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Bringing It All Back Home: Occupied Chicago is America’s New Normal

Gary Younge and Bernard Harcourt have good pieces in the Guardian about the “new normal” of America’s militarized society, as exemplified by armed occupation of Chicago by a staggering array of “security” forces. Younge notes the bitter irony of the word “security” in a city where the poor are being subjected to ever-increasing levels of violence both from private predators and public “protectors”: The dissonance between the global pretensions of the summit this weekend and the local realities of Chicago could not be more striking. Nato claims its purpose is to secure peace through security; in much of Chicago neither

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Beyond Politics: An Affirming Flame in the Haunted Wood

Faces along the barCling to their average day:The lights must never go out,The music must always play,All the conventions conspireTo make this fort assumeThe furniture of home;Lest we should see where we are,Lost in a haunted wood,Children afraid of the nightWho have never been happy or good. — W.H. Auden, “September 1, 1939” This week has seen a most welcome return of Arthur Silber after yet another long absence due to abysmal health. In a brief but penetrating post, he manages to crystallize some penetrating insights on the nature of politics, and political writing — bringing into sharp and eloquent

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The Stations and the Streets: A Battered Coin for Many Realms

This one goes out to John and Oksana and the many thousands now reclaiming the streets of Moscow: a song not meant for one realm only, but for those in every age grappling with the brute and fearful forces of power. Not One Realm Only by Chris Floyd It was somewhere here that Mandelshtam came walkingA gray and greasy Pravda in his handsWhere Stalin decreed an end to executionNow that all was fair and cheerful in the land. How may we die? he asked, but knew the answer:The secret shot, the night-blow to the skullYour Dante torn from you by

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Historical Gestures: The Evolution of a President

May 9, 1952 (WASHINGTON) — President Strom Thurmond announced today that his thinking on race relations has “evolved,” saying that he now favors equal rights for Negroes. The president, a long-time supporter of segregation who broke with the Democratic Party over the issue and won the White House as a Dixiecrat in 1948, said his views had changed in part because of prodding by friends and family, and by his admiration for the “sacrifice and service” of Negro soldiers fighting in Korea. “I had hesitated on racial equality in part because I thought that separate-but-equal laws would be sufficient,” Mr.

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Poison, in Jest: Puncturing the Pretensions of Power

We’ve been remiss here not to draw more attention to the incisive work being done by the legendary Vast Left in his series of “American Extremists” comics. VL’s ability to distill the political poisons abroad in the land — especially the “progressive” worship of the warmongering, Wall Street-coddling, liberty-choking, whistleblower-whipping, death squad honcho in the White House — into the brief dialogues of his talking heads is truly remarkable. Day after day, the pointed insights come, puncturing the afflatus-gorged bubbles of the powerful — and their treacly sycophants. He is a veritable Socrates of satire. If you are not already

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Distant Drums Very Present: Misfits in the Shattered Mirror of a Nation

it’s quiet nowAnd the silence is aloneexcept for the thunderous rumbling of things unknowndistant drums very presentbut for the piercing of screamand the whispers of thingssharp sounds and then suddenly hushedto moans beyond sadness – terror beyond fear— Marilyn Monroe, Fragments ‘There was something wrong in our ends as well as in our beginnings, in what we are after as well as in what is after us.’ — Lincoln Steffens The Fifties, when they are thought of at all, are generally regarded in the popular imagination as little more than a dim precursor to the full-blown extravaganza of the Sixties

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The Way of the Drone: Emblem for an Empire of Cowards

  A few months back, I reposted here an article that I wrote 10 years ago, before the invasion of Iraq: a fictional scenario of how the Terror War would play out on the ground of the target nations — and in the minds of those sent to wage these campaigns. I was reminded of that piece by a story in the latest Rolling Stone. The RS story, by Michael Hastings, depicts the drone mentality now consuming the US military-security apparatus, a process which makes the endless slaughter of the endless Terror War cheaper, easier, quieter. I didn’t anticipate the

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Emperor of the Air: Potomac Poobahs Squeeze the Skies

It’s always amusing to hear people say that the United States is “not an empire.” The substance of this “argument” (if we may so dignify such a completely unfounded assertion) seems to be that America can’t be an empire because its agents don’t swan around in white suits, pith helmets and jodhpurs while exercising direct and open colonial rule over its subjects. In other words, it doesn’t look enough like vaguely remembered movie scenes about the British Raj in its heyday. The fact that the British Raj was only one particular manifestation which imperial rule has taken down through the

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Rough Ride: Fire and Smoke All the Way to the End

Below is a brief instructional video delineating some possible approaches to the relentless series of challenges presented by the psychobiological, sociocultural, and political-historical elements of the turbulent, multivalent process known as — in the highly technical nomenclature of the Mississippi Delta school of analytical philosophy — life its own self.  

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Perverts in Power: The Torture-Lovers Who Rule Us

I.The ordeal of Fatima Bouchar, detailed by Ian Cobain in the Guardian, exemplifies the vile essence of the ‘Terror War’ being conducted by United States and its abject satellite, Great Britain, against large swathes of the world’s population (including, increasingly, their own people). It is a case of brutal torture against an innocent, defenseless pregnant woman, whose only “crime” was to be married to a man who belonged to an organization which had long been supported by the US and UK — until the geopolitics of oil made the group expendable. It is a tale of cowardice and cruelty, of

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