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Some Choice Morsels, Past and Present
- “I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq” (Paul Wolfowitz, 2003—Note: These words have inspired the Iraqi resistance in their efforts to oust the “coalition.” Wolfowitz of course assumes that the coalition members are not foreigners, as they are U.S. citizens and folks approved by us, therefore possessing a Godfather’s right to be at home anywhere within his domains).
- “He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors” (Colin Powell, February 2001, before the propaganda line was firm).
- “We are able to keep his arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt” (Condoleeza Rice in April 2001, also before the party line hardened).
- “No one can now doubt the word of America” (George Bush, Jan. 20, 2004—meaning that his team may lie without restraint, and violate our “word” and legal obligation to adhere to international law, but the world does not doubt that the Bushies will carry out threats to commit violence against defenseless targets).
- “No cause can justify the loss of innocent lives” (Colin Powell in August 2003, commenting on innocent lives lost after an Al Qaeda attack; he would no doubt qualify this to take account of “tragic errors”).
- “According to Livy, the Romans conquered the world in their own defense” (Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ).
- “Just because we’re Democrats, I don’t think we have to come up with an alternative point of view if we think he is right” (Democratic Party Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, agreeing with the Bush team’s skepticism about the work of the UN weapons inspection team, that was not finding those WMD that Bush and Daschle knew were there and that threatened our national security).
- “‘We haven’t given up on the United Nations process,’ one administration official said” (January 2003—“UN process” as used here means getting the UN to do exactly what we want, which if not successful, and we are forced to “give up,” would mean simply ignoring the UN and UN Charter).
- “In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for war, it insists on making war. If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another, possibly more effective, pretext, after the war is on” (Senator Bob La Follette, Sr., June 1917)
- “Lord Robertson said NATO had a ‘moral obligation’ to support a U.S.-led war on Iraq, adding any decision to take military action against Iraq ‘will be taken by [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein’” ( Financial Times , December 28, 2002).
- "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country” (Hermann Goering, Hitler’s number two person).
- “In the light of Operation Northwoods documents, it is clear that deceiving the public and trumping up wars for Americans to fight and die in was standard, approved policy at the highest levels of the Pentagon” (James Bamford—Northwoods was an official plan to provoke a war with Cuba by killing U.S. civilians and blaming it on Cuba, and though it was never carried out, it “had the support of every single member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…”).
- “Shortly before Saddam invaded Kuwait, the good senator [Alan Simpson, who later called reporter Peter Arnett a “traitor”] met the Butcher of Baghdad and told him: ‘I enjoy meeting candid and open people.... I believe that your problems lie with the Western media and not with the U.S. government [and surely not with any deficiencies in Saddam]…. It is a haughty and pampered press; they all consider themselves geniuses…they are very cynical—what I advise is that you invite them to come here and see for themselves” (Miron Ruzen).
- “We won the mid-terms; this [the proposed regressive tax cuts] is our due” (Vice President Dick Cheney in November 2002, answering O’Neill’s argument that such tax cuts were not justified. The key word “our” obviously does not refer to the U.S. citizenry in general, but rather to the tiny corporate elite—of which Cheney, Rumsfeld, and many of the rest of the gang are longstanding members—which funds Bush and benefits disproportionately from his tax cuts and other policies).
- “Profit seeking…is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.” Government regulation represents “force and fraud” as a means of protecting the consumer. The market system is a “superlatively moral system that the welfare statists propose to improve upon by means of preventive law, snooping bureaucrats, and the chronic goad of fear” (Alan Greenspan, writing in a 1966 book edited by Ayn Rand).
- “It has become increasingly difficult for policy-makers who wish to practice, as they put it, a more ‘caring’ capitalism, to realize the full potential of their economies” (Alan Greenspan, in April 1998).
- In his congressional testimony of July 1997 Alan Greenspan explained that inflation was not rising despite the lowering unemployment rate because of “a heightened sense of job insecurity,” which he described elsewhere as the case of the “traumatized worker,” helpful in keeping wages down. He didn’t suggest that job insecurity or traumatization of workers was a “goad of fear” or had any negative implications for welfare. In his book Contours of Descent, Robert Pollin shows that mainstream economists were very slow to recognize greater job insecurity as a key factor altering the unemployment/inflation relationship, but that when they did recognize it this did not trouble them.
- Liberal economist Janet Yellen, co-author with Alan Blinder of a book on the 1990s entitled The Fabulous Decade , told the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee in 1996 that “while the labor market is tight, job insecurity is alive and well. Real wage aspirations seem modest, and the bargaining power of workers is surprisingly low.” Pollin notes that Yellen and Blinder didn’t let this interfere with their conclusion that the 1990s were “fabulous.” Apparently these economists, like Clinton, don’t “feel pain” as long as only workers suffer.
- They are also a throwback to 17th and 18th century mercantilist analysts, who argued, that “high wages would prove destructive of national well-being because they would reduce England’s competing power by raising production costs. The prevalent doctrine held that wages should be kept at the level of the cost of physical subsistence. Hence the apparent anomaly of the laborer’s position: whereas his theoretical social importance was large, his actual economic reward was miserably small.... [Under mercantilism] the dominant class will attempt to bind the burdens upon the shoulders of those groups whose political power is too slight to defend them from exploitation and will find justification for its policies in the plea of national necessity” (Edgar S. Furniss, Position of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism , 1920).
- “In my L’ami des hommes, I considered matters from the point of view of humanity. I now consider them more particularly from the perspective of economics [i.e., productivity versus support of peasant proprietors]” (L’Abbe Mirabeau, an 18th century French economist-intellectual).
- “The economy is doing fine, but the people aren’t” (Brazilian head-of-state, General Emilio Medici, in 1971).
- “Chile is an economic miracle…. Chile is an even more amazing political miracle. A military regime has supported reforms that sharply reduce the role of the state and replace control from the top with control from the bottom” (Milton Friedman, January 1982—by control from the “bottom” Friedman means control by private companies, not workers or ordinary citizens deprived of a vote, freedom of speech, and freedom of organization in the admirable dictatorship; these latter losses do not compromise the “political miracle” for this freedom-lover).
- “Pinochet is tough. He is in charge…. He speaks his mind. His aides and ministries, mostly civilian professionals, flinch.… Peace. Tranquility. Order. Pinochet has brought Chile those things” (Shirley Christian, Miami Herald , Nov. 16, 1980—Shirley Christian was soon recruited to cover Chile for the NYTimes ).
- Peter Munk, CEO of the Canadian transnational, Horsham Corp., explained that Pinochet “had created a model that…has generated more profit per capita in a Latin American forgotten country than in any other comparable period.” As to people in jail, Munk contends that the end justified the means “because it brought wealth to an enormous number of people. I mean in my terms. If you ask somebody who is in jail he’ll say no. But that’s the wonderful thing about our world: we can have the freedom to disagree” ( Globe & Mail , May 10, 1996).
- “Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel—these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily national…. The policy of increased national self-sufficiency is to be considered, not as an ideal in itself, but as directed to the creation of an environment in which other ideals can be safely and conveniently pursued…. We all need to be as free as possible from interference from economic changes elsewhere, in order to make our own favorite experiments towards the ideal social republic of the future” (John Maynard Keynes, 1933).
- “Conor Cruise O’Brien’s rationale for opposing the academic boycott of South Africa is as weak as Hitchens’ defense of Noam Chomsky” (Alan Wolfe, 1988—perhaps the champion of hit-and-run smears of Chomsky, although the competition is keen).
- There has been “no serious loss of life” resulting from the Bush bombing of Afghanistan because the Administration has followed “an almost pedantic policy of avoiding ‘collateral damage’” (Christopher Hitchens, The Nation , Dec. 17, 2001—the loss of life from the bombing easily exceeded that of the 9/11 attack, but these were Afghans. Hitchens’s confidence in the civilian-protective concern of Bush bombing policy comes from faith in the truthfulness of those who have lied frequently in the past, but are now “valiantly” fighting Islamic fascism).
- “They hate us because they’re losers and we’re winners” (Dan Rather).
- “[Dan] Rather could be seen on the satellite going through the motions of a bombing. He practiced describing how it was not known how many casualties were caused by the bombing” (Rather was caught rehearsing coverage of an Iraq bombing run, including his apologetics for civilian casualties, the rehearsal mistakenly beamed to TV affiliates via satellite).
- “George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions and, you know, as just one American, he wants me to line up, just tell me where” (Dan Rather on the “David Letterman Show,” Sept. 18, 2001—Rather did line up where Bush would want him to, as CBS anchor-conduit).
- “A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself” (Joseph Pulitzer, 1904).
- “Mexico is a country of a modest, very fucked class, which will never stop being fucked…. Television has the obligation to bring diversion to these people and remove them from their sad reality and difficult future” (Emilio Azcarraga, late Mexican media mogul, 1991).
imagination is continually led to the brink of vice by a system
of terror and denunciations, people fling themselves over the
precipice from the mere dread of falling” (William Hazlitt,
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.