Tipping Point or Turning Point?
Damascus – Easy walking distance from this observer’s hotel near the city center, the Damascus Opera House, the site of yesterday’s Presidential address, was inaugurated in May of 2004 by the President and his wife, completing a project of his late father, Hafez, who actually planned the opera house in detail, but which had been put on hold since the late 1970’s. Located off Umayyad Square, the multipurpose culture center complex, presented its most recent opera, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s, The Marriage of Figaro, just months before the current crisis erupted.
The nearly 1,400 seating capacity Opera Theater was packed for yesterday’s presidential address, and as in the final scene of Mozart’s Opera, the conclusion of Bashar Assad’s performance was followed by, as Mozart wrote, “a night-long celebration” among many of his supporters here in Damascus. Basher Assad’s glory, as he tried to leave the stage last night and was swarmed by scores of admirers, may not have been that of Caesar’s, during the Gallic wars as the latter also portrayed a domestic crisis and challenge as a defensive struggle to save “Rome”. And granted, it is unlikely that Syria’s president will appear to his critics as posh as John Kennedy at Vienna’s Opera House. But the man connected with his audience (s) during his watershed speech. He excelled in delivery, content and, most critically, stating and advocating what he believes is his countryman’s case. While welcoming foreign advice on how to end the current crisis, he insisted that the Syrian people throughout their history of resistance to occupation and hegemony have rejected the orders from certain governments he referred to, in the current crisis, as the “masters of the puppets” who are every day causing death, destruction and deprivations across the Syrian Arab Republic. Admittedly sleep deprived, this observer, as he listened to Bashar Assad’s address was reminded of a Macbeth or Brutus soliloquy. I could not help but transpose in my mind Brutus’ plea in Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“Who is here so rude or unpatriotic that would not be a Syrian nationalist? Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak–for him
I have not intentionally or unjustly wronged. I pause for a reply.”
Following his presidential address to the nation, one local journalist, who is sometimes critical of the regime, elaborated–in answer to my question about Assad’s apparent enduring popularity during this tragic period for people of Syria: “It’s true. And it’s partly due to the fact that he is modest, even humble– and well-educated in contrast to some regional monarchs who are essentially illiterate and uninterested in the world outside their fiefdoms palaces.” She continued, “Before the crisis it was not unusual to spot him, without a security convoy, driving himself around downtown, his car full of kids- doing errands or taking them out to eat-sometimes collecting them from school. You saw his almost boyish charm yesterday as he entered the hall and made his way down the aisle to the podium as he greeted members of the audience. As he departed he did not appear in a hurry as he shook hands. Bashar Assad obviously enjoys being among people and is not at all a sullen remote type personality as some critics wrongly portray him.”
Following the speech, when the lovely chamber maid who daily spruces up my hotel room dropped by in early evening to do something, I was reading and watching the news. They showed a clip of the president delivering his noontime speech. She lite up when she saw Bashar, spontaneously walked across the room, wrapped her arms around the TV set and hugged it while kissing the screen. I noticed that the lady’s hands were wet and became fearful that the dear woman might get electrocuted!
One well known politically connected Sheik in Damascus offered his view last night to this observer that Assad’s message was to the Syrian people and to his country’s foreign friends and to those who are neutral–and not to his governments enemies. He also suggested that the President will deliver two more speeches in the near future, the next one perhaps having a “FDR fireside chat” format. The Sunni Sheik referred to yesterday’s speech as the first of three “victory” speeches he expected to be delivered. He also spoke about the UAE and Saudi Arabia in relation to what was happening in Syria and the fact that they are experiencing challenges of their own. In the case of the Saudi Kingdom, and against the backdrop of increased Iran-Saudi consultations regarding Syria, the ill health of King Abdullah and the evident succession power struggle which has intensified recently, with some of the royal family potentates reportedly being strongly opposed to the current campaign to undermine the Assad regime. The Syrian government, despite its detractors, is seen by many in the Gulf countries as being pedigree Arab nationalists with a history of mutual respect for other countries.
The Sheik also sees signs of the Obama administration backing off from its covert war against Syria partly due to the fractured and often coherent message coming from various spokesman of the misnomered “coalition.” Mr. Assad, in what historians and Middle East analysts may well dub an historic speech, offered a new plan to his countrymen, friends and foes alike, and to the international community to immediately end the crisis.
It includes, in sequential order:
* foreign countries to stop financing the rebels;
* Syria’s government putting down its arms and declaring an amnesty;
* a national conference and dialogue;
* the drafting of a constitution approved by referendum;
* a coalition government, presumably until the holding of elections scheduled for 2014.
One Congressional staffer on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee emailed late today that the Obama administration may well be willing to accept Bashar Assad’s “Damascus Opera House” formula given the fast changing geopolitical reality the region and the military stalemate on the ground in Syria. Both facts suggesting that there is no realistic alternative to the current elected government or that there is much of a realistic prospect that the regime will throw in the towel or collapse anytime soon.
The Congressional staffer, who works on US-Middle East issues, also believes that the incoming Secretary of State, John Kerrey and the likely new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who will face a tough Senate confirmation fight, but will likely survive it, would go along.
In contract to President Assad’s speech this morning, one of the leaders of the so-called opposition, George Sabra, did not appear capable of offering much to aid the process of ending the current crisis in Syria. Said Mr. Sabra, “No one could possibly think about dialogue or working with this regime in any way. It is not a possibility. It is out of the question.”
Sabra’s may not be the evolving international view.
People Control Both…
Libertarianism has become popular. But is it really the answer to the despotic regimes that have characterized the history of human society? Some who claim the name are close but many are far into utopian fantasies.
I like Lou Rockwell. His internet page is always a source of truth and commendable prose. I saved a quote where he said that the “moral law applies across the board, and that one is not exempted from it by a government suit.” That is a good starting point as long as the source of the moral law is the Word of the Christian Triune God. Unfortunately, God’s Law is rarely, if ever, mentioned in Libertarian circles.
Most Libertarians are pedagogic, articulate, intellectual, and industrious; they have no peers in chronicling the swift deterioration of our nation. Their primary moral code is that coercion is evil and freedom is righteous. Most envision a society free from restraints where everyone considers the rights of their fellows. Their objective is attractive and though its realization is murky and imprecise their ranks are growing.
Libertarianism has roots in the Godless intellectualism of the Enlightenment. Seventeenth Century French intellectual Rene Descartes declared “I think, therefore I am”. Deification of the human mind began the tragic and irrational march toward human divinity. Thomas Paine called it “The Age of Reason” and with the irreverence of a rebel and the brilliance of an intellectual he discarded the formal religion of the ages in favor of his own deistic opinions.
Intellectualism spawned the Enlightenment and like its progenitor Libertarianism is steeped in intellectualism. Free trade ala Ludwig von Mises takes on an almost divine character. The fractured condition of the movement provides insight into the results of the deification of the human mind.
Libertarian ranks include Liberals, Conservatives, Paleo-Conservatives, Anarchists, Minarchists, limited government rebels, mislead Christians, freedom loving intellectuals, and rebellious youth. There are Socialist Libertarians and Capitalist Libertarians. European definitions tend to be anarchic and politically left while American definitions are broader supporting free market capitalism. All tend to resist coercion and emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. There are moral Libertarians and immoral Libertarians. There are Koch Libertarians and Rockwell Libertarians. As with many Godless intellectual movements there is a wide acceptance of free sex.
Former Congressman Ron Paul has done as much as anyone to popularize the Libertarian Movement. His run for the Presidency was filled with wisdom and honesty that would serve us well but his defeat was programmed before he began his campaign. Peter Theil, an openly gay member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, provided major support. I voted for Ron Paul and thought his financing was a result of large quantities of small contributions from internet sources. I now wonder if it was a setup to insure the election of Barak Obama.
Libertarianism lacks an anchor and is plagued with the anarchy of human opinion. When organizations become fractured by opposing opinions they become weak through diversity. Power results from a clear objective. There are too many voices in the movement. In a Business Insider article Eric Zuesse writes that Libertarians “entirely avoid the real question, which is: What type of government is good? As an “ideology,” libertarianism doesn’t even make it to first base: it’s fake, from the get-go. That’s why libertarianism fails.”
Allegiance to God’s overarching legal system provides an anchor and a big step forward for freedom. Opinions are a form of coercion with each proponent striving to dominate. Anthony Wile at the Daily Bell recently posted a fascinating interview with George Guilder. Guilder is a consummate insider who lost his father to WWII and was parented by David Rockefeller. Some of Guilder’s opinions are compatible with patriots, new world order opponents, and some Libertarians. The interview is here. It is an interesting interview of a very smart man. However, I am not as much interested in the interview itself as I am with the demeanor of Gilder’s responses. He responds with the assurance of the wealthy elite and Wile accepts his responses with the demeanor of the proletariat. Though they are just opinions Gilder expects them to be heeded; there is tyranny in his manner. An interview with Walter Block provides another example of dominate opinion. Block has the lofty credentials of an academic. He expects respect for his positions but with less dominance. Read his interview here.
Rejection of the Christian doctrine of original sin undergirds scores of disastrous social and political ventures. The government of the United States of America was founded and has been conducted under the assumption that government is a human domain. We live in a Democratic Republic which depends on the voting public to elect individuals who will abide by a Constitution.
God provided Commandments, not opinions. Commandments are authoritative and dominating, they demand compliance. Opinions vary from man to man and are subject to rejections. Commandments vest authority in God while opinions vest authority in the creature. One is God centered, the other is humanistic. God’s Commandments are simple and immutable; human law is voluminous, complex, emendable, and often obtuse.
The United States Constitution is a man made document that is being shredded by men and women who have taken a sacred oath to uphold it. These are evil, dishonest people. This kind of behavior is typical of the majority of kings, queens, and dictators that have enslaved and abused the earth’s population from antediluvian times. It would create severe problems in an anarchic Libertarian society.
Absolute freedom is like infinity, it is beyond the kin of mankind. We are captives in a body and captives in a universe. We had nothing to do with our birth and baring suicide we have little to do with our death. Our inclination is to fall into a captivity of action that imprisons our lives. Some of us become obsessed with business, some with learning, some with drugs, some with sex, some with ego, etc. A mature person in a properly governed society should be free to choose where he will use his life.
Al Benson began one of his recent columns with this paragraph: “We see in operation today two kingdoms in the world—the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man (the state). There are few legitimate governments anymore that really comprise the “state.” Most of the legitimate ones are gone, having been replaced with dictatorships, oligarchies, or fake “republics” that fool people with charades they refer to as elections and whose results have already been predetermined long before the “election” takes place. We recently had one of those in the United States.”
The human freedom being pursued by the Libertarian agenda is at war with the Kingdom of God and in spite of its popularity it cannot realize its objective. Freedom is rooted in Christianity. It is rooted in individual responsibility and obedience to God’s Commandments. God’s government is the opposite of the new world order; His government is decentralized. The family is the basic unit. The state acts as protector and the church is God’s agent.
The universal application of Law is the key to freedom. All of society; the individual, the church, and the state, must abide by God’s Law. Government cannot be allowed to pass laws to which they, themselves, are not subject; it always ends in tyranny.
Christians have been living in a dream world and the next few months and years may bring a big change in their religious perception. God’s Judgment has fallen on our world! R. J. Rushdoony wrote that “the Moloch state is a product of apostasy.” We are in the grip of a product of apostasy that is abolishing our freedom and conducting a war against God and His people. Hobby Lobby is resisting the new health care law which demands support for abortion. The Moloch state will require a massive daily fine for non-compliance. The state does not worship the Christian God of Hobby Lobby; its god is the anti-Christ.
Hundreds of thousands of Dispensational Christians are expecting world government to bring the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. It could happen but it is likely it will not. If they are wrong they will be shocked to find themselves living in a police state run by an evil cabal that hates their Savior. The dictionary defines apostasy as abandonment of a previous loyalty. We have abandoned the orthodox Reformed Christian Faith that was bequeathed by our fathers and followed a heresy that has allowed the humanistic hand of evil to invade our religion, our lives, our homes, and our nation.
As the horrors of the new world order afflict the Western World people will realize that government is not the source redemption. They will concede that we have not followed the gift of salvation with obedience and dominion; and that if we expect to live in freedom again we must turn from our sin and repent of our wicked ways.
Christians often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God promises to remove His judgment “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”. I get many emails quoting this Bible passage but none of them specify what is meant by turning from our wicked ways. God’s judgment is not confined to abortion or to homosexuality or to disobeying the often questionable personal guidance that comes from God “speaking to” individuals. Judgment comes for disobedience to His Commandments (His Law).
We have lost our nation to Moloch because we have allowed a foreign religion to change our laws legalizing the evils of abortion, homosexuality, murder, dishonesty, theft, injustice, war, genocide, hate, pugnacity, greed, torture and independence. When a society allows its government to disobey God’s Law that society is on the road to ruin.
Freedom is not realized by abandoning government and allowing moral evil to run rampant, it is not a product of a lack of laws, nor can it be produced by intellectual endeavor. Freedom is a result of obedience to the Commandments of our Creator. Libertarians put the rational product of their minds above the Law of God. They are not the only ones who believe their opinions are superior to God’s. Our society is full of legal standards, folkways, and mores that are at odds with God. We are living in a cesspool created by our own vain laxity and many have not yet smelled the stench.
The most important foreign event in the final days of 2012 was the ramming through of Egypt’s new, Sharia-based constitution by President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies. The cultural, demographic and geographic center of the Arab world is now set to become an Islamic Republic. Egypt’s transformation, after 60 years of secularist officers’ dabbling in modernization, will have major consequences for the Greater Middle East.
Only one-third of Egypt’s eligible voters turned out for the two-stage referendum (December 15 and 22), with 64 percent supporting the draft constitution which was swiftly signed into law by Morsi on December 26. The vote was marred by a host of irregularities, but the demands for a full inquiry have been ignored. The Brotherhood’s victory at parliamentary elections in two months’ time now seems a foregone conclusion.
THE NEW CONSTITUTION consists of an introduction, an 11-part preamble and 236 articles. The 1971 Egyptian constitution also contained a vague reference to the Sharia, but the new one goes much further. Islamic Shariah is now elevated to “the principal source of legislation,” and its principles are defined in Article 219 as “general evidence, foundational rules, rules of jurisprudence, and credible sources accepted in Sunni doctrines and by the larger community.”
The articles dealing with Sharia in the constitution “are very complicated and no one understands them but Islamic scholars,” according to Rafaat Fouda, a law professor at Cairo University. The constitution’s drafters resolved this problem in Article Four, by giving Muslim clerics at al-Azhar University the task of deciding whether Egypt’s laws are Sharia-compliant. Al-Azhar is a bastion of Islamic orthodoxy, and its senior scholars are now authorized to decide on matters of conduct, speech, lifestyle and religion. The manner in which they may act was revealed last June 20 by Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb when he presented The Al-Azhar Document, an 11-point program addressing Egypt’s political future. Al-Tayeb frames democracy as “the modern formula for the Islamic precept of shura (consultation).” He accordingly supports “the people’s representatives endowed with the power of legislation in accordance with the precepts of true Islam.”
It is in this context that the deliberate vagueness of some articles of the new constitution may be more readily understood, e.g. Article 10, which empowers the government to “preserve the genuine character of the Egyptian family, its cohesion and stability and to protect its moral values, all as regulated by law.” The state shall “enable the reconciliation between the duties of a woman toward her family and her work.” Unlike its 1971 predecessor, the constitution does not specifically forbid discrimination against women. Article 11 is also of concern to women. It stipulates that the state should preserve ethics and values, including religious values.Analysts say that such vague wording could be used as a “gateway to imposing garb or freedom restrictions or undoing or abolishing previously enacted laws that allowed women the right to divorce; an age limit on marriage for young girls is also absent.”
The draft guarantees freedom of expression, creativity, assembly etc, but it says those rights “must be practiced in a manner not conflicting with” principles of Shariah or the morals of the family. There is also a ban on insulting “religious messengers and prophets,” which has been used in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to impose strict censorship and policing of the Internet. Christians and Jews are free to practice their rites and establish places of worship, but the new constitution hedges those rights on the condition they do not “violate public order”—another catchall phrase used in the past to prevent the reconstruction or building of churches.
“What has happened in Egypt is an irony of Shakespearean proportion: the jailers are now the prisoners, and the prisoners are now the jailers,” Ayman Nassar commented from Cairo for the BBC. Whereas the old era of the Mubarak regime used to blatantly fake election results, he wrote, the new regime is preying on the illiterate and uneducated: their opinion is easily swayed, whether it be by the preacher at their mosque or the one distributing foodstuffs to them, leading them to believe it was their religious duty to vote in favor of the new constitution: “The persistent and recurring argument against any that seek to deny MB rule is: why are you against Sharia if you are Muslim? Why are you against Islam? … The majority claiming to support the constitution on TV are illiterate and claim they support Islam, further proving the point that they have no idea what machinations exist within the apparently subtle texts of the constitution.”
Last November Morsi issued a decree granting himself unprecedented authority, including immunity to any judicial oversight. His announcement that he could pass any law and take any measure that “advances the Revolution” was revolutionary in itself. It made Mubarak and his two predecessors, Sadat and Nasser, look like scrupulous constitutionalists. It was the Islamist equivalent of the Reich Chancellor’s Enabling Act passed in the aftermath of the Reichstag fire. Secure in the knowledge that the new constitution would be firmly based on Sharia and duly enacted by hook or by crook, Morsi disingenuously claimed that his dictatorial new powers would be temporary, “until a new constitution is approved.” That approval was marred by violence, mass intimidation of Christians and secularists, and many irregularities, but nothing can be done. The protests sparked by Morsi’s decree brought hundreds of thousands of mainly young Egyptians back to Tahrir Square and to the streets of Alexandria and other cities, but this time the regime weathered the storm. The State Department helped by releasing a supine statement urging “all Egyptians to resolve their differences… peacefully and through democratic dialogue.”
Morsi was able to act because in the preceding months the United States had exerted strong pressure on Egypt’s generals not to challenge his assumption of full executive authority. The Administration pretended not to take note of the fact that he came to power because the Muslim Brotherhood broke its pledge to stay out of the presidential race. His first step was to use that authority to reconvene the constitutional assembly previously declared illegal by the courts because it was packed with the Muslim Brotherhood deputies posing as independents.
The game is now over. The rhetoric and tools of “democracy” were adroitly used by the Muslim Brotherhood in line with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dictum that “democracy is a train—you can get off when you reach your destination.” The result is the kind of Egypt very different from what the Obama Administration and its media cohorts had heralded while supporting Morsi’s rise. Lest we forget, last July Hillary Clinton assured him that the United States was doing all it could to “support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt.” The “results” now include a constitution that makes mockery of Clinton’s feminist slogans.
The theoretical foundation for what Morsi and his team are trying to achieve was provided by Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the ideologue of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who was eventually executed by the Nasser regime. Since all non-Islamic states were illegitimate, Qutb wrote, a self-defining Islamic “vanguard”—obviously inspired by the early Bolshevik model—is needed to wage jihad against them. The Muslim Brotherhood, like the Bolsheviks of yore, explicitly denies the legitimacy of any form of social, political, or cultural organization other than itself. Both were happy to use the tools and rhetoric of “democracy” to attain their objectives.
“Even if exporting democracy could be developed into a workable scenario, the end result would be detrimental to U.S. security: Mubaraq would be swept from power and the Muslim Brotherhood would turn Egypt into an Islamic Republic,” I wrote in Defeating Jihad almost seven years ago. “The maturity and consciousness of votersheralds that Egypt has set on a path of democracy with no return,” Morsi declared in a TV address to the nation on December 27. No return, indeed.
Even before the historic 139 to 8 vote of the UN General Assembly on November 29 of this year which opened up a plethora of legal remedies for Palestinians, a “legal intifada” — to borrow a phrase from Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law and a longtime advocate of advancing resistance to the illegal occupation of Palestine through the rule of law — has been taking form in this region.
The reasons include nearly seven decades of countless Zionist crimes against Muslims and Christians in occupied Palestine and far beyond. As Professor Boyle has suggested, the opportunities presented to the PLO by the lopsided UN vote “…can mean numerous available legal remedies ranging from the securing of a fair share of the gas deposits off the shores of Gaza, control of Palestinian airspace and telecommunications and, crucially, bringing the Zionist regime to account at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.
Syria too, currently under enormous pressure from international interference into the internal affairs of the country and the subject of an intense regime change project led by the US and France, has international legal remedies immediately available to it stemming from the actions of the US, UK, France and others in imposing on Syria’s civilian population one of the most severe and clearly illegal layers of sanctions. Were Syria and others to file an Application for an Advisory Opinion with the ICJ few in the international legal community have much doubt that targeting civilians economically and attempting to destroy the Syrian economy — for no other purpose than to ignite rebellion — would be considered a violation of international law at the International Court of Justice.
Granted there are some potential jurisdictional problems given that Syria has not yet accepted the Article 36 Compulsory Jurisdiction of the World Court, as provided in the Statute of the Court, and the strong campaign at the UN that would certainly be waged by the Obama Administration to challenge ICJ jurisdiction to hear a case on behalf of Syria and its civilian population, but they can be overcome. As a general rule, an Advisory Opinion requires a simple majority affirmative vote by the UN General Assembly or an Application by one of the designated UN Specialized Agencies. This might be a tough job to secure the former but it is doable with the latter. Moreover, should Syria accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ it could likely quickly resolve the issue of sanctions by claiming a legal dispute with one or more states that also accept CJ and are supporters of sanctions. For example, the UK, France and their NATO and Gulf allies.
Aspects of a possible filing at the International Court of Justice on the legality of US-led sanctions are currently being researched by seasoned international lawyers and academics, at various Western and International law centers. Supporting efforts being worked on include drafting amicus curie briefs on the issue of the legality of the US-led sanctions to be submitted to the Court, plans for securing the widest possible political support for challenging the US-led sanctions from among Non-Aligned Movement countries, international peace groups, NGO’s, pro-peace websites, bloggers, social media and online activists as well as organizing a skilled media center to disseminate information about the case including quickly publishing, in paperback book form, one of the key Annexes to be submitted to the ICJ upon filing the Application. This volume will present Syrian government and International NGO prepared data on the inhumane effects of the US led sanctions in all their aspects, including by not limited to children, the elderly and the infirm, plus the effects of the US-led sanctions on the Syrian economy generally, i.e. consumer goods, medical delivery systems, financial institutions, currency values and related aspects of the lives of the civilian population of Syria.
Were Syria, and others, to take the illegal and immoral US-led sanctions case to the World Court and other available venues, they would shift their diplomatic position from a defensive status to taking the offense. Such a bold initiative would advance accountability under international law and, because the ICJ would likely grant a Petition for Interim Measures of Protection, the US-led sanctions could be suspended during the course of the judicial proceedings. Obviously this lifting/freezing of the sanctions would immediately and directly inure to the benefit of the Syrian civilian population, including the half million Palestinian refugees in Syria as well as thousands from Iraq.
This would work in concert with the “THREE B’s”, to borrow a phrase from Russia’s top middle east envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Boganov, referring to Mr. Brahimi, Mr. Bogdanov, and Undersecretary William Burns, a former ambassador to Moscow, who would be urged to intensify their focus on achieving a diplomatic resolution of the Syrian crisis based on modified June 2011 Geneva formulation of a transition period leading to the 2014 elections.
According to several International lawyers surveyed between October andDecember, 2012, Syria clearly has the facts of the US sanctions case in its favor and there are ample solid legal theories to argue to and convince the World Court. Under the ICJ Statute, the Court must decide cases solely in accordance with international law. Hence the ICJ must apply: (1) any international conventions and treaties; (2) international custom; (3) general principles recognized as law by civilized nations; and (4) judicial decisions and the teachings of highly qualified publicists of the various nations. From this body of international law the International Court of Justice would find ample basis to support Syria’s claims not only for the benefit of its civilian population but also to advance the rule of law in the global community.
The ICJ is made up of 15 jurists from different countries. No two judges at any given time may be from the same country. The court’s composition is static but generally includes jurists from a variety of cultures. Among the Principles, Standards and Rules of international law that Syria may well argue to the World Court, may include but not be limited to, the following:
The US led sanctions violate international humanitarian law due to the negative health effects of the sanctions on the civilian population of Syria. This renders the sanctions illegal under international customary law and the UN Charter for their disproportionate damage caused to Syria’s civilian population;
The US led severe sanctions regime constitutes an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly;
The US, France and the UK, as well as their allies, have violated the UN Charter by their imposition of severe economic sanctions and threats of military force. The United States, Israel, and some of their allies, regularly threaten Damascus with the “option” of a military strike. The ICJ has ruled previously that “A threat or use of force is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter and fails to meet all the requirements of Article 51, is therefore unlawful”. It has further ruled that “A threat of use of force must be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed conflict, particularly those of the principles and rules of humanitarian law, as well as with specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings which expressly deal with threats to members of the United Nations.”
Moreover, unilateral US sanctions, without the imprimatur of the United Nations are blatantly illegal under International Law because they are in fact multilateral and impose penalties on any country which opposes the sanctions or does not choose to participate in them;
The US led sanctions amount to an Act of War given their effects including hardships on the general public and that Syria therefore has a legal right to Self-Defense.
The US led sanctions, given their design and intent, constitute acts of aggression against Syria in violation of Article 2 (4) of the UN charter.
The indisputable facts of the US led sanctions case warrant the imposition by the ICJ of Restraining Orders designed to prevent any type of blockade or no-fly zones in Syria and the immediate cessation of the imposition of further economic sanctions against Syria, and also their efforts of securing more sanctions against Syria at the United Nations Security Council. The Restraining Orders, under the umbrella of Interim Measures of Protection, would presumably also seek to prohibit the US and its allies from the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere, from advocating aggressive military actions against Syria, including supplying funding, weapons, and jihadists, as well as Western “Special Forces” currently pouring into Syria from its northern border with Turkey and to negotiate with the Syrian government in good faith to end the current crisis.
Syria can legitimately claim, and would presumably argue at the ICJ and other international forums that the bi-lateral or multilateral economic sanctions, led by the US and its Gulf allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are illegal, indeed criminal due to their assault on international humanitarian law and required state practice.
Syria could successfully argue, according to a recent survey of international lawyers conducted in Brussels and The Hague, as well as within Syria’s Maison d’Avocats, that the US led sanctions violate the international law principle of Non-intervention in the internal affairs of UN member states and that the stewards of these sanctions could themselves be subject to international sanctions plus compensatory and punitive damages for the benefit of their victims.
In summary, as Germany’s Green Party, and increasingly, legal scholars and human rights organizations generally are insisting, sanctions against Syria’s civilian population fundamentally violate international law.
Should NATO sets up a no-fly zone and were to launch airstrikes against Damascus, it can and should immediately be sued at The Hague and if the situation deteriorates NATO can and should be held to account for targeting Alawites and Christians on the basis of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. All participating countries, 142 to date, are obliged to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, elements of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group including killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
Despite Syria’s strong case on both the facts and the law, and the diversity in structure and composition of the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal has a few times over the years been criticized for favoring established powers. Under articles 3 and 9 of the ICJ Statute, the judges on the ICJ should represent “the main forms of civilization and principal legal systems of the world.” This definition suggests that the ICJ does not represent the interests of developing countries. Nevertheless, the World Courts record has been by and large exemplary in applying principles, standards and rules of international law both in contested cases and advisory opinions and Syria has an excellent opportunity to protect its citizens, thwart US and Israeli designs on the region, and advance international accountability — all to the inestimable benefit of all people and nations.
Syria, which the US and Israel and their allies are today working to keep off balance and on the defensive diplomatically, should consider immediately filing an application with the International Court of Justice, and use all other available international legal, political and humanitarian tribunals, to directly challenge and boldly confront the US led sanctions campaign against its people. The Syrian Arab Republic, by taking the offensive at the World Court and elsewhere, will help relieve the enormous pressures on its civilians and advance the principles, standards and rules of international law—for the benefit of all mankind.
All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party – Mao Tse Tung
After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military – William Burroughs
Revolution? Yes, it all sounds rather “extreme”, but the cold hard reality of our era is not going to comfort us with diplomacies and niceties, so honestly, why should I have to sugar coat anything? We live in extreme times and there is no longer room for prancing around the ultimate consequences of that which is taking place in America today. This country is increasingly sliding towards the edge of internal conflict. The Liberty Movement and true Constitutionalists see it, subsections of Republicans and Democrats see it, and most of all, the federal government sees it. In fact, they may even be counting on it.
Over the past two years alone, multiple draconian policies have been enacted through executive order by the Obama Administration which build upon the civil liberty crushing actions of George W. Bush and press far beyond. The Patriot Acts, the FISA domestic spy bill, the bailouts of corrupt international banks, attempts at CISPA and SOPA, actions like the NDAA authorizing the treatment of U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” without rights to due process; all paint a picture so clear only a one-celled amoeba (or your average suburban yuppie) would not see it. You and I, and everyone else for that matter, have been designated potential targets of the state. Our rights have been made forfeit.
There is no ambiguous or muddled separation between the citizenry and the government anymore. The separation is absolute. It is undeniable. It is vast. It is only a matter of time and momentum, and eventually there will be unbridled oppression, dissent, and conflict. All that is required is a trigger, and I believe that trigger has arrived…
Though made to appear “complex”, the gun control debate is actually an incredibly simple issue. It all boils down to a couple of questions which gun grabbers rarely ask: How does the 2nd Amendment affect the future? That is to say, what was the original intent, and should we still value that intent as it applies to tomorrow? And, what will really happen if it is forcibly removed? Gun opponents act as though they are unaware of these questions, or maybe they don’t care. However, it is vital to their safety and the safety of our culture in general that they do finally consider the bigger picture.
We’ve all heard the prefabricated gun control talking points before. Some of them so old they predate us. They are numerous and most of them incredibly thin. The gist of the anti-gun position, though, could be boiled down to these three points…
Common Anti-Gun Arguments
1) The 2nd Amendment is “outdated” and no longer relevant in today’s modern society.
2) We do not want to stop you from “defending yourself”, or interfere with the American tradition of hunting, but people do not need “military assault weapons” for either.
3) Your claimed freedom to own guns should not supersede my freedom to live without fear of guns. We exist in a society, and our society requires us to give up certain freedoms so that it can function.
Again, in response to these arguments, I have to ask, what does the 2nd Amendment mean for the future? What was its original intent? Gun control advocates would like to ignore the fact that the Constitution specifically protects a broad application of gun ownership, but when they cannot deny the legality of it, they instead turn to more abstract and existential methods of attack. They try to twist the original intent of the 2nd Amendment to further their goals. To respond briefly to each of the above fallacies:
1) The right to self defense from ANY threat, whether it be an individual, or a criminal government, does not “outdate”. It is a universal and eternal freedom. It is a foundational pillar of natural law. Even if the 2nd Amendment did not exist, I would still have the inborn right to arm and protect myself and those I love, and the best way to do that is to own firearms. The men who drafted the Constitution were far more intelligent than any pithy gun grabber today, yet, these socialist errand boys seem to believe that they have “surpassed” the wisdom of the Founders. The amount of ego required to fuel such an attitude boggles the mind…
Gun violence and violence in general will not end simply by banning firearms. The very idea that any society can remove all weapons from their sight is naïve to begin with. Criminals always find a way. Murder, rape, and mayhem will continue until you confront the root problem, which is the human mind, and the human heart. Only when these two things are balanced in all people will violence end. Disarming good men and women has never made a society “safer”. When the power of defense is removed from the people, someone, somewhere, will seek to abuse their weakness. The most armed entity of the time invariably becomes the subjugator, and usually this is the government. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc, all contained disarmed populations. The guns were gone, and still millions upon millions died. Modern day Mexico is a perfect example of a disarmed population that is now living in terror because of criminal organizations (which, of course, still have guns). Disarmament does NOT end gun violence, it only changes the dynamic of who uses that violence, and it makes innocent victims easier to attack.
2) Because the legal argument over the “interpretation” of the 2nd Amendment is essentially over, and the Supreme Court has ruled that gun rights do indeed apply to individuals, and not just collective bodies like the National Guard, gun grabbers are now reverting to the argument that we ARE allowed to defend ourselves with firearms, but the kinds of firearms we are able to use can still be limited. The goal of this argument is to fool gun owners who only possess conventional firearms (hunting rifles) into believing that they will not be personally affected if they support a ban on military style weapons. These wishy-washy hunting enthusiasts are often referred to as “Elmer Fudds” because of their gullibility.
All gun confiscation programs start by chipping away at the outer barriers of gun ownership. Like termites slowly chewing away at the wooden skeleton of a home, anti-gun proponents start small and end by destroying the entire edifice. Anyone who believes Feinstein’s legislation will begin and end with AR-15’s and AK-47’s is living in fantasy land. That said, the 2nd Amendment was not established for hunting purposes. Nowhere in the writings of the Founding Fathers do they mention “hunting” as their primary concern. Instead, gun rights are protected in order to ensure that the citizenry remains dominant over any centralized government that turns to corruption. We are supposed to police our own political leaders, and without military style arms, this becomes increasingly difficult.
Gun grabbers will argue that our government is not the enemy because it is derived through democratic elections. They will say that we can change it anytime we like in the voting box. I would point out that regardless of which party is placed in power through elections, nothing in terms of our direction as a country has been changed, and, that both parties support almost identical policies. For instance, Obama has come out in favor of nearly identical policy initiatives to Bush, and I can almost guarantee that many Republicans will sign onto the gun control efforts of Democrats despite their supposed pro-gun rhetoric. When the two party system becomes a one party system, voting becomes irrelevant.
Finally, they will admonish the idea of an armed citizenry keeping the government in check as a “fairy tale”. They will claim that in the face of modern military might, constitutionalists would be crushed. For what can an AK-47 do to an F-15? Apparently, they have never heard of Afghanistan, which has used AK-47’s and 30 year old armaments to repel two technologically advanced armies; the Soviet Union and the U.S. Of course, the Afghanis did not allow themselves to be disarmed…
3) Here is where we get into the nonsense of intellectual idiocy. The only real skill which academics seem to have is jumbling piles of logical fallacies together to make a single argument that sounds “rational”, but, in fact, isn’t. The third debate point is an extremely collectivist one, and collectivist arguments generally exploit the idea that individuals must sacrifice their personal freedoms in order for the group to function.
The truth is, the group does not matter. The perceived collective concerns and fears of a mass of people are not relevant. All that matters are the concerns of the singular man or woman, and whether or not those concerns are legitimate. If a person “fears” guns and gun violence, then that is their private problem, not the problem of our entire society. We as gun owners should not have to relinquish our rights because others are afraid of what MIGHT happen to them. We should demand that they control THEIR fear, instead of being allowed to control OUR guns. Just because a portion of our country shares this individual fear does not make that fear any more credible, or any more our problem.
Do They Know What They Are In For…?
Feinstein’s campaign for gun control is not hers alone; it has been the overall establishment’s work in progress for decades. I covered the broad based arguments of gun control advocates above because I wanted to illustrate the tangibility of gun ownership. I want to show you where we stand as constitutionalists, and I can say confidently that our moral and intellectual footing is strong. To be clear, when defenders of a particular idea are right in their position, they are much more likely to fight and die for that position, and they are much more likely to win.
In the beginning I asked what the 2nd Amendment means for the future of this country. Not only if it continues, but if it disappears. If I was a gun control proponent, I would weigh the aftereffects of my actions carefully, because the penalties will likely be dire…
I have heard it argued that Americans are passive. We didn’t rise up against the last Assault Weapons Ban. We didn’t rise up against the Patriot Act. We didn’t rise up against TSA molestation. We didn’t rise up against warrantless wiretapping, the assassination of U.S. citizens, or even the NDAA. The people who make this point, though, are not looking at the larger issue. It is one thing for our government to pass legislation; the wider application of that legislation on our streets and at our doorsteps is another matter.
Feinstein’s bill is unprecedented in the history of this country, and requires widespread enforcement in every town and hamlet in order to be effective. The way in which it is designed makes a violent response from the public inevitable. It reaches far beyond the Assault Weapons Ban of the 1990’s, calling for the creation of a massive database of almost all gun owners in the United States. This database will require citizens to submit their EXISTING firearms to cataloging, and the owners to be filed and fingerprinted like criminals.
The bill will ban the outright sale, manufacture, and transfer of at least 120 models of firearms (which have not yet been named). It will ban the manufacture and sale of most if not all semi-automatic rifles and the bill specifically targets handguns as well. Large capacity mags and mag fed weapons will essentially disappear from gun stores. Though, those guns designated as “hunting rifles” will be exempt (for now).
Feinstein has also openly agreed with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo that government buy back programs (forced selling of firearms at a reduced price) and even physical confiscations are on the table:
To put this bluntly, there are approximately 50 million gun owners (according to official estimates) in the United States. If only 2% of those gun owners refuse to submit to the Feinstein Database, and the feds attempt confiscation, they will have a massive revolution on their hands.
Many Americans, including myself, will not be strolling into the local Fusion Center to register our weapons. Why? Because gun registration reeks of fascism! Some might call this “cliche”, but let’s just examine the guidelines of the Nazi Gun Registration Program of 1938:
- Classified guns for “sporting purposes”
- All citizens who wished to purchase firearms had to register with the Nazi officials and have a background check.
- Presumed German citizens were hostile and thereby exempted Nazis from the gun control law (meaning officials could have guns, citizens could not).
- Gave Nazis unrestricted power to decide what kinds of firearms could, or could not be owned by private persons.
- The types of ammunition that were legal were subject to control by bureaucrats.
- Juveniles under 18 years could not buy firearms and ammunition.
You see, we’ve witnessed the Feinstein gun bill before, many times through history. We know how it ends, so, there is very little incentive for us to go along quietly.
The database itself is truly the crux of it all. It basically begs to be defied. When a government has become openly hostile to common people, destructive of their economy, and oppressive of their individual rights, it only follows that gun registration will lead to outright confiscation later down the road or imprisonment for the owner. Many Americans are simply not going to fall into the same trap that past societies have fallen into. The eventual refusal of millions of citizens to voluntarily register will lead to a definite federal response.
The Department Of Homeland Security has obviously taken this into account, at least partly, by stockpiling over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the span of a year, most of which are used in weapons distributed by the government for domestic enforcement. Their projected scenario, I believe, involves limited resistance from people like myself; “gun nuts” and “liberty freaks” who are on the “fringe” of the populous. At least, that’s what the headlines will say. In the end, who will care if a few “conspiracy theorists” take a bullet in the quest to end gun violence, right? But then again…
What I see in America is a much harder stance against gun confiscation than at any time in recent memory, and far less compromising than in the 1990’s. Gun grabbers are, in my view, walking into a hornet’s nest. Most average firearms enthusiast may be less aware of the deeper problems at hand, but they know when they are about to be raped, and will react in kind. We in the Liberty Movement are often accused of “radicalizing” people against government authority, but I have to say, if that is the case, then the Feds are doing a much better job than we ever could.
Simultaneously, the UN (which most gun owners despise) is helping matters along by using the recent Sandy Hook shooting as a springboard for a reintroduction of their failed international Small Arms Treaty:
“European and other U.N. delegates who support the arms trade treaty told Reuters on condition of anonymity they hoped Newtown would boost support for the convention in the United States, where gun control is an explosive political issue.”
“Newtown has opened the debate within the United States on weapons controls in ways that it has not been opened in the past,” Abramson said, adding that “the conversation within the U.S. will give the (Obama) administration more leeway.”
The UN has always claimed that their small arms treaty would NOT restrict private gun ownership in the U.S., and that it only deals with the international trade of illicit arms. Yet, they try to use gun control actions in the face of Sandy Hook as a rationale for reopening negotiations? They can’t have it both ways. Either they are trying to tie the treaty to domestic gun ownership in the U.S, or they aren’t. Will our government sign on to an international agreement to restrict private gun ownership on top of Feinstein’s gun grab bill?
To put this in the most basic terms: registration and restriction equals revolution. Count on it. It is not a matter of what we “want”, it is a matter of what is necessary. Without a citizenry armed with weapons of military application, we lose our last deterrent to tyranny, and thus, we lose everything. When backed into a corner, a victim has two options: he can lie down and die, or, he can fight regardless of the odds. Sadly, this is where we are in America; fear, servitude, subservience, or civil war.
Let us hope our weapons are never needed –but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government — and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws – Edward Abbey
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
It’s as with a man I once knew who insisted it couldn’t be proven that smoking was bad for you. He knew better in his heart, but his available choices — giving up cigarettes or accepting the danger of their use —were both emotionally unpalatable to him. Enter the rationalization.
We’re seeing the same thing with Republicans in the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election. Radio host Sean Hannity, citing changing American demographics, stated a while back that his position on immigration has “evolved”: we now must offer illegals some kind of pathway to citizenship (a.k.a. amnesty). Other conservatives are warning that we must dispense with social issues or the Republican Party will be dispensed with.
Of course, this isn’t always rationalization. Some conservatives, and Hannity is likely among them, may truly believe that we can avoid electoral hell if we have just one more dance with the Devil. Conservatives have always responded to seemingly inevitable political changes by, slowly but surely, compromising their way to tyranny. But rationalization is a huge factor, and what is the scary truth here that conservatives dare not contemplate?
They are losing the culture.
Little by little.
And as the culture goes, so go political fortunes.
Let’s spell it out:
- To paraphrase Lincoln, “The teaching in the schools today will be the politics of tomorrow.” The left has long controlled academia.
- The media, our conduit of information, is largely controlled by the left.
- As Plato wrote, “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.” Just imagine what he would have said about far more influential television and the Internet, two media through which popular culture — which the left controls — is imbibed.
Now, like a computer, people can only process the data they are given. Thus, even when people function logically like a computer (which can be rare), they’re operating within a leftist matrix of ideas forged by the Triumvirate of Evil (TIE): academia, the media, and popular culture. These data entry specialists ensure that it is garbage in as leftist ideology, garbage out as votes.
This brings us to the so-called culture war. The left is the establishment; it controls the above branches of the pen-not-sword military. Conservatives have been reduced to guerrilla warfare, with groups such as the ACLJ, Family Research Council, and Christian Coalition drawing occasional blood; and citizen militia uprisings such as the defense of Chik-fil-A. And while these actions are sometimes successful, they’re always short-lived and are merely defenses that only serve to slow the loss of traditionalist territory. The reality is that there is no culture war. What is occurring now is a pacification effort.
Some conservatives sense this, but the reality is often too frightening to contemplate. You can vote liberals out of office, but how do you control entities whose agents of change are unelected? Boycotts won’t do it because, unlike elections, they require more than a run-up campaign and one voting day of focus and effort; it’s often impossible to get enough people on board, and in the aggregate most don’t have the discipline to persevere in a boycott, anyway. And what of traditionalists reversing the Gramscian march through the institutions by they themselves entering them? Good luck. Time is short, and, besides, TIE leftists are like The Matrix’s sentient programs: they guard all the gates and hold all the keys.
In addition to this, add another element to my eighth-paragraph list:
4. You can supplement your domestically produced leftist voters by importing some ready-made. Most all our new immigrants are de facto socialists.
This won’t be changed, either, because there no longer are the votes to alter our dhimmi-gration model.
So the hear-see-speak-no-evil reality for conservatives is this: politics will always reflect the culture, which is steadily drifting “left.”
And there is no way to democratically reclaim the culture.
So many conservatives shunt this root-rot into their minds recesses and instead focus on growing pretty leaves on the dying tree: they immerse themselves in the political. Oh, perhaps if we fertilize the Hispanic electorate with the manure of amnesty, it will bloom as a Republican rose. Just one more concession!
Or maybe we just need to stop the blinding sunshine of social issues and try a flood of fiscal conservatism.
First, Republicans have already tried focusing on fiscal matters and de-emphasizing social ones. Note that except when answering direct questions, they didn’t talk about social issues much in the 2012 campaign; it was the Democrats, with their WOW (war on women) propaganda, who talked about what the GOP supposedly believed on them. Ah, this only worked because the media offered air support, you say? See the above list. The media won’t suddenly find virtue but will only intensify the pacification effort.
As for the growing Hispanic voting bloc, as I wrote a while back (admittedly, I didn’t provide enough nuance), they don’t mind social conservatism. And since saying, as I did previously, that they are more socially conservative than are whites is imprecise, I’ll rephrase it: Hispanics are less opposed to social conservatism than are whites.
What Hispanics really want is cradle-to-grave handouts, the kind of big government they voted for — but never could quite get — in their native lands. Whether this comes packaged with social conservatism or social liberalism is secondary.
To spell it out more precisely, a higher percentage of whites are passionately opposed to social conservatism, but a higher percentage of whites are also passionately for it. As for Hispanics, the best description of them isn’t socially conservative or liberal, but socially indifferent. They may register the obligatory nod when their priest talks about abortion, but they’d do the same in a setting in which social liberalism was the default. It’s simply not something on which their votes hinge. And because of this indifference, their youth will and do conform to the liberal spirit of the age.
Conclusion: Hispanics are not a natural conservative constituency.
Let’s tackle another myth. We often here that this is a “conservative” country, with a plurality of the electorate describing themselves as conservative; as Pew reported, “40% of Americans[…]describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.” But two important factors are missed here. First, the majority of any nation could be called “conservative,” as the only consistent definition of that term involves a desire to maintain the status quo, and the status quo is determined by the majority. Second, today’s status quo was shaped by yesterday’s left and thus is in that sense “liberal.” This dovetails with the second factor:
Most “moderates” are actually liberals, usually of the lukewarm variety.
How can this be? First, wishy-washy people lacking in principle will hew mostly to what’s fashionable, and, again, progressivism is that. Second, liberals are solipsistic and self-centered and thus see themselves as defining the center (and any deviation from their beliefs as radicalism); hence, even when they are left of our “leftist” middle, in their minds they may be moderates. Third, liberals want to fancy themselves open-minded, so they often like believing they’re voices of reason, moderate and not, perish the thought, extreme. Lastly, both the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have been demonized to a degree, and it takes conviction to brand yourself as one who has unfashionably strayed from the pack. And since liberals are far more likely than conservatives to be relativists — to believe, “Man is the measure of all things” and thus that true principle (which is transcendent) is an illusion — they tend to care more about social standing than standing on “social constructs” (principles). Ergo, they’re more likely than conservatives to adopt a label that sounds good than one that rings true.
So that is America in 2012. And where do we go from here? For starters, we need to stop fooling ourselves. Many Johnny-come-lately-to-reality types only started talking about Republicans’ demographic and cultural winter after the Nov. 6 election, as if some kind of unforeseeable revolution had taken place. But while it may have represented a tipping point, a long Gramscian evolution had pushed America to that point. A process is in motion, a disease besets us, and if you understand its pathology, you know that no amount of Hispandering or appeals to virtue (e.g., personal responsibility) with an electorate largely lacking in the quality will bear fruit. The remaining healthy acorns need to recognize this, stop trying to fertilize a tree destined for the sawmill, and instead prepare to seed new ground.
The markets, as most people reading this should now well know, no longer reflect in any way the true economic health of our country. If one was to measure the financial “recovery” of this nation by the strength of global stocks alone, he would probably come to the conclusion that the collapse of 2008 was a mere hiccup in the overall success of the worldwide economic system. However, electronically traded equities with little more to back their value than scraps of receipt paper and numbers on a screen have no bearing on what is going to happen to you, and to me, over the course of the coming year. The stock market is a sideshow, a popcorn movie, a façade. The real drama is going on behind the scenes and revealed in fundamentals that mainstream analysts no longer discuss…
The only advantage of a long drawn disintegration of the overall system is that as the years pass, it becomes possible to discover a pattern through which we can gauge where we really stand today and will stand tomorrow, giving us a chance (a narrow chance) to limit the eventual damage. Unfortunately, the pattern now in motion suggests that the next year will be exactly what we have been predicting over the past several months: Dismal.
The MSM refuses to discuss it at great length, but all signs show an epic global slowdown in demand and production, especially in the final quarter of 2012. This slowdown cannot be denied, nor can it be shrugged off as inconsequential. This development is exactly as I predicted in January of this year using the Baltic Dry Index as a guide. During that first quarter, the BDI fell to record lows, indicating an extreme decline in shipping demand around the world, which, in turn, indicated a fall in demand for raw goods, which, in turn, indicated a fall in demand for consumer goods. Mainstream pundits sought to distract the public from this fact by claiming that the BDI was collapsing due to an “oversupply of ships”, not rescinding demand. This disinformation was proven incorrect in the beginning of the third quarter of this year, when export nations from China, to Japan, to Germany all began reporting abysmal manufacturing numbers and steep faltering in overseas purchases.
Of course, we all know what happened next: The markets began to tank when they caught the scent of a slowdown, losing a thousand points within the span of a week. Not so unpredictably (since I also predicted it at the beginning of the year) the Federal Reserve leapt into action with its announcement of QE3 (QE Infinity).
QE3 has done little to change the problem of falling global demand, but it has certainly defibrillated stocks. In fact, I think it is safe to say that a majority of QE fiat funds are flowing (directly or indirectly) into the DOW, and not much else. International trade and consumption is starting to feel the pain, and respective countries are no longer able to hide it. Keep in mind that this slowdown is occurring right at the height of the Christmas season, when consumption is usually supposed to reignite.
Despite the sugar coated claims of insane Keynesians who only a few years ago were predicting a “resurgence” of American industry and exports due to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing devaluation of the dollar, production in the U.S. has remained pathetically weak, and continues to decline:
This is of course a direct result of slowing global demand, reducing potential markets all over the world, which is something deflation fear mongers apparently didn’t see coming. The reality is that demand is faltering EVERYWHERE, not just in the U.S., and this begs a particular question: In an interdependent economic system driven primarily by consumption, who is going to fill the void when all nations are dry of spending cash? That is to say, who is going to take up the slack, when obviously no one has the wealth to do so? Without a cultural cash engine, the globalized framework is destined to fail.
China’s export growth fell far more than expected in November, something which many Chinese economists are attributing to a complete lack of revival in American markets:
Manufacturing in the UK went into steep decline almost simultaneously, showing that sinking demand is striking both the Pacific and the Atlantic:
Germany, the largest economy in the EU and the only country still holding the absurd political entity together, has been shocked to discover that its own Bundesbank is forecasting a contraction in growth to near zero in 2013:
This contraction has recently caused Japan to install a new revamped government during elections this month, which unfortunately will be instituting almost identical policies to the last regime.
Finally, Brazil, a developing export nation with very important significance as a litmus test for world consumption, posted near zero growth in the third quarter of 2012, far below expectations but in line with the bigger picture. The global financial machine is grinding to a halt right under our very noses…
At the end of 2012, it is undeniable; the system is running out of steam, and not even constant fiat injections by central banks are reversing our current course.
In order to understand what is happening, I want you to imagine a quickly diminishing cycle. Imagine that in 2008, America was on the edge of a whirlpool, or a spinning vortex, and was suddenly caught in the outermost current. Today, we have circled the epicenter several times, each rotation becoming smaller and more volatile than the last. Eventually, the whirlpool will reach an end, and our economy will be sucked into the destructive funnel. One can see clear evidence of this decline in the Baltic Dry Index:
Notice how each year since 2008 there is a spike in shipping rates indicating a rise in demand for materials at the onset of the Christmas season, which is the natural progression of things. Yet, also notice that this spike in demand grows smaller with each passing year. In 2012, the increase has been almost nonexistent, meaning that we are likely very close to going down the drain.
Some pundits may argue that November’s Black Friday sales were tremendous, and this signals a recovery in spending and consumption. I would point out that such numbers are deceiving. High sales during the most discounted day of the Christmas buying season is not necessarily a good thing. What it really reveals is that a majority of shoppers were looking for the lowest prices possible because of a lack of personal savings. It is a sign of desperation, not revitalization. Full season numbers have not yet been released, but when they are, I believe we will see a fantastic spike in sales on Black Friday followed by a complete flatline for the rest of the year. Obviously high consumption has not been sustained, otherwise, worldwide manufacturing and shipping would be in much better shape.
The issue here is one of priorities. With multiplying distractions going on around the globe, including the fear of recent mass murders at home, will the public be able to keep track of the deadly financial tidal waves just off the coast, or will they even care when distracted by so many sharks in the water? The next two months will be very revealing. The so-called “fiscal cliff” is on the way, and the question of whether or not the U.S. government should kick the can down the road or take the sour medicine it needs and move on has arisen once again. This debate is and always has been an illusion. Whether we continue to increase government spending, taxation, and inflation, or we cut all spending and shut down the fiat presses, there is still going to be a collapse.
However, the “fiscal cliff” could be very dangerous in an entirely different respect…
The coming collapse will not be due to the indecision or partisan bickering of our politicians. They are in much closer agreement than the MSM would like to admit. Instead, the monolithic Catch-22 of our age will be the direct result of the actions of the private Federal Reserve and the peripheral international banking cartel; the engineers who gave birth to the toxic derivatives implosion in the first place. What I fear most is that the results of the fiscal cliff negotiation along with other triggers around the planet (Syria, Iran, the EU breakdown, etc.) will be used to veil the true weaknesses of our already imploding system, and eventually be exploited as scapegoat events for a disaster that has been in the making for decades, not just a few years. The omens are not good for 2013, and we can only circle the drain for so long.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Puzzling me for a long time is the inconsistency between two claims by gun and Second Amendment supporters. One is that what they worship is critically needed to defend themselves against a government that they would view as oppressive and unacceptable. The other is their belief that the US government has already become awful, stealing their liberties.
Why then, I keep asking myself, have we not seen a violent uprising among the untold millions of Americans owning guns to take back their government? Why do we not see what goes on in European nations, namely violent public uprisings against governments?
There is more private gun ownership in the US than any other nation. We have a far right part of the population with considerable public presence and power. FOX News, the Tea Party movement, and countless groups and think tanks angrily attacking the mainstream media, liberals, and leftist politicians as well as just about everything done by President Obama.
So, why hasn’t the massive number of gun lovers who worship the Second Amendment actually done what they claim is exactly needed, what the Second Amendment was created to give them the right to do, and what their massive gun power supposedly gives them the means to accomplish? Especially when they lose major elections, when their Republican and conservative politicians fail to deliver to them?
Are the paranoid doom and gloom gun lovers waiting for things to get a whole lot worse before they actually implement the grand plan to use their guns to overthrow what they see as an evil, unconstitutional and oppressive government? Or, do they just invoke the Second Amendment as a convenient rationale for fighting all attempts to better control guns?
From their perspective, how much worse does the government have to become before they finally get the courage to use their guns and restore American democracy and liberties? Do they think elections will save their nation?
After all, on a number of recent occasions, such as the election and reelection of President Obama, gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed, despite an already historic level of gun and ammunition ownership. Yet still these millions of gun-happy constitutionalists do not act. What is going on?
Is it rational to explain all this by seeing the gun crowd as being incredibly patient?
Is all their talk and high-minded claims to be the last hope to save the country just a bunch of empty rhetoric, camouflage for fighting better gun control?
Here is what I think explains this remarkable contradiction. In truth, the gun crowd that see themselves as the ultimate patriots, like the original revolutionaries that fought the British and created the USA, is itself conflicted by self-interests. That is, most gun owners are receiving so many economic benefits from the existing government and economy that they are unwilling to risk all of them by a massive disruption of the whole USsystem. Just like we saw incredible numbers of protesting Tea Party people looking old enough to be collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits, the overwhelming majority of gun nuts are also feeding off of the national system they keep attacking. They keep buying more expensive guns and ammunition, gold and hordes of long-lasting survival foods to satisfy their paranoid thoughts. They keep giving money to right wing causes. They listen all the time to right wing radio and TV pundits. They have enough wealth to afford lots of things, especially expensive guns. Yet they do not ACT. They do not REVOLT. Even when their favored politicians lose.
Most of us do not equate the gun crowd with the plutocracy run by the richest Americans and corporate interests that aligns itself with Republicans and conservatives. The plutocrats, however, have no desire for a revolution that tears down the whole US political and economic system that they so benefit from. What the plutocracy has accomplished, against all logic, is to manipulate the gun crowd into supporting political causes that maintain the status quo that allows the upper rich to get richer. We have far more economic oppression than political oppression.
In other words, keep spending your discretionary money on guns and ammunition and all the other things so heavily marketed to the most paranoid people as evidenced by all the advertisements on right wing stations for gold and survival foods. Keep thinking that you need guns to combat criminals, except there is no evidence that crime has actually been curbed by the massive gun ownership rather than other factors.
But by all means keep listening and spending rather than actually REVOLT and bring down the system. Enjoy your guns. Just don’t take any risks and use them as defensive political tools. Don’t do what so many angry Europeans have always done; actually go to the streets to bring down governments. Or what we see Egyptians doing. Of course, all those angry citizens do not have guns. Still, they put their lives on the line.
The bottom line is that the whole gun Second Amendment movement seems like just another aspect of conspicuous consumerism that keeps the US economy humming. When I see millions of these right wing gun enthusiasts give up their Social Security and Medicare benefits I will start to take them more seriously.
CNN has recently reported important information, including: US gun owning population is on the decline with those gun owners stockpiling more firearms; 20 percent of the gun owners with the most firearms possessed about 65 percent of the nation’s guns; the US with 5 percent of the world’s population owns 50 percent of the world’s guns; the number of households owning guns has declined from almost 50 percent in 1973 to just over 32 percent in 2010.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported the economic impact of firearm sales — a figure that includes jobs. taxes and sales — hit $31 billion in 2011, up from $19 billion in 2008, an increase of 63 percent despite the economic recession. Fighting gun control has paid off for the gun industry.
There are good reasons to support better gun control laws, but fearing political revolution and violent overthrow of the government because of massive gun ownership may not be relevant. Democrats will likely keep fearing any emphasis on gun control even though the majority of their supporters favor gun control over gun ownership. As pointed out this year before the election: “Figures provided by Michael Dimock, Pew’s associate research director, show that the biggest shifts toward opposition to gun control have come among the same blue-collar whites who have displayed the greatest alienation to Obama across the board.” Also, note that Pew found 72 percent of Republicans said it is more important to protect the rights of gun owners, compared to just 27 percent of Democrats.
As to the roughly, at most, 100 million American gun owners, keep fighting more gun control laws. Keep buying even more guns, keep the multibillion dollar gun industry thriving. Keep screaming about your Second Amendment rights. Keep voting for Republicans. Keep listening to Limbaugh and Hannity and all the other idols that are among the richest Americans. Keep deluding yourselves that you are the only hope for the nation. Don’t face your hypocrisy. Delusion is the opiate of the right.
I agree with Sanjay Sanghoee “The belief that we need to stockpile guns of every kind to protect us from our own government is a sign of deep paranoia and madness. And to the people who think that way, let me ask you this: do you really believe that if the U.S. government decided for some reason to direct all its military might against you, you would stand a chance against them?” Of course not, this is why all the adoration of the Second Amendment is a smokescreen for fighting better gun control. Gun lobbies protect their business, not freedom and liberty.
The key conclusion is this: Though we need a constitutional path to major political reforms other than elections, even a Second American Revolution, the best path is not through the Second Amendment but rather through what the Founders gave us in Article V, namely a convention of state delegates with the power to propose constitutional amendments. The nation would benefit from transferring the passion for Second Amendment gun rights into support for using the Article V convention strategy.
“Nuclear, ecological, chemical, economic — our arsenal of Death by Stupidity is impressive for a species as smart as Homo sapiens” 1
The hurricanes, the typhoons, the heat waves … the droughts, the heavy rains, the floods … ever more powerful, ever new records being set. Something must be done of course. Except if you don’t believe at all that it’s man-made. But if there’s even a small chance that the greenhouse effect is driving the changes, is it not plain that, at a minimum, we have to err on the side of caution? There’s too much at stake. Like civilization as we know it. Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere must be greatly curtailed.
The three greatest problems facing the beleaguered, fragile inhabitants of this lonely planet are climate change, economic crisis, and the violence of war. It is my sad duty to report that the United States of America is the main culprit in each case. Is that not remarkable?
Why does Barack Obama not pursue the battle against climate change with the same intensity he pursues war? Why does he not seek to punish the American bankers and stockbrokers responsible for the financial calamity as much as he seeks to punish Julian Assange and Bradley Manning?
In both cases he’s putting the interests of the corporate world before anything else. No amount of fines or penalties will induce corporate leaders to modify their behavior. Only spending some hard time in a prison cellblock might cause the growth in them of their missing part, the part that’s shaped like a social conscience.
Only prosecuting George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their partners in bombing and torture will discourage future American war lovers from following in their bloody footsteps.
The recent election result can only embolden Obama. He likely took it as an affirmation of his policies, although only 29.3% of those eligible to vote actually voted for him. And an unknown, but certainly significant, number of those who did so held their nose while voting for the supposed lesser of two evils. Hardly indicative of impassioned support for his policies.
Last week the United Nations Climate Summit was held in Doha, Qatar. The comments which came from many of the activists (as opposed to various government officials) were doomsdayish … “Time is running out … time has already run out … the climate has already changed … Hurricane Sandy, rising sea levels, the worst is yet to come.” The Kyoto protocol is still the only international treaty stipulating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a touchstone for many environmentalists. But the United States has never ratified it. At the previous conferences in Copenhagen and Durban, the US blocked important global action and failed to honor vital pledges.
At the Doha conference the US was acutely criticized for failing to take the lead on planet protection, especially in light of its standing as the largest historic contributor to the current levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. (“The most obdurate bully in the room”, declared the Indian environmentalist, Sunita Narain. 2)
What motivates the American representatives, now as before, as ever, is concern about corporate profits. Cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions can hurt the bottom line. A suitable epitaph for the earth’s tombstone. Shamus Cooke, writing on ZSpace, sums it up well: “Thus, if renewable energy is not as profitable as oil — and it isn’t — then the majority of capitalist investing will continue to go towards destroying the planet. It really is that simple. Even the best-intentioned capitalists do not throw their money away on non-growth investments.”
A brief history of Superpowers
From the Congress of Vienna of 1815 to the Congress of Berlin in 1878 to the “Allies” invasion of Russia in 1918 to the formation of what became the European Union in the 1950s, the great powers of Europe and the world have gotten together in grand meeting halls and on the field of battle to set the ground rules for imperialist exploitation of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia, to Christianize and ‘civilize’, to remake the maps, and to suppress revolutions and other threats to great-power hegemony. They have been deadly serious. In 1918, for example, some 13 nations, including France, Great Britain, Rumania, Italy, Serbia, Greece, Japan, and the United States, combined in a military invasion of Russia to “strangle at its birth” the nascent Bolshevik state, as Winston Churchill so charmingly put it.
And following World War 2, without any concern about who had fought and died to win that war, the Western powers, sans the Soviet Union, moved to create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO, along with the European Union, then joined the United States in carrying out the Cold War and preventing the Communists and their allies from coming to power legally through elections in France and Italy. That partnership continued after the formal end of the Cold War. The United States, the European Union, and NATO are each superpowers, with extensive military, as well as foreign policy integration — almost all EU members are also members of NATO; almost all NATO members in Europe are in the EU; almost all NATO members have had a military contingent serving under NATO and/or the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and elsewhere.
Together, this Holy Triumvirate has torn apart Yugoslavia, invaded and devastated Afghanistan and Iraq, crippled Iran, Cuba and others with sanctions, overthrown the Libyan government, and are on the verge now of the same in Syria. Much of what the Triumvirate has told the world to justify this wanton havoc has concerned Islamic terrorism, but it should be noted that prior to the interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria all three countries were secular and modern. Will the people of those sad lands ever see that life again?
In suppressing the left in France and Italy, and later in destabilizing the governments of Libya and Syria, the Holy Triumvirate has closely aligned itself with terrorists and terrorist methods to a remarkable extent. 3 In Syria alone, it would be difficult to name any Middle East terrorist group associated with al Qaeda — employing their standard car bombings and suicide bombers — that is not taking part in the war against President Assad with the support of the Triumvirate. Is there anything — legally or morally — the Triumvirate regards as outside its purview? Any place not within its geographical mandate? Britain and France have now joined Turkey and Arabian Peninsula states in recognizing a newly formed opposition bloc as the sole representative of the Syrian people. “From the point of view of international law, this is absolutely unacceptable,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared. “A desire to change the political regime of another state by recognizing a political force as the sole carrier of sovereignty seems to me to be not completely civilised.” France was the first Western state to recognize the newly-formed Syrian National Coalition and was swiftly joined by Britain, Italy and the European Union. 4 The neck irons tighten.
The European Union in recent years has been facing a financial crisis, where its overriding concern has been to save the banks, not its citizens, inspiring calls from the citizenry of some member states to leave the Union. I think the dissolution of the European Union would benefit world peace by depriving the US/NATO mob of a guaranteed partner in crime by returning to the Union’s members their individual discretion in foreign policy.
And then we can turn to getting rid of NATO, an organization that not only has a questionable raison d’être in the present, but never had any good reason-to-be in the past other than serving as Washington’s hit man. 5
The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo — 21 years in a row
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We don’t hear that any more. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):
|Year||Votes (Yes-No)||No Votes|
|1993||88-4||US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay|
|1995||117-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1996||138-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1997||143-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|2000||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2001||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2002||173-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2003||179-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2004||179-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2005||182-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2006||183-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2007||184-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2008||185-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2009||187-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2012||188-3||US, Israel, Palau|
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.
How it began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” 6 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its eternally-declared enemy.
Placing American presidents in their proper context
“Once upon a time there was a radical president who tried to remake American society through government action. In his first term he created a vast network of federal grants to state and local governments for social programs that cost billions. He set up an imposing agency to regulate air and water emissions, and another to regulate workers’ health and safety. Had Congress not stood in his way he would have gone much further. He tried to establish a guaranteed minimum income for all working families and, to top it off, proposed a national health plan that would have provided government insurance for low-income families, required employers to cover all their workers and set standards for private insurance. Thankfully for the country, his second term was cut short and his collectivist dreams were never realize.
His name was Richard Nixon.” 7
Films on US foreign policy
The Power Principle is a series of three films by Scott Noble. Part one, “Empire”, is the only one I’ve seen completely so far and I can say that it’s great stuff. The three parts, with their times, are:
Featured in the films are Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, John Stockwell, Christopher Simpson, Ralph McGehee, Philip Agee, Nafeez Ahmed, John Perkins, James Petras, John Stauber, Russ Baker, Howard Zinn, William Blum, Nancy Snow, William I. Robinson, Morris Berman, Peter Phillips, Michael Albert, and others of the usual suspects.
To comment about these films or others by Scott Noble, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much more publicized is the new film and book by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. Entitled The Untold History of the United States, it is a 10-part series appearing on Showtime. Only Stone’s name could get this dark side of US history and foreign policy on mainstream television. It will be interesting to observe what the mass media has to say about this challenge to some of America’s most cherished beliefs about itself.
- Jeanette Winterson, The New York Times, September 17, 2009 ↩
- Democracy Now!, December 7, 2012 ↩
- For France and Italy, see Operation Gladio Wikipedia; and Daniele Ganser, Operation Gladio: NATO’s Top Secret Stay-Behind Armies and Terrorism in Western Europe (2005) ↩
- Agence France Presse, November 26, 2012↩
- For the best coverage of the NATO monolith, sign up with StopNATO. To get on the mailing list write to Rick Rozoff at email@example.com. To see back issues at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato ↩
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 ↩
- From the review of the book: I am the change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles Kesler. Review by Mark Lilla, The New York Times Book Review, September 30, 2012, p.1 ↩
Who said the filthy rich are good for nothing? Their antics are very entertaining! The Nouveau Riche have always been notorious headline-providers, and the newest crop of Russian oligarchs make the robber barons of previous generations look timid and colorless. As money ages, it becomes anaemic; divided and subdivided by careful lawyers into a maze of corporate entities. New money is still good fun; they pull their stunts right in public, and they don’t pull their punches. These hometown heroes fill the vacuum left by the maharajas and sheiks in a way that our drab bureaucrats never could; they parade their Humvee Jeeps through the Moscow crouds, as sure and proud as the Indian kings who once rode their battle elephants in the jungle.
They are more powerful and less restrained in their choice of action than ever were Scorsese’s Mafia dons. Brutal, unscrupulous, overriding, often overreaching, these are characters made for a Shakespearean drama. They are lawless; they freely trample upon other people until somebody finally tramples upon them. They are full-bloodied villains or generous benefactors, or both. Their habit of using London as their litigation headquarters has given their other habits an international audience.
Recently two mighty tycoons, Berezovsky and Abramovich, jousted in a London court for the prize of billions — and incidentally disclosed how they stripped the Russian public of its most valuable assets during Yeltsin’s privatization regime. These courtroom warriors do not flinch at revealing their base crimes to achieve victory; in this case another Neoliberal myth has been destroyed, and another dark chapter in Russian history has been illuminated.
The looting of a country is heavy fare; the public hungered for some light farce. The Polonsky vs. Lebedev case came to the fore, publicized internationally via the London court system. This is the hilarious story of a media mogul and a real estate baron who go full smackdown on live TV. Only the mighty pen of Nikolai Gogol, the mid-19th century Russian author of The Squabble (You can read the plot here) could have done it justice; he might have called it Why Alexander Lebedevich Punched Sergei Polonovich, but you’ll have to bear with my humble efforts.
BelleNews gives us a blow by blow description of the live smackdown action:
- In front of an astonished studio audience, Alexander Lebedev (the Russian mogul) rains a series of blows onto the head of SergeiPolonsky (the real-estate baron), knocking him off his chair. This is during a TV debate on the global economic crisis.
- Images of the dramatic scene, which have been posted on YouTube, show Lebedev losing control and standing over Polonsky in a threatening manner.
- Polonsky appears to attempt to calm him down and Lebedev takes his seat once more.
- After few seconds, without warning, as Polonsky gently pats him on the arm, Lebedev again decides it’s time to let his fists do the talking.
- Lebedev suddenly hits Polonsky several times on the side of the head, sending him sprawling to the floor.
- Polonsky stands back up, seemingly unharmed, and the two men stare hard at each other as studio flunkies defuse the situation.
Note: Alexander Lebedev is one of the richest men in the world, with a fortune that’s estimated to be in the region of $3.1 billion.
In fact, Polonsky and Lebedev are two mid-sized Russian tycoons; neither of them could buy Minnesota cash on the nail. They could have become great pals, toasting each other’s successes in turn; for both are given to real estate development, both love swimming, both wear casual more often than formal, both are rather vain, and both are facing a sharp decline in their fortunes. But instead they have come to blows, for they are doomed to be opposing characters. Which is the protagonist and which the antagonist? None.
Sergei Polonsky is forty, a young man as tycoons go, the first post-Soviet generation of Russian businessmen. He is still big and broad like the Blue Beret commando he once was, but years of soft living have robbed him of his waist; now he looks more like a jolly, well-fed dolphin. His lady friend is a prominent businesswoman by her own right, and a swimming champion.
Alexander Lebedev is 12 years older; his was the generation that privatised the USSR. He is a shape-shifter; he has modernized his appearance over the years from a hard-muscled, disciplined, business-suit-wearing ex-KGB-man into a metrosexual guitar player with an alluring haircut, light shirts and blue jeans. He traded in his old Soviet-era wife for a newer, more camera-friendly model.
Lebedev lives in downtown Moscow, in a former Scout Youth Club built in glorious Stalinesque imperial style with columns and portico, and transformed – after its privatisation – into a minor manor, with an Olympic-size swimming pool where he spends much of his time. He escapes the Moscow autumnal gloom at his Cote d’Azure villa and in his London mansion.
Polonsky lives in a futuristic penthouse, perched like a ship’s bridge atop a skyscraper with a 360° view, high above Moscow. He designed and built the skyscraper and his own apartment himself, being an architect by education and profession. He spends his weekends floating in a converted barge, moored just beyond the city limits, in the company of a tame racoon, doingchi kung – Chinese meditation practice - and voraciously reading arbitrarily-chosen books. In winter he drives a slim, high-tech sled pulled by snow-white blue-eyed huskies; in summer he glides through the deeps on a sea-bob, or hang-glides over blissful hills.
Lebedev built a resort in Crimea; he lavished his generosity on the city, restoring the historic Chekhov theatre, but he prefers to spend his time in London, hobnobbing with Harry Potter’s creator, Ms Rowling, Sir Elton John and other worthies. He plays guitar, and supports DDT, a Russian rock group. He also owns a quality British newspaper, The Independent, as well as a tabloid, the Evening Standard, and the Russian Novaya Gazeta.
Polonsky, in contrast, has built himself a fortress of solitude, a stone and glass castle rising from the waves of a lonely island off the shores of Sihanoukville, not far from Alain Delon’s home in remote Cambodia. He meets with Sufi teachers, receives instructions from Zen monks and chi gung adepts. He is into esoteric knowledge and mystic experiences.
The two men are from very different cities and backgrounds. Lebedev grew up a child of privilege; his father was a professor of the prestigious Foreign Service School. As a young man he joined the KGB and the Communist Party. He graduated from his father’s school, proceeded into the KGB college, and then entered the diplomatic service. He was stationed at the Soviet Embassy in Kensington, London; his assignment: stop the money fleeing Russia. In eight years he learned the ropes, and with the fall of the USSR the gamekeeper turned poacher.
Lt.-Col. (KGB) Lebedev left the service in 1992 and used his professional insider knowledge of Soviet debts to make a fortune and direct fleeing money to safe havens. Not many Russians knew the banking system like he did. There was a lot of money that could be made by a person with the right connections: he bought cut-rate loans cheap and cashed them in at full value with a friendly Treasury official. He made a deal with Gazprom that made the Russian state two hundred millions poorer and himself and his collaborators that much richer. He befriended Victor Chernomyrdin, then Prime Minister, and Chernomyrdin channelled state funds into Lebedev’s recently-opened bank. Lebedev used his connections to capture positions in state-sponsored companies like Ilyushin and Aeroflot: the profits went to Lebedev, while the expenses went to the state.
Polonsky hailed from St Petersburg, of humble origin. He grew up as the USSR collapsed around him; he studied architecture, went into construction and building, hired Ukrainian builders while they were still inexpensive, and built himself into a real estate developer. He is proud of being a self-made man; he obtained nothing from the state, and never sought anything, he says. He did not privatise government factories, but instead established good connections with City Hall and catered to newly-prosperous Muscovites. He looks honest enough to buy a used car from, though such trustworthy guys do not become billionaires. People in the know say that he had to cut backroom deals with Mme Baturina, wife of the Moscow Mayor and one of the richest women in the world: no building was erected in Moscow without a nod from her.
Polonsky has tried to avoid politics; he professes a lack of knowledge and interest in things political. He is a builder, he says, no more. He puts his soul into huge projects spreading from Moscow to Switzerland and from London to Croatia. He is democratic in the Russian style: he mixes easily with all kinds of ordinary folks, but they’d better follow his orders or else.He is a petty tyrant, his (dismissed) employees say: he forbids texting during board meetings! Violators have their precious iPhones smashed against the wall (a feat I myself have only dreamed of). His ambitions lie in the spiritual sphere, and business often takes a back seat to his search for God.
Lebedev has a penchant for politics. He has tried on for size several political factions, varying from the ultra-nationalist Rodina (“Motherland”) to the socialist SR and to the ruling ER, being torn between political ambitions and the desire to make a fast buck. Sometimes the two go together.
In 1996, in the run-up to the fateful elections, Lebedev supported Boris Yeltsin, the then-president of Russia, a dissipated alcoholic who embezzled Russian national wealth and enriched the oligarchs. Lebedev’s bank was used by Yeltsin’s Treasury in order to channel state funds into piles of greenbacks all wrapped up for bribes. It was some of Lebedev’s cash that was seized by security in the infamous Case of the Xerox Paper Box, when an activist tried to carry out millions of dollars for Yeltsin’s bribe fund in a cardboard box. Lebedev did not shy away from this deed; he was rather proud of it, and even paid the dirt-digging magazine Kompromat(“Compromising Matters”) to produce a special issue containing a sanitised version of this, and other exploits.
Lebedev’s daring misdeeds inevitably attracted the attention of law enforcement, and a case against him was eventually drawn up by the State Attorney General. Lebedev, by his own boast, set the Attorney General up with two easy-going girls in a sauna, and filmed the frolics. The film has been broadcasted on a fellow oligarch’s private NTV channel and the Attorney General abruptly resigned.
Some people say that Lebedev was not responsible for the setup. If true, this speaks volumes. Might Mr. Lebedev think that bad publicity is much better than no publicity at all? The facts support the theory. Lebedev produced a book ominously entitled 666 or The Beast Is Born, full of prosaic smackdowns targeting nearly every public personality in Russia. He humbly refers to himself as the “ideal capitalist” and claims credit for these and other dashing criminal exploits.
Lebedev is always quick with an explanation as to why each crime was a good deed: it was either to save Russia from the clutches of the commies (he conveniently misplaces his own Party credentials), or to save the world from the KGB (again he is silent about his own history in the very same service). He openly despises Putin’s working class roots and rise to power. It galls him that they once had the same rank in the KGB. But the real reason behind Lebedev’s opposition is that Putin fearlessly prosecutes the oligarchs. Or is it “persecutes”?
Oligarchs have a persecution complex: any and all interference is unjust. They think of themselves as omnipotent, though they are only powerful, and they bristle against even the most minor efforts to curtail their power. Their money buys them power over life and death, but this power saps their mental health. They start to believe the hype offered by sycophants. They begin to reject trusted advisors. They end up alone and unhinged, pursued by the law. Too much power corrupts, and the Russian oligarchs have more power than any of Stalin’s satraps ever had.
Mr Putin does not approve of oligarchs meddling in politics. He does not punish them arbitrarily, nor does he rewrite the laws to target them. Putin’s Russia allows these tycoons to get away with many things, but it does draw the line at crime – sometimes. This is Putin’s great sacrilege; he holds the oligarchs accountable to the letter of the law. This level of independence comes as a great shock to them. They are getting whiplash trying to readjust after the total freedom of lapdog Yeltsin’s day. The oligarchs wistfully recall the days when they employed their powers over life and death with impunity, like viceroys of India in Clive’s time.
Alas, Mr Lebedev’s political ambitions have remained unfulfilled. He reduced his lofty goals to something more achievable, and decided to become the Mayor of Moscow. He failed. Worried now, he set his sights upon becoming the Mayor of Sochi (the Miami of Russia). Again, he failed. The sharks, sensing blood, began to circle. His dashing exploits belatedly began to attract the attention of the law, especially his alleged appropriation of $300 million in state bailout funds meant to shore up his bank. He accepted the money, but it soon became apparent that his bank’s coffers were empty, or rather stuffed with fictitious promissory notes. His dealings in the aircraft industry also have come under scrutiny and it appears that the state, the main shareholder, might have been swindled in a major way.
In response, the canny Mr Lebedev activated his long term insurance policy. If he were a Russian Jew, he would have claimed he was being attacked by authoritarian Russian anti-Semites; but Mr Lebedev is not a Russian Jew. Instead, Mr Lebedev claims he is being attacked by authoritarian KGB thugslike Mr Putin. This insurance was effective but expensive: for many years he had been forced to heavily subsidise the anti-Putin newspaper Novaya Gazeta, widely read in the central borough of Moscow and unheard of elsewhere. To influence the international set, he purchased two British newspapers and strenuously promoted his new image as a sort of Khodorkovsky: just another wealthy man victimized by Putin’s KGB thugs. He claimed that he was poisoned like Litvinenko, but he miraculously survived. The British were only too happy to cooperate with Lebedev’s propaganda campaigns; the establishment was (and is) willing to support any and all anti-Putin elements, including the Chechen separatists.
It was during his campaign for Moscow Mayor, that Mr Lebedev became aware of Mr Polonsky, who happened to be on good terms with the incumbent Mayor. At that time, Polonsky was busy erecting the tallest twin skyscrapers in Europe, the Federation Towers – the gem of Moscow City. Polonsky immediately became the next target for Lebedev’s hate: another low-caste self-made man, definitely not a pukka sahib. It was also an opportune moment for a quick and easy kill, because Polonsky’s star was falling fast.
Polonsky had gotten himself into trouble, as do all the oligarchs at one point or another. He was not thorough and he was not prudent. He rejected his trusted advisors and surrounded himself with yes-men. He believed his hunch instead of counting odds. He jumped into multimillion deals with a bow and a handshake, and his partners walked away with chunks of his empire. His dreams of samurai honour were shattered by modern Russian business pragmatism.
He relied upon his assistants, and they robbed him blind. The more he empowered them, the faster they would vamoose with his money. His vast capital (assessed at over three billion dollars at the peak) began to shrink precipitously; cash flow became a problem for him, he was over-extended and had difficulty completing his most ambitious projects. Ordinary people who invested in his projects had become justifiably angry.
It was at this moment that the cunning Lebedev unveiled his ingenuous device to break Polonsky. The media mogul spread a malicious (and apparently false) rumour that the foundations of Federation Towers had cracked. Polonsky was already on the defensive, now his back was against the wall. He invited Moscow journalists to come and look for themselves: they were allowed to roam freely some forty yards below the surface, trying to locate the crack, refusing to admit its absence. He offered a million roubles to anyone who could find it. Nobody found anything, but the rumour persisted, supported by Mr Lebedev and his newspapers.
Alone and unhinged, Polonsky began to claim that he himself invented the crack story in order to promote public awareness of the project. There were no buyers for this weird story. His projects continued to suffer setbacks, raiders continued to seize his developments, his companions continued to rob him blind. The crack story cracked his empire.
This is the backstory to the Oligarch Smackdown on live TV. It was ostensibly going to be about global economics. They had exchanged only a few words when Mr Polonsky brought up the painful subject of the crack. The whole world awaited Lebedev’s reply. He looked into the eyes of his victim. What did Mr Lebedev feel at that moment? Pride? Hatred? In any case, alone and unhinged, he rose and landed a few well-aimed jabs upon Polonsky’s jaw. The sitting ex-commando was knocked down, decisively proving the superiority of KGB training over that of Airborne Troopers. The programme was a global success; after delighting the viewers, who had been prepared for a dry recitation of global doom, it went on to become an all-time favourite on YouTube.
But the story did not end there. In face of millions who had watched the assault live, Lebedev denied he hit Polonsky. Standing just outside of the studio, Lebedev insisted stubbornly to the journalists: “I did not touch him; Polonsky assaulted me, because I am in opposition to Putin.” Yes, Lebedev is amazing: he is one man who is prepared to deny anything. Years ago, he had fought to ban gambling in St Petersburg, an ostensibly noble purpose. When it came out that his bank had heavily invested in the lotteries (the main competitor to gaming machines), Lebedev denied all motives of self-interest. Even after his own bank manager proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the strategy was Lebedev’s own idea, he continued to deny all knowledge with a straight face. I wonder if even James Bond could equal this feat.
During the race for the Moscow City Hall, Lebedev bought a newspaper (theMoscow Correspondent) and turned it into a fighting machine. They soon printed a scurrilous rumour that Mr Putin was involved in an extra-marital affair. Lebedev could not imagine that Putin would react as he did. Usually quite complacent to rumours, accusations and attacks, the President became furious. Fearing Putin’s fury, Lebedev immediately shut down the newspaper, fired the editor and said on air that the baseless article was created by the current Mayor of Moscow and inserted by the editor in return for a bribe. This brazen lie cost the editor his career; Lebedev never recanted.
Since his televised assault, Lebedev has been asked many times why he did it. Some of his explanations are so off the wall that one has difficulty believing he actually offered them as true statements. The palm probably should go to “I thought that I would become a popular hero because I struck out against that hateful oligarch”. This is rich coming from him. Polonsky seems genuinely at a loss to explain Lebedev’s behaviour. Not only has Lebedev refused to apologise, he is continuing to deny he even did it. Is he claiming the insanity defence? More likely he is claiming his rights of oligarchic power: the impunity defence.
Polonsky has not benefited from his public humiliation; in fact, the story only further injured his already suffering business reputation, and a project he had planned to do in London collapsed soon afterwards. It was for this reason that he brought civil charges against Lebedev in a London court, and retired to his Cambodian island, posting his daily catch of barracudas on the Facebook.
Almost a year had passed before the exceedingly slow-grinding mills of Russian criminal justice charged Mr Lebedev, but eventually the media baron was charged with “hooliganism” and “assault”. His lawyers claim that Lebedev had felt threatened and was forced to defend himself; Lebedev (with a straight face) claims that he is being persecuted by the bloody Putin regime for his “love of freedom”. A bald-faced liar is always more entertaining than a talented ingénue, so we will not be too surprised if Mr Lebedev walks away with a slap on the wrist. Anyway, the bloody Putin regime is soft on the oligarchs. However, this Oligarch Smackdown is far from over. We await Mr Lebedev’s elevation to the voice of Russia’s conscience by his own British hacks!
While modern society prides itself on being unbiased, it’s no exception to the rule that every age has its fashionable prejudices — and unfashionable people. Among the latter today are white men, and the closer they are to “dead white male” status, to use a favored leftist descriptive, the greater the disdain in which they’re held.
Thus do we see sneering at “old white men.” Earlier this year, Senator Harry Reid — one well acquainted through experience with old-white-male machinations — complained of “angry old white men” who bankroll conservative causes. More recently, the old-white-media paper the Guardian published a piece about America’s changing demographics titled, in part, “No country for angry old white men….” Ah, yes, it’s not just that they’re old, white, and men, that triad of turpitude. They’re “angry,” too. So just dismiss them out of hand, with their agenda born of blinding, irrational hatred. It’s another example of projection, from the group (leftists) that makes intellect-clouding emotionalism an art.
If we’re to define matters based on group identification, however — and the left makes clear we will — there is an irony here.
You could roughly say that old white men built the whole modern world.
You can precisely say this if you include in the category the budding old white men known as younger white men. Who were all the great inventors, innovators, and philosophers from ancient Greece and Rome up through medieval and modern Europe and the United States? Who forged the West? Who birthed democracy? Who improved upon it, giving us our Constitution and modern republican government? There is a reason why most of the busts and pictures of legendary figures portray old white men.
We might also note that while old white men probably weren’t the first to practice slavery, they were the first to eliminate it. The same can be said of human rights: old white men had lots of company trampling them. They were alone in crafting the modern conception of them.
And is America really advancing as old white men’s cultural and political weight wanes? During what group’s hegemony were our national finances, morality, culture, and economic growth healthiest? Is there a group with a better track record of running successful civilizations? As to this, if only old white men had voted during the last 50 years, we likely wouldn’t be facing the fiscal cliff that hangs over us like a sword of Damocles.
Of course, much demonization of old white men is mere artifice, an effort to sell an inferior product (liberalism) by discrediting its opposition. “Hey, why buy from these white-prune Willy Loman salesmen when you can patronize sales people? We’re young, we’re hip, and quick with the lip!” Yet this appeal only works by playing on very real prejudices. Exposition of the anti-white variety has been done to death in the Reality Media. It was epitomized when Susan Sontag said, “The white race is the cancer of human history” and thus proved that some white people certainly are. But far more interesting and less discussed is the other bias relevant here: that against the aged.
For most of history, old was gold. There is the stereotype of the wise old man, and, historically, societies would be governed by “elders.” For example, ancient Sparta had a council of elders, and only men of at least 60 years of age qualified. And, of course, insisting that children respect their elders was once common.
This now has been turned on its head. One underappreciated reason why John McCain lost the 2008 election is that he appeared old — an old-looking candidate hasn’t won the presidency since the TV era’s advent — whereas Barack Obama seemed young and hip. And while fear that the person may die in office and our eye-candy culture certainly explain this in part, an increasingly significant factor is that many view seniors as they do our Constitution: old and yellowed and not relevant to our time. Just consider how the only consistent stereotype the hit show Seinfeld played upon was that of older people — and it was wholly unflattering. They were portrayed as doddering, out of touch, dishonest, egotistical, argumentative, and petty, too engrossed in trivial matters to ponder what’s truly important (such as, apparently, figuring out how to find someone more attractive to sleep with).
Of course, as Warren Buffet, Noam Chomsky, and many others prove, “Wisdom doesn’t always come with age; sometimes age just shows up all by itself.” Yet even if the two are joined at the hip, it won’t matter among a people who devalue wisdom. Note that the definition of the word — until dictionary writers lost their wisdom — was “knowledge of what is true or good.” But there is no such thing in a relativistic universe, that realm with favored mantras such as “That’s your ‘truth’; someone else’s may be different” and “Don’t impose your values on me!” There can be no objective “good” if there is no God; nothing can be truly “true” if there is no Truth. And what is left when people no longer perceive Truth’s existence and thus cannot use it as a yardstick for behavior? There then is just taste, preference, and what do we call the moment’s consensus tastes?
And this is where the elderly cannot compete. People who believe in Truth understand it’s timeless; that those who have lived longer will generally have apprehended more of it; and that it doesn’t matter if older people aren’t “with the times,” only whether the times are with the Truth. But the young will always be more with the fashions. And owing to that dislocation from Truth, they will often embrace fashions even when they’re fallacies. They won’t know they’re fallacies, either, as moderns’ only perceived standard for judging such things is the fashions themselves. And they won’t care what elders have to say about tried and true “wisdom.” It would be much like telling them that they should dispense with pizza in favor of their grandparents’ 1940s biscuits and gravy. It’s all a matter of preference, so why should they subordinate their tastes to those of the past?
This gets at the insidiousness of modern liberalism. The French revolutionaries sought to erase the past by starting history anew with their revolution’s first year, 1789; the Khmer Rouge sought to do so with their “Year Zero.” But revolutionary change is too obvious; it doesn’t gently boil the frog as does modern liberalism’s evolutionary variety. Progressives don’t make any major pronouncements, dear citizen, about the first year of the rest of your life. They simply disconnect each generation from the last — from the past — with the message that, hey, ya’ gotta be with it, which means being nothing like grandpa. And the “it” is change, not tradition; current tastes, not Truth; fashions and not fact. Just convince the young to ignore the old or dead — especially if they’re white and male — the people who formulated Western civilization’s recipe, and that Occidental delicacy is history. Then you will have started history anew not with an iron fist, but sleight of hand that keeps the frog simmering soundly.
Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero once said, “To be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?” Demonizing white men old or dead keeps the young and alive disconnected from them and hence from the past. This gives us a civilization of children, just the kind of people a pied piper can lead.
Most peoples that resist the power politics of Zionism condemn aggressive actions of the outlaw Israeli state regularly. Yet most of the western democracies that are under the control of Talmud media and Khazar finance continue to defend the apartheid policies that are designed to purge any prospect of Palestinian, right to return, to the land of their forced removal. No matter what your politics are regarding the Middle East, the indisputable fact exists that the Greater Israel design for expanded territory is a core impediment of this interminable conflict.
From the beginning, Zionists advocated a “Jewish State” not just in Palestine, but also in Jordan, southern Lebanon, and the Golan Heights as well. In 1918 Ben-Gurion described the future “Jewish state’s” frontiers in details as follows:
“to the north, the Litani river [in southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-’Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 87) Click here to view the “Greater Israel” map that was submitted by the Zionists to the peace conference after WWI.
The self-justification by Zionists for enhancing strategic security enlargement of territory never deals with the central issues. The entire concept of a homogeneous “Jewish State” under a secular Zionist regime, mocks the notion of religious faithfulness to the teaching in the Torah. The meaning of a “Greater Israel” has little to do with devotion of Jehovah.
In order to comprehend this distinction read the essay Zionism, Racism and anti-Semitism.
“Zionism is a political movement. To equate motives of politics with a religious belief is specious. Judaism is NOT equivalent to Zionism. The distinction is imperative if a correct understanding of relationships and actions, in the Middle East, are to be appreciated. A Zionist often professes their acceptance of the tenants of the Jewish faith, but a ‘true believer’ in the supremacy and survivability of a political state, can and frequently are non-believers to Judaism and the Torah. This is crucial, because it is not a condition of political allegiance to share faith in Yahweh.”
Review the deplorable history of Israeli territorial designs. The Maps Tell The Story account that displays the chart of expansionist settlements.
“Starting with the United Nations Partition Plan, 1947, the original borders for the state of Israel are quite limited. This index illustrates the significant border changes after the 1949 War of Independence, after the six day war of 1967, than after the 1982 return of Sinai and the invasion of Lebanon, and finally after Palestinian autonomy and Lebanon withdrawal in 2000.
But the most notable map is the one that identifies the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. A careful analysis of the locations and the areas that are an effective no man’s land, demonstrates the consequences of the expanded settlements. It is hard to believe that Israel will ever agree to remove their own population from these areas.”
Most discussions about Israel originate under the premise that the government in Tel Aviv has an immutable right to defend itself. Thus far, the plight of the displaced Palestinians is almost exclusively relegated to condemnation for inflicting savage terrorism. At the same time the enormous military technological offensive strike capabilities of the Israeli Defend Force undertakes carnage with a disproportionate vengeance that unmasks the true vicious hatred of non-Zionists. Conferring moral authority for IDF airstrikes equates to the same erroneous rationale and hypocrisy that NeoCon proponents shower over the U.S. bombing of al-Qaeda enclaves.
The tentative cease-fire in the latest rupture of mutual hostilities just plays into the hands of the incremental Zionist expansionists. The overriding concern in Israel is not that their Iron Dome missile system can destroy incoming Hamas Fajr-5 projectiles. Their goal is to seek cover for their intended preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
RT quotes from the account; Iran confirms military aid to Hamas, sending long-range missile technology.
“Iranian lawmaker Ali Larijani said on Wednesday his country was “proud” to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas according to remarks published on the Islamic Republic’s parliamentary website.
Larijani stressed the assistance had been both “financial and military.” On Tuesday, Larijani lauded the Palestinian missile capability, saying it had given them a “strategic [source] of power.”
Now the world press will decry Iran for their acknowledged support of Hamas. However, the Washington Post article back in 2006, Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast, grudgingly reports:
“The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.
In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.”
When did you last read that the radical IDF using American aircraft and smart bombs struck a sovereign country’s industrial facilities and slaughtered civilians as collateral damage? Full Spectrum Dominance, in the pursuit of eliminating any resistance to the New World Order is justified in the Zionist press. Simply put, the NWO is composed of many rabid Zionists that give a new meaning to the term extremist. However, in the bigger scheme of things it is No Surprise – Terrorism Is Winning.
“The reason that Terrorism is seen as the ultimate foe of governments is the nature of the warfare. Let no one mistake the stakes. Those who are willing to die to deliver chaos and turmoil are dangerous. But, more than that, they are unstoppable. Such an assessment may be unpopular but consider the facts. Regimes and prosperous societies have much to lose. Alienated and hostile adversaries that place little value on life, are no match for standing armed forces. By denying the temperament of the attacker and responding with overwhelming force, the inevitable futility of the end result; is guaranteed. Even tactics of aggressive proactive search and destroy strategy, fails to address or eradicate the underlying conflict. The battle may be won short term, but the war just continues.”
In spite of using the term terrorism, the reaction to systemic aggression often takes a violent response. This is the ultimate break with faith, principles and teachings of all the three eminent monotheistic religions. Warfare over territory is as old as history. Destabilizing Egypt, Libya and now Syria is part of a larger master tactic to isolate Iran as the only remaining obstacle to the greater State of Israel.
U.S. forces under the discredited pretext of weapons of mass destruction falsehoods dismantled Iraq. Co-opting Gaza so that Iran can be leveled from the air means that the jointly developed Israeli/American Iron Dome batteries can be deployed for incoming Iranian missiles after a sneak attack strike.
The article Hamas, Israel and the United States sums up the dangers of American involvement into a blood feud. Dominance of the region and impoverishment of the oil poor inhabitants drive the displacement of Palestinians into ghettos of expedient smart weapon annihilation.
“A regional dispute over land that was stolen with the blessing of Western Democracies is and always has been the nucleus of the eventual holocaust. What Americans are so unwilling to accept is that our own country has no duty or moral imperative to arbitrate between eternal enemies. It is a local conflict that can only destroy our own land by intervening. Making matters much worse are foreign policies that the United States acts as a neutral broker for peace.”
Just who is the rogue state in the Middle East? Israel is no ally. The political reality of domestic politics is hard pressed to poke the Jewish lobby in the eye. Nonetheless, attacking Iran in a joint operation with the IDF is pure madness. The old axis of evil rhetoric has deplorable consequences, when applied with JDAM-equipped bombs guided by a global positioning satellite system.
Hamas does not have clean hands, but when will the American public come to grips with the real reasons for the destruction of our own nation? The Western Democracies capitulated to the Zionists in the theft of Palestinian land. Khazar imposters are not Semite descendants of Abraham. Their own ruling class dupes sincere tribal Jews. Zionism puts them at risk. The “Greater Israel” expansionism is an impediment to any negotiated peace with justice.How much more blood needs to be shed to admit the obvious? Christian-Zionists bear a heavy responsibility in fostering the Likudnik mindset. Without a moral treatment of all peoples, not all the military weapons on the planet will ever impose peace. The Arab dynasties hardly champion the Palestinian cause. When desperation becomes genetically acceptable, the entire world loses its humanity. In order to eradicate unremitting bombing, the globe needs to face up to real rogue terrorism.
The headline stories claim that CIA Director General David Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA because of an adulterous relation with his young biographer and that General John Allen, Supreme Commander of US troops in Afghanistan, was under investigation and his promotion to top commander of US troops in Europe was on hold, because, we are told, of his ‘inappropriate’ comments in the exchange of e-mails with a civilian female friend. We are told that a ‘hard-charging’ local FBI agent, Frederick Humphries, Jr., had uncovered amorous e-mails sent by General Petraeus to his girlfriend-biographer in the course of investigating a complaint of ‘cyber-stalking’. Out of concern that the General’s ‘adulterous behavior’ posed a risk to US national security, Florida-based FBI Agent Humphries handed the evidence over to one of Washington, DC’s most powerful Republican, Congressman Eric Cantor, who in turn passed them on to the Director of the FBI… leading to Petraeus resignation.
In other words, we are asked to believe that a single, low-ranking, zealous FBI agent has toppled the careers of two top US Generals: one in charge of the principle global intelligence agency, the CIA, and the other in command of the US and allied combat forces in the principle theater of military engagement – on the basis of infidelity and flirtatious banter!
Nothing could be more far-fetched simply on prima facie evidence.
In the sphere of tight hierarchical organizations, like the military or the CIA, where the activity and behavior of subordinate functionaries is centrally directed and any investigation is subject to authorization by senior officials (most especially regarding prying into the private correspondences of the heads of the CIA and of strategic military operations), the idea that a lone agent might operate free-lance is preposterous. A ‘cowboy’ agent could not simply initiate investigation into such ‘sensitive’ targets as the head of the CIA and a General in an active combat zone without the highest level authorization or a network of political operatives with a much bigger agenda. This has much deeper political implications than uncovering a banal sexual affair between two consenting security-cleared adults despite the agent’s claim that fornication constitutes a threat to the United States .
Clearly we are in deep waters here: This involves political intrigue at the highest level and has profound national security implications, involving the directorship of the CIA and clandestine operations, intelligence reports, multi-billion dollar expenditures and US efforts to stabilize client regimes and destabilize target regimes. CIA intelligence reports identifying allies and enemies are critical to shaping global US foreign policy. Any shift at the top of the US empire’s operational command can and does have strategic importance.
The ‘outing’ of General Allen, the military commander in charge of Afghanistan, the US main zone of military operations occurs at a crucial time, with the scheduled forced withdrawal of US combat troops and when the Afghan ‘sepoys’, the soldiers and officers of the puppet Karzai regime, are showing major signs of disaffection, is clearly a political move of the highest order.
What are the political issues behind the beheading of these two generals? Who benefits and who loses?
At the global level, both Generals have been unflinching supporters of the US Empire, most especially the military-driven components of empire building. Both continue to carry out and support the serial wars launched by Presidents Bush and Obama against Afghanistan and Iraq , as well as, the numerous proxy wars against Libya , Syria , Yemen , Somalia , etc. But both Generals were known to have publicly taken positions unpopular with certain key factions of the US power elite.
CIA Director, General Petraeus has been a major supporter of the proxy wars in Libya and Syria . In those efforts he has promoted a policy of collaboration with rightwing Islamist regimes and Islamist opposition movements, including training and arming Islamist fundamentalists in order to topple targeted, mostly secular, regimes in the Middle East . In pursuit of this policy – Petraeus has had the backing of nearly the entire US political spectrum. However, Petraeus was well aware that this ‘grand alliance’ between the US and the rightwing Islamist regimes and movements to secure imperial hegemony, would require re-calibrating US relations with Israel . Petraeus viewed Netanyahu’s proposed war with Iran, his bloody land grabs in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and the bombing, dispossession and assassination of scores of Palestinians each month, were a liability as Washington sought support from the Islamist regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Gulf States, Iraq and Yemen.
Petraeus implied this in public statements and behind closed doors he advocated the withdrawal of US support for Israel ’s violent settler expansion into Palestine , even urging the Obama regime to pressure Netanyahu to reach some settlement with the pliable US client Abbas leadership. Above all, Petraeus backed the violent jihadists in Libya and Syria while opposing an Israel-initiated war against Iran, which he implied, would polarize the entire Moslem world against the Washington-Tel Aviv alliance and ‘provoke the US-proxy supplied Islamist fundamentalists to turn their arms against their CIA patrons. The imperial policy, according to General Petraeus world view, was in conflict with Israel ’s strategy of fomenting hostility among Islamist regimes and movements against the US and, especially, the Jewish state’s promotion of regional conflicts in order to mask and intensify its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Central to Israeli strategy and what posed the most immediate threat to the implementation of a Petraeus’ doctrine was the influence of the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) in and out of the US government.
As soon as General Petraeus’ report naming Israel as a ‘strategic liability’ became known, the ZPC sprang into action and forced Petraeus to retract his statements – at least publicly. But once, he became head of the CIA, Petraeus continued the policy of working with rightwing Islamist regimes and arming and providing intelligence to jihadi fundamentalists in order to topple independent secular regimes, first in Libya, then on to Syria. This policy was placed under the spotlight in Benghazi with the killing of the US ambassador to Libya and several CIA/Special Forces operatives by CIA-backed terrorists leading to a domestic political crisis, as key Republican Congress people sought to exploit the Obama administration’s diplomatic failure. They especially targeted the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, whose maladroit efforts to obscure the real source of the attacks in Benghazi , have undermined her nomination to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State.
General Petraeus, faced with mounting pressure from all sides: from the ZPC over his criticism of Israel and overtures to Islamist regimes, from the Republicans over the Benghazi debacle and from the FBI, over the personal investigation into his girlfriend and hyped up media smear, gave in. He ‘fessed up’ to a ‘sexual affair’, saluted and resigned. In so doing, he ‘sacrificed’ himself in order to ‘save the CIA’ and his strategy of long-term alliance-building with ‘moderate’ Islamist regimes while forming short-term tactical alliances with the jihadists to overthrow secular Arab regimes.
The key political operative behind the high-level FBI operation against Petraeus has been House Majority leader Eric Cantor, who cynically claims that the General’s romantic epistles represent a national security threat. We are told that Congressman Cantor gravely passed the e-mails and reports he had received from the ‘Lone Ranger’ FBI agent Humphries to FBI Director Mueller ordering Mueller to act on the investigation or else face his own Congressional inquiry.
Washington-based Representative Cantor is a zealous lifetime Israel-firster and has been hostile to the Petraeus report and the General’s assessment of the Middle East . Florida-based, Agent Humphries was not just any old conscientious gum-shoe: He was a notorious Islamaphobe engaged in finding terrorists under every bed. His claim to fame (or infamy) was that he had arrested two Muslims, one of whom, he claimed, was preparing to bomb the Los Angeles airport while the other allegedly planned a separate bombing. In a judicial twist, unusual in this era of FBI sting operations, both men were acquitted of the plots for lack of evidence, although one was convicted for publishing an account of how to detonate a bomb with a child’s toy! Agent Humphries was transferred from Washington State to Tampa , Florida – home of the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM).
Despite their clear differences in station and location, there are ideological affinities between House Majority Whip Cantor and Agent Humphries – and possibly a common dislike of General Petraeus. Concerns over his Islamophobic and ideological zealotry may explain why the FBI quickly yanked Agent Humphries out from his mission of ‘obsessive’ prying into CIA Director Petraeus and General Allan’s e-mails. Undeterred by orders from his superiors in the FBI, Agent Humphries went directly to fellow zealot Congressman Cantor.
Who would have benefited from Petraeus ouster? One of the top three candidates to replace him as head of the CIA is Jane Harmon, former California Congresswomen and Zionist uber-zealot. In another twist of justice, in 2005 the Congresswoman had been captured on tape by the National Security Agency telling Israeli Embassy personnel that she would use her influence to aid two AIPAC officials who had confessed to handing classified US documents to the Israeli Mossad, if the AIPAC could round up enough Congressional votes to make her Chairwoman of the US House Committee on Intelligence, an act bordering on treason, for which she was never held to account. If she were to take his position, the ousting of CIA Director Petraeus could represent to the greatest ‘constitutional coup’ in US history: the appointment of a foreign agent to control the world’s biggest, deadliest and richest spy agency. Who would benefit from the fall of Petraeus? – first and foremost – the State of Israel.
The innuendos, smears and leaked investigation into the private e-mails of General Allen revolve around his raising questions over the US policy of prolonged military presence in Afghanistan . From his own practical experience General Allen has recognized that the puppet Afghan army is unreliable: hundreds of US and other NATO troops have been killed or wounded by their Afghan counterparts, from lowest foot soldiers to the highest Afghan security officials, ‘native’ troops and officers that the US had supposedly trained for a much ballyhooed ‘transfer of command’ in 2014. General Allen’s change of heart over the Afghan occupation was in response to the growing influence of the Taliban and other Islamist resistance supporters who had infiltrated the Afghan armed forces and now had near total control of the countryside and urban districts right up to the US and NATO bases. Allen did not believe that a ‘residual force’ of US military trainers could survive, once the bulk of US troops pulled out. In a word, he favored, after over a decade of a losing war, a policy of cutting the US ’ losses, declaring ‘victory’ and leaving to regroup on more favorable terrain.
Civilian militarists and neo-conservatives in the Executive and Congress refuse to acknowledge their shameful defeat with a full US retreat and a likely surrender to a Taliban regime. On the other hand, they cannot openly reject the painfully realistic assessment of General Allen, and they certainly cannot dismiss the experience of the supreme commander of US ground forces in Afghanistan .
When, in this charged political context, the rabidly Islamaphobic FBI agent Humphries ‘stumbled upon’ the affectionate personal correspondences between General Allen and ‘socialite’ femme fatale Jill Kelly, the Neocons and civilian militarists whipped up a smear campaign through the yellow journalists at the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal implying another ‘sex’ scandal – this time involving General Allen. The neo-con– militarist-mass media clamor forced the spineless President Obama and the military high command to announce an investigation of General Allen and postpone Congressional hearings on his appointment to head the US forces in Europe . While the General quietly retains his supreme command of US forces in Afghanistan , he has become a defeated and disgraced officer and his expertise and professional views regarding the future of US operations in Afghanistan will no longer be taken seriously.
Key Unanswered Questions Surrounding Elite Intrigues and Military Purges
Given that the public version of a lone-wolf, low ranking, zealously Islamophobic and incompetent FBI agent who just happened to ‘discover’ a sex scandal leading to the discrediting or resignation of two of the US highest military and intelligence officials is absurd to any thinking American, several key political questions with profound implications for the US political system need to be addressed. These include:
1. What political officials, if any, authorized the FBI, a domestic security agency to investigate and force the resignation of the Director of the CIA?
2. Have the current police state structures, with their procedures for widespread and arbitrary spying led to our spy agencies spying on each other in order to purge each other’s top personnel? Is this like the sow devouring her own offspring?
3. What were the real priorities of the political power-brokers who protected the insubordinate FBI agent Humphries after he defied top FBI officials’ orders to stop meddling in the investigation of the CIA Director?
4. What were FBI Agent Humphries ties, if any, to the neo-con, Zionist or Islamophobic politicians and other intelligence operatives, including the Israeli Mossad?
5. Despite Obama’s effusive praise of his brilliant ‘warrior-scholar’ General Petraeus in the past, why did he immediately ‘accept’ (aka ‘force’) the CIA Director’s resignation after the revelation of something as banal in civilian life as adultery? What are the deeper political issues that led to the pre-emptive purge?
6. Why are critical political issues and policy disputes resolved under the guise of blackmail, smears and character assassination, rather than through open debates and discussions, especially on matters pertaining to the nation’s choice of strategic and tactical ‘allies’ and the conduct of overseas wars?
7. Has the purge and public humiliation of top US military officers become an acceptable form of “punishment by example”, a signal from civilian militarists that when it comes to dealing with politics toward the Middle East, the role of the military is not to question but to follow their (and Israel’s) directives?
8. How could a proven collaborator with the Israeli-Mossad and Zionist zealot like Jane Harmon emerge as a ‘leading candidate’ to replace General Petraeus, as Director of the CIA, within days of his resignation? What are the political links, past and present between Congressman Eric Cantor, (the fanatical leader of the pro-Israel power bloc in the US Congress, who handed Agent Humphries’ unauthorized files on Petraeus over to the FBI Director Muellar) and Zionist power broker Jane Harmon, a prominent candidate to replace Petraeus?
9. How will the ouster of Director Petraeus and Jane Harman’s possible appointment to head the CIA deepen Israeli influence and control of US Middle East policy and the US overtures to Islamist countries?
10. How will the humiliation of General Allen affect the US ‘withdrawal’ from the disaster in Afghanistan ?
The purge of top-level generals and officials from powerful US foreign policy and military posts reflects a further decay of our constitutional rights and residual democratic procedures: it is powerful proof of the inability of leadership at the highest level to resolve internecine conflicts without drawing out the ‘long knives’. The advance of the police state, where spy agencies have vastly expanded their political power over the citizens, has now evolved into the policing and purging of each other’s leadership: the FBI, CIA , Homeland Security, the NSA and the military all reach out and build alliances with the mass media, civilian executive and congressional officials as well as powerful foreign interest ‘lobbies’ to gain power and leverage in pursuit of their own visions of empire building.
The purge of General Petraeus and humiliation of General Allen is a victory for the civilian militarists who are unconditional supporters of Israel and therefore oppose any opening to ‘moderate’ Islamist regimes. They want a long-term and expanded US military presence in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The real precipitating factor for this ugly ‘fight at the top’ is the crumbling of the US empire and how to deal with its new challenges. Signs of decay are everywhere: Military immorality is rampant; the be-medaled generals sodomize their subordinates and amass wealth via pillage of the public treasury and military contracts; politicians are bought and sold by millionaire financial donors, including agents of foreign powers, and foreign interests determine critical US foreign policy.
The disrepute of the US Congress is almost universal – over 87% of US citizen condemn ‘the House and Senate’ as harmful to public welfare, servants of their own self-enrichment and slaves of corruption. The economic elites are repeatedly involved in massive swindles of retail investors, mortgage holders and each other. Multi-national corporations and the fabulously wealthy engage in capital flight, fattening their overseas accounts. The Executive himself (the ever-smiling President Obama) sends clandestine death squads and mercenary-terrorists to assassinate adversaries in an effort to compensate for his incapacity to defend the empire with diplomacy or traditional military ground forces or to prop-up new client-states. Cronyism is rife: there is a revolving door between Wall Street and US Treasury and Pentagon officials. Public apathy and cynicism is rife; nearly 50% of the electorate doesn’t even vote in Presidential elections and, among those who do vote, over 80% don’t expect their elected officials to honor their promises.
Aggressive civilian militarists have gained control of key posts and are increasingly free of any constitutional constraints. Meanwhile the costs of military failures and burgeoning spy, security and military budgets soar while the fiscal and trade deficit grows. Faction fights among rival imperial cliques intensify; purges, blackmail, sex scandals and immorality in high places have become the norm. Democratic discourses are hollowed out: democratic state ideology has lost credibility. No sensible American believes in it anymore.
Is there a broom large enough to clean this filthy Augean stable? Will a ‘collective Hercules’ emerge from all this intrigue and corruption with the strength of character and commitment to lead the revolutionary charge? Surely the sell-out and crude humiliation of American military officials on behalf of the ‘chicken-hawk’ civilian militarists and their foreign interests should make many an officer re-think his own career, loyalty and commitment to the Constitution.
Source: Prof. James Petras | GlobalResearch.ca
When I was a younger and more naïve man, I sometimes thought to myself, “Boy, if I could just get a forum in which to express my ideas, I could really change people’s minds.” This was before I realized that, more often than not, it wasn’t a matter of changing minds. It was a matter of changing hearts.
This is why I shake my head when hearing talk of how conservatives can possibly “win over” women or Hispanics or blacks or whatever the latest pander-worthy group may be, of how they need to “reach out” or “reframe their message,” as if everyone is a logic-worshipping Mr. Spock. After all, even if the media would disseminate the conservative argument without twisting it into a soggy, unpalatable pretzel — which they won’t — did it ever occur to these tacticians that the problem isn’t mainly a matter of intellect, but emotion?
As a related example, I got into a debate years ago with a very amiable man who had moved to the US from Denmark. He was defending socialist policies of his native land’s variety, yet, when I asked him if he intended to return home, his answer was no. Clearly, he rejected the Yankee recipe but still wanted the delicacy.
This is all too common. People often ask how it is that northerners move to the South, or Mexicans and other foreigners to the US, for a better life, but then vote as they did whence they came. Don’t they know this only ensures that the South will become more like the North or the US more like south of the border? Again, whatever they know, it isn’t mainly a matter of knowledge.
Of course, in many cases people do fail to make the proper associations between cause and effect. Yet this is often due to emotional blocks, as the intellect cannot adjudicate facts not given their day in court. Then there is rationalization, when we bend reality for ourselves because we can’t bear to bend our wants to reality. The truth is that the cold intellect is generally outmatched by hot emotion, even, sometimes, when we do know better. The ancient sage Confucius lamented this when saying, “It is not that I do not know what to do; it is that I do not do what I know.” And C.S. Lewis spoke of it when writing in Abolition of Man:
Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that “a gentleman does not cheat,” than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.
And I had sooner trust the vote of a person who was quite skeptical about religion, but bred to believe in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, than that of a rote churchgoer who had been brought up among socialists.
Failing to consider how often emotion, or our animal nature, trumps intellect is one of the most common mistakes made when predicting man’s behavior. George W. Bush was guilty of this when making the case for Mideast“nation building” and saying “All people want freedom.” Perhaps. But so does a wild animal in a city zoo; so does a toddler. Yet neither can negotiate civilization without endangering himself and/or others. And this mistake is also apparent in continual Kumbaya calls to ignore the perils of cultural incongruity, such as “All people want the same things.”
Even insofar as this is true, there’s a chasm between wanting and getting. Virtually everyone wants money, but many have neither the focus nor the capacity to acquire it. All want health, but not everyone has the discipline to exercise and live a healthful lifestyle. And let’s say that someone had ravaged his health via poor votes with the knife, fork, pipe, and shot-glass, and then was offered the chance to leap into a robust, pristine body. Unless he was like an alcoholic I know of who refused a liver transplant, saying that she knew she couldn’t change and would also ruin the new liver, he very well might take that leap. Yet his habits would come with him. And what do you think that new body would look like 5 or 10 years hence? You can take the boy out of what is destroyed, but you can’t take the destructiveness out of the boy.
This is the problem with the call to “reach out.” Arguments must first penetrate that filter of emotion before they can reach people’s minds, yet even then there is no guarantee that the people won’t sacrifice what is right in favor of what feels right. And note that when I mentioned “cultural incongruity” earlier, I didn’t just refer to foreigners invading the body of America. I also meant those whose minds and hearts have been snatched through the Triumvirate of Evil (TIE): academia, the media, and popular culture. Its great triumph is that, through an unrivalled conversion rate, it has turned a counter-culture into the dominant one.
But what all our foreigners — both those from abroad and the native-born — have in common is that they bring bad ideological health and its attendant emotions with them. Northerners and Mexicans move to greener pastures because that feels right, then vote for statists because that feels right. Women want security and “reproductive freedom,” young people a hopeful future, and blacks a civil-rights utopia because those things feel right, but then vote for politicians who would destroy their rights, freedom, and future because that feels right. And it all is eminently logical if you understand that man is often illogical.
Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not cynical about reason; after all, presenting reasoned arguments is what I do by trade. But I also know that I’m writing for a different, and perhaps even less fashionable, one percent (slight exaggeration? Perhaps, but you get the point). And we’re not going to reason people out of positions they haven’t reasoned themselves into, to paraphrase Ben Franklin. The “emerging demographic majority” will just behave unreasonably and, like the proverbial scorpion that stung the duck ferrying him across a river, thus guaranteeing both their deaths, essentially say, “I could not help myself. It is my nature!”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that some individuals won’t have a conversion of heart, but anomalies don’t discredit averages. And as ex-KGB Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov said about these “demoralized” people in the 1980s already, “You are stuck with them.” You won’t change them. All you could do is devote 15-20 years to educating a new generation of patriotic Americans, but this requires seizing control of TIE, that axis of destruction that molds minds and, more significantly, hearts. This clearly, however, is impossible within the context of our current republic. And thus are national elections now a fool’s errand for traditionalists.
Instead, as the left has done for ages with drug and immigration laws, we need to focus on the nullification of federal laws in states where we’re still strong — while we still can. We should endeavor to separate from TIE as much as possible by forging and strengthening our own organizations, media, and schooling, like Amish with modernity and muscle. And, like pious Muslims do vis-à-vis the West, we must counteract seduction by the (liberal) dominant culture by viewing it as enemy occupied territory. For just as total separation from what is unclean ensures a clean room’s purity, so do we need more division in America, not less.
This is the reality of our situation. Accepting it would do far more good than trying to take the helm of a ship that sailed, and sank, long ago.
Bullies choose easy adversaries to pummel. Equal fights are shunned. It’s the same in schoolyards or battlefields.
America and Israel operate this way. They avoid foes able to give as much as they take. Rogue governments never say they’re sorry.
During Cast Lead in January 2009, Professor Jeremy Salt wrote “A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen.” His comments apply to what’s now ongoing.
What’s it like firing missiles at people you can’t see, he asked?
Does it help being unable to see who you’re killing?
Is your conscience eased by inflicting disproportionate force on people unable to fight back and civilian infrastructure?
Are you comfortable about slaughtering civilian men, women, children, and infants?
Does this weigh on your conscience, or are you at ease?
Do you sleep well or have nightmares about men, women and children you killed at home, in beds, kitchens, living rooms, schools, mosques, at work, or at play?
Do farmers in their fields, mothers with children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled threaten your security?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why?
Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong?
Do you know the law? If so, why do you violate it? Doing so makes you complicit in crimes of war and against humanity? Do you know that?
Do you blindly follow orders or have a mind of your own?
Have you murdered civilians before?
Will you do it again if ordered?
Will you keep following orders blindly or do the right thing?
“Brave” Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel are cowards. They’ve acted lawlessly for decades.
Palestinian suffering is a way of life. Imagine living every day not sure if you’ll live or die. Imagine young children growingup this way. Do Israeli children know what Palestinian ones endure? Are they told? Do they care? Do their parents?
Israel’s moving thousands of troops and heavy weapons to Gaza’s border. Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said:
“Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and the high IDF command are pushing for the ground operation, Stage B of the Pillar of Cloud operation, to start without delay. The prime minister and defense minister prefer to wait.”
Another potential holocaust looms. Civilians always suffer most. Israel and America willfully target them. It part of the imperial strategy of both countries. Human lives don’t matter, just conquest, dominance, and exploitation.
Cast Lead took a terrible toll. Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons were used against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction followed.
Horrific crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Responsible officials remain unaccountable. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn’t ordered.
Over 1,400 Gazans perished. More than 80% were civilians. Over 300 were children. Around 5,300 were injured. Over 1,600 were children or infants. Israel willfully targeted them.
Neighborhoods, schools, universities, mosques, hospitals, UN facilities, fishing boats, civilian factories and workshops, municipal buildings, charitable foundations, civilian infrastructure, and other noncombatant sites were bombed and shelled.
Farmland was bulldozed. Power facilities and irrigations systems were destroyed. International leaders were indifferent about human slaughter and suffering. Only three low-level Israeli soldiers received punishments too minor to matter.
The al-Samouni family lost 27 members. Salah Talala al-Samouni saw his mother blown apart. Rocket and shell fire killed his two-year old daughter, father, aunt, cousin, and entire family. Media scoundrels said nothing. They support Israel’s worst crimes.
Under siege, Gazans haven’t recovered from Cast Lead. Now they face the prospect of more war perhaps worse than 2008-09.
International leaders share culpability through silence, indifference, and/or complicity. Washington is involved in all Israeli wars. Weapons, munitions and funding are supplied. Political support is given.
Obama told Netanyahu, go ahead and bomb and shell at will. Call it “self-defense” and pretend no one knows it’s not. On November 15, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding supportive resolution. Not a single profile in courage expressed opposition.
AIPAC thanked Obama and Senate members for supporting Israel. Gazan civilians and resistance fighters are maliciously called terrorists. They’re heroes, not criminals.
On November 14, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abe Foxman expressed support for Israeli bombing and shelling, saying:
“Israel has shown tremendous restraint in the face of the unceasing rocket and mortar fire launched from Gaza. This operation is directly targeting the leadership responsible for these attacks, as well as the warehouses and facilities housing their weapons.”
“No country in the world would stand by and tolerate such attacks on more than a million civilians.”
“The international community has a clear obligation to condemn these attacks and to support the actions taken by Israel against Hamas and other terror organizations operating in Gaza as Israel carries out its basic duty to defend its civilian population.”
For almost a century, ADL fronted for Jewish supremacy. It backs occupation harshness. It’s mindless about Palestinian suffering. It conducts smear campaigns against critics.
Its entire history is loathsome. Israeli crimes are called self-defense. It plays the same blame the victim game as Israel, Washington, AIPAC, and other Zionist organizations. Only Jewish rights matter. Palestinians are criminalized for defending themselves.
Israel agreed to halt military operations during Egyptian Prime Minister Hersham Kandil’s visit. He and Egyptian cabinet ministers arrived in Gaza Thursday. He’ll return Friday. Israeli attacks continued.
At Al Shifa Hospital, Kandil visited victims. He denounced Israeli attacks, saying: “This tragedy cannot pass in silence, and the world should take responsibility for stopping this aggression.” Cairo will try to mediate a truce, he added.
Since Saturday, over 40 Palestinians were killed. Hundreds more were injured. Many are in serious condition. Dozens of air strikes continue. Death and injury numbers may rise exponentially. Current figures underestimate the toll because some victims lie beneath rubble.
The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) said Israel conducted 30 sorties in less than 30 minutes on Friday. At 10PM Thursday, the IDF said it struck 70 targets in the previous hour.
Civilian sites and government buildings were bombed and shelled. Two UN schools were struck. Heavy damage was reported. The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies said a church under construction was targeted.
said, “Children, infants, women and elderly are among the casualties, including children whose bodies were severely mutilated and burnt due to Israeli shells. A pregnant woman and her unborn fetus are among the killed.”
Gazan resistance fighters said they won’t honor truce conditions as long as Israel keeps killing Palestinian men, women, children, infants, and the elderly. On Thursday evening, a Beit Hanoun home was bombed. Three children died. One was nine years old.
A 10-month old infant was killed when another home was struck. Through early Friday morning, at least eight children, a pregnant woman, and two elderly men died.
Thirty thousand IDF reservists were called up. Military leaves were cancelled. Tanks, armored vehicles, and troops are mobilizing on Gaza’s border. Invasion looks ominously likely.
On November 16, Mathaba said the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) “received numerous complaints on the atrocities and possible war crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”
On November 20 and 21, two days of open hearings will be held.
Commission members include former Magistrate Musa Ismail, former Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Dean Zulaiha Ismail, Center for Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky, and two former Iraq UN humanitarian coordinators – Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.
On November 16, Alternative News.org headlined “No safe haven: Civilians under attack in the Gaza Strip.” An eyewitness visited Al Shifa Hospital. Many injured Gazans are in serious condition.
Forty-year old Salem Waqef suffered brain injury. He’s in a coma on a ventilator. It’s unclear if he’ll survive.
Ten-month old Haneen Tafesh was admitted unconscious. She suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage. She’s also in a coma on a ventilator. Doctors said her condition deteriorated since admitted. Hours later she died.
Ahmed Durghmush suffered brain trauma. Shrapnel penetrated his skull. Brain matter protruded from his head wound. His condition also deteriorated after surgery.
Throughout Thursday, emergency room staff were handling numerous arrivals. Injuries range from easily treatable to severe to life threatening.
Justice Ministry public information director, Khalid Hamad, was at home when shelling targeted a neighbor’s house. Israel “targeted civilians deliberately,” he said. “The Israeli forces don’t make mistakes.”
Thirteen-year old Duaa Hejazi was brought in “bleeding a lot.” She sustained upper body shrapnel wounds. Pieces are still embedded in her chest. She sent a message to other Gazan children, saying:
“I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. They are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said. If you’re a mountain, the wind won’t shake you. We’re not afraid. We’ll stay strong.”
Al Shifa director general Dr. Mithad Abbas explained the dire conditions under which hospital staff must cope, saying:
“When those cases arrive at our hospital, it is not under normal circumstances. They come on top of the siege, the blockade, which has resulted in a lack of vital medicines and required medical supplies.”
Al Shifa lacks essential medicines, some equipment and supplies. They include antibiotics, IV fluid, anesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment.
Power outages exceed 12 hours daily. Small amounts of fuel maintain operations at those times. Dr. Abbas said his supply will be exhausted in days if current conditions continue.
He doesn’t know where the next missile or shell will strike. Perhaps Al Shifa will be targeted. Israel considers all civilian sites fair game.
On November 15, the Global BDS Movement issued the following statement in part:
“Stop a New Israeli Massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel Now!”
Despite biased Western media reports, Israel “initiated and escalated this new assault on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honored Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.”
“Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples.”
“It is high time for BDS against Israel. This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region.”
At issue also is a pending November 29 vote on Palestinian UN non-member observer status. Israel and Washington have gone all out to subvert it. Member States have all the more reason to support Palestine. In less than two weeks we’ll know.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged Arab leaders to use all means to halt Israeli attacks on Gaza.
“No one is telling Arab countries today, ‘Please go open your borders and begin the operation to liberate Palestine.’ What we want is to end the attack on Gaza.”
This is everyone’s battle…We’re not asking you for a solution. We’re asking for effort.”
“Some say the Arabs don’t have the courage to stop oil production. Decrease your oil exports or raise the price a little and you will shake the United States. You will shake Europe.”
“Brothers, if you can’t cut off oil, decrease your production or raise the price. Put on some pressure. No one is calling for armies or tanks or planes.”
Nasrallah called Israel’s Gaza attack “criminal aggression.” Multiple crimes of war and against humanity are committed.
Much is at stake in Palestine, the region and beyond. Washington’s aggressive wars continue. New ones are planned. Israel’s a key partner. Both countries have imperial agendas. War features prominently in achieving them.
Michel Chossudovsky calls attacking and invading Gaza “part of the broader US-NATO-Israel military agenda.” Based on what’s happened post-9/11, expect the worst ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
The rapid approach of the Thelma & Louise bipartisan plunge into the financial abyss is upon us. It is simply unbelievable, that the prospects of rational tax salvation by the end of the year, measured by every statement coming out of the Washington political cabal, will materialize. Extending the current tax rates from automatic rescission on January 1, 2013, as a stopgap method for an enactment of a lasting political rapprochement, is the best that might occur. The net effect will be a perspicacious downturn in economic activity, a new round of layoffs, rising permanent unemployment and a plunge in consumer confidence. Wall Street will make hay by shorting the market while placing blame on the uncompromising hacks that refuse to cut a deal.
As for the message from the latest election, let no one forget. With all haste during four more years, the implementation of expansive socialism from an Obama administration is inevitable.
The backbone from the establishment loyal opposition is well known for their spineless tendencies. The righteous outrage from the Tea Party representatives, silenced during much of the last campaign, is slated for confinement to a corner room in the basement. The careerist political class, in all their sordid glory, readies their next heist and tax increases.
Curtailing entitlements is unthinkable to the Obama collectivists. Cutting back on government baseline budgets only pass through the distorted image of a fun house mirror. The discipline of automatic sequestration reductions is too much for big government, so look for the final bargain to cost the taxpayer dearly.
Remember the current administration is quite content to operate their criminal syndicate without passage of a budget. By what stretch of the imagination would anyone accept that there will be changes to this equation? Obama wins by default and the business community gets to pay the tab.
The prescription of Speaker John Boehner relies upon a medicine that will kill you softly. The House of Representatives is so fearful of a federal government shutdown that capitulation to the hardball of the Obama’s central government regime will be the end result. Good faith negotiations under these circumstances are like begging for crumbs from a banquet feast of Henry VIII.
Going back to the government shut down, when Newt Gingrich was speaker, illustrates the dilemma. President Clinton skated from responsibility and blame for shutting down portions of the federal government. The unreliability of the House to keep the gravy train rolling was the condemnation heard by the mass media.
Gingrich offered a different assessment under the Government Shutdowns section of his Get the Facts site.
“While the shutdown produced some short-term pain, it set the stage for a budget deal in 1996 that led to the largest drop in federal discretionary spending since 1969. The discipline imposed by this 1996 budget let to a balanced-budget deal in 1997, the first of four consecutive balanced budgets – an achievement Congress and the White House had not achieved since the 1920s. Overall spending grew at an average of 2.9 percent a year while Newt was Speaker, the slowest rate in decades, and Americans created 11 million new jobs…”
The triangulation strategy of Bill Clinton allowed for absorbing budgetary reforms, while still keeping his appeal to his political base. Barack Obama has no such need for misapprehension. Taxmageddon is another opportunity to take advantage of another manufactured crisis. The facts constitute that a second Obama term is a recipe for total economic warfare against productive businesses.
Add the destructive increases of taxation from Obamacare and the consequences of a full-blown recession in 2013 are unmistakable. Surely, the RINO’s within Congress want cover to share the pain while pointing the finger at the newly elected second term administration and Democrats in Congress.
Holding hands while jumping off the cliff makes good politics for the entrenched‘pols’ of both parties that are destroying the economy.
Ron Paul sums up nicely, Election shows U.S. ‘far gone’.
Paul “said in the wake of this week’s elections that the country has already veered over the fiscal cliff and he sees no chance of righting ship in a country where too many people are dependent on government.
People do not want anything cut,” he said. “They want all the bailouts to come. They want the Fed to keep printing the money. And they don’t believe that we’ve gone off the cliff or are close to going off the cliff. They think we can patch it over, that we can somehow come up with some magic solution. But you can’t have a budgetary solution if you don’t change what the role of government should be. As long as you think we have to police the world and run this welfare state, all we are going to argue about is who will get the loot.”
Taxmageddon is just a mere illusion for the voters who re-elected Obama. The sugar daddy will get those bigoted fiscal conservatives to keep the checks in the mail. Somehow, the precarious financial status of the postal service escapes those 47%ers.
When the double-dip recession begins, the nonexistent mortgage loans will trash the “so called” housing market recovery even harder. Soon the economic destruction of many middle class neighborhoods will take on the appearance of the Rockaway backyard after a visit from Sandy, the hurricane.
Yet, the advantages of embracing taxmageddon as a grand occasion for soaking the rich will be the excuse to increase revenue enhancements on what is left of Middle America. Yes, the public voted for cooperative government. That often heard “fair shared” demand to pay higher taxes is exactly what is in store for an already broke country.
Big government wins and independent financial wealth loses. Remember according to Obama, you never earned your money to begin with. Driving off the cliff together will bond citizens to the same fate as those famous female desperadoes, T & L. Maybe this is fitting, since the feminine vote got Obama re-elected. All hail the pimp-in-chief, four more years in hell.