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Pouring Gas on the Afghanistan Bonfire

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Posted on Aug 25, 2008
AP photo / Rafiq Maqbool

An Afghan soldier stands near a destroyed vehicle after an explosion on the outskirts of Kabul.

By Chris Hedges

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind forward with their terrible human toll, even as the press and many Americans play who gets thrown off the island with Barack Obama. Coalition forces carried out an airstrike that killed up to 95 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, 50 of them children, President Hamid Karzai said. And the mounting bombing raids and widespread detentions of Afghans are rapidly turning Afghanistan into the mirror image of Iraq. But these very real events, which will have devastating consequences over the next few months and years, are largely ignored by us. We prefer to waste our time on the trivia and gossip that swallow up air time and do nothing to advance our understanding of either the campaign or the wars fought in our name.

As the conflict in Afghanistan has intensified, so has the indiscriminate use of airstrikes, including Friday’s, which took place in the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province. The airstrike was carried out after Afghan and coalition soldiers were ambushed by insurgents while on a patrol targeting a known Taliban commander in Herat, the U.S. military said. Hundreds of Afghans, shouting anti-U.S. slogans, staged angry street protests on Saturday in Azizabad to protest the killings, and Karzai condemned the airstrike. 

The United Nations estimates that 255 of the almost 700 civilian deaths in fighting in Afghanistan this year have been caused by Afghan and international troops. The number of civilians killed in fighting between insurgents and security forces in Afghanistan has soared by two-thirds in the first half of this year.

Ghulam Azrat, the director of the middle school in Azizabad, said he collected 60 bodies after the bombing.

“We put the bodies in the main mosque,’’ he told the Associated Press by phone, sometimes pausing to collect himself as he wept. “Most of these dead bodies were children and women. It took all morning to collect them.”

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Azrat said villagers on Saturday threw stones at Afghan soldiers who arrived and tried to give out food and clothes. He said the soldiers fired into the crowd and wounded eight people, including one child.

“The people were very angry,” he said. “They told the soldiers, ‘We don’t need your food, we don’t need your clothes. We want our children. We want our relatives. Can you give [them] to us? You cannot, so go away.’ ”

We are in trouble in Afghanistan. Sending more soldiers and Marines to fight the Taliban is only dumping gasoline on the bonfire. The Taliban assaults, funded largely by the expanded opium trade, are increasingly sophisticated and well coordinated. And the Taliban is exacting a rising toll on coalition troops. Soldiers and Marines are now dying at a faster rate in Afghanistan than Iraq. In an Aug. 18 attack, only 30 miles from the capital, Kabul, the French army lost 10 and had 21 wounded. The next day, hundreds of militants, aided by six suicide bombers, attacked one of the largest U.S. bases in the country. A week before that, insurgents killed three foreign aid workers and their Afghan driver, prompting international aid missions to talk about withdrawing from a country where they already have very limited access. 

Barack Obama, like John McCain, speaks about Afghanistan in words that look as if they were penned by the Bush White House. Obama may call for withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq, but he does not want to send them all home. He wants to send them to Afghanistan, or to what he obliquely terms “the right battlefield.” Obama said he would deploy an additional 10,000 troops to Afghanistan once he took office.

The seven-year war in Afghanistan has not gone well. An additional 3,200 Marines were deployed there in January. Karzai’s puppet government in Kabul controls little territory outside the capital. And our attempt to buy off tribes with money and even weapons has collapsed, with most tribal groups slipping back into the arms of the Taliban insurgents. 

Do the cheerleaders for an expanded war in Afghanistan know any history? Have they studied what happened to the Soviets, who lost 15,000 Red Army soldiers between 1979 and 1988, or even the British in the 19th century? Do they remember why we went into Afghanistan? It was, we were told, to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who is now apparently in Pakistan. Has anyone asked what our end goal is in Afghanistan? Is it nation-building? Or is this simply the forever war on terror?

Al-Qaida, which we have also inadvertently resurrected, is alive and well. It still finds plenty of recruits. It still runs training facilities. It still caries out attacks in London, Madrid, Iraq and now Afghanistan, which did not experience suicide bombings until December 2005. Al-Qaida has moved on. But we remain stuck, confused and lashing about wildly like a wounded and lumbering beast.

We do not have the power or the knowledge, nor do we have the right under international law, to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We are vainly trying to transplant to these countries a modern system of politics invented in Europe. This system is characterized by, among other things, the division of the Earth into independent secular states based on national citizenship. The belief in a secular civil government is to most Afghans and Iraqis an alien creed. It will never work. 

We have blundered into nations we know little about. We are caught between bitter rivalries among competing ethnic and religious groups. We have embarked on an occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan that is as damaging to our souls as it is to our prestige and power and security. And we believe, falsely, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have the right to wage war.

We divert ourselves in our dotage and decline with images and slogans that perpetuate fantasies about our own invulnerability, our own might, our own goodness. We are preoccupied by national trivia games that pass for news, even as the wolf pants at our door. These illusions blind us. We cannot see ourselves as others see us. We do not know who we are.

“We had fed the heart on fantasies,” William Butler Yeats wrote, “the heart’s grown brutal from the fare.”

We are propelled forward not by logic or compassion or understanding but by fear. We have created and live in a world where violence is the primary form of communication. We have become the company we keep. Much of the world—certainly the Muslim world, one-fifth of the world’s population, most of whom are not Arab—sees us through the prism of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. We are igniting the dispossessed, the majority of humanity who live on less than two dollars a day. And whoever takes the White House next January seems hellbent on fueling our self-immolation.

Chris Hedges’ column, now weekly, appears Mondays on Truthdig.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 18, 2008 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Virginia777: Anarcissie, What do you mean by “liberalism-capitalism”?

Liberalism is the political system of capitalism; capitalism is the economic system of liberalism. 

In classical liberalism, in theory the state is set up with a few simple rules and a limited government.  Men—in the 18th century only White males of age and property were deemed fully human—can then do as they please, protected by a set of rights: they do not need orders from the lord, the priest, the guild, or tradition, as in the Middle Ages.  If you apply this pattern to economic life, you get the early stage of capitalism, as described by Adam Smith. 

Of course, things have changed since 1776.  One change was the expansion of the idea of who is fully human.  Since you mentioned Martin Luther King, I’ll give the Civil Rights movement as an example: the descendants of the Negro slaves, who had been denied some of the liberal rights, demanded full rights and participation in the state, while carefully avoiding a direct, violent confrontation with it.  Since the movement had liberal aims, it could be tolerated and absorbed.  However, when King began to involve himself significantly in anti-war politics, he was eliminated: “war is the health of the state”, even the liberal state.  Something similar would have happened if King had decided that capitalism was opposed to his perhaps Christian vision of the good economy, although not necessarily assassination; the FBI was on his case, and while he was alive, he had many powerful enemies.  Once he was safely dead, of course, he became a saint and highways and buildings were named after him, while the inconvenient parts of his politics were obscured and forgotten.

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By Folktruther, September 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

You apparently know more about the relation of civil rights to gender movements than I do, Anarcissie.

Virgina, there is no Santy Claus.  I’m sorry.

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By Anarcissie, September 17, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—in the case of both Christianity and capitalism, I’m looking at the foundation of the movement as the revolutionary point—the time at which the ideology takes hold somewhere and begins to grow, at the same time destroying its competitors.  Things are well along by the time one class replaces another—and in any case, while Christianity seems to have blown itself out as anything but a reactionary attempt to escape modernity, capitalism remains revolutionary long past the point at which the bourgeoisie got control of the state.

Radical feminism, Gay rights, and the hippies all appeared in the mid-to-late 1960s, and at the time all of them emerged from the breaking of the repressive power of the image of the White Man which I attribute to the partial success of the Civil Rights movement.  (see “Notes from the First Year”, for instance, which appeared in 1967 or 1968. http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/notes/).  Incidentally the first article on the mentioned site makes the connection explicit: “May I suggest the reason for this, why women’s history has been hushed up just as Negro history has been hushed up, so that the black child learns, not about Nat Turner but about the triumph of Ralph Bunche, or George Washington Carver and the peanut.” (Shulamith Firestone)

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By Virginia777, September 17, 2008 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, What do you mean by “liberalism-capitalism”?

and Folktruther, can anyone ever call Christianity “bad” after these three words: Martin Luther King?

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By hetzer, September 17, 2008 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

She might want the children now.

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By Folktruther, September 17, 2008 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

If you mean, Anarcissie, that Christianty helped erode classical ideology, which was dying anyway, sure.  Marxists mean by ‘revolutionary’ one class replacing another.

It is true that serfdom replaced slavery on the big plantations, which were chopped up, but this occurred to rurual areas and ancient Christianity was largely an urban movement.  Gibbon says that at the time Constintine made it a state religion, no more than 5% of the population was Christian.

The civil rights movement empowering women and gays did not occur until the 70’s.  The consciousness raising groups of feminists did not spread until then. And the gay movement was jumpstarted by Stonewall in the early 70’s, gays fighting back the cops who were hasseling them for no reason in a bar.

But historically the relation between the civil rights movement of Af-Ams and the gender movements of women and gays have not been argued, to my knowledge, in histories.  In any event, I hadn’t noticed the relation.

I think the reason that they have been more successful, to the extent they have been, is that more women and gays were part of the professional class and therefore had the social prestige to lead the urban masses to more enlightened views.  In the rural areas, social progressive views are anathema.

It is small town, rural, that Palin represents.

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By PatrickHenry, September 17, 2008 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

By hetzer, September 16 at 4:46 pm #

I disagree.

I have been raising my 2 children for the past 7 years with little help from their recovering alcoholic addict mother.

Now that shes gotten out of college and is looking to become a lawyer/advocate, maybe I can get the courts to get her to pay child support.

The courts are extremely gender bias.

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By hetzer, September 16, 2008 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

For some reason that no one really understands, tobacco became unpopular.  The advertising and government initiatives simply rode the wave.  That is the way it is now with matriarchy.  Look around you.  It is the women who are doing the work, raising the children and all the rest.  Men have largely become idle.

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By Anarcissie, September 16, 2008 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘Really good points, hetzer.  As to Christianity as a revolutionary ideology, Anarcissie, I can only say—foosh.

Hoever your analysis of the sexual revolution is highly original-I’ve never seen it before.  It appears quite reasonable.’

Neither idea is mine.  The idea that Christianity rotted away the values and social structure of the Roman world was written up by Gibbon and Nietzsche, as well as many others before and after them.

The idea that the Civil Rights movement seriously disrupted the political and social order of the West, or at least of the United States, has been around for a while too, but I’m not sure which writers to point out.  That the Civil Rights movement instigated or restarted the New Left, hippiedom, the anti-war movement, feminism and Gay rights was a point explicitly made and accepted to the point of cliché in the ‘60s.  When rightists rant about the evils of the ‘60s, what they’re talking about is essentially the Civil Rights movement, although sometimes they seem to be unaware of it.

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By Virginia777, September 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Come on, the spiritual transformation is doing the HARD WORK it even takes to tell the Truth.

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By Folktruther, September 16, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Gosh, Virginia, you must be the child that the editor of a paper expounded that there WAS a Santy Claus.  A TRUE Santa Claus.

And of course what is TRUE is whatever is good about an ideology, and what is bad about it is not TRUE.

You can justify any ideology in the world that way, Virginia.  Including Satan’s darkest snares.

I think spiritual ideologies are essential to societies, but they must be honest and rational.  And the first thing that must be done with traditional religions, which have been hijacked by oppressive power, is to cleanse them historically of their inherited perverted values.

And this cannot be done unless decent people like yourself undergo a spiritual transformation, riding yourself of perverted values, like those discribed by hetzer.

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By hetzer, September 16, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Christianity is tainted by its association with the old testament and a false religion based on The Word.
Words are no good basis for Christianity.  We are moving from patriarchal father and son to mother and father, with priority to the mother.  Compassion comes from the mother.  Fathers can only fake it.

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By Virginia777, September 16, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

hetzer - we aren’t “moving” anywhere!! Compassion is THE fundamental Christian concept. Stop thinking that something “new” can be “created”. Well-worn experience tells us that is only dangerous (i.e. the “new” atheists!).

Yes, Christianity has been and is being, abused by disgusting forces time and time again. But haven’t you noticed how Good things always do?

We are stuck with that, but don’t think that TRUE Christianity is a bad thing, it is not!

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By Folktruther, September 16, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Really good points, hetzer.  As to Christianity as a revolutionary ideology, Anarcissie, I can only say—foosh.

Hoever your analysis of the sexual revolution is highly original-I’ve never seen it before.  It appears quite reasonable.

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By hetzer, September 15, 2008 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Christ preached compassion and “forgive them for they know not what they do”, which was a radical departure from the Old Testament form of social control based on various forms of terror.  Christianity also emphasised individual, rather than national salvation contributing to individualism.  However, organized religion is still religion.  Every religious sect is basically a racket based on an inevitable partial understanding of God.  I think we are now leaving cruel religions based on print, and moving to a more organic concept based on compassion.

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By Anarcissie, September 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

I think Christianity was revolutionary in its context.  The Roman Empire was based on slavery, and the idea that the majority of the people were no different from domestic animals, or, indeed, inanimate objects.  Christianity proposed that ordinary people had value regardless of whether they were enslaved, and that their true lives were outside the state.  That idea eventually destabilized the Roman Empire, although it took a long time by modern standards.  Constantine seriously corrupted Christianity (although the Christians of the time must have been eager to be corrupted) but it retained (and still retains) some core beliefs and values which are still anti-imperial and break out to cause trouble now and then.

As for the sexual revolution—this may seem like an odd take, but I think feminism, Gay liberation, and numerous other mostly egalitarian movements spun off the Civil Rights movement, as did the hippie movement (if you want to call it a movement) and much of the New Left.  Now, the Civil Rights movement was primarily a movement for egalitarian liberalism, so it was not at odds with the ostensible social order, but of course for three hundred years Europeans in North America had been creating the White Man, the sacred icon which they had to live up to in order to assume privileges of dominion for themselves.  The White Man required the Black man, or people, as an Other against whom he (it?) could be defined.  When the image was successfully impugned by the Other all sorts of cultural forces broke loose; we call the initial jailbreak “the Sixties”.  Wide and deep as these movements were, I don’t think they can be considered revolutionary, at least not yet, in that the political order has not really changed.  If anything, it has been slipping toward dictatorship, which I regard as retrograde.

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By Folktruther, September 15, 2008 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie- How is Christianity a revolutionary social movement.  It was made a state religion by Constantine, among other competitors among Asian ideologies, because, as Bertrand Russell states, it was strong in the military and made soldiers more willing to die if they felt they were going to Heaven.

The US revolution was not really a social revolution but what we would now call a war of national liberation.  A separation revolution leaves most of the institutions still intact.

You have a good point about violent revolutions.  the mililtary centralization tends to be turned on the revolutionary population.  But all histsorical transfers of power are opposed violently.

Except, now that I think of it, the sexual revolution.  Women and gays largely are liberating themselves without centralized violence.  And their oppresion was strongly enchrenched.  Why, do you think?  Is nagging a revolutionary force?  Could a world wide nagging movement develop to increase the power of world opinion to impede power criminality and transform social institutions?  Combined with what do you suppose?

I suppose a really irritating voice would help.  I irritate people, God knows, but I find irritating them in the same way over a long period of time too boring to pursue.  I am not really a pracital political person; I don’t like the exercise of power, I like to think about the power process.  I wonder how nagging couold be turned into a revolutionary political technique.  that would solve the violence problem, you must admit.

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By hetzer, September 13, 2008 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

People will have a change of heart.

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2008 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther: ‘Unfortunately, Anarcissie, I disagree.  We WILL gain freedom through slavery, war through peace, equality through hierarchy and abundance through scarcity.  If we acheive them at all.  The dialectical attainment of opposites is a very destructuve way to produce them, but can you deny that historically this is how they have been attained….’

As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion the two most revolutionary social movements, at least in the West, have been Christianity and liberalism-capitalism.  These did not turn violent until they had already achieved a great deal of power and influence.  In fact, in the case of lib-cap I would say the violence was the end of the revolution, the coup de grace rather than the beginning.

By contrast, there have been quite a number of violent revolutions which ended up with dictatorship, which seems logical to me—the state is the most efficient organization of human society for war, and the most basic form of the state is one governed by a military or Mafia-like hierarchy.  The only exception I can think of at the moment is the American Revolution, which was, I think, a resumption of the English Civil War by the new American upper classes, who thought they could get a better deal for themselves in a confederacy of liberal republics rather than as part of King George’s more centralized and perhaps more progressive Kaiserreich.  (King George needed a Bismarck and, unluckily for him, had only Lord North and his friends.)  After the period of dictatorship, what do we see?  Usually, a movement toward lib-cap; certainly in France and Russia, and probably in China eventually.

If, as I think Uncle Karl says, political forms grow out of economic relations, then this is exactly what we should expect.

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By hetzer, September 13, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Corporations need a population of corrupt and willing suckers to exist.  There are now wind generators that can power a single house and they are small and inexpensive.  Batteries are improving too.  This means that big energy has only its political and media influence to rely on now.  The grid can be almost completely eliminated.

The major problem in my mind is the crook media which has been weakening and corrupting this nation since the 1950’s.  It should be nationalized and made non-profit with strong and smart control.  (There is a reason for our media and its constant glorification of force and fraud, and it is demonic.)

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By Folktruther, September 13, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Anarcissie, I disagree.  We WILL gain freedom through slavery, war through peace, equality through hierarchy and abundance through scarcity.  If we acheive them at all.  The dialectical attainment of opposites is a very destructuve way to produce them, but can you deny that historically this is how they have been attained.  People have to be oppressed sufficiently historically before they revolt, and it is this oppression that forms the major discourse of history.

Not of course that I advocate them.  They occurr mostly when power systems decay and barbarism replaces what the Educated have taught us to call Civilization.  And people, as you stated, generally revolt to new and better forms of oppression.

My suggestion is that it is necessary to enlighten people about the nature of the historical power process and instill in ourselves with people values as opposed to power values, whatever we decide that these will be. 

Just as unions only develop a self defensive ideology and do not develop an over reaching worldview, so small democratic institutions need a general worldview that links them with other institutions.  We must act locally but think globally.

If we do so other forms of democratic internaction will occur that links people togehter to from a world opinion opposed to oppressive power.  Over historical time that can attain a force to restrict the criminal actions of national power systems and transnational corporations.

on 15 Februrary 2003, thirty million people from countries of every inhabited continent demonstrated in concerted action to oppose the US invasion of Iraq.  If 300 million poeple opposed it, we might have succeeded. 

Even so, world opinion has eroded the soft power of the US necessary to deplomacy, economic arrangements and military arrangements.  If this force of world opinion were strengthened and legitmated, other institutions could be developed to meet world problems.

As long as people understand the importance of democratic control of these institutions and the need to prevent them from freeing themselves from earthperson control.

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By Anarcissie, September 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—As I see it, a mass or broad-based movement would have to arise from lower levels and smaller groups and relationships.  I think we can guess some of the attributes of such a movement, but we can’t specify its overall outlines or much of its detail because we are fairly ignorant about ourselves, and even more ignorant about our possibilities. There is also the question of the social and physical environment of the world in which it is to take place—something else about which we are profoundly ignorant.  Rather radical changes could occur in the near future: for example, the U.S. financial and monetary system has been badly mismanaged, and it is likely that there will be economic hell to pay; we may also see some dire changes in the biosphere that surrounds (and pervades) us, not only in terms of gross environmental circumstances but also at the level of microbes and other small organisms on which we depend, yet pay very little attention to.  These very possible disasters could lead to a pre-revolutionary situation but, as I read history, pre-revolutionary situations based on disaster and emergency generally lead to the assumption of authoritarian power by father figures of the worst sort, that is, retrograde dictatorships—progress in the wrong direction, from my point of view.

What we can do is try to set up situations in which social configurations will develop in the directions we prefer.  In spite of my professed ignorance, I think it is pretty certain that we will not achieve freedom through slavery, peace through war, equality through hiearachy, or abundance through scarcity.  (This means we must unequivocally reject the established order and its ruling class, because those are its principles of operation.)  What we have to do, I think, is seek out peace, freedom, equality and abundance in daily life at the most immediate level, and expand the field of our attentions outward as we succeed locally.

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By Folktruther, September 10, 2008 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie-I don’t deny that you have a good point and it is very difficult to get people interested in larger polities and economic entities, especially in the US.

But we have to try.  Small isolated entities are not enough.  Sooner or later they must combine into a larger grouping or they will be seized by power and perverted, as Constantine seized Christianity and the rich seized or destroyed the small businesses.

My own perspective is to start at the opposite extreme of yours.  Classic marxism focused on the developed economies of Europe, conceiving most of the world not yet ready for socialism.  When the communists seized power in Russia, a mostly peasant economy, and the capitalist countries invaded, a seige socialism developed that spread to the third world.  This didn’t work out too good.

I suggest that we try to get people to identify with humanity, the past, present and future persons of the earth, the masses of people opposed to their power systems or polities.  Conceptual innovations associated with 20th century American social science allow us, should we wish, to develop a math conceptual structure of simple relations among people, including power relations.  If such a conceptual structure can be legitimated, not necessarily or evey primarily in the US, it would begin to change our inherited worldviews. 

The conceptual langague generates and earthperson worldview, as I think of it, incompatible with the Western worldview that has legitimated liberal Democracies the past few centuries.

Should some such conception be legitimated over historical time, this would increase the power of world opinion to act as a force restricting national polities and trans-national corporations from criminal behavior.  It would therefore be necessary to link up the small enterprises with a schematic ideology that could unite people in pollitical action.

I know this sounds utopian, but we happen to beliving at a time in history when this is becoming both politically and technically feasible.  Cosndier for example the world demonstration of 15 February 2003, when perhaps thirty million people from every inhabited continent demonstrated in concerted action against the US invasion of Iraq.  If three hundred milliion demontrated, it might have stoped it.

National planners increasingly have to take world opinion into account in their calculations.  It is true that in the demented US power system this has been less of a factor, and this is why the US has catestrophically lost power.  Note however that in the Georgia-Russia war, the US is deferring to Europe.  Because it has to.

No one person can make a grand theory like marxism any more, but should a number of people unite around theory, then it can later be taken into the practical realsm, the way Christianity and marxism both spread.  There are what I think are good reasons why such an approach is feasible.

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By Folktruther, September 7, 2008 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

Anarchcissie-I’ve had some of the same experiences that you’ve had.  But your approach is new to me and I have to think about it a little.  I’ll be back at this space with a response within a week.

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By Anarcissie, September 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—I came to the conclusion that decentralized transformation was the way to go by looking at history.  I noticed that the great transformative movements like Christianity and capitalism started out small and hid in the interstices or on the boundaries of the established order while they gathered strength, adherents, and repute. 

My own experience with attempts to organize communes, cooperatives, unions and so forth affected my thinking on this.  Small collective enterprises can be organized and can thrive if they have a clear purpose and are made up of people who are actively interested in the organization.  However, if they are not, nothing much is going to happen.  In a socialist enterprise or polity, the workers will have to take an active, lively interest in the conduct of the economy as a whole, as well as their own business; they will not be able to depend on the bosses to do it for them.  But I have found that the majority of my co-workers over the years have had little interest in such things.  They declined to combine in separate cooperative businesses and could not even bother with unions, a very mild form of attempting to affect the conditions of one’s work.  You cannot even give people socialism if they don’t want it, much less get them to fight for it.  And a fight there would surely be, if anyone attempted to contest control of the government in order to impose socialism from the top down.

In any case, as I mentioned before, we don’t know how to act collectively.  I just sat through a meeting where a dozen or more apparently intelligent people discussed the replacement of a broken doorknob at a community space for half an hour.  I have already mentioned the inability of my communard acquaintances to form a free trade zone with their peers.  I could probably provide a dozen stories like these.

I conclude from my experiences and observations that the only way to proceed is with small, local, decentralized activities made up of those who are interested, the hope being that once people see functioning examples of an alternative to the global work/war/welfare machine, they will want to join.

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By hetzer, September 7, 2008 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

In a dubious battle all you can do is stand in the place of your friends.

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By Folktruther, September 7, 2008 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie—I find decentralization appealing but, like most people, I don’t think it is practical.  It would be practical if we lived in a reasonable world, or even if power minded its own business and adopted a live and let live approach to novelty.

But as you know, we don’t.  I don’t think that oppressive power would ALLOW decentralization to flourish.  Look how the oil companies and their reps stop renewable energy when our very survival is at stake.  The decentralization of energy through solar panels, turbines, etc threatens the profits of the big companies.

The greatest illustration is the Bolshevek revolution.  14 nations sent in three hundred thousand soldiers to fight on the side of the Whites during the civil war, killing about 13 million people.  This was largely eliminated from the Western history books and people still will often not believe it.  Captialist troops revolted, shot their officers, and joined the reds, all blanked out of Western mainstream history.

The anarchists Berkman and Emma Goldman were deported to Russia, and immediately denounced the centralization.  But what could the Bolsheveks do once they were committed to revolution and fighting all those countries.  You could argue that they shouldn’t have seized power in a predominantly peasant society, and the Mensheveks did so argue, but if they were defeated there would be an immense slaughter, as occurred when the Paris Commune fell.

So seige socialism developed historically and centralization as a military and political necessity.
How could small medical organs develop if they threatened Big Medicine and they were isolated when they were attacked economically and politically.  To defend themselves they would have to unite with others, and this involves centralization.  I don’t see any way out of this delemma at this time in history.

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By Folktruther, September 5, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

Hetzer- a safe, democractic world is what we are trying to create.  People have been trying for many centuries.  It isn’t easy to do.

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By hetzer, September 5, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

We need to have strict equality and real freedom so speak in a safe democratic world.  Then things will somehow sort themselves out over time.  Remember, we are really just animals, and underneith it all we live an animal existence.  We aren’t lions or sheep.  We are just animals.

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By Folktruther, September 5, 2008 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Anararcissie-your comments are concise and provocative.  Your conception of power systems are like those dramatized by Orwell.  But are they like this in all respects?

I come from a socialist tradition that asumes centralization, but the seige socialism that evolved was rejected historically.  You suggest starting with de-centralization.

I have to mull it over for a bit.  The truth fairy comes at nite and puts ideas under my pillow.  I’ll meet you here at Afghanistan gas within a week or so.

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By Anarcissie, September 5, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—the point of the capitalist state is to produce scarcity, not abundance.  It is scarcity which make the capitalist manager and the state bureaucrats and military and police necessary, which gives them political power and social status.

Naturally the state’s ruling class also wants to produce a lot of material goods and services, mostly for purposes of waging ordinary and economic war and quiescing the population.  Hence surpluses which cannot be reinvested have to be disposed of.  Common methods include war and preparation for war, reconstruction after war or other disaster, waste, deliberate destruction, and consumerism.  In the last, the workers are more or less compelled to work at consuming some of the goods they have produced, and are constantly propagandized into desiring things they don’t have.  In short, while the state works at increasing production it must also work at increasing scarcity.  This will become an increasingly burdensome task for such as the Chinese ruling class unless they can get a permanent cold war going with some other state.  Should classical production outrun scarcity production one might see the appearance of anarchistic and/or communistic communities here and there.  However, they would have to lie pretty low to avoid being crushed by the state’s authorities, who would find their existence and threat even when they were small and strategically insignificant.  (Hence, perhaps, the charging of St. Paul Food Not Bombs with terrorism.)

Coming around to your observation about centralization, it is true that centralized production-consumption is more efficient from the ruling-class point of view.  But the measure of efficiency is ultimately a value judgement (reward divided by cost, which are both values), and therefore ultimately subjective.  When we switch the subject focus from the ruling class to the other participants, we may find that non-centralized production has a higher efficiency for them.  From my point of view, decentralization is more susceptible to autonomy, and therefore better.

I’ll give an example.  In the area of medical care, we find an increasing tendency toward centralization of both service and product delivery and payment.  As this happens the consumers have less and less ability to affect the level of the payments or the quality of the service.  (Private) capitalism does not seem to have worked in this area.

My solution would be to encourage the formation of consumer-owned medical insurance cooperatives.  As these (hopefully) grew in size, they could become HMOs and even come to the point of training their own doctors and building their own hospitals.  Their democratic political structure would encourage efficiency and economy (from the members’ point of view).  Good locales for starting enterprises like these would be labor unions, because many of them already fund medical insurance plans and have the internal bureaucracy necessary to manage such things.  The provision of such a service would also strengthen the union.  But I have been unable to obtain even a refutation of my idea.  Instead, people look toward the ultimate centralization, Single-Payer, under which they will become less autonomous than ever.

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By Folktruther, September 4, 2008 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Centralized capitalism, Anarcissie, is much more efficient in industrializing peasant economies than American style capitalism.  In China the governemnt owns a third of the economy giving the leaders of the communist party the ability to capture forty or fifty percent of the income and invest it in ways that grow the economy four times faster than the US.  Faster than an economy in history over a longer span of time.

So what, you say.  The point is that they have hundreds of millions of peasants to get urbanized and this can be done in a few decades, assuming there is no major nuclear war.  And they are industrializing Asia, where 60% of the people live.  Assuming that any kind of socialism or anarchism must be start from an industrialized base, an earthperson socialism can develop much sooner the sooner the people are urbanized.

But once developed, the incremant of growth can be taken in less hours of work rather than in increased money.  Not of course that any power structure will permit this since it will give the people more freedom to shrug them off.  But at a certain point people can effectively demand it, like the French 35 hour week.
In which case a second, volenteer economy can arise which need not involve money.

For example, in South America, probably Argintina, during their economic dollar crisis, the people evolved a system of working for each other and getting points, which entitled them to used goods which others had no use for.  They were having problems with the system and I don’t know what happened to it, but if you don’t have to worry about necessities, people can contribute what they can because they want to, as we are doing here envisioning possible futures.

Marxism was originally oriented toward Europe because socialism was predicated on developed capitalism. This developed into the seige socialism that was rejected historically.  But if the whole people of the earth live in a developed economy, even in a new form of imperialism that China is developing, a new strategy may be possible to acheive the kind of anarchistic socialism that Marx,etc envisioned.

If you are not busy, I would be interested in your comments, Anarcissie.

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By Anarcissie, September 4, 2008 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther: My God, Anarcissie, I think I agree with you.  I must be getting sick.  I would only qualify that under capitalism it is a form of rental slavery rather than the ownership kind, which is a step forward historically.

Historically, capitalism is very recent.  So it seems natural to me that it incorporates relationships and and other forms from its predecessors.  And it is a dynamic system.  But at the moment I am doubtful about the way it is evolving.  I would like to be seeing more autonomy rather than more centralization. 

But as these various small groupings develop new forms, it is necessary to link them up somehow to form a common front. Since they all will be quite different attempts, this might best be done initally by an ideological worldview integrating only the basic aspects of each, whatever that turns out to be.

A few years ago I visited a commune (about 100 members) who were trying to set up a sort of common economic zone where they would exchange goods and services with other outfits of their general type without necessarily going through the state money system, and could buy and sell things collectively from/to the outside world.  It seemed like a good idea to me, but they were not having much success at that time.  It is observations like this that make me think we have a lot to (re)learn. But people are definitely out there making the effort in their various funny ways.

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By hetzer, September 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

The main thing is to help individuals develop smarts.  Once they understand how crooks, suckers, and slaves interact, they should be able to break up the patterns on an individual and personal basis.  America gave up smoking in that way.  All the smoking laws came later when enough people wanted to get rid of the 2nd hand smoke.  But, first they had to become sensitive to it.
The same thing can be done with sociopaths (crooks).
If we stop tolerating habitual and easy liars, that is one way we can surround sociopaths with restrictions.

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By Folktruther, September 3, 2008 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

My God, Anarcissie, I think I agree with you.  I must be getting sick.  I would only qualify that under capitalism it is a form of rental slavery rather than the ownership kind, which is a step forward historically.

But as these various small groupings develop new forms, it is necessary to link them up somehow to form a common front. Since they all will be quite different attempts, this might best be done initally by an ideological worldview integrating only the basic aspects of each, whatever that turns out to be.

This is quite important especially in the US because there are many, many small radical groupings that not only do not relate to the others, but do not even know of their existence.  If there were some loose central coordination, such as for example Indie media gives to local and national media, their imput would not be lost if and when the group faded out or disolved.  And such a loose coordination would greatly legitimate and thus magnify their power.  And thus increasing the number of such groupings.

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By hetzer, September 3, 2008 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Once people start talking and comparing notes, they will probably gradually evolve something better.  It is advantage that is the great enemy.  People with advantage are taken over by crooks who then have the jump on everyone else.

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By Anarcissie, September 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

folktruther: ’... But then what?  If social theory is generalized from Europe to all earthpeople, how can an earthperson socialism (or whatever) be developed.  What one does now is dependant on what one wants to do later.  In order to get from here to there, we have to know what ‘there’ is. ...’

At this point, I don’t think we can know how to cultivate a larger social order, because the human race has been generally under slavery for thousands of years.  We are still walking in the shadow of slavery and this is why I think there is so much authoritarianism and such widespread desire to submit to authorities, make war, crush the weak, and so forth.  It’s slave mentality persisting in culture.

In fact, not only do we not know how to build the larger social order, it’s often very difficult for even small non-authoritarian organizations, groups, bands, to survive and thrive.  It’s something we have to relearn, not in the abstract sense of symbolic intellection, but in the communal practice of daily life.

What I think we can do is try to open spaces in the existing social order, “building the new world in the shell of the old” as I think the IWW put it once upon a time.  In those spaces, different experiments can be carried forward.  Those things which work in the sense of serving the desires and interests of their participants will live and grow, and the rest of us will learn from them.

But meanwhile we also have to resist imperialism, war, repression, the physical and biological destruction of our world, and the propaganda which supports these things in the media and academia.  This is a negative rather than a positive task and may prove easier to think about and do, and also easier to find allies for—many people who would not care to involve themselves in radical projects are still opposed to the violence of the present social order and are willing to do something about it.

So that’s a very light sketch of a program.

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By hetzer, September 3, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

The right is effective because liars and bullies like Limbaugh speak in statements.  They have learned to speak like know-it-all’s.  Theleft should learn to stop appealing to reason or making arguments.  Above all it should get rid of the endless moralizing.  (People are not moral actors, period)  Statements like, “When is this crooked war going to end?” are far more powerful than learned presentations.

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By Folktruther, September 3, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

You are right, hetzer, Anarcissie, that new tactics are necessary.  But it is also necessary to update left ideology to conform to the new world situation that occurred after the fall of East Europe.

Classic marxism was aimed at the developed countries of Europe where Marx thought socialism was possible.  Marxism-Leninism was a syncrenism that expanded marxism to the world but was inconsistent theoretically because the underdeveloped countries were not ready for any but the seige socialism of the communist countries.

What is happening now is that China is leading Asia and the third world countries to developed capitalism, which shouldn’t take too many decades, assumming that there is no major nuclear war. 

But then what?  If social theory is generalized from Europe to all earthpeople, how can an earthperson socialism (or whatever) be developed.  What one does now is dependant on what one wants to do later.  In order to get from here to there, we have to know what ‘there’ is.

We don’t.  And I suggest that this plays a larger role in the theory vacuum on the left than is generally acknowledged.  In addition to new tactics, new theory is necessary.

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By Anarcissie, September 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

hetzer: ’... Everyone should have planned to go into a teach in mode, occupying coffee shops and talking about the issues.  This would do more, I think, than carrying symbols and waving signs with moral appeals. ...’

Anti-authoritarians, i.e. leftists, are going to have to come up with some new tactics, that’s for sure.  The kind of stuff they have been doing since, I guess, Seattle has now been fully analyzed by the authorities and they can pretty well neutralize it.  We will get a lot of mileage out of the Soviet-style night attacks on innocent people, but only slowly; the Republicans, unfazed, have proceeded to screw themselves up in ways no one could have predicted far more thoroughly than any anarchists could, at least in the short term.

But the Left has had this problem before.  Many years ago, big formal demonstrations worked, to some extent.  Then the ruling class figured out how to neutralize them, and so the idea of having small groups perform disruptions became popular.  Since most disruptions are or can be made out to be violent, I was pretty sure the cops would figure out how to control them and turn them against the activists.  I think it’s pretty obvious that various kinds of provocation did the trick.  There also seems to be a national cop-media nexus, because events were staged so that the street violence could be made to overshadow the storm-trooper business which preceded it, and the MSM went along with that scheme all the way.

Not that I know what to do next….

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By hetzer, September 2, 2008 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

This does not mean by any means that I have a CRUSH on him or any other political sociopath.

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By Tony Wicher, September 1, 2008 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

Re Anarcisse

I take Obama at his word.  That’s why I can’t understand why so many radicals—not liberals, radicals—got such a crush on him.  If you take his actual statements, outside of the slogans, he is and has been a cautious, conservative, center-to-right guy in the mainstream of the Democratic Party and the established order. 
—————————————————————————
Anarcisse,

I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who has always found that I could exist politically somewhere on the left side of the Democratic coalition, with people like Michael Moore and the PDA. I disagree with your characterization of Obama as “center right”. To me there have been two major wings of the Democratic party in recent years, the centrist DLC/Clinton wing and the Howard Dean “Democratic wing of the Democratic party.” Really this wing is a younger, updated version of the old liberals still represented by Ted Kennedy and Kerry, who were early Obama supporters. This breach has now been healed, the Dean wing won (my hat is off to him) and the Democratic party has moved to the left. Maybe not far enough to suit some people, but enough to make a big difference.

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By Tony Wicher, September 1, 2008 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Re Anarcissie, September 1 at 7:39 pm #

Tony Wicher: ‘I see no reason to doubt Obama’s fundamental honesty and patriotism.’

But you said recently that, once elected, he would do something different from what he said he was going to do, to wit, ramp up the war in Afghanistan and possibly invade Pakistan.
——————————————————————————-
Anarcissie,

As far as I know, what he has said since “day one” and what I expect him to do is to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, where we all agree they never should have been sent, and devote some of them to the area where the narcoterrorist bin Laden gang known as Al Qaeda originated and has always operated. This makes sense to me. The question is, will he do this the stupid way or the smart way? Remember, Obama said in his famous 2002 anti-war speach that he does not oppose all wars, only stupid ones. What is the stupid way? It is to bomb Afghan villages, as has been going on under the Bush Administration. Now Hamid Karzai, our Afghanistan ally (some call him a puppet, but he is a decent man without much power) has appeared on 60 Minutes talking directly to the American people demanding a halt to the bombing of his country. Obama will not continue with this stupidity. He will halt the bombing. He will not annouce this with great fanfare, but quietly order it halted. His intention is to use ground troops instead, which he will be able to do if the army is not tied down in Iraq. The next question is how the troops will be used. Will they be used stupidly, to conduct search and destroy operations which will only further antagonize the people, or will they be used intelligently, to defend the people of Afghanistan against the Taliban, various warlords and the Al Qaeda assassins, while helping them build infrastructure, subsidizing the growth of crops other than opium and otherwise doing things to win over the people instead of antagonizing them? I think he and his advisors are smart enough to figure such things out. 

I take Obama at his word.  That’s why I can’t understand why so many radicals—not liberals, radicals—got such a crush on him.  If you take his actual statements, outside of the slogans, he is and has been a cautious, conservative, center-to-right guy in the mainstream of the Democratic Party and the established order.  He is not a peace candidate, and never was, and said so.  He’s not going to revolutionize foreign policy, military policy, health care, social security, taxes, the economy, police practices, immigration, the Federal Reserve Bank, education or anything else important, unless he goes back on what he had explicitly declared about himself, which I don’t think he will do unless he’s forced to by circumstances.  (And those circumstances will not be pressure from “progressives” because if they don’t turn the screws now they sure as hell aren’t going to have them to turn later.)

The only instance I know of where he went back on his word was the vote for FISA.  I don’t really understand that one; maybe he was threatened.  But otherwise I’m assuming he’ll do what he says he’s going to do, and among other things that includes expanding the war in Afghanistan.

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By hetzer, September 1, 2008 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Every real battle starts with diversions and harassment to rattle the enemy.  These raids and arrests are designed to demoralize “peace” groups and provoke them into acting crazy.  (The craziness only is recorded and broadcast.)

Everyone should have planned to go into a teach in mode, occupying coffee shops and talking about the issues.  This would do more, I think, than carrying symbols and waving signs with moral appeals.

The “anarchists” provide the perfect pretext for the police.  Does this seem familiar to anyone who was stupid enough to get sucked into the Chicago police riots?

Moral appeals do not win wars.  It takes smarts and appeals to smarts to get anywhere.

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By Anarcissie, September 1, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad you’re publicizing events in St. Paul.  There seems to be a considerable media blackout which I find more ominous than the events themselves, even the spooky Soviet-style police raids which preceded today’s nasty business.

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By Anarcissie, September 1, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

<blockquote>
Tony Wicher: ‘I see no reason to doubt Obama’s fundamental honesty and patriotism.’

But you said recently that, once elected, he would do something different from what he said he was going to do, to wit, ramp up the war in Afghanistan and possibly invade Pakistan.

I take Obama at his word.  That’s why I can’t understand why so many radicals—not liberals, radicals—got such a crush on him.  If you take his actual statements, outside of the slogans, he is and has been a cautious, conservative, center-to-right guy in the mainstream of the Democratic Party and the established order.  He is not a peace candidate, and never was, and said so.  He’s not going to revolutionize foreign policy, military policy, health care, social security, taxes, the economy, police practices, immigration, the Federal Reserve Bank, education or anything else important, unless he goes back on what he had explicitly declared about himself, which I don’t think he will do unless he’s forced to by circumstances.  (And those circumstances will not be pressure from “progressives” because if they don’t turn the screws now they sure as hell aren’t going to have them to turn later.)

The only instance I know of where he went back on his word was the vote for FISA.  I don’t really understand that one; maybe he was threatened.  But otherwise I’m assuming he’ll do what he says he’s going to do, and among other things that includes expanding the war in Afghanistan.

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By Tony Wicher, September 1, 2008 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Re thebeerdoctor, September 1 at 5:34 pm #

[ Special Note : a member of PDA/DFA Progressive Democracy South Jersey is interested in driving to St.Paul if others would be willing to help pay the gas and traveling expenses . If there is anyone interested in making the trip as a sign of solidarity with all those who have been arrested, please get in touch with me…..and I will put you in touch with the party willing to make the trip .....email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ]
Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
http://www.democracynow.org

September 1, 2008

Contact:
Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar.  These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

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By Folktruther, September 1, 2008 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

That’s funny, Anarcissie, I voted for Johnson too in order to keep us out of war.  I didn’t vote for a long time after that.

Just remember, Obama is going to escalate the Afghan war and spread it to Pakistan by eliminating bombing and torture.  You have it straight from the horse’s mouth.

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By Tony Wicher, September 1, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 1 at 4:25 pm #


Tony Wicher: Just watch Obama’s policy on Afghanistan. As soon as he takes office, he will halt all bombing. ...


Sadly, I remember thinking long ago it was tremendously important to vote for and help Lyndon Johnson defeat Goldwater.  I, we, were convinced that Johnson was too smart to get sucked into a major war in Indochina.  “Part of the way with LBJ,” we said.
——————————————————————————
Obama isn’t Johnson. Johnson turned out to be the worst snake in American history. Personally, I hold him responsible for the Vietnam War, the U.S.S. Liberty and, by God, the assassination of JFK. Who else could have covered it up? This country absolutely went to shit with Johnson and has not recovered since.

I see no reason to doubt Obama’s fundamental honesty and patriotism.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 1, 2008 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

The Amy Goodman arrest outside the RNC in Minnesota needs to be looked. A 49 second startling reminder of the Corporate Police State we all now live in. Here is a link that works:

http://www.dohiyimir.org/2008/09/amy-goodman-arr.html

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By Anarcissie, September 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher: Just watch Obama’s policy on Afghanistan. As soon as he takes office, he will halt all bombing. ...

Sadly, I remember thinking long ago it was tremendously important to vote for and help Lyndon Johnson defeat Goldwater.  I, we, were convinced that Johnson was too smart to get sucked into a major war in Indochina.  “Part of the way with LBJ,” we said.

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By hetzer, September 1, 2008 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

I would like a Gandhi and Machiavelli, but I will settle for a man who is not a crook and who has some smarts.  Obama could have some, but it would be like finding the pony in the shit pile.

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By Tony Wicher, August 31, 2008 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, August 31 at 9:55 pm #


Just watch Obama’s policy on Afghanistan. As soon as he takes office, he will halt all bombing. Why? Because he knows it is accomplishing nothing but turning the Afghan people against us and driving them into the hands of the Taliban. Also, on 60 Minutes today Hamid Karzai spoke directly to the American people and demanded that it stop. Obama will do this. He will continue the fight against the Taliban and narcoterrorism, all right, but his primary strategy will be to win over the people of Afghanistan.

(sorry to double post - I accidentally posted this to the wrong thread)

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By hetzer, August 28, 2008 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

It will never be any different.  Politics is founded on the bedrock of human weaknesses - not their strengths.  I think Obama is a sucker for some crooks.  I think McCain is a crook surrounded by the best of crooked friends.  It is always a rigged poker game with the lights down low, a new stacked deck, and the dealer palming the cards.  Capitalism is the honest game in the front between equals.  Crookism is the real dirty game in the back.  It is a dead certainty that you will lose every hand.  Just try not to lose to badly.  (If you don’t play, someone even worse will take your place in the back.)

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By thebeerdoctor, August 28, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Recently I’ve tried my best to figure your out a reason to support Obama. This would be a first since I have never voted for a Democrat or Republican for president in my life. To begin with, I went and read Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama’s famous tome, that remarkably is a strange mixture of what is called “wonkish” policy perceptions with a heaping helping of name dropping. Thus I learned that former Sec. of the Treasury, Robert Rubin, is a bright unassuming guy. Also that Warren Buffett is a modest, socially conscious billionaire.
Trying to get facts on VP choice, Senator Joseph Biden, I learned that he opposed the Supreme court appointments of Thomas, Roberts and Alito. I also learned he was a champion of the new bankruptcy law pushed by the major commercial banks, including MNBA corporation, that banking credit card business, who supports Biden to the extent that he is sometimes dubbed “Mastercard Joe”. I also learned that he was a very vocal advocate of war with Iraq, even before George W came into power.
I have not been able to get clear what is the status of Senator Biden’s finances, except to note he is probably one of the poorest members in the Senate. Supporters claim he is worth about $150,000, well others, such as Open Secrets claim it is more like $288,000.
Just for the record, I do not despise Senator Obama or Senator Biden. They seem like amiable fellows. My problem with their candidacy is their misguided notion about escalating the war in Afghanistan. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is one of the few in the democratic party that is conscious of this stupidity. Unfortunately, team Obama/Biden think this is a winner against John McCain, so they tout this policy, to prove they are just as “tough” as the neocons.
That may not be a deal breaker for others, but I simply can support those who advocate this policy. Joe Biden’s comment about not having to be a Jew to be a Zionist is telling enough, but their overt approval and support of their hard line policies, does much to reinforce the perception that the United States is at war with Islam. The recent massacre in Afghanistan, verified by the United Nations, of 90 civilians including 50 children, is but one tiny example of what the policy now advocated by the Democratic candidates will produce.
Voting against John McCain is quite understandable. But voting for Obama/Biden, and taking them at their word, you are approving this escalation.
There will be blood on your hands too.
This is one issue I wish Barack Obama would make a complete reversal, a 360 degree flip-flop as it were. Peace.

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By hetzer, August 28, 2008 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

When Reagan came over he handed us stiff drinks.  When we were drunk, he turned the milking machine on “High”.  Then he went through our pockets so his friends could steal 90%.  It was the Bushes who torched us for kicks.

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By moineau, August 27, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

“Gerge A.’s blog is what happens when the distinction between Zionism, held by Jews and Christians, is not distinguished from the Jewish population.  It is intermixed with anti-Semitism.”

thank you for making that distinction. always a jew and never a zionist, i very much appreciate it. to keep hearing “jews” this and “jews” becomes increasingly hard as the years go by.

can’t we just LEARN from each other once and while on truthdig? why must there always be such acrimony? it’s not debate, it’s hate.

perhaps it’s in the way we make direct criticisms to each other. perhaps we should speak in more abstract terms. i suppose it loses the thrill of gamemanship, but perhaps we could begin to find some answers instead of just flinging our rage garbage at one another.

i’m guilty of it too. i get pissed. but perhaps i could be more thoughtful when i respond. call me an “appeaser”. go ahead. make my day lol.

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By Folktruther, August 27, 2008 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

No, Hezter, don’t hate the groups, hate their power systems.

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By George Archers., August 27, 2008 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther,please stop using the term anti-semitism.
It’s a worn out term that Jews have used to fool the general obtuse public .
FYI: Semites are arabs and most Jews are Ashkenazie-eastern Europe and Russian bloodlines.

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By hetzer, August 27, 2008 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

If you want to learn about Jews, don’t forget to read the Nazis.  If you want to learn about Nazis, don’t forget to read the Jews.

Never give anyone a free pass.  Hate everyone, because all human groups have earned it.

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By Folktruther, August 27, 2008 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Gerge A.‘s blog is what happens when the distinction between Zionism, held by Jews and Christians, is not distinguished from the Jewish population.  It is intermixed with anti-Semitism.

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By George A., August 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Biden said I’m a true ZIONIST and I’ll do everything in my power to protect Israel.What is worse,sillyass stated that Russia is an enemy of America and cautious on china.
What really gets me is that Russia helped America defeat the Germans in WWI WWII—we were buddies. BUT,after 1948,the USi creation of Israel—-America started the fear—COMMIES are about to get us—hide under your desks.
Do you ever wonder why America’s Jews and most politicians hate Russia and now are egging us to fear/attack and WWIII? A sinister pattern emergies. What is wrong with Americans are they this stupid fools? Jews(Isreal) are always on the sidelines watching us get killed and going bankrupt. Odd thing unknown to most—they did the samething to Germany twice—WWI WWWII. Now America/EU is the new attack dogs.

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By moineau, August 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

actually, i’m a francophile. hope you recognized my sarcasm in the “we’re the best…” statement. xoxox

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By hetzer, August 27, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

If you are English, you should do this.  If you are a real American, you do this.  It is always a “We’re #1 setup for suckers and slaves.  Religions function the same way.

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By moineau, August 27, 2008 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

montymarket, i agree with you. i copy my own remarks from another area of truthdig for i don’t think i could say it as well again:

here’s my personal take:

not sure we can do much about obama’s foreign policy advisors or vp pick; his compromises e.g., fisa; his out-of-touch instincts with the american people, as if your average american would celebrate obama’s being celebrated by masses of europeans! hell, we’re the greatest country in the world!

wave that flag, jitter-bug your way to brain deadness, get drunk on the at&t;kool-aid. say amen, will ya? WILL YA, damn you nonbelievers! (can you tell yet that i’m nauseated by the whole “democratic” process with its “conventional” wisdom?)

not sure we can do much of anything except try to stop mccain. a worthy thing, unless of course you think there is no difference between a war in afghanistan (which is horrific on its face) and world war III (which is mutually assured destruction). if you believe that, heck ya’ll, just don’t vote.

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By hetzer, August 26, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Crookism is the ancient belief that through the use of force and fraud (in all its many forms) it is possible for crooks to control carefully cultivated suckers and slaves.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

... the message is don’t vote for the dems b/c they are just the same ....

Well, mine certainly isn’t.  However, it is unquestionably true that both McCain and Obama subscribe to the ruling-class theory of U.S. global domination, which will have certain consequences some of us may not wish to support.  Obama quite definitively kicked the lefties to the back of the bandwagon some time ago; it is only to be expected that a good many of them will now be getting off.  I imagine the calculation is that some good ol’ boys will be getting on to replace them, but I sure wouldn’t count on it.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther: ‘... Most people do not have time, energy or background to think; consequently those that do have a responsiblity as well as a priviledge.  I am not sure that you are discharging yours.’

I don’t know; what do you think I should think about?  Did you read the material at http://www.1freeworld.org?  That’s some light thinking of a sort; I can’t go much further with it unless someone is willing to put it into action, or at least argue with me about it.

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By Fadel Abdallah, August 26, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges:

Since I can remember you’ve been pouring your insight and foresight in words that speak to the core of the truths. Yet, in this circus, called the American democracy, lies the tragic situation of our times. Even I have lost interest in the evident truths expressed in direct and straightforward prose, and I find myself inclined to react in the poetical language of the “dervishes”. Here below is a sampling!
===============   
A Poetical Reflection by a Dervish on the American Political Circus!

Whoever lives for banners, drums and glory
Is dead; this dervish understands this story,
And calls it windy noise-winds vainly flap
The banners, hollowly the brave drums tap.
Take heed! Don’t gallop on the horse of vanity!
Don’t pride yourself on your false nobility

They skin the leopard for his splendid pelt;
What’s good a leader when the ones led have slept!

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By Folktruther, August 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

I worry about you, Anarcissie.  You are intelligent and knowledgeable but you don’t seem to feel anything coulc or should be done historically.  Ten percent of the American people is thirty million, enough to change the world.  The American people don’t care to be mobilized, no people do, but in certain historical situations they are mobilized anyway.

You don’t seem to feel that individual actions or truths are important. Sub-groupings of leaders lead groupings of people in conflict without other groupings; that is what politics is. 

Most people do not have time, energy or background to think; consequently those that do have a responsiblity as well as a priviledge.  I am not sure that you are discharging yours.

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By montymarket, August 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow.  This site drawing the backwoods boys from their cabins in Idaho down to the internet cafe at the local gas station.  Incendiary. But as said before, the trolls here are slick: the message is don’t vote for the dems b/c they are just the same—might as well stay home!  And then by extension, McSame gets elected by adjusting fewer voting machines.  Don’t fall for their trap.  Vote for Obama!  We need a new progressive agenda to correct course step by step once elected.

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By Outraged, August 26, 2008 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie

Your comment: “It is clear that the constituencies, professed ideologies, and interests of the parties and leading politicians made no difference.  Obama (and McCain) are inheritors of this tradition, this philosophy.”

I agree.  And to add fuel to that fire, more current proof of this actuality.

“Though America voted for change in 2006, the subsequent two years have demonstrated that the Democrats in Congress, while avowing a “new direction for America,” are as willing and as skilled as their Republican/neocon counterparts at utilizing half-truths, innuendo, deceit and scare tactics to mislead the American public along the path to another devastating and unnecessary war. Consider, as a case in point, H. Con. Res. 362, introduced by Representative Gary Ackerman (D-New York) and co-sponsored by 261 members of Congress (at this writing), many of them Democrats. This bipartisan resolution is flawed - perhaps even suspect - for a number of reasons.

  First, it asserts as fact that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and intimates that it would share its nuclear material and technology with terrorists and “rogue” states. The reality is that as of the end of July 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had conducted over 3,000 man-days of scrupulous inspections, including nine visits that were unannounced.

  In a report to the IAEA Board of Governors dated May 26, 2008, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei affirms, “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear materials in Iran….”

(It continues).... “Credible evidence exists, therefore, to refute H. Con. Res. 362’s claim that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and engaged in “illicit nuclear activities,” the primary premise upon which this resolution builds its argument for sanctions and a blockade. The fact that this evidence is readily available to members of Congress raises concerns regarding their intent and motivation in sponsoring a resolution that exaggerates, if not fabricates, a “threat” posed by Iran to stability in the Middle East, the survival of Israel and the vital security interests of the United States.”


http://www.truthout.org/article/this-is-not-change-we-hoped-for-house-concurrent-resolution-362

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By SCJ, August 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m with you.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:

Your historical thesis, Anarcissie, that the the pre-ww2 bourgoise cut deals with the leaders of the amerian working class in order to fight a war is quite brilliant.  I have never come across it expressed with such simplicity and clarity.

Thank you, but I don’t think I have any original political ideas.  I am pretty sure if you look around you will find people who have investigated the matter and explained it more clearly and thoroughly than I.  This one seems pretty obvious to me.  FDR is sometimes seen as the big daddy of the labor movement, but in fact he was a patrician whose direct class interests lay elsewhere.  However he, or his Brain Trust, seem to have believed that the working class could be quiesced with a somewhat larger share of the well-known pie, and they certainly wanted them not to make trouble while they were fighting Hitler and Stalin.

You are quite wrong, however, that it doesn’t matter which of the minor candidates to support.  The porpose is to help mobilize the population against the coming war and police state of the power system, and Nader and Barr are less useful for this purpose than McKinney.

I can’t say as I see much instrumental potency in a single vote.  This is why I say lesser-evilism is a waste of time.  If donating money, or doing publicity, I suppose one might try to guess which party will raise the most hell, but it’s hard to say.  I don’t expect the population as a whole will care to be mobilized, but even 10 percent could make things sort of interesting, even if they didn’t agree with one another.

For instance, I think we’ve already seen the boss media seriously affected by the Internet.

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By SCJ, August 26, 2008 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yellowbird2525 partial right on what you say, but you don’t go far enough with follow the money.  It is the keepers of the politicians who are the criminals.  You also use Left gate keepers as sources. Democracynow is funded by the FORD fondation for a start.  She interviewed Nader on her show and instead of letting him state his agenda she made sure to point out the spoiler and bring that to the front.  Once some of these internet groups get established they start getting funds that are there to sway them. To get some thoughts and evidence on some of theses folks try http://gowans.blogspot.com/  Whats Left.  AS for the b.s of Laura Bush.  The Afghan women had more liberation under the soviets.  There are a number of Left gate keeper sights to expose some of the conflicts of these internet and other news sources, some can get pretty far out. Others make good points.

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By hetzer, August 26, 2008 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

It’s not about status, money, or power.  It is all about kicks.  The crooks did 911, started wars, and bankrupted us for kicks.

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By hetzer, August 26, 2008 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

The schools and colleges don’t say anything about “crooks”, “suckers”, “slaves” or “rackets” either.  No wonder they put us all to sleep.

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By yellowbird2525, August 26, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

spiritual law is that if you do NOT believe the truth, you WILL believe the lie: it is immutable; Germany is being hailed as the “wonder” of the world; conserving water; blah blah blah; other countries are ticked cuz their politicians have been bribed by USA (including Mexico & Canada); they are told they are the Powerful political elites & can do whatever they want along with their families & never be brought to a court of law; just like in the USA for years; occassionally they will “toss” one to the public but for the main part even the “fumbling bumbling idiots” as they refer to the FBI simply has “lectures” with them of how humiliating it would be for the grandfather or whoever to have it go public that the person was selling drugs heavily, actively destroying cars, trucks & other properties (as witnessed personally in 1971 by grandson of senator); and sex predator Gov’s here in Oregon having sex with 14 year old; & never prosecuted “no one wanted to press charges”; from judges to “dept of justice”( kinda like jumbo shrimp) there IS no justice in the USA for these folks in reality;

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By yellowbird2525, August 26, 2008 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

http://www.prisonplanet.com; http://www.naturalnews.com; (see what they are NOW doing to veggies & why: calling it genocide); other countries have been talking Hitler how it was done & how is being done today in USA; they also have been talking genocide; and saying by the time Americans wake up it will be to late; the problem is NOT the immigrants; they are a symtom of the problem; the ROOT of the problem is our Gov; if you google Kent University pulitzer prize photo; you will see a picture of a college girl in anguish while a college student lies dead at her feet; an article accompanying the picture: claims many things including that the girl was a “runaway” & back with her family; it is all lies; THIS is how our Gov posts things that are lies to get the public to “believe” or “think” it is good; it is not.

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By yellowbird2525, August 26, 2008 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

who owns the land? who owns the water? claiming they do: they are going to NOW claim USA needs new “mindset”; they are going to start tolls on every single highway claiming “needed to fix roads”; they are (here in Ore) at St level saying any illegals coming in will be given (as have been in past) drivers licenses; they also give them money, new cars, trucks, etc; they also get gas vochers; food stamps etc; & Bush a rep gives millions to process as many illegals thru the system as possible to get papers claiming are citizens; only problem is: they are fake as $3 bills; in the mean time: American vets are stripped of health benefits, pensions, claiming “no $”; County claimed “all military personnel have mental problems, quickly followed by Corps don’t want to hire military personnel due to mental problems;

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By yellowbird2525, August 26, 2008 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

http://www.democracynow.org is covering the democratic convention; you can easily learn: the 2 parties are 1; how the political machine works & who they will allow to run for Pres & get the job; you will also learn that it has been a 1 party rule (both parties have same agenda) & there is a group against the politicians world wide; the “globalization” is inevitable is world dominion with the Corps in USA; who by the way many “advisors” working with them have close connections with China; but they fail to disclose; this also can be see at democracynow.org; you will find that the huge conclomerates own CBS, NBC & ABC; furthermore: it runs this way: claiming rebuilding & restructuring in the USA from FED, to STATE, to County to City: SAME agenda; can see on c span if have in your area;

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By Virginia777, August 26, 2008 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

re comment by yellowbird2525: “the journalists have been targeted & killed by orders from Pentagon”

and yet, why did Reporters Without Borders, in their 2008 Annual Report “Freedom of the Press Worldwide” - a group that has built a reputation (and bank account) by outing censorship of journalists around the world - give this ridiculous assessment for the United States:

ONE (count ‘um) Iraqi journalist detained in Guantanamo

ONE blogger, Josh Wolf, got three paragraphs detailing his plight

Put in a big plug for the Freedom of Information Act (an act that has become a tool for the Right to attack public institutions like public schools)

And that’s it!

This group needs investigating for their bogus (and suspicious) agenda.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 26, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

re: C Quil
The 1998 UNOCAl- Taliban connection was briefly covered in Michael Moore’s movie Fahrenheit 911.

re: Anarcissie
John “Rick” MacArthur, Harper’s magazine publisher has revealed some of the machinations within the Democratic party and Barack Obama. He was interviewed on Monday’s Democracy Now! program.
Also, Jeremy Scahill has been investigating the kind of foreign policy “experts” surrounding Senator Obama, but mostly his discoveries are being ignored. Most news sources prefer the more rosy and mythical narrative.

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By Folktruther, August 26, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Your historical thesis, Anarcissie, that the the pre-ww2 bourgoise cut deals with the leaders of the amerian working class in order to fight a war is quite brilliant.  I have never come across it expressed with such simplicity and clarity.

You are quite wrong, howeever, that it doesn’t matter which of the minor candidates to support.  The porpose is to help mobilize the population against the coming war and police state of the power system, and Nader and Barr are less useful for this purpose than McKinney.

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By C Quil, August 26, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Why are we there? It’s not for fighting terrorism, nation building or bettering the lives of women, as the lies that our glorious leaders (and leaders-to-be) keep on spouting would have you believe. And the poor sods who just want to get money for college keep on dying.

When in doubt, as Deep Throat said, “follow the money”.

Regime Change Rationales
by Gordon Prather

Quoting Eric Margolis in an article:

“Meanwhile, according to Pakistani and Indian sources, Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1680 km long pipeline project expected to cost $ 8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and, later, oil from the Caspian Basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the west.

“In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the US firm UNOCAL signed a major pipeline deal. UNOCAL lavished money and attention on Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and also hired a minor Afghan official, one Hamid Karzai.

“Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the U.S. deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium, Bridas.

“Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened Taliban with war.

“In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines.”

http://www.antiwar.com/prather/?articleid=13202

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By whyzowl1, August 26, 2008 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is correct (as usual) when he suggests that whoever wins the election “seems hellbent on fueling our self-immolation.” I can’t wait. The Empire must die if there is to be any chance for a new, improved, more democratic and egalitarian America to be born. No sense in dragging the process out: let us burn. Anyone got a match?

I wouldn’t be too hard on Obama; think of him as the first, tentative step on the road to a powerful progressive resurgence in American political life, not the culmination. One step at a time.

There is only one “final solution” to “the corporate problem,” a party of our own. And there’s really no excuse for not getting to work on building one, immediately. Can I get a witness?

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By George A., August 26, 2008 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Biden=Cheney, Folks,I hate to break your hearts but America has always been a terrorist state.First country that America invaded was algeria—all because of trade routes. Philopines—-Why? Hawaii—-what for? They even tried Canada. No changes but worse—Democrates are twins of terror.Following is a another(Pelosi)dangerous smirking chimp.Check Google u-tube—he admits to being a zionists and hates Russia with a passion—Devil in drag!

The Biden Betrayal
by Stephen Zunes
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s selection of Joseph Biden as his running mate constitutes a stunning betrayal of the antiwar constituency who made possible his hard-fought victory in the Democratic primaries and caucuses.

The veteran Delaware senator has been one the leading congressional supporters of U.S. militarization of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, of strict economic sanctions against Cuba, and of Israeli occupation policies.

Most significantly, however, Biden, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the lead-up to the Iraq War during the latter half of 2002, was perhaps the single most important congressional backer of the Bush administration’s decision to invade that oil-rich country.

Shrinking Gap Between Candidates

One of the most important differences between Obama and the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee John McCain is that Obama had the wisdom and courage to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Obama and his supporters had been arguing correctly that judgment in foreign policy is far more important than experience; this was a key and likely decisive argument in the Illinois senator’s campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had joined McCain in backing the Iraq war resolution.

However, in choosing Biden, who, like the forthcoming Republican nominee, has more experience in international affairs but notoriously poor judgment, Obama is essentially saying that this critical difference between the two prospective presidential candidates doesn’t really matter. This decision thereby negates one of his biggest advantages in the general election. Of particular concern is the possibility that the pick of an establishment figure from the hawkish wing of the party indicates the kind of foreign policy appointments Obama will make as president.

Obama’s choice of Biden as his running mate will likely have a hugely negative impact on his once-enthusiastic base of supporters. Obama’s supporters had greatly appreciated the fact that he did not blindly accept the Bush administration’s transparently false claims about Iraq being an imminent danger to U.S. national security interests that required an invasion and occupation of that country. At the same time Biden was joining his Republican colleagues in pushing through a Senate resolution authorizing the invasion, Obama was speaking at a major antiwar rally in Chicago, correctly noting that Iraq’s war-making ability had been substantially weakened and that the international community could successfully contain Saddam Hussein from any future acts of aggression.

In Washington, by contrast, Biden was insisting that Bush was right and Obama was wrong, falsely claiming that Iraq under Saddam Hussein – severely weakened by UN disarmament efforts and comprehensive international sanctions – somehow constituted both “a long-term threat and a short-term threat to our national security” and was an “extreme danger to the world.” Despite the absence of any “weapons of mass destruction” or offensive military capabilities, Biden, when reminded of those remarks during an interview last year, replied, “That’s right, and I was correct about that.”

Biden Shepherds the War Authorization

to “change we can believe in.”
..... Check the rest @ or antiwar today’s

Reprinted courtesy of Foreign Policy in Focus.

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By hetzer, August 26, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Who is our designated enemy of the week?  Russia, Taliban, Al Queda, Iraq Govt., Iran, China?  Got to keep them simmering it we want to fill a cauldron.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor: ‘It seems that no one in the Obama camp knows the difference between being clever and actual wisdom. The Obama assertion about the “right battlefield” shows that their beloved candidate believes that violence is going to solve the United States problems with the Muslim world. ...’

It has been the settled assumption of the U.S. ruling class at least since World War 2 that it could, should and must dominate the world, by money and seduction and deceit if possible, by overt force if necessary.  Take the war in Vietnam: the mise-en-scène was set up in the late 1940s by the Truman administration and developed under Eisenhower, a seeming conservative; adopted and run with by Kennedy and Johnson, Democrats and supposed liberals; continued and then finally wound down under Nixon, a lengthy and unmitigated disaster.  It is clear that the constituencies, professed ideologies, and interests of the parties and leading politicians made no difference.  Obama (and McCain) are inheritors of this tradition, this philosophy.  If they were not, they would not be allowed to be the candidates of major parties for the presidency.  They have the advantage of following a particularly inept act, but although the tactics of the Bush administration have been bad, its philosophy is the same one we’ve observed for the last 60 years or so.  The point is not to solve problems; the point is to be the winning team, and as one of their major prophets, Vince Lombardi, said, “Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

The really remarkable thing about Obama is that he was able to sucker so many leftish types into supporting him long enough to get a majority of the delegates to the Democratic convention without directly lying about his views and intentions.  “The audacity of hope” and “change we can believe in” could have meant almost anything.  Now we know it meant Joe Biden.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

Big B—I haven’t really done the reading on this, but my superficial guess is that it was preparing for and fighting World War 2 which established the labor movement and the somewhat prosperous working and lower-middle classes as we knew them from 1940 until 1980.  The U.S. and allied ruling classes had to fend off both the Nazis and the Communists, and they did not want big domestic conflicts going on while they did it, so they cut deals and created large programs (like the G.I. Bill of Rights) which moved millions of people from rural idiocy (to use Marx’s phrase) into modern life.  Wars also consume a lot of labor, which raises its price, that is, wages go up.  The Civil Rights movement came along in time to benefit from the tail end of the ruling class’s absorption with its international competitors.  That general situation seems to have fallen apart in the late 1970s.

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By Anarcissie, August 26, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher: ’... Might as well stay home and masturbate with George Carlin.’

To each his own.

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By Tony Wicher, August 25, 2008 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, August 25 at 3:24 pm #

If you believe a policy of war and imperialism—unprovoked murder, rapine, terror and domination—is wrong, and want to express your belief by voting, there are at least three presidential candidates who are believably opposed to the the war-and-imperialism policy: Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr.  I don’t think it makes much difference whether they are brilliant, witty, attractive or cool.  If none of them please you, vote for yourself.  But don’t throw away your vote by voting for something you don’t believe in because it isn’t quite a bad as something else.
——————————————————————————
Anarcisse,

Eh, why bother? Might as well stay home and masturbate with George Carlin.

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By yellowbird2525, August 25, 2008 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

the journalists have been targeted & killed by orders from Pentagon: go to http://www.democracynow.org & hunt for army whistleblowers; they also detain journalists sometimes for years with no reason at all; our Gov has stripped health benefits, indeed never even honored many to the military except of course for the “few” in the Pentagon with pot bellies who do nothing & take everything; they strip pensions claiming “no money” while giving insane amounts to the same contractors repeatedly who funnel it back to them; they now claim that the Americans were as bad as the Nazi’s & Hitler was just a good ol’ boy minding his own business when Winston Churchhill wanting glory attacked him w/out cause and made up bunchs of stories; gosh, where do you think that the journalists were then?

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By Noah, August 25, 2008 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is a lying piece of shit.  I hate to put it so bluntly, but that’s exactly what he is.  He is, in fact, a puppet of the war-makers, the candidate whose purpose is to soothe the conscience of those Americans who feel badly about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and make them feel that those wars are, in fact, just wars.  His purpose is to peddle an image of compassion and goodness to the American public, to convince us that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are nice, neat, clean and almost posh affairs.  His purpose, in short, is to serve as an opiate to the American public, to enchant us with his lovely personality (however vestigial it may be), and make us feel that killing millions of civilians and ushering in a new global totalitarian capitalism isn’t monstrous or horrible, but is actually downright fun and jolly.  His purpose is to blind us and lull us to sleep, as the American government perpetuates atrocity both at home and abroad.

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By 123456, August 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

The sad fact that is, because AFghanistan is much more difficult to access and travel through, there are probably far worse crmes being commited there, by the U.S./NATO forces, Afghan “army” troops”, and Taliban, against innocent people, then we’ll ever find out.

The air of impunity is far stronger there than in Iraq. We need more reporters and watch-groups there.

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By Big B, August 25, 2008 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I would even take the upper class (corporate) opposition to the civil rights movement a step further. I think that big business realized that the early successes of the movement were aided somewhat by the already successful union labor movement. Unionization taught the common people that they could have a voice in there own deterination, if they were willing to sacrifice. The Corps then centered their efforts in the 70’s and 80’s to the out right anihilation of union labor in the US, thus stomping out whatever flame burned in the unionized middle class, and for all purposes, taking the Civil Rights movement with it.
It is because of this that I think a second american revolution, if it ever happens, will coincide with the union labor movement’s rise from the ashes. Union Labor and the New Deal created the american middle class. I am inclined to think that it is the only thing that can save it.
Just a thought.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 25, 2008 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

re: Anarcissie

It seems that no one in the Obama camp knows the difference between being clever and actual wisdom. The Obama assertion about the “right battlefield” shows that their beloved candidate believes that violence is going to solve the United States problems with the Muslim world. What is extraordinary about this, is that of all people, Barack Obama should know better. Is this the discipline that is spoken of? What you have here is a part of the world (about one fifth) who still adhere to their faith, no matter if it is real or not. Contrast that with a part of the world whose only faith is in money and violence, and they are shocked, absolutely shocked, that the rebellious one fifth,  does not buy into their program.
Obama in his zeal to become president, has disciplined himself to suck up this nonsense and announce that the right battlefield is in Afghanistan. What a total crock.

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By yellowbird2525, August 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

go to your local post office: only disability requirement is for the door to be 36 inches wide; not 1 single solitary other provision for the disabled; the only folks getting rich & wealthy off these wars are the Pentagon parasites & Congress who work hand n hand to overspend on items, & ignore the people; just like the entire system of so called “democracy” is set up to do; the harm of the multitudes for the benefit to the pocketbooks of the few; they use the people of this country by appealing to their emotions “claiming” it is for good; when in deed it is for evi; and then they toss them away like rubbish; JFK was killed because he said he was going to put an end to the corruption on Capitol Hill; beginning with the military overspending & the funds being laundered back to them; we believe that there was no conspiracy like we believe Haliburton & Black Water accept the same amount of pay he did for his service in Congress & as Pres; NOTHING; the FBI was told to claim they could forensically tell the bullet that killed him came from box of bullets in Oswalds; that was shown to be a lie in 2006; but Schwartzenegger made a motion & it was made into law that what is a LIE is now the LAW;

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By Anarcissie, August 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

cyrena: ’... In fact, what I see happening now within the democratic party is exactly what became of the Civil Rights Movement. All of these ‘self-interests’ took over, and broke down the unity of the movement.

Nope, Cynthia is not smart. Passionate and committed maybe, but not smart, and not disciplined.’

The original Civil Rights movement was pretty successful.  Its goals were limited—the removal of legal segregation and other forms of state disenfranchisement and discrimination—and they were achieved.  Much of the time the Civil Rights movement was driven from below and generally, but not always, it was opposed vigorously by the ruling class.  There was never a lot of unity in it but there was usually a working truce between the different factions.  In general, I think the Civil Rights movement should be seen as an example of success—one of the few the Left can claim.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is an organic part of the state.  Its only specific function is to help its adherents win elections and exercise power, and it has no permanent ideology or abstract principles.  Like the Republican Party, its leaders are loyal members of the ruling class.  So it’s quite different from the Civil Rights movement.  The unity of the Democratic Party, if any, is simply the unity of submission to its leadership.  From the point of view of those trying to stop the American ruling class’s settled policy of eternal war and global domination, the unity of the Democratic (and Republican) Parties is exactly what has to be broken up, not reinforced.

Obama has made clear, again and again, that he believes in the general policy of war and imperialism; he just didn’t think Iraq was the right place to exercise it.  He has said he prefers war in Afghanistan and, possibly, Pakistan.  Other targets may be named once he gains office.  If he did not subscribe to the general policy, he would never have gotten the nomination of a major party.

If you believe a policy of war and imperialism—unprovoked murder, rapine, terror and domination—is wrong, and want to express your belief by voting, there are at least three presidential candidates who are believably opposed to the the war-and-imperialism policy: Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr.  I don’t think it makes much difference whether they are brilliant, witty, attractive or cool.  If none of them please you, vote for yourself.  But don’t throw away your vote by voting for something you don’t believe in because it isn’t quite a bad as something else.

Web sites:
http://www.bobbarr2008.com/
http://www.votenader.org/
http://votetruth08.com/

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By PatrickHenry, August 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Osama has been dead for years, when will we pull out?

What a waste of national treasure and lives, not to mention the United States image abroad.

I hope punitive measures await this neocon trash once they leave office, either through the legal process or karma.

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