Category Archives: News Articles

Tony Judt – Past Imperfect, Present Impotent, Future ?

Tony Judt wrote this about the state of the Left in America in his book Ill Fares The Land …

“We no longer have political movement. While thousands of us may come together for a rally or march, we are bound together on such occasions by a single shared interest. Any effort to convert such interests into collective goals is usually undermined by the fragmented individualism of our concerns. Laudable goals – fighting climate change, opposing war, advocating public healthcare or penalizing bankers – are united by nothing more than the expression of emotion. In our political as in our economic lives, we have become consumers: choosing from a broad gamut of competing objectives, we find it hard to imagine ways or reasons to combine these into a coherent whole. We must do better than this.”

Taking the recent election as evidence Judt, who passed away in 2010, was right on target (no pun intended). Here are some valuable web resources for further investigation of this important thinker:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?189437-1/postwar-history-europe-since-1945

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2010/04/29/ill-fares-the-land/

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/tony-judt-interview

The Strange Death of Liberal America

Tony Judt’s Obituary in the Guardian

In today’s America, neoconservatives generate brutish policies for which liberals provide the ethical fig leaf. There really is no other difference between them.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century

U.S. Came Close To Unleashing Nuclear Chaos in Vietnam

Fallout_shelterNHK Newsroom Tokyo, has broken a story about the United States’ operation of a secret experimental nuclear reactor in South Vietnam during the war. By itself this revelation is big enough news, but it turns out there is more, much more. According to the story, which includes an interview with a mission participant, in the waning days of the war Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, ordered the site dismantled in a frantic attempt to keep the technology out of communist hands. Here is the big news: in the event of failure, Kissinger allegedly ordered that the radioactive core be blown up as a last-ditch measure!

Watch: NHK Report – Vietnam War Nuclear Mission

NY Times Missing Headlines of the Week

imagesWhat is not there is frequently more important than what is….

 

Missing: $45 Billion In Tax Dollars Goes Missing in Afghanistan

Interestingly, one headline that did not appear anywhere in the NY Times this week as far as I can tell concerned the issuance of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) top-level analysis of Department of Defense (DoD) reconstruction spending in Afghanistan. It turns out that of the $104 billion US taxpayer dollars appropriated for Afghan reconstruction between 2002 and 2014 (more than we laid out for the Marshall Plan adjusted for inflation), $66 billion went to the Department of Defense. And surprise– they can’t, or won’t, account for $45 billion of it! To make matters worse, the military has decided they don’t want to be bothered anymore with the meddling inconvenience of oversight, so they have decided to classify the bulk of the data. On what grounds? well because it gives aid and comfort to enemy of course. So kiss any hope of knowing where our $45 billion went goodbye. Not to mention the $500 million in weapons that have gone missing in Yemen reported this week in the Wash Post.

$45 Billion in Tax Dollars Goes Missing in Afghanistan

Watchdog Scrutinizes Pentagon Spending in Afghanistan

$100 Billion In Aid Squandered in Afghanistan

Misleading Headline of the Week

Putin_in_Su-27-1

Poles Steel for Battle, Fearing Russia Will March on Them Next

Front Page NY Times. Sunday March 15,2015.

What, the Polish Army has been put on high alert and troops are moving toward the borders to make a stand?

Uh…No. It turns out upon reading the article that the story is about 30 recruits, some younger than twenty years old, some war re-enactors, who have joined a paramilitary group called the Shooters Association to drill, ostensibly to defend the country against an impending Russian invasion. To make his point about the all-consuming fear that supposedly has gripped the nation, Times reporter Rick Lyman offers the following first-hand accounts:

“Thirty students took an oath to defend Poland at all costs, joining nearly 200 other regional members of the association — young men and women, boys and girls — marching in formation around the perimeter of the dusty high school courtyard here.”

“One of those who took the oath in Kalisz was Bartosz Walesiak, 16, who said he had been interested in the military since playing with toy soldiers as a little boy, but had been motivated to join the Shooters Association after Russia moved into Crimea.

“I think that Putin will want more,” he said. “Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are already getting ready for such a scenario, so Poland must do the same.”

Later in the article, a Polish General claims that there may be 80,000 such paramilitary-style drillers currently operating in Poland. But then of course he was forced to acknowledge that “this was just a guess. “

Amazingly Lyman outdoes himself by ending the piece with another substantial interview to help bolster his case:

“The youngest of the cadets, Grzegorz Zurek, 11, was having trouble keeping up, but he was stubbornly determined. As they arrived on the far side of the field, the cadets turned to cheer Grzegorz along.

“I think it is highly probable that Putin will do something against Poland,” Grzegorz later said. “I know from history that Russia has always been a totalitarian state. Now it is trying to regain the territory it lost at the end of the Cold War. Should it invade Poland,” he said, “I would not hesitate a second to fight against them.”

Wow! Embarrassing.

But the exercise serves its purpose nonetheless. Those who only read the headlines will come away with a much different impression. One that lends itself to reinforcing the notion that we are on the verge of all-out war at all times (and hence must continue to massively fund our military defense capabilities of course).

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