SP - Prof Chomsky, where do you locate the contours of the current crisis in Egypt, Tunisia and rest of the Middle East?
NC - The source of the crisis in the Arab world goes back very far and it’s similar to what we find in the formerly colonized world. Actually it was expressed rather clearly in the 1950’s by President Eisenhower and his staff. He was holding an internal discussion which has been declassified since. Eisenhower asked his staff why there is, what he called a “campaign of hatred” against us in the Arab world. Not among the governments, which are more or less docile, but among the people. And the National Security Council, which is the major planning body, produced a memorandum on this topic. It said that there is a perception in the Arab world that the United States supports harsh vicious dictators, blocks democracy and development; and we do this because we want to maintain control over their resources - in this case, energy. And went on to say that the perception is fairly accurate and furthermore that, that’s what we should be doing.
The basic principle holds not just for the Arab world. It was expressed rather succinctly during the period of the recent spectacular uprising in Egypt by Marwan Muasher. He is a former high Jordanian official who is now the head of research in the Middle East for the Carnegie Endowment. He said there is a prevailing doctrine which is that as long as people are quiet, passive, controlled, there is no problem. We do whatever we like. Maybe they hate us, but it doesn’t matter, because we can do what we like. That’s a principle that holds in Arab world, in India, it holds domestically in the United States; its a standard principle of domination. Read more »
AMY GOODMAN: This month is the 15th anniversary of Democracy Now! on the air, and it’s a real privilege to have MIT professor, analyst, world-renowned political dissident, linguist, Noam Chomsky with us. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonzalez, and we’ve been together for this whole 15 years, Juan. It’s really been quite an amazing journey.
As we talk about this revolution that’s rolling across the Middle East, we put out to our listeners and viewers on Facebook last night that, Noam, you were going to be in. And so, people were sending in their comments and questions. We asked, on Facebook and Twitter, to send us questions. Here is one of the questions.
RYAN ADSERIAS: Hello, Professor Chomsky. My name is Ryan Adserias, and I’m a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and also the child of a long line of working-class union folks. I don’t know if you’ve been noticing, but we’ve been holding a lot of protests and rallies here in our capital to protest Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to break collective bargaining rights that Wisconsin workers worked hard for over 50 years ago and have enjoyed ever since. We closed all the schools around here for tomorrow—today and tomorrow, actually. The teaching assistants here at the university are staging teach-outs. The undergraduates are walking out of class to show solidarity. And all of this is because our governor and governors all around the country are proposing legislation that’s going to end collective bargaining and really break the unions. I’ve also been noticing that there’s not a whole lot of national representation of our struggle and our movement, and it’s really been troubling me. So my question to you is, how exactly is it that we can get the attention of our national Democratic and progressive leaders to speak out against these measures and to help end union busting here in the United States?
AMY GOODMAN: That was a question from Ryan Adserias in Madison, Wisconsin, where more than 10,000—some say tens of thousands of people, teachers, students, are protesting in the Capitol building, schools closed, as Ryan said. So, from Manama to Madison, from Manama, Bahrain, to Madison, Wisconsin, Noam Chomsky?
NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s very interesting. The reason why you can’t get Democratic leaders to join is because they agree. They are also trying to destroy the unions. In fact, if you take a look at—take, say, the lame-duck session. The great achievement in the lame-duck session for which Obama is greatly praised by Democratic Party leaders is that they achieved bipartisan agreement on several measures. The most important one was the tax cut. And the issue in the tax cut—there was only one issue—should there be a tax cut for the very rich? The population was overwhelmingly against it, I think about two to one. There wasn’t even a discussion of it, they just gave it away. Read more »
After nearly 20 years New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert has resigned. Known for a combative style, blunt language and progressive politics, Andrew Rosenthal, editor of The Times opinion pages, said in a memo to staff that he accepted Mr. Herbert’s resignation with “great regret.” “He was often called ‘the conscience of The Times.’ We will miss him and wish him the best in his new endeavors.” Mr. Rosenthal wrote.
Mr. Herbert's final column appears below. It is notable for his perspective on the state of affairs of our nation. Read more »
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wrote a letter to fellow members of Congress stating that NATO's role in the new war in Libya would not prevent Americans from bearing the growing and unforeseen costs of the war. Congressman Kucinich's letter responded to the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that NATO would take over command of the Libyan no-fly zone (created by the U.S. and some of its allies). In his letter, Mr.Kucinich highlighted the United States' dominant role in the funding of NATO, and called for Members of Congress to support his proposed amendment to stop U.S. taxpayer dollars from being used to fund the military intervention in Libya.
His letter to Congress follows: Read more »
By Robert Parry - March 9, 2011 (Originally published November 4, 2009)
Two clandestine operations during hard-fought presidential elections of the past half century shaped the modern American political era, but they remain little known to the general public and mostly ignored by historians. One unfolded in the weeks before Election 1968 and the other over a full year before Election 1980.
Besides putting into power iconic Republican leaders, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, those two elections altered the nation’s course and went a long way toward defining the current personalities of America’s national parties, the anything-goes Republicans versus the ever-accommodating Democrats. Read more »
By Danny Schechter - February 28, 2011
Hats off to writer Matt Taibbi for staying on the Wall Street crime beat, asking in his most recent report in Rolling Stone: “Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?”
“Financial crooks,” he argues, “brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.”
True enough, but that’s only part of the story. The Daily Kos called his investigation a “depressing read” perhaps because it suggests that the Obama administration is not doing what it should to rein in financial crime.
Many of the government lawyers whom Taibbi calls on to act come from big corporate law firms and buy into that worldview. These lawyers have no appetite to go after executives they know and naively hope will help speed our economic “recovery.”
Kos should be more depressed by the failure of the progressive community — his own readers – to focus on these issues, and for not pressing the government to do the right thing. Without pressure from below, there is often little action from above.
There is no doubt that administration policy gave crooks great latitude. Read more »