Saturday, December 05, 2009

Global Shitstorm Update 

From Chomsky's speech at Columbia two days ago. Notes and summary by David Bromwich, professor at Yale. Bromwich is, by the way, a liberal intellectual and not a real follower of Chomsky. But the summary he provides here is objective and shows that Chomsky's basic outline of what is happening now is entirely accurate.

I'm not a huge fan of Chomsky, because he is fundamentally a rationalist who operates on the assumption that people would do the right thing if they knew the truth. He doesn't have much to say about the roots of fascism in the thwarted desire for a beloved community... But the guy has been basically right for so long, and the basic points he's making should really be acknowledged by all, as the basis for any future discussions about reality and how to deal with it:

...In the big constellation, Enlightenment/Rationalism/Liberalism/Democratic Values, a missing word and concept that should be understood to accompany the others is Imperialism. He addressed "the unipolar moment," which started in 1989 with the end of Soviet Communism and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The self-congratulatory tone of recent commemorations of November 1989 tended to make people forget certain other stopping points on the way to unchallenged U.S. hegemony. A short survey followed of the destructiveness of the "settler colonialism" that cleared North America of its indigenous peoples. J.Q. Adams spoke out clearly of the policy as "perfidious" and regretted "the heinous sins of this nation" against "that hapless race." The equanimity, by contrast, of the mainstream wisdom now is epitomized by J.L. Gaddis: "expansion is the path to security."

On the moral fallacy of self-congratulation: "We focus laser-like on the crimes of enemies, but crucially we make sure never to look at ourselves." If now we chose to look at ourselves in the light of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, we might admit the imperative of dismantling a much larger wall "snaking its way through Palestinian territory." The right name for it is: the Annexation Wall. Its purpose is to take over valuable land and water resources; Israel’s leading authorities recognized this early on as a violation of international law. None of it would have been possible without the support of Israel by the United States as "its partner in crime."

On November 16, 1989, shortly after the Berlin Wall came down, there occurred an event of great importance in Latin America: the killing of six prominent Jesuit priests in El Salvador. The U.S. denied any knowledge of the agents and any complicity in the crime; but documents, revealed in the mainstream Spanish press just two weeks ago and carried by the wire services, show that the order was given by authorities in El Salvador; and given the proximity of American advisers to that government at the time, it is hard to imagine the order being carried through without American knowledge and consent. This was part of a larger design–successfully pursued by the School of the Americas and other arms of U.S. policy–to suppress the Liberation Theology which had done much for the cause of social justice in that region, in the wake of Vatican II. All this was happening in 1989, while the West was celebrating the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. It is still happening and we are still celebrating. The U.S. ambassador in Honduras recently congratulated that country on having completed its own "great celebration of democracy," in an election where both candidates were selected by Honduran business interests. Chomsky said it was difficult fully to understand the Obama administration’s embrace of the de facto coup in Honduras. In this case the U.S. has separated itself from all of Latin America and from most of Europe as well, by our "brazen contempt" for real democracy.

Latin America was thus the proving ground for the first U.S. tests of what had become possible in the unipolar world. Another instance was the invasion of Panama in December 1989. Noriega, a dictator of no importance, and previously of no concern to the U.S., was punished for "dragging his feet in support of Reagan’s terrorist wars in Nicaragua."...

A distinct challenge of the transition of 1989: what to do with NATO? Here was an institution solely devised for the express purpose of protecting Europe and North America from the Soviet menace during the Cold War. The only logical response at the end of the Cold War was: to close down NATO. Instead, under Clinton the organization expanded eastward, and it has since expanded farther. Recall Gaddis: "expansion is the path to security." There has been in fact a continuous line from the expansionist U.S. policies under FDR, covering both Europe and the Pacific, to the policies pursued by Bill Clinton and codified in the Bush Doctrine. The use of violence goes hand in hand with the unilateral commitment to the opening of new and profitable markets....

***On another recent use of an international double standard when convenient for U.S. interests: Barack Obama was asked why he supported Mubarak who is an authoritarian leader. Obama replied, "I tend not to use labels for folks." Chomsky: "When a political leader uses the word ‘folks,’ you know you’re going to shudder at what comes next."

***Obama is almost too obvious a proof–a caricature almost–of the "investment theory of party competition," outlined by Thomas Ferguson. The heads of the important banks and the brokerage houses preferred Obama to McCain. He would accomplish what they wanted more smoothly. They got what they paid for....

***John Kerry, one of the people running interference for the administration on Israel/Palestine, gave a recent speech which was mostly boilerplate: we are pursuing a two-state solution in earnest, looking for reasonable compromise from both sides, etc. etc. But sometimes, in such speeches, "something really new" comes out; and in Kerry’s speech there was something new. Kerry said: now for the first time, we have a partner we can negotiate with. And what was the proof of the adequacy of the partner? That during the Gaza assault, there had been no unruly protests on the West Bank. Dissent was successfully controlled. And the reason for this? Effective surveillance by Palestinian forces trained and advised by Keith Dayton, the general heading the American Task Force in Palestine. Dayton’s presence is an acknowledged fact, though the content of the training is unknown. Unacknowledged are CIA advisers in Palestine whose actions we know nothing about.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

What a goddamned fucking asshole 

What a fucking piece of shit turd-eating motherfucker.

And he admits it without shame.

I'm talking about Ben Bernanke, who has without irony aligned himself with legendary criminals like Willie Sutton.

But am I not also talking about the entire establishment that embraces this murderous shit? - the establishment that is led by that paragon of discipline and achievement of success, Barack Obama? After all it's Obama who keeps on bringing Pete Peterson into the various "summits" on Social Security -- Pete Peterson, the genocidal maniac whose goal it is to destroy Social Security.

See HuffPost on Bernanke's spraying of shit all over Congress today:

Ben Bernanke has overseen the greatest expansion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet in its history, pouring trillions of dollars into Wall Street firms at roughly zero interest rates.

His generosity, however, has a limit.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today, where he's seeking re-appointment as the Fed's chairman, Bernanke called for cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security even as unemployment rises and the middle class is endangered.

Citing legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, Bernanke said of the retirement and health care funds that are the legacy of the New Deal: "That's where the money is."

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) sympathized with Bernanke, saying that, because of entitlement spending, "you're going to be looking at a situation where the Congress will be unable to provide any kind of fiscal discipline because of the mandatory spending. That puts an enormous burden on your plate."

"Well, Senator, I was about to address entitlements," Bernanke replied. "I think you can't tackle the problem in the medium term without doing something about getting entitlements under control and reducing the costs, particularly of health care."

Bernanke reminded Congress that it has the power to repeal Social Security and Medicare.

"It's only mandatory until Congress says it's not mandatory. And we have no option but to address those costs at some point or else we will have an unsustainable situation," said Bernanke.

Fuck these assholes. (And by the way, this shit strikes me as more utterly craven and shit-wallowing and -shoveling than the Afghanistan decision -- perhaps only because I haven't had the stomach to follow the Afghanistan shit, but probably also because the Iraq policy in the last 2 years hasn't seemed like the worst thing in the world, given the horror that had already been unleashed.)

medium lobster FTW 

Hasta la Fafblog siempre:

Let us never forget just what's at stake in the war in Afghanistan: nothing less than the success of the war in Afghanistan. This war may be a mistake, a blood-soaked blunder, an unholy charnel house mindlessly consuming the bodies and souls of untold thousands, an open sore on the pockmarked face of history and an abomination before the sight of God and men, but it is first and foremost a war, and wars must be won. If the United States doesn't win this war, then will it not lose it? And if the United States loses this war, then won't the Unites States have lost it? And if the United States has lost this war, will that not then make the United States a kind of thing that loses wars? And then where would we be?

And just as America can't afford to abandon this war, surely it can't afford to abandon the Afghan people, who without the American military would be left to the savage whims of their hated enemy, the Afghan people. Indeed, it remains America's solemn duty as the leader of the free world to bring freedom and security to the Afghan people by hunting down and eliminating the Afghan people. Nor can America forget its own national security, and the dire threat posed by the Afghan people to our war against the Afghan people.


And so the President will be sending additional troops to Afghanistan - but a precise number of troops, carefully determined by the nation's top warologists after long months of carpet-bombing villages of laboratory mice - and they will kill Afghans there, but only for a precise period of time, calculated to be the exact interval necessary to protect our freedoms, or restore our security, or for all of us to grow bored and forget.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

signs, times 

“I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.


Morgan Stanley Vice-Chairman Rob Kindler's License Plate:

GW wins 

George W. Bush's eternal victory was officially established today, as Obama became the first American president to knowingly pursue a guaranteed-fail military policy PRECISELY in the cause of reelection. Topsy-turvydom become mundane.


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