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Letter to the Editor: Stovepiping To Persia

(UPDATED BELOW) Dear New York Times, OK, OK, we get the picture: you want the United States to attack Iran. Why don’t you go ahead and put a permanent banner across the top of the front page with the Cato-like adjuration: “Iran Must Be Destroyed!” Or maybe you could just tack it on to every single story: “Yankees Trade to Bolster Outfield; Iran Must Be Destroyed.” “Mixed Results for Apple I-Pad; Iran Must Be Destroyed.” “Markets Anxious Over Health Care Vote; Iran Must Be Destroyed.” “New Bistro Revels in Bohemian Ambience; Iran Must Be Destroyed.” After all, hardly a week

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Cud and Complicity: Burying the Alternatives to Empire’s Dominion

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s proposal to withdraw from Afghanistan was debated, heatedly, for hours in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. After the debate, dozens of Representatives cast their vote to end the war immediately. This was an unprecedented event in the history of the conflict, now in its ninth year. Think about that for a moment: an unprecedented event, on the floor of the House, going on for hours, involving a question of supreme national importance. Regardless of one’s position on the issue, is this not the very definition of "news"? But on Thursday morning, you could search high and

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Power Rangers: Policing the System With the “Fightin’ Progressives”

Want to see what happens to you if you honestly oppose imperial war? Want to see what happens to you if you honestly oppose a horrendous corporate boondoggle that will effectively kill genuine health care reform for years, if not generations? This is what happens to you: The Liberal Case Against Dennis Kucinich. Yes, if you stand up against endless, pointless, profiteering slaughter in foreign lands, if you stand up against an astonishingly brazen, deeply dirty deal cut in the White House itself to enrich some of the most brutal, rapacious corporate sharks ever to feast, quite literally, on the

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Consent of the Misgoverned

I’m working on another piece right now, but this excerpt from wise man William Blum is too good to pass up. This is from his latest "Anti-Empire Report," which you should sign up for today, if you don’t already get it. About half the states in the US require that a woman seeking an abortion be told certain things before she can obtain the medical procedure. In South Dakota, for example, until a few months ago, staff was required to tell women: "The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being"; the pregnant woman has

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Burn Baby Burn: Broken Vessels, New Connections

Although this song — a sort of "Brother Claude Ely rings the rafters in the neurobiology lab" kind of thing — was done awhile back, it ties in closely to this post from last week: "Unnatural Acts: Breaking the Fever of Militarism." (More music here.)  

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Unnatural Acts: Breaking the Fever of Militarism

All who draw the sword will die by the sword. — Yeshua Ha-Notsri, Palestinian dissident, c. 33 CE. I. As we all know – or rather, as everyone but those who climb and claw their way to the top of power’s greasy pole knows – the effects of war are vast, unforeseeable, long-lasting — and uncontrollable. The far-reaching ripples of the turbulence will churn against distant shores and hidden corners, then roil back upon you in ways you could never imagine, for generations, even centuries. Nor is "victory" in war proof against these deleterious effects. For the brutalization, moral coarsening,

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Chilly Scenes of Winter: A Brief Imperial Tour d’Horizon

1. Occupational Hazards As’ad AbuKhalil’s headline on his brief post says it all: “Tragic accidents happen – every single day.” He is referring to the latest killing of civilians by American occupation troops – not in Afghanistan this time, but in the now-forgotten war in Iraq, where death, corruption, repression and blowback are still raging. 2. Tony Blair: Liar, No. 876 It turns out that Tony Blair was told years before the Iraq invasion – in fact, even before the 9/11 attacks “that changed the world” and “made everything different” – that invading Iraq would be illegal (i.e., a Nuremberg-level

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The Gift of the Revenant: Passing On the Truth in an Act of Mourning

Not long ago, Bob Dylan performed a version of Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl classic, "Do Re Mi," as part of "The People Speak," the film inspired by the work the late Howard Zinn. Backed only by Ry Cooder on guitar and Van Dyke Parks on piano, Dylan gave a particularly affecting rendition, which can be seen here (no embed available): Bob Dylan: Woody Guthrie’s "Do Re Mi". The performance is soaked with a piercing sense of mortality — and not just the mortality of the individual, vividly embodied in the wreck of Dylan’s voice, his age-ravaged looks, and the ghost

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Future Shock: A Better World Beyond the Imperium

To borrow the deathless phraseology of Professor AbuKhalil: for those who care and do not care, my interview with Scott Horton at Antiwar Radio can be heard here. As usual, Scott led the conversation in several interesting directions, to which I made the usual rambling, semi-coherent contributions.  But one thing I did try to put forth was the idea of a “united front” across the political spectrum, dedicated to a single, overarching goal: dismantling the empire. Much evil would cease, and many good things would flow from such a development. I worked up some notes on the matter before the

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Much Darkness, Many Candles: What I Can Do

  I put together this piece — more like a fragment perhaps — a few months ago, but I thought it might have some relevance, at some points at least, to current events in Haiti. As for what you can do, I would suggest continuing to support Partners in Health, which had more than 5,000 people working at the grassroots level in Haiti before the quake. No fair weather friend — or foul weather tourist — there. As Ashley Smith notes in a devastating report on the militarist-corporatist–NGO symbiosis that has devastated Haiti for years and is serving it extremely

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