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Subject: ON UNCOMMON COURAGE, COWARDICE AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS FOR REAL DEMOCRACY.
6 September 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
As war resistance continues to grow in the United States we are receiving many testimonies on acts of outstanding courage from within the U.S. military.
Please visit two rich sources for dozens of important film and video documentaries: Information Clearing House, and Truthout :
VIDEO #1 : Marine Corporal Grant Collins describes what it was like to participate in the war in Iraq. He also describes what it is like to live with giving orders that resulted in the deaths of civilians.
VIDEO #2 : When Cloy Richards went to Iraq, his mother and little sister were also affected.All three took the stage at Camp Casey and shared their pain. Camp Casey wasn't irrelevant to the Richards family - for them it was a place of healing.
FILM : A fifty-seven minute documentary by Brian Standing on how war is sold in the United States, the techniques used by government propagandists, public relations consultants and commercial advertisers and why are they so effective.
War is Sell
We also encourage readers to visit three exceptional Internet sites
in order to learn more about the growing democratic movement within
States today :
The following 12 articles offer additional information for context analysis of American institutions and social movements as they are developing today. Just as common sense perception informs us that today was derived from yesterday, so we are able to look at events associated with present-day America that are described below and discover the earlier stages of their development and the forms they might take in the futures. Hopefully this information will encourage some of us to act in the present so that we may become historical agents and influence the direction of change in the coming days and more. . . .
Item A. is a description of Israeli furry against the Palestinians in Gaza after the humiliating defeat in Lebanon, sent to us by Professor Edward Herman + an essay on Genocide in Gaza, by Ilan Pappe.
Item B. is a essay describing Israel's post-Lebanon strategy and American military support, by Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter.
Item C. is an article suggesting the pattern of future U.S. military tactics in the Middle East, by University of Sussex graduate student, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.
Item D. is a short essay by Professor Richard Wolff on the economic context of war capitalism in the 21st Century.
Item E. is a short essay by Greg Palast on the classic capitalist tactics against workers to gain faster short-term profits.
Item F. is an invitation from award winning author, Barbara Ehrenreich, who is announcing a new democratic organization, United Professionals, which will demand economic justice in America.
Item G. is a brief excerpt from a letter by Kathleen Ross-Allee on the economic dissolution of the middle class in Los Angeles, California.
Item H. is an essay by Mike Whitney on the alienated leadership in the United States today and the violence they have caused.
Item I., sent to us by Truthout, describes Tony Blair's political difficulties this week due to his servile support of U.S. imperialist policies in the Middle East.
Item J., also from Truthout, is a description of American war profiteering in Lebanon.
And, finally, item K. is an article from the Associated Press on Iran's willingness to negotiate its nuclear program with representatives of the United Nations.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3
P.S. This 4-minute montage, produced by GlobalFreePress.com with music
James Blunt expresses the sentiments of tens of millions of
American citizens across the continent.
A nation blind to their disgrace
A 4 Minute Video
from Edward Herman :
Subject : Gaza's Darkness
4 September 2006
A picture of unilateral violence and disastrous abuse in
by Gideon Levy
has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know
it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the
abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging
through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.
Nobody thinks about
setting up a commission of inquiry; the issue isn't even on the agenda.
Nobody asks why it is being done
and who decided to do it.
But under the cover of the darkness
of the Lebanon war, the IDF returned to its old practices in Gaza as if
there had been no
disengagement. So it must be said forthrightly, the disengagement is dead. Aside from the settlements that remain piles of rubble,
nothing is left of the disengagement and its promises. How contemptible all the sublime and nonsensical talk about "the end of the
occupation" and "partitioning the land" now appears. Gaza is occupied, and with greater brutality than before. The fact that it is
more convenient for the occupier to control it from outside has nothing to do with the intolerable living conditions of the occupied.
In large parts of Gaza nowadays,
there is no electricity. Israel bombed
the only power station in Gaza, and more than half the
electricity supply will be cut off for at least another year. There's hardly any water. Since there is no electricity, supplying homes
with water is nearly impossible. Gaza is filthier and smellier than ever: Because of the embargo Israel and the world have imposed
on the elected authority, no salaries are being paid and the street cleaners have been on strike for the past few weeks. Piles of
garbage and obnoxious clouds of stink strangle the coastal strip, turning it into Calcutta.
last two months, and the same is true for the Rafah crossing. Some 15,000 people waited for two months to enter Egypt, some are
still waiting, including many ailing and wounded people. Another 5,000 waited on the other side to return to their homes. Some died
during the wait. One must see the scenes at Rafah to understand how profound a human tragedy is taking place. A crossing that was
not supposed to have an Israeli presence continues to be Israel's means to pressure 1.5 million inhabitants. This is disgraceful and
shocking collective punishment. The U.S. and Europe, whose police are at the Rafah crossing, also bear responsibility for the situation.
thousands of PA workers receive no salaries, and the possibility of working in Israel is out of the question.
children and 25 of them women. It bombed and assassinated, destroyed and shelled, and no one stopped it. No Qassam cell or
smuggling tunnel justifies such wide-scale killing. A day doesn't go by without deaths, most of them innocent civilians.
shells and bombs on houses and kills entire families on its way to another assassination.
Hospitals are collapsing with more
than 900 people undergoing treatment. At Shifa Hospital, the only such
facility in Gaza that might
be worthy of being called a hospital, I saw heartrending scenes last week. Children who lost limbs, on respirators, paralyzed, crippled
for the rest of their lives.
seen, huddle in their homes with a horror in their eyes that is difficult to describe in words. A journalist from Spain who spent time in
Gaza recently, a veteran of war and disaster zones around the world, said he had never been exposed to scenes as horrific as the ones
he saw and documented over the last two months.
starting with the bad decision on the embargo, through the bombing of Gaza's bridges and power station and the mass assassinations.
Israel is responsible now once again for all that happens in Gaza.
events in Gaza expose the great fraud of Kadima: It came to power on
the coattails of the virtual success of the disengagement,
which is now going up in flames, and it promised convergence, a promise that the prime minister has already rescinded. Those who
think Kadima is a centrist party should now know it is nothing other than another rightist occupation party. The same is true of Labor.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz is responsible for what is happening in Gaza no less than the prime minister, and Peretz's hands are as
blood-soaked as Olmert's. He can never present himself as a 'man of peace' again. The ground invasions every week, each time
somewhere else, the kill and destroy operations from the sea, air and land are all dubbed with names to whitewash the reality, like
'Summer Rains' or 'Locked Kindergarten.' No security excuse can explain the cycle of madness, and no civic argument can excuse
the outrageous silence of us all.
Gilad Shalit will not be released and the Qassams will not cease. On the contrary, there is a horror taking place in Gaza, and while it
might prevent a few terror attacks in the short run, it is bound to give birth to much more murderous terror. Israel will then say with
its self-righteousness: 'But we returned Gaza to them.'
Ilan Pappe :
5 September 2006
Subject: Genocide in Gaza
Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.
from Truthout :
3 September 2006
Subject: Israel Plans for War With Iran and Syria
Israel is preparing
for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli
political and military sources. "The challenge from Iran and Syria is
top of the Israeli defense agenda, higher than the Palestinian one," said an Israeli defense source.
Israel Plans for War With Iran and Syria
by Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter
The Times UK
Threatened by a potentially nuclear-armed Tehran, Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli political and military sources.
The conflict with Hezbollah has led to a strategic rethink in Israel. A key conclusion is that too much attention has been paid to Palestinian militants in Gaza and the West Bank instead of the two biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the region, who pose a far greater danger to Israel's existence, defence insiders say.
"The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defence agenda, higher than the Palestinian one," said an Israeli defence source. Shortly before the war in Lebanon Major-General Eliezer Shkedi, the commander of the air force, was placed in charge of the "Iranian front", a new position in the Israeli Defence Forces. His job will be to command any future strikes on Iran and Syria.
The Israeli defence establishment believes that Iran's pursuit of a nuclear programme means war is likely to become unavoidable.
"In the past we prepared for a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities," said one insider, "but Iran's growing confidence after the war in Lebanon means we have to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important player."
A new infantry brigade has been formed named Kfir (lion cub), which will be the largest in the Israeli army. "It is a partial solution for the challenge of the Syrian commando brigades, which are considered better than Hezbollah's," a military source said.
There has been grave concern in Israel over a military pact signed in Tehran on June 15 between Iran and Syria, which the Iranian defence minister described as a "mutual front against Israeli threats". Israel has not had to fight against more than one army since 1973.
During the war in Lebanon, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, the Iranian founder of Hezbollah, warned: "If the Americans attack Iran, Iran will attack Tel Aviv with missiles."
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, both Iran and Syria have ballistic missiles that can cover most of Israel, including Tel Aviv. An emergency budget has now been assigned to building modern shelters.
"The ineptness of the Israeli Defence Forces against Hezbollah has raised the Iranians' confidence," said a leading defence analyst.
In Washington, the military hawks believe that an airstrike against Iranian nuclear bunkers remains a more straightforward, if risky, operation than chasing Hezbollah fighters and their mobile rocket launchers in Lebanon.
"Fixed targets are hopelessly vulnerable to precision bombing, and with stealth bombers even a robust air defence system doesn't make much difference," said Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative.
The option of an eventual attack remains on the table after President George Bush warned on Friday that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
While the American State Department favours engaging with President Bashar Assad of Syria in the hope of detaching him from the Iranian alliance, hawks believe Israel missed a golden opportunity to strike at Syria during the Hezbollah conflict.
"If they had acted against Syria during this last kerfuffle, the war might have ended more quickly and better," Perle added. "Syrian military installations are sitting ducks and the Syrian air force could have been destroyed on the ground in a couple of days." Assad set off alarm bells in Israel when he said during the war in Lebanon: "If we do not obtain the occupied Golan Heights by peaceful means, the resistance option is there."
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Syrian army briefly captured the Israeli strategic post on top of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights.
Some Israeli analysts believe Syria will try again to take this post, which overlooks the Syrian capital, Damascus.
As a result of the change in the defence priorities, the budget for the Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza is to be reduced.
The Israelis are integrating three elite brigades that performed well during the Lebanon war under one headquarters, so they can work together on deep cross-border operations in Iran and Syria.
Advocates of political engagement believe a war with Syria could unleash Islamic fundamentalist terror in what has hitherto been a stable dictatorship. Some voices in the Pentagon are not impressed by that argument.
"If Syria spirals into chaos, at least they'll be taking on each other rather than heading for Jerusalem," said one insider.
from Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed :
2 September 2006
US Army Contemplates
Redrawing Middle East Map to Stave-off Looming Global Meltdown
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
In a little-noted article printed in early August in the Armed Forces Journal, a monthly magazine for officers and leaders in the United States military community, early retired Major Ralph Peters sets out the latest ideas in current US strategic thinking. And they are extremely disturbing.
Ethnically Cleansing the Entire Middle East
Maj. Peters, formerly assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence where he was responsible for future warfare, candidly outlines how the map of the Middle East should be fundamentally re-drawn, in a new imperial endeavour designed to correct past errors. "Without such major boundary revisions, we shall never see a more peaceful Middle East," he observes, but then adds wryly: "Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works."
Thus, acknowledging that the sweeping reconfiguration of borders he proposes would necessarily involve massive ethnic cleansing and accompanying bloodshed on perhaps a genocidal scale, he insists that unless it is implemented, "we may take it as an article of faith that a portion of the bloodshed in the region will continue to be our own." Among his proposals are the need to establish "an independent Kurdish state" to guarantee the long-denied right to Kurdish self-determination. But behind the humanitarian sentiments, Maj. Peters declares that: "A Free Kurdistan, stretching from Diyarbakir through Tabriz, would be the most pro-Western state between Bulgaria and Japan."
He chastises the United States and its coalition partners for missing "a glorious chance" to fracture Iraq, which "should have been divided into three smaller states immediately." This would leave "Iraq's three Sunni-majority provinces as a truncated state that might eventually choose to unify with a Syria that loses its littoral to a Mediterranean-oriented Greater Lebanon: Phoenecia reborn." Meanwhile, the Shia south of old Iraq "would form the basis of an Arab Shia State rimming much of the Persian Gulf." Jordan, a US-Israeli friend in the region, would "retain its current territory, with some southward expansion at Saudi expense. For its part, the unnatural state of Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan." Iran too would "lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today's Afghanistan." Although this vast imperial programme could be impossible to implement now, with time, "new and natural borders will emerge", driven by "the inevitable attendant bloodshed."
As for the goals of this plan, Maj. Peters is equally candid. While including the necessary caveats about fighting "for security from terrorism, for the prospect of democracy", he also mentions the third important issue -- "and for access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself".
The whole thing sounds disturbingly familiar, especially to those who have read the musings of then Israeli Foreign Ministry official Oded Yinon.
Keeping the World Safe... for Our Economy
Despite trying to dress up his vision as an exercise in attempting to selflessly democratize the Middle East, in a contribution to the quarterly US Army War College journal Parameters almost a decade ago, he acknowledged with some jubilation that: "Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar--professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority." This minority will inevitably conflict with the vast majority of the world's population. "For the world masses, devastated by information they cannot manage or effectively interpret, life is 'nasty, brutish . . . and short-circuited.'" In "every country and region", these masses who can neither "understand the new world", nor "profit from its uncertainties... will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States." The coming clash, then, is not really about blood, faith, ethnicity, at all. It is about the gap between the haves and the have-nots. "We are entering a new American century", he says, in a veiled reference to the Bush administration Project of the same name founded in the same year he was writing. In the new century, "we will become still wealthier, culturally more lethal, and increasingly powerful. We will excite hatreds without precedent."
In predicting the future course for the US Army, Maj. Peters argues that: "We will see countries and continents divide between rich and poor in a reversal of 20th-century economic trends." In this context, he says, "we in the United States will continue to be perceived as the ultimate haves", and therefore, "terrorism will be the most common form of violence", along with "transnational criminality, civil strife, secessions, border conflicts, and conventional wars." Meanwhile, "in defense of its interests", the US "will be required to intervene in some of these contests." And then he sums it all up in one tidy paragraph:
"There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing."
So what's prompted Maj. Peter's decision to air his vision for the Middle East in the Armed Forces Journal at this time in the wake of the latest Middle East crisis? A number of critical developments.
Source: Imminent Global Crises Converge
According to an American source with high-level access to the US military, political and intelligence establishment, Western policymakers are in no doubt that the world faces the imminent convergence of multiple global crises. These crises threaten not only to undermine the basis of Western power in its current military and geopolitical configurations, but also to destabilize the entire foundations of industrial civilization.
The source said that the latest petroleum data indicates that "global oil production most likely peaked two years ago." This is consistent with the findings of respected geologists such as leading oil depletion expert Dr. Colin Campbell, who in the late 90s predicted that world oil production would peak in the early 21st century. "We have come to the end of the first half of the Oil Age," said Dr. Campbell, who has a doctorate in geology from the University of Oxford and more than 40 years of experience in the oil industry. Similarly, Kenneth Deffeyes, a geologist and professor emeritus at Princeton University, estimates the occurrence of the peak near the end of last year.
The source also said that leading US financial analysts privately believe that "a collapse of the global banking system is imminent by 2008." Although the warning is consistent with the public findings of other experts, this is the first time that a more precise date has been estimated. In a prescient analysis drawing on highly placed financial sources, US historian Gabriel Kolko, professor emeritus at York University, concluded in late July that:
"All the factors which make for crashes – excessive leveraging, rising interest rates, etc. – exist... Contradictions now wrack the world's financial system, and a growing consensus now exists between those who endorse it and those, like myself, who believe the status quo is both crisis-prone as well as immoral. If we are to believe the institutions and personalities who have been in the forefront of the defense of capitalism, and we should, it may very well be on the verge of serious crises."
The source also commented on the danger posed by rapid climate change. Although most conventional estimates suggest that global climate catastrophe is not due before another 30 odd years, he argued that the multiplication of several "tipping-points" suggested that a series of devastating climatic events could be "triggered within the next 10 to 15 years." Once again, this is consistent with the findings of other experts, most recently a joint task-force report by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Center for American Progress in the US, and the Australia Institute, which said in January last year that if the average world temperature rises "two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prevailing in 1750 before the industrial revolution", it would trigger an irreversible chain of climatic disasters. In its report, the task-force says:
"The possibilities include reaching climatic tipping points leading, for example, to the loss of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets (which, between them, could raise sea level more than 10 meters over the space of a few centuries), the shutdown of the thermohaline ocean circulation (and, with it, the Gulf Stream), and the transformation of the planet's forests and soils from a net sink of carbon to a net source of carbon."
The source also revealed that US generals had repeatedly war-gamed a prospective conflict with Iran, but consistently found that the simulations predicted "an absolute nuclear disaster", from which no clear winner would emerge. The scenarios gamed were so dismal, he said, that the generals briefed administration officials to avoid such a war at all costs. However, the source said that the Bush administration is ignoring the fears of the US military.
In this context, it would seem that the musings of Maj. Peters issue less from a concerted confidence in US power, than from a sense of growing desperation and unease as the political, financial and energy architecture of the global system is increasingly fragmenting under the weight of its own inherent instability. Despite the seeming gloominess of the situation, however, there is clearly fundamental dissent about the current trajectory of American and Western policy at the highest levels of power. The source remarked that "humanity is on the verge of a precipice, and either we'll all just drop off the edge, or we'll evolve. I'm not sure what that new human being might look like, but it will clearly have to involve a completely new set of ideas and values, a new way of looking at the world that respects life and nature."
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry. He teaches courses in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, where he is doing his PhD studying imperialism and genocide. Since 9/11, he has authored three other books revealing the realpolitik behind the rhetoric of the "War on Terror", The War on Freedom, Behind the War on Terror, and The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism. In summer 2005, he testified as an expert witness in US Congress about his research on international terrorism. Visit his blog http://nafeez.blogspot.com/
28 August 2006
by Richard Wolff
Chinese Exports and Knife-Edge Economies
Over at least the last decade, employers in the west have been able to enlarge profits dramatically by taking simultaneous advantage of the following three opportunities: raising workers’ productivity (computerization, etc.), merging to reduce costs (vertical and horizontal), and keeping wages from rising much or at all (outsourcing jobs and importing ever-cheaper consumer imports from China). Under those conditions, profit increases did not require price increases.
current challenges to
Chinese wage rates drift up in local and appreciated currency
terms, the advantages of outsourcing to
course, western employers, flush from record profits over the
last decade, could decide to absorb the rising prices of what are still
relatively cheap imports from
The contemporary political and cultural dominance of business in general alongside continuing conglomeration suggests that employers may successfully resist strategies that return them to profit levels of earlier years. They will then absorb neither rising prices of their inputs nor, rising wages. Instead, they will raise their prices and thereby engage the gamble of self-reinforcing price-wage spirals. Once launched, these spirals pit the abilities of business to raise prices against the abilities of workers to raise wages. Whoever raises further sooner wins. Indeed, inflationary economies can be times of sharp profit increases too.
might derail the brewing inflation spiral are not the tepid
inconsistencies of a hesitant Federal Reserve. Rather, the serious
The stark conclusion here is that the world economy is now functioning on a knife-edge. On one side, it risks a rapid fall into an inflationary spiral. On the other side lies descent into recession or worse. No real coordination of development to prevent either disaster occurs. Rather, each enterprise and country plots strategies mixing self-advancement and self-protection. This does not suggest a happy outcome to knife-edge conditions.
Understandably, in such circumstances, some will rediscover the comforting idea that each enterprise pursuing its own self-interest will somehow guarantee an optimum outcome. Others will equally predictably reassure themselves that institutions like the Federal Reserve. OECD, G8… will recognize the problems and implement appropriate solutions. However, realists will redouble their efforts to watch developments henceforth with close attention and rising anxiety, hoping at least to minimize the damage when economies on knife edges tumble and when spirals spin out of control.
from Greg Palast :
3 September 2006
TODAY'S PIG IS
TOMORROW'S BACON (a
Labor Day recipe)
by Greg Palast
Some years from now, in an economic refugee relocation "Enterprise Zone," your kids will ask you, "What did you do in the Class War, Daddy?"
The trick of class war is not to let the victims know they're under attack. That's how, little by little, the owners of the planet take away what little we have.
This week, Dupont, the chemical giant, slashed employee pension benefits by two-thirds. Furthermore, new Dupont workers won't get a guaranteed pension at all -- and no health care after retirement. It's part of Dupont's new "Die Young" program, I hear. Dupont is not in financial straits. Rather, the slash attack on its workers' pensions was aimed at adding a crucial three cents a share to company earnings, from $3.11 per share to $3.14.
So Happy Labor Day.
And this week, the government made it official: For the first time since the Labor Department began measuring how the American pie is sliced, those in the top fifth of the wealth scale are now gobbling up over half (50.4%) of our nation's annual income.
So Happy Labor Day.
We don't even get to lick the plates. While 15.9% of us don't have health insurance (a record, Mr. President!), even those of us who have it, don't have it: we're spending 36% more per family out of pocket on medical costs since the new regime took power in Washington. If you've actually tried to collect from your insurance company, you know what I mean.
So Happy Labor Day.
But if you think I have nothing nice to say about George W. Bush, let me report that the USA now has more millionaires than ever -- 7.4 million! And over the past decade, the number of billionaires has more than tripled, 341 of them!
If that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out, this should: You, Mr. Median, are earning, after inflation, a little less than you earned when Richard Nixon reigned. Median household income -- and most of us are "median" -- is down. Way down.
Since the Bush Putsch in 2000, median income has fallen 5.9%.
Mr. Bush and friends are offering us an "ownership" society. But he didn't mention who already owns it. The richest fifth of America owns 83% of all shares in the stock market. But that's a bit misleading because most of that, 53% of all the stock, is owned by just one percent of American households.
And what does the Wealthy One Percent want? Answer: more wealth. Where will they get it? As with a tube of toothpaste, they're squeezing it from the bottom. Median paychecks have gone down by 5.9% during the current regime, but Americans in the bottom fifth have seen their incomes sliced by 20%.
At the other end, CEO pay at the Fortune 500 has bloated by 51% during the first four years of the Bush regime to an average of $8.1 million per annum.
So who's winning? It's a crude indicator, but let's take a peek at the Class War body count.
When Reagan took power in 1980, the One Percent possessed 33% of America's wealth as measured by capital income. By 2006, the One Percent has swallowed over half of all America's assets, from sea to shining sea. One hundred fifty million Americans altogether own less than 3% of all private assets.
Yes, American middle-class house values are up, but we're blowing that gain to stay alive. Edward Wolff, the New York University expert on income, explained to me that, "The middle class is mortgaging itself to death." As a result of mortgaging our new equity, 60% of all households have seen a decline in net worth.
Is America getting poorer? No, just its people, We the Median. In fact, we are producing an astonishing amount of new wealth in the USA. We are a lean, mean production machine. Output per worker in BushAmerica zoomed by 15% over four years through 2004. Problem is, although worker productivity keeps rising, the producers are getting less and less of it.
The gap between what we produce and what we get is widening like an alligator's jaw. The more you work, the less you get. It used to be that as the economic pie got bigger, everyone's slice got bigger too. No more.
The One Percent have swallowed your share before you can get your fork in.
The loot Dupont sucked from its employees' retirement funds will be put to good use. It will more than cover the cost of the company directors' decision to hike the pension set aside for CEO Charles Holliday to $2.1 million a year. And that's fair, I suppose: Holliday's a winning general in the class war. And shouldn't the winners of war get the spoils?
Of course, there are killjoys who cling to that Calvinist-Marxist belief that a system forever fattening the richest cannot continue without end. Professor Michael Zweig, Director of the State University of New York's Center for Study of Working Class Life, put it in culinary terms: "Today's pig is tomorrow's bacon."
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "ARMED MADHOUSE: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War," just released from Penguin/Dutton, from which this is adapted.
And go to www.GregPalast.com for a special Labor Day treat: an excerpt from Air America Radio's Thom Hartmann's new book, "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- and What We Can Do About It."
from Barbara Ehrenreich :
Date : 30 August 2006
Subject : United Professionals Launch Event
UP Launch Event - D.C.
Whither the White Collar?"
DATE: September 8, 2006
LOCATION: Busboys and Poets
MORE: Food and Drink Available
If you're in the D.C. area after Labor Day, please be my guest at an early launch event for United Professionals. This is a unique opportunity to turn our attention to the largely ignored plight of white collar professionals. Well-educated but increasingly under or unemployed, their decline spells the end of our middle class. The United Professionals initiative is the begininng of our effort to save it. Please join me.
Please visit our "draft" website. There is much content to be added in the next 10 days, but your input and proof reading skills are important now. The site is not slated to be "public" until September 7, 2006. Still, in addition to your site ideas, I hope you'll immediately help kick-start our new blog and sign-up as a UP member. If you remain on our email list, please log into your account and sign up for sub-groups there.
More Events :
September 5, 2006 - 11:00 AM
September 12, 2006
Center for Public Programs
from Kathleen Ross-Allee :
3 September 2006
Los Angeles, California
How are all of you? It is certainly a very challenging time, isn't it?
We are struggling with the day to day living necessities of making
enough money just to survive the onslaught of our administrations
desire to separate the wealthy from the middle and lower classes in
every way they can.
There doesn't seem to be any reinvestment in the infrastructure of
our communities or in the support of our poverty stricken. Instead
we would rather go spend our money spreading so-called "democracy"
to people who may not want it. . . .
Thinking of you,
Kathleen and John
from Mike Whitney :
Subject : Going to War with the Leaders you have
3 September 2006
It is impossible to grasp how someone can be raised in America, matriculate at American universities, participate in the American
political system, and spend the bulk of his life breathing in the same American customs and mores as the rest of us, and yet, be so
completely divorced from the most essential values of the culture.
Going to War with
the Leaders you have
by Mike Whitney
“As you know, you go to war with the army you have. They’re not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
one part of the occupation of Iraq that has succeeded?
From the shortage of soldiers, to de-Ba’athification, to the disbanding the Iraqi military, to the lack of body-armor, to leaving the ammo-dumps unprotected, to Falluja, to Abu Ghraib, to Haditha, to the stage-managed, public relations Jessica Lynch incident (which was later exposed as a sham) every facet of Iraqi fiasco has been a complete and utter failure.
And whose name is on that failure? Whose name features most prominently on the greatest strategic disaster in American history?
Don Rumsfeld. Hands down, Don Rumsfeld is the biggest flop in American history. No one else even comes close.
Major General Paul Eaton summarized Rumsfeld’s dismal performance this way:
“Rumsfeld has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq”.
Keep in mind that Eaton is a conservative Republican and a firm believer in America’s preemptive war in Iraq. His comments simply reflect his ability to objectively judge performance and to assign blame where blame belongs. In this case, the person who is most responsible for the bungled policy in Iraq is Don Rumsfeld.
Fellow Lt. General Gregory Newbold was equally critical of Rumsfeld and said, “The decision to invade Iraq was done with a casualness and a swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions---or bury the results.”
Newbold is right; they don’t “bury the results” at the American Enterprise Institute, or at the Pentagon, or at the many smoke-filled, bastions where American plutocrats like Rumsfeld lark about, but in small-town America; Bakersfield, Winooski, Devils Lake, where parents and young widows choke back the tears for the men who lost their lives in Rumsfeld’s folly. That’s who pays the bill for Rumsfeld’s arrogance.
Rumsfeld’s failures are legion, but they do not compare to the disgrace he has heaped on the United States through his authorization of the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners in American custody. There is a clear record of official memoranda which lead straight to the office of the Secretary of Defense connecting Rumsfeld to a regime of torture and abuse directed at men who have never been charged with a crime and who are the unwitting victims of a terrorist witch-hunt.
Rumsfeld’s involvement in these crimes puts him well-outside our fundamental traditions and beliefs as Americans. His conduct is an assault of the basic principles which we hold most dear and which are written into our founding documents.
“We hold these truths to be self evident…”
It is impossible to grasp how someone can be raised in America, matriculate at American universities, participate in the American political system, and spend the bulk of his life breathing in the same American customs and mores as the rest of us, and yet, be so completely divorced from the most essential values of the culture.
Rumsfeld is like a man who has passed through his entire life impervious to his surroundings and to the nations’ prevailing ethos. He is, quite simply, the most un-American character to ever serve in high-office.
So, it is surprising, then, that the amoral Rumsfeld, whose litany of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan follow him like the plumage on a peacock, would decide to take aim at his many critics in a speech delivered to the American Legion on Thursday. It just shows that there are really no limits to the obtuseness of the men who currently hold power in America.
“Once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,” Rumsfeld opined. “But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons. Can we truly afford to believe that, somehow or someway, vicious extremists could be appeased?”
Rumsfeld’s words are aimed at the 61% of Americans who no longer believe that the war in Iraq is “worth it”. He dismisses them as “appeasers”. Of course, at one time many of these same people supported the war and didn’t care about the moral or legal issues as long as America prevailed. So, in fact, many of these “appeasers” actually changed their minds due to Rumsfeld’s staggering incompetence in managing the conflict. The Sec-Def must examine his own performance to truly understand why public support has eroded so dramatically.
Tom Friedman summarized Rumsfeld’s strategy as the “Rumsfeld Doctrine” that is, deploying “just enough troops to lose.” And, as we have already shown, Rumsfeld has failed in every phase of the occupation without exception.
It is pointless to dispute Rumsfeld’s allegations that his critics are “appeasers” or “fascist” sympathizers. It’s just a silly attempt to set up a straw man and then knock him down. Rumsfeld is a master at shifting attention from his own wretched performance and dumping the blame on someone else. In this case, he attacks not only those who have lost faith in the war but, also, takes a few swipes at his old nemesis “the media”.
The media has played a central role in sustaining support for the war; keeping anti-war critics out of their studios and off the air. They’ve limited their Iraq coverage to scenes of Arab’s killing Arabs rather that the daily digest of American bombing-raids, decimated Iraqi cities and an entire nation reduced to anarchy. Still, in Rumsfeld’s mind, any information that leaches through the fissures in the media façade and doesn’t promote the blinkered goal of American corporate-hegemony, is tantamount to treason.
“Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of (media) myths and distortions that are being told about our country and our troops,” Rumsfeld moaned. “The struggle we are in is too important to have the luxury of returning to that old mentality of “Blame America First.”’
Rumsfeld’s words were immediately followed by an announcement from the Pentagon that they would tender a “$20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of US and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage from Iraq.” (Wa Post)
Again, we see how utterly disconnected from reality Rumsfeld truly is. Rather than try to grasp the real issues involved, he cynically applies his energy to “attacking the messenger” or “perception management” strategies. These are the signs of someone who is completely incapable of personal accountability and who seriously believes that everyone else is to blame for his own failures.
No one is “manipulating the media” to oppose the war, quite the contrary. The corporate media has been a vital cog in the Pentagon’s information stratagem and is probably the most successful part of the war effort. They have maintained an astonishing level of public support for a war that has yet to provide any moral or legal justification or any recognizable “metric” for achieving victory. It simply goes on day by day grinding out more carnage while reducing the “cradle of civilization” into a pile of smoldering wreckage.
The Pentagon’s own report provided the most scathing account of America’s failed crusade. The report admitted that, “Sectarian violence is spreading in Iraq and the security problems have become more complex than anytime since the invasion in 2003…The illegal militias have become more entrenched, especially in Baghdad neighborhoods where they are seen as providers of both security and basic social services.” (NY Times)
In other words, everything has gotten worse and there are no tangible signs of improvement.
Is the Pentagon part of the “Blame America First” crowd too? Is the High-Command trying to “manipulate the media and demoralize public opinion” as Rumsfeld claims? ( Note: Bush disputed the Pentagon’s findings the very next day giving his cheery predictions precedent over the dismal facts from the Big Brass)
Opposition to the war is now emerging from all segments of society and continues to grow despite the optimistic accounts of progress in the media. America was defeated in Iraq when the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad in March 2003. It's been downhill ever since. After 4 years of the most pitiless warfare against a civilian population, the magnitude of that defeat has only increased.
Donald Rumsfeld is mistaken when he says that antiwar Americans suffer from “moral confusion.” Moral confusion is a condition of men who deliberately inflict pain on other human beings in violation of the most fundamental standards of human decency. In fact, those activities far exceed mere confusion and indicate a state of total moral decay. Such people are not fit to make even the most elementary ethical judgemnts, let alone to decide on the important issues of war and peace.
Support for the war is on a steady downward trajectory. That decline in support will not be altered by the delusional accusations of a man who, more than any other, is responsible for the shame and degradation that conflict has brought on our country.
That man is Don Rumsfeld.
4 September 2006
The Independent UK
Blair will be served notice to quit Downing Street at a meeting of the
Cabinet next week when senior ministers plan to confront him over his
refusal to commit to a
from Truthout :
4 September 2006
Inter Press Service News Agency
Lebanon is firmly en route to becoming the third nation in the Middle East after Iraq and the Palestinian territories to experience a devastating Washington-backed
war and a massive influx of new illegitimate debt to cover reconstruction expenses,anti-debt activists say.
4 September 2006
The Associated Press
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants negotiations on Iran's nuclear program but won't halt uranium enrichment ahead of talks, UN chief Kofi Annan said Sunday after
meeting the Iranian leader. Annan's two-day visit to Tehran comes after Iran ignored a United Nations deadline to halt uranium enrichment by the end of August, opening
the door to possible sanctions.