Doorgaan naar hoofdcontent


Posts uit april 5, 2009 weergeven

Mad Men

In de serie Mad Men zegt de hoofdrolspeler met betrekking tot de consumptiemaatschappij: 'People want to be told what to do so badly that they will listen to anyone.' De serie geeft een perfect beeld van de mensen die de massamaatschappij vorm geven, een samenleving waarin zelfs de echtgenote 'is just another stranger' omdatalles ontzield is gemaakt, totaan de liefde toe.In de consumptiemaatschappij wordt alles bepaald en beheerst door koop en verkoop, zoals Mad Men haarscherp aantoont. Alleen de markt bepaalt de waarde van alles.

H.J.A. Hofland 24

In de NRC van gisteren schreef Henk Hofland: 'Hoog op de lijst blijft Iran. Werkt het aan een kernwapen of niet? Israël blijft ervan overtuigd dat dat zo is. Daarom moet in toenemende mate rekening worden gehouden met een preventief ingrijpen, dat wil zeggen een bombardement zoals dat van 1981 op de kerninstallaties van Saddam Hoessein.'

Dit is de taal van de Koude Oorlog, toen goed en kwaad nog haarscherp verdeeld was, wij waren goed, zij daar in dat andere kamp waren slecht. Koude Oorlogstaal die niet meer in deze tijd past omdat sinds de val van de Sovjet Unie de wereld veel gecomliceerder is geworden, en daarmee ook de zogeheten oplossingen. Het woord 'preventief ingrijpen' is ook niets anders dan een propagandistisch woord voor een agressie-oorlog.
Wat Hofland niet duidelijk maakt met zijn begrip 'preventief ingrijpen' is dat de werkelijkheid wezenlijk is veranderd en dat het enige dat de mensheid bezit om niet onmiddellijk in de totale chaos te belanden he…

Het Neoliberale Geloof 419

De Nederlandse regering heeft voormalige minister van financien Onno Ruding, die de basis legde voor de deregulering van Nederland waarbij de overheid elke greep op de banken verloor, benoemd tot Nederlandse vertegenwoordiger in een Europese commissie die moet onderzoeken wat er fout is gegaan. De Nederlandse 'politiek-literaire elite' (term van Henk Hofland) accepteert dit zonder morren. De Amerikaanse intellectuelen zijn daarentegen niet zo dociel.
Changing the Rules of the Blame Game
Wednesday 08 April 2009
by: Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    A cartoon in the Sunday comics shows that mustachioed fellow with monocle and top hat from the Monopoly game - "Rich Uncle Pennybags," he used to be called - standing along the roadside, destitute, holding a sign: "Will blame poor people for food."

Time to move the blame to where it really belongs. That means no more coddling banks with bailout billions marked "secret." No mo…

The Empire 426

Man Is a Cruel Animal
by: Chris Hedges, Truthdig

It was Joseph Conrad I thought of when I read an article in The Nation magazine this month about white vigilante groups that rose up out of the chaos of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to terrorize and murder blacks. It was Conrad I thought of when I saw the ominous statements by authorities, such as International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Thwarning of potential civil unrest in the United States as we funnel staggering sums of public funds upward to our bankrupt elites and leave our poor and working class destitute, hungry, without health care and locked out of their foreclosed homes. We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes.

Conrad saw enough of the world as a sea captain to know the irredeemable corruption of humanity. The noble virtues that…

Palestina 17

Time for a bi-national state

Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have affirmed that they want a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it may be more promising to return to a much older idea.
by Leila Farsakh

There is talk once again of a one-state bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo peace process failed to bring Palestinians their independence and the withdrawal from Gaza has not created a basis for a democratic Palestinian state as President George Bush had imagined: the Palestinians are watching their territory being fragmented into South African-style bantustans with poverty levels of over 75%. The area is heading to the abyss of an apartheid state system rather than to a viable two-state solution, let alone peace (1).

There have been a number of recent publications proposing a one-state solution as the only alternative to the current impasse. Three years ago Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor in the 1970s, wrote…

Het Militair Industrieel Complex 4

Generaal SmedleyButler, oud bevelhebber van het Amerikaanse Korps Mariniers, verklaarde in 1933 na ruim 33 jaar actieve dienst: ‘Oorlog is misdaad. Hij wordt gevoerd ten voordele van de zeer weinigen ten koste van de massa. Ik ben heel lang een eersteklas uitsmijter geweest voor het bedrijfsleven. Voor Wall Street en voor de banken. Ik was in feite een misdadiger, een gangster voor het kapitalisme. Ik heb in 1914 Mexico veilig gemaakt voor de Amerikaanse oliebelangen. Ik hielp bij het verkrachten van een half dozijn Midden Amerikaanse republieken voor het profijt van Wall Street. In China heb ik ervoor gezorgd dat Standaard Oil ongestoord zijn weg kon gaan. Al Capone is niet verder gekomen dan drie wijken. Mijn werkterrein omvatte drie continenten.’

Smedley Butler on Interventionism

-- Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people…

De Israelische Terreur 821

'Palestinians gather around a crater caused by an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages)

At a time when Western governments refrain from using their power to stop Israel's ongoing violations of international law, many civil society organizations silently watch the moral corrosion of their governments. At the "Israel Review Conference" in Geneva this month and the Russell Tribunal slated for early 2010, however, civil society will use its power and call Israel to account.

The Israel Review Conference is organized in response to the efforts to leave out the case of the systematic violation of the rights of the Palestinian people from the United Nations Durban Review Conference in Geneva from 20-24 April. The World Conference Against Racism adopted a Program of Action to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The progress made will be reviewed at the UN Durban Review C…

Het Militair Industrieel Complex 3

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

'Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of …

Het Militair Industrieel Complex 2

Filling the Skies with Robot Assassins: The Drone Wars Have Begun
By Tom Engelhardt, Posted April 8, 2009.

Hunter-killer drones armed with Hellfire missiles are patrolling the Pentagon's expanding global battlefields: It's a scene right out of Terminator.

In 1984, Skynet, the supercomputer that rules a future Earth, sent a cyborg assassin, a "terminator," back to our time. His job was to liquidate the woman who would give birth to John Connor, the leader of the underground human resistance of Skynet's time. You with me so far? That, of course, was the plot of the first Terminator movie and for the multi-millions who saw it, the images of future machine war -- of hunter-killer drones flying above a wasted landscape -- are unforgettable.

Since then, as Hollywood's special effects took off, there were two sequels during which the original terminator somehow morphed into a friendlier figure on screen, and even more miraculously, off-screen, into the…

Het Militair Industrieel Complex

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Read Karen Kwiatowski’s columns on


Het Neoliberale Geloof 418

Terwijl in de polder iedereen doorsnurkt, gebeurt er van alles in de VS.

Chris Hedges' Columns
Resist or Become Serfs

By Chris Hedges

America is devolving into a third-world nation. And if we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist, which means street protests, disruptions of the system and demonstrations, or become serfs.

We have been in…

Boycot Israel 45

'PvdA wil eventueel sancties tegen Israël
Gepubliceerd: 8 april 2009 13:39 | Gewijzigd: 8 april 2009 13:54
Door een onzer redacteuren
Den Haag, 8 april. De PvdA is opnieuw hard in aanvaring komen met minister Verhagen (Buitenlandse Zaken, CDA) over zijn Israëlpolitiek.

Palestijnse burgers en medisch personeel rennen naar een schuilplaats tijdens een Israëlische aanval op een VN-school in Beit Lahia, in het noorden van de Gazastrook. Deze foto werd genomen op 17 januari, tijdens de Israëlische aanval op de Gazastrook.
Foto AFP
Achtergrond - Moslimjeugd roert zich om geweld Gazastrook
Achtergrond - Gaza verdeelt ook Kamer
Nieuwsthema - Conflict Gazastrook
Het PvdA-Kamerlid Martijn van Dam vindt dat sancties tegen Israël niet moeten worden uitgesloten als het land een vredesregeling voor het Midden-Oosten blokkeert. Minister Verhagen wil hier niets van weten. Volgens hem kan het dreigen met sancties zelfs contraproductief werken.

Van Dam uitte vanmorgen in de Tweede Kamer zware kritiek op de n…

Het Neoliberale Geloof 417

Adbusters wins right to sue broadcasters over TV ads
April 6, 2009 at 8:59 PM EDT

VANCOUVER — After almost 15 years of legal struggle, Kalle Lasn,
editor-in-chief of Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, finally has
something to celebrate. On Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal issued a ruling
that allows Adbusters Media Foundation to pursue legal action against the
CBC and CanWest Global for refusing to screen its anti-consumerist
television ads.

“This is the first victory we've had in 15 years, and it feels incredibly
sweet,” Mr. Lasn said in a telephone interview. “The court has
basically given us permission to go after media corporations and hold them
up for scrutiny. The case is wide open again. It feels like a

Adbusters' legal counsel, Mark Underhill, said that the significance of the
case lies in whether private broadcasters given a license to operate by
Parliament have the right to determine who gets to speak on the public

“We are arguing that Section 3 of the Broadc…

Het Neoliberale Geloof 416

Construction workers in their distinctive blue overalls building the upper floors of the new Burj al-Arab hotelThe dark side of Dubai

Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to
Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the
city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.
Johann Hari reports

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The wide, smiling face of Sheikh Mohammed ˆ the absolute ruler of Dubai
ˆ beams down on his creation. His image is displayed on every other
building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald
McDonald and Colonel Sanders. This man has sold Dubai to the world as the
city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights, a Shangri-La in the Middle
East insulated from the dust-storms blasting across the region. He
dominates the Manhattan-manqué skyline, beaming out from row after row of
glass pyramids and hotels smelted into the shape of piles of golden coins.
And there he stands on the tallest bui…

Het Neoliberale Geloof 415

Global Economic Shock Worse Than Great Depression
April 7, 2009 at 06:11 PM

The global economic collapse of the last several months is already greater
than the shock that hit the world 80 years ago, triggering the Great
Depression, two economists reported Tuesday.

But by focusing narrowly on U.S. economic metrics, policy makers have
missed the depth of the crisis and are too optimistic about recovery, they

"I do see green shoots -- not everywhere -- but certainly in some of the
markets that we've been functioning in," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke told 60 Minutes in March.

"All these people talking about green shoots; and about, maybe,
light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel; and that things are showing signs of
getting better now are looking exclusively at the United States," said
Barry Eichengreen, an economist at UC Berkeley, who co-authored an item
that rocketed around the economic blogosphere Tuesday.

The post, by Eichengreen and economist Kevin O'Rourke, compar…

Obama 95

Afghanistan 2.0: ‘AfPak Contingency Operation’
Posted By David DeGraw, Filed under War Watch .

Here’s the AmpedStatus round-up of the best reporting on President Obama’s new Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPak) strategy.
We divided the coverage into the following categories – click on the headings below to jump to individual sections:
• Obama’s Plan
• Critique of Plan
• Fearing Friends: Mercenaries and Pakistan’s ISI
• Context & Background
• Alternative Plan
• View From Afghanistan
• Anti-War Movement
• Closing Thought
Before diving into the serious reporting on this issue, let’s start with a little informative comic relief…
Redefinition Accomplished
The Obama administration puts a pretty new name on the war on terror. =======
Obama Announcement of New Afghanistan, Pakistan Strategies

White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group’s Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan
Achieving our core goal is vital to U.S. national security. It requires, first of all, rea…

Klimaatverandering 144

Published on Saturday, April 4, 2009 by the Associated Press
Ice Shelf About to Break Away From Antarctica
New rifts' appeared this week along Wilkins; shelf holds back ice on land

PARIS - A massive ice shelf anchored to the Antarctic coast by a narrow and
quickly deteriorating ice bridge could break away soon, the European Space
Agency warned Friday.

The Paris-based agency said satellite images show the bridge that connects
the Wilkins Ice Shelf to Charcot and Latady Islands "looks set to

"The beginning of what appears to be the demise of the ice bridge began
this week when new rifts" appeared and a large block of ice broke away, it

The Wilkins Ice Shelf - which like the rest of Antarctic's ice sheet "was
formed by thousands of years of accumulated and compacted snow" - had been
stable for most of the last century before it began retreating in the
1990s, the statement said.

The shelf, which was originally of Jamaica or the U.S. state of

Obama 94

Obama and Afghanistan: Repeating Past Mistakes

By A.G. Noorani

April 04, 2009 "Dawn" -- --‘IT is an infallible rule that a prince who is not wise himself cannot be well advised … wise counsels, from whoever they come, must necessarily be due to the prudence of the prince, and not the prudence of the prince to the wise counsel received.’

Niccolo Machiavelli’s sage words aptly sum up the predicament of President Barack Obama on Afghanistan. Unlike his predecessor George W. Bush and his equally rash bunch of advisers, Obama is a sensible man. However, the haste he has shown in crafting a policy on Afghanistan does not reflect wisdom.

He ordered ‘a careful policy review … as soon as I took office’ he said on March 27 in a speech which, like all American pronouncements from on high, did not err on the side of brevity. His own understanding of that country and this region, as his campaign speeches revealed, was not profound. His advisers are none too blessed with the knowledge or u…

De Israelische Terreur 820

Barbaric Israel
A nation that has violated “every norm of civilized behavior and international law” since its founding in 1948 is held virtually blameless by the U.S. corporate media – Israel sycophants of the lowest order. “Now members of the Israeli Defense Force themselves are coming forward to admit that they committed war crimes” – but the U.S. press is censoring their confessions! Even when Israeli soldiers openly testify to committing “murder” in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli press, the U.S. corporate media “keeps the people of this country ignorant” of the crimes against humanity bankrolled by American taxpayers.

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberle

“Every norm of civilized behavior and international law was violated.”
April 04, 2009 "BAR" -- Despite the best efforts of the American corporate media, the Israeli lobby, and compromised politicians, the true nature of Israel’s barbarity towards the Palestinian people is not easily hidden. The massacres o…

The Empire 425

'IT is an infallible rule that a prince who is not wise himself cannot be well advised ... wise counsels, from whoever they come, must necessarily be due to the prudence of the prince, and not the prudence of the prince to the wise counsel received.': Niccolo Machiavelli

"We are the ruling race of the world. . . . We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world. . . . He has marked us as his chosen people. . . . He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples." : Sen. Alfred Beveridge

"I firmly believe that when any territory outside the present territorial limits of the United States becomes necessary for our defense or essential for our commercial development, we ought to lose no time in acquiring it." : Sen. Orville Platt of Connecticut 1894.

"Between 1898 and 1934, the Marines invaded Cuba 4 times, Nicaragua 5 times, Honduras 7 times,…

Birgit Donker van de NRC 4

Desgevraagd verklaarde de directeur/hoofdredacteur van de NRC onlangs dat ze als profiel van haar krant het volgende beeld voor ogen heeft: 'Birgit Donker ziet een avontuurlijke vrouw voor zich, een vrouw die veel wil weten, die erop af durft te gaan, een vrouw met stijl ook, een chique vrouw, een wereldreizigster met een open geest en met oog voor vertier op niveau, en een die het nieuws ook vindt op de puinhopen in Brazilie.' Kortom, branding, het is het beeld van de reclame, de marketing, het beeld van een bepaalde middenklasse, voor wie 'chique' nog een kinderlijke betekenis heeft en voor wie de journalistiek uiteindelijk een vormkwestie is geworden. Sterker nog, het is het beeld van iemand op zoek naar een identiteit. Ik moest hier aan denken tijdens het kijken naar een aflevering van Mad Men, een serie van de schrijver van The Sopranos, waarin hij op een genadeloze manier de Amerikaanse samenleving analyseert in het begin van de jaren zestig 'the early years…

Iran 261

With the election of Bibi Netanyahu, speculation about Israeli airstrikes against Iran have surged once more. According to the Atlantic Monthly, Netanyahu has told President Obama that either the US will stop Iran or Israel will. But is this a real threat – or a bluff that never stops giving?

Reality is that Israel does not have a genuine military option. But the threat of military attacks nevertheless serves a purpose beyond Israeli concerns about Iran’s nuclear advances.

In the article below, published today in the Huffington Post, I discuss this issue in greater detail.

PS. I have forgotten to send out a few other writings I have done recently. You can find them below
· Will Tehran Tango? Obama's Historic Norooz Message, Huffington Post, March 20, 2009.
· Testimony in Congress, March 12, 2009.
· The Path Back to Square One, The MidEast Peace Pulse, March 9, 2009.

Trita Parsi, PhD