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Where do elite priorities lie?  Follow the coverage.

“Q: Moving on, has the media changed landscape since you wrote ‘Manufacturing Consent’ in 1989? Is the media manufacturing consent now?

A: Well, we didn’t actually say that media is manufacturing consent; we said that -that is what they are trying to do. We discussed the nature of the media. There’s a separate question – to what extent is it effective? And that’s an interesting question, but we didn’t discuss it. They’re still doing it in the same way. In fact, dramatically. Take November 8, two things of critical significance happened on November 8. One of them was massively reported, the other, which was much more important, received no report – that was the Marrakesh Conference of two hundred countries that tried to implement the Paris programmes to try to save the human species from destruction. That’s a lot more important than what happened in the US election. And, in fact, it was undermined by the US election. What happened in Morocco is astounding if you look at it; one country was leading the way to try to save civilization from self-destruction. One country was way behind, trying to lead the way towards self-destruction, the first was China the second was the United States. That is a remarkable spectacle. Did you see a comment on it?

Q: Nothing.”

 

Noam Chomsky interviewed in the Sri-lankan Daily Mirror.

As far as concise descriptions of the state of the GOP in the US go, this is fairly accurate and sadly amusing all at the same time.

1st-rule-plutocracy“It is important to bear in mind that the Republicans have long abandoned the pretence of functioning as a normal parliamentary party. Rather, they have become a “radical insurgency” that scarcely seeks to participate in normal parliamentary politics, as observed by the respected conservative political commentator Norman Ornstein of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

    Since Ronald Reagan, the leadership has plunged so far into the pockets of the very rich and the corporate sector that they can attract votes only by mobilising sectors of the population that have not previously been an organised political force, among them extremist evangelical Christians, now probably the majority of Republican voters; remnants of the former slave-holding States; nativists who are terrified that “they” are taking our white Christian Anglo-Saxon country away from us; and others who turn the Republican primaries into spectacles remote from the mainstream of modern society—though not the mainstream of the most powerful country in world history.”

-Noam Chomsky, in discussion with Vijay Prasad on Counterpunch.

 

It would seem that the GOP has just said ‘fuck it’ and have laid bare their plutocratic intentions – yet people who are clearly not Plutocrats vote for them.  Consider the amount of propaganda required to dupe the poor into voting for the rich.

On a related note, the Canadian election is whirling along.  The people who are engaged in politics remain engaged, those who don’t care still don’t care – regardless of how long parties have to campaign.    A big thank you to the current conservative government for extending the election period for no other reason than their own political advantage.  :/

noam“(Asked about his stance on pornography, in response to perceived endorsement of Hustler, who had tricked Chomsky into giving an interview for the magazine.)

Pornography is humiliation and degradation of women. It’s a disgraceful activity. I don’t want to be associated with it. Just take a look at the pictures. I mean, women are degraded as vulgar sex objects. That’s not what human beings are. I don’t even see anything to discuss.

(Interviewer: But didn’t performers choose to do the job and get paid?)

The fact that people agree to it and are paid, is about as convincing as the fact that we should be in favour of sweatshops in China, where women are locked into a factory and work fifteen hours a day, and then the factory burns down and they all die. Yeah, they were paid and they consented, but it doesn’t make me in favour of it, so that argument we can’t even talk about.

As for the fact that it’s some people’s erotica, well you know that’s their problem, doesn’t mean I have to contribute to it. If they get enjoyment out of humiliation of women, they have a problem, but it’s nothing I want to contribute to.

(Interviewer: How should we improve the production conditions of pornography?)

By eliminating degradation of women, that would improve it. Just like child abuse, you don’t want to make it better child abuse, you want to stop child abuse.

Suppose there’s a starving child in the slums, and you say “well, I’ll give you food if you’ll let me abuse you.” Suppose—well, there happen to be laws against child abuse, fortunately—but suppose someone were to give you an argument. Well, you know, after all a child’s starving otherwise, so you’re taking away their chance to get some food if you ban abuse. I mean, is that an argument?

The answer to that is stop the conditions in which the child is starving, and the same is true here. Eliminate the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permit abusive and destructive behaviour.”

—–

 

Amnesty International should look into that whole eliminating the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permitting abusing and destructive behaviour idea.

Ah, the joy of the free press down in the US.  Let’s catch up with Noam as takes us through some possible solutions to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

 

geopolitics.nIn the crazy fun house world of imperial politics nationalist regimes are less preferable than radical religious ones.   Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek discuss the motivations of empire in the Middle East in this selection from the book: On Western Terrorism – From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare.

“Noam Chomsky:

“Anyhow, going back to the Middle East after World War II.  The British role in Iran was reduced and the US began to take over.  IN Iraq in 1958, there was a so-called independent government, but it was basically British-run, and it was overthrown in a military coup.  A couple of years later the US was able to engineer a coup that overthrew the Nasser-type nationalist government, and that’s where Saddam Hussein comes in.  The CIA handed the new Ba’athist government a long list of Communists, radicals, and teachers, and then they all got assassinated.  Then you come to the present; the US expects to run Iraq.  In Saudi Arabia, the British were the junior partner,  Finally the British pulled out, and left it to the United States.”

Andre Vltchek:

Of course Saudi Arabia is a tremendously destabilizing force in the world and its influence spreads from Bahrain to Indonesia.  In Bahrain there is the fear that the country may be annexed by Saudi Arabia,  The Saudi Army is and out of Bahrain.

Noam Chomsky:

The Saudis are pouring money all over the place to sponsor the most extreme forms of radical Islam – Wahabbism – in Madrasas, in Pakistan, pouring money into Egypt to support the Salafis, all extreme Islamic elements.  The United States is happy with that; it doesn’t try to prevent them.

The idea that the US is opposed to radical Islam is ludicrous.  The most extreme fundamentalist Islamic state in the world is Saudi Arabia, which is the US’s favourite.  Britain also has consistently supported radical Islam.  The reason was to oppose secular nationalism.  US relations with Israel reached their current close state in 1967 because Israel performed the huge service of smashing secular nationalism and defending radical Islam.

A British diplomatic historian, Mark Curtis, wrote a very good book a few years ago called Secret Affairs: British Collusion with Radical Islam (review here).  Curtis went through the British records on Islam.  It turns out the British had consistently supported radical Islamist elements, pretty much was the US has been doing.  They may not have liked it, but they prefer them to the secular nationalists.

Secular nationalists threatened them – they threatened to take over the resources and use them for domestic development and that’s the worst sin; so we support radical Islamists.”

-Excerpt from “On Western Terrorism from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare p.115 – 116

It would seem that Geo-political decisions are quietly being adjudicated by the imperial powers of the world.  It would also seem that they are quite separate from the political fodder being offered to their respective populations.

 

gaza-strip-map-20131The following article reproduced in its entirety from Altnet.org.

 

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

“The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.”

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.
Read the rest of this entry »

From an article at Counterpunch, I suggest you go there and read the whole interview with Noam Chomsky:

“Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition. Occasionally this is recognized.

We don’t use the term “working class” here because it’s a taboo term. You’re supposed to say “middle class,” because it helps diminish the understanding that there’s a class war going on.

It’s true that there was a one-sided class war, and that’s because the other side hadn’t chosen to participate, so the union leadership had for years pursued a policy of making a compact with the corporations, in which their workers, say the autoworkers—would get certain benefits like fairly decent wages, health benefits and so on. But it wouldn’t engage the general class structure. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why Canada has a national health program and the United States doesn’t. The same unions on the other side of the border were calling for health care for everybody. Here they were calling for health care for themselves and they got it. Of course, it’s a compact with corporations that the corporations can break anytime they want, and by the 1970s they were planning to break it and we’ve seen what has happened since.

This is just one part of a long and continuing class war against working people and the poor. It’s a war that is conducted by a highly class-conscious business leadership, and it’s one of the reasons for the unusual history of the U.S. labor movement. In the U.S., organized labor has been repeatedly and extensively crushed, and has endured a very violent history as compared with other countries.”

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