Iraq Vet Calls on You to Take A STAND on Aug. 28th (video) + Attn: COMO Town Hall Mtg Aug. 29

Dandelion Salad

IraqSummer

Iraq war veteran, John Bruhns, calls … Iraq war veteran, John Bruhns, calls on you to join hundreds of thousands of Americans on Aug. 28th for National Take A Stand Day. Make your representatives Stand Up in September to end the war in Iraq.

Sign up for a Take A Stand Town Hall in your community at www.iraqcampaign.org

h/t: Jacob

***

Locally:

Bring your concerns, ideas, and questions about the WAR IN IRAQ to the Ninth Congressional District Town Hall Meeting.

August 29, 2007
7 PM
Commission Chambers
Boone County Government Center
Courthouse Square
Columbia, MO

Please encourage Representative Hulshof to attend by calling his office at 573-449-5111.

Call Pro-Vote at 573-256-7701 for more information.

Labor donated

h/t: Scott

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Cold War II by Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

by Noam Chomsky
ZNet
Aug. 27, 2007

These are exciting days in Washington, as the government directs its energies to the demanding task of “containing Iran” in what Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright, joining others, calls “Cold War II.”[1]

During Cold War I, the task was to contain two awesome forces. The lesser and more moderate force was “an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost.” Hence “if the United States is to survive,” it will have to adopt a “repugnant philosophy” and reject “acceptable norms of human conduct” and the “long-standing American concepts of `fair play’” that had been exhibited with such searing clarity in the conquest of the national territory, the Philippines, Haiti and other beneficiaries of “the idealistic new world bent on ending inhumanity,” as the newspaper of record describes our noble mission.[2] The judgments about the nature of the super-Hitler and the necessary response are those of General Jimmy Doolittle, in a critical assessment of the CIA commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954. They are quite consistent with those of the Truman administration liberals, the “wise men” who were “present at the creation,” notoriously in NSC 68 but in fact quite consistently.

In the face of the Kremlin’s unbridled aggression in every corner of the world, it is perhaps understandable that the US resisted in defense of human values with a savage display of torture, terror, subversion and violence while doing “everything in its power to alter or abolish any regime not openly allied with America,” as Tim Weiner summarizes the doctrine of the Eisenhower administration in his recent history of the CIA.[3] And just as the Truman liberals easily matched their successors in fevered rhetoric about the implacable enemy and its campaign to rule the world, so did John F. Kennedy, who bitterly condemned the “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” and dismissed the proposal of its leader (Khrushchev) for sharp mutual cuts in offensive weaponry, then reacted to his unilateral implementation of these proposals with a huge military build-up. The Kennedy brothers also quickly surpassed Eisenhower in violence and terror, as they “unleashed covert action with an unprecedented intensity” (Wiener), doubling Eisenhower’s annual record of major CIA covert operations, with horrendous consequences worldwide, even a close brush with terminal nuclear war.[4]

But at least it was possible to deal with Russia, unlike the fiercer enemy, China. The more thoughtful scholars recognized that Russia was poised uneasily between civilization and barbarism. As Henry Kissinger later explained in his academic essays, only the West has undergone the Newtonian revolution and is therefore “deeply committed to the notion that the real world is external to the observer,” while the rest still believe “that the real world is almost completely internal to the observer,” the “basic division” that is “the deepest problem of the contemporary international order.” But Russia, unlike third word peasants who think that rain and sun are inside their heads, was perhaps coming to the realization that the world is not just a dream, Kissinger felt.

Not so the still more savage and bloodthirsty enemy, China, which for liberal Democrat intellectuals at various times rampaged as a “a Slavic Manchukuo,” a blind puppet of its Kremlin master, or a monster utterly unconstrained as it pursued its crazed campaign to crush the world in its tentacles, or whatever else circumstances demanded. The remarkable tale of doctrinal fanaticism from the 1940s to the ‘70s, which makes contemporary rhetoric seem rather moderate, is reviewed by James Peck in his highly revealing study of the national security culture, Washington’s China.

In later years, there were attempts to mimic the valiant deeds of the defenders of virtue from the two villainous global conquerors and their loyal slaves – for example, when the Gipper strapped on his cowboy boots and declared a National Emergency because Nicaraguan hordes were only two days from Harlingen Texas, though as he courageously informed the press, despite the tremendous odds “I refuse to give up. I remember a man named Winston Churchill who said, `Never give in. Never, never, never.’ So we won’t.” With consequences that need not be reviewed.

Even with the best of efforts, however, the attempts never were able to recapture the glorious days of Cold War I. But now, at last, those heights might be within reach, as another implacable enemy bent on world conquest has arisen, which we must contain before it destroys us all: Iran.

Continued…

[1] Wright, WP, July 29 07

[2] Correspondent Michael Wines, NYT, June 13, 1999. Doolittle report, Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: the History of the CIA, Doubleday 2007

[3] Ibid., 77.

[4] Ibid., 180.

h/t: Overthrowthe

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:
Options on the table By Noam Chomsky

About-face on Iran coming? By Hassan Nafaa

Dandelion Salad

By Hassan Nafaa
ICH
08/27/07 “
Al-Ahram

A new US strategy for victory in Iraq may be in the works

That the US is knee-deep trouble in Iraq is hardly in dispute. Few inside or outside the US contest that fact or doubt the reasons that led to it. And yet, some still argue that the whole thing is little more than correctable “mistakes” by a reckless administration. Others wonder if a face-saving exit is still possible. But at least a few maintain that a “strategic victory” is attainable in Iraq.

For a long time, the current US administration refused even to admit committing mistakes in Iraq. For a long time, it maintained that victory was around the corner. The admission that a real problem exists came hesitantly and late. It came only after the Baker-Hamilton Commission issued its well-known report last year. Even then, the current administration kept arguing that the problems it was facing in Iraq were no more than “snags” attributed to “tactical errors” that can be corrected and that a complete and unambiguous victory was not to be ruled out. In short, the US administration rejected the prognosis offered by the Commission and went on doing things its own way.

The commission said that the situation in Iraq would get worse unless a major policy change occurred. It reviewed a number of options, but ruled them all out because of concern for the US reputation and Iraq’s stability. Those options included: quick withdrawal from Iraq, maintaining the current policies with no change, increasing the number of troops, or dividing Iraq into three parts. After excluding those options, the report suggested a new policy based on two components. The first component was external, involving a “new diplomatic offensive” to rally international support and help Iraq.

The second component was internal, focusing on helping Iraq help itself. The commission made 78 recommendations, suggesting that the US launch a diplomatic offensive in an attempt to reassure the world that the US was not after Iraq’s oil and didn’t want to have military bases in that country against the wishes of its people.

It made two main conclusions. One was that the US couldn’t get out of the Iraqi morass without the help of others. The second was that the Middle East crises were interlinked, and the US needed to address all of them simultaneously. The report urged the current administration to build bridges with both Syria and Iran and make a renewed bid to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But the US administration went for the exact opposite. Instead of gradually reducing its fighting troops and redeploying them outside turbulent Iraqi towns, the US administration decided to increase troops and send them into more battles inside turbulent areas in the hope of quashing or at least weakening the resistance.

Instead of courting Iran and Syria, the US administration decided to tighten sanctions against them and isolate them internationally. And instead of doing more to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict, a matter that would have required serious pressures on Israel and attempts to unify the Palestinian position, the US administration decided to alienate Hamas and impose a stricter blockade on the Palestinian people. The US administration blocked all attempts to unify Palestinian factions and encouraged Israel to adopt hard-line and belligerent policies.

This approach, which hardly differed from earlier US policies, deepened the dilemma of the US administration. As a result, the security and military situation in Iraq got worse. And the Lebanon war last year didn’t, as some hoped, weaken “the axis of the extremists” in the region. On the contrary, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas, and Jihad emerged stronger, while pro- US forces looked hapless and lame. Consequently, the US administration found itself in a more awkward place than it was at the time the Baker-Hamilton Commission was issued two years ago. All the US administration did was waste time and money to no avail.

Because the US administration knows that time is running out, it has to do one of two things. Either it accepts defeat and pulls out immediately, which would damage the US standing as a superpower. Or it escalates the confrontation through an all-out attack on the “axis of the extremists.” The latter option cannot be ruled out, considering how rightwing and dogmatic this administration is and how inept is the man who leads it. The only problem is that this second option is too perilous, for the prospects of a decisive victory are nil in the long run.

Some members of the neoconservative US elite, who haven’t yet despaired of winning the war in Iraq, are now busy looking for a third option. Among the barrage of ideas that surfaced of late, the views of William S Lind are interesting. Lind is the director of the Centre for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation. He summed up his views on the Iraqi debacle in an article published 30 July in The American Conservative under the title, “How to win in Iraq”.

In that article, Lind notes that the US administration still defines victory as it did at the war’s outset: an Iraq that is an American satellite, friendly to Israel, happy to provide the US with a limitless supply of oil and vast military bases from which American forces can dominate the region. None of these objectives, he argues, are now attainable. Lind believes that the attempts to quell urban disturbances in Iraq are based on the wrong assumptions. He argues that the war can still be won on a strategic level, not through “small tactical gains.” Lind suggests that the new US strategy must employ what the British military theorist Basil Liddell-Hart called an “indirect approach.”

The threat facing the US is not coming from any state, but from a collection of groups using non-conventional methods commonly labelled “terrorism”, Lind argues. Such groups can only flourish in situations where governments are weak. He calls for a new strategy of three elements to win the war on a “strategic” level.

The first element is to engage Iran in a rapprochement, just as the US did with China in the early 1970s. At the time, China was creating more than one Vietnam in order to sap the US power. Likewise, the groups hostile to the US are trying to create more than one Iraq in order to baffle the Americans. Lind believes that it would be hard to undermine such groups without having a strong government in Iraq, which requires rapprochement with Iran. He admits that pro-Iranian Shiites may end up dominating the Iraqi government, but that should not be a problem so long as a strong Iraqi state evolves.

The second element of Lind’s strategy is to allow the Sadr group, which is popular in Iraqi streets, to achieve its full political potential. The US will have to pay a price for that, such as giving up the prospect of military bases in Iraq. So far, the US has been trying to suppress the Sadr group while favouring unpopular, pro-American groups. This approach, Lind says, has weakened successive governments and reduced their ability to control the situation on the ground. Lind admits there is no guarantee Al-Sadr would be able to form a strong Iraqi government, but the chance is worth taking. The US administration, he says, must allow Al-Sadr, or anyone who can, to establish a strong government in Iraq.

The third element of the strategy is to withdraw all US forces within 12-18 months. This move would provide enough time for Al-Sadr or other parties to put together a government. This wouldn’t be the withdrawal of a defeated army, Lind argues, but a step toward strategic victory. Withdrawal would be good for the army and for the US public, he argues.

The above strategy may exacerbate the Sunni- Shiite divisions not just in Iraq but across the region, but Lind is not worried about that. In fact, he believes those divisions might prove beneficial to the new US strategy in the region.

These are quite disturbing proposals. Lind’s ideas entail certain risks to the Arab world and Iran. Admittedly, Tehran may be temporarily pleased to see a friendly government in Iraq, but the cost may prove too high. The US is likely to use Shiite-Sunni divisions to turn Sunni Arab countries against Iran. The main beneficiary of Lind’s proposed strategy would be Israel and the US. The implications for the Sunnis and the Shiites are frightening. It seems that the US is heading toward a dual containment policy of both Shiite fundamentalism and Sunni Wahhabism. So perhaps this is time for Shias and Sunnis, as well as Arabs and Iranians, to sit together and talk.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

08.24.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Selected Episode

Aug. 24, 2007

For more episodes and other Link TV programs:
http://www.linktv.org/originalseries


“Sudan Smuggles Weapons into Darfur,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Lebanese Seek European Help to Move Stalled Dialogue,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Problems at Dimona Nuclear Reactor,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“US Reaction to Agreement with IAEA is Illogical,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“Talks between Iraqi Sunni Leadership & Turkey,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Terrorists Target Schools in Mosul,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“MIR: Scapegoating Maliki,” Link TV, USA

Anti-war activists gather in Kennebunkport (link) + McKinney, Sheehan, Tarpley Warn Of New Cheney 911 + Kennebunkport Protest (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Cindy Sheehan and thousands of anti-war protesters are gathering in Kennebunkport, Maine Saturday. They are calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even though the President is not in town. NECN’s Lauren Collins has more.

LINK

h/t: Malcolm

***

McKinney, Sheehan, Tarpley Warn Of New Cheney 911 – The Kennebunkport Warning

Dandelion Salad

rense.com
8-26-7

To the American people, and to peace loving individuals everywhere:

Massive evidence has come to our attention which shows that the backers, controllers, and allies of Vice President Dick Cheney are determined to orchestrate and manufacture a new 9/11 terror incident, and/or a new Gulf of Tonkin war provocation over the coming weeks and months. Such events would be used by the Bush administration as a pretext for launching an aggressive war against Iran, quite possibly with nuclear weapons, and for imposing a regime of martial law here in the United States. We call on the House of Representatives to proceed immediately to the impeachment of Cheney, as an urgent measure for avoiding a wider and more catastrophic war. Once impeachment has begun, it will be easier for loyal and patriotic military officers to refuse illegal orders coming from the Cheney faction. We solemnly warn the people of the world that any terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction taking place inside the United States or elsewhere in the immediate future must be considered the prima facie responsibility of the Cheney faction. We urge responsible political leaders everywhere to begin at once to inoculate the public opinion of their countries against such a threatened false flag terror operation.

(Signed) A Group of US Opposition Political Leaders Gathered in Protest at the Bush Compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, August 24-25, 2007

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY, FORMER US CONGRESSWOMAN, GEORGIA
CINDY SHEEHAN, CANDIDATE FOR US CONGRESS, CALIFORNIA
CRAIG HILL, CANDIDATE FOR US CONGRESS, VERMONT GREEN PARTY
BRUCE MARSHALL, CONVENOR, PHILADELPHIA PLATFORM
JAMILLA EL-SHAFEI, KENNEBUNK PEACE DEPARTMENT
WEBSTER G. TARPLEY, AUTHOR
ANN WRIGHT, COLONEL US ARMY RESERVE, FORMER US DIPLOMAT
DR. DAHLIA WASFI, WWW.LIBERATETHIS.COM
GEORGE PAZ MARTIN
JOHN KAMINSKY, PRESIDENT MAINE LAWYERS FOR DEMOCRACY

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

***

Kennebunkport Protest 8/25/2007

Liqsta

LETS IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT! 3,000 people marched on the Bush Estate in KPort Maine 8/25/07

VoiceofAmericans2008 Kennebunkport Hosts Another Impeach a…

Kennebunkport Hosts Another Impeach and Anti-War Rally – August 25, 2007

Tallies vary between 1,000 to 4,000 anti-war and Impeachment supporters in Kennebunkport. Kucinich, Sheehan were present as well as pro-supporters. Music by the Indigo Girls.

Portland WCSH 6 Video

http://www.voa2008.blogspot.com

h/t: Dennis 4 President in 2008!

Options on the table By Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

By Noam Chomsky
ICH
08/27/07 “Khaleej Times

In Washington a remarkable and ominous campaign is under way to “contain Iran,” which turns out to mean “containing Iranian influence,” in a confrontation that Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright calls “Cold War II.”

The sequel bears close scrutiny as it unfolds under the direction of former Kremlinologists Condoleezza Rice and Robert M Gates, according to Wright. Stalin had imposed an Iron Curtain to bar Western influence; Bush-Rice-Gates are imposing a Green Curtain to bar Iranian influence.

Washington’s concerns are understandable. In Iraq, Iranian support is welcomed by much of the majority Shia population. In Afghanistan, President Karzai describes Iran as “a helper and a solution.” In Palestine, Iranian-backed Hamas won a free election, eliciting savage punishment of the Palestinian population by the United States and Israel for voting “the wrong way.” In Lebanon, most Lebanese see Iranian-backed Hezbollah “as a legitimate force defending their country from Israel,” Wright reports. And the Bush administration, without irony, charges that Iran is “meddling” in Iraq, otherwise presumably free from foreign interference.

The ensuing debate is partly technical. Do the serial numbers on the Improvised Explosive Devices really trace back to Iran? If so, does the leadership of Iran know about the IEDs, or only the Iranian Revolutionary Guards? Settling the debate, the White House plans to brand the Revolutionary Guards as a “specially designated global terrorist” force, an unprecedented action against a national military branch, authorising Washington to undertake a wide range of punitive actions.

The sabre-rattling rhetoric about “containing Iran” has escalated to the point where both political parties and practically the whole US Press corps accept it as legitimate and, in fact, honourable, that “all options are on the table,” to quote the leading presidential candidates — possibly even nuclear weapons. “All options on the table” means that Washington is threatening war. The UN Charter outlaws “the threat or use of force.” The United States, which has chosen to become an outlaw state, disregards international laws and norms. We’re allowed to threaten anybody we want — and to attack anybody we want.

Cold War II also entails an arms race. The United States is proposing a $ 20 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, while increasing annual military aid to Israel by 30 per cent, to $ 30 billion over 10 years. Egypt is down for a $ 14 billion, 10-year deal. The aim is to counter “what everyone in the region believes is a flexing of muscles by a more aggressive Iran,” says an unnamed senior US government official. Iran’s “aggression” consists in its being welcomed within the region, and allegedly supporting resistance to US forces in neighbouring Iraq. Unquestionably, Iran’s government is reprehensible. The prospect that Iran might develop nuclear weapons is deeply troubling. Though Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy, no one — including the majority of Iranians — wants it to have nuclear weapons. That would add to the much more serious dangers presented by its near neighbours Pakistan, India and Israel, all nuclear-armed with the blessing of the United States.

Iran resists US or Israeli domination of the Middle East but scarcely poses a military threat. Any potential threat to Israel might be overcome if the United States would accept the view of the great majority of its own citizens and of Iranians and permit the Middle East to become a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel, and US forces deployed there. One may also remember that UN Security Council Resolution 687, of 1991, to which Washington appeals when convenient, calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.”

Washington’s feverish new Cold War “containment” policy has spread even to Europe. The United States wants to install a “missile defence system” in the Czech Republic and Poland that is being marketed to Europe as a shield against Iranian missiles. Even if Iran had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the chances of its using them to attack Europe are perhaps on a par with the chances of Europe’s being hit by an asteroid. In any case, if Iran were to indicate the slightest intention of aiming a missile at Europe or Israel, the country would be vaporised.

Of course Vladimir Putin is deeply upset by the shield proposal. We can imagine how the United States would respond if a Russian anti-missile system were erected in Canada. The Russians have every reason to regard an anti-missile system as part of a first-strike weapon against them. As is well known, such a system could never impede a first strike, but it could conceivably impede a retaliatory strike. On all sides, “missile defense” is therefore understood to be a first-strike weapon, eliminating a deterrent to attack.

Even more obviously, the only military function of such a system with regard to Iran, the declared aim, would be to bar an Iranian deterrent to US or Israel aggression. The shield, then, ratchets the threat of war a few notches higher, in the Middle East and elsewhere, with incalculable consequences, and the potential for a terminal nuclear war. The immediate fear is that by accident or design, Washington’s war planners or their Israeli surrogate might decide to escalate their Cold War II into a hot one.

There are many nonmilitary measures to “contain” Iran, including a de-escalation of rhetoric and hysteria all around, and agreeing to negotiations in earnest for the first time — if indeed all options are on the table.

Copyright © 2007 Khaleej Times


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Plan By William Kotke (Survival; resources)

Dandelion Salad

By William Kotke
Speaking Truth to Power
Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A plan to save the life of the earth and the human species by creating an entirely new human culture…

In discussion one often hears the refrain, “Oh, we can’t kill the earth. The earth will survive us,” as if that dispels the massive destruction of the planet’s life. Well maybe the ants and cockroaches will survive but the morality of we humans destroying the life of the earth back to the cockroaches must be addressed. These types of comments are made by civilized people, members of industrial society who have little relationship to the life of the earth. Because of the life that we are forced to lead due to the structure of industrial society, we do not have familiarity with the larger life that supports us.

Money is our life support system which we use to purchase food and shelter. We are not like our successful forager/hunter ancestors who could identify several hundred plants and explain their uses for food, medicine or handcrafts. The life of the earth provided their life support systems.

Now, our industrial life support systems are threatened even if we have money. When topsoil, oil or potable water run out, they run out and there is no more. Many are becoming aware that our planet is headed toward a massive die-off of human and other species. Some near the first world shopping malls have not yet got a clue but many in third world countries are already seeing the beginnings of “the end of the world.”

No need to cite the numbers. We know they are huge. The machinery of industrial civilization is eating up the flesh of the earth. The ocean fish stocks are falling precipitously, deforestation is epidemic, add this to topsoil exhaustion, desertification, pollution of potable water, species extinction and many other indices, then add the newer effects of Global Warming and dwindling oil reserves and anybody should be able to get the picture. An exponentially exploding human population, with increasing material consumption based on dwindling resources and a dying planet will not work!

When people first look at this situation they panic and try to think of ways to save everything. Save everything just as it is. People search for the magic bullet that will solve our problems so that we don’t have to think or change lifestyles in any way. Many people believe that “technology will save us,” not realizing that technology got us to where we are.

We in the industrial society inherited from Babylon, five thousand years ago. Babylon’s energy base was the fertility of grasslands, forests and deep soils. In effect this Babylonian type of culture rewards humans for success in extorting fertility from the flesh of the earth. Today the energy base of industrial farming is the topsoil/fossil fuel trade-off – chemical fertilizer and pesticide applied to exhausted soils; and plants bred especially for this industrial application. Instead of the long term fertility of the soil community of millions of different lives, both macroscopic and microscopic, industry produces chemicals from fossil fuels. This has happened in just an eye-blink of humans’ several million year history.Technology and fossil fuelhave aided this type of culture in catching more fish, logging more acres, digging more mines, and generally turning anything that could be found into cash.No one asks about the morality of sucking the life out of the planet earth, the biological mother. Holographically, we are lives within lives. We live within the planetary organism and are eating up that which feeds us. We are at the point where the parasite sucks dry the host and the parasite dies.

We’re talking about lifestyles that practice large scale agriculture which drains the fertility of the soil and over-graze the landscape. The “bigger barns and broader acres” crowd stretches in a line back to Babylon whose ecology now is essentially gone. This is a culture that does not think deeply about the extinction of intact climax ecosystems. An overgrazed grassland becomes a semi-arid desert; the Cattle Baron’s family retires with their loot to the capital city. This is the story of imperialism. We can trace the “surpluses” taken from the earth in the sordid ecological history of the empires since Ancient China, Indus Valley and Babylon.

Viewed as a whole this is a pre-adolescent human culture. The human species has produced many types of culture but the mining of the earth’s fertility to swell the social body, to increase the power, production and profit of the elite who are gathered around the emperor – has been a disaster. This grasping after material objects and desperate need to exert power over other humans is an immature response to life. The highest purpose of life in an industrial society is to produce industrial goods.

Continued…


Stephen Grey: Where are the missing prisoners? (video; rendition)

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

 Investigating the CIA’s policy of extraordinary rendition

“There really are wholesale disappearances here and I think its time for accountability on that and real investigation by journalists to take on this issue.”

see:

Rendition/CIA Secret Prisons

Global Pulse: Global Market Meltdown (video)

Dandelion Salad

linktv

The collapse of the subprime mortgage market in the United States has led to stock market drops across the world. See the effect those investments have had on the European and Asian markets, reminding if of how connected we are in the global economy. But not just Wall Street is feeling the Squeeze; Main Street America is feeling the credit crunch as millions of Americans lose their homes or are unable to find loans even with excellent credit.

see:

Bush Is Turning the USA into a Subprime Borrower By Heather Wokusch (video)

Sen. Chuck Schumer Statement on Gonzales Resignation + Bush on Gonzales Resignation (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

Aug. 27, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resignation press conference by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Bush on Gonzales Resignation

see:

Attorney General Gonzales to resign by David Edwards and Nick Juliano + Alberto Gonzales Resigns (video; link)

The Democrats’ responsibility in the wake of Gonzales’ resignation by Glenn Greenwald

The Democrats’ responsibility in the wake of Gonzales’ resignation by Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Greenwald
Salon
Monday August 27, 2007 08:30 EST

(Updated belowUpdate IIUpdate III)
One of the most blatantly dishonest political hacks ever to occupy the position of U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, has now resigned. This is a real moment of truth for the Democratic Congress. Democrats, who have offered up little other than one failure after the next since taking power in January, can take a big step toward redeeming themselves here. No matter what, they must ensure that Gonzales’ replacement is a genuinely trustworthy and independent figure.

That means that Democrats must not confirm anyone, such as Michael Chertoff, who has been ensconced in the Bush circle. Instead, the DOJ and the country desperately need a completely outside figure who will ensure that the prosecutorial machinery operates independently, even if — especially if — that means finally investigating the litany of Executive branch abuses and lawbreaking which have gone almost entirely uninvestigated, as well uncovering those which remain concealed.

The standard excuse invoked by Democrats to justify their capitulations — namely, that they cannot attract a filibuster-proof or veto-proof majority to defy the President — will be unavailing here. They themselves can filibuster the confirmation of any proposed nominee to replace Gonzales. They do not need Blue Dogs or Bush Dogs or any of the other hideous cowards in their caucus who remain loyal to the most unpopular President in modern American history. The allegedly “Good Democrats” can accomplish this vital step all on their own. They only need 40 Senate votes to achieve it.

It is difficult to overstate how vital this is. The unexpected resignation of Gonzales provides a truly critical opportunity to restore real oversight to our government, to provide advocates of the rule of law with a quite potent weapon to compel adherence to the law and, more importantly, to expose and bring accountability for prior lawbreaking. All of the investigations and scandals, currently stalled hopelessly, can be dramatically and rapidly advanced with an independent Attorney General at the helm of the DOJ.

That is not going to happen if the Democrats allow the confirmation of one of the ostensibly less corrupt and “establishment-respected” members of the Bush circle — Michael Chertoff or Fred Fielding or Paul Clement or some Bush appointee along those lines. The new Attorney General must be someone who is not part of that rotted circle at all — even if they are supposedly part of the less rotted branches — since it is that circle which ought to be the subject of multiple DOJ investigations.

As Democrats supposedly just learned (yet again), even the Bush appointees whom they claim (foolishly) to believe they can trust to act independently, such as DNI Mike McConnell, have their ultimate allegiance to George Bush and Dick Cheney. The President is certainly entitled to choose someone who is generally compatible with him ideologically, but the only acceptable replacement for Alberto Gonzales is someone who is truly independent of the Bush machine and whom Democrats are supremely confident will act independently, which means pursuing criminal investigations where warranted of the highest levels of this administration, including the departing Attorney General himself.

Congressional Democrats, insulting the intelligence of their own supporters, have repeatedly claimed to have trusted the Bush administration and its appointees only to be “betrayed” time and again — they were “betrayed” by allowing the confirmation of Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court based on false assurances that they would respect precedent; they were “betrayed” again by the agreement on the Military Commissions Act between the White House and Graham/Warner/McCain only to then have the agreement modified severely by last-minute changes; they were “betrayed” again by trusting Mike McConnell on the FISA deal; and they even claim to have been “betrayed” by supporting the confirmation of Gonzales himself based upon assurances at his confirmation hearing that he understood and would honor his independent role as Attorney General.

That excuse is not going to work again. Relying on assurances from some current Bush appointee that they will act independently is woefully and self-evidently insufficient. Only a truly outside figure, one who is entirely independent of the Bush circle, should be acceptable.

Pressuring Senate Democrats right away on this is vital. There is no more important domestic political goal then ensuring that the DOJ investigative and prosecutorial machinery operates independently. Senate Democrats will have none of their usual excuses if they fail to compel the nomination of someone truly independent and/or if they sit by meekly and allow the appointment of someone whose independence is even questionable.

Whatever it takes — repeated blocking of nominees, filibustering, protracted hearings — it is critical that it be done in order to restore integrity to the DOJ. A less-than-independent replacement as Attorney General will be entirely the fault of Democrats if they allow it to happen. Conversely, by ensuring the confirmation of someone independent, Senate Democrats can take a major step in revitalizing the rule of law, revitalizing their political base, showing the country they stand for something, and making the case that the 2006 midterm election change of control actually meant something.

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

Attorney General Gonzales to resign by David Edwards and Nick Juliano + Alberto Gonzales Resigns (video; link)

Sen. Chuck Schumer Statement on Gonzales Resignation + Bush on Gonzales Resignation (videos)

Attorney General Gonzales to resign by David Edwards and Nick Juliano + Alberto Gonzales Resigns (video; link)

Dandelion Salad

David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Raw Story
Published: Monday August 27, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation Monday, ending months of calls that he would step down from the Justice Department over his role in the dismissal of federal prosecutors and role in expanding the power to spy on Americans.In a news conference Monday morning, Gonzales did not address the reasons for his resignation, and he refused to answer reporters’ shouted questions.

“Even my worst days at Attorney General have been better than my father’s best days,” said Gonzales, whose parents immigrated to Texas from Mexico before he was born.

Gonzales told President Bush of the resignation Friday and met with the president at his Crawford, Texas, ranch over the weekend, according to the New York Times, which first reported Gonzales’s resignation Monday.

Gonzales will leave office Sept. 17, he said.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress have made increasingly vocal appeals for Gonzales’s resignation over the last several months. He has been accused of misleading House and Senate committees investigating his role in a federal prosecutor firing scandal and the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program.

In an apparent answer to critics who say Gonzales’s tenure at Justice has encouraged law enforcemet agencies to overstep their constitutional boundaries, Gonzales said Monday that he worked to ensure the “rights and civil liberties of our citizens are protected.”

“It’s a good day for justice in the United States,” David Iglesias, one of the fired US Attorneys, said on MSNBC Monday.

The Attorney General’s departure is the latest high-profile resignation within the Bush administration. The president’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, announced his resignation earlier this month.

Former Sen. John Edwards was the first Democratic presidential candidate to weigh in on the news of Gonzales’ resignation, which broke early Monday morning.

“Better late than never,” Edwards said in a prepared statement released by his campaign.

Critics said Gonzales’ resignation should not end Congressional — and possible criminal — inquiries into his alleged misconduct overseeing the Justice Department.

“Questions of whether Justice Department officials lied to Congress, conducted criminal inquiries to further political ends and made hiring decisions based on political affiliation still merit investigation regardless of Mr. Gonzales’ resignation,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the independent watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Just as former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s resignation did not impede the ongoing criminal investigation into his conduct while a member of Congress, so Mr. Gonzales’ departure should not stop … probes into the illegal actions of our nation’s top ranking law enforcement officials.”

Those inquiries should continue in the House Judiciary Committee, where Gonzales has testified several times, its chairman said Monday.

“More than accountability, we need answers. Unfortunately, the continued stonewalling of the White House in the U.S. Attorney scandal has deprived the American people of the truth,” Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said in a prepared statement. “If the power of the prosecutor has been misused in the name of partisanship, we deserve a full airing of the facts. The responsibility to uncover these facts is still on the Congress, and the Judiciary Committee in particular.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed that sentiment in a separate statement.

“This resignation is not the end of the story,” Reid said. “Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.”

As news of Gonzales’ resignation emerged, speculation centered on who would become his replacement for the remaining 17 months of President Bush’s term. A top candidate is Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), a prominent member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Democrats would be willing to work with the White House to confirm a new attorney general.

“What we Democrats have always said is that we need somebody in this department … who will put rule of law above all others, rule of law above any political consideration,” Schumer said on CNN Monday. “… Our attitude is going to be one of cooperation.”

A senior administration official told the Times that Bush has not yet selected a replacement but will not leave the position vacant long. Bush “grudgingly” accepted Gonzales’ resignation, the Times reported.

Gonzales’s resignation is expected to be announced officially in a 10:30 a.m. news conference Monday.

The Times reports that Justice Department and White House spokesmen were denying reports of an imminent resignation as recently as Sunday afternoon. Judiciary Committee aides told the Times they had received no indication over the weekend that Gonzales would resign.

Fox News reported Monday morning that US Solicitor General Paul Clement could be appointed as a temporary replacement.

Developing…

Gonzales makes official statement of resignation:

Vodpod videos no longer available. from rawstory.com posted with vodpod

.

LINK

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

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Alberto Gonzales Resigns


Veracifier
Aug. 27, 2007

Press statement on resignation, August 27, 2007


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Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Resigns

Howard Schneider | The Washington Post | August 27, 2007

On Mariné’s Blog

see:

Sen. Chuck Schumer Statement on Gonzales Resignation + Bush on Gonzales Resignation (videos)

The Democrats’ responsibility in the wake of Gonzales’ resignation by Glenn Greenwald

Who’s Got a Turd in His Briefcase? by James Petras

Dandelion Salad

by James Petras
Atlantic Free Press
Monday, 27 August 2007

The Great Financial Crisis

All the major financial analysts claim the ongoing and deepening financial crisis is in large part the result of investor uncertainty. This is because the investment banks, derivatives and hedge funds placed high risk, sub-prime mortgages and junk bonds, along with other more reliable debt paper into packages and sold them to institutional and private bankers who in turn ‘retailed’ them around the world.

The rating agencies, who are paid by the sellers, all gave top billing (AA, AAA) to these hybrid securities, mortgages and junk bonds, encouraging investment advisers to push them on to risk-averse client looking for higher returns than Treasury notes. Most of the investors do not know whose and what paper they are holding, nor how much their hedge funds are losing or have lost. Those who can, have pulled out. The banks are reticent to loan to any applicant. Leverage funds are a dirty word among lenders. Hedge funds are either selling assets to pay loans or not telling what they own or owe. Derivatives have been deflowered. Central Banks in the US, Japan and the European Union have poured (and keep pouring) over $250 billion to the private banks hoping to create liquidity but the banks won’t lend — because, as one prominent banker in Palm Springs told me “Nobody knows who’s got a turd (worthless investments) in his brief case.”

Meanwhile, Goldman Sach, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are all closing down bankrupt investment funds or trying to prop them up. The Fed props up all the worst speculators in the name of ‘saving the financial system’ – in a way that it would never prop up the failing American health system. The financial system has the ‘runs’ and infusions of Fed funds have failed to block the ‘run for cover’.

“Everybody for himself and don’t look back’, is the watchword of leading equity bankers. The Democrats are calling for the usual inconsequential Congressional hearings about what went wrong. Congressmen Levin and Barney Frank will ask the wrong questions to the wrong people — going after the weakest fall guys — the rating agencies — for overrating the fraudulent deals, not the dealmakers themselves. The ‘turds’ in the briefcases are big and smelly but no one knows how big: $250 billion or $500 billion. There are a lot of bankers and hedge fund billionaires walking around with invisible clothespins on their noses.

Where is Greenspan, since he started the whole scam with his low interest, deregulated financial markets? The homely hero of all hedge-derivatives-innovative financial scamsters sanctioned, approved and promoted the pyramid swindles. He’s off advising Deutsch Bank and suckering the international bankers for $100,000 fees for his failed financial recipes. But for those speculators who made a bundle and left, Greenspan is not part of the emerging turd culture. For them he is still the financial genius who made their fortunes.

So unless the fund directors come clean, empty their brief cases and open their balance sheets we won’t know who are carrying the turds: The great unknowns include the unredeemable bonds, the worthless mortgages and the illiquid hedge funds. Without knowledge of the size and scope of the turds, the great uncertainty has frozen most investments and loans — it is paralyzing the financial system. Even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the federally-funded mortgage companies) can’t come in and buy up the ‘turds’ (otherwise known as ‘bad debts’), no matter how many hundreds of billions of US taxpayers’ money they are willing to spend.

All the financial wizards, the super-smart scientific, mathematical, guaranteed 30% per year investment advisers have less credibility than a street corner con man. The most arrogant, pretentious, scientific speculators have been humbled; especially those oracles who practiced what is call among the insiders as ‘Quantitative investment’.

Quantitative investing (QI), the use of complex computer models in making investment decisions, was used and promoted by some of the reputedly smartest and highest regarded ‘gurus’ of Wall Street. For a decade the complex mathematical modeling produced extraordinary profits for Renaissance funds, Goldman Sachs and numerous other asset managers and hedge funds. With the massive sell-offs of assets to pay debts and the desperate drive for liquidity, all the assumptions of the QI went out the window. “The Model” cannot account for any crisis which calls into question ‘historical trends’. The best and the brightest are baffled. At first, the QI geniuses said the crisis was a localized problem for the sub-prime bottom-dwelling speculators. But as their own funds dropped they blamed hysterical investors who over-reacted. “A problem of perceptions”, they psychologized. But their funds continued to decline: the Market wasn’t acting as their ‘model’ dictated. Hearsay flourished, skeptics surged.

“What’s the problem: The Market or the Model?”, one QI practitioner asked his colleagues.

The answer from the Market: “It’s the model stupid: All the QI use historical models that extrapolated past patterns into the future as if capitalism is a crisis-free system which changed incrementally and in which investors borrowed rationally to leverage purchases in line with their capacity to pay back any losses. That’s Main-Street folklore for retail brokers and the daily fare of American Enterprise ideologues.”

Scientific mathematical modeling in the Great Casino predictably turned out to be as fallible as numerology spun by Shamans to explain the life cycle.

No one’s going out of the window of the upper stories of high rise offices — yet. What’s keeping the suicide rate down is precisely what’s keeping investors running: no one knows how many hundreds of billions in worthless paper is being held. With the demise of the mathematical modeling speculative science, we are now in the period of the Mystical Black Hole. The big investment houses and hedge funds are holding back on revelations, hoping that investment confidence will return if investors are kept in the dark about how much they lost. This is a step below Voodoo Economics. How can investor confidence return if they don’t know if the big turds are in the briefcase of the Renaissance Funds, Goldman Sachs, First Quadrant or any one or all of a thousand and one Ali Baba hedge funds?

Let them lose their pants, writes orthodox Market pundits like Marty Wolf in the Financial Times. “In order to value risk, they should lose properly. To bail them out”, they argue, “is a moral hazard.” Meaning of course, that if the hype and scam speculators are covered by a Federal Bank bail out, they lose nothing, and will repeat swindling in the future. Bailouts are a formula for financial scam recidivism. So much, alas, for the advice of orthodox market experts. European Central Banks and the US Federal Reserve know what class they represent: Real existing speculator plungers, not textbook risk-calculating value-oriented entrepreneurs, are their reference group. The risk of letting the bad boys sink is that there are too many of them, working in most of the most powerful investment houses, managing too many funds, for the most powerful financiers.

“There are no good financiers and bad speculators”, one philosophically inclined fund manager (who is likely carrying a turd) put it, “We are all in this together, if we sink so does the whole financial system.” Is this a self-interested plea for financial solidarity, a closet Marxist or a prophet of doom? Nobody knows till we delve into the Black Hole of the financial crisis. That won’t happen till the brief cases open.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in brazil and argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). His new book with Henry Veltmeyer, Social Movements and the State: Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, will be published in October 2005. He can be reached at: jpetras@binghamton.edu

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Profit of Doom: Of Vampires, Parasites, and the Demise of Capitalism By Jason Miller

Dandelion Salad

By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
8/27/07

“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

–Malcolm X

Striving with the unwavering dedication of true believers and slaves to the grind, those of us who exist within the geographic, social, cultural, economic, and political boundaries of the United States are collectively destroying the Earth.

With dutiful efforts, heavily sedated consciences, and sweet obliviousness to the depth of our depravity, we toil away at our chosen or assigned tasks. After all, predatory plutocrats like “Mitt” Romney would be impotent without his minions—the hundreds of millions of wage slaves exercising their “right to work” (for as small a wage as they desire) while obediently manning the bulwarks of a system so putrid that were it possible to feed it to a pig, our porcine friend would wretch his guts out.

Capitalism, as Malcolm X suggested, is in its twilight. Under this egregiously malevolent and brutal system of economic organization, we have “evolved” to a point where corruption is so pervasive, the divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” is so vast, and the imperial wars for resources are so frequent and destructive that as it is imploding, capitalism may take most of us with it.

Despite the fact that he mixed his metaphors a bit, Malcolm drew an astute conclusion. With the United States as its nexus, the complex array of components and dynamics known as capitalism sustains itself in much the same way as did Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the vampires of Slavic folklore.

Like the bloodthirsty undead of Transylvania, capitalism is essentially parasitic. Contrary to the inane mythology that anyone who dreams, comes up with a novel idea, follows Oprah “wisdom,” and works hard will eventually sport a net worth north of seven figures, there is very little true upward mobility in the United States. High regressive taxes, low progressive taxes, de facto monopolies, nepotism, cronyism, bribery, a legal system blind to economic crimes of the highest order, and a host of other factors ensure that the rich stay rich and that those in the working class have just enough to ensure their continued existence as hosts for their parasitic masters.

Most capitalists -those who rest comfortably at the apex of humanity’s pyramid of wealth and power AND reside in the penthouses of the Park Avenues of the world–do not engage in the activity which is the staple of existence for most of us. Capitalists do not work. They may engage in taxing activities for long hours, but even then they are not working as most of us understand the concept. Capitalists are not compelled to expend their labor to provide for a family or to survive. They simply administer their vast fiduciary empires. They have “fuck all of you” money and have the choice of hiring armies of highly competent individuals to manage their affairs. Don’t look for Richard Mellon Scaife, John Franklyn Mars, Henry Kravis or the rest of their nauseating ilk to start punching a time clock anytime soon. While us “house negroes” in the United States and the “field hands” in the horribly exploited developing nations on the periphery of the Empire scratch and claw in quiet desperation, our lords and masters feast upon the blood, sweat and tears of our labor.

Yet the US moneyed elite’s malignity doesn’t end there. In fact, their direct actions are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The greatest testament to their indefatigable efforts to maintain their immense wealth and power is the ridiculously effective hologram their media assets relentlessly project. Ponder for a moment the inanity of the holographic illusion burnished into our consciousness that portrays our wealthy elites as “mere citizens” of a constitutional republic that acts on the will of its people and characterizes our nation as mankind’s benefactor, selflessly and thanklessly spreading freedom and democracy. Three million slaughtered Vietnamese, millions butchered in South and Central America, over a million liquidated Iraqis, and countless others around the globe are thanking us from heaven as you read these words.

Culturally programmed from birth to reflexively participate in such idiocies as CNN’s Nancy Grace’s recent “call to arms” against those evil “ravers,” we become our own worst enemies and the principal allies of the privileged scum who hubristically strut about the corridors of power in DC and on Wall Street. Persecuting and prosecuting “ravers” is simply one of many examples of our grossly distorted value system. To ensure the perpetuation of a “just” and “safe’ society, we criminalize “dangerous” behaviors like drug abuse, thus increasing our world leading prison population of 2 million plus—many of whom are non-violent offenders. Meanwhile, members of our ruling elite get away with the same infinitely reprehensible acts for which the Nazi architects swung from the gallows. Electrocution for stealing a loaf of bread, victor’s justice, and the criminalization of poverty are the foundations of our legal system.

Yet the media’s inculcated working stiffs (some of whom apparently still think they report “news”) and cynical opportunistic careerists like Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck don’t get all the “credit” for crafting and maintaining the false consciousness that keeps a majority of us aiding and abetting our filthy capitalist “betters” in their abject crimes against humanity.

Intellectually nursed at the teat of lying whores, most of us spend our lives truly believing the asinine mythology about our nation. Awash in a perpetual stream of endorphins triggered by the constant mind fuck that we are exceptional, blessed, and saintly, we pursue “life, liberty and happiness” (Jefferson meant property when he penned the word happiness) with a child-like abandon as our capitalistic endeavors savagely rape the planet.

Despite their nearly endless glorification as the gold standard to which all humanity should aspire, our national heritage, government, society, and culture are rife with deep imperfections, meaning that the “frightening” reality is that the United States has no monopoly on virtue. In fact, intellectually tethered by manufactured ignorance, imbued with a pathological sense of hubris, exhibiting knee-jerk denial in the face of our flaws and wrong-doings, and, in exchange for our service the Empire, insulated from much of the misery our nation inflicts upon the world, we stand with both feet firmly planted on the bottom rung of humanity.

Yet before we dismiss ourselves as miscreant aberrations who inherited a proud tradition and besmirched it, consider a brief perusal of a few strands of our cultural DNA that coalesced to make us the collectively despicable lot we are today:

The “New World” was settled by significant numbers of religious fanatics who subscribed to the principles of Calvinism, which included the exultation of the wealthy, a belief in humanity’s inherent wickedness, and a sadistic desire to severely punish those who had “transgressed.” Hence our worship of monetary success and our maleficent Prison Industrial Complex.

Once the Ulster-Scotts arrived in the “New World”, they ensured that our culture would be infused with heavy doses of mean-spiritedness, belligerence, and locust mentality. Following their lead, we did a “hell of a job” of eradicating most of the Native American population and stealing as much of Turtle Island as we could. To this day we continue to ravage the Earth like a swarm of locusts unleashed by a wrathful Jehovah.

Royalists settling in Virginia established the aristocracy that allegedly doesn’t exist in our “classless” society. As an added bonus, they “graced” us with the plantation system that proliferated like noxious weeds throughout southern states. Chattel slavery, the backbone of the economy fostered by Virginia’s “Cavaliers,” represents one of the most shameful elements of our history and obliterates the notion that America is an exceptional nation.

Sadly, we didn’t even live up to our hype coming out of the starting gate. While many of our deeply revered Founding Fathers were rather enlightened individuals for the times in which they lived, the government they forged was ultimately of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. While the monstrosity of industrial capitalism had yet to be birthed, remember that most of those who drafted our Constitution were affluent individuals primarily interested in grabbing the power the American Revolution had wrested from England. This white land-owning patriarchy only represented about 13% of the population. If anything, that percentage has declined precipitously throughout our history. How else does one explain a president who is hated by the vast majority of Americans yet remains immune from impeachment or a “do-nothing” Democratic Congress which is ignoring our mandate for them to end the brutal war crimes in Iraq?

Certainly we have compelling reasons for blindly supporting and participating in the depravities of consumerism, militarism, neocolonialism, speciesism, Zionism, and a host of other diseased “isms” we inflict upon the world. However, the fact that we have been severely hobbled by our ancestral roots, by capitalism’s exploitation of our tendencies to act on our greed and selfishness, and by deeply insidious psychological conditioning does not alleviate us of our share of the responsibility.

Revisiting the vampire metaphor, like the immortal undead of lore, we US Americans are spiritually vacuous. Ignoring our spiritual needs to invest nearly all of our time in the narcissistic, hollow pursuits our inculcation demands, at the collective level we contribute to capitalism’s vampiric feast on the Earth and its sentient inhabitants, and at the individual level we drain the life force from nearly all with whom we come in contact in a desperate attempt to fill our inner void.

Yet there is hope.

Despite the nearly overwhelming odds against it, increasing numbers of US Americans are seeking and finding the truth, refusing the system’s myriad tantalizing bribes, engaging in introspection, feeling a sense of moral outrage, acting with a sense of justice and compassion, abandoning what passes for thinking in the mainstream, and rejecting the notion that the disease of capitalism is incurable because it is natural (and even admirable) to consistently act on our greed and selfishness.

It is only a matter of time before decent human beings who are no longer willing to silence their consciences drive a stake through the heart of the vampiric moral abomination known as capitalism.

Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.