Little wonder, of course, that the American media are all but silent on the truth of 9/11 and, now, the Palestine Papers.
One effect of the latter’s publication in freer worlds abroad seems all but certain: A true war of terror, born of final despair re the fate and treatment of the Arabs of Palestine, in the angry half of the Islamic world. Hope dies last, as Alexander Dubcek observed, but now it is dead.
No more Mr Shoe Bomb. No more Mr Underpants.
Itâ€™s well known amid intel types that nuclear devices are loose in the underworld. Every now and then an attempt to sell one surfaces. 1994 was the beginning of this game. It now seems to me only a question of time before angry young men try to set one off in Tel Aviv or New York.
Sabrosky is a Vietnam combat vet and a former director at the Army War College.
Also in the news today, the American ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a Chicago friend of Obama, calls for the head of a UN official who had the temerity to write that the US government seemed to be involved in a coverup of the 9/11 events.
I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.
I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made …
Fracking — a method of drilling for natural gas — poisons groundwater yet is steaming ahead under Obama.
Here is an ACLU video about a Pennsylvania woman active in trying to prevent local Fracking getting targeted by Homeland Security, which lumped her with terrorists and proceeded against her as such, and passed intelligence about her to the corporation doing the local Fracking.
We are so far gone down the road to perdition. That fracking is alllowed to occur anywhere is itself something out of dystopic science fiction.
The “White House Cybersecurity Coordinator” practiced Doublespeak while breaking the news a few weeks ago, pointing out that the Commerce Department:
is “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet ….
“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
Minutes after the Jets shocking victory over the Patriots, he ran out in a fit of joy and took a leap with a snow coaster that seconds later had him skidding into heavy traffic on Cleveland Avenue, and there he died.
The characters in the Coen brothers film are geared to work against both the Old Testament bleakness of the novel and the Waynesian joie de vivre of the first film.
Mattie in the film, at fourteen, is a relentless robotic harridan-to-be, expressing thru caricature the bleak worldview that Stanley Fish here extracts from the novel and offers as the spiritual key to the new film.
Mattie’s been trained as a bookkeepper and, we find, knows nothing about life and justice on the great frontier. Most comico-tragically, she badgers the tumbleweeds of the prairie with threats or promises of treatment by her lawyer. Finally poor Ned shuts her up, for us all, by responding that what he needs is a “good JUDGE” — yearning, it seems, for the Good News god and His mercy as deadly accidents set in train by Mattie’s thirst for revenge snake about his neck like a noose.
Cogburn steadily provides the antidote of worldly experience to Mattie’s booklearning and naive rationalism. Eg, he instructs and insists that Ned Chaney hung in Texas for shooting a senator is as good as Arkansas for shooting Mattie’s pa — and that the financial benefits of the former settle the case. Let’s be reasonable.
The only bit of this Cogburn we see in Mattie is when she goes a bit soft on LaBoeuf, who, at the extreme from her take-no-prisoners egomania, espouses the chivalrous naivete of the Cavalier society that settled Texas. Cogburn, in between, does his best to moderate the romance, but Mattie’s headstrong stone-hearted quest for vengeance must leave Quixote in the dust. “Ever stalwart,” he sadly affirms, too late to be heard, as she rides into the sunset in search of her devil.
A quarter century thence, at film’s end, we see that Mattie’s blindered pursuit of her ideal brought her to a barren life. She is, at 40, an echo of Miss Gulch — from The Wizard of the Oz — an irredeemable witch peculiar to the frontier who demonstrates no more curiosity or compassion for things human than she did at fourteen. She strides through the colorful marvels of a city and a circus without a sidelong glance, and her very last line is an imperious insult — “Keep your seat, trash!” — to an old man who failed to rise in her bristling presence.
The film’s coda, then, cements the notion (which sprouted for me about halfway thru) that the last thing one must do with this story is respect the barbaric worldview of its motor-mouthed bookkeeping upstart protagonist.
Naturally, then, one looks elsewhere — to Jeff Bridge’s Cogburn, who shares the joy of John Wayne’s but whose every decision is shot through by social psychology, and who recognizes a good deal of himself in all the bad guys: “I know him!” he keeps moaning to Mattie as the hapless of the earth wander into his crosshairs.
In short: The last thing I see in this Cogburn is the amoral gunslinging paraclete that Stanley Fish is at such pains to paint.
Affinities between the Old Testament and the amoral Predeterminism of certain Christian schools are oft remarked. And it’s a familiar turn in American letters to use the Old Testament to gloss the New World.
Alfred Kazin was a master of this, and his essays on Lincoln — whom he finds caught between the South’s fundamental sin and the relentless paracletes of Abolition — are among the assessments of the American character that I treasure.
But Mr Fish, falling short of Kazin, offers an impoverished reading of the new film, whether out of doctrine (his distinctive nihilism) or innocently, as it were, I don’t know. What seems clear is that the Coen brothers set out to Deconstruct the novel’s heroine, as a spiritually barren witch — and it’s odd that Perfesser Fish of all people would not notice.
By film’s end I even wonder if she was telling the truth about her devil Ned Chaney.
However that may be, it’s odd to find her, twenty-five years later, venerating Cogburn’s memory and yet so unchanged, so blindly made of stone after all these years. T’would seem that authentic veneration might have tenderized her hide a hair. Perhaps we are to sense that subterranean guilt, for having dragged Cogburn and the rest into her hell, is the real reason she transports his grave to the barren hilltop where her parents lie.
In any case, I mourn for this Cogburn as he tries to rest in peace with Mattie Gulch’s blank stare and recitations from the Bible falling upon his bones.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the Pentagon boss, whom I admire, is worried about the declining character of the armed forces:
â€śWeâ€™ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of itâ€™s been pretty unpleasant stuff,â€ť Admiral Mullen said in an interview. â€śI want us to understand what weâ€™ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.â€ť
Mullen’s worries bear relation to the mass assassinations yesterday in Tucson, in that across the past decade the society has being trained to accept perpetual war as a way of life.
Our kids, our soldiers, growing up, are trained to envision life as a video game. And Obama’s Secretary of Education spent most of the past decade turning five Public Schools in Chicago into military academies.
The Spectre of the Gun haunts the society’s blood, born as we were coeval with Industrialism, with no time, as in Europe, to prepare for that onslaught, in a protracted war for control of the continent against nature and its natives.
Armies destroy countries — often their own.
Japan and Bismarck’s Germany — reduced to cinders by 1945, having provoked with their martial successes and crimes the remainder of the industrialized world into alliance.
The Russian empire in its Soviet phase — an elephantine Military-Industrial Complex riding the backs of an impoverished and well policed working class, an inverted pyramid, an unstable equillibrium nevertheless held in place for several generations by secret police, radio and television.
For people like Gore Vidal, whom I admire, it’s a given: the American empire was born in 1898 with our adventurism contra Spain in the Philipines and the Caribbean. We then built a huge permanent army to help win the world wars. That work done, the monster turned upon Dr Frankenstein. The republic’s cancer exhibited itself in 1963. We’ve been watching it die all our lives. The installation of Bush-Cheney, in retrospect, seems the end. The full-page tombstone in the New York Times.
However one might parse our history, no Western society could withstand in perpetuity the things we’ve done here and abroad for the reasons we’ve done them since October 2000. Mullen seems to sense this, and indeed, almost to be saying as much out loud.
And the eloquent Sheriff Dudnick of Pima County yesterday echoed him:
“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”
Hero Mark Lane will have a documentary this year featuring hero Abraham Bolden, former Secret Service agent and author of THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA, who was imprisoned for trying to publicize the story of the attempted assassination of JFK in Chicago in early November 1963.
And here’s a panel with James Douglass, author of the excellent JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE – Why He Died and Why It Matters (2008), with Oliver Stone and Lisa Pease (latter whom has dropped here a few times in the past …) Five clips total.