Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3071 (since 2010-02-17 01:44:49)

Keith

Radical dissident. Retired.

Website: http://saskck.blogspot.com

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  • Dershowitz wants MJ Rosenberg fired for daring to stop Iran war push
    • TETA- “…the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples.”

      Only Chas Freeman could attempt to turn a mass-murdering Uncle Sam into Snow White. It is one thing to criticize Zionism and Israel, quite another to shamelessly whitewash US imperial behavior. US contempt for international law when it would interfere with US warmongering should be beyond dispute. Uncle Sam’s body count exceeds Israel’s by orders of magnitude.

  • NGO 'industry': a boon or bane in Gaza?
    • PAM BAILY- This is a welcome post on a neglected subject. Thanks. Now a few comments.

      “In fact, I believe that by cutting Hamas off from so many of the functions of normal governments — including the attendant ability to create jobs and raise revenue — we have virtually forced it to become as extreme as some of its elements now are.”

      This is standard operating procedure for dealing with people we want to demonize. When Castro took over in Cuba, the US virtually forced him to rely on the Soviets so that we could claim he was a Red Threat.

      NGOs can usefully be divided into three groups. The worst are ones like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID which are NGOs in name only. Richard Falk refers to them as IGOs, informal governmental organizations, and they serve the foreign policy designs of their respective government. link to zcommunications.org The next worse are the big NGOs which follow the guidelines of their fat cat benefactors, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, anything connected with George Soros. You can probably throw in Human Rights Watch and perhaps Amnesty International, frequently useful, sometimes not.

      The best bet are the smaller NGOs, however, they are a mixed bag, frequently an unknown quantity. Worse, as you mention, there is the threat of the US accusing US contributors of “funding terrorism” and locking critics up and seizing assets under our recent draconian “anti-terror” laws and precedents. Our options increasingly limited as we descend into a type of police state.

      Taken as a whole, it seems to me that NGOs are a modern, secular version of missionaries. Many do demonstrably good deeds which, nonetheless, support and reinforce imperial policy. They are an essential feature of imperial control and repression.

      As an aside, any opinions on MADRE?

  • Hoenlein says irresponsible 'J Street' threatens Jewish unity (and survival)
    • Let me ad something here. Please keep in mind that Hoenlein is a member of the Zionist power elite. As such, his public pronouncements do not represent straight talk. What he says for the public needs to viewed as a stimulus designed to elicit a desired response. He is not trying to accurately describe anything. His goal is to reinforce Zionist ideology.

    • “Hoenlein: Unity has always been vital throughout Jewish history.”

      Up until about two-hundred years ago, Jewish unity was achieved through the internal solidarity created by adherence to Classical Judaism. The splintering of Jews into Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed and secular, greatly weakened this “unity.” Zionism is the modern attempt to reestablish Jewish unity through a Jewish version of blood and soil nationalism centered on the Jewish state of Israel. Jewish elites evidently prosper due to Jewish unity, aka kinship. Zionist Jewish elites strongly support Israel and Zionism as a means of maintaining strong internal cohesion. The whole business has a strong totalitarian emphasis, deviation is considered treasonous and not tolerated. Zionist actions and opinions are guided by the logic of the Zionist ideology and are rarely swayed by rational discourse.

  • Vets for Peace to Obama: Talk sense to Netanyahu to avoid war with Iran
    • KAPOK- “Not too impressed with these anti-war vets.”

      Throwing some mighty derogatory allegations around. The two biggest anti-war veterans organizations are Viet Nam Veterans against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Care to share with us the number of members who “weren’t so anti-war when it came to getting their college stipend or seed money for a landscaping firm paid for in the blood of inoffensive foreigners.”? How about Bradley Manning? Is he also gaming the system? My impression is that veterans opposition to war has been at least as effective as non-veterans opposition to war. Frequently more so.

  • Sanity check on Iran
    • WALID- “People have to be naive to believe this BS about the US not wanting to see Iran bombed while the mad Netanyahu is dying to do it.”

      I agree completely. Iran is of critical importance to empire and to the transition to a transnational empire. If empire can effect favorable regime change, control will be complete, virtually unchallengeable, at least in the short run. If not, things get complicated. Real complicated. We are at an extraordinarily dangerous period. This is bigger than Israel. Much bigger.

  • 2013 US budget: 'difficult cuts' for Americans, jackpot for Israel
    • The slight increase in military “aid” to Israel is entirely consistent with the slight increase in overall US “defense” spending. The intent of neoliberalism is to eliminate any vestige of a social safety net while maintaining military Keyensianism. The class war has turned into a blitzkrieg.

  • Greenwald: Indefinite detention policies have become normalized legally, politically and culturally in Israel and the US
    • PABELMONT- I thought that you might be interested in the following quote:

      "Modern fascism should be properly called corporatism, since it is the merger of state, military and corporate power." (Benito Mussolini)

  • Wael Ghonim at Harvard: a key figure of the Egyptian revolution speaks truth to U.S. power
    • PIOTR- "There is a reasonable hope that this will end this year."

      Egypt is a US vassal state and will likely remain one, outward appearances notwithstanding.

    • PIOTR- "Civic organizations in “imperfect democracies” can use some help."

      Ah, the white man's burden endures. Is there no rest fot the weary?

    • “Members of pro-democracy groups such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) are brought to trial in Egypt and the U.S. is threatening to cut $1.5 billion in foreign aid.”

      Anyone who describes the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute as “pro-democracy groups” is not to be taken seriously. Both receive primary funding from the National Endowment for Democracy created by the Reagan administration to do overtly what the CIA previously did covertly.

      “He urges us to recognize that the biggest achievement of the revolution has been to allow for democratic turnover to take place.”

      What rubbish. The army is still calling the shots. The “revolution” has been successfully contained as was probably inevitable. The degree of control that empire exerts over Egypt is much too strong for an ad hoc uprising to succeed. A “revolutionary hero” Google manager giving a talk at Harvard should be a tip off.

  • BDS interview fallout: Finkelstein 'showed his own fear of the paradigm shift in discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'
    • YOUSTRULY- The situation with Iran is absolutely crucial to how the Israel/Palestine question resolves itself. The empire has a small window of opportunity to preempt the formation of an Iran/Russia/China counter hegemonic block. My intuitive best guess is that US/Israel will initiate a decisive confrontation with Iran later this year or early next, or not at all. If US/Israel is successful in causing regime change in Iran, Russia and China will back off and the empire will proceed to morph into a corporate/financial matrix of control. If unsuccessful, there will be extreme turbulence particularly in the Middle East. In any event, I view the situation as extremely volatile, predictions basically guesses.

  • Happy Valentines Day: Anonymous takes down web sites for tear gas company and Bahrain government
  • Norman Finkelstein slams the BDS movement calling it 'a cult'
    • CLIFF- “Chomsky talks about how everyone was against a 2SS when it was possible and now pay lip service to it now, in the present, when it’s impossible.”

      Jamiesw is quite right. You are fundamentally misrepresenting Noam Chomsky. You provide a quote and a link. Your quote is selectively misleading. Chomsky clearly states that he initially advocated for a one state (bi-national) solution in opposition to a Jewish state. Between 1948 and 1967, the creation of Israel rendered bi-nationalism moot. Between 1967 and 1975, a bi-national position became tenable once again. In 1975, the PLO adopted the two state settlement as the official position and the international consensus crystallized around it. In your selective quote, the “it” Chomsky refers to is the bi-national settlement, not the two state settlement. Surely you must have been aware of this. Below I have attached a more complete quote obtained from the link you provided.

      “It’s now about 70 years that we have been advocating for what in the recent reincarnation is called the One State settlement. One State settlement, notice, not solution. A one state settlement, used to be called the bi-national settlement and if you think about it, yes, it’ll have to be a bi-national settlement. So that’s what I was doing when I was a young activist in the 1940s, opposed to a Jewish state. That’s continued without a break. And it’s kind of hard to miss. Since the late 1960s, a series of books, huge number of articles, constant talks all the time, thousands of them, interviews, all the same. Trying to work for a bi-national settlement, in opposition to a Jewish state.

      So in the pre-1948 period, this was straightforward, we do not want a Jewish state, let’s have a bi-national state. From 1948 to 1967 you could not sensibly pick that position, you were talking to yourself. 1967 it opened up again. There was an opportunity in 1967 to move towards some kind of a federal system which could then proceed further to closer integration, maybe become a true bi-national secular state.

      In 1975 Palestinian nationalism crystallised and appeared on the agenda, and the PLO, turned to a two state settlement, the huge overwhelming international consensus at that time for a two state settlement in the form that everyone knows. From 1967 to 1975 it was possible to advocate for it directly and it was anathema, hated, denounced, because it was threatening. It was threatening because it could be fulfilled and that would harm policy formation. So if it was noticed at all, it was denounced, vilified. From 1975 on you could still maintain this position but you have to face reality, it is going to have to be achieved in stages. There is only one proposal that I have ever heard, other than let’s all live in peace together, the one proposal that I know is, begin with the international consensus, the two states settlement. It will reduce the level of violence, the cycle of violence, it will open up possibilities for a closer interaction, which already to some extent takes place, even in today’s circumstances, commercial, cultural and other forms of interaction. That could lead to erosion of boundaries. That could move on to closer integration, and maybe something like the old concept of bi-national state.
      Now, I call it a settlement because I don’t think this is the end of the road” (Noam Chomsky) link to en.cubadebate.cu

    • Some additional thoughts regarding my comment at 11:35 pm on 2/14/12. Let us begin by noting that realistically the purpose of BDS is to call attention to the situation and communicate the facts in the hope that this will create public pressure on Israel (and the US) to cease its ongoing abuse of the Palestinians. As such, the BDS message is critically important. Ours is a righteous position and we need to aggressively communicate that. For starters, Israel, with US support, has illegally acquired and occupied territory by force and needs to withdraw from these occupied territories as specified in applicable UN resolutions. Period.

      As to the BDS position on the state of Israel, this is a golden opportunity to highlight the abnormality of the situation. Recognize Israel’s right to exist? Which Israel are we talking about? An expansionist, warmongering Jewish state which seeks to expand as much as possible, even so far as from the Nile to the Euphrates? Which ethnically cleanses the native inhabitants to make way for Jews from abroad enticed to immigrate with generous subsidies? No, we cannot recognize an expansionist, borderless state. Normal states have borders which delineate them and constrain them. Borders beyond which they acknowledge as being the territory of others which will be dealt with according to international law, not through violent aggression. But Israel acknowledges no official borders, the “green line” merely an armistice line, not an official border. Israel is the only UN member state without official borders, the 1949 armistice line a de facto substitute, its admission the result primarily of US pressure. How can anyone expect the Palestinians to recognize the borders of a state which refuses to establish official borders?

      When anyone asks for recognition of Israel, the response should be to ask for a map of Israel with the official borders which Israel accepts as defining the state of Israel, and which they will not forcefully extend. In the mean time, Israel needs to withdraw from the occupied territories and end the blockade of Gaza before negotiations can resume. An occupied people cannot be expected to negotiate with an occupying power while the occupation continues. Of course, I cannot imagine US/Israel agreeing to this without substantial outside pressure. I don’t know if a two state solution is even possible. If not, the facts on the ground will manifest themselves in due course. In any event, the leadership on this needs to come from the Palestinian people, our role to support them. They are the ones bearing the consequences of US supported Israeli aggression.

    • First of all, let me say how surprised I was to learn that Norman was a one time Maoist. A MAOIST, for cry sakes. Aaargh!

      Next, while watching the video I predicted that his earnest straight talk concerning realpolitik would be misconstrued and probably vilified. He is expressing an opinion concerning effective tactics which should be rationally discussed, not attacked. I think he makes some good points which the interviewer did not effectively rebut. That, in itself, is a problem. One would think that at this stage of the game the solidarity/BDS folks would have their talking points down pat. If you can’t deal with a sympathetic ally like Finkelstein, the Zionist Hasbara machine will eat you alive.

      While I support BDS, I confess that I am somewhat vague as to the ARTICULATED goals and objectives. Based upon what Finkelstein said, I get the sense that there is a certain vagueness regarding the state of Israel designed to accommodate various anti-Zionist perspectives. I would tend to agree that this is a mistake. In other words, as Finkelstein says, if you are a one-stater, then Israel is not illegally occupying the West Bank insofar as the West Bank is part of a united Palestine. The goal then becomes the civil rights of the Palestinians in Eretz Israel. While this may be a morally defensible position, there is no legal or international support according to Finkelstein. On the other hand, to claim that the occupation is “illegal” implies that there is a distinct Palestinian state which is occupied, hence, an Israeli state with recognized borders.

      As a practical matter, we should note that the non-viability of a two state solution is a judgment call which is not ours to make. The non-viability of a two state solution will be what prevents Israel from implementing a two state solution. The big stumbling block to a two state solution is the Zionist ideology which virtually precludes this. Implementation of a two state solution would probably require Israel to break free of Zionism with all that this would entail, and all of the problem and opportunities that would open up. The first problem could possibly be civil war. At this stage of the game, it is difficult to see how all of these contradictions can be resolved.

      I would hope that it would be at least somewhat obvious that our pontifications concerning one state versus two states are largely irrelevant, the issue properly determined by the Palestinians and, past injustices notwithstanding, by the Israelis. Needless to say, I think we all support the right of the victim Palestinians for redress to the extent possible. Yet, we need to be mindful of their immediate needs and concerns, rather than on some theoretically pure solution which satisfies us. The first priority seems to me to end the current and ongoing abuse of the Palestinians by Israel. The Gaza blockade, the bypass roads, the check points, the assassinations, the general abuse and discrimination, etc. I think that BDS should focus on this. Certain issues need to be dealt with now. Others need to be deferred in accordance with the desires of the Palestinian people.

  • New book explores the history of 'New Jewish Agenda'
    • LIB319- “Nuremburg Laws, 1935?”

      Surely you must be aware of the extent to which the Nuremburg laws are a precedent for Israeli anti-Arab laws? That the Nuremburg definition of “Jew” was used as a basis for Israeli citizenship? That it is illegal in Israel to impersonate a Jew? Zionism is Eastern European blood and soil nationalism with an unsavory past, a reprehensible present, and an uncertain future.

  • The Israel Lobby on campus in Illinois: A challenge for BDS
    • DAN CROWTHER- “The system allows for, and one could say is designed for, the capture of legislative power by well financed groups with an agenda.”

      Congratulations, you have described the very essence of capitalism. The control of society by concentrated economic power. The rule of money.

    • DAVID GREEN- “The settlements are fundamental to the Zionist project. They’re not fundamental to the U.S. imperial project. But they’re tolerated or supported in light of Israel’s role in the Middle East, which is to project imperial power, control access to oil, and keep the MIC well-oiled.”

      Exactly. I agree with what you say, however, would like to add a few points of my own which you may or may not agree with. First of all, I think there is a lot of imprecision when people discuss “the lobby.” To some, this refers to an Israel lobby, to others a Zionist lobby, and to yet others a Zionist lobby writ large as in James Petras Zionist Power Configuration. This is not a trivial matter. An Israel lobby is correctly inferred to be a somewhat limited group of lobbyists who take their orders from Israel, that is, Israel is calling the shots on lobby activity. A Zionist lobby would refer to those Zionists who specifically advocate for Israel based upon their notion of what is best for Israel, which may or may not coincide with official Israeli policy, but is usually closely aligned. The final group consists of all relevant areas of domestic power which think they benefit from Israeli militarism and its relationship to empire. The military-industrial complex an obvious example. Problems arise when people refer to the Zionist Power Configuration as the Israel lobby. The implication being that the situation in Israel/Palestine is somehow external to empire rather than inexorably linked to the imperial project as shaped by Zionist influenced strategic considerations.

      In regards to the imperial project, my sense is that neo-liberal globalization is a move away from a nation based American empire towards a transnational financial/corporate empire. America functioning as a kind of Prussia to enforce a global financial, energy, food matrix of control. Nations, particularly Third World nations, dependent for survival upon the global financial system for food, fuel, etc. The US is the lone superpower on a downward trajectory which, if uncorrected, could lead to rivals capable of resisting global financial control. We have entered a small window of opportunity for the emerging global empire to use US military power to preempt anticipated challenges to corporate/financial control. An extremely dangerous period. How this will effect Israel/Palestine is unclear, at least to me. I doubt there is much chance of a change in US/Israel Middle East policy until the larger situation resolves itself, which may occur soon. When the smoke clears, if we are still here, a reassessment will be in order.

  • A lull on this site
    • DAN CROWTHER- As for Obama’s plans and media complicity, Alexander Cockburn over at CounterPunch said the following:

      “Meanwhile, on another front, the networks are ready. A CounterPunch informant reports:

      “I was visiting ABCNews the other day to see a friend who works on graphics. When I went to his room, he showed me all the graphics he was making in anticipation of the Israeli attack on Iran; not just maps, but flight patterns, trajectories, and 3-d models of U.S. aircraft carrier fleets.

      “But what was most disturbing – was that ABC, and presumably other networks, have been rehearsing these scenarios for over 2 weeks, with newscasters and retired generals in front of maps talking about missiles and delivery systems, and at their newsdesks – the screens are emblazoned with “This is a Drill” to assure they don’t go out on air – (like War of the Worlds).

      “Then reports of counter-attacks by Hezballah in Lebanon with rockets on Israeli cities – it was mind-numbing. Very disturbing – when pre-visualization becomes real.”

      Another CounterPuncher emails us:

      “Just a quick possible scoop for the news room – I have a neighbor who bounces for a Seattle bar, and he had some very rowdy US service men in the bar the other night. When he asked them what was up, they told him they were being deployed to the mid-east as a front-running group for an operation in Iran.”
      link to counterpunch.org

  • Bruising Judt, Fukuyama says Arabs aren't ready for liberalism
    • ROHA- “(Global temperatures fell from around 1998 to 2009. A strong El Nino in 2010 seems to have stopped the cooling trend, so there has been neither statistically significant cooling nor warming for the last fifteen years.)”

      As far as I know, all of the temperatures between 1998 and 2009 have been above the global mean average temperature, hence, have contributed to global warming. To pick a record year and then say that subsequent temperatures not as great but above the average mean temperature indicates a “falling” of temperatures is disingenuous. There is no “cooling,” simply a slight decrease in the rate of increase. Additionally, the new emphasis on coal sands tar for oil along with gas from “fracking” along with oil exploration in the soon-to-be ice free areas of the artic, indicate that should humanity miraculously escape nuclear war in the immediate future (think Iran), runaway global warming is virtually assured. You know, for what it’s worth. If you are interested in climate science, you might be interested in the link to RealClimate, climate science from climate scientists.
      link to realclimate.org

  • Both sides are wrong in the ‘Israel Firsters’ debate
    • CLIFF- Above you say that "“Chomsky… said only last year that he was planning on moving to Israel.” When I asked for a source you direct me down to your comment that "He goes on to say he would not move to Israel now...." In other words, you have intentionally misrepresented what Chomsky said to imply that he was currently planning on moving to Israel. It is this lack of intellectual integrity that I find most disturbing about the "Israel lobby made us do it" crowd.

    • JAMIESW- Excellent comment! Allow me to add that there is a certain irrationality to stressing nationalism in the face of the transnational nature of elite activity. At a certain level, the dog versus tail analogy is ludicrous, the dog and tail are one. Nowadays, one of the greatest threats facing mankind are the consequences of neoliberal globalization. The power elites are linked in a matrix of control that transcends borders. They are inevitably, as you say, “Me Firsters.” Also, I applaud your emphasis on universal morality. To oppose a situation because it may arguably be contrary to the interests of the US empire is inherently flawed. We have a moral obligation to oppose human rights abuses because they are wrong. Trying to second guess strategic planners on the fly is a losing proposition. It is, however, a favorite ploy of the “Israel made us do it” crowd.

    • CLIFF- "Chomsky... said only last year that he was planning on moving to Israel."

      Do you have a source for this surprising development?

    • AMERICAN- “The point is it doesn’t make a damn whether the national interest crowd or the I/P humanitarian crowd ‘want to own and dictate the reasons’ for opposing US- Israel or I/P.”

      Sounds reasonable. It is just a pity you don’t practice what you preach as your history of comments demonstrates, the most recent concerning the “So the U.S. military doesn’t want to attack Iran….” thread. You are part of a Mondoweiss affinity group which attacks those who espouse a more overarching perspective than simply that the lobby made us do it. We are frequently referred to as apologists for Israel, Chomskyites who blame the US for everything. Noam Chomsky an arch villain for your group. Some are quite nasty, engaging in name calling and grossly misrepresenting opposing positions. By the way, the quote which you attributed to me was me quoting Jamie Stern-Weiner, the author of the post. So, if you have suddenly decided to take the high ground, I am all for it.

    • LORDY, LORDY- I am pleasantly surprised that a ray of sanity has been permitted to penetrate the Mondoweiss narrative. Yes, yes, summon the spirit of Jeffrey Blankfort to protect you from obvious truth. One of the best, and most insightful posts to appear on Mondoweiss and discomfort the Mondofaithful, for whom proof by labeling is the rule not the exception. Read it and weep!

      “The use of the term "Israel Firster" reflects a broader trend which chooses to frame opposition to Israeli policies, and US support for them, in terms of defending or protecting US "national interests", and which appears increasingly disposed to criticising apologists for Israeli occupation on the grounds that they are being disloyal to these "national interests", rather than on the grounds that they are enabling a profound injustice. I suspect that this in turn reflects an influx of liberals into the solidarity movement – in this sense the watering down and degeneration of the latter might well be a consequence of its own success – and a desire by some activists to align the movement, in an attempt to gain political influence, with those American elites who are concerned that Israel's occupation is harming US imperial interests (cf. Walt and Mearsheimer).”

  • So the U.S. military doesn't want to attack Iran and neither does Israel. Who does?
    • DANCROWTHER- “The fact of the matter is, M-W are very much FOR American Empire, their argument is that indeed there is a very powerful establishment in the US and Jews are part of it – this is totally fine with them, in fact, its almost considered a ” jewish achievement,” they aren’t looking to change anything about “the establishment” and it’s actors, they just have a problem with some of it’s advocacy, especially in regards to Israel.”

      While I think that “M-W are very much FOR American Empire” overstates the case, the rest of the comment contains more than a little truth. There appears to be a core of commenters that seek to focus narrowly upon a vaguely defined entity called “the lobby” to the exclusion of other factors, particularly imperial factors and grand strategy. While rhetorically accepting the existence of an American empire, the obvious consequences of that reality are ignored and sometimes denied, hence, the ongoing denial of the strategic importance of the control of access to oil, something taken for granted among most analysts, here hotly denied. Then there is the ongoing disparagement of Noam Chomsky, the iconic analyzer of imperial political economy considered by lobby fetishists to be a threat to their narrative, hence, attacked. None of this all that surprising. Virtually all politically oriented groups/networks coalesce around a shared narrative/mythology which provides some internal cohesion and sense of community. Limited competing narratives provide the opportunity for the group to unite in defensive solidarity. Very few political discussions anywhere can be considered rational, rather, they are the logical defense of competing narratives.

    • DANCROWTHER- What’s this? Relying on facts rather than rumors? Shame on you! If the rumor mill says that it is true, then it must be, the facts on the ground a deception. Spread the word! Empirical reality is a bummer, official gossip our salvation. Mondoyenta!

  • 'NYT' gives Israelis its magazine to make an attack on Iran 'normal'
    • KMA- "the MIC is the brain."

      I vote for Wall Street, however, they closely work together and are both committed to a warfare economy.

  • The battle between the US/EU and China/India to control world energy resources is being fought in Iran
    • DeepakTripathi- Bless you for this comment! It is a point that I have been trying in vain to make for a long time.

    • AMERICAN- Israel is the causative factor in “The race for control of energy resources (which) has become increasingly desperate…?” Wow! It is going to take me awhile to wrap my “Chomskyite” brain around that one.

    • “The race for control of energy resources has become increasingly desperate, affecting foes and friends alike.”

      Good heavens, what have we here? Mondoweiss briefly considering factors other than “the lobby” to analyze events?

    • DAN CROWTHER- An additional quote from the article you linked: “The political benefits for the US and Israel of such an attack are great. As Rami El-Amin puts it, “An attack or possible war on Iran would have the added effect of derailing the Arab revolutions and revolts and justify the continued presence of a large US military force in the oil-rich region.”

      Also, “As if by clockwork, oil prices began to rise against the dollar. But oil analysts know that this is not a long-term problem. Samuel Ciszuk of KBC Energy Economics notes, “Volumes from Iraq should be up significantly, Libya is doing very well and Saudi Arabia will increase production to compensate for some of the lost Iranian barrels.” NATO’s wars have turned the pipelines of Iraq and Libya toward Europe and the United States. They will more than compensate for lost Iranian oil.”

      In other words, the geo-political stakes are high and the situation extremely dangerous.

  • Raimondo: 'Israel firster' did not originate with neo-Nazis as Kirchick and Ackerman claim, but rather with an anti-Zionist Jew
    • ANNIE- “you can’t connect the argument to the definition of israel firster.”

      Philip Weiss writes that “The new battleground in the argument over Israel's influence on American policy is the idea that some of those pushing an attack on Iran are "Israel Firsters." Who does he have in mind? For starters “…Neoconservative Elliott Abrams….” He quotes Joe Kline at Time: “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives–people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary–plumped for this [Iraq] war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”
      link to mondoweiss.net

      If the neocons cannot fairly be described as “Israel Firsters”, then the phrase has no meaning. Neocons have been referred to on Mondoweiss as examples of “Israel Firsters.” Neocons are claimed to have been the primary cause of the Iraq war and the push for a war against Iran, both of which, it is claimed, are primarily for the benefit of Israel, imperial considerations scoffed at. My statement that “Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement.”, seems pretty clear to me as an accurate description of the arguments which appeared on Mondoweiss, and which you avoid dealing with by rhetorical gamesmanship, saying that “there are probably a bunch of little ol ladies hanging out in resting homes in florida who are israel firsters.” Say what? The notion that my comment refers to little old ladies in Florida is a joke.

      You continue: “you are connecting them so you can load up on the term israel firster to support demonizing it as anti semitic. that little christian teenager crying over the ron paul book is an israel firster. do i think she runs the government? no. am i implying israel runs our government when i call her that? No.”

      What an outrageous, irrational comment. My comment quite clearly referred to use of the term “Israel Firster”/neocon to describe high government officials as a way of incorrectly imputing Israeli primacy in US Middle East war-mongering thereby effacing imperial strategy and culpability through labeling. I thought I had made that clear, but you seem to have a way of seeing only what you wish to see. As for crying little girls, obviously they have nothing to do with US Middle East policy or imperial geo-strategy, your point strange to say the least.

      Getting back to your scurrilous assertion that “because i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’. Now joined by “you are connecting them so you can load up on the term israel firster to support demonizing it as anti semitic.” When do you plan on providing some support to your rather serious ongoing maligning of me that my intent is to create an anti-Semitic trope to demonize people as anti-Semitic? When have I ever charged anyone with anti-Semitism? As a matter of fact, I don’t consider the term “Israel Firster” as anti-Semitic, do you? I do, however, question the vitriolic overreaction to my one paragraph comment and the blatant misrepresentation of what I said. You seem to engage in charges of creating “anti-Semitc tropes” with the same reckless abandon with which Zionists charge anti-Semitism. You are one helluva spokesperson for Mondoweiss.

    • ANNIE- “…either you can find an example of this alleged commonality or you cannot. link to something or quote someone don’t go all bloviatin’ on me.”

      Are you implying that you are unaware of all of the discussions we have had on Mondoweiss concerning the cause(s) of the Iraq invasion? That you are unaware of the majority opinion expressed ad nauseam that the war was mainly the consequence of noecon and Lobby pressure, hence, a war for Israel? That you are unaware of discussions concerning the strategic importance of resource control in which it was maintained that the Iraq war had little or nothing to do with oil, which is fungible and can be obtained on the market, therefore, the war was primarily for Israel, imperial geo-strategy irrelevant? Are you questioning my applying the term Israel Firster to the neocons? That my depiction of these discussions substantially misrepresents the situation? That Jewishgoyim and American’s comments aren’t exactly what I am talking about? Then why the request for quotes to substantiate what you should be well aware of if not a rhetorical gambit to divert the discussion to whether or not Keith can dig up quotes to prove he is not bloviating? If you assure me that you are unaware of all that I mentioned, then I will provide one link to a discussion involving this topic.

      Here is an interesting quote: “Professor Mearsheimer and I made it clear in our article and especially in our book that the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government. But as the neoconservative pundit Max Boot once put it, steadfast support for Israel is “a key tenet of neoconservatism.” Prominent neo-conservatives occupied important positions in the Bush administration, and in the aftermath of 9/11, they played a major role in persuading Bush and Cheney to back a war against Iraq, which they had been advocating since the late 1990s. We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq. However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation” that would eventually include Iran.” (Stephen Walt)

      Let us evaluate this comment. “…the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government.” Seems to me that he is saying that the idea originated in the US, and not with the Israeli government. “We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq.” Ah, Israel was reluctant to support an Iraq invasion. “However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation” that would eventually include Iran.” Seems like the Bush administration sold Israel on invading Iraq because it would eventually include Iran. Once sold, the Israel lobby kicked in and the rest is history. And because it was the neocons doing the selling and pushing, it is now claimed that the invasion of Iraq was for Israel as evidenced by the claim of neocon “steadfast support for Israel.” All other motivations and strategic considerations effaced by the de facto labeling of the neocons as Israel Firsters. Which is exactly what I said in my one paragraph lament.

      Now if Israel was initially reluctant for the US to invade Iraq, what could be the US motivation? God forbid that imperial geo-strategy should enter the discussion. “…Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of “regional transformation”. "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.…” (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).

      I am not going to pursue the Iraq war disagreement any further. We have already beaten this horse to death, your lack of memory notwithstanding. Time for you to address your allegation that “i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’. You ignored my comment regarding this serious misrepresentation of my motivation. It would be most enlightening if you could provide some documentation or otherwise some sort of rational explanation as to why you believe that I am trying to create an anti-Semitic trope? You think I am preparing to charge other commenters with anti-Semitism? It is one thing to disagree with me, quite another to malign me. You have already had one chance to clear this up which you let pass to continue your attack on me.

    • ANNIE- As I said, “Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement. Proof by labeling.” That the neocons were instrumental in pursuing this policy is obvious. That this is a sufficient explanation of why the empire undertook this action is simplistic. You might care to read today’s thread on the battle for the control of energy resources. The notion that Israel is dictating policy to Wall Street and the military industrial complex is ludicrous. I am not going to spend a lot of time providing quotes and examples to show you that which you don’t want to see. The reality is that there is an empire and it is being run from New York and Washington, not Tel Aviv. Which is not to take away from the strong Zionist bias in US Middle East policy. Of course, nothing I have said or could say would disabuse you of the notion that Israel and “the lobby” is the fount of all evil. Furthermore, anyone who suggests that the US empire bears some responsibility for it’s actions is dismissed as an apologist for Israel, a “troll” in jewishgoyim’s irrational screed above.

      “because i think you are transmuting the meaning so it will fit into even another ‘anti semitic trope’.”

      If I am reading you correctly, you are suggesting that I am setting things up to level the charge of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel and the “lobby”? Are you serious? What an outlandish assertion! If I am interpreting you incorrectly, I apologize, however, as it stands, you should be ashamed of making such a preposterous assertion. What is it with you people who share a myopic obsession with the “lobby”? Why is it that anyone who takes a strategic perspective is considered an enemy? Now that you are an official representative of Modoweiss, you would do well to assume a more professional attitude.

    • To a degree, I have a problem with how the term “Israel Firster” is frequently employed. All too often, the term is used as a label to imply a reality which does not exist. It is somewhat common to hear neocons referred to as “Israel Firsters” to imply that Israel is in charge of some aspect of US policy. The obvious pro-Israel bias of the mostly Jewish neocons is transmuted into a simplistic mono-dimensional decision making whereby the relationship of the neocons to the military-industrial complex and to empire is effaced. Hence, the US invasion of Iraq is held to be exclusively the result of Israeli pressure by simple virtue of the primacy of neocon involvement. Proof by labeling. Other causative factors are dismissed, imperial geo-strategy scoffed at.

  • Chris Hayes stunning 'Story of the Week' featuring Sheldon Adelson
    • FOLKS- This is a clear example of a dynamic that I have been stressing from the start, the relationship between Zionist organization and Jewish Zionist success in wealth and power accumulation. Adelson calls Tom Delay and gets a bill scuttled to the relief of the Chinese government. Why would Tom Delay do that? Adelson wasn’t nearly as wealthy in 2004 as he is now, and spending limits were still in effect. Was Delay responding to the entreaties of one man, or was he responding to a request from a representative of organized Zionism, what James Petras refers to as the Zionist Power Configuration? We can’t be sure, but some folks tend to believe that the lobby has a tad more influence than one rich Jew.

      He obtains his unusual gambling license from China in May of 2004. In December of 2004, his company has an IPO at which Wikipedia informs us that he vastly increased his wealth. You make the connection. His major “philanthropy” starts in 2005 focusing on Jewish causes. Now one can draw various conclusions from all of this. Some will see meritocracy in action, or the value this City College of New York dropout places on education. Others, like me, will see a possible connection between Zionist organizational solidarity and influence and the worldly success of Jewish Zionist fat cats who go on to fund various Zionist causes, direct their wealth consistent with Zionist organizational objectives, and work diligently to shift Israel ever rightward and to protect Israel and Zionism. Of course, one can disagree. However, is this not a relevant subject for inquiry and discussion? Or is it prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism for a Gentile to have the temerity to even broach the subject?

      Folks, it is my sincere belief that a primary determinant of much activity is the struggle for power among the elites. In the real world, power is fought for by ruthless men who are usually corrupt and rely at least as much on influence and intimidation as on any positive qualities. Machiavelli recognized the ubiquitous use of fraud by those who accumulate power. In attempting to understand political economy, it is essential to be aware of this struggle for power. Who has power, how they got it, what they are doing to keep and increase it. Power matters. Linkages need to be exposed, particularly now that we have entered a period of rampant corruption.

  • New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy
    • BRUCE- You seem to have an overpowering desire to shoot yourself in the foot. I specifically didn’t name you because I try, as much as possible, to avoid personal attacks. Yet, here you are, making threats as usual. Rather than thread jack the current discussion, why not suggest that interested folks can go to your profile and scroll down to the “Katrina to Birthright to Gaza ….” thread, read all of the comments and judge for themselves? No need for you to copy and paste a short essay which is much too long for the comments section of Mondoweiss, you have already done that and left it for posterity. I’m not going to say anymore. Mondoweiss concerns the war of ideas in the Middle East. Our mutual dislike is not an appropriate topic for discussion.

    • PHIL, ADAM- As they say, the devil is in the details. While rule #1 is ostensibly to ban Holocaust and Nakba denial (a non-problem, in my view), you go on to say “We're not going to tolerate any discussion of the Jewish role in the rise of the Nazis.” Depending upon how this is interpreted, this could infer that references to Zionist complicity with the Third Reich, and the exploitation of the Holocaust is now verboten. That would be a pity. Zionism has a sordid history which is highly relevant to current Israeli policies. It is comparable to US history in regards to the native Americans and black slaves which was ignored or whitewashed for too long, and which needs to be taken into account to understand how we got to be an empire.

      I can’t help but notice an amazing coincidence. On Donald’s recent post, a crypto Zionist provocateur from the past reappeared to make baseless charges and gross misrepresentations of other people’s comments to provoke a response which could be misrepresented as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. I am familiar with the thread jacking techniques of this person, having once been charged by him with making an anti-Semitic comment, a foul and baseless charge and an indication of anti-Gentile chauvinism. The thread was hijacked into an extended defense refuting his charges and misrepresentations. A lengthy discussion of Zionist perfidy, I might add, that would never have occurred without his initial allegation. Perhaps that was the intent. Perceived anti-Semitism is the mother’s milk of Zionism, and certain folks have devoted a lot of time and effort to creating that perception even if untrue and even if it involves blatant misrepresentation.

      Hey, it’s your website, and you have done a hell of a job so far, much better than I could, hence, I am loath to give you guys advice. I just hope you don’t overreact to outside influences and throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • 'NYT' gives big platform to Israeli journalist to espouse Israeli attack on Iran with OK from Uncle Sam
    • CHARON- “Did the US green light the six day war?”

      Yes.

      “I know the US supported Israel, but that was because of the Soviets.”

      No, the Soviets were always a pretext which is why our basic Middle East policy hasn’t changes significantly following the collapse of the USSR. We supported Israel because they smashed pan Arabism, a threat to our control of Middle East oil reserves.

      “Unless there is an under-the-table cold war being played out or something, this is not at all in the US’s best strategic interests.”

      Second guessing the strategic planners in regards to the US’s best strategic interests is a sort of parlor game at Mondoweiss. You may be right, but only time will tell. It should be noted, however, that the US didn’t become an empire as a consequence of blundering, inept strategic planners.

  • Some elephants aren't fit to print: 'NYT' front-pages Adelson gift to Gingrich PAC without a word about Israel!
  • Ynet manufactures new threat to promote Ben White book
    • The full quote from YNET: “In other words, we may end up being wiped off the face of this earth, because we helped our enemies destroy us. The “certificate of righteousness” we shall receive will be thrown into the mass grave to be dug for us. Zoabi and her comrades shall be dancing among the corpses once their mission is completed.”

      It is difficult to find words to describe such hatred and irrationality. It is also difficult to avoid making the comparison with an earlier European “blood and soil” regime that dares not speak its name. How is it possible for Zionists to avoid noticing the similarity? Or to suggest that those who do are anti-Semitic?

  • Israel is at the heart of Jewish identity, Gorenberg says
    • MARC B- “…add a fews strands to this discussion of jewish identity, the so-called ‘replacement’ of the bible with the holocaust as the primary ‘text’ for jewish identity, etc. or something like that.”

      In “The Wandering Who?”, Gilad Atzmon quotes Uri Avnery as follows: “Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the philosopher who was an observant Orthodox Jew, told me once: ‘The Jewish religion died 200 years ago. Now there is nothing that unifies the Jews around the world apart from the Holocaust.’”

    • YOURSTRULY- Of course the Zionist imperative to maintain Jews as a people apart doesn’t justify the ongoing Nakba of the Palestinians anymore than Manifest Destiny justified the ethnic cleansing and near annihilation of the Native Americans. It is important to remember, however, that group actions reflect the goals of the group elite, usually involving the struggle for power in its various forms. In order to understand the organizational dynamics behind political Zionism, we need to try to understand why Zionists do what they do. That is what this thread is all about. Gershom Gorenberg is making the case for Jewish tribal solidarity utilizing myth speak which I am attempting to translate into straight talk.

      Political Zionism appears to me to be an attempt to maintain the internal cohesion and exclusivity of the Jewish tribe. We can assume that the Jewish elites perceive that this benefits them somehow, a discussion I don’t intend to pursue here. Jewish elites, like elites everywhere, are focused on power accumulation and ruthless in attaining their objectives. They are as unconcerned over the plight of the Palestinians as the American founding fathers were over the plight of the American Indians and Negro slaves, or of the rulers of empire over Iraqi and Afghanistan deaths. In my view, this is the main reason why there has been so much death and destruction down through the ages. There seems to be a tendency for positions of power to be held by power seeking sociopaths.

    • ANNIE- Of course there were atheists way back when! They were called withches and burned at the stake. In this regard, the monotheistic religions were much more strict than the fun loving pagans. To be accused of heresy was no joke.

    • “The insight here is that Israel has now become the basis of American Jewish identity. And so if you Americans lose Israel, Gorenberg warns, there goes Jewish communal life.”

      Israel and Zionism have indeed become the grand unifiers of the various strands of world Jewry. What else unites Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, Reformed Jews and secular Jews? The Judaic religion has splintered from the unifying orthodoxy of Classical Judaism. Zionism and Israel is the means by which blood and soil nationalism is utilized to counter the trend toward assimilation, the bane of Jewish tribalism. The “Jewish communal life” which Gorenberg fears will be lost is in reality the psychological sense of separation from the surrounding community which Jewish tribalism promotes. Zionism is an attempt to preserve Jews as a people apart, a function previously performed by Classical Judaism.

    • ANNIE- Winnica’s comment concerning no secular Jews, or secular anybody prior to the enlightenment and modernity is essentially correct. One thing we must all keep in mind is that it is both natural and an error to project our current reality onto past events. Two quick examples. Classical Judaism, which was the only Judaism up until about two-hundred years ago, was most similar to what we now refer to as Orthodox Judaism. Reform Judaism didn’t exist and Jerry Seinfeld would have been subjected to Rabbinical discipline. Things were different then. A lot different. The second example concerns Islam. While Islam has been relatively tolerant of both Christians and Jews as believers in the book, Islam historically has been quite harsh towards infidels, that is, secular folk. Separation of church and state is a modern concept necessitated by the need for capitalism to wrest social control away from religion justified monarchy. A short and highly informative book on historical Judaism and how it relates to Israel and the Diaspora is “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years” by Israel Shahak, one of Israel’s greatest dissidents.

  • Why did Ehud Barak postpone joint US-Israeli military exercise?
    • DAN CROWTHER- I tend to agree with your assessment. Some folks tend to dismiss strategic considerations too easily. Part of the US grand strategy for the future is to PREVENT the emergence of any and all potential rivals to US hegemony. This has been articulated in the planning documents. If the US sits back and does nothing, the current state of affairs will gradually erode US power. The BRICS countries are currently trying to extricate themselves from the US dominated global system. This, in turn, requires achieving fuel security as well as gaining independence from the global financial system. Attempts to construct pipelines and other measures to secure reliable fuel sources as well as to develop financial alternatives are underway, but will take some time. The US, as the lone superpower, has a narrow window of opportunity to quash these efforts, thereby safeguarding the imperial system, currently in process of transmogrifying itself. Our huge military budgets bespeak of a military intervention to secure empire. It seems crazy, but, to a degree, our rulers are. The coming year looks to be extraordinarily dangerous.

      On another topic, there seems to be a “dark” space in Mondoweiss archives. I am unable to access articles between January 10th through the 18th. Also, I found Bruce Wolman’s conspicuous return on the Donald Johnson thread calling for “moderation” somewhat ominous.

  • Video: Settlers claim olive oil as 'Israeli'
    • SYDNESTEL- “Furthermore, after after 100+ years of Jewish settlement, even originally Ashkenazi Israeli Jews have become localized.”

      Sorry, Syd, but Israel remains what it was created to be- a Eurocentric “Oasis” in Arabia. A country profoundly contemptuous of its neighbors. In other words, rather than Jews returning to some revered homeland, you have European Jews invading a foreign land which they proceeded to make over to more closely resemble their beloved Europe, modern buildings rather than traditional architecture, replacing olive trees with fir trees, etc.

      Over at CounterPunch, Jonathan Cook describes Israel as a “bunker state.” He says: “The new infiltration law is the latest in a set of policies fortifying Israel's status as the world's first "bunker state"- and one designed to be as ethnically pure as possible. The concept was expressed most famously by an earlier prime minister, Ehud Barak, now the defence minister, who called Israel "a villa in the jungle", relegating the country's neighbours to the status of wild animals.”
      link to counterpunch.org

  • Jesse Lieberfeld is a, a fake, b, about to be swallowed by a whale, c, the Jewish future
    • ANNIE- “i am not going to bother to go read the other comments there but from this small sampling the amount of denial seeping thru is very telling.”

      Curious, my impression was that with a few name changes their comments would fit right in on Mondoweiss. Reasonably moderate in tone and logical within the framework of their Zionist ideology and mythology. It is what I refer to as the logic of irrationality, and it affects us all.

      I somewhat arbitrarily define rational as being consistent with observable reality, whereas, logical is consistent with relevant assumptions. Group dynamics necessitate the creation of a group ideology which, to bind the members together, must deviate from empirical reality so as to create an “us” versus “them” internal cohesion. All political groups employ an ideology which to varying degrees misrepresents reality. Membership in the group is contingent upon fealty to the professed ideology which in turn, is defended logically. The logical defense of ideology inevitably results in stated opinions which are demonstrably both ideologically logical and, at least to some degree, emperically irrational.

      The notion of a rational economic man or a rational political man is myth. Discussions, debates and arguments influenced by ideology are not so much an attempt at evaluating the rational truth, but a defense of personal/group ideology. Tightly knit groups such as settler/occupier Zionists will not be changed by rational argument which threatens their Zionist identity and group status. Looking at society as a whole, the natural inclination of elites to engage in deception to achieve their objectives means that society is, to a significant degree, a group of individuals united by fealty to fraudulent misrepresentations of reality. This is why propaganda and social myths are so effective in manufacturing consent, and why so much of what is occurring seems irrational.

  • Leveretts: False flag in Iranian hit likely disguises U.S.
    • AVI_G- First of all, thanks for the thoughtful reply. It obviously took some time and I appreciate that.

      Part of your response seems to be agreement concerning the use of drones and special operations forces, although you concentrate on the drones. Drones, I might add, that have demonstrably violated Iran’s airspace, an act of war. Let us look instead at the logical inferences from the use of special operations forces. What exactly do they do? They engage in illegal covert operations. They engage in all sorts of provocative and destabilizing activities. Their use a form of low level hostilities short of full scale war. Not the type of thing to do to friends and allies, or to engage in if trying to calm things down. Also, being covert, one would hardly expect to know where they are operating specifically or what exactly they are doing. Generally speaking, however, sabotage, assassinations and recruiting local terrorists falls under their purview.

      We may rightly suspect that they are operating in Iran, after all, that is what they have been established to do. One would be surprised if they are not, particularly after Obama continues to reiterate that all options are on the table. Any additional confirmation?

      From the link to the Leveratts article we find that “In May 2010, the New York Times reported on a “Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order”, signed by then CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus in September 2009 authorizing the sending of U.S. Special Operations personnel to Iran “to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program” and “identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive.”

      Additionally, Ted Snider (Zmail) noted that “Seymour Hersh reported as far back as 2006 that American “clandestine activities” were taking place inside Iran. Hersh said that “teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups”.

      Under these circumstances, Avi, I find the notion of a lack of CIA knowledge and involvement not credible and, like the Leveretts, have said so. Hardly the type of statement indicative of support for Israel, or an attempt to whitewash Israel.

      And yes, I am a big picture kind of guy. I don’t believe in evaluating specific events in isolation, rather, I tend to look at things within the overall framework of political economy and imperial power seeking and strategy. In my view, we have entered a period of planned instability and shocking change, and attempt to rapidly lock in elite control. The empire is on a rampage even as it undergoes metamorphosis.

      Finally, more as an aside as anything else, in regards to my comment about the military budget “skyrocketing,” perhaps that does qualify as hyperbole, however, if one were to compare the military budget in 2001, plus additional war money (none), with the military budget in 2011 (10 years after 911), plus the additional costs for Afghanistan and Iraq, I think you would find a very substantial increase. We are a warfare state by design.

    • AVI_G- “In addition, their writing cherry picks information to fit their agenda. They ignore, for example, the reluctance of the United States to start another war. The last thing the US needs now is another front. It hasn’t the resources, it hasn’t the manpower. And NATO won’t be there to help, given current economic turmoil in Europe.”

      Well, one can’t accuse you of cherry picking information since your comment is simply a regurgitation of your biases.

      “They ignore, for example, the reluctance of the United States to start another war.”

      This comment is absolutely priceless. The US is still involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and NATO have just got done pulverizing Libya, the US has special ops forces involved in covert activities in Somalia and Yemen, the US and Israel and Turkey are destabilizing Syria, the US and Israel are trying to destabilize Iran, Special operations forces and drone operations have been dramatically expanded, the US is shifting and expanding Pacific operations to contain China, has increased both troops and carriers in the Middle East, the defense budget is skyrocketing, and, based on your cold headed analysis of the facts on the ground you conclude that the US is reluctant to start another war. Sorry, partner, but technically “As with sanctions and covert military onslaughts on Iraq in the run up to 2003, the first point to underline is that the US is waging war on Iran.” (Alexander Cockburn) link to counterpunch.org

      “The last thing the US needs now is another front. It hasn’t the resources, it hasn’t the manpower. And NATO won’t be there to help, given current economic turmoil in Europe.”

      For how long have you been saying this? Did you predict that NATO would have the resources to attack Libya? Of course they have the resources. What do they lack? Part of what is occurring is that borrowing to fund the military is a priority. Wall Street is bankrupting the First World in order to structurally adjust the economies and lock in financial control. They will likely buy up real assets on pennies to the dollar with money they create.

      “The Leveretts’ writing reads like Everyone sucks rhetoric. It seeks to whitewash Israel’s culpability by muddying the waters and surfacing feeble arguments.”

      Yup, anyone who deviates from your laser-like focus on the “Lobby” as the fount of all evil must be trying to whitewash Israel. What other explanation is there?

  • Bombshell: Israeli intelligence posed as CIA to recruit terror group for covert war on Iran
    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- I don’t feel like responding to everything you say, however, I would like to clear up the issue of the 2006 Lebanon invasion. First of all, I did not say that Israel attacked Lebanon BECAUSE the US encouraged it to do so, I said that the US encouraged the Israeli invasion which it supported.

      According to Wayne Madsen, “The current (2006) Israeli assault on Lebanon was stage-managed between the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and neocons in the Bush administration, according to well-connected sources in the nation's capital. The Bush administration had prior knowledge of and supported Israel's planned attacks on Gaza and Lebanon, the sources have revealed.” link to miami.indymedia.org

      In a video, Norman Finkelstein says both the US and Israel were involved in the planning, singling out Bush for primary responsibility. Elsewhere, Finkelstein has asserted that Hassan Nasrallah holds the US jointly responsible.
      link to youtube.com

      Finally, noted Chomskyite Uri Avnery had this to say:
      “In order to understand why the war broke out, the question is not who profited from it in practice. The decisive question is: who would have profited from the enterprise if it had succeeded as planned?

      The one who stood to gain the most was the President of the United States. George Bush was already stuck in the Iraqi quagmire. He desperately needed a success in the Middle East.”
      link to robertjprince.wordpress.com

    • DONALD- The intent seems to be to create the impression that Uncle Sam is some sort of innocent bystander, even as we seek to provoke an Iranian response which can be misrepresented as a provocation requiring a massive US military response. Because the Iranians are aware of our terrorist activities, they could logically retaliate. By distancing ourselves from these activities, we can hoodwink the American people into believing that the crazy Mullahs have unjustifiably attacked us. How many people are aware of the full stary of US provocations leading up to Pearl Harbor?

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- Quote from the article: “No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."

      Do you seriously believe this? Do you seriously believe that the CIA doesn’t do assassinations and other covert ops? Why the umbrage over my comment that I judged this “bombshell” to be disinformation?

      Why the rancor over my comment that Israel has historically performed covert operations for the US which the empire didn’t want to be associated with? “…I organized a large demonstration in front of the Israel Consulate in San Francisco, protesting Israel’s role as a”surrogate” for the US.” That being the case, you obviously are aware of the accuracy of my comment. Why the excessive verbiage if not to obfuscate with excessive detail?

      As for Chossudovsky, I’m not surprised that he fell out of favor with you (like Chomsky, I might add) due to his emphasis on imperial aggression which doesn’t conform to your lifelong bias that skullduggery by “the lobby” explains practically everything. As for the LaRouchie article you mention, I am unaware of it. Because of the LaRouchies involvement with the 911 Truth movement, I suspect that you are on more intimate terms with these people than I am. In any event, Chossudovsky’s analysis comes much closer to explaining the facts on the ground than that of some de facto defenders of empire. Many of his observations are supported by others. For example, Ted Snider (Zmail) noted that “Seymour Hersh reported as far back as 2006 that American “clandestine activities” were taking place inside Iran. Hersh said that “teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups”.

      Speaking of the facts on the ground, you seem quite dismissive of empirical reality which doesn’t conform with you worldview. The empire attacked and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, encourage Israel to invade Lebanon in 2006, with NATO attacked Libya and supported “rebels” who rode to victory on empire’s coat tails, is involved in covert military operations in Somalia and Yemen, and is trying to destabilize Syria and Iran. Additionally, Wall Street is attacking the economies of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, and probably Italy, Spain and Portugal. The Euro is failing and the World is sliding into a controlled depression designed to facilitate structural adjustment. We have between 750 and 1000 military bases globally, with a skyrocketing defense budget. Since the dollar is the worlds reserve currency, money isn’t a problem in the short term. The Project for a New American Century is being implemented full steam ahead. Yes, Jeffrey, there is an empire. No, Jeffrey, it is not being run out of Tel Aviv. And yes, Israel is an integral part of empire. And yes, the Zionists have inordinate influence, possibly on Wall Street as well, but I don’t know about that. What we are seeing in the Middle East, therefore, is the implementation of imperial geo-strategy, albeit one heavily influenced by Israel.

    • AVI_G- “If that is your assessment, they you have very little understanding of the power dynamics between the two parties, Israel and the US. Need I elaborate?”

      Perhaps a review of the global power dynamics is in order. Let us begin with what should be obvious, but is repeatedly ignored. The US is a capitalist “democracy.” In other words, capital rules. Those who control the flow of large amounts of money have the real power and call the shots. Currently, the most powerful economic sector is financial, Wall Street effectively runs the empire. The function of government under this system is to manage the country and empire in such a way as to achieve elite objectives. Neither Barack Obama nor Benyamin Netanyahu have the freedom of action you imagine.

      With this in mind, the notion that the tail wags the dog implies that Wall Street takes its marching orders from Israel, a notion that I find ludicrous. While AIPAC is indeed influential, I seriously doubt that it would get in a confrontation with Wall Street or the military-industrial complex. Obviously, war-mongering appeals to both sectors and they get along quite well. You should be aware, however, that imperial power seeking is not a consequence of Israeli interference. No doubt they exert an influence over US Middle East policy, but the notion of a reluctant empire being dragged into these conflicts isn’t credible. I seriously doubt that Bibi Netanyahu has significant influence over the likes of Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon.

      The empire is in a period of transition, attempting to utilize full spectrum dominance to lock in imperial control into the twenty-first century. A new empire based as much on financial control as military. The US is currently engaged in an effort to eliminate potential rivals for planetary dominance, to militarily crush the weaker ones such as Iran and their smaller allies, and to gain absolute control over vital resources such as oil and natural gas so as to keep Russia and China dependent upon US favor. In this regard, the empire is currently engaged in various stages of military action in over 7 countries- Iraq, Afghanistan (Pakistan?), Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iran, and is shifting forces to the Far East to threaten China. The imperial leviathan is on a rampage. If things go as planned, Israeli elites will likely benefit. If thing go seriously awry, none of us may survive to argue about it.

      While I am at it, let me recommend a book many will find informative. “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century,” Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Editors. A couple of quotes:

      “We are not dealing with a narrowly defined economic crisis or recession. The global financial architecture sustains strategic and national security objectives. In turn, the US-NATO military agenda serves to endorse a powerful business elite which relentlessly overshadows and undermines the civilian government.

      Underlying these military agreements, a cohesive US-NATO-Israel military axis has emerged. This powerful alliance is dominated by Washington. The Pentagon ultimately controls the overall process of military decision making to the extent that neither Israel nor a NATO member state can undertake a separate military without the Pentagon’s green light. Moreover, since 2009, Israel’s air defense system is integrated into that of the US and NATO.”

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- “In other words, your theory is not only pure BS, it has been used to keep the Palestine solidarity movement from protesting against the Zionist establishment and its stranglehold on Congress. Me? I’m suspicious of anyone who keeps peddling it.”

      Where to begin? My “theory” that Israel has in the past provided arms and training to some of the US death squad democracies in Latin America at US request? That Israel has performed various disreputable services for empire is hardly a “theory.” No doubt, Israel profited from these adventures, however, the US was well aware and supportive of what went on, including Israeli help to apartheid South Africa. The notion that my opinion that the CIA is intimately involved in AfPak covert ops, not the “victim” of Mossad machinations has kept “…the Palestine solidarity movement from protesting against the Zionist establishment and its stranglehold on Congress.” is an outlandish overreaction. Your lifelong emphasis on Zionism and AIPAC seems to blind you to the big picture, and to US culpability. It is one thing to highlight the power of the Zionist lobby, quite another to ignore imperial power seeking, to downplay anything which detracts from you very narrow focus.

      An important point needs to be made. I have become aware of a concerted propaganda effort to disassociate the US from active participation in attempts to destabilize Iran. Obama favors negotiations, Israel is forcing a reluctant Uncle Sam to do this or that. The intent seems to be to create the impression that Uncle Sam is some sort of innocent bystander, even as we seek to provoke an Iranian response which can be misrepresented as a provocation requiring a massive US military response. I am not alone in thinking this. Over at Dissident Voice, Michel Chossudovsky writes “Iran is the target of US-Israel-NATO war plans. Advanced weapons systems have been deployed. US and allied Special Forces as well as intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Iran. US military drones are involved in spying and reconnaissance activities.” The article is titled “Provoking Iran into Firing The First Shot.” Link below.
      link to dissidentvoice.org

    • One of the functions that Israel performs for the empire is to perform certain tasks which the US doesn’t want to be identified with. They have been doing this for a long time. I am very suspicious of any “leak” from unnamed officials which tends to absolve Uncle Sam from some covert operation.

  • The headline you aren't seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war
    • “Iran expert Gary Sick writes in CNN that both the U.S. and Iran want negotiations to occur.”

      Perhaps someone should tell that to Barack Obama! The statement flies in the face of all of the empirical data. Gang, it’s easy to believe what is convenient to believe, and self-deception is the rule not the exception. US actions toward Iran are hardly friendly, those of a peacemaker. The image of a reluctant empire being dragged to war by Israel is not credible. The empire is currently engaged in worldwide full spectrum warfare in an attempt to secure US/corporate/financial hegemony in the 21st century.

  • Israel is trying to hook us into a war with Iran-- Matthews and Baer speculate
    • “I know the White House doesn't want a war with Iran.”

      "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      link to globalresearch.ca

  • WINEP official says U.S. strategy is aimed at provoking 'Pearl Harbor' that justifies war with Iran
    • PHIL- Thanks for providing this insider's support for my comment on the "Israel likely killed Iranian scientist...." thread. Things are looking grim. It is difficult for people to acknowledge and deal with the reality that our greatest danger lies with the people who rule over us. And these are the people you rely on to perform a "humanitarian" intervention? Cast aside your illusions, my friend. We are under attack from above and need to keep a clear head.

  • 'Infiltrators' and the Jewish state
    • “…sought to ban judges from using international or Muslim law as a basis for deciding cases.”

      Looks like a Trojan horse to me. I seriously doubt that anyone is concerned about judges applying Muslim law. I seriously believe that a lot of folks would like to ban the use of international law, particularly those relating to war crimes.

  • Israel likely killed Iranian scientist to kill US/global diplomatic effort to resolve nuclear issue -- Lobe
    • TOVIOS- Alexander Cockburn has an article over at CounterPunch that is worth a couple of quotes.

      “As with sanctions and covert military onslaughts on Iraq in the run up to 2003, the first point to underline is that the US is waging war on Iran. But well aware of the US public's aversion to yet another war in the Middle East, the onslaught is an undeclared one.”

      His point is well taken. It is a mistake to think of “war” solely as an invasion or a bombing, a clash of armies. Obama is transitioning to a new style covert warfare utilizing drones, special operations forces and assassinations, etc. He includes a nice graph showing the effects on the Iranian currency. Make no mistake, we are currently engaging in low level warfare against Iran right now. Another quote:

      “As for the embargoes of Iranian oil, Obama is most certainly doing the oil industry a big favor. There have been industry-wide fears of recession-fueled falling demand and collapse of oil prices. That has led to industry-wide enthusiasm (aided by heavy pressure from the majors) for strongly cutting total world oil production (and enjoying the bonuses flowing from the subsequent world price rise), with all the cuts to be taken out of the hide of the Iranians. The Financial Times made clear the need to shrink world production in the following key paragraph in a report last week: "Oil prices have risen above $110 a barrel since Iran threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil chokepoint, accounting for about a third of all seaborne traded oil. Oil fell to a low of $99 in October amid global economic growth worries."

      As Pierre Sprey remarked to me, "Note also that this is one of those rare but dangerous moments in history when Big Oil and the Israelis are pushing the White House in the same direction. The last such moment was quickly followed by Dubya's invasion of Iraq."
      link to counterpunch.org

      My whole point being that the empire has already crossed so many red lines that we are technically at war with Iran now. It is presently low level. Uncle Sam wants regime change and will keep upping the ante until Iran breaks or retaliates. Retaliation would provide a pretext for a massive attack to destroy Iran. Iran is extremely important in containing China by controlling its access to energy. This is an extremely risky gambit being pushed by crazed neocon risk takers.

    • I think that all of the indications are that US/Israel are trying to provoke a war with Iran. This is classic Israeli strategy. You keep assassinating folks until the other guy retaliates, then you claim that the retaliation was the initial provocation causing you to retaliate against terrorism or whatever. Even an Israeli air strike is conceivable. Should Iran retaliate by sinking US ships, what better excuse to “retaliate” with nuclear weapons? I’m not joking. How many times do I have to post that Wesley Clark quote showing the seven regimes targeted for regime change, all of which are now under attack? And before anyone says that this is nuts, that it would tank the world economy, I say so what? Wall Street is tanking the world economy right now anyway. Besides, who would suffer more, the US or China? Any analysis which doesn’t acknowledge obvious US efforts to militarily contain China, to control it’s access to oil, are deficient. Rather than continue, I will copy and paste extended quotes from a Paul Craig Roberts article over at CounterPunch.

      “Only the blind do not see that the US government is preparing to attack Iran. Washington has deployed missiles directed at Iran in its oil emirate puppet states, Oman and the UAE, and little doubt in the other US puppet states in the Middle East. Washington has beefed up Saudi Arabia's jet fighter force. Most recently, Washington has deployed 9,000 US troops to Israel to participate in "war games" designed to test the US/Israeli air defense system. As Iran represents no threat unless attacked, Washington's war preparations signal Washington's intention to attack Iran.

      In my judgment, the US government's war preparations are driven by three factors.

      One is the neoconservative ideology, adopted by the US government, that calls for the US to use its superior military and economic position to achieve world hegemony. This goal appeals to American hubris and to the power and profit that it serves.

      A second factor is Israel's desire to eliminate all support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israel's goal is to seize all of Palestine and the water resources of southern Lebanon. Eliminating Iran removes all obstacles to Israel's expansion.

      A third factor is to deter or slow China's rise as a military and economic power by controlling China's access to energy. It was China's oil investments in eastern Libya that led to the sudden move against Libya by the US and its NATO puppets, and it is China's oil investments elsewhere in Africa that resulted in the Bush regime's creation of the United States Africa Command, designed to counter China's economic influence with US military influence. China has significant energy investments in Iran, and a substantial percentage of China's oil imports are from Iran. Depriving China of independent access to oil is Washington's way of restraining and boxing in China.

      What we are witnessing is a replay of Washington's policy toward Japan in the 1930s that provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan's bank balances in the West were seized, and Japan's access to oil and raw materials was restricted. The purpose was to prevent or to slow Japan's rise. The result was war.

      Despite the hubris in which it wallows, Washington understands the vulnerability of its Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and would not risk losing a fleet and 20,000 US naval personnel unless it was to gain an excuse for a nuclear attack on Iran. A nuclear attack on Iran would alert both China and Russia that they could suffer the same fate. The consequence would be that the world would face a higher risk of nuclear armageddon than existed in the mutually assured destruction of the US-Soviet standoff.”
      link to counterpunch.org

      "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      link to globalresearch.ca

      “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” (Michael Ledeen, following 9/11/01 attacks)

  • Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone to discuss 'On History' in NYC
  • Egypt's history through British-colored glasses
    • Most are familiar with “Manufacturing Consent” by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. It documents the hardly surprising bias and propaganda of the main stream news media. I think we are all more or less aware of this obvious reality. Less discussed, however, is the propaganda impact of the cultural system which this article calls attention to. My own view is that the mythology/ideology promoted in the entertainment and cultural media is at least as important in the manufacture of consent as news media bias. Most humans willingly adapt their cognitive interpretations to be consistent with group mythology/ideology. As such, the average person perceives reality in a massively distorted fashion due to this ideological preconditioning. In other words, people’s opinions are formed in such a way as to be logically consistent with culturally based misrepresentations of reality. Misrepresentations, I might add, which are consistent with elite objectives.

    • “We live entangled in webs of endless deceit, often self-deceit, but with a little honest effort, it is possible to extricate ourselves from them. If we do, we will see a world that is rather different from the one presented to us by a remarkably effective ideological system, a world that is much uglier, often horrifying.” (Noam Chomsky)

  • Adelson is devoted to furthest right wing in Israel
    • PHIL- “Adelson has cleverly used his vast resources to help push Israeli public opinion to the right and to influence US politics in the same direction.”

      As I continue to stress, American Zionist Jews have a considerable impact on Israel’s policies and actions. The relationship between the US empire, American Zionist Jews and Israel is complex, a sort of perverse triangle.

  • Just wars-- and civilian casualties
    • JEROME SLATER- “It then tries to limit and constrain wars as much as possible, by setting up a series of criteria–which are actually hurdles–which wars must comply with if they are to be regarded as moral and, increasingly, legal under the Geneva conventions and other forms of international law.”

      In those thousands of years when some of the world’s best minds, including you, have been pontificating about how morally righteous some wars are, and erecting these intellectual hurdles, exactly how many wars has just war theory prevented? The sad truth, Professor, is that you and your ilk are part of the doctrinal system which justifies imperial warmongering. And yes, as long as you and your fellow “just war” theorists are around to lend support, wars probably are inevitable. How fortunate you are not to have to worry about being on the receiving end of one of your “humanitarian” interventions.

    • JEROME SLATER- “Is there any serious doubt that the Libyan people enthusiastically welcomed the overthrow of Gaddafi?”

      Upon what do you base this outrageous statement? What is this but rank propaganda? The overthrow of Gaddafi was a US/NATO instigated regime change performed for geo-strategic reasons: the oil, the water, the proposed African currency, Gaddafi’s attempt to resist US imperial hegemony, the US denying China access to Africa’s resources. Also, perhaps you are unaware of Libya’s relatively high standard of living under Gaddafi, the highest development index in Africa, free medical, free education, relatively high women’s rights, all of which are now gone.

      The Libyan resistance to US/NATO aggression held out for an astonishing 7 months against an opponent backed by awesome NATO firepower, over 20,000 air sorties, many thousands of bombs and missiles destroying much of the Libyan infrastructure. Under these circumstances, had the Libyan people truly “enthusiastically welcomed” the rebellion, Gaddafi would have been defeated rapidly. As it was, it wasn’t nearly enough to merely arm the rebels, NATO had to do most of the fighting, including US, British and French special operations forces and mercenaries from Qatar. Before NATO’s assault on Libya, hundreds of people had been killed. Following the assault, tens of thousands have died, the country is in ruins, and indications that sectarian fighting will break out. And, as usual, the “humanitarian” US/NATO doesn’t even bother to keep track of civilian casualties. Professor Slater, it has come to my attention that Uncle Sam is a serial mass murderer who should never be allowed to militarily intervene anywhere anytime. And you, sir, are an apologist for imperial wars of aggression. “Just War” theory is nothing more than a variant of “White Man’s Burden.”

      All of this is part of US plans to crush any opposition to US hegemonic ambitions. Here is a quote from Wesley Clark discussing several nations designated for regime change that have been or are now under attack and/or destabilization. Obviously, the planned time horizon was overly optimistic.

      "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      link to globalresearch.ca

  • Ron Paul's foreign policy should be embraced
    • M ERLOT- Several points. First, I was probably overly hasty in keying in on homing pigeon’s response without even bothering to read your comment. Sorry. Second, I agree with much of what you say about Ron Paul. I have made similar comments in the past causing me to be criticized by the Ron Paul cadre. Finally, I think that you are overly optimistic about the benefits of US foreign assistance, which is primarily a vehicle for exercising soft power. US “aid” is mostly loans, and come with strings attached in any event. In fact, the use of debt to force Third World countries to undergo structural adjustment is a primary mechanism behind neoliberal globalization. If Uncle Sam was really interested in helping Third World countries, the first step would be to cancel Third World debt, the second would be to reverse Globalization and intellectual property rights which inhibit technological diffusion. We could go on and on, however, the rather obvious fact is that the “West” has used all means at its disposal to lock in the Third World into perpetual subservience to First World needs. As such, even “humanitarian assistance” has been used primarily to achieve dominance and control. This won’t change as long as Wall Street is calling the shots.

    • HOMINGPIGEON- “Stopping Jack the Ripper would deprive London of the services of a trained surgeon.”

      Your comment is quite apropos. Sending Uncle Sam in to perform a “humanitarian intervention” is equivalent to sending in a serial mass murderer to quell an alleged domestic disturbance. The US didn’t get to be an empire by “providing needed assistance.”

  • Ron Paul's antiwar position is simpleminded
    • PARTING SHOT- Something is bothering me and I have to get it off my chest. The more I read Jerome Slater pontificating about just war theory, the more pissed off I get. What bullshit! Who the hell comes up with a just war theory? The intelligentsia of the war mongering states, that’s who. Some hifalutin phraseology designed to justify wars of aggression. What does international law say? It outlaws war except in self defense. Period. You can defend yourself against attack from another country. 911 was a terrorist atrocity, not an attack on the US by Afghanistan, a weak and defenseless country which has suffered enormously, partly as a result of CIA machinations. Did any Afghan intellectuals contribute to just war theory? Any Vietnamese? Any South American victims of US financed and directed death squad terror? For the victims of imperial aggression, self defense is a necessity, no need to construct any bullshit theory to rationalize war mongering. The very construction of the theory indicates that the authors anticipate the luxury of choice, the ability to debate whether or not to start a war. The victims, of course, have no choice.

    • NORTHOFFORTYNINE- Lordy, lordy, where to begin? Perhaps by noting that you obviously are a gold bug, perhaps a loyal follower of Ron Paul.

      At one time, gold served a useful function as a medium of exchange between strangers in primitive economies. Being valuable in it own right, it facilitated exchanges between disparate autonomous participants in fledgling markets. Nowadays, however, modern economies are complex, integrated and highly monetized. As such, money has become indispensable for the functioning of the economy, all of us dependent upon money to secure the stuff of life. Our entire economy is effectively controlled by directing the flow of money at the macro level. The store of value of money is that which it can purchase in the real economy. The amount of money in circulation should be a policy decision based upon the desired economic objectives, which, in turn, is informed by the desired social objectives. The real economy has no relationship to the quantity of gold available, gold being a commodity nothing more, and one which is subject to considerable speculation. To tie the control of the real economy to some fixed quantity of a particular metal is irrational. Unless, of course, you possess gold and hope to profit.

      In regards to inflation and other problems usually cited by gold bugs, the problem lies not with modern money backed by the real economy, rather it lies with our PRIVATE banking system in which private individuals control the supply of money to generate profit for themselves. It should be obvious that private financiers seeking profit will try to game the system at the expense of the real economy, which they have. Both speculative bubbles and recessions/depressions are largely a consequence of private financiers increasing or decreasing the money supply to achieve their personal objectives. Currently, we are in a contraction leading to a depression which is intentional, a means to implement structural adjustment and secure the rule of finance capital. In my view, a sound financial system absolutely requires a government run financial system, one which relies upon sovereign money as opposed to debt money, and which utilizes taxation both to ameliorate excess concentrations of economic power and to deal with the compounding of interest at the macro level. I leave you with a couple of quotes.

      “Whosever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce….” (Pres. James Garfield)

      “The powers of financial capitalism have another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.” (Prof. Carroll Quigley)

      “We are ruled not by governments anymore but by financial powers that use interest-bearing debt to exert control over governments, corporations, and people. Almost all other political issues with which we concern ourselves are secondary symptoms of or purposeful distractions from this larger narrative that is never reported by the Wall-Street-funded media.” (Damon Vrabel)

    • Based upon some additional comments which have been posted, I think it appropriate to add that in this post Professor Slater demonstrates his contempt for international law. Legally (for what that is worth nowadays), countries are prohibited from attacking another country for “humanitarian” reasons, military actions restricted to bona fide defense against attack. All US military interventions after World War II have been illegal, coerced UN acquiescence notwithstanding. To even for a moment attempt to justify imperial assaults on relatively defenseless countries and peoples is morally repugnant. And to see Professor Slater lower himself to the role of apologist for imperial warmongering saddens me.

    • DAN CROWTHER- “If anyone needed any further proof of the irrelevance of the american liberal class, look no further than this essay”

      Sad, but true. Liberals are noted for a propensity to piss and moan about systemic injustice, while simultaneously defending the very system which inevitably results in these injustices. Liberals are, after all, an essential part of the system.

      I am, however, somewhat surprised by Slater’s actual defense of some of empire’s wars of aggression. The very notion of a “humanitarian” intervention is preposterous. Didn’t Hitler occupy the Sudetenland for the “humanitarian” purpose of protecting the German Volk who lived there? Countries and empires go to war to achieve strategic objectives. Period. World War II is a bit more complicated, however, let us not forget the extent of US business cooperation with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, and the extent to which both Hitler and Mussolini were admired by the West right up to the start of the war. In sum, Slater’s post was both shameful and embarrassing.

    • MRW- “Value of legal tender in the US….is what the people produce. Money is not gold, nor should it be pegged to gold….”

      Bless you for this comment!

  • Jewish power + Jewish hubris = 'moral catastrophe of epic proportions'
    • CITIZEN- “I very much agree with Danaa.”

      Me too, however, I would go a bit further. Strictly speaking, anti-Semitism refers to the irrational hatred of Jews simply because they are Jews. The obvious implication is that an anti-Semite is an irrational, hateful, evil person. The Jewish chauvinistic myth that the world is inherently anti-Semitic therefore assumes that most Gentiles are inherently irrational, hateful, evil people. A vile accusation and insult employed in almost cavalier fashion by anti-Gentile chauvinist Jews. This myth forms the basis for the underlying fear which Gilad Atzmon discusses, as well as the cult of eternal victim-hood which is at the core of Zionism. Let me end with a quote from the late, great Israel Shahak:

      “Therfore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be a detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews….In the last 40 years the number of non-Jews killed by Jews is by far greater than the number of Jews killed by non-Jews. The extent of the persecution and discrimination against non-Jews inflicted by the ‘Jewish state’ with the support of organized diaspora Jews is also enormously greater than the suffering inflicted on Jews by regimes hostile towards them. Although the struggle against antisemitism (and of all other forms of racism) should never cease, the struggle against Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism, which must include a critique of classical Judaism, is now of equal or greater importance.”

    • NORTHOFFORTYNINE- “First of all, there is no such thing as “Jews”….These collective identities are artificial constructs, typically imposed from above for political purposes…..At days-end, we are all individuals.”

      Yes, but individuals that function with groups united by group ideology. The fact that the Jewish collective identity is an artificial construct does not mean “Jews” do not exist, rather, it means that it is not biologically based. In fact, the term “Jew” refers to a person who willingly accepts inclusion into a more or less exclusivist birthright collective. This collective employs a group strategy designed to promote group success. A strategy, I might add, that currently is spectacularly successful.

      “For if there is a such a thing as an “aristocratic” group by birth, then there is such a thing as a “peasant” group by birth.”

      One of the characteristics of most societies is the formation of rigid hierarchies of power and privilege. One’s future significantly impacted by the group one is born into. Money and power beget consequences which are then used to justify the power and privilege. Educational opportunities, access to funding, mentoring, contacts, etc. In trying to work for a just society, it is imperative to create conditions which ameliorate those circumstances which deny vertical mobility to those born into humble circumstances, and which limit individual growth and the potential for development. And to distribute the social rewards in at least a somewhat egalitarian fashion, absolutely necessary to achieve meaningful democracy rather than our current oligarchy of the elites. In this regard, a significant consequence of neo-liberalism is to lock-in the rule of the rich.

      To the degree that Jews are an elite group, a vanguard group of aristocrats, it is incumbent upon us to inquire why this is, and how it is possible for any group to arrogate unto itself such disproportionate power and privilege. The same holds true for all centers of power, the rich in general, the corporations in particular. The childish notion that vast differences in wealth and privilege are primarily the consequence of some sort of divinely guided meritocracy, superior individuals mysteriously floating to the top, those at the bottom slackers, is not to be taken seriously. Power is sought and fought over, fraud and deception ubiquitous. The mass of unorganized individuals ruled over by an organized minority. There is no more critical issue for a society than to continually examine power relationships and the struggle for power.

    • EEE- “Come off it Phil. You and Haber are just extremists.”

      I don’t know about Haber, but Phil is the quintessential liberal, hence, doesn’t have an extremist bone in his body. Pity. It is not a bad thing to be opposed to empire, not just Israeli depredations. Or to stare long and deep into Jewish anti-Gentile chauvinism. Or to be aware of the consequences of neo-liberal structural adjustment and ongoing US militarism. You, however, seem to see your calling as a defender of ethnic power and privilege, and of systemic injustice. As such, you are morally bankrupt, but seem not to care.

    • MOOSER- “Hophmi, old son, I hate to break it to you, but that sock you keep under your bed is not the sperm bank which will save Judaism. But don’t worry, I’ll be fighting for your right to marry Ms. Gold Toe.”

      Where do you come up with this stuff? I can’t stop laughing, Mr. Gold Toe.

  • Linda Gradstein: 'I'm not an Israeli citizen, but that being said, I'm part of Israel.'
  • Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away
    • Hi Gilad, thanks for taking the time to comment. Always nice to hear from the author. I do feel, however, that your response requires that I elaborate somewhat on my initial comment to Kraus. Let me begin by paying you a compliment. I feel that the foreword to “The Wandering Who?” was exceptionally well written. Beautiful prose. Insightful description. So good, in fact, that whatever followed was bound to be a bit of a letdown.

      Let us begin with Chapter 9, the object of Gabriel Ash’s critique. Entitled “Jewish Unconsciousness is the Discourse of the Goyim,” it endeavors to unravel the unconscious motivation of Zionist Jews, a hopeless and somewhat dubious task. Needless to say, empirical evidence of group unconsciousness consists largely of the author projecting his bias. That “proof” should consist largely of a subjective interpretation of a Cohen brothers film is hardly convincing. Perhaps this is why Gabriel Ash chose this particular chapter to highlight, while ignoring the rest of the book, some of which is quite good.

      I very much liked chapter 18, where you discuss what constitutes Jewishness. I have always found this topic intriguing and quite germane to Jewish tribalism, Zionism, and the creation of the Jewish state. I found the discussion quite good, and somewhat agree with your conclusion that “That which maintains the Jewish identity is fear.” I have long felt that without the Holocaust, Zionism would have withered away, a Jewish state never created. I do feel, however, that there is more to Jewishness and Zionism than simply fear. I think that a certain opportunistic sense of eternal victim-hood as a psychological balm is significant, along with the power seeking organizational solidarity provided by Zionism.

      Let me conclude with a comment on “anti-Zionist Zionists,” which I refer to as neo-Zionists. First, I think that Jews opposing Zionism identifying themselves as Jews has, overall, been a positive thing. It has served to combat the notion that Zionism speaks for “the Jews,” and that opposition to Zionism is anti-Semitism. It has opened up the discussion considerably. Having said that, I do think that you are on to something. It appears that many anti-Zionist Jews, Philip Weiss included, have utilized their organized Jewish anti-Zionist activities to reinforce their Jewish identities. Attempting to have their cake and eat it too. Gabriel Ash, however, seems to fall in yet another category. In addition to the above, he is, I believe, a doctrinaire Marxist. As such, anything which does not adhere to a rigid Marxist explanation is considered a threat to his ideology, which, in turn, rejects “Jewishness” as an explanation for anything.

      In sum, I liked the book and hope that you aren’t overly upset by my comments on chapter 9. Hopefully, we will see more of Gilad Atzmon on Mondoweiss.

    • According to Israel Shahak, “It seems that Israel and zionism are a throw-back to the role of classical Judaism ….” That is to say, Zionism is a tribal ideology which functions similar to classical Judaism as a unifier of the Jewish tribe. It strives to maintain an exclusivist Jewish identity which necessitates opposing assimilation, frequently referred to as an existential threat to the Jewish people. Perceived anti-Semitism is the mother’s milk of Zionism. It is important to remember that Zionism is a means to unite the Diaspora Jews through the Zionist ideology and the organized support of Israel. Without the committed, organized support of American Diaspora Jews, Israel could not exist in its present form as a militarized, war-mongering Jewish state. Likewise, without Israel and Zionism, Jewish tribal solidarity would begin wane, already somewhat happening. Too much has been made of Israel as a Jewish refuge. The reality is that the Jewish state has always been desperate to secure Jewish immigration to remain viable.

    • KRAUS- I have read Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who” and overall enjoyed and recommend it. I think it worth noting, however, that the different chapters vary considerably in quality, some very good, others quite bad. Atzmon tends to be intentionally provocative, however, this book was more restrained than other things he has done. Below, Mooser links to Jews Sans Frontiers, where Evildoer takes a cheap shot at the book by focusing on chapter 9, one of the worst. It is interesting to compare the Atzmon book with Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History, Jewish Religion.” Both are from a secular Israeli background in which their experiences with the Judaic religion are formed by how that religion is observed in Israel, which tends to be more Orthodox and not at all what a US Reformed Jew is accustomed to. Something to keep in mind.

    • EEE- Einstein was a cultural Zionist who opposed political Zionism. Bequeathing his papers to the Hebrew University is not inconsistent with opposition to a Jewish state. Likewise, one can make major contributions to an American University while still opposing US imperialism.

  • Another mainstream voice challenges idea of war on Iran
    • How is it possible to even read crap like this and take it seriously? What is the point if not to give the appearance of credibility to ludicrous pretexts? Does anyone seriously believe that Uncle Sam is worried about a nuclear Iran, except perhaps because it would restrict our aggressive actions somewhat. Iran is strategically significant because of its oil, gas, and location. The US appears committed to denying Russia and particularly China unfettered access to these geo-strategic resources. It is all about imperial hegemony combined with Israel’s regional hegemony. The Godfather is responding to a potential threat to future hegemony. Discussing phony pretexts as if they were real concerns is a joke. Unfortunately, imperial strategy will never be discussed in the mainstream media.

  • Expendables of a waning empire
    • HOSTAGE- I think people are making a big mistake in trying to apply traditional military concepts to current hostilities. When the object of hostilities is simply to destroy a country, not occupy it, what does “winning” mean? Did we really lose in Vietnam when the primary objective was to destroy a threat to imperial hegemony? The empire is currently in the process of attacking any and all POTENTIAL threats to future hegemony. High risk confrontation and brinkmanship are the order of the day. Additionally, the global financial sector is currently destroying economies in order to institute a form of debt servitude. Under these circumstances, economic disruptions caused by an interruption to the oil supply could well facilitate the complete financialization of the world economy. We have entered an extraordinarily dangerous period.

    • I think that describing the empire as “waning” is incorrect. It would be more accurate to describe it as metamorphosing into a Corporate/Financial matrix of control employing full spectrum dominance.

  • AIPAC-championed amendment pushes Obama into a corner on Iran
    • VR- What many Mondoweissers fail to comprehend is that George W. Bush was "Obama Lite." We are entering extraordinarily dark times.

    • DAN CROWTHER- I think the Pepe Escobar article is highly germane. Iran is emerging as the key area of geo-strategic confrontation in the 21st century, the very centerpiece of the Project for the New American Century. I think that US planners, particularly the neocons, sense a narrow window of opportunity to establish complete planetary domination, to be achieved by full spectrum warfare: financial, sanctions, destabilization, terrorism, political, media, bombing, special ops, drones, cyber war, etc. They are seeking global control of the three F’s : Food, Fuel and Financial. Iran is strategically critical. Russia and China are desperately trying to break free from US hegemony. With its oil, gas, and strategic pipeline location, Iran could provide the means for a counter hegemonic strategy. If the US is able to destabilize and control Iran, however, a real challenge to the emerging US/Corporate/Financial matrix of control seems unlikely.

      Of course, current US massive aggression is extremely dangerous. Current US leaders, however, are risk takers who are more concerned with acquiring power than the survival of the species. It should be noted that the US is currently engaged in low intensity aggression against Iran which is being escalated, the proposed sanctions blatant economic warfare. “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” (Michael Ledeen)

  • 'Economist:' analysis of Iraq war that leaves out neocons' Jewishness is 'deficient'
    • VR- Speaking of the strategic importance of control of the hydrocarbon fuel reserves, Pepe Escobar has a fine article discussing the maneuvering over control of the natural gas and pipeline routes titled “Playing Chess in Eurasia” linked below and an interesting read.
      link to dissidentvoice.org

  • Ron Paul and the left
    • I continue to be amazed at the undue emphasized upon Presidential elections, as if electing a new person could conceivably make dramatic changes to entrenched systems of power. Presidential elections have devolved to the point of being expensive spectacles, mere diversions from the reality of real political economy.

      Over at Dissident Voice is an excellent article called “Differential Accumulation” dealing with capitalism as a system of power. Economics is mostly ideology disguised as objective “science,” most economists earning their living misrepresenting reality in service to power. It is refreshing to come upon an article which lends academic support to some of my views. There is an interesting chart showing that Middle East energy related wars were consistently preceded by sub-par oil profits, and followed by above average profits. I found it an interesting read and highly recommend it.
      link to dissidentvoice.org

  • The Ron Paul moment-- bad and good
    • MRW- Two references from memory are Ellen Hodgsom Brown, “Web of Debt” at
      link to webofdebt.com

      And the Damon Vrabel series, Renaissance 2.0 at link to csper.org

    • MRW- “Keith, the US Federal government absolutely is the monopoly supplier of US currency. Where do you think it comes from?”

      As I indicated in my comment above, “The FEDERAL RESERVE, a privately controlled bank, controls the money supply.” The Federal Reserve is owned by the member banks which are privately held. The Fed is NOT a government entity, although it masquerades as one. The government borrows from the private banks including the Fed when they buy US Treasuries. Yes, the Treasury mints coins. Yes, the Treasury could take over the Fed and issue sovereign money instead of continuing to borrow (sell Treasuries) to increase the money supply. There is a long history to the private banks taking over money creation. I am away from home and my reference material or I would supply a number of quotes. I am neither ignorant, stupid, or joking. The government does not, Not, NOT create the money supply. Private banks do and loan it into the system with ultimately catastrophic consequences. Wall Street is currently engaged in financial warfare against the planet, creating a controlled depression. Up until about two years ago, I also thought that the government controlled the money supply and created new money as required to service the real economy. It seemed to make sense. How else would a sane person do it? When I found out the truth, I almost fell over. Private financiers controlling the money supply for private profit at the expense of the real economy? It is totally insane. It is what we have now. No joke! Note: if you are only referring to “currency,” a small part of the total money supply, suggest you read the writing on some of your bills. You will note that they are all Federal Reserve Notes. Basically, our “sovereign” money consists of coins.

    • MRW- “The US Federal Government is a currency issuer.”

      Aaaaaaaaargh!!!! The US government DOES NOT control the money supply!!!! The FEDERAL RESERVE, a privately controlled bank, controls the money supply. The government borrows money from the PRIVATE banks which create it, hence, DEBT MONEY. If the government took control of the Fed, it could create sovereign money, which would solve a lot of problems. This is not the same as Ron Paul’s desire to eliminate the central bank, which would be a disaster.

    • SHINGO- “What many like yourself never get Keith is that foreign policy is almost entirely driven by domestic policies….While domestic matters will remain under the thumb of Comgress, a president has a great deal more latitude on foreign policy.”

      Are you not aware that these two statements taken together are a logical contradiction? As a matter of fact, foreign policy is overwhelmingly influenced by domestic concentrations of power such as the military-industrial complex, the Zionist power configuration, the media, etc. That is why the overall thrust of US foreign policy has remained quite consistent over time. US foreign policy is consistent with a national security state empire.

      In order to change US militarism, it is necessary to eliminate empire. This will require shifting the focus from military spending to domestic spending, from building weapons to building schools and providing free education and healthcare for all. To direct the flow of money from war making to creating a sustainable society. Ron Paul opposes government intervention in the economy, preferring instead de facto business rule. Yet, to eliminate military spending without increasing non-military spending would be economic suicide. Unlike you, I cannot imagine him being able to cut military spending significantly, however, I can imagine he and his fellow “conservative” Republicans agreeing to eviscerate all functions of the federal government which benefit the average person, with the Democrats going along.

      The bottom line is that Ron Paul is a one trick pony. It is a good and timely trick, and I like it just fine, and I am very pleased that he is providing some semblance of sanity in this one area, however, overall he is totally incapable of doing what is needed. I shall continue to vote third party or independent, knowing that ultimately concentrated economic power, primarily finance capital, is calling the shots and that we will likely go from bad to worse, as is happening now.

    • An interesting discussion which nonetheless suffers from the fact that it is virtually impossible to adequately discuss political economy in the comments section of Mondoweiss. Permit me to add a few observations.

      First is that Ron Paul’s foreign policy positions are a vast improvement over what we have now. However, his domestic policies would be an unmitigated disaster. He, like Alan Greenspan, is an ideological soul mate of Ayn Rand, a modern day advocate of Social Darwinism. I fear that his foreign policy ideas would be stomped into the ground, whereas, his domestic policies would grease the skids of neoliberalism. I, like Dan Crowther, am disturbed by the cult like obsessive loyalty of his Mondoweiss supporters. It is one thing to support a lesser evil, but to turn a blind eye to obvious faults and react defensively is not good.

      In regards to the Federal Reserve, there seems to be some confusion as to the absolute necessity to have a central bank versus the extremely dysfunctional consequences of a PRIVATELY run central bank working to advance the financial sector at the expense of the real economy. It is our privately controlled financial system in conjunction with our debt money monetary system in conjunction with unmoderated compounding interest which is the root cause of much of our problem. Not the only problem, but the underlying driving force. The driving force behind neoliberal globalization and structural adjustment, I might add.

      Finally, there also appears to be some confusion regarding what exactly a National Security State is. The term is a euphemism for a soft version of fascism, which is essentially military Keynesianism. One can have all sorts of government intervention in the economy without hiding it by military spending and warmongering, however, larger military budgets and empire go hand in hand. Reference to historical US militarism, while true, doesn’t adequately address the changes in our economy, and their impact on policy. For example, while the Indian Wars following the Civil War were superficially similar to current imperial depredations, these wars themselves were considered an EXPENSE incurred to achieve certain economic advantages. Currently, imperial war fighting costs are viewed as an ECONOMIC STIMULUS to prime the economic pump. That is to say, war itself has become a primary objective of our warfare economy.

  • Why Alan Dershowitz is wrong on Israel's 'rights'
    • In discussing Dershowitz and the law, we must keep in mind that “the law” has been rather successfully misrepresented as representing “justice.” The harsh reality is that the law is essentially the codification of the status quo designed primarily to protect the system of power and privilege of the elites. Justice only comes into play insofar as a certain appearance of justice is necessary to quell domestic discontent. For someone like Dershowitz, the law and power go hand in hand, and truth is what works to achieve your objectives.

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