After the U.S. government shutdown you’d expect Republicans and Democrats to remain at each others’ throats, so different was their vision for the country, or so it appeared.
In reality, however, only a bit of the political theater was reserved for “Tea Party” Republicans to invest in their political future by denouncing Obamacare, which they know will enrage millions of people forced to buy shoddy corporate health care; many of these future victims of Obamacare will become diehard Teapartiers.
But the real intent behind the government shutdown was lost on the mute American media. The Republicans were once again allowed to use the threat of government default to steer the Obama administration to the right — the right-leaning tail wagging the dog of government in the direction of a “Grand Bargain” to cut “entitlement” programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and other public services.
But like real dogs, government body and tail cannot be separated: the Democrats are allowing themselves to be “wagged” because they fully agree with the Republican’s neoliberal agenda.
The essence of neoliberalism can be reduced to the following: government should be used exclusively to help big business and the wealthy with tax cuts, subsidies, privatizations, anti-labor laws, etc., while all government programs that help working and poor people should be eliminated. It’s really that simple.
In practice, Obama’s neoliberalism is blatant: after bailing out the banks he continues to approve of the printing of thousands of billions of Federal Reserve dollars to give to the wealthy and big banks who are racking in record profits, while the jobs crisis is ignored and public services slashed on a state by state level without hope of a government bailout.
Since Obama has been in office, a shocking 95 percent of income gains went to the richest 1%. This is not the blind hand of the free market, but government policy, which can be adjusted to reflect the priorities of working people.
Obama dodges responsibility for his neoliberal policies by giving empty speeches about “hope” and whining about the very wealth inequality that he creates via policy. He gives speeches to labor unions about how it’s “unfair” that the rich just happen to be getting richer, while working people continue to suffer. Working people learned long ago to ignore Obama’s “progressive” blather, while the leaders of national unions drink in his words as if gulping from the Holy Grail.
The first steps of the coming Grand Bargain have already been taken: the “sequester” — massive cuts to national social programs including Medicare — have been extended as a result of government shutdown “negotiations.” And now the media is casually reporting that a Grand Bargain that further “reduces entitlements” is inevitable, but it will be only a “small” bargain, so no need to worry.
The New York Times reports:
“Republicans on Capitol Hill are determined to mitigate those [military sequester] cuts by spreading them among various social programs, like education and Social Security…”
Obama has said several times that he’s more than prepared to use Social Security as a bargaining chip in his Grand Bargain.
At a time when more services are needed, they will be cut instead. Aside from the suffering it will cause millions of people, a “small” Grand Bargain will also create a precedent for even more “bargains” in the future, since the first step in creating negative social change is often the hardest, but once the foot is in the door the process accelerates.
Neoliberalism has already advanced on a state-by-state basis in the U.S., with Democrat and Republican governors in bi-partisan agreement that has drastically cut education and other social services, attacked the wages and benefits of state workers, while lowering the state taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
Large scale neoliberalism on a national level — like the coming Grand Bargain — is sometimes referred to as a “structural reform,” meaning that a major component of a nation’s economic policy is shifted, or eliminated.
For example, Social Security and Medicare are two bedrock social programs that constitute a major piece of U.S. budget spending, affecting hundreds of millions of people.
The attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and public education are neoliberal-style ”structural reforms,” essentially a corporate attempt to change the underlying social compact of U.S. society that was created under Franklin D. Roosevelt and expanded under Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs.
How was the U.S. social compact formed? Like all social policy, it was a reflection of power, specifically the balance of forces between the corporate and working classes in the U.S. In the 1930s and 1940s, massive strike waves led to an ever-larger unionized workforce that repeatedly flexed its muscles by demanding living wages, health care, and other social programs.
These demands were backed up by waging mass demonstrations and industry-wide actions along with sympathy strikes. After WWII a third of the U.S. workforce was organized in labor unions, which shifted the entire labor market in favor of all working people, while also shifting the ground on which national social policy was created. A semblance of democracy was not possible without recognizing the demands of the powerfully organized working class.
When arch-conservative Richard Nixon famously declared “we’re all Keynesians now,” he was merely recognizing the balance of power that existed in the U.S. political system, and the unwillingness of the elites to challenge this social pact for fear of the destabilizing effects that would result.
This Keynesian consensus was essentially a truce declared in the U.S. class war, where the power of both sides — capital and labor — were balanced, both independently strong enough to repel attacks from the other. In response, Nixon’s economic policies make Obama seem like a right-wing neoliberal fanatic.
But while Nixon agreed to the Keynesian consensus at home, he gave his blessing to the radical right-wing economist Milton Freidman to “reform” the economy of Chile under the bloody dictator, Pinochet, whom the U.S. brought to power over the corpse of the democratically elected President Salvador Allende, as well as the thousands of his supporters who were butchered. Chile was essentially a neoliberal experiment that, if successful, would be transferred to the United States.
Due to the Keynesian consensus, Milton Freidman’s radical pro-corporate doctrine was at the time viewed as right-wing fanaticism, which it is. Now, however, with labor’s faltering power, the corporations feel confident enough to flex their muscles unhindered. To enhance their new power they needed an accompanying ideology — Friedman’s neoliberalism, free market capitalism unleashed.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s “revolution” ushered in the neoliberal transformation of the U.S. after seeing the “success” of the Chilean economy. Chile successfully increased corporate profit rates by removing “barriers” to profits, such as trade unions, socialists, and any democratic voice that opposed the “restructuring” of the Chilean economy to reflect the interests of the rich, finally unshackled from the “constraints” of wealth accumulation. Reagan and Thatcher followed in lock-step, targeting unions for destruction, lowering tax rates for the rich, and preaching the virtue of neoliberal “trickle down” economics.
Implementing the neoliberal shock doctrine breaks the social contract and thus ends the truce of the class war. The first shots were fired by Reagan and the onslaught has continued under the two Bush’s as well as under Bill Clinton. The 2008 recession has pushed both parties to double down on neoliberalism as their solution to the ongoing economic crisis.
Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine,” tells in gruesome detail the brutality that has accompanied the “implementation” of neoliberal reforms across the globe over the last 30 years. And while the U.S. has slow played this process since 2008, U.S. politicians are slated to follow the example of the European Union elites by accelerating the cuts on a national level.
The labor and community groups that have tried to deal with the corporate attack by hiding from it still have time to unite their forces to fight for full funding for a national jobs program, expanded Social Security, Medicare for all, accessible, quality public education, and other public services, all to be paid for by taxing the rich and corporations.
Cars on the Obamacare Express jumped the track and began piling up as soon as the Healthcare.gov website went live on Oct. 1, and the expected Obamacare train wreck continues to create its carnage.
Of course, the carnage is just beginning. Obamacare is a socialist death trap of graft and corruption. It was created by lobbyists for the medical industrial complex as a way of growing its consumer base with the guarantee of benefit payments from the Federal Treasury. It’s a redistributive system that steals from the producers in order to feed the corporatocracy.
Nothing about Obamacare is healthcare. It is simply medical tyranny created under the guise of political doublespeak. It sounds great to promise free or low-cost health insurance for everyone until people begin to learn the true cost of “free” government programs.
America’s healthcare system is a profit-driven, disease-oriented death system. It is a system of conflict of interest, tainted research, greed for money, deceived and pretentious doctors and scientists, lying, cheating, invasion by the morally bankrupt marketing automatons of the drug industry, greedy power-hungry politicians, and Federal and State regulators. It is all about money generated on the sick and the dying.
I will quickly give you a valid exception, and that is if one needs trauma care. It is generally and quickly available and most of the time life-saving. But this is a very small part of medical practice in America.
The sick care industry is not only profiting from the sick and dying; it is the greatest cause of sickness and premature death. And it is a U.S. government industry. It is sponsored and financed by the U.S. government. There would not be a single hospital in the United States without Federal funny money and the insurance business.
In fact, it’s very deceptive to call Obamacare socialized healthcare as Obamacare has nothing to do with healthcare. It’s just the opposite. It’s sickness care.
The Nazis had their gas chambers and America has “medical care,” which is the most sophisticated killing machine that demented minds can create.
Americans are mentally dependent on the “medical” brainwash. When our dumbed-down people hear the trigger word “medical care,” they go blind and hyperventilate. They do not know a scam from a sham.
The great debate going on is spurious in its entirety. There is no truth to be found in it. It’s a comedy. As the paper money regime collapses, the money creators are speeding up the printing presses in a desperate ploy to transfer the wealth of the American people before it becomes worthless anyway. It is disguised warfare against the American people.
It reminds one of the last days of the Nazi regime. As the cities were reduced to rubble, German citizens were being shot for “treason.” In the last days of any regime, the process of oppression of citizens is intensified.
In the United States, stepped-up oppression is being done under the cloak of benevolency called healthcare.
In fact, there is now very high risk in going to the hospital. Besides the hundreds of thousands of drug-induced deaths (iatrogenic deaths), there are people who check into hospitals and unexpectedly die of viral pneumonia that antibiotics can’t help. Tuberculosis has returned to America, including drug-resistant strains. Drug-resistant bacteria are rampant. One in 20 hospital patients now picks up an infection he didn’t have when he arrived. Even what appears to be the old common cold is lasting for months.
“There are about 2 million people who acquire infection from the hospital each year and become sick,” said Charlottesville, Va., infectious disease expert Barry Farr, M.D. “Most don’t die, but some do.” About 100,000 die each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obamacare locks you into this system with no way out. Once the government is in the business of determining approved treatments and payments, alternative treatment regimens are prohibited. And failure to follow the prescribed treatment will result in fines or imprisonment. (This sort of medical tyranny has already manifested itself in the treatment of children’s ailments; see here and here for just two such examples.)
And it seems the Obamacare system permanently captures you as well. Those few who have managed to access the deeply flawed system have learned that deleting an account and the personal information entered is impossible.
And what is that information? Everything the government needs to know to confiscate your wealth from you completely in the event of noncompliance.
Everyone is forced to sign up for a system that is unavailable to them because of the failure of the Healthcare.gov website — which some computer experts believe was either designed to fail or built by a team of incompetent chimpanzees.
About 90 percent of those who tried to enroll say they were not able to get signed up. And of those, about 50,000 people who were able to get through in the system’s first 11 days, only about 1 percent have submitted enough information to be successfully enrolled, according to health industry executives.
Nationwide, there are 11.6 million people ages 18 to 34 who are uninsured, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Obamacare is a Ponzi scheme designed to sit on the backs of the young and healthy. But they aren’t interested in it once they learn their premium costs will run in the hundreds of dollars per month, deductibles are $5,000 or more per year and the copays are outrageously high.
The lack of support from young people is ominous. “The entire Rube Goldberg apparatus depends on young, healthy people signing up to cross-subsidize more expensive patients and prevent health plans from going into a death spiral in which premiums don’t cover claims,” said The Wall Street Journal. “Good luck getting millennials to sign up when plans aren’t merely more expensive but when the exchanges malfunction, or doctors don’t accept exchange coverage because someone checked the wrong box, or any number of myriad administrative problems.”
Yet despite all this and despite the fact that a vast majority of Americans want no part of it (hence, the mandate requiring everyone to sign up under penalty of fines and forfeiture of as-yet undetermined amounts of personal property), every effort to repeal or defund Obamacare has been backed by only a handful of non-statists and opposed by the regime and the statists who are more interested in control, power, pleasing the medical cartel and sapping Americans of their wealth and health than in doing what’s right for Americans and following the Constitution.
Source: Bob Livingston | Personal Liberty Digest
Beirut – In modern times, France has done far better diplomatically when it has advocated against impetuous military involvement in the internal affairs of other countries. French standing in international politics has been highest when its government was cautious about its military involvement, when it adopted the wise posture of Old World Europe, counseling the impetuous upstarts of the New World. When Charles de Gaulle told Kennedy, then Johnson, to stay out of Vietnam, his international standing skyrocketed. When Chirac told Bush not to go into Iraq, the same thing happened as history repeated. It was the threat of a UN Security Council veto by then-President Jacques Chirac, and French doubts about America’s evidence of weapons of mass destruction, that forced the Bush administration to seek a “coalition of the willing” outside the UN.
This was decidedly not the case with Syria, when France, led by an inexperienced president, decided to rush in and partner with its “oldest friend,” this time adopting a very different posture—essentially leading the European charge in “punishing” the Assad regime, as Francois Hollande, ignoring history, repeatedly vowed to do.
The French president did deservedly receive some credit for the January 2013 French military invasion of Mali, but it that case France had been asked by the Government of Mali to help put down an Islamist uprising, and Hollande had the support of the UN Security Council and the EU as well as the US and UK. The French public rewarded Hollande, perceived as weak in foreign policy, with a fleeting surge in his otherwise usually dismal approval ratings. These ratings have been low in large part due to French economic woes coupled with a public perception that he has been vacillating in domestic leadership.
When Mr Hollande cast himself in the role of western war leader for the second time in a year, his popularity shot up again, though not with the French public, but with the US Zionist lobby and the neocons in Congress. For his pains, Hollande found his country described as America’s “oldest ally” by the US secretary of state, this after Britain’s parliament had already rejected military strikes on Syria. Suddenly his ability to project French military power—this time in Syria—depended on the outcome of a vote in the American Congress, and despite his bold words, President Holland found himself uncomfortably constrained, with his advisers, and his country, divided over what to do next.
When John Kerrey told Francois Hollande that France was America’s” oldest friend” he was referring to the period of the early American Republic—a time when France did back America, in 1776, against the British colonial power. But the nation overstretched itself militarily and economically, in the process triggering the French Revolution of 1789 that ended its own monarchy. As Gustave Flaubert, reputed to be France’s leading novelist of the second half of the nineteenth century, wrote, ‘irony takes nothing away from pathos’. In today’s terms, President Hollande would do well to pay more attention to history.
Syria of course presented a vastly more complex and difficult challenge than Mali. As a member of Hollande’s own party acknowledged, “people became very aware that Syria is not Mali. Suddenly there were some very difficult questions being discussed. Can we do it? Is it legitimate to do it? Will it achieve anything?”
French public opinion is running strongly against Hollande; a poll published recently in the conservative daily newspaper Le Figaro showed about two-thirds of the French opposed to military action against Syria as well as Iran. Growing demands that the president grant Parliament a vote on the matter were made last month amidst considerable speculation that he would lose if he did. In the end he did not.
To complicate matters even more, there have been recent revelations of Hollande’s socialist administration granting hundreds of millions of dollars in tax exempt deals to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Gulf royals have managed to secure, at bargain-basement rates, some high-priced, historic landmark-type properties, including the historic acreage opposite the Eiffel Tower, while more than 10 percent of the French population lives in sub-standard housing. Despite the socialist leader’s claim that all this will aid France in getting good deals for gas and oil—while providing a particularly huge windfall when Assad’s government is finally replaced with a pro-Western one—pressure is building on Holland to “come home to France” and focus on pressing domestic problems.
Another embarrassment came with the Russian proposal to encourage President Assad to give up his chemical weapons. Consultations between Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, dramatically sidelined Hollande and set Paris’ military invasion position against the diplomatic momentum. In reaction, Hollande, less than 24 hours after the Russian proposal, tried to regain the lead by presenting a separate resolution to the UN Security Council. The French draft was immediately dismissed by Moscow, as it appeared that the document suggested the authorization of the use of force, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, if Assad failed to comply with the chemical weapons transfer. Lavrov ridiculed that condition “unacceptable,” and in the end, France had zero substantive role in solving the conundrum over the dismantlement of Syria’s chemical arsenal. That accomplishment was achieved solely through US-Russian talks, with discrete input from Tehran.
Hollande has put himself into the position of being criticized for failing a basic test of French politics — protecting the country’s pride. Having impetuously agreed to join in a military action, France is now forced to wait on the sidelines of the Levant as Russia, America and Iran take the diplomatic lead, repudiating France’s stance. Some of Mr. Hollande’s critics now say he looks like a lackey.
France promises Israel to stay “tough” on Iran.
Some observers are suggesting that the French president has decided to seek refuge from the fallout—fallout from what many in France regard as his political ineptitude—by linking himself with Israel’s PM Netanyahu. More than a few of the 200 members of the Chamber of Deputies, even from Hollande’s socialist party, are commenting on this while also pointing to a perceived humiliation dealt their country by way of Hollande’s failed efforts at being a ‘player’ in the Syria crisis.
On 10/11/13, after the Israeli premier warned Paris of “succumbing to the charms of Tehran,”Hollande hastened to assure Netanyahu that France will remain “tough” with Iran on its nuclear program. It was in a television interview earlier that same day, on channel France24, that Netanyahu had urged France to be tough on Iran “with or without Rouhani’s smiles.” The comments apparently were prompted by an historic French-Iranian presidential handshake on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month—a handshake which the Israeli staff traveling with their prime minister criticized on the grounds that it would embolden the Islamic republic.
“If Iran really wanted to dismantle their nuclear weapons program, they’d come out with it,” Netanyahu told France24.
According to French daily Le Monde, Hollande told Netanyahu that he was flabbergasted by Obama’s hesitation to bomb Syria, and complained: “If Obama does not strike Iran, how can we believe he would help Israel in case of Iranian aggression?”
In the France 24 interview, Netanyahu also ignored a question as to why Israel did not “come out with it” with respect to its own nuclear and chemical weapons arsenals.
President Hollande ignored the same question.
President Barack Obama is determined to prevail in his battle with GOP congressional leaders on the debt ceiling issue, but not for the reasons stated in the media. Obama is less concerned with the prospect of higher interest rates and frustrated bondholders than he is with the big Wall Street banks who would be thrust back into crisis if there is no resolution before October 17. Absent a debt ceiling deal, the repurchase market–known as repo–would undergo another deep-freeze as it did in 2008 when Lehman Brothers defaulted triggering a run on the Reserve Primary Fund which had been exposed to Lehman’s short-term debt. The frenzied selloff sparked a widespread panic across global financial markets pushing the system to the brink of collapse and forcing the Federal Reserve to backstop regulated and unregulated financial institutions with more than $11 trillion in loans and other obligations. The same tragedy will play out again, if congress fails lift the ceiling and reinforce the present value of US debt.
Repo is at the heart of the shadow banking system, that opaque off-balance sheet underworld where maturity transformation and other risky banking activities take place beyond the watchful eye of government regulators. It is where banks exchange collateralized securities for short-term loans from investors, mainly large financial institutions. The banks use these loans to fund their other investments boosting their leverage many times over to maximize their profits. The so called congressional reforms, like Dodd Frank, which were ratified after the crisis, have done nothing to change the basic structure of the market or to reign in excessive risk-taking by undercapitalized speculators. The system is as wobbly and crisis-prone ever, as the debt ceiling fiasco suggests. The situation speaks to the impressive power of the bank cartel and their army of lawyers and lobbyists. They own Capital Hill, the White House, and most of the judges in the country. The system remains the same, because that’s the way the like it.
US Treasuries provide the bulk of collateral the banks use in acquiring their short-term funding. If the US defaults on its debt, the value that collateral would fall precipitously leaving much of the banking system either underwater or dangerously undercapitalized. The wholesale funding market would grind to a halt, and interbank lending would slow to a crawl. The financial system would suffer its second major heart attack in less than a decade. This is from American Banker:
As banking policy analyst Karen Shaw Petrou describes it, Treasury obligations are the “water” in the financial system’s plumbing.
“They’re the global reserve currency and they are perceived to be the most secure thing you can own,” said Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics. “That is why it is pledged as collateral. … The very biggest banks fear that a debt ceiling breach breaks the pipes.”….
Rob Toomey, managing director and associate general counsel at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said institutions are concerned about whether Treasury bonds that default are no longer transferable between market participants.
“Essentially, whatever the size is of the obligation that Treasury is unable to pay, that kind of liquidity would just disappear from the market for whatever time the payment is not made,” Toomey said.”
By some estimates, the amount of liquidity that would be drained from the system immediately following a default would be roughly $600 billion, enough to require emergency action by either the Fed or the US Treasury. Despite post-crisis legislation that forbids future bailouts, the government would surely ride to rescue committing taxpayer revenues once again to save Wall Street.
Keep in mind, the US government does not have to default on its debt to trigger a panic in the credit markets. Changing expectations can easily produce the same result. If the holders of US Treasuries (USTs) begin to doubt that the debt ceiling issue will be resolved, then they’ll sell their bonds prematurely to avoid greater losses. That, in turn, will push up interest rates which will strangle the recovery, slow growth, and throw a wrench in the repo market credit engine. We saw an example of how this works in late May when the Fed announced its decision to scale-back its asset purchase. The fact that the Fed continued to buy the same amount of USTs and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) didn’t stem the selloff. Long-term rates went up anyway. Why? Because expectations changed and the market reset prices. That same phenom could happen now, in fact, it is happening now. The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that “Fidelity Investments, the largest manager of money market funds… had sold all of its holdings of US Treasury bills due to mature towards the end of October as a “precautionary measure.”
This is what happens when people start to doubt that US Treasuries will be liquid cash equivalents in the future. They ditch them. And when they ditch them, rates go up and the economy slips into low gear. (Note: “China and Japan together hold more than $2.4 trillion in U.S. Treasuries” Bloomberg)
Now the media has been trying to soft-peddle the implications of the debt ceiling standoff by saying, “No one thinks that holders of USTs won’t get repaid.”
While this is true, it’s also irrelevant. The reason that USTs are the gold standard of financial assets, is because they are considered risk-free and liquid. That’s it. If you have to wait to get your money, then the asset you purchased is not completely liquid, right?
And if there is some doubt, however small, that you will not be repaid in full, then the asset is not really risk free, right?
This is what the Fidelity flap is all about. It’s about the erosion of confidence in US debt. It’s about that sliver of doubt that has entered the minds of investors and changed their behavior. This is a significant development because it means that people in positions of power are now questioning the stewardship of the present system. And that trend is going to intensify when the Fed begins to reduce its asset purchases later in the year, because winding down QE will precipitate more capital flight, more currency volatility and more emerging market runaway inflation. That’s going to lead to more chin scratching, more grousing and more resistance to US stewardship of the system. None of this bodes well for Washington’s imperial aspirations or for the world’s reserve currency, both of which appear to be living on borrowed time.
The media has done a poor job of explaining what’s really at stake. While, it’s true that higher interest rates would make consumer loans more expensive and put the kibosh on the housing recovery, that’s not what the media cares about. Not really. What they care about is the looming massacre in shadow banking where USTs are used as collateral to secure short-term loans by the banks so they can increase their leverage by many orders of magnitude. In other words, the banks are using USTs to borrow gobs of money from money markets and financial institutions so they can finance their other dodgy investments, derivatives contracts and ancillary casino-type operations. If there’s a default, the banks will have to come up with more capital for their scams that are leveraged at 40 or 50 to 1. This systemwide margin call would trigger a deflationary spiral that would domino through the entire system unless the Fed stepped in and, once again, provided a giant backstop in the form of blank check support. Here’s how Tim Fernholz sums it up over atDaily Finance:
“…Many informed people are worried” (about) “A freeze in the tri-party repo market, akin to the cascade of troubles that followed the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008.”….
In 2008, more than a third of that collateral was mortgage-backed securities. When Lehman went bankrupt, its lenders began a “fire sale” of the securities it used as collateral, which drove down the value of other mortgage-backed securities, which led to more fire sales. This dynamic would eventually lead to a freeze in the repo markets, which, at the time, provided $2.6 trillion in funding to the banks each day…..
Today, most of the collateral in use is U.S. Treasuries and “agency securities” — mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the U.S. government:
… if the ugly day of a default comes, lenders may simply stop accepting U.S. debt as collateral. That will have the effect of sucking some $600 billion in liquidity out of the banking system. Unable to get funding for Treasurys, securities dealers would be pressured to sell them-or other assets-to find new funding, creating a fire sale dynamic…..
And, of course, this scenario is only about how the Treasurys work in the repo markets. U.S. debt is used as collateral for derivatives swaps and numerous other transactions; if they are suddenly worth less than expected, lenders can be expected to demand more collateral up front, putting even more pressure on the financial system. That’s why pressure is building to raise the ceiling before the world’s largest economy enters a scenario with so much uncertainty.”
Repeat: “That’s why pressure is building to raise the ceiling before the world’s largest economy enters a scenario with so much uncertainty”.
So the Obama team isn’t worried that Joe Homeowner won’t be able to refi his mortgage or that the economy might slip back into recession. They just don’t want to see Wall Street take it in the shorts again. That’s what this is all about, the banks. Because the banks are still up-to-their-eyeballs in red ink. Because they still don’t have enough capital to stay solvent if the wind shifts. Because all the Dodd Frank reforms are pure, unalloyed bullsh** that haven’t fixed a bloody thing. Because the risks of another panic are as great as ever because the system is the same teetering, unregulated cesspit it was before. Because the banks are still financing their sketchy Ponzi operations with OPM (other people’s money), only now, the Fed’s over-bloated balance sheet is being used to prop up this broken, crooked system instead of the trillions of dollars that was extracted from credulous investors on subprime mortgages, liars loans and other, equally-fraudulent debt instruments.
Can you see that?
This is why the media is pushing so hard to end the debt ceiling standoff; to preserve this mountainous stinkpile of larceny, greed and corruption run by a criminal bank Mafia and their political lackeys on Capital Hill. That’s what this is all about.
Trying to rebound off the ropes, where it has been pummeled for the past several decades, The United Auto Workers (UAW) has launched an aggressive organizing campaign in the South, in line with an AFL-CIO resolution emphasizing organizing there, where unionization rates are weak across the board.
As reported in The New York Times, the UAW has taken an international approach where union members in Brazil are picketing Nissan dealerships, a U.S. UAW contingent is traveling to South Africa to embarrass Nissan over its antiunion policies, and a similar campaign is underway in Tokyo and Paris.
Actor Danny Glover, has been persuaded to visit college campuses to recruit students to help in the union drive, and community groups are being organized, which include the NAACP, to help as well.
All of these measures are positive steps. Because of globalization and the ease in which industries can escape to anti-worker environments, private sector unions have suffered serious setbacks since the early 1980s. But globalization can be countered.
For example and most importantly, because it is leaning on international support, the UAW has rightly felt obligated to return the favor. In 2010 the UAW demonstrated outside a Hyundai center near Detroit to support the striking workers in Korea. By helping the Korean workers win higher wages, the UAW reduces the incentive for auto industries to flee to Korea.
By repeating this strategy in all other countries with auto manufacturing, globalization in the auto sector could be forced to a standstill. Instead of workers from different countries competing against one another in a race to the bottom – where the goal is to accept lower wages in order to attract business – by adopting the principle of solidarity, workers around the world can begin to raise their standard of living and all rise together.
In this way we could begin to reverse the steady transfer of income from working people to corporations. As The New York Times reported (U.S. Companies Thrive As Workers Fall Behind, 2013): “…wages and salary income in 2012 amounted to 44 percent of G.D.P., the lowest at any time since 1929, which is as far back as the data goes…The flip side of that is that corporate profits after taxes amounted to a record 9.7 percent of G.D.P. Each of the last three years has been higher than the earlier record high, of 9.1 percent, which was set in 1929.”
The UAW’s effort to connect to students and community organizations has the potential to change the balance of forces. Corporations want good public relations. They invest in huge amounts of money to run one-page ads to tout how much money they contribute to local schools or how much they care for the environment. They know more than most of us that public opinion can be a powerful weapon because it serves as the foundation for culture, and a culture conducive to business interests is a huge money-saver for them.
By turning to the community in order to conduct a campaign of shame, the UAW can begin to change culture in a pro-worker direction, which, of course, would benefit most people. But this turn will have to embrace more than a cultural dimension in order to take hold; the union will have to actually champion causes that will benefit the community, for example, by demanding that corporations pay their fair share of taxes so that schools and social services can be properly funded. Those kinds of gains would amount to what are called, “game changers.”
But the UAW will have to overcome some of its missteps if it wants to succeed. In 2007 they accepted a contract that included a $14 per hour salary for new hires, thereby creating a yawning chasm between their pay and that of the current workforce. What this means is that the workers at that time voted in favor of reduced wages for other workers, not for themselves, which inevitably produces animosity between the two groups. But only solidarity can save the union at this point, so in the next contract the union must champion the wages of the newcomers over their more senior coworkers in order to reduce the wage-gap between them.
Secondly, UAW President Bob King has adopted a somewhat contradictory theoretical and strategic framework that needs adjusting. Labor Notes quotes him as saying: “We have completely discarded the ‘us versus them’ mentality.” But Labor Notes went on to note that Gary Walkowicz, who ran against King in the last election for president, doesn’t think that will work and quoted him as saying: “If we want to convince the people in the non-union plants, we have to fight,” he said. “Turn back the concessions and give people a reason to want to join the UAW.” Of course he is right.
In his interview with Labor Notes, King offered this justification: “If workers have a larger voice they produce a better product,” In this way he hopes to promote employers’ success while rejecting “an adversarial work environment.”
There is usually a grain of truth in what people say, and King can boast of his grain, but he fails to capture the larger picture. His partnership philosophy is taking place within the context of capitalism, which radiates in all directions a culture of competition, self-interest and greed. In such a climate corporations are unable to distinguish between the highest good and the highest profit. Their number one concern is always their rate of profit. King’s philosophy will work only under limited conditions that have on the whole disappeared: if the company cannot move to a non-union location elsewhere and make a higher profit, then it will accept the partnership. But just as foxes are programmed to eat chickens, corporations are programmed to maximize profits, and genteel gestures will have little impact on this instinctive reaction. Unless globalization is brought to an abrupt halt, at least as it is currently practiced, King’s auto companies will move to greener pastures.
The “partnership” philosophy, which was trumpeted by John Sweeney, former head of the AFL-CIO, had disastrous consequences. Labor suffered some of its greatest defeats and watched its membership plummet.
Instead of turning to the corporations for partners, the UAW will need to redouble their efforts to build partnerships both domestically and internationally in order to organize a powerful movement of all those who are the victims of corporate policies. When the world’s population, that is overwhelmingly against corporate policies that impoverish workers and trash the environment, is organized, the balance of forces will shift and real change will be possible.
Only a week ago, the consensus among most mainstream economic analysts and even some alternative analysts was that a government shutdown was not going to happen. The Republicans would fold in the shadow of President Barack Obama’s overwhelming drive for socialization, spending would continue to grow unabated, and the debt ceiling would be vaulted yet again to feed the bureaucratic machine with more fiat. Today, there is no consensus, very few people continue to be so blithely self-assured and even the mainstream is beginning to wonder if a much bigger game is afoot here.
As I discussed before the shutdown in a recent article, it is important to take all facets of this situation seriously, or risk being bitten by hidden dangers while entranced in one’s own arrogant cynicism.
One rule I try to follow whenever possible is to always be open to possibilities beyond the expected and never assume that today’s dynamic will be the same as tomorrow’s dynamic. Even the Liberty Movement can at times be susceptible to group think. In a world of staggering political and economic manipulation, one has to grasp hold of certain fundamental truths in order to survive. In my time working within the liberty movement and outside of the mainstream, these are a few of the cold, hard truths that have served me well.
It’s Always About Globalization
Every action the elites within our government take pushes the U.S. closer to globalism and away from sovereignty. We may not always see the bigger picture in the heat of the moment, but a look back tells us much. Seemingly simple changes in financial legislation render devastating fiscal shifts a decade later (as with the progressive erasure of Glass-Steagall). Shocking disaster events that appear random suddenly open doors for totalitarian legislation that had been prepared years in advance. Wars end with further calls for world “unification.” Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens within government that does not revolve around the desire of establishment oligarchy to achieve total global economic, political and social control.
The Bankers Did It
Central banks and international banks are the bedrock of globalization, and all greater political decisions eventually stand on this bedrock. One need only examine the cabinets of the past four U.S. Presidents; there you will find a regular carnival freak show of banking elites who would go on to revolve in and out of government and back into the international financial sector. Private central banks like the Federal Reserve dominate the very currency (and thus the economy) of most nations on the planet. Most wars and man-made disasters of the past several centuries have served only to further enrich and empower the merchant class, and the same holds true today. If you want to understand why a certain calamity has occurred, first look to who benefited most. Invariably, you will find the banker class smiling when all is said and done.
America’s Two-Party System Is Actually A One-Party System
If you do not yet understand that the elite of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party share the same foundational philosophy of globalism, then you will NEVER understand why our government does what it does. Public battles of words and legislation are nothing but rhetorical cinema. Ultimately, the goals of neocons and neolibs revolve around the centralization of power. All legislation is used either to further centralization or as a smokescreen to confuse the public while centralization is taking place. When has the leadership of either party, for instance, ever demanded a full audit of the Federal Reserve? When has the leadership of either party ever attempted to dismantle the Patriot Act or the despotic provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act or the President’s openly admitted assassination list? They may seem to disagree violently at times, but do not be fooled. The disagreement is likely just another means to gain more dominance.
The Goal Is To Destroy The American Economy
What you believe to be political blunders are often actually calculated and engineered events. What you believe to be chaotic disasters of coincidence are often actually deliberate acts of attrition warfare against the common people disguised as random catastrophe. Those you believe to be heroes are actually villains in friendly masks. Those you are told to be villains are actually good men and women who refused to be enslaved by the system. That which you see and hear is never exactly as it appears.
Nearly every concrete action our government and central bank have taken in the past several decades has led to the further erosion of the American economy. If this is all just the consequence of “stupidity” or “childish greed,” you would think our so-called leadership would have at least made a few good decisions by mistake; but they are incredibly adept at choosing all the wrong paths.
The reality is that collapses on the scale we are now witnessing in America rarely happen by accident.
The destruction of Glass-Steagall was a carefully crafted coup. The Federal Reserve deliberately and artificially lowered interest rates in order to allow banks to generate massive toxic debt through the derivatives markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission did little to nothing to stop the spread of cancerous mortgage instruments and ignored numerous calls for investigation. Ratings agencies like Moody’s and Fitch examined all of these toxic assets, knowing exactly what they were, and rated them AAA anyway. And banks like Goldman Sachs, knowing that the market was a sham, sold these bad assets around the world and then secretly bet AGAINST them later. Either this is economic warfare implemented with precision, or it’s all a string of coincidental blunders. I don’t believe in such coincidences.
America is being destroyed by design to make way for a new global system administered by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as a new global currency tied to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights.
If you are able to accept this, the confusion surrounding events like the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate withers, and everything becomes clear. With that clarity in mind, we can now examine the possible outcomes of the shutdown theater.
Republicans Surrender At The Last Minute
Of course, since both parties are essentially one party, the idea of “brinksmanship” on the part of either is absurd. The GOP will surrender, or “stand fast,” because its serves the interests of the globalist establishment. There is no political battle here, only the empty chest-beating of a staged wrestling match.
Bets on a last-minute Republican reversal were in the majority for the past week of the shutdown, but that is slowly changing — and for good reason. Obama has stated that the Affordable Care Act is off the table in negotiations, while Republicans like Ted Cruz and John Boehner are now stating with surprising candor that debt default is on the table if Obama refuses to compromise.
Gee, it would seem we are at an impasse.
In the meantime, the GOP is also moving to wrap the debt ceiling debate into the shutdown fight, making a “diplomatic compromise” even less likely to make sense to the public. (Those who argued that the shutdown and the debt ceiling were two entirely separate issued should accept this reality and move on.)
If I were writing this bit of fiction, I would say I was writing myself into a corner and that a last-minute Republican white flag would be illogical to my audience. That said, not all stories are well-written stories, so a Republican rollover remains an option for the time being. The primary reason I can see for the establishment to instruct the GOP to retreat would be to set the stage for a new stimulus event, like a war, which still leaves the U.S. dollar on track to lose its world reserve status — just not as fast a track.
Default Occurs By Winter
This plot twist makes far more sense to me given the way our story has progressed so far. Why? Because it provides perfect cover for an economic collapse that was going to occur anyway, except in this version the banking elite avoid all blame.
Just look at all the angry rhetoric being thrown around in the mainstream media; red team versus blue team has returned as the pervasive American sitcom.
Conservatives blame liberals and Obama. Liberals blame conservatives and the Tea Party. We’re all too happy to blame each other. Certainly, both elements of our government share responsibility for any debt default or subsequent collapse. But who started this avalanche to begin with? What about the Federal Reserve? What about Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citigroup, etc.? What about the globalists?
Debt default is no small matter. Such a disaster would indeed fuel a flight from U.S. Treasuries by foreign investors and eventually lead to the complete abandonment of the greenback as the world reserve standard. Austerity measures would be implemented at break-neck speed. Cuts to entitlement programs, pensions, State funding, etc. will hit the American people like a freight train.
The way in which the MSM is already painting “Tea Party” conservative as saboteurs should a default occur is actually a very practical strategy. Not only do the elites get their economic collapse, but they manipulate the general public to believe that Constitutional conservatives, their mortal enemies, were the CAUSE of the pain, rather than the banks.
Order From Chaos
Should the establishment decide this is the moment to pull the plug on our financial structure, expect some rather insane-sounding solutions to be presented as rational alternatives. When Obama was asked by reporters if he considered the 14th Amendment as an option to end the debt ceiling debate, Obama did not rule out the idea.
This should raise some eyebrows. By the 14th Amendment I can only surmise that they mean Section 4, which states:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Some people, including CNBC’s Jim Cramer, think that this gives the President the power to raise the debt ceiling regardless of what Congress decides.
And Obama doesn’t appear to be dismissing the notion either. However, Section 5 of the 14thAmendment says:
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Nowhere in Section 5 does it say that the President has the power to enforce the provisions of the 14th Amendment, but this may not stop the White House from twisting the law to insinuate more expansive controls.
Beyond the 14th Amendment, there are numerous executive orders and continuity of government programs that the White House could cite as authority to implement national emergency standards. This would probably start as a kind of “soft” martial law, and then grow from there. Each action will be rationalized as necessary for the greater good of the country, but will serve only the interests of the establishment oligarchy.
On the Republican side, there is another disturbing development that may be presented as a solution in the face of crisis — namely, the idea of instituting a Constitutional convention.
A Constitutional convention is essentially a complete rewriting of the document (which they call “amending”) in the name of rebooting a government that has strayed too far from the wishes of the people. The concept is being promoted avidly by certain neocon talking heads and scholars, even on the FOX News circuit.
It sounds very noble on the surface, and neocons use very pretty language to candy coat the idea for legitimate Constitutionalists; but it is truly the most foolish action our country could take, opening the door to a complete erasure of Bill of Rights protections while offering no assurances that any meaningful provisions will be respected or afforded by the Federal government. The people are given the illusion of potential redress when in reality a Con-Con produces only more centralized theater for the masses. If the liberty movement is suckered into a Constitutional convention, we will have been lured into writing our own destruction.
Another scenario could involve the Federal Reserve moving to take what they often call “extraordinary measures”. The Fed, being a private bank, may use the shutdown as an opportunity to paint itself as an economic “hero” (as unbelievable as that may sound), by instituting stimulus measures to the Federal Government regardless of Congressional or presidential impasse. Given enough public desperation in the midst of default, the Fed may attempt to assert unprecedented financial authority in the name of “saving the country from it’s own government”. The bankers then establish their role as the wise saviors and high priests of the fiscal universe, and cement private dominance over American political decisions as “acceptable” in the minds of the citizenry.
The most dangerous solution that will inevitably be paraded for the public will be a petition for aid from the IMF. The IMF has a long history of loansharking to indebted nations and then subsuming them and their natural resources in the process. The ignorant illusion that the United States is the sole power behind the IMF will be exposed all too late when a defaulting American Treasury is told to collateralize infrastructure to pay off creditors, while the dollar is bled completely dry and absorbed by the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket currency.
Whether default occurs or is avoided, watch vigilantly over the next few weeks. Do not blink. Do not be conned, and do not let fear or bias blind you to the bigger picture. The shutdown could amount to nothing immediate, or it could amount to everything we have warned about for the past five years. I personally believe the month of October may be a major turning point in America’s history. Whether it be for good or ill depends on how mentally and physically prepared we are.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
America’s ‘New’ Reality of Non-Self and Madness…
In the wake of the insurrection against the living, personal God of Revelation that began during the Renaissance eventuating in the proclamation of the death of God and cataclysmic eruptions of fire, brimstone and rivers of blood during the 20th century, ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn said the world had never before known,
“…godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.” (goodreads.com)
In his analysis of Marxist Communism and its’ alter ego, scientific materialism, Frank Meyers, an early conservative intellectual concluded that Communism is the state form,
“….taken by a materialist faith determined to rule the world.” Godless Communism is the “final synthesis of all heretical tendencies that have pervaded Western civilization for many centuries.” It is materialist scientism of which, “Communism is the culminating hubris of the Promethean man who reaches out for the world and means to remake creation. It is scientism gone political.” (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 251-252)
Both scientific evolutionary materialism and its new age evolutionary pantheist counterpart belong to the family of ‘new’ pagan or modern naturalism. Modern naturalism refers to a one-dimensional view of reality grounded in a monist pagan philosophy holding that only void, matter and evolutionary (developmental and change-making) energies exist. Therefore void, matter and energy are the Ultimate One Substance of which the universe consists and with which all life is in continuity, thus “all is one” and “everything is perpetually evolving and ascending.”
The main difference between these two views resides in whether matter is thought to be physical (i.e., Greek Atomism) or spiritual (Hinduism). However, both views share in common the following:
- Hatred of the supernatural God of Revelation and of man as His spiritual image-bearer
- One dimensional views of reality
- An inverted account of origins and history lending itself to the notion that since there was no fall then Lucifer is not the devil and men are not sinful but rather evolving into gods
- Scientific materialism or its’ New Age spiritual science counterpart
- Evolutionary conceptions. These serve two main functions. First, as a mechanical process of development and second, as a mechanism for purification of matter
- The nihilism of Buddha
Jesus Christ to Buddha,
“…you took God away (and) your espousal of an absence of self is the most unique and fearsome claim you made.” (The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Ravi Zacharias, pp. 59, 67)
Life is only with the living God of Revelation, the creator and upholder of the life and being (soul/spirit) of men. But if He does not exist, it logically follows that there is no ultimate source for life, conscious being, meaning and purpose; or for the sanctity of human life, worth, dignity, individual liberty and personal property. Without God the Father Almighty unalienable (God given) human rights are as meaningless as America’s founding documents have become in our Godless pagan society.
If man is not God’s spiritual image-bearer then he is less than nothing, a conclusion Buddha reached long before Jesus Christ God Incarnate walked this earth:
“Six centuries before Jesus Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either…Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one’s psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one’s being.” Thus your sense of self becomes illusion, “Reality is nonself…You don’t exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence.” (The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi, p. 6)
Naturalism: the Antithesis
Modern naturalism is in every way the antithesis of God’s Revelations and Christianity, the spiritual and moral foundation of Western civilization. For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America had affirmed the biblical view of total reality. In this historically unique view total reality consists of two interfacing, interactive halves: the seen (natural) and the unseen (supernatural).
According to this view, man faces both unseen and seen and interprets truth against these two interfacing halves of reality. Thus Paul declares that as men live out their lives they are spectacles, “unto the world, and to angels and men.” (1 Cor. 4:9)
In opposition to modern naturalism’s one dimensional view, Paul affirms that total reality consists of two halves, hence this earth (the seen) is really a theater and men are actors on its stage observed not only by other men (the seen) but by the Spirit of God and angels (the unseen).
Though men cannot see the Spirit of God and very rarely see angels they can see, hear and interact with men. The Spirit of God opens our eyes to understanding (Ps. 118: 34, 125, 144), tests our hearts, knows out secrets, motives, and thoughts (Psa. 17:3; 44:21; 139:1-4).
Both holy and unholy angels are all around us, watching, listening, helping and protecting if holy, if unholy then binding the disobedient to their power. Just as the Lord of Hosts gives His Holy Spirit to those who love and obey Him, He can send evil spirits upon those who are rebellious, live in persistent sin, practice occult arts or men who in their pride, covetousness and envy reject and hate Him as was the case with Karl Marx and Nietzsche, the apostate Christian philosopher who proclaimed the death of God. Unto these men the Lord of Hosts sent evil spirits just as He sent one to King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14). The evil spirit influenced and disordered Saul’s thinking, afflicted him with obsessions and paranoia, befouled his conscience, and inflated his disordered passions thereby, “filling him with unrest, anger, fear and murderous intent.” (Occult Bondage and Deliverance, Kurt E. Koch, p. 137)
Dr. Kurt Koch (1913-1987) was a highly respected German minister who pastored, counseled and delivered in excess of twenty thousand people suffering from demonic subjection. According to Koch, demonic subjection is an increasingly common occurrence in post-Christian Western and American society. Most people have little or no clue that they are in fact demonically subjected while some people, such as Marx, Nietzsche, Hitler and Stalin seem to possess a limitless supply of demonic energy, especially when engaged in imposing their will over the wills of others.
There are many underlying causes of demonic subjection. Koch delineates some of the leading ones common to apostatizing America:
“If a person blatantly lives a life of sin and persistently resists the Spirit of God and remains completely unrepentant, or…carries the sin of murder or abortion on his conscience, or has committed perjury or practical incest, if he has cursed his fellow men or blasphemed against the cross or against Christ, the Holy Spirit, or God, then he will have laid himself open to the devil’s attacks. Every curse is in fact a cry to the devil, and can…lead a person into bondage.” (Koch, p. 138)
“….God created man in his own image…..male and female created he them.” Gen. 1:27
According to the uniquely Christian view of total reality, the essence of the human is not the body and brain (the seen) but the unseen…the soul/spirit:
“It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves…For the sake of the soul…the Son of God came into the world…” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
Building off of the view of man as embodied spirit, St. Augustine (AD 354-430) affirmed that as all men are the spiritual image bearers of the supernatural Triune God in three Persons, then it logically follows that each man is a person; a trinity of being comprised of soul/spirit (unseen), and body, brain (seen).
The citadel of the soul is spirit (heart). Spirit is immortal and self-aware. It can will and think and is responsible for what it wills, thinks, speaks, and acts on while in this world.
Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes soul from the material body in which it is fully embedded. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend the natural dimension in order to access the third Heaven. By way of prayer and petitions the spirit of man’s mind allows him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, spirit is renewed over time, thus enabling man to more perfectly orient the manner of his thoughts, passions, words and actions in this world in preparation for eternity in Paradise.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit (self) and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no ‘self,’ hence no person.
The key to personal liberty in the natural or sensory half of reality is man’s spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically pre-programmed animal-like orientation. Animals have souls but not spirits, the basis of intelligence, sensitivity, imagination, self-consciousness, reflection back and forward into time, and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.
A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend his material brain to access the Spirit of the Lord as Paul affirms:
“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17)
Vishal Mangalwadi, India’s foremost Christian intellectual observes that this historically unique concept of man as God’s spiritual image-bearer gave birth to the “belief in the unique dignity of human beings,” and this is the force,
“…that created Western civilization, where citizens do not exist for the state but the state exists for the individual. Even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and army generals cannot be allowed to trample upon an individual and his or her rights.” (Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations, Mangalwadi, pp. 12-13)
One-Dimensional Godless Naturalism: the Reality of Non-Self
Modern naturalism, whether of materialist or pantheist permutation positing a non-existent immanent conception of deity (i.e. Omega, Gaia) is at bottom Godless, and said Ravi Zacharias, absolutely nothing,
“… has a more direct bearing on the moral choices made by individuals or the purposes pursued by society than belief or disbelief in God.” Key issues of the day “whether it be…sexual orientation and practice, or life in the fetal stage, sooner or later filter down to whether there is a God, and if so, has he spoken?” (The Real Face of Atheism, Zacharias, p. 21)
In “The Gnostic Religion,” Hans Jonas provides a full-scale study of the heretical world of pre-Christian and Christian era pagan Gnostic nihilism together with its modern variants: materialist and pantheist naturalism.
Jonas writes that while ancient Gnostic pagan man was thrown,
“…into an antagonistic, anti-divine, and therefore anti-human nature, modern man (is thrown) into an indifferent one.” (p. 338)
The ancient gnostic conception was still anthropomorphic despite the nihilism, hostility and demonic. But its’ modern counterpart with its’ indifferent nature, its’ completely godless, soulless, anti-human, demonic nature, represents the “absolute vacuum, the really bottomless pit.”
At least the ancient Gnostic dualism, as fantastic as it was, was at least self-consistent, as there was the illusion of a source for ‘self’ (being). Not so for its’ modern counterpart:
“So radically has anthropomorphism been banned from….nature that even man must cease to be conceived anthropomorphically if he is just an accident of nature. As the product of the indifferent, his being, too, must be indifferent. Then the facing of his mortality would simply warrant the reaction, ‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” (ibid, p. 339)
“…modern nihilism (is) infinitely more radical and more desperate than gnostic nihilism ever could be for all its panic terror of the world and its defiant contempt of its laws. That nature does not care, one way or the other, is the true abyss. That only man cares, in his finitude facing nothing but death, alone with….the objective meaninglessness of his projected meanings, is a truly unprecedented situation.” (Jonas, p. 339)
In other words, the death of the living God of Revelation means there is neither source for life and ‘self’ (soul/spirit) nor for higher truth and morality, purpose, meaning, salvation and eternity. For depersonalized man, the evolved ape or bag of chemicals, there is nothing—no heaven above, no hell below and no,
“…. vast mind behind the framing of the world; no transcending voice giving counsel to this world…no light at the end of the tunnel (hence only) the loneliness of existence in its most desolate form.” (Zacharias, p. 27)
The determined assault against the living Holy God that began during the Renaissance gained speed and force with the materialist implications of Darwin’s neo-pagan theory. The idea that humans evolved by chance and natural selection from non-life bearing chemicals lay the axe at the very foundation of the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo. On the heels of Darwin’s theory Christianity came under forceful attack allowing a one-dimensional worldview draining into nihilism to be declared a scientifically supported reality.
Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published in 1859 and instantly and uncritically accepted by people such as Karl Marx, T.H. Huxley, Herbert Spencer, Ernst Haeckel in Germany and large numbers of clergy more eager to be thought scientific and modern than to defend the faith once given.
For materialist and pantheist alike, Darwin’s theory was a wish come true and so became the center of their respective one-dimensional worldviews.
The demonized Karl Marx hated the God of Revelation and his exuberance for Darwin’s idea prompted him to consider dedicating his Das Kapital to Darwin, an honor which he declined. Since Marx favored scientific materialism the rationale behind his invitation to Darwin was that he saw how Darwin’s materialist theory provided a scientific framework to support the economic infrastructure on which Marx could build his godless communist utopia.
Darwin’s materialist theory and Marxist materialist presuppositions (economic theory based on envy and hatred of God) together with Freud’s materialist-based analysis of religion and human sexuality threw faith in God and Christianity “over the wall of civilization,’ said Zacharias:
“With such abusive attacks directed at religious belief coming from so many directions, it was left for someone to cast this creature called theism completely out, and exorcise the world of all such influence. The one who did that was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.” (p. 25)
By the time of Nietzsche, perceptive thinkers had already been expressing apprehension at the prospect of multitudes of unsuspecting Westerners who would eventually be cruelly exploited by anti-human haters of God.
With Nietzsche, dreadful apprehension deepened into certainty, for Nietzsche despised religion in general, but upon Christianity he poured his unbridled fury:
“I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of
revenge, for which no means are too venomous, too underhanded, too underground, and too petty.” (Nietzsche in “The Life of Nietzsche,” Faru Forster Nietzsche, 1921, p. 656)
However, rather than mindless infatuation for Darwin’s idea, Nietzsche (1844–1900) harshly criticized it:
“What surprises me most when I survey the broad destinies of man is that I always see before me the opposite of that which Darwin and his school see or want to see today: selection in favor of the stronger, better-constituted, and the progress of the species. Precisely the opposite is palpable … I incline to the prejudice that the school of Darwin has been deluded everywhere…” (Nietzsche: The evolutionist who was anti-God and anti-Darwin, Russell Grigg, creation.com)
Nietzsche was not anti-evolution but rather had his own evolutionary conception which he called “the will to power.”
While Darwin received his idea from his pantheist grandfather Erasmus Darwin, Nietzsche’s conception was preceded by mystical ecstasy. Nietzsche experienced two mystical encounters with the first one taking place in August, 1881.
Charles Andler writes that previous to his scientific reasoning, Nietzsche received revelations during mystical encounters just as Spinoza did. Mystical ecstasy,
“…. preceded (Spinoza’s) system and his geometric form, thus, with Nietzsche mystical ecstasy preceded his scientific reasoning.” (Charles Andler cited by Henri De Lubac, “The Drama of Atheist Humanism,” p. 481)
According to Henri De Lubac, secret knowledge was revealed to Nietzsche that he was “….the first of men to know.’ The shock of it was sudden and profound. Though no direct document relates his experience sure evidence is found in an agitated page of Ecce Homo where Nietzsche wrote:
“Suddenly, with sureness, with indescribable delicacy, a thing makes itself seen, makes itself heard. It shakes you, it overwhelms you right to your innermost depths. You hear it…You let it fill you….A thought blazes forth like a flash of lightening…It imposes itself as a necessity…I never had to choose it. It is an ecstasy….You are enraptured, taken outside of yourself…All of this…is accompanied by a tumultuous feeling of liberty, of independence, of divinity…There you have my experience of the inspiration.” (Lubac, p. 472)
In the months that followed he remained silent about the knowledge he received. But in August of 1882 he discussed his experience with Lou Salome. Salome writes that Nietzsche spoke of his encounter only in obscure words and with hushed voice. Giving “every indication of the most profound horror“ Nietzsche described the terrible and marvelous revelation he had received with two words: Eternal Return. (ibid, p. 473)
In the autumn of 1882 he experienced his second encounter which he described in the poem Sils Maria:
“I was sitting and waiting, without waiting for anything/Beyond good and evil, tasting Light sometimes and sometimes shade/Absorbed by this brew…When suddenly…what was one became two, And Zarathustra passed before me…” (ibid, p. 475)
It was a vision without a doubt, precise and sudden:
“I could tell you the day and the hour….Zarathustra has fallen on me, he assaults me..” (ibid)
Zarathustra was an evil spirit who confirmed to Nietzsche the ‘truth’ of the revelations already received, which included man’s evolution from worms:
“You [mankind] have made your way from worm to human, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now the human being is still more of an ape than any ape is.” (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra’s Prologue section 3, trans. by G. Parkes, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, p. 11)
Henceforth, Nietzsche is an inspired prophet who knows for certain that the God of Revelation is dead, that man’s evolution from worms is absolutely true, and that he is Jesus Christ’s successor, the ‘new’ Christ. Within ten days he drafted by way of automatic writing the whole first book of his prophecy. He called his finished work Zarathustra, the new Bible of scientific evolutionary naturalism, and told the world to throw away all other books, for now you have my Zarathustra, “a new Holy Book.”
It was Nietzsche, the ‘new’ Christ, who saw that the death of the personal God had already begun to cast its first dark shadows over Europe, and though,
“the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people’s power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them,” still its advent was certain, and it was men like Nietzsche, the ‘new’ Christ who were “the firstlings and premature children of the coming century,” the century of the “triumph of Nihilism.” (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 44)
Nietzsche was the first apostate Christian to gaze fully upon man’s loss of faith and its terrifying consequences. With no living God ‘up there’ to obstruct his vision, the nihilism he saw was agonizing. As there was no longer any Light from God above, there was only darkness in the hermetically sealed world below. The paralyzing darkness that overtook the mind of the ‘new’ Christ was spiritual. It was not so much,
“….an exterior phenomenon crowding inward but rather an inner blinding that spread outward.” (Ravi Zacharias, p. 27)
This was precisely Nietzsche’s point. With the death of the personal God of Revelation the darkness of objective meaninglessness
Speaking through the writings of the ‘new’ Christ, Zarathustra went on to say that because God had died in the 19th century there would follow two terrible consequences beginning in the 20th century. (Romans 1:18)
First, the 20th century would become one of the most evil century’s in history, and second, a universal madness (Romans 1:21, 22) would break out and turn the once glorious W. Europe and America upside-down.
Though apostates and the apostatizing professed themselves wise, their cognitive thought processes would become darkened (vain) and with their conscience dead to sin they would become fools, meaning they would accept and publicly profess incredibly stupid conceptions of themselves (i.e., man is an evolved worm, ape or robot; man is evolving into god).
“And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them.” Isaiah 3:4
In turning away from the Spirit of God and the truth He has given, ‘wise’ males will become effeminate cowards and females mannish. They will be adolescent emotional-tyrants in adult-size bodies: sinister, greedy, spiteful, vindictive, treacherous, back-stabbing sophists. They will celebrate Lucifer (the devil) and in their madness actively seek the way of Luciferian initiation because they will be spiritually blind in regard to total reality. Like demons they will flee from the cross of Jesus but exalt the devil as the first free thinker, the genetic creator of man, the seething energy and angel of evolution. Truth will be lies, evil will be good, unfaithfulness will be faith and the ‘wise’ will preach and blaspheme from pulpits, exercise political power, enact legislation, and wield broken law to plunder, punish, and ruin.
Zarathustra has been right on both counts. First, apostatizing W. Europe and America, though dotted here and there by small islands of Light, decency and sanity, are becoming darkened, satanically inverted places ruled by the ‘wise,’ hence boiling over with madness, particularly Hollywood, academia, mainstream media and the highest, most powerful political offices in the land. Second, Nietzsche was made to show the ‘wise’ what is in store for them by spending the last eleven years of his life insane.
The high priests of academic and “official” history love a good villain for two reasons: First, because good official villains make the struggles and accomplishments of good official heroes even more awe-inspiring. And, second, because nothing teaches (or propagandizes) the masses more thoroughly than the social or political lessons inherent in the documented rise and fall of the world’s most despicable inhabitants. We get shivers of fear and excitement when we discuss the evils and the follies of ancient monsters like Nero, Attila the Hun, Caligula, etc, or more modern monsters, like Mussolini, Stalin Hitler, Goebbels, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and so on. We take solace in the idea that “we are nothing like them”, and our nation has “moved beyond” such animalistic behavior.
But even more fascinating popcorn-style history is found not in the destruction of tyrants, but the destruction of empires.
When an entire culture steps off the edge of the abyss into the realm of societal psychosis, the world often changes forever and in ways that, at least on the surface, seem to bring humanity a little closer together. The fall of Rome led to the eventual rise of a dominant Catholic theocracy and the rulership of royal blood lineage that lasted for centuries in Europe. The flames of World War I and the destabilization of the Kaiser’s Germany led to the formation of the League Of Nations; a first attempt at a global governing authority designed to “maintain world peace”. World War II and the fall of the Third Reich resulted in considerable horrors, which the establishment of the United Nations was supposedly meant to prevent from ever occurring again. The decline of the British Empire saw the implosion of cultural colonialism, and the rise of corporate colonialism, which centralized immense power into the hands of the banking class as the new official oligarchs of our modern era. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the abandonment of the Soviet Union was lauded by then U.S. President George Bush as the beginnings of a “New World Order” – an ideological concept which heralds the final deterioration of the idea of economic and political sovereignty as a mainstay of human civilization.
When examining the approved version of historical conflict, one gets the overwhelming impression that the villains of our past, through their hubris, their greed, and their insanity, seem to inspire a sudden surge of unification as their ashes are cleared from the air. One might even come to believe that the “natural progression” of conflict is leading us towards a future in which the only solution is the dissolution of all boundaries and the adoption of a one world narrative. Wouldn’t it be glorious if the deaths of these malevolent tyrants and societies finally inspired the birth of a single human system in which no conflict is possible because we are all on the same side?
Perhaps it would be glorious, if you have adopted the childish notions of history common to the mainstream. For those who have not, the story, and the ultimate solutions to the ills of mankind, become a little more complicated…
America’s Villainous Mustache
Mainstream history tends to follow the motions of a play or film, in that archetypes and symbolic figures are consistently created in order to satisfy the natural flow of a particular fiction. The bad guy wears a mustache (not always, but it is strange and disturbing to see how often this archetype materializes in the mainstream world view. Just look at Hitler, Stalin, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, etc. We love mustached villains). His criminal successes make him imposing and frightening. He acts without conscience, or, he wrongly believes his terrible actions are justified in the name of the “greater good”. His inevitable mistakes make his final failure ironic and satisfying in the face of the iconic hero, who defeats the enemy while the citizenry stands back and watches in awe and wonder as helpless spectators.
The villain is indeed evil, and deserves to be dethroned, but the assumption many people make is that the other side is diametrically good. This is not always the case…
America is used to playing the role of the hero in the epic tale of modern Earth. Our nation began with an act of defiance and victory so unexpected and so poetic, it cemented our cultural identity as freedom fighters for centuries to come. Over time, our government, turning progressively corrupt, has exploited this cultural identity in order to lure Americans into committing atrocities in the name of our traditional sense of “heroism”. We have, in fact, become the very antagonists we thought we were fighting against (there’s the delicious irony needed to round out our fairytale).
Our government’s actions surrounding Syria, for instance, have made America appear not just bloodthirsty, but also ridiculous. The Obama Administration has taken us to the brink of World War III and left us there to stare out over the chasm. The slightest breeze could send us plummeting. All to generate military support for Al-Qaeda, the same organization designated by the establishment as our mortal enemy.
In the meantime, our economic system now survives solely on the whims of the Federal Reserve, a private central bank that answers to NO ONE, and writes fiscal policy without oversight. The government is not only seeking to trigger world war, it also wants to pay for that war with money we do not have, riding debts we cannot pay, to foreign creditors we will piss off in the process of unleashing our unfunded laser guided hell.
Never has the U.S. been slathered in so much absurdity all at once. Now, we wear the mustache…
Most of us in the Liberty Movement would agree that our country is being poisoned from within, and that our government for many decades has become an enemy of all free peoples. But there is a very important question that we seem to have overlooked:
If America has been written as the villain, then who is meant to be the hero?
Putin Is Not Your Buddy
Lets step back from the global stage for a moment and examine the situation from a different perspective. What if the U.S. is not just a product of corruption for corruption’s sake? What if our new identity as the next historical evil-doer is part of a greater script, and America’s fall from grace is meant to be used to foment the success of fantastic (but fake) protagonists in an engineered fight for a “better and more centralized world”?
How many of us in the Liberty Movement cheered the diplomatic and strategic prowess of Vladimir Putin, for example, in the days leading to Obama’s “red line” attack on Syria? We cheered because his position was correct, and his demeanor made our government look homicidal by comparison. We cheered his letter to TIME Magazine because we are tired of being the only people pointing out the vicious parasite our political body has become, and it was exciting to be vindicated by an outside source. We cheered his protection of Edward Snowden, a truly courageous whistle blower that exposed the terrifying Orwellian nature of the NSA. We watch video reports from Russia Today (RT) because they give a far more accurate accounting of the facts in the U.S. than all American media entities combined. It is easy for us to get caught up in the idea that since the West has become the bad guy, the East must now be the good guy.
The problem is, we are being played yet again.
Putin has long called for the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the creation of a new “global structure” and a “global currency” revolving around the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights:
Is it just coincidence that Putin wants the same centralized global economy and global governance that the IMF and multiple banking elites have been calling for for years? The same elites who created the debt crisis and currency crisis we now face in America? Is it just coincidence that Eastern economic and political dominance over issues like Syria perfectly benefits the IMF plan for an financial shift to the BRICS nations and away from the U.S. greenback? The same plan promoted by many American financial moguls?
Russia is a model for despotic socialized society posing as “civilized society”, and yet, our government has made America so ugly that Russia looks noble by comparison. Putin is placed on the cover of TIME magazine everywhere in the world except the U.S., and the Washington Times responds by stating that such behavior is a sign of “America’s downward spiral in the global community”, as if we are about to be shunned from the world at large:
While RT produces fantastic journalistic pieces that are critical of American government, rarely if ever do they turn a discerning eye to Russia, and this is not just oversight.
Look carefully at the narrative that is being constructed here. Putin is NOT our buddy. He represents exactly what our own government now represents; globalism and naked centralized government aggression against the individual. However, as mainstream history is being written, the story will be told that it was nations like Russia and China, and organizations like the IMF, that tried to hold back the tide of catastrophe while America, the last empire, steamrolled into thick-skulled oblivion surfing on a shockwave of fiat money and brute military vanity.
The Washington Aristocracy Is Scum, But Don’t Let That Fool You…
Most people with an extensive Liberty Movement education are well aware that false paradigms are used in politics by establishment elites in order to control social discussion and to divide the population against each other. The Left/Right debate has been and always will be a farce, being that the leadership on both sides of the aisle have identical goals when it comes to the most important aspects of the American structure. The elites of the Democratic and Republican parties, regardless of rhetoric, will BOTH strive for greater government power, less individual liberty, the erasure of economic sovereignty and free markets, and a dependent and enslaved public. On these pursuits, they completely agree.
In one week, our faux leadership is to decide once AGAIN on the possibility of a debt ceiling increase that will bring us ever closer to a debt and currency avalanche event. During past debates, much fanfare is given to the supposed conflict between the interests of the Democrats and the GOP, up until the last moment when the GOP caves in completely and allows the debt ceiling to be vaulted. Will the same happen again in this case? It depends on how quickly the establishment wants to bring entire roof down on our heads.
A freeze of the debt ceiling would eventually mean default on our Treasury Bonds, since our government must take on exponential debt in order to receive the benefits of the Federal Reserve’s printing press, as well as pay off our foreign creditors.
A government shutdown could slow the growth of some liabilities, but it does not account for the liabilities already in circulation, thus, we can still default. Not to mention, our debt and currency standing could easily come into question, resulting in a bond dump or loss of reserve status.
The only option that does not result in a fast moving firestorm through our financial system is a debt ceiling increase, and how much longer can we get away with kicking the can down the road? In any case, America is about to change for the worse, and the decision on when this is to happen was made a long time ago. The Washington aristocracy is blatantly guilty in the instigation of our current dilemma, and my theory is, they want you to know they are the culprit, as long as you continue believing they are the ONLY culprit. They want you to forget all about the IMF, the corporate elites, and Vladimir Putin’s involvement in the larger plan. They want you to cheer when international banks and what’s left of the G20 rescue us after years of fiscal disaster and institute centralized global economic governance. They want to be the only authors of this story, and what author doesn’t want to see himself placed in the role of the champion?
Just as there are false political paradigms, there are also false international paradigms. The Liberty Movement is the wild card; an unknown quantity. We aren’t fighting for one side or the other – we are fighting for particular principles and beliefs. The establishment’s best strategy is to co-opt our momentum by convincing us to focus on alternative opposition, or place our trust in fabricated advocates. No matter how epically monstrous our government becomes, and no matter how satisfying their ultimate demise will be, our battle does not end with them. It only begins with them.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
That Barack Obama is such a kidder. No matter how awkward the moment, he’s got just the right quip to purchase some wiggle room. Remember when his old Chicago banking buddy Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, first ran into that bit of trouble over his bank’s “London Whale” derivative scam? That scheme has already lost $6 billion with close to another $1 billion piled on by the SEC in fines last week after JPMorgan admitted it broke the law.
Well of course, being Obama, when the scandal first broke last year, the president picked a women’s daytime talk show, ABC’s “The View,” to deal with the scams of his leading Wall Street backer. “JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is,” he told the “View” audience. “Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got, and they still lost $2 billion and counting.”
Yes, counting; that $2 billion is now likely to end up around $16 billion given the future legal fees and possible payouts allotted to countering the myriad lawsuits connected with this admission of illegal activity. That’s aside from the mortgage fraud, Libor rate rigging and energy manipulation cases still confronting the beleaguered bank. Thursday, on the same day that Dimon’s bank got slapped with the SEC fine, federal regulators revealed that JPMorgan had agreed to pay $389 million in penalties and refunds to compensate for a credit card identity theft protection scam after $309 million already paid out in that case.
It should be remembered that this same Dimon, who appeared before a Senate committee wearing presidential cufflinks, once worked with Sanford Weill in engineering the reversal of the Glass-Steagall law to make Citigroup, a previously illegal merger of investment and commercial banks, possible. But despite his record as a leader in the radical deregulation of banking that caused all of the trouble, Obama turned to Dimon for direction on fixing the economy.
If you still require to be disabused of Obama’s pretend populism, consider his decision to select William M. Daley, JPMorgan’s representative in Washington, to be his White House chief of staff. It gave Dimon the key White House connection to accompany the passkey he already had at Treasury with his pal Timothy Geithner as secretary.
It was a real cozy arrangement; Dimon was still a governor of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, where he had served during Geithner’s presidency overseeing the banking meltdown. Geithner had been instrumental in arranging Fed financing for JPMorgan’s acquisition of troubled Bear Stearns through a $55 billion loan and later an additional $25 billion in TARP funds.
Once appointed Treasury secretary, Geithner made himself very accessible to Dimon. As an Associated Press investigation reported, Dimon had numerous personal meetings and phone calls with Geithner while the White House was calibrating its response to the Wall Street crisis.
Why are we not surprised that Obama has done nothing to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, the biggest now being Dimon’s? Don’t be fooled by the occasional fines; the banks have used the interest-free money to grow ever larger and more unaccountable in their behavior.
Even the recent SEC settlement, while mentioning the despicable behavior of JPMorgan’s chief executive, fails to utter Dimon’s name, and as Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who did much to unravel this scam, noted, “the whole issue of misinforming investors and the public is conspicuously absent from the SEC findings and settlement.”
After the SEC condemnation of JPMorgan’s “egregious breakdowns in controls” and conclusion that “senior management broke a cardinal rule of corporate management” to honestly inform the board of directors, top senior manager Dimon made all the right noises. JPMorgan announced that $4 billion and a staff of 5,000 employees would be devoted to compliance with the law.
This was just the sort of commitment Dimon made in 2006 when he hired Stephen M. Cutler, who had been head of the SEC Division of Enforcement, to be JPMorgan’s general counsel. Once a committed regulator who urged corporations “to create a culture of compliance,” Cutler clearly drank the Kool-Aid at JPMorgan, for he was in charge of legal and compliance activities worldwide at the time of the London Whale fiasco. So much for trusting corporate compliance.
As Donald Langevoort, an expert on compliance issues at Georgetown University School of Law, told The New York Times on Friday, “JPMorgan is by no means unique. None of these big banks really want compliance people causing traders and investment bankers to second-guess themselves too much because that gets in the way of making money. No one will say this, but it’s more effective to run the risk of noncompliance and pay a few fines, which is just a cost of doing business.”
Exactly the reason that too-big-to-fail banks can’t be trusted to do the right thing and why Obama shouldn’t have been guided by Dimon in the first place.
Source: Press TV
Harold Wilson was right: A week is a long time in politics. The one just behind us—the longest of Barack Obama’s presidency thus far—has provided a mix of drama, bravado, mendacity and stupidity unseen since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
That crisis was a more serious affair than Obama’s Syrian gambit—thermonuclear war was a real possibility—but there are interesting parallels concerning the adversaries’ decision-making skills and strategies. It would be wrong, however, to compare Obama to John F. Kennedy. In fact the roles between Moscow and Washington were reversed last week. It was Obama who acted recklessly when he painted himself into the corner; and it was Putin who offered Obama an exit strategy, much in the manner of JFK offering the Soviets a face-saving formula 51 years ago.
Back then the American red line—the naval quarantine around Cuba—was upheld. The Soviets backed down and agreed to dismantle their missiles on the island in exchange for two U.S. commitments: not to invade Cuba, and to remove American medium-range Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy. Those concessions were cost-free for the Administration: after the Bay of Pigs no invasion remained on the cards, while Jupiter missiles were obsolete and slated for removal even before the crisis.
It was likewise no real sacrifice for the Russians to offer the removal of Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal. He has no pressing military need of those weapons, in any event he cannot use them without risking American attack, and he will therefore observe the Geneva agreement reached by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Bashar cannot afford to alienate Russia, whose continued supplies of conventional weaponry are a matter of life and death for his government; and the terms of the agreement leave little room for ambiguity, contrary to the warmongers’ claims.
Kennedy emerged victorious from the Cuban affair and his crisis management skills enhanced his reputation at home and abroad. Khrushchev was fatally wounded and less than a year later his colleagues on the Politburo had him removed from power. One of their criticisms concerned his “erratic” behavior, a veiled reference to the risky and ultimately untenable Soviet position during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Obama will not be impeached, but his standing is now much weakened by the manner in which he was refused Congress’s share of the responsibility for the attack and had to grab the Russian lifeline. His speech to the nation last Tuesday, full of distortions and half-truths, was arguably his least successful such performance to date. His grimaces were bizarre. His assurances that he opposes excessive executive power (“after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president … while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force”) should enter the annals of presidential hypocrisy, coming from the man who waged a seven-month air campaign against Libya two years ago without congressional authorization and who claimed constitutional authority to do so “in the best interest of American foreign policy and national security goals.”
Obama has avoided the consequences of his blunder by accepting Russia’s return to the table as a key Middle Eastern player for the first time since the era of Gorbachev. He should use that presence to look for the means of managing the Syrian civil war, rather than “ending” it. The United States and Russia have a joint interest in preventing a jihadist victory in Syria. That interest is more pronounced in Russia, which does not want yet another extremist hotbed in the proximity of the Caucasus, but a Syria controlled by al-Qaeda affiliates would also threaten stated U.S. interests by destabilizing Lebanon and Iraq immediately and Jordan eventually. Contrary to the arguments used by Netanyahu’s friends in Washington in their campaign in favor of the air strikes, a jihadist victory in Syria would also present a real, albeit more long-term threat to Israel.
In his April 12 address, Obama said he was working with U.S. allies to “provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition and to shape a political settlement” for ending the war in Syria. The first and the last of those three objectives are incompatible with the middle one. Instead of helping the elusive “moderate opposition” Obama should consider the possibility of a protracted freeze on the battle lines, with neither side able to secure outright victory. It is worth exploring, now that returning to the option of air strikes at a later date is unlikely. Seasoned realists like Putin and Lavrov may find it interesting.
Every so often the wonks of wishful thinking give us an article about how blacks are becoming Republicans, how Hispanics are supposedly a natural GOP constituency, or, as is the subject here today, how the millennial generation is turning “conservative.” Perhaps pundits asserting the last thing recall Winston Churchill’s observation, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.” And perhaps they overlook that it’s possible to raise a brainless generation.
Don’t think, as one might, that this will be a typical analysis sneering at the proverbial “next generation” using the perceived gold standard of one’s own. After all, I realize that my generation is the tree the millennial nut fell from. Placing matters in further perspective, it’s true that older and younger generations ever slam each other; it’s also true that they both are always partially right. Lastly, I’ll say that I don’t at all consider the WWII FDR voters the “greatest generation,” though it makes for a nice narrative. The greatest generation was the one that founded our nation and wondered if we could “keep” its republic, and there has been a consistent, but accelerating, degeneration ever since.
In discussing our latest movement toward idiocracy, my starting point will be a Sept. 4 American Thinker article written by one Chriss Street. In making his case for millennial hope, Mr. Street points out that while 61 percent of millennials voted for Barack Obama in 2012, his approval among them has now sunk to 46 percent. But this is a deceptive statistic. For an approval rating amounts to the judging of a candidate relative to people’s ideal personal standard for the presidency, whereas in an election he is judged relative to another specific candidate for the presidency. And if Obama were again running against Mitt Romney — with all the usual media propaganda — does anyone really think he’d lose millennials to the governor? No doubt more would stay home, but I suspect the president would enjoy something close to his 2012 support among those who casted votes.
Moreover, millennials may have soured on Obama somewhat, but this reflects cynicism more than conservatism. Of course, that they’d be cynical is no surprise; they’ve been raised in an unraveling West in which feckless, morally confused adults in their homes, schools, government, houses of worship and elsewhere have let them down. Nonetheless, cynicism is not traditionalism; in fact, it is a form of naiveté. Believing all people act out of selfish motives, the cynic instinctively paints everyone with the same brush. And such a person can hardly distinguish well among candidates.
Mr. Street also tells us that, “in 2008, 37.4% of incoming freshman women and 30.5% men identified themselves as liberals or leftists, the most in 35 years.” The reality, though, is even worse than this indicates. First consider that self-reporting is more about perception than reality. For starters, it always underestimates leftist numbers, as likely a majority of “moderates” are liberals who — usually because of self-delusion (a leftist bailiwick) and a desire to sound “reasonable” — don’t brand themselves what they really are; bear in mind when pondering this that liberals are generally solipsistic and fancy that they define the center, and also realize that the label “liberal” has been discredited enough so that many won’t don it. Yet even more significant here is that it isn’t just people’s perceptions that shift — the definitions of “liberal” and “conservative” do, too.
Consider that while a conservative in 1952 America was staunchly anti-communist, a conservative in the Soviet Union at the time was a communist. And “conservatives” in Western Europe are often our liberals’ ideological soul mates. This isn’t for lack of truth in political advertising. Rather, it’s because the only consistent definition of “conservative” is “a desire to maintain the status quo” while “liberal’s” only consistent definition involves a desire to change it. This means “conservatism” is always changing: tomorrow’s version will reflect today’s liberalism’s success in altering the status quo. Conservatism is the caboose to liberalism’s locomotive (I treat this in-depth here).
This explains a few things. First, it’s often pointed out that a healthy plurality in America describes itself as conservative. Is this surprising? All it really means is that many, many people align themselves with the status quo — and if this weren’t the case, the status quo wouldn’t be the status quo. Second, some insist that millennials will move toward conservatism, and this is true in that most people become somewhat more traditional with age. Yet it’s also true that conservatism will move toward them.
That is to say, as “conservatism” drifts “left,” it follows that millennials will “become more conservative” even if they stay in the same place, in that they will be situated more on the post-shift political spectrum’s right side; this is just as how a person can become poorer in a definitional sense if the poverty line standard is altered.
That so few recognize this reflects the relativism of our time, where we label ourselves with provisional terms and measure ourselves against other people (it’s people who define the political spectrum). If we want to see matters clearly, however, we must define them differently: in absolute terms.
In other words, what do millennials actually believe? Well, never before has an American generation been so tolerant of intolerable sexual practices, so supportive of faux marriage and skeptical of actual marriage, so relativistic and disconnected from Christianity (church attendance is one of the best predictors of voting habits). Never before has an American generation been to their degree socially “liberal.”
This brings us to the claim that millennials are, at least, fiscally conservative. Now, not only is convincing evidence of this elusive, but considering it a saving grace is essentially saying that it profits a man to gain the world but lose his soul. Regardless, however, while the social liberalism/fiscal conservatism marriage may exist in particular cases, I suspect that in principle it is an impossibility.
For instance, speaking of principle versus particular, if you ask people, “Do you believe government should balance its budget and be frugal,” of course they’ll say yes. But if you ask them if they’re willing to relinquish their particular piece of the pie (government college aid?), their tune changes. Espousing fiscal responsibility requires only a voice; achieving it requires virtue.
Second, consider the side-effects of social liberalism in modern times. And this should be prefaced by saying that since this explanation warrants a book, my treatment here will necessarily be lacking. But just as an example, social liberalism means loose sexual mores. Loose sexual mores mean a high rate of single motherhood (today it’s 42 percent…and rising). And what does this mean? Since the modern West won’t let these women twist in the wind, the government will step into the breach and play daddy with handouts and/or mommy with tax-funded daycare. It is unavoidable.
And in point of fact, this cultural decay brings us to the real reason for political drift. It was something about which the Founding Fathers — as well as great thinkers throughout Christendom’s history — spoke much. Ben Franklin warned, “As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” British philosopher Edmund Burke observed, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” And John Adams wrote in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Question: does “moral and religious” describe us today?
Of course, some will now say, “But why do you think millennials supported Ron Paul? They want liberty!” Sure they do.
So does a tiger in a zoo.
So does a toddler.
Neither, however, can be allowed to roam free in civilization without hurting himself or others. And the less people are civilized growing up, the closer they will be to that infantile or animalistic state — and the more they have need of cages and masters.
The truth? Government can be no better than the public’s virtue, though it can be worse. And this morality-government relationship is evident in voting patterns. Is it a coincidence that every group orthodox Christians label immoral — those involved in “alternative” sexual deathstyles, criminally inclined inner-city dwellers, effete college professors, grunge-type youths scarred with multiple tattoos and body piercings — vote left? “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” The darkness hates the light. When people have sins they yearn to rationalize away, the last thing they’ll do is support leaders who would uphold, even just through word, a moral standard condemning their passions.
Providing specificity as to how this affects government is another book-worthy topic, so I’ll offer just two examples. We’ve heard about those ruggedly individualistic Americans who’d rather live in poverty in Appalachia than accept government handouts and those spirit-of-entitlement types who protest violently when they don’t receive them. And society will always contain both kinds, but the ratio can vary greatly. In a nation characterized by self-sufficiency, honor and virtue, a redistributionist will find barren ground. But if a spirit of greed, covetousness and thievery prevails, people will be susceptible to the demagogic appeal, “You’ve been cheated, but give me power and I’ll get you your piece of the pie, comrade!” Or consider lust. If people resolved to be chaste outside of marriage, do you think the abortion movement or taxpayer funded contraception appeal could gain traction?
So how do you make a civilization susceptible to dark demagogues?
Make it love the darkness.
I wouldn’t first and foremost spend time on intellectual appeals. As the Soviets once did (as explained by ex-KJB defector Yuri Bezmenov) I’d seek to undermine the morality of the target nation. I’d spread the idea that morality is really “values” and values are relative — all just a matter of perspective, you see. Once this was accepted and people no longer believed in the rules of morality, it would be as if they ceased believing in the rules of human nutrition: not thinking any food could actually be “bad,” they’d be governed only by taste and would try, and could develop an affinity for, anything — even perhaps poison. Vice corresponds to this on the moral menu.
I’d then get them hooked on their bad moral diet through inundation. Stoke their lust’s fires via highly sexualized entertainment, and portray violence as just as casual and cool, so lashing out at others seems the norm. I’d engorge their egos with media messages about how they could determine their own morality so that, as the serpent said, “you will be like God.” I’d provide co-ed dorms and a general party atmosphere at universities, creating “occasions of sin” that will ensure the kids have as much as possible they need to justify. And after robbing them of moral judgment and creating a visceral craving for vice, I’d fill their heads full of anti-Western, anti-Christian — in fact, anti-goodness — ideas in college classrooms. When I was done with them, they’d not only possess the discernment of a man in the midst of a drug-fueled orgy, their egos would be so bloated they’d consider their ignorance wisdom.
Speaking of wisdom, when conservatives indulge wishful thinking and suppose that millennials will “wake up,” they ignore that we actually need a shake up, something that changes the cultural trajectory on which we’ve long been (so if an asteroid strikes the Earth, millennials may turn into conservatives — of course, they instead may turn into cavemen, too). Until then, whatever the keepers of the flame plan had better require the participation of only a zealous minority. For the masses will not wake up when beset by a cultural narcolepsy in which nightmares are fancied nice dreams.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers . . . . The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” ~ Aldous Huxley
Hello, welcome, come on in. Please find a seat. I’m excited to be here with you today; we will take a look at how public opinion is so easily molded by promoters of the state. Many of us use the word “propaganda” a lot and it’s helpful to understand some basics about what propaganda is and how it is used. Messages released through traditional media organs can now be more effectively challenged directly by interested persons from outside the media priesthood, thanks to the Internet. Until we do this more effectively there will continue to be a trend of hyperactivity towards the police state at home and abroad and the serial-warring will continue. So, here we are; let’s get to it.
The word “propaganda” is often used when trying to explain how the state has been able to maintain such a powerful stranglehold over the collective imagination. Propaganda walks the fine line between what is known and what is purposely hidden while appealing to base emotions of fear and loyalty. Americans have been conditioned to react to this word by associating it with words like Nazi, Fascist, Communist and Terrorist. Basically, propaganda is what Bad Guys do, not Good Guys. Why would Good Guys do anything but tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
You see, Good Guys don’t control the media and good old capitalist media hacks are just giving the people what they want. Right? So, when you say “propaganda,” many people will immediately think that there is no way “our professional journalists” and “our politicians” could possibly do anything so awful to the good people of the United States of America as to inseminate the seed of propaganda into the Red, White and Blue body politic. No sir-ree, only conspiracy theorists believe stuff like that. Only Bad Guys do that and “we,” by definition, are the Good Guys. Now back to reality.
The traditional media machine is sold as being a necessary social institution, completely outside of the state (except for licenses – but don’t mind them), that wields a mighty pen with righteous indignation at political scandals and as giving The People a “voice.” The Third Rail of politics is used to “keep them honest” or “keep their feet to the fire,” for noble purposes, of course, like, say Social Security, Health Care, the Drug War or bombing foreigners. Because these trained and certified journalists had to work their way up the corporate ladder, honing their integrity, sense of honesty and desire to speak truth to power! But, gasp, people today look to the Internet and read ideas written by people who didn’t study in the media education mills or learn to kiss the right spots on the behinds of the right people! The self-serving glorification of mainstream media persons can only be surpassed by politicians themselves. The good news is that liberty has a golden opportunity today because this monopoly on the communication of ideas to the masses controlled by the melded interests of the state and big corporations has been disrupted by new technology.
The manipulation of messages to promote favorable outcomes for a messenger when interpreted by those receiving the message is as old as the first handshake. But how that message is delivered has changed profoundly a few notable times, including the most recent iteration over the past 150 or so years. The written word, developed thousands of years ago, changed communication with the masses from a very personal event with lots of shouting to a non-personal event that put the focus of thought onto the words themselves. It changed everything in society, some good and some not so good. The elite always have used their influence to promote conditions that ensure and/or expand their positions and advantages, often at the expense of the common man. This is not new; however, it has become more complex over the ages.
When the printing press came along in the Middle Ages, it allowed for many copies of written ideas to be distributed simultaneously; this changed how society organized again. The world gets smaller with each advance in communication technology. The most recent step with computers is a continuation of the electronic communications revolution started in the mid to late-1800s. The inventions of telegraph, telephone, radio and television communications made distances literally disappear for people spreading ideas far and wide. The computer has combined all of these technologies into one platform. Now there is a race between liberty and the state seeking to squelch the freedom of ideas in society with laws, regulations, licenses and official messages crowding out the truth.
The term propaganda has its roots in the writings of the Medieval Catholic Church priests wishing to propagate their faith to wider audiences using the new technology: the printing press. Machiavelli wrote a popular book for monarchists that incorporated some age-old theocratic tactics and strategies for modern (at the time) use. Hitler is often given credit for the modern resurgence of propaganda with his use of rituals, including nighttime rallies, fire, symbolism, loudspeakers, mass printing of pamphlets, film distribution, and radio transmissions as well as his autobiographical best-selling book Mein Kampf. But it is Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and the man known as the “father of public relations” in the United States that deserves the real credit for modern propaganda. I don’t have the time today to go into a detailed history, so please do a search for Edward Bernays for a little interesting homework on the man who inspired the use of modern propaganda.
I want to spend the rest of our limited time looking at a recent article in the mainstream media as a case study in how crude propaganda is passed off of as serious journalism. It goes on everyday in every country, hidden in plain sight. Lies implying the “why” mixed-in with the hard, cold facts of who, what, where and when told by messengers posturing as journalists simply reporting impartial facts to We the People; their agendas hidden behind the façade of good intentions and given legitimacy by official blessings. These statist scribes are the perpetrators of never-ending war as they advertise a continuum of ridiculous propaganda phrases like “Making the World Safe for Democracy,” “World’s Policeman” and “War on Terror.”
First and foremost, propaganda must maintain the veil of legitimacy by speaking with authority. Power (of Authority) is to be reckoned with is the theme of all primary communications. Further, the faithful must always kneel to the powerful or society will fall apart is the subtext to all statist propaganda. Authority must be seen as the savior of society, so the people will ignore the universal faults of the state’s all too human agents. A good example of this in the run-up to the “strike” on Syria using “precision bombing” is the recent piece by Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent called “The White House Walk-and-Talk That Changed Obama’s Mind on Syria.” I didn’t choose this example because it is exceptional, quite the contrary, it is all too typical and you have probably read countless versions of the same message in all of the mainstream media organs.
First, a picture is inserted showing the powerful, wise leaders in deep thought as they weigh the fate of the world on the scales of justice. This helps to establish the authority of the words that follow. Then it’s simply the Hegelian Dialectic writ large. Party A’s political agenda (thesis) is reported and discussed along with the opposing political agenda of Party B (anti-thesis). Then what results is not the clear triumph of either argument, it is the advancement to a “superior” argument C (synthesis). Position C was the elite objective all along and now the process starts over again. This is how each step on the path to perpetual war is so seamless no matter who occupies the chairs at the table of authority. Both sides are allowed occasional meaningless victories to shore up their base and stay in the game, but true victory is ever elusive and defeat always on the horizon. This is the futile system of organizing society we have inherited and glorify; a system based on lies and obfuscation to ensure elite control of the debate. We can do better.
Here is the link to the whole article published on August 31, 2013 at NBCNews.com.
Here is the picture of the official deciders provided by official photographers and released by official spokespersons with caption, by-line and intro:
President Barack Obama meets with his national security advisers in the White House Situation Room on Saturday to discuss strategy in Syria. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is fourth from right.
By Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent
A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.
Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said. Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer” and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.
NBC’s Chuck Todd says up front these powerful wise men met to “discuss strategy in Syria,” but it is really to discuss strategy for how to get away with bombing Syria. The strategy of bombing Syria is de facto assumed from the start: the leader of the little state on the other side of the world is “a thug and a murderer,” so therefore, the leader of the big state must bomb the people of the little state until they overthrow their leader. Isn’t that the definition of terrorism? State murder is referred to as a strategy, while independent murder is terrorism.
Todd then describes the political process for seeking congressional authorization for a strike on Syria, and says that the president’s decision to wait on Congress is a departure from 30 years of strengthening executive branch power. Thus, Our Fearless Leader is not afraid to go his own way to do the right thing and is a Man of the People.
Obama’s National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that “consultation” in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.
Officials said that after the president met with national security advisers on Aug. 24, they determined the evidence showed Syria’s Assad regime had used chemical weapons in an attack earlier this month. At that time, the president indicated he was leaning toward a strike.
Note the use of institutional words describing mere mortal men to give these deciders the anointing of authority to “strike” at the enemy. These experts “determined the evidence” does indeed support their agenda, as if it could have been any other way. Our Fearless Leader was only “leaning toward a strike.”
But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administration’s strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action.
Ah, so the legitimacy of initiating violence and raining bombs upon foreign peoples who are not a threat to this politician’s constituency is undermined by his constituency opposing his attack. Our Allies seem to be having the same problem; this is nasty business in a purported democracy, but just a speed bump for the propagandist to navigate. Note that the article doesn’t say that Congress questioned the President’s strategy of bombing Syria, just his strategy of how to accomplish this already determined goal by selling that agenda.
While Obama’s advisers argued Friday night in private that the humiliating defeat for Cameron starkly illustrated the risks of asking for congressional input, the president responded that the vote in Parliament demonstrated exactly why he should seek a vote on this side of the Atlantic, senior officials told NBC News.
And, the president insisted, seeking legislative backing was the approach most consistent with his philosophy. While debate within the administration continued into late Friday, by Saturday morning the senior advisers acquiesced.
President Obama says the nation should and will take action against the Syrian government, but not without congressional approval.
So President Obama has already made up his mind to bomb Syria, but he wants Congress to publicly back his decision so that when the action goes bad, he can spread the blame around. Congress, on the other hand, wants Obama to order the missile attack on Syria, but is afraid of the voters and doesn’t want to go on record endorsing it. It’s all “legal,” you know, for the emperor to bomb whoever he wants whenever he wants, but it would just be more “consistent with his philosophy” if he had some public support. This entire session was over the timing of the attack with the major concern being getting re-elected, not doing the right thing.
The president also noted, “while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.”
White House aides said they are fairly confident that Congress will grant them the authority to launch a strike, although they maintain that Obama would be acting within his constitutional authority even if Congress rejects the authorization and Obama orders military intervention.
There’s an upside to that cooling-off period too, aides said. The delay gives Obama time to make his case to Congress and to keep pushing for international support.
This is the purpose of the article: to “make the case” for a strike. Notice again how the article is careful not to frame the decision as being one between attacking and not attacking Syria, but of how to sell a decision that has already been made. The only question is timing. The rest of the article is pure hypocrisy and emotional appeals seeking to give the impression that killing Syrians is the moral thing to do. Pure theater of the absurd promulgated by a willing hack posing as a “journalist.”
Now, is there some apparatchik sitting in a US Ministry of Propaganda giving orders to NBC newsmen or any other mainstream media hacks about what to write and publish? No, there doesn’t have to be, which is worse, because dribble like the above article is seen as “independent” and “just reporting the news.” And it is well written for accomplishing its purpose. However, does it even hint that there is a case for non-intervention? No. Does it ever mention that the “rebels” being supported by Obama and his minions are “thugs and murderers”? No. Does it say that evidence has been provided indicating that the surrogate terrorists seeking to overthrow the Syrian leader have used chemical weapons, originally started the conflict and are mostly from other Arab countries allied with the US? Of course not, because that does not promote the official agenda.
The fact that this attack has not yet occurred is testament to the power of the Internet and how it affects public opinion. Even just ten years ago, the emperor could send out some trumped up evidence (e.g. yellow cake purchases) against the hated dictator-of-the-month who stopped being useful to their CIA handlers and these lap dog journalists would fight over who could exaggerate the official propaganda the most. Today it is common knowledge that the US government and its surrogates have been backing “thugs and murderers” in Syria and that they have not been successful. Since these agents of death and mayhem are failing at their assignment to overthrow the Syrian dictator, the US government felt compelled to escalate the killing by becoming directly involved.
Ten years ago, the missiles would already be raining down on the water, sewer and electric plants of Syria in “precision strikes,” causing even greater human misery. You see, these brilliant strategic thinkers believe that the way to “save” people from their dictators is to destroy their society and its infrastructure, thus starving the people that aren’t directly killed by missiles and bombs. This then necessitates an occupation with “boots-on-the-ground” (that will be denied will ever happen right up to the time they “must” be sent in) to help them partially rebuild what was destroyed, also to be paid for by US taxpayers. And, of course, this requires giant embassies and military bases to be built by government contractors around the country. How long this game plan can be delayed is hard to foresee, but I doubt that it can be avoided for long, given the sociopathic powers that be. Still, this delay reveals that the elite recognize their grip on popular opinion is waning.
In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted here that President Obama really didn’t make this decision himself, as it was made years ago by his superiors in the so-called military-industrial-complex. Obama is just the current Puppet-in-Chief trying to sell more wars to the American public. Just listen to this short excerpt from an interview of General Clark. Here is the main point:
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: …I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
Well, there you go. That’s all we have time for today and I’m afraid I’ve already gone long. I hope that when you read and listen to “the news” or “official statements” that you remember to use your propaganda filter and take it with a grain of salt. Challenge official lies whenever and however you can. And when these shameless liars start waving the flag to inspire you to give up more treasure and blood for big corporations and their political machines, don’t fall for it. Remember, real Good Guys don’t need propaganda if they are doing the right thing. So stand up to the powerful media mavens and be heard because your voice is just as legitimate as any journalist’s. Speaking truth to power is essential if we are to break the cycle of endless war. Thank you for coming.
Source: Mark Davis | Strike the Root
Important world leaders back him. So does overwhelming global anti-war sentiment.
On Monday, Lavrov met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. He did so in Moscow.
“We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he said.
“We have passed our offer to Muallem and hope to receive a fast and positive answer.”
Al-Moallem pledged “full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression.” Lavrov promised Moscow’s support.
He’s trying to broker a diplomatic solution. In return, he wants Obama to cancel attack plans.
He cited John Kerry saying Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week.”
“Turn it over, all of it without delay and allow (a) full and total accounting, but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”
Doing it would avoid military intervention, Kerry said. Damage control followed his statement. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki reinterpreted his comments.
He “was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons,” she said.
“His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That’s why the world faces this moment.”
Reinterpreting Kerry’s statement shows Obama’s true intention. Falsely blaming Assad for using chemical weapons is cover for long planned regime change.
War is Obama’s option of choice. Lavrov’s best efforts may fall short. He forthrightly pursued them throughout months of conflict. He’s not about to stop now.
He faces long odds. Obama didn’t wage war on Syria to quit. He won’t do so no matter what Lavrov, Moallem, Assad or other Syrian officials pledge. Rogues states operate that way. America’s by far the worst.
Moallem’s doing his best anyway. So is Lavrov. From Moscow, he said:
“We have agreed on practical steps to be taken bilaterally and in cooperation with other states for giving the political settlement a chance.”
“No matter how serious the current situation may be, our Syrian partners and we are confident that possibilities remain for a political settlement.”
“Russia has been staying in touch with all (Syrian) opposition groups without an exception in the recent years and we will carry on our efforts to try to convince them that there is no alternative to an international conference.”
“If our contacts express that this (conference) may help, then we do not rule out the possibility of an invitation to Moscow of all who are interested in peace and a political settlement in Syria and reject the military scenario.”
“What are the real interests of the US behind launching this aggression,” he asked?
“Obama is not listening to Americans, Europeans, and UK Parliament. We thank American people for standing against striking Syria.”
“We admire the American people who voice their protest against military intervention,” added Muallem.
“What are the real interests of the United States behind launching this aggression? Why does US want to help those who are behind 9/11?
Washington “will be wrong to destroy (Syria’s) army and help Al Qaeda. We’re confident Russian efforts on peace talks will stop strikes.”
Lavrov replied, saying:
“UN inspectors should return to Syria to investigate alleged use of chemical weapons.”
“The alleged chemical attack on August 21 was orchestrated.” Anti-Assad elements bear full responsibility.
“We must consolidate government and rebels to evict terrorists. We are taking active moves to prevent devastating strike. Every report on chemical arms use must be closely studied.”
“Syria is open to Geneva-2 peace talks with no pre-conditions. We call on US colleagues to focus on talks, not on strikes.”
“Syria strike will only enable terrorism. Russia believes no group should monopolize peace talks.”
“Dialogue is necessary among all Syrians. It’s the only solution. UN inspectors must go back to Syria, but some powers are obstructing.”
He left no doubt which ones he means. They’re headquartered in Washington. Obama’s a warmaker. He deplores peace. He’s going all out to prevent it. He plans war to do so.
“Russia is well-supported in the view that military action in Syria will provoke rampant terrorism,” said Lavrov.
Moallem said his government is ready for Geneva II with no preconditions. “We are still ready to do that. But I do not know what may happen after an act of aggression by the United States. Probably a missile will fly over and thwart this.
America sides with terrorists, he added. It plans to be Al Qaeda’s air force.
“But if such aggression against Syria aims, as we suspect, to considerably weaken the military potential of the Syrian army in the interest of al-Qaeda and various affiliated groups, then we will raise our objections,” he stressed.
“Then we have the right to ask a question about the genuine interests of the United States that wishes to unleash an attack on the behalf of Jabhat al-Nusra and similar groups.”
“We’ve come here just as the US is sounding war drums. Our feeling is that Russia plays an important role of staving off aggression.”
“That is where Russia’s moral ground lies, since a peacekeeper is always stronger than a warmonger.”
“Mr. Assad has sent his regards and said he was grateful to Mr. Putin for his stand on Syria both before and after the G20 summit.”
“Russia plays an important role in preventing aggression.”
Lavrov added that Russia’s “stand on Syria is unwavering and does not permit a military solution of the Syrian conflict, especially foreign intervention.”
“The position of Russia is well-known. It is immune to change and varying circumstances.”
“This position says there is no alternative to peaceful, diplomatic settlement of the Syrian conflict, especially not a military solution employing foreign intervention.”
“On the background of the unfolding campaign calling to use force against Damascus, Russia is taking steps to prevent a pernicious situation in the Middle East.”
“There cannot be any deals behind backs of the Syrian people from the Russian side in what refers to the policies Russia is following.”
He added that force against Syria would cause a wave of regional terrorism. Perhaps that’s precisely what Obama intends.
He needs pretexts to intervene. Peace and stability defeat his agenda. It requires violence and destabilization. He plans lots more ahead.
He faces stiff world opposition. On September 9, Reuters headlined “Analysis: Obama growing isolated on Syria as support wanes”.
“White House efforts to convince the US Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing, they seem to be stiffening the opposition.”
He’s making more enemies than friends. He’s doing so at home and abroad. Skeptics way outnumber supporters.
Hindsight may show he shot himself in the foot. Peace activists hope so. He’ll give it another go Tuesday night. He’ll try enlisting support for what most people reject.
They’re tired of being lied to. They want peace, stability, and jobs. They want America’s resources directed toward creating them.
They want leadership representing everyone equitably. Obama’s polar opposite. He supports wealth, power and privilege alone. He spurns popular interests.
He chooses war over peace. He’s less able to sell what most people reject. Odds favor he’ll attack Syria anyway.
Pretexts are easy to fabricate. They’re longstanding US policy. Expect another major one if Ghouta’s Big Lie falls flat. It’s likely planned ready to be implemented if needed.
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.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html - Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Will 1000 American ‘human shields’ stop another criminal war?
Damascus – A sort of roller coaster atmosphere pervades Damascus these days with “good” and “bad” news rising and falling, often by the quarter hour. Much of the population is monitoring closely the news and quickly expressing their interpretations of the latest media reports and rumors as well as predicting the fairly precise timing of the now assumed American attack on their country.
In the very popular, and normally crowded Abaa Coffee House on the edge of the old city in what is called the Sarugha section, students and others enjoy the fine cool mist, as Damascenes have done for years, that is sprayed from ceiling pipes to provide welcome relief from the 37 degree Celsius (98 degrees F) outside temperatures. Many are clued to their laptops and/or in animated conversation analyzing the likely extent and timing of the soon believed to be arriving American missiles.
This observer often meets interlocutors in the Abaa because it’s very pleasant, large with dozens of tables, cheap and two blocks from my hotel. I have noticed that common greetings are changing from “kif hallack” ” (how are you?) and “Arak lahekan” (see you later) to “Get home safely” and “Good luck with the checkpoints.”
But there is also a distinct growing esprit de corps and a broad coming together of much of the population here as the countdown to the American attack on Syria begins. An evident rallying around the Assad regime, which one presumes is the opposite of what the White House was hoping would result from its threats.
A good friend from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) an humanitarian organization doing amazing rescue, and medical services for Syrians and Palestinians during this expanding crisis, described one way that her friends are preparing for the American attack. “We gathered our important documents, birth, marriage certificate and passport and made photo copies. Then we leave them with friends in “safe” areas or even bury them somewhere. No one knows how bad the Americans will bomb us. At work we have been told during our final practice drill last Saturday that the next siren will be the ‘real thing’ and we will do as we have planned for.” She added, “Many of my friends and family are leaving but it’s not easy and is very expensive now to go to Lebanon and they don’t want us– and my family has decided to stay in our home no matter what happens in the coming days.”
One common topic being discussed is the reluctance of the American public to attack Syria and how Obama can ignore it. “What kind of Democracy do you have that your President can ignore the will of the American public?” this observer is frequently asked. One soldier who is stationed with his unit just outside my hotel seemed to speak from his heart: “You Americans claim you are trying to help the Syrian people. Every child knows, both here and in your country I think, that the coming attack will make things much worse for the Syrian people and many others. The American people are good and we hope they can control their government, but we are preparing for the worst and there will be consequences you will come to regret as with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.”
The government here is assuring the public that Syria is ready for the American attack and that public services will continue. TV channels show around the clock images of heroic Syrian army exploits with marital and patriotic music. Youngsters, students and workers are gathering at presumed targets offering themselves as Human Shields in solidarity with their countrymen while challenging President Obama to bomb their beloved Syria.
Interestingly, an International Human Shield movement is coalescing according to informed sources here and abroad. One initiative is to bring 1000 Americans and thousands of others, to Syria within the next ten days to guard likely bomb sites reminding one of the International Solidarity Movement international volunteer’s efforts in Occupied Palestine in order to try to protect homes of Palestinians from Government bulldozing.
Some redacted specifics have been disclosed to this observer from an international organizing committee working around the clock on this Human Shield initiative.
Some descriptive excerpts:
“International Human Shields are planning on coming to Syria in solidarity with the Syrian people and in an effort to send a global message and hopefully deter an American attack next week.”
“Timing – While moves can be made fast and with all other key elements in place, time is not in our favor. Ten mores days for preparation would be ideal. The HS initiative assumes that it must be done in such a way that very little time lapse from the official announcement of the action to the actual arrival of the Human Shields on the ground in Syria.”
“ Impact – In order to achieve a significant impact having at least 1000 Americans and several thousand international Human Shields deployed in Syria is the objective. With ideally at least one representative from every UN Member State, as evidence of the true ‘international community’ opposing the American attack.
The US activist-based steering committee is quickly bringing together professionals in IT, marketing, logistical planning and implementation, spokesperson(s), public relations, accounting, documentarians, and experienced project managers. Ferries from European ports are to be arranged to carry significant numbers of Human Shields from Major European cities. Ideally, several jumbo jets will be chartered to carry human shields from some of the world’s major cities and use of land convoys are under consideration.
An excerpt: “HS/Government Relations – The first objective of the enemies of Syria will be to portray Human Shields as nothing more than pawns of President Bashar al-Assad. This was precisely what the mainstream media did in 2003, presenting Human Shields as pawns of Saddam. In order for the Human Shields to have power they must be seen as independent supporters of the people of Syria who represent the will of the vast majority of people around the world who oppose the pending US-led western attack. The HS should however work with prominent leaders in the civilian sector of Syrian society and great effort should be made to produce daily news stories of the Human Shields and Syrian people working together to protect Syria from the ongoing foreign instigated aggression. There are once again many details here and these would need to be discussed and agreed if any action will be able to reach its full potential.”
“Strategy – The sites that Human Shields deploy to must be very well publicized and these sites must be identified as protected sites under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The White House is saying that they are not going to attack infrastructure (as they did with Iraq in 2003), but they must attack the infrastructure as the goal is to drive Syria into the stone age and make it so weak that Israel will through its agents eventually take Syria over. They know that the Syrian people and military cannot be defeated without massive attacks on the infrastructure.
So it is absolutely vital that all power plants, water treatment facilities, bomb shelters (if they exist), civilian communications sites, food storage sites and other such sites that are critical to the civilian population are the primary if not sole focus of sites for the HS to deploy. They cannot deploy to military sites, although I personally feel this is morally defensible, it will neutralize the power of the HS in the public relations realm and intelligent public relations is absolutely critical.
A comprehensive list of protected sites is to be produced immediately and these sites will need to be verified by the most independent sources we can manage to obtain. UN representatives or former representatives would be great, human rights attorneys, legal experts and others of this type are very useful.
There will be room to deploy to sites not specifically listed in the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as with ethnic and religious minority communities who are deathly afraid of the foreign invaders/terrorist. Special emphasis should be placed on Christian populations as the western audience sadly has more sympathy for Christians than Muslims. “
“Our goal is to personalize the people of Syria and show their suffering through the eyes of the HS with effective daily reports to be uploaded on the Internet and reported by legitimate news agencies such as Press TV, RT and Telesur. A massive effort must be made to educate the public about the reasons for the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) and the imperial powers undeniable record of knowingly destroying the lives of ‘protected persons’ as defined in the FGC. There must be high quality, well-spoken Arabic/English speaking spokespersons.
We should be ready to provide evidence of any attack on such sites the moment it happens and have legal briefs prepared to immediately charge the aggressors with war crimes. This is why it is critical that the HS are almost exclusively at sites that are protected by the FGC.”
The Action Plan concludes: “We cannot necessarily stop them from doing what they intend to do, but we can make their aggression harm them far more than Syria and its people in the end. Herein lays the power, using the enemies momentum against him in the most powerful way possible.
Time will tell which Americans will arrive first in Syria, the military or the American public. Many Syrian are today praying it will be the latter and have pledged to join them to defeat the coming aggression.
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
- Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
- Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
- British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
- 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
- Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
- President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
- None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
- The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
- We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
- The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
- In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
- President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
- Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
- Guatemala 1954
- Indonesia 1958
- Cuba 1959-1961
- Guatemala 1960
- Congo 1964
- Laos 1964-73
- Vietnam 1961-73
- Cambodia 1969-70
- Guatemala 1967-69
- Grenada 1983
- Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
- Libya 1986
- El Salvador 1980s
- Nicaragua 1980s
- Iran 1987
- Panama 1989
- Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
- Kuwait 1991
- Somalia 1993
- Bosnia 1994, 1995
- Sudan 1998
- Afghanistan 1998
- Yugoslavia 1999
- Yemen 2002
- Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
- Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
- Afghanistan 2001 to present
- Pakistan 2007 to present
- Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
- Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
- Libya 2011
- Syria 2013?
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
- The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
- Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
- Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
- Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
- The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
- The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
- William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
- Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
- Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
- Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩
The rats are jumping ship. Obama’s strongest allies can’t stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria. Even England, whose entire foreign policy is reduced to asking “how high?” when the U.S. says “jump,” opted to stay grounded for Obama’s war drive.
The Arab League, too, having long been considered a puppet show by U.S. foreign policy, has cut its strings. The UN Security Council — after having learned not to trust Obama in Libya — also refuses to give permission for an attack. Which leaves France — the former colonial master of Syria — to fill England’s shoes as the token “important” European nation to give the attack a thin coat of “international” support. But England’s insolence will surely make an impression on the French public, who voted in a “socialist” president, presumably not to act as a warmonger.
Obama has offered zero evidence that the Syrian government is responsible for the most recent chemical weapons attack. UN investigator Carla Del Ponte blamed the U.S.-backed rebels for a previous chemical weapons attack, so if one were to presume guilt, it would flow towards the rebels.
While foreign nations instantly recognized Obama’s war song as a plagiarism of President Bush’s lyrics used to attack Iraq, sections of the American public have been fooled by Obama’s mellowing tone. The soft, reassuring sound of “limited strikes” that will last “hours, not days” has a calming effect on the nerves of the American public, who are essentially being told that Syria needs a light slap on the wrist for being “bad,” after which everything will return to normal; no U.S. troops need die. No big deal, really.
But, of course, any military action in the Middle East is a big deal. With each new war the U.S. wages in the region tensions rise, self defense preparations are made, and regional alliances are readied to act as deterrents. The nations not aligned with U.S. foreign policy — and there are many — are desperate to stop the U.S.’ bloody march across the Middle East.
Americans don’t understand how the Iraq war fundamentally changed the Middle East. The U.S. Government is deeply hated by the vast majority of people in the region for having destroyed Iraq, once viewed by many as a proud Arab nation. Attacking another nation in the heart of the Middle East — that millions of Arabs have an equally strong affinity for — will create massive “blowback.”
No matter how “limited” the strike, bombing a foreign nation is a major act of war. In fact, after WWII the Nuremberg trial concluded that the Nazis’ “supreme international crime” was not genocide or holocaust, but waging aggressive war, since all other war crimes were spawned from this original sin. Of course, Obama’s aggressive war plans involve more than tossing a couple of missiles at some Syrian tanks. That is why he’s moved five Navy destroyers into the region.
It is also presumably why — as reported by the French daily Le Figaro — hundreds U.S. Special Forces and “trained militant fighters” entered Syria on August 17.
It has widely been speculated that the real intention of attacking Syria is to prop up Obama’s ailing rebels, who have received massive U.S. support in the form of guns, training, and money, for —according to The New York Times — almost two years now, and possibly longer. It’s an undisputed fact that Islamic extremists militias are the most powerful fighting forces in the opposition to Assad; if he falls then they will be in power.
If only a tiny bombing campaign is launched, then it’s certain that more bombings will take place at a later date because the U.S.-backed extremist rebels need much more assistance than that to have any hope of beating Assad. To change the balance of forces between Obama’s essentially beaten rebels and the Syrian government will require a massive bombing campaign, along the lines of Libya.
One shouldn’t forget the chain of events in Libya: After the U.S.-backed Libyan rebels were facing defeat, Obama exploited the UN’s “naivety” by claiming that “immediate action” had to be taken to prevent the slaughter of thousands of Libyans. The UN stupidly agreed to a vague resolution about “protecting civilians,” which Obama immediately used as a pretext to wage aggressive war and regime change, dropping thousands of bombs on Libya via fighter jets that attacked both military and civilian targets, tearing apart the nation’s seams in the process. Vijay Prashad’s excellent book, “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter” covers the conflict in depth.
After the Libyan example, the UN is immune to Obama’s lies. So now the hardest part about waging war against Syria is starting it. And after the war foot is in the door, the logic of war immediately takes over, which instantly creates new, unforeseen dynamics, usually in the direction of expansion. It’s very possible that this “unforeseen” element of war is exactly what Obama is planning on.
For example, any sane military analyst expects Syria to defend itself. And Syria is much more capable of doing so than Libya or Iraq were. The American public isn’t prepared for this, since it essentially has been told that Syria would submissively accept its punishment, perhaps after throwing a loud tantrum.
But Syria has advanced weapons systems, and it would be perfectly legal and reasonable for Syria to defend itself by — for example, by bombing a U.S. Navy destroyer, or perhaps targeting Israel, who will certainly be involved in the assault on some level, and therefore is a legitimate military target. Israel has bombed Syria several times in the last six months.
It’s very possible that Obama is trying to provoke a strong reaction from Syria to give the U.S. public a “real” reason to escalate the war. Any attack on Syria also has the possibility of bringing Iran into the conflict, since Iran and Syria have a mutual defense pact. And this may be the ultimate goal: to provoke Iran into getting involved militarily, so that the U.S. would have a justification to expand the war into Iran, which has been in the U.S. crosshairs for years.
If international and domestic pressure force Obama to merely launch a “symbolic” strike that Syria doesn’t retaliate against, then it will be a historic humiliation for US foreign policy, showing the decline of US international power. But even a “surgical” strike sets a very dangerous precedent, opening the door wider to future strikes which will inevitably be re-opened in the near future. A weak war effort this time will make the Obama Administration all the more war hungry next time, since empires don’t simply fade away into oblivion.
If Obama attacks Syria at this point, he’ll have fewer allies than did Bush in Iraq. Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, had the audacity to soil the ground where Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke 50 years earlier at the 1963 March on Washington; Obama sang the praises of the great peacemaker as he planned war against Syria.
Obama has very quickly ruined his integrity in Bush-like fashion. He’s jailed whistle-blowers like Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning — whose only crime was exposing war crimes — while now preparing an even bigger war crime against Syria. His presidency is going down in flames with impressive speed, and has the potential to drag down the rest of the country. On Saturday, August 31st, there is an international day of protest against a war with Syria. A large anti-war showing in the U.S. will convince more pro-war rats to jump ship, and an especially large showing could possibly sink the war ship in one shot.