"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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hmmm. I'm thinking of a word...

Recently from ABC News International:

The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran's capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters.U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors nor were they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the same waters.He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines."What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security," Aandahl said. "These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there's a destabilizing effect, it's Iran's behavior."

* * * * *

Imagine if you will, the naval foces of a foreign power conducting exercises 13 miles off the eastern coast of the United States which incompassed 2 carrier battle groups. Imagine further that the foreign power in question has, for the past four years, invaded and occupied Canada. In response to American protests regarding the provocative nature of these latest actions a spokesman for the foreign power responds that:

“What it should be seen as by the US or anyone else is that it’s for regional stability and security. These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there’s a destablilizing effect, it’s America’s behaviour”. The spokesman concludes his comments with a warning that continued US support for the Canadian “insurgents” may invite harsh reprisals in the near future.

Oh yes!…Chutzpah.

Ying & Yang

Before and after. Truth and deceit. Actions and consequences. It’s funny how most things in the universe follow the expected flow of nature. For example, if I stub my toe on something immovable I can be reasonably assured that pain will shortly follow. Likewise, it would not be of particular note if, as a result of my consistently not going to work, I were fired from my job. Or, even better, were it demonstrated that I was chronically incompetent in my duties at work one would reasonably expect my employer to seek my separation. In other words, certain actions (or inactions) have expected consequences.

What if I were to tell you, however, that I have found an example of the opposite being true? Would you believe that there is a realm where incompetence and venality are rewarded with wealth and praise? The world of political punditry is just such a place gentle reader. Jebediah Reed of Radar Online.com has just chronicled the divergent fortunes of eight political commentators—four who accurately predicted the consequences of America’s illegal invasion of Iraq four years ago, and four who sang its praises to the tune of riotous applause. Behold “The Iraq Gamble” and learn, as I have, that pigs do fly.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Surge Or Not To Surge

A few days ago an essay appeared on TomDispatch.com that was penned by Anthony Arnove, a terrific historian, in which he lays out a compelling case for immediate American withdrawal from Iraq. Arnove’s essay summarizes themes he explores in greater detail in his indispensable book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, which I highly recommend. A critical element of Arnove's analysis is his juxtaposition of the crisis in Darfur and our collective interpretation of the disaster there, and the continuing carnage in Iraq in which our government plays a direct hand. Read on.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scott Ritter, Vindicated

I ran across this conversation between the vilified former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Robert Scheer of Truth Dig today and thought I’d share it with you. I think you’ll find it rather fascinating.

Corporate Media: the Playthings of Power

Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to see cataloged in all of its craven glory the appalling performance of the corporate media during the lead up to the US/UK (USuk) assault on Iraq. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has just completed a devastating revue of the mainstream media’s reporting in the months leading up to, during, and immediately following the USuk invasion. FAIR covers reporting during the critical period from 1 September 2002 thru 31 May 2003, a time when most Americans were skeptical of the Team Bush rationale for war without UN sanction, yet still vulnerable to the (false) implications of a Saddam/Al Qaeda link peddled to media lapdogs by senior Bush officials.

At just the time when the American public (to say nothing of soon-to-be-slaughtered Iraqis) needed the Fourth Estate to subject the Team Bush assertions (WMD, Iraqi connivance in the 9/11 attacks) to critical analysis, the highly credulous media uncritically reported the justifications for war from official sources—with the near total exclusion of articulate anti-war voices. In short, what the public needed were actual journalists, however, what it got instead were stenographers.

Blum Musings

It’s always with great anticipation that I open an e-mail from William Blum. Without fail his insights manage to lift my spirits and infuse me with renewed energy with which to forge ahead, serving not only to inform but inspire as well. So, without further ado, I present Blum’s latest Anti-Empire Report.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Red Son Strikes Again

Its been far too long since I last posted work from Dennis Perrin of the The Red State Son blog. This latest bit of satire on leading Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is priceless.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

War Drums

Suddenly it seems like fall/spring 2002/03 all over again. The Bush administration and its stenographers in the MSM are at it again--this time of course with a new target, a new "threat" to our very exsistence. Media pundits are falling all over themselves to see who can top the other in reporting--with out challenge--the assertions of Bush officials regarding the fictional threats Iran poses to this country and the world.

I should be used to this routine by now but no matter how often I'm exposed to the spectacle of Team Bush lies and distortions dutifully reported in the MSM as "news" I am still shocked and amazed at the sheer chutzpah required of our leaders and media elites to think it possible to pull this one over on us yet again. Read the latest from Phyllis Bennis on Team Bush's manufactured "crisis" with Iran and see if you too don't feel a sense of dejavu.

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

We've covered this ground before but it's always important to return to this theme from time to time. I recently came across an essay by one of my favorite social commentators, Michael Parenti. In this article Parenti explores some of the back ground factors driving the persistent misery throughout the global South and how the First World nations contribute to that condition. Read on.

I know its been quite a while since my last post but unfortunately circumstances beyond my control have conspired to rob me of what little time I have for some of the research that goes into this blog. Things are now settling down somewhat so you can expect more frequent posts in the future. Stay safe.