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Idols of the Marketplace Self-Rendered Down

Another shot of ragged beauty for you, back in the days when an idol tore down his own graven image in public, clearing a path to keep the artist alive. Remarkable. Hammersmith Odeon, London, February 1990:  

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Court Circular: Annals of Imperial Continuity

Various factors are complicating our ability to do substantial posts here at the moment, but we will return to more or less regular programming soon. Meanwhile, here are a few choice tidbits that cry out for more comment than we can provide right now.1. Siege Replaces SurgeWhen is a withdrawal not a withdrawal? When it’s an “encirclement.” The indefatigable Jason Ditz at points us to this rather obscure little gem from the Christian Science Monitor: “US forces withdrawing from Iraqi cities will move instead to encircle them.” As Ditz notes: The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and

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It’s All Good, Again: ‘Uptick’ in the American-Made Tides of Violence in Iraq

From the very beginning of the abomination that is the American war in Iraq, imperial courtiers have pushed the same line: every act of mass slaughter in the occupied land was actually an encouraging development — a sign that the insurgents were “getting desperate,” that “dead-enders” were launching last-gasp efforts, unable to derail the bounty of liberty and peace that America’s paternal goodness had bestowed upon the Iraqi people. This has held true from the first suicide attacks following George W. Bush’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in the spring of 2003 and all through the mounting violence that has claimed

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Hebrew Lessons: America’s Secret Lexicon and the ‘Synagogue of Satan’

I.Jonathan Schwarz points out how that bastion of the “secular-humanist liberal media,” CBS, edited the new release of Nixon tapes in order to protect the reputation of the national saint of Bible-believing conservatives, Billy Graham. The latest release of White House conversations secretly taped by Richard Nixon shows the elite’s favorite evangelist spewing venomous invective about Jews. Responding to Nixon’s ostensible worry that America might be gripped by Nazi or Franco-style anti-semitism if Jews “don’t start behaving,” Graham replies with the time-honored wisdom that made him the confidant and confessor of presidents for generations: Well, you know I told you

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A Brand New Day — Yea, Verily, Morning in America!

Disturbing news of Barack Obama’s embrace — and extension — of the Bush Regime’s program to seed the nation’s university classrooms with covert students being secretly groomed for service in the security apparat: “Obama’s Classroom Spies” (David Price, Counterpunch). Disturbing news of Barack Obama’s embrace — and extension — of the Bush Regime’s plutocratic economic policy in his latest “financial reform” plan: “Obama’s (Latest) Surrender to Wall Street” (Michael Hudson, also Counterpunch). Disturbing news of the true fruits of Barack Obama’s embrace — and extension — of the Bush Regime’s plutocratic economic policy: “Goldman Sachs to Make Record Bonus Payout”

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Astringent Corrective: AbuKhalil on Iran’s Turmoil

Professor As’ad AbuKhalil rightly notes the rank hypocrisy of Barack Obama’s statement on the turmoil in Iran: Obama has spoken: “The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.” There is so much that you can do with this statement. The hypocrite in [chief] is invoking an argument that he himself so blatantly ignores and will continue to ignore to the last day of his presidency. Does he really believe in that right for peoples? Yes, but only in countries where governments are not clients

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Dexter’s Legions: The “Good” Killers of the “Good” War

Now, he’s hell-bent for destruction, he’s afraid and confused,And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill.All he believes are his eyesAnd his eyes, they just tell him lies.But there’s a woman on my block,She just sits there, facing the hill.She says, Who’s gonna take away his license to kill?–Bob Dylan There is, I understand, a popular cable television show featuring a “good” serial killer who has been taught by a kind mentor to channel his murderous psychosis toward socially worthy ends; i.e., killing scumbags who deserve to die but have somehow escaped the law. I often wonder if this

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Through a Glass Darkly: Sifting Myth and Fact on Iran

Iranian academic Ali Alizadeh points out an important fact missed by many who see nothing but sinister American manipulation behind the post-election protests in Iran: that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies — touted as a possible reason that he expanded his vote total by 10 million over the last election, a bounty ostensibly harvested from the grateful rural poor — are actually much more in line with his old nemesis, George W. Bush. As Alizadeh notes (via the Angry Arab): It needs to be emphasized that Ahmadinejad’s economic policies are to the right of the IMF: cutting subsidies in a radical

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Extending the Tradition: Proudly Taking American Torture Into the Future

The recent, mysterious death of yet another captive in the Guantanamo concentration camp opens yet another door into the blood-caked labyrinth of the American gulag, where despite all the soaring rhetoric about “restoring the rule of law,” torture is still very much the order of the day. Scott Horton at Harper’s provides this telling quote from an AP story on the death of Mohammad Ahmed Abdullah Saleh Al Hanashi, which gulag officials have classified as an “apparent suicide”: A Guantanamo Bay detainee who left his cell to meet with military commanders as prisoner representative never returned, and was instead sent

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Hypocrisy and Hope: Western Coverage, Iranian Courage

Events are unfolding in Iran rapidly and chaotically, with no clear indication yet where they may lead. (In the short term, that is. One is always mindful of Zhou Enlai’s response when he was asked for his opinion on the historical impact of the French Revolution: “It’s too early to tell.”) Solid information is still scanty and piecemeal, so it is difficult to offer any telling insights on the developments and their possible implications. So the following are just a few tentative observations. It does seem clear, by all the evidence so far — particularly studies of past voting patterns

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