Daily Archive: 09/16/2013

Sep 16 2013

Mmmmm… ‘K.

Transcript

(W)hat I’ve really been outraged by this week, even though there have been some victories, is a photograph I saw that actually was issued or published on 9/11. And what I call it is I call it the meeting of the KK–not the KKK, but the KK, on 9/11. And it was astounding, the photograph, because what it shows was a meeting of two people. And you can’t make this stuff up. And it’s a picture of our secretary of state, John Kerry, with a former secretary of state, and that’s Henry Kissinger, two Ks getting together.



(O)ne observation is striking about the photograph of Kerry and Kissinger, one who served Nixon, a Republican, and one who serves Obama, a Democrat. What does it say about U.S. foreign policy? What it says to me is something a lot of us have known for a long time is that U.S. foreign policy is more or less–and you would have to say more–consistent than you would ever think. It doesn’t make a lot of difference whether you get a Republican or a Democratic president or secretary of state. They both love the military. They brag about it as Obama has bragged about the military. They love to use it. And at their core, they’re imperialists through and through. Both Ks, both Ks believe in American exceptionalism.

Kerry, Kissinger and the Other Sept. 11

By Amy Goodman, Truth Dig

Posted on Sep 11, 2013

Kissinger’s role in plotting and supporting the 1973 coup in Chile becomes clearer as the years pass and the documents emerge, documents that Kissinger has personally fought hard to keep secret. Peter Kornbluh of the nonprofit National Security Archive has been uncovering the evidence for years, and has recently updated his book, “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability.” Kornbluh told me that Kissinger was “the singular most important figure in engineering a policy to overthrow Allende and then, even more, to embrace Pinochet and the human-rights violations that followed.” He said that Kissinger “pushed Nixon forward to as aggressive but covert a policy as possible to make Allende fail, to destabilize Allende’s ability to govern, to create what Kissinger called a coup climate.”

The Pinochet regime was violent, repressive and a close ally of the United States. Pinochet formed alliances with other military regimes in South America, and they created “Operation Condor,” a campaign of coordinated terror and assassinations throughout Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil. Operation Condor even reached onto the streets of Washington, D.C., when, on Sep. 21, 1976, a former Chilean ambassador to the U.S. during the Allende government, Orlando Letelier, along with his assistant, a U.S. citizen named Ronni Moffitt, were killed by a car bomb planted by Pinochet’s secret police on Embassy Row, just blocks from the White House.

Eventually, under increasing global condemnation and growing internal, nonviolent resistance, the Pinochet regime was forced to hold a plebiscite, a national vote, on whether Pinochet would continue as Chile’s dictator. With a resounding “No!” the public rejected him, ushering in the modern, democratic era in Chile.

At least two U.S. citizens were murdered during the 1973 coup. Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi were in Chile to observe the democratic experience there, working as writers and journalists. Their abduction and murder by Pinochet’s forces, with the likely collaboration by the U.S. government, is depicted movingly in the 1982 Oscar-winning film “Missing,” directed by Costa Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. On the week of the coup’s 40th anniversary, Charles Horman’s widow, Joyce Horman, held a commemoration. The event, hosted in New York City by the Charles Horman Truth Foundation, attracted hundreds, many who were personally involved with the Allende government or who were forced into exile from Chile during those terrible years

Sep 16 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Give Jobs a Chance

This week the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee – the group of men and women who set U.S. monetary policy – will be holding its sixth meeting of 2013. At the meeting’s end, the committee is widely expected to announce the so-called “taper” – a slowing of the pace at which it buys long-term assets.

Memo to the Fed: Please don’t do it. True, the arguments for a taper are neither crazy nor stupid, which makes them unusual for current U.S. policy debate. But if you think about the balance of risks, this is a bad time to be doing anything that looks like a tightening of monetary policy.

Jill Richardson: The USDA’s Reckless Plan to Decrease Food Safety

The government intends to spread a failed pilot program that decreased food safety to every hog plant in the nation.

My friend Jim, a farmer, jokes about bringing a bowl of manure and a spoon to the farmers’ markets where he sells his beef. “My beef has no manure in it, but you can add some,” he’d like to tell his customers.

I’m sure you’d pass on manure as a condiment. But unless you’re a vegetarian or you slaughter your own meat, you may have eaten it. And if the USDA moves forward with its plan to make a pilot program for meat inspection more widespread, this problem can only get worse.

Manure isn’t supposed to wind up on your dinner table. It’s a major risk factor for E. coli and other foodborne pathogens. And, when the animals are alive, meat and poop don’t come in contact. It’s only in the processing plant where the contamination can take place.

New York Times Editorial Board : The Syrian Pact

The United States-Russian agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is remarkably ambitious and offers a better chance of deterring this threat than the limited military strikes that President Obama was considering. [..]

President Obama deserves credit for putting a focus on upholding an international ban on chemical weapons and for setting aside military action at this time in favor of a diplomatic deal. The Syria crisis should demonstrate to Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, that Mr. Obama, who has held out the possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear program, is serious about a negotiated solution. Mr. Obama’s disclosure that he had indirectly exchanged messages with Mr. Rouhani was encouraging.

Robert Kuttner: Summers’ End

Larry Summers is out. But who is in?

On Sunday afternoon, Administration sources leaked to the Wall Street Journal an exchange of letters between Summers and President Obama. [..]

But behind the polite exchange, a frantic politics was at work. In such circumstances, at some point the political team realizes that a nomination is a lost cause, word is passed to the prospective nominee that it’s over, and a gracious exchange of letters is drafted. It’s hard to believe Larry Summers, of all people, voluntarily falling on his sword for the greater good.

Kevin Gosztola: Would Proposed Federal Shield Law Have Protected New York Times Reporter James Risen?

A proposed federal shield law that would grant journalists covered by the legislation a level of protection has passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee and moved to the full Senate. The shield law would likely protect reporters from subpoenas intended to force them to give up confidential information about their sources, but the protection national security journalists would be able to enjoy is debatable.

Aside from the fact that the law would define “covered journalists” who are “real reporters” and deliberately exclude leaks-based media organizations like WikiLeaks, a critical question is whether the proposed shield law would have protected someone like New York Times reporter James Risen. The Justice Department has been trying to force Risen to testify in the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. Risen, backed by other media and press freedom organizations, has been fighting government efforts that have continued under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Robert Reich: Happy Birthday Occupy

Two years ago the “Occupy” movement roared into view, summoning the energies and attention of large numbers of people who felt the economic system had got out of whack and were determined to do something about it.

Occupy put the issue of the nation’s savage inequality on the front pages, and focused America’s attention on what that inequality was doing to our democracy. To that extent, it was a stirring success. [..]

Occupy served an important purpose, but lacking these essentials it couldn’t do more. Inequality is worse now than it was then, and our democracy in as much if not more peril. So what’s the next step?

Sep 16 2013

On This Day In History September 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 106 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, in his cell at Yerovda Jail near Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest of the British government’s decision to separate India’s electoral system by caste.A leader in the Indian campaign for home rule, Gandhi worked all his life to spread his own brand of passive resistance across India and the world. By 1920, his concept of Satyagraha (or “insistence upon truth”) had made Gandhi an enormously influential figure for millions of followers. Jailed by the British government from 1922-24, he withdrew from political action for a time during the 1920s but in 1930 returned with a new civil disobedience campaign. This landed Gandhi in prison again, but only briefly, as the British made concessions to his demands and invited him to represent the Indian National Congress Party at a round-table conference in London.

In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast in September 1932. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt a more equitable arrangement via negotiations mediated by the Dalit cricketer turned political leader Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God.

Sep 16 2013

Sunday Train: Rapid Rail and Pedal to the Metal Climate Change Policy (part 1)

Earlier this month, Micheal Hoexter offered a “A Pedal-to-the-Metal Plan” to respond to the challenge of Climate Chaos at New Economic Perspectives, also crossposted to Naked Capitalism (part 1, part 2 and part 3).

His plan is an overarching plan for a 15-20 year equivalent-to-worldwar mobilization of our economy for the purpose of reducing the degree of severity of the climate catastrophe that our economy has signed up for under status quo policies. What I am looking at this week is the role that  Rapid Freight Rail and Rapid Passenger Rail can play as part of the mix of Pedal to the Metal Climate Change policies addressing transport.

There is a tremendous gap today between the maximum that is politically feasible and the minimum required to make a serious dent in the challenge that we face. This piece lies primarily on the “minimum necessary” side of our current political dysfunction, looking at necessary (though not sufficient) structural transformations of our transportation system. However, it is also address in part to the “maximum feasible” side, since these are policies that can be put into place on the back of only a partial political breakthrough, which may not on its own be enough to get a complete Pedal to the Metal policy package in place.

I argue that both Rapid Freight Rail and Rapid Passenger Rail can play the roles of “front-runner” policies on the transport side of a Pedal to the Metal Climate Change policy package. One of the things we look for in prospective front-runner policies is that the policies stand on their own, but they also strongly complement follow-up policies that we would look to put into place to complete the Pedal to the Metal policy package.