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Human rights for even Anders Breivik

In retrospect, awarding the newly elected Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize was about as smartly ambitious as it gets. Everyone knows humanitarians don't do it for the reward. A Nobel Prize is wasted if there's not some eligible sociopath who might be influenced with the pressure to behave themselves. President Obama's Nobel medal was an experiment in paying it forward. Who knows how much more bloodthirsty Obama might have gotten with his drones had not the Nobel committee tried to extort him with its higher expectations? The Nobel award givers took a lot of ribbing for their foolishness from those of us who weren't idealist enough. AND SO IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE when Norway's mass murdering overachiever Anders Breivik sued his jailers for abusing his human rights because he wasn't getting sufficient visitors in his cushy prison suite, that the Norwegian supreme court would rule Breivik was right. Of course they did. If you're not going to give a death sentence to a crazed bigot who guns down 76 children, if you're not going to throw him in a hole but instead give him a spacious accommodation, if instead of a life sentence you let him pursue university studies and limit his incarceration to twenty some years, then you don't want to isolate your prisoner from human contact if it might appear even as a semblance of solitary confinement. Because lesser cultures do that. Lesser capitalist flagship states isolate, execute and torture. I so appreciate that Norway wants to set a high bar, but I despair that the land of Guantanamo and waterboarding and indefinite detention and ILLEGAL detention and rendition and extrajudicial assassination and no habeus corpus can't even see this bar to reach it.

Obama confuses Nobel for Iron Cross

We can only conjecture that the Nobel Peace Prize fashioned for President Obama features military motifs of the Knight's Cross and the Prussian Pour Le Merite. The cheeky new War Czar invoked, and completely contradicted 1964 peace laureate Martin Luther King Jr. and pacifist A.J. Muste: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way." Obama explained that Pax Americana's arsenal of tools includes war. Where he himself was last year's spoonful of sugar, Obama is hoping the Afghanistan escalation goes down better with a spoonful of Nobel, ersatz peace. Now the pundits are reporting that Obama's acceptance speech was well received, even by the Left. Riiiiight. What's become of our benchmark for peace, that the givers of a peace prize couldn't rescind their offer when it became obvious the wayward emperor wasn't about to veer from the warpath?

Obama sucker punches Muhammad Ali

Apparently our double agent of change President Obama, invoked Muhammad Ali as a model of courage for staying the course just days before declaring a redoubled Pox Americana on the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I'm glad sports historian Dave Zirin has spoken swiftly to forbid Obama's defiling of the most famous draft resister in US history. Parkinson's prevents Ali from defending his title, just as MLK's memorializers airbrush King's antiwar vehemence. Zirin references this infamously principled quote which led to Ali's suspension from boxing, but ultimate vindication by the US Supreme Court:   "Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I'm not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here..... If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We've been in jail for 400 years." He also said: "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me nigger." President Obama's attempt to co-opt the character of Muhammad Ali is a disgrace. I suppose this suggests that Obama will accept his Nobel Peace Prize with not the least sense of irony or shame.

Barack Obama Nobel Prizefighter

At what line in the sand will we be able to say for certain that President Obama's hope bubble is a bust? Half of you are laughing at my naivety, the others are hushing me with your fingers crossed. Will it take a nuclear attack on Iran? More bailout? Less health? For example, when will we know whether Obama will be more a Kissinger Peace Laureate than a Mandela? A decision on Afghanistan? We have it already.   The BBC is reporting that as the US thanked Britain for recommitting forces to NATO in Afghanistan, it assured its British allies that Obama would soon be substantially increasing our own military forces. The announcement is to be made next week, the surge, 45,000 more soldiers. The White House emphatically denies this story, stating that President Obama "had not yet made a decision on troop numbers" and "would make up his mind in the coming weeks."   And there's your answer. And we've had it for awhile. I'll bet as a supporter of Barack Obama, you had made up your mind on Iraq and Afghanistan before you elected the hope candidate. You probably based your support for Senator Obama on the intuition that a young man smart as that had already made up his mind too, certainly on the moral issues. What does it mean now, that Obama might be still thinking on it? If Obama had made up his mind, or has, he's struggling now to make up his mind about how to tell you. Withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan is not ethically complicated. Financially it's a tough move because you've got all those war contractor profiteers who've got to be weened cautiously. But there is no intermediary way. So long as the US retains authority, it's an occupation. So long as one US company is collecting reconstruction funds, the US is serving its own interests. Rationalizations to remain as peacekeepers are just excuses to keep our hand in the till. There is no peacekeeping role for the US. We must get out, and proffer gobs of restitution. You know who should get the Nobel Peace Prize? The Nobel committee. For their valiant hopeful effort, at the risk of looking foolish. They merit at least a nomination for Time Magazine Persons Of The Year.

Obama is no over-hyped Messiah

Critics on both sides of Barack Obama's premature Nobel Prize peddle the same cynical caricature of our new president, as messiah figure likely overburdened by our expectations. It's a self-defeating setup that didn't fool the Nobel panel. Obama is not Jesus, he's Caesar. I don't mean to belittle the Son of God, but Obama's throne has a far greater vantage point to deliver this world from the yoke of the evil empire. This year's Nobel Peace Prize is a sort of Pay It Forward award to the man who holds the fate of so many in his hands. You don't have to believe Obama is the Second Coming, nor even that he's a good man. So far he's played Dubya's apprentice to a tee. But what can you do? Obama's vainglourious Basterds have everyone by the throat. The Afghans, the Iraqis, the Pakistanis, live but by the grace of his drones, or the whim of his rendition interrogator-torturers. American activists abut his militarized police, American sick expire while on hold with his third party death panels. The Nobel Prize could be another medal to pretend this American Emperor heralds a break from injustice as the US redoubles wreaking havoc. Or, it could be mankind's last best only hope to appeal, if not to Obama's sense of humanity, to his vanity. Is the 2009 Nobel Laureate going to escalate killings and predations on the poor? The choice is Obama's. The growing criticism of Barack Obama's record of inaction furthers the misconception that Obama is a mere figurehead, an affirmative action spokesman to give the US a kinder, gentler image. In fact, Obama sits in the little dictator's seat. It's lost no power since the days of Bush. You might argue that Bush was mere Howdy Doody to powerful oligarchs behind the scenes. Obama may be pulled by the same strings. But unless the puppet masters choose to reveal themselves, a puppet can pretend they don't exist. And a real flesh and blood man puppet can utterly efface them. I believe the Nobel committee is hoping to appeal to just that man. Obama doesn't need Congress, majority or no, nor the American People, nor the corporate media, to decide what he wants to do. He's not stuck to overturning the tables of the money-changers, or leading by example by dying for us on a cross. Obama doesn't have to render unto Caesar, he is Caesar. The most powerful there ever was, although I can't think now if there ever was a good one. The Norse were in no position then to bait one with a peace prize. Here's hoping. ADDENDUM: Barack and Michelle Obama sent out this response to the surprise honor, trying a little false flattery of their own. Here's the last paragraph: This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs

Harold Pinter on drama and US banditry

"What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?" -Harold Pinter (1930-2008) I'm reminded of a friend of mine who asked "You know what PTSD is? It's a bad conscience." An outspoken critic of the Iraq War, Harold Pinter died Christmas Eve. Here is the address he prerecorded for his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 2005, when he had become too infirm to attend in person. Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics In 1958 I wrote the following: 'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.' I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false? Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost. I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did. Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image. I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me. The plays are The Homecoming and Old Times. The first line of The Homecoming is 'What have you done with the scissors?' The first line of Old Times is 'Dark.' In each case I had no further information. In the first case someone was obviously looking for a pair of scissors and was demanding their whereabouts of someone else he suspected had probably stolen them. But I somehow knew that the person addressed didn't give a damn

Nobel Prize impostor to speak at CC

Colorado College, our evolving Neo-Liberal Arts school, has been inviting a slew of globalization advocates to intone on patriarchal economics. The latest, game theory "Cold Warrior" Thomas Schelling, will speak on Thursday, Feb. 21st. Schelling is being lauded as a "Nobel Laureate of Economics." Except there is no such thing as a Nobel prize for economics. The "Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel" is to the Nobel prize, what air hockey is to hockey. If air hockey was played by chiseling cardsharps. The would-be Nobel ruse is exposed with regularity, but without traction in the mainstream press. Every year the impostor recipients steadfastly don the stripes and hit the lecture circuit as "laureates." The current issue of Adbusters revisits the scheme, and this time even recommends rescinding a number of the fraudulent awards. The most egregious it suggests, which have harmed mankind by encouraging wrong-headed laissez-fair policy, went to Milton Friedman in 1976, Robert Solow in 1987, and Gary Becker in 1992. "Further recalls may be necessary." We can only hope Thomas Schelling and his "junk economics," lobbying as he has against the Kyoto Treaty and for the Copenhagen Consensus, will be next. Presumably to make amends for inventing dynamite, Alfred Nobel endowed a peace prize in 1907 to be awarded each year in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace, where such work contributed to the well being of mankind. Nobel made zero provisions for offering an award to economists. In the late sixties, a cabal of economists contrived to make their own prize, through the Bank of Sweden, "in honor of Alfred Nobel," presuming to correct Nobel's shortsightedness, in defiance of his apparent farsightedness. And indeed the only economists which they have honored have been the malevolent World Bank booster variety.

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