Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beijing holds the mortgage for the "greatest empire since Rome"

No malevolent fate has brought about the United States' dependency on foreign nations, says Pat Buchanan. We did it to ourselves. In A Decade of Self-Delusion, Buchanan describes the current state of the nation. Here are excerpts:

• • •

No nation in modern history, save for the late Soviet Union, has seen so precipitous a decline in relative power in a single decade. The United States began the century with a budget surplus. We ended with a deficit of 10% of gross domestic product, which will be repeated in 2010. Where the economy was at full employment in 2000, 10% of the labor force is out of work today and another 7% is underemployed or has given up looking for a job.

Between one-fourth and one-third of all U.S. manufacturing jobs have disappeared in 10 years, the fruits of a free-trade ideology that has proven anything but free for this country. Our future is being outsourced -- to China. ...

The dollar lost half its value against the euro. Once the most self-sufficient republic in history, which produced 96% of all it consumed, the U.S.A. is almost as dependent on foreign nations today for manufactured goods, and the loans to pay for them, as we were in the early years of the republic. What the British were to us then, China is today. Beijing holds the mortgage and grows impatient as we endlessly borrow on equity and refuse to begin paying it down. The possibility exists of an eventual run on the dollar or even a U.S. debt default.

Who did this to us? We did it to ourselves. We sold ourselves a lot of snake oil about the Global Economy, interdependence, free trade and "it doesn't make any difference where goods are produced." The George W. Bush Republicans ran up the deficit with tax cuts, two wars and a splurge in social spending to rival the guns-and-butter of the Great Society.

Abandoning its role as the fellow who comes and takes away the punch bowl when the party's getting good, the Fed kept the money flowing fast and free, creating the tech bubble that burst in Y2K and the stock and housing bubble that burst at decade's end. ...

After Sept. 11, the nation was united behind a president as it had not been since Pearl Harbor. But instead of focusing on the enemies who did this to us, we took Osama bin Laden's bait and plunged into a war in Iraq that bled and divided us, alienated Europe and the Arab world, and destroyed the Republican Party's reputation as the reliable custodian of national security and foreign policy. ...

With nearly 200,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and another 30,000 more on the way, al-Qaida is now in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, while the huge U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq serves as its recruiting poster.

Again, it is not a malevolent fate that has done this to us. We did it to ourselves. We believed all that hubristic blather about our being the "greatest empire since Rome," the "indispensable nation" and "unipolar power" advancing to "benevolent global hegemony" in a series of "cakewalk" wars to "end tyranny in our world."

After a decade of self-delusion and self-indulgence, we must stop deceiving ourselves. ... We have a government that cannot balance its books, defend its borders or win its wars. ... At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the question is not whether we will preside over the creation of a New World Order, but whether America's decline is irreversible.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't listen to those "psychos"

Even when we're told pointblank why "they hate us," just don't pay any attention to them. When the latest would-be hijacker, who failed to bring down a Northwest airplane, says that he wanted to retaliate for the bombing of Yemen a couple of weeks ago, just ignore his claim, and don't listen to what he says are his motives. We know better.

We know that they hate us because they are evil, wicked, godless people. They hate us for our "freedoms." They hate us because they don't have the love of our God in their hearts. They're simply vicious people who hate the Baby Jesus. So, what can you expect from them?

There's no reason to listen to anything they have to say. Just keep bombing the crap out of one country after another. Just go kill the next eight children who get in the way. And when someone like Congressman Ron Paul reasons that the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are in their seventh and ninth years, and that Muslims want us out of their countries, well, just throw the "anti-Semite" smear at him and dismiss his rational assertions. That's what grown-up, mature people do, isn't it?

It's what the desperate Ben Stein does, who could not deny the logic of Paul's remarks. Instead, on CNN's Larry King show, Stein had to resort to playing the anti-Semite card. When asked why terrorists from around the world are targeting the United States, instead of other free societies, in fact, ones geographically closer to them, Stein's pathetic response was, "because they're psychos."

Never did Stein explain the connection between desiring the United States to cease waging useless wars and the charge of anti-Semitism. Surely he was not suggesting that when Americans wish to operate in their own country's self-interest, they must not be allowed that right, since it might interfere with the interests of a foreign country, that is, Israel. Is Stein saying that any American who would put their own country's interests first is, ipso facto, an anti-Semite? Is this what he was suggesting?

In Congressman Ron Paul 'Anti Semitic' for Questioning, writer Grant Lawrence claims that anyone who questions why we need to occupy foreign lands in the Middle East is in danger of being labeled a Terrorist Supporter or Sympathizer and might wind up placed on a Watch List or a No Fly List. The other danger is being labeled an "anti-Semite."

Ron Paul has been warning about the possibility of retaliatory attacks even before the 9/11 disaster. But people who are bombed, writes Lawrence, are not supposed to strike back. "That is terrorism." How could anyone expect the bombing of Yemen to make the people of Yemen and their supporters "mad as hell" and to want to strike back? Obviously, only "psychos" would be roused to retaliate. And, obviously, continues Lawrence, "Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, and the people of Yemen are also crazed racists because they don't like to be bombed and occupied. So Ben Stein's reasoning here is on solid ground." These people, too, must be "anti-Semites."

In a commentary for The Examiner, Thomas Eddlem writes that Stein denies the possibility that anyone could be motivated to attack the United States "because our government is in the business of blowing up people across the Middle East."

Eddlem raises the question of how Ben Stein feels about George Washington's admonition for the United States to stay out of foreign entanglements. Stein answers that question on his blog, in which he posted remarks the day after his appearance on King's show. His response goes something like this: a person is an anti-Semite only if he applies George Washington's principle to all nations, which would include Israel.

Get it? It's okay to follow Washington's advice, as long as you don't apply it to Israel. If you do apply it to Stein's favored land, then, like Ron Paul, you're an anti-Semite. Get it?
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

From Bush to Obama: It's deja vu all over again

What a remarkable journey these last three years have been. Those of us who, under no circumstances, would have voted for Barack Hussein Obama, are not shocked by what we're now witnessing. Some of us are, nevertheless, mildly surprised at the turn of events. I guess we expected The Great One to abide by his endlessly referenced mandates for "change," if for no more than appearance sake, to mollify his constituents and fans. As it turns out, most of his constituency is unfazed that the Warmonger-in-Chief and Peace Prize fraud has stripped off his mask.

Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, and an unapologetic man of the left, disdained Obama right from the beginning. Even before the beginning. Viewing Obama, the candidate, in early 2008, as no more than a symbolic tool who was being "imposed on the African American polity by corporate forces in the Democratic party," Ford denounced those whom he called "unprincipled Black Left misleaders," who willingly contorted their politics "beyond recognition."

Ford detected the imperialist hawk in Obama, in spite of The Great One's early declarations to the contrary. In a recent column, he writes about the "legions of Obama-smitten activists" who shut down their antiwar activities for fear of harming the Hero's presidential prospects. This Hero who presumably shared their abhorrence of the chaos that the Bush machine had perpetrated on our country and the world. Or had these deluded souls simply gotten themselves ensnared in the well-known trap of the lover, who invests his own meaning in every utterance and gesture of the beloved?

Ford wonders if these "peacenik groupies" realize the degree to which they are held in contempt by Obama's "funders and packagers." He writes:

With the president’s hearty embrace on December 1, of not only current US aggressions in South Asia but the entirety of the glorious rise of US global hegemony since the end of World War Two, it should now be clear to even the most dense among self-styled “progressives” that Obama was never worth a damn.

Years ago, observes Ford, Obama was already engaging in "imperial speak," in his discussions about Afghanistan, and warned that "under the Bin-Laden-Might-Be-There-Doctrine, he would refuse to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan." Obama groupies fooled themselves, says Ford, and then proceeded to fool lots of other people.

In My friend the president, Glenn Greenwald describes what he calls the emotional attachments of those Obama followers who express anger at critics of their Leader. He writes:

These outbursts include everything other than arguments addressed to the only question that matters: are the criticisms that have been voiced about Obama valid? Has he appointed financial officials who have largely served the agenda of the Wall Street and industry interests that funded his campaign? Has he embraced many of the Bush/Cheney executive power and secrecy abuses which Democrats once railed against -- from state secrets to indefinite detention to renditions and military commissions? Has he actively sought to protect from accountability and disclosure a whole slew of Bush crimes? ...

Are the criticisms of his escalation of the war in Afghanistan valid, and are his arguments in its favor redolent of the ones George Bush made to "surge" in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson made to escalate in Vietnam?

Ultimately, Obama's defenders do not care about any of these issues. Greenwald observes that these adherents simply believe that "It's just wrong, morally, ethically and psychologically, to criticize the President." This is a sentiment reminiscent of that which engulfed the tenure of George W. Bush.

The traditionalist pastor, Chuck Baldwin, is one who disdained the Bush administration right from its beginning, and frequently wrote of his aversion to the blind, even simple-minded worship of this imperial warmonger. He spoke of Christians especially and their hero worship of Bush:

They acted as if he were a god. Life-size posters filled Christian bookstores. Religious broadcasters and televangelists swooned over him like 16-year-old girls used to swoon over Elvis Presley. Pastors invoked his name almost as a prayer. The Religious Right acted like they had died and gone to Heaven. In the minds of Christian conservatives, G.W. Bush could do no wrong.

Baldwin called this "sophomoric silliness" the expression of a Religious Right that had become "blind, impotent lackeys to a big government, big-spending Orwellian and inept administration." He claimed that the Bush administration was maybe "one of the worst in U.S. history." Baldwin cites a similar sycophantic behavior on the political left, which anointed Barack Obama as President. "Obama was not inaugurated," he says, "he was canonized."

Baldwin, a staunch constitutionalist, is not surprised that the political left appears interested in constitutional principles only when it is a Republican trampling on them. Where is the outrage, he asks, against the Military Commissions Act, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, and other government intrusions into Americans' private lives, that were first institutionalized under George W. Bush and now continue under Barack Obama?

"For eight years," Baldwin proclaims, "Christian conservatives had 'Lord Bush.' Now, liberals have 'Lord Obama.' Seems to me that gods come pretty cheap these days." He rhetorically asks:

What in the world has happened to us? How is it that otherwise intelligent and educated people can so quickly forget virtually everything their principles and values taught them, and become little more than clumsy chumps for a Presidential administration – any Presidential administration?

In The Bush-Obama War, Baldwin tells of his travels across the country during the 2008 campaign season, where Democrats tried to convince him that Obama would end Bush's wars. Baldwin protested that whoever won the presidency, the wars would continue. "Now they know I told the truth," he says.

Baldwin mocks Obama's West Point speech, in which the Leader revealed that the Taliban is a "ruthless, repressive and radical movement." Baldwin declares, "This is the same Taliban that the US government SUPPORTED, back when it was fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan." And, further, concerning the United States' connection to the Taliban:

Obama even had the unmitigated gall to criticize the Afghan government for being "hampered by corruption, the drug trade." Need I remind readers that for all its faults, when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, there was virtually NO DRUG TRADE coming out of Afghanistan? For all intents and purposes, the Taliban destroyed the drug business in Afghanistan. Opium and drug production only returned to Afghanistan after US forces displaced the Taliban. In fact, drug production in Afghanistan takes place right under the noses (no pun intended) and with the passive compliance of US forces.

The primary mechanism for control of our society is the tool of war. Without keeping us at war, the omnipotent elites, who will not be denied, would not possess the power to manipulate a population that willingly remains quiescent. Most of the significant political transformations of our society have been done in the name of war. Don't question! We are at war!

The warmonger Obama, who indicates his intention to expand US military intervention even beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan, serves the same interests as those whose finances supported and sustained the Bush/Cheney regime. There will be no respite.
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"These people are crazy"

When I first learned that yet another book about President John F. Kennedy's assassination was published, I thought, "So what else is new?" However, once learning of the book's theme, I began to tie in the recent years of unnecessary warfare, Kennedy's death, and that monstrosity of which Gen. Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation, the military-industrial complex.

The book is entitled JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Following are excerpts from Edward Curtin's review:
• • •

It’s not often that the intersection of history and contemporary events pose such a startling and chilling lesson as does the contemplation of the murder of JFK on November 22, 1963 juxtaposed with the situations faced by President Obama today. So far, at least, Obama’s behavior has mirrored Johnson’s, not Kennedy’s, as he has escalated the war in Afghanistan by 34,000. One can’t but help think that the thought of JFK’s fate might not be far from his mind as he contemplates his next move in Afghanistan.

Douglass presents a very compelling argument that Kennedy was killed by “unspeakable” (the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s term) forces within the U.S. national security state because of his conversion from a cold warrior into a man of peace. He argues, using a wealth of newly uncovered information, that JFK had become a major threat to the burgeoning military-industrial complex and had to be eliminated through a conspiracy planned by the CIA – “the CIA’s fingerprints are all over the crime and the events leading up to it” – not by a crazed individual, the Mafia, or disgruntled anti-Castro Cubans, though some of these may have been used in the execution of the plot. ...

First, Kennedy, who took office in January 1961 as somewhat of a Cold Warrior, was quickly set up by the CIA to take the blame for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The CIA and generals wanted to oust Castro, and in pursuit of that goal, trained a force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Kennedy refused to go along and the invasion was roundly defeated. The CIA, military, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy. But it was all a sham.

Though Douglass doesn’t mention it, and few Americans know it, classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance, had informed Castro, but – and here is a startling fact that should make people’s hair stand on end – never told the President. The CIA knew the invasion was doomed before the fact but went ahead with it anyway. Why? So they could and did afterwards blame JFK for the failure. This treachery set the stage for events to come. ...

The stage was now set for events to follow as JFK, in opposition to nearly all his advisers, consistently opposed the use of force in U.S. foreign policy. In 1961, despite the Joint Chief’s demand to put troops into Laos, Kennedy bluntly insisted otherwise as he ordered Averell Harriman, his representative at the Geneva Conference, “Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”

Also in 1961, he refused to concede to the insistence of his top generals to give them permission to use nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia. Walking out of a meeting with top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and said, “These people are crazy.”

He refused to bomb and invade Cuba as the military wished during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Afterwards he told his friend John Kenneth Galbraith that “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.” Then in June 1963 he gave an incredible speech at American University in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of the Cold War and the “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” and movement toward “general and complete disarmament.”

A few months later he signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev. In October 1963 he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year and a total withdrawal by the end of 1965. ...

These clear refusals to go to war and his decision to engage in private, back-channel communications with Cold War enemies marked Kennedy as an enemy of the national security state. They were on a collision course. As Douglass and others have pointed out, every move Kennedy made was anti-war. This, Douglass argues, was because JFK, a war hero, had been deeply affected by the horror of war and was severely shaken by how close the world had come to destruction during the Cuban missile crisis. Throughout his life he had been touched by death and had come to appreciate the fragility of life. Once in the Presidency, Kennedy underwent a deep metanoia, a spiritual transformation, from Cold Warrior to peace maker.

He came to see the generals who advised him as devoid of the tragic sense of life and as hell-bent on war. And he was well aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with those generals and the CIA.

Read complete review here.

Related

Here is another excellent review, by James DiEugenio, of the Douglass book on JFK.
JFK and the Unspeakable

Excerpt:
I should inform the reader at the outset: this is not just a book about JFK's assassination. I would estimate that the book is 2/3 about Kennedy's presidency and 1/3 about his assassination. And I didn't mind that at all, because Douglass almost seamlessly knits together descriptions of several of Kennedy's policies with an analysis of how those policies were both monitored and resisted, most significantly in Cuba and Vietnam. This is one of the things that makes the book enlightening and worthy of understanding.

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Litmus test for Americans

What would the Founders of the nation make of this story below, in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz? When you have the power to demand that citizens take a litmus loyalty test, not to their own country, but to a foreign country, might this be the very essence of the meaning of "chutzpah?" That is, the brazen, open exercise of your will over others, whereby you coerce them to operate in accord with your preferences, even against their own interests – without fear of reprisal. (Isn't this a more on-the-point definition of the term than "unmitigated effrontery?")

• • •

Ha'aretz - December 4, 2009

American Jews eye Obama's 'anti-Israel' appointees

By Natasha Mozgovaya

Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community. In the case of Obama's government in particular, every criticism against Israel made by a potential government appointee has become a catalyst for debate about whether appointing "another leftist" offers proof that Obama does not truly support Israel.

A few months ago, boisterous protests by the American Jewish community helped foil the appointment of Chaz Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council, citing his "anti-Israel leaning." The next attempt to appoint an intelligence aide, in this case, former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, also resulted in vast criticism over his not having a pro-Israel record. American Zionists are urging Obama to cancel Hagel's appointment because of what they call a long and problematic record of hostility toward Israel.

The president of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton A. Klein, described Hagel's nomination as such: "Any American who is concerned about Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons, maintaining the Israeli-U.S. relationship and supporting Israel in its legitimate fight to protect her citizens from terrorism should oppose this appointment."

Republican Jews have also protested Hagel's appointment, citing an incident in 2004 when Hagel refused to sign a letter calling on then-president George Bush to speak about Iran's nuclear program at the G8 summit that year. In August of 2006, Hagel refused to sign a letter requesting the UN declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

In a speech at the conference of self-declared "pro-peace, pro-Israel" lobby J Street, Hagel spoke about his views on the issue of Israel and the Middle East. "The United States' support for Israel need not be – nor should it be – an either-or proposition that dictates our relationships with our Arab allies and friends. The U.S. has a long and special relationship with Israel, but it must not come at the expense of our Arab relationships," Hagel said.

The latest round of heated debate has been over the nomination of Hannah Rosenthal to head the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the Obama administration. Rosenthal, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, served as a Health Department regional director under the Clinton administration, and held positions in different left-leaning Jewish organizations. Between 2000 and 2005, Rosenthal was the head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; she was also the executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women. In recent years, she has served on the advisory board of the J Street lobby.

The president of Americans for Peace Now lauded Obama's appointment of Rosenthal. Even Anti-Defamation League chairman Abraham Foxman came out in support of Rosenthal's appointment. "This appointment signals the continued seriousness of America's resolve to fight anti-Semitism," Foxman said in a statement.

Shortly after the announcement of Rosenthal's nomination, conservative Jewish web sites began to attack her, some of them declaring that Obama appointed an anti-Israeli to fight anti-Semitism. Rumors brewed that she had accused Israel of systemically strengthening anti-Semitism. Bloggers argued that her appointment would cause Jews and Israelis to cast doubt on Obama and his relationship with Israel.

In one of her articles, Rosenthal criticized conservative voices in the Jewish community who she accused of taking over the discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "It's a scary time, with people losing the ability to differentiate between a Jew, any Jew, and what's going on in Israel," Rosenthal said.

In an interview with the new online Jewish magazine, Tablet, Rosenthal said that she loves Israel. "I have lived in Israel. I go back and visit every chance I can. I consider it part of my heart. And because I love it so much, I want to see it safe and secure and free and democratic and living safely," Rosenthal said.
• • •

Related

Earlier this year, in reflecting on President Obama's Inauguration speech, the Israeli writer Gideon Levy wrote:

When we say that someone is a "friend of Israel" we mean a friend of the occupation, a believer in Israel's self-armament, a fan of its language of strength and a supporter of all its regional delusions. When we say someone is a "friend of Israel" we mean someone who will give Israel a carte blanche for any violent adventure it desires, for rejecting peace and for building in the territories.

Israel's greatest friend in the White House, outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, was someone like that. There is no other country where this man, who brought a string of disasters down upon his own nation and the world, would receive any degree of prestige and respect. Only in Israel. ...

That's because Bush was a friend of Israel. Israel's greatest friend. Bush let it embark on an unnecessary war in Lebanon. He did not prevent the construction of a single outpost. He may have encouraged Israel, in secret, to bomb Iran. He did not pressure Israel to move ahead with peace talks, he even held up negotiations with Syria, and he did not reproach Israel for its policy of targeted killings. ...

That's just how we like U.S. presidents. They give us a green light to do as we please. They fund, equip and arm us, and sit tight. Such is the classic friend of Israel, a friend who is an enemy, an enemy of peace and an enemy to Israel.

Read complete article here.
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It's time for a moratorium

In The Unemployment Solution, former Congressman Virgil Goode makes all the sense in the world. And that's why his common sense will not prevail. Here are excerpts from his wise insights:

• • •

I applaud Rep. Smith for standing up against illegal immigration, but we need to go a step further to protect displaced American workers. The first priority of our government needs to be the interests of American citizens—both native born and naturalized—not “legal immigrant workers.” And the 25 million American citizens out of work are not only pushed out by illegal aliens, but also by certain legal immigrants.

Even if we completely stopped illegal immigration tomorrow, the government still issues 75,000 permanent work visas and approximately 50,000 temporary work visas. These 125,000 jobs should go to Americans first. ...

Since the economic crisis began over a year ago, there’s been no discussion about reducing total immigration levels and we’ve allowed over 1.5 million new legal foreign workers in the country. As Pat Buchanan recently wrote, “probably twice as many jobs have been taken by these folks as the 650,000 the Obamaites claim were saved or created by their $787 billion stimulus package.”

What should we do? Roy Beck of the non-partisan Numbers USA testified at a Congressional Forum where he recommended we cut the 75,000 each month as close to zero as possible as long as the overall U-3 unemployment rate remains above, say, 5%?...The numbers demand the introduction of legislation to suspend the issuance of as many permanent work visas as possible during this Jobs Depression.

This policy is a no-brainer. It is pure madness to continue to keep flooding our country with millions of foreign workers when our own citizens cannot find jobs. It is time for a moratorium.

Read complete article here.

Related

Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors, published by CIS

Immigration apparently not high on Obama's priority list

Opening up jobs for Americans

The New York Times, the Watchdogs, and the crusade to destroy the immigration reform movement

Immigration: Betrayal By Black Elites

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The Fairness Doctrine: How would it work today?

Many people remember the days of the Fairness Doctrine as a period when they didn't even know there was such a thing as the Fairness Doctrine. Here in New York, those of us who were avid listeners to the two Barrys, i.e., Gray and Farber, remember both hosts presenting guests with divergent points of view, but recall no hysteria between "rightwing" or "leftwing." Farber, the self-identified conservative, would amiably offer some preachments about "misguided liberals," but never in a meanspirited way. Gray, the one most listeners considered liberal, counted among his friends and radio guests as many people on one side of the political fence as the other. There was enough neutral, non-political programming to take one's mind off the hot issues of the day. On none of the stations could you find 24/7 political rants.

We're familiar with today's arguments concerning the Fairness Doctrine. The general consensus that seems to prevail goes something like: "Keep government regulation out and let the market decide." But what happens if there is more going on here that is perpetuating this one-sided on-air political dog-and-pony show than just the "market?"

Rich McClear, who was a radio station manager, offers his recollections about that period when the Fairness Doctrine was in place, on the New York Radio Message Board (12/09/09). Although he claims that there were occasionally complaints, his recollection of the Fairness Doctrine as basically a benign, unobtrustive instrument is similar to that of many New York listeners. He titled his remarks, "Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine Now!"
• • •

I managed stations in the day of the fairness doctrine, and while I was happy to see it go I have to admit that it was never much of a burden. There was no big brother monitoring me. The fairness doctrine meant that I kept the whole idea of balance in my mind running the station. The doctrine did not call for stopwatch equal time. But somewhere in my program day I had to allow for other points of view.

The biggest complaints came from the right. I ran a station in a pulp mill town and at times when I had Congressman Miller or Senator Tsongas on talking about clear cutting I would get a call saying I was biased, violating the fairness doctrine. I could easily show that I also had our Alaska delegation on who had the pro development point of view. Sometimes it was a pain, but never a major pain.

Now that it is gone I realize how mistaken I was in wanting it to go. The airwaves are public property. A licensee is an agent of the government, in a way, managing a public resource. For that licensee to systematically deny certain points of view on the public's air is tantamount to a government agent censoring the airwaves.

Bring back the fairness doctrine. Now I will probably have my station's NAB membership canceled.

Related

The Flawed Debate about the Fairness Doctrine

Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine

Forget the Fairness Doctrine

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Peace Prize President sends a Christmas gift

And so, more 21-year-old Americans will not get to live out their 20's. Not because they're defending a homeland under siege or even in threat of danger, but due only to deceiving politicians, who are egged on by zealots whose warped sense of patriotism is tied to their love of war.

Here are some trenchant insights from David Lindorff in Holiday Greetings: President and Man-of-Peace Obama Has a Xmas Present for Afghanistan.
• • •

Excerpts:

Merry Xmas Jarheads!! The Man of Peace, Nobel Laureate-to-be, President Barack Obama, your chickenhawk commander-in-chief, is shipping you out as a holiday gift to the people of Afghanistan.

You will be delivering bullets and bombs, with my name and the name of other American taxpayers on them, to the long-suffering people of Afghanistan by December 25, according to what Mr. Hope and Change’s told the nation in a speech delivered at West Point last night.

Back here in America, the land of the free and brave, come the holidays, we will be scraping together the cash to buy small gifts for our kids, hopefully without having to miss a rent payment or a mortgage payment. Fortunately, we’ve got Food Stamps, which are now, we are told, flooding the suburbs, and are “no longer a stigma,” so we won’t be hurting too much for Christmas dinner—though you still can’t use the stamps to buy eggnog.

It will be interesting to hear what your commanders tell you your mission is. The president is saying we need to keep Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, which he dishonestly called the "epicenter" of global terrorism, but from what I hear, there are no Al Qaeda operatives in the country. They all upped and left for greener pastures a long time ago—to places like Pakistan, Somalia, and maybe Europe and the USA. Hell, they can go anywhere. How do you spot an Al Qaeda guy anyhow? The fellows getting on the plane in Boston on 9-11 were clean-shaven and wore Brooks Brothers shirts, looking more like bond traders than bombers.

No, you will be targeting the Taliban. But the Taliban are Afghans, and look just like the people who are not Taliban, so what you’ll most likely be doing half the time or more is shooting up ordinary struggling Afghani peasants and shopkeepers, or members of weddings or funerals, whose angry relatives will then seek revenge by setting traps or ambushes for you. ...

You’ll be called “our heroes,” too. I’m not sure why. I mean, it takes a certain amount of guts just to sign up for an outfit like the Marines, I know (my dad volunteered to be a Marine in WWII). But I just find it hard to see what’s so heroic about being part of the best-armed, best-trained fighting force in the history of mankind and fighting a group of poor, uneducated peasants armed at best with AK rifles and home-made bombs—especially when you guys reportedly outnumber your enemy by better than 10:1, and have the backing of completely unchallenged air support—F-16s, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing gunships and B-1 bombers. That’s not a fight. It’s a slaughter. ...

So when you’re over there, try to kill as few of the poor Afghanis as you can. That would be a genuine act of heroism. Or just refuse to go. That would even be more heroic still.

Don’t believe your commander-in-chief when he says you are defending America over there. I’m confident that you’ll see pretty quickly once you get there that the notion that those poor people could be in any way a threat to this nation is beyond ludicrous.

No, what you’ll be defending is Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s scheme to look tough on defense, and to be able to kick the can of this ugly, pointless war down the road past the 2012 election without having to run as the "president who lost Afghanistan."
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Political reporters as spineless dweebs

Matt Taibbi's observations on how the media works are well worth a trip to his blog. Tough and gritty, he pulls no punches in describing what he believes about the field in which he works, and how the media drives politics in this country. Here are some excerpts from Yes, Sarah, There is a Media Conspiracy.

• • •

Excerpts:

The political media has always taken it upon itself to make decisions about who is and who is not qualified to be taken seriously as candidates for higher office. Without even talking about whether they do this more or less to Republicans or Democrats, I can testify that I witnessed this phenomenon over and over again in the primary battles within the Democratic Party. It has always been true that the press corps has drawn upon internalized professional biases, high-school-style groupthink and the urging of insider wonks to separate candidates into “serious” and “unserious” groups before the shots even start to be fired.

At the outset of the 2004 campaign, for instance, the herd knew without being told that Kerry and Lieberman got the first paragraphs in the debate wrap-ups and Howard Dean, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich got the last paragraphs. The corps fought against Dean’s unexpectedly strong showing all the way through the early primaries and it was no surprise to anyone when they pile-drove him into total insanity before Iowa.

The point I’m trying to make is that the media has a long and storied history of just taking the gloves off and whaling on a dude until he screams uncle (in Dean’s case, almost literally) when they make up their mind about someone, and this phenomenon is not restricted to fights between Democrats and Republicans.

When that does happen, when the press corps decides to abandon all restraint and go for the head shot, it usually tells us a lot more about the reporters’ bosses and what they’re thinking than it does about the reporters themselves. Your average political reporter is a spineless dweeb who went to all the best schools and made it to that privileged seat inside the campaign-trail ropeline by being keenly sensitive to the editorial wishes of his social and professional superiors.

When their bosses were for the war, they were for the war, and they battered any candidate who was “weak on foreign policy.” When the political winds shifted four years later and the consensus inside the Beltway suddenly was that Iraq had been a hideous mistake, the campaign-trail reporters mysteriously started sounding like Sixties peaceniks on the plane and they hammered Hillary for refusing to admit her error on the Iraq vote clearing the way for Obama.

The tone for all this behavior is always set somewhere way up the corporate totem pole, and it always reflects some dreary combination of simple business considerations (i.e. what’s the best story and sells the most ads) and internalized political calculus (i.e. who is a “legitimate” candidate and who is an “insurgent” or a “second-tier” hopeful). It’s not that the reporters are making this judgment themselves, it’s that they have to listen to what the apparatus Up There is saying all day long — not just their bosses but the think-tank talking heads they interview for comments, the party insiders who buy them beers at night, the pollsters, and so on.

And when all these people start getting in their ears about this or that guy doesn’t have “winnability,” or doesn’t have enough money to run, or has negatives that are insurmountable, all that thinking inevitably bleeds into the coverage. It’s not that the reporters are “biased.” They just don’t have the stones, for the most part, to ignore all the verbal and non-verbal cues they get from authority figures about who is “legitimate” and who isn’t.

Once the signal comes down that this or that politician doesn’t have the backing of anyone who matters, that’s when the knives really come out. When a politician has powerful allies and powerful friends, you won’t see reporters brazenly kicking him in the crotch the way they did to Dean and they’re doing now to Sarah Palin. The only time they do this is when they know there won’t be consequences, meaning when the politician’s only supporters are non-entities (read: voters), as in the case of Ron Paul or Kucinich. Like America in general, the press corps never attacks any enemy that can fight back. ...

[Palin's] getting it from all angles now and that wouldn’t be happening if she still had any friends in high places. The press corps that is bashing her skull in right now is the same one that hyped that WMD horseshit for like four solid years and pom-pommed America to war with Iraq over the screeching objections of the entire planet.

It’s the same press corps that rolled out the red carpet for someone very nearly as abjectly stupid as Sarah Palin to win not one but two terms in the White House. If there was any kind of consensus support for Palin inside the beltway, the criticism of her, bet on it, would be almost totally confined to chortling east coast smartasses like me and Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan. ...

You teabaggers are in the process of being marginalized by your own ostensible party leaders in exactly the same way the anti-war crowd was abandoned by the Democratic party elders in the earlier part of this decade. Like the antiwar left, you have been deemed a threat to your own party’s “winnability.” ...

You had these people eating out of the palms of your hands (remember what it was like in the Dixie Chicks days?). Now they’re all drawing horns and Groucho mustaches on your heroes, and rapidly transitioning you from your previous political kingmaking role in the real world to a new role as a giant captive entertainment demographic that exists solely to be manipulated for ratings and ad revenue.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Westchester and the latest integration crusade

"It's time to remove zip codes as a factor in the quality of life in America." And with that snide remark, Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), made clear the department's intention to force the construction of 750 low-income housing units in affluent, stable communities of Westchester County in New York State.

In spite of the fact that Westchester has long had its share of affluent black and Hispanic families, that's not quite the same as having a representation of "poorer" residents (as HUD puts it), apparently to guarantee racial as well as economic "diversity." After all, what's a community without a contingent of Section 8 tenants? It's a "racist" community, if we follow the logic of Mr. Sims and the Obama administration, that is vigorously pursuing this latest integration crusade.

In "Revolt in Westchester"(City Journal, 11/4/09), Walter Olson describes this recent move to compel towns to accept unwanted housing, and sees the recent election of Rob Astorino over long-time County Executive Andy Spano as the signs of a revolt by Westchester residents, who are determined to find a way out of a settlement that many believe was coerced via strong-armed government tactics.

Talk to my neighbors here in the Norwood section of the Bronx about quality of tenants. Now, you might think that the Bronx is the last place where anyone would care about such things as residents' conduct, but you would be mistaken. In spite of its reputation for crime and disorder, there have always been, in the borough, low-to-no-crime havens of steadfast, conscientious home-owners and apartment dwellers. Most of my neighbors are working class types, harboring what one might call middle class aspirations and values.

During the past decade, the neighborhood's landlords have been hard pressed to find more of such tenants to fill vacancies in their apartment buildings. In my building, for example, apartments have sat empty for months. Long-time residents of other buildings have reported the same situation, i.e., empty apartments.

But no longer. Against their better judgment, many landlords are succumbing to the government's generous rental payments for Section 8 tenants, or so-called homeless families. ("Families" in a very loose sense of the word, usually single women with children and a host of interchangeable boyfriends.) I need not detail the alterations to the neighborhood's environment, as residents attempt to adjust to the behavior patterns of these new tenants with "issues." You can guess the nature of the "issues" they bring with them. Suffice it to say, the recent upswing in, shall we call it, social discord, is taking its toll on what is normally a harmonious and tolerant community, where residents make a virtue of being seen and heard only when appropriate.

I am told that for taking in a Section 8 tenant, landlords can receive at much as $200 higher for monthly rents from the government than they might get from regular, working tenants. One neighbor, writing to our local weekly newspaper, expresses the fear that our community might soon turn into a "subsidized, public assistance oasis."

There is no reason not to believe that this could be the fate of Westchester. Although the county certainly starts from a much higher economic base than our modest area in the Bronx, as residents of homes and co-ops flee the coming social turmoil, the slide could be swift. HUD has announced its plans to bring its low-income housing program into other affluent neighborhoods around the country. Could there be a plot afoot to eliminate all middle and upper class venues in an attempt to make every nook and cranny "look like America?"

To fabricate neighborhoods that are undifferentiated by social and economic factors (which zip codes symbolize), Walter Olson claims "would require extreme, indeed utopian, ventures in social engineering." As they have done in other areas, the government's social engineers and their lawyers can work to legally abridge a locality's home rule and change zoning laws.

In Westchester, if towns would try to protect themselves, by offering these new low-income homes and units to their own local townspeople, such as teachers, policemen and elderly residents, the HUD settlement would prevent such a move. The settlement requires the county to "market the homes aggressively," not to Westchester residents, but specifically to "black and Hispanic residents of the New York City area." It's called Government Gotcha!

Olson surmises that Westchester residents voted for Astorino (who, throughout the campaign was never expected to beat the incumbent Spano), as a way of expressing their concerns over this housing issue. Astorino had called for a "slowdown," so that the county could examine further options in relation to the settlement.

Spano might have overplayed his hand by insinuating that critics of the housing plan were "racists." Olson says that Westchester residents, who are liberals from way back and voted for Obama by a comfortable margin, may very well have been offended by Spano's aspersion. "Westchesterites don't like being talked to that way."

Over the last decade, about 1,700 units of "affordable housing" has been built throughout Westchester county. But now, in what a local newspaper calls "a historic shift of philosophy," the federal government demands that the county develop housing in communities "with little or no minority population." It turns out that building for the poor was not good enough. Building now has to be for the race specific poor. It goes without saying that poor whites need not apply.

To quote my neighbor again, "Bad tenants make bad neighborhoods." Here's wishing better luck to Westchester than our little vicinity is presently experiencing.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

David Irving, the Thought Criminal

How is it possible, in these United States, that a group of people, who wish to get together to discuss a historical topic, must relentlessly hide their intention, obfuscate their meeting place, and keep their identities secret, if they don't wish to be hounded like wanted criminals? How is it that citizens who wish to meet peacefully do not have the protection of the law, in order to practice what the law supposedly guarantees, that is, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly?

It's not unusual for one party of citizens to be roused to anger by the beliefs and practices of others. This is to be expected. But in this supposed land of the free, we do not expect that opponents of particular views will be allowed license to destroy websites, steal email information, and confiscate personal correspondence, while threatening hotel managers with violence, if they rent space to certain groups or events. It is not anyone's responsibility to provide a platform for the public expression of opinions, but it is the responsibility of the government to protect citizens from those who would prevent such expression.

Whatever became of that bold white American man, descendant of the Founders, who proudly declared, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend with my life your right to say it?" Is he too busy these days playing with his ever-increasing array of techie toys, gadgets and gizmos, to give a damn about the ongoing loss of one freedom after another, freedoms originally conceived by those 18th century men, who foolishly believed that their singular creation could be entrusted to these very descendants?

These are rhetorical questions to which I expect no answers. I've also ceased expecting indignation from that once watchful and attentive white American man, as he passively accepts the ongoing demise of constitutional principles meant to enforce laws to be obeyed by the high and the lowly.

On November 13, 2009, Professor David Irving was scheduled to give a talk on World War II history, this one to focus on Hitler, Himmler and codebreaking. Irving is a meticulous historian and the author of several acclaimed and respected works of history, including Nuremberg and Churchill's War.

He is despised by a coterie of adversaries for his dissenting views on aspects of World War II's Holocaust, a subject he does not lecture on, but for which he was sentenced in Austria to three years in prison. That is, a historian was imprisoned for expressing opinions that conflict with a standardized version of events that took place during the middle of the 20th century.

Throughout Europe, powerful interest groups have managed to get laws enacted that forbid historians from engaging in further research or exploration of the forbidden Holocaust topic, for which there is now an established "official" text. You see, Europe is full of the types of countries whose oppressive traditions the Founders of this nation strove to avoid. In their time, it was Kings who could throw you into prison for refusing to conform to the Royal Imperatives.

On November 13, the date of Irving's first intended lecture in New York, hackers broke into his website and AOL email account, confiscating lists of the names of those scheduled to attend his forthcoming lectures. The miscreants then published his email correspondence, along with the user name and password for his website and AOL accounts, and the names and email addresses (in some cases, street addresses) of donors and purchasers of Irving's books. His books, by the way, are not furtively published samizdat, and can be bought in most bookstores, as well as from Amazon.

Well aware of the danger he and his lecture participants are in whenever he speaks, Irving has been forced to establish an elaborate system of subterfuge where he keeps the meeting place secret until almost the last minute, and then emails the location to the interested parties. Due to the damage done to the website, this first meeting was necessarily curtailed.

On November 14, Irving's second scheduled lecture, at the Double Tree Hotel in New York, was invaded and disrupted by a band of self-appointed "anti-fascists," who maced one of the attendants. The offending thugs very proudly published an account of their exploits on websites, bragging about how Irving "just got his ass handed to him."

What we have here are self-elected Enforcers, who have usurped powers never granted to one citizen over another, yet who go unchallenged by any legal authority. These are Enforcers who claim the right to judge which points of view should be permitted to prevail, and which ones shall be banned from the public square.

In their attempts to be credible, Enforcers purposely, with malice aforethought, mischaracterize their perceived enemies in the most extreme fashion, and venomously misinterpret their theses or positions. The dissenting sinner must not be allowed to bring his views directly to the public, or be given the opportunity to offer any type of clarification.

Knowing that volatile terminology is bound to rouse the hackles of average people, most of whom are not paying attention anyway, the Enforcers load their charges against their opponents with such extreme epithets as "Nazi," "racist," "white supremacist." Once so labeled, the targeted subject matter, or group, or individual, is supposed to be doomed.

For example, in the case of the labeling of "Holocaust deniers," this is a lie in itself, since none of these researchers deny that a movement against Jews took place during World War II. However, in our country, a nation ruled by the Constitution, the truth or invalidity of a researcher's position on some historical subject is of no consequence. In the land of Jefferson, Madison and Jay, we have the right to be misguided or simply wrong.

If some intrepid soul wishes to give lectures on how Africans enjoyed being slaves and that enslavement was a great favor done for them, his right to lecture is not dependent on whether or not his thesis is correct. That part of it is not the government's business. Its only business is to see to it that this individual, no matter how benighted he might be deemed by foes of his viewpoint, is protected from those who would do him harm, by stealing his property or endangering his person. We do not search for ways to eradicate his freedoms, nor should we set up phony legal mechanisms to imprison him.

In his own version of that aforementioned declaration, i.e., to defend another's right to speak, even when in disagreement, Thomas Paine wrote, "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." Today, these 18th century warnings are nothing but corny words, not to be taken seriously by a people who would disgrace themselves by permitting the passage of unconstitutional "hate crime" laws. When a people indicate that they're ready to punish citizens as "Thought Criminals," then nothing that follows can be surprising.

Although I have never attended an Irving lecture, I have read one of his impressive books, and I am on his mailing list. Over the years, I have written on the topic of European repression of scholars, academics and researchers for the Issues & Views website. I list links to some of these articles below:

Free speech still struggles to survive, in Europe and in the USA

Europe's Hypocrites and Liars - Part I

Europe's Hypocrites and Liars - Part II

When Truth Is No Defense

Related:

David Irving - Biography

Irving Describes His Austria Arrest and Imprisonment

Who Is Ernst Zundel, And Why Is He In Jail?

Historians Behind Bars
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The fruits of callous indifference

In the midst of the patriotic zeal that Americans are compelled to display, one must never suggest that leaders of the United States, at any time in its history, have ever taken this country into dark places where it engages in negative acts against innocent populations, or causes pain to anyone, anywhere in the world. History, of course, is filled with examples of such practices engaged in by every other country on earth, but not the USA, USA, USA.

Jacob Hornberger, of the Future of Freedom Foundation, in Foreign Policy Blowback at Ft. Hood, takes us on an excursion to show where American interventionist policies are leading us. Here are excerpts:
• • •

Amidst all the debate over whether the Ft. Hood killer is a terrorist, murderer, enemy combatant, traitor, sleeper agent, or insane person, there is one glaring fact staring America in the face: what happened at Ft. Hood is more blowback from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even at this early stage of the investigation, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the accused killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was motivated to kill U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood by deep anger and rage arising from the things that the U.S. government has been doing to people in the Middle East for many years.

Oh, I can already hear the interventionists exclaiming, “You’re a justifier! You’re justifying what he did!”

Isn’t that what they said after the 9/11 attacks, when we libertarians pointed out that those attacks were motivated by the deep anger and rage that had boiled over in the Middle East because of what the U.S. government had been doing to people there?

“You’re a justifier,” the interventionists cried. “You’re justifying what they did.”

In fact, isn’t that what they said after Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, when we libertarians pointed out that he had been motivated by deep anger and rage arising from the federal massacre of U.S. citizens at Waco, including innocent women and children?

“You’re a justifier,” they said. “You’re justifying what McVeigh did.”

The reason the interventionists go off on this “You’re a justifier” tirade is that the last thing they want to be confronted with is the wrongdoing of the U.S. government and its responsibility for the blowback – the retaliatory consequences – from such wrongdoing. ...

Here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, we repeatedly warned – prior to 9/11 – that unless the U.S. government ceased and desisted from its wrongful conduct in the Middle East, the United States would be hit with another terrorist attack. We were repeatedly pointing out that the anger and rage were going to reach another boiling point, just like they had in 1993, and culminate in a terrorist attack on American soil. ...

In his book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, Chalmers Johnson [consultant for CIA, 1967-73] made the same point – that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East was inevitably going to lead to retaliatory terrorist blowback on American soil. His book was published in March 2000, more than a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Did the U.S. government learn anything at all after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center? Did it change its interventionist foreign policy? Did it stop doing bad things to people in the Middle East? On the contrary, it not only continued its interventionist policies that had precipitated the 1993 retaliatory blowback on the World Trade Center, it expanded upon them for the next several years, until the anger and rage in the Middle East once again reached a boiling point that erupted in full force on 9/11.

For example, consider the brutal sanctions that were contributing to the deaths of countless Iraqi children that had filled Ramzi Yousef [convicted of 1993 World Trade Center attack] and many other people in the Middle East with anger and rage. Those sanctions continued … and continued … and continued, with the death toll mounting year after year after year – along with rising anger and rage.

By the mid-1990s the death toll for Iraqi children from the sanctions had reached the hundreds of thousands. What was the response of U.S. officials to this rising death toll? Nothing but callous indifference. They simply didn’t care. ....

The brutal sanctions continued throughout the 1990s and in to the 2000s, amidst a growing outcry all over the world, not to mention the rising anger and rage within people in the Middle East. In order to cover its wrongdoing, the U.S. got the UN to enact the infamous oil-for-food program, a crooked, corrupt, bureaucratic, socialistic government program that was nothing more than a charade to cover up the rising death toll and the callous indifference to the horror.

In 2000, in a crisis of conscience, two high UN officials, Hans van Sponeck and Denis Halliday, even resigned their posts in protest to what was being described as genocide. "As a UN official, I should not be expected to be silent to that which I recognise as a true human tragedy that needs to be ended," von Sponeck stated. "How long the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, should be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done?" he asked. ...

Did anything change after the 9/11 attacks? Did the U.S. government learn any lessons from those attacks? Did it abandon any of its interventionist policies? On the contrary, it not only continued the policies that had given rise to the anger and rage, it used the attacks to expand the interventionist policies. First and foremost, the 9/11 attacks were used as the excuse to effect regime change not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan. In other words, what 11 years of brutal and deadly sanctions had failed to achieve in Iraq – regime change – was quickly achieved with a military invasion and occupation. ...

Compounding the invasions and long-term occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan has been the callous indifference to the loss of innocent life in those two countries. Year after year, U.S. officials have professed to be killing and destroying out of love for the Iraqi and Afghani people. Sure, we’re killing you but it’s all for your own good because in the long run, you will have democracy and so it will all be worth it, U.S. officials have exclaimed. Don’t fret about losing your mother or father, or your bride, or your sister, or your friend. In the long run, you will thank us because you will find that democracy will be worth it.

What could be more wrongful, more immoral than that – the intentional killing of human beings in order to achieve a political-welfare goal? And keep in mind that there has never been an upward limit on the number of Afghanis and Iraqis who could be killed to achieve “democracy.” Any number of deaths, no matter how high, would be considered “worth it.” ...

We must never lose sight of the fact that in Iraq, it is the U.S. government that is the aggressor – the invader – the occupier. It is the U.S. government that started this war. It is the Iraqis who are the defenders, the victims of what the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal called a “war of aggression.”

We should also never lose sight of the fact that while Afghanistan bore a tangential relationship to 9/11, the decision to treat the attack as a military problem rather than a criminal-justice one has been an unmitigated disaster. By killing countless Afghanis who had nothing to do with 9/11, the U.S. government has simultaneously swelled the ranks of people whose anger and rage have propelled them into the ranks of those who seek retaliation, including it now seems beyond any doubt, the alleged Ft. Hood killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. ...

I’m going to repeat what we’ve been saying since before 9/11: the U.S. government needs to get out of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Pull the troops out now. There is no other genuine way to support them. Stop the killing. End the occupations. The U.S. military and the CIA have had eight years to do all the killing, torturing, humiliating, and destroying they want. Now it is time to bring it to an end. Enough is enough.

Related

Compilation of Future of Freedom Foundation articles on the nature and consequences of the sanctions on Iraq
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A light unto the nations?

Philip Weiss authors one of the most important blogs in the blogosphere, and always offers some of the most candid observations on the attitudes and behavior of this country's Israel partisans. Here are some excerpts from recent posts by Weiss on his blog, Mondoweiss, The war of ideas in the Middle East:

• • •

I spent much of the J Street policy conference last week struggling with the issue of racism in liberal Jewish life, including in my own thinking. J Street set off this debate in my mind because it dispensed with two easily-dismissed rationales for the Jewish state that you hear everywhere at AIPAC: Israel is necessary because the antisemites are going to turn on us in the U.S., or it’s necessary because the Bible gave us the land. J Street doesn’t go in for either argument. And yet it routinely invokes the necessity and goodness of Jewish democracy. I must have heard the words Jewish democracy a million times there. I’ve never seen a purple cow either. ...

Liberal Jews routinely invoke a racist idea -- the "demographic threat" -- to justify the Jewish democracy. These ideas are familiar to me. They are what I was raised with, and am still engaged by. They surround Jewish feelings of superiority. We are chosen, we are smarter, we are irrigating the desert and building computers that will deliver a drop of water to every root of every artichoke bush, we have more Nobel prizes than all the Arab world combined. I’ve struggled with this idea of Jewish superiority all my life. It was in the warp and woof of my upbringing in an academic milieu, and I run into it in almost every argument I have with Zionists. It reminds me of schwarzer talk in the 1970s -- talking about black people.

The elaboration of this attitude -- which J Streeters seem to believe but don’t pound the table about, as the neocons do -- is that Israel is a developed country while the Arab world is ignorant, that the Palestinians are peasants and Jews are urban people of the book, that the Arab world lacks basic freedoms. And so it would be a tragedy if the smart Jews of Israel had to share the government of their country, in one state, with the Palestinians. In a word, We don’t want to be governed by Arabs. ...

The conflict won’t go away until the ideology of the white master, which permeates the Zionist story, is discussed openly in the United States, and we begin to see this as a story of dispossession and disfranchisement. You can say anything you like about Palestinian peasantry, or women being covered in Gaza, or authoritarianism in Egypt, or Israeli technology. I share some of those political values. But none of these points is an argument for human bondage, let alone burning up children with white phosphorus or relying on powerful brethren in the U.S. to shut down the debate.

They are arguments that if Jews really want to be a light unto the nations, they must recognize that Israelis share a land with others, and they must work together to come up with a democratic ethos. ...

Until liberals wrestle with the real phenomenon of Jewish power, their analysis of foreign policy will be limited and their action ineffective. Bernard Avishai’s claims that American hardliners want the settlement program to continue, and "One cannot just assume that the Congress will care what Jews want" are absurd. Over and over, American presidents have said they oppose the colonization program; over and over these instincts have been nullified politically because of the Jewish presence in the power structure. The Senate is dominated by Democrats, and 1/5 of them are Jews, even though Jews are just 2 percent of the population. ... As I have frequently said, the biggest money game in town on the Republican side is Sheldon Adelson, a Zionist Jew, who got engaged in 2000 with the specific aim of nullifying the "peace process." Today is Obama frustrated by "hardliners"? No: he’s frustrated by the likes of Chuck Schumer, who refuses to go to J Street. ...

To think that the Jewish presence in the media is not also a factor in the disastrous American foreign policy re the Middle East is not to think at all. Avishai’s analysis evades this issue. The Israel lobby is powerful for a lot of reasons. Because it’s a special interest, and because it cares more than anyone else. But also because of the Jewish presence in the Establishment. It is a piece of heartwarming liberal nostalgia to put the blame for the settlements on big bad American hardliners. ...

But just consider America’s "foreign policy strategy," as Avishai puts it. In Iraq, that strategy has called for negotiations with terrorist groups who killed Americans so as to make a political solution, it has called for an end to the occupation of Iraq, and investigating atrocities by American troops. We suspend all those standards when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Why?

In a word, because of American Jewish engagement on these issues. Failing to acknowledge this reality does not serve readers, nor does it serve the necessary process of soul-searching inside the Jewish community over our responsibility for the denial of Palestinian freedom.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doing away with those British Anglos

Is this true? Has a British official come right out and said it? Will a brave American official soon follow suit concerning the goals of U.S. immigration policies?

Of course, the Brit is already backtracking and claiming he didn't really mean what he said, but that's to be expected in this climate of cowardice and fear in which most people live. Here is the initial story from England's Daily Mail, in which Andrew Neather, a speech writer for former Prime Minister Tony Blair, reveals that immigration policy was driven, not only by the desire to acquire cheap labor, but to "engineer a more multicultural Britain," that is, to "rub the Right's nose in diversity." Or, in other words, to ultimately do away with British culture.

• • •

Excerpt:

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Neather revealed the 'major shift' in immigration policy came after the publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office. The published version promoted the labour-market case for immigration but Mr Neather said unpublished versions contained additional reasons.

'Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural. I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended - even if this wasn't its main purpose - to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.'

The 'deliberate policy', from late 2000 until 'at least February last year', when the new points-based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said. Mr Neather defended the policy, saying mass immigration has 'enriched' Britain and made London a more attractive and cosmopolitan place.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think tank, said: 'Now at least the truth is out, and it's dynamite. Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not just a cock-up but a conspiracy. They were right. 'This Government has admitted three million immigrants for cynical political reasons concealed by dodgy economic camouflage.'

The chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, said: 'We welcome this statement which the whole country knows to be true. 'It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain.'

Related

See: This isn't Holland anymore
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More on the Swain affair, and reflections on Lou Dobbs

In my post below of October 21, Exposing the charlatans of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I cited the SPLC's verbal attack on Professor Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University, for granting a favorable review to Craig Bodeker's documentary film, A Conversation About Race. [Read the Oct. 21 post first for necessary details.]

After learning of the SPLC's director Mark Potok's description of Swain as an "apologist for white supremacists," the Tennessean newspaper turned the episode into a controversy by publishing a front-page story on the angry exchange between Potok and Swain. Then, in the interest of equal time, on October 24, the Tennessean published a front-page response by Swain, entitled Learn to listen to voice of dissent with respect. Here is an excerpt:


. . . Given the potential for gross misunderstanding, I would like to elevate the dialogue a bit. I am a professor of political science and law who often teaches a popular seminar on hate groups in America. Seven years ago, I wrote a book titled The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration. The book warned of rising racial and ethnic conflict because of a set of converging conditions that created a devil brew for racial unrest. Since then the conditions I warned of have heightened. My position remains that racial hatred and bigotry are real and that they can rear their ugly head against any community, including the white community.

It is also true that there are –isms within communities that seek to silence defectors. Ridiculous double standards exist for racial and ethnic minorities. Can anyone imagine that white people would expect all other white people to agree on every issue? Nonetheless, minorities are expected to express solidarity in their political views.

I believe that the continuation of a peaceful American society will depend on our learning how to respectfully listen to one another. One of the most troubling facets of life today is the powerful movement by left-leaning organizations and governmental officials to engage in character assassination, by labeling anyone who disagrees with their liberal utopian vision for society as unworthy of participating in the conversation about our nation's future. A quick look at global history reveals the dangers of following such a short-sighted approach.

Today, conservatives and Christians (of which I am both) are targeted by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that regularly seek to discredit us. The war on free speech is so pervasive that the White House has deigned to attack Fox News for unflattering coverage of the Obama administration. Americans have cause to worry. . . .

I agree with Professor Swain that there are those on the political left who do not hesitate to go for the jugular when engaging in dissent, especially if they even suspect that you're not taking the "correct" line on race. However, spiteful retaliation is alive and well among the rightwing, or "conservatives," as well. Members of this faction are just as adept at distorting the intentions of their adversaries, and often engage in outright colorful fabrications. Although Swain might not perceive it, there exists also the "conservative utopian vision for society." And, given the media outlets that broadcast literally hundreds of talk shows weekly, rightwingers are able to spread their messages far and wide. As Swain says, however, there is currently an attempt brewing on the left to assassinate her character.

Soon after the Tennessean newspaper published its initial article and Swain's response last week, talk show host Lou Dobbs invited Swain on his radio show. (They claim a friendly, professional relationship, as she is a frequent guest on both his radio and television shows.) There she tried to explain her position, and why she felt the Bodeker film was worthwhile from the standpoint of frank discussion. But once he was apprised of the SPLC's charge of "racism" against Bodeker, Dobbs did not seem to have a further interest in learning anything about the film or the background of the charge against Bodeker. He began to talk over Swain's attempted explanations, even though Dobbs himself is on the SPLC's hit list of "racists." Bodeker is charged by the SPLC with publicly referring to Barack Obama with an "ethnic slur," one that is not considered quite as severe as the forbidden "N" word that Jesse Jackson leveled at Obama back in 2008.

Although he takes the title "Mr. Constitution," it is clear that Dobbs' interest in the Constitution's principles is negligible. One wonders if the SPLC had not added his name to their "hate" list, in attempting to shut down his ability to engage in free speech over the subject of illegal immigration, whether Dobbs would rise to the defense of free speech at all. It appears that it's only his own free speech that concerns him. A Nat Hentoff he is not.

A Republican sycophant he is. He calls himself "Mr. Independent," along with the self-description of "radical centrist," whatever that is. Except for the issue of immigration, in which he expresses disagreement with the conventional Republican advocacy of open borders and amnesty, Dobbs has always toed the party line. Throughout the Bush administration, he carried as much water for the Republican party as all the rest of the rightwing talk show hosts. He recited the items on that proverbial "daily memo" every day as faithfully as Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, et. al. Whatever the talk show blabbermouths were complaining about or promoting on any given day, Dobbs was right there reciting the same mantras.

However, now that his compatriots are out of the White House, and a Democrat is in, he feels free to assume an "antiwar" posture. Only recently has he become a vocal advocate of bringing home American troops from all those worthless exploits abroad. Throughout George W. Bush's tenure, one never heard the "bring them home" theme from Dobbs. Instead, in its place, he carefully peppered his talk with the safe catchphrase of "support the troops." At that time, he appeared to share the view, along with his "conservative" buddies, that those who wished to see the end of foreign hostilities did not support the troops. He was wise enough to play both ends against the middle, so that he would not lose face with his Republican chicken hawks.

Like most people on the right, Dobbs is as quick to hurl the "racist" charge at a perceived transgressor as any multi-cult inspired leftist. Earlier this year, a perfectly sane sounding male caller to his radio show, who appeared to be a fan of Dobbs, offered the suggestion that, given the current circumstances of unemployment, etc., in the country, it might be best to end all immigration, legal as well as illegal. This gave Dobbs the opportunity to take his Super Anti-racist stance. The caller had said nothing about race, but before he could be more explicit with his reasoning, Dobbs inferred racial motives and accused him of being "hung up on group identity." Listeners never got to hear the response of the obviously shocked caller, who did not expect such a reaction from the supposed champion of the country's welfare.

Dobbs accepts the questionable premise that there is racial discord throughout the land. This leads to a form of logic that the only way that racial peace can be attained is for all the races to mix it up sexually and reproduce biracial offspring. As one-half of an interracial marriage himself, he claims to "encourage" such practice.

In a recent conversation with a white woman caller to his radio show, Dobbs cooed over the news from her that, of her four daughters, two are interracially married. He thought this was a perfectly wonderful way to solve what he perceives as America's severe "social problem." And why shouldn't everyone get on board and emulate this woman's daughters? After all, Dobbs and the caller concurred, almost chanting in unison, "It is the year 2009!" By this "late date," you see, every American should be in tune with the times. Apparently, all people should be on the track of desiring to see an end to their own ethnic group, along with the eradication of all the races as we found them here on earth.

Dobbs is known to talk endlessly (and childishly) about the United States as a "melting pot." (Remember that propaganda about the "huddled masses" you learned in the third grade?) He appears to see the value of America primarily through this "melting pot" metaphor. Yet it is clear from what we are learning about so many recent immigrants arriving from disparate parts of the world, being inculcated with this country's values or customs, or even its legal system, is the last thing on their minds. (We will soon be facing serious demands from Muslims for the practice of sharia law already coerced as a second legal system in several European countries. See This isn't Holland anymore.) Sane people understand the urgency of maintaining Western American culture, in order to sustain the country's democratic institutions, including that Constitution of which Dobbs is supposedly so fond.

Geraldo Rivera is wrong in his charge against Dobbs that he is "scapegoating" immigrants. On the contrary, Dobbs is concerned with the "illegal" variety only. He has no problem with the ultimate transformation of the country's culture to Latino or Arab or Somali or with the ramifications that such changes would bring. Dobbs claims that he is not for amnesty, but he might as well be. A moratorium on all immigration would never cross his mind, and we see what happens to anyone who brings up the topic to him.

After the way he pounced on that naïve, unsuspecting male caller, one wonders if, in Dobbs' moral constellation, anyone is permitted to cleave unto his own "group identity," and to want to see it preserved and perpetuated, in spite of the fact that this might not contribute to the harmony that Dobbs believes ethnic biracialism would bring.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exposing the charlatans at the Southern Poverty Law Center

The term "social engineering" never fit an entity better than it does the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This intrusive, tenacious organization has spent years attempting to recast and transform American society to fit its own peculiar ideals. Its directors are missionaries in the full sense of the word, in that they relentlessly work to stamp onto the hearts and minds of the public a distinctive belief system, which teaches what is evil and what is not.

This month, the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) has published an excellent analysis of the SPLC's attack on FAIR and other immigration reform groups, entitled, Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Immigration Debate." It offers much-needed insights. Besides giving the ordinary citizen an opportunity to view the insides of this "watchdog" group, the report should become a reference guide for members of the media, who generally take the easy way out when covering stories about race and/or immigration.

Reporters, editorialists, and feature writers are notorious for accepting, without further investigation, reams of data and materials disseminated to them by a cluster of self-appointed overseers of American society, among the most prominent, the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Thanks to the fawning acceptance granted them by the establishment media, these groups, and several more like them, have acquired an almost quasi-governmental status in the public mind. When they spread lies, there are few people who will risk inevitable public denigration and stand up to challenge them. In regard to the SPLC, FAIR's new report does just that.

FAIR was founded in 1979, and is the country’s largest immigration reform group. It has more than 250,000 members whose aims are to improve border security, stop illegal immigration, and promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest. Sensible immigration reform would enhance national security, improve the economy, preserve our environment, and protect jobs for American citizens.

Such goals have earned FAIR the designation of a "hate" group by the SPLC. Other immigration reform organizations also have incurred the wrath of the SPLC. They include, but are not limited to the two next largest groups, i.e., the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA. These groups are reputable organizations that handle in a respectful manner what has become a volatile subject. Yet, the SPLC makes it clear that any individual or group that emphasizes the need for immigration reform of any kind is a "hater" and, hence, an enemy of American society.

Although the SPLC claims to take no position on immigration policy, for more than a decade it has acted as a bully by attacking citizens who even suggest that our borders should be monitored, or that the immigration population should be limited. According to the FAIR guide, "In countless articles and 'investigative reports,' the SPLC concluded that just about everyone actively opposed to amnesty and mass immigration was a 'nativist' a 'white supremacist,' or had ties to such groups and individuals."

The SPLC is well known for its ever-growing list of "hate groups" and individual "haters," often referred to as the SPLC's "hit list." Lacking an objective criteria for what constitutes "hate," the SPLC uses its own inscrutable standards. There are some hints, however, that point to a consistency in its multicultural emphasis. Not satisfied with customary, voluntary activity between races, its directors give the impression that they would like to engineer more aggressive policies, in order to bring about greater racial interaction.

In the SPLC's universe, race and how one deals with it, is an important component in determining who is good and who is bad. In order to put the full kibosh on perceived enemies, the SPLC will slap the "racist" tag on them, just for good measure. This was never clearer than in the case of the Mormon polygamous sect in Eldorado, Texas, where, last year, over 400 children were temporarily kidnapped by the government and removed from their parents. With all the troubles faced by these people in just trying to navigate around the intrusions by outsiders, while coping with a system they did not understand, the SPLC came along and declared the group "racist."

In trying to figure out the SPLC's bizarre intervention in this case, one might wonder if the charge of racism was based on the early history of the Mormon church (the sect still adheres to the church's early beliefs on race) or, given the SPLC's propensity for racial meddling, was the charge based on the fact that the men in this sect apparently had no colored wives? Might the lack of any bi-racial children disturb these diversity-minded social engineers?

SPLC leaders are relentless in their venomous attacks on those who they claim try to "retreat from the government and press." On the SPLC "hate" list, there are dozens of little religious groups that do not subscribe to establishment religion. Some believe in their group's special "chosenness" by the Deity. They each wish to have the freedom to worship in accord with their beliefs. You know, exercising the kind of freedom that Americans possessed in an earlier time – even to living separately, if they so determined – before it became mandatory to stay in view of the government and the press.

Groups like the ADL and SPLC, however, refuse to leave such gatherings alone. Instead, these religious sects (some with only a handful of members) are added to "hate" lists and brought to the attention of the public. Members of such faiths are suspect, not for their peculiar doctrines, but because, according to the "watchdogs," no citizens should be allowed to operate on the outside or fringe of what is considered "mainstream" society. Outsiders who prefer to behave in such a manner are clearly not engaging in "inclusive" practices and, hence, could very well be haters of members of other groups and, therefore, "dangerous."

This is the heart of the SPLC philosophy that it conveys in its massive, annual fundraising mailings to thousands of subscribers, in which fearful scenarios are painted of a society ridden with racists, xenophobes, and potential domestic terrorists.

This month, black Professor Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, made the Southern Poverty Law Center's hit list. Deemed an "apologist for white supremacists" by SPLC's Mark Potok, Swain earned this ad hominem attack because she had dared to offer a favorable review of the documentary film, A Conversation About Race. [See my review here.]

The film, produced by Craig Bodeker, is focused on interviews with a diverse group of people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds. They each get to offer their opinions on the racism that they supposedly observe in the world around them. It is Bodeker's suspicion that genuine racism in today's America is a "myth." Many of the responses offered by the interviewees in this film inadvertently appear to confirm this suspicion. In spite of the SPLC's attempt to shame her, Professor Swain stands by her assertion that Bodeker's film would be useful in classrooms to stimulate honest discussions on the subject of race.

It is understandable why the SPLC does not want the Bodeker film, or anything like it, disseminated too widely. The results of the interviews, right from the mouths of ethnics themselves, suggest that blacks are not held back by a pernicious racism driven by white society.

For its purposes, the SPLC does not want America's race story shifted away from that of black victimology -- that is, the tale of blacks caught in a system that prevents them from improving their circumstances in a racist society. After all, where would that leave the SPLC and its ability to raise those millions of dollars annually in the name of "social injustice?"

If racism is not preventing a black person from going about his business, or living his daily life as he chooses, and places no life-threatening obstacles in his path, as in the days of a 1930s sharecropper, then what are we talking about?

Those who are familiar with the history of the SPLC know that this organization does not seek honesty. Like its other counterparts, it is determined to remain entrenched in its self-appointed role as caretaker and guardian of Americans' thoughts and social habits. Professor Swain is yet another target to have encountered the SPLC's tactic of character assassination. In the coming days we will learn to what extent it will follow through with its usual "link and smear" maneuvers and poisonous press releases. (Of course, as a vocal critic of open borders immigration policies, Swain could never win the approval of the SPLC.)

The FAIR guide cites several investigative articles that have been done on the SPLC. They include critical pieces in The Nation magazine, Harper's magazine, and the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser newspaper. Each describes how the SPLC skews, exaggerates and manipulates data to fit its biased perspectives on race, along with information about its questionable fundraising tactics.

As the FAIR guide suggests, an honest analysis of the immigration issue is possible if, after receiving press releases and other data from SPLC directors, journalists would feel obligated to test the accuracy of their information, question their motives, seek out responses to their allegations about other citizens and, most primary, distinguish between advocacy and news reporting.

Related - Immigration

Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors, published by CIS

The New York Times, the Watchdogs, and the crusade to destroy the immigration reform movement

Immigration: How much more obnoxious can this get?

This isn't Holland anymore

Immigration: Betrayal by Black Elites

Political profiling and the attempt to squelch dissent

Read: Laird Wilcox's The Watchdogs: A close look at Anti-Racist 'Watchdog' Groups

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