Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

We’re there because we’re there

The Bush administration and the neocons are forever coming up with reasons for why the US occupation of Iraq should continue. No matter how many times their arguments are knocked down by facts on the ground, they simply dust themselves off and recycle a prior bumper sticker slogan.

Now it’s John Burns, pushing the notion that if the US withdraws there’ll a bloodbath of unimaginable proportions as the Iraqis slaughter each other. The administration is seizing eagerly on this, which is a bit like Dracula saying his castle is the best security guarantee against local peasant girls being attacked by vampires.

There’ll certainly be no prospect of peace so long as US troops are occupying Iraq. Ask Iraqis, whom we can safely assume have a clearer grasp than Burns of what might improve the awful conditions of their lives. Outside Kurdistan, continued American occupation is not a popular view. Over 80 per cent of Iraqis tell pollsters they want the Americans out.

Will things get worse if Americans leave? Probably so, at least for a while. In 2005 the US said there would be a bloodbath if they left. So they stayed and there’s been a worsening bloodbath.

This would hilarious were it not so tragic. The bloodbaths the occupation is supposed to be preventing is still occurring. The refugee crisis the occupation was supposed to prevent is worse than imagined, and the puppet government in Iraqi is hanging on by a thread. With the surge going nowhere and no plan B on the table, the neocons are returning to the “genocide” argument.

Increasingly, the preferred argument of the Forever Caucus is that if we leave Iraq there will be “genocide,” as surely as dandelions follow a spring rain.

Here David Brooks shamefullly invents up a number (“10,000 Iraqi deaths a month…a tough moral issue”).

Here (at 5:50 in the video) John McCain says, “the Democrats want to set a date for withdrawal; there will be chaos in the region, and there will be genocide.”

Jonah Goldberg says an impending genocide will be history’s indictment of liberals failings in Iraq!

The saddest part of this tale is that the people being given a platform for framing the debate (by the MSM, of course) are the very people who have not only been entirely wrong since the beginning, but have been leading this debacle since before the invasion and are now denying it.

Hence, today we have yet another Op-Ed declaring that We Really Are Winning in Iraq This Time — this one in the NYT from “liberal” Brookings Institution “scholars” Ken Pollack and Mike O’Hanlon. They accuse war critics of being “unaware of the significant changes taking place,” proclaim that “we are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms,” and the piece is entitled “A War we Might Just Win.”

The Op-Ed is an exercise in rank deceit from the start. To lavish themselves with credibility — as though they are war skeptics whom you can trust — they identify themselves at the beginning “as two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq.” In reality, they were not only among the biggest cheerleaders for the war, but repeatedly praised the Pentagon’s strategy in Iraq and continuously assured Americans things were going well. They are among the primary authors and principal deceivers responsible for this disaster.

Worse, they announce that “the Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility,” as though they have not.

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Isolation

Noam Chomsky, July 30:

Obviously, the United States and Israel do not recognise Palestine or renounce violence. Nor do they accept past agreements. While Israel formally accepted the Road Map, it attached 14 reservations that eviscerate it. To take just the first, Israel demanded that for the process to commence and continue, the Palestinians must ensure full quiet, education for peace, cessation of incitement, dismantling of Hamas and other organisations, and other conditions; and even if they were to satisfy this virtually impossible demand, the Israeli cabinet proclaimed that ‘the Roadmap will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians.’

Israel’s rejection of the Road Map, with US support, is unacceptable to the Western self-image, so it has been suppressed. The facts finally broke into the mainstream with Jimmy Carter’s book, ‘Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,’ which elicited a torrent of abuse and desperate efforts to discredit it.

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Heck of a job, Andrews

It’s bad enough that the Howard government has become a group of Bush administration sycophants, but they have similarly adopted the policy of politicizing any arrests that can be linked to terrorism, never admitting to mistakes or recognizing incompetence and worst of all, punishing the victims of their witch hunts for embarrassing them.

Stating that the “disgraceful treatment of Dr Haneef has all the hallmarks of a typical Howard government political play”, the daily criticised the Aussie PM for denying his involvement in the case by claiming that “he knows nothing”, and none of the key decisions in this case were made by him. “When will Howard take responsibility?” it asked.

Howard and his hangers-on are only too happy to grandstand when there is political mileage to be made, but like we have seen so many times during US Senate hearings, all too willing to feign ignorance when the bovine excrement is exposed.

Had Haneef’s barrister not leaked the police report to the media, there is every chance that Haneef would still be in custody, but as we have seen all too often, defending ones self in this climate of modern McCarthyism is not to be tolerated.

“You can’t blame Immigration minister Kevin Andrews. He acted on our information,” the police chief said, and also called on the Bar Association of Queensland to “severely reprimand” Haneef’s barrister Stephen Keim for leaking his client’s police interview to the media.

The decision to cancel Haneef’s visa is nothing more than an example of spitting the dummy.

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Iraqis letting the occupiers down again

It always amazes me how the US are so ready to blame the Iraqi security for not being willing to kill and subjugate their fellow Iraqis, but when it comes to failure, the occupation is only too willing to lay the blame at the feet of those whose country they’ve destroyed.

Good to see how What other country could so torture another country, so devastate it, so thoroughly plunder and destroy it for over a decade, and yet have thousands of people still saying “well, hell, maybe they’ll do a better job with Darfur”? Take a look at this. I think there might have been a short time, maybe for the first twelve months of the occupation, where Bush’s supporters would still have ironised about how happy-go-lucky life was under Saddam, but we should have heard the last of that. The statistics in the Oxfam-NIIC report describe a cruel and callous asset-stripping operation. We knew about the refugees, the attacks on women, the SPC death squads, the torture chambers (that, remember, were actually worse after Abu Ghraib), the abritrary imprisonment of tens of thousands, the shooting up at checkpoints, the bombing of housing estates, the deliberate destruction of water and power facilities, the attacks on hospitals, the black and decker punishment, the dawn raids, the sport killing and raping, the proliferation of mass graves, the slave labour, the curfews, the biometric lockdown, the subjection of Iraqi cities to blitzkrieg then military fascism. One could have guessed that people were also starving to death, and dying from preventable disease, and suffering from mental trauma. But here are the statistics: 43% of Iraqis are in absolute poverty; 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished; 32% of internally displaced persons who need food rations can’t get them; 70% of Iraqis don’t have adequate water supplies; 80% don’t have effective sanitation; 4 million Iraqis are in dire need of humanitarian assistance (no, not that kind, get the damned finger off the trigger); and 11% of new born babies are underweight.

………………………………………………….

There might, who knows, be another epidemiological survey of Iraq released next year. If the above statistics are correct, a third of the population of Iraq is at risk of dying from starvation, never mind the much more frequent causes of death such as gunfire and aerial bombardment. One estimate that models the Lancet’s statistics on IBC trends suggests that close to a million are probably dead already, in addition to the death rates that one would have expected under Saddam and sanctions. Yet, the death rate had a doubling time of one year in the Lancet study. That is, if it was 3.2 per thousand on year, it was 6.6 per thousand the next, and 12 per thousand the following year. If organised violence has slowed down over the last year, then it is possible that slightly less than a million have died as a result of the occupation to date. If the rate of increase stayed the same, then there were 24 deaths per thousand this year, which would add roughly 650,000 to the total, meaning an excess death rate of 1.2m. I don’t know how much the rate of violence can potentially increase, but if the same trend held until 2010, then the death rate would be approximately 10 million.

Still, the teleprompter continues to give both Democratic and Republican candidates the following line in some variation: “can’t win em all, better luck next time, Iraqis let us down”.

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10/10 for chutzpah

You have to take your hat off to Olmert. You would have to go a long way to exhibit the contempt for the US that he displayed this week.

In response to the news that Israel would receive $30 billion in U.S. military aid over the next decade, Olmert described the policy as an “important and significant improvement” in the amount of American military aid to Israel.

In other words, while the offer from the US is an “improvement”, we know they can do better.

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Delusions of the “liberal” media

The disconnectedness and arrogance of the Beltway pundits is reaching a point where it can no longer be ignored or spun. Most of these pundits remain convinced that in spite of a poll that contradicts their position, they alone understand the sentiment of the American public. What more evidence does one need when figure like Joe Lieberman, who should be regarded as a national embarrassment, are still considered high watermarks of credibility?

Media pundits are so suffuse with narcissism and self-importance that they automatically think that their own views on any topic are, by definition, held by “most Americans,” on whose behalf they speak, even when they don’t.

An example is that in spite of virtually unanimous disapproval of the Bush administrations presidency and policy failures, none of these “experts” bothers to consider whether Bush and co have moved too far to the right. Instead, they regard the Commander Guy’s position as centrist and question whether critics are too far to the left.

On the Stephanopoulos bobble head roundtable this morning, Cokie Roberts raised the baton and started the drumbeat: the Democrats risk moving waaaaay too far to the left and that is going to be a biiiiig problem for them “just like it was in Vietnam.” Yes, she said it out loud. And David Gergen agreed whole heartedly.

Does anyone recall these gasbags saying that Bush was moving so far to the right with his monarchic, fundamentalist, shock and awe presidency that it was going to be a biiiig problem for them? I must have missed all those warnings. Now that he’s at 28% and the conservatives are on the run after having proven that there really is a limit to how far the crazed radical wingnuts can go, they are still warning about the Democrats moving too far to the left. These people have not had an original thought in 40 years.

Recently, there was the apparent debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate. The Beltway media were quick to seize on this moment as a defeat for Obama, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

As always, when wielded by Beltway media stars, the terms “centrist” and “moderate” and “mainstream” mean “whatever views I personally happen to hold on a topic, regardless of how many Americans actually share it.” Hence, the unanimous, wise Beltway wisdom was that Barack Obama “blew it” in the last Democratic debate by proclaiming his willingness to meet with leaders of hostile countries, while Hillary Clinton scored a big victory.

And what of polling data that shows exactly the opposite? Who cares? Beltway wisdom is more representative of what Americans believe than what Americans actually believe. From the latest Rasmussen Reports poll:

Democrats, by a 55% to 22% margin, agree with Obama.

It is not difficult to understand why Americans are supportive of Obama’s pro-diplomacy instincts. It is because they have seen the alternative for the last six years and know that it is a petulant refusal to speak to the Bad People that is the real fringe, dangerous, extremist position.

The Weekly-Standard/Giuliani/Lieberman position is a view that is overwhelmingly rejected by the American mainstream; it is a true fringe position:

Yet while Obama-like calls for diplomacy are almost immediately labelled “too left” or “extreme” despite polling data that shows the opposite, people who advocate insane military attacks on Iran are virtually never labelled as such even though polling data shows how fringe they are. That is because “centrism” and “extremism” and “fringes” designate nothing other than what Beltway media stars personally believe, and anyone who favors war — old ones or news ones — is inherently mainstream, responsible and . . . serious. That, more than anything else, is why we are still in Iraq, and why withdrawal is universally depicted as the “extreme” leftist position even though most Americans favor it.

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Pride before people

While Mao Tse Tung was rightly condemned for refusing aid to the detriment of his own people, the US has been demonstrating that the West is not immune to such deranged policies – all for the sake of the ego of one man.

A new report reveals the US government turned down offers of help from across the globe in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, telling one diplomat “human assistance of any kind is not on our priorities list.”

The report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington relies on a review of 25,000 documents obtained from the State Department. The report reveals the US was interested mostly in cash assistance and materials, rather than direct aid from foreign relief workers and doctors, after Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“A review of the State Department documents reveals distressing ineptitude,” CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said in a prepared statement. “Countries were trying to donate desperately needed goods and services, but as a result of bureaucratic bungling and indifference, those most in need of these generous offers and of aid never received it.”

Offers to help came from 145 countries and 12 international organizations. The US did accept help from its top allies around the globe, but CREW’s report shows it left unclaimed hundreds of thousands of prepared meals, water pumps, doctors and medicine.

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Trouble in paradise

Where is the love?

Relations between the top United States general in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, the country’s prime minister, are so bad that the Iraqi leader made a direct appeal for his removal to President George W Bush.

Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general’s moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa’eda.

So we have a puppet president who wants Washington’s poster boy out of Iraq. tThe Saudis, who make up the majority of foreign fighters in Iraq, don’t trust him because of his ties to Tehran.

To make matters worse:

— Al-Maliki, a Shiite who spent years in exile under Saddam Hussein, hotly objects to U.S. tactic of recruiting men with ties to the Sunni insurgency into the ongoing fight against al-Qaida. He has complained loudly but with little effect except a U.S. pledge to let al-Maliki’s security apparatus vet the recruits before they join the force. He also has spoken bitterly, aides say, about delivery delays of promised U.S. weapons and equipment for his forces.

— Petraeus is confronted with an Iraqi military and police force, nominally under al-Maliki’s control, that has in many cases acted on sectarian — namely Shiite — not national Iraqi interests. He has faced a significant challenge in persuading al-Maliki to shed his ties to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who runs the Mahdi Army militia.

— Crocker’s problems with the Iraqi leader are the appearance of foot-dragging or ineffectiveness on the political front — the need to shepherd critical benchmark legislation through parliament. U.S. opponents of the war will undoubtedly demand from Crocker, when he reports to congress in September, an explanation of why U.S. troops are fighting and dying to give al-Maliki political breathing space that the Iraqi leader will not or cannot capitalize on.

In other words, this latest strategy by Petreaus completely undermines the “when they stand up, we’ll stand down” strategy. All it is doing is further alienating what exists of Iraq’s security forces for the occupation and the government. Mission accomplished.

Meanwhile,

The U.S. military in Iraq is expanding its efforts to recruit and fund armed Sunni residents as local protection forces in order to improve security and promote reconciliation at the neighborhood level, according to senior U.S. commanders.

Within the past month, the U.S. military command in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq ordered subordinate units to step up creation of the local forces, authorizing commanders to pay the fighters with U.S. emergency funds, reward payments and other monies.

Isn’t it about time the people now making noises about how we can’t leave Iraq because of the threat of sectarian strife stopped funneling weapons into the sectarian conflict?

No wonder the Pentagon is:

…making contingency plans for a U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who called the planning a “priority.”

At last. The first sane strategy the US military has come up with.  It only took them 4 and a half years.

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Soldiers who tell the truth must be destroyed

The reaction of the right wing blogosphere to the Scott Beauchamp (aka Scott Thomas) affair has been taken to extreme proportions.  Watching the so called “troop supporters” turn on one of their own is like imagining a school of piranha feasting on a new born lamb.

Brother Gavin Explains it pretty well:

1) WingNet accuses soldier/journalist of being an impostor.

2) WingNet proven wrong.

3) WingNet backfills, engages motorized goalposts, attacks with redoubled fury.

3.5) Developing: WingNet completely loses narrative; forms digital lynch mob; redefines success to mean utterly destroying the targeted person by any means available, short of leaving the safety of their heavily-farted computer chairs.

4) Upcoming: WingNet brags about triumphant victory over forces of anti-American calling-them-wrongness which are blatantly in league with the terrorists, enjoys brief period of tumescence, finds new victim.

For a more detailed rundown, see Jon Swift:

But after some clever sleuthing by conservative bloggers, it turns out that Scott Thomas is Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, who is, in fact, a soldier in Iraq. Although Beauchamp actually outted himself, it was no doubt because conservative bloggers were closing in on his identity, despite the clever way he threw off the keyboard detectives by actually using his real name as a pseudonym, which would have fooled anyone. But even if Beauchamp really does exist and really is a soldier that still doesn’t mean he isn’t lying. As Hugh Hewitt reveals after a thorough investigation of Beauchamp’s blog, Beauchamp is a fan of On the Road, a book I have not actually read, but which, according to Hewitt, “is thinly fictionalized autobiography,” a damning piece of evidence Hewitt puts in boldface type. People who read fiction, especially autobiographical fiction, certainly can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Justin Raimondo gives us a peek into the mind of the War Party.

Militarism really is a religion with these people, and they reacted to the debunking of their gods with all the vehemence and shocked outrage that the Islamists directed at Salman Rushdie – immediately declaring a holy war against the blasphemer and his editors. With one voice, the right-blogosphere rose up, declaring the whole thing to be a hoax before having evidence of any such thing.

You see, they don’t need evidence: after all, we’re talking about an ideology that has degenerated into a faith. They know it isn’t true: they know the “surge” is working; they know the “real” story of how we’re winning in Iraq is being blocked by the MSM, which is reporting only the bad news. In the overwhelming face of evidence to the contrary, all they have to do is slip into their alternate universe and deny everything. That’s the psychological mechanism that produces both suicide-bombers and our suicidal foreign policy: the ability to block out all but a carefully pre-selected slice of reality, one that rationalizes and even glamorizes the gritty, bloody, messy reality of war.

Digby theorises that the source of this angst is produced during the formative years.

I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don’t seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn’t require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren’t trying to write their books today. They’d be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized “the troops” into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism — that empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

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The family pain

Shock! Horror! A split in the Murdoch family over Israel/Palestine?

The pro-Israel outlook of the Wall Street Journal and many News Corp. outlets could waver if one of Rupert Murdoch’s sons, James Murdoch, takes the helm of the publishing and broadcasting company, a new book suggests.The just-published diaries of a communications director for Prime Minister Blair, Alastair Campbell, indicate that James Murdoch launched into a foul-mouthed tirade that suggested that the behavior of Palestinian Arabs was justified by their poor treatment by Israelis. The outburst occurred at a private dinner with his father, his brother, Lachlan, Mr. Blair, and others at no. 10 Downing St. in January 2002. The elder ” Murdoch was at one point putting the traditional very right-wing view on Israel and the Middle East peace process and James said that he was “talking fucking nonsense.’ [Rupert] Murdoch said he didn’t see what the Palestinians’ problem was and James said that it was that they were kicked out of their fucking homes and had nowhere to fucking live,” Mr. Campbell recorded, adding that the News Corp. chairman was “very pro- Israel, very pro-Reagan.”

I look forward to the day when the Murdoch papers around the world will be told to actually remove themselves from deep inside the Zionist community (and the Israeli government.)

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Bomb addicts

While the neocons days appear to be numbered, it hasn’t stopped them from forging ahead with their plans to wreak global chaos; nor have the realities on the ground in Iraq blunted the fanaticism.

These people are prepared to pay any price for the chance to witness the day when bombs are raining down on Tehran.

First we had Charles Krauthammer, who admits that the costs would be terrible, economically, militarily and diplomatically, but is convinced the price is justified to prevent Iran becoming a regional power.

He asks the question:

Against millenarian fanaticism glorying in a cult of death, deterrence is a mere wish. Is the West prepared to wager its cities with their millions of inhabitants on that feeble gamble?

While ironically overlooking the fact that and economically, militarily and diplomatically defeated US would be powerless to prevent another state from becoming such a threat.

More recently, the deranged Norman Podhoretz chimed in with his own take on this brand of nihilism.

Well, if we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will, we’ll unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we’ve experienced so far look like a lovefest. On the other hand — that’s a worst case scenario, and worst case scenarios don’t always materialize. It’s entirely possible that many countries, particularly in the Middle East — the Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, who are very worried about Iranian influence and power — would at least secretly applaud us.

And last but not least, a recent Heritage Foundation study of the economic effects of bombing Iran concluded that those effects would be bad (oil prices up, GDP down, employment down, recession in the offing, etc.). However, since Heritage is institutionally committed to insane hawkery, they re-ran their model with a few changes and discovered that the results weren’t so bad after all. In fact, bombing Iran might even be good for the economy!

Out of all the possible things they could spend their time doing, these wingnuts invested a substantial effort on torturing the data to come up with some plausible way of claiming that bombing Iran would be just peachy as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. Wow. That’s dedication to the cause.

The serious side to this, of course, is that Heritage now has this study sitting on their shelf just waiting for the next time Iran hawkery is again in the news. The next time someone argues that it would be economically devastating to attack Iran, they’ll be able to very soberly claim that a sophisticated economic model says we have nothing to worry about. And sane people almost certainly won’t have a comparable piece of claptrap to fight back with.

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Tough guy Republicans afraid of YouTube?

It’s ironic that after the Democrats got criticized for refusing to appear on a Fox News sponsored debate, with the exception of Ron Paul and John McCain, the Republicans are refusing to appear on a CNN/Youtube debate.

Here’s Hugh Hewitt then:

It was cowardly for the Dems to refuse to debate on Fox with folks like Brit Hume and Chris Wallace asking the questions.

And Hugh Hewitt now.

If the GOP candidates agree to this format, expect a series of cheap shots about all of the top tier candidates.

Patrick Ruffini doesn’t buy it:

While I can certainly appreciate the desire to avoid “set up” questions, it is intellectually dishonest to simultaneously attack the Democrats for running from Fox News while raising the red flag at agenda journalism in the form of CNN/YouTube.

Jane Hamsher doesn’t mince words:

During the Democratic YouTube, many people in the comments suggested that the GOP candidates could never survive this format. That without a reliably neutered journalist who cared too much about access to Lynn Cheney’s fabulous chili to risk putting any of them on the spot, they really wouldn’t be able to function. That looks to be somewhat prophetic. They’re all looking like a bunch of girl’s blouses and are refusing to commit to CNN’s GOP YouTube debate.

I really liked the YouTube format — I found the questions fresh and often fearless, and with it CNN managed to attract the 18-34 year-old audience in record numbers. I have no doubt that Mitt Romney and his penchant for dissembling looked upon the spectacle with horror. Canned hunts and canned audiences are GOP specialties, because the fantasy life of lizard brains can only survive in hermetically sealed environments. Daylight and reason are like wingnut kryptonite.

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