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Shunning Evil: Tutu Sets Example in Call for Blair and Bush Indictments

(UPDATED BELOW)   Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused to attend a conference last week for a very good reason – he did not want to be publicly associated with a war criminal.   That war criminal was Tony Blair, who had been paid his usual whopping fee ($238,000 in this case) to deliver his usual sanctimonious blather at a South African conference on “leadership.” Tutu – who was speaking for no fee – withdrew from the meeting when he heard Blair was coming, the Guardian reports.   This was a rare – very rare – example of behavior which should be

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Bloc Party: Pantomime and Power in the Imperial System

On Thursday, with media attention focused on the gooberish plutocrat accepting the nomination of one faction of our single ruling party — the bipartisan Imperial Bloc — the leader of the other faction took the opportunity to bury a few more cases of state murder. There could hardly be a better example of how the American system rolls in our enlightened, ultramodern 21st century: garish, empty pantomimes of politics coupled with the ruthless, lawless, brutal exercise of imperial power — with no accountability, no responsibility, no consequences for the crimes and depravities committed by the elites and their agents and

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In the Interval: Rusty Metal, Cankered Ills, Kairotic Moments

Going away for awhile. I’ll be back when I am back, if I get back. In the meantime, here are a few essais, new and old, addressing issues of import for the elucidation of anyone who cares to peruse them, concerning: implications of the Socratic dictum of self-knowledge;the complex interactions of biological drives, social cohesion and individual psychology;a full-blown political platform for the betterment of humanity;the long-term implications of militarist foreign policy;relevant historical perspectives on sociopolitical dynamics;suggested methods for dealing with the burden of state tyranny;veteran’s issues;and the indelible, abiding traces of meaning left behind by transitory, kairotic moments of

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Imperial Affront: Ecuador Will Face US Wrath for Asylum Decision

[UPDATED BELOW] It is apparent that the nation of Ecuador will now be in the frame for what American foreign policy elites like to call, in their dainty and delicate language, “the path of action.” Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange on Thursday for one reason only: the very real possibility that he would be “rendered” to the United States for condign punishment, including the possibility of execution. None of the freedom-loving democracies involved in the negotiations over his fate — Britain, Sweden, and the United States — could guarantee that this would not happen … even though Assange

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Bonfire of the Vanities: Robert Parry and the Red Mist of Partisanship

Over the decades, Robert Parry has done yeoman service in exposing the vast criminality of the American state. From the foul bloodwork of American power in Central America to the treasonous machinations of the Iran-Contra scheme to the long, corrupt, murderous history of the Bush crime family, Parry has broken many important stories and brought much “lost history” — the title of his best book — to light. I have drawn on his work frequently, and learned a great deal from it. Therefore it is extremely dispiriting to read his recent bitter blasts (here and here) at any and all

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Tolstoy and Vidal: A Follow-Up

  A passage from my piece on Gore Vidal yesterday (“As with Tolstoy, Vidal’s fiction — the insight that it showed into the complexities of human nature and human society, and the accomplishment and subtlety with which this was put across — deepened and enriched his political and literary essays, gave them more credibility”) brought this response from a reader: The comparison with Tolstoy fails completely, to the detriment of Gore Vidal. In his thought Tolstoy was a religious crank  who thought in crude black and white. None of the genius he brought to his fiction carried across to his

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Listen to the Lion: The Enduring Legacy of Gore Vidal

If the Republic still existed, if it was even a shadow of what it was meant to be (and never was), then bells would tolling across the land and flags would be flying at half-mast, in sorrowful honor for one of its true sons. Gore Vidal is dead. The loss is great. His was a unique sensibility: artistic, caustic, unsentimental, casting a Yeatsian cold eye on the human comedy, and in this way — with no false pieties, no dogma, no ideological crutches — revealing, with inescapable clarity, the rank injustices and murderous hypocrisies of power, and the ludicrous pretenses

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Post-Neoimperial Upheavals: Twilight of the Narcissists

It is now obvious .. that the intellectual “narcissism which orders the past to please the present” can also find “violent external expression in war and in an indifference towards the destruction, suffering and death of others”. That’s Pankaj Mishra, quoting Richard Drayton, in a new article in the Guardian, about the vogue for imperialist nostalgia that still permeates the increasingly rickety elites of the West, drawing these bankrupt enterprises deeper and deeper into pointless and murderous adventures. A few more excerpts: The British empire, George Orwell wrote, was “despotism with theft as its final object”. So what has made

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Triptych: Sugaring Over Evil, Looting the World, Opening the Ark

Tears of a DroneArthur Silber writes with power and eloquence about the Aurora killings — and the monstrous hypocrisy of our national “leaders,” who mouthed saccharine pieties about fragile and precious life is, and how tragic it is that innocent lives are so cruelly taken from us … this while raining down terror and mass murder on innocent human beings all over the world. A brief excerpt: Consider the staggering number of murders of innocent human beings committed by the United States government — and ask yourselves how many Auroras those murders represent. … Listen for the public lamentations about

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Attic Amnesia: The Conveniently Forgotten Context of the Greek Catastrophe

The catastrophic situation in Greece has disappeared from the headlines in recent weeks, replaced largely by lurid reports from Syria, where religious extremists aligned with al Qaeda are wreaking carnage with suicide bombers in the capital — to the cheers of America’s adamant anti-terrorists. [Such hypocrisy doesn’t mitigate the hideousness of the current Syrian regime, of course. Why, I’m so old, I can remember when Washington sent innocent people to Assad’s torture chambers for a little outsourced “rigorous interrogation.” But as the hapless ophthalmologist teetering atop the slagheap in Damascus is now learning, no good deed — or evil favor

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