"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Someone You Should Know

When I began this blog, one of my promises was to share access to the writing of those whom I respect and admire though their work is often marginalized due to its ideological "inappropriateness". One such writer is Dennis Perrin whose blog, Red State Son, is included on my link list as "The Red One". Perrin has written everything from sketch comedy, to ad copy, to full scale autobiographies. His specialty is political and social commentary which is invariably infused with not only penetrating insight but great humor as well.

Read his blog entry of 30 October 06 (Ass Kicked Conclusion) about the state of America's Democratic "opposition" party and I believe you'll be hooked as I was long ago. Bookmark his blog, or pass through to him from here. Either way you can't go wrong.

A Good Read

I recently finished a very good book by Fairness and Accuracy In Media (FAIR) founder Jeff Cohen in which he recounts his misadventures in the media mainstream. Cohen freely admits that he was naive to believe he could effectively carve out space for progressive viewpoints on mainstream cable news, however, the insights he gained from observing the news "process" from the inside was invaluable.

In his book, Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media, Cohen recounts his experiences as a producer and occasional on-air pundit for CNN, FOX News, and finally (and most disastrously) MSNBC. What Cohen would run up against was the brick wall that protected the interests of corporate power from scrutiny or debate on the public airwaves. This book is a must-read for those who are curious about how the Fourth Estate, which so prides itself as the institution no democracy can do without for it speaks truth to power, so miserably failed us during the lead up to aggression in Iraq.

Friday, October 27, 2006

In Plain English For Slow Learners

I am consistently amazed by the display of willful ignorance on the part of a few of my fellow Chicago police officers running the popular Second City Cop Blog (see link list). Known simply as "SCC" in their posts, they never fail to respond to any challenge to approved conventional wisdom on US foreign or domestic policy with hysterical rants that are always short on analytical content but high in entertainment value.

In one of their latest posts (Whine, Whine, Whine) they rise valiantly in defense of the Prince of Darkness himself, "Vice" President Dick Cheney who let it slip in a recent interview that the Bush administration's legitimizing of torture and the suspension of habeas corpus in the ongoing War On A Tactic was something to celebrate. These are desperate times for neo-cons and their ardent supporters who can all read polls. No matter how the administration spins it, their policy in Iraq is an abysmal failure (to say nothing of an unconscionable crime) and Americans are finally fed up with it. This both angers and frightens the True Believers such as SCC who have invested so much of themselves emotionally in the neo-con global quest for hegemony--a quest that ultimately will be denied them since it is now abundantly clear that (1) most Americans are unwilling to go along, and (2) despite America's military might, that alone is not enough to force this agenda down the throats of the global South.

So what's a neo-con to do? Well of course, turn up the "terror" volume. There is nothing left to cling to so this will just have to do. In a credit to The Dear Leader, SCC turns in a tour de force. If I were less informed, their "arguments" would no doubt have me hiding under my computer. To be so ill-informed this late in the game, however, requires a tremendous degree of will-power. One must studiously ignore the voluminous public record that confirms Iraq played no hand in the 9/11 atrocities--that in fact secular Saddam Hussein and fundamentalist Al Qaida were implacable enemies. That intelligence analysts had warned in advance that an unprovoked attack on Iraq would transform that country into a seething cauldron of resentment of everything American. That America's hyper-aggression in the Middle East has served to make this already volatile region even more combustible. Lets compare and contrast the neo-con fantasy world illustrated by SCC in which America is virtually under siege, with the reality of a country under actual US occupation.


The Iraqi WMD "threat", which had been the original justification for the US invasion without UN Security Council authorization and in defiance of international law, has long been exposed as cynical fraud played upon a frightened American public in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Next, after WMD were nowhere to be found (as UN inspectors had long maintained), the rationalization for the invasion and occupation of sovereign Iraq became the promotion of "democracy" at the barrel of M-16s. Tom Engelhardt, whose indispensable blog TomDispatch.com has long been one of my inspirations, will take it from here with two essays that should put to rest any further doubts you may have about the abject failure of Bush's policy in Iraq and the moral depravity of his apologists. Read Engelhardt's "Playing the Numbers Game With Death in Iraq", then (most importantly) "Truths of a Lost War". Afterwards, when you re-read SCC's "analysis" in the Whine, Whine, Whine post--try not to laugh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

For Those Still In Doubt

Mohamed Elbaradei, the 2005 Nobel laureate and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently warned that up to 30 nations could possess the means to produce nuclear weapons in a relatively short period of time. What does this say about the alleged "Leader of the Free World"? I recall a time when the US at least paid lip service to its obligation to rid the world of this threat to humanity. It was understood that if other nations were to feel secure and thus refrain from developing nuclear weapons themselves, then the major powers which possessed nuclear armaments would work to reduce and ultimately eliminate their own stockpile.

That all of course went out the window when Bush and his merry band of neo-crazies took power. At once the Bush administration withdrew America from its Salt II treaty obligations with Russia in order to increase and improve upon our weaponized nuclear stockpile--in direct violation of both the letter and spirit of that treaty which had been to seek the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS) introduced to the world the concept of "preemption". This remarkably provocative concept declared America's "right" to challenge any potential rival to her military supremacy with attack. The 2002 NSS put the world on notice that America reserved to itself alone the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations when its interests were threatened irrespective of the UN Charter and its treaty obligations to the rule of law.

In March 2003, the Bush administration launched an unprovoked attack against a virtually defenseless Iraq on fabricated pretexts as a demonstration of its willingness to follow its words with deeds. What was lost to no one, however, was the fact that of the so-called axis of evil nations (Iran, North Korea, & Iraq), only Iraq--the weakest--was attacked and destroyed. Those with a credible deterrent to US aggression such as North Korea, a declared nuclear power with massed artillery aimed at South Korea and American forces there, and Iran, a viable nation state with the means to utterly disrupt commercial traffic through the Persian Gulf, were not attacked.

As the IAEA's Elbaradei has reasonably implied, US foreign policy has made the world considerably less secure as other nations scramble to obtain a nuclear deterrent to the American hegemon. Thanks Mr. President.

Kevin Tillman Breaks His Silence

The brother of slain former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman has broken his silence. As many of you will recall, in 2002 Pat Tillman walked away from a multi-million dollar NFL contract in order to do what he felt was his patriotic duty and enlisted into the Army to defend his country. Tragically Tillman was killed in a friendly-fire incident which the Army clumsily attempted to cover-up. Needless to say this back-fired in a major way.

What Kevin has to say about the lies and deceptions from our government that ultimately led to Pat's death as well as scores like him is finally beginning to dawn upon the general US population thankfully at last. In other words, we are beginning to see our own government in same light from which the rest of the world views it. Better late than never.

As you read Kevin's powerful indictment of the criminal Bush administration, keep in mind that he too was an Army Ranger who believed the veracity of the fictional threats to our nation as deeply as his brother had.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Voices in the Wilderness

I must apologize for the dearth of postings lately but I must attend from time to time with That Which Pays The Bills, more commonly known as the Job. That said I managed to find some encouraging words from dissidents on both sides of the Atlantic and would like to share them with you.

As you are no doubt aware by now the Bush administration finds its back against the wall--a wall now crumbling around it--over its Iraqi debacle. Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, conveys his regrets about not exposing the deceptions of the Johnson administration during the lead up to the Vietnam war much sooner than he had. Ellsberg recognized, too late, that exposure of government malfeasance must be placed before concerns for one's career, public standing, or personal loyalties--even imprisonment--with so much at stake. Over 58,000 US troops and perhaps as many as 3 million Vietnamese would die as a result of American aggression in Indochina. If the American public had been informed of the true nature of its government's role in the impending slaughter back in 1961 when the assault on the peasants of South Vietnam began in earnest, then scores of people would still be alive.

Ellsberg acknowledges this as his failure for he had access to information that could have changed the course of history but did nothing about it. Likewise, there are men and women today who had full knowledge of the Bush administration's lies and deceptions during the lead up to aggression in Iraq but chose to quietly resign in protest rather than provide firm evidence--before the invasion--of what they knew: 1) Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction; 2) Iraq was not a party to the 9/11 atrocities; 3) Iraq posed no credible threat to its neighbors, much less the United States. Their reticence has led directly to the deaths over 650,000 Iraqis and nearly 3,000 US soldiers. At this very moment the Bush administration is finalizing plans for an unprovoked attack on Iran--likely after the November mid-term elections. Ellsberg's essay, "The Next War" is an open letter to those in our government with access to information to have the courage to do what he failed to do 40 years ago--expose a sitting administration's deceptions before the rivers of blood flow from an unnecessary and immoral war.

Other Voices

I would be remiss if I did not include William Blum's latest ruminations on the current state of American Empire. Please consider the implications of his words carefully.

On the other side of the pond, reverberations are now being acutely felt in the halls of power and influence amongst our British allies in the Disaster in Mesopotamia. Matthew Parris explains their dilemma.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Crossroad

I recently came across an essay by Tom Engelhardt whose essential blog, TomDispatch.com, is an invaluable resource for those seeking alternatives to the corporate media for information. What troubles Engelhardt here is what has also been my obsession since Bush launched the war of aggression in Iraq, namely, the degradation of the US republic and the threat this poses not only to Americans but the world at large.

Many independent thinkers and iconoclasts whom I deeply respect have sat before Engelhardt's tape recorder over the years and this installment brings many of them back with important insights at a time when our republic faces its greatest threat since the Civil War.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pension Fadeout

The following essay from Jack Rasmus, an long time union advocate, should serve as a cautionary tale for those of you in the public sector who may be unaware that your pension as you now know it is under serious threat.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gilbert Achcar on Image and Reality in Mid-East

So much garbage passes for information in the mainstream corporate press here in the US that we Americans can be forgiven if we're often the last to know when our government's latest foreign policy initiative is found to have been constructed on a foundation of sand. The debacle in Iraq is only the most recent example, but there have been countless others. As I intimated in my first post on this blog (Maiden Voyage Sep. 06) one of my goals is to provide a place where alternative perspectives on US policy in the post 9/11 era can be explored and hopefully debated. Clearly such is not the case with regard to the Free Press (regardless of its pretensions) which has largely served as the Bush Administration's echo chamber.

Political scientist and activist Gilbert Achcar, who is of Lebanese decent and teaches at the University of Paris VIII, provides analysis of the Middle East that, try as I might, I've never seen reproduced in my local Chicago Sun-Times or Chicago Tribune (or for that matter anywhere in the mainstream). Much of what Achcar discusses here would be common knowledge if we had the benefit of an actual independent media seeking to help us make informed decisions. Of course, the key ingredient for such an outcome would be information as opposed to the accustomed propaganda that served us all so well during the lead up to aggression in Iraq.

I suggest you read Achcar's comments with the full knowledge that the Bush administration has every intention of launching a strike against Iran sometime after the November mid-term elections.

Dancing Through Minefields

It seems that our Dear Leader has found yet new ways of threatening our security with his reckless foreign policy. So intent are the Bush "neo-cons" on checking any challenge to US hegemony, that they would risk an accidental nuclear conflict with Russia.

In further troubling news, it seems Team Bush has assembled a "Wack Iran" lobby to help drum up support for yet another war of aggression against a nation that poses no threat to us.

Last but not least, Robert Parry explores the Bush administration's "solution" to the current FUBAR status that is US policy in the Middle East.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Time To Worry

November 7th, 2006 may be the day future historians point to when marking the death of the American Republic. Sound improbable? Then perhaps you haven't been paying attention. The mid-term elections will be held on that fateful day and I hope you'll take them seriously.

The Bush administration will either get a mandate to radically alter the DNA of our republic, or a clear message from the American people that his "unitary executive " theory, which destroys the separation of powers that defends our liberty, and a foreign policy that threatens World War III, cannot be reconciled with their values or interests.

Read this carefully and worry.