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A Modest Proposal for Israel and Iran

 

By John Grant

 

The State Department has threatened to withdraw the $1.3 billion it sends every year to Egypt because the Egyptians are holding US citizens connected with pro-democracy groups the Egyptians claim have instigated the Tahrir Square movement.

Specifically, the Egyptian military government prevented a half dozen Americans -- including Sam LaHood, director of the US International Republican Institute in Cairo -- from leaving the country. LaHood is the son of US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The State Department’s goal in supporting groups like Mr LaHood’s is to encourage democracy friendly to the US.

What Would Peter Zenger Say: We are the Champions...of the World?

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

Say it loud and say it proud: We’re Number 47! We’re Number 47!  Boo-yah!

 

If you want to know why the US -- beacon of freedom, land of the First Amendment --  is now ranked number 47th (out of 179) in terms of freedom of the press in the annual ranking put out by Reporters Without Borders, below South Africa, Botswana, South Korea and Comoros, and just above Argentina, Romania and Latvia, you could ask Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York and himself owner of a huge news organization, or his Chief of Police Raymond Kelly.

 

Correction: Rare Admission of Mistake in Mumia Case

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

I made a mistake.

An article I wrote recently for TCBH about the Pennsylvania prison system’s latest punitive assault on now ex-death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal (unnecessarily continuing his solitary confinement) contained a factual misstatement.

Most journalists consider any inaccuracy an error, regardless of how small.

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists calls for admitting “mistakes” and correcting them promptly.

US Media Iraq Reporting: See No Evil

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.

 

On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River. 

 

Climate Change a 'Fabrication'? Ask a Wintering-Over Hummingbird, or Check out Your Daffodils

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

On my Yahoo home page today, there was a picture of the globe, and an instant poll asking me to check one of two choices: Yes or No, Do you believe global warming is a real threat?

 

I don’t usually waste my time on these things, but there was that tantalizing link to “See the results,” and you had to vote to see them, so I voted.

 

Sadism in the Cell: Thanks to a Vindictive Prison System, Abu-Jamal is Still in 'The Hole'

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Those intent on tormenting now ex-death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal have done it again, this time perhaps even exceeding their past efforts to painfully harass this man widely perceived as a political prisoner. 

The Republicans' Rancid and All-Too-American Dance With Racism

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

As the racist rhetoric oozes from Republican presidential candidates, why are comments contained in Ron Paul newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s being widely considered more offensive than current bigoted banter uttered by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum?

One answer to that question is a politics where partisan criticisms are directed at crippling certain candidates feared as rising stars.

Thus when Congressman Paul began percolating up in the Iowa Caucus polls late last year, news of his caustic comments in those decades-old newsletters became headline news coverage.

Hugo Chavez, Drugs, Guantanamo Bay and Vultures

 

By John Grant

 

Hugo Chavez is at it again, sticking his thumb into the eye of the overbearing United States of America. And, true to imperial historical form, the US is playing the outraged hemispherical nanny and blustering back.

 

Chavez is currently playing a round of the game my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend and is hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Caracas. The Iranian president is on a tour of friendly leftist regimes in Latin America, while the leaders of our great nation whistle and look at the ceiling when Israeli agents murder Iranian scientists in broad daylight.

 

The Budgies are Listless

 

By Charles M. Young

 

On Thursday, January 5, I was waiting for the elevator in the lobby of my building when I was joined by a woman who lives up the hall from me. She was carrying a grocery bag with The New York Times poking out the top. “Why did you buy it?” I asked. “They just raised the price to $2.50. Who can afford that for a daily newspaper?”

“I have a very large birdcage,” she said. “It’s the only newspaper that fits the bottom of my birdcage.”

My neighbor is a classical musician who makes a living at it. She pays attention to politics and votes. She buys things. She’s a little older than the actors playing obedient yuppies in the NYT commercials that beg for subscriptions, but is otherwise their ideal reader.

White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.

 

Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”

 

Killer Cops Aren't Heroes: We Need Police Who Think Like Firefighters, Not Like Soldiers in a War Zone

By Dave Lindorff

 

The sad slaying of troubled eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez in Brownsville by trigger-happy local police illustrates the sad an dangerous state we have arrived at as we turn our local police forces into SWAT team soldiers up-armed with assault rifles, black facemasks and stun grenades.

The reason Gonzalez, who had no hostages and was just armed with a pellet gun, was killed by police bullets was because the primary concern of the officers confronting him was to eliminate the threat to themselves, not to rescue a troubled kid.

Killing Kids is So American

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

According to news reports, 15-year-old  eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez, who was shot and killed yesterday by police in his middle school in Brownsville, TX, was hit three times: twice in the chest and once “from the back of the head.” 

 

Police say they were called by school authorities because Gonzalez was carrying a gun, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, a weapon that uses compressed air to fire a metal pellet which, while perhaps a threat to the eye, does not pose a serious threat to life.

 

Iran and Historical Forgetting

 

By John Grant

 

Ever since George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 500,000 souls and was selected President by a right-leaning Supreme Court, the United States has seemed to me devoted to a twisted fate of slow-motion Armageddon.

What seems to guarantee this is one of our most characteristic American traits: We don’t learn from the past; instead, we choose to officially forget embarrassing history so we can move on from our debacles without losing an ounce of glory. We all know how it goes: Sure, mistakes were made, but we need to keep our eye on the ball and move forward. The costs are paid in slow motion and out of sight.

Selective Sympathy: War’s Mayhem and Murder is Somehow Less Hard to Bear than the Humane Termination of an Injured Animal

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The officer rested his arm holding the stock of the assault rifle on the top of a log pile, and aimed directly between the target’s eyes. She was looking directly at him, unblinking, from 30 feet away, and exhibited no fear. “I hate doing this,” he muttered, before finally pulling the trigger.

 

A sharp “bang!” rang out, her head jerked up and then her whole body sagged to the ground, followed by some muscle jerks, and it was over.

 

The officer went over and checked the body, decided no second shot was needed to finish the job, and then walked back to his squad car, took out his phone, and called in the serial number of his rifle, reporting his firing of one round, as required by regulations.

 

This Land is Your Land...Or is It?: Occupy Oklahoma City Sues in Federal Court to Fight to Keep the Commons

 

By Lori Spencer

 

 

Having spent the better part of two months as an embedded reporter with Occupy OKC's camp in Kerr Park (aka Poet's Park) I have often praised both the city and police department. Oklahoma City's occupation has so far managed to avoid the mass arrests and police brutality seen in other cities around the nation. In my opinion, this is largely due to the group's respect for the park and city ordinances, as well as the city's respect for the First Amendment. I frequently pointed to OKC as a model city, setting an example for how a local government and occupiers can peacefully coexist.

 

Better than Obama: Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.

 

Vying for Detention: Two liberal Democratic Senators Give Us a Police State for Christmas

 

By Dan DeWalt


Predator Odrona is about to sign a military authorization bill [Carl Levin's S-1867] that puts every one of us at risk of being detained by our own military. If the government decides that you are a terrorist threat, the military will be able to kidnap you and deny you the right to a trial or even the right to know why you're being held. 


Pakistan Needs to Declare Its Independence

 

By Yasmeen Ali


Lahore -- Ever since 9/11 and the subsequent 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Pakistan’s world has been in turmoil.

Holding a Thumb to the Wind: America, Land of the Fearful, is No Place to Hitch-Hike

 

By Dave Lindorff



Yesterday, I hitch-hiked to the gym.


Was the Attack on Pakistani Outposts Deliberate?: How Far Will the US Go to Target Pakistan's Military?

 

By Shaukat Qadir


This past June I posted an article by Anatol Lieven on Facebook. For those who are not familiar with his name, Anatol is from the UK and numbers among the few journalists whom I always enjoy reading. I have met Anatol a few times and he is the kind of person who likes to get acquainted with the psycho-social environment of the people he writes about. Written in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s execution, Anatol’s article was critical of the US approach to the region, particularly Pakistan.

Supporters Give Bradley Manning a Hero’s Tribute Outside Fort Meade

 

By John Grant


Ft. Meade -- Saturday, December 17th was Bradley Manning’s 24th birthday, and at least 300 supporters gathered outside Fort Meade, Maryland, where the military was in its second day of a preliminary hearing process that’s expected to take about a week. Manning worked in military intelligence and is alleged to have released military secrets to WikiLeaks, which released the material publicly.

Thoughts on Mark Twain's 'The War Prayer'

 

By David Lindorff Sr.

 

No Execution for Mumia: 30 Years after a Police Shooting, Abu-Jamal Backers Vow to Free Him from Life in Prison

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The mood was both celebratory and angry among a 1000-plus overflow audience packed into the balcony space of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on the evening of Dec. 9.  

 

The crowd of supporters of Philadelphia journalist and black political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal had come to denounce the over 29 years that he has spent locked in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s grim death row since his conviction for the shooting of a white police officer, Daniel Faulkner. But they were also there to celebrate the surprise decision, announced two days earlier by Philadelphia DA Seth Williams, not to seek to reinstate Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, which had been permanently vacated by a recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

The Next Monument to US Leaders Should Be Located at the Seashore, not on the Washington Mall

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

Wanted: Sculptor who works in bronze to construct life-sized group of statues of President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, all to be mounted at the high tide line below a high cliff in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

 

There what’s left of American posterity can watch as the seas rise inexorably over the coming years and decades, first lapping at the feet of the statues, then the knees, then the waists, then the chests and finally cover over the heads of these “leaders” in Washington who have cynically and foolishly squandered the last opportunity to take effective action to combat climate change. 

 

Abu-Jamal Should be Leaving Death Row Hell: Philly DA Announces No Attempt to Seek New Death Penalty for Mumia

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

The decision has finally been announced: There will be no execution of African-American journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who in 1982 was convicted and sentenced to death in a highly-controversial and seriously corrupted trial before “hanging” Judge Albert Sabo of killing white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981.

 

At a press conference this morning, current Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, with Faulkner’s widow Maureen Faulkner at his side, announced that in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision in October not to hear an appeal of a Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had upheld the lifting of Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, he would not seek a new jury trial to try and re-sentence Abu-Jamal’s to death.

Balancing the Black Energy in Our Culture

 

By John Grant

 

Following a decade of military invasion and occupation in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, the United States is becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of empires: “We get no respect!”

The undisputed post-World War Two top dog in the world, on virtually every front the United States is more and more playing catch-up with two-faced, Clintonian shuttle diplomacy around the world and a  well-entrenched regime of secrecy and sophisticated public relations aimed at keeping the dismal story of decline out of the domestic mind-space.

Spies and Provocateurs: Police Spying on Occupy Movement not Likely Limited to Los Angeles

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

Word that the Los Angeles Police, who sent in 1200 officers in riot gear to violently rout a few hundred Occupy Movement demonstrators from their LA encampment last week, had earlier sent 12 undercover young officers into the peaceful occupation camp to spy on the activists should come as no surprise.

 

We Need a 'Rout' of Wolves to Evict the 'Stench' of Skunks Occupying Washington

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

The US Congress is such a craven bunch that you really have to turn to Olde English to aptly describe them.

 

Consider that yesterday, by a vote of 93-7, the Senate approved a National Defense Authorization Bill that effectively defines the US “homeland” as a war zone, and that allows for the indefinite incarceration without trial of anyone, including US citizens and Green Card holders, without trial, in blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution and of fundamental international judicial standards.

 

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