|by Dave Lindorff
If the Democratic Party were a real opposition party--a party of principle filled with fighters--I'd say maintaining control of the Senate, even with by a margin of a single, fragile vote, would be important and valuable.
But that's not what we have.
The Democratic Party, particularly the actual elected congressional delegation and the leadership of the party in the two houses, is so washed out, so gutless, so calculating, and so self-serving, that it hardly rates as a second party.
Because of this, the role of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, recently re-elected by the voters of Connecticut while running as an independent after losing his own party's nomination to an upstart anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont, is dangerous in the extreme.
Lieberman, who won re-election by stealing the votes of Connecticut's Republicans from the GOP's official candidate (Lieberman only won about a third of the Democratic vote), has been a closet Republican for years. He was a Republican in all but name when he ran as Al Gore's vice presidential partner in 2000, and since helping that campaign go down in flames has been one of George Bush's most stalwart supporters in Congress.
Let's look at the Lieberman record:
by Dr. Paul J. Balles
“I am an invisible man," said Ralph Ellison in the prologue to his novel The Invisible Man, "When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me."
The main character is anonymous and unseen. The whites in society refuse to see him except as a black. Much has changed in America since the 50's appearance of The Invisible Man, at least for those who have been able to distinguish themselves, primarily in the media.
At the same time, others lack any recognizable individual identity. Blacks seen as African refugees merge back into masses without identities. To most Americans, Orientals from China or Japan or Korea are indistinguishable as members of their countries much less as individuals.
Americans generally lack both the ability and desire to distinguish Arabs from Persians, and even less capable of seeing distinct and recognizable features. Thus, Arabs and Persians number among Ellison's invisible men.
by Dave Lindorff
Here's the way to look at the Election Day outcome: If the U.S. were a parliamentary democracy, Bush would be history. Our self-proclaimed "war president" has lost a vote of confidence, not by the members of his party, but by the people of the United States.
Of course, we don't live in a parliamentary democracy, so we’re still stuck with the same megalomaniacal leader, even though the control of the Congress appears to be passing to the opposition party. (As of this writing, the new House will be firmly in the hands of the Democrats by a bigger margin than the current House is in the hands of Republicans, and the Senate appears headed towards Democratic control also, albeit by the narrowest of margins: 1 Lieberman.)
So the question is: what next?
by Mike Whitney
The U.S. Dollar is kaput. Confidence in the currency is eroding by the day.
A report in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, “Australia’s Treasurer Peter Costello has called on East Asia’s central bankers to ‘telegraph’ their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an ‘orderly adjustment’….Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have channeled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down interest rates,’ said Costello, but ‘the strategy has changed.’”
Indeed, the strategy has changed. The world has come to its senses and is moving away from the green slip of paper that is currently mired in $8.3 trillion of debt.
The central banks now want to reduce their USD reserves while trying to do as little damage to their own economies as possible. That’ll be difficult. If a sell-off ensues, it will start a stampede for the exits.
A just-released study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, published in the current issue of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, reports that the U.S. invasion
and occupation of Iraq has led to the deaths of between 426,000 and
794,000 Iraqis. This is a substantial increase over the 100,000 dead
that the same research group found through 2004, based upon a smaller
survey, and it represents an astonishing 2.5 percent of the country's
The grim news was widely--though not universally--reported in the U.S.
media (my local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked it out), but
few news organizations reported the most disturbing finding of the
study, which was that 31 percent of those killed were acatually slain
by U.S. and "coalition" forces (actually by U.S. forces, since most of
the other foreign forces working with the U.S., with the exception of
the British, have not played combat roles, and even the British have
largely operated in the south where fighting has been much less severe.
That means U.S. forces have, since the March 19, 2003 invasion, killed between 132,000 and 246,000 Iraqis.
by Chris Floyd
How did Tony Blair react to his American partner's humiliation at the polls last week? By racheting up the "War on Terror" to new heights of fear and division, with panic-mongering speeches, more draconian security measures – and a shocking "blood libel" against British Muslims. (This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.)
I. The Waters Ran Red
They say the fountain in London's Trafalgar Square turned the color of blood on Armistice Day last weekend, as Britons in their hundreds of thousands trudged out in the November gloom to comm emorate the end of the First World War, and lament the dead in all the wars thereafter.
But the turning of the water was no miracle, no divine judgment on the leader whose fateful partnership with George W. Bush is producing – week after week, month after month, year after year – fresh cause for future mourning. The color came from the thousands of fake poppies tossed into the fountain in what The Observer called "a spontaneous act of remembrance": an offering of the ubiquitous charity emblems worn by most of the population in the week leading up to the memorials.
In any case, Tony Blair never saw the vision of blood in the Square; he was in Hyde Park, with the Queen and other worthies, conducting formal ceremonies where no free action or unscripted word from the public was allowed to intrude. These offices of the dead were a fitting end to a week which saw Blair and his ministers launch a massive new fearmongering campaign, promising a "generation" of terror, war and tyrannical security measures in a "long and deep struggle" against his own nation's Muslim minority.
|Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an American-engineered coup ousting Maliki and installing some sort of strongman-led "national unity government" in Baghdad soon, probably before the end of the year.
(Indeed, the very showiness of Bush's pledge of support – in a phone call supposedly initiated by Bush, then announced to the media – is a good indication of the decapitation to come. As JFK once told Gore Vidal: "When a politician says to you, 'Jack, if there's anything I can do for you, just let me know,' that means you're dead." And Maliki – installed in a Bush-backed internal party coup that toppled the previous prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was himself once a recipient of similar pledges of staunch White House support – is a dead man walking.)
The chief reason why Maliki and his government will be ousted is not the hell-storm of death and violence that is now devouring the country. The fact that every new day sees a hundred or more mutilated bodies dumped on the nation's streets, and pitched battles between sectarian militias, and multiple deaths of American troops, and mass flights of anguished Iraqi civilians running in fear for their lives is not a matter of any urgent concern to Bush and his warmakers. Indeed, there is much evidence that one of the prime instigators of the wanton killing is a group created and long nurtured by the Bush Administration itself: the Facilities Protection Service, an army of uniformed freebooters nearly 150,000 strong. (I'll be writing more on this later.) Of course, the violence is a political headache for the Bushists, because it generates bad press; but they don't care about it – it has no intrinsic meaning or emotional impact on those who are already responsible for the deaths of more than half a million Iraqis and more than 2,700 Americans.
No, what will likely bring on the coup is the December deadline for crafting a new oil law, which was imposed on Iraq by the International Monetary Fund, as part of the deal to write off some – but by no means all – of the nation's crushing debt.
|By Ramzy Baroud
“God is greater than Israel and America,” was the echoing cry of tens of thousands of Palestinians, who descended into the graveyard in grief stricken Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip. They congregated in yet another familiar scene to bury their loved ones, killed by Israel’s brutal war against the Palestinians.
This time, the loss was too great to bear, even by the standards of the people of Gaza: eighteen ambulances lined up, carrying the mutilated bodies of eighteen members of the same extended family, the majority of whom were women and children; all civilians.
“I will avenge; I will avenge,” screamed a relative of one of those who died in the Israeli artillery attack on Beit Hanoun, on November 8.
A man initiated the burial ceremony by stepping forward carrying the lifeless body of his one-year-old baby. The tough posture Gaza’s men often wish to exhibit was overshadowed by incomprehensive grief; relatives and friends were collapsing in droves; others reached to the sky, in despair.
Only God could hear them now. Two more tiny bodies swaddled in white made their way through the crowd; more followed.
The total number of those killed in the Israeli bombing of the civilian neighborhood rose to 20, adding to over 50 others killed earlier in the same Israeli military assault dubbed “Clouds of Autumn”, which converged mainly on Beit Hanoun. The latest two figures are to be included in the overall count of 350 Palestinians killed since last June, in the wider military operation carried out in Gaza and dubbed “Summer Rains”.
by Stephen Lendman
Agitprop, electoral fraud and dirty tricks may not
have been invented in the US, but they certainly were
perfected in "the land of the free and home of the
brave" that no longer is except in the mind's eye of a
diminishing number of diehards, true-believers and
others still unaware of the real state of things in
America. The clearest evidence was the theft of the
last two presidential elections through a process of
massive voter disenfranchisement, black and Latino
intimidation in the inner cities, assorted other dirty
tricks and rigged electronic voting machines
programmed and operated by major corporations to
assure the final count gave their man, George Bush, a
manipulated electoral victory both times, with a
little help from five corrupted Supreme Court justices
who decided their votes counted more than those of the
public they annulled.
The same fraud was also rampant in recent
congressional elections guaranteeing both houses of
Congress stayed in Republican hands allowing the
interests of capital their divine right to rule the
world with their political partner of choice. On the
eve of another US election on November 7, the
manipulators of electoral mischief are at it again,
and it hardly matters how things turn out. Systemic
corruption is so entrenched in Washington, it'll be
business as usual on Capital Hill no matter how many
end up on either side of the isle. Little will change
when members of the 110th Congress are sworn in on
January 3, 2007, assuring only disappointment for
those believing otherwise.
It's called democracy, American-style that's now a
staple at home but doesn't stop at the border. For
many years, whatever administration's been in power,
the US believes it has a prerogative to decide who
holds office anywhere in the developing world where it
routinely meddles in the electoral process through
intimidation, bribery, black propaganda and direct
funding of the candidates of its choice. Those
activities are illegal in the US, and it's
unimaginable how loud the wails of protest and outrage
would be if it was learned another country or foreign
corporation funded political candidates at any level
here or interfered in any way in this country's
by William Bowles
Perhaps the most difficult thing to do when dealing with current events is to establish the link between economics and politics. Thus the corporate press never, ever present an event, the invasion of Iraq for example as having any connection with economics, indeed any attempt to do so is ridiculed (eg it’s not all about oil). The modus operandi is, keep it simple stupid, it’s good versus evil, don’t confuse the public’s mind with the complexities of real life for once you do so, an awful lot of explaining has to be done as to why countries act the way they do, none of which is in accord with the way events are portrayed in the MSM.
In my last piece, ‘Leaving the scene of the crime’, I quoted from a piece in the Independent on the ‘Suez Crisis’ by Mary Dejevsky which is a perfect example of this process in action whereby Empire whether past, present or intended is reduced to the level of psychology and personalities. Defeat is a “national humiliation”. Yes, there is a passing reference to economics but it is never presented as the root cause of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Eygpt. Instead it’s couched in the context of the Cold War and Nasser’s desire to ‘take control of the Suez Canal’. Why he would want to do this is not explained except in the context of one person’s desire for power or a desire to humiliate ‘Great Britain.’ Thus Dejevesky tells us
“The Suez crisis began when the young and forceful President of Eygpt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, seized control of the Suez Canal after the US and Britain refused to help fund the Aswan Dam.”
by Paul William Roberts
Editor's Note: Our Senior Writer, Paul William Roberts, gives us a rollicking
tour of the Bush-induced Gotterdamerung in Iraq. Roberts, whose book, A
War Against Truth, is one of the very best accounts of the mad march
to aggression, was in Iraq during the earliest days of the invasion,
as "Shock and Awe" gave way to shakedown and
atrocity. If you want to grasp the realities about the Middle East,
about the Iraq war, ask someone who knows. Paul William Roberts knows.
A friend of mine in Baghdad
wrote to me a few days ago about a conversation he’d had with an elderly
lady from West Virginia who was seated next to him on an airplane between
Los Angeles and Washington earlier this year. The subject under discussion
was how Iraqis generally view the American invasion and occupation of
Iraq, and my friend was trying to find an analogy that would work for
a sweet eighty-five-year-old grandmother who had never traveled anywhere
beyond the USA in her life. He came up with this:
you are visiting with one of your daughters who is married
to a man who is a bit of a brute. He beats the kids occasionally and
has knocked her about from time to time as well. You don’t like it,
she doesn’t like it, the kids don’t like it, but at the end of the
day he’s Dad, he works hard, he provides, and no one’s going to
break up the family after all this time
– besides, the monster’s mellowing with age and hasn’t hit anyone
very hard in a long while.
there you all are, watching TV one night, the kids doing their homework
or playing downstairs, your daughter preparing dinner in the kitchen,
the son-in-law having his beer and reading the sports page….When all
of a sudden, the front door is smashed open, there are loud explosions
all around the house, and five men come
crashing in through the windows on ropes, as another five pour through
the broken door firing guns.
One of the kids is killed, another staggers
around covered in blood screaming,
a third lies groaning somewhere nearby, then
flames erupt from the kitchen as your daughter runs out, her body on
fire, and you feel something smash
into your knee breaking the leg. Before anyone can work out what’s
happening, there’s another terrifying explosion above and the house
rocks from side to side as the roof caves in and the whole structure
collapses around you in rubble and
dust. As you wipe the gravel and concrete from your face, you see that
some of the intruders have handcuffed the son-in-law and are dragging
him away at gunpoint. One of these gunmen then comes over and identifies
himself as a representative of the Chinese Children’s Aid Society
of Beijing, saying they would have come sooner but they had trouble
They were here now, though,
and your family was at last free of the brute and you could finally
relax. Another gunman sweeps a bit
of rubble to one side with a broom and apologizes for the mess, giving
you the business card of a local contractor who
also happens to be a friend of his brother and specializes in fixing
houses reduced to rubble for a reasonable price. The men then say in
a chorus, Have a nice day! They throw the brute into a van and
are off leaving you sitting there alone in the dark with raindrops starting
to pitter-patter on your head. How do you think you would you feel about
“Well, I wouldn’t
be happy,” the old lady apparently replied.
pretty much how we feel,” said my friend.
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Forget political correctness. The revolution has NOT arrived! Bush is still president. The corporate state is safe. The Upper Class has little to fear. Lobbyists will be writing different names on checks. Winning Democrats will entertain more than they will produce historic restorative reforms. Did Republicans deserve to lose? Of course!
However, Americans who thought their votes would bring much needed change to our political system also lost. They just don’t know or admit it yet. As usual, the third-party movement lost, because the two-party duopoly maintained its stranglehold on our political system. Populists and true progressives lost. Who or what was the biggest winner? The short-term and delusional tactic of lesser-evil voting won big.
On the liberal left, millions of anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war voters held their noses, repressed the truth about cowardly and compromised Democrats. They rationalized why beating Republicans was the most important goal. Fake, neo-progressives, little more than embarrassed Democrats, finally showed their true blue commitment. On the right, millions of fiscal conservative, pro-life, and evangelical voters blocked out many facts, disappointments and scandals, and rationalized why keeping Republicans in power was the most important goal. They wanted to stay the course. Many spiritual libertarians given no Libertarian Party candidates went red. Spiritual greens went blue. Many independents, centrists and moderates unable to vote for None of the Above, went lesser-evil. Self-delusion ran rampant as placebo voting ruled the day.
|Something is amiss in the great nation called
America. Ominous sirens warning this reality can be heard
emanating loudly through invisible winds of change circulating our
towns and cities. The American people are being strangulated;
unbeknownst to the masses they are being transformed and conditioned,
becoming the entity the elite have long sought, the culmination of
decades of social engineering designed to make of hundreds of millions
the slaves of times past and the automatons of the future.
|By Norman Solomon
The American media establishment has launched a major offensive
against the option of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
In the latest media assault, right-wing outfits like Fox News and the
Wall Street Journal editorial page are secondary. The heaviest
firepower is now coming from the most valuable square inches of media real
estate in the USA -- the front page of the New York Times.
The present situation is grimly instructive for anyone who might
wonder how the Vietnam War could continue for years while opinion
polls showed that most Americans were against it. Now, in the wake of
midterm elections widely seen as a rebuke to the Iraq war, powerful media
institutions are feverishly spinning against a pullout of U.S. troops.
Under the headline “Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say,”
the Nov. 15 front page of the New York Times prominently featured a
“Military Analysis” by Michael Gordon. The piece reported that --
while some congressional Democrats are saying withdrawal of U.S.
troops “should begin within four to six months” -- “this argument is being
challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals,
including some who have been among the most vehement
critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.”
Day-to-day life within an empire consists of the deceitful leading the disengaged. Although when the artifice shielding a nation’s populace from the ruthlessness of their leaders begins to fall away, hysteria and displaced rage rises in the land. Ergo, in the American empire, we’re witnessing these demented days of congressional boy love and despotic rockets.
Day after day, the pace at which insane tidings arrive quickens: it’s as if we’ve become passengers on a high-speed train, commandeered by lunatics, that only stops at insane asylums in order to board more lunatics ... Naturally, the train has gone runaway, careening down the buckling tracks, blue spark spraying from its steel wheels, while any approaching curve becomes a threat to derail the whole hurdling madhouse.
For many years, these episodes of mass psychosis have been gaining velocity. Empires are inherently bughouse crazy, because, by their very nature, they grow conservative to the point of becoming totalitarian. After a time, the singular raison d'être of this form of pathological conservatism is to fiercely cling to the things it has gained through expansionist practices and policies. In addition, it must find ways to rationalize the brutal and deceitful means required to sustain itself.
by Chris Floyd
US plans last big push in Iraq (Guardian)
Did anyone really
imagine it would be any different? The Guardian reports that Bush has
already decided on his "new" strategy for Iraq, ahead of the
recommendations of the "Iraq Study Group" he appointed
– and ahead of the internal government review of strategy which he
ordered only this week. And what is the strategy? More of the same. How
could it be otherwise? The Decider-in-Chief cannot admit, not even to
himself, that any of his decisions have ever been wrong. How can they
be, when they are dictated by his "gut," and his gut is guided by God
no man rises to such a position – even with the enormous, endless help
of his elitist family and friends – without some animal cunning. Bush
knows that he cannot do what he would have to do to "win" the war on
his terms: send in hundreds of thousands of more troops in a brutal,
no-holds-barred campaign to eradicate all active opposition to the
imposition of a docile Iraqi regime and the permanent installation of
American bases. He knows there is no political will, even among his own
party and most of his "base," to take this route. (Barring, of course,
another convenient terrorist attack on American soil, this time blamed
on the Iraqi insurgents. Then there would be no limit to Bush's
"justifiable retaliation." This scenario, although unlikely at present,
is certainly not to be discounted altogether.)
so he is going to intensify the war as much as politically possible,
push the envelope of further brutality and repression as far as he can,
for as long as he can, and hope that this will finally do the trick. It
won't, of course, but as the Guardian notes, quoting a former top Bush
official, "He is in a state of denial about Iraq. Nobody else is
anymore. But he is." He believes that his willfuly ignorant "gut
feelings" – formed, of course, out of the malevolent whisperings of his
handlers, especially those who most assidiuously flatter his prejudices
and his enormous, infantile ego – must be correct and will win through
in the end.
he is now planning to send at least 20,000 more troops to Iraq, to
"secure Baghdad" and free up the U.S. forces currently tied down there
to spread out and "pacify" the rest of the country. There will be a
stab at securing "regional cooperation" for the "successful
rehabilitation" of Iraq. The Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families –
longtime business partners of the Bush Family – will be hit up for
"reconstruction" money: more fodder for Bush-connected contractors and
the bottomless corruption of the Bush-backed Iraqi government. How then
will this be different from the epic of waste and corruption we have
already seen in the "reconstruction" process?
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