Sunday, May 12. 2013
Another last-minute link grab:
Nicholas Blanford: Hizballah and Israel Spar as Syria's Conflict Threatens
to Spin Out of Control: Israel's 2006 war against Hezbollah (effectively
Lebanon) should have yielded several clearcut lessons. One is that Hezbollah
is a very effective defensive fighting force against Israeli land assaults.
Another is that Hezbollah's cache of Iranian or Syrian rockets aren't worth
a thing, either as a deterrent against Israeli attack -- if anything, their
existence provoked that attack -- or as an offensive weapon. Yet Hezbollah
is evidently so concerned about maintaining their Syrian weapons pipeline
that they've joined Assad's Syrian army in fighting against the rebels.
Hezbollah's presence in Syria, in turn, gives Israel all the excuse they
think they need to fly into Syria and bomb targets they think are related
to Hezbollah -- presumably pro-Assad forces, although they've also claimed
to be neutral in the Syrian Civil War, and some Israelis have argued they
would prefer Assad (you know, "the devil you know"; see
Israel has no desire for Assad to fall) to stay in power, so they
may not care who they bomb. Needless to say, both Israel and Hezbollah
are making the mess in Syria worse, adding dangerous factors that make
it very likely to spill over into Lebanon, while Israel is just stirring
the pot in Syria, giving all sides more reason to hate it and plot
Robert Fisk talk about Syria, attesting to the extreme brutality of
the war, also questioning the logic of Israel's intervention:
Are they really bombing missiles going to the Hezbollah, the so-called
Fateh-110 missile, which was first test-fired by Iran, what, 11 years
ago? Conceivable. But when you consider the Syrians have also used these
missiles, according to the Americans, last December against rebel forces,
why would they use armaments, which they use against -- in this ferocious
life-and-death battle against the rebels, why should they be shipping
them out of Syria en route to Lebanon, where the Hezbollah don't appear
at the moment to have any need for them, since they have thousands of
other weapons, a weapon which I would have thought the government would
want to keep in Damascus?
Fisk also says something about the state of journalism:
And I think one of the problems is, as I say, this parasitic, osmotic
relationship between journalists and power, our ever-growing ability,
our wish, to -- you know, to rely on these utterly bankrupt comments
from various unnamed, anonymous intelligence sources. And I'm just
looking at a copy of the Toronto Globe and Mail, February 1st,
2013. It's a story about al-Qaeda in Algeria. And what is the sourcing?
"U.S. intelligence officials said," "a senior U.S. intelligence official
said," "U.S. officials said," "the intelligence official said," "Algerian
officials say," "national security sources considered," "European security
sources said," "the U.S. official said," "the officials acknowledged."
I went -- boy, I've got another even worse example here from The Boston
Globe and Mail [ sic ], November 2nd, 2012. But, you know, we might
as well name our newspapers "Officials Say." This is the cancer at the
bottom of modern journalism, that we do not challenge power anymore. Why
are Americans tolerating these garbage stories with no real sourcing
except for very dodgy characters indeed, who won't give their names?
E Douglas Kihn: The Political Roots of American Obesity:
It was during Reagan's first term that the phrase bean counter came into
prominent usage. These were the efficiency experts whose job it was to
increase profits for the major corporations, mainly by introducing
speedups, job consolidations, forced overtime, the hiring of part-time
workers -- along with artful and ruthless union-busting.
This was also the beginning of the "War on Iran," the "War on Drugs,"
the war against the people of Nicaragua and El Salvador (all of them
Marxists doubtless bent on rampaging through the streets of US cities)
and a dangerous escalation of threats against the Soviet Union/Evil
As social fear and insecurity rise, mental health declines.
Apparently, so does physical health. According to a new study from
Rice University and the University Colorado at Boulder in Social Science
Quarterly, despite modest gains in lifespan over the past century, the
United States still trails many of the world's countries when it comes
to life expectancy, and its poorest citizens live approximately five
years less than more affluent people. The United States, which spends
far more money on medical care than other advanced industrialized
countries, has the sickest residents in every category of unwellness.