Rumors and reports of, speculation over and scenarios for attacks against Iran’s civilian nuclear power facilities and military sites by the United States, Israel or both have flared up periodically over the past several years, especially since early 2005.
However, recent statements by among others the president and defense minister of Israel and a leading candidate for the American presidency in next year’s election – Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and Mitt Romney respectively – before and after the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear program manifest a more stark and menacing tone that has been heard in a long time. Standing U.S. head of state Barack Obama recently stated, “We are not taking any options off the table.”
Like a schoolyard bully, President Barack Obama is flexing American military muscle as he currently sweeps through the Asia-Pacific region. The nominal impetus for the tour was the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Hawaii last week. But rather than discussing “economics” (the E in APEC), the salient focus for Obama and his entourage appears to be “war” – and in particular laying down battle lines to China.
Howard Zinn is one of this country’s most celebrated historians. His classic work A People’s History of the United States changed the way we look at history in America. First published a quarter of a century ago, the book has sold over a million copies and is a phenomenon in the world of publishing—selling more copies each successive year. After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Howard Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past forty years. He taught at Spelman College, the historically black college for women, and was fired for insubordination for standing up for the students. He was recently invited back to give the commencement address. Howard Zinn has written numerous books and is professor emeritus at Boston University. He recently spoke at Binghamton University a few days after the 2008 presidential election. His speech was called “War and Social Justice.” [includes rush transcript]
Last week, the exorbitant expense of maintaining the Bush administration’s “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo was revealed in the Miami Herald, where Carol Rosenberg explained that Congress provided $139 million to operate the prison last year, which, with 171 prisoners still held, works out at $812,865 per prisoner, nearly 30 times as much as it costs to keep a prisoner in a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility, where the cost per prisoner is $28,284 a year.
UTOPIA or OBLIVION, that’s the prospect for humanity, said the late Buckminster Fuller. And I wonder… Is it Missed Opportunities? Conspiracy? Greed? Vested interests? Or just plain stupidity, if we carry on as usual!
What are human beings fundamental birthrights? They need to be understood and claimed, especially for the disenfranchised and future generations, who cannot speak for themselves.
We celebrated Occupy Wall Street’s (OWS) second monthly anniversary in small town Sebastopol, with its less than 8000 residents, in Northern California on November 17. We packed a City Council meeting where over two-dozen people spoke in favor of Occupy Sebastopol (OS) and the five-member Council supported it.
Though large cities and police assaults on peaceful occupations fill mass media reports, many smaller and mid-size cities continue with successful, vigorous occupations around the United States.
This observer, with his sandaled feet comfortably dug into the sand of a chilly Mediterranean beach and huddled next to a camp fire with a congenial and bright group of still heavily armed “NATO rebels,” is learning that the past eight months’ experiences for many Libyans who fought with or for NATO were rather different from what the western mainstream media portrayed. And what many of us who spent last summer in the Western Libya Gadhafi stronghold were inclined to believe about them.
As if anticipating our own historical moment, Guy Debord once offered the following advice to anyone seeking to change the world: “Be realistic,” he insisted. “Demand the impossible!”
It is perhaps no coincidence that the only politics befitting the dignity of human freedom today seems to us an impossibility. We stand at the end of a long line of revolutionary defeats — some tragic, others farcical. The world lies strewn with the detritus of dead epochs. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.
It is no great surprise that with only days to go, the congressional “super committee,” given the herculean task of carving an additional $1.2 trillion out of the federal budget, has failed to reach agreement. Why should six Republicans and six Democrats with diametrically opposed views agree in a few weeks, when Congress couldn’t shake hands on it after months of wrangling, despite the guillotine blade of a federal default hanging over their heads?
“The Public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” (Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775)
As the sabre rattling against Iran becomes more deafening, week on week, with threats of the nuclear insanity of potentially, deliberately, creating a few Chenobyls or a Fukushima, by bombing working nuclear power plants, another potential nuclear madness is planned, geographically “next door.”
Books that deserve some comment, for good or bad. First is Colby Buzzell’s new book, Lost in America. Buzzell wrote his first book, My War: Killing Time in Iraq, which told his experiences as an 11-M* in Iraq in 2003-4. That book, based on or started from at any rate from his blog postings from Iraq, got rave reviews in the US press. I seem to recall reading it and I can’t recall any much of it at all now, sorry. That book’s rave reviews–the US press has done such a terrible job of covering the war, has from the git-go and every day since, and has entirely shitcanned its critical thinking faculties about any facet of the war. US press war coverage is all either re-hashed government press releases in news article form or asskiss navel-scratching pundit-natter, mixed with a good sized dose of the regular infantile journalist human-interest sentimental garbage about schoolchildren and dogs in those far parts. Continue reading →
Michael Needham tells how his son, John Needham, joined the army, was stationed with the 2-12 unit known as “The Lethal Warriors” in Al Doura, a suburb of Baghdad, and how John became disillusioned, not only with the war, but with the actions of his unit.
Today was the day that the powers that are fought back. As Gandhi told us in the last century; “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” We are now fast approaching the end stage. It may not feel like it now, but consider that the Occupy Movement is scarcely two months old. We are now receiving major headlines in the mainstream media, and the frightened pawns of the corporate world are fighting back.