Obama and Ayers

Ok, I don’t really care all that much about the Presidential election, to be honest. I strongly believe that it makes very little difference which of the two major-party candidates ends up being awarded the office.

That being said, I can’t believe the ridiculous crap people will believe about Obama. He’s a Muslim. He’s a terrorist sympathizer. He’s not really American. Ok, so he is American, but he’s not “American” like YOU AND I are American. And so on, and so forth. The last one, by the way, is not-so-subtly racist. (and has anyone else noticed that those emails containing the ridiculous bullshit generally make it a point to mention his middle name, Hussein? As if people were stupid enough to connect him with Saddam? Oh, wait… I guess they are. Never mind that it’s one of the most common names in north/east Africa and the Middle East.)

Lately a big deal has been made about his supposed association with William Ayers, one of the former leaders of the Weathermen back in the early 1970’s. In other words, it’s the “terrorist sympathizer” charge all over again. People have even gone as far as to suggest that Obama’s whole political career has been orchestrated by Ayers as an attempt to bring down the United States as we know it. What ridiculous crap! The very New York Times article Sarah Palin has been referencing to try and connect Obama to Ayers itself concluded that there was no substantial connection between the two. But no less an “authority” than Sean Hannity of Faux News had an entire primetime episode of his show devoted to “experts” (whose credentials basically are their blogs) proclaiming the “evidence” they’ve found linking Obama to Ayers and suggesting all kinds of sinister conspiracies.

What a bunch of crap. John K. Wilson at the Huffington Post has written a fairly detailed refutation of 30 myths about Obama and Ayers, and it is well worth reading – if you really want to be informed about what’s going on with people, and not just believe the tripe you hear from such “fair and balanced” sources. If you’re happy being ignorant and maybe even tacitly bigoted, then there’s no reason for you to read the article.

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Bush, Pakistan and the Bomb

This article from today’s International Herald Tribune gives an excellent example of what Chalmers Johnson calls “blowback”, from the title of his 2000 book (revised ed. 2004) Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, in which he essentially predicted a 9/11-like attack as one of the “unintended consequences” of American policy towards so-called “developing nations” in the 20th century.

Johnathan Schell, author of a recent book on current nuclear dangers, argues that Pakistan was effectively all those things claimed of Iraq (ruled by a dictator, albeit one less cruel than Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti; supported and harbored terrorists; possessed nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs and facilitated proliferation) but because “they were on our side” Bush overlooked both the possession and attempted proliferation of nukes. He sketches a disturbing picture of the possibility of proliferation run amok should Pakistan’s current internal turmoil reach a critical state. Anyone who cares about anything pertaining to the issues of terrorism, nuclear weapons, and Bush’s “you’re for us or you’re against us” and pre-emptive war doctrine should read this article.

In a related article, Gary Sick compares the current situation in Pakistan to the breakdown of the Shah of Iran’s regime and the Islamic Revolution that placed the Ayatollah in power.

We have constantly supported regimes whose methods and actions contradict our stated ideals of democracy and freedom while spreading so-called “free markets” all over the world, conveniently ignoring the fact that our economic development not only utilized but even depended on (and still depends on) the kinds of internal protections we deny other nations through agencies such as the IMF and WTO. The situation in Pakistan is another chapter in this long history of American imperialism, and I fear people in America and all over the world will continue to suffer the consequences through terrorism, domestic unrest, repressive government and police actions, and other effects.

Chalmers Johnson, “Blowback”, from The Nation, Sept. 27, 2001
Summery of Blowback from Third World Traveller

The obligatory 9/11 post

I wasn’t going to do this, I was just going to let the post about Stirling Bridge stand as my statement about 9/11, but I just wrote this for my Livejournal and thought it was worth sharing here.

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” – From the Project for a New American Century’s document Rebuilding America’s Defenses

Looks like they got it.

The document quoted above is a detailed summary of a strategy to project American military power across the globe and fits in nicely with the prospect of increasing American economic domination of essentially the whole world. Indeed throughout this and other PNAC documents, as well as other writings from neoconservative thinkers throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s the intersection of military and economic interests was argued for as an essential good or simply taken for granted. Preemptive war was touted as a strategy, and despite propaganda stating the alternative it was so clear to those in power that neoliberal (so-called “free trade”) economic policies lead to devastating economic inequalities that are likely to increase social unrest AND increase breeding grounds for potential “terrorists” that this was argued in later-declassified CIA and Defense Department documents going back to the 1990s. The neocons consistently argued that a force in Iraq would ensure stability of oil production and prices to help the US economic growth that would be necessary to sustain the project of empire (though they stopped short, so far as I am aware, of using that term).

Since 9/11 the rhetoric of terrorism and the war on terror has justified government-perpetrated atrocities, suspension of civil liberties, suppression of dissenting speech, and two stupid wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), situations where the reality and the rhetoric about why we should attack them did not often line up side-to-side. We have also seen increasing privatization of the military and its support functions. It is now estimated that, of combat personnel (that is, people who actually carry guns and shoot people), 1/3 of the “troops” in Iraq are contracted mercenaries, often referred to as “security personnel”. If you figure in the number of privatized support staff the number rises to over 1/2. These “troops” are accountable only to their corporate masters, and often they are there as a result of no-bid contracts and other shady business mechanisms. I’m sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with the Halliburton scheme in which Dick Cheney’s former company was awarded billions in no-bid contracts, that is only one example. Rumors of graft, corruption, and human rights violations on a mass scale abound, directly linked to these corporate soldiers.

And one of the worst parts about it is the pain and suffering of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks is still being exploited to justify these atrocities. Support our troops? Yeah, support them… support them by encouraging them to apply for conscientious objector status. Support them by bringing them home, and never again sending them into harm’s way for the profit of a few fat cats and their multitude of minions. Support them by teaching them, from a young age, that the one and only purpose of a military is to steal, kill, and destroy (cf. John 10:10), and there are other options outside the military by which they might have life, and help others to have it also.

Now, with another potential war on the near horizon, this time with Iran, have we really learned anything, 6 years later? The media leads us right down the same path they did en route to Iraq, and “support the troops” is still a verbal mechanism used to squelch dissent, or at least it is in my part of the country.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis, dona nobis pacem.

Kyrie eleison.

Your blog tells me I’m a comment spammer, so I’m posting this instead

Absolution Revolution has moved! You can find this article at http://absolutionrevolution.com/blog/2006/09/01/your-blog-tells-me-im-a-comment-spammer-so-im-posting-this-instead/