Monday, January 5, 2009

Thoughts for a Monday Morning

Falujah by the Sea: Aping America, Israel Unleashes Chemical Weapons in Gaza

The Israeli military is reportedly using napalm-like white phosphorus shells in its all-out attack on Gaza, according to the conservative Times of London. The phosphorus in the smoke-emitting shells causes agonizing, unquenchable burns, sometimes searing flesh right down to the bone.

These savage tools of terror are "legal" when used as smokescreens to mask military operations, although their use as an offensive weapon is war crime. This is a rather ludicrous distinction when the shells are fired into heavily populated civilian areas, exploding and spraying phosphorus in all directions. Anyone who orders their use on cities and refugee camps knows with iron certainty that civilians will be burned, maimed and killed by this chemical weapon. That is to say, they know they will be murdering and mutilating innocent people in the most gruesome manner -- and they give the order anyway.
more - Chris Floyd

Has the Time Come to Abolish the State?
A new book, Against the State by philosopher Crispin Sartwell, rejects with impeccable logic the traditional arguments in support of state legitimacy and power. Sartwell finds lacking all of the classics of Western political philosophy--Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Hume, Bentham, Rawls, Habermas and others. They were not only wrong, he says, but indefensible. He lists three traditional arguments in support of state power:
  • social contract theories,
  • utilitarianism
  • justicial views
In the end, Sartwell argues, state power does not reside within the consent given it by the people but, rather, on coercion, primarily, the threat and use of deadly force. Sartwell argues that the state use of coercion does not follow from legitimacy. Rather, state use of coercion is without legitimacy and demonstrates the illegitimacy of the state. It is on this point, specifically, that I fully concur. I believe that only human beings have rights. States, like corporations, are mere legal abstractions. What right has a legal abstraction to require of any one of us anything whatsoever? What if 200 million people told the state to fuck off?I might have welcomed a strong, centralized state had I been certain that it would exercise its awesome power only against those would subvert the liberties of individuals or rob them of the fruits of their labor, necessities, homes, families, educations, careers. Certainly, George W. Bush has proven as no other President in our nation's history has or could have done that there is, indeed, no state of any form that can be entrusted with the care of our rights or welfare. Americans have erred twice. We believed in the legitimacy of state power. We trusted the state.
more - Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Israeli Deception and Barbarity
Israel has held a unique position among "civilized" nations, in that it has been allowed to control the international debate about itself and its treatment of the controlled Palestinian territories, by forcing diplomats and the Western press to use a special vocabulary of redefined words.

Israeli war crimes are not really "war crimes" because of this accepted international double standard accorded the state of Israel, oppression is not "oppression," terrorism is something else entirely. This double standard permits the practice of behavior that would clearly be labeled as "fascist" or "Nazi-like," if committed by any other state. If world leaders ever called Israel to task for its actions, it would be charged with "crimes against humanity" and expelled from the United Nations and all organizations which are based on humanitarianism and the rule of law.
more - Peter Chamberlin

Palestinian Photo Shoot
more - Truth Rocker

Mainstream Press Beginning to Reveal What the Gaza Carnage is Really All About

It seems, at last, that some elements of the mainstream press are slowly beginning to realise that the attack against the Gazan people was much less about Hamas rockets and mortars being launched into Israel and much more about Israel destroying Hamas. Paul McGeough of the Sydney Morning Herald today goes part way in the mainstream press to say what many bloggers and independent journalists have been saying for months, even years, and that is; Israel’s war against the Palestinian people was never about rockets and mortars landing ineffectually on southern Israel from Gaza but about ultimately Israel having the Gaza and the West Bank occupied and settled with Israelis as part of the Zionist dream of a Greater Israel.
more - Damian Lataan

Why the Hell Are We Allied with Israel?

The latest violence in the Middle East has gotten me to question once again, why Israel is a major ally of the United States? The one lesson I learned from my college foreign policy classes was that countries act to assure their survival, period. Nation-states are not people. They do not have altruism. They do not sacrifice the wellbeing of their people for high principles or ideals. As a matter of fact, this stance would ultimately put at least a portion of a country's population at risk.

So what is it that Israel gives us that makes it indispensable to our national interest?

The real reason our government has close ties with Israel is because our shameless politicians love to be reelected. There are two groups in America that support Israel with all their might, American Jews and Evangelical Christians. These two groups are vociferous, politically well organized, capable of raising large amounts of money and they vote all the time. Why else would the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, be in Israel right now to show his support for its actions? Doesn't he have enough to worry about at home with the financial crisis on Wall Street?
more - Kenn Jacobine via Strike the Root

Qui tacet consentit

Meanwhile, the slaughter of innocents appears not to concern many Americans, even though their own tax dollars help to finance the murder, as long as those slaughtered aren't Americans themselves. Our national narcissism has always been deeply repellent; coupled with our unmatched military power, and the U.S. government's willingness to use it in non-defensive, criminal ways, our narcissism is among the most lethal of global forces.

As I say, if you expected a different outcome, the more fool you. You might console yourself with this thought: Stercus accidit.

You can look that up, along with many other Latin sayings, serious and otherwise, here. Too impatient? Can't be bothered? Well, then: Shit happens.
more - Authur Silber

Hands Off Gaza
As always, the Israeli regime's use of military violence is accompanied by a staggering level of cynicism, hypocrisy and deceit. A state that possesses one of the most modern and sophisticated military machines in the world is once again casting itself as the victim.

There are, without question, Israeli intellectuals, youth and class-conscious workers who are opposed to the invasion of Gaza and deeply ashamed of the crimes being committed by the regime in their name. They are, we are sure, horrified by the implication of the Jewish people in crimes that recall the atrocities of the Nazis. But if, as is claimed by opinion polls, some 80 percent of Israelis support the military onslaught on this tortured territory, this can only attest to the deep level of disorientation and demoralization among broad sections of the population. Not the least of Israel's crimes is its cynical exploitation of the horrors of the Holocaust to justify its own criminal actions.
more - Barry Grey and David North -

The Constitution-free zone takes to the rails

You're traveling by train. Suddenly, it slows and comes to an unscheduled stop. Armed, uniformed men come aboard with dogs. They question passengers, search luggage and remove one of your fellow travelers for further interrogation. Is this some Cold War-era movie? Nope. It's New Year's Eve on an Amtrak train in California.

So, if you keep mum and stand by your right to remain silent, that may be taken as grounds to haul you off in handcuffs as a suspicious character.

The U.S. government claims special powers to conduct such searches anywhere within ... well ... about a two-hour drive of the border. That's right. Up to 100 miles inland.

That's America in 2008. Without muss, fuss or a public vote, many of the constitutional protections we thought we had were quietly stripped away.

Feeling a bit of relief because you don't live near the border? Don't feel too safe. If the government can effortlessly trim your rights once, it can do it again.

more J.D. Tuccille

Israel Near Collapse?

Israel is among sixty fragile countries that are 'just one disaster away (from) collapse.'

The Index rates Somalia number 1, Iraq number 5, Lebanon 18, Syria 35, Egypt 40, Iran 49, Georgia 56 and Israel 58.
more - aangirfan

Fox News' Criminal Pundits
How about Oliver North? His claim to fame was the Iran-Contra affair in the ’80s, when he illegally sold weapons to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and transferred the money to Nicaraguan Contras, in violation of U.S. law. He was charged with 16 felonies and convicted of three, which were later overturned because the prosecution had used testimony given under a grant of immunity. For his mockery of the Constitution, North became a right-wing folk hero, eventually landing a job at Fox News as an Iraq War correspondent. He was subsequently given his own television show, “War Stories.”

William Kristol is not a former convict, but as salesman-in-chief for the Iraq War he has committed crimes of conscience. Kristol has a permanent seat on Fox News Sunday. Despite his discredited claims about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programs and his many attempts to link Hussein with al Qaeda, Kristol continues to be featured as an expert on the war.
more - Alex Constantine

Obama Looking to Submit the Largest Tax Cut (for Big Businesses and the Wealthy) In History

President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are crafting a plan to offer about $300 billion of tax cuts to individuals and businesses, a move aimed at attracting Republican support for an economic-stimulus package and prodding companies to create jobs.

Republicans and business leaders hadn’t seen specifics of the proposals Sunday night, but welcomed the idea of basing a bigger proportion of the stimulus plan on tax cuts.

Have the tax cuts of Bush 43 “created jobs” or created billionaires? Is this a Jobs/Stimulus package or payday for the wealthy business owners? I thought we had figured out that Milton Friedman’s “supply side trickle down theory” didn’t work?

Trickle-down economics” and “trickle-down theory” are terms of political rhetoric that refer to the policy of providing tax cuts or other benefits to businesses and rich individuals, in the belief that this will indirectly benefit the broad population…

Guess I missed the memo, huh?

more - American Everyman

The Israeli Art Students and Movers Story

The presence in the United States of a number of young Israelis, most of whom had specialized military and intelligence backgrounds, in the months prior to 911 is a subject that has received inadequate attention from the major U.S. media and government investigators. The activities of the Israelis fell into two main areas: the casing of the offices and homes of Federal law enforcement officials, U.S. military bases, and other sensitive sites by Israeli “art students” during 2000 and 2001 and the unusual activities of Israeli “movers” around sensitive areas during and after 911. These incidents occurred in tandem with the suspiscious activities of other former Israeli military and intelligence officials in neighboring countries, including Canada and Mexico, after 911. In addition, a number of Israeli intelligence agents were apprehended abroad for passport violations and other illegal activities.

The possibility that the suspicious Israeli activity was linked to the movements of Al Qaeda cells cannot be brushed aside as merely coincidental. For example, a number of the Israelis arrested for suspicious activities involving selling bogus Israeli art and driving moving vans were concentrated in some of the same neighborhoods where a number of the 911 Saudi and other Arab hijackers lived and trained at flight schools.
more - Wayne Madsen via Facts not Faries

Islamic banking, Jewish banking, and a medley of mixed metaphors

I'm going to call 'conventional' banking what it is - Jewish banking. It's their gig, they invented it, and they've held the reins ever since. It started with the goldsmiths and it never changed. And now it rules the world. Three cheers. Sure enough, those chosen by God would have us view everything they do as an act of that self same God. Jewish banking is to be viewed as being as inevitable as the sunrise. In much the same way that no one will ever say, 'What's to be done about that sun coming up every morning?', same-same usury, credit, and interest. No discussion of the essential nature of money, banking, and how it all works (or doesn't work), is to be permitted. Certainly not in any way that will lead to enlightenment. Befuddlement is the key. If the whole world were scratching their collective head with only those who run the gag getting it, then all is as it should be. Or so say the bankers (sotto voce, of course).

Jewish banking, such as it is, is actually a pyramid scam, not so very far removed from what we've been told Bernard Madoff did. (Speaking of which, remember those pyramid scams that bankrupted Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Did we ever hear who ran those, or where the money went? No? Gosh, I wonder who it was.) Anyway, under Jewish banking, with all money as debt, eventually a point must be arrived at where there's more debt than there is actual real world stuff to pay for it all. Really the insanity of this arrangement is obvious. Take Indonesia. They owe so much to the IMF that the debt can never be paid. Not without the Indonesians moving out and handing the whole country, lock stock and oil barrel, over to their creditors. Not that that would work of course. Best they all just stay on as debt peons. And so it is for the world. Eventually we must come to a point where everything in the world, us included, belongs to the bankers.
more - nobody

Voices of the Israeli Invasion of Gaza
One of the best reports I have seen of what is going on with the invasion was in the middle of the night on CNN. Anchor Hala Gorani of “Your World Today” on CNN International interviewed person after person regarding what was happening. She diligently alternated between Israeli and Palestinian spokes people. Unfortunately, very few of those interviews are part of CNN’s video archive.
more - Rowan Wolf

TWRA readies for long-term wildlife study at TVA spill site

Latest developments

  • TVA used a helicopter Sunday to spread grass seed, fertilizer and a liquid solution to both prevent the fly ash from migrating through the air and to combat erosion. Officials said the measures are strictly short-term solutions to be used until a more permanent strategy is adopted.
  • Construction on two large weirs in the waterway continued, and TVA won’t be able to bring in barges to vacuum the muck from the water until they are completed.
  • More than 270 workers and 70 pieces of heavy equipment continued to clean up the ash along the spill’s path.
"It may take years for heavy metals to bioaccumulate in fish," Brown said. "This will be a long-term study."
more - knoxnews

On any given night 200,000 veterans sleep homeless on the streets of America

This is an embarrassing disgrace, not to mention a slap in the face to all those who have risked their lives for this country.

WE also ought to be ashamed that we've not demanded more services and better treatment for our vets.....
more - Stone Soup Station

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