Afghanistan six years after the US invasion. Six percent of the population now have electricity, AP reports, primarily in Kabul, which is artificially wealthy because of the huge foreign presence. There, "the rich, powerful, and well connected" have electricity, but few others, in contrast to the 1980s under Russian occupation, when "the city had plentiful power" - and women in Kabul were relatively free under the occupation and the Russian-backed Najibullah government that followed, probably more so than now, though they did have to worry about attacks from Reagan's favorites, like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who got his kicks from throwing acid in the faces of young women he thought were improperly dressed.These matters were discussed at the time by Rasil Basu, UN Development Program senior advisor to the Afghan government for women's development (1986-88). She reported "enormous strides" for women under the Russian occupation: "illiteracy declined from 98% to 75%, and they were granted equal rights with men in civil law, and in the Constitution... Unjust patriarchal relations still prevailed in the workplace and in the family with women occupying lower level sex-type jobs. But the strides [women] took in education and employment were very impressive....In Kabul I saw great advances in women's education and employment. Women were in evidence in industry, factories, government offices, professions and the media. With large numbers of men killed or disabled, women shouldered the responsibility of both family and country. I met a woman who specialized in war medicine which dealt with trauma and reconstructive surgery for the war-wounded. This represented empowerment to her. Another woman was a road engineer. Roads represented freedom - an escape from the oppressive patriarchal structures."By 1988, however, Basu "could see the early warning signs" as Russian troops departed and the fundamentalist Islamist extremists favored by the Reagan administration took over, brushing aside the more moderate mujahideen groups. "Saudi Arabian and American arms and ammunition gave the fundamentalists a vital edge over the moderates," providing them with military hardware used, "according to Amnesty International, to target unarmed civilians, most of them women and children." Then followed much worse horrors as the US-Saudi favorites overthrew the Najibullah government. The suffering of the population was so extreme that the Taliban were welcomed when they drove out Reagan's freedom fighters. Another chapter in the triumph of Reaganite reactionary ultra-nationalism, worshipped today by those dedicated to defaming the honorable term "conservative."Basu is a distinguished advocate for women's rights, including a long career with the UN during which she drafted the World Plan of Action for Women and the draft Programme for the Women's Decade, 1975-85, adopted at the Mexico City Conference (1975) and Copenhagen Conference (1980). But her words were not welcome in the US. Her 1988 report was submitted to the Washington Post, New York Times, and Ms. magazine. But rejected. Also rejected were Basu's recommendation of practical steps that the West, particularly the US, could take to protect women's rights. Highly relevant in this connection are the important investigations by Nikolai Lanine, a former soldier in the Russian army in Afghanistan, bringing out the striking comparisons between Russian commentary during the occupation and that of their NATO successors today.These and further considerations suggest that Afghans really would welcome a foreign presence devoted to aid and reconstruction, as we can read between the lines in the polls.There are, of course, numerous questions about polls in countries under foreign military occupation, particularly in places like southern Afghanistan. But the results of the Iraq and Afghan studies conform to earlier ones, and should not be dismissed.Recent polls in Pakistan also provide "good news" for Washington. Fully 5% favor allowing US or other foreign troops to enter Pakistan "to pursue or capture al Qaeda fighters." 9% favor allowing US forces "to pursue and capture Taliban insurgents who have crossed over from Afghanistan." Almost half favor allowing Pakistani troops to do so. And only a little over 80% regard the US military presence in Asia and Afghanistan as a threat to Pakistan, while an overwhelming majority believe that the US is trying to harm the Islamic world.The good news is that these results are a considerable improvement over October 2001, when a Newsweek poll found that "Eighty-three percent of Pakistanis surveyed say they side with the Taliban, with a mere 3 percent expressing support for the United States," while over 80 percent described Osama bin Laden as a guerrilla and 6 percent a terrorist.Events elsewhere in early 2008 might also turn out to be "good news" for Washington. In January, in a remarkable act of courageous civil disobedience, tens of thousands of the tortured people of Gaza broke out of the prison to which they had been confined by the US-Israel alliance, with the usual timid European support, as punishment for the crime of voting the wrong way in a free election in January 2006. It was instructive to see the front-pages with stories reporting the brutal US response to a genuinely free election alongside others lauding the Bush administration for its noble dedication to "democracy promotion," or sometimes gently chiding it because it was going too far in its idealism, failing to recognize that the unpeople of the Middle East are too backward to appreciate democracy - another principle that traces back to "Wilsonian idealism."This glaring illustration of elite hatred and contempt for democracy is routinely reported, apparently with no awareness of what it signifies. To pick an illustration almost at random, Cam Simpson reports in the Wall St Journal (Feb. 8) that despite the harsh US-Israeli punishment of Gaza, and "flooding the West Bank's Western-backed Fatah-led government with diplomatic and economic support [to] persuade Palestinians in both territories to embrace Fatah and isolate Hamas," the opposite is happening: Hamas's popularity is increasing in the West Bank. As Simpson casually explains, "Hamas won Palestinian elections in January 2006, prompting the Israeli government and the Bush administration to lead a world-wide boycott of the Palestinian Authority," along with much more severe measures. The goal, unconcealed, is to punish the miscreants who fail to grasp the essential principle of democracy: "Do what we say, or else."The US-backed Israel punishment increased through early 2006, and escalated sharply after the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in June. That act was bitterly denounced in the West. Israel's vicious response was regarded as understandable if perhaps excessive. These thoughts were untroubled by the dramatic demonstration that they were sheer hypocrisy. The day before the capture of Corporal Shalit on the front lines of the army attacking Gaza, Israeli forces entered Gaza City and kidnapped two civilians, the Muammar brothers, taking them to Israel (in violation of the Geneva Conventions), where they disappeared into Israel's prison population, including almost 1000 held without charge, often for long periods. The kidnapping, a far more serious crime than the capture of Shalit, received a few scattered lines of comment, but no noticeable criticism. That is perhaps understandable, because it is not news. US-backed Israeli forces have been engaged in such practices, and far more brutal ones, for decades. And in any event, as a client state Israel inherits the right of criminality from its master.The US-Israel attempted to organize a military coup to install their favored faction. That was also reported frankly, considered entirely legitimate, if not praiseworthy. The coup was preempted by Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip. Israeli savagery reached new heights, while in the West Bank, US-backed Israeli operations carried forrward the steady process of taking over valuable territory and resources, breaking up the fragments remaining to Palestinians by settlements and huge infrastructure projects, imprisoning the whole by takeover of the Jordan Valley, and expanding settlement and development in Jerusalem in violation of Security Council orders that go back 40 years to ensure that there will be no more than a token Palestinian presence in the historic center of Palestinian cultural, commercial, and social life. Non-violent reactions by Palestinians and solidarity groups are viciously crushed with rare exceptions. And scarcely any notice. Even when Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire was shot and gassed by Israeli troops while participating in a vigil protesting the Separation Wall - now better termed an annexation wall - there was apparently not a word in the English-language press, outside of Ireland.Israel's settlement and development programs on the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, are flagrantly illegal, in violation of numerous Security Council resolutions and the authoritative jugment by the International Court of Justice on the Separation Wall, with the agreement of US Justice Buergenthal in a separate declaration.Criminal actions by Palestinians, such as Qassam rockets fired from Gaza, are angrily condemned in the West. The far more violent and destructive Israeli actions sometimes elicit polite clucking of tongues if they exceed approved levels of state terror. Invariably Israel's actions - for which of course the US shares direct responsibility - are portrayed as retaliation, perhaps excessive. Another way of looking at the cycle of violence is that Qassam rockets are retaliation for Israel's unceasing crimes in the West Bank, which is not separable from Gaza except by US-Israeli fiat. But standard racist-ultranationalist assumptions exclude that interpretation.International humanitarian law is quite explicit on these matters. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1950 states that "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited…Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited." Gazans are unambigously "protected persons" under Israeli military occupation. The Hague Convention of 1907 also declares that "No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, can be inflicted on the population on account of the acts of individuals for which it cannot be regarded as collectively responsible" (Article 50). Furthermore, High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention are bound to "respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances," including of course the Israel and the US, which is obligated to prevent, or to punish, the serious breaches of the Convention by its own leaders and its client. When the media report, as they regularly do, that "Israel hopes [reducing supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip] will create popular pressure to force the Hamas rulers of Gaza and other militant groups to stop the rocket fire" (Stephen Erlanger, NYT, Jan. 31), they are calmly informing us that Israel is in grave breach of international humanitarian law, as is the US for not ensuring respect for law on the part of its client. When the Israeli High Court grants legitimacy to these measures, as it has, it is adding another page to its ugly record of subordination to state power. Israel's leading legal journalist, Moshe Negbi, knew what he was doing when he entitled his despairing review of the record of the courts We were like Sodom (Kisdom Hayyinu).International law cannot be enforced against powerful states, except by their own populations. That is always a difficult task, particularly so when articulate opinion and the Courts declare crime to be legitimate.In January, the Hamas-led prison break allowed Gazans for the first time in years to go shopping in nearby Egyptian towns, plainly a serious criminal act because it slightly undermines US-Israeli strangulation of these unpeople. But the powerful quickly recognized that these events too could turn into "good news." Israeli deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai "said openly what some senior Israeli officials would only say anonymously," Stephen Erlanger reported in the New York Times: the prison-break might allow Israel to rid itself of any responsibility for Gaza after having reduced it to devastation and misery in 40 years of brutal occupation, keeping it only for target practice, and of course under full military occupation, its borders sealed by Israeli forces on land, sea and air, apart from an opening to Egypt (in the unlikely event that Egypt would agree).That appealing prospect would complement Israel's ongoing criminal actions in the West Bank, carefully designed along the lines already outlined to ensure that there will be no viable future for Palestinians there. At the same time Israel can turn to solving its internal "demographic problem," the presence of non-Jews in a Jewish state. The ultra-nationalist Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman was harshly condemned as a racist in Israel when he advanced the idea of forcing Arab citizens of Israel into a derisory "Palestinian state," presenting this to the world as a "land swap." His proposal is slowly being incorporated into the mainstream. Israel National News reported in April that Knesset member Otniel Schneller of the governing party Kadima, "considered to be one of the people closest and most loyal to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert," proposed a plan that "appears very similar to one touted by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman," though Schneller says his plan would be "more gradual," and the Arabs affected "will remain citizens of Israel even though their territory will belong to the [Palestinian Authority and] they will not be allowed to resettle in other areas of Israel." Of course the unpeople are not consulted.In December, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the last hope of many Israeli doves, adopted the same position. An eventual Palestinian state, she suggested, would "be the national answer to the Palestinians" in the territories and those "who live in different refugee camps or in Israel." With Israeli Arabs dispatched to their natural place, Israel would then achieve the long-sought goal of freeing itself from the Arab taint, a stand that is familiar enough in US history, for example in Thomas Jefferson's hope, never achieved, that the rising empire of liberty would be free of "blot or mixture," red or black.For Israel, this is no small matter. Despite heroic efforts by its apologists, it is not easy to conceal the fact that a "democratic Jewish state" is no more acceptable to liberal opinion than a "democratic Christian state" or a "democratic white state," as long as the blot or mixture is not removed. Such notions could be tolerated if the religious/ethnic identification were mostly symbolic, like selecting an official day of rest. But in the case of Israel, it goes far beyond that. The most extreme departure from minimal democratic principles is the complex array of laws and bureaucratic arrangements designed to vest control of over 90 percent of the land in the hands of the Jewish National Fund, an organization committed to using charitable funds in ways that are "directly or indirectly beneficial to persons of Jewish religion, race or origin," so its documents explain: "a public institution recognized by the Government of Israel and the World Zionist Organization as the exclusive instrument for the development of Israel's lands," restricted to Jewish use, in perpetuity (with marginal exceptions), and barred to non-Jewish labor (though the principle is often ignored for imported cheap labor). This radical violation of elementary civil rights, funded by all American citizens thanks to the tax-free status of the JNF, finally reached Israel's High Court in 2000, in a case brought by an Arab couple who had been barred from the town of Katzir. The Court ruled in their favor, in a narrow decision, which seems to have been barely implemented. Seven years later, a young Arab couple was barred from the town of Rakefet, on state land, on grounds of "social incompatibility" (Scott Peterson, Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2007), a very rare report. Again, none of this is unfamiliar in the US. After all, it took a century before the 14th amendment was even formally recognized by the courts, and it still is far from implemented.For Palestinians, there are now two options. One is that the US and Israel will abandon their unilateral rejectionism of the past 30 years and accept the international consensus on a two-state settlement, in accord with international law - and, incidentally, in accord with the wishes of a large majority of Americans. That is not impossible, though the two rejectionist states are working hard to render it so. A settlement along these lines came close in negotiations in Taba Egypt in January 2001, and might have been reached, participants reported, had Israeli Prime Minister Barak not called off the negotiations prematurely. The framework for these negotiations was Clinton's "parameters" of December 2000, issued after he recognized that the Camp David proposals earlier that year were unacceptable. It is commonly claimed that Arafat rejected the parameters. However, as Clinton made clear and explicit, both sides had accepted the parameters, in both caes with reservations, which they sought to reconcile in Taba a few weeks later, and apparently almost succeeded. There have been unofficial negotiations since that have produced similar proposals. Though possibilities diminish as US-Israeli settlement and infrastructure programs proceed, they have not been eliminated. By now the international consensus is near universal, supported by the Arab League, Iran, Hamas, in fact every relevant actor apart from the US and Israel.A second possibility is the one that the US-Israel are actually implementing, along the lines just described. Palestinians will then be consigned to their Gaza prison and to West Bank cantons, perhaps joined by Israeli Arab citizens as well if the Lieberman-Schneller-Livni plans are implemented. For the occupied territories, that will realize the intentions expressed by Moshe Dayan to his Labor Party cabinet colleagues in the early years of the occupation: Israel should tell the Palestinian refugees in the territories that "we have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads." The general conception was articulated by Labor Party leader Haim Herzog, later President, in 1972: "I do not deny the Palestinians a place or stand or opinion on every matter...But certainly I am not prepared to consider them as partners in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our nation for thousands of years. For the Jews of this land there cannot be any partner."A third possibility would be a binational state. That was a feasible option in the early years of the occupation, perhaps a federal arrangement leading to eventual closer integration as circumstances permit. There was even some support for similar ideas within Israeli military intelligence, but the grant of any political rights to Palestinians was shot down by the governing Labor Party. Proposals to that effect were made (by me in particular), but elicited only hysteria. The opportunity was lost by the mid-1970s, when Palestinian national rights reached the international agenda, and the two-state consensus took shape. The first US veto of a two-state resolution at the Security Council, advanced by the major Arab states, was in 1976. Washingon's rejectionist stance continues to the present, with the exception of Clinton's last month in office. Some form of unitary state remains a distant possibility through agreement among the parties, as a later stage in a process that begins with a two-state settlement. There is no other form of advocacy of such an outcome, if we understand advocacy to include a process leading from here to there; mere proposal, in contrast, is free for the asking.It is of some interest, perhaps, that when advocacy of a unitary binational state perhaps had some prospects, it was anathema, while today, when it is completely unfeasible, it is greeted with respect and is advocated in leading journals. The reason, perhaps, is that it serves to undermine the prospect of a two-state settlement.Advocates of a binational (one-state) settlement argue that on its present course, Israel will become a pariah state like apartheid South Africa, with a large Palestinian population deprived of rights, laying the basis for an civil rights struggle leading to a unitary democratic state There is no reason to believe that the US, Israel, or any other Western state would allow anything like that to happen. Rather, they will proceed exactly as they are now doing in the territories today, taking no responsibility for Palestinians who are left to rot in the various prisons and cantons that may dot the landscape, far from the eyes of Israelis travelling on their segregated superhighways to their well-subsidized West Bank towns and suburbs, controlling the crucial water resources of the region, and benefiting from their ties with US and other international corporations that are evidently pleased to see a loyal military power at the periphery of the crucial Middle East region, with an advanced high tech economy and close links to Washington.Turning elsewhere, major polls are not such good news for conventional Western doctrine. Few theses are upheld with such passion and unanimity as the doctrine that Hugo Chavez is a tyrant bent on destroying freedom and democracy in Venezuela, and beyond. The annual polls on Latin American opinion by the respected Chilean polling agency Latinobarometro therefore are "bad news." The most recent (November 2007) had the same irritating results as before. Venezuela ranks second, close behind first-place Uruguay, in satisfaction with democracy, and third in satisfaction with leaders. It ranks first in assessment of the current and future economic situation, equality and justice, and education standards. True, it ranks only 11th in favoring a market economy, but even with this flaw, overall it ranks highest in Latin America on matters of democracy, justice, and optimism, far above US favorites Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Chile.Latin America analyst Mark Turner writes that he "found an almost total English speaking blackout about the results of this important snapshot of [Latin American] views and opinions." That has also been true in the past. Turner also found the usual exception: there were reports of the finding that Chavez is about as unpopular as Bush in Latin America, something that will come as little surprise to those who have seen some of the bitterly hostile coverage to which Chavez is subjected, in the Venezuelan press as well, an oddity in this looming dictatorship. Editorial offices have been well aware of the polls, but evidently understand what may pass through doctrinal filters.Also receiving scant notice was a declaration of President Chavez on Dec. 31, 2007, granting amnesty to leaders of the U.S.-backed military coup that kidnapped the president, disbanded parliament and the Supreme Court and all other democratic institutions, but was soon overturned by a popular uprising. That the West would have followed Chavez's model in a comparable case is, to put it mildly, rather unlikely.Perhaps all of this provides some further insight into the "clash of civilizations" - a question that should be prominent in our minds, I think.
ELIAS: Now; in this visualization, allow yourself to visualize energy being
by all of the individuals within your physical reality. Each
projecting energy continuously. That energy, figuratively speaking,
outward and begins to form a collective energy, which may be likened to
immense cloud. As energy continues to be projected to this cloud and
continues to accumulate more power, it becomes a storm. As it becomes
powerful, it becomes an immense storm. Each of you as individuals, in
association with this storm, have become individual lightning rods.
Now; being that lightning rod, within your perception, can be good, or
be bad. It can be conflicting, or it can be beneficial. It is a
matter of how
you incorporate the energy. The energy from the storm is continuously
projecting energy to each lightning rod, and each of you are receiving
different manners. Those individuals that are generating more of an
in association with energy more easily receive the strength of that
the collective, but this is not to say that they objectively recognize
understand what they are receiving and what they are incorporating.
it is immediately translated into some type of manifestation or
many, many individuals recently are translating that energy in manners
conflicting or frustrating or uncomfortable, and they are generating
extremes. Extremes are very easily expressed in this present time
what you deem to be good or bad — extremes in excitement and extremes
irritation. This is an element of the polarization that is occurring
that is occurring in relation to strength of energy that is being
Now; the key is to be aware that there is a tremendous strength of
is being expressed, and to be aware that there is a tremendous
automatic and easy extremes, and to be paying attention to what type of
you are expressing, to be aware of what you are doing, and therefore
what type of energy you are expressing. It matters not that you allow
to receive, for what is important is how you manipulate that energy,
configure it, and being aware of how you are also projecting. The more
intensity that you project yourself, the more of a lightning rod you
and therefore the more potential to be receiving more of an intensity
You are allowing yourself to receive the strength of the energy, but
not paying attention to configuring that and manipulating that in a
is generating more of an ease. That energy may be manipulated in a
be empowering of you in the recognition of your own strength and your
of energy. But in being unfamiliar with it and not incorporating a
objective understanding of it — although I acknowledge that you have
somewhat of an awareness and an understanding of the strength of the
your not channeling it, so to speak — therefore, it is creating an
and that generates a frustration.
In paying attention to the reception of the energy, you may manipulate
different manners. You expressed an example of the game. You feel
energy, it is interrupting your game, and that is generating
Rather than interrupting your game, it may be channeled in a manner
your physical body consciousness to enhance your experience with the
to allow you to play the game with more power.
Q: And I’d be doing that by focusing back into self?
ELIAS: Focusing your attention upon the energy and moving it, dispersing it, allowing it to move naturally with your body consciousness, and therefore incorporating it within your actual physical body and the movement of your body, creating much more of a strength in your actual physical movement — generating a dance with the energy in a strength and powerfulness that is moving in the playfulness of the game, but also in an expression of power and beauty in movements.
Q: Versus taking the energy and discounting myself.
For all those activists who have been investigating and reporting on clandestine government operations around the world to manipulate our weather patterns, this news from Germany is groundbreaking.
The TV news report states that “the military planes of the German Federal Army are manipulating our climate; this is what the weather researchers are presuming and their suspicions are confirmed…
“We can state with a 97% certainty that we have on our hands chemical trails (chemtrails) comprised by fine dust containing polymers and metals, used to disrupt radar signals.”
“This is their main purpose, but I was surprised that this artificial cloud was so wide-spread. The radar images are stunning considering the needed tons of dispersed elements -- although, the federal army claims that only small amounts of material were propagated. The military heads claim that the substances used are not harmful.”
“In the United States of America there are protest after protest for many years now, against these military operations and now people are mobilising in Germany as well. Per example JOHANNES REMMEL of the Greens.
“It's obvious that enormous regions are being polluted with clandestine actions, but all of this has to be made public. The government must provide explanations to the unsuspecting population.”
This is a very significant development in the battle to find out why our governments are spraying chemicals into our atmosphere, however it is only the tip of the iceberg. As far as researchers have been able to conclude, chemical spraying by our governments have been in full operation since mid-to-late 1990’s (possibly earlier). The following video presentation is a great introduction to chemtrails and some of its possible implication: Aerosol Crimes (1:39:23).
Right now we can only speculate as to what type of chemicals are used in these operations, however one thing is certain, if we saw a car driving down the road, spewing out a plume of smoke the way these planes are doing we would be very concerned.
Anyone who knows anything about salmon knows the dams must go. Anyone who knows anything about politics knows the dams will stay. Scientists study, politicians and business people lie and delay, bureaucrats hold sham public meetings, activists write letters and press releases, and still the salmon die.
Sadly enough, I'm not alone in my inability or unwillingness to take action. Members of the German resistance to Hitler from 1933 to 1945, for example, exhibited a striking blindness all too familiar: Despite knowing that Hitler had to be removed for a "decent" government to be installed, they spent more time creating paper versions of this theoretical government than attempting to remove him from power. It wasn't a lack of courage that caused this blindness but rather a misguided sense of morals. Karl Goerdeler, for instance, though tireless in attempting to create this new government, staunchly opposed assassinating Hitler, believing that if only the two of them could sit face to face, Hitler might relent.
We, too, suffer from this blindness and must learn to differentiate between real and false hopes. We must eliminate false hopes, which blind us to real possibilities and unlivable situations. Does anyone really believe our protests will cause Weyerhaeuser or other timber transnationals to stop destroying forests ? Does anyone really believe the same corporate administrators who say they "wish salmon would go extinct so we could just get on with living" (Randy Hardy of BPA) wiill act other than to fulfill their desires? Does anyone really believe a pattern of exploitation old as our civilization can be halted legislatively, judicially or through any means other than an absolute rejection of the mindset that engineers the exploitation, followed by actions based on that rejection? Does anybody really think those who are destroying the world will stop because we ask nicely or because we lock arms peacefully in front of their offices?
Additionally, there can be few who still believe the purpose of government is to protect citizens from those who would destroy them. The opposite is true: Political economist Adam Smith was correct in noting that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens. To expect institutions created by our culture to do other than poison waters, denude hillsides, eliminate alternative ways of living and commit genocide is to engage in naive thinking.
Many German conspirators hesitated to remove Hitler from office because they'd sworn loyalty to him and his government. Their scruples caused more hesitation than their fear did. How many of us have yet to root out misguided remnants of a belief in the legitimacy of this government to which, as children, we pledged allegiance? How many of us fail to cross the line into violent resistance because we still believe that, somehow, the system can be reformed? And if we don't believe that, what are we waiting for? As Shakespeare so accurately put it, "Conscience doth make cowards of us all."
It could be argued that by comparing our government to Hitler's I'm overstating my case. I'm not sure salmon would agree, nor lynx, nor the people of Peru, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, or any other place where people pay with their lives for the activities of our culture.
If we're to survive, we must recognize that we kill by inaction as surely as by action. We must recognize that, as Hermann Hesse wrote, "We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, affliction or infamy. We kill when, because it is easier, we countenance, or pretend to approve of atrophied social, political, educational, and religious institutions, instead of resolutely combating them."
The central - and in many ways only - question of our time is this: What are sane, appropriate and effective responses to outrageously destructive behavior? So often, those working to slow the destruction can plainly describe the problems. Who couldn't? The problems are neither subtle nor cognitively challenging. Yet when faced with the emotionally daunting task of fashioning a response to these clearly insoluble problems, we generally suffer a failure of nerve and imagination. Gandhi wrote a letter to Hitler asking him to stop committing atrocities and was mystified that it didn't work. I continue writing letters to the editor of the local corporate newspaper pointing out mistruths and am continually surprised at the next absurdity.
. . .
The current system has already begun to collapse under the weight of its ecological excesses, and here's where we can help. Having transferred our loyalty away from our culture's illegitimate economic and governmental entities and given it to the land, our goal must be to protect, through whatever means possible, the human and nonhuman residents of our homelands. Our goal, like that of a demolition crew on a downtown building, must be to help our culture collapse in place, so that in its fall it takes out as little life as possible.
Discussion presupposes distance, and the fact that we're talking about whether violence is appropriate tells me we don't yet care enough. There's a kind of action that doesn't emerge from discussion, from theory, but instead from our bodies and from the land. This action is the honeybee stinging to defend her hive; it's the mother grizzly charging a train to defend her cubs; it's Zapatista spokesperson Cecelia Rodriguez saying, "I have a question of those men who raped me. Why did you not kill me? It was a mistake to spare my life. I will not shut up. ... This has not traumatized me to the point of paralysis." It's Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, murdered by the Nigerian government at the urging of Shell, whose last words were, "Lord, take my soul, but the struggle continues!" It's those who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. It's Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Geronimo. It's salmon battering themselves against concrete, using the only thing they have, their flesh, to try to break down that which keeps them from their homes.
I don't believe the question of whether to use violence is the right one. Instead, the question should be: Do you sufficiently feel the loss? So long as we discuss this in the abstract, we still have much to lose. If we begin to feel in our bodies the immensity and emptiness of what we lose daily - intact natural communities, hours sold for wages, childhoods lost to violence, women's capacity to walk unafraid - we'll know precisely what to do.
Derrick Jensen's most recent book is
"A Language Older Than Words"
published by Context Books.
He also is a regular interviewer for
The Sun magazine.
His website is http://www.derrickjensen.org.
Posted by Hecate
Susan Serpa called last night and told me about Betty Hall's commitment to Impeachment (above). I burst out crying. I told her, "I don't want anyone to die for this!" My appointment with Conyers has been postponed for the fourth time. I told Rinia, Conyers' scheduler, "There are now thirty-four people fasting and each time he postpones our meeting, I have to let them know. There are a lot of people counting on me ..." Then I told her about Betty and the tears started flowing. When she heard this, she seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation . I could tell she was moved. She said she'd try to fit me in sooner, but if I didn't hear back from her, the meeting would be this Friday@ 10:00am. I will let you know what happens.
Here's Betty's story: She is a 14 term state representative from New Hampshire and has introduced HR 24 to the state house, which asks for the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The public hearing for the resolution is next Tuesday, February 19 (the day after President's day). She is joining the CodePink Fast.
Susan told me, "She is 87 years old and refuses to eat until Conyers begins impeachment proceedings." Betty told Susan, "I've had a good life. I can't think of any better way to end it."
I love all of you!! Peace and Freedom, Leslie
Submitted by David Swanson on Wed, 2008-02-13 00:52: Impeachment
[received 3:43 pm today]Dear Friends, This is the 10th day of my fast and if I could, I'd curl up in bed with a book, but I know I can't. I feel overwhelmed by how big this impeachment fast seems to be getting. I'm especially concerned about Betty. I have been a pacifist for years and I don't want to be responsible for anyone's death, even if it is her own choice. I just sent you all an email and I didn't include the most important last paragraph, so I'm sending this to you now. In the paragraph Susan Serpa talks about Betty: "Now, before you think I am heartless by "encouraging" this act by announcing it, I know Betty. When she decides to do something, there is no changing her mind - she's going to do it. She will not eat until impeachment proceedings begin in earnest. We owe it to her to make this worth her while. It's time to pull out ALL the stops and get Conyer's ass into gear! We cannot let this clear-headed, heroic woman sacrifice herself." I agree and I will do whatever I can to support her. I don't know how yet, but I will be talking with her to find out....Again..."We cannot let this clear-headed, heroic woman sacrifice herself." We must reach Conyers heart and change his mind!!! Peace and Freedom, Leslie
Betty's resolution in support of impeachment (HR 24) - Public Hearing Feb 19
LONDON (IRNA) -- Iran’s defense expenditure per capita remains among the lowest in the Middle East region despite having the second highest population behind Egypt, according to the new publication of Military Balance.
The 2008 edition said that Iran’s total defense spending for 2006, the latest available, was nearly 55 percent less that Israel’s, despite having ten times the population of the Zionist entity.
Per capita, Israeli regime’s expenditure was calculated to be nearly 17 times higher at an average of $1,737 per person compared with only $110 for each Iranian.
Israel’s military spending was shown to be the second highest in the world and only $59 per capita behind the U.S., excluding Qatar, which only has a population of less than one million.
Even as a proportion of GDP, Iran’s defense expenditure of 3.3 percent was found to be well less than half of Israel’s 7.9 percent, which is among the highest in the world and even more than the U.S.
Publishers of Military Balance, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), reported that Tel Aviv had increased its proposed defense budget for 2007 following its invasion of Lebanon in the previous summer.
Under a new agreement with the U.S., it also said Washington was providing Israeli regime with a $30 billion package of Foreign Military Financing between 2009 and 2018, an increase amounting to around 25 percent more than in the previous ten-year period.
It is sub-visible but in your pocket and on your back.
I speak of the hundreds of billions each year of federal government contracts, grants, leaseholds and licenses given to corporations to run our government, exploit our taxpayer assets and lay waste to efficient, responsive public services.
Before he left Washington in 2003 to run for Governor of Indiana, the hyper-conservative Director of Bush’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mitch Daniels, endorsed the policy of having all federal departments and agencies place the full text of their contracts, leases of natural resources and other agreements on the Internet.
He placed a notice in the Federal Register inviting comments. Obviously, the large corporate contractors and lessees of minerals and other public resources did not like the idea. After all, information is the currency of democracy. Big businesses, like Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, love oligarchies and corporate socialism featuring subsidies, handouts, bailouts and contracted out governmental functions.
Big Bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. were not exactly enthusiastic about applying Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ comment that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Unfortunately, Daniels’ successor at OMB, Bush loyalist and now his chief of staff, Josh Bolten, was totally cold to the proposal. Activity grinded to a halt.
There is new activity on other fronts, however. Congress, in 2006, passed legislation to shed light on the contracting process. Starting in January of 2008, the government website: http://www.usaspending.gov/ started providing the public with the following information:
1. the name of the entity receiving the award;
2. the amount of the award;
3. information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc;
4. the location of the entity receiving the award; and
5. a unique identifier of the entity receiving the award.
But the essential requirement-placing the entire text of these contracts on the web is the unfinished business of Congress which some Democrats and Republicans are turning their attention to in the coming months. In a meeting, Senator Chuck Grassley (Rep. Iowa) declared his support. Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, has also assented. Others from both Parties are on board.
The next step will either be placing the requisite amendment in must-pass legislation or having public hearings to show the American people the advantages as a taxpayer and citizen of expanding their “right to know.”
Consider the groups who will benefit from such open government:
1. Small business competitors who are often aced out of no-bid contracts and over-ridden by major prime contractors’ influence on federal agencies. The quality of competitive bidding and performance should go up.
2. Taxpayers and taxpayer groups have opportunities to review, challenge or oppose where their money is going.
3. The media will be able to report to the public about the doings of contracting and leasing and licensing government in faster and much greater detail.
4. Scholars and students at universities, business schools and law schools will be able to provide analyses, improvements on both the substantive content and proper procedures for making these agreements. Sweetheart giveaways, for example, of minerals on public land and easy avoidance of responsibilities should be reduced. Archives of these contracts will be created for historical reference.
5. Local and state governments and legislatures will find themselves equipped to participate where their interests are at stake and may be encouraged to emulate such openness with their own texts of contracts, leases and so forth.
Already, some states like Texas and Indiana are placing notices of state contracts on their websites.
Last week, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, took the initiative by placing on his department’s website. “Track Your Taxes,” details on his office’s spending, “including every single contract that our department has entered into, including legal services, such as Special Assistant Attorneys General, and expert witnesses.” Mr. Cox added that all vendor contracts, “the type of service being provided, the term of the contract, the amount of the contract, how much has been spent, and how much is left,” will be online.
Good step forward. But much more at all levels of government is needed, including the full texts and any performance information about delays, incomplete or incompetent work and other qualitative information such as cost over-runs. You may wish to contact your legislators and solicit their support.
Is it “mission accomplished” when all such outsourcing information is online for everyone to see? Of course not. Information has to be used. This requires that new habits be established.
Reporters, scholars, taxpayer groups and other are not used to this “beat.” They have to expand their time and resources to get on it. Otherwise, the bureaucrats and the business lobbies will continue with business as usual.
[Thanks to Thespian Lipstick Lesbian for this info]
What is believed to be the first recording of Allen Ginsberg reading his iconic Beat poem "Howl" has been found at the library of a private college here.
For years, it has been thought that the first recording of Ginsberg reading "Howl" was on March 18, 1956, at a performance in Berkeley, Calif.
But researcher John Suiter has found a recording at Portland's Reed College that predates that by a month, The Oregonian newspaper reports.
Suiter was at the college library in May to research a biography of Gary Snyder, a poet who grew up in Portland, graduated from Reed and was a friend of Ginsberg.
On Feb. 13, 1956, Snyder and Ginsberg read to about 20 people at Reed, and on Feb. 14, they gave another reading that was recorded on tape. At both readings, Ginsberg read a version of "Howl," a few months before publication of the poem that was to make him famous.
At Reed's library, a special collections assistant brought Suiter a box marked "Snyder Ginsberg 1956." In that box he found a 35-minute tape of Ginsberg reading the first section of "Howl" and seven other poems.
"It was completely serendipitous," Suiter said. "I had no idea there was a tape."
Reed has put the recording of "Howl" and the other poems on its Web site (http://www.reed.edu) but it won't be accessible until Friday, when the issue of Reed magazine with Suiter's article is published.
"Howl," which was the subject of a landmark obscenity trial after its publication, has sold more than 1 million copies over the past five decades.
Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends
Quietly, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been inspiring Democrats everywhere with their rolling bitchfest, congressional superduo Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have completed one of the most awesome political collapses since Neville Chamberlain. At long last, the Democratic leaders of Congress have publicly surrendered on the Iraq War, just one year after being swept into power with a firm mandate to end it.
Solidifying his reputation as one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history, Reid explained his decision to refocus his party’s energies on topics other than ending the war by saying he just couldn’t fit Iraq into his busy schedule. “We have the presidential election,” Reid said recently. “Our time is really squeezed.”
There was much public shedding of tears among the Democratic leadership, as Reid, Pelosi and other congressional heavyweights expressed deep sadness that their valiant charge up the hill of change had been thwarted by circumstances beyond their control — that, as much as they would love to continue trying to end the catastrophic Iraq deal, they would now have to wait until, oh, 2009 to try again. “We’ll have a new president,” said Pelosi. “And I do think at that time we’ll take a fresh look at it.”
Pelosi seemed especially broken up about having to surrender on Iraq, sounding like an NFL coach in a postgame presser, trying with a straight face to explain why he punted on first-and-goal. “We just didn’t have any plays we liked down there,” said the coach of the 0-15 Dems. “Sometimes you just have to play the field-position game….”
In reality, though, Pelosi and the Democrats were actually engaged in some serious point-shaving. Working behind the scenes, the Democrats have systematically taken over the anti-war movement, packing the nation’s leading group with party consultants more interested in attacking the GOP than ending the war. “Our focus is on the Republicans,” one Democratic apparatchik in charge of the anti-war coalition declared. “How can we juice up attacks on them?”
The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what’s to come if they win the White House. And if we don’t pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there’s still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame.
The controversy over the Democratic “strategy” to end the war basically comes down to whom you believe. According to the Reid-Pelosi version of history, the Democrats tried hard to force President Bush’s hand by repeatedly attempting to tie funding for the war to a scheduled withdrawal. Last spring they tried to get him to eat a timeline and failed to get the votes to override a presidential veto. Then they retreated and gave Bush his money, with the aim of trying again after the summer to convince a sufficient number of Republicans to cross the aisle in support of a timeline.
But in September, Gen. David Petraeus reported that Bush’s “surge” in Iraq was working, giving Republicans who might otherwise have flipped sufficient cover to continue supporting the war. The Democrats had no choice, the legend goes, but to wait until 2009, in the hopes that things would be different under a Democratic president.
Democrats insist that the reason they can’t cut off the money for the war, despite their majority in both houses, is purely political. “George Bush would be on TV every five minutes saying that the Democrats betrayed the troops,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Then he glumly adds another reason. “Also, it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Why it “just wasn’t going to happen” is the controversy. In and around the halls of Congress, the notion that the Democrats made a sincere effort to end the war meets with, at best, derisive laughter. Though few congressional aides would think of saying so on the record, in private many dismiss their party’s lame anti-war effort as an absurd dog-and-pony show, a calculated attempt to score political points without ever being serious about bringing the troops home.
“Yeah, the amount of expletives that flew in our office alone was unbelievable,” says an aide to one staunchly anti-war House member. “It was all about the public show. Reid and Pelosi would say they were taking this tough stand against Bush, but if you actually looked at what they were sending to a vote, it was like Swiss cheese. Full of holes.”
In the House, some seventy Democrats joined the Out of Iraq caucus and repeatedly butted heads with Reid and Pelosi, arguing passionately for tougher measures to end the war. The fight left some caucus members bitter about the party’s failure. Rep. Barbara Lee of California was one of the first to submit an amendment to cut off funding unless it was tied to an immediate withdrawal. “I couldn’t even get it through the Rules Committee in the spring,” Lee says.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a fellow caucus member, says Democrats should have refused from the beginning to approve any funding that wasn’t tied to a withdrawal. “If we’d been bold the minute we got control of the House — and that’s why we got the majority, because the people of this country wanted us out of Iraq — if we’d been bold, even if we lost the votes, we would have gained our voice.”
An honest attempt to end the war, say Democrats like Woolsey and Lee, would have involved forcing Bush to execute his veto and allowing the Republicans to filibuster all they wanted. Force a showdown, in other words, and use any means necessary to get the bloodshed ended.
“Can you imagine Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert taking no for an answer the way Reid and Pelosi did on Iraq?” asks the House aide in the expletive-filled office. “They’d find a way to get the votes. They’d get it done somehow.”
But any suggestion that the Democrats had an obligation to fight this good fight infuriates the bund of hedging careerists in charge of the party. In fact, nothing sums up the current Democratic leadership better than its vitriolic criticisms of those recalcitrant party members who insist on interpreting their 2006 mandate as a command to actually end the war. Rep. David Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a key Pelosi-Reid ally, lambasted anti-war Democrats who “didn’t want to get specks on those white robes of theirs.” Obey even berated a soldier’s mother who begged him to cut off funds for the war, accusing her and her friends of “smoking something illegal.”
Rather than use the vast power they had to end the war, Democrats devoted their energy to making sure that “anti-war activism” became synonymous with “electing Democrats.” Capitalizing on America’s desire to end the war, they hijacked the anti-war movement itself, filling the ranks of peace groups with loyal party hacks. Anti-war organizations essentially became a political tool for the Democrats — one operated from inside the Beltway and devoted primarily to targeting Republicans.
This supposedly grass-roots “anti-war coalition” met regularly on K Street, the very capital of top-down Beltway politics. At the forefront of the groups are Thomas Matzzie and Brad Woodhouse of Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq, the leader of the anti-war lobby. Along with other K Street crusaders, the two have received iconic treatment from The Washington Post and The New York Times, both of which depicted the anti-war warriors as young idealist-progressives in shirtsleeves, riding a mirthful spirit into political combat — changing the world is fun!
But what exactly are these young idealists campaigning for? At its most recent meeting, the group eerily echoed the Reid-Pelosi “squeezed for time” mantra: Retreat from any attempt to end the war and focus on electing Democrats. “There was a lot of agreement that we can draw distinctions between anti-war Democrats and pro-war Republicans,” a spokeswoman for Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq announced.
What the Post and the Times failed to note is that much of the anti-war group’s leadership hails from a consulting firm called Hildebrand Tewes — whose partners, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, served as staffers for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). In addition, these anti-war leaders continue to consult for many of the same U.S. senators whom they need to pressure in order to end the war. This is the kind of conflict of interest that would normally be an embarrassment in the activist community.
Worst of all is the case of Woodhouse, who came to Hildebrand Tewes after years of working as the chief mouthpiece for the DSCC, where he campaigned actively to re-elect Democratic senators who supported the Iraq War in the first place. Anyone bothering to look — and clearly the Post and the Times did not before penning their ardent bios of Woodhouse — would have found the youthful idealist bragging to newspapers before the Iraq invasion about the pro-war credentials of North Carolina candidate Erskine Bowles. “No one has been stronger in this race in supporting President Bush in the War on Terror and his efforts to effect a regime change in Iraq,” boasted the future “anti-war” activist Woodhouse.
With guys like this in charge of the anti-war movement, much of what has passed for peace activism in the past year was little more than a thinly veiled scheme to use popular discontent over the war to unseat vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in 2008. David Sirota, a former congressional staffer whose new book, The Uprising, excoriates the Democrats for their failure to end the war, expresses disgust at the strategy of targeting only Republicans. “The whole idea is based on this insane fiction that there is no such thing as a pro-war Democrat,” he says. “Their strategy allows Democrats to take credit for being against the war without doing anything to stop it. It’s crazy.”
Justin Raimondo, the uncompromising editorial director of Antiwar.com, regrets contributing twenty dollars to Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq. “Not only did they use it to target Republicans,” he says, “they went after the ones who were on the fence about Iraq.” The most notorious case involved Lincoln Chafee, a moderate from Rhode Island who lost his Senate seat in 2006. Since then, Chafee has taken shots at Democrats like Reid, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, all of whom campaigned against him despite having voted for the war themselves.
“Look, I understand partisan politics,” says Chafee, who now concedes that voters were correct to punish him for his war vote. “I just find it amusing that those who helped get us into this mess now say we need to change the Senate — because we’re in a mess.”
The really tragic thing about the Democratic surrender on Iraq is that it’s now all but guaranteed that the war will be off the table during the presidential campaign. Once again — it happened in 2002, 2004 and 2006 — the Democrats have essentially decided to rely on the voters to give them credit for being anti-war, despite the fact that, for all the noise they’ve made to the contrary, in the end they’ve done nothing but vote for war and cough up every dime they’ve been asked to give, every step of the way.
Even beyond the war, the Democrats have repeatedly gone limp-dick every time the Bush administration so much as raises its voice. Most recently, twelve Democrats crossed the aisle to grant immunity to phone companies who participated in Bush’s notorious wiretapping program. Before that, Democrats caved in and confirmed Mike Mukasey as attorney general after he kept his middle finger extended and refused to condemn waterboarding as torture. Democrats fattened by Wall Street also got cold feet about upsetting the country’s gazillionaires, refusing to close a tax loophole that rewarded hedge-fund managers with a tax rate less than half that paid by ordinary citizens.
But the war is where they showed their real mettle. Before the 2006 elections, Democrats told us we could expect more specifics on their war plans after Election Day. Nearly two years have passed since then, and now they are once again telling us to wait until after an election to see real action to stop the war. In the meantime, of course, we’re to remember that they’re the good guys, the Republicans are the real enemy, and, well, go Hillary! Semper fi! Yay, team!
How much of this bullshit are we going to take? How long are we supposed to give the Reids and Pelosis and Hillarys of the world credit for wanting, deep down in their moldy hearts, to do the right thing?
Look, fuck your hearts, OK? Just get it done. Because if you don’t, sooner or later this con is going to run dry. It may not be in ‘08, but it’ll be soon. Even Americans can’t be fooled forever.
Lee RogersUSNORTHCOM recently announced on their official web site that they are ready to implement martial law. In a press release, the military command stated that the organization is ready to respond to any homeland defense or civil support mission requirement. Considering that George W. Bush has signed a directive making the President a dictator over continuity of government operations in the case of a catastrophic emergency, any homeland defense or civil support mission requirement would include the implementation of martial law. Below is the full press release which contains all sorts of wonderfully crafted politically correct language from their PR people that attempts to convince us that the use of the military domestically for all declared emergencies is perfect acceptable.U.S. Northern Command’s primary mission is Homeland Defense, and the command stands ready to respond to any homeland defense or civil support mission requirement.“The U.S. military absolutely has the capacity to respond to potential threats within our nation today. It will get better in this coming year and continue to improve beyond that,” said Gen. Gene Renuart, USNORTHCOM commander.Established in 2002 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, USNORTHCOM has dramatically expanded DoD’s focus on all aspects of Homeland Defense, including planning and exercising, as well as organizing new headquarters and units that are specifically tailored for domestic response.USNORTHCOM has prepared detailed plans for responding to situations that range from pandemic influenza to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear events, and the command has redefined its readiness capabilities since Hurricane Katrina.When it comes to providing forces in response to incidents, the command has nearly 50 National Guard officers fully integrated within its operations, in addition to National Guard Civil Support Teams located within every U.S. state and territory, and 17 regional consequence response units.USNORTHCOM also utilizes an active-duty military response unit of nearly 450 Marines who are the “gold standard” for responding to weapons of mass destruction attacks. In addition, there are pre-identified active-duty and Reserve components (4,000 members each) on a short string to provide additional muscle to initial response teams.USNORTHCOM’s primary mission remains defending the homeland, and Americans can be assured the U.S. military is ready and capable of responding to attacks within the United States....
In his State of the Union, the President asked Congress for $300 million for poor kids in the inner city. As there are, officially, 15 million children in America living in poverty, how much is that per child? Correct! $20.
Here’s your second question. The President also demanded that Congress extend his tax cuts. The cost: $4.3 trillion over ten years. The big recipients are millionaires. And the number of millionaires happens, not coincidentally, to equal the number of poor kids, roughly 15 million of them. OK class: what is the cost of the tax cut per millionaire? That’s right, Richie, $287,000 apiece.
Mr. Bush said, “In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls with dreams. And a decent education is their only hope of achieving them.”
So how much educational dreaming will $20 buy?
-George Bush’s alma mater, Phillips Andover Academy, tells us their annual tuition is $37,200. The $20 “Pell Grant for Kids,” as the White House calls it, will buy a poor kid about 35 minutes of this educational dream. So they’ll have to wake up quickly.
-$20 won’t cover the cost of the final book in the Harry Potter series.
If you can’t buy a book nor pay tuition with a sawbuck, what exactly can a poor kid buy with $20 in urban America? The Palast Investigative Team donned baseball caps and big pants and discovered we could obtain what local citizens call a “rock” of crack cocaine. For $20, we were guaranteed we could fulfill any kid’s dream for at least 15 minutes.
Now we could see the incontrovertible logic in what appeared to be quixotic ravings by the President about free trade with Colombia, Pell Grant for Kids and the surge in Iraq. In Iraq, General Petraeus tells us we must continue to feed in troops for another ten years. There is no way the military can recruit these freedom fighters unless our lower income youth are high, hooked and desperate. Don’t say, ‘crack vials,’ they’re, ‘Democracy Rocks’!
The plan would have been clearer if Mr. Bush had kept in his speech the line from his original draft which read, “I have ordered 30,000 additional troops to Iraq this year – and I am proud to say my military-age kids are not among them.”
Of course, there’s an effective alternative to Mr. Bush’s plan – which won’t cost a penny more. Simply turn it upside down. Let’s give each millionaire in America a $20 bill, and every poor child $287,000.
And, there’s an added benefit to this alternative. Had we turned Mr. Bush and his plan upside down, he could have spoken to Congress from his heart.
-For more on Bush and education read “No Child’s Behind Left” in Armed Madhouse excerpted here.
-Also read Palast’s take on the 2007 State of the Union here.
Greg Palast is the author of the NY Times best-sellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. View Palast’s investigative reports for BBC Television on our YouTube Channel.
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For Big Media, truth is a scare commodity and in times of war it's the first casualty, or as esteemed journalist John Pilger noted: "Journalism (not truth) is the first casualty (of war). Not only that: it('s)....a weapon of war (by its) virulent censorship....by omission (and its) power....can mean....life and death for people in faraway countries, such as Iraq." Famed journalist George Seldes put it another way by condemning the "prostitution of the press" in an earlier era when he covered WW I, the rise of fascism, and most major world and national events until his death in 1995 at age 104. He also confronted the media in books like "Lords of the Press." In it and others, he condemned their corruption, suppression of the truth, and news censorship before the television age, and said "The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself, (and the press is) the most powerful force against the general welfare of the majority of the people."Orwell also knew a thing or two about truth and said telling it is a "revolutionary act in times of universal deceit." Much else he said applies to the man this article addresses and the state of today's media. He was at his allegorical best in "Animal Farm" where power overwhelms freedom, and "All animals are equal but some....are more equal than others." And he observed in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" that "Those who control the present control the future (and) Those who control the future control the past." Today's media barons control the world as opinion makers. Like in Orwell's world, they're our national thought control police gatekeepers sanitizing news so only the cleansed residue portion gets through with everything people want most left out - the full truth all the time. They manipulate our minds and beliefs, program our thoughts, divert our attention, and effectively destroy the free marketplace of ideas essential to a healthy democracy they won't tolerate. None more ruthlessly than Murdoch and the infoentertainment empire he controls. Its flagship US operation is Fox News that Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) calls "the most biased name in news....with its extraordinary right-wing tilt." In response, Murdock defiantly "challenge(s) anybody to show me an example of bias in Fox News Channel" because in his world the entire political spectrum begins and ends with his views. For him and his staff, "fair and balanced," we report, you decide" means supporting the boss. Alternative views are biased, verboten and rarely aired. But they're hammered when they are as the "liberal" mainstream that's code language for CNN and other rivals at a time all media giants match the worst of Fox and are often as crude, confrontational and unprofessional. Distinguished Australian-raised journalist Bruce Page wrote the book on Murdoch called "The Murdoch Archigelago." It's about a man he calls "one of the world's leading villains (and) global pirate(s)" who rampages the mediasphere putting world leaders on notice what he expects from them and what he'll offer in return. It's "let's make a deal," Murdoch-style that's uncompromisingly hardball. Acquiesce or get hammered in print and on-air with scathing innuendo, misinformation and outright lies. Few politicians risk it. Others with alternative views have no choice, and world leaders like Hugo Chavez are used to this type character assassination. He mostly worries about the other kind and with good reason as long-time Latin American expert James Petras reported November 28. Four days before a crucially important constitutional reform referendum, he published an article headlined: "Venezuela's D-Day - The December 2, 2007 Constituent Referendum: Democratic Socialism or Imperial Counter-Revolution." In it, he reported that the Venezuelan government "broadcast and circulated a confidential (US embassy) memo to the CIA" revealing "clandestine operations....to destabilize (the referendum) and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government." It's because independent polls predicted the referendum would pass even though they proved wrong. The dominant media readied to pounce on the results but instead went into gloat mode on a win Chavez called a "phyrric victory" but Murdock headlines trumpeted "Chavez's president-for-life-bid defeated." This is the type vintage copy Page covers with reams of examples in his book.Its central theme is that the media baron wants to privatize "a state propaganda service (and manipulate it) without scruple (or) regard for the truth." In return he wants "vast government favors such as tax breaks, regulatory relief, and monopoly" market control free from competitors having too much of what he wants solely for himself and apparently feels it's owed to him.Because of his size and media clout, he usually gets his way and mostly in places mattering most - in the biggest markets with greatest profit potential in a business where truth is off the table and partnering with government for a growing revenue stream and greater influence is all that counts. The Murdock Empire from InceptionMurdoch's empire is vast and is part of his News Corporation that was incorporated in Australia in 1979 (Murdoch's home). It was then reincorporated in 2004 in the US in the corporate-friendly state of Delaware with its headquarters in New York. The company was huge when media experts Robert McChesney and Edward Herman wrote about it in their 1997 book, "The Global Media Giants." Back then, it ranked fifth in size among the giants (it's now third after Time Warner and Disney) with $10 billion in 1996 sales when the authors called the company "the archetype for the twenty-first century media firm....and the best case study (example) for understanding global media firm behavior." Gross revenue today tops $28 billion, operating income is nearly $4.5 billion, the company has over 47,000 employees, it operates on six continents, 75% of its business is in the US, and one industry analyst told McChesney and Herman 10 years ago "Murdoch seems to have Washington in his back pocket" as he keeps getting favorable rulings to do what he wants. And that was under Bill Clinton who signed the outrageous 1996 Telecommunications (giveaway) Act for Big Media and Big Telecom that let them consolidate further through mergers and acquisitions and be able to squash competition and diversity.In those days and earlier, Murdoch aimed high to control "multiple forms of programming - news, sports, films and children's shows--and beam them via satellite or TV stations to homes (around the world with) Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone (once saying) Murdock 'want(ed) to conquer the world.' " Other media chiefs said he was doing it, and he's "the one media executive they most respect and fear, and the one whose moves they study."Murdoch inherited his father's Australian News Limited newspapers in 1952. He had no journalistic background but compensated by cultivating political influence through favorable electoral coverage. He became managing director of News Limited in 1953 and then took over running Adelaide News in 1954. He founded News Corporation in 1979 but years earlier concentrated on acquisitions and expansion to build his business. In 1964, he launched Australia's first national daily, The Australian, later acquired The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, and in the late 1960s entered the UK market by snaring The News of the World. In 1950, it was the world's most popular English language newspaper with a peak circulation of around 8.4 million. It was about six million when Murdock got it in 1968.More acquisitions followed. They included The (London) Times and The Sunday Times in 1981, and by the 1980s he was a dominant force in the US. He bought the film studio, Twentieth Century Fox, that launched Fox Television and now notorious Fox News.Today, the company is in everything media-related (except music) and describes itself on its web site as "Creating and distributing top-quality news, sports and entertainment around the world." That's in the eye of the beholder where there's considerable disagreement with the official company position. Nonetheless, the site lists a vast array of News Corporation operations:-- Filmed entertainment: 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Espanol, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox International, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Studios Australia, Fox Studios Baja, Fox Studios LA, Fox Television Studios, and Blue Sky Studios;-- Television: Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports Australia, Fox Television Stations, FOXTEL, MyNeworkTV, STAR; and the newest entry, Fox Business, to compete with CNBC and Bloomberg;-- Cable: Fox Business Network (just launched), Fox Movie Channel, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports Channel, Fox College Sports, Fox Sports Enterprises, Fox Sports En Espanol, Fox Sports Net, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Reality, Fuel TV, FX, National Geographic, Channel United States, Channel Worldwide, Speed, and Stats, Inc.;-- Direct broadcast satellite television: BSkyB, DirectTV, and Sky Italia;-- Magazines and Inserts: Big League, Inside Out, donna hay, ALPHA, News America Marketing, Smart Source, The Weekly Standard, and Gemstar - TV Guide International Inc.;-- Newspapers: 21 in "Australasia" including the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun, Post-Currier, Sunday Mail, Sunday Times, The Australian, The Mercury, and the Weekly Times; 6 in the UK including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, and News International; and two in the US - the New York Post (the Columbia Journalism review calls "a force for evil") and Wall Street Journal as of December 13 when News Corporation announced the completion of its acquisition of Dow Jones & Company;-- Books: HarperCollins Publishers, Australia, Canada, Children's Books, United States, United Kingdom, Zondervan;-- Other assets: 25 are listed including Broadsystem, Fox Interactive Media, IGN Entertainment, FoxSports.com, Fox.com, News Outdoor and others.News Corp. even claims to be addressing climate change, says it's "committed" to "lowering the energy use of its businesses" across the globe, will "switch to renewable sources of power when economically feasible," and will "become carbon neutral by 2010." True or false, it's likely the company does address its energy consumption to cut costs as most other businesses also do, climate change or not.Bruce Page picks up the story in "The Murdoch Archipelago" published in 2003. Even while attacking the media baron, he says he and others do some good. Murdoch, for instance, "exposes numberless sexual peccadilloes, and much lesser crime - but not dud military campaigns or Enronesque frauds." He specializes in sensationalist pseudo-journalism that distorts the truth on the news and loads it with juiced-up reports on murder, mayhem, mishaps, celebrity gossip and soft porn. Page goes on to say "the world would be better off without News Corp." and before he ever bought it "There's certainly a good case that he should not own The Wall Street Journal." Too late, now that the Bancroft family sold it to him for the billions he offered and muscle he applied to get it like he always does. They might have considered former Chicago columnist Mike Royko's comment when he left the Sun-Times after Murdock bought it (and later sold it Hollinger, Inc.'s fraud convicted Conrad Black). Moving to the Tribune, he remarked "no self-respecting fish would (want to be) wrapped in a Murdoch paper....His goal is not quality journalism (it's) vast power, political power." Murdoch's own private joke also should have scared them off that "God doesn't trust (him) in the dark." Nor should anyone anywhere, anytime.Page's polemic traces Murdoch's history in his lengthy book covering his rise from early beginnings to his unrivaled status in today's media world. It's the story of power and a man who wields it ruthlessly as a world class predator - with deception and chicanery, arrogance and artfulness, charm and cunning and sheer muscle, will, intimidation, poisonous influence and toadying to get his way as he generally does. Whatever Rupert wants, Rupert gets, and nothing stands in his way. That goes for governments and his editors as well as reporters in print and on-air. No one crosses Murdoch. Anyone practicing real journalism gets dispatched elsewhere to pursue it.Page explained from firsthand accounts that Murdoch newsrooms aren't fun places to work. He upbraids editors and interferes with their work. Also, as explained above, he uses his operations for power play politics to bend governments to his will. As his influence grows, so does the bending, and along with it, fake journalism bearing no resemblance to the real kind. It's a Murdoch specialty by a world class pariah in a media world beset with them, but Murdoch's the worst. He's bereft of ethics, an authoritarian boss, and the book is full of examples of how he throws his weight around, bullies people and prevails. It also expresses particular displeasure about the way he cozied up to the Chinese in 1994 by removing BBC World News (no media paragon, just classier than Murdoch) from Satellite TV Asia Region in return for special favors he got.Page also exposes Murdoch's absurd claim to be an enemy of the establishment, a populist, and battler for the common man. This from someone raised in privilege, courts the powerful, represents entrenched wealth, is now a billionaire, benefitted from nepotism, is passing his empire to his children, smashes print unions, runs a "bordello of papers" as the Sunday Times called it before he bought it, and has easy access to Number 10, the White House and other seats of power. Page worries that media barons cause serious harm by undermining democracy, and Murdoch's the worst of the bunch. He targets the vulnerable, attacks disenfranchised minorities and bashes gays, Muslims, innocent victims of war and oppression, and anyone getting in his way. Page warns that unless we see his threat and confront it, all free societies are at risk.Page also exposes the Murdoch myth of an archetypical entrepreneur whose "journalistic (and business) genius" got him where he is. Nonsense about a man, like his father, who uses press power for business favors to gain more power. Yet he audaciously told his biographer, William Shawcross, to "Give me an example. When have we ever asked for anything?" Page has reams of it exposing Murdoch's guile and mendacity about wanting a "level (media) playing-field." Just the opposite. He's obsessed with monopoly control and smashes competition for it. He also smashes editors who disobey him. One observer called him unhinged, out of control and completely amoral while a former Sunday Times editor, Andrew Neil, describes the "terrorism" Murdoch spreads throughout his empire to get his way. Neil also wrote: "Rupert expects his papers to stand broadly for what he believes - a combination of right-wing Republicanism from America mixed with undiluted Thatcherism from Britain."Murdoch's US Fox News FlagshipFox News smoothes the way for him as a round-the-clock Bush administration commercial imitating real news. It debuted in 1996 and one of its on-air hosts explained the "Channel was launched (because) something was wrong with news media....somewhere bias found its way into reporting....Fox....is committed to being fair and balanced (covering) stories everybody is reporting--and....stories....you will see only on Fox." Later, the Columbia Journalism Review had a different view. It reported "several" former Fox employees "complained of 'management sticking their fingers' in the writing and editing of stories to cook the facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes." One of them complained about never running into that before before while FAIR reported "Fox's signature political news show, Special Report with Brit Hume, was originally created as a daily one-hour update devoted to the 1998 Clinton sex scandal." So much for "fair and balanced" real news.This type attack never happens to a Republican and hasn't for Fox's presidential favorite, Rudy Giuliani, who was sinking fast, fared poorly in early primaries and now has withdrawn from the race. Nonetheless, his leadership failures and marital transgressions were ignored, and so were his ties to friend, business partner and former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik. He was indicted on 16 counts of federal corruption, including bribery, conspiracy, tax fraud, and lying on his federal disclosure forms for not reporting a $250,000 "loan" (a likely payoff) from an Israeli billionaire that may have been sent to him for Giuliani for favors rendered. An added twist is that a former Kerik lover, Judith Regan, sued Murdock's News Corp. and accused the company of pressuring her to commit perjury to protect Giuliani's presidential hopes. Fox News won't explain or cover it, but it daily airs preferential bias for Giuliani in its slanted reporting. It's a blatant example of unethical coverage to manipulate news for its own purpose.FAIR also blasted one of Hume"s regular features - "The Political Grapevine" that's billed as "the most scintillating two minutes in television" as a sort of right-wing "hot-sheet." It features anchor Hume "reading off a series of gossipy items culled from other (generally) right-wing" sources. It's not subtle and is blatantly partisan calling Democrats, environmentalists, the liberal media, civil rights groups, anti-war activists and Hollywood and other liberals "villians" while Republicans are good guys or "heros who can do no wrong." When critics jump on Fox, it hits back claiming a responsibility to correct the "liberal media's bias" with Bill O'Reilly saying Fox "gives voice to people who can't get on other networks." What it does, of course, is slant the news its way to please the boss, and that means a distorted hard-right point of view only.It also means the more people watch it, the less informed they are as News Dissector Danny Schechter explained about all TV news in his candid insider's book "The More You Watch, The Less You Know." That doesn't bother Murdock who spends millions for lobbying and hundreds of thousands more for political contributions - mostly to Republicans but also to friendly Democrats to buy and keep his growing influence. It pays off with senators like Trent Lott once telling the Washington Post: "If it hadn't been for Fox, I don't know what I'd have done for the news." He means a right-wing echo chamber pretending to be unbiased.Long-time Republican operative Roger Ailes runs it for Murdoch with FAIR once quoting former senior Bush aide Lee Atwater saying he operates on "two speeds - attack and destroy." He also called Clinton a "hippie president," refers to liberals as "bigots," and assures all on-air programming conforms to his views. Only Republicans get hired to air them and those screened for jobs are asked to be sure.As for punditry and political debate, here's how FAIR characterizes it: on shows like Hannity & Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor and The Beltway Boys it's like watching "a Harlem Globetrotters game (knowing) which side is supposed to win." Or maybe pro wrestling. The discussion is so lopsided, it's impossible hiding Fox's partisanship, and it shows with on-air hosts like Tony Snow endorsing Republican Bob Dole for President in 1996 and then seamlessly becoming White House press secretary from May, 2006 to September, 2007. Other Fox "journalists" are as bad and collect handsome fees addressing Republican gatherings and corporate interest groups with big name ones like O'Reilly reportedly charging $50,000 per engagement on the lecture circuit delivering red meat to audiences that love it.So do hard core Fox viewers who swallow the channel's pro-Bush, pro-war, pro-occupation America uber alles type journalism combined with juiced-up infotainment reports imitating real news. It makes it hard knowing where one ends and the other begins. In the mainstream, much of it is the same, and all of it defiles what journalism should do - -- be the principle source of political information to create an informed citizenry Jefferson said was "the bulwark of a democracy;" -- provide a wide range of opinion and analysis of all key issues affecting everyone; -- hold governments accountable to the public interest and not just the privileged elite part of it; and generally-- "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."Murdoch and the rest of the dominant media fail the test. Their concentrated power blunt democracy by destroying its essential free marketplace of ideas. Today, social control substitutes for diversity, free expression, and an informed electorate; pro-business ideology trumps the greater good; and the single-minded pursuit of profit triumphs over beneficial social change. Combatting it means confronting the media barons who are as determined as Murdoch to squash us. Organizations like Free Press are doing it. It's a "national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates." It aims to "generate policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector" promoting greater diversity. The more democratic our media, the more accountable government will be to public concerns. Free Press focuses on four broad areas to help: "media ownership" for greater competition and diversity; "independent and public media" free from the single-minded pursuit of profit; "internet freedom" from corporate control; and "media reform" of a corrupted system aided by government that must end. To happen, public participation is essential, and for that organizations like Free Press are crucial. Corporate media control is the core issue of our time along with overall corporate dominance with governments as their handmaiden. Democracy and a free society are impossible unless that changes. It's we the people vs. the Murdochs of the world, and we've only just begun fighting back.Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. posted by Steve Lendman
As a life-long activist in the labor, peace and social-justice movements, I’ve watched with amazement, wonder, and exhilaration as the American people gave us the most surprising primary races in decades; and that was just the first month! We have eight months to go and undoubtedly many surprises yet to come. The race among major party candidates has provided more highs and lows than a calliope on rocket fuel. However, we’ve already entered a new phase of the election cycle: the Republicans are putting aside their differences in order to unify around a strongly pro-war position. The Democrats have coalesced on a neck-and-neck race between two “triangulating” Iraq war funders whose differences are more about race, gender and style than substance. And the progressive left has, as usual, fallen into lockstep behind one or another corporate-owned Democrat like some enabling abused spouse. Honest progressives will admit that neither Sen. Hillary Clinton nor Sen. Barack Obama offer us—at this point—a seriously better chance of ending the war on Iraq and turning out attention—and tax dollars—toward desperate domestic needs than Sen. John McCain does.
Sen. Obama on his official campaign website says he will “immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” The last I heard, removing “combat brigades” could leave as many as 80,000 American troops in Iraq, not to mention the thousands of American mercenaries from companies like CACI, Titan and Blackwater, and a flood of American commercial vultures who have been just as destructive to that war-torn country as the troops and mercenaries have been. Sen. Clinton’s deceitful plan to continue the war and keep U.S. forces in Iraq in perpetuity is not any better than Obama’s. Neither Sens. Clinton nor Obama have agreed even to pledge to get the U.S. military out of Iraq by the end of their first term in 2013! And history is brutally clear on one important point: while Democrats in the last century have often promised to studiously avoid war while campaigning for president, they have never followed through once in office. President Lyndon B. Johnson, for a typical example, campaigned by casting Barry Goldwater as the guy who would turn Vietnam into an all-out war zone, but it was Johnson himself who did that as president. And this “talk peace, wage war” strategy goes way back with the Democratic presidential candidates: Woodrow Wilson in his 1916 campaign for re-election stumped on the slogans, “he kept us out of war,” and “peace with honor.” Yet by April 1917, the United States had entered the war that even Wilson himself later admitted was a fight between international commercial interests over who was to control lucrative international markets. Are the Democratic Party leaders of today any different; any better; any more courageous and committed to creating a world without war, even if corporate profits suffer as a result? Most Americans know at some gut level that for Democratic Party politicians commercial concerns always trump moral concerns or the concerns of the hard-working people. We’ve seen it far too often to deny it, even when we wish it were not so. Both Sens. Clinton and Obama are following a campaign model in regard to the War on Iraq that is most reminiscent of President Richard M. Nixon when in his 1968 campaign he promised to get us out of the Vietnam War in 6 months. That was even quicker than Sen. Obama’s 18 month promise. But after Nixon was elected, there were “complications,” just as we can expect there will be “complications” for Sens. Clinton or Obama. When you know in advance that these “complications” will develop unless we are successful at building a powerful and large enough anti-war juggernaut, you can understand why some prefer the brutal honesty of a Sen. John McCain, who is at least truthful about his intentions.
From the perspective of the labor, peace and social justice movements, we are now left with little-to-no maneuvering room within the Democratic Party, the party progressive movements traditionally have looked to since the 1930s for allies and alliances. With the withdrawal of Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and John Edwards, there is little chance that the pro-people, anti-war position will have any leverage at the Democratic Party nominating convention, not inside the convention hall in any case. The demonstrations outside the hall will probably remind us of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Corporate America has already won the election. With Sens. Clinton, Obama and McCain, their interests are hedged three ways while the rest of us lose on all counts. The presidential campaign will be at the center of the public discourse from now till November 4. We are left with only one reasonable alternative if we hope to force our issues into this year’s national public debate: support the independent peace and justice candidate with the biggest megaphone, Ralph Nader!
Alone, Nader still has huge name recognition and a large and faithful following. If he is joined by the larger social movements, and by the working families so threatened by the acts of a Democratic Congress and Republican president, he could turn that solid base into a powerful campaign for the people insuring that the people’s concerns are addressed. At best, that could be turned into a three way race that would for the first time in a century give the progressive left a much needed face lift, opening up the prospect of building a mass, independent political force to the left of the Democrats. Ask yourself, why do Democratic Party politicians take you for granted? Why do they count on your votes but ignore your needs? Why do they talk like they care about you but act like they care a lot more about your boss? Could it be that you are so utterly dependable to them that they simply have no need to do any more than pretend to address your interests? They make you the same promises election year after election year, yet the rich keep getting richer, the poor, poorer, and the peace, labor, woman’s, minorities’, environmental, and other people’s agendas keep getting the short shrift.
Now, I know that among some right-leaning Progressive Democrats, just the mention of Ralph Nader will elicit fits of rage followed by volleys of hate speech more violent than even the worst Nazi or KKK invectives. Talk show host Ed Schultz calls these people “hate merchants,” and it’s hard to argue with him. But in my experience over the last 8 years as a Nader supporter intimately involved in the labor, peace and social-justice movements, I’ve found that for every hate merchant there are dozens of honest progressives who know full well how important Ralph Nader has been to our movements and what a great potential he offers as an effective incentive for a Democratic Party presidential candidate to be more accommodating and attentive than they have been in the past. Among the honest majority, all acknowledge that Ralph Nader has been the single most effective and important social reformer in the last half century. In nations across the world when reformers look for models, they look to Ralph Nader, who is almost as well known abroad as here in America. Honesty compels us to admit that we have no greater asset to run as a center-left counterbalance to the corporate-dominated Democratic and Republican candidates, even now, after a concerted and well financed, 8-year corporate-Democrat smear campaign against him. I know of no other person in American history who, after doing so much for our people, has withstood such a sustained campaign of malicious character assassination. But a single viewing of the documentary, “An Unreasonable Man,” reminds us that Nader is a political pugilist who’s been through the worst corporate America and its two parties can throw at him, and he’s still standing! What’s even more amazing, he’s still ready and willing to serve our cause, to serve the American people, as he has been unfailingly for more than 40 years. Americans who have been fooled by the triangulators usually fail to understand that when you stand up to the warmongers and corporate criminals, you will always elicit a violent reaction. A test of political maturity and determination so crucial to our success is how well we are able to inoculate ourselves from the slings and arrows of these political opponents. Is it any wonder that the people who most fervently support the Democratic Party war funders are also the most likely to turn to hate speech against our most effective social reformer?
I expect the hate merchants to throw their best punches at Nader and anyone else who dares to suggest the emperor has no cloths. That’s no surprise. What’s been more surprising in the last 8 years is the number of otherwise honest progressives who have chosen to avoid objecting to the Democratic Party’s ad hominem crusade against America’s preeminent civic reformer. The damage they have inflicted on Nader’s reputation harms us all. Their every success is a blow to the entire effort for political reform, peace and prosperity. In warfare an enemy strikes at your leadership, and wise armies protect their generals knowing as much.
But it’s not too late. We have the ability to turn this situation around if we chose to, and by turning it around for Ralph Nader, I believe we can redeem our own fortunes as well. To start that process, we need to shine a light on the corporate-Democrats’ subterranean hate campaigns, aimed at selected leading reformers, but designed to damage our movements. The honest progressives, laborites, populists, Greens, civil libertarians, radicals and reformers of this country have the power to stand up and say, once and for all, “Ralph Nader is not the problem, untrustworthy Democratic and Republican politicians are.” In fact, Ralph Nader represents everything positive about our movements for social change and has for decades acted as a leader, a catalyst and an organizer for those movements.
Often when you hear the axiom, “the left is like a circular firing squad,” it turns out to be a false analogy. The so-called “leftists” we supposedly fire upon are revealed to be fakers, not the genuine article. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, they talk the people’s talk, but walk the corporate walk. Listen to Sens. Clinton or Obama on any given day, and then compare that to their votes in Congress. Their votes to fund Bush’s war on Iraq are well publicized, and contrast critically with what they say about the war. But you would find the same incongruity between what they say and how they vote on just about any economic, labor, peace or social justice issue. And the contrast with Ralph Nader’s 4-decade record of public service is instructive. Only the most dishonest person would claim that Ralph Nader is not a genuine reformer on behalf of the people. We truly become a “circular firing squad” when we allow others to fire on him without coming to his defense, which is the best way we can come to our own defense. We are no better than those who stand aside and watch a violent crime against a helpless individual if we don’t speak out against it. And when we stand by and watch the innocent mugged and raped in our communities, our communities suffer by becoming the victims of spreading crime.
One thing that decades of experience in the labor movement has taught me is that “solidarity” with your co-workers, co-thinkers and co-activists is useless if it is only a hollow phrase. For it to be successful, solidarity must be an act of courage, not just a rallying cry. It must represent a willingness to band together and defend the weakest or the strongest among you when they are attacked. The current weakened state of the labor movement undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that “solidarity” frequently appears in the speeches of labor leaders, but seldom as a strategy or tactic in our day to day labor rights struggles. Given Ralph Nader’s record of promoting successful pro-labor legislation and movements, the way the leadership of organized labor has joined in the corporate smear campaign against him is doubly unconscionable, although it is not universal among them. There have been some exceptional labor leaders who stuck by Nader in the true sense of the term “solidarity.”
I believe in the power of the “come back.” Maybe I read too many novels, but in the case of Ralph Nader, I look as objectively as I am able to at the numbers, the positives and negatives, and I continue to conclude that a Nader 08 presidential campaign offers a better chance for the progressive left to make a serious “come back” than any other opportunity we have available to us today. If the honest progressives stand up to the triangulators and war funders, the fake friends of labor, women and oppressed minorities, and say, “hey, we can do better—we have to do better,” we will have what it takes to run a powerful, insurgent, Nader reform campaign for president, and together we can accomplish what seems impossible. If we allow ourselves to be browbeaten by the fraudulent peace candidates, the triangulators, the corporate-controlled politicians and the hate merchants, we might as well give it all up and acknowledge that the faceless corporate powers have won, our republic is as dead as the Roman Republic on the day Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and we’d better start practicing our goose step.
We’ve arrived at the leading edge of a historic watershed, a unique period in which the American people are obviously alarmed over the coming economic crisis; outraged over the mortgage debacle that was engineered by the Federal Reserve, Congress and the last two presidents; angered by an unrestrained corporate crime wave that has wiped out the pensions of millions and put millions more out of work; dismayed by the deregulation and privatization that has sold our nation off to the highest bidder; and, feed up with a costly corporate-inspired war that has siphoned off the funds needed to avert domestic catastrophe. We are equally weary of the bumbling destructive Bush administration and the backboneless Democratic Congress that enables the bumbling Bush. We’ve not seen such incompetence in the White House and Congress since the 1920s! And we are ready to change course and seek out real solutions.
The polls showing historic low ratings for the president and Congress are key indicators that the American people are approaching a breaking point. As a people, we have declared our independence in ever greater numbers and expressed our discontent with the direction in which the president and the Congress have taken us. Nearly half of us (48 percent in a 2006 CNN poll) have expressed support for a mass third party. In a more recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken from Dec. 14-17, 2007, 76 percent characterized the American two-party system as having either “real problems” in need of repair or as “seriously broken.” A Fox News poll in July 2007 found that “ more than twice as many voters think it would be good for the country if an independent candidate were to win the White House in 2008 than think it would be bad (45 percent good, 19 percent bad). In addition, there is rare partisan agreement on the issue as 42 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans think electing an independent candidate would be good for the country, as do 56 percent of self-described independents.” The Fox poll also found that 67 percent would consider voting for an independent, “including more than 6 in 10 Democrats and Republicans.”
Americans are still unsure of how to fit into our new role as a nation in rebellion. Those who last lived through such a time as adults are now in their late 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. It will take time for us to grow sea legs, to relearn the lessons of our forefathers and foremothers about how to reform corrupt government and recreate the balance we once had between the rights of the people and the rights of commercial business. But I am convinced that enough of us are ready to make history this year with a Ralph Nader campaign, enough of us at least to offer a successful incentive to the major party candidates to be better and act better, and that’s why I’ve urged Ralph Nader to run. And you can be ready as well, as long as you first learn to defend one another from the “divide and conquer” strategy of America’s corrupt corporate elite. If you are able to recognize that the Democratic Party slander campaign against Ralph Nader is part and parcel with other corporate strategies, like their union busting strategy or their subtle use of racism, sexism and classism to divide us from one another, then you’ll be ready too. As a first step, please visit http://www.naderexplore08.org.
February 9, 2008 By Chris Driscoll, a science, environmental and technology trade journalist, was the 2006 Populist Party nominee for Governor of Maryland. He also serves as the state chairman of the Populist Party of Maryland. Submitted by Kevin Zeese, executive director of Voters for Peace http://www.VotersForPeace.US
[Yum...have a peek meat-eaters next time you want COW for dinner]
by Martha Rosenberg / February 6th, 2008
You wouldn’t think you could “spin” a video that shows slaughterhouse workers electric shocking downer cows, “water boarding” them, jabbing their eyes with herding paddles and ramming them with forklift blades while they squeal in pain, shot by the Humane Society but USDA is trying.
Bad enough the slaughterhouse, Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in Chino, CA, supplies the National School Lunch Program, a certain portion of children have already eaten the meat.
Bad enough US downer cattle are, according to Cattlenetwork, “being forced to their feet in order to pass inspection and be processed,” in violation of mad cow regulations, USDA inspectors were onsite–at the plant–while the video was made.
Bad enough Jack-In-the-Box and In-N-Out have pulled beef from the Chino slaughterhouse, what happens to the five year long charm offense toward Asian nations since the last mad cow scare?
You’d be spinning too if you were USDA!
Just look at the history.
Less than two years after diners in 11 restaurants in nine California counties ate meat from the first US mad cow according to the San Francisco Chronicle, newly appointed US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns who left last year vowed to reverse the ban on downer cattle.
“I supported Ann Veneman when she announced that–just to assure the public that we were aggressively on top of this issue,” said Johanns. “But gosh the testing that has been done [shows the risks are low] and our animals have done well.”
A year into Johanns’ tenure, the Houston Chronicle reported 29 downers untested for mad cow got into in the food supply because inspectors “did not believe that they had the authority” to go into the animals’ pens.
Meat executives tried to claim the animals suffered injury after passing inspection–which would make slaughter legal–but investigators found no records of injuries after arrival for 20 of the downers that ended up on US dinner plates.
How can USDA spin a video that’s convinced 150 school districts from New York City to Los Angeles to quarantine their meat? Called “something out of Dante’s Inferno” by Gene Evans of Oregon’s school system?
Well first of all, “there’s no evidence that any of the animals, particularly downers in particular, did in fact enter the food supply,” said Dr. Kenneth Peterson, assistant administrator, Office of Field Operations for USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in a conference phone call on Thursday. “Now perhaps they moved them in an unacceptable manner but the fact remains, did they go into the food supply?” he told reporters. Maybe “the facility was moving them back out of the slaughter chain.”
Right. And maybe they were taking them to dinner and a movie.
Then there’s the fact that the video represents “allegations” only pending USDA’s own investigation says Peterson to which Bill Tomson of Dow Jones News Wire responded incredulously, “I mean, do you actually expect to go down there and ask them if they were doing anything illegal, and people to say, well yes we were?”
There’s also the fact that no one has gotten sick yet, say FSIS officials, deliberately confusing bacteria like E. Coli and salmonella which cause treatable conditions that make you sick right away and can be cooked out of food with the mad cow prion which is an untreatable replicating protein that is virtually indestructible and manifests years later.
Then there’s the fact that the downers in the video aren’t battered from unremitting abuse on mega dairy farms which created mad cow disease by feeding dead cows to live ones–a cheap and plentiful protein for rBGH frenzied metabolisms–they just have broken legs and hips from unfortunate accidents, says Peterson.
The important thing is the USDA mad cow prevention system that relies on filtering out Specific Risk Material (SRM) like brains and spinal cords–isn’t an entire downer SRM?–and the unsupervised honor system known as HACCP, works!
So well, restaurants who got the meat won’t be notified says Peterson, because, “I have a lot of information from this plant both on the obviously the inspection side but also plant records … that all point to a singular conclusion that the product coming out of the plant not only meets regulatory requirements but is safe and wholesome.”
We believe their meat is safe because we believe their meat is safe.
But reporters weren’t buying it.
How can inspectors observe slaughter activity and “be discreet” when “all the workers know who they are?” asked the Oregonian’s Andy Dworkin.
“It seems like maybe the folks had outsmarted the inspection system,” observed Steve Cornet with Beef Today. “Is this a system that’s … easily circumvented?”
“Just so that I understand you clearly, you suspended Westland [a distributor of the Hallmark meat] for…allegations rather than what an inspector directly observed?” probed Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly, possibly wondering what USDA is being paid for if the Humane Society is doing its work.
Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.
“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.
InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.
“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.
“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”
In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.”
To join, each person must be sponsored by “an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.” The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.
FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard,” he said. “From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”
He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” And he said they could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers.”
In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”
The ACLU is not so sanguine.
“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.
InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.
“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”
One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.
The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: “Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more.”
InfraGard members receive “almost daily updates” on threats “emanating from both domestic sources and overseas,” Hershman says.
“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “People are happy to be in the know.”
On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.
“He said his brother talked to him before the FBI,” recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis’s press secretary at the time. “And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”
Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: “You’d think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last.”
In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”
Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.”
This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. “On the back of each membership card,” Schneck says, “we have all the numbers you’d need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to.” She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a “special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not.”
This special status concerns the ACLU.
“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”
When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed “additional steps” that agencies were taking to “increase their protective measures.” One of those steps was to “provide alert information to InfraGard program.”
“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”
On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”
Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was “not directly participating at this point.” Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.
InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in “national emergency preparation drills,” Schneck acknowledges.
“In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. “There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.”
One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.
This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.
“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out.
But that’s not all.
“Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.
I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”
Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.
The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”
But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.
Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function—including engaging in lethal force—that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.
“There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,” she says.
Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”
He says InfraGard “absolutely” does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”
“We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,” the whistleblower says. “It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.”
In a confusing situation in which two candidates appeared in both the Green and Peace and Freedom Party non-binding presidential primaries, along with five others in each party, the campaigns look toward the Peace and Freedom Party state convention in August where the nomination will be decided.
Preliminary results from the non-binding California Peace and Freedom Party presidential preference primary are in, though hundreds of additional votes will continue to be added over the next two weeks as absentee, provisional and challenged ballots are counted. 24 hours after the polls closed, the percentage results are: Ralph Nader 40.4%. Cynthia McKinney 21.3%. Gloria La Riva 20.5% Brian Moore 5.3% and Stewart Alexander 5.4%, with total support for the ticket at 10.7%. John Crockford 5.5%. Stanley Hetz 1.6%. A study of the county-by-county results is instructive, with the highest percentage of votes for Nader from the most isolated counties with no party organization. Nader's name is familiar to everyone, of course, but he ran no active campaign, and refused even to announce his candidacy. Advocates for his candidacy campaigned in several areas, including Sacramento and Alameda Counties, but (as with most of the candidates) reached relatively few of the Peace and Freedom Party voters. Both Nader's advocates and the Cynthia McKinney campaign focused on the primary campaign in the Green Party, in which both their names appeared with five other candidates, two of whom (Ball and Brown) announced their withdrawal well before election day. In the Green primary, according to current results, Nader received 61.2% of the vote and McKinney 25.8%. The other 13% was split among the other five candidates, the leader among them at 4.6% being Elaine Brown, who withdrew from the race weeks ago. The refusal of both Nader and McKinney to campaign actively in the Peace and Freedom Party primary has caused misgivings among many Peace and Freedom Party activists, who fear that nominating either of them could give the party a presidential nominee who would not mention the party's name during the campaign. Several members of the Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee advocated voting for McKinney nevertheless, but Nader appears to lack any organized support among party activists. It remains to be seen how the nomination prospects in the Green Party will be affected by the votes in their primary. McKinney had a much more active campaign, but Nader received about 2-1/2 times as many votes. Results from the Illinois Green primary the same day are not yet available in California. In Illinois, four candidates were on the ballot, including McKinney and Howie Hawkins, a stand-in for Nader. The possibilities for the Green nomination nationally include Nader, in which case it is not clear whether McKinney would attempt to gain ballot status in some states independently or using the ballot line of state Green organizations that defy the national choice; McKinney, in which case it is again not clear whether Nader will run, though if he does he already has shown in 2004 that he is willing to gain ballot access through other parties and through independent lines and split-away Greens; and some other candidate, not necessarily one who has yet announced. The actual choice of the Peace and Freedom Party nominees to go on the ballot in California in November is made by the State Convention, to be held this year in Sacramento on the first weekend in August. The voting delegates will be those elected to the Central Committee in the June election, and the filing period for those positions is just now about to begin. Both because Nader does not have an active campaign among Peace and Freedom Party activists, and because his lead in the non-binding primary fell well short of a majority, his nomination does not appear likely. In the case of McKinney, it is not clear whether her campaign will be able to overcome her lower-than-expected vote in the primary and her decisive defeat in the Green primary, in which she did campaign actively. If she pushes ahead with an attempt to gain the Peace and Freedom nomination, that will certainly signal an intention of disregarding the primary vote, which will clear away any obstacle to the two other serious prospects for the nomination, the national tickets of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Socialist Party USA. Gloria La Riva, the PSL nominee (and former P&F candidate for governor), received the third-highest vote at 20.5%. The Socialist Party ticket of Brian Moore for President and Stewart Alexander (a former P&F candidate for lieutenant governor) for Vice President had both its candidates on the ballot, and their California supporters urged voters to select either one to show support for the ticket. At 10.7% of the vote together, they are in the race for the nomination at the convention. Right now, the choice may come down to organization. Supporters of each ticket will be qualifying Peace and Freedom Party members as candidates for State Central Committee (with simultaneous election to their County Central Committee). This process will last until early March, with write-ins possible in some districts as well during April, if a required petition is first circulated during March. While members may be added to the State Central Committee during other meetings by appointment, no appointments may be made at the Convention meeting, so the convention voters will be limited to those elected in June. Peace and Freedom Party activists await post-primary statements from the candidates, and it will be interesting to see how effectively the various camps can muster candidates for Central Committee. (Kevin Akin is South State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party. This piece represents only his own opinion, and is not an official party statement.)
"As a worker, a union leader who represents workers who are losing their jobs left and right, my run for the presidency is against the corporations, the banks and big money—the pillars of the ‘American plutocracy,’ declared Gloria La Riva in her election campaign blog, larivaforpresident.blogspot.com.
"Our election campaign is a dynamic, fighting campaign that will reach to every community in large cities, small towns
Gloria La Riva speaks at a Northern California Media Workers Union Local 39521-CWA press conference to protest bad faith labor contract bargaining by the San José Mercury News, June 26, 2007.
Photo: Silvio Rodrigues, pslweb.org
and rural areas, and galvanize a movement of workers and poor people who know deep down inside that the candidates of the rich don’t speak to their needs," La Riva noted.
La Riva and Eugene Puryear, a Howard University student, are running for president and vice president in the 2008 elections. They expect to attain ballot status in 17 to 20 states.
La Riva said, "That Hillary Clinton can donate $5 million of her own money without blinking an eye—as reported in the media today—shows that the candidates of the two main capitalist parties view politics through the filter of the plutocrats. This election is all about millionaires’ and billionaires’ money determining the election outcome.
"Whether it is Mitt Romney investing $35 million of his personal fortune, or the Clinton campaign dipping into her fortune and Bill Clinton’s post-presidential million-dollar booty to come up with $5 million more, this election is about money and the real power behind that money," said La Riva.
"Every one of the Democratic and Republican candidates fully intends to protect the profits of the capitalists if they are elected. It is interesting that the Democrats, both Obama and Clinton, are now the larger recipients of corporate donations than the Republicans. The corporations see no real difference, and their donations are assurance that whoever becomes president will sit comfortably in their pockets and do their bidding," La Riva said.
She continued, "I represent workers in the newspaper industry. This industry and the workers in it have been devastated by mass layoffs, outsourcing and media consolidation. Many are about to run out of unemployment benefits, and this is true for millions more unemployment workers.
"Yet today in the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans agreed not to extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks as part of the bipartisan ‘economic rescue’ package. Their ‘rescue’ is a pittance for workers, which is really intended to boost spending for the benefit of big business. It provides no real solutions for millions of working and poor people who are in crisis."
Corporate newspaper owners have cut thousands of jobs in recent months, with major layoffs recently at the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. Cuts have also plagued newspaper workers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and may hit Minneapolis and Philadelphia hard in the coming months. All of these cuts disregard workers’ needs and support the corporations’ bottom line—increasing profits.
La Riva noted, "Overall, in the coming year unemployment will rapidly grow. As millions of people lose their homes from foreclosures, hundreds of thousands of workers in construction will be laid off. That is fine for the banking and corporate plutocrats, their political representatives, and stock holdings, but it is a catastrophe for millions of working people."
The Party for Socialism and Liberation is running Gloria La Riva for president and Eugene Puryear for vice president to fight on behalf of working people; not the multi-millionaires and corporate thieves who back the major capitalist candidates. Whichever candidate of capitalism wins the election, working people lose.
"This is the richest country in the world," commented La Riva. "The PSL is putting people’s needs first. A job should be a legal right that cannot be taken away by any capitalist. The property rights of the capitalists are considered sacred—no one is legally entitled to take the property of the capitalist owners. We are demanding that a workers job be vested with the same legal entitlement as any other property right. The PSL candidates are for enshrining a 'Job as a Legal Right' into the constitution of the United States," said La Riva.
"If you can spend millions to win elected office you won't lose sleep over the unemployment crisis in the United States. The La Riva/Puryear campaign represents the interests of the tens of millions of workers who have no cushion, who are worried about their jobs and holding onto their homes, who are driven into bankruptcy by lack of healthcare. Our campaign represents the forces in society who looking for deep, profound and radical change—not as an empty campaign slogan but in the day-in and day-out struggle of the that gets to vote every four years but which is never represented in the White House, Congress or the Supreme Court."
The results in California’s Peace and Freedom Party primary with nearly all returns in are as follows:
Ralph Nader (Green Party): 40.4 percent
Cynthia McKinney (Green Party): 21.3 percent
Gloria La Riva (PFP and Party for Socialism and Liberation): 20.5 percent
John Crockford (PFP): 5.5 percent
Stewart Alexander (PFP and Socialist Party): 5.4 percent
Brian P. Moore (Socialist Party): 5.3 percent
Stanley Hetz: 1.6 percent
The Peace and Freedom Party is a ballot-qualified, multi-tendency, socialist party in California. By "multi-tendency" is meant that a number of other socialist parties and groups participate in PFP, including the Socialist Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and others.
In an unusual development, two of the candidates in this year’s PFP primary election, consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, were also candidates in the Green Party’s primary in California and other states. In California’s Green Party primary, Nader won about 60 percent of the vote to McKinney’s 26 percent.
Nader, the most widely recognized candidate running, finished first in nearly all counties in the PFP primary. La Riva finished second in 16 of the state’s 58 counties, including San Diego, San Bernadino, Fresno, Sonoma and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles County, the largest by far with nearly a third of the state’s population, Nader received 32.3 percent of the vote, La Riva received 27.3 percent and McKinney received 23.2 percent.
Under PFP rules, the presidential primary election is not binding. The actual selection of the party’s candidates for president and vice president will take place at its biannual convention this summer
...Ken Wilber has pointed out in some of his writings on the nature of consciousness that we cannot escape from the intersubjective worldspace that we are born into. In this sense it is then, according to this theory, not possible for an artist or anyone else to transcend that worldspace, That all works of art, as a product and exploration of consciousness, great or not, are in some ways entirely the product of and impacted by the world in which they are created. There must however also be a sense that some aspects of art, and perhaps those aspects which might lead to the general agreement on ‘greatness’ are reliant on a subconscious or higher state of consciousness that perhaps is less prone to a cultural or social bias – is more primordial. For instance, one of the fundamental building blocks of art; The Golden Section (which is a method of dividing a line or space in a perfectly harmonious and aesthetically pleasing way) has not changed from one culture to another or from one time frame to another. It is a rule that transcends cultural and socially specific influences but provides an aesthetic reference point for the viewer in all times and cultures. It is a rule that is outside of time and space. The Golden Section is a very simple device to illustrate the point here but this primordial connectivity to that which is beyond our normal awareness, that is outside of locale/time-frame-dependency, is, it seems something that is inherent to a significant degree only within those works of art - from all genres and forms - that we might consider are able to transcend their particular reference to the time and spatial context within which they were created. Such works as Michelangelo's 'Pieta' and Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' being classic examples....http://www.suicidedictionary.com/http://sdiexperience.com/
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
By: La Riva/Puryear presidential campaign
Students say no to war and racism
In a poll conducted by the California Secretary of State among high school students, Gloria La Riva, the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s presidential candidate, won the Peace and Freedom Party’s "mock" primary election by a nearly two-to-one margin. As of Jan. 30, 79,000 California students had voted.
The students could choose which of the state’s six ballot-qualified primary elections to participate in. After the Democrats and Republicans, the Peace and Freedom Party drew the largest number of voters, 2,358. The Green, Libertarian and American Independent parties also have ballot status in California.
La Riva received 752 or 31.9 percent of the Peace and Freedom votes. Cynthia McKinney was next with 395 or 16.8 percent; followed by Ralph Nader with 391 or 16.7 percent, and Brian Moore (Socialist Party) with 239 or 10 percent. Three other candidates received smaller numbers of votes.
The students who participated were asked to read the ballot statements of the candidates published on the Secretary of State’s website as the basis for their choices.
At R.E. Parris High School in Palmdale, Los Angeles County, La Riva received nearly half the votes cast, 121 of 247, outpolling all other candidates, including all Republicans and Democrats.
"The election result shows that if provided real information—as opposed to empty campaign rhetoric—many young people will vote for a real progressive change and socialism," said campaign spokesperson Tina Landis.
Most people assume there is an objective physical world outside of themselves which they explore while awake—and then as they sleep, their experiences are entirely a by-product of their own minds. I've been rebelling against this duality and claiming that it is possible to receive signals from "outside" during the dreamstate. I say the reason it doesn't seem like there is a coherent dreamworld is that we are like babies who haven't yet learned how to assimilate the dream stimulus into a fitting coherent model. Thus, for us "dreamstate babies" it takes time for the right signals to fall into place so we can really understand what we are seeing, even if it doesn't fit the 3-D model we learned as "waking babies".
Well, that's ONE idea...
Another way to break the duality would be to argue that our waking experience is not as firm and rigid as we believe, but rather emerges from our own mind and not from the "outside". Thus, one might want to practice bringing one's waking life toward using more of the models that come from dreams (being able to conjure and transmute matter, levitate). This is a very different direction than constantly bringing reality checks and stability into dreams... it's about bringing the malleability of the dreamstate into waking life.
I used to be very open to this other model. Many years ago, as part of my first foray into the New Age movement, I was into books like The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts. This is one of the better known books in the conscious creation movement, in which she offers advice that she delivers in a trance state from an entity that names itself Seth.
(Incidentally, her explanation of channeling and model of oversouls as presented in the "Oversoul 7" books was actually very persuasive to me. When discussing the nature of her channeling work, she said that it was a model she had adopted because she internally could 'feel' the difference between when a thought came to her instantly and when she had to work for it, so she began to gain an awareness of her internal dialogue and could tell what came from "Jane" and what came from "Seth". I go through something similar--in fact, this blog is only one aspect of my personality and I break it down through a certain name and identity, and that is a useful division.)
Seth's advice is similar but opposite to mine. I suggest that goals like reading and writing persistently in dreams are very attainable, though they require discipline and practice on small things... like reality-checks in your daily life. Seth suggests that we can consciously create our bodies out of physical matter and do extreme things like heal our organs or grow wings... but it involves a process of greater attention to our conscious thoughts. Dreams are a footnote in Seth's world, because he thinks where we are and where we need to focus is on greater empowerment through raised consciousness; the gateway to his plane of reality is through being more awake, not more drugged and fuzzy.
I've been mesmerized by the weirdness of what I go through in the "drugged and fuzzy" dreams, as well as what hypnotized or trance-state people say when they're in that state. There's enough structure and coherence that it points toward an escape from my waking life, and I'm looking for that escape. So my wishful thinking is that empowerment will come from study of these occult secrets. Yet if you believe that we are "here" because we are "supposed to be" (a very new age concept) then attempts at escape miss the point.
Because of some various personal frustrations with the ability to manipulate waking life, I stopped reading things like Seth's words. My challenge to Seth would sound like this: "If you're from another dimension of super-evolved beings, why don't you describe your daily life? Map coordinates that we can test with radio waves? Why don't you tell us about an invention we've never heard of? After all, even the dumbest person in our society could describe a Rubik's Cube to an alien, or draw one. You are clearly smart but you offer us nothing besides feel-good mumbo jumbo. Why does everything you say fit so consistently with what a literate new age lady with a perm might make up? Give me alien PROOF, something ASTONISHING! Interdimensional channels should do more than paraphrase!"
Or in other words, I came to feel that my own transcripts were besting those of Jane in terms of contact-with-transdimensional-alien proof territory. So I turned toward my own experience, looking to it for guidance instead of the New Age section at Powell's. But moving on doesn't mean I don't believe what Jane/Seth said, I just wanted MORE. And as Jane is dead, I can't go to her to have my questions addressed.
Recently I met someone (who has training in hypnosis and a family history of working with it) who has the "We Create Our Reality, even in Waking Life" point of view. I had not really thought about how this was contentious with my "We Don't Entirely Create Our Reality, Not Even In Dreams" agenda. It is and it isn't, but as one of my big goals of meeting hypnotists is to get transcripts of what I might say in a trance state... she asked the tough question:
"What is your ideal result from such a session?"
...and the even tougher metaphysical issue...
"What if your desire for what will come from that session is the critical factor of determining what will happen in that session, and how you will interpret it?"
As evidenced by the fact that I used to really identify with The Nature of Personal Reality and consider it a must-read for everybody... I can't just dismiss these questions. Most people don't ask them because they're so busy attacking my thesis of dream-as-objective-experience that they don't turn it around to reality-as-subjective-experience.
The best analogy I have to explain my wish has a lot to do with validation, and I am reminded of the Invader Zim episode Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom... I don't want people to think I'm crazy. But in further conversations about reality and challenges therein, I had to ask: who is my audience? Why do I care about proving things to people who elect to dismiss my ideas on their own merits? Is my entire system of goals misguided from inception?
These are questions that are very big, and I don't necessarily have very good answers. I don't think elementary school kids often have very good answers for why they want to drive a car, or drink beer... but if they get an awareness of those concepts they might tend to obsess over them rather than focus on making the most of "the phase they are there to experience". General challenges to why I want to rebuild waking reality in dream life rather than turn waking life into my ideal vision is a valid point to bring up... and I'll work on that explanation.
In the meantime, I think perhaps I should try and refine my goal for being (myself) hypnotized as that I wish to become a channel and speak to an interrogating audience directly, whilst awake.
The ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) initiated a Jan. 31 demonstration at the final Democratic Party presidential debate. The debate took place at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Calif. Several hundred protesters gathered directly in front of the theatre to demand an immediate end to the Iraq war.
The tone of the evening rally was set by Preston Wood, Los Angeles coordinator of ANSWER, in a live interview on
KPFK radio. He pointed out that Clinton and Obama have no intention of immediately ending the occupation in Iraq, and that as representatives of the ruling class, they are just as eager as President Bush to wield the power of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East.
As the staged debate was happening inside, the protest raged outside the theater. Chants lead by ANSWER activists and Party for Socialism and Liberation militants reverberated on the streets of Hollywood. Some of the chants repeated by the youthful crowd were "Democrats lie, GI’s die," "Clinton, Obama you will see, the Iraqi people will be free," and "Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!" CNN and local media outlets covered the spirited anti-war action.
Protesters target the pro-war Democrats outside the Kodak Theater, Jan. 31, Los Angeles
The protest ended with a rousing speech by Gloria La Riva, the PSL’s presidential candidate. She is seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination for president in California. La Riva underscored the demands of the people to immediately end the war and to redirect resources to fund healthcare, education and housing instead. "Only the people can stop the war; not the rich candidates who represent big banks and corporations," La Riva declared.
Speech given at Cafe Leila in Berkeley, January 21, 2008.Let’s first get personal. For about 40 years, I have lived tribally/communally. Now the 6 of us live together in two houses [one of which we built] on a street in Berkeley with 4 cats. Linda and I have been together for over 35 years. Michael has been with us for 20 years…as have Corey and Alexi. Erika joined us 6 years ago. We live as a tribal body. This tells you that I will expand concepts such as a family and family values. My relationships have always been what I am about. So we put our personal relationships and one another first. This opens up possibilities and expands our ability to use opportunities.
I have always been dumb to what is impossible. So I just figure how to do the “impossible.” I have been doing this all my life! I am 61. I was born with cerebral palsy. I communicate using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers and commonly-used words. But I am a host of a popular public access TALK show. Go figure it! So now I am setting my sights, as president, on eliminating poverty, hunger, war, etc. Impossible, eh?
When I was born, doctors told my parents that I had no intelligence, that I had no future, that I would be best put into an institution and be forgotten. This was a powerful expectation with all the force of western science and medicine as well as social influences, behind it. It would have been easy for my parents to be swept up into this expectation. Then that expectation would have created my reality. I would have long ago died without any other possibilities.
Instead, my parents rejected this expectation for the possibility they saw in my eyes, for what for them should have been true. This rejection of the cultural expectation of reality could not be a one time choice. They had to passionately live their choice everyday, every minute, or the cultural expectation would have sucked them and me into it. It fought them at every new possibility they opened to me. Their passionate commitment to how they thought things should be attracted people to me who kept opening new possibilities for me. Of course, these were in the minority. But I focused on them, making them how people should be, how I wanted to be. So I expected people and myself to be like that. So people were for the most part that way...at least I saw them that way. This opened up to me what is called luck. It also gave me the ability to trust and the ability to use opportunities.
So the struggle for freedom, and against the powers-that-be has been my life. And it has been a continuous struggle, struggling with schools to let me in, etc. I have always been a radical. But that became obvious when I was 18 and invented my head pointer with which I type and communicate…I started writing political columns for the high school paper…as well as putting out an underground paper. I was in the first special class placed on a regular high school campus so that the disabled students could be in regular classes and be a part of campus life. I was involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements. This was 1965…before it was popular to be against the Vietnam War. In the school paper I got into a debate with a GI in Vietnam. I was sat down and told that, because of my political philosophy and activities, I was hurting the chances of the disabled students who would come after me. I replied that the goal was to get the rights for the disabled [and for all people] to be complete and equal…and that included the right to be political. I would not surrender that, or any other, right.
So I started doing political columns for underground newspapers, joined Students for Democratic Society and The Peace and Freedom Party. I did political pranks…such as rolling in my wheelchair into the Marines Recruiting Office to join, offering to push the BUTTON with my head pointer. But after the Kent State killings, I switched from straight politics to art, performance, and community building as my tools for effecting social change. In the early 90s I and five other performance artists were targeted by Sen. Jesse Helms in what is commonly seen as the first battle of the cultural wars. This placed me in a great position to fight for our freedoms!
I follow where opportunities lead, without limiting goals or pictures of what things should look like or where they should lead to. We here have many different projects going on at once…in addition to the “day job.” I’m always writing, painting, making movies, playing in my band The Cherotic All-Stars, performing, doing a weekly cable/internet talk/variety show. That has always been the case. In the mid-70s in Santa Fe I started a workshop which combined intimacy and theater. This turned into a communal performance group which moved to N.Y.C. A few years later, we moved to Berkeley, where I combined the workshop with relationship counseling, creating an extremely successful practice. But this too morphed into a communal performance group of 30 people. Among our productions was The Outrageous Beauty Revue which ran for over three years at the San Francisco punk club The Mabuhay.
The 90s found me touring the U.S. and Canada doing performances and lecturing. My writings started being published. I was also busy making films. By 1991 we were publishing the popular zine The Cherotic [r]evolutionary. When the internet became available, we were among the first to have streaming audio and video on our http://www.eroplay.com. A live weekly show, The Shaman’s Den, which I was doing on one of the first internet radio stations quickly dragged us into starting our own internet station, http://www.luver.com, which quickly evolved into a powerful 24/7 uncensored channel for change. We have expanded onto public access cable television, cell phones, etc. And now I am running for president!
OK, let us get to the meat!
We invaded Iraq on lies or blunders…take your pick. Almost everyone…with a few notable and impeachable exceptions…now agree that we should not have invaded Iraq. I would bring our troops home now. If someone tells you that s/he will stay in a failed marriage to avoid admitting mistakes, hoping things will somehow improve…you would rightfully question that person’s judgment.
I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community. I will cut our military budget by at least half.
While going into Afghanistan had more of a logic to it than our invasion of Iraq, I would withdraw our troops from there and work through the U.N. Our interests aren’t served by having our troops there.
We need to stop supporting dictators. On the nuclear issue, we need to get rid of double standards. We need to treat all nations with the same expectations, be it Pakistan, Israel, France, the U.S., Iran, etc. In other words, my policies would be even-handed. I will join the rest of the world in pressuring Israel to live up to treaties, and to dismantle its nuclear arms. I will use the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S. to motivate Israel to do this.
I will work for the global shutting down of all nuclear reactors and dismantling of all nuclear [and biological and chemical] weapons. I will start this in the U.S. All countries should be expected to live under the same rules….not one set for the “super powers” and another for the “developing” nations like Iran. I will push for a global development of clean, safe energy sources as alternatives to nuclear power.
Anything/everything could be a “potential threat”…except the things that are in fact threats now. Seeing things as “potential threats” is a sign of insanity. It blocks the effective dealing with real and present threats. It creates the fog of fear. Iran is not a threat to the U.S. now or in the short-term future. So there is time and opportunity to revert Iran from the nuclear path by giving Iran other options. Frankly nuclear used for energy and nuclear used for weapons are both dangerous.
We have been robbed during the recent years of many of our rights and freedoms. I will have repealing parties in the White House, scrapping all the rules and policies in every department and agency which infringe on our rights, freedoms, privacy, health and welfare. We will have similar parties in both houses of Congress to repeal bad laws such as the so-called Patriot Act. We will return to the common English language in which “torture” means torture. I will declassify documents which were classified to hide questionable actions rather than to protect the real national interests. I will push the Justice Department to investigate the war on The Left by the F.B.I. since the 60’s.
The Department of Homeland Fear… I mean Security…has been a disaster, a con job on a massive scale. I will junk it. Terrorism is a criminal matter. It should be dealt with as such, not as a war. We shouldn’t abandon our principles, freedoms, rights, The Constitution and The Bills of Rights to live in fear. The F.B.I. is supposed to investigate crime…not to keep the people in line. The C.I.A. is supposed to gather information outside this country, and not to manipulate events. Whenever there is an attempt to fudge the limits of power for convenience of “safety,” we the people get screwed.
I would end the so-called war on drugs. The use of drugs should be legalized and taxed. Pot and spirits should be sold over the counter to adults only. Tobacco and other addictive drugs should be sold by prescription only. Free drug rehab programs should be readily available. So the D.E.A. can be greatly reduced.
Prisons should be only for violent or otherwise dangerous criminals. Prisons should be a part of the health and education system and should include drug rehab programs. This should also be true for the new creative in-community programs for non-violent criminals for paying back, rehab, and education sentencing. These programs will be more effective and much less expensive and harmful to the community on every level than the current human warehouse system. Flexibility of sentencing should be returned to judges. I will ban the death penalty.
Basically the law enforcement agencies should be the servants of the people, protecting our rights, freedoms, and welfare instead of the servants of the rich, the corporations, the status quo, and the powers-that-be. I would de-militarize the police departments.
I’ll do away with welfare, medicare and social security. Instead, every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
The universal health care would include all medicine, medical equipment and supplies, long-term care, personal attendants, etc. There will be no pre-authorization ritual. So your doctor will be free to prescribe whatever you need. There may be a review of treatment afterward if there are any questions. Everybody will have the same care as the President now has. Preventative medicine will be stressed and the so-called alternative medicine will be included. You will notice that health insurance companies are not in this picture!
I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
Now my policies are pro-business. The universal education system will provide business with a superior, flexible work force. The minimum income and the universal health care will remove the business’s burden of providing health insurance and pensions to workers. In reality, this relief will be much more than any tax cut could give. Moreover the minimum income will make the starting and maintaining of a small business much easier. This is also true for small family farms. The minimum income will encourage independent invention and artistic pursuit, on which true progress depends.
The guaranteed minimum income of $1,000 a month adjusted to the cost of living is meant to be a safety net rather than a replacement for work. I think most want to work…in an expanded concept of work. But to get a true feeling of what it would be like if you had to live on your minimum income, you have to crank in that you wouldn’t pay for health care, education, mass transit, etc. It all adds up. The combined minimum income couple…or a single parent with a child…would be $2,000 a month. This should provide a realistic basic living. This allows the single parent the option of being home doing the important work of raising a child. But free childcare provided by the universal free education system would open a whole host of new possibilities to the single parent.
The minimum income would encourage people to form the cooperative communal family [of all kinds] groupings who pool their incomes together…using their minimum incomes as a base to create more nourishing homes, to start and maintain small businesses. These communal groupings will be much more financially stable, emotionally nourishing, and environmentally friendly than today’s common isolating model of living.
It is all about caring and choice. If a senior wants to stay in her own home, the $1,000 a month will make that possible as will the home attendants provided by the healthcare system. This is also true if she wants to live with her family or in communal housing. This will actually be much cheaper than the scary mess we have now. The warehouse nursing home will be a thing of the past. Seniors will be an important, active element of every part of our society. We need everyone actively involved. We simply cannot afford on any level to warehouse portions of our population. It is a waste of potential!
Some people have expressed concerns that the guaranteed minimum income would drain people’s productivity. They ask why people would work. What they are really asking is why people would work without the whip of fear of hunger and poverty. They never ask this about the rich or the corporations, only about the working class and the poor. In reality most people want to work, want to contribute, want to improve their lives. Hunger, poverty, and fear drain productivity. If we are to survive, we need to end hunger, poverty, and fear.
The guaranteed minimum income will tend to keep wages in general higher and working conditions safer and more worker-friendly. This was also true for welfare and was the true root of the capitalist opposition to welfare.
The guaranteed minimum income will be very different from welfare. Everyone will get it. So there will be no stigma attached to getting it. There will be no red tape, no entrapping rules, no case workers drained of their humanity, and the rest of the demeaning rituals of enforced head-bowing associated with getting public assistance. The guaranteed minimum income will be something you get as a citizen, something you can depend on.
I get S.S.I., Med-cal, and money for a home attendant. People say they don’t mind the truly unfortunates who obviously can’t work getting welfare…but all of those lazy bums getting rich on welfare who could get a job…you know the line of thinking. Well, I am what they are picturing as the truly unfortunate. But in reality I can and do do many things. I can’t get a job, not because of my body, but because I would lose my S.S.I., Medi-Cal, and my money for a home attendant. This is an example of how the system is set up to not work and how the people get blamed for it not working. It is hard and scary living on so-called welfare. This is not true for me….at least not as much. I’m a punk, have built a support network of friends, doctors, etc. When I get a threatening letter [they are always threatening] informing me I must go to this certain doctor within two weeks to get a brain cat-scan [for which I would need to get knocked out] to prove I still have cerebral palsy or lose all my benefits, I with Linda can get on the phone and politely but firmly guide the over-worked case manager to turn the pages of my file to find the last yearly visit to check that a miracle hadn’t occurred. But most people in that position are much more vulnerable than I am. They are on their own, without a support network, etc. I don’t know how they survive. I know Nancy, a college student with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair, needing assistance with feeding, drinking, going to the bathroom, etc. She is determined to live independently. But her S.S.I. check is barely livable small. Her attendant hours [at minimum wage] are less than half of what she really needs. So she has to wait for a drink of water. She wears a catheter although it causes infection [hence will probably shorten her life]. To add insult to injury, there is a threat that her needed supplies will be unclassified as medical equipment and will no longer be funded. Because most doctors and hospitals do not accept Medi-Cal patients [because of red tape, low payment, and insane rules], she has to travel hours to the county hospital to wait more hours to be seen. But she keeps on doing what she has to do in order to stay in the game of life rather than being stuck in an institution…which would cost us much more than keeping her out with us. Out here, we can hear her poetry, see her perform. Most people on public assistance do contribute to society. They raise families, do art and music, push for change, etc.
The truth is the system is designed for failure, for easy scapegoats and decoys. As I am writing this, I see the governor of California is again threatening to cut S.S.I., Medi-Cal, home attendants, etc. Well, the web work of the guaranteed minimum income, a livable wage, the universal health care and the life-long education systems will be designed to work. And because everybody will be covered by this web work, this web work will be much harder to screw up!
I will cut the military budget by at least half and use half of the savings to pay down the national debt. I will shrink the federal bureaucracy and again use half of the savings for this pay down.
Basically the problem is not a lack of money, but what we have spent our money on…war, pork, waste, etc. It has been a standard trick to distract us with supposed waste, fraud, etc. in the social programs while milking us out of billions in military waste, corporate welfare, etc.
Again, the minimum income of $1,000 a month for every citizen will give people money to spend, save, invest, or pool with others to create more effective financial communities which will open up a wide range of opportunities for the average person…to start small businesses, to stay on the family farm, to do art, to raise kids, etc. Free health care [which will include long-term care, home attendants, medicine, etc.], free life time education [including child care], free mass transit, etc. will in effect put more real money in the pocket of the average person. But more importantly the fear of the future will fade, releasing what is now horded away for old age, for when your health fails you, for your kid’s education…releasing the knot in your belly of knowing that no matter how much you manage to save [if any] it will not be enough.
So write in Frank Moore for President and Susan Block for Vice President on election day! For more information, go to http://frankmooreforpresident08.com/ and http://www.eroplay.com/.
Prominent linguist Noam Chomsky bashes the ‘imperialistic’ foreign policies of the US, likening Washington to the Nazis in Germany.
Chomsky compared US foreign policies to the conduct of Nazis within Germany, citing the Nuremberg trials as an example of the contradictions between US political speech and government-sanctioned actions.
“I think the ironies of United States deployed treacheries in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are self-evident,” The Daily Free Press quoted the Pulitzer-Prize winning author as saying at Roxbury Community College.
He also condemned the abusive actions of General David Petraeus and US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, against the Iraqi nation.
“Lord Petraeus has initiated tyrannically destructive policies, including, but not limited to, the surge proposed on Sept. 11, 2007 in a despicably theatrical manner before Congress,” exclaimed the MIT professor.
Chomsky also referred to the ill deeds of other US administrations, slamming Ronald Reagan for causing the overthrow of the legally elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua in 1984.
“Reagan was a thug and a coward, he managed to physically diminish a democratically-elected government and throw a nation into civil chaos for well over a decade . . . because the Sandinistas didn’t back US trade policies,” he expounded.
Mutualism, as a variety of anarchism, goes back to P.J. Proudhon in France and Josiah Warren in the U.S. It favors, to the extent possible, an evolutionary approach to creating a new society. It emphasizes the importance of peaceful activity in building alternative social institutions within the existing society, and strengthening those institutions until they finally replace the existing statist system. As Paul Goodman put it, "A free society cannot be the substitution of a 'new order' for the old order; it is the extension of spheres of free action until they make up most of the social life."
Mutualists belong to a non-collectivist segment of anarchists. Although we favor democratic control when collective action is required by the nature of production and other cooperative endeavors, we do not favor collectivism as an ideal in itself. We are not opposed to money or exchange. We believe in private property, so long as it is based on personal occupancy and use. We favor a society in which all relationships and transactions are non-coercive, and based on voluntary cooperation, free exchange, or mutual aid. The "market," in the sense of exchanges of labor between producers, is a profoundly humanizing and liberating concept. What we oppose is the conventional understanding of markets, as the idea has been coopted and corrupted by state capitalism.
Our ultimate vision is of a society in which the economy is organized around free market exchange between producers, and production is carried out mainly by self-employed artisans and farmers, small producers' cooperatives, worker-controlled large enterprises, and consumers' cooperatives. To the extent that wage labor still exists (which is likely, if we do not coercively suppress it), the removal of statist privileges will result in the worker's natural wage, as Benjamin Tucker put it, being his full product.
These are busy days for Christian Zionists. While President Bush recently returned from his trip to the Middle East “optimistic” that a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians could be reached by the end of the year, Pastor John Hagee’s Christian United for Israel (CUFI) is setting forth plans to put the kibosh — if not on the entire peace process — on any agreement that would sanction the division of Jerusalem. And Dr. Mike Evans has launched a “Save Jerusalem Campaign” while Joel C. Rosenberg’s Joshua Fund is planning a major celebration in Jerusalem in honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary.
CUFI, the pro-Israel lobbying group launched in February 2006 to provide support for Israel, believes that “‘Jerusalem must remain undivided as the eternal capital of the Jewish people’ (meaning no portion of it should be turned over to the Palestinians),” Sarah Posner, writes in her new book God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters (PoliPointPress, 2008).
Hagee, who heads up an 18,000-member Pentecostal congregation in San Antonio, Texas, “inject[s] . . . the charged rhetoric of biblical prophesy into contemporary foreign policy,” Posner writes, “[which] has catapulted him to the forefront of an American Christian Zionist movement that has become the darling of conservative Israel hawks in Washington and neoconservatives yearning for regional war in the Middle East.”
Last week, while Bush was still in the Middle East, Pastor Hagee sent the following e-mail to his supporters, a message that Posner characterized in an e-mail as a “pretty clear biblical directive to his followers, but . . . not very political”:
As world leaders attempt to decide the future of Israel and Jerusalem during diplomatic visits in an endeavor to create peace in the Middle East let remain focused on the Word of God and what is says about the future glory on Zion.
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Isaiah 35:4
The Word clearly speaks of the future house of God,
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2-3
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Micah 4:1-2
Over at the CUFI blog, David Brog, the organization’s Jewish executive director, issued a message of his own. In announcing its third annual Washington, DC Summit — scheduled for July 21 to July 24 — Brog asked supporters to “think about” three things:
1) President Bush is committed to completing a Middle East peace agreement by the time he leaves office. Our Summit will likely provide a final opportunity to influence this process in what may well be its final, fateful days.
2). We’ll be meeting in Washington less than four months before the 2008 Presidential election. Our Summit will be a last opportunity to impact the debate before this campaign hits the home stretch.
3). When we go up to Capitol Hill to visit with our representatives, there will be only a few working months left in this session of Congress. Once Congress adjourns, every bill before Congress that has not received a final up-or-down vote will die and we will need to start from scratch in the new Congress that is sworn in during January, 2009. Our Summit will be a final opportunity to secure passage of important pro-Israel legislation currently before Congress.
Another item that will likely be on CUFI’s agenda is Iran. On the organization’s homepage Hagee doesn’t mince words: Ignoring the recent National Intelligence Estimate which found that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and is unlikely to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb until at least 2010, Hagee insists on calling President Ahmadinejad of Iran “a new Hitler in the Middle East … who has threatened to wipe out Israel and America and is rapidly acquiring the nuclear technology to make good on his threat. If we learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that when a madman threatens genocide we must take him seriously.”
Mike Evans’ “Save Jerusalem Campaign”
Meanwhile, in a media-savvy move on the first day of Bush’s trip, Dr. Mike Evans used the front page of the heavily trafficked online website, the Drudge Report, to advertise for his Save Jerusalem Campaign.
Evans, the head of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Final Move Beyond Iraq, and the publisher of the online Jerusalem World News, is angry with president Bush for “moving full-speed ahead with his Annapolis Road Map plan to have a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital before he leaves office.”
In a recent report titled “Betrayed: The Bush Conspiracy to Divide Jerusalem,” Evans argued that the Road Map, proposed by the international Quartet — the U.S., the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations — “has become corrupted by Saudi Arabia and other fundamentalist Islamic forces into a plan to divide Jerusalem and make east Jerusalem — the home of Christianity — the capital of a Palestinian state and force Israel to return all lands reclaimed in 1967.”
In an e-mail to supporters dated January 22, Evans wrote that he was “completely outraged when [he] heard that [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert, whom I have known for 26 years, stood next to President Bush and declared that he would work to fulfill the final status solution to the Road Map to Peace. In essence, this means the division of Jerusalem (with all Christian Holy Sites being under Islamic rule of law) and Judea and Samaria turned over to the Palestinians.”
Another longtime Christian Zionist, Joel C. Rosenberg, has a rather nuanced view of the peace process. Rosenberg, the founder of The Joshua Fund — whose operating motto is “Pray for peace, but prepare for war” — maintained on his blog that despite the previous failures at reaching an accord, “we should not write off this possibility [of peace] too quickly.”
Rosenberg, a Jew who converted to Christianity more than 30 years ago, was a mostly behind-the-scenes figure in the conservative movement until his first novel, The Last Jihad, became a New York Times bestseller. Over the years, he has worked for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician Natan Sharansky, US business magazine magnate Steve Forbes, and right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. He is also a former Heritage Foundation staffer.
Rosenberg appears to believe that if peace deal is concluded, it will not contradict Biblical prophesy: “While . . . Matthew 24 and Luke 21 indicate that there will be wars, rumors of wars and revolutions in the Middle East in the last days, Ezekiel 38 also indicates that for a season at least the Jews will be living ’securely’ in the land prior to the apocalyptic War of Gog & Magog (the Russian-Iranian alliance to destroy Israel).”
In early January on his blog, Rosenberg characterized Olmert as “a man who seems almost desperate for a peace deal with the Palestinians, even if that means dividing Jerusalem (a terrible idea we should strongly oppose).” And in an entry dated January 23, Rosenberg seems buoyed by the possibility that Olmert’s government “is increasingly in danger of collapse.”
“Meanwhile,” writes Rosenberg, the Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally/friend of U.S. Christian Zionists, “is waiting in the wings, talking tough on Gaza and Iran, saying Olmert should strike hard and fast with ‘disproportionate force’ against Palestinian terrorists.” Netanyahu said that “In a war of attrition the enemy strikes and you react, the enemy strikes harder and you retaliate harder. This gradual increase in violence is the antithesis of deterrence….Deterrence always means using disproportionate force. We need to move from a concept of attrition to one of tough deterrence that will eventually lead to the removal of the Hamas regime, because as long as it exists it will continue arming itself and continue its attacks.”
Most importantly for Rosenberg, Evans, and CUFI is that “Netanyahu is also warning against dividing Jerusalem or giving away the West Bank and thus creating potential bases for Iran,” according to Rosenberg. “We must not repeat this mistake [of the South Lebanon and Gaza withdrawals,’” Netanyahu said on January 21, “This time we’re going to have an Iranian base facing Jerusalem and the Dan Bloc, which includes Tel Aviv. We have to prevent Iran’s armament and not let it establish new bases on our territory.”
While possibly going against the desires of Christian Zionists regarding Jerusalem, on his trip Bush continued to throw them a bone, hammering away at Iran. At a stop in Abu Dhabi, the president called Iran “the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror.” Bush said that Iran threatens all nations and the U.S. was “rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”
Rosenberg’s Joshua Fund is organizing a conference slated for April 10 in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary. According to Rosenberg, the purpose of the conference is “to educate people as to the serious threats facing the Jewish State and their neighbors, mobilize Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and provide
humanitarian relief to the poor and needy and those suffering from war and terrorism.”
Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column, "Conservative Watch," documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right. Read other articles by Bill.
At least three pilots in Stephenville disagree with the military’s press release issued Wednesday.
Steve Allen, Don “Doc” Stewart and Todd Downs all say if Stephenville and the Selden area are in the Brownwood Military Operating Area, it’s news to them.
A press release issued by Major Karl Lewis of the 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs at the NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, stated, “Ten F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron were performing training operations from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday January 8, 2008 in the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA), which includes the air space above Erath County.”
All three pilots say that space does not include all of Erath County. It only includes a small portion of Dublin and does not include Stephenville or the Selden area at all.