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Silber Resurfaces: Help Preserve a Vital Voice

Arthur Silber has surfaced again after a long silence due to chronic — and worsening — illness. As you can see from this post, his health remains precarious, and he is need of assistance — not only for the bare modicum of health care that he might be able to eke out with a few extra dollars, but also just to survive on a daily basis: buying food, paying rent, etc. Silber has no insurance, and no other means of support other than what he is given for the writing on his blog. And readers here know that his writing

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Help Haiti: The Unforgiven Country Cries Out

  (UPDATED BELOW) Via Mark Crispin Miller, the Center for Constitutional Rights points to some venues for getting help to the people of Haiti: Partners in Health and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. You can find several more in this listing from the New York Times. I. The relentlessly maintained, deliberately inflicted political and economic ruin of Haiti has a direct bearing on the amount of death and devastation that the country is suffering today after the earthquake. It will also greatly cripple any recovery from this natural disaster. As detailed below, Washington’s rapacious economic policies have destroyed all attempts

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Red Dusk: Vision and Deceit at Empire’s End

In the latest London Review of Books, Neal Ascherson provides a revealing vignette of the machtpolitik that is the true guiding principle of the Potomac Empire — despite all its never-ending evangelical cant about promoting "democracy" and "freedom" around the world. Ascherson shows American leaders confronting the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1989 in "Gorbachev Betrayed." Here we see American elites scrambling to preserve the "stability" of Soviet rule across Eastern Europe — even at one point signalling U.S. approval for armed intervention by the Soviets to control the situation. But this should not be surprising. In an imperial

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Mondo Hondo: Obama Goes Traditional in Latin America

For  almost 200 years, since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has continally asserted – and often physically exerted – its self-awarded right of dominion over all the lands south of its border. Military "partnerships," exploitative sweetheart deals for U.S. corporate and financial elites, and general servility toward Washington’s political and economic agenda have been the chief characteristics of this "special relationship." Whenever these elements are to Washington’s liking, the Latin American country in question is considered a "good neighbor" – however heinous it might be to its own people. But if any one of these elements

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Blackwater Fever: High Crimes and Hired Guns

Scott Horton of Harper’s gives us chapter and verse of the Justice Department’s very deliberate — and insultingly brazen — sabotaging of its own case against the Blackwater mercenaries who murdered 17 Iraqis in Nisoor Square back in September 2007. As any sentient observer could have told you then, these hired killers — gorging on taxpayer dollars as they assisted the mass-murdering invasion and occupation of Iraq — were never going to do time. Why should they? They were just doing what they were paid, by us, to do: kill ragheads. The case was dismissed by a federal judge last

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The Lie of Law: Courts Bow to State’s Raw Power

I. It is often forgotten how “legal” the Nazi regime in Germany really was. It did not take power in a violent revolution, but entered government through the entirely “legal” procedures of the time. The “legal” vote of the “legally” elected Reichstag gave Adolf Hitler the powers to rule by decree, thus imparting strict “legality” to the actions of his government. Indeed, there were several cases when those who felt the government had overstepped the bounds of law in a particular instance actually took the Nazi regime to court, and won. Why? Because the government was bound by “the rule

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Blowback On the Border: The Purpose of the Terror War System

(UPDATED BELOW) Let me say — or rather, reiterate — up front that it is my personal view that the form of vigorous activism known as non-violence is the only way, or the best way, that we can hope to even begin to address the inherent and intractable conflicts of human existence in a genuinely effective profound, sustainable and humane manner. That is the ideal I strive toward. Of course, I also recognize that being what I am — a white man of Christian heritage living safely and comfortably under the penumbra of empire — it is easy for me

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A tale torn from the headlines of today … and yesterday … and the day before yesterday … from medieval manuscripts … Roman scrolls … Egyptian papyrus … Sumerian baked clay tablets ….

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Update on Our Brave New Slavery: Yes, It Applies to American Citizens, Too

I wrote a piece here a few days ago on a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, in which the justices agreed with the passionate plea of the Obama Administration to uphold — and establish as legal precedent — some of the most egregious of the Bush Administration’s authoritarian perversions. This was the gist of the ruling: The Supreme Court acquiesced to the president’s fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone

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Balance of Terror: From Detroit City to Ghazi Khan

(UPDATED BELOW) A lone man on an airliner makes a badly botched attempt to ignite what appears to be some kind of hastily cobbled-together device that might or might not have caused some kind of unspecified but apparently non-crippling damage to the plane. The plane lands safely; no one is killed. Yet the reverberations from this half-baked enterprise quickly roiled the entire world. Within hours, a whole range of new, even more intrusive and draconian security procedures were imposed on travelers across the globe. Governments hastened to launch “security reviews,” and promise “tough new measures” not only to thwart terrorists

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