Bulletin N° 829
Subject : Life & Death Struggles in Class Society: What Future for Violence?
10 January 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Language, we are taught, can be used in one of two ways: either to conceal information, or to expose information. We do it all the time, and some of us are more adept than others. But to what extent are we all prisoners of our language? Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s 1966 book, Linguistics, a Revolution in Teaching have suggested that we should look at language like a musical instrument and ideas as being analogues to the sounds from an instrument. Just as we cannot make a clarinet sound like a trombone or a trumpet sound like a drum, so it is that the language we use constrains our thinking; certain ideas are simply not accessible or appear, at best, as rough approximations. (pp.197-200)
I was invited last week to a festive New Year’s party and fell into a political conversation with an Asian-American guest who had flown over from New York City. It was a party mostly attended by middle-management people and some teachers and students. The music was loud, and the dancing furious; but we managed to find a corner in the kitchen where we sat and talked for a while. The woman was totally disillusioned with the Republican Party in the U.S. and thoroughly repulsed by Trump. The twin threats of climate catastrophe and thermo-nuclear war made it evident to her that it was time to actively support the Democratic Party. At this moment, in an atmosphere of holiday joy and conviviality, her world and mine collided and linguistic sparks gently lit up the corner of the kitchen where we were sitting.
I told her that I believed that removing Trump from office would do little to solve the grave problems the world is now facing and that both political parties in my opinion have proven themselves to be in the service of the same corporate interests. For one thing, I pointed out, the military industry dominates the political economy of the United States and that guarantees continuous wars for no other reason than wars represent the most profitable investment opportunities for U.S. capital. Also, since CEOs of large corporations in the United States are legally obliged to maximize profits for their investors, I continued, regardless of the “collateral damages” - such as environmental devastation or massive violations of human rights - they (or their replacements, in case they choose to violate federal law and pioritize society and the environment) will always be obliged to destroy sectors of society and regions of the environment when they stand in the way of increasing private profits. In addition, corporations are legally recognized as “individuals,” with the rights of individuals; but they are never held accountable for breaking the law. It is only the individual office holders in the corporation who can be held liable and, as stated above, these real people are all replaceable. The corporation is immortal and amoral, and people are expendable.
The capitalist society, I continued, seemed to be much like a spider web, and all of us are like insects trapped in the same fatal condition, doomed so long as the system holds together. The challenge is for us to find a way to deconstruct this predatory network and free ourselves collectively from bondage and imminent destruction.
This view is not new, of course, but the point I wanted to make to my compatriot in the kitchen was that to dismantle a spider web from within requires more than compulsive struggle and a desire to escape, more even than moral outrage and mortal combat on the surface of the web; it requires specific knowledge of how the web is put together and secured in place, and how its separate parts are joined to serve a particular function – in other words, required is a knowledge of its structure and its system.
To create a new political architecture that could accommodate society more successfully, I suggested, would require appropriate tactics and strategies, and any such development must take into account the difference between digital and analog thinking: the former being governed by a code that asserts no permanent constraints on the latter, while the latter eventually determins the qualities of former, by providing meaning, i.e. "the reason for reason."
My new acquaintance in the kitchen corner worked as a manager in a large transnational firm in New York City. She told me that she was in it for the money and looked forward to retiring to some far-off corner of the earth. Nevertheless, the spider web metaphor caught her attention: Yes! We are all struggling against the same dangers and there’s really no escape, but we don’t seem to recognize this trap. We try to alleviate our problems by attacking other people caught in the same circumstances; we usually direct our hostility towards them instead of at the cause of our misery. It’s hard to conceptualize the system we are caught in as a whole and to fully appreciate its capacity to entrap all of us. Meanwhile, those of us who are conscious of this predicament, as well as those who are not conscious, are struggling to live a decent life.
But not all the residents of the web, she quickly added, are in the same situation. After all, the spider built the web for a purpose, and he/she is the big beneficiary, along with spider’s family.
Yes, I replied, following the analogy, the spider did build the web out of an instinct to acquire food and secure its existence; but in human society, these aims can be achieved by a variety of means. Unlike the micro society on a spider web, the predatory web of capitalism and the behavior produced by it can be eliminated without necessarily causing the destruction of individual members of the community.
The day after this discussion, on January 2, I took out my old torn copy of Anthony Wilden’s book, System and Structure, Essays in Communication and Exchange (1972) and turned to chapter 7, “Analog and Digital Communication: On Negation, Signification, and Meaning.” Between my heavy notations in red and blue ink and my illustrations in the margins, I found what I was looking for. [Additional discussions of Anthony Wilden's books can be found at the following CEIMSA links: "The Strategic Envelope," by Anthony Wilden, as well as in Bulletin N°257, Bulletin N°260, Bulletin N°273, Bulletin N°493, & Bulletin N°781.]
Wilden begins chapter 7 of "System and Structure" by quoting from G. Spencer Brown’s book, Laws of Form:
‘To explain, literally to lay out in a plane where particular’s can be readily seen. Thus to place or plan in flat land, sacrificing other dimensions for the sake of appearance. Thus to expound or put out at the cost of ignoring the reality or richness of what is so put out. Thus to take a view away from its prime reality or royally, or to gain knowledge and lose the kingdom.’(cited in Wilden, p.155)
He then provides definitions of the terms he will employ, giving examples before entering into the discussion of distinctions within the forms and functions of communication:
All natural systems of communication employ both analog and digital communication at some level in the system. It is useful to make a methodological distinction between these two modes of information transmission. The distinction is modeled on the way information is transmitted and used in certain manmade primitive ‘organisms’: cybernetic devices, control mechanisms, computers. It is equally applicable to or derivable from the way information is transmitted within the human organism, or in an ecosystem, or from the way it is transmitted between human organisms.
. . .
An analog computer is defined as any device which ‘computes’ by means of an analog between real, physical, CONTINUOUS (sic) qualities and some other set of variables. These real qualities may be the distance between points on a scale, the angular displacement, the velocity, or the acceleration of a rotating shaft, a quantity of some liquid, or the electrical current in a conductor. Examples of the analog computer thus include a number of common devices: the flyball governor . . . , the map, the clock . . . , the ruler, the thermometer, the volume control, the accelerator pedal, the sextant, the protractor.
. . .
The central feature . . . is that they are ‘continuous function computers’. In this sense the human system of the body, dependent upon the release of ‘more or less’ of something into the bloodstream, is an analog system.
The digital computer differs from the analog in that it involves discrete elements and discontinuous scales. Apart from our ten fingers, the abacus was probably the first digital computer invented. Pascal’s adding machine, the Jacquard punch-card loom, and Babbage’s difference engine are further historic examples. Any device employing the on/off characteristic of electrical relays or their equivalents (such as teeth on a gear wheel) is a digital computer. Thus the thermostat, although it depends upon continuous analog quantities (the bending of its thermocouple in response to temperature) involves a digitalization at a second level, because the thermo-couple is connected to a switch which either turns the furnace off or turns it on. Similarly, the central nervous system involves neurons which receive quanta or packages of information via the axons and through the connecting synapses. Upon arrival at the synapses on the body of the neuron these quanta are said to be summated, the result of which is either a firing or the inhibition of the firing of the neuron. That is to say, at the moment of ‘summation’ . . . the neuron either fires or does not fire. Thus the neurons may be said to operate digitally, but the synapse and axon which connect them appear to be complex analog devices.(pp.155-157)
It is impossible to represent the truth function of symbolic logic in an analog computer, because the analog computer cannot say ‘not-A’. Negation in any language or simulated language depends upon SYNTAX, which is a special form of combination, and the analog computer has no syntax beyond the level of pure sequence (and that only in a positive direction). There is no ‘either/or’ for the analog computer because everything in it is only ‘more or less’, that is to say : everything in it is ‘both-and’ . . . . The analog computer cannot represent nothing (no-thing) because it is directly or indirectly related to ‘things”, whereas the ‘language’ of the digital computer is essentially autonomous and arbitrary in relation to ‘things’ (except in so far as all information requires matter-energy in the form of markers for its transmission).
. . .
The interest of the distinction between analog and digital machines is even more striking if we consider the relationship between semantics and syntax in these two forms of communication. . . . It is impossible to translate the rich semantics of the analog into any digital form for communication to another organism. This is true both of the most trivial sensations (biting you tongue, for example) and the most enviable situations (being in love). It is impossible to precisely describe such events except by recourse to unnamable common experience (a continuum). But this imprecision carries with it a fundamental and probably essential ambiguity: a clenched fist [for example] may communicate excitement, fear, anger, impending assault, frustration, ‘Good morning’, or revolutionary zeal. The digital, on the other hand, because it is concerned with boundaries and because it depends upon arbitrary combination, has all the syntax to be precise and may be entirely unambiguous. Thus what the analog gains in semantics it loses in syntactics, and what the digital gains in syntactics it loses in semantics. Thus it is that because the analog does not possess the syntax necessary to say ‘No’ or to say anything involving ‘not’, one can REFUSE or REJECT in the analog but one cannot DENY or NEGATE.(pp.162-163)
. . .
He goes on to discuss the unique qualities of humans, as distinct from other organisms, in the functional use of these two processes of communication, analog and digital.
If we leave the computers from which the distinction [of forms or processes] was originally drawn and look at communication between organisms, it seems that human beings are the only organisms to use the FUNCTIONS of both processes for communication with peers. Moreover, humans seem to be the only animals capable of using one mode in place of the other, for natural language and human communication are both digital and analog in both form and function. Formally, the poet may employ devices such as alliteration or onomatopoeia or association to make the digital elements on the page or in his reading into analogs or in order to evoke analog sensations. Functionally, the politician may employ the analog context of his digital text to obscure or replace the text, as we saw in the television campaign for the 1970 US elections, for example. He may in other words be apparently conveying denotative information about issues and events when in fact he is actually talking about his relationship to his audience and their relationship to the image and images he projects. In such a context, the ‘conceptual’ value of the digital information is zero . . . .
This is in essence the prime distinction between the function of the digital and that of the analog. The digital mode of language is denotative : it may talk about anything and does so in the language of objects, facts, events, and he like. Its linguistic function is primarily the sharing of nameable information (in the non-technical sense). The analog on the other hand talks only about relationships. In human communication these are often serious problems of translation between the two.
Analog communication thus accurately describes all that we know about the function of macroscopic animal communication, for we know of little, if anything, approaching denotation in the animal world. Such rudimentary systems of food calls, danger calls, as so forth as do exist do not seem to involve anything beyond the level of the signal or the rudimentary sign, and it seems at first to be unnecessarily anthropomorphic to suggest that such and such a noise ‘signifies’ SOME-THING when it is clear that it only signals something about the relationship of the animal calling to his environment and thence about his relationship to the receivers of the message.
But in order to avoid confusion about the term ‘form’ and ‘function’, a further clarification is necessary. Since a food call is a metacommunication about an analog relationship, it is not quite correct to say that it does not signify something. Since it sets up a boundary between one state of a system (‘the absence of food’) and another state (‘presence of food’), it is a FORM of digitalization. We need therefore to introduce at least two main levels of semiotic freedom in the form of the digital:
1) The level of the signal or sign, which is arbitrary in one sense and fixed in another (a noise has not essential connection with food but all gibbons make the same set of noises to indicate food). Like the firing of a neuron, such a first-level digital message has only to do with decisions about the differences between presence and absence (a continuum), and cannot be substituted for the overall analog function of the communication. At this level, it would appear that no metacommunication about the message is possible.
2) The level of the linguistic signifier, which is arbitrary in one sense and has a high degree of semiotic freedom in another sense (there are many ways to indicate the presence or absence of food in language). Unlike the on/off decisions of the neuron or of animal signals about food, danger, territorial boundaries, and so on, this second level in the form of the digital is capable of more than simply labeling a certain difference as distinct. This is the level of double articulation (duality of patterning) and negation. It is capable of taking over or replacing the analog in terms of both form and function. At this level, messages about messages (logical typing) are clearly possible.(pp.164-165)
Toward the end of this complex chapter on analog and digital communication, Wilden concludes with a reference to communication as it pertains to human survival.
The analog/digital distinction gives us for the first time perhaps an entirely scientific way of distinguishing meaning and signification. We can define meaning in terms of the value system of the ecosystem, that is, in terms of long-range survival. All open systems are goalseeking and adaptive, each with a greater or lesser ‘phase-space’ of possibilities depending on its level of organization. If only because in French, English, and German, the equivalent terms are related to sensation, direction, desire, intention, and purpose, ‘meaning’ is the obvious choice for the semantics of survival, the macroscopic domain of adaptation. Meaning can be defined as what real material senders and receivers do with information in order to achieve some goal or other (the goal may, of course, be counter-adaptive). Information organizes the work to be done to this end.
We can restrict ‘signification’ for the denotative and concept-transferral operations of digital systems, conceived of as composed of signs and or signifiers. The meaning is not simply the use, as Wittgenstein put it, but the use in terms of an end and in relation to a real context. Signification may or may not be involved in a real context, for it can create its own context. Signification (Bedeutung) is effectively restricted to names, but to names in the widest sense of systems of names and naming. Meaning is mainly concerned with both-and differences, signification with distinctions, some of which are either-or oppositions. In the terminology of Lacan and of Levi-Strauss, meaning is of the domain of symbolic exchange, signification belongs to the imaginary.
Because of the difficulty of defining the line between the analog and the two levels of the digital, especially in play, we should reserve the word ‘sign’ as a mediator between them. Thus the distinction will allow signals and signs in the analog, and signs and signifiers in the digital.(*) The same distinction applies to that between analog information and digital information.(pp.184-185)
Signs = According to Ferdinand de Saussure the sign relation consists only of a form of the sign (the signifier) and its meaning (the signified). A sign depends on an object in a way that enables (and, in a sense, determines) an interpretation, an interpretant, to depend on the object as the sign depends on the object.
Signals = Communication (both conscious and unconscious) between individuals, both within species and across species.
Signifiers = The signifier is the pointing finger, the word, the sound-image. A word is simply a jumble of letters. The pointing finger is not the star. It is in the interpretation of the signifier that meaning is created. The signified is the concept, the meaning, the thing indicated by the signifier.
The 20 + items below offer readers a critical look at the syntax of our political culture in transformation. The shell of the past contains the seeds of the future which are struggling to be born. Today, cognizance of communication skills has never been more important, if we are to free ourselves from the old structures of domination/subjugation and predatory exploitation and enter voluntarily into a new system of political economy premised on self-fulfillment and collective well-being. Such a change can only come from below, from a purposeful mass movement that is enriched by a multitude of conversations, excluding no one. Let the "gatekeepers" be notified . . . !
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Economy & Labor
Richard Wolff: We Need a More Humane Economic System,
Not One That Only Benefits the Rich
(Video and Transcript)
The World Paul Volcker Made
by Paul Edwards
From the beginning of recorded history through the end of WWII the term “war” was understood as armed conflict between states or governments. This definition obtained through the Korean and Vietnam wars, gradually losing precision by adoption of such terms as “conflict” and “insurgency”, presumably so as not to dignify grossly unbalanced contests with the glorious name bestowed on mutual slaughter by giant, equal adversaries.
Since Vietnam--with the shameful, degrading brutality involved in the Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti and other “police actions”--and signally since the Iraq/Kuwait Turkey Shoot, the old, abused term has lost any solid relation to its original meaning and is pathetically applied to any violent rape by the American War Machine of any putative “enemy”, regardless of the incommensurate forces involved, often when the victim--not even a legitimate adversary--has no capacity at all to strike back or defend itself.
“Crime + Punishment” Exposes Racial Quotas in the
NYPD & Retaliation Against Officers
Who Speak Out
A group of New York Police Department officers are challenging what they call a racially charged policy of quotas for arrests and summonses. Known as the ”NYPD 12,” they risked their reputations and livelihoods to confront their superiors, fight illegal quotas and demand a more just police force. We look at a film following their story called “Crime + Punishment.” It has just been shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. We speak with Stephen Maing, the film’s director and producer, and Lieutenant Edwin Raymond, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NYPD 12.
From: "Jim O'Brien via H-PAD" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 2 January, 2019
Subject: H-PAD Notes 1/2/19: AHA plans; links to recent articles of interest
Note for those planning to attend the AHA convention: See the Historians for Peace and Democracy home page for locations and other details on H-PAD activities at the AHA on Friday and Saturday Jan. 4 and 5. They include a panel on "Two More Years of Trump: What Is To Be Done" (Friday, 10:30-12:00), a literature table (Friday, 11:30-2:30), and an organizing meeting (Saturday, 12:00-1:30).
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted January 2
The author teaches Middle East history at the University of Michigan.
By Mujib Mashal, New York Times, posted December 31
A detailed account of one aspect of the longest US war
By Jim Lobe, LobeLog, posted December 31
On the now-defunct conservative journal's consistent support for aggressive US overseas policies
By Katherine Stewart, New York Times, posted December 31
This article article argues that a biblical/historical analogy with the first emperor of Persia sheds light on the appeal of the non-religious Donald Trump to right-wing evangelicals.
By Lawrence S. Wittner, LA Progressive, posted December 29
The author is a professor emeritus of history at SUN Y Albany.
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted December 28
"The same neocons who gush about alliances today were telling anyone not on board with the Iraq invasion to 'go to hell.'" The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University.
By Robert Fisk, The Independent, posted December 27
A critical view of Secretary Mattis's policies, with analogies to generals in other nations who have exercised political power.
By Julian Borger, The Guardian, posted December 21
A country-by-country rundown by The Guardian's world affairs editor
By Lyle Jeremy Rubin, The Guardian, posted December 18
An eloquent and detailed personal account of basic training and of service in Afghanistan
Thanks to John Marciano and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.
Some interesting new information about 9/11
Weaponizing the Term « Conspiracy Theory »
Disinformation Agents and the CIA
by Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Yellow Vests, Modern Junk Politics and Robespierre
by Daniel Warner
During the recent holidays, I had the opportunity to listen to my French friends extol the virtues of the yellow vests (gilets jaunes) movement. “We have had enough of the elitist rule that has left most of the French working class economically desperate,” Pierre said. “People have gone into the streets out of dire frustration.” Jean added; “This is not just a complaint about taxes, rather it is an uprising against the oligarchy that has destroyed democracy.”
I listened to their complaints with empathy, fully accepting their descriptions of what the French middle and lower classes are living through. Their emotions seemed genuine; I had no reason to question their analysis of the underlying causes of the recent protests. Where we differed was their inability to answer my simple question: “What is the solution?”
6 January 2019
Violence Surges as Yellow Vests Attack French Government Ministry
John Pilger Pilger Special - Look Back at 2018, Look Forward to 2019
John Pilger discusses the events of 2018, including the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, events in Syria, Brexit, the Integrity Initiative, and more!
From: David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 2:29 PM
Subject: Anything War Can Do, Peace Can Do Better
WikiLeaks on Twitter: "WikiLeaks is interested in unpublished
secret documents on the US opioid crisis.”
Ecuador to audit Julian Assange’s asylum & citizenship
as country eyes IMF bailout
Giuliani Says Assange Should Not Be Prosecuted
by Joe Lauria
Donald Trump’s lawyer said on Monday that WikiLeaks
publisher Julian Assange should not be prosecuted and
he compared WikiLeaks publications to the Pentagon
Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, said Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had not done “anything wrong” and should not go to jail for disseminating stolen information just as major media does.
“Let’s take the Pentagon Papers,” Giuliani told Fox News. “The Pentagon Papers were stolen property, weren’t they? It was in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Nobody went to jail at The New York Times and The Washington Post.”
Giuliani said there were “revelations during the Bush administration” such as Abu Ghraib. “All of that is stolen property taken from the government, it’s against the law. But once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it,” Giuliani said, “for the purpose of informing people.”
“You can’t put Assange in a different position,” he said. “He was a guy who communicated.”
Giuliani said, “We may not like what [Assange] communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out,” he said. “Every newspaper and station grabbed it, and published it.”
The U.S. government has admitted that it has indicted Assange for publishing classified information, but it is battling in court to keep the details of the indictment secret. As a lawyer and close advisor to Trump, Giuliani could have influence on the president’s and the Justice Department’s thinking on Assange.
Giuliani also said there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. “I was with Donald Trump day in and day out during the last four months of the campaign,” he said. “He was as surprised as I was about the WikiLeaks disclosures. Sometimes surprised to the extent of ‘Oh my god, did they really say that?’ We were wondering if it was true. They [the Clinton campaign] never denied it.”
Giuliani said: “The thing that really got Hillary is not so much that it was revealed, but they were true. They actually had people as bad as that and she really was cheating on the debates. She really was getting from Donna Brazile the questions before hand. She really did completely screw Bernie Sanders.”
“Every bit of that was true,” he went on. “Just like the Pentagon Papers put a different view on Vietnam, this put a different view on Hillary Clinton.”
Giuliani said, “It was not right to hack. People who did it should go to jail, but no press person or person disseminating that for the purpose of informing did anything wrong.”
Assange has been holed up as a refugee in the Ecuador embassy in London for the past six years fearing that if he were to leave British authorities would arrest him and extradite him to the U.S. for prosecution.
You can watch the entire Fox News interview with Giuliani here:
The Wikileaks Documentary
by Chris Hedges
The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, in his memoir “Reporter,” describes a moment when as a young reporter he overheard a Chicago cop admit to murdering an African-American man. The murdered man had been falsely described by police as a robbery suspect who had been shot while trying to avoid arrest. Hersh frantically called his editor to ask what to do.
“The editor urged me to do nothing,” he writes. “It would be my word versus that of all the cops involved, and all would accuse me of lying. The message was clear: I did not have a story. But of course I did.” He describes himself as “full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship.”
Hersh, the greatest investigative reporter of his generation, uncovered the U.S. military’s chemical weapons program, which used thousands of soldiers and volunteers, including pacifists from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as unwitting human guinea pigs to measure the impact of biological agents including tularemia, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever and the plague. He broke the story of the My Lai massacre. He exposed Henry Kissinger’s wiretapping of his closest aides at the National Security Council (NSC) and journalists, the CIA’s funding of violent extremist groups to overthrow the Chilean President Salvador Allende, the CIA’s spying on domestic dissidents within the United States, the sadistic torture practices at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by American soldiers and contractors and the lies told by the Obama administration about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet he begins his memoir by the candid admission, familiar to any reporter, that there are crimes and events committed by the powerful you never write about, at least if you want to keep your job. One of his laments in the book is his decision not to follow up on a report he received that disgraced President Richard Nixon had hit his wife, Pat, and she had ended up in an emergency room in California.
What the Believers Are Denying
by Ibram X. Kendi
The denial of climate change and the denial of racism rest on the same foundation: an attack on observable reality.
Inside the Integrity Initiative
the UK Gov's Information War on the Public
Journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss Britain's Integrity Initiative and the information war it is waging on the public, with propaganda expert Professor David Miller.
We address the scandal surrounding this UK government-funded think tank, which has attacked Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-war left and laundered disinformation through the corporate media under the guise of countering Russia.
January 1, 2019
2018: Year of the Rats and the Sinking Ships
by Jeffrey St. Clair
I am listening to Trump’s incendiary speech in Seoul. He is standing at the dais in Proceeding Hall, the National Assembly building in South Korea. Perhaps it’s the color saturation level on our old monitor, but on this night Trump looks like a grotesque figure from a George Grösz painting. His face is glazed an acidic orange as if slathered in mortician’s makeup. Even though he is reading from a prepared text written by one of his sycophants and projected for him on a teleprompter, he speaks in a switchbacking syntax that I’ve come to call Trumponics. He looks and sounds like the dictator of bad taste.
Of course, it’s useless to probe Trump’s ramblings for their symbolic content. He strikes right for the spleen. Still, I continue to hunt for some logic to what he’s saying, knowing it’s futile. Except, perhaps, for the logic of the suicide pact. But a pact implies a deal, and most of us haven’t signed away our consent, except, I suppose, through our passive acquiescence to his resurrection of the old nuclear demons.
Each Trump speech should come with a risk assessment of its potential fallout. Yet none of Trump’s military-grade handlers—McMaster, Mattis or Kelly—seem up to the calculus. Tillerson may have some idea, but Rexxon’s been locked out in the cold for months, as the State Department, though alas not the state, withers away. The State Department, which, since World War II, at least, has been responsible for far more deaths than the Pentagon deserves its vacancies.
Trump’s bombast never seems quite serious. But I fear we must begin to take him so. He is, after all, a man without humor.
With his customary bravado Donald Trump boasted that the TV audience for his first State of the Union address was the largest in history. This extravagant assertion was soon swatted down by none other than Fox News, which cited at least five other SOTUs speeches with bigger ratings since 1992, including Obama’s final bland monologue in 2016.
Even so, Trump drew a respectable viewership, many of whom, no doubt, were hoping to watch a live train wreck in the well of the House. They were a little premature. The live train wreck would take place the following day in Crozet, Virginia, when an Amtrak metroliner carrying the Republican leadership rammed a stalled truck. But don’t change that channel, the injured politicians will likely get a guest-starring role in next year’s State of the Union address.
By most accounts, Trump’s big speech fell flat. There’s nothing more deflating than tuning in expecting a Trump spectacle and hearing a meandering stream of florid platitudes that could have been written by Peggy Noonan. Most of the fun from watching Trump speak comes from his brusque improvisations. Like many a pitchman, Trump relies punchy one-liners, pungent putdowns and inscrutable maledictions. Yet, he gets lost reading compound sentences on a teleprompter, skidding to a halt at commas and running over periods.
It turns out that much of Trump’s speech was drafted by former investment banker Gary Cohn, now Director of Trump’s National Economic Council. So, Hillary gave speeches to Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs gave speeches to Trump to read. Plus ça change.
The great Nick Von Hoffman, who died last week, was fired by 60 Minutes for speaking this truth during height of Watergate “Nixon is the dead rat on the kitchen floor of America, and the only question now is who’s going to pick him up by his tail and throw him in the garbage.” Von Hoffman was a terrific journalist. His book on the Freedom Rides, Mississippi Notebook, is hard to find, but essential reading.
Even in the bestiary of Trump’s inner circle, Kelly comes off as a truly odious figure. It’s Kelly’s pseud0-piety that reeks the most pungently. The general has positioned himself as a chronicler of American moral decline. Last October during his nasty press conference defending Trump’s crude condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, the wife of Sgt La David Johnson who was killed in a botched operation in Niger, Kelly bemoaned the decay of the nation’s values, including the place of women in society. “When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country,” Kelly sermonized. “Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases.”
Now we learn that as chief of staff, Kelly had been fully apprised of the brutal behavior of Rob Porter, the wife-beating former White House Staff Secretary, who resigned this week after both of his former wives described enduring years of verbal abuse and physical violence. Kelly, self-proclaimed defender of the sanctity of women, kept Porter in the position, a kind of gatekeeper for who gets to see the president, despite the fact that the FBI had refused to grant the staffer a security clearance, as it pursued an investigation into the allegations, allegations buttressed by a restraining order and photos of the battered face of his first wife Colbie Holderness. Kelly, who hailed Porter as “a man of true integrity and honor,” reportedly encouraged Porter, now romantically linked to glam-staffer Hope Hicks, to stay in his job even after the incriminating photos of his former wife appeared in the Daily Mail. Sacred honor, indeed.
Most members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, are former prosecutors, who regularly used Confidential Informants and jail house snitches for warrants. Biased and purchased testimony is endemic to the prosecutorial state.
Israeli lawmaker Oren Hazan, one of Trump’s pals, said this about Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who is now languishing in an Israeli jail with nearly 400 other Palestinian children: “If I was there, she would finish in the hospital. For sure. Nobody could stop me. I would kick, kick her face, believe me”.
Americans have a remarkable tolerance for child slaughter, especially the mass murders of the children of others. This emotional indifference manifested itself vividly after the disclosure of the My Lai Massacre, when dozens of Vietnamese infants and children were killed by the men of Charlie Company, their tiny, butchered corpses stacked in ditches. After the trial of Lt. William Calley, more than 70 percent of Americans believed his sentence was too severe. Most objected to any trial at all. In the end, Calley served less than 4 years under house arrest for his role in the execution of more than 500 Vietnamese villagers.
Twenty-five years later, American attitudes toward child deaths had coarsened even harder. When it was revealed that US sanctions on Iraq had caused the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, icily argued that the deaths were “worth it” to advance US policy in the Middle East. Few Americans remonstrated against this official savagery done in their name.
Now the guns are being turned on America’s own children and the rivers of blood streaming out of US schools cause barely a ripple in our politics. If the Columbine shooting (1999) was a tragedy, what word do you use to describe the 436th school shooting since then?
Don’t look for an answer or even solace from any of our political leaders. All you’ll get is cant, hollow prayers and banal vituperations of the sort we’ve been hearing for two decades from the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi’s most restrictive gun control proposals wouldn’t have stopped any of the recent shootings. She plays politics with the blood of children as cynically as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. Both are adept at fundraising off the bodies of the dead.
February 23 . . . .
Dispatch from Palestine: A year in review
Ray McGovern: The Inside Scoop on the Middle East & Israel
Ray explains you cannot understand the situation in the Middle East without understanding the relationship between the US and Israel. Once again, background information the public isn't aware of. The Neocons didn't get their war with Iran and they're mad. The truth and facts behind the lies about Syrian chemical weapons. Fascinating account of the behind the scenes struggle in the White House...Clapper, Dempsey, Clinton. Putin-Obama meeting in St. Petersburg..."Kerry is lying and he knows he's lying." Ray relates the hilarious encounter between Ray, Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman, two arch conservatives in the CNN studios.
and Anti-semitism in 2018: The Truth Behind the Relentless Smear Campaign Against Corbyn
by Jonathan Cook
Bombarded by disinformation campaigns, many British Jews are being misled into seeing Corbyn as a threat rather than as the best hope of inoculating Britain against the resurgence of right-wing anti-semitism menace
End-of-year polls are always popular as a way to gauge significant social and political trends over the past year and predict where things are heading in the next. But a recent poll of European Jews – the largest such survey in the world – is being used to paint a deeply misleading picture of British society and an apparent problem of a new, left-wing form of anti-semitism.
An anti-semitism problem?
The survey was conducted by the European Union's agency on fundamental rights and was given great prominence in the liberal-left British daily the Guardian. The newspaper highlighted one area of life in which Britain scored worse with Jews than any of the other 12 member states surveyed.
Some 84 per cent of Jews in the UK believe there is a major problem with anti-semitism in British politics. As a result, nearly a third say they have considered emigrating – presumably most of them to Israel, where the Law of Return offers an open-door policy to all Jews in the world.
Britain scored only slightly better on indices other than politics. Some 75 per cent said they thought anti-semitism was generally a problem in the UK, up from 48 per cent in 2012. The average score in the 12 EU states with significant Jewish populations was 70 per cent.
Jeremy Corbyn, head of the UK’s opposition Labour party, has faced a barrage of criticism since he was elected leader more than three years ago for presiding over a supposedly endemic anti-semitism problem in his party. The Guardian has been at the forefront of framing Corbyn as either indifferent to, or actively assisting in, the supposed rise of anti-semitism in Labour.
Now the paper has a senior European politician echoing its claims.
'Playing with fire'
Relating to the poll, Vera Jourova, the EU’s commissioner for justice, helpfully clarified what Britain’s terrible results in the political sphere signified. The paper quoted her on Corbyn: "I always use the phrase 'Let’s not play with fire', let’s be aware of what happened in the past. And let’s not make the same mistake of tolerating it. It is not enough just to be silent … I hope he [Corbyn] will pay attention to this survey.”
However, both Jourova’s warnings and an apparent perception among British Jews of an anti-semitism problem fuelled by Corbyn fly in the face of real-world evidence.
Other surveys show that, when measured by objective criteria, the Labour party scores relatively well: The percentage of members holding anti-Semitic views is substantially lower than in the ruling Conservative party and much the same as in Britain’s third party, the Liberal Democrats.
For example, twice as many Conservatives as Labour party members believe typically anti-Semitic stereotypes. Even more significantly, the percentage of Labour party members who hold such prejudices has fallen dramatically across the board since Corbyn became leader.
This fact suggests that the new members who joined after Corbyn became leader – a massive influx has made his party the largest in Europe – are less likely to be anti-Semitic than those who joined under previous Labour leaders.
In other words, the evidence suggests very persuasively that Corbyn has been a force for eradicating, or at least diluting, existing and rather marginal anti-Semitic views in the Labour party. More so even than the previous leader, Ed Miliband, who was himself Jewish.
But all of this, yet again, went unremarked by the Guardian and other British media, which have been loudly claiming a specific “anti-semitism problem” in Labour for three years without a shred of concrete evidence for it.
Resurgent white nationalism
There are good grounds for Jews to feel threatened in much of Europe at the moment, with the return of ugly ethnic nationalisms that many assumed had been purged after World War Two. And Brexit – Britain’s planned exit from the European Union – does indeed appear to have unleashed or renewed nativist sentiment among a section of the UK population.
But such prejudices dominate on the right, not the left. Certainly Corbyn, a lifelong and very prominent anti-racism activist, has not been stoking nativist attitudes.
The unexplored assumption by the Guardian and the rest of the corporate media, as well as by Jourova, is that the rise in British Jews’ concerns about anti-semitism in politics refers exclusively to Corbyn rather than a very different problem: Of a resurgent white nationalism on the right.
But let’s assume that they are correct that the poll solely registers Jewish worries about Corbyn. A separate finding in the EU survey underscored how Jewish opinion on anti-semitism and Corbyn may be far less straightforward than Jourova’s presentation suggests – and how precisely the wrong conclusions are likely to be drawn from the results.
Buried in the Guardian report was a starkly anomalous finding – from Hungary.
The Hungary anomaly
Hungary is a country in which Jews and other minorities undoubtedly face a very pressing threat to their safety. Its ultra-nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, used the general election last April to whip up a frenzy of anti-Jewish sentiment.
He placed the Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire George Soros at the centre of his anti-immigration campaign, suggesting that the philanthropist was secretly pulling the strings of the opposition party to flood the country with “foreigners”. In the run-up to the election, his government erected giant posters and billboards all over the country showing a chuckling George Soros next to the words: “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh.”
Raiding the larder of virtually every historic anti-Semitic trope, Orban declared in an election speech: “We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world.”
All of this should be seen in the context of Orban’s recent praise for Miklos Horthy, a former Hungarian leader who was an ally of Hitler’s. Orban has called him an “exceptional statesman”. So did Hungarian Jews express to EU pollsters heightened fears for their community’s safety? Strangely, they did not. In fact, the percentage who regarded anti-semitism as a problem in Hungary was only slightly above the EU average and far below the concerns expressed by French Jews.
Not only that, but the proportion of Hungarian Jews fearful of anti-semitism has actually dropped over the past six years. Some 77 per cent see anti-semitism as a problem today, compared to 89 per cent in 2012, when the poll was last conducted.
So, the survey’s results are more than a little confounding. On the one hand, at least according to the British media and the EU, British Jews are in a heightened state of fear about the UK Labour party, where the evidence suggests an already marginal problem of anti-semitism is actually in decline.
And on the other, Hungarian Jews’ fears of anti-semitism are waning, even though the evidence suggests anti-semitism is on the rise and government-sanctioned there.
Understanding the paradox
There is, however, a way to explain this paradox – and it has nothing to do with anti-semitism.
Corbyn’s socialist-lite agenda faces a devastating array of opponents that include British business; the entire spectrum of the UK corporate media, including its supposedly liberal components; and, significantly in this case, the ultra-nationalist government of Israel, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
The British establishment fears Corbyn poses a challenge to the further entrenchment of neoliberal orthodoxy they benefit from. Meanwhile, Israeli politicians loathe Corbyn because he has made support for the Palestinian people a key part of his platform, becoming the first European leader to prioritise a Palestinian right to justice over Israel’s right to maintain its 51-year belligerent occupation.
Hungary’s Viktor Orban, by contrast, is beloved of big business, as well as the country’s mainstream media, and, again significantly, the Israeli government. Rather than distancing himself from Orban and his Jew-baiting electioneering in Hungary, Netanyahu has actually sanctioned it. He has called Orban a “true friend of Israel”, thanked him for "defending Israel", and joined the Hungarian leader in denouncing Soros.
Netanyahu, like Orban, intensely dislikes Soros’s liberalism and his support for open borders. Netanyahu shares Orban’s fears that a flood of refugees will disrupt his efforts to make his state as ethnically pure as possible.
Earlier this year, for example, Netanyahu claimed that Soros had funded human rights organisations to help African asylum seekers in Israel avoid a government programme to expel them. Netanyahu has many practical and ideological reasons to support not only Orban but the new breed of ultra-nationalist leaders emerging in states like Poland, Italy, France and elsewhere.
U.S. and Israel Exit U.N. Cultural Agency at Stroke of Midnight
by Thomas Adamson
5G Is Coming This Year & Here’s What You Need to Know
The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, will affect how you use smartphones and many other devices. Let’s talk about the essentials . . . .
Parents For Safe Technology
20,000 Satellites for 5G to be Launched Sending Focused Beams of Intense Microwave Radiation Over Entire Earth
Government Shutdown or Not, the Police State
Will Continue to Flourish
by John W. Whitehead
The government has shut down again.
At least, parts of the government have temporarily shut down over President Trump’s demand for a $5 billion border wall.
Yet while these political games dominate news headlines, send the stock market into a nosedive, and put more than 800,000 federal employees at risk of having to work without pay, nothing about this government shutdown will diminish the immediate and very real dangers of the American Police State with its roadside strip searches, government surveillance, biometric databases, citizens being treated like terrorists, imprisonments for criticizing the government, national ID cards, SWAT team raids, censorship, forcible blood draws and DNA extractions, private prisons, weaponized drones, red light cameras, tasers, active shooter drills, police misconduct and government corruption.
Shutdown or not, war will continue. Drone killings will continue. Surveillance will continue. Censorship and persecution of anyone who criticizes the government will continue. The government’s efforts to label dissidents as extremists and terrorists will continue.
Police shootings will continue. Highway robbery meted out by government officials will continue. Corrupt government will continue. Profit-driven prisons will continue. And the militarization of the police will continue.
Indeed, take a look at the programs and policies that are not affected by a government shutdown, and you’ll get a clearer sense of the government’s priorities, which have little to do with serving taxpayers and everything to do with amassing money, power and control.
Not even NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command that tracks Santa Claus’ route across the globe, will have its surveillance efforts curtailed one iota.
Surveillance will continue unabated. On any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. Police have been outfitted with a litany of surveillance gear, from license plate readers and cell phone tracking devices to biometric data recorders. Technology now makes it possible for the police to scan passersby in order to detect the contents of their pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Full-body scanners, which perform virtual strip-searches of Americans traveling by plane, have gone mobile, with roving police vans that peer into vehicles and buildings alike—including homes. Coupled with the nation’s growing network of real-time surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
Government spying will continue unabated. Government shutdown or not, the National Security Agency (NSA), with its $10.8 billion black ops annual budget, will continue to spy on every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone using programs such as PRISM and XKEYSCORE. By cracking the security of all major smartphones, including iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices, NSA agents harvest such information as contacts, text messages, and location data. And then there are the NSA agents who will continue to use and abuse their surveillance powers for personal means, to spy on girlfriends, lovers and first dates.
US Corporations Are Micromanaging Curricula to Miseducate Students
by Eve Ottenberg,
Whether designing biased educational videos, constricting course content or promoting curricula that smear movements like Occupy, US corporations help miseducate students.
Over the past year, the Trump administration’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational program garnered $300 million in pledges from big tech companies. Implicit in this push is the commonly accepted though questionable notion that millions of cutting-edge STEM jobs await US workers but go unfilled because public schools have failed to prepare students for them. The STEM bandwagon rolls on at the expense of social studies, art, history and literature — all deemed “irrelevant” to career success and to education as a commodity — while promoting often biased and inaccurate corporate curricula.
Open inquiry scarcely figures in corporate-funded curricula, according to Gerald Coles’s recently published book, Miseducating for the Global Economy. Coles points to materials developed by the Bill of Rights Institute (an organization created by the billionaire Koch brothers) as an example of the ideological distortions present in corporate-funded educational materials. For example, the curriculum developed by the institute teaches students that “the Occupy movement violated the rights of others.”
Though Occupy protested abuses of the richest 1 percent, the Bill of Rights Institute curriculum is not concerned with this. Instead, according to Coles, it asks whether the police crackdown on Occupy was justified — and answers “yes,” because the New York Occupy demonstrators had purportedly damaged both the park and adjacent neighborhood. Somehow this was construed as a First Amendment violation and “consequently the government had a right to inflict pain (with pepper spray, for example) on the Bill of Rights abusers.” Occupy protesters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, engaged in similar malfeasance, according to the lessons.
Our Universities: Micromanagement
Real leadership liberates, never limits: it unleashes people to work with passion. Effective universities recognize that strength in academic programs exists on the ground, with engaged faculty, staff, and students working towards common university goals.
Good managers empower their employees to do well by giving opportunities to excel; bad managers disempower their employees by hoarding those opportunities…Micromanagement restricts the ability of micromanaged people to develop and grow, and it also limits what the micromanager’s team can achieve, because everything has to go through him or her.
Dr. Cornel West on the Global Shift Right
From Trump in the U.S. to Bolsonaro in Brazil, ordinary people in large democracies are discontented and shifting right, what can progressives do about it? Cornel West in conversation with Sharmini Peries
Jordan Peterson: The fatal flaw lurking in American leftist politics
The countdown continues! This is the #2 most popular video of 2018. Can the left wing grow from this critique?
"Jordan Peterson Addresses Socialist Intellectuals"
US committed to 'protection of Israel' despite Syria withdrawal,
Pompeo assures Netanyahu
Gaza : Looking Into The Eyes Of Barbarism
Judge Richard Goldstone suffered for turning his back on Gaza – but not as much as the Palestinians he betrayed
by Robert Fisk
Facebook's Secret Censorship Manual Exposed as Platform
Down Video About Israel Terrorizing Palestinians
by Jessica Corbett
Journalist Rania Khalek, whose video was restored after public outcry, says the ability of social media giants "to disappear content as they please" is "creepy and alarming and should be loudly opposed."
After the New York Times on Thursday published an exposé of Facebook's global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania Khalek called out the social media giant for taking down a video in which she explains how, "on top of being occupied, colonized territory, Palestine is Israel's personal laboratory for testing, refining, and showcasing methods and weapons of domination and control."
Tweeting out the Times report—and noting that while, according to the newspaper, "moderators were told to hunt down and remove rumors wrongly accusing an Israeli soldier of killing a Palestinian medic," Israeli soldiers did fatally shoot an unarmed 21-year-old female paramedic earlier this year—she announced Friday morning that Facebook had "just removed" her video.
Trump vs. Mattis: Beware When Men of War Come to the Rescue
by Robert Fisk
When a general popularly known as James “Mad Dog” Mattis abandons a really mad American president, you know something has fallen off the edge in Washington. Since the Roman empire, formerly loyal military chiefs have fled crackpot leaders, and Mattis’s retreat from the White House might have the smell of de Gaulle and Petain about it.
De Gaulle was confronted by an immensely powerful hero of the people – the Lion of Verdun – who was, in his dotage, about to shrug off the sacred alliance with Britain for Nazi collaboration (for which, I suppose, read Putin’s Russia). The decision was made to have nothing to do with Petain, or what Mattis now refers to as “malign actors”. De Gaulle would lead Free France instead.
Mattis has no such ambitions – not yet,
at any rate – although there are plenty of Lavals
and Weygands waiting to see if Trump chooses one of them
for his next Secretary of Defense. Besides, history should not grant Trump and Mattis such an epic panorama.
After all, no Trump tweet could compare with Petain’s 1916 “We’ll get them!” (“on les aura”) slogan, and the dignified, cold and fastidious de Gaulle would never have lent himself to the rant Mattis embarked upon in San Diego in 2005: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”
And Mattis was happy to “brawl” with the Iranians politically, though equally content to let the Saudis do the fighting for him – in Yemen, at least. In 2017, he chose Saudi Arabia to announce that “everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran.” He even thought that “Iran is not an enemy of Isis”, a statement that demonstrated either ignorance or falsehood. No wonder he later became enamoured of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
But now he has entered a new pantheon. Suddenly the man of war, the US marine general who found it “a hell of a lot of fun” to shoot Afghan misogynists and liked “brawling”, has become a peacemaker. He was the restraining hand tugging at the sleeve of the insane Trump, the one man who could stop Nero burning Rome. He was “the sanest of Trump’s national security team”, according to Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. He was “an island of security”, announced Amos Harel in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“Shock and Awe”: the Initial Bombing of Baghdad Revisited
How Worried Should We Be About Declining Insect Populations?
Increasingly, reports are trickling in of unsettling changes in populations of not only butterflies and bees, but of far less charismatic bugs
and beetles as well.
Sierra Club v. Morton/Dissent by Justice William O. Douglas
Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972), is a Supreme Court of the United States case on the issue of standing under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Court rejected a lawsuit by the Sierra Club seeking to block the development of a ski resort at Mineral King valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains because the club had not alleged any injury.
The case prompted a famous dissent by JusticeWilliam O. Douglas arguing that trees should be granted legal personhood.
The Simplest Explanation Of Global Warming Ever
Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara
A Rare Look Inside Africa’s Last Colony
Gaza: The Palestinians who died during the Great March of Return
A young boy carries a Palestinian flag during a Great March of Return demonstration in Gaza on 14 May (AFP)
Scores of protesting Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers during 2018. These are some of their stories
F*** You, Dying American Empire:
Reflections of an Aging Anti-Imperialist
by Jonah Raskin
Last year at Jamia Millia Islamia Central University in New Delhi, India I met students and teachers who thought that it was cool that I’d written an anti-imperialist book and that it was still in print nearly fifty years after it was first published. It was easy to be an anti-imperialist at Jamia Millia. After all, the students and the teachers were anti-imperialists and all worked-up about U.S. drones, U.S. air strikes and about the Syrians on the ground who had been battered and bombed.
It was also relatively easy to be an anti-imperialist in the late 1960s and early 1970s when anti-imperialism was a red badge of courage in SDS, the Venceremos Brigade, in anti-war circles and even among the Yippies, who were far more internationalist in their outlook than many on the Left assumed. Once upon a time, Jerry Rubin went to Cuba to check out the revolution, and later to Chile with singer and songwriter, Phil Ochs, to see what Salvador Allende was doing.
But here in the U.S. in 2018, is it still possible to be an authentic anti-imperialist, an anti-imperialist in more than name? I thought about that question recently when a former comrade explained that he was still an anti-imperialist and wondered if I was one, too.
It wasn’t the first time that my politics were questioned. In 1980, soon after Reagan was elected president, Professor Edward Said asked me if I was still on the Left and hadn’t drifted to the right like that former radical, David Horowitz, whom Alexander Cockburn dismissed as a “whiner.” A plain “Yes,” or a “No” answer wouldn’t do, nor a “Maybe.”
Netflix Removed Clip That Criticized Saudi Arabia's
Human Rights Record
Minhaj” addressed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (YouTube screen grab)
by Naomi LaChance
Netflix removed an episode of the comedy show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” that criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights record after a request from the Saudi government to do so, according to a report by the Financial Times.
In the November clip, Minhaj explained why the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, is only one instance in a long list of violations. He took issue with the detainment of women’s rights activists and Saudi Arabia’s direct role in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Minhaj addressed the reputation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly: “It blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, ‘Oh, I guess he’s really not a reformer.’ Meanwhile, every Muslim person you know was like, ‘Yeah, no shit. He’s the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.’ Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And I mean that as a Muslim and as an American,” he said.
"March 30th No2NATO2019 Mobilization via
Sent: Thursday, 3 January, 2019
Subject: A Call for National Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War, and Racism
Sent: Friday, 4 January, 2019
Subject: [MCM] Last month, three Palestinians were shot and killed for trying to run down Israeli soldiers—which, in fact, they hadn't done