Showing posts from April, 2022

Tony Wood | Matrix of War | excerpts

"Sufficiently aware of Russian concerns to hold back from offering Ukraine and Georgia an immediate path to membership, the Bush administration overrode French and German misgivings to insist that the process would advance all the same. This left the two aspirant states in a waiting room, with none of the supposed benefits of membership, while continuing to amplify Russian concerns. Imposed by Washington from the safe distance of 5,000 miles, this policy course knowingly placed the populations of Georgia and Ukraine in danger, a shameful strategic calculation for which only non-NATO members have so far been made to pay the price." [emphasis mine: kjl]     The Kremlin bears the responsibility for unleashing this war, and regardless of the outcome it will carry a heavy moral burden for the destruction it has already caused. Amid a broad surge of sympathy for Ukraine and condemnation of Putin - briefly expressed in Russia too, by a burst of spontaneous anti-war demonst

Mallory McMorrow | full video and text of comments to the Michigan Senate | April 19, 2022

      Full text of Michigan state Senator Mallory McMorrow's comments to the Michigan Senate April 19, 2022:   Thank you Mr. President. I didn't expect to wake up yesterday to the news that the Senator from the 22nd District had overnight accused me, by name, of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself. So I sat on it for awhile wondering "why me?" And then I realized: because I am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme. Because you can't claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of, quote, parental rights, if another parent is standing up to say "no."   So then what? Then you dehumanize and marginalize me. You say that I'm one of them . You say "she's a groomer," "she supports pedophilia," "she wants children to believe that they're responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they're white." Well here's a little bit of  backgr

A short essay on democracy and power | kjl

  Joseph Keppler, The Bosses of the Senate, Puck magazine, 1889. Keppler's cartoon has the US Senate with an open door marked " entrance for monopolists ." The " peoples' entrance " is boarded up and marked " closed ." Another sign reads, " this is a senate of the monopolists, by the monopolists, and for the monopolists! " Keppler's reference is to monopolists, but I think the critique extends to all domination where inappropriate power is exercised outside the bounds of democratic controls.   Throughout history private, not public power has tended to dominate the institutions that shape and direct societies. Although we are currently deeply immersed in a corporate-dominated environment that denounces any suggestion that constraints on concentrated private power should even be looked at, there is no law of nature that says that a state of acute inequality of resources and opportunity across broad populations is an inherent, perm

Robert Caro | on the US Senate, the filibuster, civil and social rights in the late 1940's | Master of the Senate excerpt

     In 1948, President Truman ran against the "Do-Nothing Eightieth Congress" - how deep a chord he hit when on his come-from-behind cross-country whistlestop tour he said it was "run by a bunch of old mossbacks still living back in the 1890s" was demonstrated by the election results (and by the roars of approval when he told audiences, "After a new Congress is chosen, maybe we'll get one that will work in the interests of the people and not the interests of the men who have all the money"). When, before the election, in a political masterstroke, he called Congress into special session, demanding that it pass some of the legislation he had advocated (and that the Republican platform had advocated, too), GOP national campaign manager Herbert Brownell told congressional Republicans that it might be a good idea to make at least a gesture at passing some of that legislation, particularly some relating to civil rights, since the black vote wa

Chomsky | US Policy Toward Russia Is Blocking Paths to De-escalation in Ukraine | interview published April 7, 2022

It is, after all, not easy for people in the civilized world — increasingly, the Global South — to be impressed by the “moral outrage” of Western intellectuals who just a few years ago, when all the horrific facts were in, were enthusiastically applauding the success of the invasion of Iraq, spouting pieties about noble intentions that would have embarrassed the most abject apparatchik. And we can just imagine the reaction when they read the pious invocation of the Nuremberg judgment by the editors of The New York Times , who are just now coming to recognize that, “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” The accumulated evil includes the instigation of ethnic conflict that has torn apart not only Iraq but the whole region, the horrors of ISIS, and much more. Not, of course, what the edi

Gideon Levy | A Perspective From the Palestinian Side on the Terror Attack | published April 10, 2022

"Raad Hazem was born on Kaf Tet B’November, 1993 – November 29, the date of the 1947 United Nations vote to partition Mandatory Palestine. He was born into the hope of the Oslo Accords and grew up in the catastrophe of Operation Defensive Shield. He was nine when the Israeli tanks invaded his refugee camp, destroyed its center and killed 56 of its inhabitants. This boy saw in the streets bodies that could not be buried until the army left, tanks that crushed the homes and cars of residents whose lives were wretched and a bulldozer that flattened the camp and 'turned it into Teddy Stadium' – the home field of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, whose most vocal supporters are the notoriously anti-Arab La Familia group – as the digger’s driver bragged." A Perspective From the Palestinian Side on the Terror Attack Gideon Levy Ha'aretz , April 10, 2022 (GMT +3) Note: Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist and author who worked from 1978 to 1982 as and aide and spokesman f

Jeremy Scahill | The U.S. Has Its Own Agenda Against Russia | published April 1, 2022

"It should not be assumed that the strategies and actions being employed by Washington and its allies in their proxy war against Moscow will always be in the best interest of Ukraine or its people. Likewise, Ukraine’s calls for military support and action from the West — however justifiable and sincere they are — may not be in the best interest of the rest of the world, particularly if they increase the likelihood of nuclear war or World War III. The desire to avoid this scenario by advocating for a negotiated solution to the war that addresses Russia’s stated concerns or its rationale for the invasion is not a capitulation to Putin and it is not appeasement. It is common sense."   The U.S. Has Its Own Agenda Against Russia: Ukraine is ground zero for the expansion of the U.S.-Russia proxy war   Note:   This article is published at The Intercept . There's no paywall but to access the site an email address (to subscribe you to their newsletter) is required or, as they reco

Barrett Brown | Keep Rootin' for Putin - Thomas Friedman's Five Worst Predictions | excerpts

"In 2001, Friedman advised the American citizenry to 'keep rootin' for Putin,' hailing the K.G.B. veteran as 'Russia's first Deng Xiaoping' and a strong force for reform. Three years later, Friedman announced in his most awkward prose that 'I have a Tilt Theory of History,' and called Russia a 'huge nation' (this part checks out) 'that was tilted in the wrong direction and is now tilted in the right direction' with regards to free speech, the rule of law, and the like. In 2007, Friedman finally noticed that Russia cannot even properly be termed a democracy and promptly wrote a column to this effect." Thomas Friedman's Five Worst Predictions, Vanity Fair , March 2009   A longer excerpt from Brown on the topic:   The Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on New year's Eve of 1991, replaced in large part by the Russian Federation. Such a transition as this was without precedent, although the country itself was still over

Chomsky | Russia’s War Against Ukraine Has Accelerated the Doomsday Clock | interview published March 17, 2022

"By moving on to criminal aggression, [Putin] carried a step forward the annual mobilizations on Ukraine’s borders in an effort to elicit some attention to his unanswered calls to consider Russia’s security concerns, which are recognized as significant by a host of top U.S. diplomats, CIA directors, and numerous others who have warned Washington of the foolishness of ignoring these concerns."   full text of interview: Russia’s War Against Ukraine Has Accelerated the Doomsday Clock  

Chomsky | Let’s Focus on Preventing Nuclear War, Rather Than Debating “Just War” | interview published March 24, 2022

"The [Sept 1, 2021 joint] statement was another purposeful exercise in poking the bear in the eye. It is another contribution to a process that NATO (meaning Washington) has been perfecting since Bill Clinton’s 1998 violation of George H.W. Bush’s firm pledge not to expand NATO to the East, a decision that elicited strong warnings from high-level diplomats from George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, Jack Matlock, (current CIA Director) William Burns, and many others, and led Defense Secretary William Perry to come close to resigning in protest, joined by a long list of others with eyes open. That’s of course in addition to the aggressive actions that struck directly at Russia’s concerns (Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and lesser crimes), conducted in such a way as to maximize the humiliation."   Chomsky: Let’s Focus on Preventing Nuclear War, Rather Than Debating “Just War”   Sept 1, 2021 Joint Statement on the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership