Monday, June 30, 2008


As a Navy pilot in 1967, John McCain dropped bombs and napalm on Vietnam in a war that killed millions of Indochinese people.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


If ever China makes a grab for superpower status, it will be East Asia as the starting block where it will attempt to force the United States to exit from its forward military presence in the Western Pacific.

China like Pakistan in South Asia, has built up North Korea as the regional spoiler state to destabilize the region.


Here is what Neoconservatives Commentary magazines's blog, Contentions, think about Haaretz

srael’s newspaper of record has suffered from a flagrant political bias of what can be called the “Left”: Its antipathy to capitalism, and especially its belief that all of Israel’s woes are to be blamed not on Arab bellicosity but rather on Israel’s occupation and settlement policies, made Haaretz the standard-bearer for a very specific, rapidly dwindling audience.

Not any more. According to the Jerusalem Post’s Calev Ben-David, over the last few months many of Haaretz’s writers — Akiva Eldar, Danny Rubinstein, Gideon Levi, and Amira Hass, to name the most notable — have been either released or had their space significantly curtailed, and a new, more moderate era has begun under the leadership of the paper’s new editor, Dov Alfon.

The essence of the problem, we may assume, is business: As the Israeli economy has boomed because of market reforms, and optimism about peace has vanished in the wake of the Second Intifada and the rise of Hamas, fewer and fewer readers want to hear what Haaretz’s editors have been saying. But lest you think there’s an actual ideological change happening, here’s what Amos Schocken, the paper’s longtime owner, has to say about the shift:

I understand there are those readers who want Haaretz to look like a protest [manifesto] against the occupation - for example, Ashkenazi, secular and righteous, and focused on the occupation. But a newspaper is not a protest [manifesto]; it’s a newspaper. By the way, Haaretz was against the occupation before Amira Hass and Meron [Rappaport], and it will be after them. And don’t misunderstand me. I am certainly of the view that the occupation is Israel’s most severe ailment, one that endangers its very existence. If it were possible, then, I would be ready to be the publisher of a newspaper that solely campaigned against the occupation till its end. The problem is that some of those protesting against the occupation also want to know what is happening in the shops of Comme Il Faut [a clothing chain]. So we were concerned that they wouldn’t take out a subscription to the newspaper that I am prepared to be the publisher of.

Here is Amos Schocken explaining that:

Citizenship law makes Israel an apartheid state

The amendment to the Citizenship Law is exactly the kind of practice that leads to the use of such a term, and it is best that we not try to evade the truth: Its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


...the global level the power-play between the United States and Russia can be expected to end with the dawning of a strategic realization that both the United States and Russia would stand to gain by a mutual cooperation

Asia’s strategic calculus today includes two emerging powers i.e. China and India with global aspirations abounds in countries with nuclear arsenals, namely China, India, Pakistan and Israel and those with closet nuclear weapons like North Korea and Iran.

this Paper addresses the theme under the following heads:
  • The Middle East: Asia’s Explosive Powder Keg
  • Central Asia: The Strategic Power Play
  • South Asia: Strategic Destabilization by China-Pakistan Nexus
  • South East Asia: Up for Grabs by China
  • East Asia: Global and Regional Power Tussle
  • Asia’s Security & Stability: Future Perspectives

The Middle East: Asia’s Explosive Powder Keg

Israel as the only island of political stability in the Middle East has been under relentless military and terrorism onslaughts from its Arab neighbours over the Palestine-Israel dispute.

new strategic conflicts...

These are:
  • (1) United States as the prime ideological enemy of Islamic fundamentalists/Jihadis combine.
  • (2) Strategic rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional power status.
  • (3) Implicit in this is also the sectarian Sunni-Shia conflict that predominates in the Islamic World
  • (4) Nuclear arms race that would be generated by Iran’s nuclear weapons program
  • (5) United States and Western countries severe opposition to Iranian nuclear weapons program
  • (6) The current confrontation in Iraq between USA and Sunni/Shia armed militias
  • (7) Ethnic problems like those of Kurdistan.
  • (8) The US-Iran confrontation.

While any global power play would be confined to control of energy resources, strategic choke points and political influence in the region, it’s the intra-regional conflicts and rivalries

Arab unity or Islamic unity as cementing forces for stability within the region have remained a myth.

The United States continues to be the most powerful strategic player

Central Asia: The Strategic Power Play

after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Central Asian Republics that emerged were all Islamic by religion and were soon engulfed as targets for control by Islamic fundamentalists

an area of strategic rivalries between the United States, Russia and China

The United States would wish to draw these nations into the Western orbit for reasons of energy security and so also for strategic hemming-in of China.

power play between USA and Russia.

Russia is better placed currently by virtue of geographical contiguity and the economic interdependence of this region on Russia

South Asia: Strategic Destabilization by China-Pakistan Nexus

During the Cold War, it was the United States which ended building up Pakistan as the regional spoiler state, militarily.

China in its bid for Asian domination ended up more venomously by building up Pakistan as a nuclear weapons and nuclear missiles state to confront India. China has been using Pakistan as a proxy to keep India strategically off-balance.

Kashmir was used as a conflictual flashpoint excuse to strategically brow-beat India.

India has emerged as a contending power for global player status.

South Asia has emerged as the prime arena for a more powerful strategic rivalry between India and China as they jostle for global power status.

China and India perceive each other as military threats.

this has become more pronounced with the evolution of the US-India Strategic Partnership.

while both may not opt for direct war, they could end up doing the same through proxies.

Afghanistan continues to be militarily turbulent

The turbulence is due to Pakistan Army's unceasing military support to the Taliban to strategically destabilize US operations and the Karzai Government. China too is involved in military supplies to the Taliban against the United States.

South East Asia: Up for Grabs by China

South East Asia’s strategic complexion can be expressed very briefly as follows:
  • (1) Strategic vacuum has been caused in the region by US strategic distractions in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • (2) US has lost interest in South East Asia after open efforts by countries like Malaysia to keep the United States out of the East Asia Summit economic grouping
  • (3) Russia under Putin has made limited forays in the region.

the region is ripe for a strategic grab by China. Such an attempt by China in itself carries the seeds of confrontation with USA

East Asia: Global and Regional Power Tussle

East Asia that figures most significantly after the Middle East. However, as opposed to the Middle East mired in intra-regional tussles, East Asia is distinguished by a power play on a much higher plane.

China and the United States perceive each other as major military threats

If ever China makes a grab for superpower status, it will be East Asia as the starting block where it will attempt to force the United States to exit from its forward military presence in the Western Pacific.

in terms of American forward military presence, the largest number of military bases and deployments exist here.

Russia’s resurgence could witness restoration of Russia’s strategic assets in the region also but it is unlikely that this would tilt the military balance in China's favor.

China like Pakistan in South Asia, has built up North Korea as the regional spoiler state to destabilize the region. Once the United States stabilizes Iraq and Afghanistan it is likely to deal with North Korea's strategic delinquencies more firmly.

Japan is no strategic push-over and complicates the East Asian strategic calculus for China in favor of the United States.

Asia’s Security & Stability: Future Perspectives

  • “Asia Century” is a myth strategically
  • Within Asia a strategic power tussle between China, India and Japan would predominate
  • In this three-some power play China would stand isolated with India and Japan enjoying strategic convergences
  • This Asian power tussle will have corresponding impact on the global power play.
  • In the global power play, it would be more logical and advisable for the United States and Russia as the erstwhile “status-quo” global powers to view the challenge from China as a ‘revisionist power’ in strategically convergent terms.
The Middle East and East Asia will be the most challenging regions in the Asian strategic calculus.

In terms of global power play, China could therefore end up as a “strategic threat” for the United States and a “strategic irritant” for Russia.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008


FROM: Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place (Richard Silverstein)

Tony Judt makes an interesting historical analogy between the Roman relationship with Judea and the U.S. relationship with Israel. He says that Rome tolerated Judea’s troublesome behavior for a time because it did not threaten them. But once those in Judea indeed did threaten Roman interests in a serious way, the latter simply invaded and destroyed Judea to end the threat. Judt uses this analogy to posit a scenario whereby the U.S. at some future time might find that Israel has become too great a burden on national interests. At that time, the U.S. might abandon Israel to its fate. Even the Israel lobby with all their political muscle would be powerless to prevent it. Because Israel has no other major allies, this outcome, no matter how unlikely now, is something greatly to be feared.

All this raises a larger question: why is it that the Dutch can see such a program and Americans can’t? Why hasn’t American public TV or cable seen fit to produce a documentary on this subject? Can it be because the subject isn’t newsworthy or is of marginal interest? I think not. Can it be that if they tried the Lobby would tie them up in such knots that they’d regret ever having made the effort to do such a program? You bet.


Obama’s National Security Working Group

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Senator David Boren, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Secretary of State Warren Christopher

Greg Craig, former director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning

Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig

Representative Lee Hamilton, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder

Anthony Lake, former National Security Advisor

Senator Sam Nunn, former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Secretary of Defense William Perry

Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State

Representative Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner

Jim Steinberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor

Where's General Wesley Clark?

The "war by humanitarian intervention" group. The Yugoslavia Model. Much cleaner and more deceptive, subtle. Coming up: Darfur, Sudan, Burma, Tibet, Vietnam,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Media Reform conference in Minneapolis:

By David Walsh
14 June 2008

...The prejudice against socialism, encouraged by decades of officially sponsored anticommunism, goes unchallenged in these circles. And a serious, deep-going critique of American society, including its monstrous media apparatus, is unthinkable without the revival of socialist thought within the intelligentsia and broad layers of the population. A socialist program in regard to the media has to be developed and popularized, involving the nationalization of the major media conglomerates and their transformation into public utilities, democratically controlled. Information, culture and entertainment have to be liberated from corporate control.

Anticommunism, as opposed to socialist opposition to the Stalinist regimes in the USSR and elsewhere, became virtually a state religion in the US in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This resulted in the systematic elimination of left-wing opinion, its subsequent unavailability to the public. This was not simply a right-wing undertaking. American liberalism and the Democratic Party, in alliance with the state, settled accounts with their opponents on the left in the purges. The consequences of that process for political, social and cultural life have been disastrous.

No one in these circles speaks of this history, especially of the role played by liberalism. The Democratic Party was widely discredited in the 1950s and 1960s, identified as it was with anticommunism, corrupt machine politics, Jim Crow in the South and, eventually, the Vietnam War. The angry, mass protests outside the Democratic convention in 1968 did not come out of the blue. The repackaging of the Democrats, their respectability on the ‘left’ is of relatively recent origin.

...“The American people can handle a broad discourse, from left to right, from libertarian to socialist. Unfortunately, our media denies that to them and as a result, I think, causes a stilted discourse which makes it far less likely that we will solve real problems in this country.”

McChesney put in, “I’d like to add one thing. It’s worse than that. The media serves to police the borders of what is legitimate opinion and that’s always the thing that makes you angriest, they’re the border cops ...”

These are critical issues, facing not only the media reform movement, but the population as a whole. The question remains: to what extent will the media reform movement itself function as a “border cop” for the Democratic Party and official politics?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


The Corporate Media War Whores on MSNBC have all been sucking each others dicks now for three solid days over their fallen comrade. What does the rest of the world think?

From No Quarter

Tim Russert is not responsible for the decision to invade Iraq–that rests on the shoulders of George Bush. But Russert was a ringmaster in the media circus that helped build public support for the invasion. The so-called “tough” questioning of Cheney might have meant something if Tim, as news director, could have put people on the air and given them comparable time to challenge the Administration’s policy. But he did not. He was playing the role of Jay Leno without the jokes–hosting a talk show–but declining to hold folks accountable for flat out lies. Russert had a bully pulpit but declined to use it. Russert was not the only one. But he was positioned uniquely to help shape public perceptions and his influence in Washington was such that he could have made a difference.. But he did not. He played it safe and he catered to the powerful.

From Angry Arab

Tim Russert. I met him when I was a graduate student and was doing free-lance work for NBC-News in Lebanon. He was the rising star in the network then. I did not know him at all but he represents something not necessarily good or impressive about U.S. media. He was talented and was a good interrogator and was very well-prepared: but these are basic qualities that all journalists should possess; and journalists in Europe, for example, possess those qualities. But he also represented this tendency that you have be chummy with politicians, and that it is all a big joke--the political differences and the disagreements. Russert has a horrible record on the Bush administration: he was least critical and least skeptical. How can you take his coverage seriously, when he would interview the president one day, and then take his son to take his picture in the Oval Office the next day? He really did that: or when he marvels about how "a kid from Buffalo" is sitting in the Oval Office. What is the big deal, I don't get it. He represents that annoying tendency in the U.S. to indulge in self-praise and self-congratulations. He is one of those who have to say "only in America" several times a day. He also represented patriotic journalism --according to which you should not question an administration in a time of war. He also has this nostalgic view of parents and grandparents: the glorification of the past, with little regard for the plight of women, minorities, homosexuals in this past. The "greatest generation" that Brokaw wrote so much about was a generation that practiced segregation, that confined women to their homes, that watched lynching of blacks, that blatantly beat homosexuals, that spoke about "the others" only in vulgar and pejorative terms. Yesterday, Chris Mathews outed him on MSNBC: he said that Russert was a supporter of the American invasion of Iraq. No kidding.

From the Huffington Post

...However one feels about Sean Hannity, he is at least sincere. Russert, however, has no real beliefs. He sucks up to conservatives today simply to build his career, income, and power.

Russert began public life as a Democrat, and was for many years a card-carrying member of the so-called liberal media elite. After taking over Meet the Press, however, his ratings depended on repeat performances by government officials, whom he dares not seriously challenge for fear they will refuse to reappear on his show. Those who challenge their power, on the other hand, are expendable. By beating up on them, Russert can pretend to be "tough", giving him a pass to fawn at the feet of a Condelezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld or Richard Cheney. Such behavior, of course, is also the safest course to take with his employers.

Russert's treatment of candidates like Howard Dean contrasts dramatically with the obsequious treatment given those in power. A Cheney or Rumsfeld may be shown a film clip of one of their many lies, and asked to explain. They are then given as much time as they want to expand, amplify and embellish their lies, without interruption, whereupon Russert goes on to another topic. A Dean, however, is pummelled mercilessly....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Found at one of the incomparable Al Giordiano's blogs, The Field

UPDATE: This Al Giordiano blog entry was censored. Al has moved The Field blog to this location. The original link has been replaced by a look alike but thoroughly bogus site called The Back Forty.

While it’s certain that Internet and technology in general have provided the networking and communications tools that made such massive “self-organization” so rapid the difference between the Obama campaign and all others before it comes down, for me, to a more human factor: that the candidate has studied, practiced and believes in community organizing.

Many commenters here have asked me to elaborate more on this suggestion. But how does one boil down a life’s study and praxis into a blog entry?

As an exercise in removing the curtain that blocks a fuller view, let’s pull on one early thread: Community organizer Saul Alinsky’s 1971 list of 13 Rules for Radicals

1 ) Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

2 ) Never go outside the experience of your people. It may result in confusion, fear and retreat.

3 ) Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat.

4 ) Make the enemy live up to his/her own book of rules.

5 ) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

6 ) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

7 ) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

8 ) Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

9 ) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

10 ) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

11 ) If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

12 ) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

13 ) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

Now, kind Field Hands, as an exercise in developing the narrative, pick one, just one, of those 13 “rules” published 37 years ago, and use the comments section to explain how that “rule” applied, or did not apply, to the 2008 campaign so far.


Iraq SOFA deal allows future wars

US troops in Iraq

The proposed Iraq-US security treaty includes classified articles that would give US the right to attack other nations from Iraqi soil.

As reported by Press TV correspondent from Baghdad, the controversial classified articles in question include the following measures:

1. US forces would be free to attack via Iraqi airspace, land or waterways any country which threatens global and regional peace and security, menaces Iraqi government and constitution, or instigates terrorist and paramilitary groups.

2. US forces would have the right to set up additional military bases and stations inside Iraq that will support the Iraqi army. The number of the bases would depend on several factors, including the security conditions the US government deems desirable, negotiations with the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US command as well as discussions with the Iraqi Defense Ministry and relevant authorities.

3. The Iraqi government and its judiciary would not have the right to prosecute American forces or individuals. The immunity measure would extend to the US military, security, non-military and logistics firms affiliated with the US Army.

4. The Iraqi government would not have the right to independently determine whether US forces inside Iraq are qualified, nor would it have the right to limit or determine the size of American military bases and their routes.

5. US security forces would have the right to build security centers, particularly their own special prisons, to maintain security.

6. US forces would have the right to use their privilege to arrest those who threaten peace and security without a warrant from the Iraqi government or its institutions.

7. The US government must be informed of and negotiated with on Iraq's regional and international relations as well as signing of agreements so as to safeguard the country's security and constitution.

US forces will control Iraq's defense, interior and intelligence ministries for 10 years to carry out efforts toward training and enabling their staff, a measure which would mean even the weapons used by Iraqi forces and their types must be employed with the consent of US forces.

9. The agreement to be signed would be a pact rather than a treaty.

10· US forces would remain in Iraq for an unspecified and presumably lengthy period depending on conditions in the country. Future reviews on the matter would depend on the US and Iraqi governments. Any review would only be made under certain preconditions, including that Iraq's security and military organizations improve their performance; the country's security situation improves; national reconciliation takes place; neighboring countries are warned; the Iraqi government regains complete control throughout the country; and put an end to the presence of paramilitary forces inside Iraq.

According to Press TV's Baghdad correspondent, the 14-member American delegation now in Iraq to negotiate the deal were asked to revise several articles of the status of forces agreement (SOFA) in order to secure the approval of the Iraqi government.

The decision came only after public protests against the security treaty and opposition from various Iraqi political and religious leaders.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Ish Elokim" -- a "man of God"

Christian Zionists are hardly fond of the Jewish people. In fact, their entire project is shaped by very anti-Semitic beliefs, perceiving Jews as lesser beings whose "redemption" and "conversion" are prerequisites for the Second Coming of Christ. Despite these beliefs being well known, Israel found in Hagee an irreplaceable friend and ally. The self- proclaimed Jewish state seems willing to work with even anti-Semites to achieve its political goals.