Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps - by Naomi Wolf

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all.

punditman says:
You may think this headline to be a tad alarmist. That is, until you read the article and reflect on how far down the road to tyranny the Bushies have gone. (NOTE: The above link is an excerpt from a book, so it is a bit long but well worth the read). The trend is not restricted to America because the so-called war on terror is global in scope and timeless in length. This leaves citizens roughly two choices:
1) Continue to live in denial of encroaching fascism.
2) Work together to halt it before it is too late.


Code Pink Sings Back at John McCain's "Bomb Iran" Refrain.

punditman says: A little choppy in parts, but their heads and hearts are in the right place.


Is the US Already at War With Iran? Maybe – But You Wouldn’t Know It by Reading the News

"...the news that the United States may be backing militant extremists should come as no surprise."

punditman says:
However, as long as the mainstream media fill the airwaves and newsprint with celebrity gossip and detailed distractions about things that no one can do anything about, then huge issues that maybe we can do something about -- like the unfolding of World War Three -- will continue to receive scant attention, and thus remain safely away from widespread public consciousness.

It is hard to think of a time when Big media have been so pandering to power and so useless to the rest of us.


The Mindless Menace of Violence

punditman says:

Is there any correlation between the horrific events at Virginia Tech and the daily carnage unfolding in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world? There may be no direct link, but it has been shown that domestic violence does increase when nations go to war, as outlined by the landmark study, Violence and Crime in Cross-National Perspective, published in 1984 by Yale University Press. The hypothesis posits that when countries do violence to other human beings, this incites their citizens to perpetrate more violence than they would normally commit. So the phenomenon extends well beyond the returning war vet who becomes a ticking time bomb (although this is a huge problem as well).

Add to this, the plethora of television shows thematically constructed around murder and mayhem, news footage of the daily death toll in Baghdad, even the violence in professional sports--and you have to conclude that this deadly cocktail has an insidious, demonstrable affect on social consciousness, making rage an option for some, instilling fear among the many, and desensitizing us all.

I am reminded of the words of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., himself a victim of violence, who during a time of war, spoke of the Mindless Menace of Violence in America. His words may seem obvious for his time and prescient for ours, yet they remain unheeded:

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.


Afghanistan Fight Will Only Get Tougher

"What we call the “Taliban” is actually a loose alliance of Pashtun tribes and clans, joined by nationalist forces and former mujahedin from the 1980s anti-Soviet struggle."

Afghanistan Fight Will Only Get Tougher

punditman says:
Eric Margolis, who has a syndicated column for the Toronto Sun is one of the few informed, mainstream media critics of the Afghanistan mission.


CNN Plays Military Mouthpiece on Iran Claims

CNN Plays Military Mouthpiece on Iran Claims

punditman says:
This is no different than the way CNN and the rest of the mainstream media covered the lead-up to the War in Iraq, as outlined here.


War on Terror looks like a fraud

War on Terror looks like a fraud: It's becoming pretty clear that Iraq has been "pacified" solely for the purpose of economic aggression

"The law represents no less than institutionalized raping and pillaging of Iraq's oil wealth. It represents the death knell of nationalized Iraqi resources, now replaced by production sharing agreements, which translate into savage privatization and monster profit rates of up to 75% for (basically U.S.) Big Oil. Sixty-five of Iraq's roughly 80 oilfields already known will be offered for Big Oil to exploit."

punditman says:
No blood for oil.


How Syria Helped US in "War on Terror"

punditman says:
Syria, so goes the incessant yammering, is yet another terrorist-supporting-Muslim-dictatorship, that the West can't possible trust. Actually, the following piece, And How Bush Said "Thanks": How Syria Helped US in "War on Terror" has a rather different take on recent history and how this "pariah" state helped save American lives. The author, Jim Abourezk served as US Senator for South Dakota, 1974-1980 and visited Syria about five years ago.


Was the "War to end all Wars" justified?

"It was a pointless war that just led to the next, 20 years later, as most people now concede and many soldiers knew then. Canadian historian Harold Innis, who fought at Vimy and was wounded there, spent the rest of his life stunned at “the stupidity of the whole performance” and even more that he had willingly joined."

punditman says:
On Easter Monday April 9, 1917, the entire Canadian Corps of four divisions stormed up Vimy Ridge, France. By April 12, the Canadians controlled the entire ridge, at a cost of 3,598 men killed and 7,104 wounded. The battle became a symbol of Canadian achievement and nationhood.

On this, the 90th anniversary, we have been subjected to a literal barrage of coverage this past week. While the reportage is certainly moving and poignant, it somehow lacks context. Could it be that in this time of current warfare, the media is afraid to ask the tough questions about previous conflicts? To ask in no way diminishes the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price. But when it comes to the "war to end all wars," also known then as the "struggle between civilization and barbarism," no one asks the question about World War One that has plagued so many for so long. Rick Salutin dares to ask it here:
Vimy: Was it Worth it?

For those with their heads still in the Sand:

punditman says:
In case anyone has been living in a cave for the past four years, the US occupation of Iraq is not all that popular -- among Iraqis that is. This past weekend is no exception. According to Sam Dagher, correspondent with the The Christian Science Monitor, "tens of thousands of Sadr's supporters crammed into the backs of trucks or into minibuses draped with giant Iraqi flags to make the 100-mile journey south to Najaf."

There are those (non cave dwellers, I mean), who still have their head in the proverbial sand when it comes to acknowledging this rather bleak reality. No doubt they have been helped each step of the way by much of the US media. With thanks to TvNewsLIES.org, the following comparative survey helps to illustrate this point:

From the UK: The Guardian: Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets of two Shia holy cities in Iraq today and protested against “US occupiers”.

Associated Press:
Tens of thousands draped themselves in Iraqi flags and marched peacefully through the streets of two Shiite holy cities Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad’s fall.

The New York Times:
Large crowds marched in the city of Najaf today, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, to protest the American occupation of Iraq.

CNN (the only media organization that seems to have relied on official U.S. military estimates): Thousands of anti-U.S. protesters marched in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

The U.S. Army estimated the crowd size at closer to 5,000 to 7,000 participants based on aerial photographs, said military spokesman Col. Steve Boylan.


Cheney reasserts al-Qaida-Saddam link

Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of al-Qaida links to Saddam Hussein's Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group.

punditman says:
There he goes again (lying), not unexpectedly on the Rush Limbaugh show. Why isn't this guy impeached?


"We Gathered Intelligence"

The captain in charge of the 15 marines detained in Iran has said they were gathering intelligence on the Iranians.

punditman says:
Not surprised.

More Rumours of an Impending US Strike on Iran

The US is planning to attack Iran's nuclear reactors and other nuclear facilities by the end of this month, the Kuwait-based Arab Times newspaper reported Wednesday.
US to attack Iran by end of April: Report

punditman says:
What are we to make of this? We've heard such reports and speculation before. In fact the blog world has been abuzz recently with a prediction by well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov in the Moscow weekly Argumenty Nedeli that Operation Bite will begin April 6th...hey that's tomorrow! That would be the first time in my memory that the US goes to war without a huge propaganda build-up first. But hey, I have come to believe that anything's possible with the Busheviks in charge.

So yes, it is certainly true that the US is planning for an eventual aerial bombardment of Iran, but the real question is: Has the decision been made and a date picked? Or, are such reports just someone's disinformation--the purpose of which is open to speculation?


British Sailors to go free: What was that all about?

punditman says:
So...what was this Iranian-British sideshow really all about?

Iran releases sailors as a ‘gift’ to Britain
Blair says he bears ‘no ill will’; Syria claims it provided ‘quiet diplomacy’

Many things, to be sure, including the internal dynamics at play inside Iran. However as Patrick Cockburn points outs, "The attempt by the US to seize two senior Iranian security officers openly meeting with Iraqi leaders is somewhat as if Iran had tried to kidnap the heads of the CIA and MI6 while they were on an official visit to a country neighbouring Iran such as Pakistan or Afghanistan...
Better understanding of the seriousness of the US action in Arbil -- and the angry Iranian response to it -- should have led Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence to realise that Iran was likely to retaliate against American or British forces such as highly vulnerable navy search parties in the Gulf."

The Botched Raid on Arbil
US's Bungled Plan to Kidnap Iran's Top Spook Prompted Hostage Taking

It doesn't help either that the US has been waging a not-so-secret War against Iran.


First Official Post: The Iran-British Standoff

punditman says:
Ah yes, the latest "hostage" crisis between Iran and the West...

Hmmm....whatever happened to those five Iranian diplomats the US took recently in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil? Nobody knows, and as far as anyone can tell, the Iranians have not yet asked the Brits to try to arrange for a prisoner exchange. Not that Bush cares to actually help out his poodle Tony Blair when it really counts.

As Craig Murray, former Head of the Foreign Office's Maritime Section, points out, the boundaries between Iran and Iraq are fake, drawn up by the UK Ministry of Defence and not recognised by any international authority:

How I know Blair faked Iran map. There is no agreed boundary in the Northern Gulf, either between Iran and Iraq or between Iraq and Kuwait.

Near the end of the piece, he clearly states that this by no means justifies Iranian actions. But I hasten to add that none of this should surprise anyone given ongoing tensions between Iran and the West. In the eyes of the Iranians, the British are part of a coalition in Iraq that is supporting separatist insurgents in a low-level, undeclared war inside Iran's borders. These clandestine operations involve American military and special-operations teams gathering intelligence inside Iran, giving financial aid to ethnic minorities and drawing up lists of targets for a planned bombing campaign that could take place with a mere 24-hours notice.

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