by Dr. Paul J. Balles
â€œI am an invisible man," said Ralph Ellison in the prologue to his novel The Invisible Man, "When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me."
The main character is anonymous and unseen. The whites in society refuse to see him except as a black. Much has changed in America since the 50's appearance of The Invisible Man, at least for those who have been able to distinguish themselves, primarily in the media.
At the same time, others lack any recognizable individual identity. Blacks seen as African refugees merge back into masses without identities. To most Americans, Orientals from China or Japan or Korea are indistinguishable as members of their countries much less as individuals.
Americans generally lack both the ability and desire to distinguish Arabs from Persians, and even less capable of seeing distinct and recognizable features. Thus, Arabs and Persians number among Ellison's invisible men.
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By Ramzy Baroud
How critical is the situation in Iraq? It depends on who you ask and when. Common sense tells us that the situation there has always been critical. In fact, one could dare claim that the country has been stricken with political and social upheaval since the early 1990s, when the US led its â€˜coalition of the willingâ€™ to liberate Kuwait.
Unfortunately, since American intent was hardly freedom for Kuwait for its own sake, the violent episode didnâ€™t end right there and then. The war established a completely different mood in the region where a permanent American military presence and subsequent built ups threatened a second, and much larger war.
Unlike the dominant narrative, however, the 1990-91 war never brought peace or tranquility to the region; rather, it agitated internal strife within Iraq, positioning the entire region through the barrel of a gun. Over the next decade, US-led UN economic sanctions wrought untold destruction to the very fabric of Iraqi society, as hundreds of thousands perished because of lack of medicine and food. The US government calculated that a weary Iraq could not withstand a future military action, and that ravished Iraqis would welcome the toppling of the Iraqi dictator.
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James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He's a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles. He's also an advisor to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina. Along the way, he managed to find time to write many hundreds of articles and 62 books published in 29 languages including his latest one in which he discusses another vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and has written frequently about - the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.
Petras' powerful new book is titled The Power of Israel in the United States. It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.Add a comment
by Mickey Z.
When activists made global headlines by essentially shutting down the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in late 1999, the term "anti-globalization" was bandied about without much serious explanation. The majority of those in the streets were not against the literal concept of global interaction; it was the current form of remote control imperialism euphemistically known as trade or globalization that inspired the demonstrations.
Created in 1995, the WTO is a bonanza for corporate profit that slipped in
under the public radar. "Most of America slept right through the birth of
this 134-nation organization, including many in Congress who voted to ratify
U.S. membership," says Mark Weisbrot, Research Director of the Preamble
Center, in Washington, D.C. "In the fall of 1994 Ralph Nader's Public
Citizen offered $10,000 to any member of Congress that would read the
500-page treaty and answer ten simple questions to prove it. Senator Hank
Brown of Colorado, a Republican who had voted for NAFTA and planned to vote
for the WTO, took the bet. He passed the quiz with a perfect score,
collected the winnings (for a charity of his choice), and then proceeded to
announce that having read the agreement, he felt compelled to vote against
by Chris Floyd
The ever persipacious Angry Arab, As'ad AbuKhalil, plucks out the hidden (or not-so-hidden) propaganda in a passing phrase in an otherwise unremarkable Washington Post story about Syria. Let the good doctor tell it in his own words:
[From the WP]: "Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here." (Notice the casual language of the Washington Post. Notice how they insert propaganda lines into articles. "US effort to bring democracy in Iraq"? Are you kidding me? Does the writer of the article really believe that this was what it was about?)
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by William Bowles
â€œ The Armed Forces Press Service recently quoted Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker as saying that the current level of soldiers in Iraq could remain constant through 2010.â€ â€” â€˜Iraq and Afghanistan: Staying Until the Fight is Overâ€™ October 25, 2006
front page head for Wednesday 25 October proclaimed loudly â€œWeâ€™re out
of hereâ€ purportedly the words of General George Casey, the USâ€™s head
military honcho in Iraq. Of course the devil lives in the small print
as any reading â€˜between the linesâ€™ reveals. And in any case, Caseyâ€™s
comments are designed precisely to give the impression that a pullout is imminent when in reality, there is no way the US can leave voluntarily, there is simply too much at stake.
By Jennifer Matsui
You are no doubt dismayed by the public outrage that has greeted your decision to adopt a baby boy from Malawi - a country that most people in the West probably only know from the ad campaigns of charitable organizations showing sickly babies covered in flies, while being watched over by your former wedding guests, now sockless and stubbled with earnest three day beards.
I imagine that you are shocked, truly shocked that anyone would
question your decision to remove a child from such unimaginable suffering as
having Bono and Bob Geldof breathing down his crib. And what kind of person
would condemn someone so young to a life of grinding poverty, especially
someone with millions at her disposal; a loving "mammy" who will tote her
little 'mchanga' around in a 1,200 thread count batik Snuggly specially
designed for him by Tom Ford himself, and provide him with every consumer
item under the less skin-damaging sun
Little David Banda is the luckiest boy in the world, you repeat to yourself 666 times a day while fiddling with your little red thread bracelet, because that's how every self-serving mantra eventually becomes truth. It's written in the Khabible. One minute little whats-his-name is languishing in a overcrowded, under funded orphanage in one of the poorest nations on earth, and the next minute he's soaring over the ocean in a private jet to make his new home on a palatial English estate, where he will be tended to by a complete staff of servants and diapered in monogrammed Pampers.
even sweetened the deal with a complete DVD box set of 'The Lion King' so
that he can immerse himself in African culture. You would think that would
shut up those annoying people who think removing a child from his own people
and culture is somehow a bad thing, even if said culture hasn't yet invented
pots to piss in.
by Chris Floyd
This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.
For centuries in Britain, each sentence of death was accompanied by a strange ritual. Before handing down the verdict, the judge would first take a piece of black silk cloth and put it on his head. With this rather bizarre and ancient drapery covering his powdered wig â€“ itself a relic, a cultural fossil carried into modern times â€“ he would then render the prisoner into the hangman's care.
In such a guise, the black cloth once represented the full, dread measure of state power. Today, however, a cloth of similar size, shape and color â€“ worn across the faces of a small number of some of the most vulnerable members of British society â€“ has become a target of that same dread power, after Britain's high and mighty unleashed a sudden, thunderous sneak attack on the nation's Muslim minority, centering the campaign around the tabloid-ready symbol of the veil.
But although the carefully orchestrated furor over this seldom-seen scrap of material has been so ludicrously disproportionate that even the Blair-fawning New York Times cried foul in a recent editorial, the campaign â€“ and its disturbing implications â€“ go far beyond the issue of religious vestments. Indeed, the veil row is just a covering for what appears to be a deliberate, wide-ranging program of diversion and division, aimed at creating a scapegoat â€“ "strangers in our midst," "the enemy within" â€“ to bear the blame for the sins of the Blair government: the fear, repression, guilt, lies and rancor produced by the abomination in Iraq.
The anti-Muslim campaign is not merely rhetorical â€“ although the heated rhetoric from Tony Blair and many of his ministers has certainly been bad enough, giving a patina of respectability to more extremist viewpoints, now seen as a legitimate part of the "national debate. (Much as the button-pushing imbroglio over immigration in the United States has transformed fringe white-power advocates into respectable media figures, lauded by the likes of Lou Dobbs and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and welcomed in the halls of Congress.) No, Blair's Islamophobia-fest has bite with its bark: not only the on-going evisceration of civil liberties, which has fallen almost entirely on British Muslims, but new measures as well â€“ such as the Stasi-like plan to induce university professors and staff to spy on Muslim students and report all "suspicious" behavior to the security organs.
By Dr. Paul J. Balles
If the world will be gulled, let it be gulled.Americans refuse to end the reign of the National Rifle Association's (NRA) gun control lobby. The lobby has insisted for 125 years that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right of every American to own a gun.
Buy the hype in that position and then listen to the same NRA Americans and supporters calling for Hezbollah to give up their weapons. The Lebanese Hezbollah used their guns in the way that Americans never had to--to defend against an invasion.
The American position on gun control hasn't changed. Yet they want Lebanese citizens controlled, meaning no private ownership of guns for defense.
If that's not perfidy, duplicity and deceit, what is?
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by Dave Lindorff
Forget her "Pledge," She Took an Oath: Why Pelosi is Wrong on Impeachment
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in an interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News, said impeachment would be "off the table" if Democrats take over the House of Representatives in November, calling it a "waste of time."
She couldn't be more wrong, and most Americans know it.
While Pelosi was responding to a loaded question from Stahl, who couched impeachment in terms of Democrats' supposed desire to seek revenge if they retake Congress, Pelosi, who would become majority leader in a Democratic House, bought into Stahl's argument, saying that she'd be "satisfied" to see the president and vice president spending the remaining two years of their second term as "lame ducks."
What Stahl should have asked Pelosi was whether she thought that President Bush had violated the law and the Constitution, and whether she believed he has committed impeachable offenses.
The answer to that is clearly yes.
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by Phil Rockstroh
"O Nature, and O soul of man! how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies! not the smallest atom stirs or lives in matter, but has its cunning duplicate in mind." â€”Herman Melville, Moby Dick
All human beings have a talent for the denial of the more unpalatable aspects of ourselves, but we Americans have turned denial into a form of collective genius. There is no need to burn books, if the public is too ignorant to know they exist -- or too benumbed to resonate with their content.
Regarding the death of well over half-a-million Iraqis, the majority of the citizenry of The Corporatists States of America have experienced a comparable degree of regret and remorse that their oligarchic overlords experience when topping-off the tanks of their corporate jets with fuel purchased with money plundered from their employee's retirement accounts ... Sans conscience above -- sans conscience below.
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by Arthur James
I remember the horror of death. On a darkening evening, three soldiers encountered me on a jungle trail. Our meeting startled us. The soldiers braced to shoot me. Shaking, I wedged myself and my M-16 rifle against a tree. I shot two of them. The third person dropped to the Earth on that dusk eve, crawled into dense bushes, and thankfully fled away. "Oh God." I groaned deeply. "What have I done? Why am I here?"
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War unites humanity to feel madness, horror, and insanity. There must exist an enclave of peace, meditation, solace, and a quiet place to step back from this insanity. To be able to find and touch the Self's reserve of tranquility of Being is a difficult spiritual struggle. The Word one searches for to be descriptive and speak, fails. Words are all we have to work with. Words lack the power and often we people feel diminished with hardly the capacity to communicate. I represent myself guilty of this fact.
Before I digressed into the second paragraph, I began to mention that portraits were found on the limp, lifeless, lacerated forms. In long moments immediately after their death, I began wondering about those rummaged pictures my fellow squad members found. I wondered about their mothers, fathers, children, and their extended families of friends. Being stricken with a truth I had always known: These Vietnamese were people, distinguished and unique individuals. They were fellow humans, not my enemy.
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