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Lemmingly, We Roll Along
When soldiers die, the politicians who sent them to their deaths typically use euphemisms and circumlocutions — like “lost,” “fallen,” or “ultimate sacrifice.” On one level, the avoidance of blunt language can be seen as a sign of respect, but on another, it is just one more evasion of responsibility for the snuffing out of young lives.
There has been unusually wide (and for the most part supportive) reaction to my article of August 8 (They Died in Vain: Deal With It) on the killing of 30 American troops when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan on the night of the 6th. One website posting the article clocked 181 comments; scanning through them, I found many substantive, helpful ones.
Let me share one telling comment, which seemed to me particularly — if sadly — apt:
Eretz Yisrael: Lawless, Corrupt and Dysfunctional - by Stephen Lendman
What do you call a country that persecutes occupied people and one-fifth of its own population for not being Jewish? An illegal occupier for over 44 years, suffocating over 1.6 million Gazans under siege! A nation practicing torture, persecution, and racism as official policies! A modern day Sparta, glorifying wars and violence!
RIP: America's Anti-War Movement - by Stephen Lendman
On August 8, the libertarian Reason Foundation (RF) asked about the absence of anti-war sentiment in America, saying:
"The Obama administration is on pace to have more American soldiers killed in" Iraq and Afghanistan than Bush did in his first term.
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.
by Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait Several thousand people have signed up to be at Freedom Square in Washington DC on Thursday October 6. This day was chosen because it's the precise 10 year anniversary of Bush's invasion. It's a "work" day, and a day we can expect maximum coverage of the war. Join World Can't Wait there! On the
By Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait In the days after 9/11/01, as the dust hung over lower Manhattan and a frantic search continued for those who died in the World Trade Center, thousands of Muslims were rounded up by the U.S. government and held in detention indefinitely, many to be deported.
By Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait It's worth examining the administration's public statements, downplayed as they were, about the biggest loss of U.S. military personnel so far in Afghanistan.
Rick Perry: Extremist White America's Evangelical Hope - by Stephen Lendman
Consider the unpalatable 2012 options, a choice between:
-- a so far unopposed lawless/crime boss/militarist/pro-war/anti-populist president; and
David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, discusses “The Military Industrial Complex at 50” national conference in Charlottesville, VA from September 16-18; the paltry defense spending cuts decried by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as a “doomsday mechanism” that will endanger national security; how Swanson helped turn former Congressman Bill Delahunt against the wars; and Paul Krugman’s half-serious plan to boost the economy by preparing for an alien invasion.
MP3 here. (12:54)
David Swanson is Co-Founder of WarIsACrime.org (formerly After Downing Street), creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org, Washington Director of Democrats.com and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was the press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and worked three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Leon Panetta, who holds the position that we used to more usefully call "Secretary of War," makes a weak case. Panetta considers $350 billion over 10 years, or $35 billion per year, to be serious cuts to the national security budget. But consider the budger from which that is to be cut. It includes, each year, about $545 billion for the "base" military budget, at least $200 billion extra each year for wars (Panetta uses Afghanistan and Libya as reasons not to cut spending, and Congress has never yet appropriated a dime for Libya), $71 billion for "Homeland" security, $19 billion for nuclear weapons, $8 billion for a miscellaneous Pentagon slush fund, $53 billion (that we know of) for spying and secret operations agencies, $129 billion for veterans, $18 billion for military "aid" and other foreign affairs, $68 billion for pensions, $185 billion for debt interest, and additional major budgets for the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. (Panetta has also cited the State Dept. as a concern.)
In other words, we're talking about subtracting $35 billion from well over a trillion. That's a cut of less than 3.5 percent.
China spends about $114 billion per year on its military. No other nation spends anything remotely close to that. Let's generously assume there are enough hidden costs in China's budget to double it to $228 billion. And let's assume that we must spend twice as much as they do, because . . . well, just because we're we and they're they. Now we're at $456 billion. How do we get from there to Panetta describing a U.S. security budget of $965 billion as the lowest we can safely go, and a budget of $950 billion as "doomsday"? Is the danger here really and truly to the people of this country? Or is it the threat to the profits of the weapons makers that has Panetta panicking? Does that motivation also explain the Pentagon's desire to cut benefits to troops rather than weaponry?
Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness - by Stephen Lendman
It begs the question why Israelis put up with lawless governance harming them as well as Palestinians. When will weeks of social injustice outrage arouse them to embrace universal equity?
Why haven't Martin Luther King's words hit home that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In Israel and Occupied Palestine, Arabs and Jews both are harmed. Injustice to anyone denies it to all.
Falsified Major Media Reports on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Major media specialize in what they do best: truth inversion (aka bad fiction), not doing what journalists are supposed to do - their job, especially covering imperial wars for dominance and rich spoils.
With Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) falling apart and rebel forces in disarray, today's headlines belie the truth, reported by independent "un-in-bed-with" journalists and other sources.
Did Tenet Hide Key Info on 9/11?
By Ray McGovern
(Note: some of this commentary was included in David Swanson's blog earlier today)
With few exceptions, like some salacious rumor about the Kennedy family, the mainstream U.S. news media has shown little interest in stories that throw light on history — even recent, very relevant history. So it comes as no surprise that, when a former White House counter-terrorism czar accuses an ex-CIA director of sitting on information that could have prevented a 9/11 attack, the story gets neither ink nor air.
Former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-Terrorism Richard Clarke suggests that former CIA Director George Tenet blocked the sharing of information within the government on two members of al Qaeda in the United States, information that Clarke believes could have prevented 911. The CIA admits it knew about the two future hijackers but claims the Director was not informed.
"In early 2000, a number of more junior personnel (including FBI agents on detail to CIA) did see travel information on individuals who later became hijackers but the significance of the data was not adequately recognized at the time."
Economic End Times - by Stephen Lendman
Despite a deepening global depression, establishment economists are in denial. On June 9, the Wall Street Journal said those surveyed expected slow, steady growth through 2011, despite high US unemployment, a housing depression, European sovereign debt in crisis, and the unreported insolvency of major French and other banks.
Netanyahu Spurns Social Justice Demands - by Stephen Lendman
Unaffordable housing prices ignited mass social justice protests in Israel. At issue is settlement developments at the expense of other construction, creating a supply/demand imbalance enough to cause prices to skyrocket. Israelis demand that issue be addressed responsibly.
Recent events show why election theft deserves much more scrutiny than it receives from either government officials or news reporters. Most dramatically, a federal judge has released the 2008 testimony of GOP IT guru Michael Connell, right. The Ohio resident died in a mysterious plane crash that year after anonymous warnings he would be killed if he testified about his work with Karl Rove and others helping the Bush-Cheney ticket win in 2000 and 2004.
Other recent news includes claims by both major parties of irregularities in last week’s Wisconsin state senate recall elections. In a pattern familiar nationally, Democrats suspect vote hiding by a partisan GOP elections supervisor and Republicans allege illegal inducements by Democrats to encourage voting. Elsewhere, Fox News played up a report about how a county judge in Nevada called the community-organizing group ACORN “reprehensible” on Aug. 10 and ordered a $5,000 fine for the defunct group because it paid a bonus to workers who registered voters.
By David Swanson with Shepherd Johnson
The U.S. military is a permanent and pervasive presence in Virginia. Were the state of Virginia to ban participation in wars of aggression, weapons sales to brutal dictatorships, and the manufacture of aggressive and illegal weapons, the Military Industrial Complex would be obliged to help itself to many billions of public dollars just to cover the cost of moving operations to the other 49 states or abroad.
The Pentagon and all of its surrounding weapons corporation headquarters are in Virginia. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lives in Quarters Six at Fort Myer in Arlington. The Army and Air Force chiefs of staff live on "Generals Row," also in Fort Myer.
Norfolk is home to the world's largest naval base. NATO is there too. And through this month, so is the United States Joint Forces Command.
Bunnatine (Bunny) H. Greenhouse is a former procurement executive and chief contracting officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2004-2005 she revealed waste and fraud in secret no-bid contracts for Halliburton in Iraq. She was demoted and marginalized in retribution. In 2011 a U.S. District Court awarded her $970,000 in restitution.
Greenhouse will be speaking in Charlottesville with over 20 other speakers on the Military Industrial Complex at 50. To attend, you need to register here: http://MIC50.org
Time Magazine broke the Bunny Greenhouse story in 2004: PDF, followed by CBS, the Guardian, NPR, NBC, AP, and everyone else. Here's a transcript of one of Greenhouse's presentations testifying before Congress. Here's Greenhouse's recent appearance on Democracy Now!
Greenhouse is back in the news because she has finally been awarded compensation, and she believes the corruption she came into conflict with is alive and well. "My story is in the news," she told me last week, "but there are many good people who are leaving the government because somebody cannot tolerate their honesty and their desire to see things done right. I know at some point we are going to get this military-civil relationship right. It may not be in my lifetime, but sometime I know we are."
Maybe this conference can be the start of that: http://MIC50.org
As if to emphasize the problem Greenhouse points to, today's Charlottesville Daily Progress carries a front-page AP aticle reporting that the 12 members to which Congress has been reduced for the Super Congress that will determine budgetary priorities for years to come consists of senators and representatives from the states with the biggest military contractors: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co., and Boeing Co.
If you have any doubt where that will lead if left to its own devices, or if you know darn well what such a committee is designed to do and you want to change the course we're on, you need to be a part of this conference. Reserve your spot: http://MIC50.org
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
60min had a replay of an earlier report on corporate tax havens last night.
Which now raises even more questions especially related to this now infamous remark and backed up by many of like minded ideology:
Followed quickly by this:
"Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people."
Which people and where, are these corporate profits trickled down too?
While they renounce their corporate citizenship to dodge the corporate U.S. tax rates they stay on the trading boards of Wall Street as U.S. to be invested in.
Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Ongoing since mid-July, America's media hardly notice, but indeed care as evidenced by their silence to suppress mass outrage over longstanding social injustice Israelis want changed.
New York Times Disinformation, Denial and Suppressing Vital Truths - by Stephen Lendman
America's "newspaper of record" makes painful reading for alternative media consumers, knowledgeable about what Times correspondents, opinion contributors and editorial writers misreport, conceal, or lie outrageously about.
For example, writer CJ Chivers' August 12 "Notes From the Front Lines" piece practically lionized cutthroat rebels, embedded with them to present their point of view only, saying:
Israeli Persecution of Palestinian Children - by Stephen Lendman
Repeatedly in many ways, the real Israel belies the myth of a free, open, democratic state. In fact, the very notion is ludicrous even to growing numbers of fed up Israelis, voting with their feet and leaving.
As a result, it's no exaggeration calling Israel a failed state, a topic Noam Chomsky addressed in one of his many books.
Dire State of of America's Children - by Stephen Lendman
A new Children's Defense Fund (CDF) report shows the dire state of children in America today. Titled, "The State of America's Children: 2011," it can be accessed in full through the following link:
Three Days Before Wall Went Up, CIA Expected East Germany Would Take "Harsher Measures" to Solve Refugee Crisis
Disturbed By Lack of Warning, JFK Asked Intelligence Advisers to Review CIA Performance
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 354
Congressional Junkets to Israel - by Stephen Lendman
Eighty-one House members, one fifth of the chamber, will visit Israel during the traditional summer recess, instead of addressing festering local issues at home during the nation's gravest economic crisis too serious to ignore.
Arriving first were 26 Democrats together, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD). Another 55 Republicans will follow in two groups, including 47 freshmen.