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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,240

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Chris Hedges: The Terror We Give Is the Terror We Get

from truthdig:

by Chris Hedges

We fire missiles from the sky that incinerate families huddled in their houses. They incinerate a pilot cowering in a cage. We torture hostages in our black sites and choke them to death by stuffing rags down their throats. They torture hostages in squalid hovels and behead them. We organize Shiite death squads to kill Sunnis. They organize Sunni death squads to kill Shiites. We produce high-budget films such as “American Sniper” to glorify our war crimes. They produce inspirational videos to glorify their twisted version of jihad.

The barbarism we condemn is the barbarism we commit. The line that separates us from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is technological, not moral. We are those we fight.

“From violence, only violence is born,” Primo Levi wrote, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.”

The burning of the pilot, Jordanian Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, by ISIS militants after his F-16 crashed near Raqqa, Syria, was as gruesome as anything devised for the Roman amphitheater. And it was meant to be. Death is the primary spectacle of war. If ISIS had fighter jets, missiles, drones and heavy artillery to bomb American cities there would be no need to light a captured pilot on fire; ISIS would be able to burn human beings, as we do, from several thousand feet up. But since ISIS is limited in its capacity for war it must broadcast to the world a miniature version of what we do to people in the Middle East. The ISIS process is cruder. The result is the same.


Terror serves the interests of the war mongers on both sides of the divide. This is what happened during the 444-day Iran hostage crisis that took place from 1979 to 1981. And this is why Jordan—unlike Japan, which saw two of its nationals executed but is not involved militarily against ISIS—has reacted with sanctimonious fury and carried out retaliation. It is why Foley’s murder strengthened the call by the war lobby in Washington to launch a bombing campaign against ISIS. Terror—the terror we commit and the terror done to us—feeds the lusts for war. It is a recruiting tool for war’s crusade. If ISIS were not brutal it would have to be made to seem brutal. It is the luck of the fanatics we oppose, and the fanatics in our midst, that everyone’s propaganda needs are amply met. The tragedy is that so many innocents suffer. ..................(more)


"Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? ...............

[font size="4"].......... Several have died of conformity in our lifetime."[/font]

-- Jacob Bronowski

Keiser Report: Greece, Beware Bureaucrats & Bankers Bearing Bailouts

Greece Still Defiant After ECB Mugging

Greece Still Defiant After ECB Mugging
Posted on February 6, 2015 by Yves Smith

Some brief updates, with more on Monday:

Quite a few pundits appear to be in denial about the aggressiveness of the ECB move towards Greece and what that signifies about the prospects for reaching a deal. The Syriza government insists it is not backing off from the major tenets of its yet-to-be-fully fleshed out proposal. In an interesting shift, some economists, including Frances Coppola in a Financial Times column and the Economist’s Free Exchange blog, risk-sharing ideas that Draghi himself has put forward. However, they miss that the body language of the ECB, having moved to make Greece’s negotiating timeframe as short as possible, is clearly signaling that it is trying to bring Greece to heel and force a deal within the current parameters. That makes it very difficult for new structures to be included in the negotiations.

The strongest implicit message from the ECB was its rejection of deviations from the current deal, such as Greece’s rejection of Troika monitors (the comment in the ECB press release about how “it is currently not possible to assume a successful conclusion of the programme review.”). And even the media stories that took a more conciliatory tone towards the idea of negotiating financial terms took a very stern tone about the importance of structural reforms, as in driving wage rates down, along with the reasons to doubt Syriza’s promise that it can crack down on oligarchs and improve tax collection. The issue of “structural reforms” is a major outtrade, since Syriza is committed to higher, not lower wages, and having the government engage in direct hiring to reduce unemployment levels. So the message remains loud and clear: despite lip service to the idea of favoring growth over austerity, the most that Syriza might get is austerity lite.

The Greece population is showing strong support of Syriza. Since when have you ever heard of pro-government rallies? Hat tip Δημήτρης:

And the rally in Athens does not appear to be based on a fuzzy-headed notion that Syriza has good odds of prevailing against the Troika. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/02/greece-still-defiant-ecb-mugging.html

Cheaper real estate attracts art venue to Detroit

DETROIT - High rental costs in New York City are pushing a Brooklyn performance center to Detroit.

Galapagos Art Space Executive Director Robert Elmes writes on the center's website that it's moving to old buildings in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and Highland Park.

Detroit has an overabundance of space, which helps keep rental and real estate prices down. Galapagos has bought 600,000 square feet of space.

Galapagos Art Space opened in Brooklyn in 1995. The venue says it has hosted about 7,500 programs since then.

Elmes writes that New York's "young artists and thinkers" are "talking about the next city they can land in once their current lease runs out." ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/cheaper-real-estate-attracts-art-venue-to-detroit/30129668

A Brief History of Happiness: How America Lost Track of the Good Life—and Where to Find It Now

from YES! Magazine:

A Brief History of Happiness: How America Lost Track of the Good Life—and Where to Find It Now
For decades, we've been taught that economic growth and buying more stuff will make us happy—while trashing the planet. The good news is, there’s a better kind of happy: It starts with meaningful work, loving relationships, and a thriving natural world.

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference, an anthology of work from YES! Magazine.

In the last 100 years, we got very confused about happiness. This is no small thing. The way we define happiness drives what we do, what we’re willing to sacrifice, and how we spend our money and our time.

This confusion didn’t just happen. Advertisers spend billions spreading the illusion that more stuff will bring us happiness. And policy wonks of all political stripes—but especially those connected to business interests—spread the message that economic growth leads to well-being. Both are false promises that have instead been undermining the very conditions that could lead to sustainable happiness.

Sustainable happiness is built on a healthy natural world and a vibrant and fair society. It is a form of happiness that endures, through good and bad times, because it starts with the fundamental requirements and aspirations of being human. You can’t obtain it with a quick fix; sustainable happiness cannot be achieved at the expense of others.

The good news is that sustainable happiness is achievable, it could be available to everyone, and it doesn’t have to cost the planet. It begins by assuring that everyone can obtain a basic level of material security. But beyond that, more stuff isn’t the key to happiness. ..................(more)


Washington Post Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland

from Consortium News:

WPost Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland
February 8, 2015

The neocons now control the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, a dangerous development for the American people and the world. Yet, the Post remains the more extreme of the two, pushing for more endless confrontations and wars, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

By Paul R. Pillar

James Carden and Jacob Heilbrunn provided in the current issue of The National Interest an extensively documented review of how the ever-more-neocon editorial page of the Washington Post “responds to dangerous and complex problems with simplistic prescriptions.”

The Post‘s most recent editorial about the nuclear negotiations with Iran is firmly in that same simplistic, destructive tradition. It is hard to know where to begin in pointing out the deficiencies in this effort by the Post‘s editorialists, but noting some of them can illustrate how the tendencies that Carden and Heilbrunn cataloged constitute, as the abstract for their article puts it, a crusade for doctrines “that have brought Washington to grief in the past.”

The current editorial offers a prescription that is so simplistic that it isn’t really a prescription at all. And that — the absence of any plausible proposed alternative — is its most basic shortcoming. Instead it is just a collection of ways of saying, “We don’t like where these negotiations are going.”

Even though the writers claim that “we have long supported negotiations with Iran,” the effect of their piece is to add to the negative background music to which those determined to defeat and derail any agreement with Iran — including Benjamin Netanyahu and confirmed deal-saboteurs in the U.S. Congress — dance and from which they derive energy. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/08/wpost-is-lost-in-neocon-fantasyland/

Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing

from Consortium News:

Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing
February 4, 2015

In the cause of protecting government secrets, the CIA and Justice Department made an example of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling by convicting him of exposing a dubious covert operation without presenting clear-cut evidence that he did, a chilling message to others, notes Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

The leak trial of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling never got near a smoking gun, but the entire circumstantial case was a smokescreen. Prosecutors were hell-bent on torching the defendant to vindicate Operation Merlin, nine years after a book by James Risen reported that it “may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”

That bestselling book, State of War, seemed to leave an indelible stain on Operation Merlin while soiling the CIA’s image as a reasonably competent outfit. The prosecution of Sterling was a cleansing service for the Central Intelligence Agency, which joined with the Justice Department to depict the author and the whistleblower as scurrilous mud-throwers.

In the courtroom, where journalist Risen was beyond the reach of the law, the CIA’s long-smoldering rage vented at the defendant. Sterling had gone through channels in 2003 to warn Senate Intelligence Committee staffers about Operation Merlin, and he was later indicted for allegedly giving Risen classified information about it. For CIA officials, the prosecution wasn’t only to punish Sterling and frighten potential whistleblowers; it was also about payback, rewriting history and assisting with a PR comeback for the operation as well as the agency.

Last week, the jury — drawn from an area of Northern Virginia that is home to CIA headquarters, the Pentagon and a large number of contractors for the military-industrial-intelligence complex — came back with guilty verdicts on all counts. The jurors had heard from a succession of CIA witnesses as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, extolling Operation Merlin and deploring any effort to lift its veil of secrecy. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/04/convicting-sterling-to-chill-whistleblowing/

Robert Parry: When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News

from Consortium News:

When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News
February 7, 2015

Exclusive: The criminal case against ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern for “resisting arrest” when he was denied entry to a public speech by retired Gen. David Petraeus appears to be nearly over, but the image of police brutally shielding the mighty from a citizen’s question remains troubling, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

What if Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in April 1963 and the U.S. news media had decided that it wasn’t a story, just some troublemaker getting what he deserved for breaking the law? Would King have gone on to give his “I have a dream speech” in August, win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and change American history?

Some Americans would insist that suppressing news about King’s arrest during the Birmingham protests simply couldn’t happen here because we have a free press that – for all its faults – knows a good story when it sees one.

Sure, these people might acknowledge that there may have been a time before airplanes and television when significant events in fairly remote parts of the country were missed because they were harder to get to or because editors might not even have been aware of a newsworthy story, but not in 1963 and surely not today, in the Internet age when there’s Facebook and Twitter, which news organizations monitor regularly.

So, what if I told you that an internationally known American – a 75-year-old Army veteran and a longtime official at the Central Intelligence Agency, someone who had famously questioned the imperious Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq War lies in a public event that led evening newscasts in 2006 – was recently denied entry to a public speech by another Iraq War icon, Gen. David Petraeus, and – despite having paid for a ticket – was brutally arrested by the police and jailed?

Wouldn’t that be a story? Wouldn’t that be something that the news media, especially the “liberal” news media, should jump all over? Wouldn’t a newspaper like the New York Times just love something like that? ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/07/when-silencing-dissent-isnt-news/

Ferndale's Complete Streets are No Small Feat

from WeAreModeShift:

Walking the streets of Ferndale offers a glimpse into what's possible when a community embraces multi-modal road design. The Odyssey crew got a good view of this during a Oct. 7 walking tour, the first official Odyssey stop.

Ferndale covers roughly four square miles due north of Detroit and is home to about 20,000 residents. Despite its modest size, the city’s big efforts on Complete Streets caught the eyes of MTO organizers.

Complete Streets is a philosophy of road design that takes all users into consideration, whether they be motorists, bicyclists, transit users, pedestrians or those using assistive devices like wheelchairs. It’s aimed at providing appropriate access to all these users as streetscapes are planned, built and renovated.

Ferndale adopted a Complete Streets ordinance in October 2010, shortly after Michigan’s legislature made it state-mandated policy. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://wearemodeshift.org/ferndale%E2%80%99s-complete-streets-are-no-small-feat-michigan-transportation-odyssey-2014

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