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Obama Sends a Signal to the Few Remaining Suckers Who Believe in the Rule of Law

For anyone still harboring a few scraps of vestigial hope that the change of administration effected by the 2008 election would restore even a thin, weak, straggly lineament thin of the rule of law in the United States, the recent opinion piece by Barack Obama’s hand-picked CIA chief, the doleful Establishment water-toter Leon Panetta, will tell you all you need to know. In the friendly confines of the authoritarian newsletter known as the Washington Post — Panetta, the weak reed appointed precisely because of his weakness and reedness by Obama, who then surrounded the little puppet with some of the

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I’m Not There, I’m Gone

I’ll be on the road for a few days. I’m not entirely sure where I’m going, or what my connectivity will be when I get there. I may be blogging like a house afire in the coming week, or I may be as silent as the tomb. In any case, I hope you dwindling few who still read the blog will keep checking in while I’m gone. And if by chance the notion takes you to shuck some shekels our way — but only after giving to more worthy causes, such as this one we noted the other day, or

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Symbol for Sale: Obama Cashes Cronies’ Chips

The only difference, the only real change, that Barack Obama brings to the White House is the color of his skin. As I’ve said before, this racial factor does have symbolic significance (see below); but in substance, there is no real difference between Obama and any of the other run-of-the-mill greasy pole-climbers seeking temporary management of the imperial machinery, with all of the fleeting power — and lifelong perks — that comes with it. As Carl Ginsburg aptly notes in Counterpunch: There is absolutely no doubt that soon after the conclusion of his presidency, Mr. Obama, like Bill Clinton, will

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Fire-Starter: Supporting Arthur Silber

Arthur Silber has been silent for quite some time, and his last post spoke of horrific problems with his health — which has been declining for a long time, and now seems to have taken a deep plunge. I don’t know his precise situation at the moment, but it is likely to be dire.  I imagine too that in addition to the health problems, he is facing the usual crush of bills at the end of the month. He is one of our strongest and most thought-provoking voices, yet is forced to live at the margins of society, while witless

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Cranks, Kleptocrats and Killers: The “Good War” on the Ground

While dozens of innocent people continue to die each week in the political and sectarian violence unleashed in Iraq by America’s invasion and continuing occupation, the main attention of the bipartisan Terror Warriors in Washington – and their sycophantic outriders in the corporate media – continues to be what they call, in the imperial jargonizing that lumps the vast complexities of myriad human communities into reductive, thought-killing soundbites, the "Af-Pak" front. This, as we all know, is the "good war," the one that most "serious" progressives touted for years as the healthy alternative to the "bad war" that George W.

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Continuity in Kyrgyzstan: The Same Old Imperial Game Goes On

The New York Times tells us that the ongoing political crackdown in America’s Terror War ally Kyrgyzstan is an example of the difficult “challenge” faced by  the Obama administration as it seeks to “balance” its strategic needs with its “concerns” for human rights. But of course this is not a “challenge” at all. It’s remarkably simple. When you are conducting wars of imperial domination in far-flung, hard-to-access lands, you must keep the local satraps sweet — unless or until you can replace them with your own hand-picked stooges. Everything else is just window dressing for the rubes back home. In

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Pay for Play: Brief Glimpses of the System at Work

Many, many years ago, when I was a young pup of a reporter on a small rural paper in the foothills of the Appalachians in East Tennessee, one of my very first assignments was to attend a court hearing on a murder case, then meet afterwards with one of the most senior law enforcement officers in the county, who would be giving testimony in the case. This officer frequently provided the paper with photographs of the latest drug raid or big arrest his force had made. I went to the hearing, then met the officer. He was, literally, a towering

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I Never Heard Nobody Else Talk So Refined

To lift the immortal words of the Angry Arab, “for those who care and do not care,” there are some new songs up at the MySpace site: rough sketches as usual, but there are some hopes of doing a few of them up right with some talented collaborators a little ways down the line. Anyway, they’re there, if you care to bend an ear — or even cut a rug.

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Family Planning: “Totalitarians for God” Spread Poison Web

In a new piece for, Jeff Sharlet has more on the domestic side of the militarist-fundamentalist drive to devour the state, which we wrote about here yesterday. Sharlet writes of "The Family" — the self-described "Christian Mafia" centered on the "C Street House" in Washington — which for decades has spread its invisible, insidious influence throughout the U.S. government, while supporting mass-murdering dictators, rapacious crony capitalism — and providing convenient cover and absolution for the high crimes and sexual misdemeanors of its members. Sharlet has written of The Family for years, in articles for Harper’s and in his book,

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Hostile Takeover: Holy Warriors Peddle New ‘Protocols,’ Seek Military Dominion

A remarkable story in Haaretz (via reveals that Orthodox Jewish extremists in the United States have, with the help of radical sectarians in Israel, distributed booklets to Israeli soldiers and officers claiming that the Vatican is organizing "tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews." As Haaretz notes, the booklets — published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America — has been given to Israeli soldiers "for months." The booklet is purportedly written by a former Hezbollah insider who converted to Judaism. He writes of Pope Benedict XVI’s personal direction of

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