Apologies for the duplicate posts, and for the fact that in trying to fix it, I seem to have eliminated the copy that had comments on it. We may possibly be having some hack attacks, but it's being looked into, and we crave your patience. Thanks.
In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it. This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation.
The U.S. presidential campaign is now in full swing. (In truth, it never actually ends; the savage grasping and grappling among damaged souls seeking their brief season of domination and death-dealing goes on daily without respite.) In the months to come, we will be subjected to an ever-growing, ever-roaring flood of rhetoric about the unique, unquestionable, divinely ordained goodness of America. (And how the "other side" would destroy or demean this precious moral specialness.)
Now what's that little baby doingDressing up in banker's clothes?-- Gillian Welch and Dave RawlingsMany people have commented on the Congressional vote to codify the authoritarian powers asserted by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, i.e., the arbitrary, unchallengeable power to declare anyone on earth -- including American citizens -- an "enemy of the state" and incarcerate them, indefinitely, outside of due process, in military custody. There is, at this writing, an outside chance that Barack Obama might possibly veto this "enabling decree" -- but only on the grounds that to accept Congressional approval of these tyrannical powers might encroach upon the presidential autocrat's authority to do whatever he or she damn well pleases to anyone he or she wants to destroy. But in any case and every case, the bipartisan political ruling class is united in its steadfast determination to eliminate any last vestige of constitutional liberty or rule of law in the United States.And whatever the outcome of this particular bill, the reality will remain the same: the President of the United States will continue to claim -- and exercise -- absolute arbitrary power over the life and liberty of every person on earth. As we've said here before, not even Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin at their most megalomaniacal ever dreamed of asserting the kind of universal power now asserted by American presidents and the lickspittlish lackeys in the United States Congress.There is, alas, no "news" in...
Just a note to say that the comment function on the blog will be shut down for the time being, while a few issues get ironed out. Apologies for any inconvenience.
A recent painting by American artist R.A. Zimmerman offers oblique but apt observations on the eternal bullshit of empire:
On Wednesday -- the day before Britain's unions launched the largest strike the country has seen in almost 90 years -- the UK's coalition government finally removed its mask of 'moderation' and showed its true, ravenous face. The government's economic honcho, George Osborne -- a young, smirking, smarmy upper class twit who makes George Bush look like Will Rogers -- announced yet another round of savage cuts that will batter and cripple the lives of the poor, the vulnerable, the young, the sick, and ordinary working people. It is all part of a relentless program of "austerity" that is ostensibly designed to "cut the deficit" but is actually a ruthless, draconian -- and very deliberate -- attempt to radically remake society for the benefit of the wealthy few. (And considering how elitist British society has always been, this is ideological extremism at it most fanatic and frothing.) But it's important to remember that this is not just a Conservative government. It is a full and formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats -- precisely the kind of "moderate centrists" and "serious, savvy progressives" so highly praised by the American commentariat. The LibDems are, in essence and practice, "Blue America": the goodhearted liberal folks who know "the perfect is the enemy of the good" and are willing "to work within the system," making the "tough choices" and sausage-grinding compromises necessary to mitigate the system's worst elements and maybe, just maybe, make things a...
Who are these comrades who died like the dry leaves?The radio tells me they are just deportees .....
Taking down the dribbling idiocies of Thomas Friedman is, of course, like shooting dead, bloated fish mired in utter, immovable stillness on the surface of a barrel full of thick, congealed liquid. Even so, as this gormless goober continues to serve as one of the most respected and representative voices of our gooberish overlords, it remains a salutatory exercise to pull out the shotgun now and again and point it, once more, into the festering barrel. Belen Fernandez at the LRB blog performed this yeoman service for us this week, in a short piece reprising some of Friedman's latest and greatest hits. Well worth a quick read.And just for the hell of it, why not take a gander of my own blunderbuss outing at Friedman's stinking fish, way back in the day: Hideous Kinky: The Genocidal Fury of Thomas Friedman. Here are a few clips:
William Pfaff casts a cold eye on the Peace Laureate's latest tinpot strutting in Australia:
I am glad to see the renewal of interest in "vulture funds," where predatory elites buy up bits of the debt of impoverished nations from various creditors – at pennies on the dollar – then use the courts of the 'developed,' 'civilised' world to force the debtor to cough up the full amount, plus punitive interest payments. The Guardian is running a series of articles on this heinous practice (here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and CounterPunch has a good piece as well.I wrote about vulture funds back in 2007. This was one of the many posts which were destroyed in the many hack attacks on the website. So I'm taking the opportunity to re-post it full here, as background to the new push to combat these avid feasters on human misery.
I had the pleasure and privilege of doing an interview with Cindy Sheehan on her radio show not long ago. She is, of course, one of the original modern 'Occupiers,' having "occupied" public space outside the fake dude ranch of George W. Bush (and other spaces) in the heroic attempt to force the twerpish little errand boy of empire to explain why America was waging aggressive war in Iraq -- a war that took the life of Sheehan's son, and shocked her into the life of dissent and activism that she carries on, bravely, today.