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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #144 - March 2016

OpinionBy William Blum

American exceptionalism presents an election made in hell

If the American presidential election winds up with Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, and my passport is confiscated, and I’m somehow FORCED to choose one or the other, or I’m PAID to do so, paid well … I would vote for Trump.

My main concern is foreign policy. American foreign policy is the greatest threat to world peace, prosperity, and the environment. And when it comes to foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is an unholy disaster. From Iraq and Syria to Libya and Honduras the world is a much worse place because of her; so much so that I’d call her a war criminal who should be prosecuted. And not much better can be expected on domestic issues from this woman who was paid $675,000 by Goldman Sachs – one of the most reactionary, anti-social corporations in this sad world – for four speeches and even more than that in political donations in recent years. Add to that Hillary’s willingness to serve for six years on the board of Walmart while her husband was governor of Arkansas. Can we expect to change corporate behavior by taking their money?

The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial the day after the multiple primary elections of March 1 which began: “Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States,” and then declared: “The reality is that Trump has no experience whatsoever in government.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, March 16 @ 19:54:41 EDT (1699 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #143 - February 2016

OpinionBy William Blum

Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?

“Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or parents who are committed socialists and raise their children that way. But it’s usually because the person has seen capitalism up close for many years, is turned off by it, and is thus receptive to an alternative. All of us know what the ugly side of capitalism looks like. Here are but a few of the countless examples taken from real life:

-Following an earthquake or other natural disaster, businesses raise their prices for basic necessities such as batteries, generators, water pumps, tree-removal services, etc.

-In the face of widespread medical needs, drug and health-care prices soar, while new surgical and medical procedures are patented.

-The cost of rent increases inexorably regardless of tenants’ income.

-Ten thousand types of deception to part the citizens from their hard-earned ages.

What do these examples have in common? It’s their driving force – the profit motive; the desire to maximize profit. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, February 05 @ 15:03:40 EST (1005 reads)
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 Politics: Worst president ever?

Opinion
History Should and Probably Will Judge President Obama Harshly

by: Dave Lindorff

President Barack Obama is on track to go down in history as one of the, or perhaps as the worst and most criminal presidents in US history.

He started out, campaigning in 2008, as someone would would restore the rule of law in US international affairs and here at home after eight years of criminality during the Bush and Cheney administration, as saying he would end America’s wars and bring back an era of international cooperation and negotiation, and as saying that he would confront the dire threat of global climate change.

On the basis of that promise, he won a dramatic election victory, raising hopes across the country and across many voting blocks. On that basis, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize -- the first time the award was given before anything had been done by the laureate being honored. And on the basis of that promise, people expected action on climate change and on ending America's wars.

But the president began backpedaling almost instantly. Instead of restoring the rule of law, he almost immediately announced that he would not permit his Justice Department to engage in any prosecutions of CIA, FBI, military of Bush/Cheney administration personnel for violations of international law or of US law (that, for the record, is one of the supreme crimes under the Nuremberg Principles later codified into the UN Charter, to which the US is a signatory). ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, September 05 @ 15:51:46 EDT (1413 reads)
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 Politics: Leave No Generation Behind

Opinion
A tax on inherited wealth could eliminate student debt while reducing growing inequality.

By Chuck Collins

Over a decade ago, I got a call from Bill Gates.

Not the Bill Gates you’re probably thinking of. It was Bill Gates Sr., the Microsoft founder’s dad. He was eager to speak out in support of the federal estate tax, our nation’s only levy on inherited wealth.

He called it the “gratitude tax.” If you were fortunate enough to make millions, he believed, then you should “recycle your opportunity” for the next generation.

How might that work?

Bill Gates Sr. served in the Army in World War II. When he returned, the GI Bill enabled him to attend college and law school for free. His debt-free education propelled him to a career as an attorney and allowed him to provide excellent educational opportunities to his three children — one of whom is one of the two richest people on the planet.

For today’s college-age youth, talk of a debt-free education sounds like science fiction. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, November 20 @ 21:48:28 EST (1033 reads)
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 International: An Open Letter By Peter Drew

Opinion
British PM David Cameron: “Non-Violent Extremists” Including “9/11 Truthers” and “Conspiracy Theorists” are Just as Dangerous as ISIL Terrorists

Dear Mr Cameron

I write this open letter to you in response to your recent speech at the United Nations calling for military intervention in Iraq and Syria over the threat of ISIL. In particular I would like to make mention of your reference to the so called threat to society of what you have termed ‘non-violent extremists’, including those who are attempting to bring forward information and evidence about 9/11 which contradicts the official version of events.

Putting aside the direct issue of ISIL for a moment, I find this position on 9/11 evidence to be quite incredible. It is a position that is either extremely ignorant, or it is a position that goes against freedom and democracy in British society to such an extent that it is scarcely believable. Huge numbers of extremely credible and professional people across the world are now bringing forward incontrovertible facts and evidence showing us that the events of 9/11 have been systematically covered up, and that the public has been deceived and manipulated on this issue at a quite incredible level. Just like the public was deceived and manipulated about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

While you are labelling these people who bring this evidence forward about 9/11 as ‘non-violent extremists’, are you aware of what is currently happening in New York City regarding 9/11? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 02 @ 00:28:30 EDT (1263 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #131 - August 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

Cold War Two

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the SovietUnion because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:


Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum


I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, August 15 @ 22:27:52 EDT (1748 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #127 - April 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

Indoctrinating a new generation

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads: ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, April 08 @ 20:16:27 EDT (1738 reads)
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 Truth To Power: Sanctions? How About Sanctions Against the United States?

OpinionBy Andy Piascik

As the United States imposes sanctions on Russia and moves to do likewise to Venezuela, it’s essential to keep in mind which country it is that’s the most destructive and dangerous in the world today. When such questions have been posed in international polls in recent decades, the answer overwhelmingly is the United States. Not Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia or any of the many other nations the ruling class and corporate media here regularly demonize, but the United States.

People in the global South know this all too well from the long and brutal history of US foreign policy. Because we live in such a closed society, however, where critical analysis of imperialism is by definition excluded from discussions in Washington and the national media, people here must search long and hard for such information. Should information of this sort seep into the mainstream, ruling elites invariably vilify it and those imparting it just as they vilify international figures they regard as enemies.

According to Washington, sanctions are being considered against Venezuela because of repressive measures and violence that is attributed almost exclusively to the government. In reality, counterrevolutionaries are responsible for the majority of those killed including at least one death of a motorcyclist decapitated by wire strung across a street. This tactic was suggested by retired General Angel Vivas, who has become a hero of the counterrevolution for his armed defiance of the government’s attempt to arrest him for the motorcyclist’s death. Simultaneously, the US has imposed sanctions against Russia and is threatening military escalation in response to the incursion into Crimea.

Conveniently left out of the narrative is any connection between Russia’s actions and the coup in the Ukraine led by fanatically anti-Russian neo-fascists, an effort supported by the US to the tune of $5 billion, according to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, March 24 @ 22:52:00 EDT (1557 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #125 - February 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

“Bias in favor of the orthodox is frequently mistaken for ‘objectivity’. Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.” – Michael Parenti

An exchange in January with Paul Farhi, Washington Post columnist, about coverage of US foreign policy:

Dear Mr. Farhi,

Now that you’ve done a study of al-Jazeera’s political bias in supporting Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, is it perhaps now time for a study of the US mass media’s bias on US foreign policy? And if you doubt the extent and depth of this bias, consider this:

There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe [1] surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.

Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela or his successor, Nicolás Maduro; Fidel or Raúl Castro of Cuba; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, February 06 @ 19:27:36 EST (1748 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #124 January 2014

OpinionBy William Blum

“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” – President Woodrow Wilson, Paris Peace Conference, 1919

The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?

People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists.

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. “They are different from you and me.”

And let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, January 10 @ 21:40:49 EST (2436 reads)
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 Screwed Again: 2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse

OpinionBy Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

2014 is upon us. For a person who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1961, a year in which the class ring showed the same date right side up or upside down, the 21st century was a science fiction concept associated with Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” To us George Orwell’s 1984 seemed so far in the future we would never get there. Now it is 30 years in the past.

Did we get there in Orwell’s sense? In terms of surveillance technology, we are far beyond Orwell’s imagination. In terms of the unaccountability of government, we exceptional and indispensable people now live a 1984 existence. In his alternative to the Queen’s Christmas speech, Edward Snowden made the point that a person born in the 21st century will never experience privacy. For new generations the word privacy will refer to something mythical, like a unicorn.

Many Americans might never notice or care. I remember when telephone calls were considered to be private. In the 1940s and 1950s the telephone company could not always provide private lines. There were “party lines” in which two or more customers shared the same telephone line. It was considered extremely rude and inappropriate to listen in on someone’s calls and to monopolize the line with long duration conversations. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, January 06 @ 18:47:39 EST (2667 reads)
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 Screwed Again: Like Some Tasty Black Turkey Breast Meat this Holiday???

OpinionBy Sherlyn Meinz

If the idea of preparing a big Holiday Feast and setting your turkey on the table with all the fixings, and carving into the breast, only to find it is BLACK and squishy is appealing to you - be sure to purchase a "Premium Quality" HoneySuckleWhite turkey by 'Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation' (After searching HoneySuckleWhite turkeys for contact information, I was shocked at how scary sounding the controlling company name is... Meat Solutions????) They are also responsible for Shadybrook Farms turkeys, I plan on avoiding them too.

HoneySuckleWhite's website suggests you "Serve Up Something Special Tonight" - I'll tell you, after hours of work, cutting into black Turkey breast was real special! HoneySuckleWhite does not answer their phones, you get an answering machine, and they apparently do not return messages (It's been three days.) I did get the following email reply from them: ...



Note: Update! They sent a coupon!!!! See comment for more...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, December 11 @ 17:52:42 EST (4540 reads)
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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #122 November 2013

OpinionBy William Blum

National Security Agency – The only part of the government that really listens to what you have to say

The New York Times (November 2) ran a long article based on NSA documents released by Edward Snowden. One of the lines that most caught my attention concerned “Sigint” – Signals intelligence, the term used for electronic intercepts. The document stated:

“Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms. Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.”

What, I wondered, might that mean? What would the National Security Agency – on moral principle – refuse to say or do?

I have on occasion asked people who reject or rationalize any and all criticism of US foreign policy: “What would the United States have to do in its foreign policy to lose your support? What, for you, would be too much?” I’ve yet to get a suitable answer to that question. I suspect it’s because the person is afraid that whatever they say I’ll point out that the United States has already done it. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, November 18 @ 20:44:10 EST (2870 reads)
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 Screwed Again: How to Steer Our Rolls-Royce World onto a Smoother Road

OpinionBy Sam Pizzigati

No child anywhere needs to grow up — and suffer — in extreme poverty.
The folks at Rolls-Royce have just opened a brand-new dealership — in the poverty-stricken Philippines.

This nation of nearly 100 million people now hosts 334 deep pockets worth at least $50 million, more than enough, the Rolls-Royce CEO noted earlier this month in Manila, to guarantee a robust market “for the ultimate in super luxury.”

One stab at that “ultimate”: The Rolls Ghost model will retail to Filipinos of means at $602,000 to start. That’s over $600,000 more than the $1,879 personal net worth of the median, or most typical, Filipino adult.

In the Philippines today, says the newly released Global Wealth Report 2013 from the Credit Suisse Research Institute in Switzerland, 88 percent of adults have less than $10,000 to their name. Just 0.9 percent have over $100,000.

In our deeply unequal world, maldistributions of wealth this stark have become almost standard economic operating procedure.

The latest Credit Suisse numbers put the world’s total personal wealth, as of this past June, at $241 trillion, an all-time record. The world’s richest 1 percent currently holds 46 percent of global assets. The poorest half of global adults holds less than 1 percent.

What do these numbers mean, in the daily lives people actually lead? A new World Bank report just out, The State of the Poor, offers some hints.

About 1.2 billion people in the world today live on less than $1.25 a day, a state of affairs that researchers define as “extreme poverty.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, October 28 @ 21:04:40 EDT (1972 reads)
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 International: The Anti-Empire Report #121 - October 2013

OpinionBy William Blum

The War on Terrorism … or whatever.

“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” [1]

Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?

For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game. Washington and its main Mideast allies in the conflict – Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have not impeded the movement to Syria of jihadists coming to join the rebels, recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while Qatar and the Saudis have supplied the rebels with weapons, most likely bought in large measure from the United States, as well as lots of of what they have lots of – money. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Wednesday, October 09 @ 23:36:48 EDT (2299 reads)
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Monday, September 16
· Moral Hypocrisy and U.S. Exceptionalism
Wednesday, September 04
· The Anti-Empire Report #120 – September 2013
Wednesday, August 21
· Et Tu, Buddhist?
Monday, July 08
· The Abomination of Fences
Thursday, April 11
· Free speech for feminists only, please
Monday, March 11
· How Deregulation Has Resurrected American Economic Insecurity
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· The Anti-Empire Report #113 Feburary 2013
Tuesday, January 08
· The Anti-Empire Report - January 2013
Thursday, December 27
· Children Dying
Monday, November 26
· Our Endless State of War
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· An Open Letter to President Obama …from Michael Moore
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