Archive for August, 2009



WAR AND FUTURE CANNON FODDER

versailles_cannonfodder

PEACE AND FUTURE CANNON FODDER is the title of a remarkably prescient cartoon created in 1920, two years after the end of World War I, showing the leaders of the victorious powers, Georges Clemenceau (France), Lloyd George (Great Britain), Woodrow Wilson (U.S.A.), and Orlando (Italy), leaving the Palace of Versailles, their hats apparently doffed out of respect for the future dead, while a small child weeps.

On the gound beside the child lies a copy of the Paris Peace Treaty, which was forced on a defeated Germany at Versailles, and whose terms, many believed, were so harsh, that it would sooner or later lead to a rerun of the conflict it was meant to end.

Above the child’s head is a comment “1940 CLASS”.

(In the European context, “1940 CLASS” refers to those who would be eligible for conscription in 1940, not to those who would graduate in that year. I am, nevertheless, reminded of the huge roster of names of Harvard men, undergraduates listed according to their class, including Patrick Joseph Kennedy Jr., Class of 1938, and those of the Classes of 1945, 1946, 1947, and 1948, who would never live to see Commencement Day in any of those years, and postgraduates according to their School, on a stone tablet on the south wall of Harvard’s Memorial Church.)

The caption reads: “The Tiger: Curious! I seem to hear a child weeping!”

My attention this morning was caught by the headline of the following newspaper article, “Afghanistan conflict could last 40 years, says new head of British Army“, with the subtitle: “General Sir David Richards, the new head of the British Army believes the West’s mission to stabilise Afghanistan might take as long as 40 years.”

So Colonel Blimp, or whatever his name is, thinks it’ll take forty years to “stabilise” (his words) that unhappy country. A bit optimistic, don’t you think, when all other attempts to conquer, pacify, or otherwise control Afghanistan have failed.

And is it really our “mission” there to “stabilise Afghanistan”, or are there other reasons for our being there?

Long march to victory? These soliders grandchildren could be fighting in Afghanistan. Photo: REUTERS

Long march to victory? These soliders grandchildren could be fighting in Afghanistan. Photo: REUTERS

To what savage god, or gods, are we really sacrificing so many young lives?

I am reminded of that remarkable passage in the chapter titled, “Snow”, in Thomas Mann’s, The Magic Mountain, when its hero, the young Hans Castorp, whom we presume will later perish in World War 1, has a premonitory vision while lost in a snowstorm in the mountains above Davos, Switzerland. Written in 1924, this allegory of the Great War constitutes a remarkable statement on that terrible conflict, and indeed on all wars fought in the last and the current century.

If you read nothing else by Mann, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929, read this passage.

Returning to the newspaper article, the caption beneath the photo says it all… .

Curious! I seem to hear a child weeping!

READ ARTICLE

Hiroshima After Sixty [Four] Years: The Debate Continues

Color footage of 1945 showing the horrors in the Japanese city of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb dropped by the American airplane “Enola Gaye”

My thanks are due to Sudhan (Dr Nasir Khan) for posting the excerpt from Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution” in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.

It was, of course, on this day, 64 years ago, that the bomb was dropped.

As a 14-year-old schoolboy, fascinated by History, I read Pulitzer prize-winning author, John Hersey’s, Hiroshima, which left me angry and deeply shocked and which led to a numer of heated arguments with fellow schoolboys at the boarding school I attended at the time.

Like many, my step-mother, who was 6 at the time, accepted at face value the story put about in 1945 that the dropping of the bomb was necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of US and British soldiers who would perish in an invasion of the Japanese mainland, and it was from her that I imbibed this version of events, which I continued to accept for several years until I saw a TV interview with Denis Healey, former Minister of Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequor (UK counterpart to US Secretary of the Treasury), who said that the bomb had been used to bring the war to a swift end before the Russians muscled in and demanded their tid-bit of a supine Japan.

Then, a few years ago, I read the chapter, “Japanese Intentions in the Second World War”, in Gore Vidal’s, The Last Empire, which introduced me to the work of Gar Alperovitz, Cold War revisionist historian, whose book, The Decision to Use the Bomb, is frequently cited in the article posted by Sudhan.

(Vidal also reviews Robert Stinnett’s Day of Deceit, in which its author argues that President Roosevelt had advance knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and withheld intelligence of it from the US Navy commander in Hawaii in order to “bounce” American public opinion into entering the war against Japan, but that’s another story.)

Published on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb in 2005 in Commondreams.org, Alperovitz’s article, Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues, constitutes a fitting and thought-provoking way of marking today’s anniversary:

Hiroshima After Sixty Years: The Debate Continues

by Gar Alperovitz, published on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. One might think that by now historians would agree on all the fundamental issues. The reality, however, is just the opposite: All the major issues involved in the decision are still very much a matter of dispute among experts. An obvious question is why this should be so after so many years.

Did the atomic bomb, in fact, cause Japan to surrender? Most Americans think the answer is self-evident. However, many historical studies–including new publications by two highly regarded scholars–challenge the conventional understanding. In a recently released Harvard University Press volume drawing upon the latest Japanese sources, for instance, Professor Tsuyohsi Hasegawa concludes that the traditional “myth cannot be supported by historical facts.” By far the most important factor forcing the decision, his research indicates, was the Soviet declaration of war against Japan on August 8, 1945, just after the Hiroshima bombing.

Similarly, Professor Herbert Bix–whose biography of Hirohito won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction–also writes in a recent article that “the Soviet factor carried greater weight in the eyes of the emperor and most military leaders.”

Original article

RELATED ARTICLES:

  • Doctor Atomic: Wartime Decisions and the Atomic Age
  • The Decision to Drop the Bomb
  • Do Freedom of Information Act Files Prove FDR Had Foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor?
  • The Pearl Harbor Deception
  • Homage to Budd Schulberg

    I still remember being enthralled by “On the Waterfront”, for which Budd Schulberg wrote the screenplay, when I first saw it in my late teens on the small screen back in the 70s with its fine performances by Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger and the delectable Eva Marie Saint.

    The dilemma which Terry Malloy, the role played by Brando, faces on screen echos that which Schulberg himself faced when called upon to testify before the House Committee on Unamerican activities, itself a most unAmerican institution, and which he was able to justify in the face of accusations of betrayal — or “rationalise”, according to your point of view.

    What makes Schulberg especially interesting for me is his relationship with the tragically doomed F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose “Tender is the Night” I am currently rereading, and the novel that that relationship engendered, “The Disenchanted”, which has been described as more Fitzgerald than Fitzgerald himself, and which is “the thinly disguised story of F. Scott Fitzgerald in his alcoholic decline, when life had overtaken him to the point that his genius could no longer be expressed in the only way he knew how: his writing”.

    As W. Kaplan writes in his review of this book on Amazon.com:

    Because of “The Disenchanted,” which I first read as a preteen, I turned to F. Scott Fitzgerald and read everything he had ever written. I believe that my understanding of his works and his life were and are rooted in Budd Schulberg’s moving and brilliant book, and if I could have thanked him in person, I would have done so, a thousand times over.

    Schulberg will not be remembered by younger readers, but his life with its choices and dilemmas encapsulates so much of 20th century American History that it is worth being reviewed.

    Budd Schulberg, Screenwriter, Dies at 95

    TIM WEINER | NYT | August 5, 2009

    Budd Schulberg, who wrote the award-winning screenplay for “On the Waterfront” and created a classic American archetype of naked ambition, Sammy Glick, in his novel “What Makes Sammy Run?,” died on Wednesday. He was 95 and lived in the Brookside section of Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

    His death was confirmed by his wife, Betsy.

    Mr. Schulberg also wrote journalism, short stories, novels and biographies. He collaborated with F. Scott Fitzgerald, arrested the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and named names before a Communist-hunting Congressional committee. But he was best known for writing some of the most famous lines in the history of the movies.

    Some were delivered by Marlon Brando playing the longshoreman Terry Malloy in the 1954 film “On the Waterfront.” Malloy had lost a shot at a prizefighting title by taking a fall for easy money.

    Click on link below to read rest of article and parts 2 and 3 of Hollywood Renegade

    Budd Schulberg – Hollywood Renegade – 1 of 3

    “I coulda been a contender,” Malloy tells his brother, Charley (Rod Steiger). “I coulda been somebody. Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

    “Hollywood Renegade” is the life story of novelist/screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who at 94-years-old, still faces the controversy surrounding his conscience-driven decisions to write a novel, “What Makes Sammy Run?”, unearthing the moral corruption inside his hometown of Hollywood, and later denouncing the Communist Party in America, testifying at HUAC and naming names of people whom he once shared political ideals with. The son of film pioneer, B.P. Schulberg, Budd grew up a Hollywood prince, but was later branded a pariah for turning his back on his childhood home. He is the most prolific writer ever to come from Hollywood and this film will take you on his extraordinary journey, inextricably tied to the history of the 20th century.

    “I coulda been a contender.”

    Continue reading ‘Homage to Budd Schulberg’

    Bought!

    Last night I received an e-mail from Michael Moore alerting his readers to Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Health Care Reform. As I am resident in the UK, I didn’t read it until this morning, long after Keith’s show had been broadcast.

    Fortunately, Keith’s comment is on Youtube, so I have been able to catch up with what he said. And Michael’s e-mail contains part of the transcript which, of course, he received in advance.

    Click on link below to read Michael’s e-mail, together with a brief section of Keith’s editorial last night and what Keith has to say about Senator Thune.

    Here’s the video on Youtube with “info”:

    Keith Olbermann Special Comment On Health Care Reform

    Keith Olbermann calls out Sen. John Thune, Sen. John McCain, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans – whom he argues “owns” the insurance industry – as well as a few Democrats, too – specifically the “Blue Dogs” – in a “Special Comment”.

    Continue reading ‘Bought!’

    Big Pharma, U.S. Elections and Public Policy, and the Center for Responsive Politics

    When you ask your kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up, honey?” and she responds, “a lobbyist!”, here’s a t-shirt of that moment.

    Keith Olbermann, in his rant/impassioned invective on Health Care Reform, which I posted earlier today on Suzie-Q, cited evidence of campaign contributions from Big Pharma to both Republican and Democrat (“Blue Dog”) Congressmen opposing Health Care Reform, collated by a body known as Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). Their daily blog, Capitol Eye Blog, provides daily news plus a daily article, Capitol Eye Opener, “Your morning article on the world of money in politics…”.

    I have posted today’s Capitol Eye Opener below, together with the opening paragraphs of the most interesting article they have dug up today, which is from The Boston Globe.

    capital_eye_logo

    Capital Eye Opener: Tuesday, August 4

    Published by Dave Levinthal on August 4, 2009 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Your morning digest of of the world of money in politics

    • Like your generic drugs and the often cheaper prices they offer vesus the name brand stuff? Big drug companies don’t necessarily agree — and they’re spending millions of dollars to convince Congress to taylor health care legislation to their interests, the Associated Press reports.
    • When you ask your kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up, honey?” and she responds, “a lobbyist!”, here’s a t-shirt of that moment.
    • The Center for Responsive Politics found itself in the news throughout the nation today. We bein in Minnesota, where Pat Doyle of Minneapolis’ Star-Tribune writes about how the health care industry is funneling signifncant amounts of money to lawmakers. In Rhode Island, the Providence Journal’s Steve Peoples notes our research in writing about an increasingly hot congressional race. And Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson discusses how health care lobbyists are attempting to influence the Blue Dogs — conservative Democrats who, in many cases, haven’t made up their minds on how to reform the nation’s health care system.

    Who will stand strong in heat of healthcare fight?

    By Derrick Z. Jackson | Boston Globe | August 4, 2009

    HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi flashed some mighty sharp fangs last week at the insurance industry. The industry, along with drug companies, hospitals, and medical associations, is trying to torpedo government insurance options to insure all Americans. Saying the industry is conducting a “shock-and-awe carpet bombing’’ to “perpetuate the status quo,’’ she went so far as to say the insurance companies “are the villains in this,’’ with their “exorbitant profits.’’ She charged, “they have been immoral all along how they have treated the people that they insure.’’

    But considering insurers’ campaign contributions to Democrats, including Pelosi, who is actually going to bite the health industry in the leg on behalf of the American people? Is it really going to be Pelosi? Senate majority leader Harry Reid? President Obama?

    SOURCE

    Ben the Banker…Yes, We Can!

    More fun at Ben the Banker’s expense for all you fun-loving doods out there who love to watch him stutter and squirm in the face of awkward questions about the Fed.

    But first, a video of the soi-disant Wizard of Oz being exposed as the charlatan he is:

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    Now for an article by Gary North:

    Why Bernanke Is in Panic Mode

    Gary North | Lew Rockwell.com | Saturday, August 1, 2009
     

    Bernanke video: He stutters; he stammers; he is in visible panic mode over Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve. Watch it. You’ll love it! Then send it to your friends.

    Usually, when Ben Bernanke is interviewed, he has the demeanor of a college professor in the presence of freshman students. Of course, as a full professor, he did not have to teach freshmen. That is for untenured assistant professors to do. Stammering and stuttering are therefore a real departure for him. There is a reason for this.

    For the first time since 1914, there is a public debate in Congress over the Federal Reserve’s power. Never before has a majority of the House of Representatives called for what should always have existed: Congressional scrutiny over the FED’s money. Bernanke says that Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve is a bill to audit Federal Reserve policy. Yet the bill says nothing about auditing policy. So, what is he talking about?

    Bernanke says that Congress can have access to an audit at any time. Sure it can – an audit vetted and sanitized by the FED, where no one knows which banks got what bailout money. This is an audit in the way a CIA audit is an audit. The main differences are these: (1) the CIA legally operates only outside the borders of the United States; (2) the CIA can assassinate any uncooperative Congressman who insists on a full audit. The FED does not have the second power, but it is not limited by the first restriction.

    What has Bernanke panicked is this: the Federal Reserve has bailed out the biggest banks and has let almost 100 little ones die. This is crony capitalism at its most notorious.

    Read more…

    Here’s a video of the same occasion on youtube:

    09 07 30 Bernanke Rebuttal – From PBS

    kdenninger | 30 July 2009

    On PBS I got a question into Ben Bernanke – who promptly ducked it. Here’s why he ducked it, and what it means. Analysis and a challenge, which I fully expect Bernanke will refuse to accept, of course.

    Pass this one around to your friends and associates.

    MARVIN BUSH, BUILDING 7, AND FORBIDDEN QUESTIONS

    Marvin P. Bush, the president’s younger brother, was a principal in a company called Securacom that provided security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles International Airport. The company was backed by KuwAm, a Kuwaiti-American investment firm on whose board Marvin Bush also served.

    According to its present CEO, Barry McDaniel, the company had an ongoing contract to handle security at the World Trade Center “up to the day the buildings fell down.”

    The World Trade Center was destroyed just days after a heightened security alert was lifted at the landmark 110-story towers, security personnel said yesterday [September 11]. Daria Coard, 37, a guard at Tower One, said the security detail had been working 12-hour shifts for the past two weeks because of numerous phone threats. But on Thursday [September 6], bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed.

    On the weekend of 9/8, 9/9 there was a ‘power down’ condition in WTC tower 2, the south tower. This power down condition meant there was no electrical supply for approx 36 hrs from floor 50 up… “Of course without power there were no security cameras, no security locks on doors and many, many ‘engineers’ coming in and out of the tower. Continue reading ‘MARVIN BUSH, BUILDING 7, AND FORBIDDEN QUESTIONS’


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