Today's New York Times has a piece about whether the Obama administration is as committed to a policy of "democracy promotion" as the Bush administration had been. To anyone familiar with US history of inhibiting and undermining democracies, the whole concept must seem rather absurd.
Left-wing activist and author Noam Chomsky is in the New York Times today: The American linguist Noam Chomsky, a prominent source of intellectual inspiration for President Hugo Chavez, made a new appeal on Wednesday for the release of Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a judge arrested two years ago by the secret intelligence police. If you find it a little surprising that Chomsky's views on international affairs would be reported in the Paper of Record, and if you'd be inclined to believe the Times finds his views newsworthy only because Chomsky is criticizing Chavez (which they've done before)… well, you might not […]
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a tedious column today (10/11/11) about how the real radicals are the centrists, not the Wall Street occupiers. (Read Dean Baker to see what Brooks is getting wrong.) But this jumped out at me: A third believe the U.S. is no better than Al-Qaeda, according to a New York magazine survey. How would someone "survey" a leaderless, ever-shifting mass of protesters? I am not sure, and it's not really what New York did. They asked a series of questions–some of them obviously cheeky–to 100 activists at Liberty Plaza. As you can see: Rank […]
In the Washington Post (7/7/11), Fareed Zakaria tries to defend Barack Obama against the criticism that he needs a more consistent foreign policy. He writes: All American presidents have supported and should support the spread of democracy. The real question is: Should that support involve active measures to topple undemocratic regimes, especially military force? Since this is an important part of his argument, it is worth noting that "all American presidents" have no such passion for the spread of democracy. There is a fairly rich history of U.S. foreign policy taking "active measures" to support undemocratic regimes. It is unclear […]
The New York Times has a piece today (5/18/11) previewing Barack Obama's Israel/Palestine speech, calling it a "chance to reshape the debate," whatever that's supposed to mean. One thing to always pay attention to in coverage of this issue is the language used to frame the discussion. The piece mentioned Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' recent op-ed in the Times concerning the Palestinian drive to gain United Nations recognition for the Palestinian state. Abbas defined the state as "the lands framed by the 1967 border." In most of the world this is a rather uncontroversial starting point. But look how the […]
Today's broadcast of Democracy Now! featured an excerpt of Noam Chomsky's address at FAIR's 25th anniversary celebration. Watch it: Want to see the whole event–with more of Chomsky, Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman? Buy the DVD from FAIR today.
A letter in the new issue of Time magazine offers an alternate suggestion for Person of the Year (the magazine chose Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg):
Glenn Greenwald (Salon, 6/3/10), in a compelling blog post on "Victimhood, Aggression and Tribalism," quotes Noam Chomsky from Imperial Ambitions: In one of his many speeches, to U.S. troops in Vietnam, [Lyndon] Johnson said plaintively, "There are three billion people in the world and we have only two hundred million of them. We are outnumbered fifteen to one. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want."That is a constant refrain of imperialism. You have your jackboot on someone's neck and they're about to destroy you. The […]
A deal between Iran, Brazil and Turkey to ship some of Iran's uranium out of the country to be enriched in Turkey and returnedfor use in a Iranian medical reactor has elicited some elite media panic. An early New York Times Web headline read, "Iran Offers to Ship Uranium, Complicating Sanctions Talks." The Wall Street Journal (5/17/10) went with "Iranian Nuclear Deal Raises Fears." The story in the print edition of the Times (5/18/10)focuses much of its attention on the U.S. reaction to the deal.This passage is especially meaningful: Rejecting the new deal, however, could make President Obama appear to […]
Via an interview with Raw Story (3/22/10): The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor added that it's a damning referendum on American democracy that one of the most highly supported components of the effort nationally, the public insurance option, was jettisoned. He partly blamed the media for refusing to stress how favorably it's viewed by the populace. "It didn't have 'political support,' just the support of the majority of the population," Chomsky quipped, "which apparently is not political support in our dysfunctional democracy." The provision has consistently polled well, garnering the support of 60 percent of Americans across the nation in […]
In a blog post about how it must have been "So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet" (2/17/09), A Tiny Revolution's Jonathan Schwarz looks back over how "on Sunday George Will made things up so he can claim global warming isn't happening" to "a funny story of Noam Chomsky's from the book Understanding Power about a column Will wrote in 1982": [A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called "Mideast Truth and Falsehood," about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, […]