It does not mean to stand up for any political party, politician or any other another state.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to address the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Among Carter’s ‘crimes’ are his 2007 book, “Peace Not Apartheid” which the ZOA claims is filled with “falsehoods about Israel, not least the vicious insinuation in its title that Israel resembles the evils of the apartheid regime in South Africa and that Jews living in Judea and Samaria, is the ‘primary’ obstacle to peace.”
According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that “Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status…even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors.” 
The ZOA is also up in arms over Carter daring to mention that Israel has destroyed over 40,000 Palestinian homes, which have rendered hundreds of thousand Palestinians homeless and that Gaza is an open-air prison.
The ZOA ignores the Jewish Justice Richard Goldstone’s 575-page report of September 29, 2009, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.
Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel’s targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.
US-supplied weapons enabled the 22 days of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.
During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, “Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. 
During Operation Cast Lead, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called “self defense.”
In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.
“Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.
“Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.
“Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.
“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” [Ibid]
Last year, I attended AIPAC’s D.C. Conference and heard President Obama speak about the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons but not a word about Israel’s still un-inspected WMD facility-which everyone in the world, except most Americans learned about 26 years ago, when Mordechai Vanunu’s photos and testimony made front page news in London’s The Sunday Times.
Obama also mentioned his visit to the Jewish Wailing Wall and how he thought about the generations who have wanted a homeland; but not a word was uttered about the generations of indigenous Palestinians who are still denied their inalienable right to return home or about the 21st century Wailing Wall: The Apartheid Wall:
Obama told of his visit to Sderot and the struggles of those residents, but he neglected to travel five minutes away into the open air prison of Gaza where 1.5 million human beings-800,000 are under the age of 16-struggle every moment of the day just to survive under a brutal siege aided and abetted by USA policy!
In 2009, I spent an evening in Sderot and learned that most everyone there would be just as happy to migrate to Las Vegas than live in Israel: Read more…
Israel’s existence is a fact of life, but what can never be accepted by people of conscience is Israel’s ‘right’ to steal land and resources of the indigenous people of Palestine and we the people of this homeland’s tax dollars that aid, abet and sustain an illegal, immoral and brutal military occupation.
All through that AIPAC conference I heard the incessant drumbeat of Israel’s rights, about the “special relationship” “shared values” “common Interests” the “Jewish State” and claims that Israel is a democracy, but Israel is not-and never has been a Democracy!
In the May 28, 1993 edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, Ariel Sharon explained:
“The terms ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ are totally absent from the Declaration of Independence. This is not an accident. The intention of Zionism was not to bring democracy, needless to say. It was solely motivated by the creation in Eretz-Isrel of a Jewish state belonging to all the Jewish people and to the Jewish people alone. This is why any Jew of the Diaspora has the right to immigrate to Israel and to become a citizen of Israel.”
Jeff Halper, American Israeli, co-founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Professor of Anthropology explained that, ”An ethnocracy is the opposite of a democracy, although it might incorporate some elements of democracy such as universal citizenship and elections. It arises when one particular group-the Jews in Israel, the Russians in Russia, the Protestants in pre-1972 Northern Ireland, the whites in apartheid South Africa, the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran, the Malay in Malaysia and, if they had their way, the white Christian fundamentalists in the US-seize control of the government and armed forces in order to enforce a regime of exclusive privilege over other groups in what is in fact a multi-ethnic or multi-religious society. Ethnocracy, or ethno-nationalism, privileges ethnos over demos, whereby one’s ethnic affiliation, be it defined by race, descent, religion, language or national origin, takes precedence over citizenship in determining to whom a county actually ‘belongs.’”
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned US:
“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all…and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”
Obama admitted that true friends speak open and honestly and that “the current situation does not allow procrastination. The world is moving too fast [and] the Talmud teaches as long as one has life do not abandon faith. We will never abandon universal human rights.”
It was President Harry Truman who crossed out the word ”Jewish state” on the draft of the Establishment of Israel that was cabled him and substituted ”State of Israel” which he affirmed was contingent upon Israel upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more…
As a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, America is obligated to hold ALL other Member States to it!
As an American patriot who went online in 2005 after my first of 7 trips to Israel and Occupied Palestine, all I have been saying is that when Israel honors its founding promises and America upholds its obligation as a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then YES WE CAN begin this world again by BUILDING IT according to the principals outlined and agreed to in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
3. Jeff Halper, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel, Page 74
And other tales of an empire gone mad…
Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s … Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s … Libya 2011 … Syria 2012 … In military conflicts in each of these countries the United States and al Qaeda (or one of its associates) have been on the same side. 1
What does this tell us about the United States’ “War On Terrorism”?
Regime change has been the American goal on each occasion: overthrowing communists (or “communists”), Serbians, Slobodan Milosevic, Moammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad … all heretics or infidels, all non-believers in the empire, all inconvenient to the empire.
Why, if the enemy is Islamic terrorism, has the United States invested so much blood and treasure against the PLO, Iraq, and Libya, and now Syria, all mideast secular governments?
Why are Washington’s closest Arab allies in the Middle East the Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, and Bahrain? Bahrain being the home of an American naval base; Saudi Arabia and Qatar being conduits to transfer arms to the Syrian rebels.
Why, if democracy means anything to the United States are these same close allies in the Middle East all monarchies?
Why, if the enemy is Islamic terrorism, did the United States shepherd Kosovo — 90% Islamist and perhaps the most gangsterish government in the world — to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia in 2008, an independence so illegitimate and artificial that the majority of the world’s nations still have not recognized it?
Why — since Kosovo’s ruling Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) have been known for their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic) — has the United States been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union? (Just what the EU needs: another economic basket case.) Between 1998 and 2002, the KLA appeared on the State Department terrorist list, remaining there until the United States decided to make them an ally, due in no small part to the existence of a major American military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel, well situated in relation to planned international oil and gas pipelines coming from the vast landlocked Caspian Sea area to Europe. In November 2005, following a visit to Bondsteel, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a “smaller version of Guantánamo”. 2
Why, if the enemy is Islamic terrorism, did the United States pave the way to power for the Libyan Islamic rebels, who at this very moment are killing other Libyans in order to institute a more fundamentalist Islamic state?
Why do American officials speak endlessly about human rights, yet fully support the Libyan Islamic rebels despite the fact that Doctors Without Borders suspended its work in prisons in the Islamic-rebel city of Misurata because torture was so rampant that some detainees were brought for care only to make them fit for further interrogation? 3
Why is the United States supporting Islamic Terrorists in Libya and Syria who are persecuting Christians?
And why, if the enemy is Islamic terrorism, did US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice — who daily attacks the Syrian government on moral grounds — not condemn the assassination of four Syrian high officials on July 18, in all likelihood carried out by al Qaeda types? RT, the Russian television channel broadcast in various parts of the United States, noted her silence in this matter. Does anyone know of any American media that did the same?
So, if you want to understand this thing called United States foreign policy … forget about the War on Terrorism, forget about September 11, forget about democracy, forget about freedom, forget about human rights, forget about religion, forget about the people of Libya and Syria … keep your eyes on the prize … Whatever advances American global domination. Whatever suits their goals at the moment. There is no moral factor built into the DNA of US foreign policy.
Bring back the guillotine
In July, the Canadian corporation Enbridge, Inc. announced that one of its pipelines had leaked and spilled an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil in a field in Wisconsin. Two years ago, an Enbridge pipeline spilled more than 19,000 barrels in Michigan. The Michigan spill affected more than 50 kilometers of waterways and wetlands and about 320 people reported medical symptoms from crude oil exposure. The US National Transportation Safety Board said that at $800 million it was the costliest onshore spill cleanup in the nation’s history. The NTSB found that Enbridge knew of a defect in the pipeline five years before it burst. According to Enbridge’s own reports, the company had 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, releasing close to 7 million gallons of crude oil. 4
No executive or other employee of Enbridge has been charged with any kind of crime. How many environmental murderers of modern times have been punished?
During a period of a few years beginning around 2007, several thousand employees of stock brokers, banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies, credit-rating agencies, and other financial institutions, mainly in New York, had great fun getting obscenely rich while creating and playing with pieces of paper known by names like derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, index funds, credit default swaps, structured investment vehicles, subprime mortgages, and other exotic terms, for which, it must be kept in mind, there had been no public need or demand. The result has been a severe depression, seriously hurting hundreds of millions of lives in the United States and abroad.
No employee of any of these companies has seen the inside of a prison cell for playing such games with our happiness.
For more than half a century members of the United States foreign policy and military establishments have compiled a record of war crimes and crimes against humanity that the infamous beasts and butchers of history could only envy.
Not a single one of these American officials has come any closer to a proper judgment than going to see the movie “Judgment at Nuremberg”.
Yet, we live in the United States of Punishment for countless other criminal types; more than two million presently rotting their lives away. No other society comes even close to this, no matter how the statistics are calculated. And many of those in American prisons are there for victimless crimes.
On the other hand, we see the Chinese sentencing their citizens to lengthy prison terms, even execution, for environmental crimes.
We have an Iranian court recently trying 39 people for a $2.6 billion bank loan embezzlement carried out by individuals close to the political elite or with their assent. Of the 39 people tried, four were sentenced to hang, two to life in prison, and others received terms of up to 25 years; in addition to prison time, some were sentenced to flogging, ordered to pay fines, and banned from government jobs. 5
And in Argentina in early July, in the latest of a long series of trials of former Argentine officials, former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was convicted and sentenced to 50 years for a systematic plan to steal babies from women prisoners who were kidnapped, tortured and killed during the military junta’s war on leftist dissenters — the “dirty war” of 1976-83 that claimed 13,000 victims. Many of the women had “disappeared” shortly after giving birth. Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, was also convicted and got 15 years. Outside the courthouse a jubilant crowd watched on a big screen and cheered each sentence. 6
As an American, how I envy the Argentines. Get the big screen ready for The Mall in Washington. We’ll have showings of the trials of the Bushes and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Obama. And Henry Kissinger, a strong supporter of the Argentine junta among his many contributions to making the world a better place. And let’s not forget the executives of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Enbridge, Inc. Fining them just money is pointless. We have to fine them years, lots of them.
Without imprisoning these people, nothing will change. That’s become a cliché, but we very well see what continues to happen without imprisonment. And it’s steadily getting worse, financially and imperially.
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part VII
- Bantustanning the aboriginals all over the world: The Indians in America, the aboriginals in Australia, the blacks in South Africa, and the Palestinians in Palestine.
- From 1966 tape of President Lyndon Johnson: “I know we oughtn’t to be there [in Vietnam], but I can’t get out.” And he never did. And thousands more troops would die before Johnson left office. (Washington Post, March 12, 2006)
- The Germans had Lebensraum. Americans had Manifest Destiny.
- chinks, gooks, wogs, towelheads, ragheads — some of the charming terms used by American soldiers to describe their foes in Asia and the Middle East
- In June, 2005, Cong. Duncan Hunter (Rep.-CA) held a news conference concerning Guantánamo. Displaying some tasty traditional meals, he said the government spends $12 a day for food for each prisoner. “So the point is that the inmates in Guantánamo have never eaten better, they’ve never been treated better, and they’ve never been more comfortable in their lives than in this situation.” (Scripps Howard News Service, June 28, 2005, Reg Henry column)
- Vice President Dick Cheney: Guantánamo prisoners are well treated. “They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want.” (CNN.com, June 23, 2005)
- “[Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld said Guantánamo’s operations have been more open to scrutiny than any military detention facility in history.” (Associated Press, June 14, 2005)
- “Their ‘coalition of the willing’ [in Iraq] meant the US, Britain, and the equivalent of a child’s imaginary friends.” Paul Loeb, Truthout, June 16, 2005
- Nobody has ever suggested that Serbia attacked or was preparing to attack a member of NATO, and that is the only event which justifies a military reaction under the NATO treaty, such as the 1999 78-day bombing of Serbia.
- Rumsfeld re Chinese military buildup: “Since no nation threatens China, one wonders: Why this growing investment?” (New York Times, June 6, 2005
- Rumsfeld re Venezuelan major weapons buildup: “I don’t know of anyone threatening Venezuela, anyone in this hemisphere.” (Washington Post, October 3, 2006) [Is it possible that the response to both points raised is the same? A country in North America bordering on Mexico?]
- The failure of the United Nations — as an institution and its individual members — to unequivocally oppose and prevent the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 can well be called “appeasement”.
- The Iraqi Kurds generally sided with Iran during the 1981-88 Iraq-Iran war; helped the United States before and during its bombing of Iraq in 2003 and during its occupation; and most Kurds don’t identify with being Iraqi according to polls.
- One of the military judges at Guantánamo said: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.” (Democracy Now, April 12, 2005)
- George W. Bush, re al Qaeda types: “Iraqis are sick of foreign people coming in their country and trying to destabilize their country. And we will help them rid Iraq of these killers.” (Baltimore Sun, May 6, 2004)
- “I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq. Those who want to come and help are welcome. Those who come to interfere and destroy are not.” Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense and unindicted war criminal (Chicago Tribune, July 22, 2003)
- Timothy McVeigh, Gulf War veteran who bombed a government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people: “What occurred in Oklahoma City was no different than what Americans rain on the heads of others all the time … The bombing of the Murrah building was not personal, no more than when Air Force, Army, Navy or Marine personnel bomb or launch cruise missiles against government installations and their personnel. … Many foreign nations and peoples hate Americans for the very reasons most Americans loathe me. Think about that.” (McVeigh’s letter to and interview with Rita Cosby, Fox News Correspondent, April 27 2001)
- Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and unindicted war criminal: “Defense Department officials don’t lie to the public. … The Defense Department doesn’t do covert action, period.” (Washington Post, February 21, 2002)
- The United States will “deal promptly and properly with the terrible abuses” of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers. “No country in the world upholds the Geneva Conventions on the laws of armed conflict more steadfastly than does the United States.” Douglas Feith, Boston Globe, May 5, 2004
- “The State Department plans to delay the release of a human rights report that was due out today, partly because of sensitivities over the prison abuse scandal in Iraq, U.S. officials said. One official who asked not to be identified said the release of the report, which describes actions taken by the U.S. government to encourage respect for human rights by other nations, could ‘make us look hypocritical’.” (Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2004)
- In the decades after 1945, as colonial possessions became independent states, it was widely believed that imperialism as a historical phenomenon was coming to an end. However, a new form of imperialism was in fact taking shape, an imperialism not defined by colonial rule but by the global capitalist market. From the outset, the dominant power in this imperialism without colonies was the United States.
- Francis Boyle re the capture and public display of Saddam Hussein: “This is the 21st century equivalent of the Roman Emperor parading the defeated barbarian king before the assembled masses so that they might all shout in unison: Hail Caesar!”
- The US-provided textbooks in Nicaragua after the US-instigated defeat of the Sandinistas in 1990 carefully excluded all mention of Augustino Sandino as a national hero. (Z magazine, November, 1991)
- “Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: ‘If you want your family released, turn yourself in.’ Such tactics are justified, he said, because, ‘It’s an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info.’ They would have been released in due course, he added later. The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.” (Washington Post, July 28, 2003) [This is illegal under international law; in ordinary parlance we'd call it a kidnapping with ransom; in war, it's the collective punishment of civilians and is forbidden under the Geneva Convention]
- “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “Americans, who up until now had been so valued for their pragmatism, have become ideologues, ‘Bolsheviks’ of the Right, as Daniel Cohn-Bendit once described them.” (Jean-Marcel Bouguereau, concerning Iraq, Le Nouvel Observateur, September 8, 2003)
- Six months after its invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration defended its policy on the basis of schools and hospitals opening and strides made in providing water and electricity. (Washington Post, September 25, 2003) — These are all things 12 years of US bombing and sanctions had destroyed.
- For a summary of much of this, see: Peter Dale Scott, “Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington’s Ongoing Collusion With Terrorists“, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, August 7, 2011 ↩
- Camp Bondsteel entry on Wikipedia ↩
- Washington Post, January 27, 2012 ↩
- Enbridge entry on Wikipedia; Washington Post, July 29, 2012↩
- Reuters, July 31, 2012 ↩
- Associated Press, July 6, 2012 ↩
It happened to the Romans. It happened to the American Indians. It happened to the Incas of South America. It happened to the aborigines of Australia. It happened to South Africans. It’s happening to Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Australia, Belgium, France and Spain.
It is happening to the United States of America.
What is “it”?
All those ancient civilizations experienced migration of other civilizations so great in numbers that “it” changed their languages, religions, cultures and ways of life.
The Romans lost their empire. The American Indians lost everything and found themselves stuck on internment camps better known as “reservations.” Today, they cope with alcohol, domestic violence, poverty and purposelessness. The Spaniard Pizarro, using his guns, degraded the Inca nation into oblivion. The Australian aboriginals, like the American Indians, lost their continent to the British invasion. The same happened with South Africa.
Today, Great Britain, by its own hand, watches itself change from “British” to Middle Eastern Islamic right before its eyes. The same goes for Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia and Spain.
While academics and social elites call it “multiculturalism and diversity”, such numbers of humanity racing into first world countries—flood host countries with incompatible cultures, religions and sheer numbers.
But today, another aspect of mass migration percolates to the surface, but nobody wants to talk about it much less deal with it. Top leaders of every country avoid addressing it at all costs. Average citizens don’t know it exists much less understand its growing ramifications.
For example, Great Britain today, already crowded beyond sustainability, houses 61 million people on its tiny islands with a sum total landmass smaller than the State of Oregon. Nonetheless, they continue importing people that will add a projected 11 million additions within two decades. No one will whisper a word about it and no one knows when the additions will stop or if Britain will choose to or be able to stop them. Since the third world adds 80 million people annually, there is no end of the line for the numbers of desperate humanity.
Great Britain provides a 21st century rendition of Easter Island’s legendary population debacle back in the 1800s.
Holland provides another rendition in that it houses 18 million people in a tiny landmass about 90 miles wide by 180 miles long. They must import everything into their country in order to feed, warm, house and transport themselves. They cannot sustain 18 million people on such a tiny landmass without total dependence on the outside world.
Today, China, adding 8.1 million net gain annually, buys farmland in Africa and South America in order to feed its projected addition of 300 million by 2050—a scant 38 years.
Can America withstand the coming transformation of itself?
In the past 40 years, America endured immigration that added 100 million people by October of 2008 to the lower 48 states. This country, at present rates of mass migration, will add another 100 million people by 2035. We will add another 38 million on top of that by 2050. Total: 438 million from our current 315 million. (Sources: PEW Hispanic Center, “US Population Projections” Fogel/Martin, US Census Bureau)
On July 11, 2012, ABC’s anchor Diane Sawyer reported on New York adding two to five million more residents in the coming decades. She said that 300 square foot apartments would be the norm of the future. A 300 square foot apartment equals the size of two car parking spaces. Is this the kind of transformation we want as individuals and communities? Do we want to repeat Rome’s path? Great Britain’s? China’s? India’s? Mexico’s?
How will adding another 100 million people within 38 years help our water, energy, resources, standard of living and quality of life?
If allowed to proceed, this transformation will affect every aspect of our freedom, quality of life, environment and the planet itself. None of it positive!
On the same morning we hear that ¼ of Wall Street executives think that fraud is a necessary part of “doing business” in the financial sector, we hear of a second “MF Global”. The U.S.’s so-called regulators are now reporting that somewhere around $220 million in customer funds is “missing” at a financial institution known as PFGBest; once again closing the barn door after all the cows have run off.
With at least one out of every four bankers at U.S. Big Banks (that’s how many admitted to being crooks in the survey) thinking that stealing is part of their job descriptions, it’s very important for people to realize how little protection there now is between these thieves and your bank accounts. Based on the writing of a number of other individuals with more expertise in these markets, it is apparently an inherently fraudulent banking process known as “rehypothecation” which is allowing the mass-plundering of accounts at U.S. financial institutions, with other Western financial regulatory authorities also rubber-stamping this relatively new form of bankster crime.
Rehypothecation is a heinous practice permitted by the pretend-regulators of Western markets, where financial institutions are allowed to pledge their clients’ funds as collateral to cover their own gambling debts. I say “inherently fraudulent” since few of the clients of these financial institutions would ever knowingly enter into contracts with these gambling-addicts where their cash could be used to cover their bankers’ gambling debts.
Instead, what is happening here is that the rehypothecation clauses are being buried in the “small print” of these contracts and (obviously) never properly explained to these clients: seemingly textbook fraudulent misrepresentation. The only “advantage” to a client into entering into such a contract is a slight reduction in fees, or slightly improved interest rate – certainly not near enough to entice people into risking some near-100% loss insuring someone else’s gambling debts.
So we have our “regulators” (i.e. the only protectors of our funds in the hands of these admitted thieves) giving these fraud-factories the green light to enter into these inherently fraudulent contracts, putting any/all funds of these clients in permanent jeopardy. Thus it’s important to outline how this could happen with ordinary bank accounts.
First it must be noted that the Corporate Media (loyal friends of the Big Banks) are referring to this as a “brokerage” problem. Understand that a brokerage is nothing but a legal “bookie”, an entity which takes (and makes) bets, and which must hold the funds of its “customers” in order to do business. Apparently the principal difference now between a “legal” bookie and an “illegal” bookie is that an illegal bookie is much less likely to use his customers’ funds to cover his own bad bets.
What people must also understand is that the world’s biggest bookies, indeed, the biggest bookies in the history of the world are the Big Banks themselves (specifically U.S. Big Banks). Most of their gambling is done in their own, rigged casino: the $1.5 quadrillion derivatives market.
Note that you won’t see that number quoted by the Corporate Media (any longer). As concern about the size of the bankers’ mountain of bets grew; the bankers asked the Master Bookie – the Bank for International Settlements – to change the “definition” of this market, and instantly the derivatives market shrunk to 1/3rd its former size.
As many know, the BIS is known as “the central bank for central banks”. What a smaller number of people know is that this is the world’s great money-laundering vehicle, an entity created just before World War II specifically to allow Western industrialists to continue to do a vast amount of business with Adolph Hitler. In other words, it’s not exactly a reliable source for information. So I choose to use the same numbers that the banksters previously used themselves, before they started getting defensive about the insane amounts of their gambling.
We are being led to believe by the Corporate Media (another unreliable source) that this problem is only a risk for all individuals with “brokerage” accounts, however as we piece together all the pieces of the puzzle (already revealed) this is what we see before us:
1) Our banking regulators knowingly allow financial institutions to engage in recklessly misleading (if not outright fraudulent) contracts with their clients, through the use of complex “small print” in their account contracts with clients.
2) The three largest U.S. “banks” by deposit (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup) have made bets in their own rigged casino, which total well in excess of $100 trillion, an amount which completely dwarfs their total, combined deposits (and assets).
3) A large portion of those bets occur in the $60+ trillion credit default swap market. Pay-outs in these markets can (and do) exceed 300 times the amount of the original bet. It is bets in this market which “blew up” AIG, requiring more than $150 billion in immediate government aid.
4) Following the Crash of ’08; these same banks mooched a package of hand-outs, tax-breaks and “guarantees” (i.e. future hand-outs) from the Bush regime in excess of $15 trillion, the last time their gambling debts went bad on them – and all of these banks have been allowed to dramatically increase the total amount of their gambling since then.
5) It would take only a minor change in the gambling contracts in which these bankers engage to allow their creditors to seize funds out of ordinary bank accounts.
6) The existing language for the bank accounts of these U.S. banks is possibly already so vague (and prejudicial to clients) that it would allow these banks to reinterpret the terms of these bank accounts – and allow rehypothecation to be used to rob the holders of ordinary bank accounts, people who themselves make no “bets” in markets whatsoever. Alternately, customers could be blitzed with an offer for “new and improved” bank accounts, where terms allowing rehypothecation are slipped into the contract, with the banks knowing that the “regulators” will do nothing to warn account-holders of the gigantic risk they are taking.
The same media apologists who would scoff at this suggestion are the same shills who claimed “there could never be another MF Global”. Meanwhile we have the biggest gambler of them all, JP Morgan, just confessing to having made more of these bad bets – which continue growing larger by the $billion.
When we add-in the fact that the U.S.’s mark-to-fraud accounting rules mean that these banks are easily able to hide the level of their insolvency, the pretend-regulators apparently don’t have the slightest idea of the level of risk to which account-holders are being exposed. This is the charitable explanation for these facts. The alternative interpretation is that these “regulators” are direct accomplices of the criminal banking cabal.
I have consistently referred to the U.S. financial sector as a “crime syndicate” for several years now, often drawing considerable criticism for supposedly hyperbolic rhetoric. Obviously I have been completely vindicated here. One quarter of these bankers are now confessed thieves. The pretend-regulators (notably the SEC and CFTC) on a daily basis rubber-stamp the banksters’ acts of fraud (where they are caught red-handed) – handing out totally trivial fines, and not even requiring these thieves to admit their guilt.
If there are any substantive differences between how the U.S. financial sector is allowed to operate versus any generic definition of a “crime syndicate”, it would be enlightening to hear what those (supposed) differences are. And now these thieves are closer than ever to simply reaching into peoples’ bank accounts and grabbing every dollar they can steal.
The principal reason why I and others have urged people to convert their banker-paper to gold and silver in the past was the 1,000 year track-record of these bankers’ paper, fiat currencies always going to zero (through the bankers recklessly diluting these currencies via over-printing). However, we can add to that a much more basic reason: every ounce of gold and silver which you purchase (and store in your own home “safe” or other secure location) is wealth which cannot be stolen by the banking crime syndicate. This is what commentators are really referring to when they speak of “counterparty risk”: placing your future financial security in someone else’s hands.
What the large financial institutions of the 21st century have taught us (through the cruel “lessons” of their serial crimes) is that there is no one in the world whom you can trust less with your money than a banker.
Source: Jeff Nielson | BullionBullsCanada.com
Without a comprehensive understanding in this axiom of the financial universe, much of public policy and finance is incomprehensible. The different positions of the borrower and the lender is obvious, but the notion that one can earn enough interest on savings to maintain the purchasing power of the principle is a bygone fantasy in the era of low interest rates.
Here is how compound interest works for the depositor.
An amount of $1,500.00 is deposited in a bank paying an annual interest rate of 4.3%, compounded quarterly. What is the balance after 6 years?
The balance after 6 years is approximately $1,938.84.
Contrast the difference between being the lender to that of the debtor and you get a very different result.
A Dr. Cabler provides this account.
“If someone came up to you on the street and said they would give you a crisp, new $20 bill, and the only stipulation is that you give them back $40 tomorrow, you’d probably tell them just what they could do with that $20 bill.
Anyone you ask would say that’s a bad deal, but when you demonstrate that borrowing money by using credit cards and consumer debt is exactly the same thing, these same people (who are in debt) give a puzzled look, and for some a light turns on and they begin to understand. But for others, they just refuse to see that debt, and the compound interest that comes with it is a major drag on your finances and ends up making your poorer ever single time.”
Therefore, the simple distinction between earning next to zero interest on your bank deposits, while paying usury rates on your consumer debt charge cards or lines of credit, is a guaranteed formula for personal bankruptcy.
Now deepen this dilemma with the insights learned from the national Ron Paul effort to educate the public on the horrors of the privately owned Federal Reserve System.
Eric Padden clarifies the sham that underpins the monetary fraud that enslaves the entire planet, in Inflation explained – Dollar Bubble – Government Debt Bubble.
“Most people do not understand that we don’t just print the money via the Fed. We borrow it at interest and it is that compounding interest that is the root cause of the enormous government debt bubble we have today.
The most frustrating part of this to me is that it is completely unnecessary. Our currency should simply be created through our treasury as described in our constitution without interest. In this way we could pay off our deficit in no time and build a healthy economy.
Every since the Fed ( a private banking cartel with its roots in Europe ) hi jacked our economy in 1913 the dollar has lost 98% of its purchasing power due to the constant, systematic increase in our money supply. Ever increasing Inflation is the only possible result of the Feds monetary policy.”
This simple and accurate explanation goes unknown to the average indebted serf who is desperately carving out a meager existence. This strangle hold burden built upon debt created fiat money is an engineered system of theft and subjugation. The obligation bubble that grows exponentially without any prospects of paying the interest without the infusion of higher levels of new Federal Reserve debt is the fundamental mechanism that guarantees an ultimate default.
The eternal debate is between the natural deflationary forces seeking to cleanse the excessive leverage and the hyperinflation urges to keep infusing the next fix of liquidity to band-aid a terminal Ponzi scheme of larceny. In either case, the underpinning objective is to get out of paper debt obligations or claims on loans that can no longer be serviced.
Transferring out of accounting ledger entries into solid assets requires a foreclosure on the entire financial debtor economy. Do not be fooled that a recovery is possible. Rational people intuitively struggle to pay off or down their debt. However, the dramatic forces of fractional reserve banking provide the financial power to throw the system into receivership.
Michael Hudson in Productivity, The Miracle of Compound Interest and Poverty, makes a case why the poor always gets poorer.
“And indeed today, markets are shrinking in many countries. But not because people are saving out of prosperity. The jump in reported “saving” in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) in recent years has resulted from repaying debts. It is a negation of a negation – and hence, a statistical “positive.”
Paying off a debt is not the same as building up liquid savings in a bank. It reflects something that only a very few economists have worried about over the past century: the prospect of debts rising faster than income, leading to financial crashes that transfer property from debtors to creditors, and indeed polarize society between what the Occupy Wall Street movement calls the 1% and the 99%.
“Wealth creation” by debt leveraging – that is, asset-price inflation – was celebrated as a post-industrial economy, as if this were a positive and natural evolution. But in reality it is a lapse back into a rentier economy, and even into a kind of neofeudalism. The post-2008 bailouts have vested a new rentier elite to lord it over the 21st century, thanks to the fact that most gains since 1980 have gone to the 1% – mainly the financial sector, not to the 99%.”
This is not simply a class struggle equation that blames the much-maligned 1%. The basic banking racket is the cause of the continuous bust cycles. During each of these designed implosions, the international banksters consolidate their control over the finances of their indentured customers.
As the final bubble approaches, an eruption of volcanic propositions is poised to realign the entire monetary structure of world commerce. Face facts, the banks are ready to foreclose on the assets they do not already dominate.
I’m sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. “That’ll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you fuck around with God’s country you pay a price!”
How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God’s country offers free transportation.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God’s country and other police states from using it.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They’ve done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.
And Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, will pay a price. You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not intervene in Ecuador? In Latin America, it comes very naturally for Washington. During the Cold War it was said that the United States could cause the downfall of a government south of the border … with a frown. The dissolution of the Soviet Union didn’t bring any change in that because it was never the Soviet Union per se that the United States was fighting. It was the threat of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model.
For example, on January 21, 2000 in Ecuador, where almost two-thirds live in poverty, a very large number of indigenous peasants rose up in desperation and marched to the capital city of Quito, where they were joined by labor unions and some junior military officers (most members of the army being of indigenous stock). This coalition presented a list of economic demands, seized the Congress and Supreme Court buildings, and forced the president to resign. He was replaced by a junta from the ranks of the new coalition. The Clinton administration was alarmed. Besides North American knee-reflex hostility to anything that look or smells like a leftist revolution, Washington had big plans for a large military base in Manta (later closed by Correa). And Colombia — already plagued by leftist movements — was next door.
The US quickly stepped in to educate the Ecuadorean coalition leaders as to the facts of Western Hemispheric imperial life. The American embassy in Quito … Peter Romero, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America and Western Hemispheric Affairs … Sandy Berger, National Security Adviser to President Clinton … Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering … all made phone calls to Ecuadorian officials to threaten a cutoff in aid and other support, warning that “Ecuador will find itself isolated”, informing them that the United States would never recognize any new government the coalition might set up, there would be no peace in Ecuador unless the military backed the vice president as the new leader, and the vice president must continue to pursue neoliberal “reforms”, the kind of IMF structural adjustment policies which had played a major role in inciting the uprising in the first place.
Within hours the heads of the Ecuadorian army, navy and air force declared their support for the vice president. The leaders of the uprising fled into hiding. And that was the end of the Ecuadorian revolution of the year 2000.1
Rafael Correa was first elected in 2006 with a 58% majority, and reelected in 2009 with a 55% majority; his current term runs until August 2013. The American mainstream media has been increasingly critical of him. The following letter sent in January to the Washington Post by the Ecuadoran ambassador to the United States is an attempt to clarify one of the issues.
Letter to the Editor:
We were offended by the Jan. 12 editorial “Ecuador’s bully,” which focused on a lawsuit brought by our president, Rafael Correa, after a newspaper claimed that he was guilty of ordering troops to fire on innocent citizens during a failed coup in 2010. The president asked the publishers to release their evidence or a retraction. When they refused, he sued, as any citizen should do when recklessly wronged.
No journalist has gone to prison or paid a significant fine in the five years of the Correa presidency. Media criticism — fair and unfair, sometimes with malice — of the government appears every day. The case involving the newspaper is on appeal. When the judicial process ends, the president has said, he will waive some or all of the penalties provided he gets a retraction. That is a common solution to libel and slander cases in the United States, I believe.
Your writer uses obnoxious phrases such as “banana republic,” but here is the reality of today’s Ecuador: a highly popular, stable and progressive democracy for the first time in decades.
Nathalie Cely, Washington
No shelter from the drones of infinite justice or the bacteria of enduring freedom
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai said recently that he had had an argument with Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, about the issue of American drone attacks in Afghanistan, following yet another deadly airstrike that killed a number of civilians. Karzai asked Allen an eminently reasonable question: “Do you do this in the United States?” The Afghan president added: “There is police action every day in the United States in various localities. They don’t call an airplane to bomb the place.”2
Karzai’s question to Allen was rhetorical of course, for can it be imagined that American officials would bomb a house in an American city because they suspected that certain bad guys were present there? Well, the answer to that question is that it can be imagined because they’ve already done it.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On May 13, 1985, a bomb dropped by a police helicopter burned down an entire block, some 60 homes destroyed, 11 dead, including several small children. The police, the mayor’s office, and the FBI were all involved in this effort to evict an organization called MOVE from the house they lived in.
The victims were all black of course. So let’s rephrase our question. Can it be imagined that American officials would bomb a house in Beverly Hills or the upper east side of Manhattan? Stay tuned.
And what else can we imagine about a society that’s been super militarized, that’s at war with much of the world, and is convinced that it’s on the side of the angels and history? Well, the Boston transit system, MBTA, recently announced that in conjunction with Homeland Security they plan to release dead bacteria at three stations during off-hours this summer in order to test sensors that detect biological agents, which terrorists could release into subway systems. The bacterium, bacillus subtilis, is not infectious even in its live form, according to the government.3
However, this too has a precedent. During five days in June, 1966 the Army conducted a test called “A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents”. Trillions ofbacillus subtilis variant niger were released into the subway system during rush hours, producing aerosol clouds. The report on the test noted that “When the cloud engulfed people, they brushed their clothing, looked up at the grate [at street level] and walked on.”4 The wind of passing trains spread the bacteria along the tracks; in the time it took for two trains to pass, the bacteria were spread from 15th Street to 58th Street.5 It is not known how many people later became ill from being unsuspecting guinea pigs because the United States Army, as far as is known, exhibited no interest in this question.
For the planned Boston test the public has not been informed of the exact days; nor is it known how long the bacteria might linger in the stations or what the possible danger might be to riders whose immune system has been weakened for any reason.
It should be noted that the New York subway experiment was only one of many such experiments. The Army has acknowledged that between 1949 and 1969, 239 populated areas from coast to coast as well as US overseas territories were blanketed with various organisms during tests designed to measure patterns of dissemination in the air, weather effects, dosages, optimum placement of the source, and other factors. Such testing was supposedly suspended after 1969.6
Government officials have consistently denied that the biological agents used could be harmful despite an abundance of expert and objective scientific evidence that exposure to heavy concentrations of even apparently innocuous organisms can cause illness, at a minimum to the most vulnerable segments of the population — the elderly, children, and those suffering from a variety of ailments. “There is no such thing as a microorganism that cannot cause trouble,” George Connell, assistant to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate in 1977. “If you get the right concentration at the right place, at the right time, and in the right person, something is going to happen.”7
The United States has used biological weapons abroad as well, repeatedly, not for testing purposes but for hostile purposes.8 So what will the land which has the highest (double) standards say when such weapons are used against it? Or when foreign drones hit American cities? Or when American hi-tech equipment is sabotaged by a cyber attack as the US has now admitted doing to Iran? A year ago the Pentagon declared that “computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war. … If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a US military official.9
“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” – André Gide, French Author, 1869-1951
Barack Obama, his mother, and the CIA
In his autobiography, Dreams From My Fathers, Barack Obama writes of taking a job at some point after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations” in New York City, and his functions as a “research assistant” and “financial writer”.
Oddly, Obama doesn’t mention the name of his employer. However, a New York Times story of October 30, 2007 identifies the company as Business International Corporation. Equally odd is that the Times did not remind its readers that the newspaper itself had disclosed in 1977 that Business International had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960.10
The British journal, Lobster — which, despite its incongruous name, is a venerable international publication on intelligence matters — has reported that Business International was active in the 1980s promoting the candidacy of Washington-favored candidates in Australia and Fiji.11 In 1987, the CIA overthrew the Fiji government after but one month in office because of its policy of maintaining the island as a nuclear-free zone, meaning that American nuclear-powered or nuclear-weapons-carrying ships could not make port calls.12 After the Fiji coup, the candidate supported by Business International, who was much more amenable to Washington’s nuclear desires, was reinstated to power — R.S.K. Mara was Prime Minister or President of Fiji from 1970 to 2000, except for the one-month break in 1987.
In his book, not only doesn’t Obama mention his employer’s name; he fails to say exactly when he worked there, or why he left the job. There may well be no significance to these omissions, but inasmuch as Business International has a long association with the world of intelligence, covert actions, and attempts to penetrate the radical left — including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)13 — it’s reasonable to wonder if the inscrutable Mr. Obama is concealing something about his own association with this world.
Adding to the wonder is the fact that his mother, Ann Dunham, had been associated during the 1970s and 80s — as employee, consultant, grantee, or student — with at least five organizations with intimate CIA connections during the Cold War: The Ford Foundation, Agency for International Development (AID), the Asia Foundation, Development Alternatives, Inc., and the East-West Center of Hawaii.14 Much of this time she worked as an anthropologist in Indonesia and Hawaii, being in good position to gather intelligence about local communities.
As one example of the CIA connections of these organizations, consider the disclosure by John Gilligan, Director of AID during the Carter administration (1977-81). “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”15 And Development Alternatives, Inc. is the organization for whom Alan Gross was working when arrested in Cuba and charged with being part of the ongoing American operation to destabilize the Cuban government.
How the owners of a society play with their property
The Supreme Court of the United States has just upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Liberals as well as many progressives are very pleased, regarding this as a victory for the left.
Under the new law, people can benefit in one way or another depending on the following factors:
Their age; whether their income is at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level; whether their parents have a health plan; whether they use tobacco; what state they live in; whether they have a pre-existing medical condition; whether they qualify to buy health insurance through newly-created market places known as “exchanges”; and numerous other criteria … They can obtain medical insurance in a “competitive insurance market” (emphasis on the “competitive”); they can perhaps qualify for various other kinds of credits and tax relief if they meet certain criteria … The authors of the Act state that it will save thousands of dollars in drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries by closing a coverage gap called the “donut hole” … They tell us that “It keeps insurance companies honest by setting clear rules that rein in the worst insurance industry abuses.”
That’s a sample of how health care looks in the United States of America in the 21st century, with a complexity that will keep a small army of lawyers busy for years to come. Ninety miles away, in the Republic of Cuba, it looks a bit different. If you feel sick you go to a doctor. You’re automatically qualified to receive any medical care that’s available and thought to be suitable. The doctor treats you to the best of his or her ability. The insurance companies play no role. There are no insurance companies. You don’t pay anything. You go home.
The Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly serve as a disincentive to the movement for single-payer national health insurance, setting the movement back for years. The Affordable Care Act was undoubtedly designed for that purpose.
- Washington Post, January 23, 2000, p.1; “The coup in Ecuador: a grim warning”, World Socialist Web Site, February 2, 2000; Z Magazine (Massachusetts), February 2001, pp.36-7 ↩
- Washington Post, June 12, 2012 ↩
- Beacon Hill Patch (Boston), “MBTA to Spread Dead Bacteria on Red Line in Bio-Terror Test”, May 18, 2012 ↩
- Leonard Cole, Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests over Populated Areas (1990), pp.65-9↩
- New York Times, September 19, 1975, p.14 ↩
- “Biological Testing Involving Human Subjects by the Department of Defense”, 1977, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, US Senate, March 8 and May 23, 1977; see also William Blum, Rogue State, chapter 15 ↩
- Senate Hearings, op. cit., p.270 ↩
- Rogue State, op. cit., chapter 14 ↩
- Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2011 ↩
- New York Times, December 27, 1977, p.40 ↩
- Lobster magazine, Hull, UK, #14, November 1987 ↩
- Rogue State, op. cit., pp.199-200 ↩
- Carl Oglesby, Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement (2008), passim↩
- Wikipedia entry for Ann Dunham ↩
- George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321
And If You Can Fake Sincerity You’ve Got It Made…
“A few months ago I told the American people that I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.” — President Ronald Reagan, 1987.
On April 23, speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, President Barack Obama told his assembled audience that as president “I’ve done my utmost … to prevent and end atrocities”.
Do the facts and evidence tell him that his words are not true?
Well, let’s see … There’s the multiple atrocities carried out in Iraq by American forces under President Obama. There’s the multiple atrocities carried out in Afghanistan by American forces under Obama. There’s the multiple atrocities carried out in Pakistan by American forces under Obama. There’s the multiple atrocities carried out in Libya by American/NATO forces under Obama. There are also the hundreds of American drone attacks against people and homes in Somalia and in Yemen (including against American citizens in the latter). Might the friends and families of these victims regard the murder of their loved ones and the loss of their homes as atrocities?
Ronald Reagan was pre-Alzheimer’s when he uttered the above. What excuse can be made for Barack Obama?
The president then continued in the same fashion by saying: “We possess many tools … and using these tools over the past three years, I believe — I know — that we have saved countless lives.” Obama pointed out that this includes Libya, where the United States, in conjunction with NATO, took part in seven months of almost daily bombing missions. We may never learn from the new pro-NATO Libyan government how many the bombs killed, or the extent of the damage to homes and infrastructure. But the President of the United States assured his Holocaust Museum audience that “today, the Libyan people are forging their own future, and the world can take pride in the innocent lives that we saved.” (As I described in last month’s report, Libya could now qualify as a failed state.)
Language is an invention that makes it possible for a person to deny what he is doing even as he does it.
Mr. Obama closed with these stirring words; “It can be tempting to throw up our hands and resign ourselves to man’s endless capacity for cruelty. It’s tempting sometimes to believe that there is nothing we can do.” But Barack Obama is not one of those doubters. He knows there is something he can do about man’s endless capacity for cruelty. He can add to it. Greatly. And yet, I am certain that, with exceedingly few exceptions, those in his Holocaust audience left with no doubt that this was a man wholly deserving of his Nobel Peace Prize.
And future American history books may well certify the president’s words as factual, his motivation sincere, for his talk indeed possessed the quality needed for schoolbooks.
The Israeli-American-Iranian-Holocaust-NobelPeacePrize Circus
It’s a textbook case of how the American media is at its worst when it comes to US foreign policy and particularly when an Officially Designated Enemy (ODE) is involved. I’ve discussed this case several times in this report in recent years. The ODE is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The accusation has been that he had threatened violence against Israel, based on his 2005 remark calling for “wiping Israel off the map”. Who can count the number of times this has been repeated in every kind of media, in every country of the world, without questioning the accuracy of what was reported? A Lexis-Nexis search of “All News (English)” for <Iran and Israel and “off the map”> for the past seven years produced the message: “This search has been interrupted because it will return more than 3000 results.”
As I’ve pointed out, Ahmadinejad’s “threat of violence” was a serious misinterpretation, one piece of evidence being that the following year he declared: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.” 2 Obviously, he was not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place remarkably peacefully. But the myth of course continued.
Now, finally, we have the following exchange from the radio-TV simulcast, Democracy Now!, of April 19:
A top Israeli official has acknowledged that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said that Iran seeks to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.” The falsely translated statement has been widely attributed to Ahmadinejad and used repeatedly by U.S. and Israeli government officials to back military action and sanctions against Iran. But speaking to Teymoor Nabili of the network Al Jazeera, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted Ahmadinejad had been misquoted.
Teymoor Nabili: “As we know, Ahmadinejad didn’t say that he plans to exterminate Israel, nor did he say that Iran policy is to exterminate Israel. Ahmadinejad’s position and Iran’s position always has been, and they’ve made this — they’ve said this as many times as Ahmadinejad has criticized Israel, he has said as many times that he has no plans to attack Israel. …”
Dan Meridor: “Well, I have to disagree, with all due respect. You speak of Ahmadinejad. I speak of Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, Rafsanjani, Shamkhani. I give the names of all these people. They all come, basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn’t say, ‘We’ll wipe it out,’ you’re right. But ‘It will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor that should be removed,’ was said just two weeks ago again.”
Teymoor Nabili: “Well, I’m glad you’ve acknowledged that they didn’t say they will wipe it out.”
So that’s that. Right? Of course not. Fox News, NPR, CNN, NBC, et al. will likely continue to claim that Ahmadinejad threatened violence against Israel, threatened to “wipe it off the map”.
And that’s only Ahmadinejad the Israeli Killer. There’s still Ahmadinejad the Holocaust Denier. So until a high Israeli official finally admits that that too is a lie, keep in mind that Ahmadinejad has never said simply, clearly, unambiguously, and unequivocally that he thinks that what we historically know as the Holocaust never happened. He has instead commented about the peculiarity and injustice of a Holocaust which took place in Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price for a German crime? he asks. And he has questioned the figure of six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany, as have many other people of various political stripes. In a speech at Columbia University on September 24, 2007, in reply to a question about the Holocaust, the Iranian president declared: “I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at all. This is not the judgment that I’m passing here.” 3
Let us now listen to Elie Wiesel, the simplistic, reactionary man who’s built a career around being a Holocaust survivor, introducing President Obama at the Holocaust Museum for the talk referred to above, some five days after the statement made by the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister:
“How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier, Ahmadinejad, is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons — to use nuclear weapons — to destroy the Jewish state. Have we not learned? We must. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late.”
“Nuclear weapons” is of course adding a new myth on the back of the old myth.
Wiesel, like Obama, is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. As is Henry Kissinger and Menachim Begin. And several other such war-loving beauties. When will that monumental farce of a prize be put to sleep?
For the record, let it be noted that on March 4, speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama said: “Let’s begin with a basic truth that you all understand: No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction.” 4
Postscript: Each time I strongly criticize Barack Obama a few of my readers ask to unsubscribe. I’m really sorry to lose them but it’s important that those on the left rid themselves of their attachment to the Democratic Party. I’m not certain how best to institute revolutionary change in the United States, but I do know that it will not happen through the Democratic Party, and the sooner those on the left cut their umbilical cord to the Democrats, the sooner we can start to get more serious about this thing called revolution.
Written on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012
Two simple suggestions as part of a plan to save the planet.
1. Population control: limit families to two children
All else being equal, a markedly reduced population count would have a markedly beneficial effect upon global warming, air pollution, and food and water availability; as well as finding a parking spot, getting a seat on the subway, getting on the flight you prefer, and much, much more. Some favor limiting families to one child. Still others, who spend a major part of each day digesting the awful news of the world, are calling for a limit of zero. (The Chinese government announced in 2008 that the country would have about 400 million more people if it wasn’t for its limit of one or two children per couple. 5
But, within the environmental movement, there is still significant opposition to this. Part of the reason is fear of ethnic criticism inasmuch as population programs have traditionally been aimed at — or seen to be aimed at — primarily the poor, the weak, and various “outsiders”. There is also the fear of the religious right and its medieval views on birth control.
2. Eliminate the greatest consumer of energy in the world: The United States military.
Here’s Michael Klare, professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, Mass. in 2007:
Sixteen gallons of oil. That’s how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis — either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone. Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That’s greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million — and yet it’s a gross underestimate of the Pentagon’s wartime consumption. 6
The United States military, for decades, with its legion of bases and its numerous wars has also produced and left behind a deadly toxic legacy. From the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam in the 1960s to the open-air burn pits on US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st century, countless local people have been sickened and killed; and in between those two periods we could read things such as this from a lengthy article on the subject in the Los Angeles Times in 1990:
U.S. military installations have polluted the drinking water of the Pacific island of Guam, poured tons of toxic chemicals into Subic Bay in the Philippines, leaked carcinogens into the water source of a German spa, spewed tons of sulfurous coal smoke into the skies of Central Europe and pumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into the oceans. 7
The military has caused similar harm to the environment in the United States at a number of its installations. (Do a Google search for <”U.S. military bases” toxic>)
When I suggest eliminating the military I am usually rebuked for leaving “a defenseless America open to foreign military invasion”. And I usually reply:
“Tell me who would invade us? Which country?”
“What do you mean which country? It could be any country.”
“So then it should be easy to name one.”
“Okay, any of the 200 members of the United Nations!”
“No, I’d like you to name a specific country that you think would invade the United States. Name just one.”
“Okay, Paraguay. You happy now?”
“No, you have to tell me why Paraguay would invade the United States.”
“How would I know?”
Etc., etc., and if this charming dialogue continues, I ask the person to tell me how many troops the invading country would have to have to occupy a country of more than 300 million people.
The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, for decades. Every once in a while someone opposed to immigration will make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.
But the counter-argument to the last is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping situations in their homelands made hopeless by American interventions and policy. In Guatemala and Nicaragua Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty. In El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government, and to a lesser extent played such a role in Honduras. And in Mexico, although Washington has not intervened militarily in Mexico since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the impoverished to the United States. Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico and driven many Mexican farmers off the land.
The end result of all these policies has been an army of migrants heading north in search of a better life. It’s not that these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and right-wingers.
Washington Post, March 5, 1987
Associated Press, December 12, 2006
President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks at Columbia University, Transcript, Washington Post, September 24, 2007
Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference, White House Office of the Press Secretary, March 4, 2012
Washington Post, March 3, 2008
The Pentagon v. Peak Oil, TomDispatch.com, June 14, 2007
Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1990
I have no doubt that Day would be praying for and reporting on two particular brothers born of different Jewish mothers –one Moroccan and the other South American.
In 1963, Vanunu’s family planned on moving to “the land of milk and honey” but were banished to the ethnically cleansed village of Beersheba, which had been envisioned to be a part of the Arab state in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Following the declaration of Israel’s independence, the Egyptian army amassed its forces in Beersheba as a strategic and logistical base but in October 1948, Israeli Forces conquered the city.
Ro’i Tov was born in South America but grew up in a tight-knit communist kibbutz along the Jordan Valley. Against the odds, he graduated from Tel Aviv University and also the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Tov’s second book, The Cross of Bethlehem II: Back in Bethlehem shares “how he was caught between staying steadfast in his Christian faith and remaining obedient to his country’s military. Caught in a military that challenges his spiritual and moral beliefs, Tov achieved the rank of captain while serving in the IDF. When he left Israel and threatened to disclose the details of what he’s witnessed to the world, Tov became a refugee, traveling to Thailand, China, the United States and Bolivia, where he became first a refugee, and afterwards a political prisoner.”
For decades Tov has been monitored, followed, trapped, poisoned and brutally beaten to get him to shut up, and although he has been silenced from speaking in public due to the damage inflicted upon his throat he cannot be silenced on the Internet or on printed page, because he is driven to share the story of his soul.
Regarding the ongoing violence against him, Tov explained:
“You could ask why I wasn’t assassinated during the 2009 attack. The attack was predicted. I told Bolivia’s refugees office that I was about to be attacked already in March, four months before the violent event. They laughed at me; understandably so since the Bolivian government was a side to the attack. I asked for help from my congregation. They denied it, despite my request not being financial; they have been bought by the aggressors. Since the attack was predicted I took precautions. Substantially before it, I asked for political asylum in Iran. They got copies of all my documents. They have copies of documents I don’t have anymore. This is what saved my life. I was treated by them seriously and even met the ambassador. Neither Israel nor Bolivia knows what would have happened following a successful assassination. As far as they know, Iran may come out and credibly have denounced the crime. Instead, they inflicted a slowly killing wound.”
In another email Roy wrote:
“I don’t have a Facebook account, because after I opened one, it was deactivated in less than two hours. This is not a coincidence. Victor Ostrovsky disclosed the fact that American Jews are used by Mossad as ‘sayanim,’ (‘helpers’ in Hebrew, the word bears connotations of ‘traitors’ as well).
Previously Roy wrote:
“Is Zuckerberg Mossad?
“I care very little about Mark Zuckerberg’s formal statistics; he was born – at least in spirit – in 1984. On September 2010, he gave an interview to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Among other things he suggested not to talk about politics or religion.
“Politics can be defined as ‘the peaceful solution of conflicts.’ The only alternative to politics is violence and war. Religion defines ones attitude toward God and his fellow humans. As such religion is the base for our politics. There is no other choice for each one of us to be actively involved in both. Any other claim takes us straight into the criminal hands of the Big Brother; then, every year would become 1984.”
In The Cross of Bethlehem, Roy explained:
“The year was 1983, but at school we were already studying Orwell’s 1984, a book which frightened us by its similarity to life in Israel. The Lebanon War, which had begun a year earlier, was still called ‘the War for the Peace of Galilee’ by the government. The Hebrew possessive contraction brought together the two words which sounded exactly like ‘War-Peace,’ creating a perfect Orwellian oxymoron. We all skipped the obvious contemporaneous context of the book in our commentaries; such semantics could belong only to the enemy and we lived in an enlightened society.
“Our government could not have made such an Orwellian choice consciously. And yet a little voice in my head told a different story, one that must be kept to myself. The glitch allowing such a subversive book to be on our reading list could only be interpreted as some inconsistency of the system.
“However, a frightening alternative explanation was that 1984 had been placed on the Education Ministry’s official list of books intentionally, so that we would forever fear authority and behave. It was our first lesson in government manipulation of its people.”
Orwell’s nightmare titled, “1984″ was published in 1949. When I reread it a few years ago, I was struck at how much Vanunu reminded me of Winston Smith, Orwell’s man with an independent thought that Big Brother found so threatening that they tortured him beyond his endurance in order to break him, brainwash him and strip him of his humanity.
In 1987, from Ashkelon Prison, Vanunu wrote: I had no choice. I’m a little man, a citizen, one of the people, but I’ll do what I have to. I’ve heard the voice of my conscience and there’s nowhere to hide…yes, it’s there all right. I’m all right. I do see the monster. I’m part of the system. I signed this form. Only now I am reading the rest of it. This bolt is part of a bomb. This bolt is me…Who else knows? Who has seen? Who has heard?”  ” A working prophet, is able to see deeper than most of us into the human soul. Orwell in 1948 understood that despite the Axis defeat, the will to fascism had not gone away…the irresistible human addiction to power were already long in place…the means of surveillance in Winston Smith’s era…are primitive next to the wonders of computer technology…most notably the Internet.” 
“Universal peace and justice are the goals of man, and the prophets have faith that in spite of all errors and sins…[and] although under the illusion of fighting for peace and democracy…all the fighting nations lost moral considerations…the unlimited destruction of civilian populations…atomic bombs…can human nature be changed so that man will forget his longing for freedom, dignity, integrity, love-can man forget that he is human?” 
The Orwellian named “Fabric of Life Road” in occupied Palestine is in reality an apartheid road; separate and unequal. Palestinians must travel through sewage and tunnels, but Israelis ride on only well maintained contiguous highways. On The Wall that divides Jerusalem from her sister city the little town of Bethlehem, the Ministry of Tourism had draped a doublespeak sign that proclaimed “Peace be with you” but there is no peace in the Holy Land, for Justice has not been done unto the indigenous people.
In Orwell’s epic, Winston Smith played the role of the archetype of all threats to Big Brother; an individual with an open and free mind, independent thought, memory of history, a voice of dissent and willing to take bold action. Orwell’s Big Brother tortured all threats in order to get inside their head and then to brainwash them into accepting doublethink as truth.
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot compare to the 21st century slaughter that could be achieved by thermonuclear weapons with capacities to wipe out 100% of a country within minutes. The Industrial Military Complex cranks out new weapons about every five years and soon the minds driven mad with doublethink-”war is peace”- will create 100 or 1,000 megaton bombs!
“Orwell demonstrates the illusion of the assumption that democracy can continue to exist in a world preparing for nuclear war…leaders…have only one aim, and that is power…and power means to inflict unlimited pain and suffering to another human being……how can a minority of one be right?…we spend a considerable part of our income and energy in building thermonuclear weapons, and close our minds to the fact that they might go off and destroy one third or one half of our population and that of the enemy…another example of doublethink-from a Christian standpoint” is the evil of killing any other. [Ibid]
From emails Vanunu wrote between March 24-27, 2008:
“Court hearing postponed to May 13, 2008-the appeal against 6 month prison sentence for speaking to foreign media. I found out about the change a few days before Easter, but not until Easter Day, did I learn about the day for the next hearing. My lawyer and prosecutor want to move it to different day.
“I think the hearing was postponed because, from the beginning of the trial until now, they really don’t know what they want. All was a game to try to put me under new pressure to see if they can gain something by holding me here…
“All this means is that Israel just continues what they have done since my release in 2004, delaying and holding me here…instead of sending me for real freedom…they want me very poor and angry, but I am surviving…One thing is very clear: my case is over. They should let me go free…There is a lot of suffering here…Israel wants to hide so much because it is not good for its image as a democracy and a friend of America…
“1984, yes I read it many times and many years ago. 1984 is here now…”
“In The Cross of Bethlehem I describe two technologies transfers to Israel, which I saw from very close. The one from America cost me my earthly life; I became a refugee.
“Given this background, the life story of Mark Zuckerberg looks slightly different from what mainstream media claims. He was born into a Jewish family; his compromise to Judaism was so big that he had a Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13. Don’t laugh at this; this isn’t just a familiar event with good food. A Bar Mitzvah is the formal acceptance of Judaism from those born into Jewish families. It isn’t a familiar obligation, but an act of choice. Growing up in a Communist Kibbutz, I must tell that only a minority of its kids chose to participate in such a questionable event. Yet, Mark was happy to participate.
“That means Mark Zuckerberg was in an excellent position to become a formal ‘sayan’ of the Mossad. Did he become one? Let’s see. He entered Harvard, and violated its computers, robbing an important database. He belonged to Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity. Then, Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally making them believe he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com (later called ConnectU); in such a way, Mark Zuckerberg stole the technology that allowed him to build Facebook.
“One could claim that Mossad wanted to get formal access HarvardConnection.com technology. It is useful for monitoring and controlling social networks, as I recently discovered after opening a Facebook account. Spotting Zuckerberg as a cooperative individual wasn’t hard. Giving him an informal tip on how to break into Harvard’s computers was even easier. Explaining him how to trick out the technology from Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra – none of them would have cooperated with Mossad – was also easy. Afterwards, the marketing of Facebook against other social media networks was easy due to the Harvard connection, everybody wanted to share the splendor.
“Facts speak for themselves: Zuckerberg stole technology in a method not unknown to Mossad. It belongs to the most faithful recruitment base of that organization. Let me ask you, Mr. Zuckerberg: are you Mossad?” 
I doubt Roy will ever receive a reply but I am well acquainted with Zionist trolls all over the Internet and the primary reason I was Primary Administrator of the Facebook Cause: Free Mordechai Vanunu [currently with 5,417 MEMBERS ] was precisely to send a message to Israel that the World would not ignore or forget Vanunu.
Martial Law, Karma, Facebook and Vanunu
On July 28, 2011, Tov’s lawyer wrote:
“Roy, have a look at this report of what a UN torture investigation agency is doing for a US soldier in solitary confinement here:
“The United Nations is investigating a complaint on behalf of Bradley Manning that he is being mistreated while held since May in US Marine Corps custody pending trial. The army private is charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of classified information, material related to the WikiLeaks, and faces a court martial sometime in 2011.
“The office of Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture based in Geneva, received the complaint from a Manning supporter; his office confirmed that it was being looked into. Manning’s supporters say that he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day; this could be construed as a form of torture. This month visitors reported that his mental and physical health was deteriorating.
“I would make sense to make a similar complaint to the UN about your Bolivia treatment. I was unaware that the UN investigated individual human rights cases. The one above concerns solitary confinement in a US prison… The fact that the UN is helping 1 man does not mean they will help all…”
LEARN MORE: Before Manning and Assange: There was Vanunu Mordechai
“In The Cross of Bethlehem II there is one chapter dedicated to Mordechai Vanunu, a true hero of our era. I expand there on the reasons for his and our persecution.
“On three other central chapters in the book I expand on what he has described as ‘psychological torture,’ but I prefer to call ‘psychological warfare.’”
Roy concluded, “In another show of the pettiness and ungodliness of its culture, Israel won’t allow the rise—or even respect their basic human rights —of any of its own preaching for the Lord. One advantage People of God have is their capability to rejoice in the Kingdom of God, where ‘there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain’ (Revelations 21:4).
“I have faith we both will emerge victorious out of our respective tests and enjoy the best coffee in the universe at Celestial Jerusalem. My prayers are for him and all other victims of evil.” ###
My faith compels me to pray for Tov and Vanunu and to work to have their stories known.
I do believe that The TRUTH and only The TRUTH can and WILL SET US ALL FREE.
+ Godspeed on it!
2. Thomas Pynchon, Foreword, Centennial Edition 1984
3. Erich Fromm, Afterword, Centennial Edition 1984
The early 21st century is addicted to war porn, a prime spectator sport consumed by global couch and digital potatoes. War porn took the limelight on the evening of September 11, 2001, when the George W Bush administration launched the “war on terror” – which was interpreted by many of its practitioners as a subtle legitimization of United States state terror against, predominantly, Muslims.
This was also a war OF terror – as in a manifestation of state terror pitting urban high-tech might against basically rural, low-tech cunning. The US did not exercise this monopoly; Beijing practiced it in Xinjiang, its far west, and Russia practiced it in Chechnya.
Like porn, war porn cannot exist without being based on a lie – a crude representation. But unlike porn, war porn is the real thing; unlike crude, cheap snuff movies, people in war porn actually die – in droves.
The lie to finish all lies at the center of this representation was definitely established with the leak of the 2005 Downing Street memo, in which the head of the British MI6 confirmed that the Bush administration wanted to take out Iraq’s Saddam Hussein by linking Islamic terrorism with (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD). So, as the memo put it, “The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
In the end, George “you’re either with us or against us” Bush did star in his own, larger-than-life snuff movie – that happened to double as the invasion and destruction of the eastern flank of the Arab nation.
The New Guernica
Iraq may indeed be seen as the Star Wars of war porn – an apotheosis of sequels. Take the (second) Fallujah offensive in late 2004. At the time I described it as the new Guernica. I also took the liberty of paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre, writing about the Algerian War; after Fallujah no two Americans shall meet without a corpse lying between them. To quote Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, there were bodies, bodies everywhere.
The Francisco Franco in Fallujah was Iyad Allawi, the US-installed interim premier. It was Allawi who “asked” the Pentagon to bomb Fallujah. In Guernica – as in Fallujah – there was no distinction between civilians and guerrillas: it was the rule of “Viva la muerte!”
United States Marine Corps commanders said on the record that Fallujah was the house of Satan. Franco denied the massacre in Guernica and blamed the local population – just as Allawi and the Pentagon denied any civilian deaths and insisted “insurgents” were guilty.
Fallujah was reduced to rubble, at least 200,000 residents became refugees, and thousands of civilians were killed, in order to “save it” (echoes of Vietnam). No one in Western corporate media had the guts to say that in fact Fallujah was the American Halabja.
Fifteen years before Fallujah, in Halabja, Washington was a very enthusiastic supplier of chemical weapons to Saddam, who used them to gas thousands of Kurds. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the time said it was not Saddam; it was Khomeinist Iran. Yet Saddam did it, and did it deliberately, just like the US in Fallujah.
Fallujah doctors identified swollen and yellowish corpses without any injuries, as well as “melted bodies” – victims of napalm, the cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel. Residents who managed to escape told of bombing by “poisonous gases” and “weird bombs that smoke like a mushroom cloud … and then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them. The pieces of these strange bombs explode into large fires that burn the skin even when you throw water over them.”
That’s exactly what happens to people bombed with napalm or white phosphorus. The United Nations banned the bombing of civilians with napalm in 1980. The US is the only country in the world still using napalm.
Fallujah also provided a mini-snuff movie hit; the summary execution of a wounded, defenseless Iraqi man inside a mosque by a US Marine. The execution, caught on tape, and watched by millions on YouTube, graphically spelled out the “special” rules of engagement. US Marine commanders at the time were telling their soldiers to “shoot everything that moves and everything that doesn’t move”; to fire “two bullets in every body”; in case of seeing any military-aged men in the streets of Fallujah, to “drop ‘em”; and to spray every home with machine-gun and tank fire before entering them.
The rules of engagement in Iraq were codified in a 182-page field manual distributed to each and every soldier and issued in October 2004 by the Pentagon. This counter-insurgency manual stressed five rules; “protect the population; establish local political institutions; reinforce local governments; eliminate insurgent capabilities; and exploit information from local sources.”
Now back to reality. Fallujah’s population was not protected: it was bombed out of the city and turned into a mass of thousands of refugees. Political institutions were already in place: the Fallujah Shura was running the city. No local government can possibly run a pile of rubble to be recovered by seething citizens, not to mention be “reinforced”. “Insurgent capabilities” were not eliminated; the resistance dispersed around the 22 other cities out of control by the US occupation, and spread up north all the way to Mosul; and the Americans remained without intelligence “from local sources” because they antagonized every possible heart and mind.
Meanwhile, in the US, most of the population was already immune to war porn. When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke out in the spring of 2004, I was driving through Texas, exploring Bushland. Virtually everybody I spoke to either attributed the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners to “a few bad apples”, or defended it on patriotic grounds (“we must teach a lesson to “terrorists”).
I Love A Man In Uniform
In thesis, there is an approved mechanism in the 21st century to defend civilians from war porn. It’s the R2P – “responsibility to protect” doctrine. This was an idea floated already in 2001 – a few weeks after the war on terror was unleashed, in fact – by the Canadian government and a few foundations. The idea was that the concert of nations had a “moral duty” to deploy a humanitarian intervention in cases such as Halabja, not to mention the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the mid-1970s or the genocide in Rwanda in the mid-1990s.
In 2004, a panel at the UN codified the idea – crucially with the Security Council being able to authorize a “military intervention” only “as a last resort”. Then, in 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution supporting R2P, and in 2006 the UN Security Council passed resolution 1674 about “the protection of civilians in armed conflict”; they should be protected against “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.
Now fast-forward to the end of 2008, early 2009, when Israel – using American fighter jets to raise hell – unleashed a large-scale attack on the civilian population of the Gaza strip.
Look at the official US reaction; “Israel has obviously decided to protect herself and her people,” said then-president Bush. The US Congress voted by a staggering 390-to-5 to recognize “Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza”. The incoming Barack Obama administration was thunderously silent. Only future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We support Israel’s right to self-defense.”
At least 1,300 civilians – including scores of women and children – were killed by state terror in Gaza. Nobody invoked R2P. Nobody pointed to Israel’s graphic failure in its “responsibility to protect” Palestinians. Nobody called for a “humanitarian intervention” targeting Israel.
The mere notion that a superpower – and other lesser powers – make their foreign policy decisions based on humanitarian grounds, such as protecting people under siege, is an absolute joke. So already at the time we learned how R2P was to be instrumentalized. It did not apply to the US in Iraq or Afghanistan. It did not apply to Israel in Palestine. It would eventually apply only to frame “rogue” rulers that are not “our bastards” – as in Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. “Humanitarian” intervention, yes; but only to get rid of “the bad guys.”
And the beauty of R2P was that it could be turned upside down anytime. Bush pleaded for the “liberation” of suffering Afghans – and especially burqa-clad Afghan women – from the “evil” Taliban, in fact configuring Afghanistan as a humanitarian intervention.
And when the bogus links between al-Qaeda and the non-existent WMDs were debunked, Washington began to justify the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq via … R2P; “responsibility to protect” Iraqis from Saddam, and then to protect Iraqis from themselves.
The Killer Awoke Before Dawn
The most recent installment in serial episodes of war porn is the Kandahar massacre, when, according to the official Pentagon version (or cover up) an American army sergeant, a sniper and Iraqi war veteran – a highly trained assassin – shot 17 Afghan civilians, including nine women and four children, in two villages two miles apart, and burned some of their bodies.
Like with Abu Ghraib, there was the usual torrent of denials from the Pentagon – as in “this is not us” or “we don’t do things these way”; not to mention a tsunami of stories in US corporate media humanizing the hero-turned-mass killer, as in “he’s such a good guy, a family man”. In contrast, not a single word about The Other – the Afghan victims. They are faceless; and nobody knows their names.
A – serious – Afghan enquiry established that some 20 soldiers may have been part of the massacre – as in My Lai in Vietnam; and that included the rape of two of the women. It does make sense. War porn is a lethal, group subculture – complete with targeted assassinations, revenge killings, desecration of bodies, harvesting of trophies (severed fingers or ears), burning of Korans and pissing on dead bodies. It’s essentially a collective sport.
US “kill teams” have deliberately executed random, innocent Afghan civilians, mostly teenagers, for sport, planted weapons on their bodies, and then posed with their corpses as trophies. Not by accident they had been operating out of a base in the same area of the Kandahar massacre.
And we should not forget former top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who in April 10, 2010, admitted, bluntly, “We’ve shot an amazing number of people” who were not a threat to the US or Western civilization.
The Pentagon spins and sells in Afghanistan what it sold in Iraq (and even way back in Vietnam for that matter); the idea that this is a “population-centric counter-insurgency” – or COIN, to “win hearts and minds”, and part of a great nation building project.
This is a monumental lie. The Obama surge in Afghanistan – based on COIN – was a total failure. What replaced it was hardcore, covert, dark war, led by “kill teams” of Special Forces. That implies an inflation of air strikes and night raids. No to mention drone strikes, both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas, whose favorite targets seem to be Pashtun wedding parties.
Incidentally, the CIA claims that since May 2010, ultra-smart drones have killed more than 600 “carefully selected” human targets – and, miraculously, not a single civilian.
Expect to see this war porn extravaganza celebrated in an orgy of upcoming, joint Pentagon-Hollywood blockbusters. In real life, this is spun by people such as John Nagl, who was on General David Petraeus’ staff in Iraq and now runs the pro-Pentagon think-tank Center for New American Security.
The new stellar macho, macho men may be the commandos under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). But this a Pentagon production, which has created, according to Nagl, an “industrial strength counter-terrorism killing machine”.
Reality, though, is much more prosaic. COIN techniques, applied by McChrystal, relied on only three components; 24-hour surveillance by drones; monitoring of mobile phones; and pinpointing the physical location of the phones from their signals.
This implies that anyone in an area under a drone watch using a cell phone was branded as a “terrorist”, or at least “terrorist sympathizer”. And then the focus of the night raids in Afghanistan shifted from “high value targets” – high-level and mid-level al-Qaeda and Taliban – to anyone who was branded as helping the Taliban.
In May 2009, before McChrystal arrived, US Special Forces were carrying 20 raids a month. By November, they were 90 a month. By the spring of 2010, they were 250 a month. When McChrystal was fired – because of a story in Rolling Stone (he was competing with Lady Gaga for the cover; Lady Gaga won) – and Obama replaced him with Petraeus in the summer of 2010, there were 600 a month. By April 2011, they were more than 1,000 a month.
So this is how it works. Don’t even think of using a cell phone in Kandahar and other Afghan provinces. Otherwise, the “eyes in the sky” are going to get you. At the very least you will be sent to jail, along with thousands of other civilians branded as “terrorist sympathizers”; and intelligence analysts will use your data to compile their “kill/capture list” and catch even more civilians in their net.
As for the civilian “collateral damage” of the night raids, they were always presented by the Pentagon as “terrorists”. Example; in a raid in Gardez on February 12, 2010, two men were killed; a local government prosecutor and an Afghan intelligence official, as well as three women (two of them pregnant). The killers told the US-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command in Kabul that the two men were “terrorists” and the women had been found tied up and gagged. Then the actual target of the raid turned himself in for questioning a few days later, and was released without any charges.
That’s just the beginning. Targeted assassination – as practiced in Afghanistan – will be the Pentagon’s tactic of choice in all future US wars.
Pass The Condom, Darling
Libya was a major war porn atrocity exhibition – complete with a nifty Roman touch of the defeated “barbarian” chief sodomized in the streets and then executed, straight on YouTube.
This, by the way, is exactly what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a lightning visit to Tripoli, had announced less than 48 hours before the fact. Gaddafi should be “captured or killed”. When she watched it in the screen of her BlackBerry she could only react with the semantic earthquake “Wow!”
From the minute a UN resolution imposed a no-fly zone over Libya under the cover of R2P, it became a green card to regime change. Plan A was always to capture and kill Gaddafi – as in an Afghan-style targeted assassination. That was the Obama administration official policy. There was no plan B.
Obama said the death of Gaddafi meant, “the strength of American leadership across the world”. That was as “We got him” (echoes of Saddam captured by the Bush administration) as one could possibly expect.
With an extra bonus. Even though Washington paid no less than 80% of the operating costs of those dimwits at NATO (roughly $2 billion), it was still pocket money. Anyway, it was still awkward to say, “We did it”, because the White House always said this was not a war; it was a “kinetic” something. And they were not in charge.
Only the hopelessly naïve may have swallowed the propaganda of NATO’s “humanitarian” 40,000-plus bombing which devastated Libya’s infrastructure back to the Stone Age as a Shock and Awe in slow motion. This never had anything to do with R2P.
This was R2P as safe sex – and the “international community” was the condom. The “international community”, as everyone knows, is composed of Washington, a few washed-up NATO members, and the democratic Persian Gulf powerhouses of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), plus the House of Saud in the shade. The EU, which up to extra time was caressing the helm of Gaddafi’s gowns, took no time to fall over themselves in editorials about the 42-year reign of a “buffoon”.
As for the concept of international law, it was left lying in a drain as filthy as the one Gaddafi was holed up in. Saddam at least got a fake trial in a kangaroo court before meeting the executioner (he ended up on YouTube as well). Osama bin Laden was simply snuffed out, assassination-style, after a territorial invasion of Pakistan (no YouTube – so many don’t believe it). Gaddafi went one up, snuffed out with a mix of air war and assassination. They are The Three Graceful Scalps of War Porn.
Syria is yet another declination of war porn narrative. If you can’t R2P it, fake it.
And to think that all this was codified such a long time ago. Already in 1997, the US Army War College Quarterly was defining what they called “the future of warfare”. They framed it as “the conflict between information masters and information victims”.
They were sure “we are already masters of information warfare … Hollywood is ‘preparing the battlefield’ … Information destroys traditional jobs and traditional cultures; it seduces, betrays, yet remains invulnerable … Our sophistication in handling it will enable us to outlast and outperform all hierarchical cultures … Societies that fear or otherwise cannot manage the flow of information simply will not be competitive. They might master the technological wherewithal to watch the videos, but we will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating.”
Post-everything information warfare has nothing to do with geopolitics. Just like the proverbial Hollywood product, it is to be “spawned” out of raw emotions; “hatred, jealousy, and greed – emotions, rather than strategy”.
In Syria this is exactly how Western corporate media has scripted the whole movie; the War College “information warfare” tactics in practice. The Syrian government never had much of a chance against those “writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties”.
For example, the armed opposition, the so-called Free Syrian Army (a nasty cocktail of defectors, opportunists, jihadis and foreign mercenaries) brought Western journalists to Homs and then insisted to extract them, in extremely dangerous condition, and with people being killed, via Lebanon, rather than through the Red Crescent. They were nothing else than writing the script for a foreign-imposed “humanitarian corridor” to be opened to Homs. This was pure theater – or war porn packaged as a Hollywood drama.
The problem is Western public opinion is now hostage to this brand of information warfare. Forget about even the possibility of peaceful negotiations among adult parties. What’s left is a binary good guys versus bad guys plot, where the Big Bad Guy must be destroyed at all costs (and on top of it his wife is a snob bitch who loves shopping!)
Only the terminally naïve may believe that jihadis – including Libya’s NATO rebels – financed by the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, also know as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are a bunch of democratic reformists burning with good intentions. Even Human Rights Watch was finally forced to acknowledge that these armed “activists” were responsible for “kidnapping, detention, and torture”, after receiving reports of “executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians”.
What this (soft and hard) war porn narrative veils, in the end, is the real Syrian tragedy; the impossibility for the much-lauded “Syrian people” to get rid of all these crooks – the Assad system, the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Syrian National Council, and the mercenary-infested Free Syrian Army.
Listen To The Sound of Chaos
This – very partial – catalogue of sorrows inevitably brings us to the current supreme war porn blockbuster – the Iran psychodrama.
2012 is the new 2002; Iran is the new Iraq; and whatever the highway, to evoke the neo-con motto, real men go to Tehran via Damascus, or real men go to Tehran non-stop.
Perhaps only underwater in the Arctic we would be able to escape the cacophonous cortege of American right-wingers – and their respective European poodles – salivating for blood and deploying the usual festival of fallacies like “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map”, “diplomacy has run its course”, “the sanctions are too late”, or “Iran is within a year, six months, a week, a day, or a minute of assembling a bomb”. Of course these dogs of war would never bother to follow what the International Atomic Energy Agency is actually doing, not to mention the National Intelligence Estimates released by the 17 US intelligence agencies.
Because they, to a great extent, are “writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties” in terms of corporate media, they can get away with an astonishingly toxic fusion of arrogance and ignorance – about the Middle East, about Persian culture, about Asian integration, about the nuclear issue, about the oil industry, about the global economy, about “the Rest” as compared to “the West”.
Just like with Iraq in 2002, Iran is always dehumanized. The relentless, totally hysterical, fear-inducing “narrative” of “should we bomb now or should we bomb later” is always about oh so very smart bunker buster bombs and precision missiles that will accomplish an ultra clean large-scale devastation job without producing a single “collateral damage”. Just like safe sex.
And even when the voice of the establishment itself – the New York Times – admits that neither US nor Israeli intelligence believe Iran has decided to build a bomb (a 5-year-old could reach the same conclusion), the hysteria remains inter-galactic.
Meanwhile, while it gets ready – “all options are on the table”, Obama himself keeps repeating – for yet another war in what it used to call “arc of instability”, the Pentagon also found time to repackage war porn. It took only a 60-second video now on YouTube, titled Toward the Sound of Chaos, released only a few days after the Kandahar massacre. Just look at its key target audience: the very large market of poor, unemployed and politically very naïve young Americans.
Let’s listen to the mini-movie voice over: “Where chaos looms, the Few emerge. Marines move toward the sounds of tyranny, injustice and despair – with the courage and resolve to silence them. By ending conflict, instilling order and helping those who can’t help themselves, Marines face down the threats of our time.”
Maybe, in this Orwellian universe, we should ask the dead Afghans urinated upon by US Marines, or the thousands of dead in Fallujah, to write a movie review. Well, dead men don’t write. Maybe we could think about the day NATO enforces a no-fly one over Saudi Arabia to protect the Shi’ites in the eastern province, while Pentagon drones launch a carpet of Hellfire missiles over those thousands of arrogant, medieval, corrupt House of Saud princes. No, it’s not going to happen.
Over a decade after the beginning of the war on terror, this is what the world is coming to; a lazy, virtually worldwide audience, jaded, dazed and distracted from distraction by distraction, helplessly hooked on the shabby atrocity exhibition of war porn.
Source: Asia Times
Plastic pastors transparent enough to see through, like Joel Osteen, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. Modalistic moguls of the painfully-obvious-money-hungry prosperity movement, like T.D. Jakes, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. Self-serving sorcerers of the false signs and wonders movement, like Todd Bentley, are not as dangerous as Rick Warren. No. None of the before-mentioned personalities or groups are all that dangerous because what you see is what you get. They all lack the ability to change their appearance to accommodate a change in environment. They lack the chameleon-like ability, the self-serving ability, to say what needs to be said in order to keep people in every camp liking them.—Tony Miano
In part 1 I brought you up to speed on what some “watchbloggers” refer to as “Kingsway-gate.” I’m guessing we haven’t heard the end of this mess. However, this matter and many others commented on in part 1 have helped to earn Rick Warren the title: Teflon Pastor. So we shall see what happens with Kingsway-gate.
Common ground in the love of God…or god?
Most likely Saddleback Church congregants are unaware that their pastor signed a controversial document produced by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture titled Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us and You. In July 2008 Christian and Muslim leaders gathered at Yale University for a conference to promote understanding and peace between Christians and Muslims. The letter urged the two faiths to find “common ground” in the love of God. Since Christians and Muslims do not believe in the same God, one wonders which God we’re to find common ground with.
The Christian Post reported that Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “disagreed with key points raised in the letter because he felt they compromised the Christian faith [and] amid calls for love in a common God, the letter ‘failed to clearly define the Christian understanding of God as the trinity.’”
So why would any serious Christian sign a document that did not clearly define the Trinity?
Rick Warren claims he believes in the Trinity and we must take him at his word on this. But to what extent does his belief in the Trinity come through in his ministry to Muslims? Does he keep his Trinitarian belief close to the vest so as not to offend them? Or is he forthcoming in his belief that there is one true God who exists in three co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If his Muslim friends cannot understand his view of the Godhead, perhaps he’s not bothering to explain it to them.
The Christian Post report revealed some of the notable leaders at the conference:
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan; former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi of Sudan; Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO and international director of World Evangelical Alliance; Leith Anderson, president of NAE; and Antonios Kireopoulos of the National Council of Churches. A handful of Jewish leaders will also attend the conference.
Scroll through the list of signatories and you’ll discover several other notable leaders (theological liberals) such as Emerging church proponents Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Scot McKnight; prosperity evangelist David Yonggi Cho; one of the “seeker-sensitive” architects, Bill Hybles; Richard Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary; David Neff, Editor in Chief, Christianity Today; gospel of self-esteem sageRobert Schuller; Marxist sympathizer Jim Wallis (mentioned in part 1); and of course Rick Warren.
Certainly biblical unity can be a good thing, but as Phil Johnson reminds us:
The concept of “unity” commonly touted today has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘being in full accord and of one mind’ (Philippians 2:2). Instead, it is a broad, visible, ecumenical homogeneity without boundaries. And that is nothing like the biblical concept of unity.
What did Jesus say regarding unity? “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34).
Global peace, at last
April 17, 2005 speaking before 30,000 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Rick Warren breathlessly proclaimed his plan:
The bottom line is that we intend to reinvent mission strategy in the 21st century. As I stated, this will be a new Reformation. The First Reformation returned us to the message of the original church. It was a reformation of doctrine – what the church BELIEVES. This Second Reformation will return us to the mission of the original church. It will be a reformation of PURPOSE – what the church DOES in the world.
Our goal will be to enlist one billion foot soldiers for the Kingdom of God, who will permanently change the face of international missions to take on these five ‘global giants’ for which the church can become the ultimate distribution and change agent to overcome Spiritual emptiness, Self-serving Leadership, Poverty, disease and ignorance . (Online source)
Warren put forth his program for global Christian dominion. He also encouraged the crowd, the majority of them Christians, to adopt the same sort of dedication shown by followers of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.
The New Apostolic Purpose Driven Reformation
As Rick Warren reveals the details of his global agenda, more and more Christians are expressing concern over it. And so are liberals. In fact liberals are so uneasy over what he and other dominionists are doing that the New Apostolic Research Group was formed. Far-left blogger Bruce Wilson is part of it. In a 2009 column Wilson declared:
Both C. Peter Wagner and Rick Warren want to transform the world, and both [1,2] have proclaimed the advent of a second Reformation. Wagner calls it the New Apostolic Reformation, while for Rick Warren this is a “purpose driven” effort powered by Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In Uganda both visions for societal transformation appear to include the categorical elimination of homosexuality – by any means.
By any means? Hyperbole, I presume. As a committed lefty, Bruce Wilson fully supports the radical homosexual agenda to normalize sodomy and other aberrant behavior.
Rick Warren wrote his 1993 dissertation for a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminar, under Wagner’s supervision. It is titled New Churches For a New Generation: Church Planting to Reach Baby Boomers. In his 2008 book “Dominion”, C. Peter Wagner describes the process through which this brand of Christianity can take dominion over government and society, and Wagner claims that this can be done within a democratic framework. Wagner clearly states that Rick Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is an example of “stage one”:
Wagner is the Convening Apostle in a movement of charismatic “relational networks” which has extended its reach from the United States to Uganda, and worldwide. Under its umbrella of authority are virulently anti-gay apostles in the United States and Uganda including Lou Engle of TheCall, who led thousands of young people in a twelve hour November 1, 2008 stadium rally in support of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight. The San Diego event closed with Engle, a member of Wagner’s inner circle of “prophets,” calling for Christian martyrs. Wagner’s plans include reorganizing charismatic Christianity under the authority of these apostles and prophets. (links in original) (Online source)
Wilson has done his homework on the NAR. Unbelievably, most Christians have not taken this movement seriously even though these false teachers have united with the Christian Right, politicians, rock-star pastors, entertainers, radio personalities, and a host of Christian leaders. Likewise, New Age Mormon Glenn Beck has weaseled his way into these groups. (Learn more about the NAR here.)
Growing a church
In Break Through These 3 Barriers to Growth “Coach” Warren outlines three essentials for breaking through the barriers to church growth. Following is barrier #2:
You must change the primary role of the pastor from minister to leader.
What’s the difference? In leadership, you take the initiative; in ministry, you respond to the needs of others. When someone calls and you pick up the phone, that’s ministry. When you pick up the phone and call someone, that’s leadership. Typically, you learn ministry skills in seminary, but you learn leadership skills in seminars. Pastoring is a balance. Here are five skills you must learn if your church is going to grow:
…Learn to communicate your vision.
…Learn the ability to motivate through messages.
…Learn how to equip for ministry. If you don’t learn how to coach, you will not be able to equip. And, if you do not equip, you will burn out in ministry.
…Learn how to raise money. Those who write the agenda must also be able to underwrite it.
…Learn the skill of managing your time and energy.
What about Rick Warren’s view of growing a church? In Ordinary Pastors, part 2: A Biblical Definition of Ministry C. J. Mahaney defines pastoral ministry thusly:
Pastoral ministry that is pleasing to God is not ultimately about gifting, influence, or even fruitfulness. It is not about how many books you have written, which conferences invite you to speak, or how many of your sermons are downloaded on iTunes. It is not even about whether your church membership numbers grow or shrink. Pastoral ministry that is pleasing to God is about faithfulness to the charge of 2 Timothy 4. You and I are called to be faithful to this charge.
For the record, here’s what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Peace + unity = universalism
In part 1, I pointed out that Rick Warren serves on the advisory board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and that the foundation’s goal is to unify the world’s major religions. Following is Warren’s explanation for serving:
The vision and values of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation are desperately needed today…. In any effort to help people learn to live and work together, we must engage the vast networks, resources, wisdom, and influence of the faith communities. My friends, [Roman Catholic] Tony Blair is uniquely prepared with the gifts of temperament, knowledge, experience, leadership, and global respect essential for a task this great. I honestly don’t know of anyone better suited for this challenge. It’s why I agreed to serve on the Advisory Board. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s potential for doing good is staggering.
What is staggering is that a Protestant pastor has no problem with a Catholic’s plan to unite all religious faiths. In a piece I wrote titled Damnable heresies invading the church I touched on the push for unity:
What Warren is purporting is ecumenicism. Actually, we are moving beyond ecumenicism intointerspirituality (interfaith spirituality) or interdenominational cooperation. “In the name of peace and unity,” says Ray Yungen, “the world’s religions are more and more joining together. And with that joining together will come a consensus that it is narrow minded and even hateful to say there is only one way to salvation.”
Peace and unity has a nice ring to it. But traditional, historic, evangelical Christianity holds that there is only one path to God, one door to enter through. Peter left no doubt when he said, “Salvation is found in no one else” (Acts 4:10). (Also see John 3:16, John 6:66-68, John 14:6, Acts 16:30-31, 1 Tim 2:3-6, 1 John 2:1) The Bible clearly teaches that all paths do not lead to God. Those who take a different path will spend eternity in hell. So the loving thing for a committed Christian to do is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. In fact, Jesus commanded His followers to go out into the world and spread the good news. Those who keep the good news to themselves fail to understand that God gives no second chances. Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:22).
My reason for this article (part 1&2) is to highlight some very concerning issues related to Rick Warren. Each of the concerns that were identified could have been substantially expanded upon and if that is the readers’ desire there are links and references that will help one to do that. My purpose has been to urge his followers and supporters to be like the Bereans who “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
In these dark days ahead, God’s people must be watchful and discerning. We must “Prove [test] all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thes 5:21).
Recommended articles and videos:
Read Part 1
Articles by Joseph Farah of Worldnet Daily:
The purpose-driven lie—11/16/06
Rick Warren on Syria: ‘A moderate country’–11/26/06
Listen to what Rick Warren said about Syria in an audio version of the video message his church pulled down from YouTube after it was exposed by Farah
There you go again, Rick Warren–12/26/06
Rick Warren’s distortions of reality—12/13/07
“One wonders if Pastor Warren’s discussions with President Assad about peace included a presentation of the Gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, as promoted in the author’s new P.E.A.C.E. Plan. The opportunity for an evangelical leader to meet with the head of a terror regime is rare.” –Lawrence E. Ford, Sr., Institute for Creation Research
John MacArthur on the Purpose Driven Life
Who’s Driving the Purpose Driven Church
Rick Warren’s SHAPE acronym is explained
Articles on the New Apostolic Reformation—On Solid Rock Resources
“We pushed forward about 30 yards at a clip. Then caught our breath! Hammered another 30 yards! Stopped to breathe! Always, we looked up to the prize at 13,000 feet. Don’t let me kid you; it takes guts, gumption and hard core determination to slog up a mountain peak—especially in winter. Could we die? Sure, we could meet our maker. But heck, living full-out until we die is more fun. Is it cold? Sure, but we layer up.” Journal entry, 3/22/12 FW
Under a rising sun and blue sky, we turned into the Crane parking lot at the head of the 10th Mountain Hut trailhead just down from 10,400 foot Tennessee Pass in the Colorado Rockies. Around us, lodge pole pines grew thick to the west of us. Eastward, aspirin white snows covered the valley, which featured a frozen river meandering southward. Beyond it, enormous mountains pierced the sky. A brisk wind greeted us upon opening the car doors.
“Yow! It’s a tad chilly,” said Al.
“No kidding,” I said. “It may be worth it to add some layers.”
“Looks like Steve and Eric started out on another trailhead,” Al said, talking about our friends that would meet us for this hut trip. “We’ll bump into them at the cabin.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said as I hauled my 45 pound pack out of the car. “Let me get these skins slapped onto my skis and I’m ready to go.”
“I’ve got my snow shoes laced up,” Al said. “This pack seems to get heavier every year we take this hut trip.”
“You gotta stop bringing two pounds of cookies and five pounds of chips and salsa,” I said.
“Yeah, right!” Al said, smiling. “Let’s get moving.”
We hiked up the road about a half mile to where an arrow pointed toward a mountain meadow filled with seven feet of snow. Pines surrounded us and grew thicker as the mountain sloped upward.
“Let’s do it,” Al said. “Hey, look up above you.”
“I’ll be darned,” I said. “A stellar jay looking for a handout.”
We stepped into our gear and headed up the mountain. Not far into the woods, a squirrel jumped from branch to branch while he chattered at us like a repeating record. He didn’t like us invading his territory.
My friend John Muir said, “How many hearts with warm red blood in them are beating under cover of the woods, and how many teeth and eyes are shining? A multitude of animal people, intimately related to us, but of whose lives we know almost nothing, are as busy about their own affairs as we are about ours.”
We pushed past the chattering squirrel with our eyes searching for the blue markers that denoted the trail. While we carry compasses and topographical maps, it’s nice to see the blue diamonds showing us that we are on the right path. Within a half mile, we reached a frozen lake. We crossed it as the sun blazed overhead.
As Al pushed ahead, I noted the deep forest around us. I reveled in the silence, the quiet of the snow and the slight breeze rustling through the evergreens. Something about that “sound” that calms my soul and uplifts my spirit. I love leaving the car behind, the pavement and the cacophony of civilization. It’s been said that the Great Spirit, as the Indians referred to Him, created snow to fall softly on the ground to give a blanket for all creatures to find solace from winter winds. Above it, nature’s motions illustrate the circulation of life, of spirit and of energy pulsing throughout the wilderness.
As the slope pitched steeper, I noticed my breath quicken and my heart beat faster. I felt the clean mountain air coursing through my lungs. A mountaineering trip lets a man’s body know it’s alive. I think Thoreau said, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of humanity to elevate itself by conscious endeavor.”
As we drew deeper into the wilderness, we undoubtedly elevated ourselves as we climbed from 8,500 to 9,000 feet and upward still.
The trail led us through hard packed snow. Soon, we reached a bridge over a frozen stream. On the bridge, the snow rose over four feet deep. Other backcountry skiers had packed it down.
“Let’s take a picture,” Al said.
After the shot from the “Shutter bug of the Rockies”, we began climbing hard up a steep grade. My breath drew deep drafts of life-giving oxygen into my heaving lungs. It’s moments like this that I am grateful for my existence, for my body and for my ability to ambulate through this world. I am thankful for the slowness and exertion.
We slogged upward until we hit a ridge that snaked through the trees. Unexpectedly, it dropped down into a depression, but quickly regained itself. We worked our way through an aspen grove with more squirrels chattering at us. Above, a hawk soared across the treetops on his morning breakfast patrol.
We stopped for a rest in a quiet glen. Unshouldering the packs gave a sudden relief from the weight on our bodies. A long swig of water quenched our thirst and slicing up an apple gave us renewed energy.
Thoreau said, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air; drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each. Let them be your only diet, drink and botanical medicines. Be blown on by all the winds. Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.”
“Let’s get this show on the road,” said Al.
“Let me hoist this torture chamber back onto my shoulders,” I said, “and let’s get going. I figure we can reach the cabin before nightfall.”
Once again, the trail climbed steadily upward. We followed it through a tunnel of pine trees. My skis swished over the ice crystals and Al’s snowshoes crunched down on the white carpet with every step.
As we climbed, high mountain peaks jumped up in front of us. The pines thinned with the altitude as we crossed over 10,000 feet and on to 11, 000 feet. Big open glades featured burned-out trunks from long ago. Ahead, 13,209 foot Homestake Peak made its presence known. It cut like a giant shark’s tooth into a cobalt sky.
Two more hours later brought us into wide open fields of glistening snow.
“Another mile should get us to the cabin,” Al said.
“We’re standing inside a huge mountain basin,” I said. “That big old 13er can’t wait to see us standing at the top tomorrow.”
“I’m ready for some hot chocolate and a nice fire,” said Al.
“Let’s do it, dude,” I said.
Late in the afternoon, the heavy packs took their toll on our bodies. We felt the fatigue of pushing into the high country.
After rounding a stand of lodge pole pines, we saw the cabin set up against the mountains at 11,200 feet. We punched over the snowy land until we reached the cabin. Amazingly, it stood empty. We pulled our gear off and unloaded the packs from our shoulders. We unlocked the door and entered.
The cabin featured a full kitchen with dishes, glassware and silverware on plentiful shelves. A 100 year old cook stove stood in the middle of the kitchen. Two picnic tables made up the dining area. At the far end, a black stove with plenty of wood awaited. Upstairs, sleeping area for 18 people in wooden bunks. One could watch the stars while falling asleep as windows surrounded the entire upstairs. On the walls downstairs, pictures of 10thMountain soldiers in full ski gear. Around the entire cabin downstairs, huge 4’X 4’ windows. A huge deck out front featured log benches for watching sunsets and stars. Out back, two outhouses.
“Home for the next two days,” Al said.
“I’m cooking up some water for hot chocolate,” I said. “It looks like Steve and Eric are still on their way.”
We lounged around the cabin. Several gray jays perched on the railings around the deck expecting possible handouts. West of us, out the big bay window, we saw Homestake Peak rising into the blue sky.
“It’s going to be a great climb tomorrow,” Al said. “I hope the weather and temps are as good as today’s.”
Within an hour, we watched Steve and Eric emerge from the woods on the high side of the mountain.
“Dudes,” I said. “Glad to see you.”
“Great trip up,” Eric said. “Nice to finally get to this cabin. I’m tired of pulling this sled all day.”
“I like your idea of pulling a plastic sled rather than humping a heavy backpack,” Al said.
They unpacked and made themselves comfortable. We fired up the main stove and warmed the place. Eric, ever the baker, brought his own cheesecake protected in a plastic container. Steve, a college instructor, fire fighter and engineer who had traveled to Antarctica, also enjoyed culinary talents of a top flight chef.
“I have never turned down a good dinner,” he said. “Food is the foundation of happiness.”
“Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said that God made beer so men could be happy?” I said. “Maybe you are the 21st century answer to Ben’s wisdom.”
“Why not?” said Steve.
That night, the fire burned brightly as we sat in a horseshoe circle around the fire place. Outside, without any moon, the stars twinkled against an ink black sky. A quick stepping out onto the deck allowed us to see major constellations such as Orion, the Big Dipper, Andromeda and Aries. Saturn twinkled and we think we saw Jupiter taking its spot in the night sky. Without any light pollution from cities, the night sky became very personal.
At the same time, it becomes so vast, it defies a person’s imagination. As I stood on the deck looking, I felt a profound energy at being able to see the universe before my eyes. Further, for this brief spark of time, I am a living entity in this vastness. I am a part of the march of humanity. I will continue to squeeze every drop of living from my time on this planet.
My friend Jack London said, “I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor; every atom in magnificent glow—than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not merely exist. I shall use my time.”
Looking up at the dark outline of the great mountain before us, I knew that tomorrow would bring challenge and triumph of summiting a peak in the dead of winter. We turned in early knowing that we needed our energies to climb the 13er before our eyes.
Morning breaks quietly in the high country. First, the night sky surrenders to a glowing horizon punctuated by mountain peaks. The first light of the sun brightens the snow peaks from the tips until it moves down the flanks. Soon, the sun touches the tips of the trees and finally, the grand finale of light spreads its rays across the entire landscape.
“Good morning,” said Eric.
“Mornin’” Al and I said.
We ate breakfast. Because of cutting a large blister in his heel on the way up, Steve decided the pain would be unbearable trying to climb Homestake Peak.
“I’ve got to opt out today,” he said. “I don’t need to make this blister worse.”
A half hour later, Eric, Al and I slapped on our skis and snow shoes along with our light day packs. We cut northward toward the mountain range and veered west toward Slide Lake in a large basin that carried us toward the south end of the mountain. The journey carried us for nearly two miles along the flanks of the mountain chain. At tree line, we pushed across 10 foot deep snow pack.
“There’s the starting point beyond that canyon,” I said. “Let’s keep high on the ridge so we don’t lose altitude.”
“Here, let me get a couple of shots of you guys,” Al said.
From that point, we made our way to the south side of the mountain where it began a slow and steep climb to the summit. We cut switchbacks up the steep grade. From there, the wind freshened to 20 miles per hour. Ahead, we saw nothing but white windblown snow and ice.
If I could describe what I saw before us, we stood at the bottom of a giant slide leading upward with a blue outline of the sky on the top and both sides. But in this case, we couldn’t walk around and step up the ladder of the slide. We must climb up the slide to the very top which was probably two miles to the summit. Along the way, all manner of winter obstacles faced us. The wind strengthened. As we climbed, we also faced less and less oxygen in the air at high altitude.
We pushed forward about 30 yards at a clip. Then caught our breath! Hammer another 30 yards! Stop to breathe! Always, we looked up to the prize at 13,000 feet. Don’t let me kid you, it takes guts, gumption and hard core determination to slog up a mountain peak—especially in winter. Could we die? Sure, we could meet our maker. But heck, living full out until I die is more fun. Is it cold? Sure, but we layer up.
To my right, Eric pushed upward. To my left, Al continued his quest. I followed them. Suddenly, I found Eric and Al to my left as we slogged ever higher onto the mountain. But as they pushed forward, the canyon below dropped four to five thousand feet. As that happened, another jagged monster snow-covered mountain rose up behind them on the other side of the canyon.
“Hey you guys,” I yelled. “Let me get a shot of you. That mountain back drop is incredible!”
They stood still for the shot. Mind-bogglingly beautiful! What I am seeing at this moment can only be seen on the nature channel. I am seeing mountain majesty just like the folks who climb Mount Everest. It doesn’t even seem like a smaller scale when a person climbs to these heights. I am a mountaineer with no comparisons.
Onward we pushed up that colossal mountain. The sun burned over head. The sky dazzled with its brilliant blue. The higher we skied, the more intense the mountains grew—like a line of sharks teeth ripping at the sky all around us. I don’t know what Al and Eric were feeling, but I felt a sense of inner awe at what the universe provided me that moment.
At the same time, I sucked huge lung-fulls of air into my body. I needed to keep every muscle oxygenated in order to keep pushing. I skied up close to Eric.
“Man,” he said. “This is an enormous pile of amazing sights.”
“You got that right, dude,” I said.
As we drew nearer to the summit, more and more large rocks cut dark spots into the vast snowfields before us. We continued our 30 yards of slogging, then resting for several minutes, then forward again with dogged determination. After another hour, we reached a false summit. Beyond it, the true summit awaited another 300 meters ahead. Icy winds pulled at our bodies.
At 200 meters from the top, I encountered so much rock that I pulled my skis and stuck them into the snow. Al pushed on with his snowshoes. Eric cut further north along a ridge and found a path where he continued skiing. I carried my poles and pushed further up the mountain as I hopped from rock to rock. Within 100 meters of the summit, Eric pulled his skis and locked them to his backpack.
He intended to ski off the peak.
At mid day, Al reached the summit. I followed. Eric arrived several minutes later. We high fived and whooped it up for a few minutes. Eric jumped into a handstand. Not bad at 13,209 feet on a freezing winter day at the top of an icy peak in the middle of the Colorado Rockies. We took pictures of ourselves. We spun around to see outrageous mountain ranges all around us. The Gore Range, Mount Holy Cross, Never Summer Range, the Collegiate Range and Mount Elbert at 14,455 feet.
As we stood at the top, the wind blew, the sun smiled at us, but the cold started to creep into our bodies because we were no longer climbing.
“Time to get off this peak,” Al said.
“I hate coming down off a peak when it took so much to get up here,” I said. “But, I don’t want to turn into an icicle, either.”
To reach the top of a mountain, my mind soars with bliss. I can’t help my ear to ear grin. The moment elevates me into such a joyous mental state. Sharing it with my friends makes it a celebration of life, of spirit and fellowship.
Moments later, Eric locked on his skis and jumped over the edge. He made four quick cuts on the crusty, icy, hard packed snow. To his left, a cliff dropped at least a thousand feet. One missed turn and he would become a tumbling tumble weed down an icy couloir.
Al stepped over the edge and made his way down. I plugged in my ski poles to brace myself for the descent from rock to rock, rock to snow, snow to rock and downward until I reached my skis.
Finally, I picked up my skis and slapped my boots into the bindings. I carefully worked my way over the hard pack. Once again, I looked west to see the scenery change as I descended. With each minute, I made my way from 13,000 to 12,500 to 12,000 and kept descending. As I worked my way through the snow and rock, I saw where some of the tundra melted through to the surface of the snow. As the snow melted from the extreme sunshine, it formed an ice glaze that clung to the rocks and blanketed over the tundra like an icy spider web.
Exceedingly interesting and a visual delight as the sun played off the sheet ice.
Nearly to the bottom, we stopped to eat lunch. Al caught up with me and we sat down on some big rocks to enjoy oranges, peanuts, energy bars and swig on some water. After 20 minutes, we finished our lunch on that high altitude table with a view unlike any most folks could ever dream of from their own kitchen.
I jumped back onto my skis and made my way down a couloir. At the bottom, I saw Eric making a run toward me. He made some great cuts and got caught up in his own powder blasts from the skis. Finally, at the bottom, he crashed in front of me. He fried his thighs!
Al left his perch and made his way slowly down the side of the mountain. Later, we connected for the trek back to the cabin.
While I chose to circle back the way we came, Eric and Al dropped into the valley. Later, they climbed back up.
About an hour later, we reached base camp at 11,200 where Steve greeted us. We pulled off our gear and stepped in front of the fire place. Al curled up in the corner and Eric dozed near a window. I wrote about our high altitude adventure. As you read these paragraphs, I hope I got it right. I hope you felt the climb and the triumph at the top. I hope you enjoyed the journey with us.
In the evening, Steve cooked up some fabulous chicken steaks with rice and vegetables. We sat at the table with wide grins and all sorts of stories. After stuffing ourselves, Eric brought out the “piece de resistance” with his homemade cheese cake. Steve offered a bowl of hot blue berries for a topping. Each of us enjoyed two pieces of cheese cake.
Let me tell you, I savored every single delicious, scrumptious, mouth-watering bite. I let each fork full melt on my tongue and allowed the blue berries to soothe my taste buds and run down the back of my throat like a summer stream full of enchanting sensations.
“Bless you for this incredible cheese cake Baker Eric,” I said.
“Same for me,” said Al.
That night, we washed a lot of dishes. Ironically, no other back country skiers arrived, which left the entire cabin to just four men. We read books about 10th Mountain soldiers, shared stories and stoked the fire. Outside, the sun set and the night sky once again featured majestic constellations.
We hit the bunks early with tired bodies ready for some recuperation at high altitude. Before I fell asleep near the window, a shooting star ripped across the night sky. It seemed to place a dramatic exclamation point to a most amazing day.
Next morning, we awoke with the sunrise. It lit up the high peaks and spread its glowing charms across the high country. After breakfast, we washed more dishes, cleaned up the bunk room and brought in more wood. We filled the water pot with more snow and loaded our backpacks. Steve and Eric decided to stay for a few more hours.
“Dudes!” I said. “Thanks for a great time. Heal that heel, Steve.
Thanks for the cheese cake Eric. Let’s do this again.”
“You can count on it,” said Steve. “We loved every minute of it.”
We stepped outside into a brisk morning. With the sun shining, it felt like a day at the beach. “Snow beach!”
We shouldered our packs, just like the 10th Mountain soldiers. We buckled into our skis and snow shoes, just like the 10th Mountain soldiers. We headed into a world of white at high altitude, just like the 10 Mountain soldiers. We thanked them for their service to America.
As we headed down from the high altitude on our way back to civilization, we smiled at each other. My friend Al and I enjoyed an exceptional adventure.
I am reminded of sage words by Henry David Thoreau, “We need the tonic of the wilderness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.”
There may have been a time when the words “conservative” and “liberal” meant something, but that time is no more. Today, “conservatives” in government are doing as much to promote Big Government, as are “liberals.” In fact, if one were to honestly evaluate the twelve years of the George Herbert Walker Bush and G.W. Bush administrations, one could say that “conservatives” even eclipse “liberals” in promoting Big Government. Under the two Bushes, the federal government expanded (and even exploded) to levels that for-real liberal Democrats could only dream about.
Let’s get realistic. Just because a politico says he or she is “pro-life,” or “pro-family,” or “pro-marriage,” etc., does not mean that they are going to do anything to help save the country. Come on, folks; think! “Conservative” Republican administration appointments have dominated the US Supreme Court since the infamous Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that effectively legalized abortion-on-demand. And we are no closer to overturning Roe and Doe after almost forty years of electing “pro-life conservatives” than we were the year after the Roe and Doe decisions were rendered. And for the first six years of the 21st Century, “conservative” Republicans dominated the entire federal government, and still the Roe and Doe decisions stand.
And when it comes to marriage and family, there is not a darn thing that Washington, D.C., can do to “save” it. Washington can no more “save” the family than it can “create” jobs! Washington is not God–the attitudes of most Washington politicians and national newscasters notwithstanding.
Herein lies the real problem: both “conservatives” and “liberals” expect Washington, D.C., to be the panacea for all the nation’s ills. Oh, the left and right come to Washington expecting different solutions, but they both come to Washington, D.C., for the solution. Both “conservatives” and “liberals” expect the federal government to “fix” America. But, in this regard, Ronald Reagan spoke with great profundity when he said, “Government [especially the federal government] is not the solution to our problem; government [especially the federal government] IS the problem!”
Hear President Reagan’s quote at:
Both “conservatives” and “liberals” look to the federal government to establish and enforce their parochial agendas. “Liberals” look to Washington for the establishment of “social justice,” while “conservatives” look to Washington for the establishment of “military justice.” The net result is the federal government keeps getting bigger and bigger regardless of who controls the White House, Congress, or Supreme Court.
“Conservatives,” whether Christian or not, are just as culpable in the expansion of Big Government as are “liberals.” In fact, when it comes to the expansion of military adventurism, “conservatives” are the most culpable. And when it comes to the ever-burgeoning police state that is currently taking shape in the United States, “liberals” and “conservatives” are equally to blame. Let’s face it: both “conservatives” and “liberals” are in the midst of an intense and illicit love affair with Washington, D.C.
The way many “conservatives” have embraced the candidacy of Rick Santorum is a prime example of how skewed their understanding of historic, constitutional principles really is. Santorum goes around talking about “pro-life” and “pro-family” issues, while his voting record in the US Senate demonstrates that he is just another conservative-talking, big-spending politician. He has voted for so many Big-Government bills and endorsed so many Big-Government toadies that it is incredible that anyone could refrain from laughing out loud when he calls himself a “conservative.”
To check the factual record of Senator Rick Santorum, go here:
By the same token, it is absolutely incredible that “conservatives,” especially Christian “conservatives,” could so quickly and firmly reject the candidacy of the man who most likely is going to go down in history as the greatest congressman to ever sit in the US House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Patrick Henry was probably the greatest governor that the United States has ever seen; and Daniel Webster was probably the greatest senator that the country has ever seen; and I am personally convinced that history will regard Congressman Ron Paul as our greatest US House member. For his entire political career, Congressman Paul has stood like a rock for the fundamental principles of liberty and constitutionalism, and, yet, many “conservatives” reject his Presidential candidacy. They would rather support Big-Government toadies like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney. Egad!
Have people not wondered why the direction of the country has not changed one iota regardless if “conservatives” or “liberals” are running things? One would think that at some point people would wake up to the fact that until we start electing civil magistrates who take their oaths to the Constitution seriously, and who truly understand the nature of our federalist form of government, and who are truly committed to the preservation of the Bill of Rights, and who truly understand and appreciate the jurisdiction and authority of the states, nothing is going to change in this country. Nothing! And in 2012, there is only one man in the Presidential field who has an intellectual grasp and moral commitment to all of the above: Ron Paul. I will say it yet again: it will not matter to a tinker’s dam if anyone other than Ron Paul is elected President in 2012.
Furthermore, if Americans do not wake up to the importance of electing State governors, attorney generals, senators, legislators, and county sheriffs who understand that their primary responsibility as a State office holder is to safeguard the rights and liberties of the citizens of their respective states FROM THE USURPATION AND OVERREACH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, our liberties are lost–no matter how many “conservatives” we elect!
Ladies and gentlemen, face it: the left-right paradigm is a hoax! It creates false conflicts and masks true problems. It caters to the increase of socialism on the one hand and fascism and corporatism on the other hand. It saps our strengths and augments our weaknesses. It blinds our eyes to the warning clouds above us and deafens our ears to the sounds of the sirens around us. It turns friends into adversaries and adversaries into friends. It dulls our senses and sharpens our illusions. It removes true courage and gives false hope. It sullies our character and shines our betrayal, and it puts shackles around our feet and greases the skids of oppression.
Instead of worrying about whether one professes to be a “conservative” or a “liberal,” we should be concerned about whether the people we vote for understand the fundamental principles of liberty and constitutional government and have the moral character to defend such principles at all costs. Furthermore, we should be concerned that both “conservatives” and “liberals” look to government for the solutions to our problems instead of looking to the Natural Law principles of our Creator. Yes, Martha, the Golden Rule really does matter–even in Washington, D.C.
Do you want to see what a 21st century economic depression looks like? Just look at Greece. Once upon a time, the Greek economy was thriving, the Greek government was borrowing money like there was no tomorrow and Greek citizens were thoroughly enjoying the bubble of false prosperity that all that debt created. Those that warned that Greece was headed for a financial collapse were laughed at and were called “doom and gloomers”. Well, nobody is laughing now. You see, the truth is that debt is a very cruel master. Greeks were able to live way beyond their means for many, many years but eventually a day of reckoning arrived. At this point, the Greek economy has been in a recession for five years in a row, and the economic crisis in that country is rapidly getting even worse. It was just recently announced that the overall rate of unemployment in Greece has soared above 20 percent and the youth unemployment rate has risen to an astounding 48 percent. One out of every five retail stores has been shut down and parents are literally abandoning children in the streets. The frightening thing is that this is just the beginning. Things are going to get a lot worse in Greece. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, these kinds of conditions are coming to the United States as well. We are heading down the exact same road as Greece went down, and the economic pain that this country is eventually going to suffer is going to be beyond anything that most Americans would dare to imagine.
All debt spirals eventually come to an end. For years, Greece borrowed huge amounts of very cheap money, but there came a point when the debt became absolutely strangling and the rest of the world refused to lend the Greek government money at such cheap rates anymore.
Greece would have defaulted long before now if the EU and the IMF had not stepped in to bail them out. But along with those bailouts came strings. The EU and the IMF insisted that the Greek government cut spending and raise taxes.
Well, those spending cuts and tax increases caused the economy to slow down. Tax revenues decreased and deficit reduction targets were missed. So the EU and the IMF insisted on even more spending cuts and tax increases.
Even after all of the spending cuts and all of the tax increases that we have seen, the debt to GDP ratio in Greece is still higher than it was before the crisis began. Today, the Greek national debt is sitting at 142 percent of GDP.
Now the EU and the IMF are demanding even more austerity measures before they will release any more bailout money.
Needless to say, the Greek people are pretty much exasperated by all of this. They created this mess by going into so much debt, but they certainly don’t like the solutions that are being imposed upon them.
Protesters in Greece are absolutely outraged that the EU and the IMF are now demanding a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage.
Most families in Greece are just barely surviving at this point. Unfortunately, Greece is probably looking at depression conditions for many years to come.
Over the past three years, the size of the Greek economy has shrunk by 16 percent.
In 2012, it is being projected that the Greek economy will shrink by another 5 percent.
Sadly, that projection is probably way too optimistic.
Over the past couple of months, it has been like someone has pulled the rug out from under the Greek economy. Just check out the following numbers from an article in the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard….
Another normal day at the Hellenic Statistical Authority.
We learn that:
Greece’s manufacturing output contracted by 15.5pc in December from a year earlier.
Industrial output fell 11.3pc, compared to minus 7.8pc in November.
Unemployment jumped to 20.9pc in November, up from 18.2pc a month earlier.
I have little further to add. This is what a death spiral looks like.
Can you imagine unemployment going up by 2.7 percent in one month?
This is what a 21st century economic depression looks like.
And needless to say, civil unrest is rampant in Greece.
The following is how a USA Today article described some of the protests that we saw in Greece this week….
Scores of youths, in hoods and gas masks, used sledge hammers to smash up marble paving stones in Athens’ main Syntagma Square before hurling the rubble at riot police.
The country’s two biggest labor unions stopped railway, ferry and public transport schedules, and hospitals worked on skeleton staff while most public services were disrupted. Unions were planning protests in Athens and other cities around midday.
Greek citizens are exasperated by the endless rounds of austerity that are being imposed upon them. They wonder how far all of this is going to go.
How much higher can taxes go in Greece? Greece already has tax rates that are among the highest in Europe….
Greece has the third highest rate of VAT in Europe, second highest gas/petrol tax, third highest tax on social insurance contributions, fifth highest VAT on alcohol, highest property tax and one of the worst corporate tax rates, without the quality of living or competitiveness to match.
How much farther can government pay be cut? Greek civil servants have had their incomes slashed by about 40 percent since 2010.
How would you feel if your pay was reduced by 40 percent?
Large numbers of Greeks are rapidly reaching the end of their ropes. The following is from a recent article in the Independent….
“People are scared and haven’t really realised what’s happening yet,” George Pantsios, an electrician for the country’s public power corporation, said. He has only been receiving half of his €850 monthly wage since August. “But once we all lose our jobs and can’t feed our kids, that’s when it’ll go boom and we’ll turn into Tahrir Square.”
Instead of turning violent, others are simply giving in to despair. According tothe Daily Mail, large numbers of Greek children are being abandoned because their parents simply cannot afford to take care of them anymore. The note that one mother left with her little toddler was absolutely heartbreaking….
One mother, it said, ran away after handing over her two-year-old daughter Natasha.
Four-year-old Anna was found by a teacher clutching a note that read: ‘I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.’
Sadly, there are an increasing number of Greeks that are giving up on life entirely. The number of suicides in Greece rose by 40 percent during just one recent 12 month time period.
But we haven’t even seen the worst in Greece yet. The worst is still yet to come.
And the people of Greece are going to get angrier and angrier and angrier.
According to one recent poll, about 90 percent all of Greeks are unhappy with the interim government led by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
This week, that government has started to fall apart. Over just the past few days, 6 members of the 48-member government cabinet have resigned. Not only is there real doubt if the new austerity measures will be approved, there is very real doubt if this government will be able to hold together much longer.
Frustration with the EU and the IMF has reached a fever pitch in Greece. Just check out what Reuters is reporting….
In a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday, the Federation of Greek Police accused the officials of “…blackmail, covertly abolishing or eroding democracy and national sovereignty” and said one target of its warrants would be the IMF’s top official for Greece, Poul Thomsen.
So what is going to happen next in Greece?
The truth is that nobody knows.
But whatever kind of “deals” are reached, the reality is that nothing is going to keep Greece from continuing to experience depression-like conditions for quite some time.
Unfortunately, Greece is not an isolated case.
Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain are all going down the same path and Europe does not have enough money to bail all of them out.
To get an idea of how much money it would take to bail out the financially troubled nations of Europe, just check out this infographic that was recently posted on ZeroHedge.
A day of reckoning is coming for the United States as well. As CNBC recently noted, the U.S. debt problem is far worse than the European debt problem is.
Right now, the U.S. government is still able to borrow gigantic mountains of very cheap money and is spending money as if tomorrow will never come.
Well, just like we saw in Greece, when debt gets out of control a day of great pain eventually arrives.
What we are watching unfold in Greece right now is coming to America.
You better get ready.
Source: The Economic Collapse
The Lord High Almighty Pooh-Bah of Threats…
As we all know only too well, the United States and Israel would hate to see Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Being “the only nuclear power in the Middle East” is a great card for Israel to have in its hand. But — in the real, non-propaganda world — is USrael actually fearful of an attack from a nuclear-armed Iran? In case you’ve forgotten …
In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.” 1
2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington” asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.” 2
In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, war hero, pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”
Early last month, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.” 3
A week later we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts — the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz — all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”
Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?
Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.
Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead. 4
Admissions like the above — and there are others — are never put into headlines by the American mass media; indeed, only very lightly reported at all; and sometimes distorted — On the Public Broadcasting System (PBS News Hour, January 9), the non-commercial network much beloved by American liberals, the Panetta quote above was reported as: “But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us.” Flagrantly omitted were the preceding words: “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No …” 5
One of Israel’s leading military historians, Martin van Creveld, was interviewed by Playboy magazine in June 2007:
Playboy: Can the World live with a nuclear Iran?
Van Creveld: The U.S. has lived with a nuclear Soviet Union and a nuclear China, so why not a nuclear Iran? I’ve researched how the U.S. opposed nuclear proliferation in the past, and each time a country was about to proliferate, the U.S. expressed its opposition in terms of why this other country was very dangerous and didn’t deserve to have nuclear weapons. Americans believe they’re the only people who deserve to have nuclear weapons, because they are good and democratic and they like Mother and apple pie and the flag. But Americans are the only ones who have used them. … We are in no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons … thanks to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from the U.S. and Germany.”
And throughout these years, regularly, Israeli and American officials have been assuring us that Iran is World Nuclear Threat Number One, that we can’t relax our guard against them, that there should be no limit to the ultra-tough sanctions we impose upon the Iranian people and their government. Repeated murder and attempted murder of Iranian nuclear scientists, sabotage of Iranian nuclear equipment with computer viruses, the sale of faulty parts and raw materials, unexplained plane crashes, explosions at Iranian facilities … Who can be behind this but USrael? How do we know? It’s called “plain common sense”. Or do you think it was Costa Rica? Or perhaps South Africa? Or maybe Thailand?
Defense Secretary Panetta recently commented on one of the assassinations of an Iranian scientist. He put it succinctly: “That’s not what the United States does.” 6
Does anyone know Leon Panetta’s email address? I’d like to send him my list of United States assassination plots. More than 50 foreign leaders were targeted over the years, many successfully. 7
Not long ago, Iraq and Iran were regarded by USrael as the most significant threats to Israeli Middle-East hegemony. Thus was born the myth of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the United States proceeded to turn Iraq into a basket case. That left Iran, and thus was born the myth of the Iranian Nuclear Threat. As it began to sink in that Iran was not really that much of a nuclear threat, or that this “threat” was becoming too difficult to sell to the rest of the world, USrael decided that, at a minimum, it wanted regime change. The next step may be to block Iran’s lifeline — oil sales using the Strait of Hormuz. Ergo, the recent US and EU naval buildup near the Persian Gulf, an act of war trying to goad Iran into firing the first shot. If Iran tries to counter this blockade it could be the signal for another US Basket Case, the fourth in a decade, with the devastated people of Libya and Afghanistan, along with Iraq, currently enjoying America’s unique gift of freedom and democracy.
On January 11, the Washington Post reported: “In addition to influencing Iranian leaders directly, [a US intelligence official] says another option here is that [sanctions] will create hate and discontent at the street level so that the Iranian leaders realize that they need to change their ways.”
How utterly charming, these tactics and goals for the 21st century by the leader of “The Free World”. (Is that expression still used?)
The neo-conservative thinking (and Barack Obama can be regarded as often being a fellow traveler of such) is even more charming than that. Listen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:
The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem. 8
What are we to make of that and all the other quotations above? I think it gets back to my opening statement: Being “the only nuclear power in the Middle East” is a great card for Israel to have in its hand. Is USrael willing to go to war to hold on to that card?
Please tell me again … What is the war in Afghanistan about?
With the US war in Iraq supposedly having reached a good conclusion (or halfway decent … or better than nothing … or let’s get the hell out of here while some of us are still in one piece and there are some Iraqis we haven’t yet killed), the best and the brightest in our government and media turn their thoughts to what to do about Afghanistan. It appears that no one seems to remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.
President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” 9
Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.
Never mind that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why hasn’t the United States bombed those countries?
Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere, with Afghanistan probably being one of the worst places for them, given the American occupation.
The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia — which reportedly contains the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world — and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is well situated for oil and gas pipelines to serve much of south Asia, pipelines that can bypass those not-yet Washington clients, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” 10
Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 11 Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:
The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.
When those talks stalled in July, 2001 the Bush administration threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands. The talks finally broke down for good the following month, a month before 9-11.
The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.
Love me, love me, love me, I’m a Liberal (Thank you, Phil Ochs. We miss you.)
Angela Davis, star of the 1960s, like most members of the Communist Party, was/is no more radical than the average American liberal. Here she is recently addressing Occupy Wall Street: “When I said that we need a third party, a radical party, I was projecting toward the future. We cannot allow a Republican to take office. … Don’t we remember what it was like when Bush was president?” 12
Yes, Angela, we remember that time well. How can we forget it since Bush, by all important standards, is still in the White House? Waging perpetual war, relentless surveillance of the citizenry, kissing the corporate ass, police brutality? … What’s changed? Except for the worse. Where’s our single-payer national health insurance? Nothing even close. Where’s our affordable university education? Still the most backward in the “developed” world. Where’s our legalized marijuana — I mean really legalized? If you think that’s changed, you must be stoned. Where’s our abortion on demand? What does your guy Barack think about that? Are the indispensable labor unions being rescued from oblivion? Ha! The ultra-important minimum wage? Inflation adjusted, equal to the mid-1950s.
Has the American threat to the environment and the world environmental movement ceased? Tell that to a dedicated activist-internationalist. Has the 50-year-old embargo against Cuba finally ended? It has not, and I can still not go there legally. The police-state War on Terror at home? Scarcely a month goes by without the FBI entrapping some young “terrorists”. Are more Banksters and Wall Street Society-Screwers (except for the harmless insider-traders) being imprisoned? Name one. The really tough regulations of the financial area so badly needed? Keep waiting. How about executives of the BP Oil Spill Company being arrested? Or war criminals, mass murderers, and torturers with names like … Oh, I don’t know, let’s see … maybe like Cheney or Bush or Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz or someone with a crazy name like Condoleezza? All walking completely free, all celebrated.
“A major decline of progressive America occurred during the Clinton years as many liberals and their organizations accepted the presence of a Democratic president as an adequate substitute for the things liberals once believed in. Liberalism and a social democratic spirit painfully grown over the previous 60 years withered during the Clinton administration.” — Sam Smith13
“A change of Presidents is like a change of advertising campaigns for a soft drink; the product itself still tastes the same, but it now has a new ‘image’.” — Richard K. Moore
- Haaretz.com (Israel), October 25, 2007; print edition October 26
- Washington Post, March 5, 2009
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, January 8, 2012; see video
- The Guardian (London), January 31, 2012″
- “PBS’s Dishonest Iran Edit”, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), January 10, 2012
- Reuters, January 12, 2012
- Video of Pletka making these remarks
- Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
- Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007
- See, for example, the December 17, 1997 article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas“. For further discussion of the TAPI pipeline and related issues, see this article by international petroleum engineer John Foster.
- Washington Post, January 15, 2012
- Sam Smith was a longtime publisher and journalist in Washington, DC, now living in Maine. Subscribe to his marvelous newsletter, the Progressive Review.
The Obama Administration’s “Defense Strategic Guidance” (DSG), which was unveiled on January 5 as part of the broader programmatic document, Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, has been greeted with neoconservative howls of rage. The document “sends a clear message to America’s adversaries: Go for it,” was the view of the Washington Times editorialist, “this mini-Quadrennial Defense Review is an eight-page admission of American impotence.”
It is nothing of the kind. Obama’s DSG replicates all of the flawed strategic assumptions of the Bush era. Reading a short statement at a press briefing at the Pentagon to unveil the DSG, President Obama spoke of “enduring national interests” in maintaining the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amidst “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.”
Obama made no attempt to outline the basis for his claim that the security threats to America are growing, or to provide his own definition of “enduring national interest.” The terms “full-range,” “contingencies,” “threats,” or “security challenges,” are not value-neutral. Obama used them within a paradigm which treats the entire world as a legitimate sphere of interest of the United States. The consequence is that there will be new wars, as unrelated to the realist understanding of this country’s national interest as have been those in the Balkans under Clinton or in Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush.
Far from heralding “the massive $450 billion in defense budget cuts over the next 10 years” the President stated that “global responsibilities demand leadership, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration.” This means that the rate of growth will slow down somewhat—and 45 billion a year is a drop in the $16 trillion ocean of debt—but there will be no “cuts.” Obama further stated that our defense spending “continues to be larger than roughly the next ten countries combined.” It is less than the rest of the world combined—the preferred neocon level of spending—but it is still much more than America needs, or can afford to spend.
The DSG claims that in the decades ahead it will be the task of the United States to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” “Even when U.S. forces are committed to a large-scale operation in one region,” it declares, “they will be capable of denying the objectives of – or imposing unacceptable costs on – an opportunistic aggressor in a second region.” This means that the totality of what the DSG treats as American commitments and interests around the world will continue to exceed the ability of the United States to defend them.
A strategically innovative president would accept the limits of American power and seek to establish a rational correlation between its ends and means. He would turn America into a “normal” power pursuing limited political, economic, and military objectives in a world populated by other powers doing the same. But Obama and his team remain wholly unwilling to do any such thing (not to mention his likely Republican opponents). His view of America’s role in the world still produces strategic blueprints for new self-justifying interventions around the world—interventions which are not merely unnecessary but detrimental to U.S. interests. “Making the world safe for democracy” has morphed since 1917 into many strange pursuits: making Libya, Syria, and Bosnia safe for the Islamic radicals; making Kosovo safe for the KLA. Under Obama the bipartisan continuity of methods and objectives has remained intact. The continuity of imperial assumptions and practices remains unbroken.
The DSG is a flawed document. The key issue of ends and means of American military power is still unexplored, and will remain so regardless of what happens next November.
[Book Review by Israel Shamir of Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics]
Gilad Atzmon is larger than life; no delicate and sensitive artistic soul, he is rather a living volcano, a titan with a Rabelaisian sense of humor and enough energy to power a city. Nights, you will find him entertaining his fans in every corner of the globe with his masterful saxophone playing: tonight in Mexico City, tomorrow night in Sheffield. His days are spent producing a vast quantity of writing and blogging, sending out at least two letters a day to his many readers. His previous book, My One and Only Love, is a very funny novel with more than a touch of the macabre and grotesque. It features a roving Israeli orchestra smuggling Nazis in double bass cases. It also contains kosher pigs, sexy spies, smelly underwear, casual killings, and a row of Israeli national leaders, all with their trousers down.
The best writings of Gilad Atzmon firmly belong to the realm of Israeli literature. His preference for writing in English attennuates his essentially Israeli character, just as Beckett remained a British writer while writing in French. His merciless goading of tender Jewish sentiments recalls the much-loved Israeli playwright, Hanoch Levin; this explains why Atzmon is enjoyed more by his country-mates than by Diaspora Jews. His newest book, The Wandering Who? is a collection of essays that revolve around Jewish-identity politics. This subject (“what does it mean to be a Jew”) holds much fascination to people of Jewish origin. Many contemporary Jewish writers indulge in this sort of reflection, usually slipping into woe and whine mixed with self-adoration, and coated over with treacle and romanticism.
Being no delicate flower (see above), Atzmon delivers robust and forceful opinions with both hands. He regains some of the lost honesty once expressed by free thinkers and Zionists of the fin-de-siècle. Early Zionists from Nordau to Herzl provided some very frank and critical assessments of Jewish society. Yet even more critical was Otto Weininger (1880 – 1903), the tragic Viennese writer who dared to connect sex and Jews in his great bestseller Sex and Character; he followed up his success by committing suicide at the age of 23. Weininger has long been forgotten in Europe, and yet he holds a fascination for Israelis. A play by prominent Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, Weininger’s Night (subtitled “The Soul of a Jew”) was a great hit in 1983; it was responsible for opening up Israeli theatre to the world. It was the first Israeli play ever staged in Moscow’s MXAT theatre (in 1990), directed by talented Gedalia Besser.
Atzmon has a loving and thoughtful essay about him. He provides some valuable insights. He turns Weininger’s “I dislike what I am” into “I dislike what I do”. Atzmon sees Weininger’s suicide as an impetuous reaction against his womanly/Jewish side. Atzmon sympathizes with Weininger’s feeling that “Jewishness” is somewhat similar to “queerness”, and this provides a key to the book’s understanding.Jewish-identity musings, like gender-identity discussions, tend to fluctuate between the vulgar and the brazen; both can seem boring and repetitious unless the reader is directly involved, and perhaps even then.
The first essay of the collection has the freshness and sincerity of true testimony. The story of a young man trying to break free from his fiercely nationalist non-religious Jewish family background is akin to any man’s escape from stifling gender politics. Imagine a virile young man conceived in vitro and brought up by a sorority of lesbian activists, who has finally come of age and broken out into a rich and satisfying world of natural love. Clearly one might expect and forgive such a young man his unflattering depictions of “dykes” and “butches”, but such transgressions could never be forgiven by the sanctimonious gay activists and PC wardens who decide for us what is permissible and what is not.
This in fact has happened with Atzmon’s book: it has generated a significant amount of heated controversy. This kind of publicity is never bad for book sales. As for the author, he is no shrinking violet and quite up to the task; in fact, he is a pugnacious fellow, able to defend himself and always ready for a good brawl. Many of Atzmon’s critics seem to think that when we talk about Jews we must speak as we do about the dead: say something nice, or don’t say anything at all. And yet who should critique the activities and attitudes of the dead but the living? Banning all outsiders from the debate is a recipe for insipidity.
And yet, Atzmon is no outsider. An (ex-) Israeli, he has some first-hand knowledge, and he introduces us to a long obscured side of Jewishness, just as Jean Genet once reminded us about the backside of queerness. In Genet’s oevre we see the gender-confused men who are not saintly martyrs on their way to Auschwitz, but brutal criminals who kill and betray their friends in the hellish darkness of a jail. Though art is perhaps a better mode for such delivery.
One of his problems is that the Jewish subject is over-explored, and one treads on the footsteps of predecessors, even if one does not give them credit. The most interesting essay in the book contains Atzmon’s reflections on an essay by Milton Friedman. Friedman was curious as to why so many Jews had abandoned their historically Left-leaning socialist ways. To avoid the conclusion that Jews used to love Justice and Mercy, and now they have traded it for Power, Friedman instead posits that Jews are most naturally creatures of the Right. Friedman declares that while pure capitalism is the environment in which Jews thrive best, for one hundred years Jews were kept out of right-wing politics because the Right stood with the Church; the Left, anti-clerical and atheist, accepted them as they were. It was only after the Right was separated from the Church that Jews began to stream back into right-wing movements, and they ended up wholeheartedly embracing capitalism of the most brutal kind. This is a valuable observation, something that has yet to be learned by leftist philosemites like Seumas Milne, and by the Christian Right. The mass participation of Jews in a movement has a price, and this price is the rejection of the Christian Church.
Atzmon rejects Friedman’s conclusions: he would rather walk us through all the hypocrisies of the Jewish Left, as though a change in leadership would solve the problem. This attitude is very common among educated Israelis who have lived through the great betrayal of humanism by the left-wing parties, climaxing with labour leader Ehud Barak carrying water for Sharon and Netanyahu. Since the destruction of the Israeli Left can be directly attributed to these “traitors to the cause”, Atzmon might be forgiven for thinking that but for a crisis in leadership the Left would be still ruling the roost.
Atzmon gets carried away by his own rhetoric when he proclaims that the Jewish Left wants to seize assets of the rich just because Jews do not respect Goyim property rights. This is plainly not true: radical leftists everywhere call for the expropriation of all banks, Jewish or otherwise, and Jewish leftists are no different in this aspect. Jews are the wealthiest minority in the world; they have the most to lose in a leftist revolution. It’s apparent to everyone except Atzmon that the Jewish move to the Right is as natural as bacon.
With zeal of a born-again Christian, Atzmon offers not the smallest fig leaf of hope for good-hearted Jews. If a Jew supports the Left, he is doing it because he wants to rob wealthy Goys with Talmudic impunity. If a Jew supports the Right, it is because he wants to steal land. If a Jew supports Palestine, he is doing it in order to take over the Palestinian movement. This is a bridge too far. This sort of self-criticism should be reserved for confession. Not all Jews are that self-serving. Yes, there are hopeless wretches like Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance, leftist British Jews whose main participation in the Palestinian struggle is constrained to battling phantom antisemitism and Holocaust rhetoric, but not all Atzmon’s adversaries are paper tigers.
However, as Atzmon wrote in his essay on Weininger, one condemns one’s own faults, so perhaps this is a form of his contrition.
Atzmon is tough on Jewish tribalism, no endearing feature to be sure, but something not all rare in the Middle East. Jews are not any more tribalist than are Armenians, and no more nationalist than Georgians. This clannishness may be less common in British/American culture, but the tribal setup of immigrant croups is well known even there. Jewish success in the US and the UK cannot be explained by expounding upon Jewish insularity; a better explanation is traditional Jewish fidelity to power.
We could do with less psychologism and Portnoy’s complaints. Discussion of English or American identity and mentality does not lead to better understanding of British and American imperial policies. Likewise, policies of the World Jewry are very relevant for us, while Jewish mental attitudes are not. Who cares what Jews feel towards their neighbours? We care what the Jews do. Instead of dealing with bees, we need to know of swarms, and this is what Atzmon fails to deliver, because this brave man gets cold feet.
Atzmon is least convincing and most dull when he pedantically constructs his castle of exceptions and explanations intended to ward off the inevitable accusations of ‘hate’ and ‘racism’. He declares his preference for “accidental Jews”, i.e. people who are Jews by accident of birth. This alibi is designed to fortify his position against attack. It is as if Nietzsche added to his famous dictum (“You are going towomen? Do not forget the whip!”) a caveat “but beware some women are able to use the whip, too”. An allegoric poetic quality of writing has been ruined, and now nobody is happy. We admire Atzmon’s fierce and fearless qualities, and it’s kind of a let-down when he chooses to be prudent now and then.
One can point out several errors of fact in his book. For instance, he claims that Jews did not write any histories until the 19th century. This is not true: Abraham Zacuto produced his History of the Jews (“Sefer Yohassin”) in the last decades of the 15th century, and this book is available on Amazon. Still he builds some castles on this factual error, and they collapse like straw houses.
However, Atzmon’s greatest fault is narcissism, or perhaps it is a myopic solipsism. Atzmon remains locked in the very Jewish dichotomy of Jews vs. Gentiles. He does not seem to appreciate the marvellous variety of the Gentiles; he cannot recognize that the Nations of the Earth are quite different from each other. The British are not the same as the Palestinians, nor are they as French as France. And yet for Atzmon, they are all one happy crowd without specific features. In vain shall we seek to learn what are the qualities of the Palestinians that have attracted him (except perhaps the ability to make good hummus). The one all-redeeming quality that they all share is that they are not Jewish. For this reason he suggests that Jews fully adapt to the modern, generic, global cosmopolitan monoculture of multiculturalism. This is absolutely unnecessary. While we applaud acculturation, Jews should adopt the culture of the land they inhabit, become one with the folk they live with. There is no shortcut to universality. I would like to read about Atzmon hanging out with average Brits, Scouses, and Brummies, or about his adventures with Palestinian shepherds, but they are not to be found: in a diverse world, he sees only Jews.
Another problem is the absence of God. Indeed, all discourse on Jews sine God is quite useless. I am aware that in the modern British climate, if Atzmon were to publish his thoughts on God and Jews, he would not find a publisher. You may use every obscenity, but you should not mention Christ. And yet Jews are first of all a religious community; a valid analysis of Jewish identity must take religion into account. Atzmon purposely adds a disclaimer declaring he will not criticise Judaism, but this simply ducks the issue.
He does give himself permission to use the Bible against them, but his literal readings are too primitive for the sophisticated readers of the 21st century. One can’t quote bloody stories of the Conquest of Canaan from the Book of Joshua like one quotes the admissions of a criminal. So many wonderful minds have discussed these tales, from St Jerome to Edward Said, and all of them had more valuable thoughts than Atzmon has to share. Indeed, when God says: you will inherit houses you did not build and vineyards you did not plant, Atzmon says: “that’s why the Jews seized Palestine!” This is trite. We live in houses we did not build, most especially in the houses of our bodies, built by God. We enjoy many wonderful things we did not produce. For instance, we enjoy Atzmon’s saxophone, though we didn’t built it. God’s grace gave us these things. This Biblical verse reminds us all that we receive a lot of undeserved things, and that we should all work harder to justify God’s trust in us.
The bottom line is that identity musings are dry and boring stuff; Atzmon is actually a much better writer than one would conclude from reading this book. He wanted to get it off his chest. Fine! Now let us see more of his witty novels.
P.S. Naturally I side with Atzmon in his polemics against his numerous detractors, but their arguments are so senile that it would be a waste of reader’s time to dwell time and time again on the endless and fruitless assertions of ‘hate’ and ‘self-hate’. What we do is soul-searching, not hate. Non-Jews have become so over-sensitised to allegations of race hatred that they swarm with the rest even when it’s an honest discussion between Jews.