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Chomsky on Human Rights, Communities of Dissent and More

Posted on May 14, 2012
Democracy Now!

Dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky sat down with “Democracy Now!” for an hourlong conversation about the Palestinian prisoner hunger strike, the relationships forged by Occupy Wall Street, Obama’s targeted assassinations, WikiLeaks’ whistle-blowing and Latin America’s gradual slip from U.S. dominance. —ARK

Democracy Now!:




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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

I will leave it to others, if they care, to decide for themselves. But if you want to dissect both of them an show me where they agree then do so.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment


I’ll have to assume you simply wish not to agree.  Our interpretations of Chomsky’s words are nearly identical.  Your inability to see is both odd and sad.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

But IMax out interpretations are the opposite of each other. How could you agree with me when you obviously don’t? Trolls act like that. They have no interest in illumination or real dialog on this subject. They just like to cause strife and not much else. Jumping the fence to agree with me after not is a strange thing to do unless you are here to just cause problems and nothing more.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, May 17, 2012 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

I’ve never ran into anyone who was willing to fully vet
out their pathetic attempts to discredit Chomsky.  I’m
surprised we haven’t heard about how nothing he says is
true cause he’s such a capitalist hypocrite making money
selling books.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 17, 2012 at 4:09 am Link to this comment


Before I get all hysterical? 

Come now.  Obviously you’re the one between the two of us long past hysterical on this subject.  And why?  Because you disagree with me.

I sourced all but one Chomsky quote and you lose your mind.  Now that’s funny LOL!


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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

@ IMax

If you are going to quote Chomsky, you should really provide a link to the interview, but you are just copying and pasting off of anti-Chomsky websites that have an endless supply of these supposedly outrageous statements.

You might do better IMO thinking first about how our society, and particularly the more well-to-do (like Chomsky the tenured MIT professor, Nobel Laureate and author of over 100 books) profits from the tremendous injustice and it inflicts on others (like the textile workers that make our cheap clothes under horrible conditions), before you get all hysterical.

Were you aware that when former president of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide tried to raise the minimum wage and disband the U.S. controlled military that the U.S. overthrew his democratically elected (and extremely popular) government and kicked him out of the country??? He has only recently been allowed back in, but his political party is prohibited from running for office.

Again, any problems with THIS interview???

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment


Interesting.  Your interpretation of Chomsky was nearly identical with my own.  You then go on to say how I’m not paying attention to Chomsky’s words and their context. 

The only real difference between how we each interpret Chomsky, it seems to me, is in how you agree with him and I do not.  And for that difference I am a troll. - Which is a fairly weak rebuttal, don’t you think?

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By Night-Gaunt, May 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

if we ever get anything like a kind of just society, things like my standard of living may very well not exist. In that sense, there will be, I think, material deprivation in some manner for a large part of the population. And I think there ought to be.” - Noam Chomsky Interview, Black Rose

In other words: In Chomsky’s world smart people, not unlike himself, would, necessarily, create situations whereas all people will suffer various deprivations.  In this way the all-important goal of fairness will be achieved. - In The United States. Or would he mandate the same all over the globe? IMax

Well since we don’t have the full interview I shall proceed from here. What Dr.Chomsky (he does have a doctorate) was talking about the rich counties and people (around +3 billion vs the poor +4 billion) if they were forced to divide their wealth by all 7 billion people instead among the 3 billion now to be fair. (And not every one of us in the rich countries are doing that well) and that would mean people like himself would be living in a poorer way.

But some how you come up with a bizarrely different interpretation more along the lines of, “how often do you beat your wife?” question. For me it is that you really don’t read Dr.Chomsky you read those who have an agenda to smear him and others painting them in the most savage and evil light. Even though he is all but ignored totally in our country, the right wing press talks about him but they never bother to interview him. Yet he is considered one of the greatest intellectuals ever.(Expect some bruised egos going after him just for that accolade alone.)

However you have yet to produce anything Dr. Chomsky  wrote and showing where it was altered, a direct lie, an indirect lie etc. Now that I would want to see. Otherwise you are just a troll looking to get some blood.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment


Success!  You’ve taken a bit more time to ponder further on this man.  You’re looking past and around the beverage you’ve been lead to drink.  Past the myth and more the methods.

“if we ever get anything like a kind of just society, things like my standard of living may very well not exist. In that sense, there will be, I think, material deprivation in some manner for a large part of the population. And I think there ought to be.” - Noam Chomsky Interview, Black Rose

In other words: In Chomsky’s world smart people, not unlike himself, would, necessarily, create situations whereas all people will suffer various deprivations.  In this way the all-important goal of fairness will be achieved. - In The United States. Or would he mandate the same all over the globe?

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

@ Imax

“The Faurisson affair is a term given to an academic controversy in the wake of a book by Robert Faurisson, a Holocaust denier. The scandal largely dealt with the inclusion of an essay by Noam Chomsky, entitled Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression, as an introduction to Faurisson’s book, without Chomsky’s knowledge or approval. Responding to a request for comment in a climate of attacks on Faurisson, Chomsky defended Faurisson’s right to express and publish his opinions on the grounds that freedom of speech must be extended to all viewpoints, no matter how unpopular or fallacious.”

from Wikipedia

It was an essay, not a letter or an “introduction” my mistake (and yours as well).

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

@ Imax

Also, I can only suppose you feel that actually reading or listening to Chomsky is some sort of “slippery slope” towards becoming a holocaust denier (even for a strong-minded individual such as yourself), since you haven’t addressed anything he actually said in this fine interview with Amy Goodman (who is also Jewish).

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

@ Imax

If it is demonstrably false, why don’t who go ahead and demonstrate rather than assert that it is false???

If I wrote something which you believe was out of context, why not provide the context which you assert is missing???

I think I know the answer, but I am curious as to how you might reply.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 16, 2012 at 7:45 am Link to this comment


Freedom of speech and freedom to publish, yes, absolutely.  How slippery, how Chomsky-like, for you to attempt to change both the context and the subject.

Your information is demonstrably false.  It was a “forward” which Chomsky penned.  Not a letter.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

@ Imax

He wrote a letter. He did not know it would be published as an introduction to the book. It should be simple and easy to understand even for you.

Anyway, who cares??? What difference does it make???

The guy should have been allowed to publish his book.

Free speech and freedom of the press are good things right???

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 16, 2012 at 7:11 am Link to this comment


It’s enough for readers here to fully grasp that you first attempted to explain how, “unbeknownst” to Chomsky, he wrote a forward for a book which he later regretted penning. 

Thank you.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 16, 2012 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

@ IMax

You know, I assume that Chomsky is a Jew, and that he spent time living on a Kibbutz in Israel.

It is common practice for Israel’s apologists to accuse it’s critics, prominent and otherwise, of anti-semitism.

What would an intelligent person make of Paul Postal’s statement that “...everything he says is false”.In over a hundred books, and particularly, in the countless interviews and lectures he has given, one might reasonably assume that at least minor factual errors would be made from time to time, but “everything he says is false”??? Well he did spend many years coming to the conclusion, so I guess he must be correct.

There is a whole cottage industry devoted to slandering Chomsky. It is both frustrating and amusing, but mostly it is depressing.

Anyhow, is there anything he said in this particular interview that you object to??? It is easy to copy and paste off anti-Chomsky websites.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 16, 2012 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

EmileZ, - “Unbeknownst to him (Chomsky), it (Noam Chomsky’s Forward) was published as an introduction to a Holocaust deniers book.”


Yours is a common explanation amongst Chomsky supporters.  On its face it is absurd to suggest that, unbeknownst to Chomsky, he wrote a forward for Faurisson’s book. - Perhaps you don’t understand what a “Forward” is?

According to those involved Chomsky worried about his reputation after he, Chomsky, wrote the forward to Robert Faurisson’s book and asked that it not be used.  Unfortunately for Chomsky, along with his reputation, his request came too late.  The book had already begun to be printed. - Chomsky has described Faurisson, a well known French Holocaust denier, as “a sort of apolitical liberal.”

Chomsky published his own book, “Political Economy of Human Rights” with the Holocaust-denying organization La Vieille Taupe (the publisher of Faurisson’s book) when he could have easily published with more “main stream” French publishers.

Chomsky on the Holocaust…

“I see no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust.” - Quadrant, Australia, October 1981

Chomsky on the Cold War…

“in comparison to the conditions imposed by US tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.” - Letter, in Alexander Cockburn, The Golden Age Is In Us [Verso, 1995], pp. 149-151


I believe you’re not aware that Chomksy’s description of the Trnopolje camp came years after the true nature of Trnopolje was known to the public. - This alone makes Chomsky a dangerous buffoon.

Chomsky: A well known liar.

“He begins as a preacher to the world and ends as an intellectual crook.”
~ Arthur Schlesinger ~ (Commentary, December 1969)

“Noam Chomsky skittles and skithers all over the political landscape to distract the reader’s attention from the plain truth.”
~ Sidney Hook ~ (The Humanist, March-April 1971)

“In his ideological fanaticism he constantly shifts his arguments and bends references, quotations and facts, while declaring his ‘commitment to find the truth.’”
~ Leopold Labedz ~ (Encounter, July 1980)

“Even on the rare occasions when Mr. Chomsky is dealing with facts and not with fantasies, he exaggerates by a factor of, plus or minus, four or five.”
~ Walter Laqueur ~ (The New Republic, March 24, 1982)

“After many years, I came to the conclusion that everything he says is false. He will lie just for the fun of it. Every one of his arguments was tinged and coded with falseness and pretense. It was like playing chess with extra pieces. It was all fake.”
~ Paul Postal ~ (The New Yorker, March 31, 2003)

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By Night-Gaunt, May 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Occupy is looking in to a more opaque govt than ever before by the president who promised “more transparency.” And the militarists, Christian fanatics, theocrats, white supremacists etc have been gathered by the billionaires and some millionaires to give us a country they would be proud to run. (What they failed to do in the near coup 1933-1934, no prosecutions and they still supported the Nazis) they have been doing it by stealth. They must be getting close since they are running it faster now, almost baldly so.

I can’t feel gladdened by much. Occupy is good but it only just started and our adversaries started making their moves in 1980. The “7 pillars” or “7 mountains” is part of it. To gain control of the 7 important sectors that keep our country functioning. I hope he is right and I’m wrong. And he is way smarter and and knows more than I will ever be. Even so he is human as I am and mistakes can be made.

Just remember how much was lost by other countries when the Fascists and Communists took over and how fast all the freedoms slowly were removed. And they learn from each other. And the CIA has been toppling countries from the inside for decades as have various corporations using the shock therapy to take over. The shock is close to home now.

Sanctions can work but they usually are just war by other means and hurts the people our govt claims to want to help. For really poor countries it works at a terrible cost then our man is put in and runs it like a corporation. More like Monsanto and Exxon-Mobile or the fictional Umbrella corporation of the “Resident Evil” series which is patterned on the generic global corporate amoralism. With some slight exaggerations for dramatic purposes.

The hardliners in Israel have an agenda that is for a one state solution without the Palestinians. Whether driven into the sea or walled off and slowly starved. It depends of if the world (USA and/or Israel) is stupid enough to attack Iran. Then we may just see the change here as Obama promises as the Republicans have promised before him. Ours and most economies would collapse as getting oil would be hard and war brings deprivations like famine and disease and huge amounts of oil used to power the machines of war. Between the wholesale environmental destruction and the pollution from the vehicles would dramatically add to the general misery and the push of the ACC to become self sustaining. Then our ass will be grass—-as in dead, trampled grass. Or under the Iron Heel of corporate and govt control. They will “protect” us with tyranny. No room for freedoms when the climate has gone to shit and simple living will be a very hard thing to those not of the rich, working for the rich or those protecting the rich. All else will be on their own to work together or against each other.

Yes Pakistan is our enemy but our country made them, along with Saudi Arabia and the other dictatorships on our side.

I wish I had read all of his books. I haven’t yet. But he is so dangerous there are several sites based on bashing him and others of the Left that can hurt the Right so much, if only they weren’t ignored by the right wing media.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, May 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

@ IMax

“Holocaust Denial”: Chomsky wrote a letter on the importance of the right of free speech. Unbeknownst to him, it was published as an introduction to a Holocaust deniers book.

Sudan pharmaceutical plant… read up on it yourself.

Here is a good place to start:

Bosnia: Chomsky (as did many others) took what was apparently an erronious analysis of the refugee photo by a respected media analyst to be true. The analyist was named Philip Knightly and he determined that a photograph taken of starving people was probably taken from inside, rather than outside a barbed wire fence. It was at worst, an error.

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By John Poole, May 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We may all fear that we will turn out to be a Chomsky type guy-someonwe who
doesn’t know when to retire. He is just riffing on what he offered twenty years

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By Alan MacDonald, May 15, 2012 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Quoting——Schlee, May 14 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment


“If the smattering of half-hearted dissent that is the “Occupy” movement is so goddamned effective, why is the situation continuing to get worse on all fronts and why is the rate at which it’s getting worse continuing to accelerate?



Schlee, my friend, “things will start to get better” and America will start to be “FREE” through “REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY” when the Occupy movement evolves this summer to a new strategy and overtly focuses its message and threat to the existing system by declaring that it is now “Occupy Empire”.

When the Occupy movement recognizes, exposes, and confronts the corporate/financial/militarist and media EMPIRE that has ‘captured’ and fully “Occupies” our former country by extending the ‘action’ of the movement to “Occupy the Empire”, then things will really start to change.

The disguised global Empire, which has been happily hiding behind the facade of this faux-democratic sham, this totally illegitimate dual-party Vichy phony government, is exposed and demonstrated forcefully against as being “Against Empire” and not merely against the ‘symptom problems’ of Wall Street corruption, economic inequality, police oppression, but Against EMPIRE itself, then the previously disguised Empire, that is the cancerous cause of all these ‘symptom problems’ will go absolutely bonkers and all hell will break loose.

Also, when the Occupy movement declares itself the “Occupy Empire” movement/confrontation and shows that it’s not just upset at personal economic unfairness, but is really a patriotic effort to address all the deceits, crimes, oppressions, violence, and wars that this Empire, which stole our country is doing to all Americans, then the number of average middle/working-class Americans who will feel both patriotically motivated and free to join the “Occupy Empire” movement will quickly move the movement toward its real goal of 99%.

All the more passive Americans who have not been moved to join the original Occupy movement will become both freed, energized by patriotism, and motivated to action by a call to confront our common cause “Against Empire” and actively join in the much broader action of “Occupy Empire” to encompass a real 99% and to recover our country from the Empire that has controlled it in these dark times.

Have faith, Schlee, the surge to confront this illegal Empire and regain our freedom, democracy, economic health, liberty, equality, and justice will expand quickly and forcefully when the Revolution (as the First American Revolution) is clearly defined as valid and patriotic effort to “Occupy Empire” and push the Empire out of our country.

As Chris Hedges said yesterday in his article about “Colonized by Corporations” and “empire”, the American people would not suffer to live under the colonial oppression of the British Empire, and neither will we live under the corporate/financial/militarism of this modern disguised global Empire once the “Occupy Empire” movement educates people to this crime, exposes this new Empire, and sets them free to revolt “Against Empire” and save their own country.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy
Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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Mairead's avatar

By Mairead, May 15, 2012 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

IMax wrote: It saddens me greatly that Chomsky is allowed any credit for even an ounce of honesty or sanity.

As everyone knows if they’ve done even the most rudimentary study of psychology, errare humanum definitely est.  Chomsky’s no exception.

But he makes his errors because he’s a limited human being who can’t know everything no matter how hard he tries.

You, I suspect, make yours because you don’t want to know certain things.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, May 15, 2012 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

When my Grandfather left Europe in 1935, there was graffiti on walls saying: Jews go back to Palestine!  Now, when I visit Europe, the graffiti says: Jews get out of Palestine!

It’s atrocious how people forget.


It saddens me greatly that Chomsky is allowed any credit for even an ounce of honesty or sanity.  This man’s lies are so well documented it’s incredible that Amy Goodman would give him a voice.

Apart from his well documented Holocaust denials, Chomsky once claimed that the [9/11] terrorist attacks were major atrocities, HOWEVER, in scale, those attacks may not reach the level of many others, for example, President Clinton’s bombing of Sudan “with no credible pretext”, destroying “half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people”.  Chomsky likes to claim that no one knows the death rate from the bombing because the U.S. blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cared to pursue the matter.

The truth resembles nothing like Chomsky claims: After al-Qaeda destroyed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing hundreds, America bombed an alleged chemical weapons factory in Sudan. The bombing was conducted at night so that civilians would not be hurt (one security guard died).  - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders were all free to investigate and none alleged that the bombing caused mass deaths surpassing 9/11.

Yet another famous lie from Chomsky goes something like this: He once claimed that in Bosnia there was one famous incident which completely reshaped Western opinion.  It was that of photograph of the thin man behind the barb-wire [at the Trnopolje camp].  The camp, according to Chomsky, was ugly but it was a refugee camp which people could leave if they so chose.

In reality, as it turns out, Trnopolje was a concentration camp where victims were imprisoned during the process of ethnic cleansing and subjected to systematic starvation and rape, as well as random violence and murder.

Chomsky is the worst type of buffoon.  He’s actually a dangerous buffoon.

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 15, 2012 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

Like THX 1133, I too was somewhat surprised by Chomsky’s comment that “things today are better than they were in the past”.

Upon reflection I agree; go back to the time of “human Slavery in the South and ask Black people this question; or back when Women could not vote. As “shitty” as things are now, the farther back in time one travels the worse the smell. Stagnate wages being the exception.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

I was somewhat taken aback by Chomsky’s stated optimism
in answer to one Of Amy’s questions.
He does seem to have a fairly balanced view; which I
admittedly struggle with for myself.
I’ve found optimism difficult to come by in these
times; but then, my view goes a long way back.
Food for thought anyway…

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By ariadna, May 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had not visited truthdig in so long I had forgotten it existed.
Now that I rediscovered it by accident I remember why I stopped reading it:
articles ;like the one by by chris hedges and interviews like the one of chomsky by
amy goodman, all of which intone so very heartfelt and expert criticism of
American imperialism, American capitalism but never, absolutely never talk about
the huge obese white elephant in the room:
the Zionist Power Configuration (Petras’ excellent term), which has hollowed out
America and is molding the remaining husk to its purposes.
And, by the way: never mention that 9/11 was inside job with Mossad fingerprints
on it—no, no, that’s a “conspiracy theory”—not the official one, of course.
truthdig is the abode of the gatekeepers of the left—come here to feel good if
you are a cautious, feel-good pseudo-leftist.

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By gerard, May 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Schlee:  You didn’t expect, did you, that a population of 313 and some million people, largely race and class prejudiced, many of whom are jobless, and also under-educated enough to deny and do nothing about American war-mongering, who think sick and poor people “don’t deserve” help from public funds and global warming is a “hoax”—you didn’t expect them to suddenly write letters to their Congresspeople, did you?  Occupy is a huge step in the right direction. (Google and similar sites for an hour and find out about all kinds of projects all over the country.) Things are continuing to get worse because we have huge, deep problems and not enough people are engaged in actually doing anything—least of all those who have the power to do things effectively and quickly.

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By Schlee, May 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment


If the smattering of half-hearted dissent that is the “Occupy” movement is so goddamned effective, why is the situation continuing to get worse on all fronts and why is the rate at which it’s getting worse continuing to accelerate?




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vector56's avatar

By vector56, May 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

I had the pleasure of catching Chomsky on Democracy Now and I walked both fascinated and deeply saddened. Fascinated by she shear intellect of the man, and saddened that in the Corporate MSNBC media he is all but invisible. 

Chomsky called Obama killing of “suspects” what it is, outright murder! He also pointed out that up until two year ago Nelson Mandela was classified by the US state dept as a Terrorist.

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