Monthly Archives: November 2008

Mumbai to Obama: End Bush's War on Terror

Saturday 29 November 2008
by: Steve Weissman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai call out to President-elect Barack Obama and his advisors to rethink the signature blunder of George W. Bush’s eight years in office – the so-called War on Terror. As US intelligence reports have made clear, the centerpiece of the supposed campaign against terror, the military occupation of Iraq, has increased the likelihood of more attacks like those in Mumbai, Madrid, London and Manhattan. The new escalation in Afghanistan will similarly increase terrorist attacks there, in neighboring India and Pakistan, in disputed Kashmir, and throughout the world.

Bush and Cheney chose the word “war” with malice aforethought. From the start, they intended a military response, first against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and then against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And, as Barton Gellman shows so brilliantly in his book “Angler,” Dick Cheney and his team consciously wanted to create a wartime presidency with enormous unchecked power and scant regard for basic American liberties.

By contrast, Obama’s advisors openly acknowledge that military force alone will never bring victory over terrorism. They would, in addition, provide more economic aid, use counter-insurgency tactics to pacify local populations, and work with surrounding regional powers, including Iran.

But Obama and his people still talk far too much about using military force Continue reading

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Filed under Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

When Corporations Get Too Large

by Jim Moss, The Seminal, 29 Nov 2008

In the midst of all the bailout madness, we keep hearing the same mantra from those who defend the trillions of dollars that are being laid out by the federal government: We have no choice. If we don’t prop up the Citibanks and the AIG’s (and possibly the GM’s and the Chryslers, too), then the consequences will be devastating for the American work force and for the entire world economy.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Corporations like these have become so large and so powerful, they simply cannot be allowed to fail, even if free market forces dictate that they should. Paradoxically, our economic system has promoted the growth of these giant companies to the point that the laws of capitalism are being superceded by the necessities of corporate welfare.

Imagine if a locally-owned five and dime store hit hard times because a Wal-Mart moved into town and undercut all its business. Would the government rush in and bail it out? Continue reading

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax

Senior Israelis back Arab push for peace

By Tobais Buck in Jerusalem and Roula Khalaf in London
Financial Times, November 27 2008

A group of former senior Israeli security officers has launched a campaign to promote the Saudi-sponsored Arab peace initiative, in a fresh effort to help end six decades of conflict in the Middle East.

The rare Israeli appeal, in a full-page newspaper advertisement this week, was signed by more than 500 former Israeli generals, diplomats and intelligence, military and security officials.

It urged the country not to “ignore a historic opportunity which a moderate Arab world presents us with”.

Last week the Palestinian Authority also published full-page adverts in the Israeli press calling for support for the peace plan.

The attempt to breathe life into the Arab initiative, first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and endorsed by an Arab League summit, comes amid hopes in the region that the election of Barack Obama may refocus US attention on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Arab initiative offers Israel peace and normal relations with all Arab states in return for a full withdrawal from all land occupied in the 1967 war, including Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights.

The plan calls for creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees, who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war between Israel and neighbouring Arab states. But its intention is to provide a general framework, leaving the details of negotiations to the parties directly involved.

The initiative, however, was ignored by Israel and the Bush administration, and poorly marketed by Arab states. Now it appears to be winning praise from Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, and some marketing muscle from Saudi Arabia.

A report published today by the Oxford Research Group, a UK think-tank, calls on the US and the European Union to put the peace initiative at the centre of Middle East policy. The report was drafted following a meeting between influential Israelis and Arabs, including Prince Turki al-Feisal, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom’s former spy chief.

In a foreword to the report, Prince Turki says that as “Israelis become more aware of the quid pro quo offered by the initiative they will see the great opportunity that this vision of a final and definitive peace between Israel and the Arab world offers”.

Danny Rothschild, a retired major-general in the Israeli army and chairman of the group behind the Israeli advert, said this week’s appeal was only the start of a broader campaign.
“There is a need to show the Israeli public that, even though a peace deal will be bilateral [between Israel and the Palestinians], the peace dividend will be much broader than that,” he said.

According to Mr Rothschild, the initiative should now form a flanking measure to the current bilateral peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
Launched just a year ago in Annapolis in the US, the talks have so far made little headway, not least because of the domestic weakness of Ehud Olmert, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Mr Abbas’ authority extends only to the West Bank, while the Islamist Hamas group rules the Gaza Strip.

Any peace effort now will also have to wait for the Israeli elections in February and the new US administration.

“The Israeli public today needs to see something that will encourage them to finalise a deal with the Palestinians and Syrians,” Mr Rothschild said.

“From the Palestinian side I believe there are a few issues on the table that they cannot deliver unilaterally. They have to get the support of the Arab countries on issues like the holy basin [the location of sites holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews] in Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.”

Prince Saud al-Feisal, Saudi foreign minister, said last week the Arab initiative remained the only path to resolving the conflict. He warned that without progress in negotiations, increasingly cynical Arab public opinion could force governments to rethink the negotiating -strategy.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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Filed under Palestine & Israel

"Back then (let's hope)" department

Theodore Roosevelt (president No. 26) defended the expansion of whites across the continent as an inevitable process “due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway.”

from Robert Jensen, “No Thanks to Thanksgiving,” AlterNet. November 27, 2008.

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Filed under Race, Ethnicity, Immigration