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By Dave Lindorff
Most Americans, their minds focused at the moment on the tragic slaughter of 20 young children aged 5-10, along with five teachers and a school principal in Connecticut by a heavily-armed psychotic 21-year-old, are blissfully unaware that their last president, George W. Bush, along with five key members of his administration, were convicted in absentia of war crimes earlier this month at a tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
By Dave Lindorff
I’ll be brief here. Let’s just note that the heroic teachers who died while courageously trying to protect their kids at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and the others who survived but stayed to protect the kids, were all part of a school system where the employees are members of the American Federation of Teachers.
By Dan DeWalt
Thank God for the fiscal cliff. With the election over, the media needed something upon which they could incessantly fixate, and our daily updates on the fate of the cliff-hanger negotiations are plenty of fodder to hold us until we have the final Christmas sales figures to talk about.
From Crooks and Liars:
The fiscal cliff once again dominated the Sunday morning talk shows (which isn't a surprise), and entitlement cuts were indeed a focal point by the lead bobblehead of each show. But what I found most offensive was that not one Villager or politician discussed cuts to defense spending as a solution for the Mayan Apocalypse of the federal deficit. In part, the reason the fiscal cliff is coming is because the sequester deal has massive cuts to defense spending, 2013 which is freaking out Republicans.
Defense Spending: This is an area where Republicans are likely to launch a major opposition campaign because defense programs would receive a 9.4 to 10 percent reduction from its 2013 budget of $580 billion, or about $55 billion. Although the president exempted military personnel pay and benefits, defense programs, including weapons and procurement programs, are subject to half of the automatic budget cuts, even though defense programs are about one-fifth of the federal budget. States that have a very large defense presence have been very vocal about opposing these cuts.
The fact that entitlement benefits aren't part of the sequester probably has Republicans really angry since they can't use that as leverage in this debate. But if pols and pinheads are so worried about the federal deficit, then why aren't defense cuts a top priority? What we hear instead is that severe cuts to federal spending, coupled with bad job growth and raised taxes, will result in a deep financial recession. While the president won on raising tax rates, that isn't the manna from heaven that will fix our economic problems if Obama includes benefit cuts to Medicare and Medicaid for a small raise in rates. Raising the retirement age doesn't do a thing to help lower federal deficits, so why exactly are Republicans asking for it -- and why does it appear that the president is willing to acquiesce to those demands? Since 'defense" makes up over almost 20% of the federal budget expenditures, why is it off limits in this discussion?
On Face The Nation, Bob Shieffer didn't bring up cuts in defense spending once and the only mention I see of it was by cranky ex-Sen. Simpson calling earned benefits/entitlements a 'destructive force" which would hurt defense spending
SCHIEFFER: So you think they've got to do that. But also, don't you think that the Democrats are going to have to agree to some entitlement reforms?
SIMPSON: ...But, yes, I mean, the bizarre thing, not touching the entitlements. The entitlements are the engine on the train driving us to the cliff. They were on automatic pilot. Health care, it doesn't matter what you call it, is on automatic pilot. And it's going to squeeze out all the discretionary budget -- defense, R&D research, all the things you love. Erskine and I always say, what do you love? And they'll name something and we say forget it because this is wiping everything. It's just a destructive force. And no cost containment till down the road..
What's destructive, Mr. Simpson, are austerity measures being forced upon the people during a recession and after an economic downturn.
On Meet The Press, defense spending was not mentioned once, but cuts to entitlements was at center stage, with the host of MTP seemingly negotiating with Republicans for 'big cuts" to entitlements
GREGORY: All right. Well, senator, let me just-- I want to pin you down on one point about Medicare. You say you want to basically put off this discussion until later. But bottom line, should the Medicare eligibility age go up? Should there be means testing to really get at the benefits side, if you’re going to shore this program up, because as you say, 12 years before it runs out of money?
The segment on the fiscal cliff went mostly like that and again, no mention if Republicans would accept big cuts in defense to fight off rate hikes.
On Fox News Sunday, neither Chris Wallace, Senators Corker or Schumer mentioned cutting defense spending when talking about a fiscal deal. They did, however, go large on entitlement cuts with Sen.Schumer actually agreeing that Corker's proposal was good for America.
Corker; So, and a lot of people are putting forth a theory and I actually think it has merit where you go ahead and give the president the 2 percent increase that he is talking about, the rate increase on the top 2 percent. And all of a sudden, the shift goes back to entitlements, and all of a sudden, once you give him the right on the top 2 percent, it's actually much lesser tax increase than what he has been talking about, the focus then shifts to entitlements and maybe it puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves the nation.
SCHUMER: Well, bottom line is, if Speaker Boehner ends up where Senator Corker has just said he is, we will get a large agreement. And -- but, Speaker Boehner has not said that. And so, we Democrats realize that there have to be two sides to this bargain.
Corker: The shift in focus and entitlements is where we need to go and, again, it is a shame that we're not just sitting down and solving this. But Republicans know that they have the debt ceiling that's coming up right around the corner, and, the leverage is going to shift, as soon as we get beyond this issue.
Wow. And finally ABC's THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos. And the guest stars were Senators Tom Coburn and Debbie Stabenow along with Congressman (D) Raul Grijalva and (R) Jeb Hensarling. How did they do with cuts to defense spending? Nada, nothing, zilch. Only three mentions of the word defense. Once when George set up what would happen if the sequester kicks in and twice more while talking about DOMA.
Coburn was in rare form by saying we don't really need Medicare or Social Security, anyway.
"The fact is we are spending money we don't have on things we don't absolutely need," he concluded. "And there's no grownups in Washington that will say, 'Time out, stop the politics, let's have a compromise rather than play the game through the press and hurt the country.' We're already going to get another debt downgrade just from what's happening now because nobody in positions of power are willing to do what's important and necessary for our country."
Why do people even vote for these Republicans who want to take so much away from them for a crisis caused by crimes the people who will suffer most didn't commit?
How did right-wing politics in the United States survive the 1960s and 1970s and thrive beyond? Not only did the wealthy invest in the corruption of politics, but the politicians invested in the normalization of treason.
When presidential candidate Richard Nixon sabotaged the peace process in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson privately called it treason and publicly kept his mouth shut.
By the time Bush the Elder, also involved in that earlier treason, worked with Robert Gates and William Casey to sabotage President Carter's efforts to free hostages in Iran, the normalization was well underway.
The corruption of Watergate involved not only no-holds-barred political thievery, but also Nixon's fear that Daniel Ellsberg or the Brookings Institution or someone else had possession of a file detailing Nixon's successful 1968 efforts to prevent the war on Vietnam from ending.
The Iran-Contra scandal that grew out of the U.S.-Israeli-Iranian plot to replace Carter with Reagan, and the Iraq-gate scandal that followed, witnessed a last fling of half-hearted pushback in Congress and the corporate media. Today such non-sexual scandals no longer end in -gate. In fact, they are no longer scandals.
Piling George W. Bush's blatantly stolen elections onto the history of recent U.S. politics calls into question the ability of Republicans to get elected to national office without cheating. But the normalization of treason has been very much a bi-partisan affair.
Robert Parry, who runs the invaluable website ConsortiumNews.com, has a new book out called "America's Stolen Narrative." My recommendation is to immediately read this book from Chapter 2 through to the end. The introduction and chapter 1 depict President Barack Obama as having nothing but the best intentions, glorify the American Revolution, argue in favor of a strong federal government, and defend the practice of requiring people to purchase private health insurance (a Republican idea in its origins, of course, although Parry has adopted it as Democratic and good). Also, Chapter 3 takes a detour into arguing unpersuasively for lesser-evilism. If you're into that sort of thing, knock yourselves out. But in my view such discussions muddle and belittle the significance of the rest of this tremendously important book.
The "stolen narratives" referred to in the title are the accurate accounts that Parry presents of the treasonous acts I've mentioned above. Parry is an investigative journalist who has unearthed powerful evidence of the crimes of Nixon, Reagan, and others. Parry not only details the evidence but recounts the processes of coverup and distortion that the U.S. media has made its second nature. The result of this history is, I'm afraid, far worse than Parry's opening pages let on. Not only do Americans imagine that their politicians mean well when they do not, particularly in the area of foreign policy, but the United States has fundamentally accepted unlimited presidential powers. Nixon's crimes during his famous coverup, and the far worse underlying crimes as well, have now been legalized and accepted. Presidents do not answer to Congress or the public or the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. To a great extent, the people of our country have accepted temporary despots, and to a great extent our people falsely believe themselves powerless to act. They imagine the left did something wrong through acting. This is part of how history must be explained when leaving out the fact that the right has been cheating.
Parry's account of Nixon's undoing of peace in Vietnam, allowing for another four years of slaughter in Southeast Asia, is the best I've seen and alone worth the purchase of "America's Stolen Narrative." Parry imagines what it might have meant, not only for peace in the world, but also for social justice and the "war on poverty" in the United States had Hubert Humphrey defeated Nixon. To the extent that Nixon's successful electoral sabotage in 1968 opened the door to dirtier politics ever since, the damage can be multiplied.
Needless to say, that door was always somewhat opened. The Business Plot of 1933 was hardly less treasonous than anything Nixon did. Nixon's go-between with the Vietnamese in 1968 was the widow of Claire Lee Chennault who had worked to provide China with U.S. planes, pilots, and training, to plan the firebombing of Japan and provoke Japan into the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our false narratives still require the acceptance or glorification of all things related to World War II, but in fact one can see a bit of the husband in the widow Chennault. And then there's the assassination of President Kennedy, which evidence suggests George H.W. Bush played a role in as in most of Parry's post-1960's narrative.
But Parry's case that we turned a corner toward a nastier political world with the Nixon presidency is a strong one.
The account of the Carter-Reagan October Surprise is also the best I've seen, in terms of the evidence presented and the background provided, including on the central role of the Israeli government. The same gang that hung President Carter out to dry for failing to free the hostages had earlier pressured him to bring the Shah of Iran to the United States, thereby provoking the fears of Iranians and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy. The weapons shipments to Iran later grew into the Iran-Contra scandal, but common understanding of that scandal fails to trace it to its roots in the treasonous bargain that kept the hostages prisoners until the day of Reagan's inauguration.
Parry devotes whole chapters to the history of corrupt manipulation by a couple of the dirtiest individuals in Washington: Colin Powell and Robert Gates. These two manage their heights of corruption and influence, in part, through their cross-partisanship. Democrats in Parry's worldview seem to be largely battered wives failing to push back, failing to speak out, refusing to investigate or prosecute or impeach. True enough, as far as it goes. But I think there is a great measure of complicity and outright expansion of bipartisan abuses that must be credited to the Democrats as well. An accurate understanding of exactly how evil some of our Republicans have been need not turn us into cheerleaders for the party of the current president, his record classifications, his groundbreaking secrecy claims, his record whistleblower prosecutions, his record levels of warrantless spying, his imprisonments without trial, his wars without Congress, his war-making CIA, or his "kill list" murder program. Instead, an accurate understanding of how evil some of our politicians have been should move us to become, like Robert Parry, dogged pursuers of the facts that those in power seek to bury or beautify.
The message could hardly be clearer: According to U.S. intelligence, Syrian government could very well be preparing to use chemical weapons to put down the long and bloody rebellion against ruler Bashar al-Assad. That was the signal from the TV networks and other major media. Should anyone believe they're right?
"Chemicals so deadly one drop can kill within minutes," explained ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (12/3/12), adding that one question on the table was "whether it means the U.S. may be forced to take action." Correspondent Martha Raddatz explained:
The latest intelligence is alarming. Officials telling ABC News the U.S. is now seeing specific signs that the Syrian regime may be preparing to use the chemical Sarin against opposition forces.
On CBS Evening News (12/3/12), anchor Scott Pelley explained:
Assad has not used his chemical weapons, including nerve gas, but the possibility that he might threatens to pull the United States into that Middle East conflict.
Pelley added that Pentagon correspondent David Martin "has been talking to his sources," and indeed he had. Martin explained:
This is a commercial satellite photo of a Syrian chemical weapons base. U.S. monitoring of roughly two dozen bases like this indicates the Assad regime has begun preparing its chemical weapons for use. Orders have been issued to bring together chemical ingredients, which are normally stored separately for safety, but when combined form the deadly nerve agent Sarin.
On the NBC Nightly News (12/5/12), anchor Brian Williams led the newscast:
Chemical weapons in Syria. Suddenly, the world has an urgent situation on its hands. The fear is Syria is preparing to use them against its own people.
NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski went on:
U.S. officials tell us that the Syrian military is poised tonight to use chemical weapons against its own people. And all it would take is the final order from Syrian President Assad.
He added that "this week, U.S. intelligence detected a flurry of activity at chemical weapons sites…the alarming developments shook the world."
By John Grant
Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Arizona, was walking in Times Square on a cold night in November and came across a New York City police officer giving a barefoot homeless man a pair of all-weather boots he had purchased out of his own pocket. Moved, she took out her cell phone and snapped a picture.
By Dave Lindorff
It is amazing to watch politicians trying to weasel their way around their promises. President Obama is providing us with a good illustration of the art.
By Dave Lindorff
Run a google search of “World Bank” and “climate change” and you’ll discover that this month the World Bank released a major study predicting a global “cataclysm” if world-wide temperatures increase by a predicted four degrees celsius (that’s roughly 8 degrees fahrenheit).
By John Grant
Using one of those overarching dramatic titles we have come to expect in mainstream media news coverage, John Stewart summed up the Petraeus story as “Band of Boners.” It's the sort of thing that may be inevitable when so much power is given so much free reign by so much secrecy.
Witch Hunting in Kansas: Anti-Abortion Pols Pile on to Attack Doctor Who Aided Tiller in Keeping Abortion Available
By Michael Caddell
… [Dr. Ann Kristin] Neuhaus wishes that she'd skipped the hearing.
In the November issue of COLDTYPE MAGAZINE
STILL WAITIN': a Short Film on Who Owns the Vietnam War, by TCBH!'s John Grant and the Viet War Commemoration Correction Project
A short film produced by
The Vietnam War Commemoration CORRECTION Project
To see the film, please go to: www.ThisCantBeHappening.net
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:
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.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Two police lieutenants face a similar criminal charge but one gets a slap on the wrist while the other is fired.
One of these two police supervisors is an officer with a distinguished record of exposing corruption and misconduct.
Guess which of those two veteran police officers received the harsher punishment?
By Dave Lindorff
A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana, showing that young children who are fearful in childhood are likely to be conservative when they grow up got me to thinking.
Veterans For Peace supports the abolition of war. We therefore have mixed feelings about opposition to a particular war when that opposition supports the institution of war making as an acceptable tool of public policy, and when the opposition builds into its assumptions much of the propaganda it should be exposing.
NewsHour botches basic fact about Iran dispute
In an October 22 discussion of the foreign policy presidential debate, the PBS NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown stated that "Iran's nuclear weapons program has been a particular flash point."
A few weeks earlier (10/5/12) on the NewsHour, Ray Suarez said that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez had
continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington's attempt to convince Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
As most people following this story should know, there is no intelligence that shows Iran has a nuclear weapons program. The country has long denied the accusation, and regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to turn up evidence that Iran's enriched uranium is being diverted for use in a weapon (Extra!, 1/12).
Some governments claim otherwise, but journalists are supposed to convey the evidence that is available--not to make claims that are unsupported by the facts. If there was one clear lesson from the Iraq War, it was that reporters need to carefully distinguish between what is known for certain and what some government leaders claim.
There have been questions about the NewsHour's Iran reporting before (FAIR Blog, 1/10/12). On January 9 the broadcast reported that Iran's denial that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon was "disputed by the U.S. and its allies." The show turned to a clip from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to bolster that point -- but edited out the part of his statement in which he said, "Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No." A NewsHour editor agreed (FAIR Blog, 1/1712) that "it would have been better had we not lopped off the first part of the Panetta quote."
Unfortunately, these recent examples suggest that the show is still being careless about how it reports the facts about Iran.
Tell the PBS NewsHour to correct its assertions that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.
Dubious Reports About Fidel Castro's Health
by Stephen Lendman
Responding in longer form to erroneous reports of his death, Mark Twain was quoted saying, "Reports of my death death were greatly exaggerated."
My favorite quote was from the British government spokesperson, who assured us: “All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention.”
Tears come to my eyes as I think about the kindness of coalition bullets, the empathy of coalition bombs — unlike, I’m certain, the ammo used by terrorists, which is cruel, which hates our way of life and wants only to destroy it.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Much is rightly made of the ‘maverick’ character of former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in obituaries and other media coverage since his recent death.
That maverick streak certainly animated Specter’s December 2010 Farewell Speech from the Senate where he criticized the lack of civility currently rampant in that body plus assailed both political parties for perpetuating legislative gridlock and abuses of Senate rules.
By Dan DeWalt
Tuesday's Presidential debate spoke volumes about the sorry state of politics today. Granted, both contenders gave a good show: Obama was back on his game and Romney did his best to sound like Ronald Reagan. The pundits have been given a lovely hopper of fodder to hold them for a week or so. It has been agreed that Americans only care for a spectacle, so this debate will be analyzed and judged the same way any theatrical event gets reviewed by the critics.
By Dave Lindorff
Six children were attacked in Afghanistan and Pakistan this past week. Three of them, teenaged girls on a school bus in Peshawar, in the tribal region of western Pakistan, were shot and gravely wounded by two Taliban gunmen who were after Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old girl who has been bravely demanding the right of girls to an education. After taking a bullet to the head, and facing further death threats, she has been moved to a specialty hospital in Britain. Her two wounded classmates are being treated in Pakistan.
Infomercials for Despots
by Stephen Lendman
Sanitizing news and suppressing what's most important is bad enough. Imagine compounding it by producing infomercials for despots. CNN stands accused. More on that below.
It's well known that Western major media represent wealth and power interests. Fox New is a Republican party house organ. It also reflects Rupert Murdoch's worldview.
"The Good American: A Situation Report for Citizens" by B. Sidney Smith is well worth reading, and you can read it in an hour. This is more the length of an article than a book, and you could read it in the same time in which you could read a lengthy review by me that wouldn't do it justice.
Smith summarizes brilliantly the state of U.S. society; the role our government/military plays in the world; the ways our televisions and advertising and elections keep us ignorant, distracted, obedient, and pacified; the degree to which ours has become an unequal class society; the looming environmental catastrophe we face (or should face up to); and -- a little less brilliantly -- what we can do about it.
I could quote many excellent paragraphs or quibble with the points I disagree on. But fundamentally this is an outstanding pamphlet that should be spread around like Tom Paine's was. I can't think of a better, more concise explanation for your average American of what sort of mess we're in. It's a shame that Smith follows his analysis with a final chapter that walks right up to the edge of demanding creative nonviolent activism and then tells the reader -- exactly as would Obama or Romney: "Now go vote."
New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World
Parents: Have your kids been tired in the morning? Have you found wet bathing suits in their beds? Do they know things about far-away places that you didn’t teach them and they didn’t learn in school? Do children visiting your town from halfway around the world always seem to be friends with your kids, and to only be around during certain hours of the day? You won’t believe the explanation, but your kids might grin and wink at each other if you read it to them.
Kids: Did you know the center of the Earth was hollow? Do you know the words that can take you there, if you’re under the covers in your swimming suit and prepared for the trip? Can you imagine traveling anywhere in the world where there’s a swimming pool — and being home again in time for breakfast? If you haven’t been to Tube World yet, this book will tell you the secrets you need to know. And it will tell you about some children who discovered Tube World and used it to make the whole world a better place.
The paperback has been published in two versions, one with slightly better color, slightly better paper, and a dramatically higher price.
Buy the standard paperback from Amazon,
(If you order from Amazon it will ship right away even if Amazon says it won't ship for weeks; it is print-on-demand.)
Buy the premium paperback from Amazon,
Your local independent bookstore can order the book through Ingram.
Anyone can order the book in bulk at the lowest possible price right here.
Buy PDF, Audio, EPUB, or Kindle for $8 right here:
Advance Praise for Tube World:
“This book will make you laugh till water comes out your ears!”--Wesley
“This story is super flibba garibbidy schmibbadie libbidie awesome, mostly!”--Travis
“The best part is we saved 2,000 islands and pretty much the whole world in our swimming suits!”--Hallie
About Shane Burke:
Shane Burke lives in Denver Colorado and has been drawing and painting since he could hold a pencil. He took private art lessons when he was young and began winning awards and contests by the age of seven. His first big commission came at age nine when he created artwork for a billboard near his home town of Tracy California. His greatest influences came from his grandfather and elementary school teachers. He loved watching his grandfather paint landscapes and wanted to be just like him. Shane is a creative day dreamer and at complete peace when putting ink to paper. You can see more of Shane's work at www.beezink.com
The former presidential candidate and consumer advocate devours books on history and politics
Six-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is the author of a new book, The Seventeen Solutions, about mending America's social and economic bruises.
Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained by Arthur D. Robbins (Acropolis, $35). This is the sleeper book of 2012. Engaging, historical, eye-opening, agitating, and imaginative, it challenges us all to be included in "the true meaning of democracy" — shorn of myths and false history.
My 70 Years in the Labor Movement by Harry Kelber (Labor Educator Press, $25). Kelber is 98 years young and still this nation's most ardent champion of democratically run labor unions, a hair shirt to the AFL-CIO. His account of labor struggles in modern American history features stories that shock and inspire.
Government Is Good by Douglas J. Amy (Dog Ear, $20). Amy, who teaches at Mount Holyoke College, tells the compelling story of what government can be like at its best and what government can't be when anti-government propaganda campaigns take hold. He's the creator of the website GovernmentIsGood.com.
When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson (self-published, $15). Did you know that in the 1920s war was outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which is still on the books? It was championed by Frank Kellogg, Calvin Coolidge's secretary of state, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Read Swanson's book and you'll be astounded and shamed by the peaceful vigor of some of our forebears.
Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (AK Press, $17). This collection of essays comes from the political Left, and its critiques are more accurate than what the Romneyites are hurling at the president. Hopeless indirectly asks, whatever happened to liberals/progressives as a demanding political force?
Billionaires & Ballot Bandits by Greg Palast (Seven Stories, $15). Amazing are the ways some people have to steal votes, block voters, cover up the tracks. Even as the Electoral College allows a few states to swing the results in our presidential elections, these travesties go uninvestigated and unprosecuted. It's as if they are just games the two parties play against one another. Read this and be alert.