Turkey is a democracy in name only. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ruling despot.
He’s led Ankara’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) since August 2001. He’s been prime minister since March 2003. Why Turks put up with him they’ll have to explain.
Last spring, anti-government protests rocked Ankara, Istanbul and other Turkish cities. Police violence followed. Brutality is longstanding policy. Corruption is deep-seated.
It’s rife in Turkey’s construction sector. Erdogan established a land sales office. Ostensibly it was to build affordable public housing.
Widespread privatizations followed. Billions of dollars worth of government assets were sold.
Sweetheart deals and bribes accompanied them. Well-connected companies got no-bid contracts. State banks provided generous financing.
Projects developed had nothing to do with public housing. Berat Albayrak heads Calik Holding. He’s well connected. He’s Erdogan’s son-in-law.
He may be linked to the corruption probe. He builds power plants in Turkmenistan. He’s involved in an AKP backed oil pipeline project. He has other government related business.
The current scandal stems from a year ago anonymous letter. It was sent to police. It alleged Ankara and local government authorities illegally facilitated construction projects. Huge profits were involved.
Surveillance, phone tapping, and other investigatory methods followed. They produced considerable evidence of corruption. Government ministers are involved. Million dollar bribes were paid.
State-run Halk Bank head was found with about $4.5 million in cash. It was at home. It was stashed in shoe boxes.
Millions more were seized from other suspects. Over a dozen are accused of bribery and money laundering, as well as gold and antiques smuggling.
On December 17, Turkey’s Financial Crimes and Battle Against Criminal Incomes department detained 47 people.
Sons of Ankara’s Economy, Interior and Environment and Urban Planning ministers are involved.
So is Fatih district municipality major Mustafa Demir and real estate tycoon Ali Agaoglu. Minister of European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis is being investigated.
Whether scandal touches Erdogan remains to be seen. He claims attempts to do so will be “left empty handed.”
On Christmas day, he reshuffled his cabinet. Three ministers resigned. He sack 10 others. He replaced them. Events are fast-moving.
Erdogan Bayraktar was Minister of Environment and Urban Planning. He was a member of parliament. He felt forced to resign both posts.
He said Erdogan should do so. He claimed suspect construction projects under investigation were approved with Erdogan’s full knowledge.
“With your permission, I want to make very short statements in the form of a press statement,” he said.
“It is of course a right and an authority for Mr. Prime Minister to work with whichever minister he wants and to remove whichever minister he wants from office.”
“But I do not accept the pressure being put on me which says, ‘Resign because of an operation in which there are statements of bribery and corruption and release a declaration that will relieve me.’ “
“I do not (accept it) because a big part of the zoning plans that are in the investigation file and were confirmed were made with approval from Mr. Prime Minister.”
“For the sake of the well-being of this nation, I believe the prime minister should resign.”
He accused him of involvement in suspect property deals. He’s linked to profiteering business interests.
Scandal heads closer to directly connecting him. Perhaps it will as investigations continue. Turkish Professor Soli Ozel called Bayraktar’s call for Erdogan’s resignation “extraordinarily dramatic.”
He’s “someone who was very close to the prime minister. This is someone you’d expect to fall on his sword without question.”
Other analysts see things potentially spinning out of control. Whether Erdogan can prevent it remains to be seen.
He may end up victimized by his own transgressions. It depends on how much public anger grows. He weathered previous crises. It’s hard to know if this one is too great to contain.
Investigations targeted over 90 suspects. Over two dozen were arrested. Dozens of police chiefs were sacked. Erdogan is far from squeaky-clean.
On December 21, Ankara’s police department Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit head Hakan Yuksekdag was found dead in his car. Officially it was pronounced suicide.
Further investigation is being conducted. The incident occurred a day after 14 senior Ankara National Police Department officials were removed from their posts.
Erdogan blamed ongoing events on an international conspiracy. He vowed revenge on figures connected to Muhammed Fethullah Gulen.
He heads the movement bearing his name. He claims a million or more followers. They include judges and senior police officials.
He’s currently in self-imposed exile. He’s in Pennsylvania. He’s a writer, former imam, and Islamic opinion leader. He’s an important figure.
He’s involved with issues relating to Turkey’s future. He and Erdogan haven’t gotten along for years.
Former Minister of Internal Affairs Idris Naim Sahin said Erdogan’s actions fall short of law and justice. He’s trying to defuse public anger, he said. He’s shifting blame to do it.
Thousands of Istanbul, Ankara, and Ismir protesters demanded Erdogan’s resignation. They did so on Christmas. They did it in other cities. They protested last spring.
They’re justifiably outraged. Their longstanding anger hasn’t waned. Erdogan works against their well-being. Clashes with police erupted. Arrests followed.
Protesters chanted; “Three ministers aren’t enough. The whole government should resign. Corruption is everywhere. Resistance is everywhere.”
Opposition party members accused Erdogan of deepening despotic rule. Critics use the term “deep state.” It refers to a shadowy power structure. It lacks checks and balances.
Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) is Erdogan’s main rival. It’s Turkey’s oldest political party. It’s AKP’s Main Opposition in the Grand National Assembly. Kemal Kilicdaroglu heads it.
“Erdogan has a ‘deep state,’ ” he said. His AKP “has a ‘deep state.’ ” Efkan Ala is new Interior Minister.
He’s an Erdogan crony. He formerly was Diyarbakir Province governor. He’s part of what’s ongoing, said Kilicdaroglu.
He believes Ala’s appointment is part of an Erdogan power grab. He wants greater police control. Outgoing Interior Minister Muammer Guler fired hundreds of police officers. Senior commanders were sacked.
Erdogan’s new ministers were carefully chosen. He appointed officials “that will not show any opposition to him,” said Kilicdaroglu.
Turkey is more police state than democracy. Press freedom is compromised. Censorship is standard practice. Dissent is verboten. Challenging government authority is called terrorism.
No country imprisons more journalists than Turkey. Corruption is deep-seated. Neoliberal harshness writ large is policy. Popular interests are spurned.
Erdogan represents wealth, power and privilege. It’s hard imagining he’s not involved in corruption in some way. He’s gotten his son-in-law business tycoon sweetheart deals.
He prioritizes Turkey’s business model. It reflects capitalism’s dark side. It includes unrestrained profit-making, privatizations, cheap labor, deregulation, corporate-friendly tax cuts, marginalized worker rights, and speculative capital inflows.
Economic conditions are inherently unstable. Turkey suffers rolling recessions, crisis conditions, and fragile largely jobless recoveries. It’s increasingly dependent on imports of resources and capital goods.
Youth unemployment tops 22%. An entire generation is affected. Conditions are socially and economically unstable.
Privation fuels public anger. Eventually it may spiral out-of-control. It may be just a matter of time. Turkey has a long history of rebellion.
Erdogan is increasingly hated. He weathered last spring’s anti-government protests. It remains to be seen what’s next.
Nicolas Spiro heads Spiro Sovereign Strategy. “The dismissal of half an entire cabinet is worrying enough,” he said. “The corruption probe is escalating by the day.”
It’s “causing a further deterioration in market sentiment towards Turkey.” Erdogan’s new cabinet includes four deputy prime ministers.
Ayse Islam is the only woman appointed. She’s Family and Social Policy Minister. Others include:
Deputy prime minister: Bulent Arinc
Deputy prime minister: Ali Babacan
Deputy prime minister: Besir Atalay
Deputy prime minister: Emrullah Isler
Justice: Bekir Bozdag
Defense: Ismet Yilmaz
Interior: Efkan Ala
Foreign Affairs: Ahmet Davutoglu
European Union: Mevlut Cavusoglu
Finance: Mehmet Simsek
Economy: Nihat Zeybekci
Energy and Natural Resources: Taner Yildiz
National Education: Nabi Avci
Labour and Social Security: Faruk Celik
Environment and Urban Development: Idris Gulluce
Health: Mehmet Muezzinoglu
Transport: Lutfi Elvan
Food, Agriculture and Husbandry: Mehmet Mehdi Eker
Science, Industry and Technology: Fikri Isik
Culture and Tourism: Omer Celik
Forestry and Water Affairs: Veysel Eroglu
Customs and Trade: Hayati Yazici
Development: Cevdet Yilmaz
Youth and Sports: Akif Cagatay Kilic
Scandal erupted months ahead of next March’s local elections. Parliamentary elections involving Erdogan are scheduled in 2015.
If held today, voters might oust him. It’s way too early to know how they’ll react in 2015. Istanbul-based Global Source Partners analyst Atilla Yesilada said ongoing events suggest Erdogan is losing control.
“Forced to act, (he) tried to get rid of his burdens,” he said. “But this is a political crisis, and it is hard to tell how it will unfold. These investigations may expand in coming months.”
Doing so perhaps may link Erdogan to deep-seated corruption. If so, he may be forced to resign. The fullness of time will tell.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you cannot face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says It.” – Malcolm X
I have been reading political commentary on Black Agenda Report (BAR) regularly of late. The site, which purveys a black leftist perspective, regularly excoriates President Obama, as well they should. BAR has become a trusted source in my quest to understand history and current events. This is the home of the real left, not the pseudo left that pervades the corporate airwaves masquerading as champions of equality. Here, no one is paying homage to Obama or calling him a liberal or progressive simply because he is a black democrat. No one is calling him a socialist, either. The political commentators at BAR hold Obama to the same standard to which they held George W. Bush and his fascist predecessors.
Most of the self-proclaimed liberals who castigated Bush and Cheney for their neoconservative polices are giving Obama, whose polices are no less regressive or extreme than those of his precursors, a free ride. This is because the president belongs to the Democratic Party, which continues to be associated with traditional liberalism in the minds of contemporary faux progressives and liberals, rather than the neoliberalism that defines its policies.
Those who continue to support Obama and his backsliding pro-corporate regime obviously have no conception about what classical liberalism and progressivism are. They are at least half a century behind the times.
Although I may lack the political acumen to concisely define terms such as liberalism, progressivism, and leftist, which are somewhat subjective anyway, it is apparent to me that neoliberalism, the form of liberalism that is actually practiced by today’s Democratic Party, bears much in common with the neoconservatism that is associated with contemporary Republicans. There is nothing progressive about either ideology, and nothing in them that is beneficial to workers. To call Obama a liberal or a socialist, as so many people do, is beyond farcical. It strains one’s credulity to the breaking point.
I distrust Barack Obama for the same reasons that I spurn George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Clintons, and any other war mongering capitalist. My criticism has nothing to do with race or gender. It stems from ideological differences, class conflict, and radically dissimilar values from the ruling clique.
Among some black folk, charges of racism are leveled against any white folks who criticize the black president in the same way that charges of anti-Semitism are used against anyone who is critical of Israel’s Zionist polices of apartheid that, with the aid of the U.S., are being carried out against the Palestinians. This is not to deny the racism that is directed against the president. It is to philosophically and morally disassociate myself from any and all groups of white supremacists engaged in bigotry.
If a policy is morally reprehensible and unjust, just people have a moral obligation to criticize it, regardless of who is responsible for formulating and enacting such policies. Every socially conscious human being has an ethical responsibility to take action against criminal government or any corporation that is harming one’s community, or for that matter, the planet.
From my perspective, BAR and WPFW’s Jared Ball are ethically consistent and accurate in their critiques of Barack Obama and American capitalism. These venerable warriors are true leftists who do not compromise their principles for political expediency, cost them what it may.
The virtually defunct radical left was once a formidable and organized political force in the U.S. Today’s leftists are treated like pariahs by the pseudo left and its neocon brethren. Radical leftists pose a viable threat to the established orthodoxy. Anyone who refuses to carry forth the performative role assigned to them by the dominant culture is a threat to those in power. As true combatants for justice, today’s leftwing dissidents are worthy of being associated with iconic revolutionaries like Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, and Mumia Abu Jamal, all of whom happen to be black.
By contrast, Barack Obama, who mouths an endless stream of pseudo liberal platitudes, is an unabashed disciple of Milton Friedman and the market fundamentalism he revered. This identifies the president as a corporate fascist and thus a promoter of inequality. It allies him with America’s ruling class. Obama and his supporters should not be identified in any way, shape or form with thereal left. Whatever minutia one uses to differentiate between contemporary neoliberals and neoconservatives is akin to splitting hairs.
The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are not mortal enemies, as portrayed in the corporate media; they are in collusion against the world’s working class and the poor. Together, they are raping and pillaging the Earth Mother and repressing workers through economic violence and imposed austerity. Like costumed wrestlers performing on television, the acrimony is not real; it is vitriolic political theater, an enthralling puppet show for diehard believers.
We must somehow move beyond party politics, beyond the simplicity of liberal versus conservative dichotomy, beyond left against right, and see things as they really are rather than as we wish them to be.
Voting doesn’t change anything in a system flush with corporate money. The structures that put the money into politics cannot be used to extract it. Without proportional representation or corporate money, third parties are not a viable option in state and federal elections. They are just another distraction from reality, a mild form of symbolic protest. Voting for justice does nothing to actually attain it. Direct action directly applied to a problem offers the best hope for revolutionary change.
Conversely, political dualism keeps us fighting the wrong people. It has us believing in people and institutions that do not promote justice and do us harm. These institutions are not what they purport to be. They are at best a mirage; something that appears real but only exists in the mind of the beholder.
Belief in the American Dream and perverted systems of power as a means to justice provides a method for directing and cajoling the masses to do the biding of the super-wealthy and all-powerful corporate state. Faith, hope, and belief in phony people and bogus institutions function as a form of mass hypnosis that keeps the people from organizing in class struggle against a common oppressor—the capitalist system.
Despite reams of contradictory historical evidence, most people in the U.S. continue to associate democracy with capitalism. It is reckless of us to allow anyone to use these terms interchangeably without contesting them at every opportunity. Let me be clear: Democracy is the antithesis of capitalism! But capitalism is the product the U.S. government, the Pentagon, and the commercial media are marketing to us as democracy. And thus the inequality gap, the disparity between rich and poor, is growing wider rather than shrinking.
The nemesis of all working people, regardless of where they live or their political affiliation, is capitalism and its linear, hierarchal, male-dominated power structures. This is why we must have a truthful critique of capitalism and patriarchy and create alternatives that promote the public wellbeing above corporate profits. Many promising alternatives, such as Professor Richard Wolff’s Worker Self-Directed Enterprise (http://www.democracyatwork.info), already exist.
When the richest and most powerful people on earth, the primary beneficiaries of capitalism, invest so many resources into demonizing and subverting the writings of one man—Karl Marx—and the various economic and philosophic alternatives to capitalism, inquisitive minds want to know why. There are elements of Marxism that makes the power elite quake in their shoes. This is what led me to read Marx years ago. I have been reading him ever since.
Marx has helped me to comprehend why capitalists fear and loathe him. Deep down, they know that he was right. If workers understood capitalism from a Marxist perspective, not one in ten thousand would voluntarily accept their performative role in this exploitative economic system. There would be widespread conflict and social upheaval. There would be global revolution. The power elite spends trillions of dollars to maintain the façade of capitalism as a manifestation of democracy. In fact, I would argue that nothing could be more opposed to democracy than American capitalism.
The key point to understand is that capitalism, a system based upon the ruthless exploitation and commodification of workers and the relentless rape of our Earth Mother, stifles and represses democracy. Capitalists abhor all forms of egalitarianism. Marx embraced them. The mere possibility of an empowered work force troubles the capitalist’s sleep, as did the possibility of slave rebellion, albeit it small, distress the slaveholder.
Consider the vitriol, not to mention counter revolutionary forces that are levied against the alternatives to capitalism. What is their source? Who but wealthy capitalists fund America’s propaganda apparatus? Working people in the U.S. are conditioned to reflexively recoil against ideas they do not understand. They are psychologically programmed to detest that which could potentially set them free. American workers are led to believe that economic servitude and wage slavery is freedom.
Why does a government that calls itself a democracy systemically spy on its citizens? Why does it punish its whistle blowers but materially reward the vilest white-collar criminals? Why is the majority of the U.S. budget spent on funding an insatiable war machine? Why do we raise classrooms of meat puppets rather than critical thinkers and political dissidents? It is all done for the benefit of capitalists at the expense of society.
It is by these means that capitalism survives and spreads like an aggressive malignancy to every organ of the planet. Furthermore, the majority of the wealth produced by labor is subverted to prop up the capitalist system and to indoctrinate and oppress the worker. To the detriment of us all, freethinking and critical analysis are discouraged and often reprimanded in academia and elsewhere. And thus hundreds of millions of human beings are transformed into herd animals that are led to slaughter in the military and the world’s sweat shops. We celebrate our freedom and patriotism on our march to the scalding pots, singing “God Bless America.” There is no fight in us. We go too quietly and too obediently into the good night of eternity.
Yet, despite everything and the repressive weight of history, Americans still have a propensity to believe in myths and fairy tales. Hope and faith in phony leaders and bogus institutions keep us servile and docile. Irrational faith requires nothing from us. Delusion has become the norm because too many of us are incapable of grappling with reality. We can and must do better than capitalism or we are doomed to an ignominious fate.
Let’s think about all those trillions of dollars that have been constantly pouring into war profiteers’ pockets ever since they invented Vietnam. All those trillions must have come from somewhere. Of course we all know that some of them came from the Federal Reserve where they print Monopoly money like crazy. And, ironically, some of them have also come from multiple humungous loans from China. Plus some of that money also found its way into the pockets of War Street at approximately the same time that “all the gold in Fort Knox” mysteriously disappeared. And a few trillion also seems to have just materialized out of thin air — as if there was some ethereal war-profiteer fairy out there happily waving her magic wand. But a lot of this destructive blood-money also came out of the pockets of us American taxpayers. Trillions of dollars. From you and me.
All too many of us hard-working Americans have been forced to gird up our loins and go without so that war profiteers can afford to live like kings, buy multiple yachts, drink Veuve Clicquot champagne and smoke Cuban cigars.
You and I have gone without jobs, schools, roads, police, fire departments, hospitals, etc. in order to pay handsomely for War Street’s right to kill babies and Live Large.
And, apparently, we are also being forced to live without the high-quality court system that we here in California had grown accustomed to. How do I know this? Because the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association just told me so!
At a recent luncheon meeting of BABA at the famed Berkeley City Club (designed by Julia Morgan herself) and over roast chicken, fruit salad and pie, a judge from the Alameda County Superior Court gave us a talk on the struggles that Alameda County is going through just to keep its court system working and its courthouse doors open these days.
“One billion dollars was lost in the budget last year,” the speaker told us. “This is the toughest time financially in the history of this court. We have never has to worry about money before — but now we worry about money all of the time. It is very difficult to juggle to keep all of our programs alive.” http://www.courthousenews.com/
“For instance, there have been 26 furlough days this year, where court employees didn’t get paid. Courthouses are closed. We used to have 72 judges and nine commissioners. Now there are 18 vacancies this year. We went from 940 employees to 720 employees. We need 104 more just to operate. There used to be seven civil court locations. Now there are only two. Four family courts have been reduced to one family court. Four probate locations have been reduced to one.” Heaven forbid that you should have to die and your ghost be forced to stand in line for hours at probate court.
“And if you get a traffic ticket anywhere in the county, you will have to drive all the way down to Fremont to contest it. People stand in line for blocks at 5 am to get their tickets handled — and may still have to come back. And the only reason Alameda County is barely keeping its head above water right now is because we have so many employees who are dedicated to bringing access to justice for all. Sacramento County, for instance, doesn’t even have a civil filing office bull pen. You just leave your unfiled summonses, pleadings and other documents in a drop-box. Some counties have over 5000 unfiled documents right now.”
And where is the money from all those unpaid salaries going? As far as I can tell, it is going into the pockets of tax-dodging corporate welfare queens and heartless and immoral war profiteers. Christmas is coming up. Would Jesus approve of all this random bloodshed and not-random greed? Can you actually imagine Him saying, “I am Jesus and I approve this message.” No way!
“Then there is the problem of criminal realignment. 30,000 prisoners have been released but next year there will be no money for their realignment — so more petty thefts will occur. This will be very interesting to see.” In other words, 30,00 prisoners will get out of jail with only bus fare and the clothes on their backs.
And also court electronic data systems have suffered. “In some smaller counties, the filing system consists of putting papers in a box. And our county no longer has the personnel to support inter-court filing of documents either.” So you have to go to one specific court if you want to file a complaint or a probate document or a traffic ticket protest or an unlawful detainer.
And speaking of unlawful detainers (that’s where people who don’t pay their rent get invited to court by their landlord), the California court system has been flooded with them. “There are so many banks with foreclosures. These are our priority cases. And 95% of them are getting settled because judges from other departments volunteer to help out and get these cases heard — because where else are people being threatend with foreclosure evictions going to go if they lose their homes?”
PS: At its next monthly luncheon meeting, BABA asked a federal judge to speak — only he talked about an excess of money in America instead of a dearth of it, and how there have been whole tornadoes and hurricanes of money, flooding down on the USA like hailstorms ever since Citizens’ United took effect.
“And there is the additional problem of having individuals with unlimited personal bank accounts now running for office,” said the judge. “When all this money flows into the election system, only wealthy people are elected.” And why shouldn’t rich people invest in buying elections? For every dollar a huge corporation or war profiteer spends on buying an election, he gets a 5000% return in pork-barrel dollars sent his way.
“Swing states are already saturated with money on the presidential-campaign level,” and so any more money being poured into those campaigns will have decreasing effectiveness. “But large sums of money have an overwhelming effect on local elections. But even though voters aren’t stupid, even when being constantly bombarded with expensive ads, fair elections are still impossible under the current system,” said the judge as I happily ate roast beef, baby spinach and cheesecake.
“We in America have a very narrow view of what constitutes corruption.” It’s not corrupt to buy an election any more — just as long as you use the new Supreme Court guidelines or have a friend at Diebold. You can’t just slip a poll-worker a fin any more. That’s corrupt. You gotta be new-school about it. http://readersupportednews.
“Chief Justice Roberts stated that, ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t make the laws. We just call balls and strikes’. That is wrong.” Especially when the current Supreme Court continuously calls out “strike!” even after a batter has obviously hit a home run. http://jpstillwater.blogspot.
PPS: “So, Jane. What’s your moral here?” The moral here is that we need to protect the integrity of our court system at any cost — even if it means that a few more war profiteers have to go without one of their yachts. And also that I love all those Berkeley-Albany Bar Association luncheons.
We came, we saw, we stayed. Forever. That’s the essence of the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to be struck between the Obama administration and Afghanistan – over 12 years after the start of the never-ending War on Terror.
President Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry define it as a ‘strategic partnership’. If that’s the case, it’s one of the most lopsided in history; Afghan President Hamid Karzai is no more than a sartorially impeccable American puppet.
Kerry announced the so-called BSA in Washington on Wednesday even before a Loya Jirga (‘Grand Council’, in Pashto) of 2,500 Afghan tribal leaders, clerics, members of parliament and merchants started their four-day deliberations in a tent on the grounds of the Polytechnical University in Kabul on Thursday.
But then Karzai, probably in his last major speech as president, pulled off a fabulous stunt. He knows he is, and will be, accused of selling Afghanistan down the (Panjshir) river. He knows he is sacrificing Afghan sovereignty for years to come – and there will be nasty blowback for it.
So once again he channeled Hamid the Actor, and played his best honest broker impersonation, stressing the BSA should be put off until the Afghan presidential elections in April 2014, and be signed by his successor.
It was high drama
“There’s a mistrust between me and the Americans. They don’t trust me and I don’t trust them. I have always criticized them and they have always propagated negative things behind my back,” he claimed.
I have been to Jirgas in Afghanistan; even looking at those inscrutable, rugged tribal faces is a spectacle in itself. So what were they thinking in Kabul? Of course they did not trust the Americans. But did they trust Karzai? Could they see this was all an act?
A consultative Loya Jirga cannot veto the BSA. Even the Jirga chairman, Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, stressed Karzai may sign without any consultation. Yet Karzai insists he will not sign without the Loya Jirga’s approval.
Many members of the Afghan parliament and the entire Afghan opposition already voted with their feet, boycotting the Jirga. Not to mention the Taliban – essential to any agreement on the future of Afghanistan – and the still fully weaponized Hezb-e-Islami. Everyone is eagerly waiting to hear Taliban supremo Mullah Omar’s take on the whole kabuki.
The BSA ‘negotiation’ has been like an extended Monty Python sketch. Washington has always insisted US soldiers can break into Afghan homes at will and remain immune to any sort of Afghan prosecution. Otherwise the Americans will leave for good at the end of 2014, leaving just the poorly trained and largely corrupt Afghan National Army (ANA) to fight the Taliban.
Up until Karzai’s latest stunt, the Obama administration considered the deal was in the bag. Just look at the letter Obama sent to Karzai.
And by the way, no apologies. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Washington does not need to apologize for killing and injuring tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan since 2001, not to mention occupying vast swathes of the country. Earlier, a Karzai spokesman said that would be the case.
If in doubt, just listen to super-hawk US Senator Lindsay Graham, who told Reuters, “I’m stunned. Apologize for what? Maybe we should get the Afghan president to apologize to the American soldiers for all the hardship he’s created for them.”
There’s nothing ‘residual’ about a US occupation to be disguised as ‘forces’ necessary to train and ‘advise’ the roughly 350,000 soldiers and police which are part of ANA, built from scratch over the last few years.
And what we’re talking about here is a deal starting in 2015 and in effect up to 2024 ‘and beyond’.
The final agreement is not much different from this previously leaked working draft. An update has been circulating this week in the Pentagon and the US Congress. The Pentagon, via Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, justifies the whole thing by the proverbial need to ‘maintain Afghanistan’s security’ and make sure foreign aid is not being squandered (as it has always been).
There will be plenty of US military outposts and bases; Afghan bases and other bases of which the US has ‘exclusive use’. Bagram, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif are inevitably on the list. Once again, this is the US Empire of Bases – so well characterized by the late Chalmers Johnson – in pristine form.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the current US/NATO military commander in Afghanistan, wants up to 13,000 troops to stay, not including security guards and the cream of the crop, the counterterrorism gang. In theory, these forces won’t engage in combat “unless otherwise mutually agreed.” The draft text emphasizes, “US military operations to defeat Al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate in the common fight against terrorism.”
Translation: a future festival of raids by Special Forces, and a counter-terror free-for-all.
The draft text only mentions, vaguely,” full respect for Afghan sovereignty and full regard for the safety and security of the Afghan people, including in their homes,” as Obama also mentioned in his letter to Karzai.
And there’s absolutely nothing on the critical issue of drones based in Afghan bases that have been used for incinerating the odd commander but also scores of innocent civilians in the Pakistani tribal areas.
All about pivoting to Asia
The Maliki government in Baghdad had the balls to confront the Pentagon and veto the immunity for US forces – effectively kicking out the occupying force in Iraq. Hamid Karzai, for his part, caved in on virtual every US demand. The key question in the next few months is for what; Mob-style protection if he stays in Afghanistan, or the equivalent of the FBI’s witness protection program if he moves to the US?
Even assuming the Loya Jirga endorses the BSA (not yet a done deal) and Karzai’s successor signs it (with Karzai removing himself from the tight spot), to say this opens a new Pandora’s box is an understatement.
The occupation, for all practical purposes, will continue. This has nothing to do with fighting the War on Terror or jihad. There’s no Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The few remnants are in Waziristan, in Pakistani territory. The US is – and will remain – essentially at war with Afghan Pashtuns who are members of the Taliban. And the Taliban will keep staging their spring and summer offensives as long as there are any foreign occupiers on Afghan soil.
The drone war will continue, with the Pentagon and the CIA using these Afghan bases to attack Pashtuns in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Not to mention that these US bases, to be fully operational, need unrestricted access to the Pakistani transit routes from the Khyber Pass and the Quetta-to-Kandahar corridor. This means Islamabad keeps profiting from the scam by collecting hefty fees in US dollars.
No one knows yet how the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will respond to this. Not only Russia and China – who are adamantly opposed to US bases in Afghanistan – but also Iran and India, SCO observers and two countries that can sway Afghanistan away from the Taliban in a non-military way.
We just need to picture, for instance, a practically inevitable future development; Washington deciding to deploy the US missile defense system in Afghanistan (it already happened in Turkey). Russia and China already see that the US may have lost the economic race for Central Asia – as China clinches deal after deal in the context of expanding its New Silk Road(s) grand strategy. What’s left for Washington is – guess what – bits and pieces of the same old Pentagon Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine, as in military bases to ‘monitor’ both China and Russia very close to their borders.
What’s certain is that both Russia and China – not to mention Iran – all see this Operation Occupy Afghanistan Forever for what it is; yet another (military) chapter of the American ‘pivoting to Asia’.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly,” said Abraham Lincoln. It’s ironic that Barack Obama has claimed to pattern himself after Lincoln, because his modus operandi is just the opposite: perpetuate a bad law by enforcing it loosely.
Or in a targeted fashion that suits political necessities.
With millions losing health coverage Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Gang promised they could keep and with the ObamaCare rollout a washout, the president’s answer to his bad law is quintessential Obama. Don’t end it. Don’t mend it.
His latest expedient: Give insurance companies the option to let people keep health plans that the government claims are “substandard” for another year. Note that Obama doesn’t want to do this legislatively. Rather, in a move that even screaming socialist Howard Dean suggests is unconstitutional, the king will grant you a stay of execution. Of course, this only delays the inevitable.
But Obama has done this before. He proceeds with the confidence of a man who says, “My law is so darn good that it doesn’t work when actually enforced.” Thus did the president early on offer more than 1000 ObamaCare waivers to various entities.
Have clout? Waiver.
Can grease palms? Waiver.
Little guy with bupkis? Don’t ever waver.
That is, until throwing the commoners a few crumbs accomplishes something. What would that be? Consider that a one-year waiver would delay the inevitable until just after the 2014 mid-term elections.
Obama has done this before, too. While ObamaCare was passed in 2010, its implementation was delayed a few years until — also coincidentally, I’m sure — Obama had safely won re-election.
This brings us to a little thought exercise. If 2012 had seen ObamaCare’s rollout, how badly would the president have been rolled over? Forget about Mitt Romney — Obama would have lost to Clint Eastwood’s chair.
The truth is that Obama’s one-year-stay offer is a cynical ploy. The president couldn’t care less about the people who’ve lost insurance; he knows well that he needs them and others to pay higher premiums so that their wealth can be redistributed throughout the system. Obama’s law is Dr. Kevorkian-writ-large and needs, as he would put it, “fundamental” change to have hope, yet he won’t even tweak it. But he will tweak the enforcement of it — especially when an election is nigh.
Perhaps Obama is smart enough to understand that where revolutionary change boils violently, evolutionary change is a slow simmer. The people are that proverbial frog in a frying pan full of water: full implementation of Dr. Kevorkian-writ-large is a high flame that might provoke a jump for the safety of repeal. Gradual implementation, however — with malleable law enforcement — is an incremental burner increase that can allow the people to become inured to the new healthcare normal. That’s the idea, anyway.
Moreover, will “permitting” insurance companies to maintain the old plans for a year do even a year’s worth of good? I’d think that since they now have to cover people with pre-existing conditions (which is like having to offer fire “insurance” to a guy whose house is already burning down), they’ll have to recoup the money that costs by raising premiums on the low-risk pool.
But the one-year stay does do some good — for Obama. After all, the president can now say when insurance providers cancel people’s policies, “Hey, these companies had the option to let you keep your plan, but while you’re needy they’re greedy.” All these policies would have to be canceled a year from now, but it suits Obama to have the insurance companies do as much of his dirty work as possible “voluntarily” in the interim.
If a law is worth making, it’s worth enforcing; and if it’s not worth enforcing, it’s not worth making. So my solution here is Lincoln’s:
Enforce Dr. Kevorkian-writ-large strictly.
To the letter.
No, this isn’t a cynical ploy to give the GOP a perhaps unassailable 2014 election advantage at the expense of the common man. The fact is that unless the ObamaCare dragon is slain, its fiery breath will consume all the current low-cost plans one way or another, sooner or later. And all delaying the inevitable does is give Obama the chance to slow-boil that frog.
And, really, why should there be any argument? Contrary to Nancy Pelosi’s wisdom, you don’t find out what’s in a law by passing it. You find out by implementing it. Let the voters find out, now — with a full dosage. Then they can decide at election time if the Republicans should get the Dr. Kevorkian treatment — or if Dr. Kevorkian-writ-large itself should.
“There exists in this country a plot to enslave every man, woman, and child. Before I leave this high and noble office I intend to expose this plot.” John F Kennedy, just before his Assassination…
For those who were of age and alive at the time of the Dallas killing, a fresh memory of the times and era are integral to their assessment. Those who were born later, have no firsthand experience of the actual change that took place to the body politics. Comparing before and after is mostly forgotten by the history accounts. For those who remember, the country started on a downward spiral that continues to the present. The assassination of John F. Kennedy was a political coup d’état and has been described as an enigma with many layers of disinformation. However, peeling back this onion exposes a rot that very much explains the current condition of our country.
When raising the subject of a conspiracy, it is both amusing and tragic that establishment defenders are quick to discredit the investigator, while avoiding facts, evidence and common sense. Solving the mystery to the satisfaction of competing and often conflicting factions is not necessary. However, understanding the course of events that took hold after the Camelot myth was buried is intensely valuable. The end of innocence became an existential awakening to the perceptive, while believing the conclusions of the Warren commission provided reassurance for not facing reality.
Why did powerful elites fear Kennedy? The Entire John F. Kennedy Secret Society Speech provides the motive behind the mask of the media filter.
From this “President and the Press” Speech (April 27, 1961)
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”
“The significance of the Stone film, JFK, is demonstrated by the assault that the established order heaped upon his portrayal. Believe it or reject it, but investigate the questions that have never been answered. If logic has meaning, have Arlene Spector explain that magic bullet again. That ‘Man X’ was real – his name, colonel Fletcher Prouty, a true ‘black bag’ magician.”
Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the Reign on Terror that continues to this day. His involvement into the plot is supported in the new book, The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ by Roger Stone with Mike Colapietro.
“The notable individuals that knew and said Johnson was involved in murderous acts is also well-documented… they include Oswald murderer Jack Ruby, Dexter Scott King, son of Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as LBJ associate Billy Sol Estes, LBJ mistress Madeleine Brown, Texas Governor Allan Shivers, renowned Texas Ranger Clint Peoples, CIA asset E. Howard Hunt and US Senator and 1964 Republican nominee for President Barry Goldwater. The KGB, fearing that they or their puppet state Cuba would be falsely blamed conducted their own investigation and concluded LBJ killed JFK at the same to time French Intelligence would tell Jackie Kennedy LBJ murdered her husband.”
If this is just too much to accept, look at the “Skull and Bones” operative, who just happened to be a Texas Oilman. Similarly, he was Vice President at the time of an assassination attempt that almost was successful. Sure, such a coincidence should be fodder for an Oliver Stone sequel – Reagan.
Now consider the CIA component in the “Big Event”. Did George H.W. Bush Coordinate a JFK Hit Team?
“Next, George Bush can be seen in photos of Dealey Plaza, next to the TSBD doorway and Ed Lansdale, shortly following the assassination (see below). These photos, unmistakably George Bush, tell us where he went after he left the Dallas Sheriff’s Office: back to the crime scene to get an update on all that he had missed. He must have made his call to the FBI reporting James Parrot from the Dallas Sheriff’s Office, at 1:45 PM, because Bush is seen in Dealey Plaza with Lansdale, who would leave the plaza at about 2 PM and walk past “the three tramps” toward the parking lot. Bush obviously had to go straight back to Dealey Plaza for him to be photographed with Lansdale, who remained around Dealey Plaza until Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater at 1:50 PM.”
J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was up to his ears in the investigation. He certainly was no friend of the Kennedy’s. Therefore, when eyewitness testimony from scores of witnesses was ignored or discarded by the Bureau, no one should be surprised that the final report will be suspect. The Mary Ferrell Foundation site furnishes the following:
“The Church Committee in the 1970s analyzed the CIA’s role in supporting the Warren Commission, and found it lacking. The Committee “developed evidence which impeaches the process by which the intelligence agencies [CIA and FBI] arrived at their own conclusions about the assassination, and by which they provided information to the Warren Commission.”
Now watch the video from Jim Marrs & St. John Hunt - E. Howard Hunt Deathbed Confession JFK Assassination. A dying admission once held legal merit. But in this disinformation world of government scripted deflection, the public needs to be kept in tranquil ignorance. The Daily Paul site provided additional information.
“One of most explosive under-reported stories of the last 50 years is the deathbed confession of E. Howard Hunt, who was personal assistant to Allen Dulles, head of the CIA at the time, to knowledge that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone and that he, Hunt, had been personally involved in the assassination. Hunt said in his written confession that the assassination was code-named “the Big Event.”
Whatever determination you maintain on the actual circumstances, the results from JFK’s elimination are dramatic. Five Fiendish Ways the Kennedy Assassination Warped Our World list is an effective analysis.
1. LBJ Unleashed – Johnson’s profligate Great Society spending strategies, which took the New Deal and accelerated it into hyper-drive.
2. Vietnam – in October of 1963, Kennedy issued National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263, which detailed his plan to withdraw U.S. advisers from Vietnam while gradually scaling back our involvement in Southeast Asia. But within four days of the assassination, Lyndon Johnson had already signed and submitted NSAM 273, which reversed course and basically pledged to stand by the government in South Vietnam come hell or high water.
3. The Federal Reserve Survives – In June of 1963, Kennedy signed Executive Order 11110, which authorized the U.S. Treasury to issue certificates backed by silver as an alternative form of money to Federal Reserve notes. But when President Kennedy was killed, LBJ suspended this program immediately, and the Federal Reserve’s control over the U.S. economy has never once been challenged since.
4. The CIA and Our Culture of Secrecy – Kennedy’s statement to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind”, his death allowed the CIA to continue and preserve its culture of secrecy.
5. Mainstream Nonsense and the Mainstream Media – The vast majority of the Fourth Estate took the path of least resistance, and the idea of an independent media that would fearlessly search for the truth no matter where it led died a painful and difficult death.
So what is the significance of the JFK Assassination? In an interview, Roger Stone answers the question: How did JFK’s death affect society, people’s minds? Is the impact still present in your opinion?
“I think it certainly changed our policy very dramatically – I think we moved it back into the Cold War. After the death of John F. Kennedy the important conversations between the Russian State and the United States were damaged. We know, because it was historically recorded that Nikita Khrushchev wept, when he heard of the death of Kennedy. There was an American journalist who was with Fidel Castro, when he was distraught what he learned: he said over and over again “this is very bad, this is very bad”… I think we were engaged – we were beginning to engage in some fruitful conversations in terms of easing the tensions between our countries and I think there were those in the Pentagon, those in the US military, those in our US-based intelligent services who were very unhappy about that direction. I think it is a major factor – not the factor, – but a major factor in getting John F. Kennedy killed.”
It is the contention of this “Reign of Terror” series to provide accounts and evidence that the nation has endured under a shadow government of ruling elites; especially, since the elimination of a President, who dared challenge the interests of the true masters of the establishment.
The deplorable circumstance of a society, so ignorant to make distinctions, of real history from invented official fairy tales, explains largely why Americans are in serial denial. The article JFK retrospectives adnauseam, makes this point.
“People never learn. After the sanctioned assassination, healing the country provided the necessary cover to implement the goals of the coup. Most of the evidence that explains the background that led up to the removal of Kennedy fails to address the breakdown of the entire historic underpinning of the nation, since WWII. The seeds of the Great Society were sown in the idiocy of being dragged into that global contrived conflict. Those who should know best, since they lived during that era, often deny their own blind faith in a misguided allegiance to a central government.”
As for the population that never knew or heard actual accounts of this age, “so called” news reporting usually sugar coats or distorts the facts, ignorance really is not bliss. Today’s electronic media is a hodgepodge of government talking points or press releases.
The constant drumbeat to blame Lee Harvey Oswald solely for the Kennedy assassination intends to make patsies of the American people. The greater fool theory works in elections. In a New poll finds that belief in JFK assassination conspiracy still strong, but slipping slightly may be a trend worth noting. Reflecting the goals of the “Great Society” means, that acceptance of government authoritarianism became easier.
Deconstructing the JFK Myth offers this distinction. ”Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.“ The invocation needed to read: ”Ask not what you can do for your country — Ask what we can do together to insure individual Liberty”
Propagandists of the ilk of Sargeant Shriver and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., designed a legend that defied factual references”, but the martyrdom of a slain President misses the point. John Kennedy was not a saint, but was an obstacle. What better message to future aspirant reformers that a magic bullet awaits their demise.
Few institutional government critics were known for rocking the boat, especially when Kennedy’s ”a rising tide lifts all boats” might upset his elitist executioners. The system is much bigger than any individual. Bucking the sub-rosa interests that seek greater concentrated control can be deadly. America was condemned to a Reign of Terror on November 22, 1963.
Many years ago I knew a couple who adopted the habit of being gratuitously defensive about one another. If you made even the slightest comment questioning one of them in the other’s presence, that party would say something such as “Watch it!” The admonition, however, would lack a certain conviction.
Not long after they were divorced.
Their earlier behavior then made sense: They couldn’t accept that their marriage was in trouble. And each spouse would react defensively to even mildly negative feedback about the other not because he knew it was false, but because he feared it was true. It validated feelings each was having about the other but desperately wanted to keep repressed.
I’m reminded of this when considering the intellectual contortions of liberals who defend Barack Obama. No, it’s not perfectly analogous: liberals are driven more by political ambitions and ego than by a desire to make their “marriage” work. But the denial is similar.
A good example is a Vanity Fair piece by someone named Todd S. Purdum. Titled “The Lonely Guy: He’s a community organizer who works alone. What was once his greatest strength — he kept his cool and didn’t need feedback — is now a liability,” the subtitle says it all. The article is a somewhat tedious apologia, providing this or that example of how Obama doesn’t engage people, of how Daddy Big-Guv thinks he knows best.
In justifying Obama’s attitude, Purdum writes:
Self-containment is not simply Obama’s political default mode. Self-possession is the core of his being, and a central part of the secret of his success. It is Obama’s unwavering discipline to keep his cool when others are losing theirs….
But this quality, perhaps Obama’s greatest strength in gaining office, is his greatest weakness in conducting it.
Nonsense. First, keeping your cool (at least publicly) isn’t unusual for aspirants to higher office. The few thought lacking in this area, such as Bob Dole and John McCain, found it a liability come election time.
Second, Obama’s greatest strength in gaining office was a servile media that suppressed every scandal and ugly truth, every sordid association, every risible mistake and radical position. It’s easy being cool when nine wide phalanxes of fawning human shields stand between you and the flak, but one wonders how cool Obama would’ve been had he not benefitted from the regular affirmative action that got him established and the cultural affirmative action that got him elected. Of course, we’d never have known because his coolness would have been confined to passing the bong with the Choom Gang. We never would’ve heard of him.
Moreover, many forget that in 2008 his campaign was sometimes faulted for amateurish stumbling. The myth of Obama the Great Campaigner was manufactured after the fact.
But the myth of Obama the Nice Guy is only being questioned after the fact. As to this, Purdum writes, “Five years into their tenure, the [First] couple has a social reputation few would have envisioned when they came to town: more standoffish than the Bushes, and ruder than the Clintons.”
Let me correct you, Mr. Purdum: few in your echo chamber of fawning fellow travelers would have envisioned it. Millions of people, however, had Obama’s number all along. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re called traditionalists.
Cutting through the nonsense, the real explanation for Obama’s “self-containment” was provided by former Obama aide Neera Tanden. Explaining her boss’s refusal to call Bill Clinton she said, “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people.”
He doesn’t like people.
Ponder that for a moment. It’s sort of a problem because people are exactly who a leader has to govern. But Tanden is wrong on one point: It’s not at all stunning Obama is in politics, as few politicians enter the field because they “like people.” Oh, liking people — or at least being able to fake it — helps you succeed, and if Obama prevailed despite visible misanthropy, it is again a testimonial to the power of media manipulation. But an individual is more likely to enter politics to be lauded by people (glory), or to control people (power), or because he hates the people’s handiwork (society) and wants to punish them and/or reshape them in his own image. Leaders thus disposed have had names such as Robespierre, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
Returning to Vanity Fair writer Purdum, the reality about Obama he’s struggling to reconcile is explained well by the first part of his magazine’s name. After all, he also wrote, “‘I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,’ Obama told his 2008 campaign political director, Patrick Gaspard…. ‘I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.’” As per his subtitle, Purdum sloughs this attitude off by claiming Obama “didn’t need feedback.” The correct explanation is a bit different.
Obama is a self-centered, arrogant, and quite probably megalomaniacal and narcissistic — and possibly sociopathic — jerk.
Truth: everyone needs feedback. A good leader knows this and is wise enough to both surround himself with competent people and to separate good counsel from bad. He exhibits what Confucius spoke of when saying, “Wisdom is, when you know something, knowing that you know it; and when you do not know something, knowing that you do not know it.” And Obama? He’s not dumb, as some suggest, though his intelligence is overrated. It’s that he doesn’t know much that is true — and, more significantly, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
This is when even intelligent people can do profoundly stupid things. For example, Adolf Hitler, a master manipulator who could mesmerize masses, thought he knew better than his generals and was best suited to choose battlefields, strategies and tactics on the Soviet front. Evil people, you see, tend to be ridden with that intellect-occluding thing called pride; they consequently make bad decisions and eventually sink their own ship. And if at the helm of a nation, it can be a mighty big ship they sink.
Speaking of pride, G.K. Chesterton once said, “[A] great man knows he is not God, and the greater he is the better he knows it.” This is brought to mind by an interview Obama gave to Chicago Sun-Times religion reporter Cathleen Falsani in 2004. When asked if he prayed often, Obama offered this curious response: “It’s not formal, me getting on my knees. I have an ongoing conversation with God. Throughout the day I’m constantly asking myself questions….”
So a “conversation with God” = “asking [himself] questions”? Literally interpreted, this means Obama considers himself God. Of course, allowing for loose talk, there’s no saying the president is like an Egyptian pharaoh and actually believes he is a deity. But was his comment akin to a Freudian slip? Did it reflect not only how he is at the center of his own world, but how he naturally assumes he should be the center of the world?
Purdum, seeking to explain Obama’s dysfunction — for which he euphemistically uses terms such as “self-sufficiency” — points out that due to parental neglect, Obama has “always been alone.” But this warrants elaboration.
Children have a strong need to bond with their parents, so strong, in fact, that if a mother to whom a toddler is attached must leave him even for a time, he may cry in distress. And when a child is continually abandoned — as Obama was by his father and, to an extent, by a mother who left him with grandparents — the pain can be so severe that to ensure he won’t be hurt again, he will keep people at arm’s length and avoid bonding in the first place. In addition, he can become distrustful of others and even develop a dislike for them; after all, those who should have cared about him most broke his heart. First impressions are powerful, and this child’s first experiences with “people” were bad ones.
Therapist Peter Gerlach, who specializes in “bonding wounds,” had this to say about such individuals:
Such children increasingly depend on themselves to get key needs met. This becomes normal, reflexive, and unremarkable. They neither expect [n]or ask for help.
They observe how loving adults and kids behave, and become skilled at sounding and acting just like them — but they don’t feel attached, empathic, or committed.
These wounded people are often very attractive socially and professionally.
Of course, this is psycho-analysis from a distance, but it certainly would explain why Obama “really doesn’t like people.”
It may sound old-fashioned today, but this is why parents in ages past would try to ensure that a child’s prospective spouse came from a “good family.” But five years ago millions of Americans refused to look beneath the wrapper and married their nation to damaged goods. And he turned out to be an abuser who will leave nothing but damaged goods in his wake.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when the term NGO appears? Well, many will respond, the United Nations. Directly from a UN site is their definition for Non-governmental organizations. How uplifting and benign the altruistic effort, the deep-seated purpose and intention of such associations, frequently projects that noble endeavors need to enhance the governance process. The term governance essentially is a loaded political concept that benefits a model of economic activity that requires a managed society as opposed to a free, independent and individualistic economy.
“A non-governmental organization (NGO, also often referred to as “civil society organization” or CSO) is a not-for-profit group, principally independent from government, which is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good. Task-oriented and made up of people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring public concerns to governments, monitor policy and programme implementation, and encourage participation of civil society stakeholders at the community level.
Some conduct research and analysis in the legal and other fields (e.g. sociology, economics) relevant to the rule of law. In many cases, they produce reports with policy recommendations, for use in their advocacy.”
Of course, not all NGO’s fall into an identical pattern. Some can and do provide valuable services. However, exponents of coordinated liaison with civil authority that develops legal eminence for a social vision that defies the basic human nature of inherent autonomy, is dangerous. NGO’s seldom practice real charity, although they excel in social engineering.
Looking at the money trail provides evidence of actual intents. Investopedia explains How do NGOs get funding?
“The annual budget of an NGO can be in the hundreds of millions (or even billions) of dollars, fundraising efforts are important for the NGO’s existence and success. Funding sources include membership dues, the sale of goods and services, private sector for-profit companies, philanthropic foundations, grants from local, state and federal agencies, and private donations.”
That sounds all well and good. Nevertheless, when you get into the weeds on how funding actually works, the touchy feely aspects of raising money have a very different look. One example is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), funding programs.
“Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are critical change agents in promoting economic growth, human rights and social progress. USAID partners with NGOs to deliver assistance across all regions and sectors in which we work and to promote inclusive economic growth, strengthen health and education at the community level, support civil society in democratic reforms and assist countries recovering from disasters.”
Among the types of NGOs that the Agency partners with are:
1. Cooperative Organizations
3. Local and Regional Organizations
4. Private Voluntary Organizations
5. U.S. and International Organizations
Government grants presumably for promoting or enacting democratic reforms, discloses an ulterior motive behind the funding. That is natural and understandable in an era of competing political and economic systems. However, with the emergence of a unified New World Order agenda, the practice of doling out government money that undercuts the very existence of national sovereignty has taken a nefarious turn.
The always perceptive, Pat Buchanan weighs in and provides the evidence. US Funding NGOs to Advance New World Order?
“Cairo contends that $65 million in “pro-democracy” funding that IRI, NDI, and Freedom House received for use in Egypt constitutes “illegal foreign funding” to influence their elections. Yet this is not the first time U.S. “pro-democracy” groups have been charged with subverting regimes that fail to toe the Washington line.”
The motive to change political, social and economic relationships goes beyond countries influencing foreign policy objectives. When the likes of Ted Turner, George Soros, Warren Buffet and Bill & Melinda Gates use their foundation funds to back NGO’s that carry out the globalist agenda, private sector multi billionaires become an existential threat to humanity.
Add to this band of bandit brothers, who all have transformational goals, fostered with the wealth they accumulated by practicing crony corporatism, that diminishes our domestic standard of living, with their internationalization sentiments – Jeffrey Walker, Vice Chairman, United Nation’s Secretary General’s Envoy for Health Finance and Malaria, who proposes Building Generosity Networks.
“It’s time for us to turn our attention to building and growing Generosity Networks that link the philanthropic passions of major donors with others who share those passions and are willing to work, collaboratively, to address the major causes of our day.”
Oh, that United Nations record of peaceful philanthropy for universal serfdom has worked so well. The pandemic resolutions for eugenic terminations are often the real intent behind many NGO front organizations.
The economics of world population dictate that market based businesses have no place in a world dominated by transnational monopolies and corporatist cartels. Non-governmental organizations are liberated to advance the “philanthropic passions” of the donors that would normally be suspect if implemented by mega corporations.
Those “so called” generosity networks are used as subsiding endowments for the integration of third world communities into the NWO feudal system of minimal expectations.
That old Peace Corp attitude that was based upon helping others to help themselves is now a mission for global vassal induction. So much for the myth of self-determination, in the land of the rationed and expendable economy, where only the conglomerate matters.
As affluence disparity widens from the mega rich, the former middle class recedes into subsistence level, on a path resembling those that international NGO’s are supposed to help. A true merchant based economy, with broad based business ownership, is the only solution to the controlled slave state.
Actual non-governmental organizations, that provide useful functions, must shed their tax-exempt preferences and government subsidies. Helping individuals with volunteer charity under a viable free enterprise economic model is preferable and necessary.
Breaking up monopoly trusts, eliminates the need for generosity networks, because individuals would be able to earn a livable way of life, independent of government and globalist welfare. Most NGO’s schemes are fronts for NWO causes.
The establishment has an entrenched interest in convincing the public that their vote in elections actually decides who is selected for public office. That same power elite runs and controls both Republican and Democratic political parties. Only a neophyte or a delusional idealist believes that the voting cycle reflects the will of the people. When reform candidates engage in the primary process, hoping to win the nomination from either of the two major parties, they face the stark reality that playing ball with the money bundlers means obeying the directives of masters of the universe. These overlords own politicians, especially those who continue in office by winning predetermined elections.
Democracy as expressed by the ballot box is a fairy tale. Anyone with experience within the Tweedledum and Tweedledee party organizations, understands that the comic book characters, who populate the ranks of politics just want to become a Mini-Me version of “Boss” Tweed.
Dispensing the fruits of power and patronage, while fostering the crony corporatist culture, is integral to maintaining the levers of political administration over a society of inconsequential serfs. When people’s frustration mounts, and party leadership blocks even modest attempts of populist reform, voting participation declines.
The GOP once was described, as Rockefeller or Country Club Republicans, is really a deranged asylum of NeoCons whose primary purpose is to purge genuine conservatives and libertarians from their ranks. A party that would nominate a John McCain for President and continue to support him in Senate elections is not worthy of trust. Written in 2004, John McCain: The Man Who Would Be President sums up the dilemma.
“McCain’s a full fledged phony without an ounce of conservative values running in his veins. Bush has proven himself to be a fraud and the tool of the NeoCons. This election is a charade of a sham called democracy. There are no surprises left, only the substitution of a name; while the same policies remain. Spell it Bush or McCain; but don’t use the designation conservative. Kerry is Bush’s brother, in the only society that selects those who are granted the nominations. McCain can only settle for second place, in service of the powers, that host the parlor game – picking a President.”
Now that the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the toast of the town, the praises and speculation begins. Chris Christie landslide: Template for a Republican presidential win in 2016? “The governor won an impressive 57 percent of women and took a majority of Latino voters. He even garnered 21 percent of black voters – a significant inroad for a Republican. He also won nearly half of union voters and those under the age of 30.”
The press would have you believe that the next Republican candidate for President needs to adopt a “political correctness” love fest to be elected. Please . . . dump on the Tea Party and disparage traditional conservatives is no formula for any politicians who deserves support.
That Republican 2010 Landslide and What It Means concludes.”The Republican Party’s attempt to co-opt the spontaneous spirit of the Tea Party geneses illustrates the panic that both entrenched parties have from a true populist movement. The mind dead voters who continually vote for the lesser of two evils, or adhere to the squishy William Buckley rule guarantee perpetual servitude. “The Buckley Rule is, ostensibly, that you vote for the most electable conservative option (in the primary) against a Democrat in November”.
The quest for that illusory electability is the trouble with every recent election. When will a true conservative/libertarian populist win the nomination? The apparent answer is never in a party of RINO’s and establishment gatekeepers.
Where can a true believer turn? That leaves Hillary Clinton as the apparent frontrunner nominee for the Democrats. The problem with that presumption is that she got the cold shoulder in 2008 in favor of Barry Soetoro, the CIA’s Manchurian Candidate. The Republicans are supposed to be the party of next in line Presidential torch carriers.
So why would the Democrats want HilLAIRy as their, Woman of the Year, or is it? The obvious appeal does not go unnoticed. “All you have to do is look under the dress and you will find the stuff that dreams are made from. Hillary is a man’s woman that appeals to the trendy tender gender on both coasts. She’s has a lock on the fear factor and will be the survivor of all the village people.”What better way to succeed Obama, the beyond race President, with a legendary bisexual voice, who will distribute her racism against white rural America as a condition of perpetuating the multicultural collectivism, which is so necessary for the total destruction of traditional values.
Just how well did all those underprivileged minorities do under Barack Hussein Obama? Surely, a first female President Clinton would add to such striking gains in the quality of life and standard of government dependency income.
All this Great Society II would make the LBJ administration look like spendthrifts.
The people, all the people no matter their race, ethnicity or social identity are not benefiting from a New World Order economy and political authoritarianism. Yet, with each election cycle the grip of both outlaw parties continue to expand their extortion policies. Every ten years the gerrymandering of redistricting divides the territory so that the spoils will continue to be shared.
How dumb are the electorate to allow this corrupt process to continue? Inevitably, stupidity knows no bounds. The Meaning of Third Parties in America describes the dilemma.
“If elections are an expression of consent, why is turn out so low for Third Parties? And if discontent was heightened, why are there not more Third Parties? The answer lies in the election returns. The fact that a majority of eligible voters no long take part in the process speaks volumes of their support. The public is stating their choice loud and clear: “NONE of the ABOVE”. This is the Third Party that wins the election. When the public deems that there is no ‘real’ difference between the two parties and that their self-interests cannot be furthered with their vote, the electoral system breaks down. Yes, the public is frustrated; but they conclude that their vote will never, effectively, change the status quo among the choices that are available. Their lack of participation, should not be misread as satisfaction for the current condition.”
The misuse of power by both parties illustrates the breakdown in the two tier party system. Having twins with different spots only means that the look of the predator will camouflage their direction for the kill. The Third Parties segment on “Dueling Twins” reminds the nature of the feeding frenzy.
“The duopoly rivalry that emerged over the centuries, grew from the reality of being ‘in or out’ of power, more than deep seeded ideological principles. For in its bare raw brute reality, politics is about power. How you get it, what you do when you have it, and how you keep it.”
When the Obama administration targets conservative Christian groups with IRS retribution, progressive ideologues remain silent. Protecting civil liberties only apply for the faithful of the congregation of state worship.
In addition, when the RINO’s mark patriotic groups and activist individuals for banishment from the ranks of the loyal opposition within their own party, they serve the masters of the same establishment that want a pervasive police state.
U.S. Elections are all too often a joke. The election commissions that administer the ballot process are nothing but extensions of the two corrupt parties.
What if a real grassroots national movement emerged that supersedes all ideology with a singular purpose – remove all careerist ”pols” from office. Forget about the phony No Labels effort to diffuse popular disgust. The solution is to attract the very citizens who NEVER vote in elections.A national campaign – No Confidence – would be the clear message that the arrogant confidence game crooks could understand.
Term limits will never be voted upon much less adopted until the entire nation strikes against the establishment with a unified proclamation of revolt.
The organization Grassfire urges that people need to confront the system. Time is short and if the following scandals are allowed to be swept under the rug, the candidates in 2014 and 2016 will just continue with their lying ways.
1. “Fast and Furious”
2. The deadly Benghazi attacks
3. The IRS targeting of Tea Party Americans
4. The NSA security breaches
5. The truth about ObamaCare
Populism requires citizen involvement. Elections are meaningless without active accountability.
With the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, corporations and labor unions can spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate. With all this money going into media campaigns between sibling spotted leopards, the public never gets to choose honest and transformational constitutional candidates. A vote for a Third Party aspirant is never a waste. Consent for RepubliCANTS and DemocRATS is idiotic.
November 7 and 8 nuclear talks at most may offer Iran modest temporary relief in return for major concessions.
How they’re presented remains to be seen. How they’re implemented is another matter.
Longstanding anti-Iranian hostility remains unresolved. Washington wants it that way. So does Israel.
Netanyahu wants no concessions offered. He calls any deal a bad one. It’s “very dangerous for peace and the international community,” he claims. It’s hard imagining more convoluted thinking.
Temporary modest relief, if offered, is too little. Reports suggest Washington may unfreeze a portion of billions of dollars of Iranian assets held in foreign banks. It may allow some international trade.
In return, reports say stiff demands require Iran to halt uranium enrichment to 20%, render most of its nuclear fuel unusable, agree not to use high speed IR-2 centrifuges, and not activate its Arak facility when completed.
Details aren’t finalized. Terms discussed are temporary. They represent step one along a long road toward resolving longstanding anti-Iranian hostility.
John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Britain’s William Hague and Germany’s Guido Westerwelle arrived in Geneva. They participated in Friday talks.
A November 8 State Department statement said:
“In an effort to help narrow the differences in negotiations, Secretary Kerry will travel to Geneva, Switzerland today at the invitation of EU High Representative Ashton to hold a trilateral meeting with High Representative Ashton and Foreign Minister Zarif on the margins of the P5+1 negotiations.”
On arrival, Fabius said “(t)here has been progress, but nothing is hard and fast yet.” Late afternoon Friday Geneva time, Kerry added:
“I want to emphasize there is not an agreement at this point. I don’t think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed.”
Precisely what emerges remains to be seen. Most important is what follows.
Agreements are easily broken. Washington’s history reflects duplicity. It’s word isn’t its bond. Hold the cheers.
Headlines may belie reality. US rapprochement with Iran isn’t likely. Why after all these years? Why now?
Why after five years of deep-seated Obama administration hostility? Why in an administration infested with hardliners? Why despite a change in Iranian leadership?
Positive reports overstate reality. What’s given can easily be taken away. America’s so-called deal is reversible. Ahead of arriving in Geneva, John Kerry said:
“We are asking them to step up and provide a complete freeze over where they are today. Iran knows that if they don’t meet the standards of the international community, the sanctions could be increased and even worse.”
Iran’s good intentions may not matter. Washington and Israel are obstacles. On November 8, Haaretz headlined “Netanyahu warns Kerry: Israel not bound by any deal between Iran and West.”
They met in Jerusalem. They did so before Kerry left for Geneva. Netanyahu said “Israel utterly rejects” a deal. It’s “not obliged” to respect one.
It’ll “do everything it needs to do to defend itself and the security of its people.” Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. Israel and Western officials know it. They claim otherwise.
On Wednesday, Obama said negotiations “are not about easing sanctions. (They’re) about how Iran begins to meet its international obligations and provide assurances not just to us but to the entire world.”
An administration spokesperson said:
“In the months since the Iranian election, we have continued to pursue our unwavering goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
“We have not let up on vigorous sanctions enforcement one iota.”
“This includes new designations of sanctions evaders as well as other steps to address potential sanctions evasion.”
Anti-Iranian organizations are masters at inventing nonexistent threats.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) calls itself “the most influential group on the issue of US-Israel military relations.”
It supports Israel’s worst crimes. It’s in lockstep with its hegemonic regional agenda.
Its Iran Task Force includes a rogue’s gallery of members. Its October 29 Los Angeles Times op-ed headlined “How to negotiate with Iran,” saying:
“The most pressing national security threat facing the United States remains preventing a nuclear-capable Iran.”
Washington “should only pursue an agreement within certain parameters:”
(1) “Iran must resolve outstanding international concerns.”
(2) It must “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.”
(3) “(D)eny Iran nuclear weapons capability.” Doing so involves severely restricting its legitimate operations.
(4) Mandate “strict inspections.”
(5) Negotiate “from a position of strength.” Doing so requires intensified sanctions, leaving open a military option, “initiat(ing) new military deployments,” and supporting “Israeli military action if conducted.”
(6) Don’t “waste time. Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014, and perhaps earlier.”
Imposing “a strict deadline for talks can dissuade Iran from using diplomacy as a cover while sprinting for the bomb, and reassure Israel so it does not feel compelled to act alone.”
Negotiators “must walk away from any agreement” deviating from the above terms.
An earlier JINSA commentary called sanctions “dangerously ineffective.” It urged military force at an “optimal time regardless of elections or other political considerations.”
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) exerts enormous influence in Washington. It’s pro-business, pro-war and pro-unchallenged US dominance. It’s militantly anti-Iranian.
Danielle Pletka is vice president for foreign and defense studies. On November 7, sheheadlined ”A Lousy Iran Deal,” asking:
“What’s a ‘modest rollback’ exactly? How much ‘suspension’ is suspension?” Why isn’t a total “freeze” imposed?
“What will the Iranians have given? Nothing. Every single offer reportedly out there from the Iranians is less than what was offered mere months ago in earlier negotiations.”
“In exchange, every concession contemplated by the Obama team is more than what was offered in earlier negotiations. Who’s the better negotiator here? Did you have any doubt?”
Reports suggest Washington demands major concessions. In return, Iran appears being offered modest, temporary relief at best.
Obama has little wiggle room on congressionally imposed sanctions. He can’t stop stiffer ones if enacted. They’ll stick with a virtual two-thirds or greater majority in both houses assured to pass them.
Congressional hardliners from both parties want them. Perhaps they’ll be forthcoming regardless of Geneva’s outcome.
Imposing them will unravel whatever is agreed on. Maybe Obama plans it that way. He can say we tried. We failed. He’ll blame Iran for US duplicity. It won’t surprise.
Sanctions imposed under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) are at Obama’s discretion. They include frozen Iranian assets.
He can lift them all with a stoke of his pen. Doing so would send an important signal. Unfreezing a modest amount temporarily is much different.
It’s tokenism. It can be withdrawn with the same pen stroke. It can happen without warning. It can be with no justification.
According to Pletka, Iranian concessions merely slow its nuclear program. She wants significant rollback.
“(S)low down is fine with Iran,” she says, “because it has EVERYTHING IT NEEDS FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPON, or even several.”
What once was “a demand to end (its) entire nuclear weapons program has become a demand to make it smaller and hide it better.”
Pletka and likeminded hardliners know Iran’s nuclear program has no military component. They duplicitously claim otherwise. They’re in lockstep with longstanding US and Israeli policy.
They want the Islamic Republic eliminated. They want it replaced. They want Western control restored. They want war short of other ways to get it.
They’ll support an Israeli attack. It’s unlikely but possible. America and Israel have longstanding plans readied. Both countries represent the greatest threat to world peace.
In June 1981, Israeli warplanes attacked Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. It was under construction. It was nearly completed.
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, and other hardliners called Iraq an existential threat. Independent observers said otherwise.
Anticipatory self-defense doesn’t wash. It’s lawless. George Bush asserted America’s right to “impose preemptive, unilateral military force when and where it chooses.” Obama governs by the same standard.
In 1981, the Security Council said ”the military attack by Israel was in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct.”
It didn’t matter. Recrimination didn’t follow. America gets away with murder and then some. So does Israel.
Iraq was a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory since 1968. It remains one. Israel is a nuclear outlaw. It falsely calls Iran an existential threat.
Will a future attack follow? Will Washington support it? Will they attack together? Dick Cheney calls war on Iran inevitable. He urges it. He’s not alone.
Lunatics infest Washington. Likeminded ones govern Israel. Anything ahead is possible. Both countries want sovereign independent Iran eliminated. So do rogue regional allies.
An interim deal at best delays possible military force. Employing it remains on the table.
So does potentially striking Iran with bunker buster or other nuclear weapons.They’re deployed close by. They’re ready to be launched on command.
Iran’s under no illusions. Washington and Israel can’t be trusted. Neither country negotiates in good faith. They’re all take and no give.
Agreements they reach are often breached. Regional tensions remain high.
Israeli German-supplied submarines carry nuclear missiles. Its warplanes are equipped to launch them. So can its long range missiles.
In mid-October, the IDF held war games. They included long-range warplane exercises. Air-to-air refueling was practiced. Drills over the Mediterranean were unusually extensive.
War games aren’t unusual. At the same time, practicing offensive tactics are worrisome. Israel notoriously attacks preemptively. It struck Syrian targets five times this year.
Perhaps it plans something major against Iran. If not now, maybe later. Maybe jointly with Washington.
Maybe at a more strategic time. Nuclear talks may be more subterfuge than real. The fullness of time will tell.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
The only part of the government that really listens to what you have to say…
The New York Times (November 2) ran a long article based on NSA documents released by Edward Snowden. One of the lines that most caught my attention concerned “Sigint” – Signals intelligence, the term used for electronic intercepts. The document stated:
“Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms. Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.”
What, I wondered, might that mean? What would the National Security Agency – on moral principle – refuse to say or do?
I have on occasion asked people who reject or rationalize any and all criticism of US foreign policy: “What would the United States have to do in its foreign policy to lose your support? What, for you, would be too much?” I’ve yet to get a suitable answer to that question. I suspect it’s because the person is afraid that whatever they say I’ll point out that the United States has already done it.
The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo – 22 years in a row
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. 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.
Speaking before the General Assembly, October 29, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.
However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:
“The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.”1
So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest 2 ; that their encampments were violently smashed up; that many of them were physically abused by the police.
Does Mr. Godard ever read a newspaper or the Internet, or watch television? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person?
As to “independent journalism” – what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?
The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba? The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.
How the embargo 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.” 3 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.
The Cold War Revisited
I’ve written the Introduction to a new book recently published in Russia that is sort of an updating of my book Killing Hope. 4 Here is a short excerpt:
The Cold War had not been a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had been a struggle between the United States and the Third World, which, in the decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.
The Cold War had not been a worldwide crusade by America to halt Soviet expansion, real or imaginary. It had been a worldwide crusade by America to block political and social changes in the Third World, changes opposed by the American power elite.
The Cold War had not been a glorious and noble movement of freedom and democracy against Communist totalitarianism. It had typically been a movement by the United States in support of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and corrupt oligarchies which were willing to follow Washington’s party line on the Left, US corporations, Israel, oil, military bases, et al. and who protected American political and economic interests in their countries in exchange for the American military and CIA keeping them in power against the wishes of their own people.
In other words, whatever the diplomats at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War revisionists have been vindicated. American policy had been about imperialism and military expansion.
Apropos the countless other myths we were all taught about the Soviet Union is this letter I recently received from one of my readers, a Russian woman, age 49, who moved to the United States eight years ago and now lives in Northern Virginia:
I can’t imagine why anybody is surprised to hear when I say I miss life in the Soviet Union: what is bad about free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment, guaranteed free housing? No rent or mortgage of any kind, only utilities, but they were subsidized too, so it was really pennies. Now, to be honest, there was a waiting list to get those apartments, so some people got them quicker, some people had to wait for years, it all depended on where you worked. And there were no homeless people, and crime was way lower. As a first grader I was taking the public transportation to go to school, which was about 1 hour away by bus (it was a big city, about the size of Washington DC, we lived on the outskirts, and my school was downtown), and it was fine, all other kids were doing it. Can you even imagine this being done now? I am not saying everything was perfect, but overall, it is a more stable and socially just system, fair to everybody, nobody was left behind. This is what I miss: peace and stability, and not being afraid of the future.
Problem is, nobody believes it, they will say that I am a brainwashed “tovarish” [comrade]. I’ve tried to argue with Americans about this before, but just gave up now. They just refuse to believe anything that contradicts what CNN has been telling them for all their lives. One lady once told me: “You just don’t know what was going on there, because you did not have freedom of speech, but we, Americans, knew everything, because we could read about all of this in our media.” I told her “I was right there! I did not need to read about this in the media, I lived that life!”, but she still was unconvinced! You will not believe what she said: “Yes, maybe, but we have more stuff!”. Seriously, having 50 kinds of cereal available in the store, and walmarts full of plastic junk is more valuable to Americans than a stable and secure life, and social justice for everybody?
Of course there are people who lived in the Soviet Union who disagree with me, and I talked to them too, but I find their reasons just as silly. I heard one Russian lady whose argument was that Stalin killed “30, no 40 million people”. First of all it’s not true (I don’t in any way defend Stalin, but I do think that lying and exaggerating about him is as wrong)*, and second of all what does this have to do with the 70s, when I was a kid? By then life was completely different. I heard other arguments, like food shortages (again, not true, it’s not like there was no food at all, there were shortages of this or that specific product, like you wouldn’t find mayo or bologna in the store some days, but everything else was there!). So, you would come back next day, or in 2-3 days, and you would find them there. Really, this is such a big deal? Or you would have to stay in line to buy some other product, (ravioli for example). But how badly do you want that ravioli really that day, can’t you have anything else instead? Just buy something else, like potatoes, where there was no line.
Was this annoying, yes, and at the time I was annoyed too, but only now I realized that I would much prefer this nuisance to my present life now, when I am constantly under stress for the fear that I can possibly lose my job (as my husband already did), and as a result, lose everything else – my house? You couldn’t possibly lose your house in Soviet Union, it was yours for life, mortgage free. Only now, living here in the US, I realized that all those soviet nuisances combined were not as important as the benefits we had – housing, education, healthcare, employment, safe streets, all sort of free after school activities (music, sports, arts, anything you want) for kids, so parents never had to worry about what we do all day till they come home in the evening.
* We’ve all heard the figures many times … 10 million … 20 million … 40 million … 60 million … died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt, and many people are still dying under Bush. Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Did the millions die from disease in an age before antibiotics? In prison? From what causes? People die in prison in the United States on a regular basis. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood? If so, how? How many were criminals executed for non-political crimes? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting. 5
Let’s not repeat the Barack fuckup with Hillary
Not that it really matters who the Democrats nominate for the presidency in 2016. Whoever that politically regressive and morally bankrupt party chooses will be at best an uninspired and uninspiring centrist; in European terms a center-rightist; who believes that the American Empire – despite the admittedly occasional excessive behavior – is mankind’s last great hope. The only reason I bother to comment on this question so far in advance of the election is that the forces behind Clinton have clearly already begun their campaign and I’d like to use the opportunity to try to educate the many progressives who fell in love with Obama and may be poised now to embrace Clinton. Here’s what I wrote in July 2007 during the very early days of the 2008 campaign:
Who do you think said this on June 20? a) Rudy Giuliani; b) Hillary Clinton; c) George Bush; d) Mitt Romney; or e) Barack Obama?
“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions which are important for their own people.” 6
Right, it was the woman who wants to be president because … because she wants to be president … because she thinks it would be nice to be president … no other reason, no burning cause, no heartfelt desire for basic change in American society or to make a better world … she just thinks it would be nice, even great, to be president. And keep the American Empire in business, its routine generating of horror and misery being no problem; she wouldn’t want to be known as the president that hastened the decline of the empire.
And she spoke the above words at the “Take Back America” conference; she was speaking to liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.
Think of why you are opposed to the war. Is it not largely because of all the unspeakable suffering brought down upon the heads and souls of the poor people of Iraq by the American military? Hillary Clinton couldn’t care less about that, literally. She thinks the American military has “succeeded”. Has she ever unequivocally labeled the war “illegal” or “immoral”? I used to think that Tony Blair was a member of the right wing or conservative wing of the British Labour Party. I finally realized one day that that was an incorrect description of his ideology. Blair is a conservative, a bloody Tory. How he wound up in the Labour Party is a matter I haven’t studied. Hillary Clinton, however, I’ve long known is a conservative; going back to at least the 1980s, while the wife of the Arkansas governor, she strongly supported the death-squad torturers known as the Contras, who were the empire’s proxy army in Nicaragua. 7
Now we hear from America’s venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley’s National Review, an editorial by Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan; treasury official under President George H.W. Bush; a fellow at two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – You get the picture? Bartlett tells his readers that it’s almost certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: “To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative.” 8
We also hear from America’s premier magazine for the corporate wealthy, Fortune, whose recent cover features a picture of Clinton and the headline: “Business Loves Hillary”. 9
Back to 2013: In October, the office of billionaire George Soros, who has long worked with US foreign policy to destabilize governments not in love with the empire, announced that “George Soros is delighted to join more than one million Americans in supporting Ready for Hillary.” 10
There’s much more evidence of Hillary Clinton’s conservative leanings, but if you need more, you’re probably still in love with Obama, who in a new book is quoted telling his aides during a comment on drone strikes that he’s “really good at killing people”. 11 Can we look forward to Hillary winning the much-discredited Nobel Peace Prize?
I’m sorry if I take away all your fun.
- Democracy Now!, “U.N. General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly Against U.S. Embargo of Cuba”, October 30, 2013 ↩
- Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012 ↩
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 ↩
- Copies can be purchased by emailing email@example.com ↩
- From William Blum, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2005), p.194 ↩
- Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on Democracy Now!’s website ↩
- Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council, Partners in Power (1996), p.415 ↩
- National Review Online, May 1, 2007 ↩
- Fortune magazine, July 9, 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, October 25, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, November 1, 2013, review of “Double Down: Game Change 2012” ↩
Iran to Follow?
Damascus – Additional easing of Syrian sanctions is expected by mid-November according to staff at the US Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Asset Control (OFAC).
Pressure on Obama from Putin is part of the ‘price tag’ for Russia’s role in bailing out the American president, whose chemical weapons ‘redline’ became something of an albatross. But another reason for the relaxation is that the White House believes it needs to communicate to Damascus that prospects for better relations, and possibly even some cooperation, are not completely dead, despite the 32-month crisis still raging in the Syrian Arab Republic.
This second easing of sanctions will show more balance and neutrality than those of last June, which were perceived as supporting Saudi and Gulf aid to the rebels while weakening the Assad government just as the Syrian Army had begun gaining back ground from the rebels. At that time, licenses for exports of certain goods related to reconstruction of infrastructure were allowed in areas held by the rebels. Specifically, OFAC indicated that license applications would be accepted for commodities, technology and software related to water supply and sanitation, agricultural production and food processing, power generation, oil and gas production, construction and engineering, transportation, and educational infrastructure. Most benefited would be rebel-controlled areas.
No doubt it is with a deep patriotic spirit of wanting to help out their fellow Americans, that the US Treasury Departments heavily pro-Zionist OFAC asks US citizens to “consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to find answers to your most commonly-asked questions about how Syrian and Iranian sanctions may affect your own families and your business.”
That is unlikely to be easy given the obfuscatory legalize of the sanctions texts.
There are currently three types of sanctions that the U.S. government has imposed against Syria. The most comprehensive sanction, called the Syria Accountability Act (SAA) of 2004, prohibits the export of most goods containing more than 10% U.S.-manufactured component parts to Syria. Another sanction, resulting from the USA Patriot Act, was levied specifically against the Commercial Bank of Syria in 2006. The third type of sanction contains many Executive Orders from the President that specifically deny certain Syrian citizens and entities access to the U.S. financial system due to their participation in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, association with Al Qaida, the Taliban or Osama bin Laden; or destabilizing activities in Iraq and Lebanon.
Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act
In May 2004, the President signed E.O. 13338 implementing the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SAA) which imposes a series of sanctions against Syria for its support for terrorism, involvement in Lebanon, weapons of mass destruction programs, and the destabilizing role it is playing in Iraq.
In addition, the Treasury Department’s Statement of Policy indicated that OFAC would consider on a case-by-case basis applications to permit certain services in the agricultural sector, as well as in the Syrian telecommunication industry, enabling private citizens better access to the Internet, while certain petroleum transactions benefiting rebel forces were also authorized. OFAC also revised Syria General License 11 and replaced it with General License 11A authorizing NGOs to engage in activities to preserve the cultural heritage of the country, including museums, historic buildings and archaeological sites.
The new lifting of sanctions, tentatively scheduled to be announced next month, will help the Assad government because international banking and trade prohibitions are expected to be reduced. At the same time, US officials are discussing with their Russian “partners” a number of proposals that would acknowledge the right of the Syrian people to choose who to support in next year’s Presidential elections without Washington insisting that Syrian President Bashar Assad step down as part of a “transition to democracy.”
In addition, the White House is telling Congressional leaders, loudly enough for all to hear, that the president’s recent waiving of restrictions on supplying arms to Syrian rebels was much more limited than depicted in mainstream media reports. In fact, the waiver—on certain portions of the Arms Export Control Act—authorizes only specific transfers to “vetted” members of the opposition and to NGOs in Syria. The defense items to be provided are described as those “necessary for the conduct of …operations inside or related to Syria, or to prevent the preparation, use, or proliferation of Syria’s chemical weapons.” Who was to be responsible for “vetting” the opposition members was not specified, nor were the particular articles detailed. But significantly the White House claims this is not a general waiver, but rather one with regard to a single specific contemplated transaction. Defense companies do not now have a blanket license to ship their wares to the Syrian opposition. This is because Section 40(g) of the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2780 (g), specifically gives the President authority to waive the provisions of the Act with respect to a specific transaction should he find that the waiver is “essential to the national security interests of the United States” and should he make the requisite report on the waiver to Congress. His determination on that finding directs the Secretary of State to make the required report to Congress.
The main opposition to White House plans to lessen the civilian targeting sanctions comes, as usual, from the US Congressional Zionist lobby. Israel’s supporters in Congress seek to prevent any lessening of US sanctions—against Iran first, and Syria second. Two days of talks are about to begin in Vienna between experts from the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) and their Iranian counterparts, who will discuss technical issues relating to Tehran’s nuclear program and international sanctions. The meeting will help lay the groundwork for the next round of diplomatic negotiations, scheduled to take place in Geneva on November 7-8, and it is anticipated that the White House will accede to EU and Russian proposals to send a reciprocal good faith response to Tehran by lifting some of the sanctions targeting Iranian civilians. Although the P5+1 and Tehran have agreed to keep the contents of their negotiations secret, the general aim of the talks has been for Iran to reduce its capacity to enrich uranium and certain other nuclear activities in return for relief from the sanctions regime, which is strangling the nation’s economy. The main hurdles include verification of any concessions Iran makes and the sequencing of any reduction in sanctions.
Signs of progress were visible earlier this week in comments made after separate talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. In a rare joint statement, both sides called the talks “very productive”—a significant departure from eleven previous meetings in recent years, all of which failed to achieve progress in resolving what the IAEA has called the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program. The new joint statement also indicates that a document discussed in past meetings has been set aside and a new approach taken.
Eager as it is for negotiations to succeed, the Obama administration has also echoed the Zionist lobby’s contention that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Yet if the talks fail, international support for sanctions will likely begin to fall apart, reducing U.S. leverage even further.
The world is watching, particularly U.S. allies in Europe and Asia, as well as regional “friends” like Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Though reportedly interested in lifting some of the sanctions on Syria and Iran, the White House is facing stiff opposition from Tel Aviv and Riyadh, with both governments criticizing the US for its lack of resolve in Syria and its presumed conciliatory attitude toward Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly slated to continue meetings with Saudi-Israeli officials in an attempt to tamp down their growing angst.
When is a debt ceiling not a ceiling? When it has been removed. That is the solution that was enacted on Wednesday night to fund the government for the next 90 days. This will last from Oct. 17, 2013 until Feb. 7, 2014. This has some very dangerous implications for Americans. It means as of right now there is no debt ceiling and the federals can spend as much as they like. With all of the previous spending by DHS, and the impending economic crash that we face in the near future, it is terrifying to think what the federals might buy in the next 90 days that they can use against American citizens.
With this scenario in place the writing is on the wall and foreigners can read it well even if Americans cannot. The dumping of treasuries will likely increase substantially over the next few months as the collapse becomes evident to everyone but Americans. This is the end game and most people don’t even know they are in it.
With the debt ceiling removed even temporarily, the government has the ability to overspend and when the ceiling is reinstated in 90 days any new debt over the current limit will not be debatable. The limit will automatically have to be raised to that amount. That is why President Obama answered “no” when asked if there would be a renewed debt debate next year. He knows he can bypass it. When the time comes for the House to raise the debt limit they will either have to raise it to encompass the additional spending or not raise it and possibly trigger a default. Either way the Democrats can blame the Republicans for the additional debt increase or a default.
It could go something like this. The government decides how much extra money they will need until after the elections next year and borrow it now. The money is dispersed into the usual slush funds until needed to avoid any new debt debates before the election. The Republicans will lose the ability to stop uncontrolled government growth next year and the Democrats will deprive them of any debt debates before Nov. This will give the Democrats a big edge in the elections and could allow them to take some seats in the house. Not that changing from one party to the other will change anything, it will just determine how fast we collapse.
By this time next year I suspect the Petrodollar will be on life support if not completely dead and high inflation will be rearing its’ ugly head. The governments answer to this will be price controls which will lead to shortages. Then things go downhill fast from there. That’s if we actually make it to next fall without a serious incident in the U.S. before then.
These are truly perilous times for the U.S. and everyone should prepare as they deem appropriate. The west line has shifted and we are now on the trailing edge of history. If we are to survive as a nation and prosper again we must learn to operate with a smaller more efficient economy as others before us have done. This will entail a smaller more localized economy with more small producers and a stable medium of exchange. The only alternative is to become a failed third world nation with no future.
When you ask someone why they climbed the mountain some will say, because it’s there. I wanted to know if I could do it. It is the same drive that makes people want to win at sports.
Why do preppers prep? What is the point? If something so catastrophic happens that the world is drastically changed or destroyed, why would we want to survive to live anymore?
Dieing is easy. All you have to do is give up and quit. It’s living that is so hard. One of the hardest things a person can do is to wake up in the morning and get out of bed when they know the world is stacked against them. So why do it?
There are three types of people in the world. Those that can do, those that are afraid to do, and those that don’t know what they should do.
I’m the kind of person that will take the time to hammer out a bent piece of metal even if I don’t need it and could easily go buy another one. I like a challenge and I like the feeling of accomplishment when I succeed.
Last year I was working on one of my vehicles when it bent some of the pushrods almost into an S. I could have run down to the parts store and bought new ones but being the cheapskate that I am and loving a challenge, I decided to try to straighten them out. I managed to straighten out 3 but had to buy one new one that was too far gone. They were not expensive but I saw it as a challenge.
About 20 years ago we had a bad winter storm that left several inches of ice on the road. I had to drive 15 miles on these icy roads to get home. About 2 miles from home I rounded a turn and the truck began to slide. My small Chevy 4×4 slid sideways and the front end dropped into a deep ditch until the chassis was touching the ground. I could push up the opposite side of the ditchbank a few inches but could not get enough traction to back out.
A short time later a neighbor came by and a couple of guys tried to help push it out with no success. They said I would need to call a tow truck and offered me a ride. I declined and said I would keep trying. A few minutes after they left I finally stopped and analyzed my situation a little more. I knew I needed to get the front end up and get some traction, but how. I then went into the woods and found a few small logs and threw them behind the wheels. I pushed up the opposite bank a few inches allowing the logs to roll into the bottom of the ditch. When I rolled back the truck pulled itself out of the ditch with little effort.
The point of this story is that I decided I would get it out and would not stop until I had exhausted every possible idea. You don’t know what you are capable of unless you try.
I think preppers are willing to go to extremes and prepare not because they fear death or hardship but because they are willing to explore their absolute limits. They want to know if they are capable of overcoming the obstacle just because it’s there and they have more fear of walking away not knowing than of trying and failing. Some in business might call it the drive to succeed and others might call it the drive to win.
Everyone has their limits and some will prevail when others fail but in the end, the act of trying and not giving up is what’s important. That is what prepping is about to me. If I see a potential obstacle in my future I will try to prepare to overcome it then move on but if I fail and the worst happens I will have a clear conscience. That is what prepping is. Being prepared to face a challenge and giving yourself every chance to overcome it.
When people ridicule those that see potential danger and prepare to overcome it, it is like someone looking at Mt. Everest and saying, oh it’s just a little hill no different than all the others we have crossed, and then they proceed to walk up it with no supplies or equipment. Experience is a virtue that preppers relish and others simply scoff at, at their own peril. To a prepper, the future is a Mt. Everest with no visible top that they are prepared to climb.
Why do people prep for catastrophic situations? Because it’s there.
Source: Project Chesapeake
“Hi! We’re the news…manufacturing witnesses, creating dupes, and using true believers. Just like an intelligence agency. Come join us!”
Focus on the network evening news. This is where the staging is done well.
First, we have the image itself, the colors in foreground and background, the blend of restful and charged hues. The anchor and his/her smooth style.
Then we have the shifting of venue from the studio to reporters in the field, demonstrating the reach of coverage: the planet. As if this equals authenticity.
The managing editor, usually the elite anchor, chooses the stories to cover and their sequence.
The anchor goes on the air: “Our top story tonight, more signs of gridlock today on Capitol Hill, as legislators walked out of a session on federal budget negotiations…”
The viewer fills in the context for the story: “Oh yes, the government. We want the government to get something done, but they’re not. We want to government to avoid a shutdown. These people are always arguing with each other. They don’t agree. They’re in conflict. Yes, conflict, just like on the cop shows.”
The anchor: “The Chinese government reports the new flu epidemic has spread to three provinces. Forty-two people have already died, and nearly a thousand are hospitalized…”
The viewer again supplies context, such as it is: “Flu. Dangerous. Epidemic. Could it arrive here? Get my flu shot. Do the Chinese doctors know what they’re doing? Crowded cities. Maybe more cases all of a sudden. Ten thousand, a hundred thousand.”
The anchor: “A new university study states that gun owners often stock up on weapons and ammunition, and this trend has jumped quickly since the Newtown, Connecticut, school-shooting tragedy…”
The viewer: “People with guns. Why do they need a dozen weapons? People in small towns. I don’t need a gun. The police have guns. Could I kill somebody if he broke into the house?”
The anchor: “Doctors at Yale University have made a discovery that could lead to new treatments in the battle against Autism…”
Viewer: “That would be good. More research. Laboratory. Germs. The brain.”
If, at the end of the newscast, the viewer bothered to review the stories and his own reactions to them, he would realize he’d learned almost nothing. But reflection is not the game.
In fact, the flow of the news stories has washed over him and created very little except a sense of continuity.
It would never occur to him to wonder: are the squabbling political legislators really two branches of the same Party? Does government have the Constitutional right to incur this much debt? Where is all that money coming from? Taxes? Other sources? Who invents money?
Is the flu dangerous for most people? If not, why not? Do governments overstate case numbers? How do they actually test patients for the flu? Are the tests accurate? Are they just trying to convince us to get vaccines?
What happens when the government has overwhelming force and citizens have no guns?
When the researchers keep saying “may” and “could,” does that mean they’ve actually discovered something useful about Autism, or are they just hyping their own work and trying to get funding for their next project?
These are only a few of the many questions the typical viewer never considers.
Therefore, every story on the news broadcast achieves the goal of keeping the context small and narrow—night after night, year after year. The overall effect of this, yes, staging, is small viewer, small viewer’s mind, small viewer’s understanding.
Billions of dollars are spent by the networks to build a reality the size of a room in a cheap motel.
Next we come to words over pictures. More and more, news broadcasts are using the rudimentary film technique of a voice narrating what the viewer is seeing on the screen.
People are shouting and running and falling in a street. The anchor or a field reporter says: “The country is in turmoil. Parliament has suspended sessions for the third day in a row, as the government decides what to do about uprisings aimed at forcing democratic elections…”
Well, the voice must be right, because we’re seeing the pictures. If the voice said the riots were due to garbage-pickup cancellations, the viewer would believe that, too.
How about this: two-day-old footage of runners approaching the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A puff of smoke rises at the right of the screen. A runner falls down in the street. The anchor is saying: “The FBI has announced a bomb made in a pressure cooker caused the injuries and deaths.”
Must be so. We saw the pictures and heard the voice explain.
We see Building #7 of the WTC collapse. Must have been the result of a fire. The anchor tells us so. Words over pictures.
We see footage of Lee Harvey Oswald inside the Dallas police station. The anchor tells he’s about to be transferred, under heavy guard, to another location. Oswald must be guilty, because we’re seeing him in a police station, and the anchor just said “under heavy guard.”
Staged news. It works. Why?
Because it mirrors what the human mind, in an infantile state, is always doing: looking at the world and seeking a brief summary to explain what the world is, at any given moment.
Since the dawn of time, untold billions of people have been urging a “television anchor” to “explain the pictures.”
The news gives them that precise thing, that precise solution, every night.
“Well, Mr. Jones,” the doctor says, as he pins X-rays to a screen in his office. “See this? Right here? We’ll need to start chemo immediately, and then we may have to remove most of your brain, and as a followup, take out one eye.”
Sure, why not? The patient saw the pictures and the anchor explained them.
After watching and listening to the last year of news, the population is ready to see the president or one of his minions step up to a microphone and say, “Quantitative easing…sequester…”
Reaction? “Don’t know what it is, but it must be okay.”
Eventually, people get the idea and do it for themselves. They see things, they invent one-liners to explain them. They’re their own anchors. They short-cut and undermine their own experience with vapid summaries of what it all means.
“Here are the photos. Just look at these photos. Don’t look at any other photos. These are the killers. Here’s what it means: we’re going to send in SWAT teams and rout you out of your homes at gunpoint, we’ll search your homes, no warrants, and you’re going to comply, and when it’s over and we’ve caught them, you’ll cheer.”
“Sure. Okay. We will.”
Pictures, explanation, obedience.
The staging of reality, the staging of news; they’re the same thing.
At some point in time, the television audience begins to experience an itch. “If reality is the news, then maybe I could become a visible piece of reality. Maybe I could get on the news. What would I have to do? How can I stand out? What outlandish thing could I cook up?”
Anyone’s face could appear on the screen and flicker there and be driven into the minds of millions of people as something hypnotic.
If not fortune, then at least fame.
Whereas an honest television news anchor, if one existed, would say:
“The battle over the government shutdown and its funding continue as a piece of planned chaos. Events like this are shaped well in advance by men who manipulate the One Political Party With Two Heads, and you, the viewer, are reacting predictably. You’re choosing sides. You’re angry. And I’m sitting here on most nights adding fuel to the fire. The fix is in, and I’m going along with it. Here in the studio, I’m staging the news about staged reality.”
The news is a movie of a movie.
And then, of course, when the news cuts to commercial, the fake reality of products takes over:
“Well, every night they’re showing the same brand names, so those brands must be better than the unnamed alternatives.”
Which devolves into: “I like this commercial better than that commercial. This is a great commercial.”
Which devolves into: reality is an advertisement for itself.
Source: Jon Rappoport | No More Fake News
They’re more powerful than standing armies. What they say goes. They decide policy. They rule the world. They do it by controlling money, credit and debt.
They manipulate markets for self-enrichment. Grand theft is official Wall Street policy. Government officials wink, nod, and permit the grandest of grand larceny to persist.
Financial giants recycle their executives in and out of Washington. They strip-mine economies for profit. They buy politicians like toothpaste. Whatever they want they get.
They do it at the expense of government of, by and for everyone equitably and just.
On October 2, 15 financial lords met with Obama. They did so at the White House. They gave him their marching orders.
They came to assert their demands. They’re uncompromising. They’re ruthless. They want business as usual continued. They want more than ever.
They want more bailouts. They want bail-ins. They want personal bank accounts, pensions and other assets looted.
They want more crushing neoliberal harshness. They want America thirdworldized. They want it looking like Greece.
Budget and debt ceiling debates conceal their ugly agenda. What’s ongoing is a longstanding orchestrated swindle. Bipartisan complicity supports it.
Social America is on the chopping block for elimination. Another grand bargain plans it. Expect it once current theatrics end.
The worst of what’s coming could begin in weeks. Harder than ever hard times will follow.
Obama expressed support for deeper Medicare and Social Security cuts. He’s on board for weakened social protections overall.
Partisan warfare is more subterfuge than real. Both parties fundamentally agree. They want New Deal/Great Society policies entirely ended.
Wall Street bosses demand it. They want to feed more aggressively at the public trough than already. They want money gotten used to make more of it.
They want it stolen from ordinary people to make doing so easier. Obama and congressional leaders are their hired hands.
They’re complicit. They’re on board to eliminate “unnecessary” social programs. He want them entirely eliminated. They’re dismantling them incrementally.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and public pensions are prime targets. Planned death is by a thousand cuts. It’s the new normal. It’s by letting Wall Street profiteers control these programs.
So-called “creeping normalcy” is defined as a way to make major changes seem normal and ordinary.
Class war in America has been ongoing for decades. It’s worse now than ever. It benefits business and rich elites. It does so at the expense of most others.
Middle class America is targeted for elimination. Bipartisan complicity plans it. Obama capitulated to Republicans on preserving tax cuts and other benefits for rich elites.
He gave trillions of dollars to Wall Street crooks and other corporate favorites. Profiteers benefit hugely from ongoing imperial wars.
Main Street Depression conditions persist. Bipartisan complicity plans much worse ahead. Militarism, favoritism, waste, fraud and other rewards benefit Wall Street and other special interests.
They do so at the public’s expense. Let ‘em eat cakes defines official policy. Ordinary people are increasingly on their own sink or swim.
Wages no longer keep up with inflation. Benefits steadily erode. High-paying manufacturing and service jobs offshored to low wage countries. Automated production claimed more.
So-called free markets aren’t fair. They work best for those who control them. Growing numbers of others lose out entirely.
Technology driven productivity increasingly pressures workers to toil longer for less pay and fewer benefits.
Marx was right explaining capitalism’s contradictions. They reflect an anarchic, ungovernable system. Today’s monster is far worse than he imagined.
Powerful monopolies and oligopolies control production, commerce and finance. Wall Street and other corporate bosses demand increasing amounts of surplus from pressured workers.
They’re looting America. They’re wrecking it. They’re sucking it dry for profit. Predatory capitalism is too corrupted, malignant and broken to fix.
Institutionalized inequality reflects it. America is more hypocrisy than democracy. It’s a kleptocracy. Criminal gangs pose as political parties. They’re complicit with corporate crooks.
They’re war criminals. They’re serial liars. They’re scoundrels of the worst kind. America’s real crisis isn’t government shutdown, said Paul Craig Roberts.
It’s not the debt ceiling. It’s looting America. It’s wrecking the economy. It’s offshoring good paying jobs. It’s lowering the tax base in the process.
It did so by transferring America’s wealth and overall well-being to China and other low wage countries.
It did it by permanent imperial wars. They inflate annual spending. Larger deficits followed. They’re “too large to be closed,” says Roberts.
Money printing madness sustains things as long a possible. What can’t go on forever, won’t. Dollar debasing doesn’t work. Gold and silver prices reflect it.
Wall Street and Washington rig markets to keep them from going higher. Illegal naked short selling is done to do so.
It constrains prices even when physical demand is increasing. It bears repeating. What can’t go on forever, won’t.
Given irresponsible financial/economic policies, expect eventual gold and silver prices to explode.
Another crisis, says Roberts, “is the absence of intelligence among economists and policymakers.”
Don’t worry, they said. Offshoring jobs doesn’t matter, they claimed. A “New Economy” with better jobs is coming.
Monthly payroll data explain otherwise. High paying/good benefit jobs are disappearing. Low paying/poor or no benefit jobs replace them.
America is being hollowed out in the process. It’s being strip-mined of its material wealth and resources.
It’s being suffocated. It’s being thirdworldized. It’s headed toward dystopian backwater status.
Plans are to force feed greater austerity. It’s to replicate Greece harshness. It’s to make America a ruler – serf society.
It’s to crush trade unionism. It’s to crack down hard on nonbelievers. It’s to make America more than ever unfit to live in.
It’s to create more severe crisis conditions than now. It’s to do so for greater profits and control.
Ending what’s ongoing requires replacing duopoly power with responsible governance. It requires rebuilding the nation’s industrial base.
It’s ending imperial wars. It’s disbanding America’s empire of bases. It’s strengthening social protections too vital to lose.
It’s putting money power back in public hands where it belongs. It’s making the privately owned and controlled Fed really federal. It’s prohibiting banks too big to fail from existing.
It’s ending corporate personhood. It’s replacing kleptocracy with real democracy. It’s running free, fair and open elections. It’s getting money entirely out of politics.
It’s curbing corporate power once and for all. It’s empowering people over money. It’s making crime no longer pay. It’s prosecuting crooks in the suites. It’s protecting human and civil rights.
It’s mandating universal healthcare and public education. It’s reinvigorating organized labor.
It’s reinstating progressive taxes. It’s making everyone pay their fair share. It’s guaranteeing a minimum life sustaining income.
It’s abolishing poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness and inequality. It’s ending favoritism. It’s getting rogues, rascals and other miscreants out of government.
It’s substituting truth and full disclosure for managed news misinformation. It’s replacing media scoundrels with responsible ones to do so.
It’s consigning Wall Street and other corporate crooks to the dustbin of history.
It’s establishing government of, by and for everyone. It’s making America what it never was before.
It better happen soon or else. Roberts calls today’s situation dire and “discouraging.”
“At this time,” he says, “collapse seems the most likely forecast.”
Perhaps rebuilding from ruins will change things, he hopes. Perhaps intelligent life exists elsewhere. Perhaps it’s on other planets.
Perhaps it’ll replace what doesn’t exist on earth. Perhaps it’s the only hope for survival. There may be no other way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
A talk at Rhodes Forum, October 5, 2013…
First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued. We cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. It will take some time until the realisation of what we’ve gone through seeps in: it is normal for events of such magnitude. The turmoil in the US, from the mad car chase in the DC to the shutdown of federal government and possible debt default, are the direct consequences of this event.
Remember the Berlin Wall? When it went down, I was in Moscow, writing for Haaretz. I went to a press-conference with Politburo members in the President Hotel, and asked them whether they concurred that the end of the USSR and world socialist system was nigh. I was laughed at; it was an embarrassing occasion. Oh no, they said. Socialism will blossom, as the result of the Wall’s fall. The USSR went down two years later. Now our memory has compacted those years into a brief sequence, but in reality, it took some time.
The most dramatic event of September 2013 was the high-noon stand-off near the Levantine shore, with five US destroyers pointing their Tomahawks towards Damascus and facing them – the Russian flotilla of eleven ships led by the carrier-killer Missile Cruiser Moskva and supported by Chinese warships. Apparently, two missiles were launched towards the Syrian coast, and both failed to reach their destination.
It was claimed by a Lebanese newspaper quoting diplomatic sources that the missiles were launched from a NATO air base in Spain and they were shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system. Another explanation proposed by the Asia Times says the Russians employed their cheap and powerful GPS jammers to render the expensive Tomahawks helpless, by disorienting them and causing them to fail. Yet another version attributed the launch to the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim.
Whatever the reason, after this strange incident, the pending shoot-out did not commence, as President Obama stood down and holstered his guns. This was preceded by an unexpected vote in the British Parliament. This venerable body declined the honour of joining the attack proposed by the US. This was the first time in two hundred years that the British parliament voted down a sensible proposition to start a war; usually the Brits can’t resist the temptation.
After that, President Obama decided to pass the hot potato to the Congress. He was unwilling to unleash Armageddon on his own. Thus the name of action was lost. Congress did not want to go to war with unpredictable consequences. Obama tried to browbeat Putin at the 20G meeting in St Petersburg, and failed. The Russian proposal to remove Syrian chemical weaponry allowed President Obama to save face. This misadventure put paid to American hegemony , supremacy and exceptionalism. Manifest Destiny was over. We all learned that from Hollywood flics: the hero never stands down; he draws and shoots! If he holsters his guns, he is not a hero: he’s chickened out.
Afterwards, things began to unravel fast. The US President had a chat with the new president of Iran, to the chagrin of Tel Aviv. The Free Syrian Army rebels decided to talk to Assad after two years of fighting him, and their delegation arrived in Damascus, leaving the Islamic extremists high and dry. Their supporter Qatar is collapsing overextended. The shutdown of their government and possible debt default gave the Americans something real to worry about. With the end of US hegemony, the days of the dollar as the world reserve currency are numbered.
World War III almost occurred as the banksters wished it. They have too many debts, including the unsustainable foreign debt of the US. If those Tomahawks had flown, the banksters could have claimed Force Majeure and disavow the debt. Millions of people would die, but billions of dollars would be safe in the vaults of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. In September, the world crossed this bifurcation point safely, as President Obama refused to take the fall for the banksters. Perhaps he deserved his Nobel peace prize, after all.
The near future is full of troubles but none are fatal. The US will lose its emission rights as a source of income. The US dollar will cease to serve as the world reserve currency though it will remain the North American currency. Other parts of the world will resort to their euro, yuan, rouble, bolivar, or dinar. The US military expenditure will have to be slashed to normal, and this elimination of overseas bases and weaponry will allow the US population to make the transition rather painlessly. Nobody wants to go after America; the world just got tired of them riding shotgun all over the place. The US will have to find new employment for so many bankers, jailers, soldiers, even politicians.
As I stayed in Moscow during the crisis, I observed these developments as they were seen by Russians. Putin and Russia have been relentlessly hard-pressed for quite a while.
- The US supported and subsidised Russia’s liberal and nationalist opposition; the national elections in Russia were presented as one big fraud. The Russian government was delegitimised to some extent.
- The Magnitsky Act of the US Congress authorised the US authorities to arrest and seize the assets of any Russian they deem is up to no good, without a recourse to a court.
- Some Russian state assets were seized in Cyprus where the banks were in trouble.
- The US encouraged Pussy Riot, gay parades etc. in Moscow, in order to promote an image of Putin the dictator, enemy of freedom and gay-hater in the Western and Russian oligarch-owned media.
- Russian support for Syria was criticised, ridiculed and presented as a brutal act devoid of humanity. At the same time, Western media pundits expressed certainty that Russia would give up on Syria.
As I wrote previously, Russia had no intention to surrender Syria, for a number of good reasons: it was an ally; the Syrian Orthodox Christians trusted Russia; geopolitically the war was getting too close to Russian borders. But the main reason was Russia’s annoyance with American high-handedness. The Russians felt that such important decisions should be taken by the international community, meaning the UN Security Council. They did not appreciate the US assuming the role of world arbiter.
In the 1990s, Russia was very weak, and could not effectively object, but they felt bitter when Yugoslavia was bombed and NATO troops moved eastwards breaking the US promise to Gorbachev. The Libyan tragedy was another crucial point. That unhappy country was bombed by NATO, and eventually disintegrated. From the most prosperous African state it was converted into most miserable. Russian presence in Libya was rather limited, but still, Russia lost some investment there. Russia abstained in the vote on Libya as this was the position of the then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev who believed in playing ball with the West. In no way was Putin ready to abandon Syria to the same fate.
The Russian rebellion against the US hegemony began in June, when the Aeroflot flight from Beijing carrying Ed Snowden landed in Moscow. Americans pushed every button they could think of to get him back. They activated the full spectre of their agents in Russia. Only a few voices, including that of your truly, called on Russia to provide Snowden with safe refuge, but our voices prevailed. Despite the US pressure, Snowden was granted asylum.
The next step was the Syrian escalation. I do not want to go into the details of the alleged chemical attack. In the Russian view, there was not and could not be any reason for the US to act unilaterally in Syria or anywhere else. In a way, the Russians have restored the Law of Nations to its old revered place. The world has become a better and safer place.
None of this could’ve been achieved without the support of China. The Asian giant considers Russia its “elder sister” and relies upon her ability to deal with the round-eyes. The Chinese, in their quiet and unassuming way, played along with Putin. They passed Snowden to Moscow. They vetoed anti-Syrian drafts in the UNSC, and sent their warships to the Med. That is why Putin stood the ground not only for Russia, but for the whole mass of Eurasia.
There were many exciting and thrilling moments in the Syrian saga, enough to fill volumes. An early attempt to subdue Putin at G8 meeting in Ireland was one of them. Putin was about to meet with the united front of the West, but he managed to turn some of them to his side, and he sowed the seeds of doubt in others’ hearts by reminding them of the Syrian rebel manflesh-eating chieftains.
The proposal to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons was deftly introduced; the UNSC resolution blocked the possibility of attacking Syria under cover of Chapter Seven. Miraculously, the Russians won in this mighty tug-of-war. The alternative was dire: Syria would be destroyed as Libya was; a subsequent Israeli-American attack on Iran was unavoidable; Oriental Christianity would lose its cradle; Europe would be flooded by millions of refugees; Russia would be proven irrelevant, all talk and no action, as important as Bolivia, whose President’s plane can be grounded and searched at will. Unable to defend its allies, unable to stand its ground, Russia would’ve been left with a ‘moral victory’, a euphemism for defeat. Everything Putin has worked for in 13 years at the helm would’ve been lost; Russia would be back to where it was in 1999, when Belgrade was bombed by Clinton.
The acme of this confrontation was reached in the Obama-Putin exchange on exceptionalism. The two men were not buddies to start with. Putin was annoyed by what he perceived as Obama’s insincerity and hypocrisy. A man who climbed from the gutter to the very top, Putin cherishes his ability to talk frankly with people of all walks of life. His frank talk can be shockingly brutal. When he was heckled by a French journalist regarding treatment of Chechen separatists, he replied:
“the Muslim extremists (takfiris) are enemies of Christians, of atheists, and even of Muslims because they believe that traditional Islam is hostile to the goals that they set themselves. And if you want to become an Islamic radical and are ready to be circumcised, I invite you to Moscow. We are a multi-faith country and we have experts who can do it. And I would advise them to carry out that operation in such a way that nothing would grow in that place again”.
Another example of his shockingly candid talk was given at Valdai as he replied to BBC’s Bridget Kendall. She asked: did the threat of US military strikes actually play a rather useful role in Syria’s agreeing to have its weapons placed under control?
Putin replied: Syria got itself chemical weapons as an alternative to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. He called for the disarmament of Israel and invoked the name of Mordecai Vanunu as an example of an Israeli scientist who opposes nuclear weapons. (My interview with Vanunu had been recently published in the largest Russian daily paper, and it gained some notice).
Putin tried to talk frankly to Obama. We know of their exchange from a leaked record of the Putin-Netanyahu confidential conversation. Putin called the American and asked him: what’s your point in Syria? Obama replied: I am worried that Assad’s regime does not observe human rights. Putin almost puked from the sheer hypocrisy of this answer. He understood it as Obama’s refusal to talk with him “on eye level”.
In the aftermath of the Syrian stand-off, Obama appealed to the people of the world in the name of American exceptionalism. The United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional”, he said. Putin responded: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” This was not only an ideological, but theological contradistinction.
As I expounded at length elsewhere, the US is built on the Judaic theology of exceptionalism, of being Chosen. It is the country of Old Testament. This is the deeper reason for the US and Israel’s special relationship. Europe is going through a stage of apostasy and rejection of Christ, while Russia is deeply Christian. Its churches are full, they bless one other with Christmas and Easter blessings, instead of neutral “seasons”. Russia is a New Testament country. And rejection of exceptionalism, of chosenness is the underlying tenet of Christianity.
For this reason, while organised US Jewry supported the war, condemned Assad and called for US intervention, the Jewish community of Russia, quite numerous, wealthy and influential one, did not support the Syrian rebels but rather stood by Putin’s effort to preserve peace in Syria. Ditto Iran, where the wealthy Jewish community supported the legitimate government in Syria. It appears that countries guided by a strong established church are immune from disruptive influence of lobbies; while countries without such a church the US and/or France give in to such influences and adopt illegal interventionism as a norm.
As US hegemony declines, we look to an uncertain future. The behemoth might of the US military can still wreck havoc; a wounded beast is the most dangerous one. Americans may listen to Senator Ron Paul who called to give up overseas bases and cut military expenditure. Norms of international law and sovereignty of all states should be observed. People of the world will like America again when it will cease snooping and bullying. It isn’t easy, but we’ve already negotiated the Cape and gained Good Hope.
(Language edited by Ken Freeland)