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Brits Sound Final Retreat From Iraq — But the U.S. Beat Goes On

This week we saw a huge milestone reached in the greatest conflict of our day: yet it passed with scarcely more than a murmur in the American press — and with deathly silence on the part of the primary architects of the occasion. We speak of course of the final bug-out of British forces from Iraq, where this week, after six years of slavish service to America’s war of aggression, Her Majesty’s military gave up their last remaining base in the conquered land. But as the Guardian astutely points out, the Brits did not turn the base over to the

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The Bolter: Specter Spectacle Hides Deadly New Folly in Terror War

So the Democrats have yet another supporter of aggressive war, oligarchy, authoritarianism and torture in their Senate ranks. Wow, that will certainly shake up the political landscape in Washington! It looks like the promised New Jerusalem of hope and change has well and truly arrived at last. The chattering classes are all, well, a-chatter with the cosmic significance of the switcheroo by the aptly named Arlen Specter from the Republican faction of the imperial court to the Democratic faction. The late-life conversion of this greasy, cadaverous bagman apparently heralds not only a filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats (once they are

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Cry, the Unforgiven Country: Obama’s ‘Continuity’ in Haiti

Haiti has been a cursed nation throughout its existence. As I noted in a piece in 2004: Exactly two hundred years ago, Haitian slaves overthrew their French masters — the first successful national slave revolt in history. What Spartacus dreamed of doing, the Haitian slaves actually accomplished. It was a tremendous achievement — and the white West has never forgiven them for it. In order to win international recognition for their new country, Haiti was forced to pay “reparations” to the slaveowners – a crushing burden of debt they were still paying off at the end of the 19th century.

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Hell is Murky: Lady MacBeth and the Evil Beyond Torture

(UPDATED BELOW) Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh! — Lady Macbeth Arthur Silber is back, after another long, health-induced hiatus, and, as you might expect, he brings a unique and powerful perspective to bear on the “torture debate.” (Yes, in some far-distant future our much-evolved descendants will marvel — with wonder and revulsion — that our species was once so primitive and barbaric that it actually had “debates” about the practice of inflicting pain and suffering on captive fellow creatures. Or perhaps this puzzled wonderment

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Top of the Heap: The Democrats’ Teachable Moment on Torture

Could it really have ended any other way? As the New York Times reports, Barack Obama and the Democratic Establishment are coming down hard and fast to quell any incipient movement toward accountability for the Bush Regime’s torture system. These “leaders” continue to advance the bizarre and bogus argument that the nation has too many “urgent priorities” to bother with following its own laws. Obama told the Democratic poobahs from Congress that a “full inquiry” into the torture system would “steal time and energy from his policy agenda,” the Times reports. But this argument — indeed the entire issue of

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An Unseemly Appeal From an Unserious Man

I know times are hard, and I hate this like the devil, but the website is cash-strapped like never before, so I’m putting out the hat once again for anyone who’d like to throw in a groschen or two. One-time donations and regular subscriptions to the site have long dwindled to almost nothing. The economic crash has a lot to do with it, of course, but the level really started dropping precipitiously after the new Administration took office. Just as in the old days, when we were berating Bush during the height of his popularity (and rightwing pork was flowing

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Notes From Underground: Prosecution, Power and the Poison Chalice

A reader writes in about yesterday’s post: There might be another reason [why Obama is not calling for prosecutions on torture]: a desire to win the case that’s built against the former administration and not taint or discredit it by inappropriate pressure to prosecute. As has been widely pointed out, it is not up to Barack Obama to decide when and what to prosecute – and any attempt to do so on his part would be unethical, if not criminal. (It’s the same principle that goes to the heart of what was so desperately corrupt about the Bush Administration’s involvement

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Embedded Bellwether: The Paper of Record Prepares the Public for More Slaughter

Noam Chomsky, among others, has noted how faithfully and thoroughly the corporate American media advances the agenda of the state, achieving a near Pravda-like degree of servitude without any need for the kind of overt, direct control once practiced by Pravda’s Soviet masters. This is done, in large part, unconsciously; that is, most of the practitioners (and all of the owners) of the corporate media share the same assumptions and values of the nation’s ruling elite. They don’t have to be told to believe what the elite believe; they believe it already. Naturally, there are factional rivalries among the elite,

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Sketch Pad: Bread, Sex, Love, War and Whisky

There is more to life than politics, thank God, and to that end, I’ve posted up some more songs over at the MySpace site. Most are new, and two are from Wheel of Heaven, the 2005 collaboration with Nick Kulukundis, available on iTunes. The topics of the songs are the same traditional subjects you usually find in roots-derived music: Osip Mandelshtam in Stalin’s Moscow, H.D.’s “Helen in Egypt,” Sir Thomas Wyatt, the end of the Classical world by the fire and sword of Christianity, Mosby’s Rangers, the biochemical loam of emergent higher consciousness — oh yeah, and love, loss, loneliness

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Death By the Numbers: Pakistan Counts the Toll of the Bush-Obama Drone War

As we all know, the Terror Warriors in the White House (of whatever political stripe) don’t do body counts. They just kill people, make unsupported claims of “clean hits” on “militants,” backtrack a bit later when eyewitness reports confirm extensive civilian casualties, promise “investigations” that kick the PR can way down the road — and carry on killing. But strangely enough, the people who are being killed by these well-wadded, massively protected elites do count how many of their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers are being slaughtered by American ordnance. Imagine that! It’s almost like they are real

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