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Heart of Darkness: The Molten Core of Our Modern Madness

“[In this work]…the lunacy of trying to fool the self is set aside at some point, salvation and the needs of mankind are prominent & hegemony takes a breathing spell.” — Bob Dylan, liner notes, “World Gone Wrong” Something momentous is happening over at “Once Upon a Time.” Arthur Silber has at last begun his long-awaited series on “Tribalism”: the deep-rooted, deep-rutted, largely unconscious mental-emotional structures that lock human beings into such horrifically destructive modes of behavior, on every level, from the most intimate and individual to the most public and universal. The first two parts of the series (here

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First Blood: Pictures From Life’s Other Side

I.Already, Gaza has faded from the front pages of the Western press. Already it is yesterday’s news, yesterday’s massacre, just another in a long, long, endless line of human debauchery. After all, the Western press, the Western establishments, indeed, Western popular opinion, have often countenanced — even championed — far worse atrocities. The establishments and power structures of most Arab nations are also hastening to forget, to downplay, to bury, once again, the suffering of the Palestinians, in the interests of political gamesmanship, both domestic and diplomatic.The reality of the actual human beings in Palestine who have been inflicted with

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“Dizzy With Success”: Running Out of Graves in Gaza

While Barack Obama was dining with rightwing agitators and Hillary Clinton was glowering with menace toward “non-state actors” (her curious — not to mention ignorant — term for the democratically elected government of Palestine), the killing in Gaza kept grinding on. So many have died in such a short space of time that “there is not tomb and continent enough for the slain”: the Palestinians are running out of graves. AP reports: One family buried a slain son over his grandfather. Another bundled up the tiny bodies of three young cousins and lowered them into the grave of a long-dead

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Debunking the “Human Shield” Myth

Veteran Israeli activist Uri Avnery takes on the morally hideous “human shield” myth being propagated with ever-increasing frenzy by the apologists for Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza. He pulls no punches in setting this specious argument in its rightful historical context. From CounterPunch: Nearly seventy years ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans

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Head Cases: History’s Clear Answer to the Torture Debate

There has been much throwing about of brains on the subject of “what to do” about the Bush Administration’s unabashed and openly confessed use of “interrogation techniques” that are, without question, classified under U.S. law as torture. There seems to be a ripening consensus among our great and good that nothing at all should be done about this perpetration of a capital crime by the top officials of the government — although one does descry, here and there, a hint that there might be a ritual sacrifice of one or two middling-high figures if the issue gets too hot to

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Sham, Shock and Awe: False Peace Process Bears Bitter Fruit in Gaza

The deepening agony in Gaza may be shocking, but it is not surprising. It is the inevitable outcome of what Henry Siegman — a thoroughly Establishment figure and former CFR stalwart — has called “the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history”: the so-called “Middle East peace process.” As Siegman makes clear, the “peace process” has been a deliberate sham on the part of Israeli leaders, abetted every step of the way by the knowing collusion of American, British and European governments. This week, the London Review of Books website has reposted a prescient article by Siegman that was first

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Visionary Outrage: Piercing the Blue Smoke on the Potomac

I assume that most people who read this blog also read Arthur Silber. If not, you should. Over the years, Silber has created — and is still creating — a body of work that is unsurpassed in the blogosphere…or in any other venue where our political realities are addressed, and assessed, with words. He has done this — and is doing this — in the face of chronic and often catastrophic ill health, and in the face of the ravaging poverty that is the lot of any writer who tells the unpalatable, unpleasant yet penetrating truths that Silber does. It

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Programming Note

(NEW POSTS BELOW THIS NOTE)We are moving the website to a new server, which will, with luck, help resolve the technical problems we’ve been having. There may be some temporary slowdowns or access problems during this process, which will take several days, so we hope you will be patient, and keep checking back. You might also check the old site, at Empire Burlesque 1.0, if you can’t get through here.

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Moloch’s Altar: Child Sacrifice and the War on Terror

“Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature….and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears: would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.” — Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [For a recent American answer to this challenge, see The Karamazov Question.] AP tells the harrowing story of the hundreds of children who

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Enduring Priorities in an Age of Change: War and Profits Over People

If you want a glimpse of the fundamental moral obscenity that underlies our bold new era of hope and change, look no further than Barack Obama’s promise this week to “overhaul” Social Security and Medicare. This effort to cut back on support for the sick, the old, the weak, the unfortunate and the abandoned will be a “central part” of the new administration’s economic program, a linchpin of its struggle to curb federal spending, Obama declared. He pointed to a looming federal deficit of $1.2 trillion this year, with more to follow, as urgent reasons to deal with “entitlement spending.”

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