Archive for the 'Neocon Decade' Category

06
Jun
10

Chalmers Johnson: Speaking Freely About US Foreign Policy

Who better to know the realities behind the country’s permanent war economy than a former spear carrier for the empire?  Chalmers Johnson, author of the Blowback trilogy and professor emeritus at UC San Diego spells out again what nobody lining their pockets in “defense” wants to hear.  A national treasure speaks out on the squandering of the nation’s treasure.

06
Apr
10

Not Crazy Horse 18′s Best Work

Friend to RW370 WikiLeaks has released a video of a 2007 murder of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians in Iraq by an US Army aircrew in an Apache helicopter overhead.  The clip is major evidence of a cover-up of what can only be called (toward the end of the encounter) legitimized murder and maiming of civilians including children.

The justification for firing on the targets in this encounter is flimsy/arguable at the beginning (camera equipment carried by the men on the ground is visually mistaken for illegal heavy weapons) and nonexistent at the end (a van arrives to help a wounded victim, only to be blown apart by the enthusiastic gunner while two children sit in the van).  The institutional culpability in the massacre is shown twice: first by the audio of the gunner and aircrew asking for and receiving permission to fire, and second by the cover-up in the years following.

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is interviewed below about the clip and the role of WikiLeaks in the release of the video. In a world that seems willing to do away with journalism – sometimes by 30mm cannon – Assange’s stance is especially poignant and heroic.

This Reddit thread contains a thoughtful discussion started and maintained by an active-duty US military officer (by the sound of it) on the specifics. It is impossible to read that thread and not come away with a clearer understanding of where the lines are drawn and were crossed – starting, but not ending with March, 2003.

19
Dec
09

David Simon Lays It Down

In which the creator of The Wire singlehandedly validates Vice Magazine’s existence while expertly demonstrating the nuanced reality of social criticism in the late capitalist period:

It’s one thing to recognize capitalism for the powerful economic tool it is and to acknowledge that, for better or for worse, we’re stuck with it and, hey, thank God we have it. There’s not a lot else that can produce mass wealth with the dexterity that capitalism can. But to mistake it for a social framework is an incredible intellectual corruption and it’s one that the West has accepted as a given since 1980—since Reagan. Human beings—in this country in particular—are worth less and less. When capitalism triumphs unequivocally, labor is diminished. It’s a zero-sum game. People paid a much higher tax rate when Eisenhower was president, a much higher tax rate for the benefit of society, and all of us had more of a sense that we were included….I guess what I’m saying is that the overall theme was: We’ve given ourselves over to the Olympian god that is capitalism and now we’re reaping the whirlwind. This is the America that unencumbered capitalism has built. It’s the America that we deserve because we let it happen. We don’t deserve anything better. The Wire was trying to take the scales from people’s eyes and say, “This is what you’ve built. Take a look at it.” It’s an accurate portrayal of the problems inherent in American cities.

24
Nov
09

New At HuffPo: Mary Matalin To Abused Women Of The GOP: Quit Your Bitching

he hit me.

Image by Bridgette Taylor via Flickr

You can’t make up this stuff. Mary Matalin, weathered GOP strategist casually lets it slip that life on the Republican national campaign trail is a great place for a gal to get smacked in the mouth – and that’s just dandy with her.

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07
Nov
09

Massa: Get Out

What’s this on the House floor? Common sense. Comparative numbers. Simple realities. Get out of Afghanistan.

18
Sep
09

Truth To Power: Daniel Ellsberg Documentary Opens This Week

ellsberg-poster.thumbnail2On October 1, 1969, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, RAND corporation consultant to Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon found in his offices 7,000 pages marked Top Secret exposing a vast program of US government lies surrounding the Vietnam war. The report showed that without disclosure, the war had expanded to carpet bombing of Laos and Cambodia, that US combat troops had been sent by Lyndon Johnson independent of any consultation with advisors, that John Kennedy had actively sought to overthrow South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Ellsberg delivered proof of these and numerous other US foreign policy atrocities to the editorial offices of the New York Times. The Times 1971 publishing of the Pentagon Papers had a decisive effect on the ending of the Vietnam War and forever put to bed the idea that the US foreign policy establishment acts according to the will and with the assent of the people of the United States.

This week, the documentary film “The Most Dangerous Man In America” will hit screens, telling Ellsberg’s story.   A whistleblower whose speaking truth to power cost him his career and possibly saved as many lives as his earlier work took in enabling the carpet bombing, he is a rare figure deserving of study and support.  Particularly now, at a time when the climate for intellectuals who take democracy seriously is so unfavorable.  Former RAND consultant and neo-conservative-cum-Wilsonian Francis Fukuyama illustrates that climate best when he frets about the role of the intellectual in the corridors of power. Despite being a chastised former cheerleader for the Iraq war – a war built upon lies endorsed by institutional intellectuals -  Fukuyma recently invoked Ellsberg as a negative example.  Some people just prefer intellectuals to be handmaidens to the institution:

I myself worked for more than ten years at the RAND Corporation, the original “think tank” satirized in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove that did contract research for the U.S. Air Force and Defense Department. Obviously, one cannot be a free thinker in a place like that (Daniel Ellsberg tried to be and he was fired), and that is one of the reasons that I eventually left to go to a university. But overall, I believe that a democracy is better off having intellectuals pay systematic attention to policy issues, even if it is occasionally corrupting. Having to deal not with ideal solutions but with the real world of power and politics is a good discipline for an intellectual. There is a fine line between being realistic and selling one’s soul, and in the case of the Iraq war many neoconservatives got so preoccupied with policy advocacy that they blinded themselves to reality. But it’s not clear that virtue necessarily lies on the side of intellectuals who think they are simply being honest.

It may not be clear to you, Francis,  but it’s clear to me, and to millions.

14
Sep
09

Lifestyles Of The White And Suggestible

Bless you, Max Blumenthal.  Order his book Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party for a clear insight into what exactly has fed, nurtured, and unleashed the stupid. Jaw-dropping previews at this September 4th Democracy Now interview.

EDIT: A brave soul accompanied by a phalanx of Capitol Campus Police counter-demonstrates:

25
Aug
09

Make Up Your Mind: He Can’t Be All Four

Nice work, Adam Sacks / Shepherd Fairey / Mannie Garcia / (in a sense) Fox News.

18
Aug
09

One For Every Star On The Flag: Fifty Top US War Criminals

warcriminals-300x255As has been demonstrated by recent UC Berkeley protests against the employment of torture legal advocate John Yoo, some of the Neocon Decade’s most notorious figures haven’t been able to shake their war criminal reputations even after passing from public “service”.

This is not especially common. Rewarding failure is indeed a reliable hallmark of institutional power.   Usually, the respectable milieu of the academy is a kind of palliative that can let atrocious bygones be bygones. Alternatively, disappearing into the boardrooms of big business has historically done wonders to hide, if not cleanse, bloody hands.

Maybe not this time.

Fifty Top US War Criminals That Need To Be Prosecuted is a high-quality list courtesy of Pubrecord.org of the enablers, co-dependents, toadies, other-way-lookers, war pimps,  defense industry shills, and others responsible for the illegal wars of choice, cash and resource grabs and torture.

Confidential to Attorney General Eric Holder: many home and work addresses of persons on this list are included.

Whenever you’re ready.

01
Aug
09

TV Tiff Not Between Equals

01feud.xlarge1After the on-screen rancor between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly escalated to the boardrooms of their respective bosses (GE for Olbermann and News Corp for O’Reilly) the two talking heads have been told from above to cool it.

For reasons I can’t fathom, this development has prompted some to suggest that Olbermann and O’Reilly are equivalent figures, indistinguishably corrupted in their content and presentations, each the other’s opposite number and both deserving of the same skepticism as sources of information.

Obviously, no major-media figure whose job it is to provide value to mass advertisers should escape skeptical analysis.  But there is no equivalence here.  None.

I hope I don’t have to be a defender of Keith Olbermann to notice that O’Reilly’s and Fox News’s unique stock in trade is its regular, nearly uninterrupted cover for corporate interests.  Fox News has zero equivalence to any other news network that score.  This truth is found in the details of the cat-fight:  Only because they’re Olberman’s boss, O’Reilly needles GE about one (ostensibly) legal aspect of its overseas business.   Compare that to the dead quiet from Fox and O’Reilly in nine years concerning Haliburton/KBR, Bechtel, L-3, SAIC, CACI, and other overseas profiteers in Iraq.   Nor has there been a peep from Fox about GE’s four-plus decades of habitual criminal activity as a US defense contractor – between 1990 and 2002, GE settled with the feds for nearly  $1 billion in 63 separate cases, more than any US corporation in that time.

But if you’re Bill O’Reilly, GE is only worth talking about if they’re a TV competitor’s boss.

Seriously, fuck Fox News and fuck Bill O’Reilly.




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