As you may know, I bicycled for a year in South America, top to bottom. I enjoyed the Amazon jungle, the wildlife and especially the insect life. I took pictures of tens of thousands of butterflies dancing on an endless canopy of flowers. Many of my columns deal with saving the natural world such as an international 25-cent deposit-return law for all plastic, glass and metal containers. We must keep plastics from destroying our fellow creatures—especially in our oceans.
Today, I appeal to you to use the links provided to send the chemical giant Monsanto a letter to demand they stop marketing “Round-up” ; “Weed-b-gone” and other poisons that threaten the extinction of the Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterflies vanish faster with each passing year — and all signs point to Monsanto as the main culprit.
Major press outlets worldwide reported last month that Monarchs face “grave danger”, with their population reaching the lowest numbers ever recorded. Now, an independent study linked the monarch’s decline with Monsanto’s “Round-up” herbicide.
One of the most beautiful phenomena in the natural world — the annual mass migration of 60 million monarchs from Canada to Mexico – stands on the verge of being a relic of history. We need to fight this now, before it’s too late for the butterflies.
Join me and tell Monsanto to pull its butterfly-killing herbicide before it’s too late.
“This corporate giant knows what it’s doing,” said a spokesperson for Sum of Us. “But Monsanto says we should balance the butterfly’s survival with what it calls “productive agriculture”(read: Monsanto’s bottom line equals money not nature.).
Tell Monsanto to pull its butterfly-killing herbicide before it’s too late.
The annual mass migration of 60 million Monarchs from Canada to Mexico represents one of the most beautiful phenomena in the natural world. I know because on one of my many cycle trips along the coast of California, I saw millions of Monarchs hanging from trees during their rest stops.
But Monarchs stand on the verge of being a relic of history, and a key link in our food chain.
“The monarch butterfly is in a serious, decades-long decline,” said the spokesperson. “The World Wildlife Fund reported that this winter, the monarchs are only occupying an area of 1.7 acres in Mexico, down from 45 acres in 1996. An evolutionary strategy based on eating a common weed seemed smart — until Monsanto came along. Just one state along the monarchs’ migration route, Iowa, is reported to have lost 98 percent of its milkweed.”
Monsanto products like Roundup dominate the agricultural market worldwide. This corporate giant sells matching genetically-engineered plants resistant to its pesticides – and encourages factory farms to douse fields with gallons of Monsanto’s herbicides.
“But sprayed over vast areas, these poisons effect the entire ecosystem,” a spokesperson said. “Monsanto’s Roundup wipes out the monarchs’ primary food source – a plant called milkweed. Scientists have linked the monarch’s rapid population decline to the spread of Monsanto’s pesticides. Losing these butterflies means wiping out insects, birds and small mammals that rely on the monarch and its place in the food chain.”
Take a few minutes to visit the website and send in your letter to Monsanto. Tell Monsanto to save the monarchs by pulling its ecosystem-threatening herbicide.
Every second wasted nails another spike into the butterfly’s coffin leading to extinction. Let’s harness that awareness to save the monarchs from Monsanto!
Have you ever run over a dead skunk in the road? I have, during a heat wave. The smell got into my tires and permeated our garage for days! I’ll go out on a limb and say that no one takes pleasure in the highly offensive smell of skunk spray, dead or alive. My point in telling you this is that to God the stench of sin is much worse than skunk. For an example of just how much the Lord hates sin, grab a cup of coffee and read First and Second Kings. Given our penchant for getting things fast, here’s an illustration of the way in which God dealt with Baasha, one of Israel’s most ruthless kings:
Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 16:1-4)
God had already destroyed Jeroboam for his flagrant sins, yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. God rebuked the Israelites for their sinful ways and vowed to punish them.
Fast forward to 2014. Somewhere around 75% of Americans say they’re Christians. If that’s true, how is it that an increasing number of so-called Christians act no differently than the pagans did when Baasha was king? Clearly, Scripture teaches that Christians are to have a biblical foundation and that their behavior should be Christlike. Yet many who call themselves believers think nothing of sinning their brains out!
Admittedly, when someone is new to the faith the fruit on the vine doesn’t bloom immediately. In other words, sanctification is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. There comes a time, though, when the vine brings forth fruit. But when the fruit tree is barren year after year, one can’t help but wonder if the tree was ever pollinated!
One of my favorite pastimes is discussing (debating, dissecting) the Bible with other Christians. So I find it concerning when I strike up a conversation with a long time believer that knows practically nothing about the Bible. Most Christians have heard the verse, “Sanctify [set apart for a holy use] them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 By reading God’s Word believers learn about Christ, with the goal being to be more like Him. Likewise, we’ll grow in our faith and receive divine guidance on how we’re to live our lives.
To have a close relationship with someone we must get to know the person. The obvious course of action is to ask probing questions. So we’ve got to dig below the surface to uncover the intimate details of a person’s life. When we’re not interested in having a meaningful relationship with someone, we don’t bother to probe!
Because our Father in heaven loves His children, His desire is to be in relationship with each one of us. His desire is to pull His beloved into a bear hug! Those who sincerely wish to be in relationship with the Father must dig deep into the scriptures, because that’s the one and only place to learn about God and His ways. “What we believe about God,” said A. W. Tozier, “is the most important thing about us.”
Getting To Know YOU, Getting To Know All About YOU
Nothing should stand in the way of spending a few minutes each day with the King of kings and Lord of lords. While we sit at His feet we can thank Him for our many blessings; we can pour out our hearts to Him and even make requests, trusting that the answers to our prayers will come. Sitting at His feet, our hurts will be healed and our joy restored. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Countless Christians admit to not reading their bibles regularly, they hardly ever pray, rarely attend church, they’re not in a Bible study nor do they study on their own. Moreover, meeting with other believers isn’t a priority. If this statement defines you, consider the following:
Would it be honest for someone to claim to be an avid skier that never hit the slopes?
Could a person that pumps iron three or four times a year ever develop into a body-building champion?
In the same vein, is it honest for someone to claim to be a Christian that never spends time pumping spiritual iron?
Getting back to my point—sin. The Bible says Christians should not tolerate blatant sin. Furthermore, it says we must stop sinning! Take for example sexual sin. In this day and age, many professing Christians ignore the fact that one of the gravest sins we commit is sexual sin. Having sexual relations outside of marriage (the biblical understanding of marriage is the union of a man and woman) goes against the clear teaching of Scripture.
In dealing with sexual taboos, C. S. Lewis pulls no punches:
Our warped natures, the devils who tempt us, and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so ‘natural,’ so ‘healthy,’ and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them. Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humour. Now this association is a lie. Like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth …that sex in itself (apart from the excesses and obsessions that have grown round it) is ‘normal’ and ‘healthy,’ and all the rest of it. The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal. Now this, on any conceivable view, and quite apart from Christianity, leads to impotence, disease, jealousies, lies, concealment, and everything that is the reverse of health, good humour, and frankness. For any happiness, even in this world, quite a lot of restraint is going to be necessary; so the claim made by every desire, when it is strong, to be healthy and reasonable, counts for nothing. Every sane and civilized man must have some set of principles by which he chooses to reject some of his desires and to permit others. One man does this on Christian principles, another on hygienic principles, another on sociological principles. The real conflict is not between Christianity and ‘nature,’ but between Christian principles and other principles in the control of ‘nature,’ for ‘nature’ (in the sense of natural desire) will have to be controlled anyway, unless you are going to ruin your whole life. (Excerpt from Book III, Chapter 5, of Mere Christianity)
There’s no getting around it. Sex without holy matrimony is a sin, so “quite a lot of restraint is going to be necessary” if one wishes to be God-honoring and obedient.
Just Follow Jesus
Our Lord spoke plainly when He said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26 And, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 Jesus wasn’t just addressing the Apostles; what He stated was meant for all who have faith in Him!
Jesus also gave this warning:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1-2).
For clarification, Jesus Christ is the vine and the fruitful branches are Christians who, through a personal relationship with Him, will bear much fruit. The unfruitful branches are the people who make a superficial commitment and bear little or no fruit. The Father will prune the vine and discard the fruitless branches.
Those who professes Christ and behave like heathens may find themselves lopped off the vine – and not because God is mean and intolerant. On the contrary. God is long suffering, not willing that any should perish.
Authentic Christians understand that God loves us…that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins…that His crucifixion was the ultimate act of love. What many believers fail to understand, though, is that the Creator is holy. Christians, of all people, should understand that we serve a holy God. So let’s go to Isaiah 6:1-7 for a glimpse of the prophet’s vision of God:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is theLord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
Here’s how Matthew Henry describes Isaiah’s vision:
The prophet, standing outside the temple, sees the Divine Presence seated on the mercy-seat, raised over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and the Divine glory filled the whole temple. See God upon his throne. This vision is explained, John 12:41, that Isaiah now saw Christ’s glory, and spake of Him, which is a full proof that our Saviour is God. In Christ Jesus, God is seated on a throne of grace; and through him the way into the holiest is laid open. See God’s temple, his church on earth, filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God’s temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart. See the blessed attendants by whom his government is served. Above the throne stood the holy angels, called seraphim, which means burners; they burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin. The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God’s commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises. All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Nor is there a man that would dare to speak to the Lord, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning his glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. (Source)
As R.C. Sproul so aptly put it in The Holiness of God, every single sin a person commits is a capital offense. “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God…Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail…humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up (James 4:7-10).
“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)
In this verse the emphasis is on the believer’s ability to discern between a spirit of truth and a spirit of error, heresy, apostasy, lies and cleverly disguised deceptions such as modern evolutionary thinking and methodological naturalism.
The spirit of truth is relatively easy to discern as such people come willingly to the light of truth (John 3:21). Having a heart for truth, they really and truly want to know and embrace Truth. On the other hand, the spirit of error is more difficult to discern because the taproot and energy of this spirit is in Satan, the father of lies, of false gods, cleverness, sophistry, false science and evolution, heresy, apostasy, rebellion, murder, and envy.
Satan is the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9). He uses his servants of deception to manipulate, confuse, and mislead (Ephesians 4:14). Today his most powerfully influential servants are the world’s occult ‘elites’ but are also found throughout the secular, Christian, cult and occult New Age arenas. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
One of Satan’s important servants, the evangelical apostate Alice Bailey (1880-1949), is a major architect of today’s rapidly spreading serpent-powered occult New Age movement, a spiritual juggernaut effecting a counter-conversion of consciousness that closes the soul to Jesus Christ while opening it to powers of darkness.
According to Bailey’s contemporary apostles, the ‘Plan’ telepathically revealed to Bailey for the coming New Age can be traced back to the fall of Lucifer and his angels from heaven. Bailey’s demon-master, the Tibetan, described the revolt of the angels against the Holy God as part of the“divine plan of evolution,” by which angels “descended from their sinless and free state of existence in order to develop full divine awareness on earth.” (Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 224)
In this total reversal and inversion of the Revealed Word of God, the Fall of man was really an evolutionary ascent to liberating knowledge by which man’s eyes were opened to good (Satan) and evil (the Holy God). Thus Helena Blavatsky, another important servant of Satan and architect of New Age spirituality concluded that it is but natural,
“…to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it was he who was the ‘Harbinger of Light,’ bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah…Indeed, (mankind) was taught wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the ‘Fallen Angel.” As man’s benefactor, Lucifer continues to assist man’s evolution. In the words of the apostate evangelical, now New Age theologian David Spangler, a disciple of both Blavatsky and Bailey, Lucifer is ‘the angel of man’s evolution.” (ibid, pp. 224-225)
From the time of the Apostles of Jesus Christ to our own day, an unbroken chain of Satan’s servants have disguised themselves as super apostles and ministers of righteousness who as always are,
“…the inventors of impure heresies (the) profaners and apostates (who open) their mouths wide against the divine glory”. ...Church Father Cyril of Alexandria
These spirits hate Truth and most generally elevate themselves among God’s family so as to lead believers into compromise and conformity with the pagan world system.
On behalf of what Satan’s contemporary ministers term ‘rational’ and ‘scientific’ they sweep away the essentials of the faith necessary both for salvation and the recognition of evil. (2 Peter 2:18) And without the grace and spiritual discernment that is born of true faith, Satan ceases to exist in the eyes of the spiritually blind, whether secular or Christian.
Commenting on the incredible blindness of our scientifically enlightened, theologically compromised and apostate modern society, the cultural theorist Denis de Rougemont (1906-1985), author of “The Devil’s Share, An Essay on the Diabolic in Modern Society” observed:
“What appears to me incredible is not the Devil, not the Angels, but rather the candor and the credulity of the skeptic, and the unpardonable sophism of which they show themselves to be the victims (they say) ‘The Devil is a gent with red horns and a long tail; now I cannot believe in a gent with red horns and a long tail; therefore I don’t believe in the Devil.’ And so the Devil has them precisely where he wants them.” (The Coming Darkness, John Ankerberg and John Weldon, p. 61)
When believers find spiritual Truth trivialized and diminished, marginalized and ridiculed in the church, some will go in search of a faithful church, some will fall away entirely, and others will turn to cults and the occult.
Tragically, since Satan’s ministers ridicule and reject the authority of God’s Word, the second and third groups have no guidelines for evaluating and testing the occult/Eastern spiritual experiences and devices they encounter such as the Enneagram, Jungian psychology, the MBTI, kundalini yoga, and meditation techniques already popular in our culture, apostatizing churches and steadily creeping into compromised churches. Thus they can easily stumble into the spirit world and if not already fallen away, then onto the broad smooth way of apostasy:
“…..acceptance of the enneagram, if not already a sign of apostasy, must lead to a loss of faith since it distorts the Gospel and contradicts Catholic doctrine, depriving the individual of a genuine Catholic language and setting in its place what has been most aptly termed as psychobabbling. What is most puzzling, however, is the continued silence of the Church’s official teachers who know that this absurdity is being promoted and spread among our Catholic school teachers and priests.” (NCCB Preparing Cautionary Note on Use of Enneagram, Paul Likoudis, Catholic Culture.org)
For an eye-opening look at the demon-oppressed Carl Jung and a penetrating analysis of his occult, alchemical, Gnostic, and demon-informed psychology and connections to the wildly popular Enneagram and MBTI, read “Carl Jung, Neo-Gnosticism, & the MBTI,” by Rev. Ed Hird, past National Chair of Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada: http://www3.telus.net/st_
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
In his best-selling book “Strange Fire,” Pastor John MacArthur masterfully chronicles the unsavory history underpinning the modern Charismatic/Apostolic Movement (NAR) and its false prophets. The New Apostolic Reformation is both a breeding ground for scandal, bad doctrine, and spiritual chicanery and the fastest growing “Christian” movement in the world. MacArthur lays out a chilling case for rejecting its false prophets and for exposing their errors to the cleansing light of Truth.
In his own penetrating analysis of the Charismatic/Apostolic movement, Fr. Seraphim Rose notes that the spiritist manifestations (i.e., impartation, holy laughter, drunk in the spirit, roaring, barking, hissing, slain in the spirit) experienced in Charismatic churches are found in the occult New Age movement. The spirit that invaded the Charismatic movement during the ‘Toronto Blessing’ is not the Holy Spirit, said Rose, but the kundalini spirit (serpent power), the same spirit that ancient Egyptians, Hindus, yoga practitioners, and New Agers are familiar with.
From the time of the ancients serpent power has been important to religious and mythological symbolism all around the world. Within the Egyptian mysteries, serpent power was associated with,
…“the elemental forces that were in play before the creation of the world.” (Carl Teichrib, Gods of Ancient Egypt, p. 182)
In his book, “The Sign of the Serpent,” Mark Balfour relates how pervasive serpent symbols are within India and the Hindu religion:
“Any observant traveler who moves from the snow-tipped Himalayas in the North to the sun-soaked sands of Cape Comorin at India’s southern tip, will encounter – particularly in the rural areas and at sacred centres of pilgrimage wherever Siva, God of both Divine Wisdom and regeneration, is the presiding Deity – the serpent motif sculptured within shrines, impressed on myriads of stone implants in the ground and depicted in art.” (A Short Guide to Occult Symbols: Serpent Power, Carl Teichrib, 2005, Kjos Ministries)
Balfour elaborates on this belief:
“In Hinduism, the Cosmic Serpent – Ananta Sesha – symbolic of timeless eternity, carries the world on his 1000-fold [Cobra] hood…As the creative impulse stirs within the great Serpent in the Sky – when passive idea becomes active thought – the forces of attraction and repulsion come into play as ‘spirit’ begins its involution into “matter.” (ibid, Teichrib)
Moreover, Kundalini yoga, a discipline within Hinduism, teaches that latent serpent power lies at the base of the etheric human spine,
“…like a coiled serpent, ready to spring.” (Harper’s Dictionary of Hinduism, p. 156, ibid, Teichrib)
Through strenuous yoga techniques, serpent power uncoils and rises through seven “chakras” or power centers within the human body. Serpent power is considered,
“(to be a) concentrated field of intelligent cosmic, invisible energy absolutely vital to life beginning in the base of the spine as a man or a woman begins to evolve in their first incarnation.” (The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary, p. 343, ibid, Teichrib)
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field…” – Genesis 3:1
Serpent power is imparted by laying on of hands, or Shakti-pat. The demon-possessed Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajineesh was called the “divine drunkard” by his disciples, and according to Tal Brook, author of “Riders of the Cosmic Circuit,” by his millions of worshippers in India, America, and Europe and throughout the world. Rajineesh encouraged his devotees to come and drink from him, meaning, receive his touch:
“His spiritual ‘wine’ was often passed on with a single touch to the head (Shakti-pat), at which his followers would collapse in ecstatic laughter. Another famous guru, Swami Muktananda, would hold meetings at which thousands of his followers from around the world came to receive his touch. They experienced uncontrollable laughing, roaring, barking, hissing, crying, shaking, as well as falling unconscious.”(Rose, p. 217)
These demon-possessed gurus were imparting to their adoring worshippers experiences they had undergone during initiation rituals and which they attributed to spirit-possession.
Veteran researcher Brooks Alexander observes of Rajineesh, Muktananda and other gurus:
“All of these gurus espouse a similar philosophy, and they all turn it into practice in a similar way. It is a pattern that we find not only in tantra (Indo-Tibetan occultism), but in European Satanism, antinomian Gnosticism, and ancient pagan sorcery as well.” (Book Review: Riders of the Cosmic Circuit,” in SCP Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1987, p. 39)
According to Alexander, Satan’s servants have successfully assimilated occult Eastern teachings and techniques into our church and our culture. With remarkable speed and ease, Eastern and occult ideas and spiritist techniques for contacting spirits such as trance music, brain-altering drugs, meditation and yoga are being propagated to undiscerning Westerners and Americans, within and without the church, on a mass scale:
“…they are filtered through the pervasive secularism of our culture. In this way they are demystified without changing their essential content. The basic components of an Eastern/occult world view are recast in forms of expression that are naturalistic, scientific, and humanistic…Occult philosophy is being secularized and psychologized with increasing refinement….Their underlying themes run through contemporary science, economics, politics, art, psychology, and religion.” (The Coming Darkness, p. 55)
“Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan’s servants are out in the open today. They have successfully initiated a devastating assault upon the whole body of the Christian church and by extension, upon Western and American society in ways that to previous generations would have seemed unthinkable.
“Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
And though all may seem dark, hopeless and lost, fear not, for the faithful believer, the one who seeks and perseveres in Truth, is of God:
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Confrontation is a necessary dam to the progress of evil in society.
American policy is now confined to determining which of two evils will be rewarded. For decades conservatives have been voting for the lesser of two evils, impaired by party loyalty and seeking a maligned victory, they fail to confront egregious evil.
Evil is inherent in diversity. The exclusive righteousness characteristic of ancient Israel was predicated on maintaining religious purity. That purity is being consistently destructed by toleration.
Christian churches should be at the forefront in confronting these dangers. It is not surprising that the scant confrontation evidenced in the public domain is coming from Christians. Nor is it surprising that Christian ministers pre-occupied with growing larger and more powerful churches are wont to confront evil either in the society at large or in their own congregations.
In February, 1994, the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast with then President William Jefferson Clinton and his wife Hillary in the audience made the Included in the prayer was the following litany:
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism.
We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
In May, 1999, Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was fatally shot at Littleton, Colorado’s Columbine High School, included the following poem in his poignant remarks before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee:
Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air
You’ve stripped away our heritage
You’ve outlawed simple prayer
Now gunshots fill our classrooms
And precious children die
You seek for answers everywhere
And ask the question “Why”
You regulate restrictive laws
Through legislative creed
And yet you fail to understand that
God is what we need!
Hardness in the reprobate heart repels the confrontation of wisdom. Mother Theresa’s sweet rebuke of the Clinton stand on abortion was quickly forgotten. Several walked out on the repentant prayer read by Pastor Joe Wright and Darrell Scott’s confrontation of the House Judiciary subcommittee was like a drop of fresh water in a cesspool.
Error (polite for sin) is a common denominator to human existence and when it is not confronted it metastasizes. In an effort to preserve their right to debauchery Americans have elevated human comfort above human righteousness. They have failed to confront lies and distortions of fact in an effort to maintain peace. This most grievous of errors has become pandemic in our churches rendering them useless in the maintenance of Godly Wisdom and Righteousness.
Fred Reed in one of his recent insightful columns concerning the press writes, “because of law, convention, and political fear papers have to hire “diverse” newsrooms. This exercises a powerful flattening effect on the news. For practical purposes it is not possible to express opinions, or to cover stories, that offend a sizable group on the floor of the newsroom. If your editor is female, or the guy at the next desk black, or gay, you find it very hard to write anything that these groups won’t like. You have to come to work every day. More diversity in the newsroom means less diversity in the news.”
In a Brian Lamb interview on C-Span a caller queried Midge Dector, a Zionist Jewish author and wife of Neo-Con Norman Podhoretz, about why Jewish-Americans predominate in our superstructure. The caller, who was able to announce that Jews make up a tiny fraction of the American population but have a tremendous amount of power, was loutishly cut off by Brian Lamb and Midge Dector with a straight but distasteful look on her face denied the existence of extensive Jewish power.
This is, of course, a lie. Jewish intellectualism is cherished. They are a hardworking, intelligent, well educated, collusive, quasi-patriotic group of unassimilated Americans whose quest for behind the scenes power has been generously rewarded.
The road to Hell is paved with the inability to confront lies and America has been in the paving business for several decades.
Unfortunately, the American media hides facts and perpetrates lies. While the quest for world government with all of its ancillary plots forges fearlessly ahead, detailed discussion of its disastrous consequences for the American people is studiously avoided.
Reporting on confrontations that involve truth are never widely covered in the media. With all the ballyhoo that is made about freedom of the press, America has not enjoyed a free press for a long time. As Fred Reed so aptly states, the press is “controlled, controlled, controlled”.
Pictures of aborted babies are avoided; the cruel results of war and the mutilated bodies it produces are never shown to the public; neither the scourge of AIDS nor homosexual activities are reported in all their ugliness; diversity is promoted for America but not for Israel; the efficacy of Christianity is regularly questioned and authentic movies such as “The Passion of Christ” are denigrated. America’s press, ridden with bias and homogeneity, is a threat to the Nation.
The recent ruckus over “The Passion of Christ” has brought the errant nature the media elite into focus.
To question the right of a Christian American to produce a Biblically authentic movie on the death of Christ because it does not conform to the Jewish agenda and the contrived propaganda of Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League is both an example of the power of Jewish influence in America and a travesty of major proportions for both Jews and Christians.
In an essay entitled “The Passion of the Christ, the Jews, and God” Screenwriter Brian Godawa addresses this problem with the following conclusion: “So to understand the New Testament claims of Jesus as Messiah is to understand a history of Israel that includes hundreds of years of stiff-necked resistance to God’s own prophets, building to a climactic rejection and killing of God’s own Son, the Messiah, followed by the persecution of Messiah’s followers and terminating in God’s wrath and vengeance being taken out on the nation by the destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem and its temple. The barrenness of that temple, still desolate for over 2000 years, is a testament to the new spiritual temple created by God, the body of Christ — a new “nation” consisting of Jews and Gentiles who both have faith in Messiah, a Messiah, as portrayed in the movie The Passion of the Christ, whose rejection and victimization made Him the “unblemished lamb of sacrifice” slain on God’s altar to accomplish the victorious redemption of His people, the forgiveness of their sins.”
In his unique style Fred Reed praises the opportunity we all have on the Internet to express ideas that would never be inked in our newspapers. This is, indeed, an exceptional opportunity but one that will surely be under attack by those that seek to exert their evil agenda over America.
When thinking about Haiti, a lot of people think first about that terrible earthquake disaster of 2010 — and also about President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. And I do too. So on my first day in Port au Prince, I toured most of the earthquake disaster areas. And on my third day there, it only seemed logical that I also attempt to meet up with the great man himself. And I actually came THIS close to doing that too!
After recovering from wandering around the Carrefour district’s Carnival celebration the night before, I then went over to check out Aristide’s house. “President Aristide is actually here today,” said the guard at the door, “but he’s not seeing visitors right now. However, you can always wave to him on our closed-circuit TV camera.” Great idea! So I smiled and waved and smiled and waved at the CCTV camera like the idiot tourist that I am.
Next I went off to visit Aristide’s Foundation Pour la Democratie and looked around there. Met some interesting diplomats, students, professors and a chicken.
Then I visited UniFA, a medical school established by Aristide in order to create more doctors in Haiti — where the ratio of Haitians to doctors is 10,000 to 1 in urban areas and 20,000 to 1 in the countryside (no wonder vodou cures are so popular here). “How many students study here?” I asked a bright-eyed first-year physician wannabe, sitting outside eating her lunch between classes. (Actually all the students here are clearly bright-eyed and diligent and idealistic — all young, gifted and Black. Go them.)
“About 700,” the student replied.
“So can you tell me how cure my sore knees?” I asked.
“No, we haven’t gotten that far in our curriculum quite yet.” Rats.
Lastly, I stopped by a large apartment building that had been constructed during Aristide’s presidency in order to house some of Port au Prince’s homeless population, right before GWB sent in the Marines. Two things about this apartment building were note-worthy. First, it was the only building for blocks around that had actually withstood the 2010 earthquake. And, second, the apartments all had two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen.
In stark contrast, directly across the street one could also see a hundred-odd new U.N. housing units — such as they were. Each family had been allocated a really really small cube-shaped one-room dwelling with no bathroom, no bedroom, no kitchen and no running water. And their shared port-a-potties were all way down the street.
So just exactly who is this guy Jean-Bertrand Aristide? And why do American neo-cons and corporatists all hate him so much? I don’t know. Maybe because Aristide doesn’t want to keep Haiti forever “barefoot and pregnant”? Maybe because Aristide, a former priest, actually tries to practice the teachings of Jesus? Your guess is as good as mine.
In any case, here’s a bit more about Aristide’s back-story for those of you who have never heard of the guy. In 2001, Aristide was democratically elected as president of Haiti, just one year after George Bush stole the 2000 American election. But, unlike GWB, Aristide’s emphasis was on inclusion and education.
In just the few years that he was president, Aristide built more schools in Haiti than had ever existed in all of its long miserable history of being controlled by U.S. interests. Aristide also devoted 20% of the nation’s budget to healthcare. Good grief! No wonder Wall Street and War Street hated him. And overthrew him too. Violently. In favor of deadly U.N. “peacekeepers” and the Marines, who immediately shot everything up and turned UniFA into a military barracks. That was back in 2004.
And now, ten years later, Haiti has been stuck with President Michel Martelly, aka the “Neo-Cons’ Choice,” elected in the same way that the U.S. got stuck with Dubya — illegally. “He is our guy!” cries Wall Street, War Street and the Deep State.
And now WalMart is once again happily running sweatshops in Haiti, where workers get paid $4.56 a day.
What the freak was Aristide thinking!
Surely Aristide should have known that anybody who denies WalMart access to economic slave labor is naturally gonna be in big trouble — and educating a country’s children and providing its citizens with healthcare is also a really bad idea because then countries like Haiti will no longer have a subservient labor force and a really dumb electorate — and that’s just not the corporatist way. Aristide should have known better. Most Even Americans are clear on this concept, keeping their eyes down and their mouths shut. Why couldn’t Aristide do the same?
And if you still want even more information on Aristide and Haiti, here’s a great video to watch: https://ia700401.us.archive.
It is being widely reported that CNN is ending Piers Morgan’s prime time television program. Here is how the story is covered in The New York Times:
“There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much–and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for ‘Piers Morgan Live’ hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
“It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate–the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt–and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
“CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.”
See the Times report here:
What I am about to say, I rarely, if ever, say about anyone–even those folks with whom I vehemently disagree. I’ve never allowed myself to let my portion of the public debate get personal. But in the case of Piers Morgan, I am willfully backsliding.
Piers Morgan is an oaf of the highest order. He is a boorish braggart, a wanna-be tyrant, and an overall pompous ass. It was British snobs like Piers Morgan that incited the Colonists to revolt. Just looking at Morgan–as he smugly peered down his nose at us freedom-loving Americans–made me want to go to war with Great Britain all over again.
Now it appears that Piers Morgan will be off the airwaves soon–at least during primetime on CNN. All I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE. I also find it amusing that while Piers Morgan is riding off into the sunset, Alex Jones continues to broadcast all over the place. The Colonists won again. Oohrah!
My comments on Alec Baldwin are going to be much softer (to the surprise of some folks). But if regular readers will think about it, they have not seen me say a whole lot–one way or another–about entertainers–although I did inform my Facebook followers that I am going to miss Jay Leno.
To read my frequent posts, just “Like” my Facebook page at:
In my opinion, Jay Leno was a cut above the rest of the late night television talk show hosts. For one thing, Jay and his wife have been married for over thirty years–and there has been no hint of a sexual dalliance. What a rarity that is among celebrities. Jay doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. While his jokes were sometimes crude, I never heard one that was irreverent to the things of Christianity or faith in general–unlike his CBS counterpart, David Letterman, whose personal and stage life are both filled with filth.
Leno was also the most fair and balanced comedian on late night television. He dished it out to Barack Obama and liberal Democrats as much as he did to G.W. Bush and conservative Republicans. He even dished it out to his host network, NBC. Plus, he seemed to genuinely respect Congressman Ron Paul; and Ron was a guest on Jay’s “Tonight Show” more than once.
See this Breitbart.com report on Jay Leno:
It seems that NBC executives have had it in their minds to get rid of Leno for quite a while. As you recall, they tried once before, replacing Leno with Conan O’Brien–which was a miserable failure. Now, NBC has truly pulled the trigger and replaced Jay with the likeable and funny (albeit a man who possesses a patented liberal bias, which will reveal itself more and more as he continues hosting “The Tonight Show”) Jimmy Fallon. I can’t help but believe that Leno truly incensed the network brass at NBC with his objectivity and balanced joke-telling. The media and entertainment industry leaders in this country are as about as close to a jihad mentality as you will find in America.
Normally, I don’t spend much time discussing the entertainment industry, because entertainers are–well, entertainers. It has been a long, long time since the American people expected much of anything in terms of honor and character from its movie stars. In fact, most of today’s movie star groupies don’t even know the names of such movie giants as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Clayton Moore. And while there are still several clean and wholesome men and women in the movie and entertainment industries, the media would far rather keep us up-to-date on the morally shipwrecked Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus than point the spotlight on those talents that might actually provide the American people with a role model.
Yes, everyone knows Alec Baldwin is a liberal; everyone knows he had a loud and angry shouting match over the phone with his daughter during which he said some very cruel and hurtful things; and everyone knows he has been a strong supporter, financially and otherwise, of the Democrat Party. But is there anything in the above that wouldn’t apply to the vast majority of Hollywood entertainers? For that matter, I know of a lot of professing Christians who have a host of personal and family issues, not to mention being supporters of a plethora of organizations that are equally sinister and problematic. The only difference is, they are not famous and, therefore, nobody knows or cares about it.
Alec Baldwin (no relation to this writer) recently wrote a column that initially appeared in the February 24, 2014, edition of New York Magazine. In his remarks, he gave a very honest and trenchant analysis of the corrupt and ethically-bankrupt national media.
Remember, Alec Baldwin wrote as an entertainment insider. He is one of the most successful movie stars in the world. He is a liberal. He knows the media and entertainment worlds as well as anyone. No matter. The media and entertainment elite are treating Alec Baldwin like he is public enemy number one. And to many of these folks, he is.
MSNBC dumped him; friends abandoned him; and reporters and photographers have done their best to destroy him. Why? What did Alec Baldwin do to incur the wrath of all of these folks–people who have readily recognized him to be one of the outstanding talents in the industry? Why did they turn on him? Because Alec Baldwin didn’t bow down to the god of political-correctness.
In the politically-correct temple, in which the media and entertainment elite worship, one does not dare say anything–even of a personal nature–that could be construed as being uncomplimentary of certain people who are considered untouchable. In the politically-correct world of the media and entertainment elite, anyone who is an African-American, Jew, or homosexual is absolutely out-of-bounds and may not be touched. Anyone else is fair game. To criticize or condemn a white guy, a Christian, or a heterosexual is not only admissible, but to do so only enhances one’s credibility and popularity with these worshippers of political correctness. It seems that the media elite have forgotten the words of their hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If the media elite truly believe that people are to be judged as individuals–regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation–how is it that political correctness can even exist? How is it that certain entertainers are singled out to be pilloried and ostracized?
For example, take a look at Mel Gibson. Without a doubt, Mel Gibson is one of the most successful Hollywood actors of all time. His accomplishments on the silver screen are legendary. But the media and entertainment elite now consider Gibson to be damaged goods. For the most part, they won’t touch him. What he has done of late, he has produced himself. Fortunately, for him, he has the resources to do this. Few in Hollywood have his resources.
Gibson’s troubles began when he refused to apologize to a group of homosexuals who were offended at a scene in his blockbuster movie, “Braveheart.” Then there was Mel Gibson’s production of the most politically-incorrect movie of all, “The Passion of The Christ,” which was very much a reverent and respectful (and, yes, graphic) portrayal of Christ’s death on the cross. (I suppose the only other film that could be regarded as more politically-incorrect than “The Passion of The Christ” would be Ron Maxwell’s masterpiece, “Gods and Generals,” starring Stephen Lang as General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. In my opinion, Lang should have received an Oscar for his performance. It was outstanding!) And the nail in the coffin (proverbially speaking) was when Gibson was supposedly drunk and, when in the custody of a police officer, went into an anti-Jewish rant. That was it. Mel Gibson had touched the “third rail.” Of course, had Mel gone into an anti-Christian rant, no one within the media or entertainment elite would have thought one thing about it.
For sure, Alec Baldwin always spoke his mind–and many times Alec was his own worst enemy. No doubt about it. But when Alec tore into a tirade in which what he said could be interpreted (wrongly) as being anti-gay, Alec had also touched the “third rail.” That was it. Alec Baldwin is now being compared to Mel Gibson; and the media elite are doing everything they can to ruin the man.
Baldwin’s column shines the light of day on the sinister, shadowy world of America’s national media. The national media is more than biased; it is more than liberal; it is more than Big Government. The national media is obsessed with political correctness. At the highest levels, they are evangelists of the ministry of propaganda, and they relish their role as Grand Inquisitors.
I caution readers: Alec Baldwin’s column contains no small usage of profanity. But it also reveals an even greater vulgarity: the blatant wickedness of a dishonest and dastardly national media. And, unfortunately, there is not a major network or major media outlet (including the so-called “conservative” FOX News) that is exempt from the dark side of this dragon.
Yes, in typical liberal fashion, Baldwin rants against conservative outlets such as Breitbart.com, but he also torches liberal icons such as Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper along with media opportunists such as Joe Scarborough.
Alec Baldwin has gotten a taste of the harsh realities of political correctness. He has, no doubt, grown up in liberalism and knows little else. However, it would appear that Alec Baldwin has a degree of honesty about him and is willing to call a spade a spade (as he understands it) even when his fellow liberals are in the crosshairs. I think he is reachable with the truth. I am praying for him.
Read Alec Baldwin’s column here:
Piers Morgan deserved to get sacked. No one wants someone from a foreign country looking down their nose at them and telling them how stupid they are. My personal opinion is Jay Leno was not, and will not be, equaled as a late night television comic. I believe he is genuine–a rarity in entertainment. Mel Gibson is one of my all-time favorite actors. His movies, “Braveheart,” “The Patriot,” and “Conspiracy Theory” are especially outstanding. I believe Mel is among a small handful in Hollywood who truly understands the New World Order and is vehemently opposed to it. Alec Baldwin has never been one of my favorite actors, although I do honestly acknowledge his extraordinary talent. Obviously, I do not share hardly any of his political views. However, Alec Baldwin, like Mel Gibson, is the victim of an out-of-control media jihad that intends to cut the head off of anyone who will not bow the knee to their god of political correctness.
“Washington and Brussels … used a Nazi coup, carried out by insurgents, terrorists and politicians of Euromaidan to serve the geopolitical interests of the West.” — Natalia Vitrenko, The Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine
The United States helped defeat Nazism in World War 2. Obama helped bring it back.
As you probably know by now, Obama and Co. have ousted Ukraine’s democratically-elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, with the help of ultra-right, paramilitary, neo-Nazi gangs who seized and burned government offices, killed riot police, and spread mayhem and terror across the country. These are America’s new allies in the Great Game, the grand plan to “pivot to Asia” by pushing further eastward, toppling peaceful governments, securing vital pipeline corridors, accessing scarce oil and natural gas reserves and dismantling the Russian Federation consistent with the strategy proposed by geopolitical mastermind, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski’s magnum opus–”The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and it’s Geostrategic Imperatives” has become the Mein Kampf for aspiring western imperialists. It provides the basic blueprint for establishing US military-political-economic hegemony in the century’s most promising and prosperous region, Asia. In an article in Foreign Affairs Brzezinski laid out his ideas about neutralizing Russia by splitting the country into smaller parts, thus, allowing the US to maintain its dominant role in the region without threat of challenge or interference. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Given (Russia’s) size and diversity, a decentralized political system and free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian people and Russia’s vast natural resources. A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” (Zbigniew Brzezinski,“A Geostrategy for Eurasia”)
Moscow is keenly aware of Washington’s divide and conquer strategy, but has downplayed the issue in order to avoid a confrontation. The US-backed coup in Ukraine means that that option is no longer feasible. Russia will have to respond to a provocation that threatens both its security and vital interests. Early reports suggest that Putin has already mobilized troops to the East and –according to Reuters “put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert.” Here’s more from Reuters:
“The United States says any Russian military action would be a grave mistake. But Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Moscow would defend the rights of its compatriots and react without compromise to any violation of those rights.” (Reuters)
There’s going to be a confrontation, it’s just a matter of whether the fighting will escalate or not.
In order to topple Yanukovych, the US had to tacitly support fanatical groups of neo-Nazi thugs and anti-Semites. And, even though “Interim Ukrainian President Oleksander Tuchynov has pledged to do everything in his power to protect the country’s Jewish community”; reports on the ground are not so encouraging. Here’s an excerpt from a statement by Natalia Vitrenko, of The Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine that suggests the situation is much worse than what is being reported in the news:
“Across the country… People are being beaten and stoned, while undesirable members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are subject to mass intimidation and local officials see their families and children targeted by death threats if they do not support the installation of this new political power. The new Ukrainian authorities are massively burning the offices of political parties they do not like, and have publicly announced the threat of criminal prosecution and prohibition of political parties and public organizations that do not share the ideology and goals of the new regime.” (“USA and EU Are Erecting a Nazi Regime on Ukrainian Territory”, Natalia Vitrenko)
Earlier in the week, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that a Ukranian synagogue had been firebombed although the “Molotov cocktails struck the synagogue’s exterior stone walls and caused little damage”.
Another article in Haaretz referred to recent developments as “the new dilemma for Jews in Ukraine”. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The greatest worry now is not the uptick in anti-Semitic incidents but the major presence of ultra-nationalist movements, especially the prominence of the Svoboda party and Pravy Sektor (right sector) members among the demonstrators. Many of them are calling their political opponents “Zhids” and flying flags with neo-Nazi symbols. There have also been reports, from reliable sources, of these movements distributing freshly translated editions of Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Independence Square.” (“Anti-Semitism, though a real threat, is being used by the Kremlin as a political football”,Haaretz)
Then there’s this, from Dr. Inna Rogatchi in Arutz Sheva:
“There is no secret concerning the real political agenda and programs of ultra-nationalist parties in Ukraine – there is nothing close to European values and goals there. One just should open existing documents and hear what the representatives of those parties proclaim daily. They are sharply anti-European, and highly racist. They have nothing to do with the values and practices of the civilized world…
Ukrainian Jewry is facing a real and serious threat….To empower the openly neo-Nazi movements in Europe by ignoring the threat they pose is an utterly risky business. People should not have to pay a terrible price – again – for the meekness and indifference of their leaders. As Ukraine today has become the tragic show-case for all of Europe with regards to breeding and allowing race-hatred to become a violent and uncontrollable force, it is impertive to handle the situation there in accordance with existing international law and norms of civilization.” (“Tea With Neo-Nazis: The Violent Nationalism in Ukraine“, Arutz Sheva)
Here’s a little more background on the topic by progressive analyst Stephen Lendmen from a February 25 post titled “New York Times: Supporting US Imperial Lawlessness”:
“Washington openly backs fascist Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok…In 2004, Tyahnybok was expelled from former President Viktor Yushchenko’s parliamentary faction. He was condemned for urging Ukrainians to fight against a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.”
In 2005, he denounced “criminal activities” of “organized Jewry.” He outrageously claimed they plan “genocide” against Ukrainians.”…
Tyahnybok extremism didn’t deter Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. On February 6, she met openly with him and other anti-government leaders.
In early January, 15,000 ultranationalists held a torchlight march through Kiev. They did so to honor Nazi-era collaborator/mass murderer Stepan Bandera. Some wore uniforms a Wehrmacht Ukrainian division used in WW II. Others chanted “Ukraine above all” and “Bandera, come and bring order.” (Steve Lendman blog)
Of course, the US media has downplayed the fascistic-neo-Nazi “ethnic purity” element of the Ukrainian coup in order to focus on– what they think — are more “positive themes”, like the knocking down of statues of Lenin or banning Communist party members from participating in Parliament. As far as the media is concerned, these are all signs of progress.
Ukraine is gradually succumbing to the loving embrace of the New World Order where it will serve as another profit-generating cog in Wall Street’s wheel. That’s the theory, at least. It hasn’t occurred to the boneheads at the New York Times or Washington Post that Ukraine is rapidly descending into Mad Max-type anarchy which could spill over its borders into neighboring countries triggering violent conflagrations, social upheaval, regional instability or–god-help-us– WW3. The MSM sees nothing but silver linings as if everything was going according to plan. All of Eurasia, the Middle East and beyond are being pacified and integrated into one world government overseen by the unitary executive who defers to no one but the corporations and financial institutions who control the levers of power behind imperial shoji-screen. What could go wrong?
Naturally, Russia is worried about developments in Ukraine, but is unsure how to react. Here’s how Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev summed it up the other day:
“We do not understand what is going on there. A real threat to our interests (exists) and to the lives and health of our citizens. Strictly speaking, today there is no one there to communicate with … If you think that people in black masks waving Kalashnikovs (represent) a government, then it will be difficult for us to work with such a government.”
Clearly, Moscow is confused and worried. No one expects the world’s only superpower to behave this irrationally, to hop-scotch across the planet creating one failed state after another, fomenting revolt, breeding hatred, and spreading misery wherever it goes. At present, the Obama team is operating at full-throttle trying to topple regimes in Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, and god-knows where else. At the same time, failed operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have left all three countries in dire straights, ruled by regional warlords and armed militias. Medvedev has every right to be concerned.
Who wouldn’t be? The US has gone off the rails, stark raving mad. The architecture for global security has collapsed while the basic principals of international law have been jettisoned. The rampaging US juggernaut lurches from one violent confrontation to the next without rhyme or reason, destroying everything in its path, forcing millions to flee their own countries, and pushing the world closer to the abyss. Isn’t that reason enough to be concerned?
Now Obama has thrown-in with the Nazis. It’s just the icing on the cake.
Check out this blurb from Max Blumenthal’s latest titled “Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?”:
“Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described ‘autonomous nationalists’ identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: ‘Ukraine above all!’ In a recent Right Sector propaganda video the group promised to fight ‘against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.’
With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.” (“Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?—Exposing troubling ties in the U.S. to overt Nazi and fascist protesters in Ukraine“, Max Blumenthal, AlterNet)
“Family values”? Where have we heard that before?
It’s clear, that Obama and his brainiac advisors think they have a handle on this thing and can train this den of vipers to click their heels and follow Washington’s directives, but it sounds like a bad bet to me. These are hard-core, died-in-the-wool, Nazi-extremists. They won’t be bought-off, co-opted or intimidated. They have an agenda and they aim to pursue that agenda to their last, dying breath.
Of all the dumb plans Washington has come up with in the couple years, this is the dumbest.
There’s good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller “mobile weapons lab-type” nonsense that figures that people are so stupid they’ll believe anything that appears in “the paper of record.” Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false.
The so called Fed’s transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category. The transcripts (1,865 pages) reveal the details of 14 emergency meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak and the Fed braintrust was deliberating on how best to prevent a full-blown meltdown. But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they don’t tell the gist of the story or provide the context that’s needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, they’re used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in ‘very trying circumstances’. While this is effective propaganda, it’s basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Fed’s role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.
What I’m saying is that the Fed’s transcripts are, perhaps, the greatest propaganda coup of our time. They take advantage of the fact that people simply forget a lot of what happened during the crisis and, as a result, absolve the Fed of any accountability for what is likely the crime of the century. It’s an accomplishment that PR-pioneer Edward Bernays would have applauded. After all, it was Bernays who argued that the sheeple need to be constantly bamboozled to keep them in line. Here’s a clip from his magnum opus “Propaganda”:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Sound familiar? My guess is that Bernays’ maxim probably features prominently in editors offices across the country where “manufacturing consent” is Job 1 and where no story so trivial that it can’t be spun in a way that serves the financial interests of the MSM’s constituents. (Should I say “clients”?) The Fed’s transcripts are just a particularly egregious example. Just look at the coverage in the New York Times and judge for yourself. Here’s an excerpt from an article titled “Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”:
“The hundreds of pages of transcripts, based on recordings made at the time, reveal the ignorance of Fed officials about economic conditions during the climactic months of the financial crisis. Officials repeatedly fretted about overstimulating the economy, only to realize time and again that they needed to redouble efforts to contain the crisis.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
This quote is so misleading on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.
First of all, the New York Times is the ideological wellspring of elite propaganda in the US. They set the tone and the others follow. That’s the way the system works. So it always pays to go to the source and try to figure out what really lies behind the words, that is, the motive behind the smokescreen of half-truths, distortions, and lies. How is the Times trying to bend perceptions and steer the public in their corporate-friendly direction, that’s the question. In this case, the Times wants its readers to believe that the Fed members “misread the crisis”; that they were ‘behind the curve’ and stressed-out, but–dad-gum-it–they were trying their level-best to make things work out for everybody.
How believable is that? Not very believable at all.
Keep in mind, the crisis had been going on for a full year before the discussions in these transcripts took place, so it’s not like the members were plopped in a room the day before Lehman blew up and had to decide what to do. No. They had plenty of time to figure out the lay of the land, get their bearings and do what was in the best interests of the country. Here’s more from the Times:
”My initial takeaway from these voluminous transcripts is that they paint a disturbing picture of a central bank that was in the dark about each looming disaster throughout 2008. That meant that the nation’s top bank regulators were unprepared to deal with the consequences of each new event.”
Have you ever read such nonsense in your life? Of course, the Fed knew what was going on. How could they NOT know? Their buddies on Wall Street were taking it in the stern sheets every time their dingy asset pile was downgraded which was every damn day. It was costing them a bundle which means they were probably on the phone 24-7 to (Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson whining for help. “You gotta give us a hand here, Hank. The whole Street is going toes-up. Please.”
Here’s more from the NYT:
“Some Fed officials have argued that the Fed was blind in 2008 because it relied, like everyone else, on a standard set of economic indicators. As late as August 2008, “there were no clear signs that many financial firms were about to fail catastrophically,” Mr. Bullard said in a November presentation in Arkansas that the St. Louis Fed recirculated on Friday. “There was a reasonable case that the U.S. could continue to ‘muddle through.’ (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
There’s that same refrain again, “Blind”, “In the dark”, “Behind the curve”, “Misread the crisis”.
Notice how the Times only invokes terminology that implies the Fed is blameless. But it’s all baloney. Everyone knew what was going on. Check out this excerpt from a post by Nouriel Roubini that was written nearly a full year before Lehman failed:
“The United States has now effectively entered into a serious and painful recession. The debate is not anymore on whether the economy will experience a soft landing or a hard landing; it is rather on how hard the hard landing recession will be. The factors that make the recession inevitable include the nation’s worst-ever housing recession, which is still getting worse; a severe liquidity and credit crunch in financial markets that is getting worse than when it started last summer; high oil and gasoline prices; falling capital spending by the corporate sector; a slackening labor market where few jobs are being created and the unemployment rate is sharply up; and shopped-out, savings-less and debt-burdened American consumers who — thanks to falling home prices — can no longer use their homes as ATM machines to allow them to spend more than their income. As private consumption in the US is over 70% of GDP the US consumer now retrenching and cutting spending ensures that a recession is now underway.
On top of this recession there are now serious risks of a systemic financial crisis in the US as the financial losses are spreading from subprime to near prime and prime mortgages, consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, student loans), commercial real estate loans, leveraged loans and postponed/restructured/canceled LBO and, soon enough, sharply rising default rates on corporate bonds that will lead to a second round of large losses in credit default swaps. The total of all of these financial losses could be above $1 trillion thus triggering a massive credit crunch and a systemic financial sector crisis.” ( Nouriel Roubini Global EconoMonitor)
Roubini didn’t have some secret source for data that wasn’t available to the Fed. The financial system was collapsing and it had been collapsing for a full year. Everyone who followed the markets knew it. Hell, the Fed had already opened its Discount Window and the Term Auction Facility (TAF) in 2007 to prop up the ailing banks–something they’d never done before– so they certainly knew the system was cratering. So, why’s the Times prattling this silly fairytale that “the Fed was in the dark” in 2008?
I’ll tell you why: It’s because this whole transcript business is a big, freaking whitewash to absolve the shysters at the Fed of any legal accountability, that’s why. That’s why they’re stitching together this comical fable that the Fed was simply an innocent victim of circumstances beyond its control. And that’s why they want to focus attention on the members of the FOMC quibbling over meaningless technicalities –like non-existent inflation or interest rates–so people think they’re just kind-hearted buffoons who bumbled-along as best as they could. It’s all designed to deflect blame.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying these conversations didn’t happen. They did, at least I think they did. I just think that the revisionist media is being employed to spin the facts in a way that minimizes the culpability of the central bank in its dodgy, collaborationist engineering of the bailouts. (You don’t hear the Times talking about Hank Paulson’s 50 or 60 phone calls to G-Sax headquarters in the week before Lehman kicked the bucket, do you? But, that’s where a real reporter would look for the truth.)
The purpose of the NYT article is to create plausible deniability for the perpetrators of the biggest ripoff in world history, a ripoff which continues to this very day since the same policies are in place, the same thieving fraudsters are being protected from prosecution, and the same boundless chasm of private debt is being concealed through accounting flim-flam to prevent losses to the insatiable bondholders who have the country by the balls and who set policy on everything from capital requirements on complex derivatives to toppling democratically-elected governments in Ukraine. These are the big money guys behind the vacillating-hologram poseurs like Obama and Bernanke, who are nothing more than kowtowing sock puppets who jump whenever they’re told. Here’s more bunkum from the Gray Lady:
”By early March, the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.
Financial firms, particularly in the mortgage business, were beginning to fail because they could not borrow money. Investors had lost confidence in their ability to predict which loans would be repaid. Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, sold itself for a relative pittance to Bank of America. Bear Stearns, one of the largest packagers and sellers of mortgage-backed securities, was teetering toward collapse.
On March 7, the Fed offered companies up to $200 billion in funding. Three days later, Mr. Bernanke secured the Fed policy-making committee’s approval to double that amount to $400 billion, telling his colleagues, “We live in a very special time.”
Finally, on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.” (“Fed Misread Crisis in 2008, Records Show”, New York Times)
This part deserves a little more explanation. The author says “the Fed was moving to replace investors as a source of funding for Wall Street.” Uh, yeah; because the whole flimsy house of cards came crashing down when investors figured out Wall Street was peddling toxic assets. So the money dried up. No one buys crap assets after they find out they’re crap; it’s a simple fact of life. The Times makes this sound like this was some kind of unavoidable natural disaster, like an earthquake or a tornado. It wasn’t. It was a crime, a crime for which no one has been indicted or sent to prison. That might have been worth mentioning, don’t you think?
More from the NYT: “…on March 16, the Fed effectively removed any limit on Wall Street funding even as it arranged the Bear Stearns rescue.”
Yipee! Free money for all the crooks who blew up the financial system and plunged the economy into recession. The Fed assumed blatantly-illegal powers it was never provided under its charter and used them to reward the people who were responsible for the crash, namely, the Fed’s moneybags constituents on Wall Street. It was a straightforward transfer of wealth to the Bank Mafia. Don’t you think the author should have mentioned something about that, just for the sake of context, maybe?
Again, the Times wants us to believe that the men who made these extraordinary decisions were just ordinary guys like you and me trying to muddle through a rough patch doing the best they could.
Right. I mean, c’mon, this is some pretty impressive propaganda, don’t you think? It takes a real talent to come up with this stuff, which is why most of these NYT guys probably got their sheepskin at Harvard or Yale, the establishment’s petri-dish for serial liars.
By September 2008, Bernanke and Paulson knew the game was over. The crisis had been raging for more than a year and the nation’s biggest banks were broke. (Bernanke even admitted as much in testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011 when he said “only one ….out of maybe the 13 of the most important financial institutions in the United States…was not at serious risk of failure within a period of a week or two.” He knew the banks were busted, and so did Paulson.) Their only chance to save their buddies was a Hail Mary pass in the form of Lehman Brothers. In other words, they had to create a “Financial 9-11″, a big enough crisis to blackmail congress into $700 no-strings-attached bailout called the TARP. And it worked too. They pushed Lehman to its death, scared the bejesus out of congress, and walked away with 700 billion smackers for their shifty gangster friends on Wall Street. Chalk up one for Hank and Bennie.
The only good thing to emerge from the Fed’s transcripts is that it proves that the people who’ve been saying all along that Lehman was deliberately snuffed-out in order to swindle money out of congress were right. Here’s how economist Dean Baker summed it up the other day on his blog:
“Gretchen Morgensen (NYT financial reporter) picks up an important point in the Fed transcripts from 2008. The discussion around the decision to allow Lehman to go bankrupt makes it very clear that it was a decision. In other words the Fed did not rescue Lehman because it chose not to.
This is important because the key regulators involved in this decision, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Timothy Geithner, have been allowed to rewrite history and claim that they didn’t rescue Lehman because they lacked the legal authority to rescue it. This is transparent tripe, which should be evident to any knowledgeable observer.” (“The Decision to Let Lehman Fail”, Dean Baker, CEPR)
Here’s the quote from Morgenson’s piece to which Baker is alluding:
“In public statements since that time, the Fed has maintained that the government didn’t have the tools to save Lehman. These documents appear to tell a different story. Some comments made at the Sept. 16 meeting, directly after Lehman filed for bankruptcy, indicate that letting Lehman fail was more of a policy decision than a passive one.” (“A New Light on Regulators in the Dark”, Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times)
Ah ha! So it was a planned demolition after all. At least that’s settled.
Here’s something else you’ll want to know: It was always within Bernanke’s power to stop the bank run and end to the panic, but if he relieved the pressure in the markets too soon (he figured), then Congress wouldn’t cave in to his demands and approve the TARP. Because, at the time, a solid majority of Republicans and Democrats in congress were adamantly opposed to the TARP and even voted it down on the first ballot. Here’s a clip from a speech by, Rep Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in September 2008 which sums up the grassroots opposition to the bailouts:
“The $700 bailout bill is being driven by fear not fact. This is too much money, in too short of time, going to too few people, while too many questions remain unanswered. Why aren’t we having hearings…Why aren’t we considering any other alternatives other than giving $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren’t we passing new laws to stop the speculation which triggered this? Why aren’t we putting up new regulatory structures to protect the investors? Why aren’t we directly helping homeowners with their debt burdens? Why aren’t we helping American families faced with bankruptcy? Isn’t time for fundamental change to our debt-based monetary system so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks? Is this the US Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs?”
But despite overwhelming public resistance, the TARP was pushed through and Wall Street prevailed. mainly by sabotaging the democratic process the way they always do when it doesn’t suit their objectives.)
Of course, as we said earlier, Bernanke never really needed the money from TARP to stop the panic anyway. (Not one penny of the $700 bil was used to shore up the money markets or commercial paper markets where the bank run took place.) All Bernanke needed to do was to provide backstops for those two markets and, Voila, the problem was solved. Here’s Dean Baker with the details:
“Bernanke deliberately misled Congress to help pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He told them that the commercial paper market was shutting down, raising the prospect that most of corporate America would be unable to get the short-term credit needed to meet its payroll and pay other bills. Bernanke neglected to mention that he could singlehandedly keep the commercial paper market operating by setting up a special Fed lending facility for this purpose. He announced the establishment of a lending facility to buy commercial paper the weekend after Congress approved TARP.” (“Ben Bernanke; Wall Street’s Servant”, Dean Baker, Guardian)
So, there you have it. The American people were fleeced in broad daylight by the same dissembling cutthroats the NYT is now trying to characterize as well-meaning bunglers who were just trying to save the country from another Great Depression.
I could be wrong, but I think we’ve reached Peak Propaganda on this one.
(Note: By “good” propaganda, I mean “effective” propaganda. From an ethical point of view, propaganda can never be good because its objective is to intentionally mislead people…..which is bad.)
Seyeda Zeinab, Syria - During a meeting at the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus the other morning, this observer was briefed by ‘Abu Modar,” a reputedly battle-honed field commander of the “Death Brigade,” a unit based in the northern Syria Eskanderoun region, north of Latakia. Abu Modar explained that he personally had chosen the rather peculiar name for his outfit to symbolize the willingness of its members to die for their cause—protecting Syria.
“Before each battle or each mission I ask my God to let me die defending Syria”, he explained. “If we are involved with a joint operation with Hezbollah, who are much admired because of their honesty and trustworthiness, I lead my men to the front line and ahead of Hezbollah troops out of respect for them and because we Syrians believe that as their grateful hosts we have this duty.”
The gentleman began explaining the history of his militia, one of thousands (both pro-and anti-government) operating in Syria these troubled days. It is a history that included some of his predecessors fighting with the PLO in Beirut during the summer of 1982, but as he was relating all this, his phone rang. The conversation was not long. The caller, he informed this observer upon ringing off, was his “contact,” advising him that certain intelligence sources had received information overnight that an individual had been observed in the vicinity of Zeinab’s shrine placing a parcel of explosives into a vehicle, presumably with the intention to detonate it near her resting place. This riveted my attention, in part because this observer was scheduled by chance to join an army escort the next day and visit the historic site, located about 40 minutes south of Damascus. Nearly two months ago the government regained control of the area, but there are still some snipers around, I had been apprised by friends. Abu Modar’s specific mission was to take some of his commandos and kick in the door of the suspect’s house sometime during the night, arrest him, and turn him over to someone for interrogation. His mission struck me as simple enough and he was matter of fact in outlining his plan.
“We do this sort of mission often. This is part of our expertise, and we do it whenever we are asked by Resistance friends and Syrian authorities. It spares the army for their normal work on battlefields, and our unit is specialized, and from long experience we have acquired certain useful skills.”
I demurred when he invited me to join him, explaining I was a bit out of shape and did not want to get in the way of his men’s work or potentially hamper their operation. But he insisted, saying that I could stay in his jeep and just observe, and he doubted that I would be in any serious danger. I was tempted to accept his invitation, and agreed to his proposal to meet after lunch to finalize our plans for that night’s outing. At this point, however, I called a trusted and knowledgeable Syrian friend, who knows a lot about these matters, and she seemed exasperated I would even consider tagging along with the Death Brigade.
“Absolutely not Franklin! Khalas! (finish!) You are visiting Seyeda Zeinab bokra with the army and you are not going with anyone else!”
Frankly, I was a bit relieved by my friend’s unequivocal counsel, and my new pal from the “Death” militia (who is acquainted with her) sportively understood. An interesting anecdote was at this point related by my interpreter: that Abu Modor had laughed and claimed a badge of honor upon recently being shown YouTube videos regarding his macho, George-Patton-style exploits in Qusayr, and in villages around Qalamoun, and rebel claims that he and his brigade were “the number one pro-regime murderers in Syria.” I might also mention that the “Death” unit is part of the not-well-known-in-the-West Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskanderun (PFLI), currently fighting rebels north of Latakia, in the mountains bordering Turkey, and whose forces have also periodically spent time guarding the resting place of Zeinab.
The geographical place name “Seyeda Zeinab” can be confusing for an untutored foreigner, the reason being that it may refer to a group of five small cities in the governorate of Damascus—Al Zeyabeya, Hujayr, Husseiniya, Akraba and Babila—or, alternately, to the sacred burial place and shrine for Zeinab bint Ali, the daughter of Ali, the first Shia Imam, and his first wife Fatima. Zeinab was also the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the sister of Husayn and Hassan. Her shrine and pilgrimage destination are located in the small town of Seyeda (Lady) Zeinab, but given its fame, the name also refers to a wider area. As a holy shrine and place of prayer and scholarship, one imagines this place to be in the category of perhaps Qoms in Iran, and Najaf in Iraq. All three attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists, and since the area surrounding Seyeda Zeinab was liberated and essentially pacified by the Syrian Army recently, visitors are again arriving daily from countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Lebanon, among others.
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab, this observer’s gracious host, is Mohammad Barakat, a Sunni engineer from Homs, roughly in his early 50’s. His staff is of mixed religious backgrounds, and, as with most Syrian citizens I have met over the past three years, was essentially blind to and uninterested in sectarian differences in existence before the current crisis. All the mayor’s staff members are working long hours these days, responding to numerous requests for post-liberation help, appeals which they try their best to accommodate with their limited available resources. My three-hour discussion with Mayor Barakat was interrupted perhaps as many as a couple of dozen times by the appearance of an aid often seeking his signature or mayoral stamp on citizen petitions covering anything from requests for food stuffs, problems with housing, or attempts to find employment with a municipal project now getting started.
In his bee hive of an office, the mayor used a pointer to highlight locations on a large wall map hanging next to his desk, the map illustrating areas where repair and construction projects are being readied. Mr. Barakat enthusiastically proclaimed, “2014 is the year we intend to start and finish area restoration work, and we take pride in the prospect that what we achieve here in Seyeda Zeinab can be a model for restoration work all over Syria that hopefully can begin soon.”
The Mayor of Seyeda Zeinab and staff members in front of the wall may illustrating plans to complete reconstruction of the area by the end of 2014 Photo: 2/25/14)
Barakat and three of his staff members accompanied this observer on an informative and inspiring tour of the Mosque and Shrine of Saeyda Zeinab. The shrine, our hosts informed us, is an example of Shia architecture, and the dome is made of pure gold. The grave of Zeinab is enclosed within a raised, crypt-like structure centered directly beneath the massive golden dome. The doors of the shrine are apparently also made of pure gold, with mirror works on the roof and walls. The minarets and the entrance gate of the holy shrine are covered with Iranian moarrahg tile designed by the famous Iranian architect and tile artist Ali Panjehpour. My colleague from the mayor’s office allowed me to finger one and explained that each 4 x 4 inch tile, of which there were hundreds of thousands in the complex, cost more than $100 USD. There is also a large mosque adjoining the shrine which this observer was advised can accommodate more than 1,300 people and a further 150 in the attached courtyards. The two tall minarets, one of which was damaged by a rebel mortar, dominate the architecture of the mosque as well as a large souk on the other side of a newly-built security wall.
In the cavernous nave of the Seyeda Zeinab, just next to the beautifully inlaid, elevated crypt holding her remains, approximately 50 men were performing mid-day Salat al Duhr prayers. Some were in camouflage uniforms and appeared to be on military leave or from the security units guarding the inside and perimeter of Zeinab’s Shrine.
This observer did not want to awkwardly press his hosts for details regarding the identities of the armed men guarding Seyeda Zeinab or where they are from. Some Western media sources have speculated that Shia fighters from Iraq and Lebanon came to Syria to protect Seyeda Zeinab following the desecration in Iraq of the tomb of Hajar Bin Aday. Several sites on the Internet published reports claiming that a takfiri group exhumed the tomb of Bin Aday, who was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and who was loyal to Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. Bin Aday’s remains were reportedly taken to an unknown location. This observer infers that Hezbollah is currently a prominent presence guarding Seyeda Zeinab, and my Syrian companion noted Lebanese accents in the guard station at the entrance.
At the entrance to the women’s area, several women were praying and others appeared to be part of the shrine’s Women’s Auxiliary, or Guild, as they directed visitors while graciously assisting and providing female visitors with black chadors upon entering the sanctuary. One charming middle age woman, who appeared to be Iranian, smiled knowingly at me, and with a twinkle in her eyes jokingly offered this visiting American a chador as “a gift and souvenir from our Holy Shrine and from our community—to take back to your country, in appreciation of you not bombing us…yet!” And she laughed at her own joke, as did all who heard it, including the mayor, some nearby soldiers, and teen-aged visiting students.
Photo 2/25/14 shows the Gold Dome and the column that was damaged by a mortar round and the new security wall in the background.
Update on the capture of the bad person sought by Abu Modar
Well, did Abu Modar and his “Death Brigade” get their man?
They did indeed, and it was the night before this observer’s arrival at Seyeda Zeinab. Abu Modar detailed to this observer and a few of his militia guys the evening’s events as we made plans to leave the next morning for the Iskandroun region and an interview the PFLI President, Ali Kyali. The capture, it seems, came about not by kicking in the alleged bad guy’s door, American SWAT team-style. Rather, the suspect was stealthily followed and, during the early morning of 2/25/14, apprehended at one of the Syrian army checkpoints that surround the village of Seyeda Zeinab.
Such incidents make it clear that Seyeda Zeinab is still a target of some jihadist types given its great importance to Syria, the region, and among Muslims globally. Yet across sectarian divides here there are growing signs of the great majority of the exhausted populations being ready, to a degree, to forgive and forget at least some of the events of the past nearly 36 months.
Visiting Seyeda Zeinab is a wonderful, solemn, exhilarating and inspiring ecumenical experience—one highly recommended to all tourists planning to come to the Syrian Arab Republic as improving security conditions begin to allow for the return of international visitors.
May the Sainted Martyr, Zeinab bint Ali, whose life was devoted to charity and to nursing others, and who is a model for all humanity of resistance and defiance against oppression and all forms of injustice, forever rest in peace.
Perhaps Arizona governor Jan Brewer was sincere when saying that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 1062) she vetoed yesterday could “create more problems than it purports to solve.” After all, observers such as Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post contend that SB 1062 might actually — contrary to all the hysteria — have made it harder for most business owners to refuse service to homosexuals. This analysis may have merit and can be read here, but it’s irrelevant to a larger point:
The GOP’s handling of this matter was a good illustration of conservatism’s fatal flaw.
Whatever the legal realities, about something we can be sure: many conservatives believed in SB 1062. And as with the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill but turned against it after the heat was turned up, many of those conservatives caved under great pressure from greedy businesses, limp-wristed neo-con artists (John McCain) and that great leftist public-relations team (the media).
I’ve long lamented that conservatives are conservative; that is to say, they play defense and just try to protect the status quo, which was, though conservatives generally appear oblivious to the fact, created by yesterday’s liberals.
So they never actually try to rescind those efforts at thought control called hate-crime laws, but just hope to limit the scope of new proposals for them. They never really endeavor to eliminate government programs and bureaucracies; they just aim to slow down their metastasizing. They hardly ever try to reduce spending and shrink government, but just seek to limit the rate at which both balloon. And with the Arizona effort, they weren’t really willing to do what was necessary to reclaim freedom of association. They just proposed a half measure and then folded like cheap cameras.
As for the Three Mouseketeers who ran for cover — senators Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce — they wrote in a letter to Brewer that while they wanted “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”
Wow, is that all it takes?
We might as well just bow down and lick the left’s jackboots right now.
How did these three chronologically adult politicians think the left would characterize their effort? Who are these guys, Beaver and Wally Cleaver and Dennis (the Menace) Mitchell? Of course the left is going to call you names! That’s what they do. And now you’ve just confirmed for them, once again, that this is all they have to do to bring you to your knees. Welcome to How to Lose a Culture War 101.
How should conservatives handle such name calling?
Hurl names right back.
Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative — and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.
As for strategy, realize that framing this as a matter of freedom of religion makes it seem a special-interest cause, as not everyone considers himself “religious.” What we really need is a Freedom of Association Restoration Act.
For this freedom is increasingly trampled. A photographer in New Mexico being sued and two Oregon bakers forced to close their business — both for refusing to be party to lesbian so-called “weddings” — are just two examples of the phenomenon.
But think about the supposition justifying this kind of government coercion: no one would deny me the right to include in or exclude from my home whomever I please. Why should I lose this right simply because I decide to erect extra tables and sell food?
It’s still my private property, paid for with my own money and created by the sweat of my own brow. It’s tyranny to give me a choice between relinquishing my rights — and starving.
Likewise, no one would force you to bake cakes for or take pictures of people with whom you didn’t want to consort. Why should this change just because you decide to bake cakes or take pictures for money? The principle is simple: your home, your oven, your camera — your choice.
The hypocrisy here is thick, too. We wouldn’t force a Muslim butcher to deal in pork or a Jewish baker to place Nazi symbols on a cake; in fact, there’s a story about a supermarket that refused to place the name of a neo-Nazi’s son — Adolf Hitler Campbell — on a birthday cake. And even more recently we heard about a bar in California denying service to legislators seeking to protect marriage. Of course, the left will claim there’s no comparison, as pork eaters, Nazis and pro-marriage individuals aren’t protected groups. So let’s get this straight:
They trumpet discrimination as an argument for disallowing discrimination.
And what invidious discrimination theirs is. They somehow think that supporting the granting of just some groups “protected status” — and thus leaving other groups, apparently, “unprotected” — gives them moral high ground in trying to discriminate against yet other groups by forcing them, but not others (e.g., those opposing and denying service to traditionalist legislators), to violate their deeply held convictions. Only a twisted mind could consider this justice. Of course, though, with liberals telling us via a high-school textbook (Magruder’s American Government & Civics) that justice “is difficult to define for justice is a concept, an idea, an invention of the human mind [and that] [l]ike other concepts such as truth, liberty, and fairness justice means what people want it to mean,” this is no surprise.
Some will balk at my argument, saying that my position on freedom of association would allow businesses to discriminate even on the basis of race or sex. The answer to this is illustrated with a simple analogy: does freedom of speech mean anything if only extended to popular speech? It then isn’t freedom of speech at all, but merely the establishment of different prohibitions than may exist in Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Likewise, the true test of whether we really believe in freedom of association is if we’ll extend it to even those who would exercise it in a way we abhor.
As for businesses that must operate in today’s tyrannical, rights-squelching environment, I have a solution. If, for instance, people forced me through law to provide bakery services for them, the trauma just might affect my ability to identify and measure ingredients and follow a recipe. And I would then show them that you can have your cake, but you can’t eat it, too.
A few years ago I participated in a radio debate on “white privilege” with a certain man, whose name is unimportant, who had a Ph.D. in “ethnic studies.” At one point he introduced an argument by saying, “If whites are 80 percent of the population…,” which prompted me to interject and point out that whites (non-Hispanic) are now only 63 percent of America. Of course, you might think that someone with a doctorate in “ethnic studies” would know what the ethnic and racial composition of the country is.
While no one wants to be a real-life Cliff Clavin (of Cheers fame), mistaking trivia for intellectualism, facts matter because they’re small snippets of reality. They’re little pictures — and, as with a jigsaw puzzle — if you have enough of them, assembled properly, you can see the big picture. This is otherwise known as being in touch with reality.
This is why a certain trend in that liberal bastion called education is quite interesting. Educators will often say today, “We don’t just teach kids facts [uttered dripping with derision]; we teach them how to think.” This is quite convenient. After all, it’s easy to test knowledge of facts; thus, such measures can reveal modern education as a fraudulent enterprise. But “how to think” is a bit more nebulous, and, if you define the expression of feelings-derived folderol as reason, your students cannot fail.
Yet there is a deeper reason why liberals eschew facts: they refute fiction. And since leftist agendas have no basis in reality, exposure to snippets of it is deadly; for, just as one small pin can pop a balloon, one little fact can shatter a rationalization.
This brings us back to Dr. Ethnic Studies. His field of expertise isn’t about anything as old-fashioned as facts, but he can expound at length on oppression, white privilege, critical-race theory and “micro-aggressions.” These things, you see, are the stuff of sophisticated modern men. Never mind that they’re complete fiction.
But liberals are raised on fiction. Fiction about America’s nature and Western influence; fiction about the races and sexes (not to mention “genders”), and fiction about sex; fiction about history and culture; fiction about economics; fiction about religion. Heck, with how liberals claim old fairy tales are destructive, they’re raised with fiction about fiction. This brings us to another fiction: Barack Obama as educated man.
If we were to mention, again, that he thought “Austrian” was spoken in Austria, pronounced “corpsman” “corpse-man” (three times in one speech) or that he called the “transcontinental” railroad the “intercontinental” one (Amtrak to Bangkok, anyone?), we’d obviously have to be racists. After all, anyone can make a mistake. But it’s one thing to commit a Spoonerism and say “a scoop of boy trouts” or, like Dan Quayle, correct a spelling-bee participant based upon the antiquated word form “potatoe” (which The New York Times used as recently as 1988). But then there are those mistakes indicating that, just perhaps, you don’t really possess the knowledge base one might expect from an educated Western gentleman.
And a fact about Obama’s upbringing is that it was defined by fiction. Clergyman Hosea Ballou said, “Education commences at the mother’s knee…,” but not only was Obama’s mother’s knee not around all the time, but what an odd knee it was. Her father had given her his first name, Stanley, because he’d wanted a boy, and Stanley Ann Dunham’s personal development reflected that bizarre beginning. She attended Mercer Island High in Seattle, which had a wing known as “anarchy alley” that was infested with radical leftist teachers. It is said that Dunham “thrived” in that atmosphere, and she became a committed left-wing atheist herself. Then there was Obama’s mentor in Hawaii, Frank Marshall Davis, a pornographic-novel writer and anti-white, card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA. And how radical were Obama’s leftist grandparents, with whom he lived in the AlohaState? Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, was the one who chose Davis to be scrambler of young Barry’s brains.
The point is that there was no prominent person in the young Obama’s life who could or would expose him to reality. It was all anti-American, anti-Western isms and destructive schism. This brings us to Obama’s mind-numbingly ridiculous description of his 2008 campaign travels: “I’ve now been in 57 states; I think, one left to go.” Where does such a bizarre mistake come from? After all, that there are 50 states is drummed into every American child so that it just instinctively rolls off the tongue: 50 states, 50 states, 50 states….
That is, again, every “American child.”
It’s not that I don’t think Obama knew there are 50 states. Rather, he doesn’t have the intellectual foundation you’d expect of an educated Western man, and this includes a lack of the rote knowledge that, like an actor who has spoken a certain line in 500 rehearsals and performances, is expressed the same way every time. And this, by the way, has nothing to do with where anyone thinks Obama was born. He simply is not truly American in mind, heart and spirit.
But to fully grasp the nature of leftists’ ignorance, an understanding of their philosophical foundation is necessary. There is a certain experience many conservatives know very well: You debate a liberal, and he just seems immune to facts and reason. No matter how airtight your point, it rolls off him like water off a duck.
To explain this, let’s start with an analogy. Becoming proficient at golf involves gaining knowledge about the swing. And if you realize you’ve fallen victim to a misconception, improvement depends upon rejecting it and accepting the truth in question. But what if you were so bent on using your old swing — so attached to “hackerism” — that you simply would not accept that truth? A pustule on the face of the game you’d remain.
So it is in all of life. Everyone falls victim to certain misconceptions, and growing in knowledge and wisdom involves rejecting them when we’re blessed enough to discover refutative truths. But this can be difficult for two reasons. First, it may involve relinquishing ideas to which we’re strongly attached. This could be because they’re integral pieces of an incorrect jigsaw puzzle we’ve glommed onto, an example of which would be a committed atheist who insists there are no moral absolutes because he knows their existence implies God’s. Or it could be that an incorrect belief is embraced as a justification for a behavior (e.g., sexual perversion, heavy drinking) to which we’re attached. Or it could be both.
Second, pride can get in the way, as correcting oneself involves admitting error, often with respect to ideas we’ve spent an entire lifetime defending. It can be like giving up a cherished son.
And while most everyone exhibits to some degree this tendency to rationalize, leftists are defined by it. They are, to use a favored psycho-babble term, morally and philosophically “dysfunctional” people. They live lives of rationalization — which is when you lie to yourself, sell yourself on a fiction — and for this reason only intensify whatever dislocation from reality their upbringing, sometimes, might have wrought.
Their greatest act of self-delusion — their ultimate denial of reality and the one that facilitates all others — is their embrace of moral relativism, the idea that there are no moral absolutes. The appeal of this fiction is that it allows one to justify any behavior imaginable. After all, my sins are not sins if there’s no vice, only viewpoint. Who is to judge? Who is to say? There’s no black and white, only gray.
But once you unmoor yourself from objective moral reality, there is no limit to how immoral you can become. This is why Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov said that without God, “everything is permitted.” It’s why occultist Aleister Crowley insisted, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” And it explains leftists’ bizarre thinking. Did you ever wonder, for instance, how modern liberals can say something so preposterous as “The truth is no defense against a hate-speech charge”? It’s not hard to understand.
When a person who lives a sincere life finds that part of his ideology conflicts with the Truth, he alters his ideology. But what if you not only were attached to your ideology like a drunkard to drink, but didn’t acknowledge Truth’s existence? It is then that you, instead, rationalize away the Truth.
In fact, with his denial of Truth, the leftist places his ideology where Truth should be: the center of his life. This ideology, which just reflects his emotions, anyway, then takes on the role of God. It becomes the ultimate arbiter, the fiction that becomes “fact.” This is why Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels once said, “National Socialism is a religion. …My Party is my church….” Like him, today’s leftists have repeated a big lie to themselves so often that it has become the “truth.”
Interestingly, or maybe ominously, the Bible speaks of the end times in 2 Timothy 3 and writes of “men of depraved minds” who are “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I don’t know if these are the last days, or just the last days of freedom, but our republic is now infested with millions of fiction voters who elected a fiction president based on fairy-tale promises. And it’s looking less and less like our story ends with “happily ever after.”
I am a great fan of Kiev, an affable city of pleasing bourgeois character, with its plentiful small restaurants, clean tree-lined streets, and bonhomie of its beer gardens. A hundred years ago Kiev was predominantly a Russian resort, and some central areas have retained this flavour. Now Kiev is patrolled by armed thugs from the Western Ukraine, by fighters from the neo-Nazi -Right Sector, descendants of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Quisling’s troopers, and by their local comrades-in-arms of nationalist persuasion.
After a month of confrontation, President Viktor Yanukovych gave in, signed the EC-prepared surrender and escaped their rough revolutionary justice by the skin of his teeth. The ruling party MPs were beaten and dispersed, the communists almost lynched, the opposition have the parliament all to themselves, and they’ve appointed new ministers and taken over the Ukraine. The Brown Revolution has won in the Ukraine. This big East European country of fifty million inhabitants has gone the way of Libya. The US and the EU won this round, and pushed Russia back eastwards, just as they intended.
It remains to be seen whether the neo-Nazi thugs who won the battle will agree to surrender the sweet fruits of victory to politicians, who are, God knows, nasty enough. And more importantly, it remains to be seen whether the Russian-speaking East and South East of the country will accept the Brown rule of Kiev, or split off and go their own way, as the people of Israel (so relates the Bible) after King Solomon’s death rebelled against his heir saying “To your tents, o Israel!” and proclaimed independence of their fief (I Kings 12:16). Meanwhile it seems that the Easterners’ desire to preserve Ukrainian state integrity is stronger than their dislike for the victorious Browns. Though they assembled their representatives for what could be a declaration of independence, they did not dare to claim power. These peaceful people have little stamina for strife.
Their great neighbour, Russia, does not appear overtly concerned with this ominous development. Both Russian news agencies, TASS and RIA, didn’t even place the dire Ukrainian news at the top, as Reuters and BBC did: for them, the Olympics and the biathlon were of greater importance.
This “ostrich” attitude is quite typical of the Russian media: whenever they find themselves in an embarrassing position, they escape into showing the Swan Lake ballet on TV. That’s what they did when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. This time it was the Olympics instead of the ballet.
Anti-Putin opposition in Russia heartily approved of the Ukrainian coup.Yesterday Kiev, tomorrow Moscow, they chanted. Maidan (the main square of Kiev, the site of anti-government demos) equals Bolotnaya (a square in Moscow, the site of anti-government protests in December 2012) is another popular slogan.
The majority of Russians were upset but not surprised. Russia decided to minimise its involvement in the Ukraine some weeks ago as if they wished to demonstrate to the world their non-interference. Their behaviour bordered on recklessness. While foreign ministers of EC countries and their allies crowded Kiev, Putin sent Vladimir Lukin, a human rights emissary, an elder low-level politician of very little clout, to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian Ambassador Mr Zurabov, another non-entity, completely disappeared from public view. (Now he was recalled to Moscow). Putin made not a single public statement on the Ukraine, treating it as though it were Libya or Mali, not a neighbouring country quite close to the Russian hinterland.
This hands-off approach could have been expected: Russia did not interfere in the disastrous Ukrainian elections 2004, or in the Georgian elections that produced extremely anti-Russian governments. Russia gets involved only if there is a real battle on the ground, and a legitimate government asks for help, as in Ossetia in 2008 or in Syria in 2011. Russia supports those who fight for their cause, otherwise Russia, somewhat disappointingly, stands aside.
The West has no such inhibitions and its representatives were extremely active: the US State Department representative Victoria “Fuck EC’’ Nuland had spent days and weeks in Kiev, feeding the insurgents with cookies, delivering millions of smuggled greenbacks to them, meeting with their leaders, planning and plotting the coup. Kiev is awash with the newest US dollars fresh from its mint (of a kind yet unseen in Moscow, I’ve been told by Russian friends). The US embassy spread money around like a tipsy Texan in a night club. Every able-bodied young man willing to fight received five hundred dollar a week, a qualified fighter – up to a thousand, a platoon commander had two thousand dollars – good money by Ukrainian standards.
Money is not all. People are also needed for a successful coup. There was an opposition to Yanukovych who won democratic elections, and accordingly, three parties lost elections. Supporters of the three parties could field a lot of people for a peaceful demonstration, or for a sit-in. But would they fight when push comes to shove? Probably not. Ditto the recipients of generous US and EC grants (Nuland estimated the total sum of American investment in “democracy building” at five billion dollars). They could be called to come to the main square for a demo. However, the NGO beneficiaries are timid folk, not likely to risk their well-being. And the US needed a better fighting stock to remove the democratically elected president from power.
In the Western Ukraine, the serpent eggs hatched: children of Nazi collaborators who had imbibed hatred towards the Russians with their mothers’ milk. Their fathers had formed a network under Reinhard Gehlen, the German spymaster. In 1945, as Germany was defeated, Gehlen swore allegiance to the US and delivered his networks to the CIA. They continued their guerrilla war against the Soviets until 1956. Their cruelty was legendary, for they aimed to terrify the population into full compliance to their command. Notoriously, they strangulated the Ukrainians suspected of being friendly to Russians with their bare hands.
A horrifying confession of a participant tells of their activities in Volyn: “One night, we strangulated 84 men. We strangulated adults, as for little kids, we held their legs, swung and broke their heads at a doorpost. …Two nice kids, Stepa and Olya, 12 and 14 years old… we tore the younger one into two parts, and there was no need to strangulate her mother Julia, she died of a heart attack” and so on and so on. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Poles and Jews; even the dreadful Baby Yar massacre was done by them, with German connivance, somewhat similar to Israeli connivance in the Sabra and Chatila massacres of Palestinians by the Lebanese fascists of the Phalange.
The children of these Bandera murderers were brought up to hate Communism, Soviets and Russians, and in adoration of their fathers’ deeds. They formed the spearhead of the pro-US anti-government rebels in the Ukraine, the Right Sector led by out-and-out fascist Dmytro Yarosh. They were ready to fight, to die and kill. Such units attract potential rebels of differing backgrounds: their spokesman is young Russian -turned -Ukrainian -nationalist Artem Skoropadsky, a journalist with the mainstream oligarch-owned Kommersant-UA daily. There are similar young Russians who join Salafi networks and become suicide-bombers in the Caucasus mountains – young people whose desire for action and sacrifice could not be satisfied in the consumer society. This is a Slav al-Qaeda — real neo-Nazi storm troopers, a natural ally of the US.
And they did not fight only for association with EC and against joining a Russia-led TC. Their enemies were also the Russians in the Ukraine, and Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians. The difference between the twain is moot. Before independence in 1991, some three quarters of the population preferred to speak Russian. Since then, successive governments have tried to force people to use Ukrainian. For the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, anyone who speaks Russian is an enemy. You can compare this with Scotland, where people speak English, and nationalists would like to force them to speak the language of Burns.
Behind the spearhead of the Right Sector, with its fervent anti-communist and anti-Russian fighters, a larger organisation could be counted on: the neo-Nazi Freedom (Svoboda), of Tyagnibok. Some years ago Tyagnibokcalled for a fight against Russians and Jews, now he has become more cautious regarding the Jews. He is still as anti-Russian as John Foster Dulles. Tyagnibok was tolerated or even encouraged by Yanukovych, who wanted to take a leaf from the French president Jacques Chirac’s book. Chirac won the second round of elections against nationalist Le Pen, while probably he would have lost against any other opponent. In the same wise, Yanukovych wished Tyagnibok to become his defeatable opponent at the second round of presidential elections.
The parliamentary parties (the biggest one is the party of Julia Timoshenko with 25% of seats, the smaller one was the party of Klitschko the boxer with 15%) would support the turmoil as a way to gain power they lost at the elections.
Union of nationalists and liberals
Thus, a union of nationalists and liberals was formed. This union is the trademark of a new US policy in the Eastern Europe. It was tried in Russia two years ago, where enemies of Putin comprise of these two forces, of pro-Western liberals and of their new allies, Russian ethnic nationalists, soft and hard neo-Nazis. The liberals won’t fight, they are unpopular with the masses; they include an above-average percentage of Jews, gays, millionaires and liberal columnists; the nationalists can incite the great unwashed masses almost as well as the Bolsheviks, and will fight. This is the anti-Putin cocktail preferred by the US. This alliance actually took over 20% of vote in Moscow city elections, after their attempt to seize power by coup was beaten off by Putin. The Ukraine is their second, successful joint action.
Bear in mind: liberals do not have to support democracy. They do so only if they are certain democracy will deliver what they want. Otherwise, they can join forces with al Qaeda as now in Syria, with Islamic extremists as in Libya, with the Army as in Egypt, or with neo-Nazis, as now in Russia and the Ukraine. Historically, the liberal–Nazi alliance did not work because the old Nazis were enemies of bankers and financial capital, and therefore anti-Jewish. This hitch could be avoided: Mussolini was friendly to Jews and had a few Jewish ministers in his government; he objected to Hitler’s anti-Jewish attitude saying that “Jews are useful and friendly”. Hitler replied that if he were to allow that, thousands of Jews would join his party. Nowadays, this problem has vanished: modern neo-Nazis are friendly towards Jews, bankers and gays. The Norwegian killer Breivik is an exemplary sample of a Jew-friendly neo-Nazi. So are the Ukrainian and Russian neo-Nazis.
While the original Bandera thugs killed every Jew (and Pole) that came their way, their modern heirs receive some valuable Jewish support. The oligarchs of Jewish origin (Kolomoysky, Pinchuk and Poroshenko) financed them, while a prominent Jewish leader, Chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of the Ukraine, Josef Zissels, supported them and justified them. There are many supporters of Bandera in Israel; they usually claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite, as he had a Jewish doctor. (So did Hitler.) Jews do not mind Nazis who do not target them. The Russian neo-Nazis target Tajik gastarbeiters, and the Ukrainian neo-Nazis target Russian-speakers.
Revolution: the Outline
The revolution deserves to be described in a few lines: Yanukovych was not too bad a president, prudent though weak. Still the Ukraine came to the edge of financial abyss. (You can read more about it in my previous piece) He tried to save the situation by allying with the EC, but the EC had no money to spare. Then he tried to make a deal with Russia, and Putin offered him a way out, without even demanding from him that the Ukraine join the Russian-led TC. This triggered the violent response of the EC and the US, as they were worried it would strengthen Russia.
Yanuk, as people call him for short, had few friends. Powerful Ukrainian oligarchs weren’t enamoured with him. Besides the usual reasons, they did not like the raider habits of Yanuk’s son, who would steal other men’s businesses. Here they may have had a point, for the leader of Belarus, the doughty Lukashenko, said that Yanuk’s son’s unorthodox ways of acquiring businesses brought disaster.
Yanuk’s electorate, the Russian-speaking people of the Ukraine (and they are a majority in the land, like English-speaking Scots are majority in Scotland) were disappointed with him because he did not give them the right to speak Russian and teach their children in Russian. The followers of Julia Timoshenko disliked him for jailing their leader. (She richly deserved it: she hired assassins, stole billions of Ukrainian state money in cahoots with a former prime minister, made a crooked deal with Gazprom at the expense of Ukrainian consumers, and what not.) Extreme nationalists hated him for not eradicating the Russian language.
The US-orchestrated attack on the elected President followed Gene Sharp’s instructions to a tee, namely: (1) seize a central square and organise a mass peaceful sit-in, (2) speak endlessly of danger of violent dispersal, (3) if the authorities do nothing, provoke bloodshed, (4) yell bloody murder, (5) the authority is horrified and stupefied and (6) removed and (7) new powers take over.
The most important element of the scheme has never been voiced by the cunning Sharp, and that is why the Occupy Wall Street movement (who thumbed through the book) failed to achieve the desired result. You have to have the Masters of Discourse™ i.e., Western mainstream media, on your side. Otherwise, the government will squash you as they did with the Occupy and many other similar movements. But here, the Western media was fully on the rebels’ side, for the events were organised by the US embassy.
At first, they gathered for a sit-in on the Independence Square (aka “Maidan Square”) some people they knew: recipients of USAID grants via the NGO network, wrote a Ukrainian expert Andrey Vajra, networks of fugitive oligarch Khoroshkovski, neo-Nazis of the Right Sector and radicals of the Common Cause. The peaceful assembly was lavishly entertained by artists; food and drink were served for free, free sex was encouraged – it was a carnival in the centre of the capital, and it began to attract the masses, as would happen in every city in the known universe. This carnival was paid for by the oligarchs and by the US embassy.
But the carnival could not last forever. As per (2), rumours of violent dispersal were spread. People became scared and drifted away. Only a small crowd of activists remained on the square. Provocation as per (3) was supplied by a Western agent within the administration, Mr Sergey Levochkin. He wrote his resignation letter, posted it and ordered police to violently disperse the sit-in. Police moved in and dispersed the activists. Nobody was killed, nobody was seriously wounded, – today, after a hundredfold dead, it is ridiculous even to mention this thrashing, – but the opposition yelled bloody murder at the time. The world media, this powerful tool in the hands of Masters of Discourse, decried “Yanukovych massacred children”. The EC and the US slapped on sanctions, foreign diplomats moved in, all claiming they want to protect peaceful demonstrators, while at the same time beefing up the Maidan crowd with armed gunmen and Right Sector fighters.
We referred to Gene Sharp, but the Maidan had an additional influence, that of Guy Debord and his concept of Society of Spectacle. It was not a real thing, but a well-done make-believe, as was its predecessor, the August 1991 Moscow “coup”. Yanukovych did everything to build up the Maidan resistance: he would send his riot police to disperse the crowd, and after they did only half of the job, he would call them back, and he did this every day. After such treatment, even a very placid dog would bite.
The Spectacle-like unreal quality of Kiev events was emphasized by arrival of the imperial warmonger, the neocon philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. He came to Maidan like he came to Libya and Bosnia, claiming human rights and threatening sanctions and bombing. Whenever he comes, war is following. I hope I shall be away from every country he plans to visit.
First victims of the Brown Revolution were the monuments – those of Lenin, for they do hate communism in every form, and those of the world war, because the revolutionaries solidarise with the lost side, with the German Nazis.
History will tell us to what extent Yanuk and his advisors understood what they were doing. Anyway, he encouraged the fire of Maidan by his inefficient raids by a weaponless police force. The neo-Nazis of Maidan used snipers against the police force, dozens of people were killed, but President Obama called upon Yanuk to desist, and he desisted. After renewed shooting, he would send the police in again. An EC diplomat would threaten him with the Hague tribunal dock, and he would call his police back. No government could function in such circumstances.
Eventually he collapsed, signed on the dotted line and departed for unknown destination. The rebels seized power, forbade the Russian language and began sacking Kiev and Lvov. Now the life of the placid people of Kiev has been turned into a living hell: daily robberies, beating, murder abound. The victors are preparing a military operation against the Russian-speaking areas in the South East of Ukraine. The spectacle of the revolution can yet turn really bloody.
Some Ukrainians hope that Julia Timoshenko, freshly released from jail, will be able to rein the rebels in. Others hope that President Putin will pay heed to the Ukrainian events, now that his Olympic games are, mercifully, finished. The spectacle is not over until the fat lady sings, but sing she will – her song still remains to be seen and heard.
English language editing by Ken Freeland.
President Obama’s Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.
there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.
Though not in Washington, I’m in that “certain crowd” that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. It’s not really a crowd, it’s a tiny group of radicals–radicals for capitalism, in Ayn Rand’s well-turned phrase.
The only thing that the market doesn’t take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. That’s why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.
Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only “to secure these rights”–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added “property” in there–property rights are inseparable from the other three.)
That’s the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?
I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one-one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.
Laissez-faire hasn’t existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.
Radical capitalists are just beginning to have a slight effect on the Right wing. The overwhelming majority on the Right are eclectic. Which is a nice way of saying inconsistent.
The typical Republican would never, ever say “the market will take care of everything.” He’d say, “the market will take care of most things, and for the other things, we need the regulatory-welfare state.”
They are for individualism–except when they are against it. They are against free markets and individualism not only when they agree with the Left that we must have antitrust laws and the Federal Reserve, but also when they demand immigration controls, government schools, regulatory agencies, Medicare, laws prohibiting abortion, Social Security, “public works” projects, the “social safety net,” laws against insider trading, banking regulation, and the whole system of fiat money.
Obama blames economic woes, some real some manufactured (“inequality”) on a philosophy and policy that was abandoned a century ago. What doesn’t exist is what he says didn’t work.
Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalism–on the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax rates–while blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.
The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCC–to name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.
Even you, dear reader, are probably wondering how on earth anyone could challenge things like Social Security, government schools, and the FDA. But that’s not the point. The point is: these statist, anti-capitalist programs exist and have existed for about a century. The point is: Obama is pretending that the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society were repealed, so that he can blame the financial crisis on capitalism. He’s pretending that George Bush was George Washington.
We radical capitalists say that it was the regulatory-welfare state that imploded in 2008. You may disagree, but let’s argue that out, rather than engaging in the Big Lie that what failed was laissez-faire and individualism.
The question is: in the messy mixture of government controls and remnants of capitalism, which element caused the Great Depression and the recent financial crisis?
By raising that question, we uncover the fundamental: the meaning of capitalism and the meaning of government controls. Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.
Suddenly, the whole issue comes into focus: Obama is saying that freedom leads to poverty and force leads to wealth. He’s saying: “Look, we tried leaving you free to live your own life, and that didn’t work. You have to be forced, you have to have your earnings seized by the state, you have to work under our directions–under penalty of fines or imprisonment. You don’t deserve to be free.”
As a bit of ugly irony, this is precisely what former white slave-owners said after the Civil War: “The black man can’t handle freedom; we have to force him for his own good.” The innovation of the Left is to extend that viewpoint to all races.
Putting the issue as force vs. freedom shows how the shoe is on the other foot regarding what Obama said. Let me re-write it:
there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The government will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just pile on even more regulations and raise taxes–especially on the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the losers are protected by more social programs and a higher minimum wage, if there is more Quantitative Easing by the Fed, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle up to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle up, well, that’s the price of the social safety net.
Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our intellectuals’ collectivism and Paul Krugman’s skepticism about freedom. That’s in Harvard’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the Soviet Union. It’s not what led to the incredible booms in India and China. And it didn’t work when Europe tried it during over the last decades. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this statist theory.
How does that sound? That’s blaming an actual, existing condition–government controls and wealth-expropriation–not a condition that ended in the late 19th century.
So which is the path to prosperity and happiness–freedom or force? Remember that force is aimed at preventing you from acting on your rational judgment.
Obama’s real antagonist is Ayn Rand, who made the case that reason is man’s basic means of survival and coercion is anti-reason. Force initiated against free, innocent men is directed at stopping them from acting on their own thinking. It makes them, under threat of fines and imprisonment, act as the government demands rather than as they think their self-interest requires. That’s the whole point of threatening force: to make people act against their own judgment.
The radical, uncompromised, laissez-faire capitalism that Obama pretends was in place in 2008 is exactly what morality demands. Because, as Ayn Rand wrote in 1961: “No man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. . . . To claim the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man–the right to compel his agreement by the threat of physical destruction–is to evict oneself automatically from the realm of rights, of morality and of the intellect.”
Obama and his fellow statists have indeed evicted themselves from that realm.
On the 100th Anniversary of World War 1, the Western powers are again sleepwalking into destructive conflict. Hegemonic ambition has Washington interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine, but developments seem to be moving beyond Washington’s control.
Regime change in Ukraine for a mere $5 billion dollars would be a bargain compared to the massive sums squandered in Iraq ($3,000 billion), Afghanistan ($3,000 billion), Somalia, and Libya, or the money Washington is wasting murdering people with drones in Pakistan and Yemen, or the money Washington has spent supporting al Qaeda in Syria, or the massive sums Washington has wasted surrounding Iran with 40 military bases and several fleets in the Persian Gulf in an effort to terrorize Iran into submission.
So far, in Washington’s attempt at regime change in Ukraine large numbers of Americans are not being killed and maimed. Only Ukrainians are dying, all the better for Washington as the deaths are blamed on the Ukrainian government that the US has targeted for overthrow.
The problem with Washington’s plot to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and install its minions is twofold: The chosen US puppets have lost control of the protests to armed radical elements with historical links to nazism, and Russia regards an EU/NATO takeover of Ukraine as a strategic threat to Russian independence.
Washington overlooked that the financially viable part of today’s Ukraine consists of historical Russian provinces in the east and south that the Soviet leadership merged into Ukraine in order to dilute the fascist elements in western Ukraine that fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union. It is these ultra-nationalist elements with nazi roots, not Washington’s chosen puppets, who are now in charge of the armed rebellion in Western Ukraine.
If the democratically elected Ukraine government is overthrown, the eastern and southern parts would rejoin Russia. The western part would be looted by Western bankers and corporations, and the NATO Ukraine bases would be targeted by Russian Iskander missiles.
It would be a defeat for Washington and their gullible Ukrainian dupes to see half of the country return to Russia. To save face, Washington might provoke a great power confrontation, which could be the end of all of us.
My series of articles on the situation in Ukraine resulted in a number of interviews from Canada to Russia, with more scheduled. It also produced emotional rants from people of Ukrainian descent whose delusions are impenetrable by facts. Deranged Russophobes dismissed as propaganda the easily verifiable report of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland’s public address last December, in which she boasted that Washington had spent $5 billion preparing Ukraine to be aligned with Washington’s interests. Protest sympathizers claim that the intercepted telephone call between Nuland and the US Ambassador in Ukraine, in which the two US officials chose the government that would be installed following the coup, is a fake.
One person actually suggested that my position should be aligned with the “sincerity of the Kiev students,” not with the facts.
Some Trekkers and Trekkies were more concerned that I used an improper title for Spock than they were with the prospect of great power confrontation. The point of my article flew off into space and missed planet Earth.
Spock’s mental powers were the best weapon that Starship Enterprise had. Among my graduate school friends, Spock was known as Dr. Spock, because he was the cool, calm, and unemotional member of the crew who could diagnose the problem and save the situation.
There are no Spocks in the US or any Western government and certainly not among the Ukrainian protesters.
I have often wondered if Spock’s Vulcan ancestry was Gene Roddenberry’s way of underlining by contrast the fragility of human reason. In the context of modern military technology, is it possible for life to survive humanity’s penchant for emotion to trump reason and for self-delusion to prevail over factual reality?
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
Do You Really Want To Know?
G. Edward Griffin is a leader in the effort to inform the public about the dark blanket of imperialism being stretched across the Globe. The blanket is still light and much of the free world is still breathing the air of peace, prosperity, and freedom. But the Specter of the blanket can be seen in the long thin clouds of spray that fill our skies and in the United Nations signs that appear outside our parks. Strands have invaded our town meetings where the phrase “Sustainable Development” has become common. It can be affirmed by the death of privacy in Swiss Banks, by massive purchases of arms and ammunition by Homeland Security, and by the burgeoning piles of information being accumulated at the National Security Agency. As light gives-way to darkness a solitary flame of freedom still burns brightly.
Informative messengers like the John Birch Society, G. Edward Griffin, Paul Craig Roberts, Rev. Chuck Baldwin and dozens of other talented internet speakers and writers have been conveying the message of clandestine danger for decades but the sparks have been too weak to ignite a fire. The sweet wine of propaganda has sated many of our citizens and the evils of centralization have been erased from their self-censored minds.
Though most of our citizens claim to be Christian there is wide spread ignorance of the government our Christian God demands. Preachers stress pietism and evangelism and assure their congregations that God’s Law is no longer valid. Efforts to please God by studying and seeking to obey His commandments have been replaced by church Bible studies where in wicked arrogance God’s children critique their Creator and King. Real Christianity has been left like a pot of gold in the middle of a Harlem street – defenseless and vulnerable.
Libertarians resist the looming tyranny with considerable energy. They monitor the strands of control and publish informative warnings. Their goal is a form of freedom with few moral restraints. Some Christians are sprinkled through their midst and a few seek a Godly legal structure but the party contains a strong band of license seeking anarchists.
R. J. Rushdoony describes this problem: “The great illusion promoted by the United States and others is that freedom, by which they mean voting, will bring wealth and prosperity, but it does not. What is required is character, moral standards put to work, a governing faith that creates its own environment. Lacking that, the people will curse freedom and democracy as much as they did Marxism and dictatorship. Freedom is a relative good: freedom can have an evil use as well as a good one. The faith and morality of a people determine their use of freedom.”
A righteous, unchangeable, overarching legal structure and an obedient people provide the basis for maximum freedom. Human beings were designed to live under the Will of their Creator; they are intrinsically unable to maintain peace and freedom any other way. Without willing obedience to The Higher Authority diverse human opinion always produces tyranny
There are several concerns with current dissenting solutions to the world’s problems. The major complaint against the progressive American entanglement in world government has been obedience to the Constitution. The Constitution encodes religious freedom. Rushdoony comments on this problem: “A multiverse of values means that men can choose their values and their lifestyles. Homosexuality, necrophilia, incest bestiality, theft, murder, lies, and more all gain an equal validity as lifestyles. In a world that affirms democracy, this means that all men have an equal right to play god and to live according to the morality of their choice. Our present moral decay is a product of this polytheistic faith. We cannot recover as a people and a culture without obedience to this first commandment. “Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”
In United States voting is considered a virtue in itself and hundreds of thousands of uninformed voters cast a ballot hoping to support their self-interest. The entire process is conducted in a sea of slanted propaganda spewed through a biased media that seeks to keep voters ignorant and thinking they can actually influence the Federal Government.
Many citizens who fail to understand the malignant nature of both political parties become addicted to the process and continue year after year to believe the contrived lies that make up political campaigns. If their candidate is elected and does exactly the opposite of what was promised they speak and write vigorous complaints. Some are so severely captivated that they make excuses for rank mendacity. It is a form of insanity!
Dislike for the existing system provides fertilizer for numerous alternatives. Waiting in the wings are powerful Communistic and Socialist organizations. In unsettled times adrenalin begins to flow through the veins of despots of all stripes. Promises of peace and prosperity come from every direction but the history of anarchic overthrows of repressive regimes is almost always another, that is often worse.
Distracting two party politics was not a product of the Constitution but was incipient before it was written. The original division was between those who favored a strong, authoritative federal government and those who championed limited federal power. This division created two political parties from the outset. Humanism had seeped into the minds of our founders. Biblical principles still lurked in their heads and though they crafted a document that showcased their desire to preserve freedom it was maligned with their prejudices.
Power seekers centralize; freedom seekers decentralize. Biblical government decentralizes power into individual families. The federal government should be a servant to the family which is overseen by the father. The law should support the family and the church should arbitrate righteousness. With God’s unchanging law standing supreme this governmental pattern could provide utmost freedom for the world and its citizens.
The United States of America has been overcome by powerful people who are willing to go along to get along. Political parties are tightly controlled by their leaders and by a handful of shadowy but powerful owners of banks, corporations, press, and media. Voters have been convinced that compromise is a component of good government. When a nation functions without absolute rights and wrongs compromise allows politicians to legislate change. Tragically, by allowing consistently inferior decisions, the change produces a constant deterioration in excellence.
Existentialism is a bane. Widespread foreboding contributes to our concern for the moment; get all the gusto we can, for tomorrow we die! The God of the Bible is concerned with the past, present, and future. God reminds His people regularly of His former merciful and miraculous actions and has designed His commandments to produce a peaceful, prosperous and free future. Rushdoony writes, “The anarchistic individualism of our time makes us mindless of the importance of our past and of our histories as people.”
God’s intentions for His people cannot be realized under a civil government that destroys the past with names like “Presidents Day”, threatens property ownership with ever increasing taxation, and the family structure by flaunting God’s directives.
Aggrandizing and distorting history sets society on a foundation of shifting sand. Our first president, George Washington, is a hero to Americans and particularly to Christians. He was, indeed, an admirable man. Nevertheless, he was not without faults and some seriously injured the future of our nation. Income to finance the Revolutionary war was always a problem to General Washington. His ability to find funds to feed and equip his troops was hampered by the lack of a legal tax structure and when His considerable power was brought to bear on the construction of our Constitution the ability to tax was successfully included. He was also very active in the Masons and religious freedom was another serious concern. He sought to create a nation of free citizens but, ultimately, his prejudices have hampered its existence.
Lou Rockwell’s internet site and a host of Libertarian writers and speakers are doing a commendable job of ferreting out the dangers our imperial government is creating but their solution is not only vague but often utopian.
Freedom is a product of a righteous and obedient society. God knows that we are sinners who require the rod and the staff of the Law if we wish to live in peace and freedom. As our Creator and King He knows us better than we know ourselves. When we become obsessed with our importance we need to consider that we had nothing to do with our entrance into this world and will not be able to control our exit. We are sojourners in a wonderful world that we did not create but that we have a responsibility to contribute to, to enjoy and preserve. We are tiny in relation the vast universe and unable to comprehend the infinite nature of its creator. We have obeyed God’s command to subdue the earth but for our own ends not for those of our Ruler
The God of the Bible is sovereign and there is no doubt that the captivity that threatens the earth is a form of punishment. We are self-ruled rebels who have forsaken God’s Commandments and thumbed our noses at His Person. We need to thank Him for his mercy since the penalty for treason is death. The Bible reports that when people repented and changed their ways He forgave them and restored them. When all else fails will we repent?
Gentle reader, do you understand that when God fights on the side of righteousness victory is assured and numbers mean nothing. We have people praying but God will not answer the prayers of a people who are under judgment. Christians who use the end times as an excuse for disobedience bring God’s judgment on themselves and on our nation. Every Christian must seek to obey God’s Commandments and to bring the nation and the world under His authority by the same obedience. Much of our law has already been changed from righteousness to evil. Changes in the law enforce confiscatory taxation, staggering debt, illegal wars, despotism, abortion and homosexuality. We must support God’s Law. The Constitution is ancillary; it is God’s Law that both we and our government must obey.
The legal codes contained in the Bible seem utopian by today’s standards but before the Constitution was ratified they were the foundation of our nation; though lonely, they are still the gold medal solution.
The Rushdoony quotes are from his book “Deuteronomy”.
Syrian Regime Solidifies Recent Gains…
Damascus – Since around Valentine Day and aided by truly magnificent warm weather for this time of year, the dozens of parks in Damascus have been receiving unusually large numbers of visitors, not least of whom are Syrian soldiers on leave, enjoying the green space with girlfriends, families and friends. At the large garden with dozen of benches and sculptures, called Al-Manshia (Presidents Bridge) public park, and located between two five-star hotels, the Dama Rose and the 4-Seasons, some soldiers, presumably from out of town and with many appearing utterly exhausted, can be seen simply laying on the grass fast asleep under the warm healing sunshine.
Soldiers joke, laugh and seem pleased when citizens approach them to offer their thanks for the army’s service to the Syrian Arab Republic and to inquire about how things are going personally and if there is some help the citizen might offer the soldier. Such is the nature of Syrian nationalism and connection with Mother Syria that this observer has remarked about before and is strikingly rare from his experience. I love my country but frankly do not feel the pride and deep connection that Syrians appear to exhibit about their country’s 10,000 year history as the cradle of civilization. I would defend my country and fight for it if there were to be a legitimate war which frankly has not been the case in my lifetime.
Over the past 30 months of frequent visits to Damascus, the city has never appeared more ‘normal’ Last night this observers was up all night reading and there was not one bombing run or mortar or artillery fire to he heard, a first for more than two years. For many months, I used to avoid the historic Al-Hamidiyah Souk, the largest and the central souk in Syria located inside the old walled city of Damascus next to the Umayyad Mosque, despite its hundreds of interesting shops. The reason I tended to stay away was because I was one of very few people meandering among the warren of stalls and felt self-conscious when shopkeepers would plead with me to buy something-anything to help feed their families many of whom lived near the labyrinth.
Today, Al-Hamidiyah Souk, if not frequented with the numbers of shoppers and visitors as it was before March 2011, it is nonetheless very crowded such that foreigners can pass unnoticed…well, sometimes for at least the first hundred yards or so. In Damascene neighborhoods, no longer do citizens quickly disappear into their homes at the first sign of dusk but the streets and many cafes are crowded well past 9 p.m.
“Quo Vadis Syrie”, (‘where is Syria heading’) one Damascus University classics major, turned international law student, asked this visitor as we both sat on the steps of the Law Faculty while enjoying a bit of sun yesterday afternoon. “Is our crisis nearly over so we can start re-building Mother Syria or do our enemies have other plans to destroy us? I worry that today’s calm will soon disappear with an arriving hurricane.” His comment was perhaps triggered by a certain sense here and more widely elsewhere that a forming “coalition of the willing” appears to be pressing for a ‘humanitarian’ No Fly Zone. Some American allies envisage and are making plans to implement, a NFZ stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to Congressional sources.
Any NFZ would be very different from what is currently being promoted and advertised by certain war-mongers in Washington, Tel Aviv and several European capitals as well as among elements of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States. Post Round Two of Geneva II, the White House and the usual “bomb the bastards” coterie in Congress and among the US Zionist lobby, are said to be re-thinking the idea of a No Fly Zone (NFZ) for Syria. It would be planned and executed with US and a yet to be specified, “Coalition of the willing” using aircraft now at the ready in Jordan and Turkey to begin with.
Ranking with the fake “non-lethal aid” concept, in terms of cynical deception (virtually all “non-lethal” aid is indeed lethal for its facilitates certain forces killing others including night goggles, telecommunication equipment, GPS equipment, salaries, fake IDs and much else), a limited, ‘humanitarian’ NFZ would almost certainly became a bomb anything/person that moves ‘turkey shoot’ as was the case in Libya in 2011 as was studied and witnessed first-hand by this an many other observers. What we observed in the then, but no more, Al Jamahiriya (state of the masses), was that the misnomer ‘limited humanitarian Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) promoted by Obama Administration UN Ambassador Susan Rice for Libya and now by her predecessor Samatha Power for Syria, was that a NFZ means essentially an all-out war for regime change at all costs in terms of expendable lives and treasury.
The Libya experience, conceding many differences between the two countries and their governments and quality of each country’s military, may be prologue for Syria. Backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate, NATO charged into Libya citing its urgent “responsibility to protect” civilians threatened by claimed bloody rampages occurring across the country. Within days, we witnessed the ‘limited carefully vetted’ targets bank turn from a promoted ‘several dozen purely military targets” into more than 10,000 bomb runs using over 7,700 ‘precision guided bombs” and from the ground and what we learned during weeks in Libya by victims and eye-witnesses it seemed at times that the targets were basically anything that moved or looked like it might have a conceivable military purpose of some sort.
Human Rights Watch documented nearly 100 cases of civilians being bombed and killed as part of the R2P campaign. Other estimates are several times the HRW published figures. To this day Libyan civilians and demanding to know from NATO, “Why did you destroy my home and kill my family?” No answer has to date been provided to the Libyan victims’ families despite investigations that showed NATO pilots frequently disregarded instructions and “we essentially bombed at if we were playing video games” according to post-conflict contrite British airman.
Susan Rice, now Obama’s national security adviser, met with Saudi officials last week to discuss a NFZ and related strategy despite White House claims that it is still skeptical. Rice told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee late last month that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are working together again on Syria policy after a year of occasional bitter disagreement.
Among those currently petitioning the Obama Administration for a NFZ, which would quickly devolve into thousands of bomb runs across Syria that would likely decimate its air force and tank corps are the so-called ‘rebels.’ They tend to agree with France that problems lay ahead for them given April’s fast approaching Presidential election, in which the incumbent President, Bashar Assad, is likely to seek and win re-election.
In addition, Israel, according to a Congressional source, has offered to help ‘behind the scenes” with airbases if needed and certain activities along the southern Syrian border with occupied Palestine. A majority of Arab League countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plus Turkey, France, the UK and some members of the EU also support the NFZ idea. Saudi Arabia has already approved large quantities of Chinese man-portable air defense systems or Manpads as well as antitank guided missiles from Russia and more cash to help rebels oust the Assad regime, according to an Arab diplomat. Meanwhile, the US has upped its contribution to pay the salaries of preferred rebel fighters.
Ominously, the U.S. has already positioned Patriot air defense batteries and F-16 fighter aircraft in Jordan, which would be integral to any no-fly zone. The U.S. planes have air-to-air missiles that could destroy Syrian planes from long ranges. But officials have advised Congress that aircraft may be required to enter deep into Syrian air space if threatened by advancing Syrian planes. This could easily lead to all-out war with Syria and if Russia decides to provide advanced, long-range S-300 air defense weapons to Syria, it would make such a limited no-fly zone far more risky for U.S. pilots and it’s anyone’s guess what would happen next.
President Obama so far is keeping his own counsel as his Secretaries of Defense and State, current and former, and many other officials and politicians offer their advice for the White House ordering a NFZ. Hilary Clinton and General David Petraeus reportedly both favor a NFZ to ‘end this mess” in the words of the retired CIA Director.
To his great credit, Barack Obama appears so far to many on Capitol Hill to be reluctant to give formal approval to another NFZ as he was last summer when he resisted calls to launch a war against Syria as well as Congressional war-monger demands to go to war with Iran on behalf of the Netanyahu government. This week Mr. Obama acknowledged that diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict are far from achieving their goals. “But the situation is fluid and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue including diplomacy.”
If President Obama extends his record of putting American interests first to three key decisions over the past six months, and if he sticks with diplomacy rather than launch all-out war with Syria, and potentially the allies of Damascus, via a NFZ, he just may be on his way to earning his prematurely awarded Nobel Prize.