Dec 312011
 
Salon
Glenn Greenwald

As I’ve written about before, America’s election season degrades mainstream political discourse even beyond its usual lowly state. The worst attributes of our political culture — obsession with trivialities, the dominance of horserace “reporting,” and mindless partisan loyalties — become more pronounced than ever. Meanwhile, the actually consequential acts of the U.S. Government and the permanent power factions that control it — covert endless wars, consolidation of unchecked power, the rapid growth of the Surveillance State and the secrecy regime, massive inequalities in the legal system, continuous transfers of wealth from the disappearing middle class to large corporate conglomerates — drone on with even less attention paid than usual.

Because most of those policies are fully bipartisan in nature, the election season — in which only issues that bestow partisan advantage receive attention — places them even further outside the realm of mainstream debate and scrutiny. For that reason, America’s elections ironically serve to obsfuscate political reality even more than it usually is.

This would all be bad enough if “election season” were confined to a few months the way it is in most civilized countries. But in America, the fixation on presidential elections takes hold at least eighteen months before the actual election occurs, which means that more than 1/3 of a President’s term is conducted in the midst of (and is obscured by) the petty circus distractions of The Campaign. Thus, an unauthorized, potentially devastating covert war — both hot and cold — against Iran can be waged with virtually no debate, just as government control over the Internet can be inexorably advanced, because TV political shows are busy chattering away about Michele Bachmann’s latest gaffe and minute changes in Rick Perry’s polling numbers.

Then there’s the full-scale sacrifice of intellectual honesty and political independence at the altar of tongue-wagging partisan loyalty. The very same people who in 2004 wildly cheered John Kerry — husband of the billionaire heiress-widow Teresa Heinz Kerry — spent all of 2008 mocking John McCain’s wealthy life courtesy of his millionaire heiress wife and will spend 2012 depicting Mitt Romney’s wealth as proof of his insularity; conversely, the same people who relentlessly mocked Kerry in 2004 as a kept girly-man and gigolo for living off his wife’s wealth spent 2008 venerating McCain as the Paragon of Manly Honor.

That combat experience is an important presidential trait was insisted upon in 2004 by the very same people who vehemently denied it in 2008, and vice-versa. Long-time associations with controversial figures and inflammatory statements from decades ago either matter or they don’t depending on whom it hurts, etc. etc. During election season, even the pretense of consistency is proudly dispensed with; listening to these empty electioneering screeching matches for any period of time can generate the desire to jump off the nearest bridge to escape it.

Then there’s the inability and/or refusal to recognize that a political discussion might exist independent of the Red v. Blue Cage Match. Thus, any critique of the President’s exercise of vast power (an adversarial check on which our political system depends) immediately prompts bafflement (I don’t understand the point: would Rick Perry be any better?) or grievance (you’re helping Mitt Romney by talking about this!!). The premise takes hold for a full 18 months — increasing each day in intensity until Election Day — that every discussion of the President’s actions must be driven solely by one’s preference for election outcomes (if you support the President’s re-election, then why criticize him?).
Worse still is the embrace of George W. Bush’s with-us-or-against-us mentality as the prism through which all political discussions are filtered. It’s literally impossible to discuss any of the candidates’ positions without having the simple-minded — who see all political issues exclusively as a Manichean struggle between the Big Bad Democrats and Good Kind Republicans or vice-versa — misapprehend “I agree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I support Candidate X for President” or I disagree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I oppose Candidate X for President.” Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.

So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing supporting for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted.
* * * * *
The Ron Paul candidacy, for so many reasons, spawns pervasive political confusion — both unintended and deliberate. Yesterday, The Nation‘s long-time liberal publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, wrote this on Twitter:

That’s fairly remarkable: here’s the Publisher of The Nation praising Ron Paul not on ancillary political topics but central ones (“ending preemptive wars & challenging bipartisan elite consensus” on foreign policy), and going even further and expressing general happiness that he’s in the presidential race. Despite this observation, Katrina vanden Heuvel — needless to say — does not support and will never vote for Ron Paul (indeed, in subsequent tweets, she condemned his newsletters as “despicable”). But the point that she’s making is important, if not too subtle for the with-us-or-against-us ethos that dominates the protracted presidential campaign: even though I don’t support him for President, Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party advocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits.


Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.

As Matt Stoller argued in a genuinely brilliant essay on the history of progressivism and the Democratic Party which I cannot recommend highly enough: “the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview.” Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.

The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with dronescluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious. I know it’s annoying and miserable to hear. Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception. These facts demonstrate that the leader progressives have empowered and will empower again has worked in direct opposition to those values and engaged in conduct that is nothing short of horrific. So there is an eagerness to avoid hearing about them, to pretend they don’t exist. And there’s a corresponding hostility toward those who point them out, who insist that they not be ignored.

The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views.

Progressives would feel much better about themselves, their Party and their candidate if they only had to oppose, say, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann. That’s because the standard GOP candidate agrees with Obama on many of these issues and is even worse on these others, so progressives can feel good about themselves for supporting Obama: his right-wing opponent is a warmonger, a servant to Wall Street, a neocon, a devotee of harsh and racist criminal justice policies, etc. etc. Paul scrambles the comfortable ideological and partisan categories and forces progressives to confront and account for the policies they are working to protect. His nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate (which is why some neocons are expressly arguing they’d vote for Obama over Paul). Is it really hard to see why Democrats hate his candidacy and anyone who touts its benefits?

It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

Without my adopting it, that is at least an honest, candid, and rational way to defend one’s choice. It is the classic lesser-of-two-evils rationale, the key being that it explicitly recognizes that both sides are “evil”: meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a More Evil v. Less Evil contest. But that is not the discussion that takes place because few progressives want to acknowledge that the candidate they are supporting — again — is someone who will continue to do these evil things with their blessing.

Instead, we hear only a dishonest one-sided argument that emphasizes Paul’s evils while ignoring Obama’s (progressives frequently ask: how can any progressive consider an anti-choice candidate but don’t ask themselves: how can any progressive support a child-killing, secrecy-obsessed, whistleblower-persecuting Drug Warrior?).

Paul’s candidacy forces those truths about the Democratic Party to be confronted. More important — way more important — is that, as vanden Heuvel pointed out, he forces into the mainstream political discourse vital ideas that are otherwise completely excluded given that they are at odds with the bipartisan consensus.

There are very few political priorities, if there are any, more imperative than having an actual debate on issues of America’s imperialism; the suffocating secrecy of its government; the destruction of civil liberties which uniquely targets Muslims, including American Muslims; the corrupt role of the Fed; corporate control of government institutions by the nation’s oligarchs; its destructive blind support for Israel, and its failed and sadistic Drug War. More than anything, it’s crucial that choice be given to the electorate by subverting the two parties’ full-scale embrace of these hideous programs.

I wish there were someone who did not have Ron Paul’s substantial baggage to achieve this. Before Paul announced his candidacy, I expressed hope in an Out Magazine profile that Gary Johnson would run for President and be the standard-bearer for these views, in the process scrambling bipartisan stasis on these questions. I did that not because I was endorsing his candidacy (as some low-level Democratic Party operative dishonestly tried to claim), but because, as a popular two-term Governor of New Mexico free of Paul’s disturbing history and associations, he seemed to me well-suited to force these debates to be had. But alas, Paul decided to run again, and Johnson — for reasons still very unclear — was forcibly excluded from media debates and rendered a non-person. Since then, Paul’s handling of the very legitimate questions surrounding those rancid newsletters has been disappointing in the extreme, and that has only served to obscure these vital debates and severely dilute the discourse-enhancing benefits of his candidacy.
* * * * *
Still, for better or worse, Paul — alone among the national figures in both parties — is able and willing to advocate views that Americans urgently need to hear. That he is doing so within the Republican Party makes it all the more significant. This is why Paul has been the chosen ally of key liberal House members such as Alan Grayson (on Fed transparency and corruption), Barney Frank (to arrest the excesses of the Drug War) and Dennis Kucinich (on a wide array of foreign policy and civil liberties issues). Just judge for yourself: consider some of what Ron Paul is advocating on vital issues — not secondary issues, but ones progressives have long insisted are paramount — and ask how else these debates will be had and who else will advocate these views:
Endless War and Terrorism

This entire four-minute Cenk Uygur discussion from last week about Paul’s candidacy is worthwhile, but if nothing else, watch the amazing ad about American wars and Terrorism from Ron Paul’s campaign which Cenk features at the 2:50 mark:

Due Process
Here’s Paul condemning the due-process-free assassination of American citizens:

The Drug War

Whistleblowers

Surveillance State: Opposing Patriot Act extension




U.S. policy toward Israel:




UPDATE: Also, President Obama today signed the NDAA and its indefinite detention provisions into law (a law which Paul vehemently opposed); the ACLU statement — explaining that “President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law” and “Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was extinguished today” – is here.

Glenn Greenwald
Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald


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Dec 312011
 
With the pace of war against Iran now thundering in all its fury, it is time to mobilize once again to demand peace

Global Research
Michael Carmichael’s Talk to the Elders for Peace, Chapel Hill, N.C. on December 19th, 2011. 
Good afternoon. 

I am delighted to be here amongst all of you lovely people working together for peace. In fact, since we are the Elders for Peace, we are all veterans of the perpetual war against peace. Our side never wins, but we still keep working just the same. Never winning, because peace versus war is not a game. We are working for the survival of not only the human race, or even our tiny planet. In our time, when technology has finally led mankind to weapons of mass destruction of literally infinite power – the power to destroy in virtual simultaneity every form of life on earth, we are among the relatively few humans who have embarked on the mission in search of the key to survival of life as we know it. 

Today, we find ourselves inside the vortex of a gigantic conundrum – the United States of America. Our nation is the strongest military force in the history of the known universe. For the past century, we have been waging wars all over our tiny planet. 
The Great War, WWI was followed by WWII, a war that many believe was even greater. Both world wars catapulted our nation into the leading role of all the nations on earth. We are the richest, the most respected, the most reviled, the most envied, the most powerful nation among nations.
We are the most warlike nation. We must, therefore, be the most warlike people ever to have populated this planet. 
Over the past decade, our nation has prosecuted wars in the Middle East. A war of vengeance against Afghanistan. A war of cupidity against Iraq. Both wars have gone badly for America. While the final combat forces departed Iraq last week, more than 100,000 of our troops are still waging a twilight war in Afghanistan. 
But it is really worse than that, for our press, television and mainstream media do not reveal the truth to our people. We are already engaged in a third major land war in the Middle East, a war against Iran.
Before we examine the onrushing Iran War, let us review a few of the latest developments. 
Good news 
1 – The United States is Pulling out of Iraq. The last combat forces departed from Iraq last week. 
2 – The United States is winding down our military operations in Afghanistan. 
3 – The United States is preparing to cut the military budget, and for the time being both principal parties appear to be engaged with this important idea. 
4 – Former President George W. Bush has been constrained to the confines of the USA by legal maneuvers that would swiftly lead to his indictment for violations of the Geneva Convention on Torture if he were to travel abroad. In recent months, Former President Bush was troubled by attempts to place him under arrest when he visited Canada very briefly, and he was forced to cancel his trip to Switzerland for fear of arrest for war crimes and torture. 
5 — Certain Key Elements of our government, the White House, the Obama Administration and the Department of State, are resisting increasingly shrill demands for war against Iran, and at the same time they are fighting for the right to conduct diplomatic contacts with Iran against an ominous array of forces recently unleashed in Congress and beyond. 
Bad News 
1 – The War on Drugs is a multinational disaster with over 35,000 civilians killed in Mexico over the past five years. The War on Drugs is our most costly war and the most counterproductive. Little is being done to control it. Virtually nothing is being done to bring it to an end. 
2 – The Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) is moving inexorably toward war with Iran. 
3 – Technology is totally autonomous – it cannot be controlled. It cannot be managed. It cannot be suppressed. Technology in the hands of the MIC is advancing rapidly toward the robotification of war via drones for surveillance and targeted assassinations. This ominous trend in the technology of death will continue to gain momentum, and this dreadful development of technology is now unstoppable. Soon, we will be witnessing battlefields with many forms of robotic and cybernetic warriors – cyborgs – organisms with biological and cybernetic components. Cyborg assassins. Robotic assassins. The world of Terminator is racing rapidly toward us right now, and nothing whatsoever is being done to restrain it. 
4 – Mind Control, Mental Programming, Brainwashing and Perception Management have reached or exceeded Orwellian levels, and we are now moving confidently toward Huxleyian levels of totalitarian enslavement as vividly portrayed in Brave New World – a far more advanced dystopia than George Orwell’s Oceania, where torture was still applied to recalcitrant subjects. Brave New World programmed masses via propaganda, brainwashing and sensuality. Here are direct quotations from Aldous Huxley about the evolution of totalitarianism: 
It is possible to make people contented with their servitude. I think this can be done. I think it has been done in the past, and it can be done even more effectively now because you can distract them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with endless amounts of distractions and propaganda. . .
The nightmare of 1984 is destined to modulate into the nightmare of Brave New World – the change will be brought about as a result of a self-need for increased efficiency . . . 

Totalitarian regimes of the future will not be based upon terror, because they will have other means – brainwashing and propaganda – which will be much more efficient and much more economical than terrorism and torture. 
5 – As evidence of point 3 above, Congress is almost totally enthralled (literally in moral and intellectual bondage) to the Military Industrial Complex. We now live in a Military Dictatorship dressed up in the political refinement of democracy, but that is only a myth. The reality is Military Dictatorship. 
6 – Three days ago by a margin of 410 to 11, Congress has just passed one of the most potentially dangerous pieces of legislation in world history, The Iran Threat Reduction Act. Every member of the North Carolina delegation voted in favor except for two who were absent – both rock-ribbed Republicans (Myrick and Coble). While other nations and international organizations are attempting to criminalize war, the US congress is attempting to criminalize diplomatic contact and potential peace negotiations. This astonishing piece of legislation symbolizes the dangers Americans face from their elected representatives in government and those from the Military Industrial Complex who are actually in control of our government. 
The Iran War 
The buildup of the Iran War has been long and arduous. Over the past eight years, our military intelligence establishment working hand-in-glove with other shadow agencies of other nations has been building up the notion of a casus belli against Iran predicated upon their allegedly clandestine nuclear arms program. 
We all know that Iran is an Islamist state. In 1979, the populist uprising long incubated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini finally ejected the hated regime of the Shah, one of America’s most cherished allies in the oil-rich region. 
It must be said that the Shah was a great burden unto his people. While he lived in unparalleled luxury seated on a jewel-encrusted throne shaped like a peacock, the Shah entertained more lavishly than any other potentate on earth, even though his people suffered under the cruel heel of the Savak, one of the most brutal, repressive and predatory secret police forces ever devised. 
The United States was on intimate terms with Savak. We trained them. We armed them, and they served our purposes in their region. 
Richard Nixon loved the Shah, and the Shah loved Richard Nixon. The Shah granted Nixon the power and privilege of oil-riches, and Nixon tacitly granted the Shah immunity from the crime of heroin production, one of the largest and most profitable industries on earth, a fact known by Interpol for decades. 
We all know, the Shah fell, and Khomeini rose to power. 
What we often forget is that soon after the Iranian Revolution, our honorable ally, Saddam Hussein, at our beckoning and with our blessing, attacked Iran with arms we provided unto him. The Iran-Iraq War lasted 8 years. We do not know the exact number of casualties, but the figure of one million is probably far too small. We do know that Saddam Hussein did our bidding, and we do know that under the administration of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, we secretly armed Iran in order to permit the Reagan White House to wage an illegal war by arming the Nicaraguan Contras, a political movement that was nothing more than a death squad of gigantic proportions that murdered nuns, priests, women, children and poets in their campaign of carnage against a democratically elected government that sought to create economic justice within their own finite economy. 
Today, the Republican presidential candidates sing from the same songbook on Iran – with one notable exception, Ron Paul. The official Republican line is: war with Iran to purge them of their Islamist regime and destroy their nuclear program. Rank and file Republicans bitterly criticize President Obama for being too soft on Iran. It is ironic that rank and file Democrats are beginning to believe the same thing. 
Last week, by a margin of 410 to 11 – the House of Representatives just passed a bill that would criminalize diplomatic contact between the USA and Iran. The bill barring diplomacy with Iran is the work of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL) backed by Howard Berman, (D-CA). The White House, the Department of State and key members of the Senate are working to ensure the failure of this egregious piece of legislation. 
Our nation is suffering deeply in the throes of Islamophobia, and now we have developed an even more virulent phobia, Iranophobia, a fear of the nation and people of Iran. America is not the only nation afflicted with Iranophobia, the small and vulnerable nation of Israel is obsessed with the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation by an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon whose existence at this point in time is totally imaginary, the hypothetical component of a conspiracy theory. If America and Israel were psychiatric patients, their condition would be described as delusional. Instead, our government and our obeisant media are doing everything in their power to brainwash the American people to inculcate into their psyches the fear of every molecule of Iranian origin. 
The Iran War is the brainchild of the neocons of the Bush-Cheney administration. In top secret meetings of the national security council, Dick Cheney argued for war against Iran as early as 2002 and 2003. Cheney’s daughter, Elizabeth Cheney served in the State Department as the conduit for $85 million per year in funds to “pro-democracy” organizations inside Iran – groups like the Mujaheddin e-Khalq, a Marxist Islamist paramilitary cult of celibate terrorists, commandos, assassins and agents who sublimate their sexual desires for the practice of assassination, bomb manufacture, espionage, torture and terrorism. Today, 3000 members of the MEK are stranded in Camp Ashraf, an encampment inside Iraq that is now scheduled for demolition by the government of Prime Minister Maliki. Astonishingly, Governor Howard Dean has combined forces with Republican neoconservatives to remove the MEK from the US listing of terrorist organizations, so we can continue to provide them with more aid for their cult of terror. 
While the tempo and pace of the buildup of the Iran War has been long, complicated and terrifying for those of us who monitor it, we must report that in the last few months, the pace is definitely quickening. 
• Iran has arrested an untold number of Americans who languish in their prison system classified as “spies.” Apparently, Americans are crossing the border between Afghanistan and Iran as if they were embarking on “hikes” – and we the people of the United States know very little about these cases, their number, the individuals, the circumstances. 
• Just over a year ago, a cyber attack by the Stuxnet Worm was unleashed against the Iranian nuclear industry. This anonymous cyber attack made international headlines in most of the advanced nations on earth, but only a slight smear on the inner pages of our newspapers in the USA. 
• In July of this year, an Iranian nuclear scientist was shot dead by an assassin on a motorcycle in Tehran. 
• In America, ABC ran a story headlined: “Who is Killing Iran’s Nuclear Scientists?” 
• In Britain, the BBC ran a story headlined: “Is Iran Already Under Covert Attack?” 
• In London, the coverage read: “Iranian Scientist’s Death Probably the Work of Western Security Agencies: Analysts Suggest Mossad or CIA Behind the Murder.” 
• Recently, the Obama administration announced the interception of a disturbing terrorist plot allegedly masterminded by the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards or the Quds Force. The US Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted intelligence about an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Washington by outsourcing the murder to contract killers connected to a Mexican drug cartel. While this story was shocking, we have been advised by our government to take it seriously, even though it is considered to be risible, laughable and incredible in almost all other parts of the world. It may be worth reminding ourselves that propagandists have long operated with the principle of the big lie: the bigger the lie, the more likely people are to believe it. After the exposure of this fantastic plot, the United States elevated the level of monitoring and surveillance of the nation of Iran. 
• In November, working under their new Director Yukiya Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report on the Iranian nuclear program. The first Amano-Era IAEA report cited evidence that Iran was “studying nuclear weapons.” Iranian officials immediately denied the report of nuclear weapons research. In America the most authoritative source on US-Iranian tension, Seymour Hersh described the Amano report on Iran as: “The shift in tone at the I.A.E.A. seems linked to a change at the top.” and, “The new report, therefore, leaves us where we’ve been since 2002, when George Bush declared Iran to be a member of the Axis of Evil—with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.” Thus, the IAEA report created more tension, but little more. Seymour Hersh appeared on Democracy Now in a lengthy interview explaining his reservations about the objectivity of the IAEA report. The Seymour Hersh story on Democracy Now was headlined: “Propaganda used ahead of Iraq War Now Being Reused Over Iran’s Nuke Program.” 
• As you will know, a US drone spy plane was recently shot down over Iran. 
• You may not know that only three weeks ago there was a mysterious series of explosions at a nuclear facility located in close proximity to the historic city of Isfahan in Iran. 
• Shortly after these explosions, Iran ordered the closure of the British embassy. 
Throughout it all, we are being assured by our government that Iran is culpable of violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but we are given no conclusive evidence that this casus belli is any more credible than the risible case Colin Powell presented to the United Nations in February 2002 stating that Saddam Hussein posed a threat because of his vast and powerful arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. 
While Powell’s presentation impressed the domestic news media and its obedient audience – the American public, I was in Europe at the time – and nobody accepted Powell’s presentation as true. From the outset, Powell’s presentation was deemed to be a total fabrication. That lack of American credibility is why the global demonstrations of February 15th 2003 were so enormous. One million Romans marched in protest; one million Japanese marched to protest; in London, I was with Tony Benn in a vast throng estimated at one million in Hyde Park to protest the US-led march into the folly we now know as the Iraq War. 
War 
Humanity is perpetually marching into folly. War is the most violent form of folly. War is predicated on delusions: delusions of grandeur; delusions of demonization. 
While reading Cormac McCarthy’s historical novel, Blood Meridian, I met one of the most unforgettable villains in world literature: Judge Holden. 
The Judge joined a group of mercenaries led by John Joel Glanton who were commissioned to kill Indians in Mexico. Glanton’s force was made up of psychopaths, including a former priest, outlaws and a violence prone youth as well as Judge Holden. 
Glanton and his mercenaries murdered hundreds of Indians and took their scalps in exchange for generous bounties from Mexican authorities. 
But, the Glanton atrocity did not stop there. So lucrative was the project of war, that Glanton and his men would kill innocent Mexican civilians: men, women and children and take their scalps to exchange for hoards of gold and silver and furs and jewels and guns and clothes and horses and treasure from the Mexican authorities. 
In one episode as retold by McCarthy, surely one of our greatest literary artists, Judge Holden lectured the raw recruits on war. 
The Judge – on war 
Around a campfire one evening after a series of murderous atrocities, Judge Holden engaged some of Glanton’s Indian Fighters on the nature of war. After some noticed that the Bible warned those who lived by the sword that they would perish by it, the Judge responded: 
What right man would have it any other way? 
When someone reminded the group that the Bible recounted many tales of bloody wars, Judge Holden said:
It makes no difference what men think of war. War endures. As well to ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.
After some banter with another character about the trade of the Indian Fighters, the Judge told the men that all human endeavor is concentrated in war. When asked if that was the reason war endures, the Judge said:
No. It endures because young men love it, and old men love it in them. Those that fought, those that did not. Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here that which is wagered swallow up game, player, all.
At that point, the Judge provided a metaphor for war that is the major literary legacy of Blood Meridian:
Suppose two men at cards with nothing to wager save their lives. Who has not heard such a tale? A turn of the card. The whole universe for such a player has labored clanking to this moment which will tell if he is to die at that man’s hand or that man at his. What more certain validation of a man’s worth could there be? This enhancement of the game to its ultimate state admits no argument concerning the notion of fate. The selection of one man over another is a preference absolute and irrevocable and it is a dull man indeed who could reckon so profound a decision without agency or significance either one. In such games as have for their stake the annihilation of the defeated the decisions are quite clear. The man holding this particular arrangement of cards in his hand is thereby removed from existence. This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god.
As elders for peace, we have seen wars come and go and come again. 
We have seen the brutality of man against man. 
We have seen the brutality of man against animals, the deer of Orange County, the Tigers of China, the whales of the seven seas – all slain for sport, for gold, for pleasure. 
We have seen men and women executed for crimes they did or did not commit. 
We have seen the relentless assault on the black and tan races by the white master-race. 
Perhaps, these visions of violence, torture, destruction and death are what unites us in our movement to protest, to oppose and to abolish war. 
With the pace of war against Iran now thundering in all its fury, it is time to mobilize once again to demand peace.


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Dec 312011
 
US Drones Used in Turkey Airstrikes; 5 Killed in Other Iraq Violence

 

U.S. Drones mistook civilians for rebels at the border between Turkey and Iraq. The subsequent attack, which may have taken place inside Iraqi territory left 35 Turkish Kurds dead and wounded 15 more who were apparently smuggling fuel. Meanwhile, at least five Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded.

In what is the largest civilian death count in Turkey’s history fighting Kurdish rebels, 35 civilians have been killed in an air strike at an Iraq border point. U.S. drones, which had been relocated from Iraq, had detected the group earlier and mistook them for rebels.

Although many of the victims may have been diesel smugglers, they were not working for the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) rebels. Over a dozen of those killed were reportedly teenagers, and some were the sons of village guards. Most of the survivors were said to be wounded, but only one injury was officially reported. Witness put the number of injured at fifteen.

Kurdish officials in Turkey claimed they had warned the military of the smuggler’s presence but were ignored. Meanwhile, protests in Istanbul condemning the air strike were met with water cannons and tear gas. No injuries were reported, but several people were arrested.

In recent days, Iraqi Kurdish officials had complained Turkey was still conducting air strikes, as they have since summer. Then as every summer, the Turkish military stepped up attacks against rebels who use remote northern Iraq for its hideouts. This year’s attacks, however, were more intense.

In political crisis news, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised to honor Anbar province’s set of requests concerning government power abuses. The province had put forward a number of demands that needed to be meet to keep them from seeking semi-autonomy status. Despite fears that the premier is creating a dictatorship, the United States is moving ahead with military sales to Iraq.

In Mosul, gunmen stormed a home where they killed an Interior Ministry official and his mother. A female police officer was wounded in a blast. An off-duty policeman was shot dead. Gunmen also killed a civilian.

A bomb killed a soldier and wounded another in Safra.

In Baghdad, two bombs exploded in the Adhamiya neighborhood and wounded six people.
A roadside bomb wounded five people in Baquba.

Four people were wounded in an attack on a school principal’s home in Suleimaniya.
In Balad, a sticky bomb wounded a police officer.

A sticky bomb at the Kirkuk home of a passport official left no casualties. Another bombing took place at the home of a court official.

A Kurdish kidnap victim was released in Rashad after a ransom was paid.


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Dec 302011
 
Washington Post

DETROIT — General Motors Co. is recalling more than 4,000 of its 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact cars to check for missing brake pads.

Some Sonics could be missing an inner or outer brake pad, which could increase stopping distance. GM said there are no known crashes or injuries related to the issue.


The recall involves 4,296 of GM’s 2012 Sonics sold in the U.S. Affected models are from the Orion Township, Mich., assembly plant, which makes Sonics for the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Dealers will inspect front brakes on Sonics for missing inner or outer pads and install new pads, if necessary. Customers affected by the recall will receive dealer letters beginning Jan. 14.


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Dec 302011
 
Consortium News

Exclusive: Having apparently learned nothing from the Iraq disaster, many of the same political/media players are reprising their tough-guy roles in a new drama regarding Iran. These retread performances may make another war, with Iran, hard to avoid, writes Robert Parry

By Robert Parry

With the typical backdrop of alarmist propaganda in place, the stage is now set for a new war, this time with Iran. The slightest miscalculation (or provocation) by the United States, Israel or Iran could touch off a violent scenario that will have devastating consequences.

Indeed, even if they want to, the various sides might have trouble backing down enough to defuse today’s explosive situation. After all, the Iranians continue to insist they have no intention of building a nuclear bomb, as much as Israeli and American officials insist that they are.

So, this prospective war with Iran – like the one in Iraq – is likely to come down to intelligence assessments on Iran’s intentions and capabilities. And, as with Iraq’s alleged WMD, the many loud voices claiming that Iran is on pace to build a nuclear bomb are drowning out the relatively few skeptics who think the evidence is thin to invisible.

For instance, the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s supposed progress toward a nuclear bomb was widely accepted as gospel truth without any discussion of whether the IAEA is an unbiased and reliable source.

In framing the story in support of the IAEA, the major U.S. newspapers and TV networks ignored documentary evidence that the IAEA’s new director-general was installed with the support of the United States and that he privately indicated to U.S. and Israeli officials that he would help advance their goals regarding Iran.

These facts could be found easily enough in WikiLeaks cables that the U.S. news media has had access to since 2010. Yet, the Big Media has ignored this side of the story, even as the IAEA report has been touted again and again as virtually a smoking gun against Iran.

This pattern of ignoring – or downplaying – evidence that runs counter to the prevailing narrative was a notable feature during the run-up to war with Iraq. It is now being repeated not just by the right-wing news media, but by the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and other centrist-to-left-leaning outlets. [Update: The IAEA report was cited again on Friday in another bellicose editorial in the Times.]

The IAEA Cables

Thus, very few Americans know that U.S. embassy cables from Vienna, Austria, the site of IAEA’s headquarters, revealed that the U.S. government in 2009 was celebrating its success in installing Japanese diplomat Yakiya Amano to replace Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, who famously had debunked some of President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq’s supposed nuclear ambitions.

In a July 9, 2009, cable, American chargé Geoffrey Pyatt said Amano was thankful for U.S. support of his election. “Amano attributed his election to support from the U.S., Australia and France, and cited U.S. intervention with Argentina as particularly decisive,” the cable said.

The appreciative Amano informed Pyatt that as IAEA director-general, he would take a different “approach on Iran from that of ElBaradei” and he “saw his primary role as implementing safeguards and UNSC [United Nations Security Council]/Board resolutions,” i.e. U.S.-driven sanctions and demands against Iran.

Amano also vowed to restructure the IAEA’s senior ranks in ways favored by the United States. In return, Pyatt promised that “the United States would do everything possible to support his [Amano’s] successful tenure as Director General and, to that end, anticipated that continued U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA would be forthcoming.”

For his part, Amano stuck out his hand seeking more U.S. money, or as Pyatt put it, “Amano offered that a ‘reasonable increase’ in the regular budget would be helpful.”

Amano also rushed to meet with Israeli officials “immediately after his appointment,” consulting with Israeli Ambassador Israel Michaeli and leaving Michaeli “fully confident of the priority Amano accords verification issues.” That was another indication Amano’s IAEA would take a hard line against Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions while ignoring Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Michaeli also revealed that Amano’s public remarks about “no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons capability” were just for show, designed “to persuade those who did not support him about his ‘impartiality.’” In reality, Amano intended to be anything but impartial.

Amano agreed to private “consultations” with the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Pyatt reported. The purpose was to hear Israel’s purported evidence about Iran continuing its work on a nuclear weapon, not to discuss Israel’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to allow IAEA inspectors into Israeli nuclear sites.

In a subsequent cable dated Oct. 16, 2009, the U.S. mission in Vienna said Amano “took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded ambassador [Glyn Davies] on several occasions that … he [Amano] was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Amano also continued to indicate that he needed to hide his true intentions. “More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain ‘constructive ambiguity’ about his plans, at least until he took over for DG ElBaradei in December” 2009, the cable said.

In other words, the emerging picture of Amano is of a bureaucrat eager to please the United States and Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Wouldn’t that evidence be relevant for Americans deciding whether to trust the IAEA report? But the Big Media apparently felt that the American people shouldn’t know these facts whose disclosure has been limited to a few Internet sites. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “America’s Debt to Bradley Manning.”]

Similarly, the U.S. press corps is now reporting the dubious allegations about an Iranian assassination plot directed against the Saudi ambassador as flat fact, not as some hard-to-believe accusation comparable to Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims in 2002 that Iraqi officials had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot.”]

Dangerous Cascade

There is now a cascading of allegations regarding Iran, as there was with Iraq, with the momentum rushing toward war.

Just as with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the U.S. news media treats Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a designated villain whose every word is cast as dangerous or crazy. Even left-of-center media personalities, like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, talk tough against Ahmadinejad, just as many “liberals” did regarding Hussein.

Also, as happened with Iraq – when harsher economic sanctions merged with a U.S. troop build-up, making an escalation toward war almost inevitable – tougher and tougher Western sanctions against Iran have pushed the various sides closer to war.

In November, Iranian anger at escalating sanctions and other hostile acts led to an assault on the British Embassy, which then prompted new European demands for a full-scale embargo of Iranian oil. As tensions have grown, the U.S. Senate tossed in its own hand-grenade, voting 100-0 in favor of hitting Iran with ever more stringent sanctions.

In turn, Iran has threatened to retaliate against the West’s economic warfare by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil flows, thus driving up oil prices and derailing the West’s already shaky economies. That threat has led to even more bellicose language from many U.S. political figures, especially the Republican presidential hopefuls who have denounced President Barack Obama for not being tougher on Iran.

With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, virtually all the leading Republican contenders including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – have signaled a readiness to join Israel in a war against Iran. Romney has farmed out his foreign policy agenda to prominent neoconservatives, and Gingrich has gone so far as to suggest a full-scale U.S.-Israeli invasion of Iran to force “regime change.”

As the U.S. news media and politicians mostly reprise their performances on the Iraq invasion in regard to Iran, the principal obstacles to a new war appear to be President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Both are said to privately oppose a war with Iran, which was not true of how President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld felt about Iraq.

Though Obama and Panetta have talked tough about “all options on the table,” the Obama administration slipped loopholes into the Senate’s anti-Iran legislation, to allow the President to waive Iranian sanctions if he deemed them a threat to national security or to the economy.

One intelligence source told me that Obama is playing a delicate game in which he must placate hawkish anti-Iranian sentiments in Israel and on Capitol Hill while he continues to seek a broader Middle East security arrangement that would include Iran in the mix. On Wednesday, administration officials sought to tamp down alarmist anti-Iran reports in the U.S. press.

Still, whether Obama can head off a violent conflict with Iran remains to be seen. As the presidential election grows nearer – and the likely GOP’s nominee hammers at Obama as soft on Iran – a preemptive Israeli attack or a miscalculation by Iran could make war unavoidable.

For its part, the major U.S. news media has done its best, again, to line up the American people behind another war.

[For more on related topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, now available in a three-book set for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.


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Dec 302011
 
Intel Hub

The fact that no federal agency is preparing for this huge wave of radiated garbage shows just how insane the leaders of this once great country have become.

A massive debris field the size of California that is surely fully radiated is on its way to the west coast yet the corporate controlled media(see Project Mockingbird) instead focuses on Iran and its nuclear program.

The west coast of the United States WILL be hit with at least partially radiated debris from Japan and the corporate media WILL either heavily downplay the dangers or completely ignore them all together.

Consider the fact that a recent medical journal study has shown that upwards of 14,000 people may have died WITHIN the United States due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster:

An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services.

This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.

Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.

Initial reports stated that it would take up to a year for these partly radiated debris to hit the west coast, but as the video report above shows, debris have already begun to hit the coast.


Debris in British Columbia has caused local citizens and officials to claim that this is the largest quantity of debris they have ever seen that is actually moving much faster than expected.

We now live in a world where government and nuclear industry officials continually downplay the dangers of nuclear power while at the same time thousands are being devastated by its effects.


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Dec 292011
 
Guardian

Struggling numbers and outdated stores cited as cause for closure of over a hundred Sears and Kmart stores in the US
 

Sears Holdings Corp plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers.

The closings are the latest and most visible in a long series of moves to try to fix a retailer that has struggled with falling sales and shabby stores.

In an internal memo Tuesday to employees, CEO and President Lou D’Ambrosio said that the retailer had not “generated the results we were seeking during the holiday.”

Sears Holdings Corp said it has yet to determine which stores will close but said it will post on its website when a final list is compiled. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut.
The company has more than 4,000 stores in the US and Canada. Its stock dropped $8.67, or 18.9%, to $37.18 in morning trading. The shares dipped to their lowest point in more than three years at $36.51 during the first few minutes of trading.

The company’s revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.2% to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period.

Sears Holdings said the declining sales, ongoing pressure on profit margins and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter adjusted earnings will be less than half the $933m it reported for the same quarter last year.

Sears Holdings also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6bn to $1.8bn in the quarter to write off the value of carried-over tax deductions it now doesn’t expect to be profitable enough to use.

Sears said it will no longer prop up “marginally performing” stores in hopes of improving their performance and will now concentrate on cash-generating stores.

“These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers,” D’Ambrosio said.

The weaker-than-expected performance reflects what analysts say is a deteriorating outlook for the retailer.

The results point to “deepening problems at this struggling chain and renewed worries about Sears survivability,” said Gary Balter, an analyst at Credit Suisse. “The extent of the weakness may be larger than expected but the reasons behind it are not. It begins and some would argue ends with Sears’ reluctance to invest in stores and service.”

Balter also said Sears’ weakening performance may lead its vendors to start to worry about their exposure.

The company has seen rival department stores like Macy’s Inc and discounters like Target Corp continue to steal customers. It’s also contending with a stronger Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, which has hammered hard its low-price message and brought back services like layaway, which allows financially stressed shoppers to finance their holiday purchases by paying a little at a time.

The tough economy hasn’t helped, either. Middle-income shoppers, the company’s core customers, have seen their wages fail to keep up with higher costs for household basics like food.

But the big problem, analysts say, is Sears hasn’t invested in remodeling, leaving its stores uninviting.
“There’s no reason to go to Sears,” said New York-based independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi. “It offers a depressing shopping experience and uncompetitive prices.”

Sears Holdings Corp, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, said that the store closings will generate $140m to $170m in cash from inventory sales. The retailer expects the sale or sublease of real estate holdings to add more cash.

Sears Holdings appeared to stumble early in the holiday season, as it opened its Sears, Roebuck and Co stores at 4 am on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Rivals including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us opened as early as Thanksgiving night. Sears stores had opened on Thanksgiving Day in 2010. Kmart has been opening on Thanksgiving for years.

A hint that trouble might be brewing came in mid-December when Sears Holdings unexpectedly announced that 260 of its Sears, Roebuck and Co locations would stay open until midnight through December 23.

Kmart’s 4.4% decline in revenue at stores open at least a year was blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales.

Part of Kmart’s layaway softness likely stemmed from competitive pressure. Wal-Mart had said that its holiday layaway business had been popular. Toys R Us expanded its layaway services to include more items. Kmart’s grocery sales climbed during the period.

Sears cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales for its 6% dropoff. Sears’ clothing sales were flat. Sales of Lands’ End products at Sears stores rose in the mid-single digits.
Sears Holdings said it also plans to lower its fixed costs by $100m to $200m and trim its 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 m from 2011’s $10.2 billion at the third quarter’s end.

D’Ambrosio acknowledged in his internal memo that criticism over Sears Holdings’ performance was likely to come, but that the company was prepared for the days ahead.

“We will bounce back and become stronger than ever,” he said.


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