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Hatfields & McCoys & Democrats & Republicans

 

By Charles M. Young


The History Channel mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” reminded me of Clint Eastwood’s “The Unforgiven.” Both productions showed a lot of violence in all its fascination while making it squalid, absurd, arbitrary and devastating to the victims and everyone around the victims. Both productions take as their theme men creating theaters of heroism for themselves out of their own hatred and sense of honor. Both productions show the theaters crumbling in the end as the violence becomes too stupid and meaningless even for the prime agents to continue.

This Memorial Day Let’s Start Caring for Our Nation’s Veterans: No More Ducking the Real Cost of US Wars!

 

By Dave Lindorff


Whether he ever said it or not, I’m going to borrow from a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln and alter it a bit to say: “American politicians must love war veterans -- they keep making so many more of them.”


Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!

 

By Yasmeen Ali

Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistni demand “extortion.”

Afghanistan Good Enough: When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards

 

By John Grant

 

If all else fails, lower your standards.

 

This has been my philosophy for years. My wife likes to joke it’s how she picked me; instead of prince charming, I’m “prince somewhat-charming.” So you can imagine how delighted I am that the United States of America and its NATO military allies have decided to apply that philosophy to US foreign policy in Afghanistan.

They're calling their version “Afghanistan Good Enough.”

Planting Evidence to Sow Fear: Chicago Cops are the Terrorists

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week. 

 

No Country for Young Men as Old Men Play for Time: The End in Afghanistan is Totally Predictable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”

 

That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.

Dropping Planes, Not Bombs: US Attack on Iran with F-22 Stealth Fighters would be Laughable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.

 

Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.

 

White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

 

Americans Love a Good Killer

 

 

By John Grant

 

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
 
 
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.

Urgent Bulletin: There Is Still No Credible Information of an Imminent Attack by Islamo-Ass Bombers

 

By Charles M. Young

 

In journalism and in life, it is best to admit it when you’re wrong, and I was wrong last week. In my haste to write something timely about the triumphant return of Occupy Wall Street to the front lines of protest on May 1, I assumed that Fox Five New York and the NYPD were uniquely stupid as they colluded on a story about the possibility of Arab terrorists secreting bombs in their “cavities,” as the reporter referred to certain familiar orifices that are usually unmentioned on television. Fox Five led their 10:00 pm newscast with the story and I, in my cynicism, thought that only the minions of Rupert Murdoch could lead the news with an imaginary explosion of fecal matter and viscera on a day when Occupy Wall Street had tied up traffic all over Manhattan.

Boy, was I naive.

So then Who in the Hell Are We?

 

By Dan De Walt

 

“This is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.” 

       -- Jeff Gearhart, Wall-Mart general counsel, on the firm’s Mexico bribery 

 

[Torture] “is not the norm.” 

       -- Mike Pannek, Abu Ghraib prison warden.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

       -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

'Human Rights Won’t Get in the Way': The Selling Out of a Chinese Dissident

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

There are two truths about the US that come clearly to the fore in the current diplomatic blow-up between the US and China over the case of people’s lawyer Chen Guangcheng, though neither is really getting stated in the corporate media coverage of the story.

 

The first is that the US does not, and has not really ever, cared about the issue of human rights abuses in China, and the second is that the Obama administration, including the supposedly “tough” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, doesn’t know squat about how to negotiate -- not when it comes to dealing with Republicans in Congress, and certainly not when it comes to China.

 

May Day and the Ass Bomber of Ray Kelly’s Dreams

 

By Charles M. Young

I got home at 10:00 pm on the nose, and the first thing I did was take off my shoes after 14 hours of May Day marching with 30-40,000 other conscientious objectors to capitalism. My feet hurt, okay? My second priority was turning on the local news, which happened to be Fox Five New York. According to my watch, it was 10:02. I didn’t see the first few seconds of the story, but it must have have been the lead. There was Ray Kelly, the chief of police, talking about...not Occupy Wall Street?...no, it was a video of him on some talk show, warning of the apparently imminent threat of Arab terrorists “implanting” bombs in their bodies and blowing up airplanes and buildings.

Real Politics Must be in the Streets: The Constitutional Crimes of Barack Obama

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new president and Congress this November, it is time to make it clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so many people with such inflated expectations four years ago (myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

 

Let me count the ways:

 

US Double Standards: India's Ballistic Missile Test and Pakistan, the Whipping-Boy

 

By Yasmeen Ali

 

India’s successful test of a ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 km, was
was uncriticised by the US.

Contrast this lack of concern with the America’s obsessive concern about a suspected or potential nuclear program by Iran, or to US threats over the failed rocket launch by North Korea a few days earlier.

India has increased its military spending by 13% this fiscal year, to roughly US $38
billion, according to an April 20 article in The Independent (UK) titled, ”India’s nuclear
ambition must not be ignored”). Yet this has not raised US ire -- or even US eyebrows!

Occupy The Justice Department Challenges Obama Administration Integrity on Prosecutor Misconduct Issue

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

One of the issues driving protesters participating in the April 24, 2012 Occupy The Justice Department demonstration is an issue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knows well: prosecutorial misconduct.

Holder knows this misconduct issue well because he has criticized it during congressional testimony, in fact as recently as March 2012 when he was commenting on a special prosecutor’s report castigating the wrongdoing of federal prosecutors.

That wrongdoing, Holder acknowledged, unlawfully tainted the corruption investigation and 2008 trial of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption in his home state of Alaska.

The Proof is in the 'Puddin': Plays, Prose and Connecting the Dots of Prejudice

 

By Joseph P. Blake

 

I believe that absolutely nothing happens in a vacuum.

There is always a connection between why things happen and the something (or someone) that made it happen. All too frequently that connection is not easily apparent, and that creates problems.

I’m convinced there is a connection between the contemporary television shows like “Axe Men,” “Ice Road Truckers”, “Swamp People”, “Hillbilly Noodling”, "Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and a play entitled, “Puddin’ Head.”

The Department of Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, staged that play – containing racist content – as its contribution to Black History Month this year.

A Conspiracy of Whores

 

By John Grant

 

Whore: (verb) To debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.

-The New Oxford American Dictionary

 

It’s a challenge to make adult sense of the absurdities coming out of Colombia right now.

Trolling for Kids: The Empire is Using Hard Times to Help it Recruit More Imperial Troops and Cannon Fodder

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

In the militarist society in which we live in these latter days of American Empire, all soldiers are “noble heroes” who have signed up at “great personal sacrifice” to “defend our freedoms,” and we are all expected to pay homage and a great deal of our hard-earned money to support them, both in their brutal efforts to subjugate people in desperately poor parts of the world, and (when they leave the service, either to take jobs in the private sector or to live out broken lives if they were wounded) as veterans.

 

But let’s be honest about all this.

 

New Poem by TCBH! Resident Poet Gary Lindorff: "Which Ones Will See"

 

I’m waiting in my car for a teacher friend

at the back of her school

and, all at once,


the kids begin pouring out of the building,

most of them gravitating

to the spots 

where the buses will pull up;

others weaving 

in and out

of those clusters

in continuous motion. . .

 

One girl is doing cartwheels on the sidewalk,

another, spinning in place. 

 

Yes, The 99% Spring Is A Fraud

 

By Charles M. Young

 

With hindsight gained by googling “MoveOn” and “co-opt” after the fact, I can’t claim that nobody tried to warn me. Many websites with left and even liberal politics had said in so many words, “Be wary of this organization called The 99% Spring. It is a Trojan horse for the Democrats.” I just didn’t read that anywhere in a timely fashion. I’ve had a lot of stuff on my plate lately. That’s my excuse. And in my ignorance, I responded to some spam about “nonviolent direct action training” organized by MoveOn and got invited to this 99% Spring thing on April 10 at the Goddard Riverside Community Center in Manhattan. Somebody even called me all the way from San Francisco to make sure I was a sincere seeker on the left and would be attending, along with 120,000 others in training sessions around the country.

The Killers All Around Us

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.

Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.

Hi-Ho! The US is a Police State

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

Back in the early 1980s, I had the extraordinary good fortune to get to meet one of my literary heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, up close and personal.  We shared a police wagon, sitting next to each other for a ride to the station to be booked for blocking the door to the South African consulate in a demonstration against that country’s then policy of white rule and apartheid.

 

I can’t say I got to know the author very well, but he was quite friendly and interesting to talk to, and after our arrest and booking was over, and we were released, I shared a cab as far as his house.

 

The Trayvon Blues

By John Grant

 

Founded and preserved by acts of aggression, characterized by a continuing tradition of self-righteous violence against suspected subversion and by a vigorous sense of personal freedom, usually involving the widespread possession of firearms, the United States has evidenced a unique tolerance for homicide.

-David Brion Davis
Homicide in American Fiction 1798-1860

 


The Trayvon Martin story is not going to go away. It was a narrative event waiting to happen, and the story only gets richer with meaning as time goes on. There are the obvious racial aspects, but the most important elements are about police power versus citizen power -- and who can get away with shooting whom?

Extorting Alums: Colleges Withhold Transcripts from Grads in Loan Default

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

(This article originally appeared in The Nation online, where it can be read in full)

 

Student Photographer's Arrest: Snapshot of Systemic Police Abuse

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

I don’t know Temple University photojournalism major Ian Van Kuyk, despite his enrollment in Temple’s Journalism Department, where I teach.

I do know that dynamics embedded in the recent arrest of Van Kuyk by Philadelphia police--an arrest now generating news coverage nationwide--provide yet another snapshot of the systemic abuses I’ve reported and researched during three decades spent examining and documenting the lawlessness of supposed law enforcers.

I also know that police attacking civilians for lawfully photographing public spaces, police routinely employing unlawful excessive force and prosecutors too frequently turning a blind eye to such police misconduct are all nationwide problems.

Lawyers Guild Expects More Documents: Evidence Homeland Security Coordinated Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

If you want to know where the real government of the United States is located, just check out one of the documents received by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in response to their Freedom of Information Act request to the Dept. of Homeland Security relating to surveillance of the Occupy Movement. That document, from the Secret Service, dated September 17, 2011, the day the Occupy movement began on Wall Street, from the US Secret Service Intelligence Division, titled Prism Demonstrations Abstract, list the location as “Wall Street Bull” -- a reference to the bronze statue of a bull on Wall Street in front of the

 New York Stock Exchange, and the “protectee” as “The United States Government.”

A Poem in TCBH!: Mars, oh Mars

 

Mars, oh Mars

  how pink you are!

You hang in the east –

  a blushing star,


White Sheets Surround Florida Teen's Slaying

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


In March 1799 authorities in North Carolina found no fault in a teen fatally shooting a black man after confronting that man about his being on a public road.

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