By Dr. Paul J. Balles
If the world will be gulled, let it be gulled. Americans refuse to end the reign of the National Rifle Association's (NRA) gun control lobby. The lobby has insisted for 125 years that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right of every American to own a gun.
Buy the hype in that position and then listen to the same NRA Americans and supporters calling for Hezbollah to give up their weapons. The Lebanese Hezbollah used their guns in the way that Americans never had to--to defend against an invasion.
The American position on gun control hasn't changed. Yet they want Lebanese citizens controlled, meaning no private ownership of guns for defense.
If that's not perfidy, duplicity and deceit, what is?
Branch Warfare and the Evolution of Aggression
The pages of history, those monuments to humankind’s brief rule
over the planet, are replete with violence, death and
destruction. Indeed, it can be argued successfully that war,
genocide, ethnic cleansing and human violence against each other
have defined humanity’s tumultuous existence on Earth. We are
inseparable from death and destruction, suffering and violence.
Turning the pages of the little we know of our own past, one
thing becomes quite apparent: Throughout time, in all corners of
the world, mankind has lived side by side with war, destruction
and death. We have defined our existence through the
self-inflicted violence we unleash upon ourselves. What is it
about the human condition that espouses in us a propensity to
grossly annihilate ourselves, inflicting horrendous misery onto
Violence and humanity were born conjoined twins out of the thick
canopy of our ancestral home in the Eastern African jungles.
Even in the ape-like appearance and behavior of our primate
selves could our violent genes be seen. Competition forced upon
us the will to survive through the defeat of competitor groups.
Wars waged high in the canopy became the first symptoms of our
disease. Group versus group, competitor versus competitor, the
violence ingrained in us manifested itself in the primitive
battles and hollowed screams of our long-gone ancestors.
Branch to branch, foot by foot, with nail and teeth the prelude
to modern warfare was born.
by Andrew Bard Schmookler
Confronting the Paradox
The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years, has
risen to ascendancy in America. Finding the optimal strategy for
achieving this is no small challenge.
In part, it’s a
challenge because, in matters of the spirit, the reality is always so
complex and many layered that it is beyond our capabilities to
understand fully. In part, it’s because when a cultural system has been
so swept up into pathology as ours has lately in America, the disease
is likely to have infiltrated even the thoughts and feelings of those
who wish to cure the system. It behooves us, therefore, not to be
driven by our impulses but to think and proceed with care.
One of the complexities of the present challenge is that we are now called upon to accomplish two things simultaneously which are in contradiction with each other. On the one hand, we must wage and win the battle against the Bushite forces, taking away their power, discrediting them in the eyes of the public, driving the evil spirit they represent back into the recesses of the American cultural system. On the other hand, we must erase the deep and destructive imprint these forces have left on America, and an important part of that imprint is the pervasiveness of conflict and division in our social and political processes.
We must, that is, both wage war and build peace.
On the one hand, there is good reason for the passion that many of us feel about going after these Bushites to bring them low. We are rightly enraged at their lies, their crimes, their arrogance, their wanton disregard of any value other than sating their lust for power and wealth without limits. It is doubtful that any holders of the highest offices of the land have ever, in the course of more than two centuries of American history, been more deserving of impeachment. And so lawless has this administration been that even impeachment may not satisfy all the rightful demands of justice.
by James Kunstler
If an American political party was ever in for an ass-kicking, it's
the current incarnation of the Republicans. Everyone has finally turned
on them, even their neo-con war strategists -- Richard Perle and
Company -- who told a Vanity Fair reporter last week that George Bush
didn't know how to run a war that seemed like a good idea before they
handed it over to him. Meanwhile, just days before the
election, televangelist Republican cheerleader Ted Haggard gets nailed
for consorting with a male prostitute while on crystal meth -- taking
up the baton in the GOP relay-race of grifters and pervert-hypocrits,
Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Mark Foley, David
Safavian, et al -- and the mid-term vote begins to look a little gnarly
for the family values crowd.
Let's say the Democrats win control of at least one house of
congress and possibly two. Are they going to shut down the project in
Iraq? I doubt it. Badly as it has worked out, the alternative of
withdrawing the US military presence there may be worse. Anyway, we'd
still be sticking around the Middle East -- in Qatar and Kuwait and a
few other places -- and we'd have to stand on the sidelines and watch
Iran gobble up the substantial oil resources around the Tigris /
Euphrates delta region. What would be the remedy for that? Invade Iraq
all over again?
I confess, what bugs me about my Democrats is that they seem to
think we can just duck out of the contest for Middle East oil and keep
enjoying the happy motoring fiesta -- which, by the way, is not just
the way we live in this country but also the basis of our economy, when
you sweep aside all the bullshit. Contrary to what a lot of utopian
Democrats wish, it will never be prime-time for ethanol, bio-diesel,
hydrogen, or twenty other nominees as replacements for gasoline -- at
least not the way we run things now. Driving a Prius might induce
raptures of eco-moral superiority, but changing the zoning laws would
produce a better outcome -- and that's just too hard.
By Chris Floyd
The picture below
(from the New York Times) speaks most eloquently on the essence of the
Bush Regime's brutal, grubby Babylonian Conquest: fat mercenaries
guarding the construction of yet another prison.
The picture comes from a story on the "overhead costs" of reconstruction projects,
based on a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq
Reconstruction, who found astonishing amounts of waste and cost
overruns by the crony contractors who came to feast on the carcass that
Bush killed for them. Two main points emerge from the report.
that the IG's catalogue of gouging, feather-bedding and other
profitable forms of war-profiteering is by no means complete, because
"the United States has not properly tracked how much such expenses have
taken from the $18.4 billion of taxpayer-financed reconstruction
approved by Congress two years ago." In fact, the IG's office was only
able to examine only $1.3 billion of the contracts.
In other words, as oft reported here (and here and here),
much of that money has simply disappeared -- into corporate coffers,
into copious baksheesh for the Bush-backed Iraqi government, into
kickbacks for Congressional vultures, and doubtless into slush funds
both for covert ops (including perhaps the Bushists' deliberate formenting of terrorism and arming of militias)
and domestic politics. We are most likely seeing the fruits of some of
this blood money wash up on American screens at this very moment, as
the GOP's last-ditch "Smear and Fear" campaign goes into hyperdrive.
|by Stephen Lendman
The political firmament shook briefly post-November 7 raising hopes change would follow the Republican's drubbing at the polls and the Democrats regaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the GOP sweep in 1994. Presumed new House speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped the tremors making it clear no substantive change will be on the table when when the 110th Congress convenes on January 3. Instead, she announced to those paying attention it'll be business as usual (as it always is) as she intends to work with the president in a spirit of bipartisanship and not be "obstructionist" even though Republicans for past 12 years never returned that courtesy or even made a pretense of doing it.
Pelosi made it clear the Democrat victory will be just another betrayal of the electorate that sent her and the Democrats a strong message it voted for a mandated populist anti-Bush, anti-war agenda it won't get. It's always for the same reason - because those controlling the political process in Washington owe their allegiance to the interests of wealth and power that select and fund them and of which these officials are a part. The Democrat (anti-populist) Leadership Council (DLC) made that position clear when it participated in a November 10 post-election made-for-television spectacle in the Oval Office so the whole world could watch their new congressional leadership line up in a shameless public display of partnering with a criminal enterprise in the White House posing as a legitimate government they've been complicit with all along. Should anyone understanding how things work in Washington have expected anything else?
If this were a dictatorship,
it would be a heck of a lot easier... just so long as I'm the dictator.”
George Walker Bush,
Was this a really a joke? Back
in 2000 many thought so. But was George in jest? Maybe there was more
to that remark than bad taste. Maybe it was a private prank on the American
That was then, but this is
now: It’s not a joke anymore. It’s reality.
With the help of three posturing Senators and a spineless, corrupt Congress,
the Military Commissions
Act of 2006 has
been imposed upon the Republic. For those still in the dark, under this
law George W. Bush has the full power not only to decide who is a threat
but also to order his Praetorian Guard to haul the suspect away to whatever
end. Neither courts nor Congress nor citizenry have legal recourse or
protection from the wrath of Emperor George.
by Richard Kastelein
Ramsey Clark and his legal team has
released a statement from inside the Green Zone in Iraq today claiming that the trial ending in execution sentences for Hussein and his compatriots was a complete 'mockery'.
was violently removed from the courtroom in Baghdad at the Trial. He
claims it was a political stunt by the Republican party due to the
upcoming midterm elections.
sentences issued today by the so-called "the Iraqi High Criminal
Court", which is directed by the American occupation, have come to result
of a systematic approach of this illegal court that made its conduct, marked
with showing disrespect to principles of justice and the basic rules of
international and Iraqi laws, which resulted in grave and continued violations
to the fundamental rules of criminal proceedings where judges were vested by
the occupation from among the enemies of President Saddam and his comrades," stated the press release.
According to the lawyers, the judges continuously revealed they were un-impartial, un-independent and biased against Hussein and the others on trial. The also claimed that foreign powers were clearly involved in the decision.
"The proceedings of the
trial revealed also, that the panel chamber, which rendered the conviction, is
fully submissive to the will of the occupier and its subordinate government. Thus, the tried persons were deprived from the basic opportunity to defend themselves;
defense lawyers were assassinated, threatened, insulted, displaced out of their
country and dismissed from the courtroom."
by Mike Whitney
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim”.
Gustave Le Bon - "The Crowd"
Karl Rove is not Harry Houdini. He can’t change the fact that the Democrats could take up to 40 seats in the House and that the Republicans may lose the Senate as well. He can’t change the national polling-data which favors the Democrats by a considerable margin, or the exit polling which is predicted to show substantial Democratic gains too. And, there’s nothing Rove can do to stop the perception that the elections are now expected to be a Democratic landslide extending from sea to shining sea. The only thing that Rove can do to win the midterms is to purge the voting rolls in key states and crank up the voting machines to “full-tilt”.
But even that won’t be enough this time.
Most of us know David Brooks as the balding goofball on “The Jim Lehrer
News Hour” who shrugs his shoulders and giggles gleefully whenever he’s
asked a question. He’s actually a political pundit whose far-right
analysis of culture and politics appears regularly on the op-ed page of
the New York Times. Like fellow-traveler Tom Friedman, Brooks loves to
offer his sage advice to Muslims about how they can improve themselves
in the eyes of westerners and, thus, limit the relentless bombing and
massacres brought on by a belligerent American foreign policy.
|By Nicola Nasser
Arabs, at least at the non-official level, were quick to hail President George W. Bush’s mid-term electoral defeat and the humiliating downfall of his war architect Donald Rumsfeld, but cheering the Democrats’ victory has yet to wait and may not be voiced at all.
Why hailing Bush’s defeat? Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, Jim Hoagland, of The Washington Post had part of the answer:
“Bush lost more than a midterm election and a cantankerous defense secretary on Tuesday. He also abandoned any lingering chance of remaking U.S. foreign policy into a radical force for democratic change in the Middle East and elsewhere,”
... thus dumping his “new” and “greater” Middle East plans as well as regime change schemes for the region to the dust pins of history at a high cost for Arab and American lives and billions of wasted dollars of U.S. taxpayers.
Another part of the answer has a lot to do with the Arab hopes that a change in the U.S. administration may lead to ending the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq and to a more balanced policy vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict; but Washington gave Arabs no time even to hope.
by Chris Floyd
I am now writing a piece for Truthout.org on the wider ramifications of the Bush Administration's lunatic dumping of a nuclear weapons "cookbook" on the Internet and leaving it posted up
for months: a pearl beyond price for any government, militia, terrorist
group, religious cult or criminal mafia hoping to wield some of the
nuclear terror that has hitherto been the sole province of the world's
"most developed" nations.
As we all know, the reason for this data-dump was purely and solely partisan politics: the Bush Faction wanted their little bootlickers in the rightwing blogosphere to cherry-pick the raw data from millions of Saddam-era documents in hopes of finding
something that would goose a couple of news cycles here and there with
stories of "revelations" that "justify" one or more of the Bush
Regime's warmongering lies. They've been disappointed in this
propaganda gambit, however –
namely because there can be no data of WMD programs that didn't exist
(or links to al Qaeda that never were). However, there was plenty of
data on the almost-successful nuclear weapons program that Saddam had
built before 1991 – with a mighty assist from a former U.S. president named George Bush. It was this data that the gormless son of Saddam's former accomplice and benefactor released for all the world to see.
All of this is bad enough; however, late-breaking news in the UK today has given a truly disturbing new dimension to the possible uses of Bush's gift to nuclear proliferators: six Arab nations h ave formally announced that they are now launching nuclear programs of their own. The potential
dangers of this move in the powerderkeg of the Middle East are almost
unfathomable. My Truthout piece will have more on this, and how the
Bush nuke dump plays into it.
Below is a companion piece that I'd written to go
with an earlier column for Truthout dealing solely with the Bush dump.
The news today has superceded that original article, so I'm rewriting
furiously; however, the companion piece – providing some of the
long-range background to the situation – is still valid, so I'm putting
it up now.
Prelude to a Quagmire
The Bush Party were eager for their acolytes
to exhume damning nuggets from the history of Saddam's regime. But even
here their idiocy showed itself. For a truly thorough and objective
analysis of the rise and rule of the Iraqi roughneck would have indeed
unearthed damning revelations –about generations of American leadership
that helped create and sustain Saddam's brutal regime. This history
gives the lie to everything the Bush Faction has said about Iraq and
why we are there – yet it is virtually unknown to the general public
and is almost never mentioned by the mainstream media, except in brief
flashes, like shooting stars, that appear briefly then disappear into
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
“Let’s vote on it.” To most people
that sounds like the ideal way to solve any issue. But it can also be
one of the most dangerous.
In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court struck
down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights decision. But a
1968 Gallup poll documented that 72 percent of Americans opposed interracial
marriage. Had America voted on the issue in 1968, civil rights would
undoubtedly have been defeated.
On November 7, 2006 Americans in several
states will vote on ballot initiatives concocted and promoted by the
leaders of the evangelical Christian Right and their Republican sycophants.
Increasingly, their incestuous relationship is being exposed at the same time their so-called
“values voters” are fading into history. The Christian Right
is slowly but surely dying, and for good reasons. But apparently they want to kill an independent
judiciary before they go.
Examples were provided in an October
17, 2006 article titled “Judicial Activism
Prompts Citizen Efforts to Restrain Judges”
Pete Winn, associate editor of Citizenlink.com, a propaganda organ for James Dobson’s Focus on the Family theo-political empire:
South Dakota’s Amendment
E is the most ambitious measure – it would allow residents to sue
judges over their decisions. Grand juries would be convened, and judges
would face removal from the bench if they were found guilty of an infraction.
Montana voters, meanwhile,
must decide if they want … the right to have recall elections if they
should become “dissatisfied” with a judge.
About 2 weeks ago, 10 Soviet-era tanks clanked-along the main thoroughfare in downtown Bangkok and stopped in front of the Presidential Palace. Once the palace had been completely surrounded it was stormed by a contingent of fully-armed Thai regulars who secured the grounds while the Thai generals looked on impassively. General Sonthi Tinsulanond took control of the country, with the tacit approval of the King, and quickly repealed the constitution, dismissed the parliament, and forbid any public demonstrations of support for the former regime. In less than an hour, the government of Prime Minister Thanskin Shinawatra was toppled in a perfectly executed, bloodless coup.
Are we there yet?
Would it really be that dreadful if a similar drama unfolded in Washington DC?
|by Paul William Roberts
Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
Just returned from a trip to China, where he was soliciting assistance for his country’s nuclear energy program, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak announced on November 9 that the execution of Saddam Hussein would cause further turmoil in Iraq and increase anti-American hostilities across the Arab world. With the question of his succession the number one topic of discussion among Egypt’s political elites these days, Mubarak is clearly trying to make himself look less like a US quisling in order to aid the imminent grab for power of his son, who was in Washington a few weeks ago for ‘off the record’ talks with members of the Bush administration. But the prospect of Saddam’s hanging must also make Mubarak’s silk necktie seem uncomfortably tight. After all, one false move – or a change in Washington’s ideas about Egypt’s future -- and he could well find himself vilified by US-controlled media paving the way for regime change and a show trial in Cairo.
It is a pity that Mubarak did not cite the real reasons we should all object to the trial and death sentence of Saddam Hussein --- but this would have entailed far too much criticism of his American masters. As recipient of Washington’s third-largest foreign aid hand out, Egypt is not expected even to nibble at the hand feeding it, let alone bite (Iraq, at $20 billion, gets the most, followed by Israel at some $2 billion. Egypt is close behind). And the circumstances of Saddam’s trial expose an aspect of US foreign policy no one in the West seems willing to discuss, since it reveals such transparent hypocrisy with regard to the same much-vaunted rule of law that is so frequently brandished as an ultimate authority in the pursuit of Western goals.
by Mike Whitney
This is a dark day for Americans and Iraqis alike.
Killing Saddam Hussein isn’t justice; its vengeance. Only Bush believes the two are the same.
How are we supposed to feel now that we know that Saddam will be hanged for his crimes?
Elated? Energized? Jubilant?
Will it wash away the oceans of blood that Bush generated with his misguided and tragic war?
The administration clings to the foolish notion that killing Saddam will somehow justify their unprovoked invasion and slaughter of 650,000 Iraqis.
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