Archive for the 'Chomsky' Category

The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla — In These Times

Chomsky speaks sense about what the real reason for the blockade is in the first place. He quotes Amira Hass as saying that the, “overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel’s military superiority.” Read his good article here:

The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla — In These Times.


What do free speech, food and medicine have in common? Israel doesn’t let the Palestinians have them.

Israel has refused entry into the West Bank of Noam Chomsky who was due to speak at a West Bank university. He was told the reason is that Israel doesn’t like the things he says.  For the record, he has never called for violence against Israel, or called for the dissolution of the Israeli state. He stands by a two state solution. Essentially, this is Israel clamping down on free speech and academic freedom. The last time Chomsky was not allowed access into a country, was in 1968 when he was not allowed to enter Czechoslovakia and was stopped by the Soviets.

Another entity not being allowed access into Palestinian territories is the Free Gaza group’s boats full of aid to Gaza.  Israel has said that it will stop the shipments and says that the shipments are a provocation and a breech of Israeli law. Of course, no mention is made of the fact that a naval blockade is tantamount to an act of war. Israel has gone so far as to complain to European diplomats to control their citizens so that they will not try to bring food and medicine to poor palestinians through their illegal act of war naval blockade.

Howard Zinn: 1922-2010 R.I.P.

Great guy and author.  One of my early inspirations with his classic, “A People’s History of the United States.”  A great peace activist.  Never forget how he expressed regret for dropping bombs from 15,000 feet on Dresden in WWII.  Died yesterday at the age of 87.  Rest in peace brother.

A timely comment from him on Pres. Obama:

“I’ve been searching hard for a highlight,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.

“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

The corruption of government officials, illustrated nicely in Illinois.

With the recent revelations about the brazen corruption with seemingly unprecedented scope and breadth, of the governor of Illinois (can’t spell his name), the scriptures comes to mind from the Doctrine and Covenants 121 which says:  “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”

“Almost all men…”  Does that mean 90% of men?  95%?  What think ye?  When you look at it this way, we elect our officials to power and give them our trust to manage the affairs of this country and they are immediately exposed to lobbyists and all sorts of opportunities to abuse the power which has been given them.  Almost all men.  Does that mean that the vast majority of our politicians are corrupt?  What a dreary thing to imagine.  The governor of Illinois is apparently as corrupt as they come, but is this sort of thing rampant in our nation’s leaders?

To varying extents, I think so.  This is why it is a good thing that we have checks and balances written into our system of government.  However, checks and balances don’t work if the checkers are as corrupt as those they are checking.  In that case, it is a good thing to have an objective media to keep the government honest. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have that benefit either.  The vast majority of the media in the US is owned by big corporations.  These same corporations have agendas of their own and lobby government in their own self-interest.  Just like Chiquita Banana when they were called the United Fruit Co. which lobbied in congress in the 1950s to overthrow the popular government of Guatemala so they could continue to make their big profits down there.  The US government complied and installed a military dictatorship with shed the blood of thousands of Guatemalans.  These corporate owners of media make sure that the news they broadcast is within well defined limits.  This sort of phenomenon is well documented in Noam Chomsky’s “Necessary Illusions” and “Manufacturing Consent.”  When I lived in Seattle, the Seattle Times was a very pro-Gulf War I newspaper.  There was no question whatsoever if what we were doing was right or not.  It turns out, the Times, at that time, was 49% owned by Raytheon, the producer of the Patriot missile.  They must have made a killing in that war. 

It turns out that the owners of broadcast media (who are hugely powerful in our society) are subject to the same curse members of government are subject to.  “Almost all men” will immediately exercise unrighteous dominion and that includes all of us who have any authority or power.  Thus, we are really left without much recourse here.  

In my humble opinion, this is the situation we call a bigtime secret combination.  This is what Moroni was talking about in the Book of Ether when he said:  “Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.”  

Moroni knew that we would have this secret combination among us… much like the secret combination that overtook the Nephites in the Book of Helaman, which combination had infiltrated their entire government.  First, we need to all awaken ourselves to a sense of the awfulness of our situation.  Only then will we have the motivation to truly make change.  Perhaps the only way for us to overcome this secret combination, is to do as Thomas Jefferson suggested.

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.”

Zinn votes for Nader and Petras gives us twelve reasons to follow suit.

Howard Zinn has now admitted his mistake and has stated his intention to vote for Ralph Nader rather than Obama as he had stated earlier.  Now, I’d like to see Chomsky come to his senses too.

James Petras has given us 12 reasons to reject Obama and vote for Nader instead.  These are good:

1.      Obama publicly and repeatedly promises to escalate the US military intervention in Afghanistan, increasing the number of US troops, expanding their operations and engaging in systematic cross-border attacks.  In other words, Obama is a greater warmonger than Bush.

2.      Obama publicly has declared that his regime will extend the ‘war against terrorism’ by systematic, large-scale ground and air attacks on Pakistan, thus escalating the war to include villages, towns and cities deemed sympathetic to the Afghan resistance.

3.      Obama opposes the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq in favor of redeployment; the relocation of US troops from combat zones to training and logistical positions, contingent on the military capability of the Iraqi Army to defeat the resistance.  Obama opposes a clearly defined deadline to withdraw US forces from Iraq because US troops in Iraq are essential to pursuing his overall policies in the Middle East, which include military confrontations with Iran, Syria and Southern Lebanon.

4.      Obama has declared his unconditional support for the position of the pro-Israel Lobby and the colonial expansionist and bellicose policies of the Jewish state.  He has promised to back Israeli military attacks whatever the cost to the US.  His abject servility to Israel was evident in his speech at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington 2008.  Top advisers who have long and notorious links to the top echelons of the principle Zionist propaganda mills and the Presidents of the Leading Jewish American Organizations wrote the speech and formulate

       his Middle East policy.

5.      Obama has promised to attack Iran if it continues to process uranium for its nuclear programs.  Twice, just weeks before the elections, Obama’s running mate Joseph Biden spelled out a series of ‘points of conflict’     (including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and North Korea) emphasizing that Obama ‘would respond forcefully’.  Obama’s senior Middle East advisers include leading Zionists like Dennis Ross, closely linked to the ‘Bipartisan Policy Center’, which published a report serving as a blueprint for war with Iran.  Obama’s proposed offer to negotiate with Iran is little more than a pretext for issuing an ultimatum to Iran to surrender its sovereignty or face massive military assault.

6.      Obama unconditionally supports Israel’s expulsion of Palestinians and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the leading cause of Middle East hostility, warfare and the discredit of US policy in the region.  With three dozen Israel-Firsters among his leading campaign organizers, top policy advisers, speech writers and among the likely candidates for cabinet positions, there is virtually no hope of ‘influencing from within’ or ‘applying popular pressure’ to change Obama’s slavish submission to the Zionist Power Configuration.  By supporting Obama, the “progressive intellectuals” are, in effect, allies of his Zionist mentors.

7.      On the domestic front, Obama’s key economic advisers have impeccable Wall Street credentials. He gave  unquestioning and immediate endorsement to Treasury Secretary Paulson’s $700 billion dollar taxpayer bailout of the richest investment banks in the US. Obama has failed to challenge Paulson or the banks over the use of Federal funds  for buyouts and acquisitions instead of loans and credit to producers and homeowners. Obama’s backing of Paulson and the Wall Street bailout is matched by his meager proposals to suspend mortgage foreclosures for a three-month period, pending re-negotiations of interest payments.  Obama proposes to escalate transfers of government funds to mismanaged financial institutions and bankrupt capitalist corporations, in  efforts to save failed capitalism rather than pursue any new large-scale, long-term public investment programs which will generate well-paid employment for workers.

8.      Obama’s economic team has openly declared their embrace and practice of ‘free market’ ideology and opposition to any effort to engage in large-scale injections of government funds in publicly-owned productive activity and social services in the face of wide-spread private sector failure, corruption and collapse.

9.      Obama embraces failed private sector health plans, run and controlled by corporate insurance companies, conservative medical and hospital associations and Big Pharma.  He publicly rejects a universal national health program modeled after the successful Federal Medicare program in favor of inefficient, state-subsidized private for profit plans that are costly and beyond the means of over one third of US families.

10.  Obama is and continues to be an advocate for Big Agro and its highly subsidized and profitable ethanol program, which has increased food prices for millions in the US and for hundreds of millions in the world.

11.  Obama advocates continuing the criminal embargo on Cuba, hostile confrontation with Venezuela’s populist President Chavez and other Latin American reformers and the duplicitous policy of promoting protectionism at home and free market access to Latin America.  His key policy advicers on Latin America propose cosmetic changes in style and diplomacy but unrelenting support for re-asserting US hegemony.

12.  Obama has not proposed, nor do his free market advisers and billionaire financial backers envision, any comprehensive plan or strategy to get us out of the deepening recession.  On the contrary, the course of piecemeal measures presented by Obama are internally inconsistent:  Fiscal austerity is incompatible with job creation; bailing out Wall Street drains funds from productive investment; and pursuing new wars undermine domestic recovery.

Chomsky on the Presidential election

Why do I vote for Nader each election?  Why do I never vote for a person who has a republican or democrat attached to his name no matter what position he is running for?  Noam Chomsky was interviewed on Real News and discusses the answer to these questions much better than I ever could.  At the end, he leaves room for the lesser of the two evils choice, and we can talk about that sometime, but I am not a lesser of two evils kind of guy.  When it comes to Coriantumr and Shiz, I’ll go hide in a cave.  Check it out:

Human Rights Watch joins the demonization effort against Chavez of Venezuela.

Chavez’s government has been demonized by the US since he came to power and has been elected democratically numerous times by numbers that would be considered landslides in the USA.  He is a controversial leader with his in-your-face way of dealing with foreign powers, namely the USA, but is unarguably the popularly elected leader of his country, usually by over 60% of the vote in elections that put the US elections to shame in terms of fairness.

Now, the Human Rights Watch group has issued a scathing, but an apparently disingenuous, report on human rights in Venezuela.  Below, I cut and paste part of an article that answers some of the myths in the HRW report, but first think.   Is there any country that elects a leader by landslides that takes away their rights, or that commits human rights abuses?  Truly, only in the USA, under what has become an Orwellian society, do we continually elect leaders that abuse our human rights.  In the rest of the world that doesn’t happen in free and fair elections.  Check out the talking points below:

MYTH: “Discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chávez presidency.”  

FACT: Human Rights Watch deems the 2002 coup against the elected government “the most dramatic setback” for human rights in Venezuela in the last decade, but criticizes President Chavez’s own public condemnations of the unconstitutional overthrow as examples of “political discrimination” against the opposition. On the contrary, President Chávez last year pardoned political opponents who backed a failed 2002 coup against his democratically elected government. “It’s a matter of turning the page,” Chávez said. “We want there to be a strong ideological and political debate — but in peace.”[i] In this spirit, the government has often welcomed input from the opposition, for example, inviting the leaders of student protests to address the National Assembly.

MYTH: The Chávez administration has an “open disregard for the principle of separation of powers – specifically an independent judiciary.”

FACT: Human Rights Watch wrote in an earlier report that “When President Chávez became president in 1999, he inherited a judiciary that had been plagued for years by influence-peddling, political interference, and, above all, corruption…In terms of public credibility, the system was bankrupt.” Under Chávez though, Human Rights Watch admitted that access to justice in Venezuela was improved by the expansion of the court system.[ii] Also, the World Bank found that “the [judicial] reform effort has made significant progress – the STJ [Supreme Court] is more modern and efficient.”[iii] Testament to the strength of democratic institutions in Venezuela is the ability of the National Electoral Council to uphold decisions unfavorable to lawmakers, such as the “no” victory in the December 2007 referendum on constitutional reforms.

MYTH: “[Chávez] has significantly shifted the balance of the mass media in the government’s favor… by stacking the deck against critical opposition outlets.”

FACT: As was true at the time of the 2002 coup against Chávez, Venezuela’s media is dominated by opposition voices. The “anti-government” media mentioned by Human Rights Watch still maintains the largest share of the nation’s public airwaves, and their frequently extreme criticisms of the government have included calling for the overthrow of elected leaders (as in 2002). There are no major pro-government newspapers in Venezuela. The new government-funded television and radio outlets, such as TVes – Venezuela’s first public broadcaster – and TeleSur – a regional network with support from multiple countries – have a much smaller reach than the private outlets. Furthermore, the government has never censored or “shut down” opposition media. The private channel RCTV faced a non-renewal of its broadcast license due to persistent legal violations including inciting political violence, but the station easily made the switch to cable.

MYTH: The Chávez government “has sought to remake the country’s labor movement in ways that violate basic principles of freedom of association.”

FACT: The Chavez government has actively promoted the formation of labor unions and bargaining by organized labor, but has not co-opted this sector. The National Workers’ Union (UNT) was founded in April 2003 by workers supportive of government policies. In 2008, the government responded to an ongoing labor dispute between steel workers and the foreign-owned firm Sidor by intervening to negotiate a settlement, and when this was found to be impossible, the government reasserted state control over the Sidor plant in response to worker demands. The steel workers themselves were also allowed to purchase a share of the business themselves and thereby assert more control over the company.

MYTH: The Chávez government has pursued an “aggressively adversarial approach to local rights advocates and civil society organizations.”

FACT: The Chávez administration has encouraged local leaders to create community councils that let localities identify and address their own problems – from garbage collection to school construction. The concept comes from the belief that local groups know what is lacking and know what they want for their communities. Community councils democratize local government and give people the funding and capacity to make decisions for themselves. Also subject to local decision-making are many of the social missions that are designed to help reduce poverty in the most marginalized areas of the country. Health clinics, educational centers, subsidized food markets and other initiatives rely on local volunteers and are accountable to these communities.

Truly, this must be part of the drive to demonize Chavez and his government and eventually overthrow him in a coup or civil war, much like Allende was overthrown in Chile in 1973.  This sort of move makes perfect sense if one is familiar with such works as “Deterring Democracy,” by Noam Chomsky, or “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” by John Perkins (I think).

The US needs this sort of demonization in order to drum up domestic support for its future actions so that when it removes Chavez, it will be supported by the general populace of the USA.  My job is to let my little voice out so that some might see what our secret combinations are up to.

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