Tuesday, September 29, 2009

End Game: Iran

American leaders took harsh tones today with Iran labelling thier routine mid-range missile test launches as "provocative" and of puposeful ill-timing to intimidate America and her "allies" in the region. However, this scenario laid out by such notables as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a US Senator who commented in childish naiivity that "Iran stole a play from North Korea's playbook," could not be farther from the truth.

Iran is currently a beseiged nation. Both of the neighboring countries to the east and to the west, Afghanistan and Iraq are occupied countries with what many of thier inhabitants and a majority in the Middle East believe is merely a puppet American government.

Meanwhile, a practical embargo against Iran is fast gaining support and is overshadowing any of Iran's genuine attempts to constructively reach out to western nations. If an international embargo of grand porportions as advertised is adopted, the economic sanctions will clearly hurt the Iranian people's standard of living and only work to solidify a tyrant's authoritarian grip.

To make matters worse, buzz of a secret Israeli and/or American strike and in particular the suggestion of a nuclear strike against Iran last year by such high American officials as Hillary Clinton foreshadow a dark future.

With war and chaos surrounding Iran, it is no surprise that just maybe they want to prepare to defend themselves against imperial aggression already engulfing their part of the world.

Claims that Iran is working to develop weapons of mass destruction is unfounded and research hardly holds conclusive evidence. Much like the Iraq War pitch in 2002 and 2003, the possiblity of finding nuclear weapons in Iran is extremely skim but like with Iraq, the military industrial-media complex will not die. In its ongoing campaign, all American virtues are discarded and trampled upon and the grave casualties of its misadventure are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These innate rights are forever put on hold.

It is up to America, not Iran to decide the fate of the fabled Persian land. For with every spurn and spear of scorn forcefully thrown across the imperial American vessel's bow, peace becomes a less attainable goal and the very American cultural quilt of individual freedom and justice is desecrated and torn asunder, resigned to the dust bin of history.

Iran is no bitter enemy forever to be loathed for the 1979-1980 hostage crisis. Bot nations' smeared blemishes on each others' collective history. The CIA assassinated and replaced the democratically-elected reform minded President Mossadeq in 1953, putting the dictatorial and notoriously corrupt Shah back in power. He would rule with an iron fist until 1979 when Iranians were so enraged by his hypocrisy that some welcomed the Islamic Revolution.

There are no ulterior motvies to negotiate, nor are there any patterns nor protocols nor time tables on which to set principles and make major decisions in foreign affairs. It is rather a simple type of knowledge; to listen and converse with an open mind and an open heart. Solving international problems does not entail counting score. World leaders should instead focus on the goal of carving a more peaceful and hospitable future for the world's next children.

Simply put, Iran places no threat to the United States nor Israel nor any of its allies. Being so, America would be better off and more secure by championing trade between the two nations rather than expansive economic sanctions and waving the bloodied black flag of war.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

U.S. Military Abduct Citizen

U.S. Military works with local law enforcement in Pittsburgh to Abduct Citizen at the G-20 Summit Protest on September 24, 2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

G-20: Weapons of Mass Deception

When the G-20 meets during its bi-annual summit this Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, world leaders will unveil a 'new' agenda. While its purpose is nothing new, leaders plan to coordinate for the first time on an unprecedented scale foreign, domestic and economic policy. They will address a new global system of carbon-taxing, a nuclear arms reduction aim and the possiblity of a global financial regulatory system.

Each of these may seem upon their face as worthwhile and desirable goals. However, behind the kind facade, these efforts resemble nothing more than a dictatorial imposition of elite will upon the masses.

The corporate press is already lauding efforts to combat climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions on a uniform worldwide scale. Yet, it is evident that little of the discussion focuses on the actual crux of such measures promoted in climate change bills. For example, Congressman Henry Waxman (D) from California was able to push climate change legislation through the US House, still without Senate approval. In that bill, taxes based carbon caps for businesses holds as the main enforcer to combat the complex problem of climate change. Many have argued that the failure to posit a ambitious plan for real alternative energy source investment reveals the climate change bill to be simply another lucrative tax.

Meanwhile, international politicians argue that a carbon tax on businesses and in the near future a carbon tax on individual citizens worldwide could end the global warming crisis. But what they fail to admit is who will benefit from these carbon-ponzi schemes.

Yet it is some of the biggest players in the carbon-credit trading game who are the biggest polluters. Big Coa and infamous financier Goldman Sachs sits atop the ladder of favor to benefit from a proposed carbon trading system. In a July Rolling Stone article entitled "The Great American Bubble", Matt Taibbi reported that Goldman Sachs was set to be a forerunner in the cap-and-trade commodity market in which set price controls would guarantee profits. Taibbi writes that, "The new carboncredit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance."

Many well regarded free market economists critical of carbon-tax plans like Czech President Vaclav Klaus have labelled the global carbon tax system "as dangerous as communism" adding to speculation that cap-and-trade may be exploited as a method to ration goods and ultimately reduce the human standard of living worldwide.

Much has been made of renewed efforts between the United States and Russia to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons. Up until now, the rift in negotiations has been embodied by the propoosed Missile Defense System previously slated to the Czech Republic and Poland. President Obama announced last week he's now abandoning the Bush-era proposal enthusiastically supported by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Obama's move to reason on this bitterly polarizing and heated topic may well pave the way for significant reductions in nuclear weapons in a world of ex-superpowers and new giants. The latest from White House advisors entertained cutting deployable weaopns from the 2,000 range to a shrunken force of hundreds, a step obviously in the right direction, yet still short of the needs to secure a safe world. There was no mention of the over 12,000 nuclear weapons the United States possess which may not be deployed but are certanly capable upon request. And while the Russian-American nuclear negotiations may rekindle the grand days of old, the current political reality is left out as if its presence is an affront to logic.

With China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel enlarging their nuclear arsenals, not to include them in nuclear reductions due to "insignificance" is not only short-sighted, it is preposterous and dead wrong. And that's not to mention the steady recycling of nuclear weaponry by the United Kingdom and France. Meanwhile, finger pointing aboundind at North Korea and Iran will leave the biggest perpetrators unscolded and emboldened in their arms.

Most likely real reform in nuclear proliferation will be shirked and the demonly specter of nuclear annihilation will continue to hang over humanity for generations to come.

As for the creation of a new global financial regulatory system, these efforts like those above will only complicate rather than solve the real problem. After the unpopularity worldwide of state-run 'bailouts' and 'stimulii' cautious leaders at the G-20 Summit will be wary of public outrage over corporate welfare programs. This time they will guise their actions as necessary "regulation" needed desperately in a panic to insure the survival of the world.

Yet, actions taken to create a 'Bank of the World' and a new global currency will fall short of being considered as any achievement for the average citizen. For it was the very same advisors and financiers who carefully constructed and steered the global economic collapse. Those like the Federal Reserve Bank, whose non-disclosure of over $500 billion of taxpayer money handed out in "foreign credit swaps" only leads to more questions about what is really going on behind the screen.

It is thus important to keep in mind the pitched perception and the true reality behind this week's G-20 Summit. It is no celebrity ball, rather it is a series of secret meetings held between varied foreign heads of state, each advancing the G-20's own group economic interest and not that of its sovereign nations' citizens. There is no question that future global policy will be made in Pittsburgh, the real question remains, what actually is the plan and can they force the world to live with it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You're Up Next

Amidst the raging health care debate verging on political war, the issue of overhauling the newspaper industry has squeaked out of the dim and into the limelight. After pronouncing the rapid success of bailouts, the legislative brainwork is now proposing a multi-billion dollar newspaper bailout which the President supports. This corporate news media bailout would work to brace most metropolitan areas with one newspaper and aim to solidify the mainstream media's decaying yet sole power of newsmaking.

But what strings will be attached? Surely, the President nor Congress will give away such lavish terms without asking for something in return.

Yes, the scenario is just a repeat of simlar actions taken in other industries. But, in the previous bailouts' cases, they were industries which actually makes up a significant percentage of the American economy. These include the automobile industry, the health insurance industry, the financial banking system and now the news. However, such proud boasts of achievement under these takeovers fail to hold merit as the automobile industry is collapsing, new healthcare 'reform' is being run by Big Pharma and the financial "regulators" like Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke have boldly declared the "end of the recession."

It is in these fabrications and past the fragile veil where our rulers' own words tell the largely unrealized truth.

Yet, there is somehting even more sinister in government relying on the free press and the free press, the government. And it's become no mystery that the corporate media is full of abstractions and opportunistic mischaracterization of history and the present. At the behest of interested corporations, our free press is fast becoming a tool of special interests willing to cause harm in order to achieve political aims.

President Obama has now verbally pondered a chance at regulating press if given the go-ahead. It is no coincidence that many in politics have already accused the President of influencing the media's coverage to distort political realities and marginilize outspoken opposition. Such a claim is not outrageous, after all the description is quite strikingly reminiscent of a time not so long ago under President George W. Bush.

Even worse, in the same speech in which he touted a media bailout, President Obama had harsh words for independent journalists, many of whoms volumes of in-depth and respected work helped fuel his presidential campaign. President Obama chided that, "I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding." This analysis of the exploding blogosphere cannot be farther from the truth.

Signaling a bailout/blackout to end independent journalism the President in his carefully placed words has shown contempt for the First Amendment and free speech. Suggesting a possible tax of online news sites including blogs, President Obama's comments fit as a historic parallel to those of King George III's attempt to regulate American media by the much reviled Stamp Tax Act of 1765 that aimed to limit free political discussion. Yet, let it be of note that King George's tax only emboldened the opposition and began the swirl of events that culminated in the American Revolution.

Today is no different, In a day where growing numbers of citizens count themselves as political independents and the loss of credibility of the corporate government complex, this barbaric proposal is an obvious means to stifle the innate human right of free speech.

Simultaneously, the FCC has proposed a new "net neutrality bill" plan for congressional approval which would create a department of government whose sole purpose would involve acting as an adjudicator of news coverage and speech.

Hence, if an official within such a department took the opinion that something published was offensive, hateful or aggressive speech they could effectively silence the speaker by simply removing the content, or the site and surveilling future internet activity and/or written and spoken comment.

So dangerous and pervasive this system could be, that newly sparked extensions of legal intelligence sharing between the Pentagon and local law enforcement could effectively use a "net neutrality" act to harass and force out bloggers and many other journalists. It is a hazardous precedent that only blurs the rule of law and makes a mockery of free speech rights in America.

And for President Obama who seems to believe whole-heartedly in the corporate dream
of micromanaging America, he must know that all attempts in history to do so have utterly failed and any new attempt, no matter how powerfully and aggressively it is applied, can succeed.

This attempted coup of our First Amendment rights will never succeed due to the highly personal and humanistic nature of thought and speech. While such a regulation may be enacted, it can be circumvented always, albeit not easily, with guided and true resistance. Creating another perceived crisis percipitated in order to pass an ill-advised law is and will no longer be a way to silence others.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Trilateral Commission

Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski by Mark Lamb on CSPAN on March 6, 1989.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Joshua Bernard 1988-2009

[AP Photo by Julie Jacobson]