Obama-Biden — Osama bin Laden: A Coincidence? I Think Not.

Im sorry to say that I think that John McCain is going to be the next president of the United States. After the long night of Bush horror any Democrat should easily win, but the Dems are screwing it up and McCain has been running more-or-less even with Barack Obama in the polls. The Democrats should run on the slogan “If you liked Bush, you’ll love McCain,” but that would be too outspoken, too direct for the spineless Nancy Pelosi and her spineless party. Or, “If you liked Iraq, you’ll love Iran.” But the Democrat leadership is not on record as categorically opposing either conflict.

Nor, it seems, do the Democrats have the courage to raise the issue of McCain not having been born in the United States as the Constitution requires. Nor questioning him about accusations by his fellow American prisoners about his considerable collaboration with his Vietnamese captors. Nor a word about McCain’s highly possible role in the brutal Georgian invasion of South Ossetia on August 7. (More on this last below.)

Obama has lost much of the sizable liberal/progressive vote because of his move to the center-right (or his exposure as a center-rightist), and he now may have lost even his selling point of being more strongly against the war than McCain — if in fact he actually is — by appointing Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden has long been a hawk on Iraq (as well as the rest of US foreign policy), calling for an invasion as far back as 1998.1 In April, 2007, when pressed in an interview about his vote for the war in 2003, Biden said: “It was a mistake. I regret my vote. … because I learned more, like everybody else learned, about what, in fact, we were told.”2 This has been a common excuse of war supporters in recent years when the tide of public opinion turned against them. But why did millions and millions of Americans march against the war in the fall of 2002 and early 2003, before it began? What did they know that Joe Biden didn’t know? It was clear to the protesters that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were habitual liars, that they couldn’t care less about the people of Iraq, that the defenseless people of that ancient civilization were going to be bombed to hell; the protesters knew something about the bombings of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan; they knew about napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium. … Didn’t Biden know about any of these things? Those who marched knew that the impending war was something a moral person could not support; and that it was totally illegal, a textbook case of a “war of aggression”; one didn’t have to be an expert in international law to know this. Did Joe Biden think about any of this?

If McCain had a role in the Georgian invasion of breakaway-region Ossetia it would have been arranged with the help of Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser and until recently Georgia’s principal lobbyist in Washington. As head of the neo-conservative Committee for the Liberation of Iraq in 2002, Scheunemann was one of America’s leading advocates for invading Iraq. One of McCain’s primary campaign sales pitches has been to emphasize his supposed superior experience in foreign policy matters, which — again supposedly — means something in this world. McCain consistently leads Obama in the opinion polls on “readiness to be commander-in-chief”, or similar nonsense. The Georgia-Russia hostilities raise — in the mass media and the mass mind — the issue of the United States needing an experienced foreign policy person to handle such a “crisis”, and, standard in every crisis — an enemy bad guy.

Typical of the media was the Chicago Tribune praising McCain for his statesmanlike views on Iraq and stating: “What Russia’s invasion of Georgia showed was that the world is still a very dangerous place,” and Russia is a “looming threat”. In addition to using the expression “Russia’s invasion of Georgia”, the Tribune article also referred to “Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia”. No mention of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia which began the warfare.3 In a feature story in the Washington Post on the Georgia events the second sentence was: “The war had started, Russian jets had just bombed the outskirts of Tbilisi [Georgian capital].” The article then speaks of “the horror” of “the Russian invasion”. Not the slightest hint of any Georgian military action can be found in the story.4 One of course can find a media report here or there that mentions or at least implies in passing that an invasion from Georgia is what instigated the mayhem. But I’ve yet to come upon one report in the American mass media that actually emphasizes this point, and certainly none that put it in the headline. The result is that if a poll were taken amongst Americans today, I’m sure the majority of those who have any opinion would be convinced that the nasty Russians began it all.5

What we have here in the American media is simply standard operating procedure for an ODE (Officially Designated Enemy). Almost as soon as the fighting began, Dick Cheney announced: “Russian aggression must not go unanswered.”6The media needed no further instructions. Yes, that’s actually the way it works. (See Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Iran, Bolivia, etc., etc.)

The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is an American poodle to an extent that would embarrass Tony Blair. Until their 2,000 troops were called home for this emergency, the Georgian contingent in Iraq was the largest after the US and UK. The Georgian president prattles on about freedom and democracy and the Cold War like George W., declaring that the current conflict “is not about Georgia anymore. It is about America, its values.”7 (I must confess that until Saakashvili pointed it out I hadn’t realized that “American values” were involved in the fighting.) His government recently ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post. The entire text, written vertically, was: “Lenin … Stalin … Putin … Give in? Enough is enough. Support Georgia. … sosgeorgia.org.”8

UK prime minister Gordon Brown asserted that Russia’s recognition of the independence of Georgia’s two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was “dangerous and unacceptable.”9 Earlier this year when Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia, the UK, along with the US and other allied countries quickly recognized it despite widespread warnings that legitimating the Kosovo action might lead to a number of other regions in the world declaring their independence.

Brown’s hypocrisy appears as merely the routine stuff of politicians compared to that of John McCain and George W. re the Georgia fighting: “I’m interested in good relations between the United States and Russia, but in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations,” said McCain,10 the staunch supporter of US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and leading champion of an invasion of Iran.

And here is Mahatma Gandhi Bush meditating on the subject: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.”11

Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected. It compares favorably with the motto on automobile license plates of the state of New Hampshire made by prisoners: “Live Free or Die”.

Our beloved president was also moved to affirm that the Russian recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia: was an “irresponsible decision”. “Russia’s action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations,” he said.12 Belgrade, are you listening?

It should be noted that linguistically and historically distinct South Ossetia and Abkhazia had been autonomous Russian/Soviet protectorates or regions from early in the 19th century to 1991, when the Georgian government abolished their autonomy.

So what then was the purpose of the Georgian invasion of Ossetia if not to serve the electoral campaign of John McCain, a man who might be the next US president and be thus very obligated to the Georgian president? Saakashvili could have wanted to overthrow the Ossetian government to incorporate it back into Georgia, at the same time hopefully advancing the cause of Georgia’s petition to become a member of NATO, which looks askance upon new members with territories in dispute or with military facilities belonging to a nonmember state such as Russia. But the nature of the Georgian invasion does not fit this thesis. The Georgians did none of the things that those staging a coup have traditionally found indispensable. They did not take over a TV or radio station, or the airport, or important government buildings, or military or police installations. They didn’t take into custody key members of the government. All the US/Israeli-armed and trained Georgia military did was bomb and kill, civilians and Russian peacekeeper soldiers, the latter legally there for 16 years under an international agreement. For what purpose all this if not to incite a Russian intervention?

The only reason the United States did not itself strongly attack the Russian forces is that it’s a pre-eminent principle of American military interventions to not pick on anyone capable of really defending themselves.

Unreconstructed cold warriors now fret about Russian expansionism, warning that Ukraine might be next. But of the numerous myths surrounding the Cold War, “communist expansionism” was certainly one of the biggest. We have to remember that within the space of 25 years, Western powers invaded Russia three times — World War I, the “intervention” of 1918-20, and World War II, inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two world wars alone. (The Soviet Union lost considerably more people to international warfare on its own land than it did abroad. There are not too many great powers who can say that.) To carry out these invasions, the West used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets were determined to close down this highway? Minus the Cold War atmosphere and indoctrination, most people would have no problem in seeing the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe as an act of self defense. Neither does the case of Afghanistan support the idea of “expansionism”. Afghanistan lived alongside the Soviet Union for more than 60 years with no Soviet military intrusion. It’s only when the United States intervened in Afghanistan to replace a government friendly to Moscow with one militantly anti-communist that the Russians invaded to do battle with the US-supported Islamic jihadists.

During the Cold War, before undertaking a new military intervention, American officials usually had to consider how the Soviet Union would react. That restraint was removed with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. We may now, however, be witnessing the beginning of a new kind of polarization in the world. An increasing number of countries in the Third World — with Latin America as a prime example — have more fraternal relations with Moscow and/or Beijing than with Washington. Singapore’s former UN ambassador observed: “Most of the world is bemused by western moralising on Georgia” … While the western view is that the world “should support the underdog, Georgia, against Russia … most support Russia against the bullying west. The gap between the western narrative and the rest of the world could not be clearer.”13 And the Washington Post reported: “Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s influential son, echoed the delight expressed in much of the Arab news media. ‘What happened in Georgia is a good sign, one that means America is no longer the sole world power setting the rules of the game … there is a balance in the world now. Russia is resurging, which is good for us, for the entire Middle East’.”14

Scheming at the convention?

Am I the only one to be a bit suspicious about what happened at the Democratic Convention on August 27? Why did Hillary Clinton call for a suspension of the roll call when it reached New York and ask that Barack Obama be selected by the convention by acclamation? Many delegates had worked very hard to get the vote out at their primaries and wanted the opportunity to publicly announce the delegate count. What harm would there have been to allow every state to vote?

And why, after Clinton’s motion, did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately cry: “All those in favor, say Aye”, followed by a large roar, and she then cried: “All those opposed say Nay.” It is impossible to say how strong the Nay vote was because the time elapse between Pelosi calling for it and her declaring that “The measure is approved” was no more than one or two nanoseconds. She literally did not allow a Nay vote to be heard.

I also can not find a record of the vote that took place before it reached New York.

Does anyone else find anything strange about all this?

All consciences are equal, except that some consciences are more equal than others

The Bush administration has proposed stronger job protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions because of religious or moral objections. Both supporters and critics say that the new regulations are broad enough to allow pharmacists, doctors, nurses and others to refuse to provide birth control pills, Plan B emergency contraception, and other forms of contraception, while explicitly allowing employees to withhold information about such services and refuse to refer patients elsewhere. “People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “Health-care workers should not be forced to provide services that violate their own conscience.”15

It’s difficult to argue against such a philosophy. It’s also difficult to be consistent about it. Do Leavitt and others in the Bush administration extend this concept to those in the military? If a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is deeply repulsed by his/her involvement in carrying out the daily horror of the American occupation and asks to be discharged from the military as a conscientious objector, will the Pentagon honor his request because “people should not be forced to do things they believe are morally wrong”? The fact that the soldier voluntarily enlisted has no bearing on the question. A person’s conscience develops from life experiences and continual reflection. Who’s to say at what precise point in time a person’s conscience must rebel against committing war crimes for the objection to be considered legally or morally valid? Signing a contract is no reason to be forced to kill people.

Can a health-care worker strongly opposed to America’s brutal wars refuse to care for a wounded soldier who has been directly involved in the brutality? Can a civilian doctor, pharmacist, or psychologist in the US refuse to treat a soldier on the grounds that if they help to restore his health he’ll be sent back to the war front to continue his killing?

Can peace activists be allowed to withhold the portion of their income taxes that supports the military? They’ve been trying to do this for decades without any government support.

National Pentagon Radio

WAMU, the Washington, DC National Public Radio (NPR) station asked its listeners to write them and tell them what they used the station as a source for. Some of those who replied were invited in for a recorded interview, and a tape of part of the interview was played on the air. I sent them the following email:

June 13, 2008
To gro.umawnull@ecruosym
Dear People,
I use WAMU to listen to All Things Considered. I use All Things Considered to get the Pentagon point of view on US foreign policy. It’s great hearing retired generals explain why the US has just bombed or invaded another country. I’m not bothered by any naive anti-war protesters. I get the official truth right from the horse’s mouth. Is this a great country, or what? I hope you’re lining up some more great retired generals to tell me why we had to bomb Iran and kill thousands more people. Just make sure you don’t make me listen to anyone on the left.
Sincerely,
William Blum, who should be on Diane Rehm, but never will be asked
[followed by some information about my books]

I had no expectation of any kind of positive reply. I figured that if my letter didn’t do it, then surely the titles of my books would reveal that I’m not actually a lover of the American military or their wars. But I don’t really want to believe the worst about the mainstream media. That’s too discouraging. So it was a pleasant surprise when someone at the station invited me to come in for an interview. It lasted more than half an hour and went very well. I expressed many of my misgivings about NPR’s coverage of US foreign policy in no uncertain terms. The interviewer said he was very pleased. He expected this was going to be an interesting piece for the station to broadcast. But as it turned out, that was the end of the matter. I never heard from the station again, and my interview was never broadcast.

About two months later I sent an email to the interviewer asking if the interview would be aired. I could verify that he received it, but I got no reply. I think the interviewer had been sincere, which is why I’m not mentioning his name. Someone above him must have listened to the tape, remembered where “public” radio’s real loyalty lay (to its primary funder, Congress), and vetoed the whole thing. My (lack of) faith in American mass media has not been challenged. And those who work in the mass media will continue to believe in what they practice, something they call “objectivity,” while I will continue to believe that objectivity is no substitute for honesty.

The audience contributes its share to the syndrome. Consumers of news, if fed American-exceptionalism junk food long enough come to feel at home with it, equate it with objectivity, and equate objectivity with getting a full and balanced picture, or the “truth”; it appears neutral and unbiased, like the living room sofa they’re sitting on as they watch NBC or CNN. They view the “alternative media”, with a style rather different from what they’re accustomed to, as not being objective enough, therefore suspect.

The president of NPR, incidentally, is a gentleman named Kevin Klose. Previously he helped coordinate all US-funded international broadcasting: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Central Europe and the Soviet Union), Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Marti (Cuba), Worldnet Television (Africa and elsewhere); all created specifically to disseminate world news to a target audience through the prism of US foreign policy beliefs and goals. He also served as president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Would it be unfair to say that Americans then became his newest target audience? All unconscious of course; that’s what makes the mass media so effective; they really believe in their own objectivity. Not to mention the conscious propaganda.

  1. See Stephen Zunes, “Biden, Iraq, and Obama’s Betrayal,” Foreign Policy in Focus, August 24, 2008. []
  2. Meet the Press, April 29, 2007. []
  3. Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2008. []
  4. Washington Post, August 31, 2008, p.B1. []
  5. For further discussion of the Georgia issue, see Robert Scheer, “Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?”, Huffington Post, August 14, 2008; Pat Buchanan, Creators Syndicate column of August 22, 2008; Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation blogs, August 21, 2008. []
  6. Reuters, August 10, 2008. []
  7. Washington Post, August 9, 2008. p.1. []
  8. Washington Post, August 28, 2008, repeated September 1. []
  9. Guardian (London), September 1, 2008. []
  10. See and hear these actual words actually coming out of the actual mouth of the man. []
  11. National Public Radio (NPR), August 15, 2008. []
  12. Associated Press, August 27, 2008. []
  13. Guardian (London), August 28, 2008, column by Seumas Milne, quoting from ambassador Kishore Mahbubani’s interview in the Financial Times (London) of August 21. []
  14. Washington Post, August 30, 2008, p.18. []
  15. Associated Press, August 21, 2008, Washington Post, August 22, 2008. []

William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. He can be reached at: bblum6@aol.com. Read other articles by William, or visit William's website.

24 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Donald Hawkins said on September 6th, 2008 at 8:30am #

    William I find many things strange and one of the strangest things of all is people still believe the lies and the truth is just to hard to handle. On a few things people just might want to change that around or hard doesn’t begin to explain it.

  2. Israel did 9-11 said on September 6th, 2008 at 8:43am #

    Don’t blame the Democrat Party if they lose in the next November elections, blame dumb americans who can be easily *swayed*, mind-manipulated, mind-controlled and brainwashed with the demagogic promises of the Republican Party

  3. Israel did 9-11 said on September 6th, 2008 at 8:46am #

    Donald: Hi, didn’t you see that many people in the Republican National Convention were elderly? I think that Republican Party is appealing to the elderly population, and we all know that the elderly population is very conservative and backwards mentally, another conservative and brainwashed population are the evangelical-right of America. The evangelical-right don’t use reason, but metaphyiscal, esoteric thinking, that’s why they are easily swayed by the Republican Party

  4. Israel did 9-11 said on September 6th, 2008 at 8:58am #

    THE AMERICAN CAPITALIST SYSTEM LEADS TO MENTAL-DEPRESSION IN THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WORKERS AND OPRESSED CITIZENS BY THIS CAPITALIST IMPERIALIST SYSTEM

    http://www.psychwww.com/mtsite/smdepn.html

    Depression may often be initiated by high levels of long term stress, by failure associated with stress-related under-performance, or by life crises.
    Deep depression is a clinical illness should be treated medically. It is important that if you are depressed that you take this seriously. Severe depressions that can cause years of unhappiness and low performance can be neutralised quickly with drugs, by the appropriate form of psychotherapy, or by other forms of personal action. An important part of intelligence is knowing when there is a problem, and when to ask for help.

    Depression may start when:

    you miss important deadlines
    projects fail
    you are passed over for promotion
    you feel out of control
    you are very tired
    you are feeling inadequate while getting to grips with a new, difficult job
    you are bored for a long period of time
    The following points may help in handling depression before it gets serious:

    An important way of guarding against depression is getting your attitude right: positive thinking really can help. As long as you can draw useful lessons from failure, then failure can be positive.
    Similarly, talking about problems to a partner or to a respected colleague can often help a lot. They may have been through a similar situation, seen the problem before, or may be able to gently point out that you have the wrong perspective on a situation.
    Where you are under stress caused by excessive demands, using effective time management can improve things. Similarly taking an enjoyable break may reduce stress.
    Where you are not under enough pressure, you can set personal challenges to increase stimulus.
    If you are already suffering from a mild form of depression, then the following suggestions may help you to deal with it:

    Self-confidence: where lack of self-confidence is a factor, there are a number of things you can do:
    Start to set personal goals. This will help you to give yourself direction in life, and will help you to acknowledge that you can achieve useful and important things.
    Write down a list of your negative points. Challenge each item on the list objectively, asking yourself ‘is this fair?’, or ‘is this really serious?’. You should find that many of your negative beliefs are wrong or insignificant. Where you identify serious failings, set measurable personal goals to eliminate or neutralise them.
    Similarly, bring your anxiety and negative self-talk up to the surface of your consciousness. Ask yourself whether it is realistic to worry about the things you worry about: if you have no control over them, then worry does no good. When you look at them rationally, you may find that worries are irrational or out of proportion.
    Write down a list of the things that you can do well, and of the positive parts of your personality. Ignore ‘virtues’ like humility and modesty – these are not good for your self- confidence or well-being. Be proud of your good points – they can help you to contribute positively to the world.
    Positive thinking: almost all apparently negative experiences have positive elements to them. Learn to identify these positives: this will help you to draw the best from every situation. Even failing at something can be an intense and valuable learning experience.
    Relationships: You may find that the root of problems lies with:
    Assertiveness: if you are failing to assert yourself, you may find that other people are not paying attention to your wants and needs. This can be upsetting and humiliating. Learn to express your wishes firmly, but only be confrontational if absolutely necessary. Assertiveness training can be beneficial in learning to do this.
    Social Skills: if your relationships are difficult, then you may identify that difficulties lie in the way in which you deal with other people. In this case some form of Social Skills training may be beneficial. Alternatively if you can identify where things are going wrong, you may be able to set goals to overcome the problem.
    Other people: it is easy to assume (especially when you are depressed) that the fault in relationship problems lies with you. This may or may not be the case. Examine your relationships rationally: you may find that people around you are causing problems – there are some extremely rude, awkward, arrogant or confused people in the world. If people are making your life worse, then you may be better off without them.
    Standards: You may find that you have set your standards unrealistically high. This will typically occur where you believe that a certain standard of achievement is necessary, but where you do not have either the financial or time resources available to achieve those standards. In this case it may be realistic to assess the standards that you can reasonably achieve within the set constraints, and aim at these.
    Fatigue and exhaustion: If you are very tired, or have been under stress for a long period, you may find that a good break helps you to put problems into perspective.

  5. Donald Hawkins said on September 6th, 2008 at 10:03am #

    William let’s go with this strange thing. Climate change is the big one once past a point we don’t stop it and first the end of civilization as we know it then a very good chance of extinction. It looks like in the next ten years Worldwide we go for it or we pass that point. This is nothing to play around with you know bullshit. Al Gore and his people are the only ones with money to get this word out and the World scientists the ones that can’t be paid off by big business are trying there best to get the word out. You have to watch scientists as human’s are not high on there list of things to do a funny group that type of thinking. I know the science and the major work is done and we are all in big trouble. When you listen to people talk about climate change like the two candidates now for President or news people or policy makers it gets a big one minute and kind of mumble talk when they do talk about it. You know and now let’s move to the economy or gas prices. The economy is in very very bad shape and going to get worst for the same reason climate change is starting to take it’s toll moving forward without reason just more more more it’s called greed and soon the push will be on to bring it back to normal at any cost and that is called insanity. Normal is over or what passed for normal is over and going down for the count. The strange part is the way’s to slow then reverse a warming World are here now and well we can’t use them because it will cost to much at first and then of course the people who make all that money from the system now just don’t give a damn strange isn’t it. To go after climate change means to do all the things I read on DV stopping war, a more equal system a better life for all living in a real World not just make believe bullshit it’s not that strange and not that hard to understand just hard to do because certain ass holes hold most of the cards. Fight back the time is now.

  6. rosemarie jackowski said on September 6th, 2008 at 11:48am #

    One way to ‘fight back’ is to elect State Attorneys General who will Indict Bush. That would set a precedence in case law for all future administrations.
    Another way is to elect NADER.
    Neither of these things will happen because the US voter has been dumbed-down and hasn’t got a clue.
    About Bill Blum…he is a national treasure – one of the world’s greatest contemporary historians.

  7. Israel did 9-11 said on September 6th, 2008 at 12:14pm #

    The problem of both parties (Democrats and Republicans) is the Jewish Lobby. The Jewish Lobby is the REAL PROBLEM of USA. We must divorce ourselves from Israel if we want to turn USA into a peaceful nation, instead of the current imperialist militarist system ruled by the Zionist Power Configuration. That’s why it’s gonna be *real* hard for Obama to pull troops out of the middle east and to close all US military bases abbroad, if US wants to become a regular republic, instead of this current military imperialist system that USA is right now. But the US imperialism is controlled by AIPAC, and the military industrial complex. The only way America could become a social-democracy for the people is by debilitating the power of the right-wing oligarchies, right-wing lobbies and right-wing military industrial complex. And to give “Power to the people”, to workers, to community councils and to nationalize key industries.

  8. Michael Kenny said on September 6th, 2008 at 1:05pm #

    “Minus the Cold War atmosphere and indoctrination, most people would have no problem in seeing the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe as an act of self defense.”

    It can NEVER be an act of self-defence to invade another country and subjugate its people!!! Mr Blum is making the same suprious argument that George Bush made to justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan! And like the latter, the peoples of Eastern Europe did not greet the Soviet troops with flowers when they arrived and shed no tears when they left! Coming from a country that was under foreign domination for 750 years(and which invented the urban guerilla warfare that has brought Bush to his knees), I have some idea how “most people” feel about such things!

    And if all this has to do with “Cold War atmosphere and indoctrination”, how come so many parts of the Russian Empire declared their independence in 1917, when there was neither cold war nor indoctrination? Georgia and Ukraine were independent until about 1921, the baltic republics survived until 1939 and Finland was never re-conquered, despite two wars and annexation of part of its territory.

    Poetic justice: it was Eastern Europe that destroyed the Soviet Union! The communist ideology was discredited in Prague in 1968, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and it was the Poles who set off the avalanche which definitively destroyed the Soviet Union, which was actually the last of the European communist dictatorships to be overthrown! There too, there are probably parallels with Iraq and Afghanistan.

  9. SZ said on September 6th, 2008 at 5:56pm #

    If democrats lose, it would be primarily because Obama is Black. Hardly breaking news at this point. And not because of his leftist views or his moving to the center or so on… I just can’t trust the polls. I think we’ll see the independents ad many of those polling for Obama now, breaking to McCain.

  10. John Hatch said on September 6th, 2008 at 6:52pm #

    I think history will remember two Americans as the worst in that murderous nation’s history: George W. Bush and Nancy Pelosi.

  11. Jeremy Wells said on September 6th, 2008 at 7:23pm #

    For anyone wanting some information about the the undiscussed issues in this election, I would suggest looking at this Green Party site: the real difference
    http://www.therealdifference.org/issues.html

    Please note that Obama and the Democrats and the Republicans hold the SAME views on the most critical issues. (War, national health insurance, the economy, etc.)

    Forget voting for the “lesser evil” Obama, when you can actually cast a vote for McKinney, Clemente and the Greens that is against the war, is for national single-payer health care, that refuses corporate money, etc.

    A vote for McKinney and the Greens is better than voting for an individual like Ralph Nader, because it helps the Green party to become established. A 5% national vote means Federal fund-matching for the Greens on the next election.

    If all that can be done at this time is a PROTEST VOTE, let it be to for the Green Party.

  12. Giorgio said on September 6th, 2008 at 7:28pm #

    “If you liked Iraq, you’ll love Iran.”
    So Americans vote either McCain OR Obama!
    We, Puppeteers, have our bets hedged! did you think we fools?
    So dear children, you will have Iran for sure! And then we will have little surprises for you on the way, dearest little puppets, you may have Pakistan, too…
    … and surprise! surprise! surprise! we have a secret for you, you may even get Russia!
    Won’t this be a treat, dear little cuddlies? This for sure will keep you glued to the TV sets for days and weeks! Of course, provided we still alive by then…but it will be worth it! Our Souls flying up to Heaven and saying: Wow! What fantastic fireworks! This was the Greatest Show on Earth! ALLELUIA!

  13. Giorgio said on September 6th, 2008 at 8:04pm #

    ALLELUIA!
    We did God’s Will!
    Won’t He be Mighty Pleased!

  14. Deadbeat said on September 6th, 2008 at 10:59pm #

    If the Left had more to offer voters I would be in full agreement with Blum but unfortunately Blum fails to turn the lens onto the Left. I agree with SZ. If Obama loses it will be much more attributed to racism than to his positions.

    Lately Obama has been much more on the offensive against both McCain/Palin and the Palin pick only galvanized the Hillary voters to support Obama. Even Hillary is now out on the campaign trail in order to stop Palin from getting to the White House.

    Also Blum doesn’t go deeper into the poll numbers. The Zogby poll for example only poll people possessing land lines. Many youthful Obama supporters carry cell phones and do not possess land lines. Therefore Blum doesn’t consider that the polls may be suspect. A better measure is the poll of polls which still has Obama ahead.

    And while Blum places much of his angst on Obama/Biden he not once examines the influence that Zionism has on both the ticket of BOTH the Democrats and Republican parties.

    Jeremy Wells says…
    Forget voting for the “lesser evil” Obama, when you can actually cast a vote for McKinney, Clemente and the Greens that is against the war, is for national single-payer health care, that refuses corporate money, etc.

    Mr. Wells forgets that Ms. McKinney voted for the invasion of Afghanistan and I find it curious that the Greens who are “anti-war” is not holding McKinney to account for that vote. I agree with him regarding Nader. Nader will not leave any organization from which to work from once the election is over. However the Green Party is not without its share of problems as Nader himself observed…


    AMY GOODMAN: Last question: why not the Green Party ticket? Why didn’t you go for the nomination? Cynthia McKinney won that nomination.

    RALPH NADER: Because it’s just too disorganized. They can’t—they can’t put it together. They bicker a lot, and they drive out a lot of good Greens who want to focus on agendas. I wish them well. I wish Cynthia McKinney well.

    The Green Party would have been in a better position had the Left supported Nader in 2004. Unfortunately due to the David Cobb fiasco the Green Party lost ballot lines they gains from Nader’s 2000 run. Since the Green Party hasn’t dealt with their internal problem and with the Obama campaign filling the void caused by the Left it going to be difficult for the Green Party to make inroads in 2008. Perhaps in 20 years they may offer a real challenge. However I think people of color who the McKinney/Clemente ticket is trying to attract will remain pragmatic and vote Obama/Biden.

    Ms. Jackowski says…
    Neither of these things will happen because the US voter has been dumbed-down and hasn’t got a clue.

    Bashing and condescension of the people that the Left should be attracting are counterproductive and will not attract these voters to your side. In fact looking at the troubles, doublespeak, sabotage, and disorganization coming from the Left I think many voters supporting the Democratic ticket in 2008 are quite rational.

  15. AJ Nasreddin said on September 7th, 2008 at 3:04am #

    After watching the two conventions, I think it really boils down to one thing: Monosyllabic words.

    A quote I heard from the news after the Republican convention: “I like McCain because he doesn’t use any of them big words.”

    People look at Obama as being too cerebral – and the media says that’s bad. In contrast, the media praise McCain for using “simple language” in his speech so that the people can understand. The media ought to know – they keep producing stuff for the people, so they know what the people can handle.

    But it really boils down to the “swing” states. I wonder if they use electronic-leave-no-paper-trail voting. It’s so easy to fix an election these days. We can still enjoy it for the entertainment value.

  16. bozhidar bob balkas said on September 7th, 2008 at 7:16am #

    i also advise to stop blaming working amers. just consider why (is it everywhere?) basic schooling mandatory!?
    this fact alone, clarifies the panhuman phenomenon (no, amers are not special): the voluntary serfdom to the rulers.
    in elementary schools children learn to love the flag. and the flag symbolyzes;i.e, stands as a symbol for unquestioned obedience to the country; i e., to the ruling class.
    naturally, children do not espy any of this. as adults they die defending what they have ‘learnt’ .
    in short, like pavlov’s dog, a child is also conditioned and not perhaps ever to unlearn the conditioning.
    let’s stop treating amers as a oner. it happened to germans, japanese, serbs, zionists, ottomans, greeks, romans, et al.
    in short, the age-old phenomenon to deceive in order to obtain cannon fodder for the rich people is still with us, possibly everywhere. than k u

  17. Donald Hawkins said on September 7th, 2008 at 2:14pm #

    History just seems to keep repeating itself. Now day’s is the same as 1,000 years ago in many way’s. Knowledge is more advanced in some way’s and the same. We are always in the past as the future is to hard to understand. We do need to see into the future this time by looking into the past and fast. Where in the book does it say we can’t do that? That would be the book of knowledge. No such thing well let’s write one as where in the book does it say we can’t do that.

  18. Donald Hawkins said on September 7th, 2008 at 4:21pm #

    ‘In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,’ said Pachauri. ‘Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,’ said the Indian economist, who is a vegetarian.

    However, he also stressed other changes in lifestyle would help to combat climate change. ‘That’s what I want to emphasise: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy.’ Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,

    Dr Rajendra Pachauri would be one of my choices to help write the book of knowledge. Let’s see how about Steven Hawking who measures the age of the Earth in billions of years and James Hansen who also measures the Earth. What Pachauri said. “we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy”, and yes there will be many who disagree with that and they get to be in the book too. We will file them under a chapter named Dinosaurs. Dr Rajendra Pachauri just said this let’s see if we hear anything about what he said. The darkside is strong.

  19. Giorgio said on September 8th, 2008 at 12:10am #

    “RALPH NADER: Because it’s just too disorganized. They can’t—they can’t put it together. They bicker a lot, and they drive out a lot of good Greens who want to focus on agendas……”

    EXACTLY! The Liberal Left is too idealistic, too scatter-brained! All noise and wind, and of course, they don’t have the power of money behind them. The Reserve Bank does not print dollar bills for them out of thin air…..

  20. Gary Corseri said on September 8th, 2008 at 8:43am #

    There are several gems in Blum’s latest Anti-Empire report.

    One of my favorites: “A person’s conscience develops from life experiences and continual reflection.”

    Blum’s reports are an important part of the curriculum for developing conscience and the skills for reflection.

  21. Max Shields said on September 9th, 2008 at 6:05pm #

    Deadbeat the only one “bashing” here is you.

    Your posts are based not on a strategy but on some kind of triangulation, a kind of double talk support for Obama and somehow blaming the “left”. And while you don’t mention it here, you seem to say that the reason the left have nothing to offer the country is because of their weak stand on Israel….wait I think you did agaaaaaiiiiiiin.

    Your arguments appear frivelous. You connect dots like Zogby polls showing Obama behind by 2 points while poll of polls show him dead even with McCain – now there’s a difference which shows the work of a real analytical mind!!

    Obama has played to the AIPAC crowd in ways that no Republican or other Democrat ever has before. The criticism has been loud and clear by what I would call true non-partisan (independent) progressives.
    While I haven’t checked lately, I’m sure you’d find a piece by Blum which speaks to the impact of AIPAC on both parties as well as corporate and specifically military industrial corporate sector has played. All and all, Blum has written a thoughtful piece. Could he say more? Sure. No single post says it all. But it beats “left” bashing when the faux liberal Dems are hooting and hollering for Obama.

    What you seem to lack is discernment. It’s a precious talent – and can be acquired, if you care.

    Rather than playing the sidelines and aggitating, Deadbeat, why not work to create a movement or progressive power base?

    Something tells me you’re not really interested in solutions.

  22. Deadbeat said on September 9th, 2008 at 8:55pm #

    Max opines…

    Deadbeat the only one “bashing” here is you.
    Max you really should learn how to form an argument.

    Your posts are based not on a strategy but on some kind of triangulation, a kind of double talk support for Obama and somehow blaming the “left”. And while you don’t mention it here, you seem to say that the reason the left have nothing to offer the country is because of their weak stand on Israel….wait I think you did agaaaaaiiiiiiin.

    Max, I can see you are having a difficult time make a solid rebuttal. You would rather spew a bogus label than present a valid arguments to the contrary. First and most importantly I’m not the only one critical of the Left. I can site Dr. Petras and others (with links) who have contributed articles both here and on CounterPunch and even Marxmail members that has raised similar issues and concerns. The problem that you have Max is that you want to deny the influence that Zionism has on the ENTIRE American body politics.

    What you often do and it is extremely blatant and as I pointed out in every rebuttal is that you conflate American Zionism with Israel. In fact in our last encounter you chimed in with Israel while I never even made any mention of Israel. Zionism is MORE than about Israel. Even if Israel disappeared (or wiped off the map) the racism inherent in Zionism knows no boundaries. Israel is primarily the materialistic embodiment of a racist ideology.

    The problem, Max, and what you and other celebrated members of the Left has been doing is denying or at best obscuring that the impetus for the current military expenditure and War on Iraq which you label as “Imperialism” is Zionism as it is constructed and practiced WITHIN the United States.

    So please Max will you PLEASE state my position correctly or will you continue to prove me correct with how the Left distorts, obscure and diffuses this issue.

    Your arguments appear frivelous. You connect dots like Zogby polls showing Obama behind by 2 points while poll of polls show him dead even with McCain – now there’s a difference which shows the work of a real analytical mind!!

    Blum (like others on the Left) argues that Obama is trailing in the polls represents an abandonment of his commitment to his base. The argument goes that if Obama “moved to the left” he would be way ahead. Ok where is Blum proof to support this argument or should we accept this premise solely on “faith”?

    It has been shown that Zogby does not poll people with cell phones only landlines. This would clearly favor older voters who as we saw in the primary are less likely to support Obama. Thus Zogby is skewed toward McCain. The poll-of-polls should the race to be even. Rather than engage in dismissive condescension Max, I’m sure you formulate a better rebuttal than what you wrote above.

    In fact Max a recent poll shows McCain with a 20-point lead despite the fact that the Democrats have registered more voters and have had much higher turnout than the Republicans all year. This clearly raises question regarding the polls methodology. However ABC News today Max reported that the shift toward McCain is coming from WHITE women yet Blum doesn’t examine racism as a factor in the shift towards McCain. The fact that Blum can be so blind to the obvious racist symbolism of the McCain/Palin ticket in order to appeal to voters is also very telling. It would appear that Blum want the facts to fit is premise and to promote a narrative rather than to elucidate. This is not different than what you do Max when it comes to Zionism.

    Obama has played to the AIPAC crowd in ways that no Republican or other Democrat ever has before.

    You argument is laughable. What makes Obama’s suck up to AIPAC so visible/i> is that he is an African American who represents a community supportive of the Palestinian struggle and badly ridiculed whenever it have tried to raise the awareness of Zionism. Obama’s suck-up help to shine a light on how ALL Presidential candidates must make pilgrimage to AIPAC. In fact McCain’s long term policies is to stay in Iraq 100 years and kill all Muslims; Hillary spoke of annihilating the Iranians.

    What you seem to lack is discernment. It’s a precious talent – and can be acquired, if you care.

    No Max. I understand things all too well. What you lack Max is honesty. Your dishonest is what weakens solidarity. The Left failed to build solidarity four years ago and badly betrayed it. Like I said Max I’m not the only one to point this out. Ralph Nader himself did in the quote that I published in my previous post. YOU refuse to DISCERN that very honest critique by someone who is out there trying to change existing conditions and elucidate the public.

    Rather than playing the sidelines and aggitating, Deadbeat, why not work to create a movement or progressive power base? Something tells me you’re not really interested in solutions.

    Max, obviously you don’t read everything that I write here on DV. As I stated I was intimately involved in the anti-war movement in 2003 and supported Nader in 2004 and a FORMER member of the Green Party.

    I experienced first hand the betrayal by the Left. Therefore Max I’m not against the Left. I am speaking out ABOUT the Left. Something Max that you cannot do because you promote what is WRONG with the Left. The fact that you criticize agitation also demonstrates how wrong you are Max. What wrong with agitation on the Left? Why should agitation be only directed at the Democrats?

    I hope this kind of agitation may actually help folks see why the Left is so weak and disorganized and it is because the Left does not adhere to the very principles it claims to promote. It is the failures of the Left to build solidarity that created the void being filled by Obama.

    But the main point is Max don’t accept what being expressed on the Left as a matter of faith. Provide some evidence and make cogent arguments to back up your assertions.

  23. Lessons said on March 23rd, 2009 at 7:59am #

    Great post, thanks for the info

  24. Chasidy Zadorozny said on April 27th, 2009 at 11:23am #

    ohhnice post but really?/? :P