• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 20 november 2010

PVDA en GroenLinks

Dit is Links Nederland in de politiek. Terwijl we dreigen meegezogen te worden in een nieuwe bewapeningswedloop die levensgevaarlijk is voor de wereld en ook nog eens peperduur zwijgen onze politici daarover, maar zijn er wel als de kippen bij als het om een lokaal nieuwtje gaat. Onze nakomelingen zullen ons vervloeken voor het cynisme en de stupiditeit. Kinderen die een spoeddebat eisen.

PvdA en GroenLinks: spoeddebat WK-bid
Gepubliceerd: 20 november 2010 19:53 | Gewijzigd: 20 november 2010 19:54
ANP
Den haag, 20 nov. PvdA en GroenLinks willen een spoeddebat met minister Edith Schippers (Sport) over een verhaal in NRC Handelsblad dat de Tweede Kamer onjuist zou zijn geïnformeerd over belastingopbrengsten van het WK voetbal.

The Empire 711


4 Common Myths about the War on Terrorism

By Reese Erlich

November 19, 2010 -- I'm finishing up a 25-city book tour that took me from New York and Chicago to Elizabethtown, PA, and Spearfish, SD. I met with college students, farmers and laid-off workers. Most people in the US now oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I found a lot of confusion about the War on Terrorism.

Here are four of the more commonly asked questions:

1. Isn't it true that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims?

Well, just asking the question reveals a lot about how those in power have manipulated our concept of terrorism.

To begin, I point out that plenty of non-Muslims have carried out terrorist acts. Here's a partial list.

  • Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating a truck bomb in front of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, which resulted in 168 deaths. He was Catholic.
  • In 1994 Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish-American Israeli settler in the West Bank city of Hebron opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 150. He died at the scene, and his grave later became a pilgrimage site for extremists in Israel.
  • Murderers of abortion doctors in the US frequently carry out their crimes in the name of evangelical Christianity.
  • In 2010, in a protest against federal government policies, Joseph Stack flew a plane into an Austin building housing IRS offices. He came from a Christian background and ranted against all religion.

I understand if you didn't think of those examples right away. We've been conditioned to think of terrorists as foreigners, or people trained by foreigners, preferably dark skinned people with a grudge against the West. But a white guy with a bomb trying to kill civilians for political purposes is still a terrorist.

Targeting civilians with political violence is terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or governments. But the US government and major media have so distorted the word that virtually anyone who uses violence to oppose US policy is branded a terrorist. Conversely, anyone using violence against civilians to support US policy is a freedom fighter.

2. Yeah, but didn't Arabs and Muslims initiate the use of terrorism?

Actually, no.

Zionists fighting in Palestine prior to the formation of Israel pioneered many modern day terrorist tactics. In 1947 an extremist Zionist group called Lechi, also known as the Stern Gang, was the first to use letter bombs. It mailed them to British Cabinet members.

The Stern Gang assassinated major British diplomats and the chief UN mediator trying to negotiate a two-state solution in 1948 Palestine. The Irgun, another Zionist extremist group, planted bombs in Arab East Jerusalem, seeking to kill civilians and drive Palestinians out. Arab insurgent groups also planted bombs intended to kill civilians and used other terror tactics against Jews.

In 1954 Israel became the first country to hijack an airplane for political purposes. It seized a Syrian civilian plane in a failed effort to trade hostages for Mossad intelligence agents captured by the Syrians.

Nor did Muslims originate suicide bombings. That dubious honor belongs to the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, who were Hindus.

3. Others may engage in terrorism, but isn't Arab and Muslim terrorism a serious threat to US national security?

Some extremists acting in the name of Islam do pose a threat to American civilians. The perpetrators of such crimes should be arrested, given fair trials and, if found guilty, severely punished. Muslims and everyone else around the world would cooperate with such police action. After all, extremist groups have killed far more Muslims than Christians or Jews.

But isn't that rather naïve to think police action can dismantle al Qaeda? After all, didn't the US have to invade Afghanistan to put al Qaeda on the run?

It wasn't necessary to invade and permanently occupy Afghanistan to rout al Qaeda. The few hundred members of al Qaeda living in Afghanistan fled the country and set up shop in Pakistan. Today, autonomous cells operate in Yemen and other countries. And, after nine years on the most wanted list, the US has still not managed to capture Osama bin Laden or other top leaders.

Fighting extremist groups such as al Qaeda requires both political and armed action. Undercut their base politically and isolate them among their followers. Turncoats and local officials will help capture the leaders.

But US military actions have had the opposite effect. The US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the covert war in Pakistan, help recruit angry young men to the extremist cause.

Instead of narrowing the target to the small number of extremist groups, US leaders intentionally expand the enemies list. They lump together al Qaeda with Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon. We are told that they are all part of a worldwide terrorist network.

In fact, groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas have significant bases of support, and have won free and fair elections, while also maintaining armed wings. They consider themselves national liberation movements opposing foreign occupiers.

If I lived in Lebanon or Palestine, I would never vote for such groups. They represent a conservative, religious trend that opposes real freedom in their countries. For the same reasons, I would never vote for Israel's religious parties. But just as Israel's religious extremists are part of that country's political reality, so Hamas and Hezbollah must be treated a serious political players - not marginalized as "terrorists."

4. So why is the US fighting in so many countries?

Under the guise of combating terrorism, the US has expanded its fleets of aircraft carriers, battle ships, and fighter-bombers - armaments particularly ill-suited to fight terrorist cells. But they do allow the US empire to forcibly expand around the globe, helping guarantee profits for US corporations. Oil pipeline and drilling companies got lucrative contracts in Iraq; US oil companies are preparing for a bonanza if Iraq finally privatizes its oil industry.

Over the past nine years, the US has built over a dozen new military bases throughout the Middle East and Asia. The US has over 750 military bases at home and around the world.

But the empire is in decline. The current wars have cost over a trillion dollars, and the meter is still running. A significant part of the current economic crisis, with 9.5% unemployment, flows from never-ending spending on war. A majority of Americans have come to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. People in the Middle East and in the US will eventually force a withdrawal of US troops and an end to the wars.

The US will never win the War on Terrorism. The term will simply fade into the history books, along with the empire itself.

Information cited in this article comes from freelance foreign correspondent Reese Erlich's new book "Conversations with Terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence and Empire." His national book tour takes him to Miami on Nov. 19-20. For details, see www.reeseerlich.com.

First posted at CommonDreams.org

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26874.htm

The Empire 710

How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff

We can't turn our backs on the big corporations' next big scheme to screw up society. We can be sure the next crash will be much bigger.
November 19, 2010 |

When someone talks about pushing you off a cliff, it's just human nature to be curious about them. Who are these people, you wonder, and why would they want to do such a thing?

That's what I was thinking when corporate whistleblower Wendell Potter revealed that, when "Sicko" was being released in 2007, the health insurance industry's PR firm, APCO Worldwide, discussed their Plan B: "Pushing Michael Moore off a cliff."

But after looking into it, it turns out it's nothing personal! APCO wants to push everyone off a cliff.

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter -- best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake "grassroots" organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, "normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans" were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged -- outraged! -- by exactly the things APCO's clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were "furious" that regular people had the right to sue big corporations...you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report "The CALA Files" (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

Right about now you may be wondering: how many Americans get pushed off a cliff by Big Tobacco every year? The answer is 443,000 Americans die every year due to smoking. That's a big cliff.

With this success under their belts, APCO created "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition." TASSC, funded partly by Exxon, had a leading role in a planned campaign by the fossil fuel industry to create doubt about global warming. The problem for Big Oil speaking out against global warming, according to the campaign's own leaked documents, was that the public could see the "vested interest" that oil companies had in opposing environmental laws. APCO's job was to help conceal those oil company interests.

And boy, have they ever succeeded. Polls now show that, as the world gets hotter, Americans are getting less and less worried about it.

How big is this particular cliff? According to the World Health Organization, climate change contributes -- right now -- to the deaths of 150,000 people every year. By 2030 it may be double that. And after that...well, the sky is literally the limit! I don't think it's crazy to say APCO may rack up even bigger numbers here than they have with tobacco.

With this track record, you can see why, when the health insurance industry wanted to come after "Sicko," they went straight to APCO. The "worst case," as their leaked documents say, was that "Sicko evolves into a sustained populist movement." That simply could not be allowed to happen. Something obviously had to be done.

As Wendell Potter explains, APCO ran their standard playbook, setting up something called "Health Care America." Health Care America, according to Potter, "was received by mainstream reporters, including the New York Times, as a legitimate organization when it was nothing but a front group set up by APCO Worldwide. It was not anything approaching what it was reporting to be: a 'grassroots organization.' It was a sham group."

Health Care America showed up online in 2007 (the year "Sicko" was released) and disappeared quickly by early 2008. You can still find their website archived here. As you'll see, their "moderated forum" allowed normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-the-insurance-industry Americans to speak out. For instance, here's something Nicole felt very strongly about:

"Moore shouldn't be allowed to call his film a 'documentary.' It should be called a political commercial. We need to fix our health care system, but we shouldn’t accept a Hollywood moviemaker’s political views as the starting point."

Here's what Wendell Potter revealed about the insurance industry's media strategy:

"As we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as 'Hollywood entertainer' or 'Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.' They don't want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth."

Thanks for your perspective, "Nicole"!

Now, how big was THAT cliff? A pretty good size -- according to a recent study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they don't have health insurance.

And here we are in 2010. A lesser PR firm might be resting on its laurels at this point, content to sit back and watch hundreds of thousands of people continue to be pushed off the various cliffs they've built. But not APCO! Right now they've taken on their biggest challenge yet: leading a giant, multi-million dollar effort to help Wall Street "earn back the trust of the American people."

We may never know the size of this particular cliff. But we can be sure it's gigantic. According to the New York Times, one of the things Wall Street's recession gave us is "the crippling of the government program that provides life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to Americans with H.I.V. or AIDS who cannot afford them." Internationally, organizations fighting AIDS and other diseases are "hugely afraid" of cutbacks in funding.

Of course, there are the 101 ways recessions kill quietly. For instance, children's hospitals are seeing a sharp 55% rise in the abuse of babies by parents.

And that's just the previous cliff. If APCO and its Wall Street co-conspirators lull us into turning our backs on them again, we can be sure the next cliff -- the next crash -- will be much bigger.

Anyway, this is all just a way for me to say to APCO: No hard feelings! My getting mad at you would be like a chicken who's still happily pecking away getting mad at McDonald's. Compared to the millions you've already turned into McNuggets, you've actually treated me much, much BETTER! Spying on my family, planting smears and lies about me, privately badgering movie critics to give the film a poor review, scaring Americans into believing they'd be committing a near-act of treason were they to go to the theater and see my movie -- hey, ya done good, health insurance companies of America. And, most important, you stopped the nation from getting true universal health care. Good job!

There's only one problem -- I'm not one of those "liberals" you fund in Congress, the ones who fear your power.

I'm me. And that, sadly, is not good for you.

Yours in good health,
Michael Moore

P.S. It seems to me that APCO's discussion of pushing me off a cliff should legitimately be part of their Wikipedia page. And why not something about their role in Wall Street's new PR offensive? So I'm asking everyone interested to write something up that meets Wikipedia's guidelines and help bring the APCO Worldwide entry up to date. Post it somewhere online and send a tweet about it to @mmflint. I'll award a signed copy of "Sicko" by noon Sunday to the best entry...and then deputize you to post it on Wikipedia for real and make sure APCO's minions don't take it down. Just be sure afterward not to walk near any cliffs!

P.P.S. The late, great comedian Bill Hicks had some thoughts about marketing and the people who do it.

Michael Moore is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author. He directed and produced Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko. He has also written seven books, most recently, Mike’s Election Guide 2008

http://www.alternet.org/story/148931/how_corporate_america_is_pushing_us_all_off_a_cliff_?page=entire

Afghanistan. The End. 4

Pentagon Blows up Thousands of Homes in Afghanistan
Repeating the horrors of the Vietnam War

By Brian Becker

November 19, 2010 "
ANSWER" -- Borrowing a page from its infamous “pacification” effort in South Vietnam, where peasant villages were napalmed and burned to the ground to “save them from the communists,” the Obama-ordered surge in Afghanistan has been secretly blowing up thousands of homes and leveling portions of the Afghan countryside.

As tens of thousands of U.S. troops have surged into southern Afghanistan, villagers have fled. Then the Petraeus-led occupation forces have determined which homes will be destroyed.

“In Arghandab District, for instance, every one of the 40 homes in the village of Khosrow was flattened by a salvo of 25 missiles, according to the district governor, Shah Muhammed Ahmadi, who estimated that 120 to 130 houses had been demolished in his district,” reported the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2010.

The Pentagon asserts that they must destroy the homes because some of them may have explosive devices inside.

The Pentagon’s murderous rampage and terror campaign 40 years ago against South Vietnamese villages, in areas that were considered sympathetic to the resistance forces, used much of the same kind of explanation. In fact, the New York Times in a throw back to Vietnam quotes the Arghandab District Governor, who is working with the occupation forces: “We had to destroy them to make them safe.”

That this tactic is part of a high-tech terror campaign against Afghan villages and the people who inhabit them is evident even by the descriptions and accounts of western media outlets that are supporting the war.

Again, from the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2010, which describes weapons as tools:

“American troops are using an impressive array of tools not only to demolish homes, but also to eliminate tree lines where insurgents could hide, blow up outbuildings, flatten agricultural walls, and carve new “military roads,” because existing ones are so heavily mined, according to journalists embedded in the area recently.

“One of the most fearsome tools is the Miclic, the M58 Mine-Clearing Line Charge, a chain of explosives tied to a rocket, which upon impact destroys everything in a swath 30 feet wide and 325 feet long. The Himars missile system, a pod of 13-foot rockets carrying 200-pound warheads, has also been used frequently for demolition work.

“Often, new military roads go right through farms and compounds, cutting a route that will keep soldiers safe from roadside bombs. In Zhare District alone, the 101st Airborne’s Second Brigade has lost 30 soldiers since last June, mostly to such bombs.”

Activists at the organization Afghanistan Rights Monitor described the destroyed homes. “These are all mud houses, quite humble houses.”

When Gen. David Petraeus describes his counter-insurgency strategy, he always puts in a few diplomatic words about the need of surging troops to win the “hearts and minds” of the people in Afghanistan’s poverty stricken villages. That is purely for public consumption—a message echoed endlessly by the complicit corporate-owned media and the politicians of both parties that serves as a mask for the Pentagon’s campaign of systematic terror employed to subdue an occupied people.

On Dec. 16, 2010, anti-war veterans and people of conscience will stand up in a dramatic action in opposition to the terror campaign waged from the White House and Pentagon. Join us in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16 and be part of history. http://www.answercoalition.org

The Empire 709

THE BURDEN OF KNOWING,

By Charles Hugh Smith
Thursday, 18 November 2010
http://carolynbaker.net/content/view/1847/1/

Knowing what lies ahead is a great emotional burden.

The knowledge that the present is unsustainable is, for many of us, a great
emotional burden. It troubles our sleep, our minds, and our basic emotional
well-being. Knowledge, like memory, cannot be erased at will, and thus it
runs in the background of our lives, unseen by others but deeply troubling
to the knower.

I am not alone in feeling this weight; correspondents and readers write me
that they feel it, too.

Yet it is not just the knowledge that all this is based on cheap, abundant
oil and a rapidly imploding financial system based on fraud and lies that
burdens us; it is the mirror image of reality pressed upon us by the status
quo: the Mainstream Media, the corrupt Savior State beholden to Power
Elites and crony-capitalist, predatory monopoly-capital cartels and Global
Corporate America (which conveniently enough owns the mainstream media).

One of the most chilling stories to emerge from China's Great Leap Forward
in the late 1950s and early 60s--in which peasants were instructed to "make
steel" by melting down their metal farming and cooking tools, leaving them
to starve in countless millions--involves the artifices presented to Mao to
cover up the grotesque consequences of his policies.

Communist party officials fearful of Mao's ire and losing their own
perquisites arranged to have a specific route through the countryside
planted thickly with rice. Five meters deep on each side of this road, rice
was planted so closely that it appeared to be the very acme of abundance;
the road was seemingly a thin ribbon of pavement cut through endless green
abundance.

It was all artifice and lies. While the officials pointed out the phony
bounty to Mao, tens of millions of peasants were starving to death. Behind
the five meters of contrived abundance lay a barren landscape.

The American media and Savior State are busy planting their own five meters
of apparent abundance and "growth" along every highway in the land. The
vast majority of people--even people who should know better but who prefer
not to know, and thus they studioudsly avoid peeking through the curtain of
sham prosperity--accept that GDP growth means something positive is
happening in their own lives, even as the visible evidence points to a
mirror-image of this "growth" propaganda.

We know that all the contrivances of "modern life" are ultimately the
result of one single condition: cheap, abundant oil. Everything--the plays
on Broadway, the film industry, the iPods made in China for cheap, the
endless Mcmansions in gated exurbs, the grain-fattened, fat-marbled beef,
the "cheap" fast-food meals, the Savior State and its Global Empire--is all
based on cheap, abundant oil. There is no substitute in the near term.

Every "solution" fails to hold up beyond the most cursory examination.
Natural gas? Well, yes, but then all those "fracc'ed" wells the industry
extols as the "solution" have a nasty habit of depleting rather quickly.
There are an an estimated 254.4 million vehicles in the U.S.; would you
care to guess the cost of converting them to natural gas?

Will "entrepreneurship" re-make the distribution system to enable fueling
those tens of millions of vehicles with natural gas? At what cost, and to
whom?

How about that "new discovery" of a 1 billion-barrel oil field in deep
water? Does the MSM or Savior State propaganda ministry mention that 1
billion barrels is less than two months of U.S. consumption, or that it may
take 5 years to extract the first drop, or that the costs of such deepwater
drilling are so prohibitive that oil extracted will not be cheap?

How about that "endless" shale oil? How many MSM stories note that
production tops out at 2 million barrels a day, a mere 10% of U.S.
consumption--and the Canadians and Chinese have claims on much of that
production?

Even a cursory read of this site, or others which peek through the thick
green screen of State/corporate propaganda, reveals the multiple frauds at
the very heart of American finance, governance, real estate and the stock
market.

Yet most people don't want to know. They adamantly accept the mirror-image
of reality presented by the media and State: that the economy is "growing"
and fundamentally sound, even though the reality is the opposite; that
"reform" will fix the core problems, even though the reforms are simulacra
designed to give the appearance of reform; and that sickcare "reform" will
lower costs even as the sickcare cartels increase their take of the economy
every year.

This heavily promoted and contrived mirror-image disconnect between what we
are told is true and what is actually true threatens us with a very
draining madness. Some readers donate money to this site because they say
that it provides some sort of landing in a sea of lies, propaganda,
misinformation and misprepresentation--that in reading it they know they
are not alone and that they are not crazy.

The unease and insecurity is very real. None of us know the future; we only
know that the present is vastly unsustainable, and that if we as a nation
and species rely on simulacra, artifice, lies, fraud and propaganda instead
of reality, then the status quo will end very badly. Any sane person who
knows this finds it worrisome.

Hence the rational desire to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Yet many readers tell me they meet fierce resistance from those around
them. I understand completely; I personally do not know a single person in
my circle or neighborhood who has prepared for even a few days without the
global supply chain--and I live in "earthquake country" where a massive
earthquake is not a possibility, it is a certainty; the only missing bit of
knowledge is "when."

As one correspondent put it recently, most people have more dog food on
hand than they do food for themselves.

I don't advertise my own preparations, and I pass them off as "earthquake
preparedness" as that strikes people as only slightly mad and paranoid
rather than the full-blown madness of knowing the whole system is extremely
vulnerable and precarious.

Very few people I know well have any savings to speak of either. I have
repeatedly suggested that they sell--sell their second home, sell their
office condo, sell anything and everything to reduce or eliminate their
debt, but they persist in working themselves to death to pay the mortgages
on their mini-real estate empire.

They all hope that the bubble will somehow magically reinflate, even though
the possibility of that happening with 19 million vacant dwellings, rising
interest rates and 5 million foreclosed homes in the pipeline is
essentially zero.

Readers ask me for investment advice; I cannot offer any, because I am not
qualified to do so, nor do I care to do so; the future is unknown to us
all. I can only say that I don't trust the stock market or the propaganda,
and so cash is King in my eyes, and whatever their drawbacks, gold and
silver will not go to zero, while paper assets and even real estate can
either go to near-zero or become a capital trap.

I don't have a "cure" for this MSM-Savior-State induced madness, or the
emotional burdens of knowing it is all interlocking dependencies supported
by webs of lies and fraud, and thus is it really is "different this time,"
but not in the way the shills, carnies and toadies think.

It does not have to turn out that badly; we could get by on much less. Half
the energy in the nation is squandered, as is half the food produced from
the fields. If you visit any orchard in the land post-harvest, ton after
ton of fruit lays wasted on the ground, rotting, in row after row, acre
after acre, state after state. The dumpsters are weighted down with the
food we have thrown away, just as the air conditioners are running when
nobody is even in the building. A staggering 5% of our electricity is
wasted on zombie electronics on standby. The list of waste is almost
endless.

I have carried water to a garden in 5-gallon buckets and gotten by on
handfuls of beans and corn or brown rice, and been happy doing so. Life
does not end when the exurbs no longer make sense and the Savior State
checks stop coming. Our sense of reality has become so skewed, so riven
with mirror images and marketing, that we have as a culture have lost touch
with much more than "mere" reality.

It doesn't have to end badly, but it might. Power Elites desperate to
maintain their perquisities have always found that fanning the winds of war
distracts their citizenry from their own incompetence and greed.

So what is the solution? I don't know; nobody knows. We only know our own
limitations, and what we can do, however modest it might be. We can turn
off the TV, that is easily done and extremely helpful. We can also limit
our time online, as that is just another firehose of information which
quickly overloads our sense of identity and proportion.

There are feedback loops in every system. I know 2015 will not be like
2010, but I cannot know precisely how it will be different. I know 2020
will be very different from 2010 and 2015, but I don't know exactly how
different; nobody else knows, either.

All that we can do is to realize the carefully planted screen is only thick
and abundant along the specified route, and that we owe it to ourselves to
peek through to the barren terrain beyond, and to base our decisions and
identity on that reality.

We cannot convince our loved ones, friends, family and associates; in the
odd moment, we can make a suggestion or leave a book for them to glance
through. That is all we can do; the emotional burden we feel only gets
heavier if we push too hard and create needless conflict. So all we can do
is make our own preparations as responsible individuals, as autonomous
beings seeking liberty, and act accordingly.

Prudence is a good screen. Having a bit of non-frozen food on hand is after
all merely prudent, isn't it? And so are the rest: water filters, propane
stoves, and so on. Camping equipment is good to have on hand; gardening is
worthy exercise, and a nice hobby. Eliminating fast food and packaged food
from one's diet is also merely prudent; why poision ourselves if we have
any sort of choice at all?

Voting against every incumbent who has supported the bailouts of banking
Elites, the fraudulent "reforms" and all the Savior State propaganda is
also merely prudent; why reward liars and thieves if there is any other
choice available?

Having savings is also prudent, as is eliminating debt. Limiting our
exposure to the lies, marketing and madness of Corporate-State media is
also prudent. So perhaps we can agree to be prudent, and perhaps others
will accept it all as mere prudence.

Israel as a Rogue State 151

    Despite the deceptive and mythical "Israeli democracy is being corrupted" mantra -- as if democracy could have ever coexisted in Israel with incessant ethnic cleansing, apartheid laws, military occupation and denial of Palestinian refugees their right of return -- that is parroted in several quotes in this article from Zionist "left" writers who ought to and in fact do know better, the article as a whole is quite informative and critical.
    I think this growing outcry about Israel "becoming fascist," other than being slightly exaggerated and a bit too alarmist, reflects the horrific anxiety of "liberal" Zionists in Israel and elsewhere about Israeli apartheid and fascist tendencies that have always targeted the indigenous Palestinians of the land since 1948 finally coming home to roost and targeting Jewish Israeli dissenters and non-conformant organizations as well.
    The facade of democracy is what is truly collapsing, not democracy, as the latter has never existed -- nor could have -- in any true form in a settler-colonial state like Israel. Apartheid South Africa was a "democracy" for whites, after all, and the entire US was a "democracy" when Southern states were still holding on to apartheid laws against African-Americans and other non-whites. But when the facade of democracy and enlightenment collapses, the entire Israeli regime of apartheid, settler-colonialism and occupation becomes at serious risk of collapsing as well, as it will be even less tolerated by the world and more likely to trigger even more resistance to it, internally.
    While some writers quoted below are comparing what they perceive as Israel's demise to Germany's, perhaps justifiably, there is another ghost hovering over their heads but will take them some more time to publicly recognize and admit. More Jewish Israelis are finally smelling South Africa in the air, and this is making them tremble. Despite the misleading appearances of initial tribal banding together "against the world," or what a US commentator called in a different context, "circling the wagons," increasingly, Jewish Israelis are debating why "everyone" is against Israel, or so it seems to them. Whether the impact of their debates and growing protests will out pace the inevitable -- and quite evident -- intensification of Israel's isolation and pariah status remains to be seen.
    Omar Barghouti

    http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/lurching-toward-gomorrah-growing.html

    Lurching Toward Gomorrah: Growing Israeli Fascism

    Stephen Lendman

    11-Nov-2010

    Disturbing signs are ominous. On November 8, Israel demolished and ransacked a Negev Bedouin Arab mosque in Rahat, removing it for Jewish development. Professor Yousef Salamah called it "a criminal act," done on the pretext that it was unlicensed. "These are not new acts but were preceded by many incidents and attacks, when the Israeli authorities demolished dozens of mosques inside Israel, turning some into museums, barns, restaurants, synagogues and parking lots."

    Five Bedouins, Israeli citizens, were arrested for protesting. Others were
    attacked. On November 8, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Yanir Yagnar headlined, "Defiant Bedouin(s) rebuild Rahat mosque razed by state," saying: Along with a one-day general strike, residents laid a foundation to rebuild. Yusuf Abu Jama, local leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement said: "If they continue to destroy it, we will rebuild the mosque over and over again."

    Southern District commander Yohanan Danino said: "The mosque was born in crime and as a symbol of the radicalization and escalation of the members of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement within Rahat...."

    Look for another demolition and more confrontation, denying Israeli Arabs equal rights with Jews, but even theirs are eroding. Israel is now unsafe for anyone challenging state authority, no matter how repressive its policies.

    On November 8, Haaretz writer Noah Kosharek headlined, "Supreme Court okays Jewish-only buildings in Jaffa," saying; The Court approved three apartment buildings solely for Jews in the mixed Ajami neighborhood, "even as it implied that such a project could constitute discrimination." Most modern states reject segregation out of hand. Israel practices it as policy.

    On November 9, at 3:00AM, Israeli soldiers stormed Bil'in village,
    targeting two homes, looking for Ashraf al-Khatib, a wounded demonstrator, shot in the leg weeks earlier, protesting for village rights. In recent years, Bil'in has been repeatedly raided, its residents arrested for peacefully resisting occupation and Israel's Separation Wall, systematically destroying the village.

    On November 11, Haaretz writers Nir Hasson and Shlomo Papirblatt headlined, "Gang suspected of attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem," saying: "Young (Jewish) men have reportedly been roaming in and around Independence Park seeking Arabs to attack, trying to identify them by their accent." Two already were assaulted. Also a Chilean tourist mistaken for an Arab. In July, another Arab was stabbed.

    Other incidents occur regularly, too numerous to list, both in Israel and
    the Territories. Besides wars, repeated incursions, lawless land seizures, killings, arrests and torture, they include middle-of-the-night home raids, assaults against nonviolent protestors, farmers, fishermen, women and children. Their crime: being Muslims in a Jewish state or on land Israel occupies, systematically stealing it dunum by dunum as well as depriving non-Jewish citizens of their rights. Where this ends worries many, including Uri Avnery, founder of Gush Shalom, "The Peace Bloc."

    In his October 25 article titled, "Weimar in Jerusalem: Israel on the
    Footsteps of Nazi Germany," he said as a young boy he witnessed
    firsthand: "the collapse of German democracy and the ascent of the Nazis to power. The pictures are engraved in my memory - the election campaigns following each other, the uniforms in the street, the debates around the table, the teacher who greeted us for the first time with "Heil Hitler." For Avnery and many others, the "all-important question in Israel with growing concern (is whether) the Israeli republic is collapsing. For the first time, this question is being asked in all seriousness."

    Netanyahu's Welfare Minister, Yirzhak Herzog, worries that "fascism is
    touching the margins of our society." He's wrong, says Averny. It's "not
    only touching the margins, it is touching the government in which he is
    serving, and the Knesset, of which he is a member." Almost daily, Knesset members introduce new repressive bills, including the Law of Citizenship's Loyalty Oath amendment, requiring non-Jews to pledge it to "the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state." Otherwise, their citizenship and residency rights may be revoked. Perhaps also their freedom.

    Dozens of other repressive laws have been tabled. Many more are coming, measures real democracies won't tolerate. Avnery said MKs have been "act(ing) like sharks in a feeding frenzy," competing "to see who can devise the most racist bill."

    It's not a uniquely Israeli phenomenon. It's surfacing across Europe and in America, its recent election sending a legion of extremist bigots to
    Congress, joining many others already there from both parties.

    Averny "always worried that (Israeli) democracy was hanging by a thin
    thread, that we must be on our guard every hour, every minute." As in
    America, it's now "facing an unprecedented test." Failing it leaves the door open to fascism.

    Again, like in America, the choice is "peace or eternal war" and
    accompanying repression. Peace requires equal rights for non-Jewish citizens and Palestinians, notions Israel won't countenance. As a result, Avnery worries that "For the second time in my life, I may have to witness the collapse of a republic." Only an aroused public can stop it.

    In a November 9 Haaretz op-ed, Haifa University Professor Daniel Gutwein headlined, "Israel needs a Leftist revolution to stop the fascism,"
    saying: "A social revolution on the left is the necessary condition to stop
    (what's) seep(ing) into the halls of government..."

    The Loyalty Oath, repressive occupation, and denial of non-Jewish citizens equal rights are most evident, but also much more. Eroding social benefits and growing privatizations for example. Combined they show "the transformation of fascism from scattered, isolated 'weeds' to an official policy."

    Neoliberal privatizations turn "social services from citizens' rights into
    merchandise which is gained via the merchandising of citizenship itself,"
    beside matters of equity and affordability. Gutwein calls fascism
    "occupation by other means, and as such it imports the logic of occupation rule into Israel itself....At the same time, in light of deepened social gaps caused by privatization(s), fascism becomes an internal Israeli mechanism of compensation, through which the privatizing regime strengthens its hold on society." Change requires a "social-democratic revolution on the left" in time to stop it, one nowhere so far in sight.

    Haaretz writer Gideon Levy worries about issues reflecting growing
    repression and fascism, including in his November 7 article titled, "Dear
    American Jews, if you love Israel - criticize it," saying: Criticize its
    "policy of force and occupation....someone has to wean it from these
    addictions. Like any other junkie, it is incapable of helping itself. Thus
    the job falls to you" and Israeli citizens. Israel's "arrogant behavior
    (makes) it despised....The town is burning....Israeli democracy is being
    torn apart; soon, it will no longer be possible to talk about 'the only
    democracy in the Middle East,' " no matter how nonsensical it is now. Act, "Criticize it as it deserves." It's the first step to change.

    In a September interview, Levy commented on the political climate in Israel and prospects for peace, saying that recent events showed that "nothing was left of the Israeli Left, except for some small, devoted, courageous groups which are still active. Unfortunately, they are not very influential."

    Why so? Because people believe "there is no 'Palestinian partner' " when, in fact, the opposite is true. It made him doubt the existence of Israeli leftists. His main concern is extremist governance under Netanyahu and a supportive Knesset. "(I)t's going to destroy Israel from within. I think that Israeli democracy is now facing its biggest challenge ever: a systematic campaign against any kind of alternative voices." So far, parts of the media operate freely, "because most of (it) collaborate(s) with the occupation project, and those of us - the very few - who go against the stream, until now we were untouched, but this I don't take for granted."

    Repressive laws have targeted human rights NGOs and dissident academics. Conditions are "deteriorating day after day. It might touch me personally very soon but so far" not yet. Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest circulation daily, fired writer B. Michael (Michael Berizon), known for attacking Israeli politicians and the occupation satirically.

    An epilogue in his last column said he'd "been fired. Good-bye." Without
    explaining further, his political views left him vulnerable. For example,
    his denunciation of Cast Lead, saying: "There it is again, the cyclical
    'deja vu war.' The same ceremonial bloodshed that again is being poured into the hot lava that has been leading the entire region to misery for dozens of years now." With that type writing, it's surprising Yediot Achronot kept him on for 15 years, calling Gaza "a giant prison," saying years of Israeli aggression reflects "one great butcher shop," and much more just as harsh. Few mainstream journalists anywhere approach that honesty or courage.

    Levy does it for Haaretz, calling it Israel's most influential paper
    because it impacts politicians, business leaders, and other parts of the
    media, though less now than earlier. It's also read globally, "but (don't)
    exaggerate" its importance. Calling Israel a racist state, Levy said his
    views hardened over time. "(T)he more Israel becomes nationalistic, the more the government becomes violent and aggressive," the more radicalized he's become. In his recent book, "The Punishment of Gaza," he called Cast Lead a "wild onslaught upon the most helpless population in the world."

    As for the current round of peace talks, he is unequivocally negative,
    seeing no hope in them whatever, calling them "another scene in this ongoing masquerade, another photo opportunity." Their failure, in fact, may "lead to another bloodshed." Commenting on how he persists, he responded saying "do I have a choice? I can't change my mind. I will not stop raising my voice as long as (I) have a platform" to do it.

    Israel's lurch toward Gomorrah jeopardizes everyone challenging state
    policy, especially vocal journalists, academics, and human rights activists, the very people authorities want silenced.


    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
    lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at
    sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with
    distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The Empire 708


Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009


updated 11/18/2010 7:21:08 PM ET

* 10 percent of those with major depression were jobless
* 6.6 percent of unemployed adults considered suicide
By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, Nov 18 (Reuters Life!) - More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.

Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of mental illness at 30 percent, while those aged 50 and older had the lowest, with 13.7 percent, said the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.
The rate, slightly higher than last year's 19.5 percent figure, reflected increasing depression, especially among the unemployed, SAMHSA, part of the National Institutes of Health, said.
"Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed," Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA's administrator, said in a statement.
advertisement | ad info




"The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord."
The 2009 mental health survey hints at the impact of record unemployment rates, which last year hit a 25-year high as struggling employers slashed jobs to cope with a weak economy.
For many, lost employment meant loss of health insurance, leaving many of the nation's mentally ill unable to get treatment.
According to the survey, 6.1 million adults last year had a mental health need that went untreated, and 42.5 percent said it was because they could not afford it.
It found 14.8 million Americans had major depression last year, and 10 percent of the jobless did, compared with 7.5 of retired people or those not in the job force, 7.3 percent who worked part time and 5.4 percent who worked full time.
Only 64 percent of adults aged 18 or older with major depression were treated last year, compared with 71 percent a year ago.
Being jobless also increased the risk of suicide.
Adults who were unemployed last year were twice as likely to have serious thoughts of suicide as people who were fully employed, with 6.6 percent of the unemployed considering suicide, compared with 3.1 percent of those who were working.
The survey also found that 23.8 percent of women had some form of mental illness, compared with 15.6 percent of men.

A copy of the report is available at:
http://oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k9NSDUH/MH/2K9MHResults.pdf


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40263028/ns/health-mental_health/