Leftrants

All the news that doesn't fit on my other blog

13 notes

Those who use violence to shape the world, as we have done in the Middle East, unleash a whirlwind. Our initial alliances—achieved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead, some $3 trillion in expenditures and the ravaging of infrastructure across the region—have been turned upside down by the cataclysm of violence. Thirteen years of war, and the rise of enemies we did not expect, have transformed Hezbollah fighters inside Syria, along with Iran, into our tacit allies. We are intervening in the Syrian civil war to assist a regime we sought to overthrow. We promised to save Iraq and now help to dismember it. We have delivered Afghanistan to drug cartels and warlords who preside over a ruin of a nation where 60 percent of the children are malnourished and the Taliban is poised to take power once NATO troops depart. The entire misguided enterprise has been a fiasco of gross mismanagement and wanton bloodletting. But that does not mean it will be stopped.
Chris Hedges: Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force (via azspot)

(via azspot)

16 notes

…regarding the intersection of national security and civil rights, I think he’s [Eric Holder] had a very troubling legacy, most fundamentally by extending and solidifying the sort of wartime architecture and narrative into our legal system. And so, in some ways, he’s been an extension of the Bush administration’s Justice Department around indefinite detention at Guantánamo, the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and in some areas has even gone farther, around the targeting of journalists who seek to expose illegal federal government misconduct and the use of targeted killing practices to execute U.S. citizens without due process.
Baher Azmy (via azspot)

(via azspot)

28 notes

When images of the death, destruction and desperation inflicted on Palestinian citizens of Gaza were broadcast in July and August of 2014, people all over the world were struck with a visceral sense of indignation, anger and disgust. For too long, crimes and serious human rights violations have been committed against the Palestinian people by the occupying Israeli authorities with complete impunity. The occupation, blockade and siege imposed on the territory of Gaza amount to a regime of collective punishment, but the most recent conflict represents a clear intensification of the campaign to collectively punish and terrorise the civilian population. Not only was ‘Operation Protective Edge’ the third major military assault on Gaza in six years, but it was marked by a significant escalation in the scale, severity and duration of the attack. It was Israel’s heaviest assault on the Gaza Strip since the beginning of its occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.
Findings of the Recent Extraordinary Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (via azspot)

(via azspot)

0 notes

Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force: Chris Hedges

Those who use violence to shape the world, as we have done in the Middle East, unleash a whirlwind. Our initial alliances—achieved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead, some $3 trillion in expenditures and the ravaging of infrastructure across the region—have been turned upside down by the cataclysm of violence. Thirteen years of war, and the rise of enemies we did not expect, have transformed Hezbollah fighters inside Syria, along with Iran, into our tacit allies. We are intervening in the Syrian civil war to assist a regime we sought to overthrow. We promised to save Iraq and now help to dismember it. We have delivered Afghanistan to drug cartels and warlords who preside over a ruin of a nation where 60 percent of the children are malnourished and the Taliban is poised to take power once NATO troops depart. The entire misguided enterprise has been a fiasco of gross mismanagement and wanton bloodletting. But that does not mean it will be stopped.

Filed under war anti-war mideast violence stupidity

3 notes

Shrill warnings against devolution ignore the evidence that it is also a logical consequence of connectivity.

Parag Khanna in The Atlantic. Dismantling Empires Through Devolution

Democracy is not the most potent political force of the 21st century.

(via protoslacker)

66 notes

Three Years in a Cage. No Charges and No Lawyer.

Octavious Burks has been waiting for 10 months.

He’s locked in a jail in Scott County, Mississippi. He hasn’t been formally charged. He hasn’t been assigned an attorney.

This is a recurring nightmare for Octavious: The same thing happened in 2009 and 2012. In each case, he was held for roughly a year. Each time, he was eventually released without a trial or a conviction. Octavious has spent over three years of his life locked in a cell without ever being formally charged – let alone found guilty – of a crime.

(Source: azspot)

34 notes

The fact is, you are not free because your country has been taken over and occupied by another government. Fully 70% of your tax dollars go to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon is the real government of the United States. You are required under pain of death to pay taxes to this occupying government. If you’re from the less fortunate classes, you are also required to serve and die in their endless wars, or send your sons and daughters to do so. You have no choice in the matter: there is a socioeconomic draft system in the United States that provides a steady stream of cannon fodder for the military. If you call a life of surveillance, anxiety and ceaseless toil in the service of a government you didn’t elect “freedom,” then you and I have a very different idea of what that word means.
America—the Grim Truth (via azspot)

(via azspot)

24 notes

The American people, who in 2008 searched for something redemptive after years of George W. Bush’s war, realize in 2014 that hope and change was but a clever slogan. It was used to gain power and to keep it through promoting fear, war, the growth of the National Security state, and an autumnal bonfire of countless billions of tax dollars which fall like leaves from money trees on the banks of the Potomac.
Dennis Kucinich: Why Are We Bombing Syria? (via azspot)

(via azspot)

18 notes

Against Sharing

Kazi drives a Toyota Prius for Uber in Los Angeles. He hates it. He barely makes minimum wage, and his back hurts after long shifts. But every time a passenger asks what it’s like working for Uber, he lies: “It’s like owning my own business; I love it.”

Kazi lies because his job depends on it. After passengers finish a ride, Uber asks them to rate their driver on a scale from one to five stars. Drivers with an average below 4.7 can be deactivated — tech-speak for fired.

Gabriele Lopez, an LA Uber driver, also lies. “We just sit there and smile, and tell everyone that the job’s awesome, because that’s what they want to hear,” said Lopez, who’s been driving for UberX, the company’s low-end car service, since it launched last summer.

In fact, if you ask Uber drivers off the clock what they think of the company, it often gets ugly fast. “Uber’s like an exploiting pimp,” said Arman, an Uber driver in LA who asked me to withhold his last name out of fear of retribution. “Uber takes 20 percent of my earnings, and they treat me like shit — they cut prices whenever they want. They can deactivate me whenever they feel like it, and if I complain, they tell me to fuck off.”

(Source: azspot)

55 notes

Americans do not like to think of themselves as a nation of bureaucrats—quite the opposite—but the moment we stop imagining bureaucracy as a phenomenon limited to government offices, it becomes obvious that this is precisely what we have become. The final victory over the Soviet Union did not lead to the domination of the market, but, in fact, cemented the dominance of conservative managerial elites, corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implications of any kind.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (via azspot)

(via azspot)

4,480 notes

theracismrepellent:

go0fnugget:

During WWII, Japanese American soldiers were among the first to liberate the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. “U.S military commanders decided it would be bad public relations if Jewish prisoners were freed by Japanese American soldiers whose own families were imprisoned in American concentration camps,” therefore, these Japanese American soldiers who liberated hundreds of Jews are missing in our history lessons.

Wow. 

theracismrepellent:

go0fnugget:

During WWII, Japanese American soldiers were among the first to liberate the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. “U.S military commanders decided it would be bad public relations if Jewish prisoners were freed by Japanese American soldiers whose own families were imprisoned in American concentration camps,” therefore, these Japanese American soldiers who liberated hundreds of Jews are missing in our history lessons.

Wow. 

(via unlearningeverything)

24 notes

Leaving aside the obvious shortsightedness of evaluating whether the country should make war some place on the basis of a second-term president’s fortunes in the opinion polls, or how it effects the writer’s interpretation of the president’s self-image, the fact of the matter is that, whatever the president may say, and whatever the president may believe, most of the people on whom we are making this war are going to see it as America’s making war on them. These include the people we’re aiming at, and the people who we hit in a “collateral” fashion, but who are no less dead for that. The governments of our allies in the effort are, by and large, corrupt and oppressive autocracies. How it is possible for the United States to make war in this place and not be seen as a) the primary maker of the war itself, and b) the enabler of regimes that are not entirely popular with the people back home, is beyond my poor ability to understand. (Ditto to the notion that we can defeat ISIL and unseat Assad at the same time.) Our air force is now flying cover for, and with the military forces of, the Qatari sheikhs and the Saudi plutocrats. Any American support for any movement toward democracy in any of those places is now devoid of credibility for the foreseeable future.
Making More War (via azspot)

(via azspot)