Niebuhr and the Necessary Evils of Resistance

Peace is in the Eye of the Beholder
by Chris Hedges
I do not like Hamas. I detest religious fundamentalism and the use of suicide bombers. I find the group’s anti-Semitism and ruthless silencing of internal Palestinian opponents repugnant. The rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are a war crime. But this does not negate the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance to the long Israeli siege and occupation of Gaza. 

The moral scum of any society rises to the surface in war. Those who have a penchant for violence and an access to weapons dominate the landscape. It was the criminal class and gangsters who first organized the defense of Sarajevo. It was the thugs of Gaza who took control to confront the Israeli army. This is nothing new in wartime. Violence is a disease, a disease that corrupts all who use it regardless of the cause. But there are moments when a people face the terrible tragedy of resistance or obliteration. This was true in Sarajevo. It is true for the Palestinians. It does not make it pretty or good. It is what happens.
 
 
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Beyond the Honeymoon

THE OBAMATHON HAS BEGUN: How Long Will The Honeymoon Last?
by Danny Schechter
Every President has a honeymoon but Barack Obama’s won’t last long, probably because the real world won’t give him a pass. The markets showed their lack of sentimentality by dropping sharply on inauguration day. The Repugs are looking to knock off a Cabinet nominee, and do anything they can to show they are still a force to be dealt with

In truth,  indeed they are. 48% of the country did not support Obama. He knows that and hence his symbolic attempts to neutralize his opponents with smiles and civility, a preacher at the ceremony, and a few Cabinet positions. Will that assuage the hard right “movement activists,” the Limbaugh ditto heads or the Hannity hard heads?

I doubt it, but for now, they are on the defensive. Bill Clinton says he thinks the days of ideology are waning, that the polarization of the past will go away because the right has to become more pragmatic to return to power.
 

I don’t buy his consensus of the center viewpoint for several reasons.
 
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Aftermath: Tallying the Total War

Aftermath: Tallying the Total War
by C. L. Cook
Though still in early days following the mayhem, some preliminary numbers are coming down the main media pipe regarding the toll of Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead,' (the uber carnage recently featured on the world's front pages) prosecuted against the captive denizens of the Gaza Strip.
 
Israel says it's to investigate the use of white phosphorus in Gaza
 
The death toll already exceeds 1300, even as buildings still smolder and few of the thousands of erstwhile apartment buildings and houses now rubble fields strewn throughout Gaza has been fully excavated.
 
More than five thousand bear physical wounds; more than a hundred thousand are homeless; more than a third of the victims children; and that's just the beginning.
 
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A Good Man Goes to Guantanamo Bay

One Good Man Goes to Gitmo
by Scott Horton
Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias has been appointed as a JAG prosecutor for the Gitmo cases. Iglesias, a Native American and 24-year Navy veteran with the rank of captain, rose to national prominence with the U.S. attorney’s scandal.
 
His appointment marks a distinct upgrade to the quality and caliber of the prosecution effort, which recently has been beset with controversy concerning its independence.
 
Six Gitmo prosecutors have resigned or requested reassignment, many noting that political officials of the Bush Administration improperly interfered with their management of the cases or suggested the existence of vital evidence which was being withheld from the defense.
 
 
 
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Dammed Nation

Dam Nation
by Mickey Z.
Every morning when I awake, I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam,” Derrick Jensen writes. “I’ve written books and done activism, but it is neither a lack of words nor activism that is killing salmon here in the Northwest. It’s the dams. Anyone who knows anything about salmon knows the dams must go. Anyone who knows anything about politics knows the dams will stay.”

To that, I’ll add: Anyone who knows anything about hydroelectric dams comprehends and laments the damage they cause: From climate change to the destruction of rivers to human displacement to disappearing salmon…and beyond. As Jacques Leslie, author of Deep Water: The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment, points out: “The world’s dams have shifted so much weight that geophysicists believe they have slightly altered the speed of the earth’s rotation, the tilt of its axis, and the shape of its gravitational field.”
 
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What Will Obama Inherit?

The Day the Earth Still Stood: What Will Obama Inherit?
By Tom Engelhardt
Inauguration day!

Gazillions of Americans descended on Washington. The rest of us were watching on TV or checking out streaming video on our computers. No one was paying attention to anything else. Every pundit in sight was nattering away all day long, as they will tomorrow and, undoubtedly, the next day about whatever comes to mind until we get bored. And in the morning, when this post is still hanging around in your inbox, you'll be reading your newspaper on… well, you know… the same things: Obama's speech! So many inaugural balls! Etc., etc.

So I'm thinking of this post as a freebie, a way to lay out a little news about the world that no one will notice. And all I can say -- for those of you who aren't reading this anyway, and in the spirit of the clunky 1951 sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still -- is: Klaatu barada nikto!

Okay, no actual translation of that phrase (to the best of Wikipedia's knowledge) exists. We do know that, when invoked, the three words acted as a kind of "fail-safe" device, essentially disarming the super-robot Gort (which arrived on the Washington Mall by spacecraft with the alien Klaatu). That was no small thing, since Gort was capable not just of melting down tanks but possibly of ending life on this planet. Still, I remain convinced, based on no evidence whatsoever, that the phrase could also mean: "Whew! We're still here!"
 
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Mr. Obama, Tear Down These Walls!

Obama Supporters in DC Want Bush Arrested
by David Swanson
Sunday evening I spoke on a panel in Washington, D.C., about war crimes, and in walked a group of spirited activists led by Laurie Arbeiter wearing "Arrest Bush" sweatshirts and carrying "Arrest Bush" signs, and they were absolutely dumfounded by what they had just experienced.
 
 
 
They'd spent the day at the train station in D.C. and on the streets of D.C. as excited Obama celebrators poured in by the tens of thousands, and they'd been unable to walk a dozen steps without people stopping them to have their photo taken with an "Arrest Bush" sign.

 
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Gaza: Right to Remain Unsilent

Not to Remain Silent
by Jim Miles
I write simply not to remain silent in the face of U.S. and Israeli aggression against the Palestinian population in general, and the Gaza population in particular.  

Where to start?  There are so many writers and spokespersons appearing regularly on the internet alternative media that speak clearly, passionately, and knowledgeably about the Israeli atrocities in Gaza.  On the regular media, the corporate controlled agenda continues its endless reiterations of the Israeli line that their purpose militarily is to stop Hamas’ rockets, a position grievously out of context and so contrary to the obvious war crimes being committed against the people of Gaza. 
 
The governments of the west, part and parcel of the same agenda, proffer up political platitudes about regretting civilian casualties, about proportionality, about the right of Israel to defend itself.  The reports themselves disingenuously seek “balance” by equating the ineffective and feeble rocket attacks with the thunderous bombardment of U.S. Hellfire missiles fired from U.S. helicopters and war planes, the use of phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs, and other modern creations of “precision” warfare.  
 
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Inauguration Nauseum

Inauguration Ad Nauseum
by Christopher Ketcham
The American presidency in its outward show and innermost tendency has since World War II increasingly shown all the markings of monarchy. The president is hovered over and catered to by hundreds of aids and sycophants, his every whim answered at notice. He enjoys a private army in the guise of the paramilitaries in the intelligence agencies. He lives in a “White House” that is itself a court contained in a bubble where the troubles of the average man cannot penetrate.
 
He certainly does not walk often among the people, but when he does, he allows the people to touch him as they would a king, the black-suited guard walling him off, his contempt expressed in direct proportion to the ceremony, noise, trumpets, curtains, light, music, and entertainments meant to ensure that we understand this is no mere man but an ur-expression of power itself.

Hence, the pomp of the presidential inauguration, which now, under Barack Obama, is expected to become the most expensive in US history. One estimate is that the total cost for the festivities of January 20, and in the days running up to it and after, will rise above $150 million. (By contrast, the 2005 swearing-in of George W. Bush, as profligate an executive as ever imagined, cost $42 million.)
 
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Flatlanders Come to the Mountain

Wiping the Forest off the Map
by Zoe Blunt
Please join us Wednesday, January 21 from 4:30 to 7 pm in Langford, as we bear witness to new plans to bulldoze and subdivide the south side of SPAET (Skirt) Mountain. The city is promoting more development on the Bear Mountain Parkway, directly uphill from the Bear Mountain Interchange (Highway 1 west of Spencer Road.) This development will wipe out some of the remaining traditional sites on the mountain, including the Guardian Rocks and the canyon.
 
Langford Open House on Development News advisory - for immediate release. Jan 20, 2009 Contact: Zoe Blunt 250-885-8219 (phone is fixed now) Photo ops: Presentation and maps, developers, environmentalists, etc. Wed Jan 21, 4:30 - 7 pm, West Shore Ballroom of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 829 McCallum Road off Millstream (north of Highway 1 in Langford.)
 
On the ridge above the development area stands SPAET Cave, which was blasted open in late 2006 during construction of the Bear Mountain golf course. In the past year, natural wetlands on the slope were filled with tonnes of broken rock while watercourses were diverted into culverts, leading to flooding and erosion below the interchange site. Flagging tape and survey stakes cover the hillside, and it appears that clearing of Garry Oak and arbutus groves could begin at any time.
 
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Flash: Gordon Brown to the Rescue...of Israel

PM Gordon Brown, Here Is My Shopping List
by Gilad Atzmon
Gordon Brown the British PM has managed to come up yesterday with one of his most immoral and irresponsible announcements so far. In his desperate attempt to appease notorious Israeli war criminal leadership, Brown pleaded to redeploy the British Navy in the region.  “We'll send Royal Navy to help fight (weapon) smuggling,” said the British PM.

Mr. PM, can’t you see for yourself the total carnage inflicted on the innocent Palestinian civilians by the IDF?  Didn’t you follow, like the rest of us, the horrendous indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians perpetrated by the Israel army while being fully supported by the Israeli Jewish population? Did you also manage to miss the repeated Israeli usage of unconventional weapons against innocent civilians? Did you fail to learn about the repeating reports of Israeli bombardments of UN refugee centres?
 
 
 
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Act to Restore the Constitution

Obama and Congress Must Act to Restore the Constitution
by Dave Lindorff
The calls for a reckoning for the criminals of the Bush/Cheney administration are growing by the day, as the final few days of the Bush presidency tick down, and as new evidence of their crimes keep pouring out of the deflating gas bag that was the Bush White House.

For years, the Democrats in Congress, with a few notable exceptions, have sat on their hands, allowing the ongoing destruction of the Constitution, of the US military, of the nation’s reputation, and of the rule of law, as well as of the institution of Congress itself, by a cabal of Republicans in the White House, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, who have sought to establish an executive-led government that answered only to itself.

Obama, running for the White House, initially talked of restoring the constitutional order, and of prosecuting crimes where they had occurred, much as he talked of ending the war in Iraq. But now, as he increasingly assumes the role of President, he is backing away from that kind of talk, with plans instead to extend the war and occupation in Iraq for years, while actually expanding the war in Afghanistan, and to give the outgoing administration of criminals and Constitution-wreckers a free pass, in the name of “letting bygones be bygones.”
 
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