Beware of System Libertarians Reply

Article by John Glaser.

I knew what Johnson was about years ago when as governor of New Mexico he said he opposed the drug war but refused to grant pardons to drug war prisoners because “they broke the law” or some such nonsense.

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In an interview with the Daily Caller, presumptive Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson tries heartily to describe his foreign policy…or at least a foreign policy. Plainly put, the man is confused.

He says he supports U.S. military intervention in Uganda to root out the Lords Resistance Army and kill its leader, Joseph Kony. He thinks the drone war in Pakistan and Yemen creates more enemies than it eliminates, but doesn’t want to take drone strikes off the proverbial “table.” He wants to “completely withdraw our military presence” from Afghanistan, but wants to keep our military bases there. In fact, U.S. military bases should be maintained throughout the Middle East, he says, even though America faces “no military threats.” He supports “humanitarian intervention.” He wants to cut military and defense budgets by 43 percent, but only reduce national security spending to 2003 levels, “and just wring out the excess.”

Johnson is putting forth an image of himself of a former New Mexico governor who is outside the political establishment and serious about cutting spending. But evidently, the man hasn’t a clue what he is talking about with regards to foreign policy. His musings about war and intervention are little more than guesswork, wading his way through what he supposes is the libertarian position, while making clear he is no non-interventionist.

There is a strange habit the public and the reporting politicos perform when it comes to presidential candidates. They seem to assume that, since candidate X is running for president, surely he has studied the issues carefully. They don’t question candidates on their knowledge, only their “positions” (assuming they have been formed more than a millisecond before the question was asked). This was evident with Herman Cain’s blank-slate talk of “trusting the generals” and his embarrassing reveries about how to pronounce Uzbekistan. Mitt Romney has similarly shown himself cutely untaught on foreign policy issues by claiming Russia is America’s greatest foe, apparently never before hearing of the MeK, and doing a bit of guesswork of his own on Iran. But it seems Johnson has spent too much time on his 43-percent-spending-reduction talking points and far too little gaining any knowledge or developing any principled position whatsoever on foreign policy.

Responding to the Daily Caller interview, Brian Doherty at Reason’s Hit & Run wrote “he seems to lack either the systematic thinking or moral fervor that makes me trust him to reliably come to truly libertarian conclusions on many issues.” Ah, “systematic thinking” …such a lost art.

United States of Mass Murder: Only Mao Killed More Reply

Why the struggle against the empire must be foremost on the agenda of any anarchist movement worthy of the name.

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After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”

But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.

The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.

This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.

The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.

But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.

The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

More…

Anarchism and Confederate-Flag Culture: One Man’s Journey from Southern Heritage to Libertarian Socialism 11

Interesting.

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If you are someone who displays a Confederate flag out of overt racism, this text is not for you. In fact, we will fight you in the streets.

If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you. Especially, if you are a working class southerner who flies the Cross of St. Andrew as an in-your-face act of protest against the mass production of national “culture,” a McDonaldized product that has the effect of smothering and burying authentic local cultures that (some feel) are symbolized by the Confederate flag… especially, then, this brief sketch of one man’s odyssey from the glorification of southern heritage to an appreciation of anarchist ideas and values, may have something to say to you.

As a child I was raised by the school, television, church, and my parents, in roughly that order of importance. All of these authorities told me what it was appropriate for me to think, do and feel at any given moment. I was supposed to love and obey a God who never bothered to show his face to me, and in a similar vein I was supposed to love and obey a familial father who didn’t have time for me, either. Parents and teachers were to be respected, and for children who failed in that endeavor the “policeman would come and get you” (which proved to be all too true.)

But at least I had the television… Mr. TV was my buddy, my fellow sufferer in the face of all this authority. Mr. TV was the coolest kid on the block, the guy who knew his way around the social pit-falls of school, the ultimate arbiter of what was cool and what was, gasp, “lame” (can you imagine a crueler, more horrible expression?)

The problem was, it was all a bunch of lies, and I knew it. (Or at least, once I got old enough to think for myself, I knew it.) The meaning-of-it-all that the church offered meant, in fact, nothing at all. It was illogical, but served the purpose of telling me to be a good servant, because I would get my reward after I was dead from an invisible person in the sky. (I don’t think the unlikelihood of THAT little scenario requires too much commentary.) The school, with its sports programs and detention halls, which claimed to be opening my mind to the mysteries of the universe and the joys of great art, was in fact training to me to become a cog in the great corporate machine. And my parents were too much in the thrall of this corporate religion themselves, to do anything but reinforce it.

Even my best friend, the TV, turned against me. He begin to say that if I was born a white southerner, then I was to blame for all the racial ills of mankind. That’s right, I, little ole southern white boy, had done it all, from the Grecian slave societies of antiquity to the Boston busing riots, from the rape of Nanking to the Holocaust, all the racial ills of mankind could be laid at my doorstep. By this point in time the church (and my parents) had stuffed me so full of irrational guilt that I was inclined to believe it… but somehow, it just didn’t add up.

So I took a big horn from a bottle of (Kentucky) bourbon, hung a Confederate flag in the window, and told the world to kiss my ass. I was through apologizing for being born…

Here is the summary version: the American corporate titans that control the TV, newspapers, and grammar school textbooks have declared all things southern to be racist, and all things racist to be southern, in order to confuse the issue and evade their own responsibilities. They portray slavery as having been a purely southern institution, instead of as a single component of a universally oppressive white/Anglo economic system (that happened to find its worst excesses in the cotton fields of the southern United States in the 1800’s).

By painting slavery and racism as a uniquely southern phenomenon, the CEO’s manage to divert attention from the racist legacy that remains. When they falsely imply that racism is uniquely southern, and then correctly add that the racial situation in the south now mirrors that of the rest of the country, they declare the problem solved. Implicitly this has the effect of encouraging such reactionary nonsense as charges of “reverse discrimination.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem of white supremacy in America is anything but resolved. In fact, police officers all over America target people of color for searches and beatings, while the nation’s jails, prisons and housing projects are littered with the dark-skinned human refuse of the ultimate soulless commodity system, the great American labor market. In the 1850’s most blacks were subject to whips and chains, but a small portion were relatively “free”. In modern society, most people of color are impoverished or imprisoned, while a similarly small portion are middle-class, or relatively “well-off”. Very little has changed, other than the means of the enslavement.

These facts are what the “racism is a southern thing” myth is intended to obscure. Blacks, Latinos, and to a lesser extent, working-class southern whites are all harmed by this myth. It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags) which provide the business class with aid and comfort.

So, burn your Confederate flag — give it a respectful ceremony if you must, but really, get rid of it — and join the anarchist movement as we set out to combat, defeat and replace the racist, classist, patriarchal society that bores us with political speeches, numbs us with television, scares us with the superstitions of religion, hypnotizes us with the banalities of commercial advertising, and threatens us with the state-religion of patriotism. We are the “rebels” of the modern corporate-techno-nightmare age, and our ultimate goal is to replace the businesses, government and churches with a society of free equals, in which all live at peace with nature and each other.

Join us as we set out to build a new world, a world in which every man, woman and, yes, child is viewed and treated as a valuable part of the great whole of larger humanity, instead of as a competitor for money, sex, and power. Join us as we set out to build a world based on sharing and mutual respect, where local idiosyncrasies (that are supportive of human dignity) are respected, even celebrated. Join us, and be proud of the human being that you are, the community in which you live, and the planet on which you stand.

Down with McDonalds, Wal-Mart, ADM and the rest of the corporations! Up with your neighbors, and yourself!

Prole Cat

September, in the year of our store, 2003

Noam Chomsky on the "New Atheism" 69

Noam takes on the atheist fundamentalists.

As an atheist myself, I’ve found these “new atheist” writers to be an embarrassment. First, none of the prominent ones are genuine religious scholars, historians of religion, or cultural anthropologists who can, for instance, examine  the cultural, historical, literary, or linguistic contexts in which the varying parts of the Bible were written to provide an explanation of why fundamentalist biblical literalists are, well, mistaken and ignorant. There are plenty of genuine scholars of religion whose work examines religious beliefs and sacred texts within their proper framework, such as Robert Price, John Loftus, Daniel Barker, Hector Avalos, Bart Ehrman, and D.M. Murdoch. These are the skeptics who are worth paying attention to.

Second, they typically conflate atheism with stereotypical liberal or radical left-wing politics when there’s no inherent relationship whatsoever. See Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume, Nietzsche, and Mencken.

Third, like the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, they come across as narrow-minded and ill-informed bigots whose only purpose is to antagonize religious people.

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I haven’t been thrilled by the atheist movement.  First, who is the audience?  Is it religious extremists?  Say right-wing evangelical Christians like George Bush (as you rightly point out)?  Or is it very prominent Rabbis in Israel who call for visiting the judgment of Amalek on all Palestinians (total destruction, down to their animals)?  Or is it the radical Islamic fundamentalists who have been Washington’s most valued allies in the Middle East for 75 years (note that Bush’s current trip to the Middle East celebrates two events: the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, and the 75th anniversary of establishment of US-Saudi relations, each of which merits more comment)?  If those are the intended audiences, the effort is plainly a waste of time.  Is the audience atheists?  Again a waste of time.  Is it the grieving mother who consoles herself by thinking that she will see her dying child again in heaven?  If so, only the most morally depraved will deliver solemn lectures to her about the falsity of her beliefs.  Is it those who have religious affiliations and beliefs, but don’t have to be reminded of what they knew as teenagers about the genocidal character of the Bible, the fact that biblical accounts are not literal truths, or that religion has often been the banner under which hideous crimes were carried out (the Crusades, for example)?  Plainly not.  The message is old hat, and irrelevant, at least for those whose religious affiliations are a way of finding some sort of community and mutual support in an atomized society lacking social bonds.  Who, in fact, is the audience?
Furthermore, if it is to be even minimally serious, the “new atheism” should focus its concerns on the virulent secular religions of state worship, so well exemplified by those who laud huge atrocities like the invasion of Iraq, or cannot comprehend why they might have some concern when their own state, with their support, carries out some of its minor peccadilloes, like killing probably tens of thousands of poor Africans by destroying their main source of pharmaceutical supplies on a whim — arguably more morally depraved than intentional killing, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere.  In brief, to be minimally serious the “new atheism” should begin by looking in the mirror.

Without going on, I haven’t found it thrilling, though condemnation of dangerous beliefs and great crimes is always in order.

NC

Daryle Lamont Jenkins: An Illustration of the Schizoprenic Nature of the "Anarchist" Left 1

Listen to the podcast interview of Daryle. 

Daryle says quite a bit that I agree with in this interview.

Apparently, we are both admirers of the documentary “Anarchism in America.” We agree that the U.S. was originally a federation of sovereign nations that were eventually incorporated into a unified state through the Fourteenth Amendment. We agree that the U.S. will likely eventually split up into a multitude of smaller political entities and that that’s probably a good thing. We both accept the anarchist label for our respective political perspectives. But….

Daryle attacks Ron Paul for “wanting to defeat the first black president.” As if that has anything to do with it. Apparently, skin color alone should be enough to guarantee a head of state the right of re-election.

Supposed left-wing anarchist Daryle describes how he has collaborated with such organizations as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (i.e. veterans of imperialist wars) to prevent free speech and free association. Oh, for the good old days when the American Legion and radical leftists were mortal enemies.

So apparently Daryle’s “anarchism” amounts to “Support the President and Support the Troops” in a vein reminiscent of Bush and the neocons, and collaborating with, ahem, patriotic organizations for the sake of shutting down free association and freedom of assembly for political dissidents and all the while crusading against freedom of speech for points of view that defy conventional political orthodoxy.

And of the two of us, I’m supposed to be the fascist?

Caught in the crossfire: Should musicians boycott Israel? Reply

Article by Jello Biafra.

Israel’s wall is intended to permanently enclose Palestinians [GALLO/GETTY]
Last summer, punk rock icon Jello Biafra and his band decided to cancel a show they had planned on playing at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. At the time, Biafra wrote that ‘the toll and stress on the band members and myself has been huge, both logistically and as a matter of conscience‘. In August, Biafra decided to travel to Israel and Palestine himself to explore his thoughts on the cultural boycott of Israel.San Francisco, CA – So now I have been to Israel. I have also been to Palestine. I got a taste of the place, but not in the way I’d originally hoped.In many ways I really wish my band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, had played in Tel Aviv. But I also share most of the boycott’s supporters’ feelings about Israel’s government, the occupation and ongoing human rights violations.

I hope people take the time to understand how deeply this has torn at the fabric of our band. The promoter in Tel Aviv lost thousands, and I am eating thousands more in lost and re-booked airfares that I have no idea how I am going to pay, or how I will pay my bills for the rest of the year. Real human beings got hurt here.

This whole controversy has been one of the most intense situations of my life – and I thrive on intense situations. But the rest of the band was not used to this. How fair was it to drag them there in the first place? This is not like fighting Tipper Gore and the Los Angeles Police Department, greedy ex-Dead Kennedys members or more-radical-than-thou thugs who think it’s OK to put someone in the hospital for being a “sellout”. I gradually felt like I had gotten in over my head sticking my nose into one of the longest and nastiest conflicts on earth.

So with the rollercoaster still in my stomach and my head, I flew solo to Israel instead. The mission: to check things out myself and hopefully at least get closer to some kind of conclusion on whether artists boycotting Israel, especially me, was really the best way to help the Palestinian people.

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Nazi Exceptionalism; or, How Godwin’s Law Gets It Backward 2

Article by Kevin Carson.

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Most participants in online debates are familiar with Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The implicit corollary, of course, is that the first person to descend to such a comparison automatically forfeits the debate. Oddly enough, though, I don’t remember electing anyone named Godwin to legislate for me. And more importantly, that corollary is — or can be — quite stupid.

Godwin’s Law, by treating Nazi Germany as some sort of unique, metaphysical evil in human history, essentially nullifies its practical lessons for people in other times and places. Although Nazi precedents are now used as symbols of ultimate evil — just look at Darth Vader — they didn’t seem anywhere so dramatic to the German people at the time they were happening.

Nazi repression came about incrementally, in the background, as people lived their ordinary daily lives.  Each new upward ratcheting of the security state was justified as something not all that novel or unprecedented, just a common sense measure undertaken from practical concerns for “security.”

After all, the bulk of Hitler’s emergency powers were granted by the Reichstag after a terrorist attack (blamed at the time on communists), a fire which destroyed the seat of Germany’s parliament. Any parallels to 9/11 and USA PATRIOT are, of course, purely accidental. Each new security clampdown, after an initial flurry of discussion, was quickly accepted as normal because it didn’t affect the daily lives of most ordinary people. And of course, those ordinary people had nothing to fear, because they’d done nothing wrong!

The “American Exceptionalism” that people like Sarah Palin appeal to is just the converse of the Nazi Exceptionalism implied by Godwin’s law. “American Exceptionalism” is a stupid ideology. It demands from its adherents a belief that the American people — and the American government — represent some special race of creatures who couldn’t possibly behave the same way normal, run-of-the-mill human beings have behaved throughout history.

The American response to the post-9/11 security state really isn’t all that different from that of the German people in the 1930s. Every expansion of the surveillance state meets widespread responses like “I have nothing to hide.” The TSA’s de facto internal passport system for air travel is defended by many people in these words: “If you don’t like it, don’t fly. If it saves one life, the inconvenience is worth it.”

A friend recently told me of being asked by a fairly “liberal” family member, in response to her complaints about the NDAA’s provisions for indefinite detention of “terror suspects” without criminal charges: “Why should someone like me who’s not doing anything wrong be afraid of it?” The common response, just as with the Nazis, is to take the government’s justifications at face value and accept that they mean well. Take off your tinfoil hat — after all, we were attacked!

The American people, like the Germans, generally also take at face value the “defensive” nature of the American state’s foreign policy. I remember seeing a Democratic Congressman on C-SPAN, defending Clinton’s Balkan adventures in the ’90s, say “I was taught in school that America has never gone to war for a square foot of land or a dollar of treasure.” Using Chomsky’s “person from Mars” thought experiment — looking at the role of the United States in the world as an alien would, judging the actions of the United States by the same standards one would use to judge comparable actions by any other country — is labeled “Blame America First.”

The tenor of CNN’s coverage of Russia’s “aggression” against Georgia in August 2008 was hardly different from that of the German press in response to Poland’s alleged aggression against ethnic Germans in Danzig in 1939. And if the United States attacks Iran based on a recycled version of the Iraqi WMD lies of nine years ago, you can be absolutely certain the major news networks will dust off the red-white-and-blue bunting and the Wall of Heroes, reporting America’s “defensive” action against the “Iranian threat” as straight news. After all, things like the Diem overthrow and the Tonkin Gulf Incident have nothing at all in common with the SS black flag operation in Danzig.

People are people, and the lessons of history apply to all of us. If you kid yourself otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

Common Fallacies About Anti-Interventionism Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.

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The idea that the United States government should not intervene in the internal affairs of other nations is heresy. After World War II, both political parties and nearly all the nation’s elites agreed on one thing: we have an “obligation” to pursue and maintain a position of “world leadership.” Without the US to guide them, it was inferred, the nations of the globe would soon sink into a maelstrom of malevolence and violent conflict, the sea lanes would be threatened, and International Anarchy would be the inevitable result.

There were, to be sure, a few skeptical voices that continued to be heard, but they were either drowned out by the interventionist din, or eventually browbeaten into silence. In the Washington, D.C. of today, to even question the right and obligation of the US to meddle in the affairs of nations the world over is to be considered an Unserious Person, relegated to the fringes, and unceremoniously tuned out. The foreign policy Establishment’s success in policing the discourse has been astonishingly successful, given the First Amendment. This success is due to the sheer weight of years of propaganda emanating not only from the Washington think tanks, but from the organs of popular culture: novels, television, films, and the popular media in general, constantly reinforcing the message, which is that the Empire is a Good Thing.

That this message is contradicted by the other major theme of imperialist propaganda – which is that America isn’t an empire, after all, and never was – is but a bothersome minor detail. After all, this is the same country whose political and intellectual elites rhapsodize over its alleged benevolence whilst in the same breath justifying the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a moral necessity, the same nation that boasts it’s “the land of the free” while imprisoning a greater percentage of its population than Communist China. Hubris-induced blindness not only allows such contradictions: it thrives on them.

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Ron Paul’s Anti-Imperialism 2

Article by Andrew Levine.

This is an interesting critique of Ron Paul from a neo-Marxist perspective. While it makes some interesting arguments, and is likely correct is its assessment of the futility of the Ron Paul campaign, it also engages in a lot of unnecessary overreach. The reason the U.S. state engages in persistent military aggression is because it is a large powerful state that possesses the resources to do so and because that’s what states do when they have the means. The solution is to simply smash up the U.S. into lots of pieces so it no longer possesses the means to military imperialism. See Switzerland.

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Ron Paul is the only anti-war candidate running for president.  More than that: he wants to do away with overseas bases and reduce the military to the strictly defensive force envisioned in the Constitution; one that only wages wars Congress declares.  He also wants to dismantle the apparatus of empire and to halt American meddling in the affairs of foreign countries. This would entail, among other things, the end of all Bush-Obama wars, the demise of the military-industrial complex, and the termination of America’s virtually unconditional military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel.

Paul is also the only candidate calling for reversing the Bush-Obama assault on habeas corpus protections and on constitutionally protected due process rights.   His views on domestic surveillance and similar intrusions into individuals’ lives and behaviors are more “liberal” than any other Republican candidate’s.  But for one gaping exception, they’re more liberal too than Barack Obama’s: Paul’s libertarianism goes missing when the specter of homosexuality threatens, and he loses it when it comes to female sexuality.  Thus he’s fine with infringing upon reproductive rights; holding, for example, that states should be permitted to outlaw abortion.

Paul’s anti-militarism, anti-interventionism, and fierce, though partial, support for individuals’ freedoms are not the only reasons he falls outside the governing consensus.   His views on economic and social policies are even more discordant and unsettling to the status quo.  And so there is a bipartisan consensus that his candidacy is a non-starter – a point with which our media heartily concur.

This is why, should his candidacy garner significantly more support than it already has, the powers that be across the entire political spectrum, from a to b, will mobilize to
crush him.  But it won’t come to that.  His rivals for the Republican nomination are more than up to the task.

Still, as the only anti-war, anti-militarist, and anti-interventionist candidate in the national spotlight, and the most reliable civil libertarian (for straight men), Paul’s candidacy has some appeal for leftists, despite the appalling positions he takes on everything else.   Supporting Ron Paul can therefore seem as good a way as any to express contempt for Barack Obama and his liberal supporters.  Since they offer up fresh grounds for contempt on an almost daily basis, the temptation is palpable to discount Paul’s antiquarian economic philosophy, his hostility towards the labor movement, and his attraction to social policies of the kind that Ebenezer Scrooge endorsed before three ghosts and the Cratchit family set him straight.

Of course, acting on that temptation requires forgetting a lot – like the racist comments in newsletters released under his name and his voting record in Congress on issues affecting women and people of color.  Yes, Paul has spoken out more than any of his Republican rivals or, for that matter, Barack Obama on the evils of institutional racism; the balance sheet is therefore equivocal.  Even so, it is hard to dismiss all the reasons for rejecting Paul out of hand, even if doing so is tantamount to making common cause with the scaremongers on the MSNBC evening lineup.   But some think it worth the effort – because Paul is against Obama for some of the right reasons, and no one else with his degree of visibility and voter appeal now is.

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What War with Iran Might Look Like 1

Article by Philip Giraldi.

We gotta get rid of those neocons.

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Back in September 2007 I wrote an article for Antiwar.com called “What World War III May Look Like.” The article, which presumed that an incident involving U.S. troops on the border between Iraq and Iran could easily escalate into what would eventually become a global conflict, was widely replayed in the alternative media and even in the mainstream. Well, I am pleased to report that no such war has yet started, though there has been a disturbing expansion of U.S. military activity through the deployment of drones to hit targets in assorted countries without having to worry about American casualties or niceties like declarations of war. Other geopolitical elements that figured in my 2007 analysis have also changed, so I believe that the time has come for an update.

Iran is clearly the target of choice, just as it was in 2007. Despite President Barack Obama’s assertion that he would open up avenues to talk to the Iranians, he has failed to do so, he has rejected Iranian initiatives to start a dialogue, and he is showing every sign of unwillingness to negotiate on any level. Congress has even moved to block any contact between American and Iranian diplomats. The sanctions that recently took effect against the Iranian banking system can be construed as an act of war, particularly as Iran has not provided any casus belli. Further sanctions that will restrict energy imports are impending and will bring the country’s economy to a halt. There are already signs that the Iranian government feels itself compelled to demonstrate to its people that it is doing something about the situation. That “something” might well be a confrontation with the U.S. Navy that will have unfortunate results. In light of all that, it might be useful to imagine just how war with Iran could play out if the Iranians don’t roll over and surrender at the first whiff of grapeshot.

It might start with a minor incident, possibly involving an Iranian armed small craft manned by the Revolutionary Guard. Though the Strait of Hormuz is generally considered an international waterway, the Iranians claim that half of the strait is within their territorial waters. Tehran, in response to intensified sanctions, declares that it can determine who can use the strait and says that it will take steps to keep American warships from entering. The frigate USS Ingraham, patrolling off of Bushehr, is confronted by the small craft and ordered to heave to, an order it rejects. The Iranian commander, ignoring instructions to back off when confronted directly by the U.S. Navy, opens fire with rocket-propelled grenades. The frigate’s Phalanx rapid-fire battery immediately responds by blasting the Iranian boat, killing the entire Revolutionary Guard crew, but two American sailors are also killed in the exchange and four are wounded.

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America Hijacked! Billions go to Israel and other nations abroad while we suffer at home Reply

From The Final Call.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Oval Offi ce during a previous visit. Photo: MGNOnline/Courtesy of White House/Flickr | U.S. President Barack H. Obama

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a recent message to nearly 4,000 on the campus of Prairie View A&M told the naked truth about America’s corrupt political system.

“When you become a governor or a senator—somebody in political power, you don’t see the power behind the power,” the Minister said. “The real power is not what you see. The real power is the unseen reality that moves what you see.”

The unseen powers in America’s political system are the advisers and lobbyists operating in the shadowy corridors near decision-makers in Washington D.C.

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The Cost of Israel to Americans Reply

From Veterans Today.

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Our uniquely massive support for Israel has cost trillions of dollars and multitudes of lives. It has diminished our moral standing in the world, lessened our domestic freedoms, and exposed us to unnecessary and growing peril.

The majority of Americans – as well as our diplomatic and military experts – oppose this unique relationship. Yet, the lobby for Israel continues to foment policies that are disastrous for our nation and tragic for the region.

If we are to have Middle East policies that serve the national interest, that represent the highest values of our founders and our citizens, and that work to sustain a nation of honor, decency, security, and prosperity, then it is essential that all Americans become active and informed. Below are the facts:

American taxpayers give Israel over $8 million per day

(See report from Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress):

This to a nation, at its peak, of 7.4 million people – smaller than New Jersey. Israel has received more American money than any other nation on earth. It is more than we give to all the starving countries of Africa put together.

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Samir Khan: Proud to be an American traitor Reply

From CNN.

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Samir Khan was proud to be a traitor. In a way, he was among the most dangerous of al Qaeda terrorists. By turning his back on the country he grew up in, he gained credibility and coupled that with his intimate knowledge of Western culture to become a driving force behind a powerful al Qaeda propaganda machine.

The one-time North Carolina resident, who U.S. and Yemeni officials say waskilled with Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike Friday morning, used his knowledge of computers to help produce a glossy, Western-style magazine called Inspire that touted the edicts of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

Just what motivates a man who has spent much of his life growing up in the United States to wage jihad against it? Many of the answers are provided by Khan himself in an article he penned for Inspire titled, “I Am Proud to Be a Traitor to America.”

In the article, Khan details his journey from North Carolina to Yemen, writing that “Washington’s imperialism” was something he could no longer tolerate. “What they have done and continue to do in the Muslim lands is what I felt, totally unacceptable to my religion.”
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Losing the Great Game in Afghanistan Reply

Article by Devika Patel.

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Ten years ago, I watched the Twin Towers fall. A San Francisco Examiner headline the next day summed up my feelings fairly well: “Bastards!” Of course we had to fight back. I thought there’d be a bit of a scuffle, much like the first Gulf War, and we’d be done with the whole affair in a few weeks.

A decade later, do I ever feel silly. My eureka moment came around 2004, when I stumbled across a piece that had appeared in the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur sometime in 1998, featuring former United States National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. In Cheshire Cat fashion, Brzezinski explained that offering CIA aid to the mujahideen drew “the Russians into the Afghan trap,” where we armed the Taliban’s predecessors to the gills after Russia’s invasion. The unrepentant Brzezinski was delighted by his maneuver that gave Russia its own Vietnam War, bankrupting them and ending the Cold War.

But Brzezinski’s “agitated Muslims,” who flew planes into our towers, eventually proved far more troublesome than the Soviets who had been declining economically each day with or without their own Vietnam.

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A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe Reply

Article by Chris Hedges.

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I arrived in Times Square around 9:30 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A large crowd was transfixed by the huge Jumbotron screens. Billows of smoke could be seen on the screens above us, pouring out of the two World Trade towers. Two planes, I was told by people in the crowd, had plowed into the towers. I walked quickly into the New York Times newsroom at 229 W. 43rd St., grabbed a handful of reporter’s notebooks, slipped my NYPD press card, which would let me through police roadblocks, around my neck, and started down the West Side Highway to the World Trade Center. The highway was closed to traffic. I walked through knots of emergency workers, police and firemen. Fire trucks, emergency vehicles, ambulances, police cars and rescue trucks idled on the asphalt.

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Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally Reply

Article by Jeffrey Goldberg.

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It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country.

What was extraordinary wasn’t the message — it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What was notable was that Netanyahu was lecturing the president live on television, during a photo opportunity staged so that the two leaders could issue platitudes about the enduring bonds between their nations.

That display of impudence left the president and his team feeling unusually angry. Shortly afterward, Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, called the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, to communicate the displeasure of the White House in a reportedly heated way. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who watched her husband battle Netanyahu in the late 1990s, also expressed anger and frustration about the prime minister within the administration.

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Interview with Arundhati Roy Reply

From the New Internationalist.

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Arundhati Roy is probably the most ‘do something’ public intellectual of our time. In her interview with New Internationalist she offers her take on market-friendly democracy, people power and the wealth that is fed by people’s lives.

Your writings have grappled with ruthless state violence which is often at the behest of corporate interests. Much of the corporate-owned media in India shies away from covering the civil war-like conditions in many parts of the country. The establishment tends to brand anyone who attempts to present the other side’s points of view as having seditious intent. Where is the democratic space?

You’ve partially answered your own question – newspapers and television channels do not make their money from subscriptions or viewership; in fact, corporate advertisements actually subsidize TV viewership and newspaper and magazine readership, so in effect, the mass media is run with corporate money. Some media houses are directly owned by corporations, some indirectly by majority share-holdings. Some media houses in, say, Central India, have a direct interest in mining and infrastructure projects, so they have a vested interest in the push to displace people in the huge, ongoing land-grab in which land and resources are forcibly taken from the poor and given to the rich – a process which goes by the name of ‘development’. It would be foolish to expect objective reporting: not because the journalists are bad people, but because of the economic structure of the organizations they work for. In fact, what is surprising is that despite all of this, occasionally there is some very good reporting. But overall we either have silence, or a completely distorted picture, in which those resisting their impoverishment are being labelled ‘terrorists’ – and these are not just the Maoist rebels who have taken to arms, but others who are involved in unarmed, but militant, struggles against the government. A climate has been created which criminalizes dissent of all kinds.

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The Crazy World of Limousine Leftists Reply

The adventures of Jane Fonda.

Actually, I’ve always thought the right-wing is too hard on Hanoi Jane. Whatever her faults, she was right about Nixon’s war crimes in Indochina.

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One day, at the height of her fame in the mid-Seventies, Jane Fonda turned up on the doorstep of her ex-husband, Roger Vadim. She was lugging a bulging sack.

Vadim’s glamorous new girlfriend let her in, thrilled to meet the movie icon at last. But her excitement soon turned to disbelief. The star of Julia, Klute and The China Syndrome had come to do her laundry.

Why? Because her second husband, Tom Hayden, a Left-wing activist with a bulbous nose and acne-scarred cheeks, had forbidden her to have either a washing machine or dishwasher. Far too bourgeois.

Jane Fonda had a turbulent marriage to her second husbandJane Fonda had a turbulent marriage to her second husband

Not only that, but he’d made her sell her comfortable house in Los Angeles and buy a shabby two-bedroom shack in Santa Monica that smelled of mildew, where the couple shared a mattress on the floor. She couldn’t even wear her Cartier wristwatch any more, because Hayden disliked any show of possessions. So she’d replaced it with a cheaper Timex.

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5 Reasons Why American Riots Will Be The Worst In The World Reply

From Don’t Tread On Me.

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I wrote an article called 5 Places NOT To Be When The Dollar Collapses. In it I wrote that societies that benefited the most from the dollar would be the worst places to be when it fell apart. While the dollar has not even collapsed yet, the strain in these areas is becoming more apparent. England is number 3 on the list has had 4 days of violent riots as people start to lose it. Israel is number 1 on that list has had massive protests. There is revolution in the air all over the worldexcept in the US.

America is still in deep denial which is still the first stage of the Awakening. This denial will be wiped away when the dollar collapses. For now the economy is still functioning with food and fuel available. Americans still have the illusion of wealth and normalcy. They still are stuck in the false left right paradigm and think some other sock puppet will turn things around.

When the dollar collapses, all American illusions will collapse with it. Deep denial will turn into deep anger. The violence I expect in the other 3 areas on the list and all urban areas in the US, will make all other global riots pale in comparison. America is deeply infused with arrogance, denial, narcissism, drugs and violence. There is no other society that I know of that has the degree of intensity and combination of these factors.

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Apocalypse Now? Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.

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The Republican congressional leadership was in a panic: their covering for the Obama administration’s unconstitutional and unnecessary war in Libya was rapidly unraveling as a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling for an end to it gained momentum – among Republicans. Kucinich’s bill gave the administration 15 days to withdraw all US forces and support from NATO’s war, which had never been authorized by Congress.

At the last minute, House Speaker John “Crybaby” Boehner cobbled together a non-binding resolution giving the President an extension of the 60 days provided by the War Powers Resolution, asking for documents detailing our political and strategic goals, and slamming the administration for not providing “a compelling rationale” for military action. The resolution passed, 268-145, with 45 Democrats crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans. More significantly, however, the Kucinich resolution – which would have cut off appropriations for the Libyan intervention – garnered more Republican votes (87) than Democratic “ayes” (61).

What’s going on here?

As The Hill reported, “one Democrat called it ‘the sign of the apocalypse.’” And while that may be overstating the case just a bit, the vote was indeed a sign of Something Big in the making.

It was more than mere partisan opportunism, although there’s no doubt some of that was a factor: this vote represents a sea change in the way Republicans, and conservatives generally, view the conduct of US foreign policy. For the first time since the Kosovo war, a significant faction within the GOP congressional caucus is challenging our bipartisan foreign policy of global intervention – of which the Libyan war is an exemplar.

Context is everything, and the economic crisis that has gripped the nation in recent months – underscored by an unemployment rate over 9 percent and a disastrous housing market – has driven home the point anti-interventionists have been making for years: we’re “nation-building” abroad while our own country is falling to pieces. This is something that everyone – even a Republican – can readily understand, and the freshman “tea party” class of 2010 is learning very quickly the lesson their elders refused to absorb during the Bush era: we can’t afford to police the world.

As for the Democrats, it’s not only party loyalty – and the threat of political retaliation – that’s keeping them in line. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor pleading with members of her own party to stay the course:

“As I have said before, the NATO-led efforts in Libya will be strengthened by continued consultation with the Congress. The resolutions by Speaker Boehner and Congressman Kucinich, as currently drafted, do not advance our efforts in the region and send the wrong message to our NATO partners.”

Pelosi was answered by Rep. Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican whose district encompasses more military bases than any in the country:

“NATO’s feelings. NATO’s feelings. Well, how about the feelings of the American people? Isn’t it time that their feelings come first?”

That the American people overwhelmingly oppose US intervention in Libya matters not at all to the Pelosi-crats, and their Republican allies like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), who inexplicably declared: “This war, this action in Libya, I believe sells itself.”

The reality is that the public isn’t buying this bill of goods and the Pelosi-Kinzinger alliance of knaves and fools knows it.

Question Time? Indeed, It Is! Reply

Posted at MRDA’s Inferno.
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Shame that some folk failed to get the memo…

Watching Question Time on Thursday, I hadta roll my eyes at the moralistic endorsements of UN military intervention in Libya; Baroness Warsi‘s She-Ra fantasies of saving the poor Libyans from “the dictator killing his own people” proved especially grating—and depressingly familiar.

It almost sounded as if the last decade never occurred; I remember, on the eve of Gulf War II: The Return, watching the same deontological dogshit fall from different mouths on that same show (and, regrettably, swallowing a substantial amount of it).

(Also, what the fuck? She opposed that war on account of its “legality”? Where was her concern for the poor, oppressed Iraqis then? I’ve heard arguments from empathy from both the pro and anti-war camps, yet she plumped for “legality”?)

Thank Lucifer for Kelvin McKenzie’s evisceration of her high-minded hawking; as well as reminding her of the dodgy deals the government had no problem doing with Gaddafi, he made mention of the fact that, for all the repression and bloodshed happening in those lands, no one seemed to be lifting a fucking finger to intervene in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen.

Who’d’ve thought I’d be giving a fucking (ex-)Sun staffer any kudos?

I suspect much of the support for this military action comes not so much from principle as it does popularity: ever notice that when you get the right people mouthing the right slogans, a substantial number of doves transform into hawks? Evidently, injecting “democracy”, “international community”, “humanitarian”, “Balkans”, and “moral obligation” into one’s war cries affects reality like “alakazam” does the fictional realm.

Glad I snapped out of that spell!