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Aging in Paragraph: Days of Centuries Future and Empires Past

Requiem for the American Century: Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph
The Future Is Not Ours (and Neither Is the Past).

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to “create the first great American Century.” Luce died in 1967 at age 69. Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s childhood, ceased to exist as a weekly in 1972 and as a monthly in 2000; Time, which launched his career as a media mogul, is still wobbling on, a shadow of its former self. No one today could claim that this is Time’s century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else’s. Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans. The Soviet Century, after all, barely lasted seven decades. Of course, only the rarest among us live to be 100, which means that at 70, like Time, I’m undoubtedly beginning to wobble, too.
 
* The other day I sat down with an old friend, a law professor who started telling me about his students. What he said aged me instantly. They’re so young, he pointed out, that their parents didn’t even come of age during the Vietnam War. For them, he added, that war is what World War I was to us. He might as well have mentioned the Mongol conquests or the War of the Roses. We’re talking about the white-haired guys riding in the open cars in Veteran’s Day parades when I was a boy. And now, it seems, I’m them.
 
* In March 1976, accompanied by two friends, my wife and I got married at City Hall in San Francisco, and then adjourned to a Chinese restaurant for a dim sum lunch. If, while I was settling our bill of perhaps $30, you had told me that, almost half a century in the future, marriage would be an annual $40 billion dollar business, that official couplings would be preceded by elaborate bachelor and bachelorette parties, and that there would be such a thing as destination weddings, I would have assumed you were clueless about the future. On that score at least, the nature of the world to come was self-evident and elaborate weddings of any sort weren’t going to be part of it.
 

Gazan Hell: Israel's Tightening Spiral Into Depravity

A Future in Hell: Bitter Fruits of Bellicose Policy
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
1. As Israel begins its latest ground assault on the Gaza Ghetto -- accompanied by whoops of support across the American political and media spectrum -- it is worth remembering this:

https://twitter.com/GazaYBO/status/490857047173627905/photo/1For the third time in five years, the world’s fourth largest military power has launched a full-scale armed onslaught on one of its most deprived and overcrowded territories.Since Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip began, just over a week ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed.
Nearly 80% of the dead are civilians, over 20% of them children.

But the idea that Israel is responding to a hail of rockets out of a clear blue sky takes “narrative framing” beyond the realm of fantasy. … The latest violence is supposed to have been triggered by the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank in June, for which Hamas denied responsibility. But its origin clearly lies in the collapse of US-sponsored negotiations for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the spring.

That was followed by the formation of a “national reconciliation” government by the Fatah and Hamas movements, whose division has been a mainstay of Israeli and US policy. Israeli incursions and killings were then stepped up, including attacks on Palestinian civilians by armed West Bank settlers. In May, two Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by the Israeli army with barely a flicker of interest outside the country.
It’s now clear the Israeli government knew from the start that its own kidnapped teenagers had been killed within hours. But the news was suppressed while a #BringBackOurBoys campaign was drummed up and a sweeping crackdown launched against Hamas throughout the West Bank. Over 500 activists were arrested and more than half a dozen killed – along with a Palestinian teenager burned to death by settlers. Binyamin Netanyahu’s aim was evidently to signal that whatever deal Hamas had signed with Mahmoud Abbas would never be accepted by Israel.

Gaza had nothing to do with the kidnapping, but Israeli attacks were also launched on the strip and Hamas activists killed. It was those killings and the West Bank campaign that led to Hamas resuming its rocket attacks – and in turn to Israel’s devastating bombardment.
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Fuzzy Logic: Obama and the CBC on Gaza Blitz

CBC and Obama: Unacceptable
by Kim Petersen - Dissident Voice

On Friday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered in front of the building which houses Canada’s state media, the CBC. An article in the CBC of the same day explains why the people of Halifax were disgusted; its subtitle quotes United States president Barack Obama:
 
“’No nation should accept rockets fired into its borders,’ Obama says of Israel’s ground push.”
 
How should the nations where the United States carries out drone missile attacks respond to such an utterance from Obama?

How should Korea which never attacked the US feel about the barrage of US rockets that obliterated so many Korean lives from 1950-53?1 How should Viet Nam, which never attacked the US, feel about the devastation of its people under rockets and chemical weapons? How should Iraq, which never attacked the US, respond to such a frivolous utterance from Obama?2,3
 

What Did Gandhi Say: The Jews in Palestine

The Jews In Palestine
by Mahatma Gandhi via CounterCurrents
Published in the Harijan
November 26, 1938
Several letters have been received by me, asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question.

My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became lifelong companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close.

Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews. But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice.


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Israel's Dementors on the Wing

The Dementedness Destroying Israel
by William A. Cook
Dementor“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind as it is very proper for those who tackle the darkness.The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look at it too much…” (Joseph Conrad. “Heart of Darkness”).
A noticeable change has occurred in Israel since its bombardment of Gaza in 2008/9, what I have termed the Christmas bombing of imprisoned civilians caught in a steel net surrounding their sliver of land, a change that offers perspective on the altering mindset that guides this benumbed state.Then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday the 27th “…instructed the Foreign ministry to take emergency measures to adapt Israel’s international public relations to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza strip” (Haaretz, 12/28/08). Her intent as she ordered the military to continue its devastation of the Gazan people resulting in over 1400 dead, many children, was “to explain the rationale for the expanded IDF operations in the Gaza strip.” An all out call to PR personnel to mobilize was issued, including those with language proficiency in Arabic, Italian, Spanish and German, the better to muffle the voices of those finding fault with the invasion. She noted at the time that Israel expects foreign media and diplomatic figures to support Israel.

Today as the current spring rain of missiles pours down on Gaza, the intent arises from a totally different cause, a manufactured cause created by Netanyahu’s government directed at the Israeli people to elicit unconditional support to destroy Gaza.
 

Surviving the Police and Courts, Cecily McMillan Now Brutalized by NYT

Already Abused by Cop, DA and Court, Occupy Protester Now Trashed by NY’s Leading Paper
by Dave Lindorff - This Can't Be Happening
cecilymcmillanWhen a journalist in a news article refers to a woman as “strident,” you know what you’re reading is a hit piece, not a dispassionate report, and that’s what the New York Times offered up to readers in today’s piece about a court appearance yesterday by Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan [1].
 
Photo of Cecily McMillan showing the bruises and abrasions on her right breast caused by an officer's grabbing her from behind
 
The Times reporter, Monique O. Madan, as a professional journalist, surely knows that the meaning of “strident” is, as the Oxford English Dictionary says, “loud, harsh and grating” and that it implies the slanted presentation of a point of view in an “unpleasantly forceful way.”
 
If she somehow didn’t know this, her editors certainly do, and yet they were okay with her disparaging and loaded word choice.

Ground Invasion of Gaza as Strip Pounded from the Air

Israel Begins Ground Invasion in Gaza, Clashes Reported
by Middle East Eye
Israel has launched a ground offensive against Gaza, with reports saying that some troops have already been spotted in the northern parts of the Strip.
 
Two Palestinians, including a three-month-old baby, have already been killed, Palestinian medical sources told AFP.
 
According to Middle East Eye sources on the ground, Israeli warships have also intensified their shelling while Israeli tanks are believed to have entered Gaza and begun shelling the north and south of the country, including the Rafah crossing into Egypt. There have also been as yet unconfirmed reports of an incursion from the east.
 
Al-Wafah hospital in Gaza City was also shelled, although International Solidarity sources who had human shields in the vicinity told the Middle East Eye that none of the patients were hurt but that a few staff members were slightly injured.
 
The Israeli military has informed many foreign journalists to evacuate hotels close to the beach, with the military asking the government to approve the deployment of 18,000 additional reservists. This would bring the number of Israeli troops on the border up to almost 60,000.
 

For Whom the Bell Does Toll: Paying the Price for the Neocons

The Human Price of Neocon Havoc
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
victoria-nulandWhether the tragedy is four boys getting blown apart while playing on a beach in Gaza or nearly 300 killed from a suspected missile strike on a Malaysian Airliner over Ukraine or the thousands upon thousands of other innocent victims slaughtered in Iraq, Syria, Libya and other recent war zones, the underlying lesson is that the havoc encouraged by America’s neocons results in horrendous loss of human life.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, 
who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

While clearly other players share in this blame, including the soldiers on the ground and the politicians lacking the courage to compromise, the principal culprits in the bloodshed of the past dozen years have been the neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” allies who can’t seem to stop stirring up trouble in the name of “democracy” and “human rights.”

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Gaza: Tony Blair Carries Water in Phony Egyptian Ceasefire Offer

How US and Blair Plotted ‘Ceasefire’ Scam
by Jonathan Cook
We now have confirmation from the Israeli daily Haaretz of what we should have suspected: that the idea for the so-called Egyptian “ceasefire proposal” was actually hatched in Washington, the messenger boy was arch-war criminal Tony Blair, and the terms were drafted by Israel.
 
The intention was either to corner Hamas into surrendering – and thereby keep the savage blockade of Gaza in place – or force Hamas to reject the proposal and confirm the Israeli narrative that it is a terrorist organisation with which Israel cannot make peace.
 
According to Haaretz, Blair secretly initiated his “ceasefire” activity after “coordinating” with US Secretary of State John Kerry. On Saturday he headed off to Cairo to meet with the US-backed Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to persuade him to put his name to the proposal.
 
Immediately afterwards, he travelled to Israel to meet Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday afternoon. Sisi and Netanyahu were then supposed to thrash out the details. When they failed to do so, Blair intervened again on behalf of the Americans and the pair spoke by phone on Saturday evening.
 

Throwing Oil on the Fires: Fighting On In a Burning World

The Fatal Bargain: Oil and Blood in a Burning World
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Israel’s disproportionate and increasingly pernicious role in American politics and policies is well-known. But Washington’s decades-long collusion of corruption with the repressive, retrograde regime of Saudi Arabia has if anything been even more disastrous for the world.
 
Historians of the next millennium will look back on the fatal bargain that humanity has made with fossil fuels as one of the great wrong turnings in the history of homo sapiens. By the end of this century it will have burned or drowned vast portions of the planet and plunged billions of people into ruin and suffering.
 
The benefits that arose from our oil-based civilization cannot be denied — yes, I too am glad that an ambulance can get me quickly to the hospital or fly me across the ocean to see my children — but the cost of these benefits has been immense, and there is far worse to come in the years ahead … not least for those same beloved children.
 

Getting the Border Picture in Security State America

Border Wars in the Homeland: "Stop Stepping on the Pictures"
by Todd Miller  - TomDispatch
Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn’t be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the U.S. borderlands in the post-9/11 era.

Tumbling out of that purse came Gutierrez’s life: photos of her kids, business cards, credit cards, and other papers, all now open to the official scrutiny of the Department of Homeland Security. There were also photographs of her husband, Jose Gutierrez Guzman, whom CBP agents beat so badly in 2011 that he suffered permanent brain damage. The supervisory agent, whose name badge on his blue uniform read “Gomez,” now began to trample on her life, quite literally, with his black boots.

“Please stop stepping on the pictures,” Shena asked him.

A U.S. citizen, unlike her husband, she had been returning from a 48-hour vigil against Border Patrol violence in Mexico and was wearing a shirt that said “Stop Border Patrol Brutality” when she was aggressively questioned and cuffed at the CBP’s “port of entry” in Nogales on that hot day in May. She had no doubt that Gomez was stepping all over the contents of her purse in response to her shirt, the evidence of her activism.