Descent Into Barbarism: The US and NATO Wage War on the World

Finian Cunningham: The argument is won: capitalism as an effective system to organise society and provide for human needs has expired. The evidence is conclusive. Trillions of dollars to kickstart the economy in the US and Europe may have given an ephemeral lease of life to the financial class to spin the casino wheel once again, but it is more apparent by the day that the tentative “recovery” has spluttered to a standstill. Gridlocked by unprecedented levels of personal and national debts, the engine of production – the real economy – is in a state of rigor mortis.

This collapse has been a long time in the making. Decades of easy credit was up to now a way for the ruling class – government, corporations, financial institutions – to let the majority of workers subsidise the chronic loss in their livelihoods, which have been drained since the mid-1970s by the oligarchy’s self-aggrandisement from wage cutting, regressive taxation and public spending cuts. The political class – whether liberal or conservative, right or left – have facilitated this giant wealth-siphoning process.

However, the point is that the economic system is now objectively shown to be moribound. And it is impossible for so-called mainstream politicians to think of any other way of doing business. They are ideologically blind. Recall former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s arrogant assertion: “There is no alternative”. Likewise, US President Barack Obama insists on throwing billions more dollars at the banks and financiers on Wall Street. But that won’t kickstart an economy in which millions of workers are without jobs and homes or who are on crumby wages and up to their necks in debt. The profit system has hit an historic dead-end and this gridlock is a result of deep trends to do with the decline in capitalism as a mode of social production (falling wages and profits and the concomitant explosion in financial speculation and debts).

Widespread poverty and human misery is now seen on a massive scale in the so-called developed world. Some 40 million Americans, for example, are subsisting on food stamps. The distinction between “developed” and “developing” economies (always a myth anyway) is blurred. The ranks of the world’s long-suffering poor are swelled with dispossessed blue and white-collar workers and their families from across the US and Europe. Together more than ever, they stand shut out from those gated havens of obscene wealth for a global minority. Read more of this post

Proud to be a Pakistani

S. Tariq

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Abu Dhabi to London on business. Let me confess that I am not a happy air traveller and nine times out of 10 am inclined to take a sedative and sleep my way through the flight. This time however, I made an exception and struck up a conversation with a middle aged, distinguished looking European sitting in the seat next to mine. After our initial exchange of pleasantries was over, we came to the inevitable question of where we came from. When I told him that I was a Pakistani, he looked at me in a distinctly uncomfortable manner. Feeling a bit peevish and angry, I asked him if something was bothering him. He stuttered a bit and then said: “To tell you the truth, I do not know how to carry on a conversation with anyone from Pakistan, since they invariably come around to lambasting westerners for all ills that beset their country.” I was now confronted with a complex situation where I had to, in the few hours that we had available, act as an unaccredited ambassador of my country and also keep myself engaged in conversation to distract my mind from the ‘perils’ of flying. By the time we landed at Heathrow, I had managed to salvage the Pakistani image to a large extent and secure an invitation to lunch at the gentleman’s family home in Sussex. We are now good friends and ‘Wally’, as I shall discreetly call him, has become an avid lobbyist for everything Pakistani.

Passengers travelling on a foreign airline flying from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan were awakened from their reverie by loud expletives answered by a soft female voice trying to explain that snatching up a second tray of food from the passing trolley was a definite ‘no no’. Perhaps it was the sight of the chic stewardess, who spoke Urdu flawlessly, that had aroused the ‘macho male chauvinist’ in the moustached and bearded Pakistani, but the man was berating the poor girl in a language that made me lower my head in shame.

The other day, while window shopping with my family in Jinnah Super, we were stopped in our tracks by the sight of a Pakistani escorting a group of elderly foreign visitors around the shops. The man, who appeared educated and fairly well-to-do, was engaged in what can best be termed as a despicable show of subservience and sycophancy towards his charges. I wonder whether he was amply rewarded by his colonial master’s for selling his pride and making a fool out of himself.

And now we have the story, where a bunch of our so-called ‘cricketing heroes’ got the snubbing of their life in the recently conducted Indian Premier League bidding gala, when not one of the teams made a bid for them. I wonder how many of these stars will return home chastised with the realisation that they have brought a bad name to Pakistan and how many of them will once again rush to the next auction only to suffer more humiliation.

Somehow our concept of national pride got warped with the early demise of our Founding Father and the inept leadership that followed. We set aside the notion of collective pride in being Pakistanis and set about developing individual vanity. We nurtured a culture where quiet dignity and humility were considered signs of weakness and as an icing on the cake, we demonstrated our negative qualities to the outside world. We did not even then realise what damage we had done, till such time we were singled out at foreign airports and visa offices and subjected to procedures that no self-respecting human would tolerate.

I often wonder if we can turn things around, before it is too late. I have begun a personal campaign of politely telling people not to spit on the sidewalk or litter our roads, not to put posters on road signs meant to guide people, not to break queues or traffic lanes and generally behave in a dignified manner. In doing so, I have courted trouble, but I intend to persevere in the hope that others will follow my example and perhaps one day this small group of people will grow, heralding a change – a change that will spawn a new breed of citizens who will travel forth into the world commanding respect, awe and pride in being a Pakistani.

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Bases, Missiles, Wars: U.S. Consolidates Global Military Network

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Rick Rozoff | Afghanistan is occupying center stage at the moment, but in the wings are complementary maneuvers to expand a string of new military bases and missile shield facilities throughout Eurasia and the Middle East.

The advanced Patriot theater anti-ballistic missile batteries in place or soon to be in Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates describe an arc stretching from the Baltic Sea through Southeast Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Caucasus and beyond to East Asia. A semicircle that begins on Russia’s northwest and ends on China’s northeast.

Over the past decade the United States has steadily (though to much of the world imperceptibly) extended its military reach to most all parts of the world. From subordinating almost all of Europe to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through the latter’s expansion into Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union, to arbitrarily setting up a regional command that takes in the African continent (and all but one of its 53 nations). From invading and establishing military bases in the Middle East and Central and South Asia to operating a satellite surveillance base in Australia and taking charge of seven military installations in South America. In the vacuum left in much of the world by the demise of the Cold War and the former bipolar world, the U.S. rushed in to insert its military in various parts of the world that had been off limits to it before.

And this while Washington cannot even credibly pretend that it is threatened by any other nation on earth.

It has employed a series of tactics to accomplish its objective of unchallenged international armed superiority, using an expanding NATO to build military partnerships not only throughout Europe but in the Caucasus, the Middle East, North and West Africa, Asia and Oceania as well as employing numerous bilateral and regional arrangements.

The pattern that has emerged is that of the U.S. shifting larger concentrations of troops from post-World War II bases in Europe and Japan to smaller, more dispersed forward basing locations south and east of Europe and progressively closer to Russia, Iran and China.

The ever-growing number of nations throughout the world being pulled into Washington’s military network serve three main purposes.

First, they provide air, troop and weapons transit and bases for wars like those against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, for naval operations that are in fact blockades by other names, and for regional surveillance.

Second, they supply troops and military equipment for deployments to war and post-conflict zones whenever and wherever required.

Last, allies and client states are incorporated into U.S. plans for an international missile shield that will put NATO nations and select allies under an impenetrable canopy of interceptors while other nations are susceptible to attack and deprived of the deterrent effect of being able to retaliate.

The degree to which these three components are being integrated is advancing rapidly. The war in Afghanistan is the major mechanism for forging a global U.S. military nexus and one which in turn provides the Pentagon the opportunity to obtain and operate bases from Southeast Europe to Central Asia.

One example that illustrates this global trend is Colombia. In early August the nation’s vice president announced that the first contingent of Colombian troops were to be deployed to serve under NATO command in Afghanistan. Armed forces from South America will be assigned to the North Atlantic bloc to fight a war in Asia. The announcement of the Colombian deployment came shortly after another: That the Pentagon would acquire seven new military bases in Colombia.

When the U.S. deploys Patriot missile batteries to that nation – on its borders with Venezuela and Ecuador – the triad will be complete.

Afghanistan is occupying center stage at the moment, but in the wings are complementary maneuvers to expand a string of new military bases and missile shield facilities throughout Eurasia and the Middle East.

On January 28 the British government will host a conference in London on Afghanistan that, in the words of what is identified as the UK Government’s Afghanistan website, will be co-hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Afghanistan’s President Karzai and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by British Foreign Minister David Miliband, his outgoing Afghan counterpart Rangin Spanta, and UN Special Representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide.

The site announces that “The international community are [sic] coming together to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy.” [1]

The conference will also be attended by “foreign ministers from International Security Assistance Force partners, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours and key regional player [sic].”

Public relations requirements dictate that concerns about the well-being of the Afghan people, “a stable and secure Afghanistan” and “regional cooperation” be mentioned, but the meeting will in effect be a war council, one that will be attended by the foreign ministers of scores of NATO and NATO partner states.

In the two days preceding the conference NATO’s Military Committee will meet at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. “Together with the Chiefs of Defence of all 28 NATO member states, 35 Chiefs of Defence of Partner countries and Troop Contributing Nations will also be present.” [2]

That is, top military commanders from 63 nations – almost a third of the world’s 192 countries – will gather at NATO Headquarters to discuss the next phase of the expanding war in South Asia and the bloc’s new Strategic Concept. Among those who will attend the two-day Military Committee meeting are General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan; Admiral James Stavridis, chief U.S. military commander in Europe and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander; Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Israeli Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Former American secretary of state Madeleine Albright has been invited to speak about the Strategic Concept on behalf of the twelve-member Group of Experts she heads, whose task it is to promote NATO’s 21st century global doctrine.

The Brussels meeting and London conference highlight the centrality that the war in Afghanistan has for the West and for its international military enforcement mechanism, NATO.

During the past few months Washington has been assiduously recruiting troops from assorted NATO partnership program nations for the war in Afghanistan, including from Armenia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Colombia, Jordan, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Ukraine and other nations that had not previously provided contingents to serve under NATO in the South Asian war theater. Added to forces from all 28 NATO member states and from Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Adriatic Charter and Contact Country programs, the Pentagon and NATO are assembling a coalition of over fifty nations for combat operations in Afghanistan.

Almost as many NATO partner nations as full member states have committed troops for the Afghanistan-Pakistan war: Afghanistan itself, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

The Afghan war zone is a colossal training ground for troops from around the world to gain wartime experience, to integrate armed forces from six continents under a unified command, and to test new weapons and weapons systems in real-life combat conditions.

Not only candidates for NATO membership but all nations in the world the U.S. has diplomatic and economic leverage over are being pressured to support the war in Afghanistan.

The American Forces Press Service featured a story last month about the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command East which revealed: “In addition to…French forces, Polish forces are in charge of battle space, and the Czech Republic, Turkey and New Zealand manage provincial reconstruction teams. In addition, servicemembers and civilians from Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates work with the command, and South Korea runs a hospital in the region.”

With the acknowledgment that Egyptian forces are assigned to NATO’s Afghan war, it is now known that troops from all six populated continents are subordinated to NATO in one war theater. [3] Read more of this post

“War on Terror” as a Cover for US Terrorism

“Dissent is no longer the duty of the engaged citizen but is becoming an act of terrorism ” – Chris Hedges

By Paul J | It’s ironic. It’s hypocritical. It’s a fraud. The “war on terrorism” branded by America is a propaganda cover for the worst terrorists in the world.

What was the invasion and occupation of Iraq but an act of terrorism? Everyone now knows that the faux war was born of a fraud. The deception had no legitimate purpose except to terrorize countries that (a) produce oil, (b) harbour Al-Qaeda or (c) threaten Israel.

Even the invasion of Afghanistan, considered a legitimate response to 9/11, could have been avoided. The Taliban appropriately asked the US to provide evidence of Osama bin Laden’s complicity in the 9/11 affair before deporting him.

Instead, we attacked Afghanistan to the cheers of terrorizing avengers. “We’ll show you what we do to those who terrorize America!” was the mantra. The USA is still terrorizing Afghanistan, thereby increasing Al-Qaeda cells.

The icing on the spread-fear cake has involved the USA terrorizing Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Not only are the countries America bombs terrorized. Every other country that might disobey our commands is threatened and made to fear for its existence.

Human life outside America and its stooges isn’t worth a tinker’s damn to terrorist America. Some 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died from American sanctions on Iraq. On 60 minutes in 1996, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: “We think the price is worth it.”

As of January 2010 and since the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, 1,366,350 Iraqi lives have been lost to terrorist slaughterers. “Never mind,” you say? “The price is worth it. Beside, they’re only Muslims who want to multiply and take over the world.”

Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and rendition programmes have been nothing but terrorizing to plant fear in the hearts and minds of any Arab or Muslim with negative feelings toward America.

Something about being a terrorist of “lesser breeds” tends to become a mindset that disregards national identities. Even Americans can become the objects of American terrorists. American Arabs and Muslims have been the objects of terrorism ever since 9/11.

According to Chris Hedges, “An Arab American, Syed Fahad Hashmi, made provocative statements, including calling America “the biggest terrorist in the world”. That led to his arrest and prosecution on trumped up charges, in much the same way that Professor Sami al-Aryan lost his job and freedom for being an outspoken critic of US and Israeli policy.

Hedges relates the terrorizing effect of these prosecutions even of American citizens. “The state,” he says, “can detain and prosecute people not for what they have done, or even for what they are planning to do, but for holding religious or political beliefs that the state deems seditious. The first of those targeted have been observant Muslims, but they will not be the last.

Chris Floyd points to incidents in countless towns and villages across America’s terror war fronts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen where a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis are further embittered against the American occupation by America’s terrorist killings.

“You want to stop the ‘radicalization’ of young Muslims? Chris asks. “It’s simple: stop killing innocent Muslims in wars of domination all over the world. Stop running ‘covert ops’ in every nation of the world (as Obama’s ‘special envoy’ Richard Holbrooke admitted last week) – murders, kidnappings, corruption and deception that make a howling mockery of the very ‘civilized values’ these wars and ops purport to defend.”

If America wants to stop terrorism, it needs to stop terrorizing the world.


Live well without fear

Akif Abdulamir | Everybody has a secret fear. It never surfaces until you are alone. You are then left to confront it in your own miserable way. Watching television never works but a quiet walk may help. The thing about fear is that it never gets better by brooding about it. Some find work a perfect way to forget but it is only a temporary solution. Besides, throwing yourself deep in your work can lead to health problems.

The worst thing about fear is that it isolates you from the rest of the world. You become incommunicable, irritable and self-destructive. You find you have many questions unanswered. When solutions are a luxury, you begin to lose interest in everything. So when it reaches a stage that we do nothing but stare on the wall all day, then it is ready to draw the final curtain.

It requires a strong family to get you out of misery. In its severest form, even families can do nothing but watch you go down. Conquering your worse fear is never easy but it helps to talk about it. Tapping the experience of people who were engulfed by fear and got out of it can help. One thing is for sure, you never get out of it unscathed. It will always be with you but the good news is that, once conquered, you are unlikely to suffer another attack.

I was talking to a few people who had the problem and each one of them convinced me that they are now better equipped to handle problems than they ever been before.


What really fuels fear then? The most common element is insecurity. It often hits people who are ambitious with long targets of success. When you have worked out a careful plan and are determined to see it through can lead to all sorts of anxieties.
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Love in Philosophy

love

When a lover is fortunate enough to meet his other half, they are both so intoxicated with affection, with friendship, and with love, that they cannot bear to let each other out of sight for a single instant.

Love sleeps on the naked earth, in partaking of his mother’s poverty…. In the space of a day he will be now, when all goes well with him, alive and blooming, and now dying, to be born again by virtue of his father’s nature, while what he gains will always ebb away as fast.

Love is always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him; and he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in; on the bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in-the streets, or at the doors of houses, taking his rest; and like his mother he is always in distress.

Like his father too, whom he also partly resembles, love is always plotting against the fair and good; love is bold, enterprising, strong, a mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit of wisdom, fertile in resources; a philosopher at all times, terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist. Love is by nature neither mortal nor immortal, but alive and flourishing at one moment when he is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of his father’s nature.

( Plato: 428-347 b.C., Greek philosopher, Symposium)

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Philosophy of Life

Do you really know where you are going? Do you have a plan-of-action to take the kinks out of your road to the future? …you can reach and find happiness. You can reach for that plain peace-of-mind which you desire. All you have to do is turn the key and open the door.

Don’t talk sentimental it always ends up drivel.

If you have been rejected many times in your life, then one more rejection then one more rejection isn’t going to make much difference. If you’re rejected, don’t automatically assume it’s your fault. The other person may have several reasons for not doing what you’re asking her to do: none of it may have anything to do with you. Perhaps the person is busy or not feeling well or genuinely not interested in spending time with you. Rejections are part of everyday life. Don’t let them bother you. Keep reaching out to others. Keep reaching out to others. When you begin to recieve positive responses, then you are on the right track. It’s all a matter of numbers. Count the positive responses and for get about the rejections.

Antidotes for loneliness in a goldfish bowl be easy to get to. Appear assured at all times. See no-one as a rival. Compliment those who deserve it. Cooperate. Give yourself to someone each day. Develope that occupies your hands as well as your head. Make a point with being happy with people. Never cry over spilt milk. What’s done is done. Up there in your goldfish bowl turn to God and you will find that you were never alone in the first place.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility is being superior to your former self.

Your fantasies are unlikely. But beautiful.

Jump out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm clock!! You may also find it useful spending five minutes each morning saying to yourself: “Every day in every way I am getting better and better” Perhaps it is a good idea to start a new day with the right frame of mind.

It’s one of our strengths and also one of our great weaknesses. Emotional honesty.

And the most essential thing in life is to establish a heartfelt communication with others.

Daydreaming helps brain tackle problems: Study

daydreamingDaydreaming might not be such a bad thing after all. It helps the brain tackle lifes more complex problems, a new study has found. Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness, said study co-author, Kalina Christoff, psychologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC), who led the research.

But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream much more active than when we focus on routine tasks, she added. When you daydream, you may not be achieving your immediate goal – say reading a book or paying attention in class – but your mind may be taking that time to address more important questions in your life, such as advancing your career or personal relationships, said Christoff.

The quantity and quality of brain activity suggests that people struggling to solve complicated problems might be better off switching to a simpler task and letting their mind wander. For the study, subjects were placed inside an MRI scanner, where they performed the simple routine task of pushing a button when numbers appear on a screen.

Researchers tracked subjects attentiveness moment-to-moment through brain scans, subjective reports from participants and by tracking their performance.

The findings suggest that daydreaming – which can occupy as much as a third of our waking lives – is an important cognitive state where we may unconsciously turn our attention from immediate tasks to sort through important problems in our lives.

Until now, the brains default network – which is linked to easy, routine mental activity was the only part of the brain thought to be active when our minds wander.

However, the study finds that the brains executive network – associated with high-level, complex problem-solving, also becomes activated when we daydream.

This is a surprising finding, that these two brain networks are activated in parallel, said Christoff. Until now, scientists have thought they operated on an either-or basis – when one was activated, the other was thought to be dormant, said Christoff. The less subjects were aware that their mind was wandering, the more both networks were activated. These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hope and despair

She looked as gorgeous as a mermaid today,
I couldn’t even speak what I wanted to say.
I wish I could tell her about what I was dreaming,
And I hope she discerned what my silence was screaming.
She deserves bounty love, pampering and care,
But my heart just keeps running between hope and despair.

The dilemma, the confusion is so tormenting.
Moments of separation are so depressing.
Is she is such a state of mind too?
Does she experience feelings of this kind too?
I wish I could ask her but I can’t even dare.
Any my heart just keeps running between hope and despair.

Why do I feel mesmerised,
When your twinkling eyes meet mine?
Why do I feel ecstatic,
When I see your sparkling smile?
Will “you” and “I” ever make a good pair?
My heart just keeps running between hope and despair.

Divine Inspiration is Nowhere

Sky couldnt tear
Stars couldnt shatter
Birds couldnt b chatter
Its all against nature
But human soul is now ruptured
Enmity,Malice,Hunger rear
Insight has lost sumwhere
Tearng emotions of others
Shatterng trust of poors
Chatterng to an extent one hears
Lackng foresight for one bears
Divine inspiration is no where
One showing absolute powers
Other fellow just has to suffer
Thirsty,eager,lured,unbreached
Unknown of what labour preach
But labourer will atlast b free
Of all cares,worries n Cheifs
He’ll b raised in heavens
Unafraid ov all evil demmons
Where no one can hurt one’s heart
All souls are free,free apart
Happiness,charms captivating arts
Thier minds will enjoy that all…….

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