Archive for January, 2009

Where the Snakes Went When Driven From Ireland

January 31, 2009

Hear Ye – Hear Ye – Hear Ye – This is What Democracy Looks Like in South Boston, Ma., in the Land of Change, March 15, 2009.

A million spectators will be lining the streets of a parade wherein brigades of young, in the main, minority children, in quasi-military uniform, will be marching to applause of enthusiastic parents urging their children (who will not have to fear theirs being the future generation of deranged veterans homeless in the streets) to wave flags in support of “shock and awe” bombings of “other” peoples worldwide. At a time when a jury in Maine finds anti-war demonstrators not guilty in court, voices for peace in South Boston are barred from participating by the appropriately named “professional” rear-echelon veteran “Wacko”Hurley — Military Families Speak Out, South Boston Residents for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Endorsing this charade at a preceding breakfast, and solving the mystery of where the snakes ended up when St. Partick drove them out of Ireland, will be the Massachusetts’ political establishment, led by Senator Jack Hart and Congressman Stephen Lynch, Ex-President Bush’s cornerstones of propaganda for our current illegal/immoral war, The Governor, the Clergy, American Legion, and possibly the President by Satellite stoking tears of hilarity and sentiment that people nominally viewed askance in South Boston without a proper identification tag “Out,” Blacks, Gays, Lesbians, Peace Activists, etc., can overcome the “swill of discrimination” by wearing green once a year.

Rumor has it that the Peace groups barred from participating in the parade may “strategically” assemble on Castle Island where a maypole is to be erected they can dance around and hug one another and wave flags……..in peace. Democracy indeed!

tony

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“Too Big to Fail:” a Bailout Hoax

January 29, 2009

excerpts from http://www.counterpunch.com/zadeh01302009.html

Using the “too big to fail” scare tactic, the U.S. government has kept a number of terminally ill Wall Street gamblers on an expensive life-support system that is estimated to cost taxpayers $8.5 trillion [1]. In light of the fact that (according to IRS Data Book) there were 138 million taxpayers in 2007, this figure represents a burden of $61,594.20 per tax payer. Or, to put it differently, it represents a burden of $28,333.33 per man, woman and child for the entire U.S. population. . .

government policy makers, Wall Street financial gamblers, and the mainstream media are misrepresenting the ongoing financial difficulties as a problem of illiquidity or lack of cash. In reality, however, it is not a problem of illiquidity or lack of cash, but of insolvency or lack of trust and, therefore, of hoarding cash. The current credit crunch is a symptom, not a cause, of the paralyzed, unreliable financial markets. . .

while Citigroup’s ownership remains legally in the existing private hands, taxpayers have, in fact, paid for the company’s net market value of $20.5 billion 17 times over with the $351 billion paid to date . . .indicative of the fact that government policy makers are more committed to the interests of Wall Street gamblers than those of taxpayers. . .

one definition of capitalism is that it is a system of socializing losses and privatizing profits. . .

There’s ‘corporate governance’ for you—they simply run the country. Administrations exist. Corporations govern. . .

nationalization of insolvent banks would, of course, require new politics on the part of the people who are suffering the most from the daunting economic hardship but do not seem to have a voice or representation in the fraudulent process of the bailout scam, which means the overwhelming majority of the American people. . .

The new politics has to go beyond the traditional channels of demanding change. It needs to draw upon the lessons of the protest movements of the 1930s that squeezed all kinds of economic guarantees and social safety net programs (known as the New Deal reforms) out of the Congress and the FDR administration.

The financial-corporate governments rarely, if at all, carry out grassroots-targeted reforms voluntarily. Only people pressure, pressure that would include a sustained and widespread protest movement, that is, pressure that would threaten the status quo, can bring about reforms that would benefit the grassroots.

In other words, CHANGE !

Stimulus? or Death Knell?

January 28, 2009

As Democrats and Republicans battle over Obama’s stimulus plan, each with their own opinions, certain facts cannot be denied:

1. The only economic situation in any way comparable to today’s was the Great Depression, and nothing Roosevelt or Congress tried solved the problem. It took WWII to get us out of it.

2. While there are similarities to the Great Depression in the effects the current depression is having on the U.S., it is not a simple repeat: it is unique. Therefore, no one can say for certain what will or will not work. All anyone can do is guess (and I would speculate that our leaders will guess wrong).

3. Whatever steps are taken to stimulate the economy, there can be no denying that the hundreds of billions of dollars poured down the drain in Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed enormously to the current crisis and continue to do so every minute that these wars go on.

4. Thus, the essential first step toward ameliorating the crisis is ending the wars. Without that step, no solution is possible.

5. Even though Democrats are as responsible for the current wars as were Republicans, it is usual, although inaccurate, to refer to them as “Bush’s wars.” With Democrats now occupying the White House and having majorities in both houses of Congress, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have, since noon on January 20, 2009, become Democrat’s wars, more specifically, Obama’s wars. Think on that: each and every person, soldier or civilian, who has been killed in either of our wars since noon on January 20th is the personal responsibility of Barak Obama, because he can end those wars in an instant. His thus becomes the latest name added to the long list of mass murderers this country has produced.

Are we going to do anything about that?

jack

Cynthia McKinney: Mr. President: Give Us a Clean Break from War

January 26, 2009

It is time that the United States negotiate in good faith with Hamas, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It is also time that the U.S. government tell Israel to release the Hamas Parliamentarians it illegally arrested. President Obama, please say something about Gaza. You have been roundly condemned for your continued silence in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. Silence is complicity. Not one more bomb for Israel.

Israeli action in Gaza has outraged the world. Starting with Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza when it didn’t like the 2006 election results that put Hamas officially into power. In September 2007, Israel declared Gaza an “enemy entity.” Of course, Israeli efforts to isolate the Gaza Strip can be traced back to Ariel Sharon as early as 2005. In carrying out its military Operation Cast Lead, Israel not only committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, it also carried out a long-standing goal of Gaza isolation. The President’s continued silence on Gaza and the Palestinian right of self-determination is unacceptable.

I would like to commend President Obama for recognizing that peace is the imperative and that the United States can play a constructive role in its attainment. However, placing a phone call to an irrelevant “leader” in an attempt to revive his political standing is not a route to peace: it is a journey down the same road that we’re already on, that is massacres, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture–all with U.S. weapons, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

The President must call the elected representatives of the Palestinian people and that means dealing with Hamas.

President Obama has already spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. George Mitchell, the President’s Middle East Envoy, is reportedly scheduled to visit the region, but is expected to meet only with Egyptian, Israeli, Saudi, and Jordanian leaders, and the West Bank’s Abbas. Unfortunately, despite worldwide revulsion and United Nations outrage at Israeli actions in Gaza, Gaza has not been reported to be one of the Presidential Envoy’s destinations.

Even worse, one of the first officials that Obama called on his first day in office was Palestinian Mahmood Abbas. Abbas, however, is no longer President, heading a government that has no opportunity to govern, from a state that exists only as a construct not made by the Palestinian people. For the United States to embark upon the path of peace, it must recognize and act on the fact that Mahmood Abbas is now irrelevant.

I believe that the call to Abbas occurred because of pressure on President Obama from outraged activists around the country and around the world calling for him to do something. But Abbas is irrelevant if the goal is peace.

If the goal, however, is to appear to be doing something while all the time doing nothing but allowing the violence of U.S.-sponsored military action to spread including saber rattling against Syria and Iran, then the President is on the right path.

The American people voted for change and peace. President Obama’s current path will produce neither.

I have implored President Obama to say something about Gaza. He has been roundly condemned for his continued silence in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. Silence in the face of such criminal behavior is complicity.

President Obama must urgently place a call to the elected government of the Palestinian people.

President Obama can send a strong message to the warmongers inside his own party and present them “a clean break” from war. I encourage him to do so. We will not be fooled by actions that have the appearance of putting us on a path for peace, but that are public relations projects that buy time for more war.

To activists and human rights lawyers around the world I say: Now is not the time to let up. We must be unrelenting in our pressure for justice and recognition of the rights of all peoples embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those rights include the right not to be occupied. And the right to resist occupation. This is the embodiment of self-determination. And the Palestinian people are holders of these rights.

It is time that the United States negotiate in good faith with Hamas, because it is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It is also time that the U.S. government tell Israel to release the Hamas Parliamentarians it illegally arrested.

While the United States Government spends precious resources to imprison Palestinians in the United States who attempted to ameliorate the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, I will attempt another trip to Gaza to assess the depth of the worsened humanitarian catastrophe now there.

I have repeatedly called on the President to ask for and the Congress to vote not one more bomb, not one more dime for the Israeli war machine.

Willy peter and DIME in the Gaza rampage

January 25, 2009

Willy peter is fast becoming Israel’s napalm in its war on Palestinians.

As anyone who has been on the ground in a combat zone can tell you, few weapons produce such dread as “willy peter”, military slang for white phosphorus detonations. Picture a substance which is pyrophoric, that is it burns spontaneously when in contact with oxygen, and at extremely high temperatures. If it gets on you, it burns in right away, cannot be extinguished if there’s any contact with air, resists water, and continues to sear its way into the body until it’s exhausted or deprived of oxygen. In Vietnam we spoke of willy peter with a kind of macho awe, and sincerely desired never to be hit by friendly-fire white phosphorus rounds.

A week or so ago, some of us internet savvy Vietnam veterans were seeing news photos which looked like something out of War of the Worlds, of artillery airbursts over densely packed Gaza neighborhoods, raining down white-hot clumps trailing thick smoke, and were alarmed that what we were seeing was willy peter. We didn’t think the news outlets even understood what they were publishing. We checked in with each other and all agreed that it was the dreaded weapon with which we were familiar.

Then other photos began appearing, a particularly horrifying sequence of the incendiary bombardment of a UNRWA school at Beit Lahia being used as a civilian shelter, in which two children were killed and their mother’s legs taken off, which circulated around various listservs, and a lot more people began getting familiar with what war crimes look like.

In the last week, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations have charged Israel with using banned weapons, in particular white phosphorus, in civilian settings. Such weapons are regulated by the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, more specifically by Protocol III on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons, which bans them in civilian areas.

The fiendish cruelty of a duo of MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) weapons is hard to fathom. Add to white phosphorus, which has been around since World War I, the recently-developed DIME (dense inert metal explosive) anti-personnel device, and the suffering of Gaza victims is almost beyond belief.

DIME explosives are designed for use in dense urban environments, ironically to limit collateral blast and shrapnel damage, as their lethality radius is smaller than traditional artillery shells. The delivery vehicle, a bomb, missile, or shell, is basically a carbon-fiber outer casing filled with a mix of high explosive and a dense powder of tungsten, cobalt and nickel. The powder is the essence of the design; it doesn’t react with the explosive, and is meant to be a kind of micro shrapnel, whose energy will dissipate in a short distance, much shorter than that of the jagged, heavy chunks of slicing metal in regular artillery bursts.

At close range the victim is mercifully obliterated, but at slightly further off, the wounds are horrific and as reported by Gaza doctors, almost impossibly difficult to treat. Blast amputations of lower limbs are clean and cauterized by intense heat, but the really fiendish cruelty of this supposedly “humane” weapon is that the powder, the “micro shrapnel” is blasted into the victim’s body, leaving thousands of pinprick surface entry points, but going all the way in to internal organs, where it lodges if it doesn’t pass through. The medical difficulties are legion at this point. This stuff is difficult to isolate and trace, as the particles are so tiny and there is so much of it, as opposed to a larger chunk of shrapnel. The victim’s internal organs then begin to fail, or there is a slow internal bleed-down. If that weren’t enough, this powder itself is highly carcinogenic.

Willy peter burns are similarly horrendous. Patients bandaged with traditional burn therapy return later complaining of increasing pain and agony. When the bandages are removed, Gaza doctors are reporting finding the wounds much larger and still smoking, as the white phosphorus has been burning inside the victim after treatment. They are then seeing accelerating burn rate as more oxygen is let into the wound with the bandages removed. It is hard to imagine a more grimly horrifying medical scene.

Willy peter and DIME weapons, along with the GBU-39 limited blast radius bomb, are part of a suite of MOUT devices developed for use in the worldwide counterinsurgency campaign being conducted by the U.S. and Israel, which is often located in the globe’s urban slums. All wars are in part experiments to test the real-time effectiveness of man’s ingenuity at slaughtering his own kind, and it is in this context that the latest episode of the massacre of Palestinians needs to be viewed, at least in part. Gaza, like Fallujah before it, has been a Dante’s Inferno test bed for the latest counterinsurgency terror weapons.

The appalling cruelty of untreatable wounds, slow death, and multiple amputations, especially in children, in the aftermath of the Gaza operation registers possibly a new low on the depravity scale, but its internal logic is pure cold calculation. In an earlier era soldiers expecting close-in hand-to-hand combat would deliberately blunt, or dull, their sabers’ cutting edge, so as to not kill their opponent, but to break his bones. The object would be to create a casualty who had to be cared for, thus removing two or three additional personnel as possible threats who had to attend to their comrade.

Israel’s deliberate and planned crippling of Gaza can be seen in this vein, but add to that the creation of the most hideous suffering in survivors of DIME and white phosphorus weapons, the goal of which can only be to totally traumatize a people and fill them with paralyzing dread and fear to force submission. This is the dark underbelly of Israel’s assault on Gaza, despite the endless chatter by media talking heads and armchair strategists on the nauseating “peace process” treadmill, and Israel’s relentless propaganda campaign to convince the world of its military’s “humanitarian restraint.”

winston

Hate

January 24, 2009

With the inauguration of President Obama do not think hate groups are a thing of the past or do not operate near you. Witness the statement of David Duke former head of the KuKluxKlan in his article A Black Flag for White America: “Obama is a visual aid for White Americans who just don’t get it yet that we have lost control of our country, and unless we get it back we are heading for complete annihilation as a people.”

A similar mentality is current in the City of Boston if one will reflect that any voice for “peace” is vigorously barred from the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 15th. Held to be a “private” family affair, despite being cleverly outsourced by the City and massively subsidized by security forces, it is said to be “Legal.” Maybe so, as was the exclusion of Blacks and Whites from Country Clubs but is now deemed to be not so” fashionable” in more progressive environments. Preceding this insult to Veteran and peace groups protesting war will be an endorsement through silent assent by virtually the entire Massachusetts political establishment celebrating an Irish heritage amongst a community which has lost its roots in oppression – their forebears being slaughtered by the mercenary English army of Black and Tans during the famine – thugs from jails unleashed upon a starving population – identical to our occupation of Iraq. Sadder still will be the complicit assent of a numbed and dumbed, and too often drunken million spectators comfortable in their perception that “support our troops” consists of the purchase of a dirty metallic yellow ribbon while hundreds of veterans return mentally deranged and will lie homeless in the streets. Change indeed! St. Patrick would weep.

tony

Same S*** . . .

January 23, 2009

Obama says, “. . . we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world” and “Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence says, “We don’t want to provide open intelligence support for those who are coming after us.” We are at war, we have duties to the world, and there are people (nations?) who are coming after us. Same shit, different day — world’s policeman, a war on terror, and the paranoia upon which the military-industrial-scientific society is based –and it is very depressing.

Most people seem to feel that Bush II was the worst president we have ever had, but did he differ radically from Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, or Clinton? Of course he didn’t, and Obama is following in their footsteps. Carter was the first president to publicly threaten war for oil. Kennedy launched the Vietnam war, after Eisenhower had set the stage for it by refusing to allow the Vietnamese people the right to what they had agreed to at the 1954 Geneva conference. And it was Eisenhower who made “explicit the US right to violate the basic principles of the UN Charter.” (Chomsky, Revisiting Camelot) Did Bush II invent executive war? Of course not. He was preceded in post-WWII times by Truman in Korea — who was about to give that madman McArthur the right to use the bomb when he was distracted by problems with Taiwan — Kennedy in Vietnam, Reagan in Granada, and Bush I in Panama and Iraq. They were only following the precedent set by John Quincy Adams who allowed Andrew Jackson’s slaughter of the Seminoles. Did Bush invent denial of civil liberties? How about Roosevelt and the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Lincoln with, among other things, suspension of habeas corpus, just to name two examples.

Since the end of WWII, the overriding goal of every president has been control of the world by the U.S. Since 1945, this country has committed acts of war against any country which has threatened us: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Congo, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Somalia, Sudan, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. And how have they threatened us? By daring to do something that we did not approve of, attempting, for instance, to run their country the way they wanted to. We have, since February 7, 1962 maintained a blockade against Cuba for no reason other than they were not going to be good capitalists.

Obama has already notified us he is part of the tradition, not only through his refusal to comment on Israel and his 16 months to withdraw from Iraq (yeah, right), but especially with his identifying of Afghanistan as our real terrorism target. He says he is going to intensify that little war. Why? It seems to have something to do with pipelines and such, you know, the kinds of things that threaten our security.

jack

Not To Be Missed

January 22, 2009

The Second Stage
Another Real Estate Crisis is About to Hit

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

http://www.counterpunch.com/

Israeli In Palestine / U.S. In Iraq

January 20, 2009

One cannot help but marvel at the passionate objection to the horror of the Israeli war crimes which, like it or not, pale to insignificance in the face of the onslaught of American crimes against humanity in Iraq since 1993, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties, millions of people displaced, and thousands of casualties of young and old Americans. Concurrently, it could be observed there is a relatively tepid outcry from peace pundits locally for accountability and justice from virtually the entire Massachusetts political establishment who have condoned such wars and quietly endorse a process whereby “peace” is a dirty word, and the establishment of what may be the prototype mental and spiritual apartheid colony in advance of the forthcoming wars of Amerika. Threatened by lots of wind and verbal cymbals, the establishment may indeed be very comfortable that the more things seem to change, they very damn well remain the same. Amazing to me how letters to the editor objecting to the Israeli situation can be seen as propitious, while an appeal to a new President to not endorse the practice of discrimination against voices for peace and distortion of the minds of our children through romanticizing militarism, by satellite television in Birmingham North (South Boston) on St. Patrick’s Day 2009, is seen as peripheral. I guarantee you the voice of Martin Luther King would not have rung throughout the convention center hall. He, of course, would not have been invited. All the more reason now that his brother just might have to step up to what he says about leading a nation to justice, and mean what he says by demurring.

tony

Martin Luther King Day and St. Patrick’s Day in Birmingham North

January 19, 2009

If you were fortunate today you would have viewed Amy Goodman’s broadcast of Martin Luther King’s speeches from Birmingham, Alabama up through his speech in Memphis prior to his being assassinated 24 hours later.

Highlighted was his repeating JFK’s observation at his inauguration “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, insure the inevitable violent revolution.” While the nation’s heart will be televised swelling with emotion today on his anniversary and the forthcoming inauguration of President Obama, I find it disheartening that in a city heralded to be a founding center of freedom and justice, Boston, is in some quarters the rebirthing of Birmingham North which “stacked MLK’s followers in jail cells like sardines for speaking truth to power.” Would that there a residual of their courage left. Rather, South Boston’s own “Bull Connor,” or Wacko Hurley, with support of priests and politicians render the word “peace” a dirty word, and provide a comfort center for those who would suppress free speech, Gays and Lesbians, peace activists, and in practice peoples of color unless they are those youths enlisted in JROTC brigades who will be applauded by the million spectators – mostly returning white middle class “patriots” confident it will other such children who will be on the frontlines in war suffering shot and shell.

Preceding the parade tribute to St. Patrick by a people who have forgotten their roots in fighting oppression and occupying forces, there will be a banquet and roasting for well fed, and too many well-drunk, elites, politicians, and priests – consciously and unconsciously aware of the constant glorification of militarism – not one of whom will ask the question “What are we to do to counter the distortion of the minds of our children,” through a City and State endorsement that war is the only antidote to the global conflicts they inherit.

Thereafter, a Congressman who “quietly” acknowledges that the reasons for the Iraq war was “bogus,” will purse his lips and mouth the consultant engendered greeting “Thank you for your service,” to Veterans who have made his enrichment, personally and politically, possible while being denied a voice counter to those who prosper from promoting militarism, and a memorial industry allegedly honoring the young men and women of the community who died for the lies.

Meanwhile, passive compassionistas, and groups essentially now forming a unified organization more appropriately named “Bloviators for Peace,” will hug for relief from impotence, and unwillingness to clean up their own backyard. And, of course, repeat cliches throughout the day that evil flourishes when good men remain silent….or comfortable……or solving the problems of the world…..elsewhere.

tony