by Chris Floyd
How did Tony Blair react to his American partner's humiliation at the polls last week? By racheting up the "War on Terror" to new heights of fear and division, with panic-mongering speeches, more draconian security measures â€“ and a shocking "blood libel" against British Muslims. (This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.)
I. The Waters Ran Red
They say the fountain in London's Trafalgar Square turned the color of blood on Armistice Day last weekend, as Britons in their hundreds of thousands trudged out in the November gloom to comm emorate the end of the First World War, and lament the dead in all the wars thereafter.
But the turning of the water was no miracle, no divine judgment on the leader whose fateful partnership with George W. Bush is producing â€“ week after week, month after month, year after year â€“ fresh cause for future mourning. The color came from the thousands of fake poppies tossed into the fountain in what The Observer called "a spontaneous act of remembrance": an offering of the ubiquitous charity emblems worn by most of the population in the week leading up to the memorials.
In any case, Tony Blair never saw the vision of blood in the Square; he was in Hyde Park, with the Queen and other worthies, conducting formal ceremonies where no free action or unscripted word from the public was allowed to intrude. These offices of the dead were a fitting end to a week which saw Blair and his ministers launch a massive new fearmongering campaign, promising a "generation" of terror, war and tyrannical security measures in a "long and deep struggle" against his own nation's Muslim minority.
(That's right. You read that correctly. 2% OF EUROPE'S RICHEST FARMERS GET OVER 10 BILLION EUROS A YEAR IN HAND-OUTS FROM TAXPAYERS.)Add a comment
by Chris Floyd
As Washington waits with bated bipartisan breath to unwrap the shiny Christmas present known as "the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group," it becomes more and more obvious that the newly empowered Democrats are walking into a trap.
But it's not an artful contrivance prepared for their demise by the infinitely devious Karl Rove -- the "political genius" who, since his appearance on the national stage, has managed to lose two elections (2000 and 2004) and eke out very narrow, dubious victories in two others. (And it wasn't Rove who cheated Bush into office in 2000, so that doesn't count even as a technical KO for him. The post-election coup d'etat was directed by Bush family fixer James Baker -- now chairman of the, er, Iraq Study Group.)
No, the trap awaiting the Democrats has been laid by reality itself. As so often noted here before, there is no good solution to the blood-puking hell that George W. Bush has wrought in Iraq. There is no path out of this killing field that won't involve more slaughter, more suffering, more hate, more grief. No "bipartisan panel" â€“ certainly not one led by the lifelong peddler of Bush Family snake oil, Jim Baker, and the Democratic whitewasher for all seasons, Lee Hamilton â€“ is going to find some new, unlooked-for way to untangle this knotted gut. They can only sift through the same reality that we all can see. The options are extremely limited, and all of them have ugly consequences.
Writer and documentary-maker Edward Cox gives a mostly excellent analysis of the situation in a recent Guardian article, Same as it Ever Was. (He is, I think, off base in a brief look at the 2008 presidential election, but this is a minor point in a penetrating takedown of the wildly unrealistic expectations rising around the "Baker Commission.") Very briefly, the main choices break down this way:
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act".
"I don't want to be part of your revolution if I can't dance."
â€œThe illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.â€
---Henry Kissinger, New York Times, October 28, 1973
by Dave Lindorff
Forget all the talk about civility and compromise.
It's clear that President Bush and his aiders and abettors in the Congress are going to do their damndest to cover their tracks over the next few weeks, using their "lame duck" majorities in House and Senate to pass legislation, while they still can, protecting them as much as possible from future investigation and retaliation.
Bush clearly wants a bill granting him retroactive immunity for his crime of violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act--probably the surest path to his impeachment in a growing list of some dozen crimes against law and Constitution. He may push other actions insulating himself and his cohorts from future prosecution too, as he already did just before the election in ramming through a bill immunizing him against prosecution for authorizing torture.
While the Democrats won't have a majority in either branch of Congress until early January, when newly elected Democrats are sworn in and replace some 30 Republican members of the House and six members of the Senate, they have plenty of members already in place to perform a blocking action--particularly in the Senate, where the Democrats can fillibuster to death any bill they want by just keeping 40 of their 45 caucus members together.
by Walter Brasch
The ressignation of Donald Rumsfeld doesn't change the problem of a President who is incompetent and malevolent, nor is it likely to bring about a significant change in the Iraq policy.
by Shepherd Bliss
by Mike Whitney
Donald Rumsfeld never really understood the war he was fighting in Iraq. Thatâ€™s why the results have been so terrible. He liked to say that â€œthe war in Iraq is a test of willsâ€, but that just showsthat he had no idea what he was doing and was in way over his head.
War shouldnâ€™t be personalized; that just makes it a battle of egoswhich inevitably clouds oneâ€™s judgment. War is a means of using organized violence to achieve political objectives. Period. Rumsfeld never really grasped that point, so it was impossible for him to prevail. His statement just shows the shortsightedness of a man who is incapable of thinking politically and therefore wasn't able to appreciate the larger strategic goals.
For people like Rumsfeld, violence and deception are the natural corollaries of their distorted views; they become an end in themselves. That is not only tragic, but it also ensures failure. According to the recently released Lancet report, over 650,000 Iraqis have been killed in the conflict so far. This proves that Rumsfeld didnâ€™t know what he was doing so he simply ratcheted up the violence to conceal his ignorance. He had no plan for occupation, reconstruction, security, or victory. The whole thing was a sham predicated on his unflagging belief in over-whelming force. The outcome was not only predictable; it was predicted! Now, the country in a shambles, the society is irretrievably ripped apart, and the entire project is in ruins.
In his parting statement, Rumsfeld reiterated his belief that we are facing a â€œnew kind of enemyâ€ in a â€œnew kind of warâ€. But this is just more buck-passing from a guy who wouldnâ€™t listen to his subordinates and was thoroughly convinced of his own genius. Anyone who has seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib and Falluja are already familiar with Rumsfeldâ€™s genius and his insatiable appetite for violence. They also know that, to great extent, he is fully responsible for the unspeakable tragedy that is currently unfolding in Iraq.
by Mickey Z.
"A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way."
- John Tudor
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
WMDs ... the Saddam/Osama connection ... we will be greeted as liberators
... mission accomplished...
The power of suggestion vs. reality. Gossip vs. guns. Rumors instead of demonstrations. Could this be a viable tool for dissent? Ani DiFranco sez:
"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right" (but don't let Alberto Gonzalez hear you say that).
Elvis is alive and well; he's sharing a summerhouse in the Hamptons with Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, and Jim Morrison.
With Ani in mind, I thought I'd resurrect an old idea of mine: What would happen if as many people as possible - I'm talking a potential for millions - were to log onto chat rooms, comment boards, etc. and engage in a little wishful thinking? Instead of all those hoaxes about missing children, imagine a steady supply of rumors that George W. Bush is about to propose universal health care.
Picture hundreds of thousands of e-mails crisscrossing the Web claiming to know that Oregon is about secede from the U.S. and name Ralph Nader as its president.
Dick Cheney has shot another lawyer. Hillary Clinton has joined the Green Party. Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld were arrested for war crimes on a visit to Paris. Michael Moore turned vegan. Bill O'Reilly has the human form of Mad Cow Disease. The Pope has come out of the closet. Pick any one you like and there could be postings at every Craig's List in every city-every minute of every day.
Performance art as protest. Gossip as direct action.
What if word flooded media outlets of a secret plan by the U.S. government to return some land to the indigenous population? It would have to reported at some point and thus, the concept of America as "occupied territory" would have its fifteen minutes...at least.
Jack Ruby was the mastermind behind 9/11.
The Situationists urged: "Trade your boredom for chaos." Could chaos be created if millions in America and tens of millions worldwide spread the rumor that Leonard Peltier was to be pardoned on December 31, 2006? I'm talking about relentless, hourly rumors...day after day. Letters to the editor. E-mails to CNN and the White House. Posters, stickers, fliers...billboards? Whatever means at our disposal. "From each according to his/her abilities," I believe it goes.
Hey, did you hear? Leonard Peltier will be free by the end of the year? Yeah, Bush is trying to appease all those who voted Democrat and show that he's not such a hardass. Tell everyone you know. This is amazing news. Well, that's what the Rumor Club is saying. What's the Rumor Club? Well, the first rule of Rumor Club is...well, you know.
Spread the word: a little chaos could go a long, long way.
by Andrew Bard Schmookler
Confronting the Paradox
The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years, has
risen to ascendancy in America. Finding the optimal strategy for
achieving this is no small challenge.
In part, itâ€™s a challenge because, in matters of the spirit, the reality is always so complex and many layered that it is beyond our capabilities to understand fully. In part, itâ€™s because when a cultural system has been so swept up into pathology as ours has lately in America, the disease is likely to have infiltrated even the thoughts and feelings of those who wish to cure the system. It behooves us, therefore, not to be driven by our impulses but to think and proceed with care.
One of the complexities of the present challenge is that we are now called upon to accomplish two things simultaneously which are in contradiction with each other. On the one hand, we must wage and win the battle against the Bushite forces, taking away their power, discrediting them in the eyes of the public, driving the evil spirit they represent back into the recesses of the American cultural system. On the other hand, we must erase the deep and destructive imprint these forces have left on America, and an important part of that imprint is the pervasiveness of conflict and division in our social and political processes.
We must, that is, both wage war and build peace.
On the one hand, there is good reason for the passion that many of us feel about going after these Bushites to bring them low. We are rightly enraged at their lies, their crimes, their arrogance, their wanton disregard of any value other than sating their lust for power and wealth without limits. It is doubtful that any holders of the highest offices of the land have ever, in the course of more than two centuries of American history, been more deserving of impeachment. And so lawless has this administration been that even impeachment may not satisfy all the rightful demands of justice.