Inventing Your Own History As It Happens

Inventing Your Own History As It Happens

By John Steppling
Thomas Paine’s Corner
8/13/08

Simulposted with the Greanville Journal

THE NEW CONFLICT ALONG THE RUSSIAN BORDER suggests direct US support and perhaps even planning. But who knows to what extent. What is significant is the narrative being imposed on this event by western corporate media.

Starting with the always loathsome Dick Cheney “Russian aggression must stop…”No mention is made of the actual facts, and certainly no mention is made anywhere that I can find of the Georgian war crimes that inititated this confrontation. Georgia blew apart a small city and murdered civilians and destroyed, wantonly, property and shelters. Find me a mention of this in any Murdoch paper, or Time Warner outlet. If one only read the NY TImes and Washington Post, one would think Russia just invaded a peaceful democratic outpost run by a “pro-Western” president, who just happened to be a Columbia Law school grad.

pic

caption: Georgian warplanes and armor caused large scale destruction in Southern Ossetia’s major cities, leveling much of its capital and not sparing its university grounds.

Here is the best coverage I’ve found so far:

The Caucasus – Washington Risks nuclear war by miscalculation

and this:

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13285

What is so telling, in an era of The Dark Knight and *24* and *The Kingdom* and *Iron Man* is the comic book and jingoistic level of the media created narrative. The eastward sweep of NATO has been a prolonged provocation for Putin, and as Kosovo was granted, ah, em, *independence*, one could see the pattern emerging in bold relief. The Israeli connection warrants more analysis as well, but again, you will find not a single mention in the corporate western press.

The coverage of Haiti, of the FRY [FED. REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA], of Rwanda, have all set the pattern for this massive propaganda, but perhaps the coverage of Georgia/Russia is the most blatant and jaw-dropping in its disregard for facts.

Predictably McCain has asked for Russia to *stand down*. Now it’s worth noting that a top McCain advisor was a leading lobbyist for Georgia, that McCain’s support of nuclear energy is tied directly to the weaponizing of space and the lucrative contracts attached to that enterprise. Obama is hardly better. The perception being created is pure cold war; it’s as if those dirty commies were still in power, still out to humiliate *us* with Sputnik, and to take over the world. I keep hearing of *Russian expansionism* from western commentators. No mention is made of what country in the world now occupies two previously sovereign nations, and who is pushing for military bases in every corner of the world. The NY Times has been an obscenity on this, but almost all major news outlets have dutifully followed the state department scenario. The comic book bogeyman is Putin, and/or the mythic *Russian Bear*, and Georgia is just a plucky innocent and new little democracy being assaulted by this big bad bear.

Saakashvilli is among the more repressive world leaders now in office. But the master narrative we are constantly fed would have us think it’s actually Chavez who has shut down opposition news outlets. Or that it’s Mugabe who is the corrupt tyrant stealing resources from his people. Facts just don’t matter anymore. Not even a little.

Georgia spent 70% of its budget on US weapons and training. No wonder Cheney likes them so much.

Questions of how directly the US instructed Georgian actions remains to be revealed, but clearly enough Saakashvilli didn’t do this without talking to his masters.

The US economy is bankrupt, the populace drugged and confused (although one does see signs of awakening in certain corners) and the war machine is all that keeps things spinning, and if Iraq and Afghanistan can’t use up enough munitions, well maybe Georgia can expend a few additional rounds and fuck up a few Humvees.

If ever there was a time to turn off CNN and the BBC and NBC, ABC and FOX, it’s now. The NY Times is a grotesque toady to this US administration, and one should have realized this with the hiring of Bill Kristol, but of course none of the rest of these lapdog Quisling rodents are any better.

CNN: World’s “news leader.” Yeah. Right. Fancy conduit for 24/7 propaganda would be more apt. If the consequences of this type of “journalism” were not so tragic, the claim would be worth a hearty laugh.

A world of unreality, as Edward Said put it before his death. And so it is. But it’s increasingly dangerous to accept even a single word from the mouths of the corporate talking heads as fact. Not a single word.

Senior Editor John Steppling currently teaches film in Lodz, Poland. Before transferring to The Greanville Journal, Steppling and co-editor Guy Zimmerman helmed VOXPOP, our special blog devoted to theater, culture, arts and politics.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS A Threat to National Security

EXECUTIVE ORDERS
A Threat to National Security

Most Americans are unaware that at the stroke of a pen, at the
onset of a national emergency, their lifestyle could be drastically
altered. Presidential executive orders on the books today grant
sweeping power to one man to authorize that change.
During the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he issued the infamous Executive
Order 9066, granting the authority to imprison Japanese-Americans during World
War II. At the stroke of a pen, Americans were rounded up and placed into camps.
The concentration of power into the hands of one branch of Government was
never intended by the founders of this nation. James Madison declared the centralization
of executive and legislative power in the same branch of government ‘’the
very definition of tyranny.”. The bedrock of our republic—the separation of powers,
checks and balances —have been compromised by the abuse of presidential executive
orders.
The prepared statement of Hon. George Gekas, Congressman from Pennsylvania
and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law,
explained, “Executive orders are the best known way that the President makes official
statements about how the Executive Branch of the federal government is run.”
Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia further expounded on the purpose and foundation
of executive orders: “Presidents have used executive orders throughout our
history, beginning with George Washington. Those early executive orders were nothing
more than internal memoranda, through which the President communicated with
staff and department heads, detailing how the Executive branch would implement
a new law or regulation.” Congressman Barr also reminded the subcommittee, “The
seminal case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube in 1952 laid out very, very broad, but very
relevant language, saying in essence that, ‘’the President’s power for the executive
order must arise either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.”
Executive orders were nothing more than internal memos on how the branch
would function. They were not put in place to dictate policy or to enact law while
bypassing Congress.
During the October 1999 subcommittee hearing on the limitation of executive orders,
the power of the president was called into question. Abusive orders had been
penned by numerous presidents without congressional oversight. To curb this, Congressman
Barr drafted legislation to introduce new oversight. His bill, H.R. 3131,
the ‘’Presidential Order Limitation Act of 1999’‘ states in Section 3 that the president
shall transmit executive orders to congress for review. This would reign in modern
presidential abuses of executive orders and return a system of checks and balances
to government.
However, section 3 (c) of H.R. 3131 should be revised to create an emergency
oversight board to review, approve, expand, or edit an executive order in the event
a run away president would act in the face of another false flag terror event or selfinduced
pandemic without the oversight of congress.
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas weighed in on the separation of power at the
subcommittee, “We were all taught very early in our years about the separations of
powers and why that was unique for our government, and we were taught, and I
strongly believe this, it is a very good part of our Constitution. I think history has
shown, especially in the 20th century, that it has essentially been eliminated or severely
eroded. “
Congressman Paul introduced a bill similar to H.R. 3131, “The Separation of
Powers Restoration Act”, to limit a sitting president from drafting abusive executive
orders. The introductory text of H.R. 2655 of the 106th congress states it“is designed
to restore the separation of powers between Congress and the president as set forth
in Article I and Article 11 of the Constitution of the United States of America by: (1)
terminating all existing states of national emergency and removing from the executive
branch any power to declare national emergencies; (2) vesting power in Congress
alone to declare states of national emergency; (3) restricting presidential power to
issue executive orders by denying to them any force of law except as provided for by
Congress; and (4) repealing the War Powers Resolution of 1973.”
The congressional power of these two bills would drastically reduce the introduction
of executive orders outside the scope of presidential administrative memos,
restore the separation of powers and grant Congress the sole authority to declare
a state of emergency. If these bills passed, millions of Americans who have lost faith
in our system of government would regain peace of mind.
It is imperative that these two bills, H.R. 3131 and H.R. 2655, be reintroduced
to congress, and the proper public awareness media campaigns are developed.
Alongside the introduction of the bills mentioned in this article, the following Executive
Orders must be rescinded:
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990: allows the government to take over all modes
of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995: allows the government to seize and control the
communication media.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997: allows the government to take over all electrical
power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998: allows the government to seize all means of
transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total
control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.
• EXEC UTIVE ORDER 10999: allows the government to take over all food resources
and farms.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000: allows the government to mobilize civilians into
work brigades under government supervision.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001: allows the government to take over all health,
education and welfare functions.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002: calls for the Postmaster General to operate a national
registration of all persons.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003: allows the government to take over all airports
and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004: allows the Housing and Finance Authority to
relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be
abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005: allows the government to take over railroads,
inland waterways and public storage facilities.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051: specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency
Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in
times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310: grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders,
to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions,
and to advise and assist the President.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049: assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21
operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921: allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over
the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial
institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President,
Congress cannot review the action for six months.
It is terrifying to know that one man can declare a state of emergency, without Congressional oversight for 6 months, and enact
any of these executive orders. As it stands the President of the United States is the only one with this authority. Our founding
fathers knew of the abuses of concentrated power as they were victims of a tyrannical crown. Because of a lack of constitutionally
minded congressmen and an uninformed public, these orders are written while America sleeps. “Elected” officials
have been left unchecked for far too long and have taken advantage of the people by incrementally eroding
civil liberties.
Congressman Paul echoed these sentiments at the subcommittee meeting, “At the heart of the Constitution
of the United States of America is the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.
James Madison, the father of our constitution, wrote in Federalist 47, ‘’there can be no liberty’‘ when
those powers are united in one ‘’person or body of magistrates.’‘ Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
echoed this view in 1926 when he observed that separation of powers was written into our constitution
‘’to save the people from autocracy.’‘ Yet, throughout most of the 20th century, presidents
have usurped legislative power by means of unconstitutional executive orders, presidential proclamations
and undeclared wars. For too long, Congress has stood silent and, worse yet, aided and
abetted these usurpations through legislation granting broad powers to the president. Only by repealing
those statutes and by placing express limits on presidential power will such constitutional
abuses be stopped.”
We The People are the ones who grant authority to our representatives to act on our
behalf. If we do not effectively communicate these abuses to them, and the boot heel
of tyranny becomes too heavy upon our throats, I fear the American people will
rise up and overthrow those in power who seek to enslave us. While Jefferson endorsed
the tree of liberty to be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots
from time to time, we still have a representative congress to appeal our observations
of abuse to. It is our duty to apply the utmost amount of pressure on our
“elected” officials to make our point absolutely clear until they act on our demands.
Otherwise the people will remove them from office. The halls of power
are not in Washington DC or in the state houses across the land. The halls of
power are the place you tread daily, your home.
When Roosevelt granted authority to round up Americans during World
War II, he committed the most egregious sin against the people and should
have been tried and convicted for such an act. The president who currently
sits in power now has more executive authority than Roosevelt could
have ever dreamed of exerting upon the people.
In a world where Roosevelt’s words, “We have nothing to fear but
fear itself ” have been replaced with “Fear everyone because they may
be a terrorist,” and the hair trigger response to “acts of terror” are to introduce
legislation that limits our freedoms, checks and balances and separation
of power are the only thing that stands in the middle of a President
whom wields the consolidated authority the founders were set against.
Reintroduce H.R. 3131 and H.R. 2655, rescind the above executive
orders, and do not stop pressuring your congressman. If they don’t listen,
then you need to run for their seat.
– Overview and summary of H.R. 2655 can be found at:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h106-2655
– Overview and summary of H.R. 3131 can be found at:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h106-3131
– Text of Hearing on Congressional Limitation Executive
Orders can be found at: http://commdocs.house.gov/
committees/judiciary/hju63865.000/hju63865_0.htm

Political Pipeline

Political Pipeline

How anti-Iran policy contributed to war in the Caucasus

by Muhammad Sahimi

Much has been written about the war between Russia and Georgia. Neoconservatives, as Justin Raimondo pointed out, have suddenly discovered the “democratic” republic of Georgia, which has been a historical “victim” of the Russian “empire.” Never mind that not only was Georgia not a democracy before it was devoured by the Soviet Union in 1921, but also that the war, started by Georgia’s forces, was a strategic blunder by Georgia’s president, the confrontational, demagogic, American-trained lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili, who dared foolishly to take on his giant neighbor, thinking naively that NATO would rush to help him.

William Kristol, the “little Lenin” of the neoconservatives, who now has another outlet in the op-ed page of the New York Times, opines that the U.S. must not only give aid to Georgia, but must also help it become a member of the “League of Democracies” that John McCain has proposed. Never mind that in the Georgian “democracy” Saakashvili used police brutality to stop huge demonstrations after hotly disputed elections and shut down opposition publications, and never mind that when democratic elections in Palestine and Lebanon yielded results deemed undesirable by the U.S. (and people like Kristol), they were not only dismissed, but the voters were also punished by U.S. sanctions.

And, as Robert Parry noted, the same neoconservatives who backed the illegal invasion of Iraq, and are now threatening to attack Iran over its nonexistent nuclear threat, are suddenly discovering respect for the rule of law and international agreements. Even Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, who supported the Iraq invasion, got into the act, writing in the Washington Post that “Whatever mistakes Tbilisi has made, they cannot justify Russia’s actions.”

Where was Holbrooke when the U.S. invaded Panama, helped the Contra thugs in Nicaragua, encouraged – and later supported – Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and was silent when the Saudi-Pakistani-created Taliban overthrew the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan?

In reality, the Russia-Georgia war involves three important elements:

  1. The desire to encircle Russia with pro-U.S. clients in the former Soviet republics, from Ukraine to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, and by setting up missile “defense” systems in Poland and the Czech Republic that are intended for the Russians, but are justified by the bogus threats posed by Iran’s missiles and its nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
  2. Recognition, over strong and angry objection by Russia, of Kosovo as an independent state. I suppose so long as such unstable mini-states as Kosovo are clients of the U.S., their Islamic identity poses no problem to the neoconservatives. Most other Muslims, such as those in Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq are considered dangerous.
  3. But perhaps the most important element has to do with the control of the routes for transporting oil and gas from Central Asia and the Caucasus region to international markets and, in particular, to Western Europe. If the U.S., pressured by the Israel lobby, had not pushed for bypassing Iran, we would have perhaps been in a different situation than what we have now between Georgia and Russia, with all of its geopolitical implications.

While many have written about the causes and consequences of the war, little emphasis has been put on the role that the U.S. government’s failed policy toward Iran has played in this rapidly developing situation.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the three independent countries that emerged on the shores of the Caspian Sea, namely, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, declared that they would respect all the old international and bilateral treaties that the Soviet Union had signed. Crucial among them were two friendship treaties that had been signed by Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940. An article in both treaties stated, “No country can take unilateral action regarding the Caspian Sea.” Therefore, the five countries of the Caspian area, particularly Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, could not unilaterally decide what to do about the resources of the Caspian Sea without the consent of the other countries.

Even aside from the old Iran-Soviet treaties that Russia accepted legal responsibility for after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fact is that, according to all the international treaties, so long as a territory is in dispute, no country can take unilateral action regarding its resources and riches. A good example is the dispute between Iran and Kuwait over the Dorra gas fields in the northern Persian Gulf. Both countries have avoided any action toward developing the fields, waiting for their final status to be negotiated. But, supported by the U.S., Azerbaijan and later Kazakhstan took unilateral actions and contracted out disputed oil and gas fields. Compare this with a similar situation, the dispute between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf over the giant South Pars gas field (the largest in the world). Iran, the “pariah” nation, did no work on the gas field until negotiations between the two countries resulted in a framework for the field’s development. Each country is now developing its own sector.

But that was not the end of the U.S. meddling in the affairs of that region, particularly its wrong-headed policy toward Iran. Equally important is how to transport the oil and gas from that region to the international markets. The issue has remained politically charged, contributing much to the war between Russia and Georgia.

There are several foreign-operated oil fields in the Caucasus region and Central Asia. The oil from the ChevronTexaco-operated field of Tengiz in Kazakhstan is transported through a pipeline north into Russia and by rail west to the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi. A second line was built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to Novorossiisk in Russia on the Black Sea.

The Kashagan oil field in northeast Caspian is the largest of them all, but it is still being developed. In the southern Caspian, oil from the British Petroleum-operated field of Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli in the Caspian Sea has been producing several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.

The most economical way of transporting all that oil is by pipelines through Iran. For example, the Kazakh government drafted a framework agreement for construction of an oil pipeline from the Tengiz field to Belek on the eastern coast of the Caspian and from there to the Iranian port of Khark, on the Persian Gulf. The pipeline was supposed to pass through Tehran, Qom, and Esfahan. The estimated cost for the 900-mile pipeline was only $1.2 billion. But, the U.S. strongly opposed this, and, as a result, the Tengiz oil is transported through routes that cost much more.

The French oil firm TotalFinaElf, with support from the National Iranian Oil Company, studied a pipeline that would take crude oil from Kashagan across the Caspian to the Iranian border. From there another pipeline was supposed to be built to transport the Kazakh oil across Iran to its Persian Gulf export terminals. The Russian pipeline operator, Transneft, and its Kazakh counterpart, KazTransOil, also carried out a feasibility study for developing a pipeline to Iran in order to link Omsk, in Siberia, with Iran’s port Neka on the Caspian Sea. That pipeline would have allowed Russian, Turkmen, and Kazakh crude oil to be swapped for Iranian oil in its terminals on the Persian Gulf. Although some oil-swapping does take place between Iran and the Central Asian countries, U.S. opposition and pressure have prevented the pipeline from becoming a reality.

But the most contentious issue was about transporting Azerbaijan’s oil to international market. All that had to be done was the construction of a pipeline from Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, to the Iranian border, a short distance away. From there, an Iranian pipeline, when upgraded, could have taken the oil to the Persian Gulf terminals. But the U.S., pressured by the Israel lobby, opposed this pipeline. Israel wanted to reward Turkey for having established close diplomatic and military relationships with it. Therefore, its lobby went to work in Washington to advocate an alternative route through Turkey.

The result is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that connects the Sangachal Terminal in Baku to the Marine Terminal in the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, a 1,100-mile pipeline, 155 miles of which passes through Georgia. It was built at a cost of $4 billion and was officially inaugurated on May 25, 2005.

The Baku-Tehran-Khark (BTK) pipeline could have been constructed at a fraction of the cost of the BTC pipeline. Another great advantage of the BTK pipeline would have been the fact that it would have passed through the politically stable Iran, whereas the BTC pipeline passes not only through Georgia, but also through the restive Kurdish areas of Turkey. The entire pipeline requires constant guarding in order to prevent sabotage. On Aug. 6, 2008, the pipeline was shut off by a major explosion and fire in the eastern Turkish province of Erzincan. The Kurdistan Workers Party took responsibility for the attack. The vulnerability of the Georgian portion of the BTC pipeline was also manifestly demonstrated when Russia bombed the areas around the pipeline’s route in Georgia, just to send the “proper” message to the West.

One bogus justification for the construction of the costly BTC pipeline was that it would transport oil from several large Azeri oil fields to international markets, totaling 1 million barrels/day, without involving Iran or Russia. That has not happened. The Kurdashi field did not live up to the Italian oil firm Agip’s expectations. TotalFinaElf failed to find any significant oil in the Lenkoran-Talysh field, and ExxonMobil could not find any oil in its Oguz and Zafar-Mashal concessions. Chevron’s work yielded only lackluster results in its Absheron field. These failures would have made the BTK pipeline even more economical.

But all such advantages of the BTK pipeline were set aside. Instead a political pipeline was built, just to satisfy the Israel lobby. Its construction was also accompanied by numerous violations of human rights by both the Azeri and Turkish governments, which have been documented in the Czech documentary film Zdroj (“Source”) and by Kurdish human rights activists.

But the U.S., following Israel’s lead, was not yet done with its blind opposition to Iran’s participation in the oil and natural gas market of the Caucasus and Central Asian regions, which would have made negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program more susceptible to success. The U.S. even pressured Kazakhstan to build a trans-Caspian pipeline from the Kazakh port of Aktau to Baku, in order to connect the Kashagan’s oil to the BTC pipeline, which would have been a gigantic environmental disaster waiting to happen. But Russian and Iranian opposition killed that project.

Thus, had the U.S. not decided that, in order to isolate Iran to appease the Israel lobby, it would make a minor nation like Georgia the cornerstone of its policy in the Caucasus/Central Asia region; had the U.S. not demonized Iran, creating “threats” from its nonexistent nuclear weapon program to justify what it does in Europe against Russia; and had the U.S. agreed to economical oil pipelines through Iran, not a political one through unstable, war-torn regions in Georgia and Turkey, the Georgia-Russia war would not have seemed as significant, and the U.S. and NATO would not have looked so impotent. In fact, the war might not have happened at all.

But this is what happens when our foreign policy is held hostage by a foreign nation and its lobby.

Blowback From Bear-Baiting

Blowback From Bear-Baiting

by Patrick J. Buchanan

Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia’s invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Nasser’s blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili’s blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi, and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and John McCain, and America’s lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight – Russia finished it. People who start wars don’t get to decide how and when they end.

Russia’s response was “disproportionate” and “brutal,” wailed Bush.

True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more “disproportionate”?

Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?

When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?

Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of whom viscerally detest Russia?

That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili’s provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia’s nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.

When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?

American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia’s doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

Bush, Cheney, and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin’s birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?

The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an antimissile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.

We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic “revolutions” in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.

Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.

Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia’s space and getting into Russia’s face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost – in Tbilisi.

Declaration of Independence Anyone?

Declaration of Independence Anyone?

by lefty0010

What a handy document that one is. You know what I’m talking about, take this example of that infamous document:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it; and to institute new Government, laying
its foundation on such principles and organizing its
powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

I also thought this list of grievances against the King was rather, eh, I don’t know, maybe eerily similar to a list of grievances that could be used in a particular current situation:

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

I don’t know, some of these may be a stretch, but some of the most important complaints on this declaration are being perpetrated against the American people right this moment in our so-called “democracy”.

Hmmmm… so should we do as we are instructed? I’m quite certain that some kind of revolutionary action is called for in this instance, but it would have to be scheduled so it didn’t conflict with the airing of American Idol.

Obama has reached his own kind of Idol status. He fits the part well… all about appearances and lacking substance, but we cannot kid ourselves that he offers anything different than the status quo. He certainly has the ability to make it sound pretty, but in the end, Obama is nothing more than the clergy who’s been called to deliver the last rites for our dying society.

A truly progressive candidate will never be allowed to lead this corporatocracy. There will be no REAL threat to the status quo. The establishment simply will not allow this to happen.

We, the American People, who have been dumbed-down and hypnotized by the constant ingestion of media opiates, will suffer the consequences of such lack of awareness. We, The People, will suffer just as the others in foreign countries have suffered from an American assault. We, in our country, have been the observers of crimes that we have kept quiet about, because we didn’t want to get involved, it wasn’t any of our business (no pun intended).

In as much as we let our government and corporate fiends destroy other economies and social structures, so Reverend Wright’s proverbial chickens will come home to roost on our soil. The CIA won’t need to back a coup in America to overthrow our democratically elected government because that coup already took place in the 2000 election. The same policies and tactics that were administered in Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and many other countries by the likes of the Chicago Boys and Chicago School style economic reforms are being implemented right here at home.

How could we expect anything different? How could we proclaim to be a “democracy” in our homeland while at the same time we were/are looting, torturing, raping, and killing poor people in foreign lands, backing brutal military regimes, decimating ecosystems all in the name of “economic reform” while a few private corporations make obscene profits for such devastation?

Why would we think that our own nation would be spared from the same kind of economic tactics that have been used against so many other sovereign nations? Our country is being stolen from us right under our noses and we are too busy trying to figure out how much we should weigh, what kind of makeup to use, if males are enhanced enough, and myriad other endless, mindless pursuits that make it impossible for us to see or care that our country has been looted by Chicago School style economic tactics just like all of the other countries where the US has “intervened”.

It’s not hard to come to this conclusion if you look at the big picture. Our government and the corporatocracy are the epitome of thieves and the highly self-interested. How could they resist what America is/was and not be tempted to rob from their “own”. The elite in America actually don’t belong to REAL America in any meaningful sense of the idea, so why would they be interested in preserving the founding principles of this country? Oh, I see, there’s no (really grotesque amount of) money to be made in that. There is plenty of money for everyone if the wealth was more evenly distributed. These entities are simply not interested in equal opportunity. The only thing that drives them is more, more, more.

I truly wish I could say that Obama could somehow save this nation from what it has become, but that just isn’t going to happen. American “democracy” is in its “last throes”. Obama will not be “allowed” to save it even if that was his agenda, which it is not.

I’ve had conversations about whether or not Obama can survive indoctrination once he’s in office. Survive it? That’s laughable; he would not have gotten this far if it hadn’t already happened.

I hope I’m wrong. I’ve typed that sentiment many times already, but I really do hope I am, because if it is up to WE THE PEOPLE, (which any real change always is) we are in trouble. What is an even more troubling thought for me is that we are going to get exactly what we deserve.

The Bush Hordes

The Bush Hordes

by Jon Faulkner

The republicans, led by a moron who doesn’t speak the King’s English, have managed to destroy much of what Americans loved most about their country. Among the first casualties was the trust that had existed between the U.S. and other world powers. Another step back has been the steady erosion of American influence in the world. At home, Bush & Co. have been steadily chopping away at the American people’s Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Americans have, for the first time, seen their nation assume pariah status among the world community as it expands its influence by war instead of goodwill. The world community is increasingly skeptical of the American voter’s judgment, and few have forgotten the coup-de-tat that delivered Bush to office. “Walk softly and carry a big stick,” has been replaced by “Bring ‘em on.”

After finding himself occupying the White House Bush flailed about, desperately seeking some justification for his appointment. By happy coincidence, 9-11 delivered Bush to heroic proportion. Junior, ever alert to opportunity, and a fool’s fool if one ever lived, announced to the world, “Lucky me. I hit the trifecta.” This comment alone should have offered a substantial clue to those Americans who still cling to the notion that Bush is presidential material. With his patent swagger, his smirking countenance and his empty head, Bush confirmed his amazing aptitude for narcissism with his astonishing capacity for stupidity. Wall Street and the corporate junta could not have been happier. But now, with his popularity ratings the lowest of any U.S. president in history, one might wonder how Bush could consider another war – a war that will be fought with a well armed opponent.

How cynically ignorant Americans have become. In 1964 a campaign ad aired that showed a little girl picking flowers in a quiet meadow. This serene image was interrupted as a man’s voice began counting down from ten. The camera zoomed in on the girl’s eye that gradually expanded to fill the screen. The next image was of a mushroom cloud. The ad inferred that Barry Goldwater would take the world to nuclear Armageddon. Horrified and afraid, Americans elected Johnson in a landslide victory. The terror of a possible nuclear confrontation doesn’t seem to frighten as it once did. Politicians glibly promise to obliterate Iran if it steps out of line. George openly discusses using tactical nuclear weapons on hardened targets.

It’s doubtful that Junior has ever considered the consequences of using nuclear weapons for the first time since WWll. Their use would not only horrify the world but would cement the world’s impression of the U.S. as a war loving nation of ignorant fools, lacking in any social responsibility or graces. There would be a collective world consensus that somehow the U.S. must be brought to heel before it destroys the planet that all of humanity must share.

Many Americans accept the prospect of unleashing the nuclear monster with cavalier, devil may care attitudes, when not so long ago they opted for bomb shelters over swimming pools. Will Russia sit quietly by while radioactive clouds of fallout drift across its lands? If the U.S. uses nuclear weapons on a third world country, the world community will very quietly, very subtly, begin distancing themselves – like someone might humor a lunatic as he edges away. Other non-nuclear powers will feel forced to reconsider their positions in the balance of power. Inevitably, some will see Russia as a protector and seek alliances there.

Iran has watched as the U.S. destroyed their neighbor, Iraq. Iranians are necessarily concerned that they’re next, and they don’t have to stretch their imaginations to see the U.S. preparing for an attack. Bush has made it perfectly clear that he considers the destruction of Iran a top priority as he leaves office. Why would he consider opening another war front, this one with a capable enemy, just as he’s leaving office? The short answer is, he has no intention of leaving office. Right leaning, Rush Limbaugh watching, liberal hating Americans are eagerly swallowing another pack of lies that share many similarities to the run up to war with Iraq. Bush and Cheney insist, as they did regarding Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

As in Iraq, Bush and Cheney have been caught spreading unfounded hysteria based on bald faced lies. The National Intelligence Estimate is a report, compiled by various U.S. agencies, that estimates the threat to the U.S. and its allies regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The NIE clearly states, with High confidence, that the Iranians abandoned their attempt to make a nuclear bomb in 2003. Although Bush and Cheney tried to suppress the report, it nonetheless became public and exposed the Bush Administration’s deliberate and increasingly desperate attempts to find an excuse to attack Iran.

Even without the report, any reasonable person of average intelligence understands that a nuclear attack by Iran, on any of its neighbors, would mean its obliteration from the face of the earth. Iran’s leaders know perfectly well that they can’t begin to match the magnitude of destruction a nuclear power like the U.S. could, and would, unleash upon them if Iran detonated a nuclear bomb on a real, or imagined enemy. Whatever Junior’s motives are for attacking Iran, they’re most certainly not inspired by Iran’s nonexistent, nuclear weapons program.

He may think his popularity will once again soar as the nation rallies behind him in another contrived and senseless war. An examination of Junior’s possible motives are not very helpful. Is he merely stupid? When Iran sinks a few tankers in the Straits of Hormuz the world’s economy will grind to a halt. How could this be advantageous? Are the republicans jockeying for position so they can declare martial law and suspend elections indefinitely? Is Junior only a halfwit, or a full blown nutcase, who would bring global destruction on a whim? And most importantly of all, how could a man of such inferior character and intellect be allowed into a position from which he could destroy the planet? This is a question that needs to be addressed soon, ideally before the next election, before another war loving republican begins threatening another nation.

Americans should “Watch what they say, watch what they do.” This gem from Ari Fleischer was another clear warning from the Bush Administration that should have given significant pause to every American who values freedom. As Bush & Co. plot nuclear strikes they are busy at home further abridging American’s Constitutional rights. Congress has just passed the Warrantless Wiretap Act that Bush eagerly waits to sign. Republicans, those great defenders of the Constitution, have been desperate to get the Act rushed through Congress and once again, the democrats showed that bright yellow streak they’ve become synonymous with, and went along with the republicans.

The Sneak and Peek law, the Military Commissions Act that set Habeas Corpus back a few centuries, The Patriot Act, Operation Tips that authorized utility workers to act as spies, a weakened Freedom of Information Act, Ashcroft allowing government eavesdropping on attorney/client conversations, are all republican inspirations that reduce American freedoms. Republicans are not comfortable with the peasantry enjoying guaranteed freedoms. After all, what might they want next? Country Club membership?

Some things are certain. Bush has left an irrevocable stain on the nation. His imposition on the presidency has cheapened the very idea of democracy while he’s made a travesty of everything the Founding Fathers envisioned – everything they warned of. He knows he is suffered by the majority of Americans yet continues his pretentious antics as if he were a well liked and successful president. The black cloaked, old men who put him in power are, like George, opportunists of the worst kind. The kind willing to undermine a nation’s prestige and its people’s dignity for their short term, personal gain. Their stunted intellects preclude them from any higher calling than pretentious imitators of the great legal minds that preceded them. They consider the legal questions of the day, while offering opinions that are meant to impress, more then define.

The republican party, given free reign, will imprison, enslave and otherwise seek control over all American citizens. There are no republicans who reflect the character and values that a young nation, inspired with its newfound freedom, once projected into the world. Their value as human beings, as well as political operatives, leave unfilled the nation’s capacity for compassion, generosity, and acts that seek to make the world a better place. They regard, with arrogant distaste, the ones who would seek to elevate mankind’s lot. It is a political party that exists for the sole purpose of elevating its inherent’s interests above all others. War, being a profitable enterprise, is very attractive to corporate leaders who keep republican campaign coffers filled with hard cash.
“As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H.L. Mencken

_______