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Barton Kunstler, Ph.D. is a writer of fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. He is author of "The Hothouse Effect" (Amacom), a book describing the dynamics of highly creative groups and organizations. His play, "An Inquiry in Florence", was recently performed at Westchester's Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls, NY. Barton contributes to OEN and the HuffPost on political and social issues, and has been involved in progressive causes and campaigns since early in his teens.
The Insidious, Clueless, Cynical Defense of Data Surveillance
The article addresses the justifications employed by the President, the Director of National Intelligence, and others to defend the surveillance of phone and Internet activity. It also establishes aspects of the broader context in which such surveillance efforts are undertaken, and describes the long-term threats to our civil liberties represented by these programs.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Palin's Death Committee as a Projection of the Fundamentalist God
Sarah Palin's idea of Death Committees didn't come out of nowhere. It is a mirror image of the god of fundamentalism - all powerful, with ultimate power over life and death. Such images are often a function of the same anxiety and panic that afflicts societies under immense stress, and they are often a warning sign of more extreme responses to come.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Time for the President to Take an Unequivocal Stand Against Torture Policies (3 comments)
President Obama's reluctance to condemn the Bush/Cheney torture machine only makes it that much more likely that torture will one day be re-upped as U.S. policy. Attorney General Holder's plan to prosecute only those who physically tortured detainees exemplifies President Obama's ineffective, indecisive, and non-moral stance on our shameful descent into the worst barbarism.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Thomas Friedman as War Propagandist (10 comments)
The line between propaganda and analysis, even honest advocacy, can run thin and Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist and best-selling author, crosses it in his defense of our military presence in Afghanistan. His most recent arguments do little to increase understanding of the war and its consequences, and use familiar propaganda techniques in the service of one more senseless war.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Presidential Fictions that Bind Us to Afghanistan
President Obama's rationale for continuing the war in Afghanistan is based on tired fictions and manipulative rhetoric. This is tragic for Afghanistan and the U.S., as well as for the President's overall agenda. These fictions assert a powerful hold over us and reflect serious misconceptions about the character of the world today.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Interview with Cyrus the Great
A purported interview with the ancient Persian emperor touches on the controlled hysteria that the U.S. government and media are directing against Iran, McCain's response to the Iranian missile test, and other unsavory aspects of current policy.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Congress Finally Acts! On Steroids!
Sometimes it seems like Congress is making more noise over steroids in baseball than Iraq, corruption, and New Orleans put together. This fictional parody of an interview with a member of the investigating House committee addresses this issue, hopefully in a humorous way.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Concerned about the economy? End the war. (14 comments)
The media has largely ignored the link between Bush's wars and the deteriorating U.S. economy. With all that's been written about the credit crisis, the fact is that the awful waste of money on war and military spending is the primary cause of America's tilt towards bankruptcy. We might well wonder why this connection has gone unremarked, but unless it is addressed, neither crisis will be resolved.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Why We Cannot - and Will Not - Attack Iran
The U.S. appears to be on the verge of attacking Iran. Yet the logic militating against such a course of action is so powerful that it is unlikely such an attack will take place. If it does, however, it will indicate that the Bush administration has lost all touch with reality to the extent that Congress and the Pentagon should countermand the Commander-in-Chief's orders to bomb Iranian targets.
Monday, September 18, 2006
U.S.-Israel-Iran Alliance: The Great Game Updated (4 comments)
The real driving force behind Middle East events may well be a U.S.-Israel-Iranian Alliance. Whether or not this contrarian hypothesis proves out, it offers an alternative logic that explains events more clearly than the muddled views currenlty circulating in the media.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Spartans Would Think We're Crazy (3 comments)
Israel and the United States have both made severe, and parallel, errors in strategic and moral calculation in their respective invasions of Lebanon and Iraq. Had they just referred to the experience of one of history's most militarized societies, the outcome would, ironically, have far better served the interests of all parties and the cause of regional peace.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Spinning Truth into Lies (3 comments)
It no longer matters whether the British airline plot was real or not: any news report with political impact is instantly subjected to propaganda techniques that make the question of truth irrelevant.