Archive | January 3rd, 2013

Op-Ed: US-UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Million-Including 750K Children

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By Sherwood Ross

Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were “exterminated” by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.

The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.

The U.S. and U.K. “obstinately insisted” that their sanctions remain in place until after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.

In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:

# The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.

# The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.

# The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis “as a direct result” of the genocidal sanctions.

Boyle’s class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.

The “grossly hypocritical” UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization’s Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.

Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, “we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it.”

Albright’s shocking response provides “proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq” under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.

Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration. He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including “Destroying World Order” (Clarity Press.)

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Palestinian PR coordination and unity

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PR coordination and unity

The message from an Israeli think-tank all pro-Palestinian activist groups need to hear

By Alan Hart

One of the best articles I read in the whole of 2012 was published at the tail end of the year, on 30 December, by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz

The article was written by Barak Ravid. The headline over it was “Think tank: Israel’s poor international image not the fault of failed hasbara” (the Hebrew word for explaining and advocacy, for which read propaganda).

The subject of the article was the first report of a new Israeli think-tank, Molad: The Centre for the Renewal of Democracy. Outside Israel there are probably very, very few people who have heard of Molad, so let’s start with what it is.

Here is Ravid’s own description:

Molad, established less than a year ago [in January 2012] is a think tank devoted to providing Israel’s liberal left with new ideas regarding matters of foreign policy and security, as well as socioeconomic issues. The new study is the first project released by Molad as part of an effort to infuse leftist ideas in Israeli public discourse. This effort, the centre believes, will help resuscitate a political camp which is currently on its deathbed.

Molad’s governance includes a Public Council chaired by a former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Avraham Burg, who for some years has been expressing with passion his disillusion with what Israel has become and his fears about where it is taking the Jews. In an op-ed for the New York Times last August, he castigated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his “warmongering” and Israel for its “unconscionable treatment of the Palestinians”.

 

…one of the main reasons for Zionism’s success for so long in selling its propaganda lies as truth was to do with the efficiency of its hasbara effort,its unity and coordination.

 

As Ravid noted, Netanyahu and his closest advisers believe that Israel’s poor and deteriorating image in the world is the result of ahasbara failure; and that a more effective presentation of Israel’s case, and increased advocacy efforts, will solve a large portion of the country’s woes in the international arena.

The Molad study concludes that the Netanyahu-driven criticism of Israeli advocacy is “detached from reality” and “a myth”. The real reason for Israel’s growing isolation in the world, the study proclaims, “is the Israeli government’s policies.”

Israeli success vs Palestinian failure

Ravid’s article also contains a very good explanation of why until recently the Zionist state was so successful in selling its propaganda lies as truth. It possessed the awesome ability to do so because of the National Information Directorate (NID).

Here’s Ravid’s description of what NID is:

Israel’s advocacy effort is directed by the National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office. All the other official advocacy entities, and there are several of these – the Foreign Ministry, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] Spokesman’s Office, the Tourism Ministry, the Jewish Agency – are subordinate to the directorate. The National Information Forum, comprising delegates from these various bodies, is in charge of coordinating messages and formulating strategies. The directorate also consults media and marketing experts from both academia and the private sector. And, in addition, the government conducts an unofficial advocacy effort involving hundreds of Israelis and overseas activists, organizations and NPOs [non-profit organizations], along with non-Jewish supporters; this effort is aimed at delivering Israel’s messages mainly in the United States and the EU.

In other words, one of the main reasons for Zionism’s success for so long in selling its propaganda lies as truth was to do with the efficiency of its hasbara effort,its unity and coordination.

How on the other side of the coin has the pro-Palestinian camp performed to date?

Ravid put it this way:

After analysing Israel’s advocacy effort, the Molad study used the same tools and criteria to assess the efficacy of the anti-Israel campaign.

What it found was that the various anti-Israel efforts have failed to properly coordinate and unify their messages. The organizations do not operate under the aegis of one overall group; in many instances, they act separately from one another. Unlike Israel, with its National Information Forum, there is not a single anti-Israel group which takes overall responsibility for setting a unified agenda.

Moreover, the Palestinian Authority’s role and influence on anti-Israel advocacy is limited. “More than anything,” contends the study, “the conduct of these bodies reflects the anti-Israel advocacy campaign’s absolute failure to unify organizations and activists in this context around a single, coherent, official message.”

“Apart from basic principles,” it continues, “these groups lack a common idea or common goal that could consolidate them as partners in one official body.”

 

Most if not quite all pro-Palestinian activist groups everywhere are doing their own little things in splendid isolation and are like flies to be swatted away by the Zionist monster.

 

That’s an echo of what I have been writing in various articles for quite some time. At the risk of getting myself red-flagged by some if not many pro-Palestinian activist groups as well as by Zionism, the mainstream media and the Arab regimes, I’ll repeat myself. Most if not quite all pro-Palestinian activist groups everywhere are doing their own little things in splendid isolation and are like flies to be swatted away by the Zionist monster. Some will say I’m not being fair because pro-Palestinian activist groups are assisting the process of isolating Israel. That’s true but only at the margins. Pro-Palestinian activist groups could not point to any significant success if Israel’s actions and policies were not turning much of the world off.

Time for coordination and unified agenda

The right time for coordination and a unified agenda with a single, coherent message is now. And to my way of thinking what that coherent message should be is obvious. The only real prospect for a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict is via the creation of one state with equal rights and security for all. But as I indicated in aprevious article, for this to become the driving idea of a coordinated and unified agenda, the occupied and oppressed Palestinians would have to set the ball rolling by demanding and bringing about the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, in order to make Israel fully responsible and accountable for its occupation.

 

The right time for coordination and a unified agenda with a single, coherent message is now. And to my way of thinking what that coherent message should be is obvious. The only real prospect for a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict is via the creation of one state with equal rights and security for all.

 

That would create a new, dynamic political environment within which pro-Palestinian activist groups of all faiths and none would have their best chance of making a real difference in the struggle to change the course of history – provided they put their act together and were united and coordinated.

One of the merits of a global campaign for one state with equal rights and security for all is that the message is a positive one. It is about care and concern for both Arabs and Jews in Palestine. And that would resonate with many, many people around the world.

Israel has its NID. Perhaps what is most needed on the other side is a PNID.

Note

The above should not be taken to mean that I believe the countdown to catastrophe for all can be stopped. It might already be too late. I am saying only that a united and coordinated global campaign for one state with equal rights and security for all offers the only real prospect for trying to prevent a final Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which could trigger another great turning against Jews everywhere if the rising, global tide of anti-Israelism was transformed into classical anti-Semitism.

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Philip Roth

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This post was occasioned by a piece by Oliver Kamm in the Jewish Chronicle and is about my favourite writer of fiction – Philip Roth.It was written on the occasion of Roth’s announcement that he wasn’t going to write any more books. Well, I just cannot imagine what someone like Philip Roth will do or be without writing books.

For me, no-one lays out the bare bones of writing  quite like Philip Roth. Apart from his many revealing accounts of the writing process, just reading him is like I’m climbing into the sentences and crawling around the words.

Like millions of my generation, I was knocked out by“Portnoy’s Complaint” – its outrageousness and audacity – though I don’t like it all that much now. Now, my favourites are predictably those self- and Jewish-obsessed Zuckerman novels: “My Life as a Man”“The Anatomy Lesson” and “The Counterlife”. Another book I like very much is “American Pastoral” – a book which I believe will be read five hundred years from now.

Readers of this blog, with its part-focus on World War Two revisionism may well like The Plot Against America”. It’s no favourite of mine, but it does showcase Roth’s genius for imagining and realising a story. You can find out more about it in this clip.
Roth has consistently denied the charge of self-obsession, claiming that he uses autobiography as a starting point only, a firm foundation from which his imagination can leap. I think he’s right about that.

He’s also been accused of misogyny, so much so that feminist publisher Carmen Callil walked off the recent Man-Booker panel in disgust at his selection. Again, I think the charge is unfounded. Roth writes honestly about what it feels like to him to be a man and, as far as I’m concerned, that meets all his obligations as an artist. When asked about the walkout, he himself said “I simply don’t understand it”.

Finally, there is that absurd charge of Jewish self-hatred. Roth writes about his Jewish world, both inner and outer. What more can a writer do? And, if in so doing, he reveals some of the ugliness therein – what’s not to like?

His later books left me rather cold – too short, too serious and too downright literary for my taste. Where had the mad Jew gone? Well, like all of us, he’d just grown up.
Anyway, here are a couple of clips, by and about, Roth himself. But best of all, is to read the books

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How Tyranny Came to America

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by Joseph Sobran
This eloquent piece by the wonderful Joseph Sobran first appeared in 1994 but many Americans and others will feel it is still very relevant.One of the great goals of education is to initiate the young into the conversation of their ancestors; to enable them to understand the language of that conversation, in all its subtlety, and maybe even, in their maturity, to add to it some wisdom of their own.

The modern American educational system no longer teaches us the political language of our ancestors. In fact our schooling helps widen the gulf of time between our ancestors and ourselves, because much of what we are taught in the name of civics, political science, or American history is really modern liberal propaganda. Sometimes this is deliberate. Worse yet, sometimes it isn’t. Our ancestral voices have come to sound alien to us, and therefore our own moral and political language is impoverished. It’s as if the people of England could no longer understand Shakespeare, or Germans couldn’t comprehend Mozart and Beethoven.

So to most Americans, even those who feel oppressed by what they call big government, it must sound strange to hear it said, in the past tense, that tyranny “came” to America. After all, we have a constitution, don’t we? We’ve abolished slavery and segregation. We won two world wars and the Cold War. We still congratulate ourselves before every ballgame on being the Land of the Free. And we aren’t ruled by some fanatic with a funny mustache who likes big parades with thousands of soldiers goose-stepping past huge pictures of himself.

For all that, we no longer fully have what our ancestors, who framed and ratified our Constitution, thought of as freedom — a careful division of power that prevents power from becoming concentrated and unlimited. The word they usually used for concentrated power was consolidated — a rough synonym for fascist. And the words they used for any excessive powers claimed or exercised by the state were usurped and tyrannical. They would consider the modern “liberal” state tyrannical in principle; they would see in it not the opposite of the fascist, communist, and socialist states, but their sister.

If Washington and Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton could come back, the first thing they’d notice would be that the federal government now routinely assumes thousands of powers never assigned to it — powers never granted, never delegated, never enumerated. These were the words they used, and it’s a good idea for us to learn their language. They would say that we no longer live under the Constitution they wrote. And the Americans of a much later era — the period from Cleveland to Coolidge, for example — would say we no longer live even under the Constitution they inherited and amended.

I call the present system “Post–Constitutional America.” As I sometimes put it, the U.S. Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government.

What’s worse is that our constitutional illiteracy cuts us off from our own national heritage. And so our politics degenerates into increasingly bitter and unprincipled quarrels about who is going to bear the burdens of war and welfare.

I don’t want to sound like an oracle on this subject. As a typical victim of modern public education and a disinformed citizen of this media-ridden country, I took a long time — an embarrassingly long time — to learn what I’m passing on. It was like studying geometry in old age, and discovering how simple the basic principles of space really are. It was the old story: In order to learn, first I had to unlearn. Most of what I’d been taught and told about the Constitution was misguided or even false. And I’d never been told some of the most elementary things, which would have saved me a tremendous amount of confusion.

The Constitution does two things. First, it delegates certain enumerated powers to the federal government. Second, it separates those powers among the three branches. Most people understand the secondary principle of the separation of powers. But they don’t grasp the primary idea of delegated and enumerated powers.

Consider this. We have recently had a big national debate over national health care. Advocates and opponents argued long and loud over whether it could work, what was fair, how to pay for it, and so forth. But almost nobody raised the basic issue: Where does the federal government get the power to legislate in this area? The answer is: Nowhere. The Constitution lists 18 specific legislative powers of Congress, and not a one of them covers national health care.

As a matter of fact, none of the delegated powers of Congress — and delegated is always the key word — covers Social Security, or Medicaid, or Medicare, or federal aid to education, or most of what are now miscalled “civil rights,” or countless public works projects, or equally countless regulations of business, large and small, or the space program, or farm subsidies, or research grants, or subsidies to the arts and humanities, or … well, you name it, chances are it’s unconstitutional. Even the most cynical opponents of the Constitution would be dumbfounded to learn that the federal government now tells us where we can smoke. We are less free, more heavily taxed, and worse governed than our ancestors under British rule. Sometimes this government makes me wonder: Was George III really all that bad?

Let’s be clear about one thing. Constitutional and unconstitutional aren’t just simple terms of approval and disapproval. A bad law may be perfectly constitutional. A wise and humane law may be unconstitutional. But what is almost certainly bad is a constant disposition to thwart or disregard the Constitution.

It’s not just a matter of what is sometimes called the “original intent” of the authors of the Constitution. What really matters is the common, explicit, unchallenged understanding of the Constitution, on all sides, over several generations. There was no mystery about it.

The logic of the Constitution was so elegantly simple that a foreign observer could explain it to his countrymen in two sentences. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that “the attributes of the federal government were carefully defined [in the Constitution], and all that was not included among them was declared to remain to the governments of the individual states. Thus the government of the states remained the rule, and that of the federal government the exception.”

The Declaration of Independence, which underlies the Constitution, holds that the rights of the people come from God, and that the powers of the government come from the people. Let me repeat that: According to the Declaration of Independence, the rights of the people come from God, and the powers of the government come from the people. Unless you grasp this basic order of things, you’ll have a hard time understanding the Constitution.

The Constitution was the instrument by which the American people granted, or delegated, certain specific powers to the federal government. Any power not delegated was withheld, or “reserved.” As we’ll see later, these principles are expressed particularly in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, two crucial but neglected provisions of the Constitution.

Let me say it yet again: The rights of the people come from God. The powers of government come from the people. The American people delegated the specific powers they wanted the federal government to have through the Constitution. And any additional powers they wanted to grant were supposed to be added by amendment.

It’s largely because we’ve forgotten these simple principles that the country is in so much trouble. The powers of the federal government have multiplied madly, with only the vaguest justifications and on the most slippery pretexts. Its chief business now is not defending our rights but taking and redistributing our wealth. It has even created its own economy, the tax economy, which is parasitical on the basic and productive voluntary economy. Even much of what passes for “national defense” is a kind of hidden entitlement program, as was illustrated when President George Bush warned some states during the 1992 campaign that Bill Clinton would destroy jobs by closing down military bases. Well, if those bases aren’t necessary for our defense, they should be closed down.

Now of course nobody in American politics, not even the most fanatical liberal, will admit openly that he doesn’t care what the Constitution says and isn’t going to let it interfere with his agenda. Everyone professes to respect it — even the Supreme Court. That’s the problem. The U.S. Constitution serves the same function as the British royal family: it offers a comforting symbol of tradition and continuity, thereby masking a radical change in the actual system of power.

So the people who mean to do without the Constitution have come up with a slogan to keep up appearances: they say the Constitution is a “living document,” which sounds like a compliment. They say it has “evolved” in response to “changing circumstances,” etc. They sneer at the idea that such a mystic document could still have the same meanings it had two centuries ago, or even, I guess, sixty years ago, just before the evolutionary process started accelerating with fantastic velocity. These people, who tend with suspicious consistency to be liberals, have discovered that the Constitution, whatever it may have meant in the past, now means — again, with suspicious consistency — whatever suits their present convenience.

Do liberals want big federal entitlement programs? Lo, the Interstate Commerce Clause turns out to mean that the big federal programs are constitutional! Do liberals oppose capital punishment? Lo, the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” turns out to mean that capital punishment is unconstitutional! Do liberals want abortion on demand? Lo, the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, plus their emanations and penumbras, turn out to mean that abortion is nothing less than a woman’s constitutional right!

Can all this be blind evolution? If liberals were more religious, they might suspect the hand of Providence behind it! This marvelous “living document” never seems to impede the liberal agenda in any way. On the contrary: it always seems to demand, by a wonderful coincidence, just what liberals are prescribing on other grounds.

Take abortion. Set aside your own views and feelings about it. Is it really possible that, as the Supreme Court in effect said, all the abortion laws of all 50 states — no matter how restrictive, no matter how permissive — had always been unconstitutional? Not only that, but no previous Court, no justice on any Court in all our history — not Marshall, not Story, not Taney, not Holmes, not Hughes, not Frankfurter, not even Warren — had ever been recorded as doubting the constitutionality of those laws. Everyone had always taken it for granted that the states had every right to enact them.

Are we supposed to believe, in all seriousness, that the Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade was a response to the text of the Constitution, the discernment of a meaning that had eluded all its predecessors, rather than an enactment of the current liberal agenda? Come now.
And notice that the parts of this “living document” don’t develop equally or consistently. The Court has expanded the meaning of some of liberalism’s pet rights, such as freedom of speech, to absurd lengths; but it has neglected or even contracted other rights, such as property rights, which liberalism is hostile to.

In order to appreciate what has happened, you have to stand back from all the details and look at the outline. What follows is a thumbnail history of the Constitution.

In the beginning the states were independent and sovereign. That is why they were called “states”: a state was not yet thought of as a mere subdivision of a larger unit, as is the case now. The universal understanding was that in ratifying the Constitution, the 13 states yielded a very little of their sovereignty, but kept most of it.

Those who were reluctant to ratify generally didn’t object to the powers the Constitution delegated to the federal government. But they were suspicious: they wanted assurance that if those few powers were granted, other powers, never granted, wouldn’t be seized too. In The Federalist, Hamilton and Madison argued at some length that under the proposed distribution of power the federal government would never be able to “usurp,” as they put it, those other powers. Madison wrote soothingly in Federalist No. 45 that the powers of the federal government would be “few and defined,” relating mostly to war and foreign policy, while those remaining with the states would be “numerous and indefinite,” and would have to do with the everyday domestic life of the country. The word usurpation occurs numberless times in the ratification debates, reflecting the chief anxiety the champions of the Constitution had to allay. And as a final assurance, the Tenth Amendment stipulated that the powers not “delegated” to the federal government were “reserved” to the separate states and to the people.

But this wasn’t enough to satisfy everyone. Well-grounded fears persisted. And during the first half of the nineteenth century, nearly every president, in his inaugural message, felt it appropriate to renew the promise that the powers of the federal government would not be exceeded, nor the reserved powers of the states transgressed. The federal government was to remain truly federal, with only a few specified powers, rather than “consolidated,” with unlimited powers.

The Civil War, or the War Between the States if you like, resulted from the suspicion that the North meant to use the power of the Union to destroy the sovereignty of the Southern states. Whether or not that suspicion was justified, the war itself produced that very result. The South was subjugated and occupied like a conquered country. Its institutions were profoundly remade by the federal government; the United States of America was taking on the character of an extensive, and highly centralized, empire. Similar processes were under way in Europe, as small states were consolidated into large ones, setting the stage for the tyrannies and gigantic wars of the twentieth century.

Even so, the three constitutional amendment ratified after the war contain a significant clause: “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Why is this significant? Because it shows that even the conquerors still understood that a new power of Congress required a constitutional amendment. It couldn’t just be taken by majority vote, as it would be today. If the Congress then had wanted a national health plan, it would have begun by asking the people for an amendment to the Constitution authorizing it to legislate in the area of health care. The immediate purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to provide a constitutional basis for a proposed civil rights act.

But the Supreme Court soon found other uses for the Fourteenth Amendment. It began striking down state laws as unconstitutional. This was an important new twist in American constitutional law. Hamilton, in arguing for judicial review in Federalist No. 78, had envisioned the Court as a check on Congress, resisting the illicit consolidation or centralization of power. And our civics books still describe the function of checks and balances in terms of the three branches of the federal government mutually controlling each other. But in fact, the Court was now countermanding the state legislatures, where the principle of checks and balances had no meaning, since those state legislatures had no reciprocal control on the Court. This development eventually set the stage for the convulsive Supreme Court rulings of the late twentieth century, from Brown v. Board of Education to Roe v. Wade.

The big thing to recognize here is that the Court had become the very opposite of the institution Hamilton and others had had in mind. Instead of blocking the centralization of power in the federal government, the Court was assisting it.

The original point of the federal system was that the federal government would have very little to say about the internal affairs of the states. But the result of the Civil War was that the federal government had a great deal to say about those affairs — in Northern as well as Southern states.

Note that this trend toward centralization was occurring largely under Republican presidents. The Democrat Grover Cleveland was one of the last great spokesmen for federalism. He once vetoed a modest $10,000 federal grant for drought relief on grounds that there was no constitutional power to do it. If that sounds archaic, remember that the federal principle remained strong long enough that during the 1950s, the federal highway program had to be called a “defense” measure in order to win approval, and federal loans to college students in the 1960s were absurdly called “defense” loans for the same reason. The Tenth Amendment is a refined taste, but it has always had a few devotees.

But federalism suffered some serious wounds during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. First came the income tax, its constitutionality established by the Sixteenth Amendment; this meant that every U.S. citizen was now, for the first time, directly accountable to the federal government. Then the Seventeenth Amendment required that senators be elected by popular vote rather than chosen by state legislators; this meant that the states no longer had their own representation in Congress, so that they now lost their remaining control over the federal government. The Eighteenth Amendment, establishing Prohibition, gave the federal government even greater powers over the country’s internal affairs. All these amendments were ominous signs that federalism was losing its traditional place in the hearts, and perhaps the minds, of Americans.

But again, notice that these expansions of federal power were at least achieved by amending the Constitution, as the Constitution itself requires. The Constitution doesn’t claim to be a “living document.” It is written on paper, not rubber.

In fact the radicals of the early twentieth century despaired of achieving socialism or communism as long as the Constitution remained. They regarded it as the critical obstacle to their plans, and thought a revolution would be necessary to remove it. As The New Republic wrote: “To have a socialist society we must have a new Constitution.” That’s laying it on the line!

Unfortunately, the next generation of collectivists would be less candid in their contempt for the federal system. Once they learned to feign devotion to the Constitution they secretly regarded as obsolete, the laborious formality of amendment would no longer be necessary. They could merely pretend that the Constitution was on their side. After Franklin Roosevelt restaffed the Supreme Court with his compliant cronies, the federal government would be free to make up its own powers as it went along, thanks to the notion that the Constitution was a malleable “living document,” whose central meaning could be changed, and even reversed, by ingenious interpretation.

Roosevelt’s New Deal brought fascist-style central planning to America — what some call the “mixed economy” but Hilaire Belloc called the Servile State — and his highhanded approach to governance soon led to conflict with the Court, which found several of his chief measures unconstitutional. Early in his second term, as you know, Roosevelt retaliated by trying to “pack” the Court by increasing the number of seats. This power play alienated even many of his allies, but it turned out not to be necessary. After 1937 the Court began seeing things Roosevelt’s way. It voted as he wished; several members obligingly retired; and soon he had appointed a majority of the justices. The country virtually got a new Constitution.

Roosevelt’s Court soon decided that the Tenth Amendment was a “truism,” of no real force. This meant that almost any federal act was ipso facto constitutional, and the powers “reserved” to the states and the people were just leftovers the federal government didn’t want, like the meal left for the jackals by the satisfied lion. There was almost no limit, now, on what the federal government could do. In effect, the powers of the federal government no longer had to come from the people by constitutional delegation: they could be created by simple political power.

Roosevelt also set the baneful precedent of using entitlement programs, such as Social Security, to buy some people’s votes with other people’s money. It was both a fatal corruption of democracy and the realization of the Servile State in America. The class of voting parasites has been swelling ever since.

So the New Deal didn’t just expand the power of the federal government; that had been done before. The New Deal did much deeper mischief: it struck at the whole principle of constitutional resistance to federal expansion. Congress didn’t need any constitutional amendment to increase its powers; it could increase its own powers ad hoc, at any time, by simple majority vote.

All this, of course, would have seemed monstrous to our ancestors. Even Alexander Hamilton, who favored a relatively strong central government in his time, never dreamed of a government so powerful.

The Court suffered a bloody defeat at Roosevelt’s hands, and since his time it has never found a major act of Congress unconstitutional. This has allowed the power of the federal government to grow without restraint. At the federal level, “checks and balances” has ceased to include judicial review.

This is a startling fact, flying as it does in the face of the familiar conservative complaints about the Court’s “activism.” When it comes to Congress, the Court has been absolutely passive. As if to compensate for its habit of capitulation to Congress, the Court’s post–World War II “activism” has been directed entirely against the states, whose laws it has struck down in areas that used to be considered their settled and exclusive provinces. Time after time, it has found “unconstitutional” laws whose legitimacy had stood unquestioned throughout the history of the Republic.

Notice how total the reversal of the Court’s role has been. It began with the duty, according to Hamilton, of striking down new seizures of power by Congress. Now it finds constitutional virtually everything Congress chooses to do. The federal government has assumed myriads of new powers nowhere mentioned or implied in the Constitution, yet the Court has never seriously impeded this expansion, or rather explosion, of novel claims of power. What it finds unconstitutional are the traditional powers of the states.

The postwar Court has done pioneering work in one notable area: the separation of church and state. I said “pioneering,” not praiseworthy. The Court has consistently imposed an understanding of the First Amendment that is not only exaggerated but unprecedented — most notoriously in its 1962 ruling that prayer in public schools amounts to an “establishment of religion.” This interpretation of the Establishment Clause has always been to the disadvantage of Christianity and of any law with roots in Christian morality. And it’s impossible to doubt that the justices who voted for this interpretation were voting their predilections.

Maybe that’s the point. I’ve never heard it put quite this way, but the Court’s boldest rulings showed something less innocent than a series of honest mistakes. Studying these cases and others of the Court’s liberal heyday, one never gets the sense that the majority was suppressing its own preferences; it was clearly enacting them. Those rulings can be described as wishful thinking run amok, and touched with more than a little arrogance. All in all, the Court displayed the opposite of the restrained and impartial temperament one expects even of a traffic-court judge, let alone a Supreme Court.

It’s ironic to recall Hamilton’s assurance that the Supreme Court would be “the least dangerous” of the three branches of the federal government. But Hamilton did give us a shrewd warning about what would happen if the Court were ever corrupted: in Federalist No. 78 he wrote that “liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other [branches].” Since Franklin Roosevelt, as I’ve said, the judiciary has in effect formed a union with the other two branches to aggrandize the power of the federal government at the expense of the states and the people.

This, in outline, is the constitutional history of the United States. You won’t find it in the textbooks, which are required to be optimistic, to present degeneration as development, and to treat the successive pronouncements of the Supreme Court as so many oracular revelations of constitutional meaning. A leading liberal scholar, Leonard Levy, has gone so far as to say that what matters is not what the Constitution says, but what the Court has said about the Constitution in more than 400 volumes of commentary.

This can only mean that the commentary has displaced the original text, and that “We the People” have been supplanted by “We the Lawyers.” We the People can’t read and understand our own Constitution. We have to have it explained to us by the professionals. Moreover, if the Court enjoys oracular status, it can’t really be criticized, because it can do no wrong. We may dislike its results, but future rulings will have to be derived from them as precedents, rather than from the text and logic of the Constitution. And notice that the “conservative” justices appointed by Republican presidents have by and large upheld not the original Constitution, but the most liberal interpretations of the Court itself — notably on the subject of abortion, which I’ll return to in a minute.

To sum up this little constitutional history. The history of the Constitution is the story of its inversion. The original understanding of the Constitution has been reversed. The Constitution creates a presumption against any power not plainly delegated to the federal government and a corresponding presumption in favor of the rights and powers of the states and the people. But we now have a sloppy presumption in favor of federal power. Most people assume the federal government can do anything it isn’t plainly forbidden to do.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments were adopted to make the principle of the Constitution as clear as possible. Hamilton, you know, argued against adding a Bill of Rights, on grounds that it would be redundant and confusing. He thought it would seem to imply that the federal government had more powers than it had been given. Why say, he asked, that the freedom of the press shall not be infringed, when the federal government would have no power by which it could be infringed? And you can even make the case that he was exactly right. He understood, at any rate, that our freedom is safer if we think of the Constitution as a list of powers rather than as a list of rights.

Be that as it may, the Bill of Rights was adopted, but it was designed to meet his objection. The Ninth Amendment says: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Tenth says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Now what these two provisions mean is pretty simple. The Ninth means that the list of the people’s rights in the Constitution is not meant to be complete — that they still have many other rights, like the right to travel or to marry, which may deserve just as much respect as the right not to have soldiers quartered in one’s home in peacetime. The Tenth, on the other hand, means that the list of powers “delegated” to the federal government is complete — and that any other powers the government assumed would be, in the Framers’ habitual word, “usurped.”

As I said earlier, the Founders believed that our rights come from God, and the government’s powers come from us. So the Constitution can’t list all our rights, but it can and does list all the federal government’s powers.

You can think of the Constitution as a sort of antitrust act for government, with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments at its core. It’s remarkable that the same liberals who think business monopolies are sinister think monopolies of political power are progressive. When they can’t pass their programs because of the constitutional safeguards, they complain about “gridlock” — a cliché that shows they miss the whole point of the enumeration and separation of powers.

Well, I don’t have to tell you that this way of thinking is absolutely alien to that of today’s politicians and pundits. Can you imagine Al Gore, Dan Rostenkowski, or Tom Brokaw having a conversation about political principles with any of the Founding Fathers? If you can, you must have a vivid fantasy life.

And the result of the loss of our original political idiom has been, as I say, to invert the original presumptions. The average American, whether he has had high-school civics or a degree in political science, is apt to assume that the Constitution somehow empowers the government to do nearly anything, while implicitly limiting our rights by listing them. Not that anyone would say it this way. But it’s as if the Bill of Rights had said that the enumeration of the federal government’s powers in the Constitution is not meant to deny or disparage any other powers it may choose to claim, while the rights not given to the people in the Constitution are reserved to the federal government to give or withhold, and the states may be progressively stripped of their original powers.

What it comes to is that we don’t really have an operative Constitution anymore. The federal government defines its own powers day by day. It’s limited not by the list of its powers in the Constitution, but by whatever it can get away with politically. Just as the president can now send troops abroad to fight without a declaration of war, Congress can pass a national health care program without a constitutional delegation of power. The only restraint left is political opposition.

If you suspect I’m overstating the change from our original principles, I give you the late Justice Hugo Black. In a 1965 case called Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court struck down a law forbidding the sale of contraceptives on grounds that it violated a right of “privacy.” (This supposed right, of course, became the basis for the Court’s even more radical 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, but that’s another story.) Justice Black dissented in the Griswold case on the following ground: “I like my privacy as well as the next [man],” he wrote, “but I am nevertheless compelled to admit that government has a right to invade it unless prohibited by some specific constitutional provision.” What a hopelessly muddled — and really sinister — misconception of the relation between the individual and the state: government has a right to invade our privacy, unless prohibited by the Constitution. You don’t have to share the Court’s twisted view of the right of privacy in order to be shocked that one of its members takes this view of the “right” of government to invade privacy.

It gets crazier. In 1993 the Court handed down one of the most bizarre decisions of all time. For two decades, enemies of legal abortion had been supporting Republican candidates in the hope of filling the Court with appointees who would review Roe v. Wade. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court finally did so. But even with eight Republican appointees on the Court, the result was not what the conservatives had hoped for. The Court reaffirmed Roe.

Its reasoning was amazing. A plurality opinion — a majority of the five-justice majority in the case — admitted that the Court’s previous ruling in Roe might be logically and historically vulnerable. But it held that the paramount consideration was that the Court be consistent, and not appear to be yielding to public pressure, lest it lose the respect of the public. Therefore the Court allowed Roe to stand.

Among many things that might be said about this ruling, the most basic is this: The Court in effect declared itself a third party to the controversy, and then, setting aside the merits of the two principals’ claims, ruled in its own interest! It was as if the referee in a prizefight had declared himself the winner. Cynics had always suspected that the Court did not forget its self-interest in its decisions, but they never expected to hear it say so.

The three justices who signed that opinion evidently didn’t realize what they were saying. A distinguished veteran Court-watcher (who approved of Roe, by the way) told me he had never seen anything like it. The Court was actually telling us that it put its own welfare ahead of the merits of the arguments before it. In its confusion, it was blurting out the truth.

But by then very few Americans could even remember the original constitutional plan. The original plan was as Madison and Tocqueville described it: State government was to be the rule, federal government the exception. The states’ powers were to be “numerous and indefinite,” federal powers “few and defined.” This is a matter not only of history, but of iron logic: the Constitution doesn’t make sense when read any other way. As Madison asked, why bother listing particular federal powers unless unlisted powers are withheld?

The unchecked federal government has not only overflowed its banks; it has even created its own economy. Thanks to its exercise of myriad unwarranted powers, it can claim tens of millions of dependents, at least part of whose income is due to the abuse of the taxing and spending powers for their benefit: government employees, retirees, farmers, contractors, teachers, artists, even soldiers. Large numbers of these people are paid much more than their market value because the taxpayer is forced to subsidize them. By the same token, most taxpayers would instantly be better off if the federal government simply ceased to exist — or if it suddenly returned to its constitutional functions.

Can we restore the Constitution and recover our freedom? I have no doubt that we can. Like all great reforms, it will take an intelligent, determined effort by many people. I don’t want to sow false optimism.

But the time is ripe for a constitutional counterrevolution. Discontent with the ruling system, as the 1992 Perot vote showed, is deep and widespread among several classes of people: Christians, conservatives, gun owners, taxpayers, and simple believers in honest government all have their reasons. The rulers lack legitimacy and don’t believe in their own power strongly enough to defend it.

The beauty of it is that the people don’t have to invent a new system of government in order to get rid of this one. They only have to restore the one described in the Constitution — the system our government already professes to be upholding. Taken seriously, the Constitution would pose a serious threat to our form of government.

And for just that reason, the ruling parties will be finished as soon as the American people rediscover and awaken their dormant Constitution.

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Hitler’s War – What the Historians Neglect to Mention

NOVANEWS
History is written by the victors so this revisionist narrative of the Second World War is very different from what I was taught in school.

As always, I’m no historian, so I can’t with any certainty, vouch for the absolute historical accuracy of this or any text. But in any event, it’s a point of view that should be heard.

It begins with a short sequence of Angela Merkel opening the seventieth-year commemoration of the start of the war. As a Jew (dread phrase), and therefore a member of the oppressing tribe, I don’t comment on the doings of our victims whether that is the Palestinians and their leaders or, as in this case, the Germans. But I hope German readers and others will have plenty to say.

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Revolt of the Plebs BroadcastKeith: Johnson interviews the one and only Michael Collins Piper

Revolt of the Plebs Broadcast Jan 1, 2012

by crescentandcross

The one and only Keith Johnson interviews the one and only Michael Collins Piper about the fever of irrationality that has gripped much of the ‘movement’ in recent years.

Also, the shootings in Connecticut and whether there is a real ‘gun grab’ in process.

revolt-of-the-plebs-broadcast-jan-1-2013.mp3

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THANK YOU FOR ASSISTING WITH THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PRODUCING THIS PROGRAM

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بوعقبة يحبط محاولة رشوة قطري ZIONIST LEADERS IN QATAR

NOVANEWS
Photo: ‎احد اكبر الصحفيين في الجزائر يفجر قنبلة ..

قطر تحاول رشوة الصحفيين.بعد ان تعرض لمحاولة رشوة من طرف قطر .و..بعد..ان اصبحت نسبة مشاهدة الجزيرة في الحضيض...تحولوا الى شراء الصحف و الصحفيين المحليين عبر مبالغ ضخمة

..الخبر نشر على كل الصحف...هذا رابط جريدة الخبر الجزائرية اكبر الصحف هنا http://www.elkhabar.com/ar/autres/souk/279729.html‎

Posted by: Siba Bizri

Arabic Shoah Editor in Chief

 فجر الكاتب الصحفي سعد بوعقبة أمس قنبلة من العيار الثقيل عندما كتب في عموده اليومي ”نقطة نظام” في الزميلة ”الفجر”، أن مسؤولا بشركة قطرية عاملة في السوق الجزائرية حاول إرشاءه. وأوضح بوعقبة المعروف بجرأته ”اتصل بي مدير الإعلام في شركة قطرية عاملة في الجزائر واقترح علي لقاء مع مدير الشركة، وقال لي إن ما تكتبه مقلق للقطريين ويريدون الاتصال بك عن طريق هذا المدير، وطلب مني أن لا أخبر مديرة الجريدة التي أعمل فيها بهذا الأمر”. وأضاف بوعقبة أنه يكره القطريين ”عندما حاولوا إسكاتي عن طريق استعمال السلطة في الجزائر ه… وعندما لم يوفقوا عمدوا إلى محاولة رشوتي وإسكاتي بالرشوة”.

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Dr Norman Finkelstein Full Documentary

NOVANEWS

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Will 2013 be the Year American Jews Secede from IsraHell?

NOVANEWS

If American Jews think that what is being done in their name is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.

ed note–generally I find Burston’s ideas tolerable, as he does not have that mad dog disposition that seems to go hand in hand with organized Jewish interests.

HOWEVER, the real question that Burston & co need to be asking here is not whether there is going to be a mass secession from Israel on the part of American (and worldwide, for that matter) Jews, but rather there is going to be a secession from JUDAISM.

Israel, Zionism and all their siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc, all spring forth from one common well, and it is JUDAISM. It has been the source of conflict the VERY MOMENT it was put into practice thousands of years ago and remains so today.

Until there are more Gilad Atzmons out there willing to have this discussion, the Jewish problem–affecting both Jew and Gentile alike–will continue on until the consummation of the world takes place.

Haaretz

By Bradley Burston

One day in the future, when it all comes horribly down, will Israelis finally realize that there were warning signs all along?

More to the point of the ultimate survival of Israel, could it be that when the real alarm sounds, when the genuine danger impends, Israelis won’t hear a thing?

The answers may lie in how Israelis react to the canary in the coal mine, their forward recon unit in the world, the American Jewish community.

In fact, as the new year dawns, there are mounting signs that 2013 may be the year in which U.S. Jews – in the main, liberal in outlook, committed to tolerance, pluralism, and a vigorous, sincere pursuit of peace – effectively secede from this state of Israel.

They remain committed to supporting the existence of an Israel which balances Israeli and Jewish culture with respect for minority rights, democratic values. They will stay active in promoting the welfare of Israel’s disadvantaged.

But many American Jews are already distancing themselves in word and deed from a government it sees as arrogant and short-sighted, enslaved to a runaway train of settlement, dismissive of the rights of Palestinians and other non-Jews, cold to the concerns of a sinking middle class and the drowning disadvantaged, contemptuous of the concerns of the larger Jewish world.

The catalysts: settlement expansion – especially as it strikes at Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects and mocks Washington – and backhanded insensitivity to the rights and ritual of non-Orthodox Jews.

In recent weeks, some of Israel’s most influential defenders in the States have warned of hardline Israeli policies and parties which could lead “to the destruction (the self-destruction) of Israel” (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic), and “national suicide” (Thomas Friedman).

Israeli leaders lent them not so much as a deaf ear. Nothing.

Even when the issue touches directly on the religious concerns of American Jewry, the government’s response is as dismissive and condescending as it is dishonest.

Last week, waking, years in arrears, to discover that U.S. Jews are appalled by continuing arrests for violating Orthodox-ordered prohibitions on women praying aloud and wearing prayer shawls by the Western Wall, the prime minister appointed Natan Sharansky to look into the matter.

Within hours, however, the Prime Minister’s Office rushed out a message aimed at Israelis, indicating that the appointment was largely a charade.

“There are no changes in prayer arrangements at the Western Wall and no committee has been established,” Netanyahu’s office was quoted as saying.

There are Israelis who will do anything not to be reminded that American support, anchored by U.S. Jewry, is the strategic asset which makes all other strategic assets possible. The 2012 election, after all, saw prominent members of the ruling Likud-Beiteinu, notably Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon, actively campaigning for the defeat of President Obama.

But that was then.

Now, as Israel’s election campaign nears its home stretch, the heavily favored Likud-Beiteinu party, which encompasses the principal authors of nearly all of the anti-democratic legislation of the last four years, offers fresh voices and perilous new avenues for alienating American Jews from Israel.

There is, for example, Moshe Feiglin, who will enter the Knesset following the January 22 election. Something of his political philosophy can be gleaned from a 2004 article on radical settlers, in which Feiglin spoke to Goldberg, then writing in the New Yorker:

“Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?” Feiglin said to me. “For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them.” In any case, Feiglin said, “You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber and a killer and a liar. The Arab destroys everything he touches.”

Then there is political novice Yair Shamir, catapulted from nowhere to the very upper level of Likud-Beiteinu, thanks in part to his late father’s prime ministerial heritage of having warred with then-president George H.W. Bush over the issue of settlement construction.

Last week, an opinion piece by Yair Shamir was headlined, “In Israel-US relations, settlements are entirely beside the point.”

Wrong. As his father once inadvertently proved.

But candidate Shamir went further. Taking up where Danon left off, Shamir attacked Obama’s nomination of John Kerry as secretary of state – over settlements. In essence, Shamir made acquiescence to settlement construction a condition of Israel-U.S. ties: “Many are liable to feel that his nomination will deter Israel from implementing its decision to build thousands of apartments in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and will be viewed as an obstacle to Israel-U.S. relations.”

American Jews want to know what is being done in their name. In the name of Judaism. And if they think that it is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.

American Jews are tiring of being told that opposing Israel’s policies puts Israelis in danger. Blackmail is not persuasion. If the hard right is so certain that it can get along without American Jewish support, it may all too soon get the chance to find out.

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Teenage girl says she was stoned by Zio-Nazi Haredi Boys

NOVANEWS

Girl says she was mobbed, assaulted by group of Racist Zionist yeshiva boys over her appearance. ‘I never thought this could happen,’ she says

ynet

M., a teenage girl, was attacked by a group of young yeshiva students on a Ganey Tikva street on Sunday. According to the teen, the reason was her physical appearance, which alludes to her sexual orientation.

M, 17, was walking down the street in the central Israeli city – a route she said she has been taking regularly over the past two years – when she was mobbed and assaulted.

“It was the middle of the afternoon,” she told Ynet on Tuesday. “I was wearing my headphones and I passed a bus stop for yeshiva boys. There was a small group there. I passed them by and a few seconds later I started hearing yelling.

“I took my headphones off and turned around, and realized that they were shouting at me. They were yelling ‘lesbian’ and ‘is it a boy or a girl?’ and then they started throwing rocks at me. Once they saw I was hurt they ran away. I didn’t chase them – I just got out of there.”

M. and her mother filed a police complaint shortly thereafter.

“I was shocked. I never thought something like this could happen. I pass through this neighborhood every day. I did nothing provocative – it’s not like I was wearing the rainbow flag on my back. I was minding my own business. I wasn’t bothering anyone.

“Why did they mob me? They were judging me based on my appearance – and they were right, the way I look isn’t misleading – but the fact that a woman has a short hairdo doesn’t mean anything. I’m not active anywhere, they couldn’t have recognized me from anywhere. It was all about the way I look.”

The stones hurled at M. hit her face, bruising her. “My mother is livid. She insisted that we file a complaint with the police and make this incident public. She’s right. This is 2013 – these things shouldn’t happen.”

The incident, she added, will not scare her into changing her routine. “I’m a little scared but I’ll walk through there again. I see no reason not to. They shouldn’t affect my life in any way.”

The police confirmed that a complaint was filed, saying that the matter was under investigation.

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