Posted by: quiscus | April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010

1.  Here’s the video:

“Collateral Murder

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.”

2.  “Rachel Maddow, McCarthyite

The FBI, the left, and the war on “extremism”
One doesn’t have to agree with the views of the targeted groups and individuals to realize the danger posed by this campaign of political and legal intimidation. The idea that the government has the right to infiltrate and disrupt the legal political activities of American citizens is outrageous, and needs to be fought tooth and nail by civil libertarians of all persuasions and ‘isms. In England, where political speech is not protected, we see the dark future planned for us by American “progressives”: expressions of opinion that are deemed a “threat to public order” are forbidden, and under this general rubric comes any speech that violates the fast-proliferating rules of political correctness. The Brits, always a few years ahead of us in terms of the latest repressive measures, are pointing the way “forward” – and that’s “progress” for you.

In the post-9/11 era, the temptation to brand your political opponents “terrorists” appears to be overwhelming: both the right and the left have succumbed to it, and shamelessly employed such rhetoric for political gain. This is a deadly danger to democracy and must be repudiated and fought to the bitter end. The Hutaree “militia” and the other alleged “extremists” are a pretext for a crackdown on political dissent, and the Richard Nixons of this world are not alone in their propensity for repression. The ideological component of this anti-“extremist” campaign is a new form of McCarthyism, the McCarthyism of the left, which labels anything deemed “antigovernment” as close to seditious, and employs the same methods as J. Edgar Hoover and the “red squads” of the past. I’m surprised that Ms. Maddow, whose show I used to watch faithfully, has capitalized on this odious trend: she should rethink the whole concept of “extremism,” and this linkage of violence to “antigovernment” heresy, and cut out the witch-hunting. ”

3.  “NATO Admits Killing Civilians in February Afghan Raid

Finally Cops to Killings After Initially Blaming Insurgents

Incredibly, however, NATO is still insisting that they have no evidence that the soldiers acted “inappropriately” in the slaughter, and even though Afghan government officials confirmed that the troops were removing evidence from the scene for seven hours before letting the Afghan security forces in to inspect it they maintain that nothing resembling a cover-up has occurred.”

4.  “In which American conservatives talk about the root causes of terrorism

Look at the post I linked to and mentally substitute “the West Bank” for “Chechnya” and “Israel” for “Russia.” The analysis would certainly need some modifications, but the overall message of “people tend to resort to terrorism when they are impoverished, stateless, disenfranchised, and violently repressed ” rings just as true. However you would never, not in a million years, see such analysis of Israel and terrorism in a movement conservative magazine. Ever. If, by some miracle, such an analysis appeared, the cacophony of voices hysterically shrieking “Munich!” “appeasement” “civilizational suicide” “antisemitism” and “loud noises!” would be audible from space.

The sort of cognitive dissonance displayed by conservatives with regards to Russia and terrorism is really quite remarkable. As conservatives would have it, when Islamic terrorists target American civilians they do so only because they  hate our “freedom.” Nothing America has done, is doing, or will do could possibly justify terrorism against its civilians, and anyone who tries to divine any minimally coherent rationale for jihadists is on a fool’s errand (or might just be a terrorist themselves). Yet when Islamic terrorists target Russian civilians there are, of course, not motivated by simple psychotic hatred (I mean, how could the terrorists hate the Russians for being “free” when the Russians themselves hate freedom???) but by a wide litany of intelligible  justifications. In fact, if you go way out in neocon cloud cuckoo land, you can even find people who straightforwardly sympathize with the Chechens. The creepy neocon association with Chechen rebels, who are about a violent, sadistic, and depraved a bunch of killers as one can possibly imagine, is simply the 10,000,000th piece of evidence that, for all their endless babbling about “morality,” neocons are and have always been motivated solely by power.”

5.  “Crisis of the Global Economy: Trade Conflicts and “Fair Trade”

Trade is now a favorite topic for many politicians and the media, especially between China and the U.S.  Likewise, labor and progressive groups continue to delve deeper into trade issues, offering a variety of working class solutions.  The far right, too, is obsessed with trade, using it to fuel nationalism and anti-China sentiment.  No subject is prone to so much demagoguery combined with so little explanation.

Before one can offer a vision of “fair trade,” it’s helpful to understand what “trade” is.

A popular misconception of trade is that governments trade goods between themselves.  The false implication here is that trade is a national issue, equally important to all that fall within the boundaries of certain countries.  This mistaken premise — promoted by both media and politicians — leads to erroneous conclusions.

In reality, governments have very little to do with trade.  Instead, giant corporations are the main actors behind global trade: multinational corporations produce goods — in China— and sell these goods overseas to other corporations — to Wal-Mart, for example.

The Chinese and U.S. governments basically do nothing.  This is “free-trade” in action: goods and services — including investment cash and factories — freely flow between nations, unobstructed by government interference. ”

6.  “Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man

Siddiqui’s record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his role as a former registered lobbyist for CropLife America (whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow), has revealed him to consistently favor agribusinesses’ interests over the interests of consumers, the environment and public health (see attached fact sheet). We believe Siddiqui’s nomination severely weakens the Obama Administration’s credibility in promoting healthier and more sustainable local food systems here at home. His appointment would also send an unfortunate signal to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.”

7.  “U.S. Takeover of Haiti: The centerpieces of the US, UN, and World Bank Plan for Haiti are Sweatshops and Tourism”

8.  “Ross Douthat invents a false claim for “balance”

Here we find two of the most common pundit afflictions:  (1) a compulsion to assert equivalencies even when they don’t exist, and (2) a willingness to spout anything without doing the slightest work to find out if it’s true.  Douthat’s claim about Maddow — that “conservatives are only invited on [her] show when they have something nasty to say about Republicans” — is completely false.

The real problem is not that Maddow fails to invite conservatives on her show; she does exactly that relentlessly.  The problem is that most leading conservatives refuse to be interviewed by anyone — such as Maddow — who will conduct adversarial interviews.  They thus restrict themselves to the friendly confines of Fox News or to television interview shows where the hosts refuse to question them aggressively due to a fear of being perceived as something other than “neutral.”

9.  ”

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Israel and the “De-legitimization” Oxymoron

The question is: How can you de-legitimize something (in this case the Zionist state) which it is NOT legitimate?

Leaving aside the fairy story of God’s promise, (which even if true would have no bearing on the matter because the Jews who “returned” in answer to Zionism’s call had no biological connection to the ancient Hebrews), the Zionist state’s assertion of legitimacy rests on the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN General Assembly’s partition plan resolution of 1947.

The only real relevance of the Balfour Declaration is in the fact that it was an expression of both the willingness of a British government to use Jews for imperial purposes and the willingness of Zionist Jews to be used. The truth is that Britain had no right whatsoever to promise Zionism a place in Palestine, territory the British not possess. (Palestine at the time was controlled and effectively owned by Ottoman Turkey). The Balfour Declaration did allow Zionism to say that its claim to Palestine had been recognised by a major power, and then to assert that the Zionist enterprise was therefore a legitimate one. But the legitimacy Britain conveyed by implication was entirely spurious, meaning not genuine, false, a sham.

Zionism’s assertion that Israel was given its birth certificate and thus legitimacy by the UN General Assembly partition resolution of 29 November 1947 is pure propaganda nonsense, as demonstrated by an honest examination of the record of what actually happened.

In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own. ”

10.  ”

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Not Satisfied With U.S. History, Some Conservatives Are Rewriting It”

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