This is a great discussion, and an example of the kind of civil and intelligent dialogue between the radical Left and radical Right that there needs to be more of.
The latest flap over a Benetton ad campaign is far from the first in that notoriously tasteless company’s history. Obama is shown kissing the President of China, French chief of State Nicolas Sarkozy liplocks with German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel, and the pope swaps spit with some imam (though the latter image was dropped after legal threats—one wonders whether Netanyahu and, say, the President of Iran were considered, but never mind). Each couple is accompanied by the word “unhate”—which my Microsoft Word program keeps redlining.
Benneton’s Mad Men are no strangers to annoying or disturbing images. The fact that such stuff continues to sell rags says as much about the purchasers as the purveyors. Whenever I see these sorts of images, I begin to speculate as to what might shock the modern sensibilities—as I do when contemplating offerings such as Piss Christ. A picture of Anne Frank smeared with dung? A photo of a grinning smoker in a cancer ward surrounded by the dying? A stuffed baby harp seal? It is hard to figure, because without a sense of the sacred in a society, it is difficult to drop below merely disgusting to blasphemous.
This has been the Year of the Vermin. With the Arab Spring, the black flash mobs, the London riots, and the OWS camper babies, we’ve had an eyeful of what “the people” really look like. It ain’t pretty. They don’t look nearly as glamorous in real life as they do in the revolutionary paintings.
America’s annual post-Thanksgiving Fatso Stampede known as Black Friday was more chaotic and violent than usual this holiday season, which doesn’t speak well for the notion that the nation’s huddled masses are wallowing in abject poverty. These weren’t food riots. They were toy riots. This wasn’t Wall Street. It was Main Street.
And for the most part, Walmart is the only store left on Main Street. Though there were no reported fatalities to match the Long Island Walmart employee who got trampled to death during a Black Friday mob crush in 2008, Walmarts this year were bursting with fracases, frenzies, fisticuffs, and imbroglios from coast to coast.
I marched with Occupy Oakland last Saturday, but I’ve had a change of heart. I’m joining the One Percent.
The One Percent have fun. They have jobs and money. Or just money, because when you have a lot of money, you don’t need to work. They live in houses, not tents.
The One Percent have a government that actually listens to them. Lockheed needs a war to sell goods and services? Coming right up! Former Homeland Security Head Michael Chertoff wants to sell some porno-scanners? Get in (a very short) line – or no line at all if you’ve bought that exemption from TSA screening! Taxes too high? The One Percent’s government will lower them for the rich. Too many 99 Percenters declaring bankruptcy? The One Percent’s government will just make it harder for them. Bought toxic, mortgage-backed derivatives? Don’t worry, your government will bail you out if you’re in the One Percent. Bought a toxic mortgage? It’s your “responsibility,” if you’re in the 99 Percent.
Another reason to join the One Percent is that the One Percent have their own media mouthpiece — more like a bullhorn. The One Percent funded those meager Tea Party protests, and the One-Percent-owned Media covered them religiously. And I mean religiously: the media proclaim stuff about the movement that defies reality, such as how The Tea Party was a really big, grass roots, populist movement, and that it wasn’t racist. The Tea Party hate Obama for his “socialist” policies, not his skin color.
The last time we met Michael Bérubé on this site was back in 2007, and he was up to his neck in a rubbish dump, where I’d placed him, in the company of other promoters of the 2003 war on Iraq: where, I asked, are those parlor warriors now? Had any of them reconsidered their illusions…
“… that all it would take was a brisk invasion and a new constitution, to put Iraq to rights? Have any of them, from Makiya through Hitchens to Berman and Bérubé had dark nights, asking themselves just how much responsibility they have for the heaps of dead in Iraq, for a plundered nation, for the American soldiers who died or were crippled in Iraq at their urging ? Sometimes I dream of them… like characters in a Beckett play, buried up to their necks in a rubbish dump on the edge of Baghdad, reciting their columns to each other as the local women turn over the corpses to see if one of them is her husband or her son.”
Who’s this Bérubé, you ask. Well, for starters he’s the Paterno FamilyProfessor in Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. Penn State’s website informs us that “named professorships provide support for a focused area and are funded by gifts from individual donors,” which means that Bérubé has long been on Joe Paterno’s payroll – as things have turned out an ironic status for someone who’s spent a fair slice of his time barking and snapping his jaws at “the left” for innumerable failures stemming from moral equivocation and blindness to reality. Now that famed football coach Joe Paterno has been fired from Penn State for protecting one of his assistants, Jerry Sandusky, suspected of raping a ten-year old boy, amidst many other suspected assaults on youths under Sandusky’s supervision, we must await Bérubé’s assessment of how it feels to have been the kept man of this fallen idol. Does the title “Paterno Family Professor” remain ensconced on Bérubé’s formal letterhead?
On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35 per cent of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses, either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation.
Obviously, the German government got the message from the orchestrated failed bond auction. As I wrote at the time, there is no reason for Germany, with its relatively low debt to GDP ratio compared to the troubled countries, not to be able to sell its bonds. If Germany’s creditworthiness is in doubt, how can Germany be expected to bail out other countries? Evidence that Germany’s failed bond auction was orchestrated is provided by troubled Italy’s successful bond auction two days later.
Strange, isn’t it. Italy, the largest EU country that requires a bailout of its debt, can still sell its bonds, but Germany, which requires no bailout and which is expected to bear a disproportionate cost of Italy’s, Greece’s and Spain’s bailout, could not sell its bonds.
Parallels between Iraq’s former nuclear weapons program and the Iranian nuclear program have shaped policy debates for nearly a decade. We are still paying the costs of failing in Iraq. Israel now seems determined to make similar mistakes in Iran.
Is there a single region of the world where the United States government isn’t scheming to grab more control, more influence, and have more of a military presence?
In Pakistan, a memo has been unearthed from “President” Zardari to Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the joint chiefs of staff, proposing a coup d’etat in which the military and intelligence chiefs would be replaced – with US “political and military support” – in favor of individuals more compliant with the American agenda. Also in Pakistan: an outright attack by US and Afghan forces on a Pakistani military base, a “mistake” in which 28 Pakistani soldiers were killed.
Is the United States government actively trying to destabilize Pakistan – in order to be able to pull off a “coup” and move in with US troops in support of “democracy”? Are we, in effect, at war with Pakistan? Sure seems like it.
As more people became dissatisfied with federal government controls and land grabs, it was inevitable that local law enforcement would eventually see the bigger picture. At the northern California fairgrounds of Yreka last month, seven California sheriffs and another from Oregon gathered with a large group of citizens to say that they are finally going to do something about it.
The federal Drug Enforcment Administration translators would work out of the Atlanta field office according to a Justice Department request, posted online today by The Smoking Gun.
The request is again drawing attention to the form of speech that was hotly debated in the ’90s after a California school district passed a resolution recognizing the legitimacy of what is now more commonly referred to as “African-American English.”
Pastor Michael Stevens at a “Gathering of Solidarity with the State of Israel” event in Brooklyn, New York.
By Heather M. Higgins, CNN
Brooklyn, New York (CNN) – The aroma of allspice wafted through the air as calypso melodies and gospel voices brought more than four dozen people to their feet, a typical community gathering in the heavily West Indian neighborhood of East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
But no one could remember a meeting like this happening before. Inside a former Seventh-day Adventist church, there were the beginnings of what some hope is a budding relationship between American blacks and Jews, with a major assist from some Christian Zionists.
The late October meeting was billed as “A Gathering of Solidarity with the State of Israel,” sponsored by Christians United for Israel, the biggest Christian Zionist group in the country.
Until relatively recently, “there wasn’t a voice for Christian Zionism in the black church,” said Pastor Michael Stevens, the African-American outreach coordinator for Christians United for Israel, speaking to the mostly West Indian crowd in Brooklyn.
“Because of that, you heard from Farrakhan, Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – they became the poster children for the African-American community as it related to black-Jewish relationships,” Stevens said. “If there is no outreach, this is all our community knows.”
Black leaders like Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jackson have been sharply critical of Israel, decrying its treatment of Palestinians.
Stevens’ mission, by contrast, is to build a bridge between the nation’s black and Jewish communities based on support for Israel, partly by pointing out what he calls parallels between the two groups.
A new level of invasive screening is scheduled for airports this summer: a portable DNA scanner to conduct on-site, real-time genetic testing.
This technology is being implemented under the cover of combating human trafficking, illegal immigration, and finding missing persons, but Richard Seldon ofNetBio, creator of the scanners, clearly states that “DNA information has the potential to become part of the fabric of day-to-day life.” In an interview with Katie Drummond who broke this story for The Daily, Seldon envisions additional applications in emergency rooms, food safety tests, and law enforcement.
DNA collection is actually nothing new, as the Pentagon has admitted that it currently has a DNA database with 80,000 suspected foreign terrorists on it, and growing daily. However, this collection apparatus has been secretly in place for Americans as well. Lawsuits are pending from families who uncovered a secret program to collect DNA from babies and store it in a military database. However, that was a secret that had to be uncovered. The fact that DNA screening is being rolled out openly marks a new level of blatant tyranny in America.
To a certain extent, DNA collection already has become part of the fabric of day-to-day life; police in America have had the authority to conduct warrantless searches since 2009 by taking blood and saliva during arrests, even from those not convicted of a crime. This has quickly morphed into DNA being taken through mandatory blood tests at DUI checkpoints in Florida.
It has been argued that DNA extraction is no different than taking fingerprints. This argument is patently absurd, due to the simple fact that fingerprints have no bearing on one’s genetic information . . . or manipulation. It is the genetic information of individuals that has been the holy grail of all tyrannies as the endgame for their control grid.
The current focus on DNA extraction and databasing is a well-known globalist initiative stated by the UN to register every newborn. This initiative has the full support of globalist and population-control advocate, Bill Gates, who would like to see a universal birth registry which would presumably tie in to his universal vaccine program. Additionally, globalist behemoths such as theRAND Corporation have issued documents that identify an interest in biotechnology for the purpose of population reduction, cloning, and to “identify, understand, manipulate, improve, and control living organisms (including ourselves).”
It is important to note that the technology of tracking, tracing, and databasing innocent people right down to their blood is a top-down directive from federal agencies, not a legitimate scientific endeavor. Legitimate science researches ways to increase human potential and freedom, not use it as a system for identification and control. With the rise of nanotechnology as a federal initiative, we should strongly resist the collection of our life force to be used in any way that government-controlled science sees fit.
CNN) — NATO helicopters opened fire on a Pakistani checkpoint early Saturday, killing 26 soldiers, a provincial governor said.
At least 14 soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Mohmand Agency area, said Syed Masood Kausar, governor of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Mohmand Agency is one of seven districts of the volatile region bordering Afghanistan.
“It’s a huge incident; the reaction is obvious,” he said at a news conference in Islamabad.
The death toll could rise as many of the injuries are critical, military officials said. The officials did not want to be named because they are not allowed to talk to the media.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called an emergency meeting of military services chiefs to formulate his country’s response, his spokesman said. The Defense Committee of the Cabinet will meet later Saturday.
In a statement, Gilani said he “strongly condemned the NATO/ISAF attack on the Pakistani” checkpoint.
The matter is being taken up by the Foreign Ministry “in the strongest possible terms” with NATO and the United States, the statement from his office said.
While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
If you believe that the United States is the “sole superpower” in the world, then you really need to read the rest of this article. Most Americans have very little idea what is actually going on in the rest of the world and how the global balance of power is shifting.
For example, can you name the country that is the number one oil producer in the world, the number one oil exporter in the world, the number one exporter of natural gas in the world and that also has the second most powerful military in the entire world? In case you need a hint, it is not Saudi Arabia, it is not China and it is not the United States. The correct answer is Russia. The Russian Bear is back in a big way. Did you know that Russia is rapidly becoming one of the top suppliers of oil to the United States? Russia has vast natural resources, a national debt that is very low (ratio of publicly held debt to GDP is less than 10%) and an economy that has boomed over the past decade. Russia is busy flexing its muscles in many different ways. For example, many are pointing out that the “Eurasian economic union” that Russia is putting together is a significant move in the direction of a revival of the Soviet Union. Russia is also rapidly modernizing its military and developing very powerful new weapons systems. Most Americans believe that the Cold War is over and that Russia is a toothless bear that no longer represents a threat. It is difficult to find words to describe how wrong that assessment of the situation is.
The other night during the Republican debate the candidates said next to nothing about Russia. It was almost as if the second most powerful superpower on the planet did not even exist.
That debate was yet another example of just how bizarre our foreign policy has become. As you will see below, if there is one country on the face of the planet that could defeat the United States in a war, it is Russia.
And if you believe that Russia is now our “friend”, then you have been seriously deceived.
The Cold War is not over. In fact, activity by Russian intelligence agents inside the United States and other western nations is now at least at Cold War levels. And tensions between the United States and Russia are rising on multiple fronts.
The IAEA, Iran And ‘Fantasy Land’
Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its much-trailed report ‘presenting new evidence’, said the BBC, ‘suggesting that Iran is secretly working to obtain a nuclear weapon.’
Relying on ‘evidence provided by more than 10 member states as well as its own information’, the IAEA said Iran had carried out activities ‘relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device’.
Having looked deeply into the claims, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh commented this week in an interview with Democracy Now!:
‘But you mentioned Iraq. It’s just this — almost the same sort of — I don’t know if you want to call it a “psychosis,” but it’s some sort of a fantasy land being built up here, as it was with Iraq, the same sort of — no lessons learned, obviously.’
Several years ago, James Bovard wrote that large numbers of Americans working in government positions simply are not subject to obeying laws that other Americans must follow – or go to prison. Lest anyone doubt what he says, the recent recommendation by a special prosecutor investigating misconduct by the U.S. Department of Justice in the trial of the late Ted Stevens should provide ample proof that if one is a government lawyer, then one is not subject to the law.
The Stevens trial two years ago in which the then-Alaska U.S. Senator was tried and convicted on corruption charges turned out to be a farce. While it is true that Stevens really was the very symbol of “crony capitalism” and pork-barrel spending, nonetheless what federal prosecutors did was reprehensible in gaining the conviction.
According to the report, prosecutors knowingly lied, withheld exculpatory evidence, and managed to make sure that the Republican would be tried in D.C. and judged by a jury of Democrats. In other words, the trial was a farce from the beginning, as often is the case in federal criminal law.