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Total number of comments: 119 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:48)

Don Utter

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  • Americans ask Pres. Obama to show Thanksgiving Mercy to Gaza
    • Article from the Guardian

      "Americans love the Thanksgiving myth. But food folklore masks a painful reality"

      link to theguardian.com
      We were complicit in the destruction of indigenous people.

      At least now they are called Native Americans rather than Indians.

      It took a 30 year civil war in Guatemala, aided by the US, for the term Maya to be OK. They were called Indians up until the end of the war to indicate that they immigrated there. There had been in the territory for some thousands of years before the colons

  • Ferguson & Israel? Netanyahu Calls for Stripping Palestinian-Israelis of Citizenship
    • An article posted on dailykos.com on this topic. It ends with

      "Unless an immediate shift occurs, such as a dramatic, diplomatic breakthrough leading to an end of the occupation or a shift in the way law enforcement treats minority residents in Israel, unrest is likely to grow in East Jerusalem, Kfar Kanna and Israel. Unfortunately, with inciting statements by public security officials embracing extra-judicial killings and Israeli politicians (including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) stating that Israel will never give up military control of the West Bank, the prospects of political leadership easing tensions is unlikely.

      It is entirely possible that unrest and instability will spread dramatically throughout Israel and the West Bank, creating a crisis the White House will no longer be able to address with vanilla statements and inaction.

      By then, it will be too late to quell what should have ended long ago"

      The title is "Ferguson Just Happened Again"

      link to dailykos.com

  • Why McCain & GOP are Slamming Obama for Writing Iran re: ISIL
    • The high paid and often celebrity news people could at least read this column and ask McCain some tough questions.

      Which war does he want to win? How can multiple wars with multiple moving parts be won?

      Our corporate media continues to fail in its role of educating citizens.

      But is continues to do very well to divert attention from the collapse of our democracy.

  • Double-Edged Sword: Can US overcome its Feelings of Exceptionalism?
    • Excellent article an English professor. Appreciate the analysis of the term "exceptionalism" and its evolution to currently be used as a positive term as part of the ongoing justification (or should I say propaganda) for our wars, our torture, and our surveillance state. I am sending the article to several friends.

      It seems so long ago that a Liberal Arts education was essential for citizenship.

      Here is a book that is just out which also effectively uses language and could play an important part in a liberal arts curriculum and to educate citizens about non violent revolution in the US. The language and reasoning of the founding fathers come across in this readable book about a pivotal time in US history when the choice was between monarchy of government given back to the people.

      There is a description and acknowledgements on amazon.com or bn.com. Here is the title and one interview on Thom Hartmann's show.

      The American Revolution of 1800: How Jefferson Rescued Democracy from Tyranny and Faction - and What This Means Today
      by Dan Sisson (Author), Thom Hartmann (Contributor)

      The American Revolution of 1800
      link to thomhartmann.com

      There are two more interviews that can be found on Thom's conversationswithgreatminds.com

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • An article today by a psychologist about how

      "Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
      An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities"

      the last paragraph
      "There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us."

      link to theguardian.com

  • Is Israel De-Industrializing Gaza?
    • Max Blumenthal continues excellent coverage from Gaza

      Photos "Bombing the Dead"

      ‘Bombing the Dead’ — Max Blumenthal in Gaza
      Philip Weiss on August 17, 2014 32
      This is excellent. Max Blumenthal has taken his photos and tweets from Gaza, with the help of Dan Cohen, and made a Storify. This slideshow might serve a war crimes inquiry; for it conveys the overwhelming and indiscriminate devastation of Israel’s attack on two neighborhoods near the Israel border. Beit Hanoun and Shuja’iyeh were flattened; Israel even bombed a cemetery. The last image is particularly striking, as it shows the aftermath of the July 24th strike on the UN school in Beit Hanoun.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      Max's article in alternet

      Gruesome Tales Surface of Israeli Massacres Against Families in Gaza Neighborhood
      Visiting what remains of Shujaiya yields evidence of massacres and stories of impossible courage.

      link to alternet.org

  • NSA Targetting of Innocent Muslim-Americans Raises 1st Amendment Alarms
    • Just in time, we have an official response from the Director of National Intelligence on this article from The Intercept.

      Honestly, I can't believe that these people keep on lying and don't think that we won't notice.

      Here are the first two paragraphs

      It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights.

      Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone’s communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

      IC on the Record. IC = intelligence community

      link to icontherecord.tumblr.com

      Check out Julian Assange's interview yesterday on democracynow.org about the importance of the documents from Edward Snowden. Without the documents, and the careful reporting by journalists, there would be piecemeal reports that would be denied and people would not get fair treatment in court because national security could be used to keep evidence out of the hands of defendants.

      link to publish.dvlabs.com

  • Can Tony Blair Mess up Egypt even Worse?
    • How much worse can it get?

      Something I learned this morning.

      There was a G77 meeting in June in Bolivia. 133 nations attended. On dailykos I found in a comment a link to an article

      Evo Morales made some excellent points

      I am going to paste a long segment from the article. If Juan wants to delete it, that is OK.

      A highlight of the summit was the address by Bolivian President Evo Morales, the current chairman of the G77, who traced the political history of the G77 and China and the developing countries and elaborated on the current crises facing the world and the developing countries.

      He then enumerated “several tasks” that needed to be done to “build another world and establish the living-well society”. These included:

      > Living well in harmony with Mother Earth;

      > Sovereignty over natural resources and other areas;

      > Well-being of everyone and provision of basic needs as a human right;

      > Emancipation from the existing international financial system and construction of a new financial architecture;

      > Build a major economic, scientific, technological and cultural partnership among members of the G77 and China;

      > Eradicate hunger from around the world;

      > Strengthen the sovereignty of states from foreign interference, intervention and espionage;

      > Democratic renewal of the states in developing countries; and

      > A new world rising from the South for the whole of humankind.

      “The time has come for the nations of the South,” Morales stated. “In the past we were colonised and enslaved. Today, with every step we take for our liberation, the empires grow decadent and begin to crumble.

      That was from the article which was linked and was found on google search

      link to thestar.com.my

      This morning on the guardian there was an article about how Google filters out content for Europe. They recommended a search engine

      duckduckgo

      I made parallel searches on both Google and duckduckgo and found much different results

      then I found the article with the title

      133 G77 Nations Vow to Destroy America’s New World Order

      The first paragraph of the article is as follows

      June 17, 2014. Bolivia. The American and European media are doing everything they can to black this news out. But it’s not going to stay a secret for long. As of this weekend, there’s a new New World Order on Earth and its enemy is the United States, the EU, the UN Security Council and the world’s shadow government led by the IMF and WTO. This new alliance of poor countries wouldn’t be much of a threat, except it includes two-thirds of the world’s nations including China and India

      Here is the main reason for this comment - the filter bubble

      I know that google tunes itself to particular users but I didn't realize how much content they filtered out

      Here is a major meeting which poses a challenge to the US and it is blocked out

      Have others noticed the filter bubble keeps them from finding out about things?

  • Shale Oil Hype Fail: California Bonanza Evaporates
    • a couple of articles from today

      New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions — and It's Working
      The fight for environmental justice broadens, deepens and becomes more militant

      link to alternet.org

      and

      World must consider antibiotic-resistant pathogens to be same level of a threat as climate change

      link to dailykos.com

  • 'Journalist' Michael Kinsley says Gov't should make Publishing Decisions
  • Release the Entire Torture Report!
    • Does America have the courage to face the truth?

      Do the politicians, including the President have the courage of a Manning or Snowden to stand for the principles of our constitution?

      Who and what are the politicians trying to protect?

      Glenn Greenwald has a Tweet "Larry Summers Explains Washington to Elizabeth Warren in One Sentence"

      The sentence, a short one, "They don't criticize other insiders."

      Here is the copy of the longer twitter:

      Larry Summers explains Washington to Elizabeth Warren in one sentence:

      "In the spring of 2009, after the panel issued its third report, critical of the bailout, Larry Summers took Warren out to dinner in Washington and, she recalls, told her that she had a choice to make. She could be an insider or an outsider, but if she was going to be an insider she needed to understand one unbreakable rule about insiders: 'They don’t criticize other insiders.'"

      link to newyorker.com

  • Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
    • Cuba twitter is small compared to the world wide effort

      from Glenn Greenwald article yesterday titled:

      The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket

      State sponsored propaganda spread around the world. From the article

      But these documents, along with the AP’s exposure of the sham “Cuban Twitter” program, underscore how aggressively western governments are seeking to exploit the internet as a means to manipulate political activity and shape political discourse.

      Those programs, carried out in secrecy and with little accountability (it seems nobody in Congress knew of the “Cuban Twitter” program in any detail) threaten the integrity of the internet itself, as state-disseminated propaganda masquerades as free online speech and organizing. There is thus little or no ability for an internet user to know when they are being covertly propagandized by their government, which is precisely what makes it so appealing to intelligence agencies, so powerful, and so dangerous.

      link to firstlook.org

  • The Paradox of Turkey's Victorious Erdogan: Authoritarianism burnishes his 'democratic' credentials
    • The frame of this article as AKP vs. Ceemat does not explain what is going on. It follows the typical US approach of treating politics as a game between two competing teams. In the US, both parties agree on most things, e.g., support of military, lack of action on the environment, support of banksters, etc. so to deal with what is in the mainstream media misses the point about how the oligarchy is in control. Even the most basic right of citizens, the right to vote, is denied their direct control.

      I usually read the Gulen linked on line newspaper, Todayszaman and find the multiple columns well written and informative. It is obvious that Erdogan has cast them as a parallel organization and will continue to attack them. I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by a US branch of the Gulen inspired organizations and was very impressed with their work on interfaith, dialog and culture. I had great hopes that Turkey could be example of how to integrate Islam into today's world. The authoritarian moves Erdogan main to retain power has shown the world that Turkey has not built democratic institutions.

      Another newspaper, Hürriyet, had a short article that provided the most insight to me. The frame of AKP vs Gulen does not capture the basic issues.

      quoting from the linked article

      The simple fact is that the 43 percent which voted for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s elections do not care about the EU, its liberal values or the modernity it represents. It wants to see a Turkey based on conservative Islamic values and looks to Erdoğan as the leader that will achieve this.

      When you put the increasing restrictions on the media, the government’s meddling with the legal system in ways that would not be possible in any modern European state, the banning of Twitter and YouTube, and other similar developments, it all points to one thing.

      Turkey under Erdoğan is rapidly losing its European orientation and moving away from the democratic principles this orientation represents. AKP supporters who talk much about democracy, and decry the fate of Egypt’s elected former president, Mohamed Morsi, refute this of course.

      Modern Turkish republic was founded in 1923 and they have had a coup about every decade. Democracy was seen as a fifth column which shows why it is easy to demonize Gulen. Continuing with the article

      But the democracy they defend has little to do with European-style democracy, just as Morsi’s policies during the brief period he was in power had nothing to do with genuine democracy, even if he was elected democratically.

      Looking back though, it is also true that successive governments that came to power after the republic was founded did little to turn Turkey into a respected member of the community of democratic European states, despite their modernist pretensions.

      It must not be forgotten that Turkey got its reputation as an oppressive country that does not respect human or minority rights, both of which it violated with impunity, under governments that preceded the AKP.

      It has to also be remembered that the establishment which ran this country for decades prior to the AKP always considered those citizens who defended true democracy and human rights as members of a fifth column in the service of a West that was out to destroy Turkey.

      In other words, the supposedly modern elements that ran Turkey for decades always mimicked Europeans superficially, but never believed in the values that go to make up contemporary Europe.

      More often than not, they considered these values to be a threat to national unity and the symbols they believed in religiously for maintaining this unity.

      I have included about 80 % of the short article and now the last two paragraphs

      Erdoğan’s “New Turkey” is not a desirable place for true democrats, but neither was the “Old Turkey” that some still hanker after. We need a genuinely new and democratic Turkey where no one feels alienated because of the results of a ballot box and everyone believes in the rule of law no matter who is elected.

      The results of the local elections have left us in even more of a quandary as to who will provide leadership for this.

      the link
      link to hurriyetdailynews.com

      On this newspaper they have a link "green" it shows the destruction of the environment for progress. Right now it shows an old woman in her chair besides a giant digging machine and the title is that here protest stopped the destruction in a park. Scan down to see other actions and proposals including construction in National Parks.

      link to hurriyetdailynews.com

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • A question to Juan, or others about NY Times Magazine article yesterday on Pakistan

      Article title "What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden" by Carlotta Gall who has spent 12 years in the region reporting for NY Times.

      She claims that a branch of ISI protected Bin Laden and high up officials were involved in the assignation of Bhutto.

      Any comments on this article?

  • Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State is like saying the US is a White State
    • Just saw Max Blumenthal on C-Span giving a speech on his book "Goliath"

      I heard from people whose houses were wiped out by bulldozers after 1948 and land taken over and people kicked off the land. I know that it is going on with the Palesteins on an ongoing basis.

      But to hear about an effort to remove Bedowins from their area, 40-70,000 of them and relocate the state less people to reservations like the American Indian reservations - this is going on right now.

      I didn't realize how Israel is using the "Iron Wall" approach to indigenous people. The only way is to remove them. They have no rights.

      Israel has no constitution and no borders. With no borders they can move people off the land. It is clear racist policy.

      Much more in this C-Span video. There is some talk at the first about several books, then the talk begins.

      link to c-spanvideo.org

  • Top Ten Middle East Stories 2013: How the Region has Changed
    • I took a cultural trip to Turkey sponsored by the Gulen movement. I have been impressed with their interfaith efforts and commitments to dialogue.

      The once well thought of prime minister, Erdogan, is doing everything to hold onto power and using scapegoats to change the subject. For example, he has been supportive a massive construction projects and when the Gezi protests were held he shut them down which showed the international community where he really stands. He has since claimed that the source of the protests came from outside the country which is a lie.

      Since the trip I have been following events in Turkey on line with what I think is an excellent news paper, an old fashioned newspaper with articles and columns that follow what journalism schools used to teach. It is part of the Gulen movement, which is a loose confederation of people that in my view are committed to the basics of human well being and getting along. The paper is todayszaman.com

      Either I am naive and the Gulen Movement is now that I think, or others including Juan Cole do not have a good handle on it and have fallen into the trap set by the ruling party in Turkey, AKP party that Gulen is the source of the countries problems. Here is a link to an article from todayszaman which contrasts Erdogan and the Gulen movement. Comments from this community are welcome.

      In summary, my sense is that Erdogan is going down the path of trying to maintain power when his legitimacy is declining rapidly and is lashing out at a scapegoat.

      It would be extremely helpful if there were a Preview and Review feature here. I don't recall if I posted the link so it might be a second time for it.

      link to todayszaman.com

  • Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • An excellent article which covers this topic and calls out the need for a language and a politics to combat the slide into authoritarianism.

      "Hope in the Age of Looming Authoritarianism" by Henry Giroux

      link to truth-out.org

      As I read the article, almost every paragraph contained a useful point that could be listed here. What follows is only the last two paragraphs from the article. Here they are:

      Reform is necessary but not enough. Democracy is not in crisis; it is moribund, its ideals reduced to either Disney-inspired nostalgia or misappropriated to legitimate its opposite. The United States now lives under the weight of a mode of authoritarianism that needs to be resisted and dismantled. This means moving beyond the call for piecemeal reform. One starting point might be to invent a new language and understanding of politics so as to address the root of the problem Americans face. Rethinking the discourse of politics provides the groundwork for waging struggles to bring under democratic control those economic, political, social and cultural modes of power and politics that have defaulted on democracy and subjected the vast majority of Americans to an unimaginable amount of misery, hardship and suffering. Paraphrasing James Baldwin, the United States in its current form needs to be robbed of its tyrannical power and transformed. The fulfilment of that prophecy comes with a price - humiliation, jail, loss of employment - but the alternative is worse and points to a growing national security, corporate and surveillance state and species of authoritarianism that encourage a range of anti-democratic practices - profit-hungry monopolies; the ideology of faith-based certainty; the pursuit of ethno-racial purity; the militarization of everyday life; the destruction of civil liberties; the practice of torture; and the undermining of any vestige of critical education, responsible dissent, and public dialogue.
      What the American public needs to address is that the United States is no longer on the brink of authoritarianism - rather, it has moved; it is at the stage where every effort is made on the side of corporate, political imagination and financial elites to make sure that the current reign of tyranny is neither challenged nor held accountable. Being indignant is not enough. The time has come to define the possible in an entirely new way. At the very least, this suggests building new social movements, organizations and strategies rooted in the power of the radical imagination, one that is capable of generating new terrains of struggle, practices of freedom and forms of educated hope that make possible what Jacques Derrida once called "the promise of a democracy to come."

  • Greenwald to BBC: Journalists must investigate the Powerful in Gov't since they Lie to the People (BBC Surprised)
  • John F. Kennedy's Thanksgiving Ideals, 1962-- How different they are from Ours
    • "JKF's Vision of Peace" subtitle: On the 50th anniversity of Kennedy's death, his nephed recalls the fallen president's attempts to end the cold war. By Robert Kennedy Jr.

      In Rolling Stone magazine. Here is a link.

      link to rollingstone.com

      Didn't realize that JFK worked to end the cold war, and was planning to withdraw from Vietnam after he was elected to a second term. The military and the CIA fought him all the way. His major accomplishment was in the elimination of nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere.

      He was in contact with Khrushchev. He avoided nuclear war in the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missle Crisis. The military wanted to get the first strike against the Russians.

      The article makes a good case with evidence.

      The article does not discuss the reason for his assignation.

      To me, it makes clear that Obama and the political establishment, after the decades of building up the war machine and the surveillance state, and the corporate coup d'etat, and the media propaganda (along with capitalism) that has created American consumers rather than American citizens, all this makes the NSA documents so relevant.

      Recommend the short article.

      Something longer is the BBC interview of Glenn Greenwald just posted where Glenn demonstrates the role of journalism to hold people and institutions accountable. UK does not have legal protection of journalism like the US constitution.

      the link to the interview

      link to youtube.com

      I find out about these from Glenn's twitter account which now has over 300,000 followers. Juan occasionally appears on Glenn's twitter as well.

      link to twitter.com

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  • NSA monitored visits of "Radicalizers" to Chat Rooms, Skin Sites to Discredit Them
    • Excellent speech by Glenn Greenwald at the LA annual meeting of CAIR - Council of American Islamic Relations

      describes the attacks on Muslims in the US and now that he has published by Snowden, that he has been subject to full surveillance which makes him even more aware of what targeted groups face.

      link to youtube.com

  • Kenya's KTN outshines American Media in Climate Change Coverage: 2013 among 10 Hottest Years since 1850
  • Planet Tahrir: The Coming Mass Demonstrations against Climate Change (Klare)
    • in the email this morning, I find something surprising

      "Bloomberg's Hidden Legacy: Climate Change and the Future of New York City"

      A book put out by Inside Climate News. Below is a paragraph and then the link to the book and multimedia announcement.

      Experts say New York’s accomplishments rank among the most comprehensive of any of the world’s leading cities, despite rarely capturing the attention of the public during the mayor’s tenure or earning mention in media assessments as the mayor prepares to leave office.

      link to insideclimatenews.cmail2.com

  • Top Ten Reasons the US should Stay out of Iraq and put Conditions on Arms Sales
    • excellent point about who is running the show

      and if they are running the show, are there adults in the room that realize at least what is in this article by Juan today?

      as Jeremy Scahill points out, no way to end the war on terror so arms dealers have a continuing market

  • How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One
    • The Folly of Empire by Chris Hedges

      "The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. These politicians and court propagandists, hired to be the public faces on the sinking ship, mask the real work of the crew, which is systematically robbing the passengers as the vessel goes down. The mandarins of power stand in the wheelhouse barking ridiculous orders and seeing how fast they can gun the engines. They fight like children over the ship’s wheel as the vessel heads full speed into a giant ice field. They wander the decks giving pompous speeches. They shout that the SS America is the greatest ship ever built. They insist that it has the most advanced technology and embodies the highest virtues. And then, with abrupt and unexpected fury, down we will go into the frigid waters."

      link to truthdig.com

      Several people have pointed out the parallels between the USA and the end stages of the Roman Empire.

      Looks like the USA is going full speed down the drain.

      The international fallout from the Eric Snowden documents might be enough, to get the attention of the country.

      When I asked Jeremy Scahill if the NSA revelations would reduce American exceptionalism, he responded No. Exceptionalism is so deeply embedded in the American culture that he didn't know what it would take to reduce it.

  • Sanders: Climate Change more Menacing than Terrorism (Germanos)
    • three paragraphs from the article below about bush fires in Australia:

      "Politics" is about society coming together to debate and decide our common future. In that noble sense, no issue is more desperately in need of politicising than our rapidly degrading climate.

      But politics has already been degraded. For the bulk of our politicians and media, politics is now a game. Who wins or loses each round, and the moves each player makes, have become our sole focus at the expense of serious discussion of why we play the game. So crippled is the reputation of Australian politics that claiming an MP is "politicising" an issue is to suggest nothing more than narrow self-interest. So superficial is our debate that an expert articulating the clear scientific evidence that global warming has contributed to these fires can be asked by a straight-faced interviewer, "Sure, but what did you think of Adam Bandt's tweet?"

      What's more, in the current Australian political climate, there are political points to be scored by accusing others of trying to score political points.

      *
      There are links in the article from the Guardian with the title:

      Why we need to politicise the bushfires
      The refusal to make the link between the fires and climate change will condemn more people to the inferno

      link to theguardian.com

  • NSA Spying: Indian Gov't Bans Employee Google Use as Euro Parliament Weighs Law Fining Cooperative Firms
    • Excellent time line of The Snowden Effect

      Click on the arrow and see the stories generated by these documents

      Allowed the dots to be connected on other stories that have been out there for years which provided warnings, but now with the documents the cat is out of the bag.

      link to america.aljazeera.com

    • WaPo: Obama had NSA limits reversed

      New article out from Washington Post (WAPO) that Obama reversed NSA limits to allow

      "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material."

      link to washingtonpost.com

      As Glenn Greenwald points out that with each revelation the administration denies that it is true, then the next week it comes out that they lied and it is even worse.

      This evening Glenn Greenwald plans an article about NSA spying on corporations.

      This article by Juan on the Indian Government will stimulate development of their domestic internet and information technology.

      In other words, again giving away our markets.

      The USA is the first empire in history that gave away its markets in its quest of empire. This example of market give away was not planned.

    • the people of the world are much more upset than the US with the NSA spying

      they get it

      they are acting

      one of the few bright spots of industry in the US is (or was?) information technology and the internet

      what is not obvious, but was eye opening when I read it a few months ago, was that US industrial policy is military

      related to this is the lack of non military jobs in the economy

      Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel pointed out that out industrial policy was military

      Now that security state is the flip side of the military state, that makes our industrial policy is military and security

      and our IT industry is deeply embedded in both of those

      so the reaction of the world will have economic and foreign policy implications

      Obama's rush to start another war isn't going quickly enough to stop the fallout from The Snowden Affair

      whistle blowers who expose the illegal behavior of the government are being tracked down with a vengeance and every day it becomes clearer how important it is for the government to intimidate anyone who speaks out

  • Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
    • This column by Juan Cole is linked in Glenn Greenwald's twitter feed.

      When the NSA stories first broke, I think there were about 130,000 people signed up for Glenn's twitter feed. I go there all the time to check it out, but I have never signed up.

      The number this morning is over 230,000

      When will the number of twitter followers exceed one half a million?

      When will it reach one million?

      As more and more stories come out from the Guardian, by Glenn and others there like Spencer Ackerman, the number of twitter followers can only go up.

    • 11. Corporate media to make the managed democracy appear legitimate

      12. Support reputation building of killers like Stanley McChrystal and Petraeus

      13. eventually ban videos like this speech of Jeremy Scahill in which he describes how our elements of our foreign policy have become an assignation policy and how it leads to the recruitment of more terrorists. He quotes a person from a remote village in Yemen that in 10 years Al Qaeda was unable to gain a foothold, but after the US drone strikes, we now embrace Al Qaeda. In other words, our drones are more successful recruitment tools than the "terrorists." The title of the talk is secret wars.

      link to archive.org

  • Has Military Suppression of Political Islam ever Worked?
    • Strongly recommend book "Dirty Wars" by Jeremy Scahill.

      It took years and many people to write a book like this.

      It focuses on the covert operations and special operations groups like JSOC and how they are operating at the top levels of the government including Obama.

      At Chautauqua last week, an ex diplomat, who I later saw on CNN, Aaron David Miller, 40 years working on Middle East, said that Obama is the most hands on president on foreign policy that he has seen.

      "Dirty Wars" is so well written to interleave tracking down particular people and then back to the policy decisions and doing things like putting McChrystal, the one responsible for torture and killings in Iraq, putting him as the head of the war effort in Afghanistan.

      McChrystal ran both the regular COIN effort and stepped up the JSOC effort. Mathew Ho, former military man who joined the State Department and whose resignation in 2009 received wide coverage, pointed out that the dual strategy of two kinds of forces was often making things worse. One of the things that happened is that a clan would tell the US intelligence that someone from another clan was a terrorist and a JSOC team and drones, etc. killed them. In other words, tribal fights engaged the JSOC and other US efforts. We all recall the "terrorists" turned in by bounty hunters some of whom have been in Guantanamo for a dozen years with out charges. I bring up Mathew Ho because of his place in the "Dirty Wars" book.

      And I went on the web and from 2 days ago there is an article by HO

      Time to Take the U.S. Out of the Afghanistan Equation
      link to huffingtonpost.com

      How much of what is going on in Egypt is the 80 year old fight between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood? Did you know that an Islamist is a terrorist? The Egyptians are using the same logic to frame their massacre as the US and others have used to frame the "war on terror"

      And as I am writing this comment, I looked up Stanley McChrystal and find him with a VP of HP giving speeches on leadership. Both business and military are about people, he says. NPR and CSPAN have had long segments about the big drone conference in DC this week. The military experience comes home to the domestic scene. As Norman Solomon, who presented the Bradley Manning application for the Nobel Peace Prize noted this week, the military state and the surveillance state are two sides of the same coin.

      I apologize for how long this comment is, but while have read Juan Cole's blog the first thing every morning for a decade, it took "Dirty Wars" to get me back into our military activities. I am not good at remembering details and following events in the many countries like Yemen and Somalia so too often I just read quickly, or sometimes just glance at articles and have not read the many books about our wars. In short, it takes a lot of time and effort to be informed and even with the time I spend, I fall far short of really understanding.

      Here is the link to the article where business consultant Stanley McChrystal is treated like a hero.

      link to tech.fortune.cnn.com

      The theme of "Dirty Wars" is how the US effort has a major component of murder in our military efforts. The use of high tech weapons, like the video games look in the video of the precision bombs being dropped on Iraq years ago, has expanded to video games of drones.

      In summary, the military in Egypt, is using the cover of terrorism to settle old accounts? The US involvement in these counties and the increased weapons around the world (an earlier link from Juan pointed out how Egypt military aid is in fact a direct sales subsidy to US military contracting companies) -- this military effort has failed to help the countries or to make the world a better place.

      But the effort has helped the MIIC - military, industrial, intelligence complex.

      And the lessons learned have been used to attack the constitution as seen in the NSA documents that show that the constitution has been bypassed in the name of terrorism. And along with the Occupy Group and Environmental groups being treated as terrorists, we have the continued protection of the oligarchy and the tactics of disruption used here in the US.

      Where will the conflict in Egypt go?

      For that matter, where will the US go? Can't really call it the conflict in the US yet because of the successful propaganda supported by the corporate media and still the basic faith in America that the pendulum will swing back to the center like it has in the past. Our form of government is able to recover from "temporary" repression or problems like the decline of the middle class.

      Jeremy Scahill was in Columbus OH a while back for a showing of his film "Dirty Wars."

      Anyone who sees the film with even a semblance of a moral sense, should be shocked at who we have become and what we are doing in the world.

      During the question and answer session, I asked about this indirectly.

      My question was: Are the revelations of NSA leading to a reduction of American exceptionalism? His immediate answer was NO. American exceptionalism is so deeply buried in our character that he is unsure what can pry it loose.

      In order to have fundamental change in the US, we will have to deeply realize that American exceptionalism has been used to turn the country into the corrupt entity that props up the oligarchy throughout the world.

      A further insight from "Dirty Wars" which is dedicated to journalists. Without the committed journalists around the world it would have been impossible to piece together this story of what our military and foreign policy has become. Twice as many journalists have been killed in the war on terror as were killed in WW II. And with the collapse of the media, there are by some estimates 25,000 fewer journalists so it is even harder to get reports from the front line.

  • Glenn Greenwald: Good journalism is measured by how angry you make the people you're covering (Video)
    • Courage is contagious! The powerful have to watch out for more people stepping up.

      Brutal criticism of main line journalists who align with the powerful rather than the Truth.

      Excellent!

  • Turkey: It's about the Right to be Different (Soysal)
    • Turkish newspaper, also in English, and available on the web.

      I find the diversity of comments refreshing. Could one find over a dozen articles on OWS in any US publication on a given day? True, the protest activity in Turkey today is unique, but still to have the diversity of opinion in one place is amazing. And the stories are well written.

      I would appreciate replies about this paper. The political positions in Turkey are very strong and some think that this work might be troublesome. In my mind, it is like the US papers used to be in the 1950's before news became a business. Many of the articles have a historical perspective and they are informative.

      Here are some articles by columnists. If you go down the page there are additional Blog comments.

      First an article that says that this is a plot against the prime minister but even in this paragraph the author notes that the attempt at media censorship backfired.

      "As the tone of the protest changed over time, the insidious groups that have been watching for an opportunity took the stage and exhibited their violent acts. As the tone of protests and protests changed, their demands changed from the protection of Gezi Park to the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. As a result of the censorship on the mainstream TV networks, the sole means of learning about the incidents were the marginal TV channels or through social media where all sorts of provocations, manipulations and sensational instigation were running rampant. Thus, the government's policy of censorship on the mainstream media backfired."

      link to todayszaman.com

      I don't have the time to go through these columns and pick out paragraphs, but they do give a picture of the arrogance of the Prime Minister, the suppression of free speech, and the connection of different interests against the Prime Minister. As someone pointed out, the last few days have mobilized people better than a decade of opposing parties.

      Politics are very in your face in Turkey. As pointed out in an earlier column in this newspaper, the opposition parties have not been strong enough. In other words, a better level of political dialogue is needed across the political spectrum.

      And they do have very complex issues and they live in a dangerous neighborhood.

      So, here are links to several columns from yesterday. The title of the column is followed by the link.

      The messages we can take away from Taksim

      link to todayszaman.com

      Can the damage Erdoğan caused be repaired?

      link to todayszaman.com

      Erdoğan should realize that perceptions matter

      link to todayszaman.com

      Taksim events

      link to todayszaman.com

      Erdoğan -- time to learn lessons

      link to todayszaman.com

      Turkey will go on

      link to todayszaman.com

  • Top Ten Republican Myths on Libya
    • off topic

      humor magazine The Onion on the failure to attract a Muslim to jihad - he was too dumb

      as is well known, the FBI is successful in recruiting less dumb people and then making a dramatic capture as they plant the bombs that the FBI helped them make

      this is a laugh for the day

      link to theonion.com

  • Obama's War on Whistleblowers who are trying to out Government Waste, Fraud (Van Buren)
    • This is incredible. 92 million classified documents and several million, I think I saw 4 million with security classification.

      "If you have nothing to hide, you don't have to concern yourself with surveillance" is often stated in discussions about government spying on the citizens.

      We do know about terrible things happening as the empire goes down. Attacks on education, natural resources, the poor, etc.

      But, there must be even greater sins that are hidden in the 92 million documents and the aggressive legal system that is protecting the government from citizen oversight.

      This case, like many others, is another example of intimidation to make sure that people don't even think about whistle blowing.

      Their actions have already harmed real reporters in getting stories. The corporate media, part of the corporate coup d'etat, only tries a little to keep "citizens" informed.

      Not sure where change is going to come from. Congress is bought and paid by the oligarchs.

  • Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism
  • What we Lost: Top Ten Ways the Iraq War Harmed the US
    • I was one of the 10 million world wide that protested against starting the war in Iraq. US and British politicians had already made the decision to go to war and the corporate media in the US did little to publicize the anti war effort.

      Many have asked, What Has Been Learned?

      From the sabre rattling against Iran, the answer is Not Much.

      In the US the 1% have won. Probably true in the rest of the world. If this is the case, the 1% is behind the continued war thrust of the US because if they wanted it to stop, the foreign policy would stop.

      Thus it seems of the 10 bad things that happened as a result of the Iraq war that Juan has listed, since the US seems to have not learned, the future probably leads to a bleaker future.

  • New Pope has Opportunity to Improve Christian-Muslim Relations
    • Excellent post on dailykos.com about the right wing in charge of the administration of the Catholic and how they are having big problems with the legal system from the child sexual abuse, and being on the wrong side of same sex marriage and abortion in the USA and other parts of the world.

      Looks like a power structure ready to collapse.

      The author has written a book on the Roman Catholic Church and their need to reform.

      The title of her article is "Opus Di In Charge for Now"

      Here is the link:

      link to dailykos.com

  • Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College for Event on Boycott of Israel over Settlements (Democracy Now!)
    • A victory for free speech at Brooklyn College!

      New Glenn Greenwald post this morning about how the press is an agent for what the government wants to be told rather than being a watchdog. There is an update with the politicians at the NY City Council completely backing down from their threat to block funding of the college.

      The last sentence from Glenn's post

      This important and surprising victory demonstrates what principled leadership combined with public activism can achieve. It can defeat even the most monied and organized factions, as it did here. All of you who made yourselves heard should be proud of the role you played in this victory

      Whole article is well worth reading also.

      link to guardian.co.uk

  • Top Five Objections to the White House's Drone Killing Memo
  • What Happens in Langley Doesn't Stay in Langley Anymore: How our Spies Came out of the Shadows (Engelhardt)
    • The obvious comment is that Zero Dark Thirty serves as a public statement of CIA and its roles in keeping us safe.

      When we see what happened in Egypt with the new Pharoh as described by Chris Hedges today, is there any chance to return to the good old days when we thought we had civil liberties here in the USA? In other words, when it is next to impossible to mount serious opposition to the two factions which pretend to be political parties, how can the citizens challenge the security state?

      Here is a link to Chris Hedges article today.

      link to truthdig.com

  • AP Punked on Iran by Junk Science Graph (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
    • Another Greenwald article on the hoax.

      The AP should out who planted this hoax in a major newspaper. And the AP needs a full accounting of it.

      That a major news organization does this is really bad.

      What country? What source?

      Glenn ends the article that says that if those who would have the world believe that Iran is working on a bomb have to rely on such an incompetent hoax, there must be little real evidence.

      link to guardian.co.uk

    • Glenn Greenwald wrote an article about the AP story.

      link to guardian.co.uk

      Example of how a complicit US media leads us into war.

      Example of colonial power who denigrates the natives.

  • RT's Abby Martin Accuses Israel of War Crimes for Targetting Journalists
    • Off the direct topic, but involves journalism, fundamentalism, and propaganda.

      As the environmentalist and political scientist David W. Orr points out in "Down to the Wire" novel systems of governance, economics and law are required to deal with climate. In other words, intellectually serious dialogue is needed.

      The ideologue Glen Beck has a new novel out "Agenda 21". His work is totally intellectually bankrupt. It is pure propaganda. Agenda 21 was a non binding UN proposal in 1994 to address the climate and poverty.

      This incendiary book will likely show up over the next few months. US is at risk!! We will all be in chains!!

      Here is part of the back story from a woman who edited the novel before it was purchased by Glenn Beck and modified and added his name as author.

      link to salon.com

      I just went to amazon.com and found several books. Just go the web page and without even going to books, just search for Agenda 21.

  • The Arab Reading of the Petraeus/Allen Affair: Jill Kelley is Gilberte Khawam, a Lebanese
    • two Gleen Greenwald articles on the affair

      link to guardian.co.uk

      link to guardian.co.uk

      Another topic. Oliver Stone, the film maker, has a multi part TV series on American History. In one of the comments to an article by Glenn someone asked if Oliver Stone is aware of Glenn's work. Glenn Responded that Stone reads Glenn's articles every day and one of the topics later in the movie is based on Glenn's work.

      Here is the title of a review in the LA Times. Google search on the name Oliver Stone.

      Review: American history, as Oliver Stone sees it
      The filmmaker offers an alternative mythology that relies far more on broad-stroke storytelling than rigorous analysis. Still, there's some value in this Showtime miniseries.

  • Top Ten Wish List Progressives should Press on President Obama
    • Will Obama just fold to the Republicans, or call them out on their attacks on the economy and the environment?

      Glenn Greenwald's 6 steps describe how Obama capitulated before. Rather than be educator in chief to the people, he dithered. Only with extreme pressure from the left will he do the right things.

      link to guardian.co.uk

  • Top Ten Coming Disasters: Romney's America 2016
    • Democracy is about power, not freedom.

      Agree - for them, everything is about power.

    • You gave 10 disasters.

      Here is my suggestion of number 11.

      11. the federal government is no longer legitimate

      The Republicans are playing with fire. If 11 happens, there is a good chance that our republic can never be regained.

  • Two Canadians Discover the US has become a Police State
    • this is incredible

      last time I went through the airport and had to go through the full body scan, I said to someone else in line that this exercise was to get the US ready for a police state

      to see and hear about the destruction of the rule of law, check out the college tour on civil liberties. It is supposed to be simulcast in real time. Watch out for the time zones. Glenn Greenwald, and it sounds to me that the conservative on the panel Bruce Fein gives an even more powerful statement.

      link to fff.org

  • Conservative Media Spin Biden-Ryan Debate (Young Turks)
    • Glenn Greenwald on the debate.

      link to guardian.co.uk

      But better than this is his put down of the debate moderator. Public Broadcasting System has fallen down over the years and now is part of the insider consensus in Washington. Hiding under the banner of "objectivity" the pundits only provide a landscape of the political parties back and forth, but leave out the most important issues. Greenwald has argued for some time that there is a bipartisan agreement on the most important issues, like war.

      link to guardian.co.uk

      I was out for a week and this might have been already posted. I am sorry if it was discussed already, but it is worth it to post just in case you missed it. It got over 1200 comments. Greenwald on the effect of sanctions on Iran causing death and economic disruption. In his final update he asks if sanctions are not themselves terrorism. Since this column involved Israel, it got the usual suspects commenting on it.

      link to guardian.co.uk

  • It's Psychological Warfare, Stupid: Why Netanyahu Really wants to Destroy Iran
    • Off topic but related.

      The discussion of Iran and Israel goes to the heart of US foreign policy.

      And US industrial policy as well because our industrial policy is the military.

      The pain on the US economy and US people from the government support of the 1%, including the military security complex, is not understood in the US.

      In other words, basic causality has been lost in the corporate media. They have failed on their main mission which is education of citizens rather than cheer leading for consumerism.

      One voice that many of the readers here have followed is Glenn Greenwald. He writes from the perspective of civil liberties and continues to demonstrate that both political parties are basically in agreement about war and the economy.

      As someone pointed out, rather than the 50 - 50% split of the electorate that the corporate media talks about, it is closer to 99% vs. 1%. In order to keep that story from taking away the power from the 1%, the US under Obama continues and enhances assault on free speech and whistle blowers.

      As this is written, his current post by Glenn Greenwald describes the chilling effect of any contact with wikileaks or engaging in dialog against the power structure is intimidated by the law. Another failed US institution.

      As most of you probably know, Glenn is now writing for The Guardian. Here is the direct link to Glenn's posts because they don't always show up on the home page. Juan has already posted this link but I am doing it again in case you missed it.

      link to guardian.co.uk

  • Top Ten ways Corporate Food is Making us Fat and threatening our Food Supplies
    • How many legislators in the USA will take up this issue?

      The same trends of exploitation of the environment extends everywhere.

      Exploit the economy.

      Exploit the people.

      Change must come from the people since the political factions serve the corporations and banks.

      Proposition 37 in California this election in November - the first paragraph of the article.

      "Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Pepsi and Coke are scared. They’re afraid that California’s proposition 37 to make labeling of genetically engineered foods mandatory will end their unchecked, unquestioned power to hide GE ingredients in the majority processed foods without their customers’ knowledge. Which is why they’ve poured millions into an anti-Prop 37 propaganda campaign they’re calling “Stop the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” But who’s deceiving who?"

      Title of the article is:

      Who’s Deceiving Whom? Push to Label GMO Foods Frightens Big Ag Interests

      Link to article
      link to commondreams.org

  • Are Judges finally Standing up to Secretive Drone Assassinations? (Searle)
    • Is this the gang who is proud of killing Bin Laden?

      The automobile company GM is alive and Bin Laden is dead?

      The gang that lied about the conditions of his death but brought in Hollywood to make a propaganda film?

      The gang that went on TV (so it must be real) and talked about the drones?

      The gang that gave approval for domestic use of drones here in the good old USA?

      The gang that gave the President the "legal" right to kill anyone, including Americans, anywhere in the world if they are on a "secret" kill list which is very, very secret, because they told us it was.

      And now this gang won't stand up in court to tell the truth about what everyone knows?

      ***

      How does this stack up against the greatest threat to civilization, the collapse of the climate?

      Which will require new levels of intelligence, trust and cooperation in government, laws, economics, etc. to respond to the long emergency which could be hundreds or thousands of years to bring back some kind of stability to the biosphere.

      The oligarchs are hanging onto their bounty until the last.

      And Americans who use the most resources can't imagine that we have to change.

      Watch the election circus ignore difficult issues with the two political factions (not really parties) in agreement on the military, finance, etc.

  • Top Green Energy Advances Mitt Romney doesn't Want to Hear About
    • Recommend an excellent book on climate and governance of the earth.

      "Down To The Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse" by David W. Orr.

      I have been reading it slowly, but I am finding it profound.

      As a political scientist with decades working on environmental issues, his comments on the infantile Americans driven by a half a trillion of advertising shows how far we are from a politics and a culture that can deal with the long emergency of climate collapse. This could well mean the end of civilization.

      Fundamentalist religion is a mixed bag of many contradictory issues, but their alliance with energy, finance through many avenues, including "The Family" where world leaders and very wealthy people pray together to continue the plunder to themselves.

      Quoting Bill Mckibben on page 128 "America is simultaneously the most professed Christian of the developed nations, but the least Christian in its behavior."

  • Top Five Worst Planks in GOP Platform
    • Now Romney's has gone totally off the deep end with the energy policy which leads to climate catastrophe quicker.

      For several decades Republican mantra has been taxes, taxes, etc.

      Now that the economy has been trashed, they change their word to jobs, jobs, jobs.

      So USA needs to push full speed ahead to use more carbon for what reason? you guested it - jobs, jobs, jobs.

    • Excellent summary of 5 important issues in their party platform.

      Will the main stream media point out over and over what is in the party platform?

      The average American is dumb when it comes to understanding what is going on.

      Even telling them over and over again might not get through.

      I'll be that 30% of Americans still believe that Saddam Husein was behind 9-11. The media don't take that as a fact that they are incompetent. (I made up the guess of 30% because I have not seen a poll in some time. That number might be low. If it dropped to something reasonable like 10% I would be surprised.)

  • Anonymous Billionaires are Stealing Your Election with Attack Ads
  • Putin, Pussy Riot, Hooliganism and the Syrian Bloodbath
    • Juan, I have a question for you or your readers.

      Is there any meaningful parallels between your column above on Russia and the fundamentalists actions of the Catholic Church?

      It looks to me like a power play from the Catholic Church using social issues to influence policy, including the American elections.

      The Pope's statement that homosexuality is a more important issue than the Brazilian rain forest, for example, shows an irresponsible position in the context of the major issue of our time, namely the environment.

  • Ghoul's Glossary
    • Criticism of candidate Obama unwarranted.

      Many point out that after the election to the presidency, Obama is not doing what Candidate Obama promised to do.

      For example, Candidate Obama promised to close Guantanamo.

      Well, by most definitions of administration, someone is running the government, but the person with the title of President is not the administrator. For example, a cabal is running the treasury that supports the banksters and shields them from prosecution by the justice department. Thus it would be reasonable to say that there is no President Obama.

      In other words, one cannot criticize President Obama that he is not being faithful to the promises of Candidate Obama.

  • Global Disappointment in Obama Actually Rational, unlike in US (Pew)
    • What is it about The Captive Mind that falls for ideological solutions?

      I'll jump ahead to what I took as the major point from what follows. Tony Judt argues that the major ideology is not anti terrorism, but our brand of capitalism which has so captured the mind that it is not possible to even imagine alternatives.

      In what follows, I am going to quote from an article by the public intellectual Tony Judt who died from ALS in 2010. His article " You can search for ... captive minds tony judt ... to get the article and commentary. The article is included in a book of essays.

      The title of the article is taken from the book of that title, "The Captive Mind" written 60 years ago by the Polish-Lithuanian writer Czeslaw Miloz. He explores how the German people fell for the Nazis.

      Here is Judt's experience teaching the book in the twenty first century

      "[W]hen I first taught the book in the 1970s, I spent most of my time explaining to would-be radical students just why a “captive mind” was not a good thing. Thirty years on, my young audience is simply mystified: Why would someone sell his soul to any idea, much less a repressive one? By the turn of the twenty-first century, few of my North American students had ever met a Marxist. A self-abnegating commitment to a secular faith was beyond their imaginative reach. When I started out, my challenge was to explain why people became disillusioned with Marxism; today, the insuperable hurdle one faces is explaining the illusion itself."

      Friends in college teaching have noted that many Freshmen are unable to reason. They don't understand facts or how to make an argument. With the devolution of education in the USA how are people to understand something as complex as an ideological frame.

      This is from Judt's article published in 2010

      "Today, we can still hear sputtering echoes of the attempt to reignite the cold war around a crusade against “Islamo-fascism.” But the true mental captivity of our time lies elsewhere. Our contemporary faith in “the market” rigorously tracks its radical nineteenth-century doppelgänger—the unquestioning belief in necessity, progress, and History. Just as the hapless British Labour chancellor in 1929–1931, Philip Snowden, threw up his hands in the face of the Depression and declared that there was no point opposing the ineluctable laws of capitalism, so Europe’s leaders today scuttle into budgetary austerity to appease “the markets.” "

      It is being played out in Europe and USA today. This article is further control by corporations.

      "But “the market”—like “dialectical materialism”—is just an abstraction: at once ultra-rational (its argument trumps all) and the acme of unreason (it is not open to question). It has its true believers—mediocre thinkers by contrast with the founding fathers, but influential withal; its fellow travelers—who may privately doubt the claims of the dogma but see no alternative to preaching it; and its victims, many of whom in the US especially have dutifully swallowed their pill and proudly proclaim the virtues of a doctrine whose benefits they will never see."

      "Above all, the thrall in which an ideology holds a people is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives. We know perfectly well that untrammeled faith in unregulated markets kills: the rigid application of what was until recently the “Washington consensus” in vulnerable developing countries—with its emphasis on tight fiscal policy, privatization, low tariffs, and deregulation—has destroyed millions of livelihoods. Meanwhile, the stringent “commercial terms” on which vital pharmaceuticals are made available has drastically reduced life expectancy in many places. But in Margaret Thatcher’s deathless phrase, “there is no alternative.” "

      "For Miłosz, “the man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because they have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judgments and thinking habits are.” "

  • Collapsing Afghanistan & Pakistan Refuse to Cooperate with Obama Photo Op
    • My God.

      How sick has the US become?

      Juan's column today yet again shows that the war is justified by lies and on a course for failure.

      Who will continue to fund our folly?

      Look to what lengths we go to fund the military, support corporations in the world, and to take foreign policy off the Republican agenda and show that Obama is tough.

      Real tough guys, and a real military that is in control, do not have to sneak in and out at night. This is for show.

      "Why America Failed: The Roots of America's Decline" came out just a few months ago but now seems like a long time. When Morris Berman's earlier book in 2006, "Dark Ages America" stated that there was no way to stop the decline, and an empire in decline selected leaders who would hasten the decline, I didn't want to believe his prediction. Well, the facts have forced me to see his point.

      If the US is going to get back on track, it will take a huge effort to confront the power structure. The very power structure that has been aided by the state.

      To ensure that will be more difficult, US builds up the capabilities of repression at home. Hot off the press is Glenn Greenwald's column yesterday listing the assaults on civil liberties in the year since Bin Laden's death.

      link to salon.com

  • Israeli Security Elite Slams Netanyahu, sidetracks War on Iran
    • Finally a bit of sanity in Israel. More war is not the answer.

      Meanwhile, back here in the good old USA, we have a Warrior President. One in love with Drones, without regard to the innocent people they kill, nor to how they lead to more terrorists.

      And Democrats who support Obama have the ability to ignore his militarism and his attack on civil liberties. We just about have the legal system in place to enact a fascist state.

      Article by Glenn Greenwald about the warrior president at the link.

      link to salon.com

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
    • Correction of a trivial point

      When I heard BFO years ago it was slightly different

      Blinding Flash Obvious

      This is probably better - you know, like see the light

    • Hot off the press.

      Nations of the world set new record for military spending.

      “Almost every country with a military is on an insane path, spending more and more on missiles, aircraft, and guns,” remarked John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus. “These countries should be confronting the real threats of climate change, hunger, disease, and oppression, not wasting taxpayers’ money on their military.”

      Another case of BFO. B=Blinding F=Force O=obvious

      the link
      link to truth-out.org

    • Successful propaganda often relies on repeating a lie over and over again.

      Someone should do a study showing the number of times the lie that Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be ‘wiped off the face of the map.’" was repeated.

      For example, how many times in the NY Times? How many times in WA Post?

      Maybe an organization like mediamatters.org could do a study of Fox news.

  • Top Ten Reasons Israel tried to Censor Bob Simon's Report on Palestinian Christians
    • "UCLA Professor Warned about Israel Views." is the title of a post by Glenn Greenwald

      link to salon.com

      Here is a quotation from the article which has links.

      "But I want to leave to the side the obvious threats to academic freedom this poses. My real question is this: what kind of person goes to an academic institution and then demands to be shielded from political ideas that they find objectionable? Of all places, academia is supposed to permit and encourage the challenging of one’s assumptions and beliefs. At least in theory, that’s the prime value of studying at a university: learning how to think critically, which requires subjecting one’s views to rigorous dispute. The petulant entitlement needed to demand that nobody in that setting ever cite or mention objectionable political views is just staggering; it also reveals a severe lack of confidence in the validity of one’s own views. Whatever one thinks of it on the merits, the belief that Israel should be targeted with boycotts and divestment for its apartheid policies the way South Africa was is one that is embraced by many people in many places around the world. It’s hard to express how anti-intellectual and oppressive it is to demand that such a view never even be discussed or aired — of all places — on an academic campus, and to formally complain against a Professor who merely mentions it on a website."

  • Earth Day means nothing if We Don't Limit Carbon Emissions
    • Words fail us. I used to find comfort in the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead who said "mankind is not totally dumb." The poor countries are already suffering from changes in the delicate balance of the climate.

      Juan's experience at 17 in 1970 of picking up trash for Earth day was a long time ago.

      My experience at 17 was a Freshman term paper for an English class. The topic of my 1960 paper was global population and the population problem scared the crap out of me. This was an urgent problem requiring global attention. That was back when the world's population first reached 3 billion. Now it is 7 billion.

      The systems philosopher C. West Churchman in the 1970's summarized the world's problems as M P cubed. M is militarism. P cubed is Population Pollution Poverty. He started the Peace studies program at University of California, Berkeley. He would tell everyone, say the French department, that the main problem they faced was M P cubed. His crusade failed. We are now so dumb that terrorism fills the headlines to distract people from facing the hard problems of the world. Glenn Greenwald at Salon chronicles many things including the intimidation of those who point out waste, fraud and abuse by our government. Tactics being used here in the good old USA that are right out of Orwell's book 1984.

      Just a reminder of population increase is a paragraph from wikipedia.

      It is estimated that the world population reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It would be another 123 years before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to rise by another billion people, reaching three billion in 1960. Thereafter, the global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and, according to the United States Census Bureau, seven billion in March 2012.[1] The United Nations, however, estimated that the world population reached seven billion in October 2011

  • It's Springtime in Kabul for the Taliban
    • Off Topic

      Legal action against Muslims in the US by the Obama department of justice which show the disregard for the rule of law, and in particular in this case the first amendment of free speech. These set the precedent for arrest and prison for protests in the USA this spring and summer. We who protest in the streets in the USA cannot count on the Bill of Rights for protection.

      Article by Glenn Greenwald who has Tarek Mehanna's speech before being sent to prision for 17 years.

      link to salon.com

      Chris Hedges article "first they come for the Muslims ..." which is similar to the steps the Nazi's used when they went after groups, building up the the Jews.

      link to commondreams.org

  • Medvedev slams Romney for "Number one Enemy" Slur
    • Update on the nuclear front.

      I didn't realize that the USA still had the doomsday system that could be set off by the president.

      Article by Daniel Ellsberg and David Krieger

      "America's 450 launch-ready land-based nuclear-armed ballistic missiles are the opposite of a deterrent to attack. In fact, their very deployment has the potential to launch World War III and precipitate human extinction – as a result of a false alarm. We’re not exaggerating."

      It takes 30 minutes for a nuclear missile to get to the USA, so there is a 15 minute window to respond with the doomsday solution. The nuclear cloud would set off an environmental catastrophe for the whole world.

      We have been seeing the destruction of the environment accelerating in recent years. I didn't realize that our leaders could make it happen in just a few minutes.

      link to commondreams.org

  • Faster than Expected Climate Change means drought, war, famine for Middle East, Africa
    • Here is a comparison on the time scale to the year 2050

      New Fighter Plane will cost 1 trillion dollars to develop, manufacture and support 2,500 fighter planes by 2050

      What if America spent $1 trillion right now on the right things like reducing carbon and reducing military spending?

      These days it only takes a single fact compared with what is predicted to see the collapse not only of the American empire, but the earth.

      link to propublica.org

      Time to sign up for the national climate day of action on 5/5/12 at Bill McKibben’s web site.

      link to 350.org

  • Dear MSM: Andrew Breitbart was not a Blogger
  • Gingrich Endangers US troops by Slamming Obama for Apology over Qur'an Burning
    • A historian friend I talk with each week asked the question: Has Obama lost control of policy? He was struck by the recent article in Rolling Stone by Tim Dickerson on the war on pot. My friend says he is not states rights advocate in general, but this Obama administration war on medical pot was a incredible violation of states rights.

      On the radio this morning the Republican candidates are saying that if they are elected, gas prices will go down. As Juan has pointed out the military threats against Iran are churning the world markets. Just when I didn't think that the elections couldn't get any more crazy, they did.

      Back to the question: has Obama lost control of policy. This is from a comment to Glenn Greenwald's post today. The post is from someone named hquain.
      ****

      Here is a possible answer posted on Glenn Greenwald's column today that only losers follow the law.

      CO = candidate Obama

      hquain
      Friday, February 24, 2012 at 8:38 am
      It seems almost unfair to refer back to Candidate Obama, since C.O. clearly didn't become president.

      Perhaps the right analysis is this: no one became president, in any executive sense of the word.

      Policy is clearly generated by Geithner, Gates/Panetta, Petraeus, and others unknown and unknowable. The one called President is just the decider: the man who says 'yes'.

  • Top Ten Ways Iran is Defying US, EU Oil Sanctions and How You are Paying for It All
    • Check out Arthur Silber's two articles on the subject. In the first one he shows how the US rhetoric against Iran is in fact about the US. It is US's decline that is the issue.

      In the second article he calls for an all out Occupy the government to get the attention of the US government to NOT invade Iran. This must be first based on education since the US public has never heard an alternative point of view because our leaders don't have one.

      Maybe Silber can write a column here. Maybe he already has and I missed it.

      link to powerofnarrative.blogspot.com

      link to powerofnarrative.blogspot.com

  • Santorum Hypes Iran 'Threat'
    • Is the world getting even crazier, or is it just me?

      Is USA driving the world down the drain like the Koch brothers are driving the States and Local governments down the drain?

      The USA founding fathers knew that tyrants (leaders?) use war as a way to keep the people in line using fear. The Nuremberg trials after WWII said that the greatest crime is aggressively starting a war because after a war is started the rule of law goes out the window.

      On Democracy Now today which is available on the Web the topics are Yemen, Iran and Honduras. The USA is either already starting wars taking actions that will lead to wars.

      If you can stand more bad news, please watch their show today.

  • Indian Investigators do not Suspect Iran in Israel Embassy Blast
    • I can't believe how many years that US and Israel have threatened war against Iran.

      Glenn Greenwald has a new twist on this round of threats. In the Iraq invasion, the press followed the lead of the government in beating war drums. Then the press later said it made mistakes. This time around the press is leading -- ahead of the government in proclaiming the Iran threat.

      The main stream media is increasing irrelevant shown by the non stop coverage of the crazy Republican presidential primary. Maybe the media are out to create a publicity campaign where they are in the lead so to increase audience ratings. Or maybe we have reached a tipping point where the loss of on the order of 25,000 journalists over the last decade finally has left the media even more in the dark. Or, maybe as I read Glenn Greenwald's excellent new book "With Liberty and Justice for Some" that the media is just carrying out their in the super entity which contains corporations and the government.

      Here is the link to Glenn's article

      link to salon.com

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • The plutocracy has gone over the edge. This will even hurt them. They must simply be crazy to start a war on Iran.

      The possible war with Iran has been a staple of the right wing foreign policy for a decade. My hunch is that only courageous journalists like Sy Hersh stopped an invasion during W Bush's term because they exposed the plans.

      Obama has followed up on Bush in yet another way.

      Glenn Greenwald's column at salon.com describes the use of drones to target rescue workers. Maybe the CIA and the security complex are getting ready to use drones on the OWS demonstrators in the US. Wait. They already have us tracked down from our Internet and phone connections and have our patterns monitored so they could just hire a mafia hit man for much less money to take us out.

      Journalist work in this done by people on England.

      I am not including Glenn's column at http://www.salon.com because it is a little hard to get to unless you subscribe. Here is a Common Dreams piece on the topic with a link to Glenn's column.

      link to commondreams.org

  • Will his New Sanctions on Iran Cost Obama the Presidency?
    • At times like this I recall Alfred North Witehead, the philosopher and mathematican, who comments that mankind is not totally dumb. Juan's article describes actions very close to totally dumb.

      Glenn Greenwald's latest column shows that the USA does not even pretend to support Democracy in the middle east. Thus the rhetoric justifying many of our actions falls away and shows the power play to favor those countries who support our policies, especially Israel, in the region. This is another case of being very close to totally dumb.

      Here is the link to Greenwald's article.

      link to salon.com

      Morris Berman in his 2006 book with the appropriate title "Dark Ages America" notes that when empires are on the way down they choose leaders who hasten the collapse. That was sure true of W Bush. For the last couple of years Obama has done the same thing.

  • Assassinating Dreams in Egypt: Amr
    • Important lesson for OWS.

      It may well take years to make a change in the power structure.

      Some thought that OWS would be a short lived action, but it looks like it will persist because it is the only wide spread effort to challenge the power structure. The 99% is only exceeded by the 99.9%.

      It will be a long struggle. Here is a report today of the front lines of thought control here in the USA. Government employees speaking out against government actions are acted upon while crimes of finance and torture are ignored. The first part of this is by long term activist, and friend of Juan, Tom. Then an article by an ongoing action against the truth.

      link to tomdispatch.com

  • NYPD Attack on OWS and the End of the First Amendment
    • Juan had an excellent piece a couple of days ago about the global parallels of OWS.

      One of the implications is that the movement can be stamped out for a while in one place, but it will appear and change in other places.

      This is happening here in the USA. In the very day that NYC drove out OWS and attacked the constitution as noted by Juan in this post, the city of Seattle adopted a unaminous resolution in support of OWS. And they pledged city actions like moving money out of big banks and restoring the Bush tax cuts. One down, one up, hundreds of other OWS actions going on.

      Here is a dailykos diary on Seattle in the state of Washington.

      link to dailykos.com

    • This is just the latest attack on the rule of law and civil liberties.

      Time to get into the former first ammendment attorney, and now top level political commentator, Glenn Greenwald. He is on a book tour for his new book "With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful."

      Here is his speech on the rule of law at Claremont College. Click on the first segment and it will automatically move between the segments.

      link to youtube.com

      three short segments of question and answer from that talk

      link to youtube.com

      Glenn at Brown University a few months earlier on Civil LIberties in the Age of Obama

      link to youtube.com

  • Romney Flip-Flops on Mideast, Too: Cole in Truthdig
    • Reply to Joseph Winter

      Chris Hedges was interviewed at the park in NYC a week ago or so. He said that he has been writing about these issues for years but didn't know HOW to tackle them. He didn't have recommendations for people. He has been for the last year saying that civil disobedience is the only way to bring about change.

      This is the really big thing that OWS has brought out. It is a place to participate, a public space. It is starting to awaken the 99%.

      You can go back and read Chris Hedges columns from the web site truth dig.

      Also, Greg Mitchell, a journalist who has done many things over the years, including hosting a daily blog about Bradley Manning, now has a blog on the nation web site which contains several updates each day about activity around the world related to OWS.

      I sure hope that OWS cannot be stopped. Chris Hedges uses the term corporate coup d'etat a couple of times. That is what has happened.

      People have been doing excellent work in many areas for years, but have only been able to get limited traction because the power elite runs the game. My hope is that these various themes can be linked and reinforce each other in order to make the need for change unmistakable. Things that must be done.

    • This is for the international readers of Professor Cole's page. I read his blog every morning but don't really have anything much to add to the discussion that are my own thoughts.

      What I do is to provide links. People around the world are trying to figure out what has happened in the USA. Here is a long interview between Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges which is on the same web site as this article by Juan. I was active in the 1960's at Berkeley in the anti war protests. This article on class warfare describes what is going on in the US and how OWS - Occupy Wall Street - is different from the 1960's protest. Another difference is that now the police is a military force. But they are part of the 99% so if they join the OWS in spirit, the power elite will have trouble finding who to enforce their laws. Will they call out the military to stop people from sleeping in public spaces? As Chris Hedges points out, no one knows where these mass protests will lead.

      Here is the link to the Class Struggle article

      link to truthdig.com

  • Ganann: Police raids and violence against activists are Un-American
    • Important article today by Chris Hedges. Juan knows about Chris because Juan also writes on Chris's main outlet, truthdig.com.

      Recommend going back over Chris's articles and even to his books. Here is the link to today's column on some of the people who have been living in the conditions necessary for the Occupy movement to make it through the winter.

      link to truthdig.com

      I was very involved in the anti Vietnam War demonstrations at Berkeley in the mid 1960's. It was mostly students. There are generations of anarchists in the SF Bay area who were always around, but the bulk of the demonstrators were students.

      The steps of Sproul Hall had speakers every day. The student leaders Mario Savio and Jerry Rubin, and others were much more articulate than the spokespersons for the "power structure." There were noted speakers as well such as Noam Chomsky.

      But the unions and police and many others did not support the effort. This time around it is the 99%. Reaching out to the various groups and doing something to integrate them to address the complex problems that our society has ignored for 30 years, nope for longer than that because we have not faced up to being a military empire. Alone and with our specific issues, we can not be heard. And the specific issues are extremely important which shows how bankrupt the political class is and the others in the oligarchy.

      Here is a primer on non violent resistance from dailykos yesterday. This is yet another area to be educated on for the long term effort we face to restructure society.

      link to dailykos.com

  • Iran Alleges Saudi Plot Story is MEK Sting
    • Off Topic - Chris Hedges video that OWS will take them all down. He has covered similar uprisings throughout the world. This one is real.

      A must watch video.

      Chris Hedges has covered similar movements around the world.

      This one is real.

      In all his writing he has never addressed HOW to bring about change.

      A must watch video.

      link to dailykos.com

  • Sanctions on Iran will Never Produce Real Change
  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • Just how many lies does the government think it can get away with? Just how many lies does the main stream media and the professioinal pundits think they can get away with?

      A few years ago the economist Paul Krugman noted that the USA was looking more like the banana republics he studied a few decades ago. We are getting closer to that goal which is rule by the oligarchs and the riches to the 1%. This is why the Occupy Wall Street protests are better off without specific demands which can be inserted into the political calculus of democrats vs. republicans, or other main stream groups because they are corrupt.

      Lets hope that the grass roots movements in the USA can help to surface the lying at the heart of the government and the cover ups by the security state of their incompetence.

  • Ballen: Terrorism Can't be Taken out and Shot
    • This article highlights the incompetence of the US effort to deal with "terrorism." Among other things it assumes that the American Empire sees the world is the way the world really is.

      Our policy of assignation of "leaders" is right in line with our cult of leadership. I just did a search in Google for the term leadership and got 451 million hits. Leaders are exhaled to justify how the top 1% who runs the government is doing the right thing. We assume that good things are caused by "leaders" so they must be well paid if they are successful leaders and bad things are caused by bad leaders and their "followers" will stop if the leader is eliminated.

      There is more in the world than simple minded leadership worship. We are practicing Ignorance and arrogance of "the other", as was seen in the Roman Empire, ("Are We Rome: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy, 2007, well written book.) About the only thing that we are not doing like the Romans is crucifixion and beheading.

      Assignation and torture are now official government policy and the CIA destruction of terror tapes is not only further proof that the rule of law is dead but a cover up of incompetence of the security state.

      On the legal significance of throwing out the case against the CIA see Glenn Greenwald's article:

      link to guardian.co.uk

  • Cole on the 9/11 Aftermath at AskM
    • Comment off the topic but important since it shows how a history professor can change minds.

      Something like this is needed on a national level here in the USA.

      His three stages of citizenship is a useful way to lay out the issues for a dialog.

      link to dailykos.com

      At the time that is posted here, this blog is at the top of the recommendations on dailykos.com

    • Glenn Greenwald points out that Thomas Friedman's criticism of the Israel Lobby and the US threatned veto at the Security Council on Palestine statehood is detremental to US intersts - that this pro Israel commentators comments mean that this issue is now main stream.

      Glenn's point is that is what was said in the book The Isreal Lobby by Walt and Mearsheimer several years ago leading to intense attacks on them.

      link to salon.com

      Will the US veto the request and further harm its international position????

  • Palestinians seek UN Moxie
    • Has the clock finally run out on the lies?

      The political theorist, Hannah Arendt, wrote an essay about 50 years ago with the title "The Politics of Lying." It seems that those who lie have a difficult time keeping the house of cards from falling down. At any time the cat can jump out of the bag so the lies have to be refined, expanded or whatever necessary ( e.g., start a war) to keep the big lie afloat.

      Now that the American empire is collapsing, and Obama's ratings in the Middle East are even lower than W Bush, will the USA do the right thing or will it continue in its path to "Dark Ages America"? That is the title of a 2006 book. The author notes that when a society is on the way down they choose leaders who accelerate the collapse. It happened in Israel and Obama is following in the path of the Bushes.

      Will this issue bring the world to its senses or will the destruction continue?

  • Israeli Likud Gov't Buffeted by Turkish Suit, Massive Protests
    • Juan,
      This post is off topic, but might be of interest to some of your readers, especially the international readers who are trying to make sense of the politics here in the USA.

      The first article is by an ex Republican staff member who worked almost 30 years, including in the budget area for the house and the senate. He uses the word "cult" to describe the Republicans who are concerned only with power and are taking down the government to pass resources to the oligarchy.

      link to truth-out.org

      Toward the end he mentions ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council. This is a right wing effort, funded by corporations and billionares to write legislation for the States. Here is an aside that I learned from a government professor. The USA is basically a bottom up country with the local and states with a lot of power. The founding fathers never considered a take over at the bottom. So what is happening cannot be stopped by constitutional means. They started 3 decades ago taking over local school boards. Now there is a national effort in many states to severly weakin public education, or what they call government education. ALEC proposals are being enacted in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and many, many other states.

      Here is just one article on ALEC's work to supress voting. Some of us thought voting was sacred, but when your goal is only power, all means are available.

      link to dailykos.com

      One can do a google search on ALEC. The first entry is their home page. I recall that about 30% of Republican state legislators are members of ALEC. Then a couple of lines down is ALEC exposed.

      If the Democrats had not to a large extent sold out to the powers that be, namely the banksters, military industrial security complex and corporations, they could take control of the country through the ballot box.

      Even in their comprimised state, they could make ALEC a big issue and run against what they are doing to the country.

      A big issue is the lack of citizens in the USA. We have consumers and uninformed people with opinions from the media, but we have a shortage of citizens.

  • London Riots: Its the Economy, Stupid (Not a Clash of Civilizations)
    • Root causes of banking and trade and bought politicians

      Rant by MSNBC commentator on the problem and what must be done

      A must watch video

      link to youtube.com

    • Another set of riots are going on in Israel. There was a post this morning on dailykos.com about the decades of corruption in their government. I didn't realize that it was this bad.

      If what the author says is correct, and I don't know enough to verify and don't have the time, the country could unravel very quickly.

      Israel has been a major political player in the US. These changes could thus have an effect on what goes on here.

      Here is the dailykos link.

      Juan, if this post on dailykos is accurate, you might post it on your web page.

      link to dailykos.com

      **
      Another topic but related to economics and government. The well known blogger from Michigan, Marcy Wheeler now has her own blog. Many of her posts involve civil liberties. But this one is about the take over of governments by the corporations. This is happening through out the world as the global corporations, supported by military might, try to manipulate the global economy. In a way this idea has been building for some time, but her post cristilized it for me.

      link to emptywheel.net

      On her blog she posts summaries of the days news. She notes that every day she posts a link abou the decline of the american empire.

  • Zakaria: Tea Party Tactics Immoral, Dictatorial
    • Obama and the democratic leaders are doing what the oligarchs want them to do. Glenn Greenwald's column on 'The Myths of Obama's "blunders" and "weaknesses" '

      link to salon.com

      Here is update II from Glenn's column.

      UPDATE II: Matt Taibbi writes on whether Obama is actually a "weak negotiator":

      Start of quotation
      "Now, Barack Obama has surrendered control of the budget to the Tea Party. . . . Commentators everywhere are killing the president for his seemingly astonishing level of ball-less-ness. . . . The Democrats aren't failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there's political hay to be made moving to the right. They're doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I've said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television. . . .

      The Democrats, despite sitting in the White House, the most awesome repository of political power on the planet, didn't fight at all. . . . We probably need to start wondering why this keeps happening. Also, this: if the Democrats suck so bad at political combat, then how come they continue to be rewarded with such massive quantities of campaign contributions? When the final tally comes in for the 2012 presidential race, who among us wouldn't bet that Barack Obama is going to beat his Republican opponent in the fundraising column very handily? At the very least, he won't be out-funded, I can almost guarantee that.

      And what does that mean? Who spends hundreds of millions of dollars for what looks, on the outside, like rank incompetence?

      It strains the imagination to think that the country's smartest businessmen keep paying top dollar for such lousy performance. Is it possible that by "surrendering" at the 11th hour and signing off on a deal that presages deep cuts in spending for the middle class, but avoids tax increases for the rich, Obama is doing exactly what was expected of him?"
      end of quotation of Matt. Final paragraph from Glenn.

      A mere three years ago, huge numbers of people invested substantial time, attention, energy, emotion and "hope" in fighting to put Barack Obama in the White House. The very human incentives not to reach this conclusion are both obvious and overwhelming.

  • Sound and Fury: Americans Actually Lightly Taxed
    • This chart shows the fraud of the right wing politics in the USA. For at least 3 decades their main policy is to lower taxes and reduce government.

      We have a recent 10 year experiment of lowering taxes on the rich to generate jobs and improve the economy. It failed.

      What has succeeded is the propaganda to frame the debate favorable to the oligarchy and corporations in the USA.

      Now the right wing and Obama want to do more of the same when we have not recovered from the recession.

      Paul Krugman in the New York Times today calls Obama's deal a surrender and predicts the economy and jobs will get worse.

      link to nytimes.com

      The polls show Obama's rating in the middle east lower than George W. Bush at the end of his term in office. Will Obama fall in his support in the USA after throwing away decades of Democratic party core issues?

      Since this is breaking news, here are two diaries from daily kos that further discuss the "deal."

      link to dailykos.com

      link to dailykos.com

  • Controversies over Younis assassination in Libya
    • In a recent post you noted the more progressive values of the main line churches than the fundamentalist churches.

      Here is a letter from the Catholic leaders in Ohio telling Speaker Bohener to do the right thing. The right wing has gone so far over the edge that they threaten the nation, including the poor.

      link to scribd.com

  • Dear Foreigner-Haters: Immigration is Good for You
    • Off topic but related to Juan Coles' articles.

      The comedian John Stewart on Comedy Central web site has two videos on the demonization of Muslims and the second video is on victimization of conservatives and Christians in the US.

      There are also excellent recent stores by Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central web site.

      Juan might some day do a column on their influence, especially among the young.

      Here is the link

      link to dailykos.com

  • Top Self-Defeating Moves in the Middle East
    • Number 216 in a series of columns on revolutions in middle east and Africa. They summarize events in various countires and provide many links.

      Some may want to follow this on a regular basis.

      link to dailykos.com

  • Cole, ACLU, Sue CIA, FBI seeking Bloggergate Documents
    • We learned in the last year from an article in the WA Post that the surveillance state has almost 1 million employees.

      Just today we learned about the new technology for local law inforcement which is a facial recognition system that never remembers a face. Perfect for tractking terrorists. Or potential terrorists like us who criticize the government.

      link to dailykos.com

      Glenn Greenwald has posted columns on this which can be found on a google search of

      glenn greenwald surveillance state

  • On Panetta and Defeating al-Qaeda
    • Lies about Lindh and Destruction of our democracy

      Article today by Lindh's father. Lies like this were used to hype up the invasion of Iraq. The American Taliban sure was scary.

      It will be interesting to see if Lindh's case ever gets coverage in the corporate media in the US. They fall all over themselves when a blond young woman disappears, but don't seem concerned when the government tortures a citizen, lies to go to war, and so forth.

      link to guardian.co.uk

      To cap this off, today's Glenn Greenwald column catalogs the abuses to civil rights just in the last couple of months in the USA.

      In "Dark Ages America," published in 2006, Morris Berman says that a collapsing empire choses leaders who hasten the collapse. I read this during W. Bush era and it fit the bill. Now that Bush III in the person of Obama is the ruler, his point has been reinforced.

      Here is the link to Greenwald's recent post on what has happened in the last few months.

      link to salon.com

  • The Muslim World Sounds off on Bin Laden's Demise
    • This is off topic but it is in line with the final words in Juan's post today where he suggests that we work to rebuild our democracy here at home.

      This is a 2008 book reviewer by Chalmers Johnson, since deceased, on the 2998 book "Democracy, Inc." Back a few years ago the corporate takeover of America and its consequences were in some cases an act of speculation. Now it is clear with the right wing attack on our government and the democratic party going along for campaign contributions.

      The book has a lot to say about the war on terror.

      After the 2010 victory by the right wing, at 3 AM I awoke and read a couple of pages from the book. In one physical page the predictions of the 2010 election were described. The book was written in 2007 and published in 2008, well before the election of 2010. He said that the luke warm response of democrats after the 2006 victory in the US House showed how they would react. He said that even if the democrats won both houses and the presidency, for the first time since Jimmy Carter, it would not make a difference. The forces of the media, corporations, military, etc. were so strong, and the democrats already showed that they were mostly part of the status quo, those forces would overwhelm the results of a possible 2008 victory. There you have it - a prediction of the outcomes of the 2010 election. The big question is whether or not we will ever regain our democracy.

      Here is th link

      link to fanonite.org

  • Obama and the End of Al-Qaeda
  • Sea Water for Honolulu Air Conditioning
    • An inspiring story from a small town in Germany. The citizens took over the grid and now produce power, mostly renewable, for 100,000 people. They did not want a nuclear future. It took 25 years and a change in policy that allowed people to buy power from anywhere and to co generate their own power.

      link to dailykos.com

  • Should Professors in Public Universities Give up their Email Addresses?
    • Excellent article about curtailing free speech. In my experience, there are fewer professors who speak out than there were in the "old days." There were more professors back then who were individuals, now all too often, professors are like employees of a corporation, camped out in some sub field where they write papers for their peers.

      We are undergoing a collapse of our empire and all too many academics have not been engaged with pointing out where things were goings. I well recall early in the last decade when Paul Krugman stood out from the crowd and for a time was the number one target of the right wing.

      For the most part, the right wing won the debate and pushed the country farther and farther to the right so that our current president, running in the Democratic faction, continues to move to the right and to curtail civil liberties.

      We don't even have parties, we have two factions. The elections are so close that the factions can continue to play their games back and forth and as a country we have not been working the meaningful problems for decades. Problems like education, infrastructure, the environment, jobs have been lost in the BS and lost white women. The spectacle has won.

      Julian Assange pointed out that the social media like facebook and twitter are in fact the ultimate control mechanisms by the state.

      Juan Cole's blog shows what academics should do to influence policy and the billionaires are trying everything they can to kill off debate and our very system.

      These are dire times. It is worse than McCarthy. For example, the US is a bottom up country, building from the local up to the states. It was so much a part of our DNA that no one thought about constitutional safeguards for state and local government. Thus, they can be destroyed and it is hard to stop it. Maybe there has been over reach and people (hard to call what we have as citizens, we have voters instead, another kind of shopper making choices) realize that something is at stake.

      Is it too late? I hope not but fear the worse.

      Sorry for this ling comment, but this is the stuff that I think about all the time. Everywhere one looks the systems are falling apart.

  • Egyptian Protests Swell in Response to Ghonim
    • This is related to Suleiman and the Gaza flotilla.

      Does anyone know who to contact to follow up on this story?

      link to dailykos.com

      If it could be shown that Suleiman worked with Israel on the Flotilla attack, it would be an important thing to know.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    • Climate change makes future of Egypt uncertain.

      Excellent analysis of this subject. This is happening in many regions of the world which will lead to instability.

      link to dailykos.com

      David Frum, one of W Bush's speech writers compared China and Egypt and noted that if the economy is strong, the people are happy with the government. He also said that the population in Egypt has doubled since 1981 but gone up much more slowly in China. He didn't make the obvious point about the need for population control in many countries, including Muslim countries. Population growth requires more resources and more jobs and contributes to climate change. The neo cons in the USA are riding oil right down to the end of the earth.

  • Egyptians Defy Protest Ban, Plan big Rallies for Friday; Death toll Rises to 6
  • Naw, There's been no Right Wing Extreme Rhetoric
    • Will there be a change in our political climate as a result of this tragedy?

      I don't think so.

      The outstanding book by the political philosopher, Sheldon Wolin, about 90 years old now, published in 2008, predicted the outcomes of the 2010 election in 2007.

      This is in the last chapter. He wrote it in 2007. He noted that even though the democrats won the 2006 election, their half way measures showed that even if the democrats won both houses and the presidency in 2008, for the first time since Jimmy Carter, the power of the corporations, media and military industrial complex were too powerful to overcome by half way measures. Hence 2010 with the added money from the Supreme Court decision, by a corporatist court, and the off the wall right wing won the election.

      Does anyone think that the Republicans who have been successful for 30 years with this kind of rhetoric, and the power of the Fox news and the commentators, will they change? Since they are only interested in power anyway, they won't make any change that will redice their power.

      Wolin's book is Democracy Inc. Look it up to see the subtitle.

      He points out that the closely divided electorate, about 50 to 50 percent allows the parties to continue to be factions. He doesn't say it exactly this way but that is what he means.

  • Top Ten Questions about Chile Mine Collapse: Was it Nixon-Kissinger's Fault?
    • Good observation by Juan on the connection of US domestic policy and foreign policy and the consequences. What governments do does matter.

      My comment is related to Juan's post through the word "collapse." The topic is how the US foreign policy and US domestic policy are leading to a collapse of not just a mine shaft, but the collapse of the American empire.

      Here is a book that I just found out about. I have read two previous books by this noted constitutional scholar and political science professor at Yale and suspect that this new book will be very good.

      A classic scholar friend pointed out that the scholar who read everything that anyone knows about about the lead up to the fall of the Roman Empire makes the point that no one saw the collapse of that Empire. We have been warned for years and like the collapse of nature, Americans have their heads in the sand, or more like, their heads in entertainment and consumption.

      Here is the book that I mentioned above:

      "The Decline and Fall of the American Republic" by Bruce Ackerman, October 1, 201o, Harvard University Press.

      The following is copied from the amazon.com page.

      Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism and lawlessness. Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the War on Terror are only symptoms of deeper pathologies. Ackerman points to a series of developments that have previously been treated independently of one another—from the rise of presidential primaries, to the role of pollsters and media gurus, to the centralization of power in White House czars, to the politicization of the military, to the manipulation of constitutional doctrine to justify presidential power-grabs. He shows how these different transformations can interact to generate profound constitutional crises in the twenty-first century—and then proposes a series of reforms that will minimize, if not eliminate, the risks going forward.

      The book aims to begin a new constitutional debate. Americans should not suppose that Barack Obama’s centrism and constitutionalism will typify the presidencies of the twenty-first century. We should seize the present opportunity to confront deeper institutional pathologies before it is too late.

  • 4th Attack on Trucks Near Quetta, Pakistan
    • Western rationality is big on cause and effect.

      Unless it fuels more military spending and further control on the home front here in the good old USA which benefits those who feed off military or security spending.

      Another reason that comes to mind is political power here at home justified by fighting a foreign enemy. This is the extension of the cold war imagery as described by the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in "Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism." . Wolin points out that the biggest creation in media history is the war on terror which was used to justify the invasion of Iraq. And that plays into our managed democracy with 5 to 6 companies owning the media and political parties clinging to power rather than working the hard problems like education, jobs, environment and peace.

      This comment was stimulated by Glenn Grennwald's column today on cause and effect in the war on terror in which our actions are generating the counter effect which will lead to attacks on USA soil. Did the Roman Republic loose its ability to understand cause and effect as they went after the pirates and destroyed the Roman Empire?

      link to salon.com

  • Palestinians Refuse Talks until Settlement is Frozen
    • Dear Juan,

      I gave the address of the daily kos donald duck link. When I looked at it, it was broken up. The link needs to be the whole way to the end through Glenn Beck. Could you fix the link.

      Thanks,
      Don Utter

    • Here is a little fun. A remix of Donald Duck with the
      rightwing messages

  • The Speech President Obama Should Give about the Iraq War (But Won't)
    • Well done piece that summarize what was done and what needs to be done next.

      Using Obama as a a hypothetical speaker is a good way to think through an alternative policy for the region. This is not outside the realm of possibility and it will be interesting to see how the actual situation plays out in the coming years.

      As the USA continues to collapse, we will have to take some dramatic steps. Your article describes a step in the right direction but with the power of the military and the uninformed public, the changes of taking this step are very, very low.

  • 6 Million Pakistanis need Immediate Aid as 1/3 of Country is Submerged
    • Humans are killing mother nature but that seems to be a smaller story in the USA than the location of Mosques. Constitutional governance is under attack by the Supreme Court, the Obama administration with their expansion of the power of the executive branch and the party of NO which has blocked the legislative branch.

      In the 2006 book by Morris Berman, "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire" he says: "For what we are now seeing are the obvious characterizations of the West after the fall of Rome: the triumph of religion over reason; the atrophy of education and critical thinking; the integration of religion, the state, and the apparatus of torture -- a troika that was for Volatire the central horror of the per-Enlightment world,; and the political and economic marginalization of our culture."

      The column by Glenn Greenwald today at http://www.salon.com shows the lies of Jeffery Goldberg in the cover story of the new Atlantic magazine in making a case for Israel to bomb the nuclear facilities of Iran. The credible position, like that for Iraq before the war, is that they don't have a program going but that doesn't stop these people.

      This is totally crazy.

      Here we have potentially the largest humanitarian crisis in history (at least so far because Mother Nature can strike back harder than this) in Pakistan and there is talk about invasion of another Muslim country here in the USA.

  • Dispute over Civilian Casualties Roils US-Afghan Relations
    • There are two recent postings by Glenn Greenwald that are relevant.

      From yesterday is this column on the collapse of support of Obama and the US in the Muslim world. There was hope that there would be change, but with the same policies, and even the escalation in Afghanistan, coupled with the continued support of Israel, it is the same old failed policies.

      Here is the link for that article.

      link to salon.com

      One friend who follows these issues closely, says that Obama, like John F. Kennedy, has to go along with the military or else he might be taken out. My hunch is that the power of the right wing media coupled with the permanent war economy, coupled with unbridled capitalism and the power of money to elect candidates, has drawn Obama down the path to support the status quo in far too many areas.

      Greenwald has a couple of postings on the reporter Hasting's loss of embed status with the military which shows the attempt to control the story in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can find him at http://www.salon.com.

      I gladly pay $45 per year to get support salon.com. Juan Cole also writes several columns for salon.

  • Beck Subtext: Obama Planning to Assassinate Tea Partiers
    • I agree about the importance of taking Glenn Beck seriously. This is not a direct response to your article but my adventures with Fox Radio.

      Up at 3 AM this morning, I took a drive to check on a couple of things. For the heck of it I turned on Fox radio and there was a man and a woman talking about Djinn, which is an Arabic word for genie. They were talking about these things that go into different dimensions and interact with humans. They do research on para normal. A woman called in who on a few occasions, living in a part of the country with a lot of old mine shafts, woke up with little bruises all over her body. Yes, this could be the work of Djinn. All kinds of discussions about how they interact, angels, demons and so forth.

      As an aside when I looked them up briefly on the internet they appear in the Qua-ran which was strange for right wingers to use their Arabic name.

      What struck me was the loss of rationality in our society. Al Gore's book a few years back was "Assault on Reason." It is sure convenient to work outside either rationality, or a higher rationality arationality, and be able to connect anything to anything else and put them in a world wide conspiracy.

      Then this morning, I am cleaning out the minivan and listening to Fox radio and Glenn Beck is on. I never, never listen to these guys.

      And I am thinking how long the propaganda and lies have been going out on these media outlets.

      Could it be that Republican party, which is actually a faction, might destroy constitutional government in the USA?

      I am really worried about the future of our country and the world and the rule of the oligarchs who use the crazy folks on media outlets like Fox news to mess up the minds of far too many of our people.

  • Turkey Threatens Israel with cut-off of Diplomatic Relations
    • Off topic of this post but an important post again today from Glenn Greenwald at salon.com. Glenn has been showing the weakness of the press, the power of the corporations, the BP/Government police state and with a focus on the attacks on the constitution of the USA.

      Here is a post today on the war on terror.

      link to salon.com

  • Big Oil's Predations are not Your Fault
    • Here is an additional issue. The oil rig was classified as a ship and foreign flagged in the Marshall Island making them responsible for safety on the rigg.

      link to latimes.com

  • The Hypocrisy of Netanyahu
    • The Irish flagged ship, MV Rachel Corrie is sailing to Gaza right now.

      Rachel Corrie was the American young woman killed by a bulldozer in Israel.

      Robert Naiman asks "Will Obama Let Israel Attack?"

      Now a couple of ships are challenging the blockade and Israel says that the attack this time will be more fierce. Someone with a lot of money should set up a live feed from the ship that cannot be blocked out by Isreal when they board the ship.

      Can someone who knows more about technology answer the following question: Can the Israeli commandos shut down all external communication from the ship by surrounding it by some jamming system?

      I have heard that the ship, and another delayed vessel, will arrive about June 10 in Gaza. These two ships should be given world wide attention. On the Irish ship is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

      What if another winner, Obama, was riding on the ship? Would Israel even go so far as to attack the ship?

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