Archive for August 14th, 2008

it’s a brave new world

by betmo @ 9:03 PM EDT

where future wars will be fought with mind drugs

so, let’s connect the dots with this one shall we? big pharma- check, defense industry- check, torture department- check, mental health services (see big pharma)- check. is there enough money in the world to fill these coffers?

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~Ode to Duhbya~

by Geezer Power…12:18 pm

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By- Suzie-Q @ 12:30 PM MST

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How Many Iraqs And Afghanistans Lie Ahead?

By- Suzie-Q @ 11:30 AM MST

The Long War: How Many Iraqs and Afghanistans Lie Ahead?

By Andrew Bacevich, Tomdispatch.com. Posted August 14, 2008

The Pentagonization of the United States shows no sign of slowing down.

All you really need to know is that, at Robert Gates’s Pentagon, they’re still high on the term “the Long War.” It’s a phrase that first crept into our official vocabulary back in 2002, but was popularized by CENTCOM commander John Abizaid, in 2004 — already a fairly long(-war-)time ago. Now, Secretary of Defense Gates himself is plugging the term, as he did in April at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, quoting no less an authority than Leon Trotsky:

“What has been called the Long War is likely to be many years of persistent, engaged combat all around the world in differing degrees of size and intensity. This generational campaign cannot be wished away or put on a timetable. There are no exit strategies. To paraphrase the Bolshevik Leon Trotsky, we may not be interested in the Long War, but the Long War is interested in us.”

The Long War has also made it front and center in the new “national defense strategy,” which is essentially a call to prepare for a future of two, three, many Afghanistans. (“For the foreseeable future, winning the Long War against violent extremist movements will be the central objective of the U.S.”) If you thought for a moment that in the next presidency some portion of those many billions of dollars now being sucked into the black holes of Iraq and Afghanistan was about to go into rebuilding American infrastructure or some other frivolous task, think again. Just read between the lines of that new national defense strategy document where funding for future conventional wars against “rising powers” is to be maintained, while funding for “irregular warfare” is to rise. The Pentagonization of the U.S., in other words, shows no sign of slowing down. Here, by the way, is the emphasis in the new Gates Doctrine — from a recent Pentagon briefing by the secretary of defense — that should make us all worry. “The principal challenge, therefore, is how to ensure that the capabilities gained and counterinsurgency lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the lessons re-learned from other places where we have engaged in irregular warfare over the last two decades, are institutionalized within the defense establishment.” Back to the future?

And here’s a riddle for our moment: How long is a Long War, when you’ve been there before (as were, in the case of Afghanistan, Alexander the Great, the imperial Brits, and the Soviets)? On the illusions of victory and the many miscalculations of the Bush administration when it came to the nature of American military power, no one in recent years has been more incisive than Andrew Bacevich, who experienced an earlier version of the Long War firsthand in Vietnam. His new book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, has just been published. Short, sharp, to the point, it should be the book of the election season, if only anyone in power, or who might come to power, were listening. (The following piece, the first of two parts this week at Tomdispatch, is adapted from section three of that book, “The Military Crisis.”) But if you want the measure of our strange, dystopian moment, Barack Obama reportedly has a team of 300 foreign policy advisers — just about everyone ever found, however brain-dead, in a Democratic presidential rolodex — and yet Bacevich’s name isn’t among them. What else do we need to know? — Intro by TomDispatch editor Tom Engelhardt


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Can Obama Bridge America’s Wall of Ignominy?

Sudhan @1249 CET

Robert Weitzel | August 14, 2008

“The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.”
–Barack Obama

When Barack Obama visited Germany in July, he stood at the site where a wall once separated East and West Berlin. With his usual eloquence he praised the crowd of 200,000 for having had the courage to tear that wall down. He reminded them that the “greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us one from the other.”

The day before his Berlin speech Obama was in Israel standing less than two miles from the 400-mile-long apartheid wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. He did not call on Israeli courage to tear their wall down, nor did he mention that wall to his Berlin audience.

I recently wrote about Obama’s Berlin speech and his politically “prudent” silence regarding Israel’s apartheid wall. I challenged him to walk his talk should he be elected president and work to tear down the world’s most unconscionable wall.

Responding to that piece in an email, Eric Murillo, an activist from El Paso, Texas, reminded me that “there is another wall that exists on the US/Mexican border . . . this wall is still under construction . . .THIS wall is HERE! . . . Must we ignore it?”

Mr. Murillo was referring to the 700-mile-long, $2.2 billion wall along the US/Mexico border that will, in Obama’s Kingesque prose, “separate us one from the other.”

I should mention that Senator Obama voted for the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which authorized the construction of the five segments of the new wall along the 1,952-mile border between the United States and Mexico.

I should mention also that Kollsman Inc., an American-based subsidiary of the Israeli company, Elbit Systems Ltd., which supplies the surveillance and security technology for its apartheid wall, was awarded a contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supply “technology . . . to deter and prevent crossings . . . along the US borders with Canada and Mexico.”

It seems American taxpayers, who are bankrolling Israel’s million-dollar-a-mile apartheid wall with an annual contribution of $3 billion in economic and military aide (one-sixth of U.S. foreign aid budget), will be paying an Israeli company to help build our border wall using the experience and expertise the American nickel has already paid for—such is the way of boondoggles.

Mr. Murillo wishes America’s million-dollar-a-mile border wall was a mere boondoggle. For him it is a “wall of ignominy,” a phrase coined by Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox. It is “concrete” evidence that the economic globalization policies championed by the Clinton and Bush administrations open borders for the “migration” of multinational corporate profits and natural resources to “countries with the most” from “those with the least,” but closes borders to migration of those whose livelihoods have been diminished or destroyed by globalization’s cynical reality.

Predictably then, the numbers of illegal immigrants from Mexico increased exponentially after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the early 1990s.

Raising a family’s economic status ten-fold by illegally entering the United States—and that’s assuming only minimum wage or less—is a powerful incentive to attempt the arduous, if not deadly, desert border crossing. Consider for a moment why swarms of Canucks are not illegally crossing our pine-forested northern borders each year.

Just as Israel’s American financed apartheid wall separates lives and livelihoods and imprisons dreams, so goes America’s Israeli built “wall of ignominy.”

Calexico, California, a community of 27,000, has a mutual aid agreement with Mexicali, just across the border. These two communities not only support each other with police and fire protection, but their economies are interdependent as well. Calexico’s stores depend on Mexican shoppers. “If we don’t have Mexico, we don’t have Calexico,” said former Calexico Mayor Alex Perrone.

This is not an isolated border relationship. It is one that occurs along the entire 1952-mile border. Mike Allen, an executive vice president with the Economic Development Corporation of McAllen, Texas, a community of 131,000 along the US/Mexico border, said, “Every single mayor from Brownsville to El Paso is against it [border wall].” He went on to say, “This will be a tremendous waste of money, and it will not stop [illegal] immigration. People will just go around it.”

Jeff Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington D.C., estimated that as many as one-third of the eleven million illegal immigrants in the United States in 2005 did not hop over or tunnel under or walk around a border wall. They entered the country legally on visitor, student, or work visas and stayed after their visas had expired. All nineteen of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country this way.

It is not “Israel-lite” walls we should be constructing between “[ourselves] with the most and those with the least.” We should be constructing bridges to economic parity that will allow “those with the least” to cross over to a more secure, fulfilling future for themselves and their families without having to illegally cross a national border.

Obama’s good looks and charisma and cadenced speechifying cannot help but remind one of John Kennedy. Hopefully, before he makes another speech about tearing down walls he will read Kennedy’s “Alliance for Progress” and begin building bridges so that its vision of a “hemisphere where all men can hope for a suitable standard of living and all can live out their lives in dignity and in freedom” has a chance to finally be realized.

In such a hemisphere, people will be content to remain in the country where their roots are secured by the generations buried there.

Biography: Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com

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hard to wrap my mind around

by betmo

there are many things in this world i doubt i will ever understand. they don’t make sense to me- and no amount of explaining away makes it clearer to me. wars and deliberate hierarchies of haves and have nots- are a couple of examples. the biggest one that i can’t wrap my mind around is the denial of global climate change. or perhaps ‘willful ignoring’ is a better term- i borrowed that from a buddhist author in the book i am reading. how else to explain this?

amazon rainforest threatened by new oil and gas exploration

riches in the arctic: the new oil race

i think it’s fantastic that most nations of the world pay lip service to global climate change and the effects oil, coal, gas and other pollutants have on it– and that’s all it is. ‘blah, blah, blah, corn based ethanol, blah, blah, blah’- and then it’s on to more oil and gas drilling.

is this why the neocons are working so hard to destroy the planet? perhaps they don’t want it to be left to non caucasians? guess that explains ‘quiverfull’ projects, gated communities and megachurches.

this is why i don’t ever think i will be a buddhist.  it is difficult to work through the loathing, disgust, and hatred i feel at people like this.

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anthony @ 11:26 BST

Tania Branigan and Jonathan Watts | London Guardian | Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Police in Beijing roughed up and detained a British journalist after he covered a Free Tibet protest close to the city’s main Olympic zone earlier today.

The incident appeared to be the clearest breach yet of the host nation’s promise of free media access during the Games.

John Ray, of Independent Television News, said he was pinned down by police, dragged along the ground and pushed into a police van.


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anthony @ 10:45 BST

Ministers want to re-write fundamental principle of English law to accommodate state secrecy

Steve Watson | Infowars.net | Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The British government has inserted provisions into a Counter-Terrorism Bill that would see centuries old principles of law and justice undermined and allow the government unprecedented powers to intervene in the workings of the judiciary.

The legislation would allow inquests to be held in secret without a jury and would grant the government the right to replace the coroner with their own appointee, should they deem it to be a matter of national security.

The Times of London has the story, pointing out that the change in law would also allow the Home Secretary (The British equivalent of Secretary of State) to “bar the public from inquests if it is deemed to be in the public interest”, a candidate for the award of most Orwellian phrase if ever there was one.

The report goes on to state:

It could be applied to inquests similar to those into the deaths of the weapons inspector David Kelly, “friendly-fire” military casualties or Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed. In future, inquests similar to that into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, which is due to start next month with 44 police officers giving evidence anonymously, could also be subject to the secrecy clause.

Lawyers, opposition MPs and pressure groups have told The Times that the move represents a fundamental breach of the right to a public inquiry into a death – a centuries-old mainstay of British justice.

The bill passed the House of Commons last month, without any mention of the measure which was overshadowed by debate surrounding the legal detention length of suspects in terror cases.


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