Monthly Archives: December 2009

The US according to Hedges

“Those captivated by the cult of celebrity do not examine voting records or compare verbal claims with written and published facts and reports. The reality of their world is whatever the latest cable news show, political leader, advertiser, or loan officer says is reality. The illiterate, semiliterate, and those who live as though they are illiterate are effectively cut off from the past. They live in an eternal present. They do not understand the predatory loan deals that drive them into foreclosure and bankruptcy. They cannot decipher the fine print on credit card agreements that plunge them into unmanageable debt. They repeat thought-terminating clichés and slogans. They seek refuge in familiar brands and labels. … Life is a state of permanent amnesia, a world in search of new forms of escapism and quick, sensual gratification.”

— Chris Hedges, in Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, quoted in Kirk Nielsen’s review, “Autumn of the Republic?” at Miller-McCune, 12/24/09

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Filed under Values

Montesquieu on taxes

“…one may raise higher taxes in proportion to subjects’ freedom; and one is forced to moderate them to the extent that servitude increases….”

quoted in “More Taxes = More Democracy,” by Christian Chavagneux, Truthout, 12/8/09, from Alternatives Économiques

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax

We're a polyarchy

What’s that? See video with Noam Chomsky at ICH

and furthermore…

“We have a one-party state with two somewhat different factions with a lot of overlap….”

“This is not a democratic society, nor was it intended to be….”

– Noam Chomksy

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Filed under National govt & politics

Pondering the Future and the Past in Israel/Palestine

by John Grant

On one hand, we hear that Israeli President Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is now a peacemaker ready to recognize a Palestinian state and that he has invited Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to join his government. She was foreign minister in the last regime and lost to Netanyahu in the last election. It would seem Netanyahu wants as broad a coalition as possible in Israel to keep its patron, the Obama administration, off its case.

The question buried in all this is what does it mean for future Israeli military attacks against Palestinians and for relations with Iran? A 12/25 NYT article makes one skeptical about any real interest in peace vis-a-vis Palestinians. At the same time, it’s pretty clear the Netanyahu militarist right would love to attack nuclear plants in Iran, shades of their much ballyhoed attack on Saddam’s nuclear plant. The growing sabre-rattling should be worrisome to peace-loving Americans. Continue reading

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Filed under Iran, Palestine & Israel