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Remembering Chalmers Ashby Johnson (8/6/31 - 11/20/10)

November 29th, 2010

By Stephen Lendman

A personal note.

It's no way to begin a Sunday or any day. An email explained. My first thought was: damn, we lost another good one when we urgently need him and many others, given the state of today's America - out-of-control militarism, imperial arrogance, and homeland repression at a time of economic crisis for millions. Johnson knew the threat, challenging it brilliantly in his important writings and outspokenness. Now he's gone.

A former cold warrior, Chal, as friends called him, turned activist critic of US foreign policy, an imperial agenda doomed to fail. When the Cold War ended, he saw no further logic to US global bases, continued heightened militarism, and occupation of Japan, South Korea, Germany and elsewhere.

Peace breaking out was glorious. "Give Peace A Chance," wrote John Lennon, his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame song predated it by a decade.


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Iran is the most important country in world politics today: Erri De Luca

November 29th, 2010

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Erri De Luca is an internationally-renowned Italian poet and writer. "Corriere della Sera" literature critic Giorgio De Rienzo has called him "the writer of the decade". He started writing since he was 20; however, his first book was published in 1989, when he was 39 years old. Upon graduating from high school in 1968, he joined the newly-established far-left, extra-parliamentary organization of Lotta Continua. The political activities of the organization were terminated early in 1976. Erri De Luca speaks several languages, including English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish.

He is the author of several books including "Montedidio" which has won him The Prix Femina award. Erri De Luca has translated several books of Bible into Italian, including Exodus, Jonah, Ecclesiastes and Ruth. His works have been translated and published in various countries such as Spain, Iran, Portugal, Germany, Holland, USA, Brazil, Poland, Norway, Danmark, Romania, Greece and Lithuania.

De Luca joined me in an exclusive interview and answered my questions on his works and his views on literature, culture, politics and society.

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Cutting the Deficit: Sacrificing Workers to Save the Rich

November 29th, 2010

By James Petras

“There’s class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning”

Warren Buffet

The most important and popular social and tax programs in the United States are threatened by a self-styled “Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform”. Appointed by President Obama on February 18, 2010, co-chaired by two longstanding champions of Wall Street: ex Senator Simpson (R, WY) and former Clintonite White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The Commission Report issued November 10 proposes to slash social security payments, reducing recipients to poverty, raise the retirement age to 69 ensuring that millions of workers will die before they can retire, or enter retirement in ill health; reduce or freeze cost of living increases through inflation indexes which understate by half the rises in food, gas, hospital and education. The Commission proposes deep cuts in Medicare, increased Medicaid co-pays and slashing $54 billion from graduate medical education. The Commission proposes to eliminate tax breaks including deductions for home mortgage interest payments while taxing employer provided medical insurance.

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Imperial America's End Time

November 29th, 2010

by Stephen Lendman

Noted analysts on both left and right see America's empire in decline. In his 2009 book, "Global Depression and Regional Wars," James Petras said:

"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades have crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigms and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch (and are bearing witness to) the collapse of the US and world financial system," and with it America's empire.

On August 16, Paul Craig Roberts headlined his article, "The Ecstacy of Empire: How Close Is America's Demise," saying:

America's profligacy "is running out of time...." Yet "2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existant recovery." Government-manipulated reality masks the internal rot. Wall Street handouts and imperial wars are bankrupting the country.

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Mohamed Osman Mohamud: Terrorist or Victim?

November 29th, 2010

by Stephen Lendman

November 27 major media headlines accused him, including New York Times writers Colin Miner, Liz Robbins and Erik Eckholm triple-teaming him in their article titled, "FBI Says Oregon Suspect Planned 'Grand' Attack." Their saying so becomes accepted fact, according to corporate media reports - guilty by accusation.

It happens repeatedly. It's usually strategically timed, in this case to defuse anger over enhanced airport screening. It's also nearly always against Muslims, America's target of choice - of course, to justify imperial wars against Muslim nations. The topic was addressed often in previous articles, including one accessed through the link below:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/americas-war-on-islam.html

It explained how America's war on terrorism exploits and vilifies them. Hollywood and corporate media reports especially portray them stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, violent, dangerous gun-toting terrorists, wrongfully against Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.

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U.S. gets human rights advice from the world

November 29th, 2010

Mary Shaw

On November 5, the United States had its first-ever formal evaluation under the Universal Period Review process before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This process was established in 2006 to periodically review the human rights records of UN member states. But the George W. Bush administration apparently thought it was above this sort of thing.

As a result of this year's process, on November 10, the UNHRC issued a report of its findings and recommendations from the U.S. review. Most obvious were recommendations that the U.S. ratify several international human rights conventions and treaties that we have not yet formally endorsed. To no surprise, our use of torture and racial profiling, and the obvious culture of xenophobia apparent in our national discourse, also figured prominently in the feedback.

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The Portland Bomber

November 28th, 2010

By MMEO posted by Michael Collins

Last night the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, a non-partisan group cosponsored by the local chapter of the Pacific Green Party -- my party -- held its usual Friday night peace demonstration in Pioneer Courthouse Square, in the center of the downtown area of our city. My two young (aged 12 and 10) boys and I were there, with party banner and anti-Afghan-War poster, from 5 to 6 pm. The demo coincided with the Day After Thanksgiving lighting of the municipal Christmas tree, a celebration of shopping that brought several thousand onlookers to the Square.

This morning's newspaper announced on the front page that the FBI arrested a 19-year-old Somali-American for attempting to bomb the Square with enough explosives to kill everyone there. Federal authorities were not above using the occasion to spread fear of Islamic fanatics among our citizenry.

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