Saturday, December 31, 2011

Notes Sat 31 Dec 11

Notes and links below are from today's postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. Updates are added at the top as information develops.

Narco News: After Four Months of Struggle in Mexico, a Lesson for the Cynics

Glen Greenwald: Progressives And The Ron Paul Fallacies

Ron Paul's Racism Isn't the Worst Thing About Him

Ma'an News - Palestine's economic hallucination

Ma'an News - PA, Jordan and Palestine sign agreement to stop double taxation

PressTV - US behind sectarian tension in Middle East

PressTV - UK to probe pro-Israeli lobbies funds

PressTV - Poll: Most Syrians supportive of Assad

RT - The year of dissent: Battling Europe

RT - 'Pentagon created Arab Spring over decade ago'

Yemeni troops demand Saleh trial

PressTV 9/11 Iran charges, tapestry of lies

PressTV - Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia

YouTube - Israeli minister: "It's a trick we always use it" (Bring up holocaust in Europe or call people anti-semitic in the US when Israel is critisized)

PressTV - CIA, Mossad made up fairytale al-Qaeda

Riots & Rallies: RT picks biggest events of 2011

Ma'an News - Gunmen open fire at Fatah leader's car

Ma'an News - Report: Hamas mulls joining Muslim Brotherhood

RT - Stress in Strait: US uses Iran conflict to provoke full-scale war

RT - Egyptian military and Islamists unite against liberals?

CCTV - India takes delivery of Russian nuclear submarine

PressTV - Iran to expand presence in int'l waters'

RT - Imperial overdrive: Red alert over Iran

RT - Will the Iraq war create a new generation of extremists? [VIDEO]

YouTube - Who Said Israel Has A Right To Exist?

RT - 2011 the year of OWS [VIDEO]

RT - Iraq war the biggest American disaster? [VIDEO]

RT - As the year comes to an end, so does the Iraq War. A look back [VIDEO]

Quacks Like A Duck

By Michael M. O'Brien, on December 28th, 2011

The name Blackwater is widely known. The firm was the largest “security contractor” in Iraq, until half a dozen of its employees murdered 17 Iraqi civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad named Nisour Square, on September 16, 2007. The event occurred as a direct result of the United States’ policy of using mercenaries instead of American troops in Iraq.

The Nisour Square massacre was investigated by the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Division, which had responsibility for all American security firms (i.e., mercenaries) in Iraq. Instead of doing the work necessary to determine what happened, and establish the guilt or innocence of the Blackwater employees, Diplomatic Security offered them immunity from prosecution for their statements. In other words, if I murdered someone I could get immunity from any punishment just for telling the cops I did it—as long as Diplomatic Security was doing the gumshoe work. Not a bad deal.

Nothing happened to the Blackwater employees because of the immunity deal. All that happened was a name change. The State Department refused to renew Blackwater’s contract in Iraq because of the massacre, so Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services. Different name—different company. Back to work! So much for the “outrage” after what Blackwater did. Money sure does talk.

Xe Services has now changed its name again, this time to ACADEMI. Pretty stupid name for a mercenary firm. But who cares about the name? It’s all about the money.

“We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company,” ACADEMI president and chief executive Ted Wright said in a statement.

In an interview published on Monday, Wright said he would like to take ACADEMI’s business back to Iraq and went on to say that the firm had hired an external company to help it apply for an operating license in the country.

ACADEMI, or whatever its name is today, is heading back to Iraq because that’s where the money is. Obama has pulled out nearly all American troops in Iraq, but the place is still a keg of dynamite. So the politically correct way to deal with the situation is with mercenaries. The PressTV article from December 12, 2011, comes right out and calls it just that:

The US State Department had reportedly announced in August 2010 that the Pentagon would replace American troops in Iraq with private mercenaries, who call themselves private security firms or security contractors, on grounds of ensuring the security in the war-torn country.

The deployment of ACADEMI mercenaries is likely to cause outrage in Iraq where its predecessor Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries could kill civilians with impunity during their time in Iraq.

Because they aren’t American troops in Iraq, our mercenaries aren’t subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the law that applies to all US servicemen. And because they’re Americans in a foreign country, they’re not subject to Iraqi law or prosecution. So, not only were the Blackwater employees able to literally get away with murder for simply telling Diplomatic Security what they had done at Nisour Square, they were also exempt from the UCMJ because they weren’t soldiers, and they were also exempt from Iraqi law because they weren’t Iraqi citizens.

If a guy was bored back in the States and wanted to experience the thrill of killing someone without any consequences, Iraq was the place to be. It probably still is. Just make sure Diplomatic Security is still in charge of your contract.

If ever there was a case of something falling through the crack, this was it. Yet, Blackwater (aka. Xe Services, aka. ACADEMI) is heading back to do the job of American troops in Iraq and haul in more cash. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. If it does what a soldier does, it’s a mercenary. Anyone who says the United States is not in the business of exporting mercenaries, i.e., soldiers for hire, is smoking crack.

Because our national leadership doesn’t want American troops in Iraq, it’s allowing companies like ACEDEMI to do the work instead. Their employees don’t wear uniforms, so what’s the problem? The American public only cares about soldiers in uniform, not civilians wearing khaki cargo pants, black golf shirts and baseballs caps, with goatees and long sideburns, and lots of tattoos. That’s what all security contractors in Iraq look like.

Iraqis will also take it [the return of Blackwater] as America’s unwillingness to end the occupation of their country where since 2003 the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation caused one million deaths, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

As I’ve said, if it does the job of a soldier and doesn’t wear a uniform—it’s a mercenary. Now the Iraqis are upset that we’re leaving mercenaries there, as if we were leaving soldiers. The distinction between American troops in Iraq and America mercenaries in Iraq is almost non-existent.

We won’t go back to the draft, so we have to depend on the all-volunteer regular forces, reserves and National Guard. These forces combined can’t fight all the wars our politicians get us involved in, much less occupy places like Iraq indefinitely. Obama brings American troops in Iraq back home to get re-elected, and mercenaries pick up where the soldiers left off. All so that firms like ACADEMI can rake in tons of cash—after murdering 17 Iraqi civilians.

This is how America fights its wars now.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Notes Fri 30 Dec 11

Notes and links below are from today's postings in the Further Left Chat Room and its associated Facebook and Twitter pages. Updates are added at the top as information develops.

RT - RonPaul was right about CIA drug deal (picks nose to illustrate?)

PressTV - Occupy Wall Street rejects US politics of war

Irish Times: In the year of the protester, Bradley Manning is the great dissenter

RT - Thousands leave GoDaddy over registrar's support for SOPA

YouTube - Norman Finkelstein: There was NO WAR in GAZA, it was a MASSACRE

Chat Room - Iran president to visit four latin american countries next month

RT - Freedom of tweets: Occupy Boston in cop court case

Iraqi president calls for urgent talks

WSWS - Strikes escalate in China

RT - New American political parties emerge [VIDEO]

WSWS - 75 years since the Flint sit-down strike

RT - Russia-US: Looking ahead to 2012

RT - Iron Lady behind bars: Tymoshenko moved to prison

Ma'an News - UK condemns Israel's 'provocative' plans in Jerusalem

MEM - Israel killed 180 Palestinians, including 21 children, in 2011

RT - Democracy 2011: pros and cons

Anti - Did the Pentagon Help Strangle the Arab Spring?

Jared Diamond: Why societies collapse YouTube video

RT - Information War against Russia

PressTV - 'US empire heading toward collapse'

RT - ‘US not ready for all-out conflict with Iran’

Obama defies base, hires Wall Street lobbyist for re-election campaign

Syrian information controversy: who to trust?

RT - LulzXmas goes on: ‘Robin Hood hackers’ rob military retailer

U.S., Saudi Arabia agree to $30 billion deal for F-15s

Chat Room - US special forces observed and video'd crossing into Matamoros, Mexico with Mexican military escort.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

US Silent War

Loud Weapons On Iran

By Ismail Salami, 27 December 2011, PressTV

From silent war to loud weapons, from covert operations to overt operations, the US government has resorted and will resort to any possible means in an effort to incapacitate a nation whose sin is the very nature of its policy of no submission to force.

In line with its silent war with Iran, a US court in Manhattan made a mockery of justice, issued a default judgment against Iran, and accused Tehran of being involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an allegation which stands in stark contrast to reason in view of the plethora of evidence pointing with force and logic to the joint role of the CIA and the Mossad in the tragic incident.

Juxtaposing Iran with the Taliban and the al-Qaeda is an outrageously calculated move devised to further drag Iran into the margins of isolation on the one hand and to sway the sympathy of the international community to support a US-led invasion of Iran on the other.

Any time there is a new allegation against Iran, one should not ignore the prominent role the Zionist lobby plays in the matter. In this case too, a Zionist-funded Birmingham law firm had an important part to play in contributing to the warps and wefts of the plot. Among the eight law firms colluding in this case is Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis.

Dennis Pantazis, a lawyer, who is very well-connected to the Zionists, says, “We have worked over eight years, consulted hundreds of intelligence experts, reviewed thousands of documents and reports and traveled to three continents and multiple countries to interview eyewitnesses. The ruling stands for the proposition that no matter how big or powerful evil is, it will always be revealed."

With abundant connections in the US, the Zionist regime funded the Birmingham law firm for eight years “to establish that Iran failed to stamp the passports of as many as 10 of the hijackers, a detail that would have alerted US authorities to the scope of their global travels.”

In the statement of his allegation, Pantazis displayed an extraordinary amount of loud insolence and while accusing the top echelons of the Iranian government of having knowledge about and funding the attacks, he also accused the Iranian nation of being the promoters and practitioners of terrorism.

"What was saddening was to realize that this was not an act of an isolated, few deranged radicals, but a concerted effort by thousands of people, including one nation state, Iran. I do not believe that this case is an indictment of people of a certain faith, but rather an indictment of extremists in certain societies, including countries that use terror as part of their public policy."

Enlightening as it may be, his findings are based on the interviews he conducted with “defectors from Iran's intelligence agencies”, namely the members of the anti-Iran MKO which is widely branded as a terrorist group and one which is readily available to corroborate the allegations leveled against the Islamic Republic.

The Manhattan court decided in late December that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly financed and supported al-Qaeda in the attacks, thereby holding them legally responsible for to-be-determined monetary damages to family members.

Anyone with some political knowledge is aware of the terrorist activities of the terrorist MKO who set upon themselves the task of assassinating their own fellow countrymen ranging from the political figures to the volunteer combatants who fought for their country during the eight-year Iraq-Iran war. It is easy to imagine what kind of cheap stunt these anti-Iran US-backed terrorists have performed and that “their henna is void of any valid color” as the Persian proverb says.

US espionage and sabotaging activities are on the rise in Iran. On Saturday, December 17, Iran's Intelligence Ministry arrested a CIA spy of Iranian descent, thereby thwarting a complicated plot aimed at conducting espionage activities in the country. The CIA agent, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, confessed on Sunday that he joined the US Army in 2001 and received sophisticated intelligence training. According to his confession, he had been sent to the US-run Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan to receive classified intelligence before flying to Tehran. His mission was apparently to infiltrate Iran's intelligence apparatus. Hekmati had met with Iranian intelligence agents three times in line with his mission, not knowing that he had been identified.

Apart from the US silent war on Iran which is gradually unfolding in every imaginable area ranging from sabotaging Iranian computer systems to hiring spies and assassins, Washington now and again renews the threats of a military invasion against the country. Every bit of fabricated information turns into a tool in the hands of the US warmongers and the Zionists to lend zest and piquancy to the threat they claim Iran poses to the international community.

An insolent instance of such threats came from General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff who has recently said that Washington would be ready to engage in a conflict with Iran, if President Barack Obama were to give the signal, saying the US military has reached a point where they are ready to execute force against Iran if necessary. In an interview with US media in Afghanistan he said, "We are examining a range of options. I'm satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary."

Only recently Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defense, had said, "No options were off the table in stopping Iran develop a nuclear weapon”.

Also, Gen Dempsey revealed that he had been quietly leading behind the scenes preparations for an attack against Iran, adding that a war with Tehran would have tragic consequences.

"My biggest worry is that it (Iran) may miscalculate our resolve. Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world," he said.

However, when asked if the US army was gathering information on Iran via spy drones for a probable attack (referring to the spy drone Iran has recently downed) he declined to make any comments.

Conversely, Dempsey highlighted the role of the Israeli Mossad in collecting information on Iran and said, “There are no guarantees the Israelis would inform the US before launching an attack.”

The US silent war with Iran is no longer silent. It is gradually becoming loud and deafening. In fact, Washington's literature of threat shuts the window to any meaningful dialogue with Iran. Besides, the top echelons in Washington have made up their mind: they are hell bent on doing their worst and bringing about a doomsday in the region and Iran will be sure to conjure up a Golgotha before their eyes.

Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages.

Notes Thu 29 Dec 11

Notes and links below are from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. Updates added to the top as information develops.

Further Left - Let CIA sorts do their own work by setting Facebook page for new 'Timeline' form coming to you soon, like it or not.

RT - Anonymous to publish #Stratfor emails

RT - 'Israel govt most fascist in history'

Hey America, WTF? Most admired list includes Obama, Trump, Gingrich, GWB and Clinton

RT - Dire Strait: US & Iran trigger happy?

CCTV - U.S. changes anti-terrorist strategy

RT - Gaza Vu: Israel warns of major attack

World Socialist - Obama's global Murder, Inc.

RT - End of Cold War: US hate dies with N.Korean leader?

CCTV English - Yearender: Xinhua's top 10 world news events in 2011

PressTV - Ahmadinejad to tour LatAm nations

CCTV English - US Fifth Fleet says won't allow Hormuz disruption

PressTV - Russia has censured the United States for its human rights violations and underlined the American hypocrisy in...

RT- Start a war to avoid a war? 'No assault on Iran acceptable'

Obama administration secretly preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition

OZYISM - US buying Mercenaries through Qatar

RT- CIA sifts socialmedia sites [VIDEO]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Confronting It For Justice In Palestine

Ilan Pappe 27 December 2011 in The Electronic Intifada

If we had a wish list for 2012 as Palestinians and friends of Palestine, one of the top items ought to be our hope that we can translate the dramatic shift in recent years in world public opinion into political action against Israeli policies on the ground.

We know why this has not yet materialized: the political, intellectual and cultural elites of the West cower whenever they even contemplate acting according to their own consciences as well as the wishes of their societies.

This last year was particularly illuminating for me in that respect. I encountered that timidity at every station in the many trips I took for the cause I believe in. And these personal experiences were accentuated by the more general examples of how governments and institutions caved in under intimidation from Israel and pro-Zionist Jewish organizations.

A catalogue of complicity

Of course there were US President Barack Obama’s pandering appearances in front of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, and his administration’s continued silence and inaction in face of Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, siege and killings in Gaza, ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the Naqab and new legislation discriminating against Palestinians in Israel.

The complicity continued with the shameful retreat of Judge Richard Goldstone from his rather tame report on the Gaza massacre — which began three years ago today. And then there was the decision of European governments, especially Greece, to disallow campaigns of human aid and solidarity from reaching Gaza by sea.

On the margins of all of this were prosecutions in France against activists calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and a few u-turns by some groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe caving in under pressure and retracting an earlier decision to cede connections with Israel.

Learning firsthand how pro-Israel intimidation works

In recent years, I have learned firsthand how intimidation of this kind works. In November 2009 the mayor of Munich was scared to death by a Zionist lobby group and cancelled my lecture there. More recently, the Austrian foreign ministry withdrew its funding for an event in which I participated, and finally it was my own university, the University of Exeter, once a haven of security in my eyes, becoming frigid when a bunch of Zionist hooligans claimed I was a fabricator and a self-hating Jew.

Every year since I moved there, Zionist organizations in the UK and the US have asked the university to investigate my work and were brushed aside. This year a similar appeal was taken, momentarily one should say, seriously. One hopes this was just a temporary lapse; but you never know with an academic institution (bravery is not one of their hallmarks).

Standing up to pressure

But there were examples of courage — local and global — as well: the student union of the University of Surrey under heavy pressure to cancel my talk did not give in and allowed the event to take place.

The Episcopal Bishops Committee on Israel/Palestine in Seattle faced the wrath of many of the city’s synagogues and the Israeli Consul General in San Francisco, Akiva Tor, for arranging an event with me in September 2011 in Seattle’s Town Hall, but bravely brushed aside this campaign of intimidation. The usual charges of “anti-Semitism” did not work there — they never do where people refuse to be intimidated.

The outgoing year was also the one in which Turkey imposed military and diplomatic sanctions on Israel in response to the latter’s refusal to take responsibility for the attack on the Mavi Marmara. Turkey’s action was in marked contrast to the European and international habit of sufficing with toothless statements at best, and never imposing a real price on Israel for its actions.

Do not cave in to intimidation

I do not wish to underestimate the task ahead of us. Only recently did we learn how much money is channeled to this machinery of intimidation whose sole purpose is to silence criticism on Israel. Last year, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — leading pro-Israel lobby groups — allocated $6 million to be spent over three years to fight BDS campaigns and smear the Palestine solidarity movement. This is not the only such initiative under way.

But are these forces as powerful as they seem to be in the eyes of very respectable institutions such as universities, community centers, churches, media outlets and, of course, politicians?

What you learn is that once you cower, you become prey to continued and relentless bashing until you sing the Israeli national anthem. If once you do not cave in, you discover that as time goes by, the ability of Zionist lobbies of intimidation around the world to affect you gradually diminishes.

Reducing the influence of the United States

Undoubtedly the centers of power that fuel this culture of intimidation lie to a great extent in the United States, which brings me to the second item on my 2012 wish list: an end to the American dominance in the affairs of Israelis and Palestinians. I know this influence cannot be easily curbed.

But the issue of timidity and intimidation belong to an American sphere of activity where things can, and should be, different. There will be no peace process or even Pax Americana in Palestine if the Palestinians, under whatever leadership, would agree to allow Washington to play such a central role. It is not as if US policy-makers can threaten the Palestinians that without their involvement there will be no peace process.

In fact history has proved that there was no peace process — in the sense of a genuine movement toward the restoration of Palestinian rights — precisely because of American involvement. Outside mediation may be necessary for the cause of reconciliation in Palestine. But does it have to be American?

If elite politics are needed — along with other forces and movements — to facilitate a change on the ground, such a role should come from other places in the world and not just from the United States.

One would hope that the recent rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah — and the new attempt to base the issue of Palestinian representation on a wider and more just basis — will lead to a clear Palestinian position that would expose the fallacy that peace can only be achieved with the Americans as its brokers.

Dwarfing the US role will disarm American Zionist bodies and those who emulate them in Europe and Israel of their power of intimidation.

Letting the other America play a role

This will also enable the other America, that of the civil society, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the progressive campuses, the courageous churches, African-Americans marginalized by mainstream politics, Native Americans and millions of other decent Americans who never fell captive to elite propaganda about Israel and Palestine, to take a far more central role in “American involvement” in Palestine.

That would benefit America as much as it will benefit justice and peace in Palestine. But this long road to redeeming all of us who want to see justice begins by asking academics, journalists and politicians in the West to show a modicum of steadfastness and courage in the face of those who want to intimidate us. Their bark is far fiercer than their bite.

The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Notes Wed 28 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are added toward the bottom.

RT Occupy activists nationwide link up through regular mass conference calls

Press TV Israeli airstrikes kill one in Gaza

RT America - Obama agrees to help Yemen’s murderous president

RT - Destination - Islamic Emirates: Syria insurgents spark religious war

RT - Mainstream Media: Dumbing it Down

Press TV - Canada is secretly transporting large amounts of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium to the United States,...

RT YouTube video - Gaza Massacre: War over, reparations battle rages on

RT America -Patriotic pandering to become president [VIDEO]

White supremacism lives: Judge rules that Mexican American studies program in Tucson violates Arizona law

Israeli launches multiple airstrikes in Gaza

CCTV - Occupy groups to send "Human Float" at New Year Rose Parade in California

Occupy Wall Street's official thank you video.

Ma'an News - Israel's army chief hails Gaza war as 'excellent'

Press TV - 8,000 US troops remain in Iraq

CCTV English - The West tries out old tricks in Russia

RT - ‘Russia and US are in for a very hard year’

RT - Escobar: Syrian rag-tag bands & tanks to face investigation

Press TV - Qatar builds Wahhabi army against Syria

YouTube - War by Deception 2011 The shadow government and shadow economy video

YouTube video - War by Deception Extra

RT- USA in decline while the war machine rages on [VIDEO]

RT - Iran threatens oil artery shut-off if sanctioned

Electronic Intifada - Israel navy attempts to capsize international monitoring boat off Gaza, injures captain

Ma'an News - Israel shells northern Gaza

Bloggers united to crush SOPA >

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Million A Day

CIA’s Daily Menu: 5 Million Tweets!

Published 27 December, 2011 by RT

It has been a while since the US Central Intelligence Agency admitted it keeps an eye on everything that appears on Facebook and Twitter. A new report now says the CIA “vengeful librarians” have to follow up to 5,000,000 foreign tweets a day.

In November, the CIA acknowledged a full monitoring of social networks. Almost two-thirds of intelligence reports made by the CIA for Washington now come from analysts monitoring millions of individual messages sent worldwide, says the Associated Press.

The CIA’s “vengeful librarians,” as the CIA Open Source Center (OSC) director Doug Naquin named them, monitor everything available regardless of its significance and language. This also includes TV news channels, internet chat rooms, local radio stations, and newspapers. Social media became the focus of the group’s activities during the unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran, following its 2009 presidential election.

The goal is to map “the mood of a region” where the US pursues interest. Such a process let Washington in on the global public reaction after the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan back in May.

Before that, the analysts saw the popular uprising coming to Egypt, but could not predict its exact timelines, said the center’s director, Doug Naquin.

Fast-paced riots, as the ones which took place during the Arab Spring, put social networks such as Facebook and Twitter on to the top among crucial intelligence tools. The two also offer a growing coverage, with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook network boasting over 800 million active users, while June statistics showed over 300 million were singed in the Twitter microblog.

Notes Tue 27 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are added toward the bottom.

RT - Christmas Hell: Terror as cheap way to control Nigeria

CCTV - Hamas leader calls for Arab League's action to end blockade on Gaza

Press TV - 'West seeks to secularize Muslim states'

CCTV - US' empire state of mind

CCTV - Chile reassures support to docking ban on Malvinas' ships

RT - Observers in Syria: Time to separate civilians from insurgents?

RT - Pharmageddon: America’s bitter pill

Wikileaks - During Gaza massacre three years ago today, Abbas-Fayyad PA violently suppressed Palestinian protests in West Bank against the Israeli attack

Electronic Intifada - In first wave of attack on Gaza, 3 years ago today, Israel killed dozens of young police cadets

Press TV - The wealth gap between American citizens and their representatives in the US Congress has considerably widened.

Press TV - 'Israel stole#_US uranium to build nukes' (furtherleft ed. note: Includes nice picture of Israeli's Dimona nuclear bomb plant that "doesn't exist")

YouTube - The Money Masters ~ Full Movie

Press TV - 'US media pretend OWS no longer exists'

Press TV - 'Iran capable of closing Hormuz Strait'

Ma'an News - Haniyeh calls on Arab world to support Gaza

Press TV - Qatar fueling unrest in Saudi Arabia

BBC - Brazil Has Overtaken the UK as the World's 6th Largest Economy

Press TV - From silent war to loud weapons, from covert operations to overt operations, the US government has resorted to...

Electronic Intifada - Open Letter from Gaza: Three Years after the Massacre, Justice or Nothing!

RT America - Dumpster diving in America on the rise [VIDEO]

Electronic Intifada - Ilan Pappe: Confronting intimidation and working for justice in Palestine in 2012

World Socialist - Iraq's tragic encounter with US imperialism

OZYISM - China and Japan to trade without US dollar, Russia and China also. |

Press TV - Iran test-fires state-of-art torpedoes

Updated as information develops

The Crisis

Is Capitalism

The film "Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity" examines the ideological roots of the "austerity" agenda and proposes revolutionary paths out of the current crisis. The film features original interviews with Chris Hedges, Derrick Jensen, Michael Hardt, Peter Gelderloos, Leo Panitch, David McNally, Richard J.F. Day, Imre Szeman, Wayne Price, and many more!

The 2008 "financial crisis" in the United States was a systemic fraud in which the wealthy finance capitalists stole trillions of public dollars. No one was jailed for this crime, the largest theft of public money in history.

Instead, the rich forced working people across the globe to pay for their "crisis" through punitive "austerity" programs that gutted public services and repealed workers' rights.

Austerity was named "Word of the Year" for 2010.

This documentary explains the nature of capitalist crisis, visits the protests against austerity measures, and recommends revolutionary paths for the future.

Special attention is devoted to the crisis in Greece, the 2010 G20 Summit protest in Toronto, Canada, and the remarkable surge of solidarity in Madison, Wisconsin.

It may be their crisis, but it's our problem.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Notes Mon 26 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are added toward the bottom.

WikiLeaks - Congressman calls for banning Twitter accounts he doesn't like. Another idea from Senator 'kill Wikileaks' Lieberman

CCTV - Over 100,000 anti-gov't demonstrators protest in Yemen

RT - ‘With the collapse of the USSR Russia lost more than during the Second World War’

Press TV - Bahraini regime attacks protesters

RT - From bald eagle to red dragon - Pakistan changes ally

How a farmer defeated Monsanto in spread of genetically modified organisms

Ma'an News - Ashrawi: Withdrawing recognition of Israel could be an option

Press TV - 'US, Israel inciting terrorism in Syria'

Updated as information develops

Words Matter

What If We Occupied Language?

By H. Samy Alim, New York Times Opinion, 21 December 2011

When I flew out from the San Francisco airport last October, we crossed above the ports that Occupy Oakland helped shut down, and arrived in Germany to be met by traffic caused by Occupy Berlin protestors. But the movement has not only transformed public space, it has transformed the public discourse as well.


It is now nearly impossible to hear the word and not think of the Occupy movement.

Even as distinguished an expert as the lexicographer and columnist Ben Zimmer admitted as much this week: “occupy,” he said, is the odds-on favorite to be chosen as the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year.

It has already succeeded in shifting the terms of the debate, taking phrases like “debt-ceiling” and “budget crisis” out of the limelight and putting terms like “inequality” and “greed” squarely in the center. This discursive shift has made it more difficult for Washington to continue to promote the spurious reasons for the financial meltdown and the unequal outcomes it has exposed and further produced.

To most, the irony of a progressive social movement using the term “occupy” to reshape how Americans think about issues of democracy and equality has been clear. After all, it is generally nations, armies and police who occupy, usually by force. And in this, the United States has been a leader. The American government is just now after nine years ending its overt occupation of Iraq, is still entrenched in Afghanistan and is maintaining troops on the ground in dozens of countries worldwide. All this is not to obscure the fact that the United States as we know it came into being by way of an occupation — a gradual and devastatingly violent one that all but extinguished entire Native American populations across thousands of miles of land.

Yet in a very short time, this movement has dramatically changed how we think about occupation. In early September, “occupy” signaled on-going military incursions. Now it signifies progressive political protest. It’s no longer primarily about force of military power; instead it signifies standing up to injustice, inequality and abuse of power. It’s no longer about simply occupying a space; it’s about transforming that space.

In this sense, Occupy Wall Street has occupied language, has made “occupy” its own. And, importantly, people from diverse ethnicities, cultures and languages have participated in this linguistic occupation — it is distinct from the history of forcible occupation in that it is built to accommodate all, not just the most powerful or violent.

As Geoff Nunberg, the long-time chair of the usage panel for American Heritage Dictionary, and others have explained, the earliest usage of occupy in English that was linked to protest can be traced to English media descriptions of Italian demonstrations in the 1920s, in which workers “occupied” factories until their demands were met. This is a far cry from some of its earlier meanings. In fact, The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that “occupy” once meant “to have sexual intercourse with.” One could imagine what a phrase like “Occupy Wall Street” might have meant back then.

In October, Zimmer, who is also the chair of the American Dialect Society’s New Word Committee, noted on NPR’s “On the Media” that the meaning of occupy has changed dramatically since its arrival into the English language in the 14th century. “It’s almost always been used as a transitive verb,” Zimmer said. “That’s a verb that takes an object, so you occupy a place or a space. But then it became used as a rallying cry, without an object, just to mean to take part in what are now called the Occupy protests. It’s being used as a modifier — Occupy protest, Occupy movement. So it’s this very flexible word now that’s filling many grammatical slots in the language.”

What if we transformed the meaning of occupy yet again? Specifically, what if we thought of Occupy Language as more than the language of the Occupy movement, and began to think about it as a movement in and of itself? What kinds of issues would Occupy Language address? What would taking language back from its self-appointed “masters” look like? We might start by looking at these questions from the perspective of race and discrimination, and answer with how to foster fairness and equality in that realm.

Occupy Language might draw inspiration from both the way that the Occupy movement has reshaped definitions of “occupy,” which teaches us that we give words meaning and that discourses are not immutable, and from the way indigenous movements have contested its use, which teaches us to be ever-mindful about how language both empowers and oppresses, unifies and isolates.

For starters, Occupy Language might first look inward. In a recent interview, Julian Padilla of the People of Color Working Group pushed the Occupy movement to examine its linguistic choices:

To occupy means to hold space, and I think a group of anti-capitalists holding space on Wall Street is powerful, but I do wish the NYC movement would change its name to “‘decolonise Wall Street”’ to take into account history, indigenous critiques, people of colour and imperialism… Occupying space is not inherently bad, it’s all about who and how and why. When white colonizers occupy land, they don’t just sleep there over night, they steal and destroy. When indigenous people occupied Alcatraz Island it was (an act of) protest.

This linguistic change can remind Americans that a majority of the 99 percent has benefited from the occupation of native territories.

Occupy Language might also support the campaign to stop the media from using the word “illegal” to refer to “undocumented” immigrants. From the campaign’s perspective, only inanimate objects and actions are labeled illegal in English; therefore the use of “illegals” to refer to human beings is dehumanizing. The New York Times style book currently asks writers to avoid terms like “illegal alien” and “undocumented,” but says nothing about “illegals.” Yet The Times’ standards editor, Philip B. Corbett, did recently weigh in on this, saying that the term “illegals” has an “unnecessarily pejorative tone” and that “it’s wise to steer clear.”

Pejorative, discriminatory language can have real life consequences. In this case, activists worry about the coincidence of the rise in the use of the term “illegals” and the spike in hate crimes against all Latinos. As difficult as it might be to prove causation here, the National Institute for Latino Policy reports that the F.B.I.’s annual Hate Crime Statistics show that Latinos comprised two thirds of the victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010. When someone is repeatedly described as something, language has quietly paved the way for violent action.

But Occupy Language should concern itself with more than just the words we use; it should also work towards eliminating language-based racism and discrimination. In the legal system, CNN recently reported that the U.S. Justice Department alleges that Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among other offenses, has discriminated against “Latino inmates with limited English by punishing them and denying critical services.” In education, as linguistic anthropologist Ana Celia Zentella notes, hostility towards those who speak “English with an accent” (Asians, Latinos, and African Americans) continues to be a problem. In housing, The National Fair Housing Alliance has long recognized “accents” as playing a significant role in housing discrimination. On the job market, language-based discrimination intersects with issues of race, ethnicity, class and national origin to make it more difficult for well-qualified applicants with an “accent” to receive equal opportunities.

In the face of such widespread language-based discrimination, Occupy Language can be a critical, progressive linguistic movement that exposes how language is used as a means of social, political and economic control. By occupying language, we can expose how educational, political, and social institutions use language to further marginalize oppressed groups; resist colonizing language practices that elevate certain languages over others; resist attempts to define people with terms rooted in negative stereotypes; and begin to reshape the public discourse about our communities, and about the central role of language in racism and discrimination.

As the global Occupy movement has shown, words can move entire nations of people — even the world — to action. Occupy Language, as a movement, should speak to the power of language to transform how we think about the past, how we act in the present, and how we envision the future.

Notes Sun 25 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are added toward the bottom.

Press TV - 'US, al-Qaeda unite to terrorize Syria'

Press TV - Qatar to overthrow Saudi regime:

Press TV - 'Israel prime culprit in 9/11 attacks'

Press TV - Bahrainis continue anti-regime protests

Press TV - Gorbachev urges#_Russia's Putin to quit

Press TV - Western economy on verge of collapse

Ma'an News Agency - Netanyahu says no negotiations if Hamas join government

RT - Is the UK Going after the Oil, Gas and Uranium in Somalia now? - VIDEO

RT - Big Brother Cab: Taxi CCTV to spy on passengers

Press TV - Yemenis hold anti-US protests

RT - Some Anonymous members claim responsibility for #Stratfor hack, group’s press release denies it

Updating as information develops

What's The Plan

If North Korea Collapses?

Furtherleft ed. note: It was in the early 1950's that many learned the hard way just how many Chinese there are. Do imperialist memories save information for than half a century?

(Reuters) - North Korea appears to be making an orderly transition after the death of leader Kim Jong-il last week, but the risk of collapse is higher than before and regional powers need to start discussing that contingency with China, diplomats and analysts say.

The problem is China refuses to contemplate any unravelling of North Korea which has nuclear ambitions and is its long-term ally. Beijing has rebuffed such overtures from the United States, Japan and South Korea.

"Secret talks with China to plan for contingencies have long been overdue," said Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in a paper this week.

"Beijing has been reluctant to engage in this kind of dialogue, although Chinese thinkers have increasingly acknowledged privately the need for such an authoritative conversation."

Yet little evidence has emerged that such talks have taken place or are being planned, despite a flurry of discussions betweeen the four countries in the aftermath of Kim's death last Saturday.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda travels to Beijing at the weekend, but it is unlikely that China would entertain anything more than platitudes. No contingency plan can be coordinated without China's agreement, since it borders North Korea and supplies much of its food and fuel.

Christopher Hill, a former envoy to the six-party talks on North Korea nuclear disarmament, said it was difficult to raise North Korean instability scenarios with China.

"The Chinese are always skittish about these things", he said, adding that the disclosure of secret U.S diplomatic cables by Wikileaks have made them especially wary of contingency planning.

Still, the transition of power in North Korea from the departed "Dear Leader", Kim Jong-il, to his son, the "Great Successor" Kim Jong-un, is going smoothly so far.

"We hope it stays that well," said Pentagon spokesman George Little. "We have not seen any unusual North Korean troop movements since the death of Kim Jong-il. That would be one indicator of a less than smooth transition."

The real worry is further down the road if a contest for power develops and piles stresses on a state that is already perilously close to economic collapse.

China, the United States and other regional powers around the peninsula may face a number of daunting scenarios if the transition goes badly over the medium term. These could include civil conflict, a mass exodus of refugees, military mutiny, lost control of the North's small nuclear arsenal or military attack.


China is however undergoing its own leadership transition in 2012 and down the line it's not impossible that there may be some changes in its steadfast refusal to work with the United States and its allies on contingency planning for North Korea.

In one Feb 22, 2010 cable by then U.S. ambassador to Seoul Kathleen Stephens, a top South Korean diplomat cited private conversations with two high-level Chinese officials who said China could live with a reunified Korea under the control of South Korea.

The then South Korean vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, who was also a delegate at the six-party talks, said the two Chinese officials told him privately that China "would clearly not welcome any U.S. military presence north of the Demilitarized Zone in the event of a collapse".

But the Chinese officials told him Beijing "would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a 'benign alliance' - as long as Korea was not hostile towards China."

The United States maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea and remains the Supreme Commander of unified American and South Korean troops in the event of a crisis with the North.

Chun, now the South Korean president's national security adviser, did not respond to a request for comment.

Chun also told the U.S. ambassador in that cable that China would not militarily intervene in the event of a North Korea collapse, and he expected that to happen within two to three years after the death of Kim Jong-il.

The alleged remarks from the two Chinese diplomats do not represent China's official position on North Korea. But China's ability to influence North Korea is sometimes over-estimated. In April 2009, He Yafei, then China's vice foreign minister, told a U.S. diplomat in Beijing that North Korea acted like a "spoiled child" to attract U.S. attention through steps such as firing a three-stage rocket over Japan.

The official line from Beijing, repeated during a visit by Kim Jong-il to China in May, is that the relationship remains "sealed in blood" of the allies that fought together in the Korean War.

"For China, the core imperative remains the avoidance of anything that might compromise North Korea's stability," said Sarah McDowall, an analyst at IHS Jane's.

"Occasionally, however, when North Korea commits particularly blatant provocations, this priority comes into conflict with another of China's over-riding diplomatic objectives - its desire to be seen as a responsible global player. China's behaviour with regards to North Korea in recent years has been a struggle to balance these two objectives."


In another Wikileaks cable from Astana, Kazakhstan on June 8, 2009, Chinese ambassador Cheng Guoping told his U.S. counterpart Richard Hoagland that China opposes North Korea's nuclear tests and hopes for peaceful reunification of the peninsula over the long term.

Cheng said China's objectives in North Korea were to ensure their commitments on non-proliferation, maintain stability, and 'don't drive (Kim Jong-il) mad,'" Hoagland said in the cable.

John Park, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, used a medical analogy to describe the difference in the U.S. and Chinese approaches.

"The way contingency planning is framed by the U.S. is, 'Let us coordinate so that if the North Korean state does collapse we can harvest the organs, and we think they should be implanted in a unified Korea, and the more the U.S. and China coordinate on this, the more smooth and stable it will be.'

"Whereas China's view is, 'Why would you wait for until the patient dies? Why wouldn't you prevent the death of the regime.' So there the Chinese are adopting almost this preventive medicine approach."

Jia Qingguo, professor of international relations at Peking University, said prospects for political stability in North Korea were bleak and interested powers needed "to step up communications, especially now the risks of a crisis are quite high".

The loyalty of those around the "Great Successor" is difficult to ascertain, Jia said.

"Add to that all the many problems, domestic and external, confronting North Korea. In these circumstances, I think it's very difficult to say whether Kim Jong-un will be able to master the political apparatus."

Kim Jong-un, who is in his late 20s, has little experience. His father Kim Jong-il had 20 years to prepare for rule under the tutelage of his father, Kim Il-sung, the charismatic founding father of the North Korean state.

Analysts have said senior officers were replaced after young Kim was made a four-star general last year, though he had never served in the military.

Issues that need to be urgently addressed in contingency planning include how to provide aid in the face of a collapse or crisis, and how to ensure the safety of the North's nuclear materials, Jia said.

"I think from the viewpoint of China and the United States, it may be up to one of them to assume control of the nuclear weapons and avoid proliferation."

A former Japanese diplomat who dealt with North Korean issues, Hitoshi Tanaka, questioned whether any measures would be effective in the event of "internal domestic turmoil" in North Korea.

South Korea, China, Japan and the United States "are very busy collecting and exchanging information and comparing notes" about North Korea's future, but that information is "very, very limited".

"It is extremely let China work in the most constructive way, because clearly, China is the last resort in the context of helping North Korea," he said.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Notes Sat 24 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from postings in the Further Left Chat Room and associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are added toward the bottom.

Press TV 'Crackdown turns US into fascist state'

RT Cuba to grant amnesty to 2,900 prisoners – president Castro

Press TV US judge tosses tortured detainee case

CCTV Syrians rally in anger after terrorist attacks in Damascus

Press TV CIA defends spying with NYPD on Muslims

Press TV 'France committed genocide in Algeria'

RT Pentagon under 24/7 DARPA surveillance

Press TV US pledges more military aid to#_Israel

Press TV 'Saudi protests are growing weekly'

WikiLeaks - Manning prosecution lays basis for terror charge against Assange

Press TV World banks brace for euro collapse

Press TV US fabricates bizarre tales about Iran

World Socialist - Manning prosecution lays basis for terror charge against WikiLeaks founder Assange

Press TV US blaming #Iran for 9/11, unbelievable

Press TV US, Israel conspiring against Syria

Press TV Swiss adopt new anti-#Iran sanctions

Updated as information developed

Is There A LImit?

Black Agenda Radio report by Glen Ford

What if the First Black President eviscerated the rule of law, legalizing assassination and detention of U.S. citizens without trial? Would he still be considered a “credit to his race?” His supporters may convince themselves they are safe in Obama’s hands, but he has also “given President Gingrich or President Romney or President Palin those powers – the same powers Egyptian generals have used to imprison thousands of protesters in military jails.”

Is There a Limit to Black Tolerance of Obama's Police State, Assassinations and Wars? With preventive detention the law of the land and political assassination official U.S. policy, Obama is poised to enter the realm of the unthinkable.

In my political circles, we used to go through the rhetorical exercise of asking each other, What does President Obama have to do to irretrievably alienate his core of supporters? What horrific atrocity would Obama have to commit, that would cause him to lose his solid Black base?

The problem with this little game of What If, was that Obama kept upping the ante, with one outrage after another, each more nightmarish than the last. What if he put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block? Obama promptly did that, two weeks before taking the oath of office. So we had to pick another hypothetical Obama act that might constitute a deal-breaker with Black America. How about: What if the First Black President launched an all out military attack on Africa? Seven months ago he did just that, in Libya, following up with a huge intensification of the cruelest war in the world, against Somalia, and the assignment of U.S. Special Forces to central Africa.

It was becoming evident that there was no line of civilized behavior that Obama would not cross in service of corporate empire at home and abroad. And yet, his core supporters had still not reached their limits of tolerance for the man in whom they had invested so much hope in 2008.

Now, with preventive detention the law of the land and political assassination official U.S. policy, Obama is poised to enter the realm of the unthinkable – a future of pure horror in which there is no rule of law. When a president can lock up or kill whomever he chooses, without formal charge or trial, the rule of law ceases to exist. The finality of that verdict is not mitigated by the fact that George Bush also believed, as does Obama, that U.S. law already implicitly gave presidents the power to indefinitely detain. It is now codified – a law that negates the rule of law.

It was becoming evident that there was no line of civilized behavior that Obama would not cross in service of corporate empire at home and abroad.

Obama’s guiding hand finessed the legislation through Congress, anointing this president and those who come after with the power to lock up American citizens for life without trial, or even being charged. Obama has given President Gingrich or President Romney or President Palin those powers – the same powers Egyptian generals have used to imprison thousands of protesters in military jails. Obama expresses sympathy for an Arab Spring while presiding over a dark American winter. This is his historical contribution: the evisceration of the Constitution as we had previously understood it, a far deeper mark on the historical record than breaking the White House color bar.

If there is any constituency for preservation of the rule of law, it must be Black America, a people whose lives on this continent began in the perpetual incarceration of slavery and who today comprise one out of every eight prison inmates on the planet, and whose political prisoners from a previous generation of struggle still languish behind bars. Is Black love of the idea of a Black president so perverse, that it would tolerate – or even celebrate! – a man who gives himself and his successors the power to imprison and kill at will?

Enough of this nonsense about greater and lesser evils. When it comes to murdering the Constitution, Barack Obama is a champion evil-doer.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Notes Fri 23 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from those posted in the Further Left Chat Room and its associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are toward the bottom.

RT America - Iraq on the brink of civil war [VIDEO]

RT US troop suicide exceeds war deaths [VIDEO]

PressTV - An Israeli reserve military colonel has revealed disturbing information about indecent torture methods exercised...

RT - Medvedev calls for major reform of Russia’s political system

Press TV - Lockerbie bomber: 'I am innocent'

Cities that broke up Occupy Wall Street camps now face lawsuits over free speech, use of force.

Press TV - A Harvard professor of international affairs says the warmongering calls for a military strike on Iran follow a classic deception pattern

Press TV - 'US gained nothing but disgrace in#_Iraq'

RT - Russian push to investigate Libyan civilian deaths “cheap stunt” – United States

Updated as information developed

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Towards The End

Getting Worse:

40 Undeniable Pieces Of Evidence

That Show That America Is In Decline

#1 Back in 1985, 11 million vehicles were sold in America. In 2009, only 5.4 million vehicles were sold in America.

#2 In 1990, the median age of a vehicle in the United States was just 6.5 years. Today, the median age of a vehicle in the United States is approximately 10 years.

#3 The average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2011 has been $3.50. That is a new all-time record. The previous record was $3.24 in 2008.

#4 The average American household will have spent an astounding $4,155 on gasoline by the time the year is over.

#5 The number of children in the United States without a permanent home has increased by 38 percent since 2007.

#6 A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh.

#7 The U.S. tax code is now more than 50,000 pages longer than it used to be.

#8 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#9 The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world. Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12th.

#10 After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.

#11 The student loan default rate has nearly doubled since 2005.

#12 Our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for our college graduates. The percentage of mail carriers with a college degree is now 4 times higher than it was back in 1970.

#13 Our infrastructure was once the envy of the world. Today, U.S. infrastructure is ranked 23rd.

#14 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#15 Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.

#16 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.

#17 In all, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

#18 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#19 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#20 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.

#21 The television manufacturing industry began in the United States. So how many televisions are manufactured in the United States today? According to Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder, the grand total is zero.

#22 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#23 The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.

#24 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#25 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#26 The size of the economy in India is projected to surpass the size of the U.S. economy by the year 2050.

#27 One prominent economist believes that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#28 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th.

#29 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty. Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#30 Last year, 2.6 million more Americans dropped into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#31 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 6.7% of all Americans are living in "extreme poverty", and that is the highest level that has ever been recorded before.

#32 The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010. In the UK and in France the child poverty rate is well under 10 percent.

#33 As I wrote about the other day, since 2007 the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#34 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#36 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

#37 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

#38 Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

#39 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#40 The U.S. national debt is now nearly 15 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

Notes Thu 22 Dec 11

Notes and links below are taken from those posted in the Further Left Chat Room and its associated Facebook and Twitter pages. They will be updated throughout the day as available. Later additions are toward the bottom.

Manning Pre-Trial- Day 6

CCTV - Most Finnish people against joining NATO

YouTube video > Between Two Worlds - American Jewish culture wars

Press TV Israeli tanks invade south Gaza

CounterPsyOps Mossad ran 9/11 Arab "hijacker" terrorist operation

World Socialist - Lamentations of the rich

World Socialist - US House votes down extension of unemployment benefits

Moscow blasts Ban Ki-moon's defense of Libya action


press TV - How Europe quietly agreed that West Bank "belongs" to Israel; @dvcronin David Cronin blogs on a shameful compromise

Press TV - World community set to isolate#_US,#_Israel

I favorited a @YouTube video The Panama Deception

RT America Pentagon gets the go-ahead for offensive cyberwars

RT America Manning awaits decision on military tribunal

Press TV - Venezuela helps#_US poor's with energy

Press TV Iran attack: Downfall of Zionist Israel'


Two US missles hit Iran today

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dirty Truths

By Michael Parenti

“I’ve had grown men wet this floor with tears, begging for a job. We have to pray with some to keep them from killing themselves. So many say they just want to die,” says Charlie Tarrance, a director of a private social agency. His task is to deal with growing lines of despairing people looking for jobs, housing, and food. The place is Gadsden, Alabama, but it could be anywhere in the United States.

It could be Washington, D.C., at a Safeway supermarket a mile or so from the White House where an elderly man is crying and holding a can of dog food. When asked what's wrong, he says, “I’m hungry. I’m hungry.”

It could be New York City, where a woman begins screaming at the landlord who evicts her and her several children. The Bureau of Child Welfare takes her children, which distresses her all the more. She herself is transported to a New York mental hospital crying angrily—only to be diagnosed and committed by the all-knowing psychiatrists as a "paranoid schizophrenic."

There is misery and cruelty in the land. As U.S. leaders move determinedly toward their free-market Final Solution, stories abound of hunger, pain, and desperation. Such things have existed for a long time. Social pathology is as much a part of this society as crime and capitalism. But life is getting ever more difficult for many.

Some Grim Statistics

Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it. To their ears the anguished cries of the dispossessed sound like the peevish whines of malcontents. They denounce as "bleeding hearts" those of us who criticize existing conditions, who show some concern for our fellow citizens. But the dirty truth is that there exists a startling amount of hardship, abuse, affliction, illness, violence, and pathology in this country. The figures reveal a casualty list that runs into many millions. Consider the following estimates.

In any one year:

27,000 Americans commit suicide.

5,000 attempt suicide; some estimates are higher.

26,000 die from fatal accidents in the home.

23,000 are murdered.

85,000 are wounded by firearms.

38,000 of these die, including 2,600 children.

13,000,000 are victims of crimes including assault, rape, armed robbery, burglary, larceny, and arson.

135,000 children take guns to school.

5,500,000 people are arrested for all offenses (not including traffic violations).

125,000 die prematurely of alcohol abuse.

473,000 die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses; 53,000 of these are nonsmokers.

6,500,000 use heroin, crack, speed, PCP, cocaine or some other hard drug on a regular basis.

5,000+ die from illicit drug use. Thousands suffer serious debilitations.

1,000+ die from sniffing household substances found under the kitchen sink. About 20 percent of all eighth-graders have "huffed" toxic substances. Thousands suffer permanent neurological damage.

31,450,000 use marijuana; 3,000,000 of whom are heavy usuers.

37,000,000, or one out of every six Americans, regularly use emotion controlling medical drugs. The users are mostly women. The pushers are doctors; the suppliers are pharmaceutical companies; the profits are stupendous.

2,000,000 nonhospitalized persons are given powerful mind-control drugs, sometimes described as "chemical straitjackets."

5,000 die from psychoactive drug treatments.

200,000 are subjected to electric shock treatments that are injurious to the brain and nervous system.

600 to 1,000 are lobotomized, mostly women.

25,000,000, or one out of every 10 Americans, seek help from psychiatric, psychotherapeutic, or medical sources for mental and emotional problems, at a cost of over $4 billion annually.

6,800,000 turn to nonmedical services, such as ministers, welfare agencies, and social counselors for help with emotional troubles. In all, some 80,000,000 have sought some kind of psychological counseling in their lifetimes.

1,300,000 suffer some kind of injury related to treatment at hospitals.

2,000,000 undergo unnecessary surgical operations; 10,000 of whom die from the surgery.

180,000 die from adverse reactions to all medical treatments, more than are killed by airline and automobile accidents combined.

14,000+ die from overdoses of legal prescription drugs.

45,000 are killed in auto accidents. Yet more cars and highways are being built while funding for safer forms of mass transportation is reduced.

1,800,000 sustain nonfatal injuries from auto accidents; but 150,000 of these auto injury victims suffer permanent impairments.

126,000 children are born with a major birth defect, mostly due to insufficient prenatal care, nutritional deficiency, environmental toxicity, or maternal drug addiction.

2,900,000 children are reportedly subjected to serious neglect or abuse, including physical torture and deliberate starvation.

5,000 children are killed by parents or grandparents.

30,000 or more children are left permanently physically disabled from abuse and neglect. Child abuse in the United States afflicts more children each year than leukemia, automobile accidents, and infectious diseases combined. With growing unemployment, incidents of abuse by jobless parents is increasing dramatically.

1,000,000 children run away from home, mostly because of abusive treatment, including sexual abuse, from parents and other adults. Of the many sexually abused children among runaways, 83 percent come from white families.

150,000 children are reported missing.

50,000 of these simply vanish. Their ages range from one year to mid-teens. According to the New York Times, "Some of these are dead, perhaps half of the John and Jane Does annually buried in this country are unidentified kids."

900,000 children, some as young as seven years old, are engaged in child labor in the United States, serving as underpaid farm hands, dishwashers, laundry workers, and domestics for as long as ten hours a day in violation of child labor laws.

2,000,000 to 4,000,00 women are battered. Domestic violence is the single largest cause of injury and second largest cause of death to U.S. women.

700,000 women are raped, one every 45 seconds.

5,000,000 workers are injured on the job; 150,000 of whom suffer permanent work-related disabilities, including maiming, paralysis, impaired vision, damaged hearing, and sterility.

100,000 become seriously ill from work-related diseases, including black lung, brown lung, cancer, and tuberculosis.

14,000 are killed on the job; about 90 percent are men.

100,000 die prematurely from work-related diseases.

60,000 are killed by toxic environmental pollutants or contaminants in food, water, or air.

4,000 die from eating contaminated meat.

20,000 others suffer from poisoning by E.coli 0157-H7, the mutant bacteria found in contaminated meat that generally leads to lifelong physical and mental health problems. A more thorough meat inspection with new technologies could eliminate most instances of contamination--so would vegetarianism.

At present:

5,100,000 are behind bars or on probation or parole; 2,700,000 of these are either locked up in county, state or federal prisons or under legal supervision. Each week 1,600 more people go to jail than leave. The prison population has skyrocketed over 200 percent since 1980. Over 40 percent of inmates are jailed on nonviolent drug related crimes. African Americans constitute 13 percent of drug users but 35 percent of drug arrests, 55 percent of drug convictions and 74 percent of prison sentences. For nondrug offenses, African Americans get prison terms that average about 10 percent longer than Caucasians for similar crimes.

15,000+ have tuberculosis, with the numbers growing rapidly; 10,000,000 or more carry the tuberculosis bacilli, with large numbers among the economically deprived or addicted.

10,000,000 people have serious drinking problems; alcoholism is on the rise.

16,000,000 have diabetes, up from 11,000,000 in 1983 as Americans get more sedentary and sugar addicted. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage.

160,000 will die from diabetes this year.

280,000 are institutionalized for mental illness or mental retardation. Many of these are forced into taking heavy doses of mind control drugs.

255,000 mentally ill or retarded have been summarily released in recent years. Many of the "deinstitutionalized" are now in flophouses or wandering the streets.

3,000,000 or more suffer cerebral and physical handicaps including paralysis, deafness, blindness, and lesser disabilities. A disproportionate number of them are poor. Many of these disabilities could have been corrected with early treatment or prevented with better living conditions.

2,400,000 million suffer from some variety of seriously incapacitating chronic fatigue syndrome.

10,000,000+ suffer from symptomatic asthma, an increase of 145 percent from 1990 to 1995, largely due to the increasingly polluted quality of the air we breathe.

40,000,000 or more are without health insurance or protection from catastrophic illness.

1,800,000 elderly who live with their families are subjected to serious abuse such as forced confinement, underfeeding, and beatings. The mistreatment of elderly people by their children and other close relatives grows dramatically as economic conditions worsen.

1,126,000 of the elderly live in nursing homes. A large but undetermined number endure conditions of extreme neglect, filth, and abuse in homes that are run with an eye to extracting the highest possible profit.

1,000,000 or more children are kept in orphanages, reformatories, and adult prisons. Most have been arrested for minor transgressions or have committed no crime at all and are jailed without due process. Most are from impoverished backgrounds. Many are subjected to beatings, sexual assault, prolonged solitary confinement, mind control drugs, and in some cases psychosurgery.

1,000,000 are estimated to have AIDS as of 1996; over 250,000 have died of that disease.

950,000 school children are treated with powerful mind control drugs for “hyperactivity” every year--with side effects like weight loss, growth retardation and acute psychosis.

4,000,000 children are growing up with unattended learning disabilities.

4,500,000+ children, or more than half of the 9,000,000 children on welfare, suffer from malnutrition. Many of these suffer brain damage caused by prenatal and infant malnourishment.

40,000,000 persons, or one of every four women and more than one of every ten men, are estimated to have been sexually molested as children, most often between the ages of 9 and 12, usually by close relatives or family acquaintances. Such abuse almost always extends into their early teens and is a part of their continual memory and not a product of memory retrieval in therapy.

7,000,000 to 12,000,000 are unemployed; numbers vary with the business cycle. Increasing numbers of the chronically unemployed show signs of stress and emotional depression.

6,000,000 are in “contingent” jobs, or jobs structured to last only temporarily. About 60 percent of these would prefer permanent employment.

15,000,000 or more are part-time or reduced-time “contract” workers who need full-time jobs and who work without benefits.

3,000,000 additional workers are unemployed but uncounted because their unemployment benefits have run out, or they never qualified for benefits, or they have given up looking for work, or they joined the armed forces because they were unable to find work.

80,000,000 live on incomes estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor as below a “comfortable adequacy”; 35,000,000 of these live below the poverty level.

12,000,000 of those at poverty’s rock bottom suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. The majority of the people living at or below the poverty level experience hunger during some portion of the year.

2,000,000 or more are homeless, forced to live on the streets or in makeshift shelters.

160,000,000+ are members of households that are in debt, a sharp increase from the 100 million of less than a decade ago. A majority indicate they have borrowed money not for luxuries but for necessities. Mounting debts threaten a financial crack-up in more and more families.

A Happy Nation?

Obviously these estimates include massive duplications. Many of the 20 million unemployed are among the 35 million below the poverty level. Many of the malnourished children are also among those listed as growing up with untreated learning disabilities and almost all are among the 35 million poor. Many of the 37 million regular users of mind-control drugs also number among the 25 million who seek psychiatric help.

Some of these deprivations and afflictions are not as serious as others. The 80 million living below the “comfortably adequate” income level may compose too vague and inclusive a category for some observers (who themselves enjoy a greater distance from the poverty line). The 40 million who are without health insurance are not afflicted by an actual catastrophe but face only a potential one (though the absence of health insurance often leads to a lack of care and eventually a serious health crisis). We might not want to consider the 5.5 million arrested as having endured a serious affliction, but what of the 1.5 million who are serving time and what of their victims? We might want to count only the 150,000 who suffer a serious job-related disability rather than the five million on-the-job injuries, only half of the 20 million unemployed and underemployed so as not to duplicate poverty figures, only 10 percent of the 1.1 million institutionalized elderly as mistreated (although the number is probably higher), only 10 per cent of the 37 million regular users of medically prescribed psychogenic drugs as seriously troubled, only 5 per cent of the 160 million living in indebted families as seriously indebted (although the number is probably higher).

If we consider only those who have endured physical or sexual abuse, or have been afflicted with a serious disability, or a serious deprivation such as malnutrition and homelessness, only those who face untimely deaths due to suicide, murder, battering, drug and alcohol abuse, industrial and motor vehicle accidents, medical (mis)treatment, occupational illness, and sexually transmitted diseases, we are still left with a staggering figure of over 19,000,000 victims. To put the matter in some perspective, in the 12 years that saw 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam, several million died prematurely within the United States from unnatural and often violent causes.

Official bromides to the contrary, we are faced with a hidden holocaust, a social pathology of staggering dimensions. Furthermore, the above figures do not tell the whole story. In almost every category an unknown number of persons go unreported. For instance, the official tabulation of 35 million living in poverty is based on census data that undercount transients, homeless people, and those living in remote rural and crowded inner-city areas. Also, the designated poverty line is set at an unrealistically low income level and takes insufficient account of how inflation especially affects the basics of food, fuel, housing, and health care that consume such a disproportionate chunk of lower incomes. Some economists estimate that actually as many as 46 million live in conditions of acute economic want.

Left uncounted are the more than two thousand yearly deaths in the U.S. military due to training and transportation accidents, and the many murders and suicides in civilian life that are incorrectly judged as deaths from natural causes, along with the premature deaths from cancer caused by radioactive and other carcinogenic materials in the environment. Almost all cancer deaths are now thought to be from human-made causes.

Fatality figures do not include the people who are incapacitated and sickened from the one thousand potentially toxic additional chemicals that industry releases into the environment each year, and who die years later but still prematurely. At present there are at least 51,000 industrial toxic dump sites across the country that pose potentially serious health hazards to communities, farmlands, water tables, and livestock. One government study has concluded that the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat are now perhaps the leading causes of death in the United States.

None of these figures include the unhappiness, bereavement, and longterm emotional wounds inflicted upon the many millions of loved ones, friends, and family members who are close to the victims.

Public Policy, Personal Pain

If things are so bad, why then has the U.S. mortality rate been declining? The decline over the last half-century has been due largely to the dramatic reduction in infant mortality and the containment of many contagious diseases, largely through improvement in public health standards. Furthermore, years of industrial struggle by working people, especially in the twentieth century, brought a palpable betterment in certain conditions. In other words, as bad as things are now, in earlier times some things were even worse. For example, about 14,000 persons are killed on the job annually, but in 1916 the toll was 35,000, with the labor force less than half what it is today.

The growth in health consciousness that has led millions to quit smoking, exercise more regularly, and have healthier diets also has reduced mortality rates, especially among those over 40. The 55-mile per hour speed limit and the crackdown on drunken driving contributed by cutting into highway fatalities. But the cancer death rate and most of the other pathologies and life diminishing conditions listed earlier continue in an upward direction. Small wonder the climb in life expectancy has leveled off to a barely perceptible crawl in recent years.

When compared to other nations, we discover we are not as Number One-ish as we might think. The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than in thirteen other countries. And in life expectancy, 20-year-old U.S. males rank thirty-sixth among the world’s nations, and 20-year-old females are twenty-first. The additional tragedy of these statistics is that most of the casualties are not inevitable products of the human condition, but are due mostly to the social and material conditions created by our profits-before-people corporate system. Consider a few examples.

First, it may be that industrial production will always carry some kind of risk, but the present rate of attrition can be largely ascribed to inadequate safety standards, speedup, and lax enforcement of safety codes. Better policies can make a difference. In the chemical industry alone, regulations put out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—at a yearly cost to industry of $140 per worker—brought a 23 percent drop in accidents and sickness, averting some 90,000 illnesses and injuries.

OSHA’s resources are pathetically inadequate. It has only enough inspectors to visit each workplace once every eighty years. Workplace standards to control the tens of thousands of toxic substances are issued at the rate of less than three a year. Even this feeble effort has been more than business could tolerate. Under the Reagan and Bush administrations, OSHA began removing protections, exempting most firms from routine safety inspections, and weakening the cotton dust, cancer, and lead safety standards, and a worker's right to see company medical records.

Second, it may be that in any society some children will sicken and die. But better nutrition and health care make a difference. The Women, Infants and Children nutrition program (WIC) did cut down on starvation and hunger. On the other hand, years after passing a law making some thirteen million children eligible for medical examination and treatment, Congress discovered that almost 85 percent of the youngsters had been left unexamined, causing, in the words of a House subcommittee report, “unnecessary crippling, retardation, or even death of thousands of children.”

Third, it may be that medical treatment will always have its hazards, but given the way health care is organized in the United States, money often makes the difference between life and death. Many sick people die simply because they receive insufficient care or are treated too late. Health insurance premiums have risen astronomically and hospital bills have grown five times faster than the overall cost of living. Yet it is almost universally agreed that people are not receiving better care, only more expensive care, and in some areas the quality of care has deteriorated.

Some physicians have cheated Medicaid and Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars by consistently overcharging for services and tests; fraudulently billing for nonexistent patients or for services not rendered; charging for unneeded treatments, tests, and hospital admissions—and most unforgivable of all—performing unnecessary surgery. Meanwhile, private health insurance companies make profits by raising premiums and withholding care. So people are paying more than ever for health insurance while getting less than ever.

Fourth, it may be that automobile accidents are unavoidable in any society with millions of motor vehicles, but why have we become increasingly dependent on this costly, dangerous, and ecologically disastrous form of transportation? In transporting people, one railroad or subway car can do the work of fifty automobiles. Railroads consume a sixth of the energy used by trucks to transport goods.

These very efficiencies are what make railroads so undesirable to the oil and auto lobbies. For over a half-century, giant corporations like General Motors, Standard Oil of California, and Firestone Tires bought up most of the nation's clean and safe electric streetcar networks, dismantled them, and cut back on all public transportation, thereby forcing people to rely more and more on private cars. The monorail in Japan, a commuter train that travels much faster than any train, has transported some three billion passengers without an injury or fatality. The big oil and auto companies in the U.S. have successfully blocked the construction of monorails here.

In ways not yet mentioned corporate and public policies gravely affect private lives. Birth deformities, for instance, are not just a quirk of nature, as the heartbroken parents of Love Canal or the thalidomide children can testify. Many such defects are caused by fast-buck companies that treat our environment like a septic tank. Unsafe products are another cause; there are hundreds of hair dyes, food additives, cosmetics, and medicines marketed for quick profits which have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses.

The food industry, seeking to maximize profits, offers ever increasing amounts of highly processed, chemicalized, low-nutrition foods. Bombarded by junk-food advertising over the last thirty years, TV viewers, especially younger ones, have changed their eating habits dramatically. Per capita consumption of vegetables and fruits is down 20 to 25 per cent while consumption of cakes, pastry, soft drinks, and other snacks is up 70 to 80 per cent. According to a U.S. Senate report, the increased consumption of junk foods “may be as damaging to the nation's health as the widespread contagious diseases of the early part of the century.” All this may start showing up on the actuarial charts when greater numbers of the younger junk-food generation move into middle age.

In 1995-96, a Republican-controlled Congress pushed for further cuts in environmental and consumer safety standards and in the regulation of industry, cuts in various public health programs, and cuts in nutritional programs for children and pregnant women. State and local governments are also cutting back on public protection programs and human services in order to pay the enormous sums owed to the banks and to compensate for reductions in federal aid. Thus New York City took such “economy measures” as closing all of its venereal disease clinics and most of its drug rehabilitation and health centers.

We are told that wife-beating, child abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, and other such pathologies know no class boundaries and are found at all income levels. This is true but misleading. The impression left is that these pathologies are randomly distributed across the social spectrum and are purely a matter of individual pathology. Actually, many of them are skewed heavily toward the low-income, the unemployed, and the dispossessed. As economic conditions worsen, so afflictions increase. Behind many of these statistics is the story of class, racial, sexual, and age oppressions that have long been among the legacies of our social order, oppressions that are seldom discussed in any depth by political leaders, news media, or educators.

In addition, more and more middle-income people are hurting from the Third Worldization of America, suffering from acute stress, alcoholism, job insecurity, insufficient income, high rents, heavy mortgage payments, high taxes, and crushing educational and medical costs. And almost all of us eat the pesticide-ridden foods, breathe the chemicalized air, and risk drinking the toxic water and being exposed to the contaminating wastes of our increasingly chemicalized, putrefied environment. I say “almost all of us” because the favored few live on country estates, ranches, seashore mansions, and summer hideaways where the air is relatively fresh. And, like President Reagan, they eat only the freshest food and meat derived from organically fed steers that are kept free of chemical hormones—while telling the rest of us not to get hysterical about pesticides and herbicides and chemical additives.

All this explains why many of us find little cause for rejoicing about America the Beautiful. It is not that we don’t love our country, but that we do. We love not just an abstraction called “the USA’ but the people who live in it. And we believe that the pride of a nation should not be used to hide the social and economic disorder that is its shame. The American dream is becoming a nightmare for many. A concern for collective betterment, for ending the abuses of free-market plunder, is of the utmost importance. “People before profits” is not just a slogan, it is our only hope.

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