I’m at a Loss for Words

Albrect Dürer\'s Rhinocerous

In a week in which it comes to light that President George W. Bush revealed that God told him to invade Iraq–with all that implies–and former Repulican presidential candidate–and pretender to the vice-presidential slot along with John McCain–Mike Huckabee made a supposedly jocular comment in the middle of a speech to the American Rifle Association to the effect that his Democratic opponent, Barak Obama, was taking cover as someone had him in their sights, I am at a loss for words. Continue reading

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Winter Soldiers Left Out in the Media Cold

Winter Soldier posterLast March 13-16 some 250 American veterans of the Iraq and Afghan occupations gathered at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD for the “Winter Soldier – Iraq and Afghanistan” conference, a replica of a similar event which took place in Detroit in 1971, during the Vietnam War. This recent weekend was devoted to the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ first-hand testimonies regarding the events which they both witnessed and participated in during their tours of duty in those two countries, events which included abuses and atrocities from the destruction of homes to the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians. Continue reading

Ex Super Power? Can This Be True?

Who\'s Got the Stick and Who the Carrot?

Asia Times Online published an article on May 10, 2008 entitled “An oil-addicted ex-superpower.” The American author, Michael T. Klare, Five Colleges professor of Peace and World Security Studies, makes a chillingly convincing case for the fact that the United States’ massive borrowing to pay for its oil habit has already cost them their superpower status.

The fact is, says Klare, America’s wealth and power has long rested on the abundance of cheap petroleum. The United States was, for a long time, the world’s leading producer of oil, supplying its own needs while generating a healthy surplus for export.

From the end of World War II through the height of the Cold War, the US claim to superpower status rested on a vast sea of oil.

But those times are long past, according to Klare. Continue reading

The Art of Democracy

The Art of Democracy

U.S. Artists Mount Countrywide Art Protest

A couple of fine-art printmakers and veteran art activists have recently started a very interesting politiical ball rolling in the United States. Stephen Fredericks, of the New York Society of Etchers, and Art Hazelwood, longtime member of the California Society of Printmakers, have founded a movement–which they call a “national coalition”–of artists who will be mounting and participating in a series of political art exhibitions this fall.

Fredericks and Hazelwood declare in the introduction to the Art of Democracy website: “We chose this time when the nation is particularly politically aware to bring into focus overlooked and under-represented voices and views on the state of politics, and the state of democracy today.” Let’s let them tell their own story. Continue reading

Gringo Baghdad: Luxury Hotels and Golf

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.


Pentagon Plan Re-Defines Surrealism
According to an article in this morning’s Guardian, the Pentagon has plans to emulate Samuel Taylor Coleridge and convert the Baghdad Green Zone into a stately pleasure dome with the new billion-dollar American Embassy surrounded by “fashion boutiques, swanky cafés, and shiny glass office towers.” There are even luxury hotels and a golf course in their plans. Continue reading

“With countries, just like people, it’s easy to let the best of yourself slip away.” Bruce Springsteen

Who is Pepe Escobar, Anyway?

pepe-escobar

Journalist Pepe Escobar is one of those remarkable Brazilians like the film director Fernando Meirelles or the photographer Sebastiao Salgado, rich in both human and professional qualities. In fact, all three of them are related to Sao Paulo. The first two were born in that city and Salgado studied economics at the university there.

Escobar was one of the first journalists to reach Kabul after the Taliban’s retreat, and more recently he has explored and reported from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, US and China. He currently writes a column called The Roving Eye for Asia Times Online and is a correspondent and news analyst for The Real News Network. Escobar is the author of two books, Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge (Nimble Books, 2007).

On August 30, 2001, less than two weeks before September 11, he wrote a prophetic column for Asia Times Online entitled: “Get Osama! Now! Or Else…

Here’s a link to the best of Escobar’s columns in Asia Times Online. There’s lots of excellent reporting here dating back to July, 2004. Continue reading