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Hi. You're beautiful. And I don't give a damn who you're voting for.
You don't give a damn who I'm voting for?
I swear on the Fourth Amendment.
We don't have that amendment anymore.
You know that?
Yes. What's the catch? Which hack are you hocking?
None of them. I'm serious.
For real? What planet are you from? Scratch that. Will you marry me and what planet are you from?
I'm not entirely sure.
I'm not sure what planet I'm from, and of course I'll marry you. Now I do want to ask you one thing.
I knew it! I want a prenuptial agreement.
No. No. I want to tell you something about me and ask you if you can understand it. I want to know if you can understand why I'm not voting for Obama.
But I don't care why.
OK, let me guess. He's less evil than Romney but less evil is still evil, and you don't want to be evil, and you just haven't managed to grasp that the more evil candidate is even more evil?
Good guess, but … completely wrong. You have to remember here that I'm not a blithering idiot. I know it's hard, but try. In fact, I'm willing to suggest that lesser evilism is a truism, requiring exactly zero cerebral exertion to comprehend. The more evil candidate will do more evil. Got it. But I'm still not voting for the less evil one.
OK, I have another guess.
You want the more evil candidate to win because you imagine it will create the sort of mass resistance that will turn the country completely around, whereas the less evil guy will just keep boiling us slowly like frogs.
Now that's slander.
How can it be slander when it's a guess?
Of the frogs, I mean. If you heat a pot the frog jumps out, and if you drop him in an already boiling pot he cooks. It's all backwards because frogs are just not as stupid as humans. We like to imagine . . .
So you DO want to make Romney president!
No. I do not want to make Romney president. Not to create mass resistance. Not to make it easier for President Hillary to put the final nail in our national coffin four years hence. Not because I'm mad at Obama and he hurt my wittle feelings. Not for any reason.
OK, I've got it.
You've got it?
Yeah, you're not going to vote at all because that way you're sending a message to the whole corrupt system that it sucks and you don't.
Um, we've got almost 100 million people trying that, and it hasn't sent anybody so much as a postcard yet.
All right. Let me think.
By all means. I'm not the thought police.
I can see that.
OK. This is it. You believe that Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson or some other hopeless candidate is our last true hope. You think they can win, or could theoretically win, or might begin to build a party that could theoretically someday win, or something like that.
That's five guesses.
We don't waste time in swing states.
Well, they're all wrong. They're so far off Diebold couldn't count them. They're not in the same ballpark. Those guesses are about as close to right as …
OK, so this isn't fair, because the answer is some crazy thing having to do with that other planet you're from or something. It's not fair unless it's something I know about.
You know about it.
Yeah, well, I call.
Are we playing poker?
Yeah, and I call. What have you got?
What are we playing for?
Beer? Are you, or are you not, better off than you were four beers ago?
All right. Here's the deal.
It's too late to deal. I call.
All right. All right. You know how we're always supposed to vote for the lesser evil candidate, but then four years later they're both more evil?
You know how last time the lesser evil candidate was for taxing the rich and ending wars and fixing NAFTA and restoring the rule of law and protecting civil liberties and tackling climate change and passing the Employee Free Choice Act, and this time the lesser evil candidate is for cutting Social Security and Medicare and spying without warrants and letting the CIA and Special Forces kill people every day and expanding NAFTA to the whole damn world and establishing an assassination program for men women and children and imprisoning people forever without charge or trial and drilling more oil?
Well, yeah, when you put it that way.
No, I'm not putting it that way. Remember, I'm agreeing that the more evil guy is more evil. We've been there, done that, right?
Right, so … ?
OK, so if we vote for the lesser evil guy every time but then the two choices are both more evil, there must be something else we should be doing. And I have an idea what it is. And we can't do it if we're doing lesser evil voting. So, I don't want Obama to win. I don't want Romney to win. I don't imagine that Stein or Anderson can win. I don't think the outcome of the election can send a message. I'm not interested in the outcome at all, because I'm more interested in whether the people of this country are doing this other thing I have in mind, and it just so happens that the only way they can do it is if they are the kind of people who vote for Stein or Anderson.
So, you want Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson?
No. I voted for Stein. Anderson is great too. I don't give a rat's derriere whether they get 1% or 20%, except as a side effect. I'm not interested in them, although I like them both. I'm interested in the millions of people who are going to vote or not vote and in what kind of people they are.
Who cares what kind of people they are if Romney ruins their country.
He can't. He can't do it if they're the kind of people I have in mind. And either Obama or Romney will do it, perhaps at slightly different speeds, if people allow them to.
I don't understand.
OK, well, let me try to explain. It's hard to put into a sound byte. Change comes from broad-based popular movements that impact the entire culture. This is how we got civil and political rights, how we got workplace rights and environmental protections -- such as they are. Everything worth achieving has been achieved by educating, organizing, inspiring, and pressuring the government, and not by picking the right portion of the government to reelect, cheer for, and withhold all criticism from. Now, you can say you want to vote for the lesser evil person while simultaneously protesting him, but it doesn't work that way. Most people's minds and most popular organizations devote themselves to lesser evilism on a permanent basis, not just the week of an election. Obama in 2009 told the big environmentalist groups not to talk about climate change, and most of them haven't mentioned it since, even in the midst of a hurricane. One group mentioned it and declared that the tar sands pipeline would be Obama's test, but the price for failing the test is having that group and its members vote for Obama's reelection a little less cheerfully. Obama told the unions and advocacy groups not to say "single-payer healthcare" and they obeyed, forbidding mention of it at their rallies, asking instead for a mysterious "public option" that was then of course denied them. You'd think it would be hard for people to sell out this way, especially in non-election years, but they help themselves along by the art of selective information consumption. Most -- not all, but most -- Obama voters have managed not to know about drone wars or kill lists or the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And, of course, it's extra hard to engage in serious activism while unaware what's going on. By activism I mean educating, organizing, rallying, marching, lobbying, reporting, editorializing, inspiring, blockading, boycotting, interrupting, mocking, replacing, and nonviolently resisting evil policies in the thousands and thousands of ways available to nonviolent activists. Someone said to me yesterday: "But Martin Luther King Jr. didn't start a third party." Of course he didn't. Neither am I. I wouldn't have wanted him to. I wouldn't want you to. But he also didn't sell out to an existing party. He didn't endorse and campaign for candidates. He didn't tell anyone that voting was the only tool available, because -- of course -- voting comes far down the list of tools that have proven effective through history. And when the voting system is as corrupted as ours is now, the only way to render it even more useless is to promise half the candidates that you will strive to annoy them throughout their terms but never ever vote against them (unless it's in a non-swing-state and in small enough numbers not to matter), and if they'll let you come to meetings at the White House you'll see what you can do about not annoying them either. Latinos threatened not to vote for Obama and won some immigration reforms. Labor unions threatened to bend over, and Obama kicked their ass. Is this beginning to make sense?
So, you think activism is more important than elections and you really mean it? So when elections get in the way of activism you want people to change their electoral behavior in whatever way will make them better activists, regardless of what happens in the election?
Exactly! Is that marriage thing still on the table?
Uh huh. You know what I was thinking?
Remember when the peace movement was big several years ago? I mean, not super big, but big enough to be noticed?
And then the Democrats came into Congress and into the White House, and it dried up, right?
Well, what if it hadn't? What if it had kept growing? What if everything that went into electing Obama the first time had gone into the peace movement? What if the Nobel Committee in its infinite wisdom had given a peace prize to the peace movement? What if the peace movement had a billion dollars and a gazillion volunteer hours to work with? Wouldn't that have been worth more than having Obama instead of McCain? Wouldn't that have made both McCain and Obama better or replaced them with better people and led to a choice anyway of the lesser evil candidate who would have been even less evil? Or if it didn't, but the movement continued to grow, wouldn't it stand a chance of turning things dramatically around in the coming years, unlike Dr. 47% or Captain Drone Warrior if left to their own devices?
You actually understand this! Now I have to ask what planet you are from.
No, let me ask you something.
Did you call this "Swing State Pickup Lines" because "Why Can't You Morons Get This Stuff Through Your Thick Skulls" sounded less attractive?
Caught in the Act
by Stephen Lendman
Washington wages direct and proxy wars dirty. Favored allies are cold-blooded killers. Cutthroats are America's favorites. The more vicious the better. America's so-called responsibility to protect (R2P) is a license to brutalize and kill.
For those of you who follow this blog, it should come as no surprise that a TSA agent has been arrested for the rape of a boy he was mentoring as a volunteer Big Brother.
I'd like to quote for you some of the very best bits of William Blum's new book, "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy," but I'd end up quoting most of the book and the entire chapter on capitalism. So you're just going to have to get your own copy.
But let me quote one little section for you here. Blum reviews state laws requiring that women considering abortions be told that they are about to end a human life. Regardless of your view of such laws, Blum thinks it is worth noting that no such information is provided to women or men when they sign up to join the U.S. military. So, he proposes requiring that each would-be recruit be read this statement:
"The United States is at war [this statement is always factually correct]. You will likely be sent to a battlefield where you will be expected to do your best to terminate the lives of whole, separate, unique, living human beings you know nothing about and who have never done you or your country any harm. You may in the process lose an arm or a leg. Or your life. If you come home alive and with all your body parts intact, there's a good chance you will be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Do not expect the government to provide you particularly good care for that, or any care at all. In any case, you may wind up physically abusing your spouse and children and/or others, killing various individuals, abusing drugs and/or alcohol, and having an increased risk of suicide ideation or suicide. No matter how bad a condition you may be in, the government may send you back to the battlefield for another tour of duty. They call this 'stop-loss.' And don't ever ask any of your officers what we're fighting for. Even the generals don't know. In fact, the generals especially don't know. They would never have reached their high position if they had been able to go beyond the propaganda we're all fed, the same propaganda that has influenced you to come to this office."
A while back I made a video along these same lines:
Choose any book below and have it signed by the author to you or to a person you plan to give it to. It will be signed and mailed to you right away.
Profile of a Police State
by Stephen Lendman
For years, America has been on a fast track to tyranny. Duopoly power runs things repressively. Government of, by, and for the people never existed and doesn't now.
Homeland repression is policy. Police state laws target resisters. Elections are farcical, rigged, and illegitimate. People have no say. Corporate controlled electronic voting machines decide for them.
Greece Suppresses Free Expression
by Stephen Lendman
Ordinary Greeks face deepening Depression conditions. At a time vital help is needed, force-fed austerity is policy. Corrupt governance mandates it. Severe repression targets resisters. Now they've got another woe. Press freedom isn't tolerated.
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Predicting Protracted Hard Times
by Stephen Lendman
It works the same way every time. Bad policies assure bad results. Prioritizing short-term profits jeopardizes long-term gains.
Force-fed austerity when stimulus is needed is madness. So is harming economies, communities, and ordinary people to save banks.
http://www.alternet.org/world/armed-rebels-and-middle-eastern-power-plays-how-us-helping-kill-peace-syria?paging=off As President Obama confirmed in an interview with theAtlantic on March 2, 2012, one of the strategic goals of U.S. policy in Syria has been to weaken and isolate Iran by removing or helping to remove its strongest Arab ally. Asked what the U.S.
Part I of this series suggested that there may well have been massive vote flipping for candidate Mitt Romney in the Republican primaries (Rigged Elections for Romney (10/22/12) The article and the initial research analysis were received broadly. In addition, highly motivated citizens across the country and a team of high school students contacted the authors for help replicating the research in their states. The researchers, Francois et al., point out that this can be done with their open source techniques.
The basic argument is straightforward. If you look at precinct level voting data arranged from the smallest to the largest precincts, you will see Romney's gains increasing substantially as the cumulative vote increases. For example, Ohio and Wisconsin show this clearly as do eleven other states presented here. This extraordinary vote gain from smallest to largest precincts is so out of line, that the probability that this would happen by chance alone is often less than 1 out of a number represented by 1 preceded by 100 zeros and a decimal point, a value beneath the statistical package’s lower limits. As a result, the researchers termed the suspected vote flipping for Romney the “amazing anomaly.” (The Amazing Statistical Anomaly)
by Stephen Lendman
Perhaps one day they'll arrive over a neighborhood near you. Drones are becoming America's weapon of choice. Domestically so far, they're used only for eyes in the sky spying.
Big Brother wants to watch everyone all the time. Don't bet against eyes not being weaponized one day to punish as well as spy. That's how rogue states operate.
by Stephen Lendman
Electoral priorities feature rhetoric, not new adventurism advocacy likely to rile voters. Post-election, anything goes.
The Middle East pot boils. Endless conflicts persists. Car bombings, other violence, and instability are daily Iraqi realities. Afghanistan is America's longest war. It was lost long ago. Nonetheless, it shows no signs of ending.
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Mike Elk of In These Times discusses this new / old twist on "democracy".
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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
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You and I are getting ready to tape a debate on the question of whether to vote for Obama (in "swing states"). It will air on Lila Garrett's "Connect the Dots" show on KPFK next Monday. I'm looking forward to it, if for no other reason, because I think our public discourse lacks much serious debate between people who respect each other's intentions. I have nothing but respect for you and believe you mean nothing but the best in advocating votes for Obama. You honestly believe I was catastrophically wrong to vote for Jill Stein in Virginia, as I've done, and I honestly believe you are horrendously misguided to be expending your valuable energy trying to get others to vote for Obama. And yet we'll be friends through this and regardless of whether one or both of us ever change our minds.
An hour debate will also be a refreshing change from the usual sound byte simplification of the media, and yet not necessarily sufficient. So, let me tell you a couple of stories.
Here's our list of War Criminals appearances and protest for November. Let us know if you'd want to have a demonstration in your area and we'll aid you in planning and publicizing your event.
Madeline Albright 11/12/12 - Naples FL
Superstorm Sandy vs. “terrorism.” I know which risk I’d rather take.
Read the rest at TSA News.
Veterans for Peace chapters across the nation are meeting in major cities to celebrate the original Armistice Day as was done at the end of World War I, when the world came together in realization that war is so horrible we must end it now.
Supreme Court Spurns Justice
by Stephen Lendman
Several previous articles discussed the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) charity case. Five extraordinary human beings were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. They're doing hard time in America's gulag.
They learned the hard way about being Muslims in America at the wrong time. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied their final appeal for justice. More on that below.
Greek Whistleblower/Journalist Risks Imprisonment
by Stephen Lendman
Doing the right thing is risky. Greek magazine publisher Costas Vaxevanis faces charges of violating state privacy laws. Potentially he faces two years in prison.
Press freedom and whistleblowing should be inviolate. Not in today's corrupt money controlled world. More on this below.
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Dear Senator Kerry:
I am writing to ask that you speak a public truth: that the 2004 Presidential Election was stolen. I request, Senator, that you speak this truth out loud in public before the 2012 election.
Why speak out about 2004 now? Because there is growing evidence that Mitt Romney is planning a Bush –Cheney like power grab by defrauding voters and stealing the election. As Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman report:
Imagine if George W. Bush had stood on the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center and declared, "We are going to continue our pursuit of world domination and environmental destruction until the oceans rise, the storms surge, and this spot and all the surrounding streets are drowned in routine floods, destroying the infrastructure, and collapsing the buildings of this great city, while you morons are distracted by my screams for vengeance and genocide against people who've never driven an SUV a block in their lives or ever heard of us."
Imagine if Barack "Clean Coal" Obama had followed the same honest path, and not only competed with Mitt Romney in debates over who could drill more oil, but also stated plainly and openly that the Pentagon is still not ready for World War II to end.
On August 14, 1941, the military brought before the Senate plans to build a permanent building that would be the largest office building in the world and would be called the Pentagon. Senator Arthur Vandenberg asked for an explanation: "Unless the war is to be permanent, why must we have permanent accommodations for war facilities of such size?" Then he began to catch on: "Or is the war to be permanent?"
We weren't supposed to have standing armies, much less armies standing in everyone else's countries, much less armies fighting wars over the control of fuels that destroy the planet and armies that themselves consume the greatest quantity of those fuels, even though the armies lose all the wars. Before the Nobel Peace Prize was handed out to war makers, it was intended for those who had done the best work of removing standing armies from the world. World War II changed everything.
We never went back to pre-WWII taxes or pre-WWII military or pre-WWII restraint in foreign empire or pre-WWII respect for civil liberties or pre-WWII notions of who deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. We never saw another declaration of war from Congress, but we never stopped using those of 1941, never left Germany, never left Japan, never dismantled the Pentagon. Instead, as William Blum documents in his remarkable new book, "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy," since the supposed end of WWII, the United States has tried to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of them democratically elected; interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries; attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders; dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries; and attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 nations.
Oh, but we meant well, and we mean well. Absolutely not so. There's no "we" involved here. The U.S. government meant and means global domination, nothing else. And yet, even foreigners buy the U.S. snake oil. Gaddafi thought he could please Washington and be spared. So did the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein. When Hugo Chavez heard about the coup planned against him in 2002, he sent a representative to Washington to plead his case. The coup went ahead just the same. Subcomandante Marcos believed Washington would support the Zapatistas once it understood who they were. Ho Chi Minh had seen behind the curtain when Woodrow Wilson was president; World War II didn't change quite everything. Maurice Bishop of Grenada, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana, and the foreign minister of Guatemala appealed to Washington for peace before the Pentagon overthrew their governments. "We" don't mean well when we threaten war on Iran any more than we meant well when "we" overthrew Iran's government in 1953. The U.S. government has the very same agenda it had in 1953 because it is still engaged in the very same war, the war without end.
At the very moment of supreme moral pretense in 1946, as the United States was leading the prosecution of Nazi war crimes and killing the Nazis found guilty, at the very moment when Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson was declaring that those who sat in judgment at Nuremberg would be subject to the same standard of law, the United States was giving Guatemalans syphilis to see what would happen to them, and importing Nazi scientists by the dozen to work for the Pentagon. The war to save 6 million Jews that in reality condemned them and 60 million others to death, the war of innocence that followed the arming of the Chinese and the British, and before that the arming of the Nazis and Japanese, the war against empire that in reality spread the largest empire the earth has known, the war against inhumanity that in reality developed and used the greatest weapons ever directed against humans: that war wasn't a triumph; it IS a triumph. It has never ended. We've never stopped making our children pledge allegiance like little fascists. We've never stopped dumping our money into the complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us would exert total influence over our society. We've never stopped to consider whether attacks on a finite planet must end someday. Truman showed Stalin a couple of bombs, and the goddamn flags haven't stopped waving yet.
If you don't believe me, read more William Blum. The Marshall Plan was a plan for domination -- smarter and more skillful domination than some other attempts -- but still domination. U.S. capitalist control was the highest purpose. Sabotage of leftist political gains was the primary approach. It's never changed. Dictators that play along have "our" full support. Don't go looking for "humanitarian" attacks by NATO in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Jordan or UAE or Qatar or Kuwait or Yemen, any more than Obama was willing to turn against Ben Ali or Mubarak or Gadaffi or Assad until doing so appeared strategic for the pursuit of global domination. The United States does not intervene. It never intervenes. It is incapable of intervening. This is because it is already intervened everywhere. What it calls intervening is actually switching sides.
If you don't believe me, read a short new book by Nick Turse called "The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare." The "new" U.S. military is not a return to pre-WWII, not a reduction in financial expense, not a redirection away from global domination, not a shift toward somehow becoming defensive rather than offensive. The "new" military is a technological and tactical tweaking of the existing U.S. empire based on racist exploitation. Here's what's new:
The branches are blurring. The military, CIA, State Department, and Drug Enforcement Agency are becoming a team that operates in secret at the behest of the President. (Before you cheer, stop and consider that come January the president may belong to the Bad Team.) The Pentagon now has its own "intelligence" agency, while the State Department has its own office of proxy war making. U.S. Special Forces are active in 70 nations on any given day, on behalf of the President, without the authorization of Congress, and in the name of the uninformed people of the United States. The "special" forces, operating under the acronyms SOCOM and JSOC, are no longer special for being smaller. They're special for having the power to operate in greater secrecy and without the apparent limitation of any laws whatsoever.
Remember that raid that killed Osama bin Laden? Yay! Hurray! Whooo Hooo! Murder is sooooooo cool. But did you know that soldiers working for you do at least a dozen such raids somewhere in the world on any given night? Are you confident that everyone killed in a dozen raids a night is also Pure Satanic Evil deserving of execution without charge or trial? Are you certain that this practice sets a good example? Would you support other nations adopting its use? "Our" "special" forces are now larger than most nations' militaries, and we don't have the slightest idea what those forces are doing. "Our access [to foreign countries]," says Eric Olson, former chief of Special Operations Command, "depends on our ability to not talk about it." Got that? Your hero-murderers want you to keep quiet.
Here's what's new: the U.S. military has set up dozens of bases all over the world from which to fly killer robots known as drones. And there are dozens of bases all over the United States involved in the drone wars. Turse helpfully lists them; I guarantee there's at least one near you. Here in Virginia at Langley Air Force Base our brave desk-murderers watch what they oh-so-comically call "Death TV" -- the live video feeds from drones flying over people's homes on the other side of the world. At Fort Benning in Georgia, where the annual protest of the School of the Americas torture school is coming up soon, they're testing drones that can shoot to kill without human input. What could go wrong? Not only has the blowback begun, but it's how we learn where some of the drone bases are. In 2009, a suicide attack killed CIA officers and mercenaries at Forward Operating Base Chapman in the Khost province of Afghanistan, and only then did we learn that the base was used for targeting drone murders in Pakistan.
This is of course apart from the usual blowback of greatly heightened hostility which is being produced by the U.S. military in nations all over the world. The 2010 attack on Libya, for example, resulted in well-armed Tuareg mercenaries, who had backed Gadaffi, heading back to Mali, destabilizing that country, and producing a military coup by a U.S.-trained officer, as well as parts of the country being seized by the latest al Qaeda affiliate. And that's in Mali. Never mind what a paradise Libya has become post liberation!
Many of the bases the U.S. military uses abroad are in nations less heavily occupied than Afghanistan. They are permitted to operate where they do by the nasty governments of those nations, thanks to U.S. support for dictatorship. This explains why the Arab Spring produced so much footage of U.S.-made armored personnel carriers, tanks, helicopters, and tear gas. The Obama administration is eagerly increasing supplies of U.S.-made weaponry to the very regimes beating, jailing, and killing pro-democracy activists. Repeat after me: "But it's a jobs program."
In fact, it's a major jobs program. The Pentagon/State Department markets U.S. weapons abroad, and the U.S. tripled its sales of weapons abroad last year, now accounting for 85% of international weapons sales.
But the weapons sales are the least of it. The United States now maintains its own troops in most nations on the earth and engages in joint training exercises with the local militaries. The biggest areas for base construction today are probably Afghanistan and Africa. Despite the supposed "winding down" of the war on Afghanistan over the next 2 or 12 years, base construction is moving ahead full steam, including new "secret" bases for "special" forces, new "secret" drone bases, and new prisons. The thinking -- and I use the term generously -- in Afghanistan and around the globe is that the United States should let the locals do more of the killing and dying. Of course, this hasn't worked in Afghanistan or Iraq, any more than it worked in Vietnam. In Afghanistan, a proxy war in the 1980s produced notable blowback that can only be appreciated by fanatics for continued war, not by residents of New York City.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Countrywomen, let's grow the fuck up. Stop blaming an imaginary being for a storm that you and your government produced. Stop thanking "God" for sparing one house while wiping out another. Put down the flags and the bullshit love of country. If you want to love this country you'll have to love the planet it's on. If you want to love this planet you'll have to love all of its people, and all of its other life forms. The storms are our own creation. The rising ocean is our own knowing act. If we want to turn this trend around we will have to shut down the Department of Defense and create a new department aimed at defending us from dangers that actually exist.
Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood
by Stephen Lendman
What do you call a Black man who rejects equal rights for his own people and others? A racist traitor.
What do you call a rejectionist leader? A criminal who should be impeached, removed and prosecuted.
Tepid Palestinian Authority UN Upgrade Bid
by Stephen Lendman
Instead of going for easily within reach full UN membership, Abbas prefers settling for less. Why he'll have to explain.
Others say it reflects his longtime collaboration with Israel. Doing so betrays his own people. Why they tolerate him, they'll have to explain.
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Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan are touring the country with a new book that everyone should have and read. "The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope" is a history of the Obama Years in the form of a thematically organized collection of columns -- columns that grew out of the reporting done by the most useful show on our airwaves: Democracy Now!
How quickly we forget, or even never knew, this recent history -- history that will never make it into school-approved history books. Reading this book, I was reminded of watching, for the first time, the movie Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore who wrote this book's introduction. That movie recounted basic facts about recent years, many of them familiar to anyone who'd been paying attention, and yet the information came as a shock to most moviegoers. This book would come as a shock to most readers.
A column from November 10, 2010, included in the book, begins, "If a volcano kills civilians in Indonesia, it's news. When the government does the killing, sadly, it's just business as usual, especially if an American president tacitly endorses the killing, as President Barack Obama just did with his visit to Indonesia." Who recalls that episode now? Who remembers the crises that jump in and out of our media: the cruelties imposed on Honduras or Haiti? This book brings together a full four years and moves us to ask where each story has now gone.
Here we read a history of teasing: There's going to be accountability for foreclosure fraud very soon. No, really. Any day now. Any month now. We've launched a new study into, um, an investigation of a review procedure capability program. No, seriously. Investigations are underway into the crimes of Rupert Murdoch. Really, we mean it.
Too many of these columns end with references to pretended federal efforts of law enforcement that were never heard from again. There is no doubt an office somewhere in the FBI in which people are paid to calculate the ideal timing for pretending to pursue justice in one cause or another, and the ideal timing for switching over to silence and forgetting. But it all looks laughable and offensive if you read four years' worth of it all strung together.
This book encourages placing events in context and practices that habit. "Just before this Sunday's election in Haiti," Goodman and Moynihan wrote on March 23, 2011, "President Rene Preval gave Aristide the diplomatic passport he had long promised him. Earlier, on January 19, then U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley tweeted, referring to Aristide: 'today Haiti needs to focus on its future, not its past.' [Aristide's wife] Mildred was incensed. She said the U.S. had been saying that since they forced him out of the country. Sitting in a plane a few minutes before landing in Haiti, she repeated the words of an African leader who criticized abuses of colonial powers by saying, 'I would stop talking about the past, if it weren't so present.'"
Part of the recent history reviewed here is the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement. As our government/media work to rewrite those stories, Goodman and Moynihan remind us of the days when people in Cairo held up a sign that read "To: America. From: the Egyptian People. Stop supporting Mubarak. It's over!" This collection takes us through the occupy movement and numerous other stories that are ongoing and developing, serving as an ideal primer for those now getting or staying involved.
The current crisis in Syria, for its coverage of which Democracy Now has been criticized, is too new and does not appear in the book.
Enough is included in this book for disturbing patterns to emerge without comment from the authors. Here, for example, are four years of empty threats to our government from our people. Many have probably forgotten Bill McKibben's statement in August 2001: "Our hope is to send a Richter 8 tremor through the political system on the day Barack Obama says no to Big Oil and reminds us all why we were so happy when he got elected. The tar sands pipeline is his test." Apparently there was no plan for what to do on the day (after day after day) on which Obama did not remind them why they were so happy. There was no contingency plan for his failing the test. There was no comprehension of how this guaranteed that he would choose to fail the test. And there is now forgetfulness of the growing ludicrousness of past promises and past pseudo-threats to power. Move the goal posts. Declare a new showdown. Avoid reading this book.
The themes of the book include many that never entered the recent Obama-Romney debates. Among them: race, and the death penalty. The themes of the book are not presented in isolation, but in interconnectedness. A Chicago police officer, Jon Burge, goes on a torture spree. "Where did it all begin?" ask Goodman and Moynihan. "One thing is clear: In 1968-69, Burge was an MP at the U.S. Army's Dong Tam camp in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where captured suspected Viet Cong soldiers were allegedly interrogated with electric, hand-cranked field telephones supplying shocks. Torture techniques similar to this were rampant under Burge's command in Chicago." On October 6, 2010, Goodman and Moynihan wrote:
"News broke last week that the U.S. government purposely exposed hundreds of men in Guatemala to syphilis in ghoulish medical experiments conducted during the late 1940s. As soon as the story got out, President Barack Obama phoned President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala to apologize. Colom called the experiments 'an incredible violation of human rights.' Colom also says his government is studying whether it can bring the case to international court. … Ironically, the Guatemala study began in 1946, the same year as the Nuremberg tribunals, the first of which tried Nazi doctors accused of conducting heinous experiments on concentration-camp prisoners. Half of those accused were put to death."
Numerous such connections are pointed out in the book or inevitably arise in the reader's mind. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Troy Davis case finds it constitutional to kill an innocent person. President Obama creates a drone program the serves primarily to do that very thing on a large scale.
While the Occupy movement would not have existed as a national phenomenon without the corporate media, Democracy Now was there first and stayed with it longer. Getting more people to watch Democracy Now must be an easier thing that getting the corporate media to favor the dismantling of corporate power. Goodman and Moynihan, who barely sleep, and who are driven by the urgent moral need to confront the horrors the corporate media rarely notices, are on their way to a town near you. Welcome them.