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Atlantic Free Press OP/ED

Thu

30

Dec

2010

One More Year of Inhumanity Coming to a Close. What Happens Next?
Thursday, 30 December 2010 07:30

by Pablo Ouziel

This year the list of atrocities committed under the guise of representative democracy is extensive, as anyone concerned in analyzing the actions of governments in the West can ascertain. If it was our wish, we could bombard the airwaves with images of suffering people from around the world, and swiftly link their pain to the corrupt institutions of government we have accepted as legitimate. With similar ease, we could trace the wealth accumulated by a small minority of ruthless economic elites, to their governmental bonds. But I see little need in contributing to this exercise considering the amount of relevant information already available. Instead, I find it more useful to speculate about what happens next. I am fairly confident that is what those bearing the brunt of our inhumanity must wonder. Will we end the bombs? Will we stop the banks? Will we transform our democracies?
 
What a meaningless term democracy has become when uttered under the context of our 21st century Western reality. Do we really think the democracy we live embodies the dream our ancestors thought they were fighting for? I do not think it does. I think instead, that Western democracy, the democracy of imperial expansion embodies the violence and misery it claims to diffuse. The tragic thing is, that many Western citizens one speaks to, make similar observations, yet, the wheel continues to turn and its movement destroys many innocents. How can the wheel stop, when the citizenry goes along for the ride? When there is little will to change direction?
 
Let us take for example the self-proclaimed left-wing progressives of the United States. Imbued by arrogance and complacency, two years ago, they went along with the message of hope communicated by the now president of the United States. Their strategic plan was to vote Mr. Obama into office, and then convince him to act on their wishes for a better world. Their argument being, that he represented the lesser of the two evils. In retrospect, one can see that he was not the lesser of the two evils; he was a different evil representing the same class interests, with different rhetoric and face. Nevertheless, the progressive embrace of yet another criminal into the office of the United States has served to fuel and legitimize once again, the Nation’s expansionary venture of military violence and legalized capitalist crime.
 
With the year coming to a close, one can only assume that either these so called progressives made a strategic blunder, or they had no will for real change. I am inclined to believe that the choice was made to continue with the charade because there is no will for a paradigmatic change. But these are big words, and for this reason, many will discard what I have to say. So in order to at least begin the process of describing the kinds of actions, which I think are needed for a paradigm change to take place, below I will present a few suggestions a wilful citizenry can undertake in the coming year, in order to stop the inhumanity that today has become the norm.

Global General Strike
If there was indeed a true sense of solidarity and responsibility, those around the world who claim to fight for the betterment of the human experience on earth, could begin 2011, with an attempt to coordinate a Global General strike. A strike for peace and equality, in which workers refuse to work until everyone on earth is guaranteed equal social rights to shelter, food, and medicine. In the century of globalized capital, only a globalized citizens movement can effectively ward-off the ruthless attacks coming from the capitalist class. One does not need to be a Marxist in order to understand this, reading the day’s headlines of any mainstream newspaper clearly reveals the ruthless game being played by those running our capitalist economies.   
 
Removing Our Money from the Banks
Another action that could proof useful in 2011 would be for those interested in real change to undergo a coordinated action of removing their money from banks. During the current global financial crisis it has become blatantly clear to what extent our money in the bank is serving to finance our own material and moral impoverishment. Why would we be interested in continuing to finance our own demise?
 
Refusal to Pay Taxes
The next action, which I would suggest, would be a globally coordinated effort to encourage citizens to stop paying the proportion of their taxes used for financing military ventures. Contrary to what we are led to believe, there is no such thing as a benevolent army, soldiers are trained to kill, and that is what they are doing around the world on a daily basis. Let us stop it if we really want change.  
 

Mon

27

Dec

2010

America's War Veterans: PTSD and its Cure
Monday, 27 December 2010 12:10
by Zahir Ebrahim
 

The two American websites, Veterans Today and Salem News, run by two former US Military veterans, contain some of the most outstanding RealitySpeak writings by both civilians and America's war veterans, presumably, all mostly being eagerly ingested by other American war veterans. In full disclosure, these websites also reprint my two cents every now and then. The Editors in chief of both websites whom I have never met but communicate with occasionally, very generously invited me to become Staff Writer on their respective panels, and I politely declined in each case. I prefer my lonely voice to stay independent – for it allows me to explore my own confusions as no one else can.

So, exercising that independence of thought, if I may be permitted to ask the next logical question to great penmanship and reportage by recovering war veterans, does such RealitySpeak affect a change in status quo?

Does all this verbiage ameliorate the suffering of the bemedaled American war hero who brought my fellow Muslim men, women, and children of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, perhaps Iran next, the 'liberation' depicted in the images?

Do the oft maligned liberators of truth from the sharp jaws of deceit, ever impact the inflexion of hegemonic power with mere moral words and intellectual theses which unravel the never ending lies of the hectoring hegemons du jour?

For, if words alone could make appreciable difference to the calculus of hegemony, then, the Ten Commandments would have surely eased mankind's journey over the past hundred years of successive world wars and vile deprecation of humanity. As the noted essayist and novelist Aldous Huxley had once observed when responding to the question “What does one do?”:

'Well this is the real problem. Nothing is easier than to formulate high ideals, but few things are more difficult than to discover the means for by those ideals might be implemented, and the categorical imperatives which spring from them can be a pain. This is the real problem. I mean one has to dream, but one has to dream in a pragmatic way to consider how... Merely preaching to people doesn't have much effect, people have been preaching for an awefully long time and we are still pretty much where we were.' (Herman Harvey: Sum and Substance with Aldous Huxley, co-produced with University of S. California, KNXT Public Affairs. http://www.huxley.net/ah/huxley-interview.html )

The undeniable practical fact of the matter remains, that unless moral prescriptions and copious intelligent analyses appearing on these websites get translated into direct activism, into building organizations, into building movements, and into creating a powerful national chorus collectively saying NO to the murdersome hectoring hegemons now bringing vile indignities to the American people right here at home, elegant moral words on paper, wonderful prose bringing exposes to the intelligent, is only self-entertaining the armchair internet warriors.

In all honesty, haven't we, the narrators du jour, merely substituted the mind numbing television, America's favorite sedative, with a new type of cognitive programming for a minuscule sub-minority who indulges in study, but which remains as impotent in mobilizing the conscience to act in order to affect change, as the former medium was effective in amusing us to death? The “history's actors” in fact even brazenly noted that this is all we shall be able to do. The New York Times quoted a senior White House Advisor during the Bush Administration while explaining how fait accompli enacted by “history's actors” actually worked for “imperial mobilization”:

‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’ — Senior Bush Advisor, The New York Times, October 17, 2004 (see Convince People of Absurdities and get them Acquiescing to Atrocities: The Enduring Power of Machiavellian Political Science )
 

Mon

27

Dec

2010

Whitewashing Defeat: Obama’s Indecisiveness Defines His Presidency
Monday, 27 December 2010 11:50
by Ramzy Baroud

He may still possess the poise of a confident leader and an eloquent intellectual, but the presidency of Barack Obama is now suffering its most difficult phase to date.

Certainly, Obama cannot solely be blamed for all the factors that have stifled his country’s chances of recovery from the failures of the Bush era. But the man who promised the moon has now extended the abhorrent and morally unjustifiable tax cuts for America’s wealthiest class. The “sweeping” $858 billion tax bill was signed into law on December 17. It includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts, extending Bush’s tax break for the rich for two more years – at a time when the majority of Americans are reeling under the weight of a failing economy and persistently high unemployment.

Still, the tax bill was presented by the self-assured president as “real money that’s going to make a real difference in people’s lives.” The cuts will help stimulate an ailing economy, he claims, despite it being the rich who gambled with American wealth to increase their own, stimulating a market crash that led to millions losing their small investments and savings. All we know for sure is that the cuts will add a gigantic chunk to an already impossible deficit of $1.3 trillion, another Obama battle that is likely to be lost to the Republicans early next year.

But this concession, and its presentation as a victory for America’s middle classes says more about Obama’s style than the weakening of the Democrats since the midterm elections. Even in his foreign policy management, Obama’s approach seems to teeter between giving face-lifts to ugly realities and postponing urgently needed action. The agent of change has become the quintessential American politician, who is more consumed with his chances of reelection than with bringing about the kind of long-term change that can really benefit his country, and the world at large.

Obama’s handling of the shortly-lived peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s rightwing government is another example of a striking failure followed by whitewash. Although he adamantly demanded a halt to Israel’s construction of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Obama soon began capitulating before an obstinate Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader, supported by much of the US Congress and backed by a strong Israel lobby in Washington, finally forced Obama into a humiliating retreat. Even a generous bribe to win a limited Israeli moratorium on settlement construction failed. Obama administration officials finally declared that the US would abandon its efforts to halt Israeli settlement expansion, effectively signaling an American exit from the ‘peace process.’

Instead of laying the blame squarely on Israel, the Obama administration delved into the same long-discredited rhetoric that only Palestinians and Israelis are capable of accomplishing peace without any outside intervention. That was the core message of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who argued that it was up to Israel and the Palestinian leadership to “settle their conflict”. It signaled a complete shift in US foreign policy, which Israel has naturally welcomed, for the US-financed military occupier prefers to be left to its own devices in this very unbalanced conflict.
 

Mon

27

Dec

2010

Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay recognize Palestine within 1967 green line armistice boundary
Monday, 27 December 2010 11:44
by Jim Miles

A curious turn of events is taking shape in Latin America, one that demonstrates at least two levels of international change. The leaders of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have stated their recognition of a Palestinian state within the ‘green line’, the 1948 armistice line between Israel and the Palestinians.

The first level of international change is the recognition of the green line itself as the Palestinian-Israeli boundary, representing an area about forty-five per cent larger than the area proposed for the Israeli state by the UN General Assembly. In that sense, even recognizing the green line is a significant concession to Israeli claims and makes a very generous offer of Palestinian land to be recognized as Israeli territory. As it stands now, with the settlement patterns breaking Palestine into four or five bantustans, with Gaza nothing more than a large open air prison, there truly is no manner in which a sovereign contiguous state of Palestine existing side by side with an Israeli state can be formed. This of course is exactly what the Israelis wish and have always wished for since the Six Day War of 1967. In truth it is a demographic fear of the original Zionists that the population of the Palestinians would either be too strong a minority or conceivably overwhelm the Jewish settlers by sheer numbers and make the establishment of Eretz Israel impossible. The Zionist leaders understood full well that they would face resistance to establishing settlements in then British controlled Mandatory Palestine. The 1948 nakba served the purpose of the new Israeli state by destroying hundreds of villages and towns and causing the displacement of about 700 000 Palestinians into refugee camps scattered within and throughout the region. Returning to the present, it is ironic that with a de facto single state of Israel, the population ratio is very close to 1 : 1 with another 5 million or so refugees in surrounding countries potentially able to exercise their right of return under international law.

In response to the Latin leaders recognition, P. J. Crowley of the U.S. State Department, whose interests lie in homeland security and internet advocacy of U.S. interests (propaganda in other words, it’s always better to change one’s image rather than one’s actions according to most U.S. State Department personnel) stated:

“We believe earnestly that final status issues should be negotiated between the parties…um…and we…uh…think at this stage…you know…um…bringing these issues to the United Nations will just distract us from the important business at hand of…of charting a way forward and tackling the core issues.” al-Jazeerah, December 11, 2010. “Palestine turns to UN for statehood”]

Negotiation between parties? This is a misleading myth that is perpetuated continually in western and U.S. media, operating under the implication that the two parties are equal contenders in the situation. The reality is that one (Palestine) is completely dominated by the other (Israel) and without outside support there can be no fair and equal negotiations. The U.S. has pretended to play the role of mediator but its ongoing support of Israel economically and militarily, and its ever declining ability to say anything against Israeli wishes as witnessed by Obama’s capitulation, there is no chance the U.S. can act as an honest broker in the situation. U.S. actions speak only of support for Israel while it seeks its own control of the Middle East for hydrocarbon resources and geopolitical control of Russia and China. That of course is truly “the important business at hand” for the U.S., while for Israel it is creating more and larger facts on the ground called settlements, illegal under international law.
 

Mon

27

Dec

2010

Obama: A Titanic Disaster for Everyday People
Monday, 27 December 2010 11:42
by Larry Pinkney
"Part of being a revolutionary is creating a vision that is more humane."
- Assata Shakur

"I must, however, respect tradition by addressing a few words to you at a time when all sane human beings — those who want peace, freedom, and happiness for all men [and women] — renew their hopes and belief in a better life for mankind, in dignity, independence, and genuine progress for all peoples."

- Amilcar Cabral

The only way to ameliorate an unacceptable reality is to first acknowledge its existence. In other words, one cannot change a condition that one fails (or refuses) to recognize.

After approximately two years of continued shenanigans, double speak, and betrayal by the Obama / Biden regime (and its ever-willing accomplices from both major U.S. corporate-parties) the metaphorical "chickens" are beginning to come "home to roost;" and no amount of economic smoke and mirror politics or high sounding rhetoric can any longer sufficiently mask this growing unacceptable reality.

Everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people are being mercilessly kicked in the posterior by the cold, hard, unforgiving reality of political and economic betrayal — combined with avaricious corporate hegemony. And the peoples of this planet — Mother Earth — are being ravaged & savaged by a relatively small corporate / military elite bent on the absolute domination over the lives and livelihoods of all of humanity. Gone is even a semi-believable veneer of economic and political justice at home or abroad. 'America's' 21st century 'winter of discontent' has begun, and it will continue well into the foreseeable future irrespective of mother nature's varying seasons.

Barack Obama has shown who he really is and it's not a pretty sight for just plain everyday people to behold. Indeed, only the filthy rich (with their insatiable appetites for the accumulation of wealth) are enjoying the blood-drenched fruits of their legalized-thievery, thanks to their de facto ally — Barack Obama. It was apparently not enough for Obama to extend and expand his predecessor's program of illegal international kidnapping and torture — euphemistically known as 'extraordinary rendition.' Nor has it been enough for Obama to continue and expand upon the gutting of the U.S. Constitution and its rights thereto. Nor has it been enough for this Nobel "peace" prize laureate to continue the U.S. empire's military occupation in Iraq — even as he expanded the bloody, amoral, and unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and has simultaneously and consciously increased the human carnage, suffering, and rage in Pakistan with intensified U.S. drone-missile attacks raining down terror from the sky. No! None of these outrages have been enough! Even as an ever-increasing amount of U.S. men and women troops (i.e. the empire's cannon fodder) return home in body bags, or physically and/or psychologically maimed. Amazingly, as joblessness, home foreclosures, and homelessness spiral upward, Obama has most recently extended the utterly criminal tax cuts for the rich! The demonstrated arrogance and hypocrisy of Barack Obama are surpassed only by his callousness and actual disdain of and contempt for everyday people. Extending his predecessor's tax cuts for the rich is a slap in the face to everyday people, particularly in these times of pain, home foreclosures, wars abroad, joblessness, and growing despair. It is another in a long list of utterly inexcusable betrayals of everyday people, dating back to when Obama, and the corporate — U.S. Congress, bailed out the vampiric banksters and barons of Wall Street.
 
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