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Friday, December 31, 2010


I bless you Mr. Caruso. You have an impact on me and I'm sure others. This is something I hope you don't lose sight of.

Benjamin, you couldn't have said that at a better time--thanks very much. And a happy new year to you.

Absolutely spot on. This is the most important story in the universe right now. John: the narrative -- is it a compilation of various media statements made verbatim? Or is it the general understanding -- the sum of the total -- one would have who has been following the story through major media?

I second Benjamin Arthur Schwab's comment. Have a great New Year!

I third BAS, and ditto.

Some years ago I was reading E P Thompson, the leftist Brit historian who was also an anti-nuclear activist. Somewhere he mentions talking to Eastern European dissidents who were properly skeptical of the propaganda their own governments churned out -- but utterly credulous of the propaganda they heard on Voice of America.

The point is that, as you say, it's hard to keep one's head above water.

And a belated Happy New Year from me, too!

Happy New Year, everybody!

It's a lot easier to stay informed now, with near-ubiquitous internet access, than it was even 10 years ago--thanks in part to blogs like this one. But of course getting your news from the internet has its dark side as well: if you start out believing slightly crazy stuff, you'll tend to read blogs and news sources that just amplify the craziness. Thus, a little push in the wrong direction from the corporate media, and you can end up with people who genuinely believe Obama is a socialist fascist anarchist who wants the government to take over healthcare.

Thanks, y'all.

James, that was a gestalt, not quotes (though you can find much of it near-verbatim). As with the Iraq - Al Qaeda - 9/11 connection, the falsehoods usually aren't explicit; it's all about which associations are suggested, which things get repeated over and over again and which get ignored, which misleading or outright false statements are quoted but not corrected, and so on. For instance, the bit about Assange being a U.S. citizen has never been stated explicitly, but you'll see media outlets quoting Bob Beckel's asinine assertion that "this guy's a traitor, he's treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States" without pointing out that it's unmitigated nonsense since Assange isn't a US citizen.

Hey there -

Happy New Year and all that.

Just wanted to let you and the folks know about the end of the trip my wife and I just came back from, since this blog is a place where this tidbit will be appreciated.

We spent a great week in Italy.

Side note to that: One of the little unintentional highlights of our trip was stumbling across a local party office/hangout for Partito Democratico, which appears to be the re-imaged Italian Communist Party, and which works with several other Italian leftist parties to try and get a majority coalition in their political arena(s). I bought a party flag of theirs, grabbed some anti-Berlusconi lit, and empathized with them as best as language barriers would allow over the rightest regimes in both of our countries. They gave us a Left Youth banner as a gift and I'm going to hang it somewhere in the house.

In any event on the way home a couple of days ago, leaving Fiumicino (Rome's main airport), we had trouble finding our check in gate. It was listed as 500-something when we could only locate 1 through 400-something. It seems that we had to take a shuttle bus more than 800m away over to "T5", a check in area separate from the hundred or so airlines from dozens and dozens of countries that fly in and out of Rome (and we're talking Albania, Ethiopia and so forth... not exactly Lands of Stability and Order).

It turns out only 5 airlines get passangers shuttled over to T5 for TSA-style militarist check in, after which you're just shuttled right back to a main terminal with the rest of the world's citizens for your flight. That would be 4 American airlines and El Al. Thus the Italians have decided without pretense that the US and Israel are pretty much one entity, and we have our own issues to deal with over on the side that the rest of the world need not deal with, so we're going to segregate you out to a distant warehouse so that our airport can meet the outrageous security demands of our warrior state(s).

My wife said she wanted to go over to the El Al line and yell at people "This is all YOUR fault, you realize?!" but I suggested that the tazing and Guantanamo-ing that'd result wasn't worth it.

Just a nice little metaphor to remind people how very alone we are in the world, and how little other people want to do with our mess if they can help it.

Happy New Year, John and fellow travelers. Keep on keepin' on. We shall overcome, someday - even if the "we" is a higher level "we", instead of just us chickens.

John, could you please direct me to a good resource(s) about what happened with Yugoslavia? I'm still not clear on it, and you're one of the few people I trust to point the way to good sources.

For those interested, here's an excellent, relatively impartial documentary on WikiLeaks:


WikiRebels – The WikiLeaks Documentary

Exclusive rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it!

From summer 2010 until now, Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.

Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version - Openleaks.org!

Where is the secretive organization heading? Stronger than ever, or broken by the US? Who is Assange: champion of freedom, spy or rapist? What are his objectives? What are the consequences for the internet?

lcl, I'm personally most familiar with what happened in Kosovo and I don't know of any entirely reliable source for an overview of the breakup of Yugoslavia, but you might want to take a look at NATO in the Balkans. Chomsky's The New Military Humanism is a good reference for Kosovo, though it's mainly focused on deconstructing the propaganda around the US military assault.

I don't think that Wikileaks has been in any way "secretive" and I don't find Assange to be the slightest bit "enigmatic."

They've always been very open about how and why they do things. The only thing they obscure are their sources, who reveal truth to the world at great personal risk.


Two more good books on Bosnia: Fool's Crusade by Diana Johnstone (Monthly Review Press, 2003) and Invoking Humanity: War, Law, and Global Order by Danilo Zolo (Continuum Books, 2002).

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