James Petras, Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, discusses his new article Death on the Prescription Plan: The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century, which argues that huge numbers of working-class Americans are intentionally being "deniably" murdered by the corporate oligarchy. (It is cheaper to kill them than to retrain them or keep them alive as "useless eaters.") Petras's article begins:
"Over the past two decades hundreds of thousands of Americans have died prematurely because of irresponsibly prescribed narcotic ‘pain killers’ and other central nervous system depressants like tranquillizers and their deadly interactions. The undeniable fact is that they have been mostly from the white working and lower middle class from rural and deindustrialized regions. The governing elite and oligarch macro-decision makers have quietly dismissed this sector of the country as ‘surplus’."
From Mark Gaffney:
I’m sending this email because action is better than despair.
Our country has just attacked a nation, Syria, that did nothing to us. It is raw blatant aggression. US warmongers have won again.
Today's fateful missile attack by the US could easily lead to a nuclear confrontation with Russia and China in a matter of weeks, days or even hours. The die is cast. Time is short.
There is no hard evidence that Syrian president Assad ordered a chemical attack on his own people. The press headlines that Assad launched an attack are misleading at best. The facts are not yet all in, but it appears the toxic release and tragic deaths occurred when the Syrian Air Force bombed an al Qaeda weapons facility in Idlib province. If this is correct, the toxic release was inadvertent, a tragedy of war. Al Qaeda terrorists have controlled Idlib for most of the war. Although the US government often describes them as moderates, they have beheaded journalists, desecrated Christian churches and murdered non-Muslim civilians.
Syria gave up its chemical weapons in 2013 thanks to effective Russian diplomacy. At the time, that diplomacy saved the US from becoming militarily involved in Syria, which would have been a terrible blunder. Unfortunately, our leaders are incapable of learning.
It is known that al Qaeda rebels in Syria acquired chemical weapons as a result of the destruction of Libya orchestrated by the warmonger Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ghadaffi had chemical stockpiles and these "got away" after the US toppled his government. From Libya, there was an arms pipeline to al Qaeda-associated groups in Syria. The arms included chemical precursors. Thus, US aggression against Libya was largely responsible for the proliferation of chemical weapons across the region. This is the context for the latest tragedy.
Unfortunately, the American people are in the dark about all of this; because outside the Internet there is no independent media left in our country to counter government propaganda about Syria. Today, nearly all of the US media is controlled by the military industrial complex, thanks to the media consolidation allowed by Bill Clinton in the 1990s. This also explains why our political system is so dysfunctional. As Jefferson wrote, democracy cannot function without an informed public.
So, it comes down to us. We the people are the last resort, the last line of defense, the last chance for peace. Without immediate action by us, escalating events may soon result in the unthinkable.
But perhaps if enough of us get on the phone and are persistent and loud enough, our Senators and Congressional reps will do their job, which is to represent us. Congress must immediately pass legislation rescinding the broad war powers bestowed on the president after 9/11.
Here is the Washington Capitol switchboard number (202-224-3121). Please call Friday morning — EARLY! We must catch our reps before the weekend.