You are hereCorporatism and Fascism

Corporatism and Fascism


Corporatism and Fascism

Bloated Defense Budgets

Doesn't bring National Security, now frankly destroyed with the extreme rise of hatreds towards us and other so called Western Powers after the previous decade!!

 

And not to leave out the huge amount of graft, corruption and political crony-ism embedded with the budgets of each contract!

 

Capitalism is an Anti-Social Disease

By Dave Lindorff

Looking at the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, where impact of the greed of corporate executives at British Petroleum, TransOcean and Halliburton, not to mention the greed of paid-off regulators in the Minerals Management Service and the members of the House and Senate who took dirty money to water down drilling regulations is evident, I was reminded of a prominent business leader in New York, recently deceased.

Told by his sister of a young woman she knew who had posted a sign on her wall saying, “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have,” this executive, who had held a top position in the media, sniffed, “Ugh! That’s terrible. If people thought like that, no one would strive to do anything.”

Tom Dispatch: William Astore: Hope and Change Fade, But War Endures, Seven Reasons Why We Can't Stop Making War

From TomDispatch today: How war has become the new American norm and seven ways to cap the wellsprings of American war -- William J. Astore, "Hope and Change Fade, But War Endures, Seven Reasons Why We Can't Stop Making War."

These days, American war is characterized mainly by its enduring quality and this country seems to accept enduring war as the new norm. "Why," asks retired Lieutenant Colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore, "do our elites so readily and regularly give war, not peace, a chance? What exactly are the wellsprings of Washington’s (and America’s) behavior when it comes to war and preparations for more of the same?"

He suggests seven such "wellsprings." These include our pride in supposedly being good at making war, the fact that we've already committed so many of our resources to it, the fact that we've left its emotional costs on the shoulders of a tiny percentage of Americans, the use of high-tech war and other techniques to limit American casualties (and so anger and debate at home), and the doomsday scenarios of Washington experts which always suggest that, if our wars don't continue, even worse is in store for us.

"Put metaphorically," writes Astore, "our nation’s pursuit of war taps so many wellsprings of our behavior that a concerted effort to cap it would dwarf BP’s efforts in the Gulf of Mexico." Nonetheless, in response to his seven wellsprings, he suggests seven ways in which the American urge for, and comfort with, enduring war could be "capped."

Do check out this original look at America in a "state of war" and in a war state -- and what might be done about it.

Unfit for War Duty, Occupations Military Toll

The wars {occupations} physical and mental tolls!

Thousands of Soldiers Unfit for War Duty

6 July 2010 More than 13,000 active-duty Army soldiers -- the equivalent of four combat brigades -- are sidelined as unfit for war because of injury, illness, or mental stress.
In an unmistakable sign that the Army is struggling with exhaustion after nine years of fighting, combat commanders whose units are headed to Afghanistan increasingly choose to leave behind soldiers who can no longer perform, putting additional strain on those who still can.

Obama warns corruption erodes faith in government: Hillary Clinton Blasts Steel Vise of Government Crushing Dissent

By Dave Lindorff

Finally, a politician has stood up and boldly denounced the creeping fascism that is gradually crushing democracy and political activism.

Not mincing her words, or trying to justify the jackboot, Secretary of State and 2008 presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton roundly condemned government actions that she said are “closing in the walls” on unions, rights advocates and organizations that press for social change or that shine a light on government shortcomings.

“Democracies don’t fear their own people,” she declared in ringing tones. “They recognize that citizens must be free to come together to advocate and agitate.”

Clinton even got the normally taciturn President Obama to join her, releasing a statement in which he said he was concerned about “the spread of restrictions on civil society, the growing use of law to curb rather than enhance freedom, and wide-spread corruption that is undermining the faith of citizens in their government.”

Some thoughts on "patriotism" written on July 4

The Anti-Empire Report
July 5th, 2010
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org

Most important thought: I'm sick and tired of this thing called "patriotism".

The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were being patriotic. The German people who supported Hitler and his conquests were being patriotic, fighting for the Fatherland. All the Latin American military dictators who overthrew democratically-elected governments and routinely tortured people were being patriotic — saving their beloved country from "communism".

General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, mass murderer and torturer: "I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country." 1

P.W. Botha, former president of apartheid South Africa: "I am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country." 2

Pol Pot, mass murderer of Cambodia: "I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country." 3

Corporate Corruption and Crime News

(Another) West Virginia miner killed in Massey operation.

Massey Staff Charged Criminally (The charges here are among those actions Velvet Revolution pointed to as criminal in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, and among those Massey's lawyers said were not criminal).

Scott+Scott LLP Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Diebold Inc. and Others on Behalf of Investors (This is lawsuit started by Velvet Revolution).

Iraq: Not Just 'wrong' but Criminal!

Did Blair know it was wrong to invade Iraq?

4th July, 2010 EIGHTY years ago, just after the First World War and with the world rapidly sliding towards the next, the French philosopher Julien Benda wrote a book called "The Treason of the Clerks" "clerks" in the medieval sense, educated men, intellectuals, who despite their high calling chose to serve the State rather than Truth.

They were the ones who provided the justification for the wars and made them possible.

Curiously, nobody has ever written a book called "The Treason of the Lawyers." Nobody has ever accused Lord Goldsmith of being an intellectual, either. But while the Law is not exactly the same as the Truth, it is certainly possible to betray it in the service of the State. That is what Goldsmith did, and it ended in a war.

Ring of Fire “Flash Crash” Financial Terrorism Interview

Ring of Fire “Flash Crash” Financial Terrorism Interview
By David DeGraw | David DeGraw.org

“On May 6th of this year, the stock market took a tremendous plunge in a matter of minutes, sparking fears that the recovery we’re seeing in the economy had all been undone. But miraculously, and very suspiciously, the market skyrocketed again and all was fine. We were told that the so-called flash crash was merely the result of a trader with fat fingers who hit the wrong buttons. But Congress isn’t so sure about this, and the timing of the crash coincided with a vote on a bill that would have broken up the big banks that caused our financial meltdown. Mike Papantonio talks with David DeGraw, who submitted a report for the House Homeland Security Committee about how this crash could have been the work of financial terrorists.” Read more.

Activists’ Letter to the Justice Department on Guantánamo, Torture and Accountability


Activists’ Letter to the Justice Department on Guantánamo, Torture and Accountability
By Andy Worthington | AndyWorthington.co.UK

On Tuesday, June 15th — a day after the acquittal of Witness Against Torture members in D.C. Superior Court of charges stemming from a January protest — a coalition of groups and individuals met with Portia Roberson, the head of the Office of Public Liaison at the Department of Justice. Our goal was to express our frustration with detention policies under the Obama administration and articulate steps we’d like to see the Justice Department take. The letter we submitted to DoJ, which outlines those steps, is attached [I’ve posted it below].

The meeting included Richard Sroczynski, Matt Daloisio, Helen Schietinger, and Jeremy Varon from WAT; Sue Udry from Defending Dissent; Leili Kashani (Education and Outreach Director) and Bill Quigley (Legal Director) from the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Orlando Tizon from the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International. We were honored to have, as late additions to the meeting, Syed Anwar Hashmi and Jeanne Theoharis. Syed is the father of Fahad Hashmi, a student from Queens, NY, who spent over 3 years in severe pre-trial solitary confinement at the MCC prison in New York City. He was accused of housing a suitcase with waterproof socks and rain ponchos that were delivered to a terrorist organization in Pakistan. Fahad continues to be subject to draconian “special administrative measures” (SAMs) that create conditions of detention amounting to torture [Note: Fahad Hashmi received a 15-year sentence for providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization on June 10]. Jeanne Theoharis, Fahad’s academic advisor at Brooklyn College, has done extensive work to publicize Fahad’s plight, rally support on his behalf, and expose the unjustifiable brutality of SAMs.

The meeting was both interesting and constructive. Ms. Roberson conveyed repeatedly that she appreciates our disappointment and anger even, and was very intent on learning more about our point of view. She was particularly impressed that we are not, for the most part, professional human rights advocates but instead “everyday people.” Her message was that she’d love to advocate, internal to DoJ, on our behalf. She would therefore like from us documentation supporting our position and demands. She also expressed a strong willingness to have a follow-up meeting. Read more.

Should BP Nuke Its Leaking Oil Well?

Should BP nuke its leaking oil well? | Reuters via CNET

His face wracked by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse tobacco, the former longtime Russian minister of nuclear energy and veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

"A nuclear explosion over the leak," he says, nonchalantly puffing a cigarette as he sits in a conference room at the Institute of Strategic Stability, where he is a director. "I don't know what BP is waiting for, they are wasting their time. Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and the problem is solved."

A nuclear fix to the leaking well has been touted online and in the occasional newspaper op-ed for weeks now. Washington has repeatedly dismissed the idea, and BP executives say they are not considering an explosion--nuclear or otherwise. But as a series of efforts to plug the 60,000 barrels of oil a day gushing from the sea floor have failed, talk of an extreme solution refuses to die.

For some, blasting the problem seems the most logical answer in the world. Mikhailov has had a distinguished career in the nuclear field, helping to close a Soviet Union program that used nuclear explosions to seal gas leaks. Ordinarily he's an opponent of nuclear blasts, but he says an underwater explosion in the Gulf of Mexico would not be harmful and could cost no more than $10 million. That compares with the $2.35 billion BP has paid out in cleanup and compensation costs so far. "This option is worth the money," he says. Read more.

The Erosion of Individual Liberties: When Justice and Politics Become One

The Erosion of Individual Liberties: When Justice and Politics Become One
By Lt. Col. Barry Wingard | Truthout

In the "War on Terror," I am amazed how every time our enemy takes action, it sets into motion a scramble by our government to take away the individual rights of Americans. Will we reach a point at which we will be completely stripped of our civil liberties in the name of eliminating danger from external threats?

I am hopeful that this won't happen for two reasons. First, my travels have shown me that the world as a whole is closely scrutinizing American policies and behavior. Second, American history is replete with examples of the government making mistakes that went too far by denying rights or privileges to particular groups or individuals. In each instance, society stood against these practices and demanded the same rights for everyone, eventually returning the equilibrium in a way that could never have been accomplished by a single person.

Despite our victories of the past, unjust treatment of groups and individuals continues in the world we live in today. It is being played out every day at Guantanamo Bay and throughout America, where to be Muslim is to be suspect.

At Guantanamo, we have been detaining prisoners for nearly a decade without charges or trials, claiming that the detainees fall into a special category that allows us to treat them differently from the mandates of our justice system and our values as Americans. The presumption of innocence is one of the great hallmarks of the American judicial system. At Guantanamo, the government presumes the opposite. If you are caged there, you are guilty, and you will serve a life sentence, regardless of the evidence against you. Read more.

How Goldman Sachs Caused a ‘Silent Mass Murder,’ Gambling on Starvation in the Developing World


How Goldman Sachs Caused a ‘Silent Mass Murder,’ Gambling on Starvation in the Developing World
How Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and others caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world.
By Johann Hari | Alternet via People for Freedom

By now, you probably think your opinion of Goldman Sachs and its swarm of Wall Street allies has rock-bottomed at raw loathing. You’re wrong. There’s more. It turns out that the most destructive of all their recent acts has barely been discussed at all. Here’s the rest. This is the story of how some of the richest people in the world – Goldman, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and more – have caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world.

It starts with an apparent mystery. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people – mostly children – couldn’t afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.”

Earlier this year I was in Ethiopia, one of the worst-hit countries, and people there remember the food crisis as if they had been struck by a tsunami. “My children stopped growing,” a woman my age called Abiba Getaneh, told me. “I felt like battery acid had been poured into my stomach as I starved. I took my two daughters out of school and got into debt. If it had gone on much longer, I think my baby would have died.”

Most of the explanations we were given at the time have turned out to be false. It didn’t happen because supply fell: the International Grain Council says global production of wheat actually increased during that period, for example. It isn’t because demand grew either: as Professor Jayati Ghosh of the Centre for Economic Studies in New Delhi has shown, demand actually fell by 3 per cent. Other factors – like the rise of biofuels, and the spike in the oil price – made a contribution, but they aren’t enough on their own to explain such a violent shift.

To understand the biggest cause, you have to plough through some concepts that will make your head ache – but not half as much as they made the poor world’s stomachs ache. Read more.

Conspiracy Theories?

Grist to the conspiracy mill

4 Jul 2010 Many of Blair’s former intimates would rather it were not any sort of deal. Each of the men bidding to become Labour’s next leader has discovered – just in time – that the Iraq war was a bit of a mistake and yet, somehow, nothing to do with them. David Miliband, for one, has urged that we all “move on”.

This is the same Miliband who, as Foreign Secretary, rose in the Commons to state categorically (and indignantly) that MI5 had not, and would never, involve itself in the torture of prisoners. He had better hope that the forthcoming Government inquiry into the issue is also happy to “move on”.

Actually, Afghanistan Is A War Of Choice

Actually, Afghanistan is a war of choice
By Ian Welsh | Crooks & Liars

This is the sad truth of America: the only acceptable form of Keynesian spending is military Keynesianism. Instead of hiring tens of thousands of teachers, building a high speed rail network across the country, refitting every building to be energy efficient and doing a massive solar and wind build-out to reduce dependence on oil, well, the US would rather turn Afghans and Pakistanis into a fine red mist.

Michael Steele's comments on Afghanistan remind me of my favorite definition of a gaffe: "saying the truth in the worst way possible."

To wit, Steele said that Afghanistan is a war of Obama's choosing, and that everyone who's occupied Afghanistan has come to grief over it. Now one can quibble a bit over the details of who came to grief and who didn't, but basically he's right. Afghanistan went badly for the Russians and the British, most recently. There's a reason Afghanistan is called the "graveyard of Empires" and if the US isn't careful it'll be the graveyard of the US empire. Read more.

Wells Fargo, Wachovia Involved in Numerous Mexican Drug Laundering Schemes

Wells Fargo, Wachovia Involved in Numerous Mexican Drug Laundering Schemes
By Mike Shedlock | Favstocks

If you or I was involved in drug laundering of as little as 2 dollars and fifty cents we would be in prison.

Wachovia bank, now part of Wells Fargo via a merger, has laundered countless sums of Mexican cartel drug money and will get off with a slap of the wrist. The reason...Wells Fargo is too big to fail.

Please consider Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else. Read more.

BP Ordered To Release Information on Well Bore Damage and Sea Floor Leaks From BP Gulf Oil Spill

BP Ordered To Release Information on Well Bore Damage and Sea Floor Leaks From BP Gulf Oil Spill
By Alexander Higgins | Alexander Higgins' Blog

Florida Oil Spill Law points us to a press release issued by Representative Markey questioning BP on the integrity of the BP Gulf Oil Spill well bore and the leaks in the the surrounding sea floor.

The Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee Rep. Ed Markey is now questioning not only if oil and gas are seeping out of the damaged casing into the seabed and surrounding rock, but whether oil and gas may be rushing IN to the casing after BP drilled into oil formations above the target reservoir.

The press release from Rep Markey reads:

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2010) – In an extensive inquiry letter sent to BP today, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asked the company about the progress and design of the relief wells, which are now being drilled to shut down the still-spewing BP Macondo well. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s briefing by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, where he said alternatives to the relief wells are being considered.

“The relief wells are still our best chance to end this spill,” said Rep. Markey, who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We need to know that these efforts are being conducted with the utmost of caution and competence, so that this gushing geyser of oil is safely shut off.” Read more.

BP and Government Misleading Public About Safety Of Florida Beaches

BP and Government Misleading Public About Safety Of Florida Beaches
By Alexander Higgins | Alexander Higgins' Blog

As a tide of tarballs from the BP Gulf Oil Spill assaults the Florida coast line local Florida residents, businesses and county officials are demanding action from BP, State, and Federal Government officials in charge of monitoring and responding to the spill.

Local residents in Walton County, Florida demanded a Town Hall meeting to discuss the lack of response to the oil assaulting the coast line.

They are also demanding answers to other questions like why local beaches have been declared safe and remain open even though tarballs have been washing ashore for weeks in Florida and the DEP hasn’t tested the waters for hydrocarbons since May 1st.

Ed Berry, a local businessmen, urged the commissioners to make sure the appropriate parties are being held accountable.

In his testimony he said “The children were in the water swimming. They were coming out of the water with tarballs on their face; they were wiping their face and having tar in their eyes and on their mouth.” Read more, watch startling videos.

Afghan War Funding: Oh It's 1-2-3 What Do We Spend It On?

By Dave Lindorff

Just days before we celebrate the 224th anniversary of America’s declaration of independence from a colonial overlord on the other side of the world, Congress approved the allocation of yet another $33 billion in funds to support America’s attempt to occupy and run, on the other side of the world, the incredibly poor nation of Afghanistan.

That’s $33 billion for a ninth year of war in a country that is being described apocalyptically by our leaders as America’s greatest existential threat, though in truth it is a landlocked nation of mostly illiterate and impoverished tribal peoples who for centuries have been occupied with battling each other, and most of whom have no idea where America is, or perhaps even if the world is round or flat. Afghanistan, in short, makes Saddam Hussein’s WMD-less Iraq look like a superpower.

Dr. Kelly 'Couldn't Have Slit His Wrist As He Was Too Weak'

Dr Kelly 'couldn't have slit his wrist as he was too weak'
By Miles Goslett | Daily Mail

Dramatic new testimony has heaped pressure on ministers to reopen the investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.

A female colleague claims that the UN weapons inspector could not have committed suicide as claimed, as he was too weak to cut his own wrist.

Mai Pedersen, a U.S. Air Force officer who served with Dr Kelly's inspection team in Iraq, said a hand and arm injury meant that the 59-year-old even 'had difficulty cutting his own steak'.

Dr Kelly was found dead in woods near his home in 2003 after the Government exposed him as the source of a BBC report questioning Tony Blair's government's case for war in Iraq. Read more.

Declare Your Independence! Americans Need Independent Media, Independent Movements and Independent Electoral Politics

If I had to pick one word for Americans who want real change, it would be independence.

Not only because the United States was founded on the idea of independence but because those of us who work to try and change the country for the better and have studied American history have learned this has always been the critical ingredient for real change.

First, we need independent media. Web based outlets like this one are a critical ingredient to the success of advocacy efforts. Like so many businesses in the United States, the media is controlled by concentrated group of corporations. A handful of companies own all the hundreds of television stations on your cable TV. The same is true of radio stations. More and more newspapers are part of syndicates. These conglomerates has resulted in homogenized that only reports a concentrated corporate perspective.

The Karaoke Played On

By Missy Comley Beattie

My mother has an opera-quality voice. No training. Two of my siblings can sing. I can’t. At all.

I positioned the karaoke machine near the television set and plugged the auxiliary cables into the back of the TV for a wider word screen. I rarely watch television, except when “researching” the inadequacies of “mainstream” mediocrity for an article. Every now and then, when I read something important on the Internet, I turn on the tube to see if anyone is addressing the issue. Usually, the answer is either an “Update” sentence beneath the blathering blahblah blahers or a no.

So, largely, the TV monitor will be an accessory for the karaoke machine that is my scream therapy. “Sing, sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong.”

NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option

NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option
By Miles Mogelescu | Huffington Post

For months I've been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. (See here, here and here). I've been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further.

Hopefully, that's changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. Shultz quoted Chip Kahn, chief lobbyist for the for-profit hospital industry on Kahn's confidence that the White House would honor the no public option deal, and Kirkpatrick responded:

"That's a lobbyist for the hospital industry and he's talking about the hospital industry's specific deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee and, yeah, I think the hospital industry's got a deal here. There really were only two deals, meaning quid pro quo handshake deals on both sides, one with the hospitals and the other with the drug industry. And I think what you're interested in is that in the background of these deals was the presumption, shared on behalf of the lobbyists on the one side and the White House on the other, that the public option was not going to be in the final product."

Kirkpatrick also reported in his original New York Times article that White House was standing behind the deal with the for-profit hospitals: "Not to worry, Jim Messina, the deputy White House chief of staff, told the hospital lobbyists, according to White House officials and lobbyists briefed on the call. The White House was standing behind the deal".

This should be big news. Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill. Read more.

The Mythology Surrounding Petraeus' Surge in Iraq Will Keep Us Trapped in Afghanistan


The Mythology Surrounding Petraeus' Surge in Iraq Will Keep Us Trapped in Afghanistan
The real story of Petraeus' job in Iraq is that he failed to accomplish one of the most crucial tasks of the occupation.
By Joshua Holland | Alternet

The United States is stalled in a hopeless conflict in Afghanistan in large part because its foreign policy establishment, aided by an often-vacuous media, has come to believe its own spin about General David Petraeus’ "success" turning around the occupation in Iraq. The fact that Iraq remains a shattered country with an active insurgency seven years after the United States invaded -- and that any improvement in security was due to developments on the ground that were unique to the country -- hasn’t shaken their faith.

That the Iraq surge was a success is almost a universally held belief, despite ample evidence to the contrary. That belief lends unearned weight to Petraeus’ counter-insurgency doctrine, known as COIN. The idea is not only to kill as many of the enemy as possible, but to create a functional, legitimate state that can police its own territory and win over the hearts and minds of the population. The efficacy of COIN has become an article of faith across the ideological spectrum, a belief held tightly by neocons and liberal interventionists alike. But it has no track record of success whatsoever, either in Iraq or elsewhere in the world. At best, it remains an unproven theory of warfare.

David Petraeus, President Obama’s new commander in Afghanistan, is COIN’s most vocal champion. Widely seen as a golden-boy genius, Petraeus is the personification of America’s über-professional post-Vietnam military -- a military that supposedly embraces a more holistic view of modern warfare than its kill-'em-all predecessor.

In 2007, when American opinion of the Iraq conflict was at an all-time low, George W. Bush named Petraeus the commander of Iraqi forces. Earlier that year, the late congressman John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, accused the administration of calling Petraeus back to Washington on the eve of a major vote pertaining to the Iraq project to serve as a “prop.” “I’m saying he came back here at the White House’s request to purely make political statements,” Murtha said while dismissing Petraeus’ claims about the course of conflict as “absolutely untrue.” At the time, the Washington Post reported that “the Petraeus card is about the only one left to play for a White House confronting low poll numbers, an unpopular war and an opposition Congress.” Read more.

TomDispatch Presents Ann Jones, Counterinsurgency Down for the Count in Afghanistan..., But the War Machine Grinds On and On and On


From TomDispatch this morning: an expert on Afghanistan, just embedded with the U.S. Army near the Pakistani border, offers a devastating account of just why the American war strategy is failing: Ann Jones, "Counterinsurgency Down for the Count in Afghanistan..., But the War Machine Grinds On and On and On."

Ann Jones, who worked with Afghan women for years and wrote the moving, prescient book Kabul in Winter, was just embedded with a U.S. Army unit at a forward operating base near the Pakistani border. She saw in person there and elsewhere how the American counterinsurgency strategy is flailing amid even larger policy failures. In her latest TomDispatch post, she puts together a devastating portrait of Afghanistan today, based on four questions: Why isn't the American war strategy working? (Dead civilians, broken promises, angry Afghans, and upset American soldiers.) If it's not, why does the president stick with it anyway? (False hopes of misapplied "lessons" from Iraq.) How, by comparison, is the enemy's strategy doing? (Just fine -- they've launched a "surge" of their own -- while a "creeping Talibanization" of the country is underway.) And if everything's going so badly, why can't it be stopped?

Jones answers that last question in her conclusion to this remarkable overview of Afghanistan today as a planetary disaster area and looting zone: "And so it goes round and round, this ill-oiled war machine, generating ever more incentives for almost everyone involved -- except ordinary Afghans, of course -- to keep on keeping on. There’s a little something for quite a few: government officials in the U.S., Afghanistan, and Pakistan, for-profit contractors, defense intellectuals, generals, spies, soldiers behind the lines, international aid workers and their Afghan employees, diplomats, members of the Afghan National Army, and the police, and the Taliban, and their various pals, and the whole array of camp followers that service warfare everywhere.

"It goes round and round, this inexorable machine, this elaborate construction of corporate capitalism at war, generating immense sums of money for relatively small numbers of people, immense debt for our nation, immense sacrifice from our combat soldiers, and for ordinary Afghans and those who have befriended them or been befriended by them, moments of promise and hope, moments of clarity and rage, and moments of dark laughter that sometimes cannot forestall the onset of despair." Jones has written a piece for our moment, a must-read!

In Iraq, Little To Show

In Iraq, Little To Show For Lost Lives, Billions Spent

 

 

July 1, 2010 Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq's cities. Amid the continuing drawdown, only 50,000 U.S. troops will be left in Iraq by the end of the summer.

The country is at a crossroads. While violence is down from the levels of 2006 and 2007, many Iraqis say the country the U.S. is slowly leaving behind is hardly a success story.

Every day, massive convoys roll out of Iraq carrying the machinery of war. This is one of the largest and most complicated drawdowns in U.S. history — as well as one of the speediest.

Oil Spill Media Access: Reporters Still Given The Runaround Even As Public Health Concerns Mount

Oil Spill Media Access: Reporters Still Given The Runaround Even As Public Health Concerns Mount
By Jason Linkins | Huffington Post

The latest chapter in the media's ongoing struggle to cover the Gulf Oil Spill comes courtesy of PBS Newshour's Bridget Desimone, who has been working with her colleague, Betty Ann Bowser, in "reporting the health impact of the oil spill in Plaquemines Parish." Desimone reports that on the ground, officials are generally doing a better job answering inquiries and granting access to the clean-up efforts.

But Desimone and Bowser have encountered one "roadblock" that they've struggled to overcome: access to a "federal mobile medical unit" in Venice, Louisiana: "The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the "BP compound." Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it's tightly restricted by police and private security guards."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the facility on May 31. According to a press release, the medical unit is staffed by "a medical team from the HHS National Disaster Medical System -- a doctor, two nurses, two emergency medical technician paramedics (EMT-P) and a pharmacist."

For over two weeks, my NewsHour colleagues and I reached out to media contacts at HHS, the U.S. Coast Guard and everyone listed as a possible media contact for BP, in an attempt to visit the unit and get a general sense of how many people were being treated there , who they were and what illnesses they had. We got nowhere. It was either "access denied," or no response at all. It was something that none of us had ever encountered while covering a disaster. We're usually at some point provided access to the health services being offered by the federal government. Read more.

Terrorism: Why They Want to Kill Us

Terrorism: Why They Want to Kill Us
By Doug Bandow | Cato Institute

The horrid attacks of 9/11 led to the cry: Why do they hate us? Most Americans seemed to believe that it was because we are such nice people. But the Times Square bomber reminds us that terrorism is mostly a response to U.S. government policies.

After 9/11 President George W. Bush reassured Americans: we were attacked because we are beautiful people, spreading freedom around the world. But often the actions of our government are seen by others as less than beautiful. To seek an explanation for terrorism is not to excuse monstrous attacks on civilians. But understanding what motivates people to kill could help reduce terrorism in the future.

Terrorism is not new. It was used against Russian Tsars, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and British colonial officials. Algerians employed terrorism against the French and later Algerian governments. Basque and Irish separatists freely relied on terrorism. Until Iraq, the most promiscuous suicide bombers were Tamils in Sri Lanka. In none of these cases did the killing occur in response to freedom, whether in America or elsewhere.

Robert Pape of the University of Chicago studied the most recent cases: "The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign--over 95 percent of all the incidents--has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw." Read more.

""America Speaks to BP"" This Afternoon

Live streaming Q&A this afternoon

July 1, 2010

Ask BP Exec Bob Dudley Your Questions for a Live Interview Thursday

 

On July 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET, senior correspondent Ray Suarez will moderate a live Q&A session between BP's Bob Dudley, the executive now in charge of the company's oil leak response, and you.

 

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

 

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Speaking Events

2015

April 11 Michigan

April 18 Baltimore

April 25 Houston

May 8 New Jersey

May 30 NYC if LeftForum approves proposals

August 27, Chicago

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.