zaterdag 9 november 2013

Holy Shit. The Pusherman!

War Criminal
George W. Bush to Raise Money for Group That Converts Jews to Bring About Second Coming of Christ
The former president follows in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, who addressed the group last year.

By Sarah Posner

November 08, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Mother Jones" -- Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization's goal: to "restore" Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.
Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology. Last year, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, told Politico that former Sen. Rick Santorum's appearance at an event hosted by another Messianic Jewish organization, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, was "insensitive and offensive." And Commentary magazine, which bills itself as a "conservative American journal of politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues," noted, "it must be understood that the visceral distaste that the overwhelming majority of Jews have for the Messianics is not to be taken lightly." Many Messianic Jews are Christians who have adopted aspects of Jewish ritual observance; others are Jews who share the Christian belief that Jesus is the Messiah.
Asked about Bush's upcoming appearance at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) event, Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, "It's disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant." Foxman was traveling overseas and unavailable to comment.
(After this story published, Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles' Sinai Temple, whom Newsweek has called the most influential rabbiin the country, tweeted, "This is infuriating.")
Based in Dallas, the MJBI claims that it acts like the Apostle Paul in helping to "educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them (Romans 11:11-14)." It has Bible schools in 12 countries, an online school of "Messianic theology," and programs to train Messianic rabbis and pastors. Its logos feature a star of David and a menorah, and its website promotes the weekly Torah portion, a "Yiddish Mama's Kitchen," and links to purchase Judaica and books, such as Christ in the Old Testament. The nonprofit organization brought in approximately $1.2 million in revenue in 2011, the last year for which records are available.
At the November 14 event, which will be held at the Irving Convention Center, Bush will discuss his White House experiences, according to promotional materials. Bush, the group says, will "share his passion for setting people free." Last year, Glenn Beck was the star of the group's fundraiser, which was held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
This year's event is designed to bring in funds for the group's proselytizing operations. And the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush's book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Alisa Stephenson, MJBI director of events and partner relations, would not say whether Bush is receiving a speaking fee for his appearance. "We cannot have any outside advertising or any media whatsoever involved in this, so I most likely cannot answer any of your questions," she tells Mother Jones.
A spokesman for Bush and a spokeswoman for the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum did not respond to requests for comment.
At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Beck received a "Defender of Israel" award. During Beck's time as host of his Fox News program (which ended in 2011), hundreds of Jewish leaders denounced his on-air rhetoric as anti-Semitic—particularly his repeated invocation of Nazis and the Holocaust to demonize political adversaries and his accusation that George Soros is a "puppet master" who collaborated with the Nazis. "One of the reasons why I love Israel so much is I'm a guy who's for the underdog," Beck told the audience. "I'm a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world."
Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a "prophet" at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because "when we do this, the Bible tells us, it's going to change the whole world. That it's going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it's going to bring about worldwide revival."
When asked how the MJBI managed to secure Bush to keynote its fundraiser, Stephenson cited its track record of drawing influential speakers, pointing to the appearance by Beck.
At last year's event, members of the MJBI's board of directors explained the organization's mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue. Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, a leading Messianic Jew and televangelist who chairs MJBI's board of directors, maintained that "our numbers are growing and growing," because "the Bible predicted that the day would come when the blindness would come off the eyes of the people it all began with." He was referring to Jews. The Bible, Bernis continued, "tells us that the day will come when all of Israel will be saved." The MJBI, Bernis said, "is one of the ministries that God has raised up to bring that to pass." Other featured speakers last year included David Barton, the religious right's discredited "historian," who this week used Beck's radio show to announce that he won't challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in next year's Republican Senate primary.
Another MJBI board member, Rabbi Marty Waldman of Baruch HaShem, a Messianic congregation in Dallas, described his own conversion experience before making a pitch to the audience to donate money to MJBI. Money, he explained, is needed to hasten the return of Jesus. With the funds it collects, Waldman said, MJBI trains "people to preach the good news of the Messiah to the Jewish people." That's important, Waldman noted, because when there are "enough" Jewish people who call Jesus their savior, "some sort of a trigger will go off in heaven, and our father in heaven will say, 'Okay, son, it's time to get your bride.'"
At last year's MJBI event, a group called the Christian Heritage Foundation displayed a collection of Torah scrolls outside the Miller Lite Club at Cowboys Stadium. On the field, a shofar was blown, to applause.
Research for this article was supported by a 2012 Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. The fellowship is a program of the University of Southern California’s Knight Chair in Media and Religion.
Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist covering the intersection of religion and politics. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Salon, The Nation, The American Prospect, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications. Her website is

Zionist Terror 165

Nuclear Accord With Iran Could Create Fierce Diplomatic Storm Between U.S. And Israel

Netanyahu’s harsh rejection of Geneva accord signals looming battle that could strain relations, split the Jewish community, raise prospects of a unilateral Israeli attack – and put Avigdor Lieberman in the spotlight.

By Chemi Shalev 
November 08, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Haaretz" --  If there were a synoptic map for diplomatic storms, the National Weather Service would be putting out a hurricane warning right now. The winds are blowing cold, tensions are on the rise and tempers are beginning to flare in the Bermuda triangle of relations between Israel, the US and the American Jewish community.
 And given that the turbulence is being caused by an issue long deemed to be critical to Israel’s very existence, we may actually be facing a rare Category 5 flare up, a “superstorm” of US-Israeli relations.
The flashpoint, of course, would be the emerging agreement between Iran and the P5+1 forum - which is not the bag yet, as US Secretary of State John Kerry said upon his arrival in Geneva on Friday. Nonetheless, Netanyahu’s exceedingly harsh condemnation of the contours of the proposed pact provides early warning signs of the potential ferocity of the approaching storm.
Netanyahu’s expressions of frustration and anger stem from the substance of the emerging agreement being negotiated as well as the fact that it appears to have taken Israel by surprise. After receiving assurances from the Administration that it would not seek an interim deal and that it would not offer partial sanction relief, Washington, in Jerusalem’s eyes at least, appears to be doing just that.
The prime minister’s video-taped, no-holds barred condemnation on Friday of the “very bad deal” that Israel “utterly rejects”, photographed in unflattering close up that only magnified its ominous resonance, seems to set the stage for a monumental confrontation.  At the very least, a “first step” agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could trigger a Congressional counteroffensive aimed at strengthening sanctions rather than relieving them, with Israel and its supporters in Washington rallying to help undermine the Geneva accord. The stakes, and the potential fallout, couldn’t be higher.
Such a confrontation would rekindle the underlying mistrust and animosity that characterized Netanyahu’s relations with President and the US Administration for most of Obama’s first term. Despite his successful visit to Israel in March, most Israelis continue to view Obama as naïve and soft in his dealings with Arabs and Muslim countries. Obama’s detractors, both in Jerusalem and in the American Jewish community, will say: “We told you so”.
That feeling may have intensified in recent days in Israeli government circles as a result of what seems to be an American effort to undercut its own pledge to keep the military option “on the table” in its dealings with Iran. A US “senior official” told reporters in Geneva that a military attack on Iran “would not end, in our view, Iran’s nuclear program. It would set it back, but it would not end it.”
In internal discussions, Administration figures have also said that even if there was a US attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, the sides would still have to return to the negotiating table to work out a the same kind of deal that they are discussing now.
The American Jewish community itself would also face a potentially divisive and acrimonious internal debate. American Jews are likely to be split almost evenly between those who will want to “give peace a chance” and others who will cite Netanyahu’s “Iranian deal of the century” description. Most of the American Jewish establishment is likely to line up behind Netanyahu, but most Democratic-voting American Jews may prefer to back the Administration’s diplomatic efforts.
In any case, the Administration is likely to face a steep uphill battle to prevent Congress from taking direct action to undermine a Geneva agreement. Obama’s approval ratings have never been lower, he is struggling to keep his Affordable Care Act afloat, and Democratic lawmakers up for reelection in 2014 were starting to keep their distance even before an Iranian agreement was in the offing. Together with the Republican caucuses in the Senate and the House who would like nothing better than to embarrass Obama on the world stage, Democrats could form a majority that would suffice to put any agreement with Iran in jeopardy.
Such Congressional sabotage would result in an unprecedented internal and international crisis and would also highlight what is already emerging as the mammoth elephant in the room: does a Geneva agreement increase or decrease chances for a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations? Would Israel dare disrupt a diplomatic process that enjoys almost universal international support with such a brazen move? Can it afford, others will ask, to allow this “historic mistake”, as Netanyahu termed it, to go forward?
Adding to the volatile mix is the appearance of growing US impatience with Israeli settlement building and its negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Kerry’s unusually blunt criticism of the scope of recent government decisions on construction in the territories and his unprecedented warning that Israel may be facing a “third intifada” are telltale signs that all was not well between Jerusalem and Washington, even before reports of an impending Geneva agreement. A falling out between Netanyahu and Obama over the Iran accord could very well spill over into an open confrontation over the Palestinians as well.
But possibly the most intriguing question, from an internal Israeli point of view at least, is what will Avigdor Lieberman do. Buoyed by his exoneration on Wednesday of criminal charges, the right wing firebrand is returning to the Foreign Ministry on Monday just as Israel may be entering a critical diplomatic confrontation with the world.
Will Lieberman be nudging Netanyahu into a dangerous make or break gamble, as most people would expect, or will he choose to don the persona of the mature and responsible politician who urges caution and restraint? At this point, only Lieberman can know for sure.

Tax the Rich

This is viewer supported news
Tuesday’s election signaled a political sea change in New York City as voters chose a candidate who repeatedly emphasized his progressive vision. The city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, crushed Republican Joe Lhota in the mayoral race to replace billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg. De Blasio is set to become the first Democrat to lead the city in two decades. During his campaign, de Blasio’s signature message focused on what he called a "tale of two cities" and challenge the police department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" program. Mayor-elect de Blasio rose to power with the help of the Working Families Party, an independent political coalition sponsored by labor unions and focused on reducing social and political inequality. The party’s grassroots organizing efforts are not limited to New York. It recently won landmark legislation to tackle the student debt crisis in Oregon; fought the corporate education reform agenda in Bridgeport, Connecticut; and won paid sick days in Jersey City, New Jersey. Voters in New Jersey also approved a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage by a dollar to $8.25 an hour and add automatic cost-of-living increases each year. "We are living in the world Occupy made," says Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party. "We are the beneficiaries of what they did in terms of making this [about] inequality, which is from our point of view the core issue of our time."

De Mainstream Pers 71

The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is the one in which complexity is used to disguise the truth or to evade the truth, not to reveal it.

John Kenneth Galbraith. Money Whence it Came, Where it Went. 2001

During the Christian era in Europe, wealth, privilege, and power came with great moral costs. In frescoes, woodcuttings, architecture and murals, merchants, moneylenders, popes, cardinals and kings were depicted in shackles being carted off to hell under the watchful eyes of truncheon-wielding demons. The message to the illiterate population was clear – the rich and powerful have received their reward on Earth; best to be humble and poor, assured of a life in heaven after this one. Economic doctrines like the ‘just price’ and taboos on debt dominated European markets. Normalization of interest and gain required an entirely new understanding of Christianity, a new aesthetic of wealth. Centered in Florence, a new crop of wealthy patrons began to hire artists to depict Christ and his followers, the Virgin Mary, the Pope, local elites and the like, lavished with opulence and wealth. The new idea was that riches and religion were symbiotic.
Darren Fleet. The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics. 2012

Initially the church regarded the practice of profiting from loans as a sin – known as usury – but the bankers found a loophole in religious doctrine: it was permitted to charge for the reimbursement of expenses incurred in making the loan. This was termed interest. Gradually bankers widened the definition of ‘interest’ to include what had formally been called ‘usury.’ The practice of loaning out receipts for gold that didn’t really exist worked fine, unless many receipt-holders wanted to redeem paper notes for gold or silver all at once. Fortunately for the bankers, this happened so rarely that eventually the writing of receipts for more money than was on deposit became a perfectly respectable practice know as fractional reserve banking.
Richard Heinberg. The End of Growth. 2011

Totdat in de moderne tijd een deel van de elite besluit dat er teveel geld is geproduceerd waar niets tegenover staat en dat het lucratiever is om de luchthandel ineen te laten storten. De gemeenschap moet vervolgens voor de kosten opdraaien zoals onder ander tijdens de kredietcrisis van 2008 gebeurde. De mainstream pers en de democratisch gekozen politici deelden de bevolking mee dat het niet bestaande geld was ‘verdampt,’ een autonoom natuurkundige fenomeen, dat kennelijk niets met menselijk handelen te maken had. Daardoor kon het speculeren met werkelijk niets weer opnieuw beginnen, tot de volgende kredietcrisis en recessie of zelfs economische depressie. Het spreekt voor zich dat dit een valse voorstelling van zaken was en nog steeds is, aangezien het creëren van geld en het speculeren met geld niets met de natuur heeft te maken, maar alles met de mens. Daarover schreef de Britse financieel adviseur Tarek el Diwany in het tijdschrift de New Internationalist:

The ability to practice usury was in olden times limited by the amount of gold or silver coins available to the moneylender. In the seventeenth century, a critical development in England largely removed this limiting factor. Here, early bankers took deposits of gold coins and in return issued paper receipts promising repayment on demand. In due course, merchants began to use the bankers' receipts in payment for goods and services. It was easier to hand over a paper receipt to a seller than to travel to the bank in order to withdraw coins first. This behavior allowed the bankers to dramatically enlarge their business as moneylenders because, from now on, when the public came to borrow money, the banker could lend them freshly printed paper receipts. This policy had one great advantage. Unlike gold, paper receipts could be manufactured at little or no cost. 'The Bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing' was how William Paterson, first Director of the Bank of England, put it in 1694. The more paper receipts bankers printed, the more loans they could make and the more interest they could earn. It was therefore 'in their interest' to create as much money as possible. But this policy had dire consequences for the rest of society. The more money that was issued into circulation, the more prices began to rise throughout the economy. And because every unit of paper money was issued under a loan contract, the indebtness of society grew remorselessly over time. If a banker called in the paper loans, a vicious recession could easily result. The political power that this gave to the banks was not lost on President Andrew Jackson. In his farewell address of 1837, he accused the Bank of the United States of having done exactly this in an attempt to defeat his program on banking reform:

'The distress and alarm which pervaded and agitated the whole country when the Bank of the United States waged war upon the people in order to compel them to submit to its demands cannot yet be forgotten. The ruthless and unsparing temper with which whole cities and communities were oppressed, individuals impoverished and ruined, and a scene of cheerful prosperity suddenly changed into one of gloom and despondency to be indelibly impressed on the memory of the people of the United States. If such was its power in time of peace, what would it have been in a season of war with an enemy at your doors?'

Andrew Jackson waarschuwde zijn landgenoten dat indien hij er niet in was geslaagd om in 1833 deze 'national bank' te sluiten

the government would have passed from the hands of the many to the few, and this organized money power, from its secret conclave, would have dictated the voice of your highest officials and compelled you to make peace or war, as best suited their own wishes.

Precies 80 jaar later, in 1913, lukte het de financiële macht in de VS om opnieuw een particuliere nationale bank op te richten, de Federal Reserve, die geen eigendom is van de staat, maar van de aandeelhouders, te weten particuliere banken die niet de brede belangen van de gemeenschap behartigen, maar alleen het financiële belang van de rijke elite. Het gevolg is dat de Amerikaanse plutocratie vandaag de dag zowel de Amerikaanse binnenlandse als de buitenlandse politiek bepaalt. Zeker ook omdat de rijken bepalen welke kandidaat financieel gesteund wordt om president te worden en welke absoluut niet. Obama is daar een sprekend voorbeeld van en het is ook tekenend voor de misdadige onwetendheid van een opiniemaker als Geert Mak om nog in 2012 publiekelijk te verkondigen dat 

het beter voor Nederland en de internationale gemeenschap [is] dat Obama de verkiezingen wint.

Even absurd was zijn bewering dat er 'Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel,' mogelijk is, terwijl hij weet dat de 'Federal Reserve, de particuliere, centrale bank van de Verenigde Staten van Amerika, vergelijkbaar [is] met de Europese Centrale Bank in Frankfurt.'

De Amerikaanse onderzoekster Rebecca Fisher schrijft in haar essay The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism (2013) over de macht van de financiële en economische elite op de zogeheten Amerikaanse 'democratie,' die volgens Mak barst van de 'vitaliteit':

Dominant political and cultural discourses are now routinely constructed to promote capitalist narratives of democracy, freedom and individual choice. This has been the case even in the wake of public outcry and social unrest following the financial crisis and ongoing recession, which has seen the readiness of the state to prioritise the maintenance of the capitalist system, with massive injection of state money to bail out the financial system, brutal cuts to public spending, and drives to privatise even more of the public sector and close more and more of the commons. This has resulted in another crisis of legitimacy and an increase in the use of coercive strategies to control restive populations, such as increased militarisation.

Tegelijkertijd krijgt het grote publiek doorgaans een slap aftreksel geserveerd van de voorheen zo doeltreffende propaganda. Een illustrerend voorbeeld gaf op zaterdag 20 oktober 2013 NRC-'redacteur' Marc Chavannes, hoogleraar journalistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, benevens commentator bij de NOS en andere omroepen, onder de kop ‘De aftakeling van de democratie’:

Democratie is geen exportartikel meer. Dat was wel anders toen de Verenigde Staten in 2003 met het gelijk van de zendeling Irak binnenvielen en dictator Saddam verwijderden. De landen van het Midden-Oosten waren toe aan bestuur van het volk door het volk; de ene dominosteen na de andere zou kantelen. Na weken verlammende geruzie in Washington lijkt de Amerikaanse democratie zelf vastgelopen en uitgewoond. 

Wie bepaalden destijds dat ‘De landen van het Midden-Oosten [toe] waren aan bestuur van het volk door het volk’? En wie bepaalden eerder dat 'De landen van het Midden-Oosten' nog niet '[toe] waren aan bestuur van het volk door het volk’? Het volk? Washington die de dictaturen in de twee belangrijkste Arabische landen, Saoedi Arabie vanwege de olie en Egypte, vanwege het met Israel samenwerkende leger, in het zadel hielpen en hielden? En sinds wanneer was voor de plutocratische supermacht ‘democratie’ een ‘exportartikel’? Ondanks al zijn stelligheid zwijgt professor Chavennes daarover. Hoe lang nog? 

Die vraag is actueel omdat door de verandering in tijdgeest de oude mythes ineens zijn uitgewerkt en de westerse burger plotseling ziet dat de Keizer geen kleren aan heeft. De legitimiteit van het systeem staat ter discussie en het ancien régime, inclusief zijn lakeien, de journalisten, moet op zijn woorden gaan letten.  Dat begrijpt opiniemaker Chavannes maar al te goed en is dan ook de voornaamste reden voor zijn weigering om met mij publiekelijk in discussie te gaan over zijn beweringen. Ondanks het feit dat hij tijdens zijn Oratie als Hoogleraar Journalistiek stelde dat journalisten weliswaar ‘onderling de nodige discussie hebben,’ maar ‘nooit over wat echt goede journalistiek is’ en dat bovendien journalisten dit moetendoen in een geïntensiveerde samenspraak met wat vroeger “de lezer” en “de kijker” werd genoemd, dus op internet,’ reageert Chavannes niet op mijn uitnodiging om hier op mijn blog in alle democratische openheid met mij in discussie te gaan over zijn dan wel mijn visie. Hij kijkt wel uit, de mainstream journalist weet inmiddels dat zijn argumenten te zwak zijn om tegen de feiten op te kunnen. De discussie gaat ook niet meer over de vraag of er sprake is van een ‘aftakeling van de democratie,’ want dat moeten de Makkianen door de ‘omstandigheden gedwongen, inmiddels toegeven, maar de discussie zal gaan over de oorzaken van die ‘aftakeling’ en over de centrale vraag of de onvrijheid van het kapitalisme en de vrijheid van de democratie uberhaupt kunnen samengaan. En juist op het serieus bespreken van dit onderwerp rust voor de mainstream journalisten het belangrijkste taboe. Deels omdat ze dan hun carriere kunnen afschrijven, deels omdat ze dan moeten erkennen dat hun werk een leugen is, en dat ze dus aan het verspreiden van een leugen hun aanzien te danken hebben. Rebecca Fisher:

Thus we see that the ideological hegemony based on the false belief in the notion of the inevitable and inviolable union between democracy and capitalism is increasingly difficult to manufacture, as social and ecological limits to capital accumulation are reached. Ultimately, the need to achieve hegemony – which includes both coercive and consensual mechanisms – is a sign of weakness, as it entails a reliance upon legitimating, masking, and enforcing an increasingly violent system. That capitalist propagandists must make appeals to democracy, which stands in contradiction to capitalism, shows their fundamental vulnerability. Only time will tell whether the ideological hegemony that protects capitalism will rehabilitate itself sufficiently in order to hide its contradictory relationship with democracy and (re)organise sufficient levels of popular consent to protect elite wealth and power from demands for greater social equality. Alternatively, this time, clamours for systemic change may assert themselves more effectively against the dominance of capital, and force open new directions that will overcome the hegemonic forces and the structural socio-economic and political structures of capitalism, both of which currently promote democracy while simultaneously, and forcefully, denying it.

En hoewel een Makkiaan als Geert Mak in zijn Reizen zonder John de terreur van de   elite in Washington blijft verdedigen met beweringen als zou de VS 'decennialang ordebewaker en politieagent' van de wereld zijn geweest, toch weten steeds meer burgers aan de hand van de feiten door deze misdadige propaganda heen te prikken. Kort samenvattend zou men bovendien kunnen stellen dat het voor de Makkianen een hele klus zal worden om het motto geloofwaardig te kunnen maken dat er ‘Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel’ mogelijk is en dus dat het neoliberalisme in welke vorm dan ook de toekomst van de mensheid moet bepalen. Dit wil niet zeggen dat de dissidente visie zonder meer in kracht zal toenemen. Geenszins. Het enige dat wel kan worden voorspellen is dat er in deze overgangsperiode veel bloed zal vloeien, want de macht, welke macht dan ook, zal nooit vrijwillig haar macht inleveren.

Geert Mak: 'Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel.' Met andere woorden: Geen Europa zonder Neoliberalisme. Geen miljonairs zonder Europese Centrale Bank

vrijdag 8 november 2013

Noam Chomsky 87

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Chomsky: Why the Rest of the World No Longer Wants to be Like U.S.

Many countries in the world see the U.S. as the single greatest external threat to their societies.
During the latest episode of the Washington farce that has astonished a bemused world, a Chinese commentator wrote that if the United States cannot be a responsible member of the world system, perhaps the world should become "de-Americanized" — and separate itself from the rogue state that is the reigning military power but is losing credibility in other domains.
The Washington debacle's immediate source was the sharp shift to the right among the political class. In the past, the U.S. has sometimes been described sardonically — but not inaccurately — as a one-party state: the business party, with two factions called Democrats and Republicans.
That is no longer true. The U.S. is still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction: moderate Republicans, now called New Democrats (as the U.S. Congressional coalition styles itself).
There is still a Republican organization, but it long ago abandoned any pretense of being a normal parliamentary party. Conservative commentator Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute describes today's Republicans as "a radical insurgency — ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition": a serious danger to the society.
The party is in lock-step service to the very rich and the corporate sector. Since votes cannot be obtained on that platform, the party has been compelled to mobilize sectors of the society that are extremist by world standards. Crazy is the new norm among Tea Party members and a host of others beyond the mainstream.
The Republican establishment and its business sponsors had expected to use them as a battering ram in the neoliberal assault against the population — to privatize, to deregulate and to limit government, while retaining those parts that serve wealth and power, like the military.
The Republican establishment has had some success, but now finds that it can no longer control its base, much to its dismay. The impact on American society thus becomes even more severe. A case in point: the virulent reaction against the Affordable Care Act and the near-shutdown of the government.
The Chinese commentator's observation is not entirely novel. In 1999, political analyst Samuel P. Huntington warned that for much of the world, the U.S. is "becoming the rogue superpower," seen as "the single greatest external threat to their societies."
A few months into the Bush term, Robert Jervis, president of the American Political Science Association, warned that "In the eyes of much of the world, in fact, the prime rogue state today is the United States." Both Huntington and Jervis warned that such a course is unwise. The consequences for the U.S. could be harmful.
In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, the leading establishment journal, David Kaye reviews one aspect of Washington's departure from the world: rejection of multilateral treaties "as if it were sport."
He explains that some treaties are rejected outright, as when the U.S. Senate "voted against the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1999."
Others are dismissed by inaction, including "such subjects as labor, economic and cultural rights, endangered species, pollution, armed conflict, peacekeeping, nuclear weapons, the law of the sea, and discrimination against women."
Rejection of international obligations "has grown so entrenched," Kaye writes, "that foreign governments no longer expect Washington's ratification or its full participation in the institutions treaties create. The world is moving on; laws get made elsewhere, with limited (if any) American involvement."
While not new, the practice has indeed become more entrenched in recent years, along with quiet acceptance at home of the doctrine that the U.S. has every right to act as a rogue state.
To take a typical example, a few weeks ago U.S. special operations forces snatched a suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi, from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli, bringing him to a naval vessel for interrogation without counsel or rights. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry informed the press that the actions are legal because they comply with American law, eliciting no particular comment.
Principles are valid only if they are universal. Reactions would be a bit different, needless to say, if Cuban special forces kidnapped the prominent terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Miami, bringing him to Cuba for interrogation and trial in accordance with Cuban law.
Such actions are restricted to rogue states. More accurately, to the one rogue state that is powerful enough to act with impunity: in recent years, to carry out aggression at will, to terrorize large regions of the world with drone attacks, and much else.
And to defy the world in other ways, for example by persisting in its embargo against Cuba despite the long-term opposition of the entire world, apart from Israel, which voted with its protector when the United Nations again condemned the embargo (188-2) in October.
Whatever the world may think, U.S. actions are legitimate because we say so. The principle was enunciated by the eminent statesman Dean Acheson in 1962, when he instructed the American Society of International Law that no legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its "power, position, and prestige."
Cuba committed that crime when it beat back a U.S. invasion and then had the audacity to survive an assault designed to bring "the terrors of the earth" to Cuba, in the words of Kennedy adviser and historian Arthur Schlesinger.
When the U.S. gained independence, it sought to join the international community of the day. That is why the Declaration of Independence opens by expressing concern for the "decent respect to the opinions of mankind."
A crucial element was evolution from a disorderly confederacy to a unified "treaty-worthy nation," in diplomatic historian Eliga H. Gould's phrase, that observed the conventions of the European order. By achieving this status, the new nation also gained the right to act as it wished internally.
It could thus proceed to rid itself of the indigenous population and to expand slavery, an institution so "odious" that it could not be tolerated in England, as the distinguished jurist William Murray, Earl of Mansfield, ruled in 1772. Evolving English law was a factor impelling the slave-owning society to escape its reach.
Becoming a treaty-worthy nation thus conferred multiple advantages: foreign recognition, and the freedom to act at home without interference. Hegemonic power offers the opportunity to become a rogue state, freely defying international law and norms, while facing increased resistance abroad and contributing to its own decline through self-inflicted wounds.
© 2013 Noam Chomsky -- Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate
Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT.

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