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Denmark's Election: The Left Wins, but Denmark's Militarism Continues Unabated

 

By Ron Ridenour

 

 

It was with joy that I watched television coverage of election day, September 15. According to all the nine political parties running, and the mass media, there were no wars in the world and Denmark no longer was involved in three wars—Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya--alongside the USA.

 

In fact, all through the three-week long election campaign, none of the parties spoke of war, or of that most fundamental of moral questions a society must ask: do we kill other people who do not attack us?

 

Protecting Americans? President Obama's Shameful Silence in the Face of Israel's Murder of a Young American

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

Among the many shameful and cowardly things that President Barack Obama has and has not done, few can rival his complete unwillingness to express outrage at the Israeli military’s murder of a young American teen executed at close range during the Israeli Defense (sic) Force assault on the Turkish-flagged aid ship the Mavi Marmara in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea back on May 31, 2010.

 

Furkan Dogan, born in the US to Turkish parents, both legal residents of the U.S., and educated in the US, was a volunteer on the Mavi Marmara, the flag ship in a six boat aid flotilla that tried to sail  with humanitarian aid from Turkey to the Israeli prison colony known as Gaza only to be stormed and captured and pirated to Israel.

 

War Spending: The Idea Whose Name Cannot be Mentioned at The Times

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

When you are the New York Times, or in this case, one of the only real liberal columnists working for the Times anymore, there are apparently some things you just cannot mention.

 

How else to explain how a seemingly intelligent economist like Paul Krugman can scorch the Republicans in Congress and President Obama for failing to deal with the crisis of joblessness and deepening economic collapse in the U.S., but never once mention the endless and pointless wars into which the country is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars a year?

 

Here’s Krugman:

 

Nothing to Celebrate: This Labor Day, don't Party, Organize and Raise Hell!

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

This faux workers’ holiday on Monday is not a day for celebrating for American workers.

 

The official unemployment rate, just released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm), showed unemployment in July to be 9.1%, which is exactly the same as the rate was in June, and which is an increase from the months in the spring. But that’s not even the real picture.

 

Return of the Malaise: Up to Our Asses in Alligators

 

By John Grant

 

It’s a sad reality of our day that denial and bullshit seem the most useful talents to getting elected and to govern in America.

Bullshit is meant in the sense used by Harvard philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his popular book titled On Bullshit. He defines bullshit as language with no basis in truth or fact focused on obtaining power. A liar knows the truth and tries to sell falsehoods; bullshitters simply don’t care what the truth is.

Some of the most popular candidates for the Republican Party (think Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman) are classic bullshitters who completely disdain rational analysis. For them it’s OK to say anything, like Perry and others' denial of evolution and global warming. Reason and responsible history are for the weak.

Vermonters Build a Direct Action Anti-Nuke Movement They Hope Will Go National

By Dan DeWalt


Newfane, VT -- A classic David vs. Goliath battle is taking shape in the courtroom and in the streets and fields of Vermont as Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana tries to overturn Vermont law in the federal courts. 


The state has thoughtfully and repeatedly voted no to the extension of Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor's license, which is due to expire on March 21, 2012. Results of Town Meeting votes, a 26-4 vote by the Vermont Senate, and a pivotal gubernatorial race all have shown that the state does not see Vermont Yankee as a reliable or economical partner for its energy future. Forty years' accumulation of radioactive waste on the banks of the Connecticut River is enough.

Cynthia McKinney's Anti-War Tour Comes to Philadelphia

 

by Ron Ridenour

 

Leading black-skinned representatives of the “hegemon”, as Cynthia McKinney calls President Barack Obama and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, could hardly expect to win any votes from the standing-room-only crowd at her anti-war tour Friday night at Calvary Church in Philadelphia.

 

Speaking before nearly 300 people--two-thirds of them black, the remainder white and hispanic--in her T-shirt proclaiming that “war kills”, the former U.S. congresswoman said: 

 

“We need someone in the White House who thinks like us and not just one who looks like us. We have to act like we’re free if we want to be free. We have to liberate ourselves from war-mongering political parties.”

 

TCBH! Staff Tell the Philadelphia Inquirer to Start Acting Like a Real Newspaper

 

Journalists from ThisCantBeHappening! took on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation’s third oldest surviving daily, this morning, conducting a leafletting “happening” in front of the paper’s soon-to-be-sold headquarters building on Broad Street.  

 

A one-page flyer, written in old English and featuring a replica of the masthead of Benjamin Franklin’s original one-page broadsheet, the Pennsylvania Gazette, accused the oft re-sold and steadily downsized and gutted Inquirer of abandoning its Fourth Estate role in favor of entertainment and profits.

 

Punishments Don't Fit the Crime: In Pennsylvania, It Costs $2 for 'Access to Justice,' (But You Still Might Not Get It)

 

By Dave Lindorff

There is a basic concept when it comes to justice that the punishment should fit the crime. It’s a concept that in Law-and-Order America has long vanished. Some states, like California, have done this with brutish “Three-Strikes-You’re-Out” policies that have ended up sentencing young men to life in prison for something like stealing a video, because it was the perpetrator’s third crime. Others, like Florida, have done it by sentencing a pre-teen kid to life in prison for a killing because he was tried as an adult.

Special Ops: The New Face of War

 

By John Grant


Reading Nietzsche in Starbucks

By John Grant

When the human waste of politics gets to piling up so deep you want to run screaming into the night, a good remedy is to fall back to the powerful historical minds and immerse yourself in some great writing. I ran into this dilemma last Sunday, after a morning of reading The New York Times about the continuing blackmail antics of Rep. John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell and their merry band of Teabag Republican cutthroats.

America's Big Speed-Up: No Wonder the Jobless Rate is Staying at Depression Levels

By Dave Lindorff

My wife Joyce and I were renting a car for the week this morning at a Hertz office just outside Philadelphia.  There was a line of people either waiting to pick up a vehicle, or to return one.  

The harried clerk behind the counter -- the only guy in the office -- was fielding calls while trying to serve the first guy in line, who was trying to rent a car for a vacation trip with his wife to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  No sooner would the poor clerk sit down at the computer to start typing in the information from the man’s driver’s license than the phone would ring -- a phone that was located on a desk in a cubicle behind him, requiring him to get up and run around to the back cubicle.

The man at the counter, and others in the line, sighed audibly.

Congress

 

The latest from ThisCantBeHappening!:

To Hell with the Democrats!: Time to for Any Real Progressives in Congress to Bolt the Party and Start a New One

By Dave Lindorff

Jeff Greenwald has just written that President Obama, by playing a leading role in pushing for cuts in Social Security benefits as part of the whole kabuki-theater drama over the debt ceiling, and the alleged crisis of America’s national debt, has cut out the “soul” of the Democratic Party.

Nim & Noam

 

Charles M. Young

Why Can't Presidents and Media Tycoons Just 'Do the Right Thing'?

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


U.S. President Barack Obama suddenly takes hard-line stances against his Republican political adversaries after over two years of meek accommodation.


International media mogul Rupert Murdoch suddenly exhibits uncharacteristic humility when dealing with escalating scandals in England and America erupting from vicious and illegal activities by employees of his many media entities.

Blowing It: Democrats, Unable to Be a Party of the People, are Sinking Themselves

By Dave Lindorff

The smoking ruin that is the the Obama White House, and the rotting corpse that is the Democratic Party, have, incredibly, together been boxed into a corner by, of all things, the certifiably insane Republican Party.

This amazing situation has resulted not through any brilliant strategy on the part of the Republicans, but by the self-inflicted wounds of the Democrats.

The Gaza Flotilla and the Blood-Dimmed Tide

By John Grant

What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? ... You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now.

--Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Lately, I find myself reading “noir” crime fiction and thinking about the genre as a way to explain the world. It may have something to do with the fact I’m an American critical of my government and losing hope that positive change is even possible. As hope evaporates, there seems less and less space between political reality and the criminal underworld. Or maybe it's the obverse of a militarist obsession with Tom Clancy and War On Terror thrillers.

The adherents of wealth, power and violence seem so entrenched and in control that those without power become doomed to ineffectual marginalization and, if they poke their heads up too far, in danger of having their intentions and actions criminalized.

Voodo Economics circa 2011: The Magic of BKS Numerology Roils Markets and also Government Policy-Making

By Dave Lindorff

It is part of America’s state religion, the Free Market fundamentalist religion that is accepted as gospel by all leading politicians, by the “brain trust” that sets goverrnment economic policy, and by the supposedly hard-nosed analysts who convince American investors where to put their money, that “markets know best.”

How then to explain the panicked reaction of investors and markets to the Labor Department’s monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the latest monthly jobs and unemployment figures?

Family Feud: Blacks Battle Blacks over Criticism of Obama

By Linn Washington, Jr.

So, some black folks are bashing Princeton Professor Cornell West for his sharply phrased critiques of President Barack Obama’s failure to specifically address crisis- proportion problems in a long-suffering segment of American society: the black community.

Black supporters of the first African-American president echo the rationale advanced by Obama himself that he is the president of all Americans so addressing issues specific to African-American would be inappropriate.

However, that view side-steps the critical issue of the very American right to criticize a U.S. President.

Compounding the First Amendment criticism issue is the reality that Obama has addressed issues important to specific groups, including gays and women. He has even been addressing the issues of his political adversaries, the Republicans, like his embracing their demands for deficit reducing austerity by slashing services to the most needy.

America is a Sick Country

By Dave Lindorff

In ways little and huge, it is clear that we live in a nation, a culture and a society that is terminally ill.

The latest outrage -- the likely execution of a Mexican convicted in Texas of the brutal slaying of a 16-year-old girl in blatant violation of a universally adopted international treaty that requires that as a foreigner he be able to notify his home country’s consulate of his case -- is evidence of this sickness, which appears to have both physical and mental aspects.

As a journalist I have traveled widely in the world, often in police states like China or Laos, and I have always trusted in the fact that if I ran afoul of those police, at least I could count on the fact that the authorities would be legally bound to notify my embassy, so that I could get international attention and, hopefully, legal assistance.

July 4th - Celebrations Cannot Hide Damaged Democracy

By Linn Washington, Jr.

Given the stark desperation stalking so many communities around an America oozing from miseries embedded in the stagnant economy, it’s almost an inane exercise to contemplate the state-of-democracy in this nation on July 4th -– Independence Day.

All of the flag waving, fireworks and fun of this national holiday can’t mask the disturbing fact that democracy in America is under unprecedented onslaught from forces intent on engaging in economic exploitation comparable to the colonial crown domination that compelled Americans to rebel against England over two hundred years ago.

Examples of this onslaught abound with one of the most pronounced being federal and state level elected officials – overwhelming Republican – bludgeoning and eliminating benefits that have aided the middle class and the poor, in the name of budget balancing austerity, while simultaneously battling to protect the profits and assets of the wealthy.

Thoughts on July 4th: Our Incredible Shrinking Constitution

By Dave Lindorff

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that the nation’s founders, gathered in Philadelphia a few miles from my house (which as it happens was already standing and about 28 years old already at the time), at great personal risk, signed the Declaration of Independence, with its ringing declaration that all men--Americans and everyone else, too--are born equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Five years ago at this time, I was just starting my road trip promoting my book, The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), which documents the wholesale assault, by then President George W. Bush, and his chief consigliere, Vice President Dick Cheney, on those bold concepts and on the subsequent Constitution and Bill of Rights which those same founders set up as the guiding principles of this nation.

The Gaza Flotilla: Fear of Unscripted Non-Violent Action

By John Grant

Israel and its international operatives are working overtime to stop the 10-ship Gaza flotilla from leaving Athens. The Audacity Of Hope, with 40 Americans on board, tried to leave the harbor Friday only to be chased down and threatened by an armed Greek Coast Guard boat and forced to return to a dock. Trumped-up charges may be brought against the captain of the boat. Greece is now prohibiting all boats from leaving. Another boat had a propeller shaft cut and a third was equally disabled by some kind of sabotage. Others have suddenly been plagued with questions about their insurance or their seaworthiness. Israel has openly threatened to bar news organizations with reporters onboard a flotilla boat from entering Israel for ten years. The US government has made vague threats that it might charge US citizens in the flotilla with something.

Chill Bill: The US Military's A/C Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan Gives Me the Shivers

By Dave Lindorff

The United States Military is spending $20.2 billion a year for air-conditioning the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read that again please: $20.2 billion just to provide air-conditioning for our troops in these two desert countries.

How much is $20.2 billion?

Well, I live in Pennsylvania, where the eighth-largest school district in the country, here in Philadelphia, is about to lose 1300 of its 11,000 teachers--that’s 12% of the teaching staff in an already overcrowded school system, because the state’s Republican governor and legislature want to cut some $500 million in education funding from the state’s $27-billion budget. That military air-conditioning bill could not only restore those teachers by closing the $400 million budget deficit facing the Philadelphia School District. It could almost fund the entire budget of the state! In fact, it could probably fund the school budget deficit in almost all the school districts in the nation.

The BLS

By Laura Leigh

You learn many interesting things traveling on public lands following the wild horse issue in the American West.

You learn that after standing in sub-zero temperatures, attempting to document winter roundups, that returning to the relative warmth of your parked vehicle can make your glasses crack. You learn that chemical toe warmers are good as wrist, neck and “slip into your coveralls attach to your underwear” warmers as well. You learn that rattlesnakes don’t always rattle.

You learn the maneuvers the federal government will attempt to hide their actions when “managing” America’s wild herds: Maneuvers that range from lying about facility contracts to a roadblock on a remote dirt road operated by armed men who stop three woman from seeing the wild horses being captured.

On June 19, 1971 both houses of Congress passed the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro, act without a single dissenting vote. That act read:
 

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