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Author Archive | Dr. Paul J Balles

Defending Good and Evil

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.  –George Orwell Typically, people argue to defend what they do (or believe), attacking opposing views where they can, and ignoring arguments they haven’t considered. The more that kind of activity serves as American foreign policy–whether it’s in […]

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Right to Resist Oppression

In August 2004, Richard Hugus, critic of progressive injustice, wrote an article on the “Lies of the Israeli Peace Movement”. What Hugus wrote almost ten years ago has as much forgotten or neglected relevance today. In an announcement for a meeting, the public was invited to hear from “bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families supporting peace, […]

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Online Freedom Under Threat

I hope we will use the Net to cross barriers and connect cultures.–Tim Berners-Lee On November 23rd, 2013, British inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, warned that “Internet surveillance by British and US spying agencies has posed a threat to online freedom and the future of democracy.” Describing the activities by the US […]

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Israeli Hawks Resisting Deals

To the Israelis, any deal made between the world powers and Iran would be a bad deal. It’s obvious from Israeli reactions to the talks in Geneva that the only action acceptable to Israel would be to bomb Iran. Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon describes any agreement with Iran as “a historic mistake”. Israeli […]

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The Olive Tree

The still slow life is mine, my days are years. Tied to the soil, I reach towards the sky, as men rush by, so driven by their fears, and with their fears intact pass on and die. From Plato’s Olive Tree Unknown author This is the olive picking season. Like other harvests, it should be […]

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Israel-benefits

Israel Benefits as World Loses

Is there any point in public debate in a society where hardly anyone has been taught how to think, while millions have been taught what to think? –Peter Hitchens What started off as Arab Spring has turned morbidly into Arab Fall. What began as a seasonal description became directional and self-destructive. Not only have movements […]

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american-exceptionalism

Shameful Exceptionalism

We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health lawyers destroy justice universities destroy knowledge governments destroy freedom the press destroys information religion destroys morals and our banks destroy the economy. ~ Chris Hedges Paul Schied, commenting in the Harvard Political Review writes, “American Exceptionalism argues that the United States is the best at […]

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media

Filtered, Slanted and Censored Media

Twenty years ago several journalists expressed concern that the number of major news sources in America had diminished to fifty. Today, conglomerates have bought up most of those news sources; and the number of major news sources controlling the media has been reduced to six! These six control all of the news reported in America […]

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mainstream-media

Mass Media Madness

Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. ~Jim Morrison The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There’s really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy.~Ted Turner Media focus Television anchors and their guests waste hours of viewer’s time ridiculously focused.  Topics with […]

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napalm girl

End Dirty Wars

All wars are dirty wars. One stands out for the number of lives lost in the minds and memories of Americans–the Vietnam War. The American public had enough of both the meaningless domino theory and the seemingly useless deaths of 58,000 American servicemen. Then as a gift to those who wanted that war ended: a […]

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whistleblowers

‘Prestitutes’ and Spies

Some media pundits have used the terms “whistleblowers” and “traitors” synonymously. Much of the recent status of whistleblowers has arisen out of the difference in the handling of Edward Snowden by both the mainstream media and the fairer columnists writing on the internet and the local press outside of America. Snowden has been portrayed in […]

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A Blanket Of Fear (A Play in One Act)

Netanyahu (N) and Obama (O) are on the phone:   N: I want you to catch that schmuck Snowden, lock him up and silence him.   O: Why Ben? He’s another whistle blower like Manning and Assange. How does he affect you?   N: He’s almost as dangerous to us as Vanunu who gave away […]

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war-mongerers

Dealing With Deceivers

How many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?  ~Bob Dylan Most of us have favourite causes; and many will go out of their way to defend those causes. When we hear someone defending the causes that are not our own, we’re often unsure about which defence is right. […]

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The Practice Of Pre-emption

We’re now living and dying in an age of pre-emptive actions. The practice of pre-emption has an early history in America.  According to the Concise Encyclopaedia U.S. policy allowed the first settlers, or squatters, on public land to buy the land they had improved. Since improved land, coveted by speculators, was often priced too high […]

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Indulging in Fallacies

“Apparently, you are too stupid to comprehend the difference between an insult and an ad hominem argument,” someone argued. Ad-hominem excuses for argument are rife on the internet, where some writers seem stupid enough to deserve the insults, and others are victims of underserved personal attacks. When commentators substitute ad hominem attacks for both facts […]

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Collapsed bridge in America

America’s Bridges Are Falling Down, Falling Down…

Seattle, Washington – An Interstate 5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River, dumping two vehicles and a trailer in the waters north of Mount Vernon. A law-enforcement source said 150 yards of the interstate dropped into the water. “It’s a hell of a ride,” the source said. A 2012 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services reported: “The bridge, […]

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Wake Up Call For America

I’m tired of politics, of the injustices, the corruption, the assassinations, the gross illegal behaviour of the strong, the plundering of the poor and the indignities wrought on the weak. While decent, working people lose their homes, thanks to Wall Street’s Ponzi schemes, the market manipulators pay themselves outrageous million-dollar salaries and bonuses. Millions of […]

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Hypocrisy Of US War On Terrorism

“I don’t have a single American friend,” said Tamarlan Tsarnaev “I don’t understand them.” Boston terrorism has been squelched: Tamarlan, dead in a police shoot-out left his younger brother Dzhokar wounded in the hospital. Commonly terrorism refers to violent acts intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and […]

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Greatest Purveyor Of Violence

The allure of combat is a trap, a ploy, an old, dirty game of deception in which the powerful, who do not go to war, promise a mirage to those who do. –Chris Hedges In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 — a year to the day […]

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Shift in War Hawks

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”  –Noam Chomsky Watch out for a shift in war hawks.  Before the Iraq war, at least a dozen in the U.S. Administration and major media spread enough propaganda to silence the majority of Americans. These hawks, acting more on behalf of Israel […]

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liberty-america

World Views of America

It wasn’t very long ago when the world view of the United States was one of a country that represented justice, democracy, freedom and moral accountability, even if only in the minds of the naive. ~Bernie Suarez Terms like justice, democracy, freedom and moral accountability are generalized with varied meanings for different people. They also […]

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The Social Cost of Israeli Aid

Josh Reubner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation says “Israel stands to lose approximately $250 million of its $3.1 billion military aid package from the United States under the terms of the sequestration.” As a result of sequestration budget cuts in America, many important programmes, especially for the poor, […]

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The Hives Are All Abuzz

The drones have roused the hive; and Junior Republican Senator Rand Paul has the bees swarming. Excuse the analogy. Until Paul decided to filibuster the Senate on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director, both the polity and the mainstream media were paying little attention to the U.S. government’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles […]

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Israel-American-Conspiracy

Israel’s American Propagandists

Israeli-first American pundits wield too much power. The leader of these journalist war hawks is William Kristol. American neoconservative political analyst and commentator, Kristol is the founder and editor of the political magazine the Weekly Standard and a regular commentator on the Fox News Channel. Kristol co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) […]

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guns

A Culture of Violence

American gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have been called “gun nuts” (a variation on “crazies”). Discussions of guns and who owns them or lobbies for them arise every time there’s a mass murder, like that of the children in Connecticut recently. Leading the discussions on the major American news networks are reports […]

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imagination

Harnessing The Imagination

One of the most dismal futuristic images I’ve seen was recently painted by Chris Hedges in the opening of an article he entitled A Time for “Sublime Madness”. Here it is: The planet we have assaulted will convulse with fury. The senseless greed of limitless capitalist expansion will implode the global economy. The decimation of […]

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Paranoia

Paranoia Run Wild

Thinking ahead is one thing. Pre-emptive thinking is paranoia run wild. Pre-emptive strikes were something unheard of prior to Israel’s using them to cripple any power in the Middle East that might eventually be used against Israel. This was certainly the case in Israel’s bombing of a nuclear reactor in Iraq. The reasoning that sanctioned […]

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Deadly Drones

 As technology allows machines to make their own decisions, warfare will become bloodier – and less accountable. –George Monbiot Relatively little has appeared in the mainstream media about recent drone warfare. Following 9/11, the development and use of drones has been a major military goal for both the U.S. and the U.K. A prime justification […]

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Murdering The Truth

Judging from the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza with its bombs and missiles, Palestinian journalists have been doing their best to get the news reported. Robert Hardman describes Gaza as one of the most desperate and dismal places on Earth…a place so poor that 80 percent of the population eat aid agency bread and the […]

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israeli-air-force-jet

Stop Prologues To War

If you want peace, prepare for war. The original Latin of the expression “if you want peace, prepare for war” comes from “Epitoma Rei Militaris,” by Vegetius (Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus). The Latin is: “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum”. One could make the case that in any language the “Cold War” fit the belief […]

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Beating Of War Drums

Either war is obsolete or men are. –Buckminster Fuller Some of the important news gets reported quickly and is then forgotten just as hurriedly. The following, from CBS Chicago, reported on May 10, 2012, provides an example of an under-reported event: “A handful of soldiers gathered Thursday morning at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park on the […]

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Greatest Threat To Democracy

Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don’t know and I don’t care.–Jimmy Buffett Yesterday I was angry. Today, I’m tired; but I refuse to be apathetic. I’m tired of a world full of hostile maniacs who get their kicks out of slaughtering each other. I’m tired of the power brokers whose only concern is […]

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Who Is The Middle Class

It’s sad that Barak Obama had to be the first black to be elected president. Ever since he got into office, Obama has been leaning over backward to avoid being patronising, or looking like it, to African Americans. Why has the term “middle class” become the talking point about those the president wants to help? […]

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Amazing how they get away with it…

Question:        Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons? Answer:         Israel . Question:        Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections? ? Answer:         Israel . Question:        Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory of other nations by military force and continues […]

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drone_attack from America

America Invents Real-Life Matrix

They were lawless, brutal, unforgiving and a model for the governments they both battled and served. A few notable figures perfected terrorism unlike any before or after. Much of the history of Alexander the Great hides the fact that he and his troops were the ancient world’s most brutal conquerors. Typical of terrorists, armies like […]

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presidential-debates

Presidential Debates

The coming U.S. elections have monopolized the attention of the American mainstream media and voters. Economic issues held sway over the first of two presidential debates, and foreign policy governed the second. According to the latest Gallup poll, Americans who watched the second presidential debate say Barack Obama did a better job than Mitt Romney, […]

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self-esteem

American Values

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance. –Samuel Butler In a eulogy for American poet Robert Frost, John F. Kennedy said: When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. […]

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Mainstream extremists

Fodder For Extremists

Four joint hosts of an MSNBC programme called Cycle decided to open a Pandora’s Box and discuss some of America’s problems in the Middle East. One of the participants attempted to draw a distinction between “extreme Muslims” and “moderate Muslims”, suggesting that viewers should make such a distinction. That was with the caveat, according to […]

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Rising From The Ashes

If I ask what is the meaning of the word Phoenix, how would you respond? Is it the city in Arizona? The media/communications group in Boston? The thunderbird of American Indians? A sculpture at the Nepenthe restaurant in Big Sur, California? The second Mars landing spacecraft? Lord Darrell Duppa suggested the name “Phoenix” for the […]

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Ryan Rand

The Meaning of Altruism

When I was a college freshman, I became completely enamoured with Ayn Rand. As a literary heroine, she surpassed so many of my early heroes. The self defence in The Fountainhead of Rand’s hero, architect Howard York, stood on trial for dynamiting a housing project he designed. It was such a captivating defence that I […]

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paranoia

Contageous Paranoia

Five years ago I wrote an article on mass paranoia. At the time I argued that U.S. and Israeli paranoia threaten to lead the entire world to oblivion. In that previous article, I defined paranoia as “a psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution with or without grandeur, often strenuously defended with apparent logic and […]

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Obama

The Emperor has No Clothes

How would you like to live under someone’s boot? That’s not a reference to a brute for a husband or a bitch for a bride. It’s a question motivated by the behaviour of the mindless louts who enjoy holding sacrificial lambs as hostages and killing those who complain. Who would be so inhuman? Many. Too […]

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An American Spring?

The coming elections in America have become a contest between candidates who both try to be the leading panderer to Israel. Watching grown men who aspire to lead America grovel and mollycoddle before Israeli puppet-masters is disturbing. America is in the hands of a president who can’t decide whether to be imperious or fawning, an […]

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Double Standards of Mass Murder

A Virginia college, a Colorado high school, a Texas military base, an Arizona strip mall, a Colorado movie theatre – all have become part of a recurring event in America: mass murder. Following the latest massacre Tom Mauser, the father of a 15-year-old victim at the Columbine High School slaughter in 1999, described the inescapable […]

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battlefield

Fighting The Vampires Within

Murder is not an anomaly in war- Chris Hedges Early warriors massed on bloody battlefields with everything from sticks and screams to swords, bows and arrows, muskets and cannons. That scene remained both disgusting and ridiculous.   The grim reaper heard the call of wild, raging bloodthirsty troops who could never get enough of head-slicing […]

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Ben-Gurion

Theft of a nation

A recent story from a small American town in Pennsylvania reported a bank robbery by a 35-year-old who allegedly held up a Citizens Bank branch. Bank robbers, when caught, are tried in court and sent to jail. Those who steal from others, whether a purse snatcher or car thief, get tried for theft and punished. […]

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Seeing the Same Things Differently

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. — George Orwell One of my favourite short poems, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, is easy reading.  Or is it?  Try.   So much depends upon a […]

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Transparency or Transparent Lies

Do you remember when President Obama called for an unprecedented level of openness in Government?  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration, promised the president.   When Obama appointed Yong Kim as President of the World Bank, he praised the selection process for […]

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Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction?

If enough isolated individuals pursue the same goal, the effect is indistinguishable from a conspiracy. Many people delight in hearing about conspiracies. My favourite story about conspiracy theories came during a summer break from college.. Working as a waiter, I noticed that one of the other waiters had more customers coming to see him. He […]

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