Tuesday, January 6, 2009
--"Jesters do oft prove prophets," William Shakespeare, King Lear
--"When one is legendary, one must do legendary things," Ed Grothus
There are some obvious places for tourists to visit in Los Alamos: the Bradbury Science Museum, which sports mock-ups of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Bandelier National Monument, where visitors can get a glimpse of how Native Americans lived hundreds of years ago. Going off the beaten path, the travel guide Let's Go lists a third attraction: the Black Hole, a sort of never-ending atomic yard sale cum antinuclear art installation.
Housed in a converted Piggly Wiggly grocery store, the Black Hole offers piles of machinery discarded by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) over the years. "Welcome to the black hole museum of nuclear waste," says a sign, behind which are shelves upon shelves filled with mundane and esoteric castoffs from the lab--everything from valves and tubes to Geiger counters and electronic equipment of various kinds. Outside, the parking lot is crammed with still more military science detritus, including a collection of (presumably disabled) bombs and missiles. Some of the missiles have been welded together to form a spectacular giant sunflower--an eerily beautiful fashioning of military hardware into art.
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The collective consciousness of the U.S. working class is on the brink of a profound transformation. We grew up being told that capitalism was the best of all possible systems, with apparent confirmation being supplied by the fall of the Soviet Union. But we are now entering a new reality that has the potential to overturn all the old, established assumptions perhaps, in the final analysis, even to overturn capitalism itself.
The U.S. government, which has been lecturing other countries for decades about the virtues of privatizing state-owned enterprises, has recently embarked on a campaign of reversing its own dictates by partially nationalizing many of the financial institutions that were teetering on the brink of disaster. In other words, the U.S. government became a stockholder in these companies, thereby ironically taking a step in the direction of socialism socializing their losses, that is, not their profits. Meanwhile, for decades, the U.S. working class has watched helplessly as public education has been defunded, the environment has been progressively destroyed, and social services in general have shriveled, all supposedly because no money was available to launch a rescue operation. Yet the breathtaking speed with which the government threw a staggering trillion-dollar bailout to the financial institutions with no strings attached has not been lost on
the working class. And more is on the way: the government has thus far pledged a total of $8.5 billion to help rescue the financial institutions. Workers, too, through their unions, are now demanding bailouts.
Policies that only yesterday appeared as irrevocable as acts of nature suddenly appear as they truly are: political decisions made by the federal government where Democrats and Republicans are united in their commitment to rescue their friends the rich.
And fuel has been thrown on the fire. Recently, when asked for an account of how they spent the bailout funds, the financial institutions refused to oblige. After all, they calculated, why should they start becoming accountable to the U.S. public after all these centuries? This, too, has not been lost on the working class.
The working class also took notice of the modest but resounding victory scored by the United Electrical workers at the small windows and doors factory in Chicago. These workers did not have the advantage of working in a key industry so that if it were shut down, the reverberations would echo far and wide, thereby providing them with bargaining leverage. But they were emboldened by the outpouring of public support from across the country, and Bank of America, one of the most powerful banks in the world, backed down.
Finally, the working class was assured that the Great Depression would never see a second coming. Lessons had been learned and mechanisms were inserted to guarantee everlasting stability, we were told. All these assurances now look like more toxic assets, and working people will begin to draw the obvious conclusion: not only are recessions endemic to capitalism, but depressions are as well. And this realization will inevitably provoke questions about the desirability of capitalism itself.
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The impending transfer of Bush Administration records to the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will challenge the capacity of the Archives to absorb them because of their enormous volume and the diverse formats of various electronic records.
But there is also a fundamental question concerning the integrity of the transfer process, which relies on the good faith of executive branch officials and which can be subverted by design or neglect.
“There really is no practical way we know of for NARA to be assured that every document in paper or electronic form has been received from an agency,” Dr. Allen Weinstein, the former Archivist of the United States, told Congress last year (pdf, at p. 136). “Nor can NARA police the records management practices of over 300 federal agencies to ensure that permanent records are not purposefully or unintentionally withheld from the National Archives. Federal agencies are expected to fulfill their statutory responsibilities.”
“NARA must rely on the agency records officers, other agency officials, and a vigilant public and press to inform us of any such failure to act,” he said.
As for presidential records in particular, Dr. Weinstein said “the incumbent President is solely responsible for ensuring that … components of the Executive Office of the President adhere to the records requirements set out in [the Presidential Records Act].” Although the President is supposed to obtain the written views of the Archivist prior to any proposed destruction of non-permanent records, “the final disposal authority rests with the incumbent president… regardless of the Archivist's views.”
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If you don't get punished, you didn't go anything wrong, right?
That's the message Vice President Dick Cheney gave in an interview with CBS' Bob Schieffer on Sunday, suggesting that a president's actions are legal if those actions didn't result in his impeachment.
Asked by Schieffer if he believed that anything the president does in time of war is legal, Cheney said there is "historic precedent of taking action that you wouldn't take in peacetime."
Cheney referenced Abraham Lincoln as an example of another president who "suspended the writ of habeus corpus" during a war, prompting this exchange:
SCHIEFFER: But nobody thinks that was legal.
CHENEY: Well, no. It certainly was in the sense he wasn't impeached. And it was a wartime measure that he took that I think history says today, yeah, that was probably a good thing to do.
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In 2007, U.S. foreign military sales agreements totaled more than $32 billion — nearly triple the amount during President Bush's first full year in office.
The Pentagon routinely justifies weapons sales as “promoting regional stability,” but many of these arms end up in the world's war zones. In 2006 and 2007, the five biggest recipients of U.S. weapons were Pakistan ($3.5 billion), Iraq ($2.2 billion), Israel ($2.2 billion), Afghanistan ($1.9 billion) and Colombia ($580 million) — all countries where conflict rages.
In Pakistan, the fighting ranges from communal violence and state repression, to attacks against India, to deadly battles between Pakistani military and al Qaeda forces in the northwest provinces. Israel has used U.S.-supplied weapons in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. Colombia uses U.S. weaponry to fight the drug war. Of the 27 major conflicts during 2006 and 2007, 19 of them involved U.S-supplied weapons.
While full data is not yet available for 2008, the United States continues to flood warzones with more destabilizing weapons. In 2008, the Pentagon brokered more than $12.5 billion in possible foreign military sales to Iraq, including guns, ammunition, tanks and attack helicopters.
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Because of the unconditional support of the entire political class in the US, from the White House to Congress, including both Parties, incoming and outgoing elected officials and all the principle print and electronic mass media, the Israeli Government feels no compunction in publicly proclaiming a detailed and graphic account of its policy of mass extermination of the population of Gaza.
Israel's sustained and comprehensive bombing campaign of every aspect of governance, civic institutions and society is directed toward destroying civilized life in Gaza. Israel's totalitarian vision is driven by the practice of a permanent purge of Arab Palestine informed by Zionism, an ethno-racist ideology, promulgated by the Jewish state and justified, enforced and pursued by its organized backers in the United States.
The facts of Israeli extermination have become known: In the first six days of round the clock terror bombing of major and minor populations centers, the Jewish State has murdered and seriously maimed over 2,500 people, mostly dismembered and burned in the open ovens of missile fire. Scores of children and women have been slaughtered as well as defenseless civilians and officials.
They have sealed off all access to Gaza and declared it a military, free fire zone, while expanding their target to include the entire population of 1.5 millions semi-starved prisoners. According to the Boston Globe (December 30, 2008): Israeli military officials said their target lists have expanded to include the vast support network on which the Islamist movement relies to stay in power "we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel (my emphasis)". A top Israeli in its secret police apparatus is quoted saying, "Hamas' civilian infrastructure is a very sensitive target" (ibid). What the Israeli Jewish politicians and military planners designate as "Hamas" is the entire social service network, the entire government and the vast majority of economic activity, embracing almost the entire 1.5 million imprisoned residents of Gaza.
Israel's 'target' list thus involves the 'total population', using the totality of its non-nuclear weaponry and for an unlimited time period (until the 'bitter end' according to the Israeli Prime Minister). Israel's defense ministry spokesman has emphatically reiterated the Jewish state's totalitarian war concept emphasizing the targeting of civilians: "Hamas has used ostensibly civilian operations as a cover for military activities. Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target."
Like all totalitarians in the past, the Jewish state boasts of having systematically pre-planned the extermination campaign months in advance up to and including the precise hour and day of the bombing to coincide with inflicting the maximum murder of civilians: The rockets and bombs fell as children were leaving school, as graduating police cadets were receiving their diplomas and as frantic mothers ran out from their homes to find their sons and daughters.
The mass military extermination campaign was a follow up of its non-stop total economic embargo and unremitting selective assassination campaign of the previous two years: Both were designed to purge Palestine of its Arab population, first via mass hunger, disease, humiliation and violent intimidation and the proxy power grab by the PLO Quislings under Zionist puppet Abbas. When they discovered that mass hunger and selective Israeli murder only strengthened the population's links to its democratically elected government and the resolve of the Hamas government to resist Israel, the Israeli regimes unleashed its entire arsenal of weapons, including its new 'American gifts' up-to-date 1000 pound 'bunker buster' bombs and high tech missiles to incinerate large numbers of human beings within their deadly radius and to obliterate Palestinian civilization.
Moving directly from its totalitarian vision to its military blueprint to the savaging of Palestinian population centers, the Jewish state destroyed the principle university with over 18,000 students (mostly women), mosques, pharmacies, electrical and water lines, power stations, fishing villages, fishing boats and the little fishing port that provided a meager supply of fish for the starving population. They destroyed roads, transport facilities, food warehouses, science buildings, small factories, shops and apartments. They destroyed a women's dormitory at the university. In the words of the Israel leader: "because everything is connected to everything" it is necessary to destroy each and every facet of life, which allows humans to exist with some dignity and independence.
The Israeli totalitarian leaders knew with confidence that they could act and they could kill with impunity, locally and before the entire world, because of the influence of the US Zionist Power Configuration in and over the US White House and Congress. They knew they had the full backing of all the major Israeli political parties (Right, Left and Center), trade unions, mass media and especially public opinion. Israeli state terror is backed by 81% of Jewish Israelis according to a poll taken by Israel's Channel 10 (Financial Times December 30, 2008). Israeli totalitarian violence and extermination of Palestinians is extremely popular among the Jewish electorate, especially in raising support for the Labor Party candidate Minister Ehud Barak. They knew they would 'succeed' with virtually no casualties because they bombed, burned and dismembered a defenseless population totally lacking the minimum means to defend themselves from F16 bombers, helicopter gun ships and missile assaults. The vile depravity of the assault on the defenseless population is matched by the utter cowardice of the Israeli military command and its cheering bloodthirsty public ensconced behind their aerial monopoly. They suffered no threats of aerial retaliation, no wounded or dead pilots, helicopter gunners, as wave after wave swept in and over a defenseless imprisoned population in a crowded and besieged ghetto.
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Translated from a post on Salonica Press:
WE WANT A BETTER WORLD!
We are not terrorists, "hooded ones", the "known-unknowns!
WE ARE YOUR CHILDREN!
Them, the known-unknowns...
We dream - don't kill our dreams!
We have impetus - don't block it.
You were young once yourselves.
Now you only chase after money, you only care about
the "facade", you've grown fat and bald,
We expected you to support us,
We expected you to care,
for you to make us proud for once.
TO NO AVAIL!
You live fake lives, you've bowed your heads,
you've dropped your trousers and wait
for the day you'll die.
You don't imagine, you don't fall in love
you don't create!
You only buy and sell
LOVE NOWHERE - TRUTH NOWHERE
Where are the parents? Where are the artists?
Why aren't they coming out to protect us?
THEY'RE MURDERING US!
P.S.: Don't throw more tear gas
are crying on our own.
[Translation from the Greek text on Tvxs.gr]
5 Jan, 2009
The 21-year-old policeman who was wounded in the murderous attack that took place in the early morning hours in Exarchia remains in stable condition. According to the police, the two weapons used in the attack had also been used in the attacks against the MAT (riot police) bus and in an earlier shooting against a police station. Nevertheless, the murderous attack against the riot policeman was as expected as the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos one month earlier. View analysis of events. Read about what needs to be done.
Analysis by Stelios Kouloglou.
The murderous attack against a riot policeman was as expected as the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos one month before. The latter was due to the lawlessness with which the charlatan behavior of [former Minister for Public Order Vyron] Polydoras had armed the police, as well as the organizational disintegration of the Force that was analogous to the full disintegration that the government brought to the state and to society. The attack that occurred early this morning had been foreshadowed by the extremely suspicious shooting against a riot police bus in Zografou 15 days earlier.
The country's setting has changed dramatically in the past month. The police and the government fully lost control of events after the murder of the 15-year-old schoolboy. The prestige of the security forces and their acceptance by society had reached a low point, even regarding rudimentary police activities such as issuing tickets to drivers.
In the football fields, even yesterday fans were beating policemen. The same happened in Piraeus last week at the solidarity demonstration for syndicalist Katerina Kuneva. A martyr was definitely needed by the other side in the interest of balance and to provide an answer to the police's existential morass.
On the political level, the horizon was, and remains, very dark for the government. The actions announced by youth groups even on New Year's Eve served as a reminder that disturbances in Education will continue in 2009. The prime minister has but a single public relations hand to play, one that will be burned very quickly: the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
This is because, contrary to what the Media are trying to convince us of, by consuming thousands of trees and airtime hours on guessing about personalities and radical changes, the reshuffle will not change in the slightest the policy of a degenerate government that stinks from the head down. To bring society on its side and tame the disturbance in education in the interest of restoring order, the government, too, needed a victim from the other side.
All this is not to say that it was the government that set up yesterday's murderous attack; perhaps some would have like the idea but they are thoroughly incapable or organizing and implementing it. The government and the Ministry of Public Order are under scrutiny for conspicuously ignoring the statements, photographs and videos concerning the hooded police collaborators who acted during the dark evenings of December. Obviously they have also done nothing to solve the case of the shots fired in Zografou.
The greatest responsibility the government has to bear is that in losing control and tearing down the entire system it has made available rich ground for the para-state to take action. The same goes for that ever so sinful National Intelligence Service whose sole occupation in recent years has been to cover up the abductions of Pakistanis and the scandal of the wiretappings that continue. The para-state is mobilized when the state and political leadership wane.
Today's murderous attack against the riot policemen places the country in a very dangerous orbit. It initiates a cycle of blood that definitely must stop. In the article forecasting that 2009 would be the "Year of the Para-State" published in Tvxs on 2 January, I had stressed that those who wish to protest -- and must do so -- against the education mess and about where the country is headed, need to remove the hoods they are wearing. The democratic game is played with open cards and this is especially the case in the wake of today's events.
There is, however, something that remains beyond the purview of the young protesters. The problem of the para-state and where the country is heading is primarily political. The government has lost control and has become dangerous. That does not necessarily mean that the next one will cope, especially as the social and economic crisis will grow exponentially during 2009. But the current government must leave before it is too late. For the sake of the country and of the government itself.
Contributed by: Anonymous
On the dawn of 5/1/08, at around 3 a.m, a riot police unit was shot at while guarding the ministry of culture in the Eksarhia district of Athens. They speak of more than 20 bullet shells and a hand grenade. The cop injured, they say, was saved only thanks to his mobile phone, which slowed down the bullet that hit him in the chest.
Our initial thought is that any individual that is part of our movement, no matter how enraged or in support of urban guerilla tactics they might be, would not chose the area of Eksarhia (literally under police occupation for the past few days) in order to launch an attack of this kind and manage to escape safely.
Therefore, we cannot consider coincidental the fact that mass media, politicians and their lackeys have been building up an atmosphere where some dynamic revenge action against the cops was imminent. We cannot rule out, of course, the possibility that such incidents could happen - but we are not foolish enough to believe that they would take place in Eksarhia, or in the case of the earlier incident (-the shooting against the police van a few days earlier - trans.) in the university campus of Zografou.
The state, via its mouthpiece media was preparing public opinion for some 'imminent' action against the police. The choice of the place of the attack (the ministry of culture in Eksarhia) somehow spoiled their recipe: An attack in such a heavily surveilled urban area clearly points at attackers that can only be directly linked to the state itself.
It goes without saying that these people would have no hesitation whatsoever to shoot one of their own - there's no need for a second thought on that: Life means nothing to them.
Their action shows that they are trying to neutralise the climate for the shooting, in cold blood, of Alexis Grigoropoulos, and to create once again some sympathy for the police - who at the moment are spat at on the streets by pretty much everyone for anything they do. They are trying to create, at the same time, an atmosphere of violence and terrorism for all the rest who resist in any possible way.
The choice of Eksarhia, an area that no armed revolutionary group would ever chose under the given circumstances, builds all the necessary associations in the mind of the society; it frees the hands of cops and judges for violence and convictions against the social whole… this always in the face of the pending unemployment and financial crises.
Already there have been 75 detentions, many police attacks against residents and passers-by in Eksarhia, while there is also information on house raids - how handy for them.
There are strange days coming; the government has lost control a while ago and is now launching a full-scale violence, some violence in which it has a near-monopoly.
A disproportionate violence that faces stones and molotovs and responds with tons of chemical gases, bullets (plastic and regular), attacks of the wild revolted against fully equipped state units with military training.
The pre-planned right turn of the government (not that it wasn't right-wing already, but having seen its conservative core moving to the far-right, it further hardens its rhetoric and repression tactics) can only be confronted with mass and unitary demonstrations and events against state terror. With answers and clashes on the streets; with mass barricades. With a political word that will talk of the people and their needs; of how they are masters of themselves, how they need to move away from the authoritarian leadership of political parties which ignore the pressing demand for liberation from the confines of the state, of homelands and capitalism.
Without rushed-up actions yet with our gaze in the immediate future, we need to produce ideas and proposals through our public assemblies so that the self-organisation of the people from below can become visible, viable and possible -precisely in the ways many of us witnessed during the days of the December revolt.
There is no other way - else, they'll take us down, one after the other.
As they've proved one more time, they are ruthless.
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