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Sun, 25 Sep 2022
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RIP Eric Hobsbawm

© Wikimedia
Historian Eric Hobsbawm
In the early hours of Monday morning, celebrated British historian, staunch Marxist and public intellectual Eric Hobsbawm died at age 95.

Hobsbawm's ideas will long survive him, especially through his major works, The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, The Age of Empire, History of the 20th Century, The Age of Extremes, which has been translated into 40 languages since its 1994 publication. Despite shifting trends in the academy, Hobsbawm stuck by his Marxist guns throughout. Here are a few of his thoughts on war, capital and nationhood:

On war and capitalism:
War has been the most convenient pseudo-solution for the problems of twentieth-century capitalism. It provides the incentives to modernization and technological revolution which the market and the pursuit of profit do only fitfully and by accident, it makes the unthinkable (such as votes for women and the abolition of unemployment) not merely thinkable but practicable. What is equally important, it can re-create communities of men and give a temporary sense to their lives by uniting them against foreigners and outsiders. This is an achievement beyond the power of the private enterprise economy when left to itself. (The Observer Review, 1968.)


Cynthia McKinney on Leadership


Cynthia McKinney
Those who have followed the Republican campaign for the presidential nomination and current contest between Romney and Obama know that the United States has no political leadership in Washington.

Billions of dollars have been spent on political propaganda, but not a single important issue has been addressed. The closest the campaign has come to a political issue is which candidate can grovel the lowest at the feet of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu. Romney won that contest. But for the rest, well, it is like two elementary school children sticking their tongues out at one another.

The question of US political leadership has been on my mind for some time. I can remember when political leadership still existed and when bipartisan cooperation could be mustered on enough issues to keep the country and the government functioning.

But no more. It might have been Newt Gingrich who, as Speaker of the House, destroyed bipartisan cooperation by making war on the Democratic Party, warfare that Karl Rove has taken to a new height.

Mr. Potato

Georgia's president Saakashvili concedes election defeat, signalling end of CIA's 'Rose Revolution'?

© Giorgy Kakulia/AFP/Getty Images
Bidzina Ivanishvili is likely to become Georgia's next prime minister after President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded UNM's defeat in parliamentary elections.
Mikheil Saakashvili says opposition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili will form new government after defeating UNM in parliamentary poll

Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has conceded defeat in parliamentary elections, saying the opposition led by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili will form the country's new government.

In a TV address, Saakashvili said his ruling United National Movement (UNM) had lost to Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition. He urged Georgians to respect the result. "We think their [the opposition's] views are wrong, but democracy works this way," he said.

Officials figures have yet to be confirmed but government sources said the coalition would have 84 parliamentary seats and the UNM 66. Ivanishvili's six-party coalition appears to have won about 51% of the popular vote, with 41% for UNM and 9% for other parties.

The results are a blow to Saakashvili, who led Georgia's rose revolution in 2003. They also amount to an extraordinary moment in its post-Soviet history, with power transferred for the first time democratically and thus-far peacefully between rival political forces.


Press TV reporter Maya Naser assassinated by western terrorists in Syria


Maya Naser, Press TV journalist taken out by sniper fire last week.
Journalists, experts and officials around the world continue to react to the assassination of Press TV's correspondent by western-backed insurgents in Syria.

Maya Naser was killed by sniper fire in Damascus last week while reporting live for Press TV. He was shot twice in the neck and once in the chest. The channel's Damascus bureau chief, Hossein Mortada, was also shot and injured in the attack.

"It's a terrible tragedy," Timur Shafir of Russian Union of Journalists told Press TV. "Journalists die in war zones and nothing protects them," he added.

The assassination of Maya Naser, as some experts say, was meant to send a message to other war correspondents in Syria.

"Those responsible for Maya Naser's death were targeting Press TV to silence the coverage of the war in Syria," Salim Ali, a Russian expert on Middle Eastern affairs, told Press TV.


Juarez drug cartel leader 'El Diego' was captured with Fast and Furious weapons

drug cartel, El Diego, Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez
© The Associated Press
El Diego: Mexico drug cartel leader Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez
When Mexican authorities took Juarez drug cartel carnage king Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez - better known as "El Diego" - into custody, he had weapons from Operation Fast and Furious on his person, the English-language transcript of the Spanish-language television network Univision's special investigation into the scandal shows.

"According to investigations, 'El Diego' forms the link between this massacre and Fast and Furious," an anchor read on air in Spanish Sunday evening, referring to two different mass killings drug cartel operatives used Fast and Furious weapons to conduct as Univision reported.

"When he [El Diego] was captured in Chihuahua in the summer of 2011, he was found with weapons that the American government had allowed to enter Mexico," the anchor added.

Comment: Latin American High Weirdness: 'Hand of Death' Satanic CIA Cult Network


Drones will soon be able to kill during war without human assistance

© Desconocido
Drones could soon operate without the help of humans.

Agence France-Presse is reporting that the Pentagon wants its drones to be more autonomous, so that they can run with little to no assistance from people.

"Before they were blind, deaf and dumb," Mark Maybury, chief scientist for the U.S. Air Force, told AFP. "Now we're beginning to make them to see, hear and sense."

Ronald Arkin, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, believes that drones will soon be able to kill enemies on their own independently.

"It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield, but I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers are capable of," Arkin told AFP.

Arkin added that robotic weapons should be designed as "ethical" warriors and that these type of robots could wage war in a more "humane" way.


Propaganda Alert! Two Americans killed in unusual gunfight involving several Afghan soldiers

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Tony Karumba
In this photograph from Sep. 10, 2012, Afghan troops look on during a joint artillery maintenance training session with US troops in Kandahar province.
Two days after the U.S. military resumed joint operations with Afghan security forces last week following a spate of "insider attacks," a platoon of American soldiers stopped at an Afghan army checkpoint in a volatile eastern province.

The Americans had a cordial conversation and cracked a few jokes with their Afghan comrades during the Saturday afternoon patrol in Wardak province. The Afghans offered the Americans tea. Then, according to a U.S. military official, an Afghan soldier, without warning or provocation, raised his weapon and opened fire - mortally wounding the senior American on the patrol.

In a war in which insider attacks have become commonplace, what happened next made the incident extraordinary, the American official said. Another Afghan soldier at the checkpoint opened fire on the Americans, killing a U.S. civilian contractor and wounding two other American soldiers. Soon, Afghan soldiers and possibly insurgents began firing at the Americans from several directions.

NATO officials initially described the deadly episode as an insider attack but later said they had not yet classified it as such because of suspected insurgent involvement. A top Afghan military official denied that what took place was an insider attack and said the shooting was caused by a misunderstanding.


White House confirms cyber-attack on 'unclassified' system

White House
© Agence France-Presse
The White House has confirmed it was the target of a cyber-attack but says the breach hit an unclassified network.

An unnamed administration official told US media that there was no indication any data had been removed.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported on Sunday that hackers linked to the Chinese government had breached the White House Military Office.

The White House would not say if the attack originated in China, describing it as a "spear-phishing" attempt.

"Spear-phishing" typically works by sending fake e-mails that look like legitimate correspondence, but which link to a malicious website or file attachment.


Nothing More Evil

A writer at the Atlantic named Conor Friedersdorf recently noted the level of evil many have been brought to support:
"Tell certain liberals and progressives that you can't bring yourself to vote for a candidate who opposes gay rights, or who doesn't believe in Darwinian evolution, and they'll nod along. Say that you'd never vote for a politician caught using the 'n'-word, even if you agreed with him on more policy issues than his opponent, and the vast majority of left-leaning Americans would understand. But these same people cannot conceive of how anyone can discern Mitt Romney's flaws, which I've chronicled in the course of the campaign, and still not vote for Obama. Don't they see that Obama's transgressions are worse than any I've mentioned? I don't see how anyone who confronts Obama's record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, but I'd have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers."
Not long ago, I attended a speech by Obama, along with thousands of his adoring cheerleaders formerly known as citizens. I asked him to stop killing people in Afghanistan, and the Secret Service asked me to leave. But, just now, I got a phone call from the local Obama office. They had my name because I'd picked up a ticket to attend the speech. The young woman wanted to know if I would come help phone other people. I asked if she was familiar with the president's kill list and his policy of killing men, women, and children with drones. She said she knew nothing about that but "respected my opinion." She hung up. Objecting to presidential murder is now an opinion, and willingness to be aware of its existence is an appendage to the opinion. If you don't object to presidential murder by Democrat, then you simply arrange not to know about it. Thus, in your opinion, it doesn't exist.

Some of my friends at this moment are in Pakistan apologizing to its government and its people for the endless murderous drone war fought there by our country. They're meeting with victims' families. They're speaking publicly in opposition to the crimes of our government. And my neighbors, living in some other universe, believe most fundamentally, not that one candidate will save us, not that the two parties are fundamentally opposed, not that a citizen's job is to vote, not that war is all right if it's meant well -- although they clearly believe all of those things -- but, most fundamentally, they believe that unpleasant facts should simply be avoided. So, in a spirit of afflicting the comfortable to comfort the afflicted, here are a few from recent days:


City of Toronto workers destroy free community food garden amid growing food crisis

© Activist Post
Workers destroying Occupy Gardens at Queens Park
Occupy Gardens plants in Queens Park destroyed without harvesting food

Amid a growing food crisis, this morning workers from the City of Toronto were ordered by City of Toronto Parks Director Richard Ubbens that all live plants and food be removed from the People's Peas Garden in Queens Park. They were ordered to take the plants and food to the dump and lay sod overtop of this most beautiful free community food garden, without warning, without a chance to remove the rare heirloom plant species or harvest the food.

The garden was planted by Occupy Gardens and allies on May 1st, in defense of local and global food security. While the garden has been growing undisturbed for nearly 5 months, with the help of hundreds in the community, the city deliberately decided to have it removed upon the eve of the Autumn Jam: A Harvest Party and celebration of sharing, community and free local food, which is happening tomorrow from 12-6pm at the garden in Queens Park (northwest section).

Comment: Read more about how City Officials Are Waging A War On Gardens in Canada and the USA:

Government Threatens with Jail Time for Growing Produce in Front-Yard Garden
US: Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Vegetable Garden
Landlord Charged for Front Yard Garden - Tenant & Neighbors Fight Back