No question, we are a culture that loves to be entertained. Even churches have caught on to the public’s desire for 24/7 entertainment. As a consequence, a large number of evangelical churches are now driven by a need to fulfill this desire in their congregants. And what better way to pack the house in ginormous auditoriums than to offer a 90 minute stage show enhanced with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video systems.
Lights, camera, action!
To boost the mood for the Praise and Worship segment of the service, a large number of churches feature a worship leader and several backup singers accompanied by a live band. I’ve been in services where the Praise Band could be the opening act for Switchfoot!
To help spice up worship, a team of want-to-be actors treat the audience to a short skit that ties in with the message (sermon). As the lights dim and the actors scurry off stage, a hip cool pastor wearing skinny jeans, a logo T-shirt, and a five o’clock shadow ambles out to preach the “new” Good News. Hip cool pastors aren’t your average run of the mill ministers. Some of these guys are genuine entertainers loaded with talent! They’re bona fide performers. True showmen. And some of them are comics! In fact, most hip cool pastors could walk off the church stage onto a Las Vegas stage and feel right at home. No really, they’re that good!
By in large, hip cool pastors’ main aim is to see that the folks find God, because once they find Him, they’ll find themselves and then…drum roll please….they’ll find their real “purpose” in life!
Now, I’m not attacking Church entertainment per say. I’m simply pointing out that in an effort to grow their churches many ministers adopt worldly methods such as the church growth model, a consumer oriented marketing strategy developed to attract the unchurched. And let’s be honest. For some pastors it’s not about saving souls, it’s about becoming the CEO of a thriving “megachurch.” Trying to attract large numbers of people, some pastors go way overboard. The end result is that the house of God has become like the world.
Warning: Adopting secular marketing techniques has risks. Often the Gospel becomes compromised when we adapt it to the culture.
Hellywood’s Influence On The Church
Many people are movie-goers…TV-viewers…music lovers…concert-attendees…
That Christians enjoy the same sort of entertainment as those who walk in darkness is revealing.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:5-7)
In this day and age it’s rare to find a movie or TV program that’s fit for Christian consumption. Hedonism, sexual explicitness and perversion, violence, occult themes and vile language aside, very few movies refrain from abusing God’s holy Name.
Have you ever noticed that Hollywood’s elite go out of their way not to offend ethnic groups, homosexuals, environmentalists, abortion providers, radical feminists, illegal immigrants, even Muslim terrorists? Yet evangelical Christians, Catholics and Mormons—especially those with conservative values—are all fair game.
It’s an undisputed fact that the entertainment industry is made up of liberals. Why should this matter to Christians? I answered this question in my column Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are A Result of Liberalism:
For most liberals right is wrong and wrong is right. Good is bad and bad is good. Normal is abnormal and abnormal is normal. Whatever advances their cause is what counts. “We must remember that liberalism is not just a system of bad ideas. It is a religion with its priests, creeds, confessions, and dogmas. Liberals worship the system, their church. They gladly sacrifice themselves and anyone else, friend or foe, who gets in the way of the cause. They are more religious than most Christians. They are more dedicated than most Christians.” (Liberal’s Are Evil, Wrong and Nuts!)
In the liberal’s way of thinking pretty much anything goes. Liberals view themselves as tolerant of the behaviors of others. They’re broad-minded. Generous. Untraditional. Unorthodox. Progressive.(Source)
Most Hollywood liberals don’t try to hide their disdain for conservatives — especially if they happen to be conservative Christians! And liberals don’t try to hide their blatant disrespect for the Lord Jesus Christ and for any of His followers who hold to biblical values.
So with this in mind, why do a large number of Christians tolerate Tinseltown’s deliberate abuse? Moreover, why do we cower when we’re labeled hateful, bigoted, mean-spirited, homophobic and worse? And why do we lay down our hard earned money at theater box offices when those in the entertainment industry (the same folks who make big bucks off of us) do not give a hoot that they’re dishonoring God’s Name?
While I’m on the subject of disrespect, I must mention that in churches all across America a number of pastors–especially younger pastors—have sunk to the level of using crude language and R-rated stories to “make a theological point.” Would profane pastors deliver a sermon laced with rough language to a church packed to the rafters with God’s holy elect angels? Of course not! Which makes one wonder, where are the deacons and elders – the so-called Church leadership? Why do they fail to roundly rebuke profane pastors? And when did the Church become Comedy Central?
Consider this also. Many professing Christians use God’s Name in vain and think nothing of it. For instance, you hear Christians utter “Oh G–!” and “Oh my G–!” all the time. How has it escaped them that they’re in violation of the 1st Commandment? The Bible explicitly says:
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exodus 20:7).
Clearly, anyone who misuses the Name of the LORD will be held accountable.
Returning to Tinseltown, people who work in entertainment expose young and old alike to gratuitous violence and vile language in films…DVDs…TV…music, especially gangsta rap and grunge! Even pornography, including child pornography, is pushed on society in a myriad of ways through the marvels of modern technology. TV networks have dropped the few remaining standards of decency for prime time telecasts. Those who happen to be TV fans know full well that producers/writers/actors/
Welcome to the anything goes world of moral relativism, where pretty much nothing is off limits anymore and nothing is sacred – including God’s Name.
What’s In A Name?
God’s Name is special. His Name carries His personal identity. So why are followers of Jesus Christ not incensed when they hear someone misusing His Name whether it’s in a movie, on TV, or from the lips of one of your friends or business associates?
Look at it this way, Christian: If someone close to you, say a parent, spouse or child, is called a vile name for no good reason, you’d come to his or her defense, wouldn’t you?
Of course you would!
So the next time someone drags God’s Name through the mud in your presence, why not turn to the person and say something like: “I’m a Christian, so I’m offended when you take God’s Name in vain.”
Many Christians will spend two hours viewing a movie that’s peppered with language so profane that they readily admit they wouldn’t dream of inviting Jesus to watch with them — because they know perfectly well He’d turn down the invite!
Some believers I know offer some of the most flimsy excuses for putting up with hearing God’s Name misused. For example, when it comes to seeing a movie that tickles their fancy they deem using the Lord’s name in vain acceptable if it’s not overused.
Whenever I broach this subject, I receive a slew of emails from so-called believers providing me with excuses for their viewing habits. The top 4 are:
1) We are under grace not under the law; therefore we mustn’t maintain a pharisaic attitude.
2) The Holy Spirit hasn’t convicted me.
3) Christians can do what is right in their own minds.
4) It doesn’t bother me.
Clearly, some Christian moviegoers think they’re excused from the moral example God has set forth for His people. Those who fall into this category should consider this: Hollywood is using your hard earned money (God’s money) to mock your Savior and to advance a morally bankrupt ideology.
Consider, also, that leftist entertainers use the money they rake in to further an anti-Christian agenda which includes removing all mention of God from the public square; abortion on demand; normalizing every sort of sexual perversion; advancing same-sex “marriage”; and environmental extremism.
What does this tell you about biblical discernment?
What it says to this writer is that far too many followers of the Lord Jesus Christ hold a worldview that is more aligned with Secular Humanism than with biblical Christianity.
The sad fact is that many believers participate in a number of things that the Bible deems inappropriate, immoral, and even toxic to the soul.
Do God’s people’s viewing and listening habits really matter all that much to Him? I mean, we’re under grace not under law, right? Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 6:22-23:
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be filled with darkness.
A “good eye” should be fixed on the Person who made our eyes!
Would Jesus Invite His followers To A Service Such As This?
At the beginning of this article, I discussed churches that have gone astray and, in an effort to “keep people coming,” focus largely on creating a “fun” and “relevant” environment that will draw the seeker in. To that end, hip cool pastors dumb down their sermons in an effort not to offend anyone, church doctrines are disregarded, the gospel is glossed over, worldly music is the norm—some of it with unbiblical lyrics! Sadly, when people raise holy hands to the God they say they adore, their demonstration of praise and worship comes, not from the heart; it’s merely inspired by the music–especially if it has a good beat.
What Would Jesus Have You Do?
First of all, there’s no perfect church. In choosing one, a good rule of thumb is to see that you’re in a Bible teaching church that holds to the authority of Scripture. If your current pastor gives a “feel good” message that includes a few Scripture verses with good stories and applications but has no biblical basis, consider shopping for a church with solid Bible teaching. In other words, find a church where, for the most part, the pastor teaches one verse at a time and rightly divides the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
When it comes to entertainment, the professing Christian need only ask: Would I invite Jesus to sit down next to me during a movie or TV program or while I browse the Net…email…text…comment or “like” something on Facebook? Would I want my Lord to hear the music stored on my iPod? Would I offer Him the best-selling book I just finished reading? As I glance through a magazine would it make me a tad uncomfortable to have Jesus looking over my shoulder? If the answer to any of the above is in the negative, then hightail it out of the theater…turn off the TV…log off the computer…delete the music…close the book!
What happened to Michael Hastings? The revelation that Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was working on a story about the CIA before his death and had contacted a Wikileaks lawyer about being under investigation by the FBI hours before his car exploded into flames has bolstered increasingly valid claims that the 33-year-old was assassinated.
Hastings died last week in Hollywood when his car hit a tree at high speed.
According to a prominent security analyst, technology exists that could’ve allowed someone to hack his car. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack.”
Clarke said, “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers” — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.
“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard.”
It’s possible that Hastings car was hacked considering the people he had written about in his past and what he recently had been talking about.
Kathleen Fisher from DARPA recently did a presentation on the ease of hacking a standard american sedan. Volvo started the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) program in 2009 and they are now reporting that their testing has been “successfully completed.” Hacking of a lemmings train like Volvo’s, could lead to massive collisions on the roads and there should be major security concerns considering what recently has been learned.
Zombies rush the Israeli wall. Message: 1. Wall is justified 2. Palestinians (and others so determined) are subhuman and need to be exterminated
This is no surprise of course. What’s interesting is how they’re positioning Zionism and Israel in the apocalyptic finale. It certainly is playing a big role in bringing the world into World War 3 which has actually already begun since the US and Israel pulled the pin out of the grenade with 9/11.
Since then the number of countries drawn into these increasing staged middle eastern conflicts meets the definition of a world war.
World war: Merriam-Webster: “a war that involves all or most of the principal nations of the world” or the MacMillan dictionary says “a war that is fought between many countries from different parts of the world”. Looks like we’re there, people, and it’s just going to keep escalating. Clever how they slipped us into this unending conflict that only gathers momentum by the day.
World War for Zion
This WWZ type of predictive programming is standard fare in the media. It’s gone on for centuries via books and embedded religious teaching, but now with modern media they can really mash it down the mass mind with abandon – and they do.
Of course they call it “entertainment”. The definition? “Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.” Remember diverts. Overall might sounds innocent enough, but we know better. It’s like the word “amusement”. The original meanings were “to divert the attention of so as to deceive”, “to occupy the attention of: absorb, distract, bewilder.” Now? “to entertain or occupy in a light, playful, or pleasant manner”.
It’s a tactic for diversion more than anything, while the war mongers carry out their Machiavellian plan.
WWZ – Predictive Programming Propaganda
This world war Z is just another propaganda flick, using the popularized zombie meme to the max to get the biggest bang for the buck. It’s written by the son of long time Hollywood Zionist insider Mel Brooks no less, so you can be sure he got all the right coaching, input, directions and help. And of course using another CFR/CIA type gofer in Brad Pitt who’s about to marry confirmed CFR member Angelina Jolie.
Predictive programming is very powerful, using the power of suggestion via carefully crafted emotionally charged scenarios to implant an idea for easier later acceptance as the actual scenarios roll out at the hands of the social programmers.
Alan Watt explains Predictive Programming:
“Hollywood is the magician’s wand (holly-holy) which has been used to cast a spell on the unsuspecting public.”
“Things or ideas which would otherwise be seen as bizarre, vulgar, undesirable or impossible are inserted into films in the realm of fantasy.”
“When the viewer watches these films, his/her mind is left open to suggestion and the conditioning process begins.”
“These same movies which are designed to program the average person, can give the discerning viewer a better understanding of the workings and the plan of the world agenda. ‘Be-aware’”
“Predictive Programming – The power of suggestion using the media of fiction to create a desired outcome.”
Enjoy this perceptive write up on “Z is for Zionism” as I call it, he nails it nicely:
Zombie Hasbara: ‘World War Z’ and Hollywood’s Zionist Embrace
I went to the Drive-In in Atlanta Friday night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a beautiful night under an almost full moon. We watched This is The End and Fast and Furious 6, and two of us stayed for the 2:00 am screening of World War Z. I’m not a zombie fanatic, so other than watching the Walking Dead, I had few expectations beyond the trailers that have been on TV since the Super Bowl. So I was surprised, jarred out of the movie really, when right in the middle of the narrative, Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, travels to Israel and spends more than 10 minutes in a full-on pro-Israel propaganda piece that was as corny as it was crazy.
The Times of Israel may be only slightly exaggerating when it calls this “the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since Otto Preminger’s “Exodus.” Not only is Israel’s fanatical Wall Building proven to be justified, against the hordes of undead invaders, and not only are Jewish victimizations paraded to justify the aggrandizement of Israeli military prowess, but it’s Israel’s supposed humanism, and multicultural inclusiveness, which in the end weakens the fragile post-apocalyptic state and allows the zombies to overrun everything. Its pretty heady stuff.
It’s all a smokescreen, with a few hints at what’s really going on behind the scenes. Analyzing and looking for meaning in this mass propaganda we’re being sprayed with is like looking for corn in a dung heap. But see through it we must, and then wash our minds clean of the stench and stain.
Beware how much you take on board, this type of stuff is toxic and loaded with occult symbolism, trigger words and subliminal messages meant to drag you down to their low vibration where you become even more susceptible.
Stay clear, but see these phony projections for what they are. Same with the news. We’re getting what they want us to get in these “breaking” stories, no matter how “revelatory” some of these spying and government and finance “revelations” are. It’s under control, and timed releases to test for reaction as well as let people vent some outrage and feel they have some say so are a common tactic.
I just don’t take the whole world geopolitical picture that gets painted as a reality. It’s a construct and tool of manipulation by its very nature.
Don’t let them define your reality by unwittingly adopting their parameters or living within their prescribed playing field.
We’re not separate to be put at variance against each other at the drop of a hat. Humanity is one, sharing a common consciousness. The entities that deny and attempt to erase this knowledge are the enemy.
First, get your mind and spirit truly free. Then you will know what you are to do.
Then do it.
All of it.
[Hat tip: Bob Hitt - tx!]
It is a scene out of a futuristic political thriller—the Secretary of State issues secret orders for embassy officials to collect the DNA of foreign heads of state while the President, speaking at a $1000 a plate dinner, is surrounded by a contingent of Secret Service agents wiping clean his drinking glasses and picking up stray hair follicles. They are not just protecting the President—they are protecting the President’s DNA.
If this sounds like a script treatment for a Hollywood version of a Philip K. Dick novel, consider this: The Secretary of State’s name is Hillary Clinton and her directives to embassies were uncovered in a 2010 Wikileaks cable release. The President in this scenario is Barack Obama and the Secret Service unit pledged to protect his DNA is a group of Navy stewards, as revealed in the 2009 book by Ronald Kessler, entitled “In the President’s Secret Service.”
Our government’s DNA obsession was again in the news this week as the Supreme Court handed down a decision, worthy of penning by George Orwell, that law enforcement collection of arrestees’ DNA is not an invasion of privacy. The decision likened DNA to fingerprints, neatly sidestepping the fact that a person’s complete genetic makeup is contained in those drops of blood that the police can now collect with impunity and without fear of a civil rights lawsuit.
Beyond the obvious surface concerns that this decision violates both the Fourth Amendment and the subsequent exclusionary rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Since we are not yet threatened with the spectre of toddlers robbing banks or committing rape, one must look further to discern what is the big deal about our DNA.
Back in 1997, Dr. Wayne Nathanson warned a meeting of the Science and Ethics Department of the Medical Society of the United Kingdom that “gene therapy” might be turned to insidious uses and result in “gene weapons,” which could be used to target specific people containing a specific genetic structure. These weapons, Nathanson warned, “could be delivered not only in the forms already seen in warfare such as gas and aerosol, but could also be added to water supplies, causing not only death but sterility and birth defects in targeted groups.” /www.projectcensored.org/top-
Decades before Dr. Nathanson’s highly publicized warning, the U.S. Government was already hard at work in scientific endeavors to find gene and ethnic specific weapons. In an article entitled “Ethnic Weapons,” published in the Military Review in 1970, the author, Dr. Carl A. Larson, was found rhapsodizing about the state of technology facilitating the targeting of ethnic groups with covert weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.”
However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly, that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
Larson concludes with the following stark declaration: “The enzymatic process for RNA production has been known for some years but now the factors have been revealed which regulate the initiation and specificity of enzyme production. Not only have the factors been found, but their inhibitors. Thus, the functions of life lie bare to attack.” (emphasis added)
Dr. Wouter Basson’s research for Project Coast, the biological and chemical warfare unit under the apartheid government in South Africa, was known to be focused on developing a “blacks only” bioweapon. Basson, who was tied to intelligence facilities and labs in both Great Britain and the U.S., has been reported to have been successful in his endeavors, which were taking place back in the seventies. According to sources close to Basson, his research entailed locating substances which would attach onto melanin. Melanin is present in high degrees in darker colored skin.
Since Basson’s work on the melanin project, the rates of hypertension and diabetes have skyrocketed in people of color—specifically those of African descent and also indigenous, brown skinned populations. In some communities, the incidence of these diseases is now reported as up to 50%. Consonant with the reports that this disease- producing melanin- related substance has been leaked into processed food, one finds the spiking rates of the “silent killers,” hypertension and diabetes, to be present in the developed world, where people eat more processed food. In rural Africa, for example, where the population eats food from natural sources, the rates of diabetes and hypertension have remained constant over the years.
The mapping of the human genome satisfied all the requisites for creating gene specific weapons. Geneticists have maintained that developing an ethnic weapon is actually far more difficult than creating a gene weapon to target a specific person. The differences between groups are apparently much smaller than the differences between individuals and therefore the creation of a genetic weapon to target, for example, a head of state or a President is far less challenging than creating such a weapon to target an entire race.
The FBI admits to a database of around 13 million offenders, many only arrested and never charged with a crime. According to Twila Brase, President of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, around 4 million samples (filed with the babies’ names) are collected each year by State Health Departments. Some states, such as Minnesota, have been collecting newborn DNA samples since the mid-eighties. Minnesota alone is reported to have a newborn database of over 1.5 million samples.
The delivery systems for a DNA weapon would be easy: Everything.
Because the weaponized genetic material would only affect the target, the weapon could be leaked into the food supply, the water supply or sprayed in an airborne delivery system, such as the inexplicable chemtrails that are now blanketing our skies. And should a low profile target suddenly die, who would ever know that he died of a gene based weapon? Should the target be high profile, like perhaps a Hugo Chavez or Canada’s Jack Layton, who would be able to trace a deadly disease back to a weapon targeting his DNA?
The insistence of the U.S. Government that it is only trying to protect its citizens from a terrorist threat is the perfect cover of plausible deniability. Under the mantle of “protection,” our rights have been systematically stripped away while wars abroad have been launched against the Semitic peoples of the Middle East. Genetic based weapons are another tool in the plausible deniability eugenics tool box. They may, in fact, be one of the most salient tools.
Years before Nathanson’s warning was issued, our government had already attained a significant level of ability to weaponize against ethnic groups. An article entitled Ethnic Weapons, published in the Military Review in 1970, found the author, Dr. Carl A Larson rhapsodizing about the scientific accomplishments enabling the creation and deployment of ethnic weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.” However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
You Have the Right to Remain Silent…as the Grave…
Anyone who was a fan of the old ABC TV series “The Untouchables” or of the later series, also on ABC, called “The FBI,” would know something is terribly fishy about the FBI slaying of Ibragim Todashev.
According to the FBI, Todashev, 27, who was an acquaintance, or friend, of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, was shot and killed by an FBI agent who was interviewing the young man, at his home, at midnight, allegedly because Todashev had suddenly attacked him, causing the agent to feel threatened.
There are an astonishing number of conflicing versions of this official story, involving a variety of different weapons and multiple explanations for how it happened. These versions variously had Todashev threatening the agent with a sword, a knife, a chair, a pipe, a metal pole or even a broomstick. But one thing that stands out is that the agent in each version was alone with Todashev, who was suspected of having been an participant, with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in an as yet unsolved September 11, 2011 slaying of three suspected young drug dealers in Waltham, Mass. at least one of whom was also a friend of the Tsarnaev brothers.
The critical word here is “alone.”
Watchers of those FBI TV programs know that FBI agents always work in pairs. This is not just Hollywood. It’s FBI policy.
Ibragim Todashev and autopsy photo showing FBI agent’s “kill shot” to the head during a midnight household “interrogation”
Indeed, when my father was informed back in 1969, by a colleague at the University of Connecticut School of Engineering where he was a professor, that the FBI was investigating me for my anti-war activities, the colleague, an arch-conservative backer of the US war in Vietnam, said that “two FBI agents” had come to his office to inquire about my activities (he had been outraged that the agents had come to him and not to my father for information about his son!).
It was also a pair of FBI agents who came, unannounced, to my dorm room at Wesleyan University a year earlier, when a group of us students had been hiding my roommate’s older brother, a Marine who had deserted from the service on a visit home from Vietnam whom we later helped escape to Canada and ultimately Sweden. In fact, so common were the visits by agents to anti-war activists that we on the left back in those days used to laugh that the FBI guys always looked like Jehovah’s witnesses when they’d knock on your door on a visit, traveling in pairs and wearing their neatly pressed suits.
Jokes aside, though, there is a reason that FBI agents work in pairs. It’s not that they can’t handle themselves in a confrontation, though safety no doubt is part of it. It’s that lying to a federal law enforcement agent is a felony — one that is very easy to prosecute and win conviction on and that has long proved useful for locking people up when conviction for a bigger crime might be difficult — but it is necessary to have a witness to make such a case. Two FBI agents means that there is always a witness to such lying — one that a jury will be inclined to believe.
So how did it come to pass that when Todashev made his alleged lunge — armed with knife, sword, chair, pipe, broomstick or whatever — at the FBI agent in question, that agent was alone in the apartment with him?
We’re asked to believe that the other agent (two actually, as there were reportedly three of them involved in a five-hour interrogation at the house earlier that night), and several Massachusetts state cops who were also along in Orlando, Florida for the questioning of Todashev, had inexplicably just “left the room” for some reason. That’s a lot of people all needing to relieve themselves at the same time!
This “explanation” for the creation of a situation allowing for a fatal two-man fight strains credulity to the breaking point. The FBI also claims that Todashev had already “confessed,” or was “about to confess” (whatever that means) to having been involved in the triple murder of the drug dealers, though that alleged confession (or pending confession) was, also incredibly, not recorded. Todashev was being questioned too, reportedly, about his links to the Tsarnaev brothers, and was thought to know about their alleged plans for marathon mayhem, so presumably keeping him alive to testify would have been very important to the pending federal case against the surviving younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
I would submit that it is simply not believable that such a suspect would not have been carefully guarded, carefully searched for weapons, and carefully secured in some fashion — most likely with handcuffs, before being questioned. I would also submit that there is no way that one lone agent would have been left alone with him under any circumstances, and not just for security reasons, but because Todashev was supposedly being interrogated, and there had to be a witness to his answers besides just the agent doing the questioning.
On TV, we do see agents or cops playing the old “good-cop-bad-cop” game with suspects, but that is always in a locked interrogation room, where the suspect has been searched for weapons already, and where reinforcements are just outside the door, ready to rush into the room should things get out of hand. Maybe this agent was the “bad cop” who was going to beat the crap out of Todashev while the other agents and cops were not there to call him off, you say? But if that was the case, he would either have had to be a very confident black belt to be alone confronting Todashev, who was known by the FBI to be a mixed martial arts expert, or he would have had his gun drawn. Furthermore, if beating up Tsarnaev, or torturing him, was the plan, they would have already cuffed him and locked him to a chair or table, since there was no advantage to be had by leaving him loose and free to counter-attack or defend himself.
The agent’s response to being allegedly attacked by the apparently un-restrained and variously armed Todashev (the FBI is now admitting that the victim was unarmed  throughout the incident), was to draw his gun and kill the suspect with seven shots, including one fired, execution-style, to the back of the head.
Todashev, who had already been questioned, had already told a friend earlier that he was worried that he was being “framed” by the FBI. Does that sound like someone who would have willingly testified to guilt in a brutal triple murder?
I don’t know what happened at midnight in Orlando in Todashev’s apartment, but it seems clear to me that what the FBI is saying happened, and what it is claiming Todashev told them, is not what it was. The ACLU seems to agree and is calling for an “outside investigation”  of the FBI killing.
America under President and Drone Commander Barack Obama and a “Justice” Department headed by Eric Holder, is fast becoming a very dangerous place — one that has much more in common with the Colonies under British rule than the one that the Founders envisioned when they appended the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Indeed, if, as it certainly appears, Todashev was executed by the FBI, it is a country that more closely resembles China or Nazi Germany than the free country we all were taught that we lived in.
Source URL: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1778
Current scandals aside, when the history of the Obama Administration is written the topic of crony capitalism will need a section to itself. From the high profile failures of green energy projects to the bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit, handing out taxpayer dollars to private industry is a hallmark of the president’s economic policy. But President Obama is not alone responsible for approving these giveaways. Congress has played a critical role, especially when it comes to subsidies to Hollywood and the recording industry.
Instapundit.com creator, Glenn Reynolds, has done yeoman’s work connecting the dots. He has extensively documented how the “content industry” has taken advantage of the tax credits and subsides on the federal, state and local levels, to pad their bottom line. But Hollywood’s biggest giveaways don’t occur on the tax-writing committees in Congress but the Judiciary Committee — where copyright policy is written.
Using every means at their disposal, Hollywood has attacked the balanced approach inherent in our Constitution. Unfortunately, members of both parties have played the game that has stifled economic growth and competition and given the content lobby their near every demand. In short, Congress continues to look for more draconian ways to help copyright holders enforce their copyrights without regard to the impact on users and consumers.
That’s why it was a pleasant surprise to hear House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announce a comprehensive review of copyright law. Goodlatte’s “Copyright Principles Project,” is an effort to build consensus around copyright laws between consumers, the content lobby and technology. Yet supporters of free market reforms viewed the announcement with both optimism and skepticism. There have been few supporters of reform within both parties and Mr. Goodlatte does not have a good track record of support for free market principles on these issues. But one can hope.
There are a number of reforms Mr. Goodlatte can endorse that will benefit consumers and help re-balance the law. Among them:
Unlocking Your Phone — When you buy a phone it is married to a specific wireless carrier. You can’t take it and go to another one because the cost of it was subsidized by the carrier with which you signed a contract. If, when that contract expires, you decide to switch to another carrier, or if you decide to pay the penalty and end your contract early for whatever reason, you, as the owner of the phone, become the proud owner of a technologically advanced and expensive paperweight. Your phone won’t work with another service provider. It would be like buying a car that you can never paint or change the radio, it has to be kept the same way it was when you bought it or it won’t work. You own it, technically, but General Motors controls it. There’s really nothing else you can buy that you, as the owner, have so little control over. Millions have been spent on lobbying to create and maintain this system.
Internet Radio — Internet radio is booming in popularity but the royalty scheme makes the model unprofitable. Internet radio websites pay six times the royalty rates of other broadcast mediums because the Copyright Royalty Board imposes price-fixing on the industry with standards created by Congress. Determining what standard applies depends on whether or not the service was “preexisting” in 1998 when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was enacted. New technologies are subject to a standard that results in much higher rates than those faced by “old” technologies like satellite radio. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced in the last Congress the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which seeks to fix the royalty rate mess. It should be a high priority for the Chairman.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle constantly rail against cronyism, yet both sides engage in it hoping you won’t notice. The “safeguards” built into that cronyism to protect the patrons of it are set up in such a way that you, the consumer, will place the blame elsewhere rather than where it ultimately belongs – the government. Companies use government as a weapon against competitors and consumers, companies know it and embrace it, consumers are kept in the dark.
Like how a raise in the gas tax is blamed on “greedy oil companies” for raising the price rather than government because consumers only see the end price at the pump without knowing it’s higher because their elected officials want a bigger slice, cronyism impacts you elsewhere. The company that makes your phone isn’t keeping you from using it however you want, and if your favorite Internet radio station goes away it won’t be because they couldn’t compete on a level playing field, an entire system has been set up to make it difficult, if not near impossible for them to exist. It’s just the way it is, but it doesn’t have to be.
Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
In his new book, “The Invention Of The Land of Israel”, Israeli academic Shlomo Sand, manages to present conclusive evidence of the far fetched nature of the Zionist historical narrative – that the Jewish Exile is a myth as is the Jewish people and even the Land of Israel.
Yet, Sand and many others fail to address the most important question: If Zionism is based on myth, how do the Zionists manage to get away with their lies, and for so long?
If the Jewish ‘homecoming’ and the demand for a Jewish national homeland cannot be historically substantiated, why has it been supported by both Jews and the West for so long? How does the Jewish state manage for so long to celebrate its racist expansionist ideology and at the expense of the Palestinian and Arab peoples?
Jewish power is obviously one answer, but, what is Jewish power? Can we ask this question without being accused of being Anti Semitic? Can we ever discuss its meaning and scrutinize its politics? Is Jewish Power a dark force, managed and maneuvered by some conspiratorial power? Is it something of which Jews themselves are shy? Quite the opposite – Jewish power, in most cases, is celebrated right in front of our eyes. As we know, AIPAC is far from being quiet about its agenda, its practices or its achievements. AIPAC, CFI in the UK and CRIF in France are operating in the most open manner and often openly brag about their success.
Furthermore, we are by now accustomed to watch our democratically elected leaders shamelessly queuing to kneel before their pay-masters. Neocons certainly didn’t seem to feel the need to hide their close Zionist affiliations. Abe Foxman’s Anti Defamation League (ADL) works openly towards the Judification of the Western discourse, chasing and harassing anyone who dares voice any kind of criticism of Israel or even of Jewish choseness. And of course, the same applies to the media, banking and Hollywood. We know about the many powerful Jews who are not in the slightest bit shy about their bond with Israel and their commitment to Israeli security, the Zionist ideology, the primacy of Jewish suffering, Israeli expansionism and even outright Jewish exceptionalism.
But, as ubiquitous as they are, AIPAC, CFI, ADL, Bernie Madoff, ‘liberator’ Bernard Henri Levy, war-advocate David Aaronovitch, free market prophet Milton Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, Lord Levy and many other Zionist enthusiasts and Hasbara advocates are not necessarily the core or the driving force behind Jewish Power, but are merely symptoms. Jewish power is actually far more sophisticated than simply a list of Jewish lobbies or individuals performing highly developed manipulative skills. Jewish power is the unique capacity to stop us from discussing or even contemplating Jewish power. It is the capacity to determine the boundaries of the political discourse and criticism in particular.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘right wing’ Zionists who facilitate Jewish power, It is actually the ‘good’, the ‘enlightened’ and the ‘progressive’ who make Jewish power the most effective and forceful power in the land. It is the ‘progressives’ who confound our ability to identify the Judeocentric tribal politics at the heart of Neoconservatism, American contemporary imperialism and foreign policy. It is the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist who goes out of his or her way to divert our attention from the fact that Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and blinds us to the fact that its tanks are decorated with Jewish symbols. It was the Jewish Left intellectuals who rushed to denounce Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, Jeff Blankfort and James Petras’ work on the Jewish Lobby. And it is no secret that Occupy AIPAC, the campaign against the most dangerous political Lobby in America, is dominated by a few righteous members of the chosen tribe. We need to face up to the fact that our dissident voice is far from being free. Quite the opposite, we are dealing here with an institutional case of controlled opposition.
In George Orwell’s 1984, it is perhaps Emmanuel Goldstein who is the pivotal character. Orwell’s Goldstein is a Jewish revolutionary, a fictional Leon Trotsky. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious anti-party organization called “The Brotherhood” and is also the author of the most subversive revolutionary text (The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism). Goldstein is the ‘dissenting voice’, the one who actually tells the truth. Yet, as we delve into Orwell’s text, we find out from Party’s ‘Inner Circle’ O’Brien that Goldstein was actually invented by Big Brother in a clear attempt to control the opposition and the possible boundaries of dissidence.
Orwell’s personal account of the Spanish Civil War “Homage To Catalonia” clearly presaged the creation of Emmanuel Goldstein. It was what Orwell witnessed in Spain that, a decade later, matured into a profound understanding of dissent as a form of controlled opposition. My guess is that, by the late 1940’s, Orwell had understood the depth of intolerance, and tyrannical and conspiratorial tendencies that lay at the heart of ‘Big Brother-ish’ Left politics and praxis.
Surprisingly enough, an attempt to examine our contemporaneous controlled opposition within the Left and the Progressive reveal that it is far from being a conspiratorial. Like in the case of the Jewish Lobby, the so-called ‘opposition’ hardly attempts to disguise its ethno-centric tribal interests, spiritual and ideological orientation and affiliation.
A brief examination of the list of organisations founded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) presents a grim picture – pretty much the entire American progressive network is funded, partially or largely by a liberal Zionist, philanthropic billionaire who supports very many good and important causes that are also very good for the Jews. And yet, like staunch Zionist Haim Saban, Soros does not operate clandestinely. His Open Society Institute proudly provides all the necessary information regarding the vast amount of shekels it spreads on its good and important causes.
So one can’t accuse Soros or the Open Society Institute of any sinister vetting the political discourse, stifling of free speech or even to ‘controlling the opposition’. All Soros does is to support a wide variety of ‘humanitarian causes’: Human Rights, Women’s Rights. Gay Rights, equality, democracy, Arab ‘Spring’, Arab Winter, the oppressed, the oppressor, tolerance, intolerance, Palestine, Israel, anti war, pro-war (only when really needed), and so on.
As with Orwell’s Big Brother that frames the boundaries of dissent by means of control opposition, Soros’ Open Society also determines, either consciously or unconsciously, the limits of critical thought. Yet, unlike in 1984, where it is the Party that invents its own opposition and write its texts, within our ‘progressive’ discourse, it is our own voices of dissent, willingly and consciously, that are compromising their principles.
Soros may have read Orwell – he clearly believes his message – because from time to time he even supports opposing forces. For instance, he funds the Zionist-lite J Street as well as Palestinian NGO organisations. And guess what? It never takes long for the Palestinian beneficiaries to, compromise their own, most precious principles so they fit nicely into their paymaster’s worldview.
The Visible Hand
The invisible hand of the market is a metaphor coined by Adam Smith to describe the self-regulating behaviour of the marketplace. In contemporary politics. The visible hand is a similar metaphor which describes the self-regulating tendency of the political-fund beneficiary, to fully integrate the world view of its benefactor into its political agenda.
Democracy Now, the most important American dissident outlet has never discussed the Jewish Lobby with Mearsheimer, Walt, Petras or Blankfort – the four leading experts who could have informed the American people about the USA’s foreign policy domination by the Jewish Lobby. For the same reasons, Democracy Now wouldn’t explore the Neocon’s Judeo-centric agenda nor would it ever discuss Jewish Identity politics with yours truly. Democracy Now will host Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, it may even let Finkelstein chew up Zionist caricature Alan Dershowitz – all very good, but not good enough.
Is the fact that Democracy Now is heavily funded by Soros relevant? I’ll let you judge.
If I’m correct (and I think I am) we have a serious problem here. As things stand, it is actually the progressive discourse, or at least large part of it. that sustains Jewish Power. If this is indeed the case, and I am convinced it is, then the occupied progressive discourse, rather than Zionism, is the primary obstacle that must be confronted.
It is no coincidence that the ‘progressive’ take on ‘antisemitism’ is suspiciously similar to the Zionist one. Like Zionists, many progressive institutes and activists adhere to the bizarre suggestion that opposition to Jewish power is ‘racially motivated’ and embedded in some ‘reactionary’ Goyish tendency. Consequently, Zionists are often supported by some ‘progressives’ in their crusade against critics of Israel and Jewish power. Is this peculiar alliance between these allegedly opposing schools of thoughts, the outcome of a possible ideological continuum between these two seemingly opposed political ideologies? Maybe, after all, progressiveness like Zionism is driven by a peculiar inclination towards ‘choseness’. After all, being progressive somehow implies that someone else must be ‘reactionary’. It is those self-centric elements of exceptionalism and choseness that have made progressiveness so attractive to secular and emancipated Jews. But the main reason the ‘progressive’ adopted the Zionist take on antisemitism, may well be because of the work of that visible hand that miraculously shapes the progressive take on race, racism and the primacy of Jewish suffering.
We may have to face up to the fact that the progressive discourse effectively operates as Israel’s longest arm – it certainly acts as a gatekeeper and as protection for Zionism and Jewish tribal interests. If Israel and its supporters would ever be confronted with real opposition it might lead to some long-overdue self-reflection. But at the moment, Israel and Zionist lobbies meet only insipid, watered-down, progressively-vetted resistance that, in practice, sustains Israeli occupation, oppression and an endless list of human rights abuses.
Instead of mass opposition to the Jewish State and its aggressive lobby, our ‘resistance’ is reduced into a chain of badge-wearing, keffiyeh-clad, placard-waving mini-gatherings with the occasional tantrum from some neurotic Jewess while being videoed by another good Jew. If anyone believes that a few badges, a load of amateur Youtube clips celebrating Jewish righteousness are going to evolve into a mass anti-Israel global movement, they are either naïve or stupid.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll revealed that current Americans’ sympathy for Israel has reached an All-Time High. 64% of Americans sympathise with the Jewish State, while only 12% feel for the Palestinians. This is no surprise and our conclusion should be clear. As far as Palestine is concerned, ‘progressive’ ideology and praxis have led us precisely nowhere. Rather than advance the Palestinian cause, it only locates the ‘good’ Jew at the centre of the solidarity discourse.
When was the last time a Palestinian freedom fighter appeared on your TV screen? Twenty years ago the Palestinian were set to become the new Che Guevaras. Okay, so the Palestinian freedom fighter didn’t necessarily speak perfect English and wasn’t a graduate of an English public school, but he was free, authentic and determined. He or she spoke about their land being taken and of their willingness to give what it takes to get it back. But now, the Palestinian has been ‘saved’, he or she doesn’t have to fight for his or her their land, the ‘progressive’ is taking care of it all.
This ‘progressive’ voice speaks on behalf of the Palestinian and, at the same time, takes the opportunity to also push marginal politics, fight ‘Islamism’ and ‘religious radicalisation’ and occasionally even supports the odd interventionst war and, of course, always, always, always fights antisemitism. The controlled opposition has turned the Palestinian plight into just one more ‘progressive’ commodity, lying on the back shelf of its ever-growing ‘good-cause’ campaign store.
For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists. Philip Weiss, the founder of the most popular progressive pro-Palestinian blog was even brave enough to admit to me that it is Jewish self -interests that stood at the core of his pro Palestinian activity.
Jewish self-love is a fascinating topic. But even more fascinating is Jewish progressives loving themselves at the expense of the Palestinians. With billionaires such as Soros maintaining the discourse, solidarity is now an industry, concerned with profit and power rather than ethics or values and it is a spectacle both amusing and tragic as the Palestinians become a side issue within their own solidarity discourse.
So, perhaps before we discuss the ‘liberation of Palestine’, we first may have to liberate ourselves.
Last night, the people of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas gathered in the town square to witness the traditional burning of Judas. The burning of Judas in effigy is a local custom taking place at the end of Holy Week (“Semana Santa”). The square behind the Palacio Municipal was packed with thousands of locals, who climbed onto stairways and shimmied up columns in order to get a better look at the symbolic end of evil.
Earlier in the day, ten large plastic sculptures by local artists, depicting perpetrators of social and political injustice, were placed on display in the square. The theme for this year’s depiction of our current Judases was “Mistreatment of babies.” Not to be harnessed by literal constraints, the artwork depicted a wide range of perpetrators of harm and injustice, including Uncle Sam, a bankster holding aloft a large bag of money and a reptilian sort of dragon which seemed intent on global domination.
At the stroke of ten, the burnings commenced. One by one, each piece of art was pyrotechnically exploded into flames, while pinwheels of fireworks arched up into the sky above the square. The crowd itself exploded into applause, while depictions of oppression and corporate greed transmogrified into ten pyres of burning annihilation.
One of the art works was apparently seeded too heavily with explosives and at the time of detonation, huge sparks rained down on the crowd. A stampede ensued, as the crowd rushed for the cover of the Palacio Municipal. There were no reports of injuries sustained.
Symbolically, the destruction of evil and the triumph of good laces all our myths, our religious texts and our modern day political constructs, not to mention the celluloid outspewings of Hollywood. The thirst for justice and the conquest of evil seems basic to the human story. In the United States, this thirst for justice has assumed again a nearly mythic stature, as our populace is waking up to history: Our history, the truth behind the dream of America, the truth of imperial greed and slaughter, the killing of the indigenous, the enslavement of people of color, of wars based on lies and contempt for human life and the mockery of justice which is now taking place every day in our halls of justice.
But behind this thirst for justice lies a deeply disturbing question. How does one conquer evil without oneself using the tools and methods of evil? Does a guillotine chopping off the head of a king or prince actually end the reign of corruption or does it simply confirm and perpetuate violence as a means of asserting self- will? And —this question cuts to the core–does the one manning the guillotine soon use this power to become the very oppressor he sought to defeat?
In a recent interview (http://youtu.be/BKCVmJoS2PU), Howard Nema and I discussed the burning of Judas and also some recent revelations of corruption in a county in Southern California, as well as the apparently successful intimidation of a brave and beloved San Bernardino county activist by ….well, those manning the guillotine. These days, one sees lights being extinguished, dampened and diminished everywhere one looks. Telling the truth and acting upon that knowledge of right vs. wrong is becoming an increasingly perilous endeavor.
The light we should seek and applaud is not, to my way of thinking, the pyre of a burning Judas. The flames that should be drawing us into town squares, into virtual meeting places on the web, into our spiritual sacred spaces and into our political meeting halls are the lights carried by each and every one of us who still knows wrong from right and has the courage to speak out. These are the sparks of the Divine flame which need to be honored and these are the lights which will be passed and carried through the generations.
Fear has a way of darkening the light. If it is any comfort, no one gets out of here alive. Not a Judas, not a Christ, and certainly not you or me. What will remain behind us is our light and what we have done during our brief tenure on this embattled planet. Whether this legacy pushes back the darkness or, out of fear and a sense of self preservation instead solidifies and strengthens the darkness is entirely up to us.
Yes, there is indeed a battle going on and the battlefield is in the hearts and minds of every one of us. As the old Indian legend tells it, each of us contains two wolves—the good wolf and the bad wolf. Which wolf gains ascendancy depends on which one we feed. The Judas burning last night in the central square may have been the externalization of the Judas that lurks in each of us. It may be time to confront him, face to face and without illusions.
The descent was gradual—a slide into the tawdry, the trivial and the inane, into the charade on cable news channels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up corporate political puppets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legitimate news. But if I had to pick a date when commercial television decided amassing corporate money and providing entertainment were its central mission, when it consciously chose to become a carnival act, it would probably be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq
Donahue and Bill Moyers, the last honest men on national television, were the only two major TV news personalities who presented the viewpoints of those of us who challenged the rush to war in Iraq. General Electric and Microsoft—MSNBC’s founders and defense contractors that went on to make tremendous profits from the war—were not about to tolerate a dissenting voice. Donahue was fired, and at PBS Moyers was subjected to tremendous pressure. An internal MSNBC memo leaked to the press stated that Donahue was hurting the image of the network. He would be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,” the memo read. Donahue never returned to the airwaves.
The celebrity trolls who currently reign on commercial television, who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same corporate script. They spin the same court gossip. They ignore what the corporate state wants ignored. They champion what the corporate state wants championed. They do not challenge or acknowledge the structures of corporate power. Their role is to funnel viewer energy back into our dead political system—to make us believe that Democrats or Republicans are not corporate pawns. The cable shows, whose hyperbolic hosts work to make us afraid self-identified liberals or self-identified conservatives, are part of a rigged political system, one in which it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, General Electric or ExxonMobil. These corporations, in return for the fear-based propaganda, pay the lavish salaries of celebrity news people, usually in the millions of dollars. They make their shows profitable. And when there is war these news personalities assume their “patriotic” roles as cheerleaders, as Chris Matthews—who makes an estimated $5 million a year—did, along with the other MSNBC and Fox hosts.
It does not matter that these celebrities and their guests, usually retired generals or government officials, got the war terribly wrong. Just as it does not matter that Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman were wrong on the wonders of unfettered corporate capitalism and globalization. What mattered then and what matters now is likability—known in television and advertising as the Q score—not honesty and truth. Television news celebrities are in the business of sales, not journalism. They peddle the ideology of the corporate state. And too many of us are buying.
The lie of omission is still a lie. It is what these news celebrities do not mention that exposes their complicity with corporate power. They do not speak about Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, a provision that allows the government to use the military to hold U.S. citizens and strip them of due process. They do not decry the trashing of our most basic civil liberties, allowing acts such as warrantless wiretapping and executive orders for the assassination of U.S. citizens. They do not devote significant time to climate scientists to explain the crisis that is enveloping our planet. They do not confront the reckless assault of the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. They very rarely produce long-form documentaries or news reports on our urban and rural poor, who have been rendered invisible, or on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or on corporate corruption on Wall Street. That is not why they are paid. They are paid to stymie meaningful debate. They are paid to discredit or ignore the nation’s most astute critics of corporatism, among them Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. They are paid to chatter mindlessly, hour after hour, filling our heads with the theater of the absurd. They play clips of their television rivals ridiculing them and ridicule their rivals in return. Television news looks as if it was lifted from Rudyard Kipling’s portrait of the Bandar-log monkeys in “The Jungle Book.” The Bandar-log, considered insane by the other animals in the jungle because of their complete self-absorption, lack of discipline and outsized vanity, chant in unison: “We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.”
When I reached him by phone recently in New York, Donahue said of the pressure the network put on him near the end, “It evolved into an absurdity.” He continued: “We were told we had to have two conservatives for every liberal on the show. I was considered a liberal. I could have Richard Perle on alone but not Dennis Kucinich. You felt the tremendous fear corporate media had for being on an unpopular side during the ramp-up for a war. And let’s not forget that General Electric’s biggest customer at the time was Donald Rumsfeld [then the secretary of defense]. Elite media features elite power. No other voices are heard.”
Donahue spent four years after leaving MSNBC making the movie documentary “Body of War” with fellow director/producer Ellen Spiro, about the paralyzed Iraq War veteran Tomas Young. The film, which Donahue funded himself, began when he accompanied Nader to visit Young in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
“Here is this kid lying there whacked on morphine,” Donahue said. “His mother, as we are standing by the bed looking down, explained his injuries. ‘He is a T-4. The bullet came through the collarbone and exited between the shoulder blades. He is paralyzed from the nipples down.’ He was emaciated. His cheekbones were sticking out. He was as white as the sheets he was lying on. He was 24 years old. … I thought, ‘People should see this. This is awful.’ ”
Donahue noted that only a very small percentage of Americans have a close relative who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and an even smaller number make the personal sacrifice of a Tomas Young. “Nobody sees the pain,” he said. “The war is sanitized.”
“I said, ‘Tomas, I want to make a movie that shows the pain, I want to make a movie that shows up close what war really means, but I can’t do it without your permission,’ ” Donahue remembered. “Tomas said, ‘I do too.’ ”
But once again Donahue ran into the corporate monolith: Commercial distributors proved reluctant to pick up the film. Donahue was told that the film, although it had received great critical acclaim, was too depressing and not uplifting. Distributors asked him who would go to see a film about someone in a wheelchair. Donahue managed to get openings in Chicago, Seattle, Palm Springs, New York, Washington and Boston, but the runs were painfully brief.
“I didn’t have the money to run full-page ads,” he said. “Hollywood often spends more on promotion than it does on the movie. And so we died. What happens now is that peace groups are showing it. We opened the Veterans for Peace convention in Miami. Failure is not unfamiliar to me. And yet, I am stunned at how many Americans stand mute.”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Victoria’s Secret (VS) has sunk to a new low – and I didn’t think that was possible. Recently the retailer introduced a line of intimate apparel that they’re calling “Bright, Young Things.” The new line is designed to appeal to teen and tween girls. Get a load of this:
In the spring line, you’ll find an array of panties, from lace back cheeksters with the word “Wild” on the back, to a lace trim thong with “Call Me” on the front, to green-and-white polka-dot hipsters reading “Feeling Lucky? (Source)
So – the decision makers at VS see nothing wrong with targeting middle and high school girls for the purpose of purchasing lace trimmed thongs with “Call me” emblazoned on the front? Do these people not comprehend that this new line exploits girls? Have they no sense of decency?
Because the company is in business to make money it appears every decision is strictly about the bottom (pardon the pun) line: “Sales of lingerie for younger women are a $1.5 billion-a-year business for Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line, which also woos girls.” If making a profit means the company has to hyper-sexualize girls – because that’s what they’re doing – so be it. Dads, how do you feel about your 12-year-old wearing hipster panties that ask the question: “Feeling lucky?” Would you think it cute? This is what I was referring to when I said that Victoria’s Secret has sunk to a new low. One can only hope that parents will have the good sense to shop elsewhere for their precious daughter’s undergarments.
But VS is not the only organization pushing sleazy undergarments to young girls. According to Bloomberg Business Week, retailers of top name brands such as Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters present their garments as cute vs. sexy. Marcie Merriman, founder of consulting firm PrimalGrowth, candidly reveals that retailers are “all going to say they’re targeting 18- to 22-year-olds, but the reality is you’re going to get the younger customer.”
The Bloomberg article maintains that intimate apparel for girls generates big bucks for retailers – more than $11.1 billion in annual sales! Limited Brands has done even better – its VS Pink brand has done $1.5 billion and expects to do even better in the coming years.
Bloomberg also reports this sad fact:
A decade ago girls had little choice in underwear; a training bra was often a plain garment bought at Target (TGT). No longer. “Sensuality and body image continues to be a message that young girls are seeing and are being exposed to in a much less controlled fashion perhaps than even 10, 12 years ago,” says Dan Stanek, executive vice president at consultancy Big Red Rooster. They’re aiming to imitate the lingerie styles worn by celebrities seen on the Web, he says.
Lingerie makers have to be careful adjusting their messaging for a younger audience so it’s more about the girl and less about dressing in a way that’s appealing for men…” Moreover, “Merchandisers must “use the word ‘pretty’ more than ‘sexy’…. (Source)
Sly devils, aren’t they?
Teen Girl Magazine “Seventeen”
While I’m on the subject of hyper-sexualizing teens and tweens, according to a March 11 Fox News report:
Ashley Benson, 23, knows what sells to America’s 12-year-old girls: sex, including threesomes. Together with Seventeen magazine, the actress is promoting her new movie “Spring Breakers” on the magazine’s cover, despite the fact that the movie is being hyped elsewhere for its steamy sex scene between Benson, actress Vanessa Hudgens, 24, and actor James Franco. The movie is rated R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence. Seventeen targets an audience of females, aged 12 to 19.
What, no cannibalism?
From the Media Research Center:
“Seventeen” Entertainment Director, Carissa Rosenberg Tozzi, introduced the interview with Benson by asking girls, “Ever feel like you want to try something different, but everyone else wants you to stay exactly the same?” The article sought empathy, relating how “It’s super-frustrating to be pigeon-holed like that – and Ashley Benson knows exactly how it feels.”
According to Tozzi, Benson desired to “branch out and try something edgier” in her new “Spring Breakers” role. She wanted to be “bold” because, in Benson’s words, “as long as you’re happy, that’s what’s important.”
In an effort to be viewd as bold and edgy, the Disney star happily cast off her wholesome image, much the same as teen idol Miley Cyrus did a few years ago when she decided to change her wholesome image to sultry seductress. In a column I wrote entitled America’s Moral Implosion I disclosed what young Miley was up to:
In her raunchy new music video single “Who Owns My Heart” fans won’t recognize the cute teenage girl who plays the title role of Hanna Montana on the Disney channel. Miley is17-years-old and apparently thinks she’s all grown up. If appearances are any indication, she seems quite comfortable in her new role. Watching the video makes one think that writhing on a bed wearing only underwear and grinding with males and females on the dance floor wearing short shorts and a reveling top is old hat for Lady Miley. One thing’s for sure: Miley Cyrus is no longer the Disney darling she once was. Watch her video. See the new Barbarella do her thing.
I also pointed out that ever since the early sixties secularists have done their best to denigrate and coarsen the culture. Five decades later most adults don’t bat an eye when they see “teenage girls parade around in public, scantily dressed, wearing getups that 20 years ago only prostitutes turning tricks on street corners would dare dress in.” And I warned that, “unbridled immorality is part and parcel of the secular worldview.” Moreover:
Young people abuse drugs and alcohol. They lie, cheat and steal without remorse. They do not flinch at brutality. Instead of portraying vampires and witches as villains, they are the new heroes and heroines. Coarse language spews forth from the mouths of preteens…there is little or no respect for authority or for adults…selfishness and narcissism has become the rule, not the exception. What more proof do we need that liberalism brings destruction to a nation?
Dysfunctional Hollywood Liberals
To a great extent, the entertainment industry (EI) is to blame for sexualizing girls. It’s a well known fact that liberals are the movers and shakers in the EI. And those who work in entertainment, especially celebrities, are largely to blame for corrupting society.
Pro-family and religious conservatives are not the ones that have brought us the culture of death and destruction – liberals have. Liberals, aka progressives, insist that all mention of God and the scriptures be removed from the public square through their misinterpretation of the First Amendment. Was the First Amendment really intended to rid public education of prayer and the Bible, while at the same time giving license to pornography that has introduced society to every sort of evil imaginable?
Track the increase of gruesome crimes against children such as rape, sodomy and abductions since 1947 and you’ll find a huge spike. No one can blame Bible reading and prayer for the upswing in crime against children. No. The blame must be laid squarely upon the shoulders of hedonist “progressives” for the simple reason that they are the ones to blame for our nation’s descent onto moral relativism – the belief that there is no right or wrong and that morality does not exist – and if everyone’s doing it then it must be okay.
A large number of Americans worry that society is experiencing a moral meltdown. They point to Hollywood as the main culprit for this. Yet Hollywood’s elites choose to ignore the obvious. Instead of producing wholesome entertainment, which many people seem to want, the EI continually turns out filth – and the more twisted the better. Sex, violence and occult themes have increased in movies, on TV programs, video games, board games, and so on. Sex sells in magazines. Clothing manufactures sell sex. Even so-called Christian retailers are selling sex! (I reported on this in depth in my columnThe “New Breed” of Christian Fashion.)
A July 2012 study suggests that children who watch sex on TV programs and movies will be more promiscuous and sexually active from a younger age. “Psychologists concluded that teenagers exposed to more sex on screen in popular films are likely to have sexual relations with more people and without using condoms.”
Dr. Ross O’Hara, who led the study, cautioned:
This study, and its confluence with other work, strongly suggests that parents need to restrict their children from seeing sexual content in movies at young ages. (Source)
What To Do?
I’ll close with an excerpt from a column I wrote entitled Liberals Created the Culture of Evil and Death, Part 1 where I offered the following advice on ways to turn the clock back to a time when children were allowed to be children, before America took a very dark turn:
First, Bible believing Christians must share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:15-7).
We must make disciples of all nations. (Mat. 28:19) This is a command not a suggestion. People will not change unless hearts and minds are changed. It is men and women who need changing, not just the system (but the system needs changing too). There’s a Holy Spirit filled power in the gospel that can change the most hardened criminal into a saint.
Second, Christian parents must instill in their children a Christian worldview on a variety of moral issues such as premarital sex, bearing babies out of wedlock, abortion, homosexuality, biblical marriage, gambling and drug use.
Third, parents must address what’s going on in the government-run-schools they send their children to, where individual thinking is discouraged and group-think is rewarded. What kids are being exposed to is humanistic education. A large number of our public school teachers and counselors are radical liberals. Their aim is to persuade students to reject their parent’s values and instill their own leftist ideology. In her book “Total Truth,” Nancy Pearcey warns parents that they’re youngsters “must be equipped to analyze and critique the competing worldviews they will encounter when they leave home” and she explains how to equip them. In short, young people must have the confidence to stand up for what they believe, both in college and the workplace. Turning the other cheek has never deterred a liberal.
Fourth, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Why is this important? “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim 4:2-5).
Fifth, pray! “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James 5:17, 18). When you pray you must pray to the only true God.
Upstate New York’s Catskill Mountain Range is a bucolic place near and dear to my heart. It’s where storybook character Rip Van Winkle enjoyed his legendary slumber, and its scenery hasn’t changed much since he was born of Washington Irving’s fertile imagination. Yet, like Van Winkle, if I’d fallen asleep for 20 years when first arriving in that verdant heaven, I, too, would have noticed some profound changes upon awakening.
About two decades ago, many rural Catskill teens — sons of farmers and hunters and fishermen — suddenly started donning baggy pants and reflecting “gangsta’” counter-culture despite living nowhere near any large urban center. The following generation of teens experienced today’s recent cultural evolution and often sport multiple tattoos and body piercings despite living nowhere near NYC’s grungy East Village. Yet I’m wrong in a sense: those places were actually very close — a television set away.
My old hinterland haunt was once place where, if you wiggled the rabbit-ear antenna just right, you could pull in one or two TV stations. And what could you see? Perhaps reruns of The Brady Bunch, perhaps the news. But about a quarter century ago came VCRs and video stores; then cable and satellite TV; and, finally, the Internet. The serpent had entered Eden.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, much fire has been directed at gun advocates in general and the National Rifle Association in particular. In response, the organization has implicated Hollywood and popular culture in general for mainstreaming mindless violence. Yet even many Second Amendment advocates part company with the NRA on this point. After all, blaming entertainment for crime smacks of blaming guns. Yet there’s quite a profound difference: guns don’t transmit values. But how we use guns— and knives, fists and words — on screen certainly does.
This message is often a tough sell, however, as it’s very natural to defend one’s entertainment. We grow up with certain shows, movies, characters and music and often become emotionally attached to them; in fact, we may identify with them so closely that an attack upon them can be taken personally. It’s the same phenomenon that causes an avid sports fan to defend his favorite team as if it’s his favored son. And it is then we may hear that old refrain, “It isn’t the entertainment; it’s the values learned at home” (they’re actually one and the same since entertainment enters the home with, in the least, the parents’ tacit approval).
Yet it appears few really believe that refrain. Sure, depending on our ideology, we may disagree on what entertainment is destructive, but that it can be destructive is something on which consensus exists. Just consider, for instance, that when James Cameron’s film Avatar was released, there was much talk in the conservative blogosphere about its containing environmentalist, anti-corporate and anti-American propaganda. At the other end of the spectrum, liberals wanted the old show Amos ‘n Andy taken off the air because it contained what they considered harmful stereotypes. Or think of how critics worried that Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ would stoke anti-Jewish sentiment or that Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ would inspire anti-Christian feelings, and how the Catholic League complained that The Da Vinci Code was anti-Catholic. Now, I’m not commenting on these claims’ validity. My only point is that when our own sacred cows are being slaughtered, few of us will say, “Well, yeah, the work attacks my cause, but I don’t care because it’s the values taught at home that really matter.”
The truth? Entertainment is powerful. This is why Adolf Hitler had his propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, and why all modern regimes have at times created their own propaganda films. It’s why the ancient Greeks saw fit to censor the arts and American localities traditionally had obscenity laws. And it is why, while “The pen is mightier than the sword” and a picture mightier still, being worth a “thousand words,” we have to wonder how many words moving footage coupled with sound would be. How mighty art thou, Tinseltown? Well, we worry that a child witnessing one parent continually abuse the other will learn to be violent, as children learn by example. Yet often forgotten is that while a person can model behavior seven feet away from the television, he can also model it seven feet away through the television.
And what effect do our entertainment role models have? Much relevant research exists, and the picture it paints isn’t pretty. For instance, a definitive 1990s study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that in every society in which TV was introduced, there was an explosion in violent crime and murder within 15 years. As an example, TV had been banned in South Africa for internal security reasons until 1975, at which point the nation had a lower murder rate than other lands with similar demographics. The country’s legalization of TV prompted psychiatrist Dr. Brandon Centerwall to predict “that white South African homicide rates would double within 10 to 15 years after the introduction of television….” But he was wrong.
By 1987 they had more than doubled.
Then the Guardian told us in 2003 that, “…Bhutan, the fabled Himalayan Shangri-la, became the last nation on earth to introduce television. Suddenly a culture, barely changed in centuries, was bombarded by 46 cable channels. And all too soon came Bhutan’s first crime wave — murder, fraud, drug offences.” The serpent had struck again.
And exactly how it strikes is interesting…and scary. Lt. Col. David Grossman, a former West Point military psychologist and one of the world’s foremost experts on what he calls “killology,” explains the process well. In his essay “Trained to Kill,” he speaks of how the military learned that during WWII only 15 to 20 percent of riflemen would actually shoot at an exposed enemy soldier. Yet this rate was increased to 55 percent during the Korean War and then 90 percent in Vietnam. How? By applying psychological principles, says Grossman, identical to the forces our children are exposed to through entertainment. They are (all quotations are Grossman’s):
- Brutalization and desensitization: this occurs in boot camp where the training is designed “to break down your existing mores and norms and to accept a new set of values that embrace destruction, violence, and death as a way of life.” Entertainment can perhaps be even more effective when doing this to children because the process often starts when they’re too young to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Grossman explains:
- To have a child of three, four, or five watch a “splatter” movie, learning to relate to a character for the first 90 minutes and then in the last 30 minutes watch helplessly as that new friend is hunted and brutally murdered is the moral and psychological equivalent of introducing your child to a friend, letting [him] play with that friend, and then butchering that friend in front of your child’s eyes.
- Classical conditioning: the Japanese employed this during WWII. Soldiers would have to watch and cheer as a few of their comrades bayoneted prisoners to death. All the servicemen were then “treated to sake, the best meal they had had in months, and to so-called comfort girls. The result? They learned to associate committing violent acts with pleasure.” Likewise, today “[o]ur children watch vivid pictures of human suffering and death, learning to associate it with their favorite soft drink and candy bar, or their girlfriend’s perfume.”
- Operant conditioning: “When people are frightened or angry, they will do what they have been conditioned to do…. [It’s] stimulus-response, stimulus-response.” Thus, one of the ways the military increased riflemen’s willingness to shoot exposed enemies was to switch from the bull’s-eye targets of WWII training to “realistic, man-shaped silhouettes that pop into their field of view.” The soldiers have only a split-second to engage this new “stimulus” with the response of firing reflexively. As for kids, “every time a child plays an interactive point-and-shoot video game, he is learning the exact same conditioned reflex and motor skills.” This can help explain, says Grossman, why robbers under stress will sometimes reflexively shoot victims even when it wasn’t “part of the plan.”
If the above seems at all simplistic, note that it’s a life’s work boiled-down to 500 words. Suffice it to say, however, that entertainment has an effect. And do we really consider today’s entertainment benign? We’ve transitioned from a pre-TV America where boys sometimes brought real guns to school for target shooting to a TV-addicted America where boys bring toy guns to school and get suspended. And, of course, the reasons for this societal sea change are complex. But if we’re going to point to one factor, is it wiser to blame the AR-15 than PG-13?
The year is 632 A.D., and Muslim hordes have set their sights on the Mideast and North Africa — the old Christian world. And the Caliphate, as the Islamic realm is called, will not be denied. Syria and Iraq fall in 636. Palestine is next in 638. And Byzantine Egypt and North Africa, not even Arab lands, are conquered by 642 and 709, respectively. Then, just two years later, the Muslims cross the Strait of Gibraltar and enter Iberia (now Spain and Portugal). The invasion of Europe has begun.
And the new continent seems no impediment to Islam. After vanquishing much of Visigothic Iberia by 718, the Muslims cross the Pyrenees Mountains into Gaul (now France) and move northward. Now it is 732, and they are approaching Tours, a mere 126 miles from Paris. The Western world — what’s left of Christendom — could very well be on its way to extinction.
Europe is currently easy prey, comprising disunited, often belligerent kingdoms and duchies recently decimated by plague. In contrast, the Islamic world is a burgeoning civilization; so much so, in fact, that it views the Europeans as barbarians. The Muslims also command enormous battle-hardened military forces and have enjoyed almost unparalleled breadth and rapidity of conquest, while Europe no longer has standing armies. It largely relies on peasants to do its fighting, men available only when crops aren’t beckoning. Yet the Christian Europeans do have one great asset: Charles of Herstal, grandfather of Charlemagne.
Sensing the coming storm as early as 721, Charles realized he was going to need a professional, well-oiled fighting force if he was to tackle the Moorish wave washing across Christendom. So, using Catholic Church resources, he set out to train just such an army. And now, 11 years later, it will be put to the ultimate test.
With a horde of 80,000 men, the Muslims once again start moving north in 732 under the leadership of Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi. And after defeating Odo the Great and sacking his Duchy of Aquitaine, there is nothing standing between Al Ghafiqi and Paris — except Charles of Herstal and his Frankish and Burgundian army. The two leaders would lock horns in October, on a battlefield between the towns of Tours and Poitier.
When the fateful day arrives, Al Ghafiqi is shocked by what lies before him. The “barbarians” have mustered a force the size of which he isn’t used to seeing in these European backwaters. He nonetheless enjoys a great advantage, outnumbering the Christians by perhaps as much as two to one and possessing heavy cavalry, while his adversaries are limited to infantry. The outcome should still be favorable. And it is.
Charles routs the Muslim forces, stopping their advance into Europe cold. He will eventually chase them back across the Pyrenees Mountains, saving Gaul — and perhaps all of Western civilization— from the sword of Islam. His miraculous 732 victory becomes known as the Battle of Tours (or Poitiers), and it wins him the moniker “Martellus.” Thus do we now know him as Charles Martel, which translates into Charles the Hammer.
Yet the Abode of Islam would not stop hammering Christendom. It is now 1095, and the Muslims are threatening Europe from the east. After seizing most of the Byzantine Empire’s territory 400 years prior, they have now, just recently, subdued Anatolia (most of modern Turkey), thus robbing the Byzantines of the majority of their remaining land. The Muslims are now poised to move west into Greece itself or perhaps north into the Balkans — Europe’s “back door.” And Byzantine emperor Alexius I in Constantinople knows that his realm is too weak to resist. What is he to do?
Alexius decides to approach the Church. Although he and current pope Urban II have been rivals, the pontiff recognizes Islamic expansion to be a clear and present danger. So he decides to address the matter at the Council of Clermont in 1095. In a rousing sermon in front of more than 650 clerics and Christian nobles, he appeals to Europeans to stop bickering amongst themselves and rally to the aid of their eastern brothers. What follows is an excerpt of his words as recorded by the Fulcher of Chartres:
Your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impunity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them. On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians….
And thus was born the 11th-century Hammer writ large: the Crusades.
Like Martel’s campaigns before them, the Crusades were defensive actions designed to stave off Muslim aggression. Oh, this isn’t what you learned in college, I know. It’s not what we hear from the media. It isn’t what’s portrayed by Hollywood. But it is the truth. And it was explained well by Thomas Madden, Chair of the History Department at Saint LouisUniversity. In “The Real History of the Crusades” he wrote:
The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins.
… [But] Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War…. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece.
… [The Crusades] were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.
And that is why I defend them today. No, they weren’t perfectly executed, nor could they achieve all their objectives any more than the Cold War truly vanquished the left. Evil is always afoot. But note that the Mideast and North Africa had more Christians than did Europe at the time of the early Muslim invasions — but no one to Crusade for them. Thus, it’s easy to imagine that, were it not for our hammering medieval heroes, we could well be what the Mideast is today. And unless we shelve multiculturalism and become what those crusaders were yesterday, we may not have a tomorrow.
Hollywood And The Past…
History is commonly regarded as an attempt to produce a structured account of the past. It proclaims to tell us what really happened, but in most cases it fails to do that. Instead it is set to conceal our shame, to hide those various elements, events, incidents and occurrences in our past which we cannot cope with. History, therefore, can be regarded as a system of concealment. Accordingly, the role of the true historian is similar to that of the psychoanalyst: both aim to unveil the repressed. For the psychoanalyst, it is the unconscious mind. For the historian, it is our collective shame.
Yet, one may wonder, how many historians really engage in such a task? How many historians are courageous enough to open the Pandora Box? How many historians are brave enough to challenge Jewish History for real? How many historians dare to ask why Jews? Why do Jews suffer time after time? Is it really the Goyim who are inherently murderous, or is there something unsettling in Jewish culture or collectivism? But Jewish history is obviously far from being alone here: every people’s past is, in fact, as problematic. Can Palestinians really explain to themselves how is it that after more than a century of struggle, they wake up to find out that their current capital has become a NGO haven largely funded by George Soros’ Open Society? Can the Brits once and for all look in the mirror and explain to themselves why, in their Imperial Wars Museum, they erected a Holocaust exhibition dedicated to the destruction of the Jews? Shouldn’t the Brits be slightly more courageous and look into one of the many Shoas they themselves inflicted on others? Clearly they have an impressive back catalogue to choose from.
The Guardian vs. Athens
The past is dangerous territory; it can induce inconvenient stories. This fact alone may explain why the true Historian is often presented as a public enemy. However, the Left has invented an academic method to tackle the issue. The ‘progressive’ historian functions to produce a ‘politically correct’, ‘inoffensive’ tale of the past. By means of zigzagging, it navigates its way, while paying its dues to the concealed and producing endless ad-hoc deviations that leave the ‘repressed’ untouched. The progressive subject is there to produce a ‘non- essentialist’ and ‘unoffending’ account of the past on the expense of the so-called ‘reactionary’. The Guardian is an emblem of such an approach, it would, for instance, ban any criticism of Jewish culture or Jewishness, yet it provides a televised platform for two rabid Zionist so they can discuss Arab culture and Islamism. The Guardian wouldn’t mind offending ‘Islamists’ or British ‘nationalists’ but it would be very careful not to hurt any Jewish sensitivities. Such version of politics or the past is impervious to truthfulness, coherence, consistency or integrity. In fact, the progressive discourse is far from being ‘the guardian of the truth’, it is actually set as ‘the guardian of the discourse’ and I am referring here to Left discourse in particular.
But surely there is an alternative to the ‘progressive’ attitude to the past. The true historian is actually a philosopher – an essentialist – a thinker who posits the question ‘what does it mean to be in the world and what does it take to live amongst others’? The true historian transcends beyond the singular, the particular and the personal. He or she is searching for the condition of the possibility of that which drives our past, present and future. The true historian dwells on Being and Time, he or she is searching for a humanist lesson and an ethical insight while looking into the poem, the art, the beauty, the reason but also into the fear. The true historian is an essentialist who digs out the concealed, for he or she knows that the repressed is the kernel of the truth.
Leo Strauss provides us with a very useful insight in that regard. Western civilization, he contends, oscillates between two intellectual and spiritual poles – Athens and Jerusalem. Athens — the birthplace of democracy, home for reason, philosophy, art and science. Jerusalem — the city of God where God’s law prevails. The philosopher, the true historian, or the essentialist, for that matter, is obviously the Athenian. The Jerusalemite, in that regard, is ‘the guardian of the discourse’, the one who keeps the gate, just to maintain law and order on the expense of ecstasies, poesis, beauty, reason and truth.
Spielberg vs. Tarantino
Hollywood provides us with an insight into this oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem: between the Jerusalemite ‘guardian of the discourse’ and the Athenian contender – the ‘essentialist’ public enemy. On the Left side of the map we find Steven Spielberg, the ‘progressive’ genius. On his Right we meet peosis itself, Quentin Tarantino, the ‘essentialist’.
Spielberg, provides us with the ultimate sanitized historical epic. The facts are cherry picked just to produce a pre meditated pseudo ethical tale that maintains the righteous discourse, law and order but, most importantly, the primacy of Jewish suffering (Schindler’s List and Munich). Spielberg brings to life a grand epic with a clear retrospective take on the past. Spielberg tactic is, in most cases, pretty simple. He would juxtapose a vivid transparent binary opposition: Nazis vs. Jews, Israeli vs. Palestinians , North vs. South, Righteousness vs. Slavery. Somehow, we always know, in advance who are the baddies and who are the goodies. We clearly know who to side with.
Binary opposition is indeed a safe route. It provides a clear distinction between the ‘Kosher’ and the ‘forbidden’. But Spielberg is far from being a banal mind. He also allows a highly calculated and carefully meditated oscillation. In a universalist gesture of courtesy he would let a single Nazi into the family of the kind. He would allow the odd Palestinian to be a victim. It can all happen as long as the main frame of the discourse remains intact. Spielberg is clearly an arch guardian of discourse – being a master of his art-form, he will certainly maintain your attention for at least 90 minutes of a historic cinematic cocktail made of factual mishmash. All you have to do is to follow the plot to the end. By then the pre-digested ethical message is safely replanted at the hub of your self-loving narcissistic universe.
Unlike Spielberg, Tarantino is not concerned with factuality; he may even repel historicity. Tarantino may as well believe that the notion of ‘the message’ or morality are over rated. Tarantino is an essentialist, he is interested in human nature, in Being and he seems to be fascinated in particular in vengeance and its universality. For the obvious reasons, his totally farfetched Inglorious Bastards throws light on present Israeli collective blood thirstiness as being detected at the time of Operation Cast lead. The fictional cinematic creation of a revengeful murderous WWII Jewish commando unit is there to throw the light on the devastating contemporary reality of Jewish lobbies’ lust for violence in their relentless push for a world war against Iran and beyond. But Inglorious Bastards may as well have a universal appeal because the Old Testament’s ‘eye for and eye’ has become the Anglo American political driving force in the aftermath of 9/11.
Abe’le vs. Django
What may seem as a spiritual clash between Jerusalemite Spielberg and Athenian Tarantino is more than apparent in their recent works.
The history of slavery in America is indeed a problematic topic and, for obvious reasons, many aspects of this chapter are still kept deeply within the domain of the concealed. Once again Spielberg and Tarantino have produced a distinctively different accounts of this chapter.
In his recent historical epic Lincoln, Spielberg, made Abraham Lincoln into a Neocon ‘moral interventionist’ who against all (political) odds, abolished slavery. I guess that Spielberg knows enough American history to gather that his cinematic account is a crude Zigzag attempt, for the anti slavery political campaign was a mere pretext for a bloody war driven by clear economical objectives.
As one may expect, Spielberg peppers his tale with more than a few genuine historical anecdotes. He is certainly paying the necessary dues just to keep the shame shoved deep under the carpet. His Lincoln is cherished as a morally driven hero of human brotherhood. And the entire plot carries all the symptoms of contemporary AIPAC lobby assault within the Capitol. Being one of the arch guardians of the discourse, Spielberg has successfully fulfilled his task. He added a substantial cinematic layer to ensure that America’s true shame remains deeply repressed or shall we say, untouched.
Needles to mention that Spielberg’s take on Lincoln has been cheered by the Jewish press. They called the president Avraham Lincoln Avinu (our father, Hebrew) in The Tablet Magazine. ‘Avraham’, according to the Tablet, is the definitive good Jew. “As imagined by Spielberg and Kushner, Lincoln’s Lincoln is the ultimate mensch. He is a skilled natural psychologist, an interpreter of dreams, and a man blessed with an extraordinarily clever and subtle legal mind.” In short, Spielberg’s Lincoln is Abe’le who combines the skills, the gift and the traits of Moses, Freud as well as Alan Dershowitz. However, some Jews complain about the film. “As an American Jewish historian, writes Lance J. Sussman, “I’m afraid I have to say I am somewhat disappointed with the latest Spielberg film. So much of it is so good, but it would have been even better if he had put at least one Jew in the movie, somewhere.”
I guess that Spielberg may find it hard to please the entire tribe. Quentin Tarantino, however, doesn’t even try. Tarantino is, in fact, doing the complete opposite. Through a phantasmic epic that confesses zero interest in any form of historicity or factuality whatsoever, he manages, in his latest masterpiece Django Unchained, to dig out the darkest secrets of Slavery. He scratches the concealed and judging by the reaction of another cinematic genius Spike Lee, he has clearly managed to get pretty deep.
By putting into play a stylistic spectacle within the Western genre Tarantino manages to dwell on every aspect we are advised to leave untouched. He deals with biological determinism, White supremacy and cruelty. But he also turns his lens onto slaves’ passivity, subservience and collaboration. The Athenian director builds here a set of Greek mythological God like characters; Django (Jamie Fox), is the unruly king of revenge and Schultz (Christoph Waltz) the German dentist turned bounty hunter is the master of wit, kindness and humanity with a giant wisdom tooth shining over his caravan. Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the Hegelian (racist) Master and Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is the Hegelian Slave, emerging as the personification of social transformation. To a certain extent, the relationships between Candie and Stephen could be seen as one of the most profound yet subversive cinematic takes on Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.
In Hegel’s dialectic two self-consciousness’ are constituted via a process of mirroring. In Django Unchained, Stephen the slave, seems to convey the ultimate form of subservience, yet this is merely on the surface. In reality Stephen is way more sophisticated and observant than his master Candie. He is on his way up. It is hard to determine whether Stephen is a collaborator or if he really runs the entire show. And yet in Tarantino’s latest, Hegel’s dialectic is, somehow, compartmentalized. Django, once unchained, is clearly impervious to the Hegelian dialectic spiel. His incidental liberation induces in him a true spirit of relentless resilience. When it comes to it, he kills the Master, the Slave and everyone else who happens to be around, he bends every rule including the ‘rules of nature’ (biological determinism). By the time the epic is over, Django leaves behind a wreckage of the Candie’s plantation, the cinematic symbol of the dying old South and the ‘Master Slave Dialectic’. Yet, as Django rides on a horse towards the rising sun together with his free wife Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington), we are awakened to the far fetched cinematic fantasy. In reality, I mean the world out of the cinema, the Candie’s plantation would, in all likelihood, remain intact and Django would probably be chained up again. In practice, Tarantino cynically juxtaposes the dream (the cinematic reality) and reality (as we know it). By doing so he manages to illuminate the depth of misery that is entangled with the human condition and in Black reality in America in particular.
Tarantino is certainly not a ‘guardian of the discourse.’ Quite the opposite, he is the bitterest enemy of stagnation. As in his previous works, his latest spectacle is an essentialist assault on correctness and ‘self-love’. Tarantino indeed turns over many stones and unleashes many vipers into the room. Yet being a devout Athenian he doesn’t intend to produce a single answer or a moral lesson. He leaves us perplexed yet cheerful. For Tarantino, I guess, dilemma is the existential essence. Spielberg, on, the other hand, provides all the necessary answers. After all, within the ‘progressive’ politically-correct discourse, it is the answers that determine, in retrospective, what questions we are entitled to raise.
If Leo Strauss is correct and Western civilization should be seen as an oscillation between Athens and Jerusalem, truth must be said – we can really do with many more Athenians and their essentialist reflections. In short, we are in a desperate need of many more Tarantinos to counter Jerusalem and its ambassadors.
Truth told, this American observer has attended his share of international conferences and has traveled in more than 70 countries. But never has he visited such a complex country, evolving culture, and striving energized society, populated by idealistic people of great warmth, sense of humor and caring for those in need as he experiences in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Except when traveling in his own country.
Being in Iran during these tense times is to experience an epiphany. Which is that Iranians and Americans have so very many needs and interests in common-yes even in our religious beliefs- that both peoples should immediately repair our countries relations and return to the days when 60,000 Iranian students studied in the US and thousands of Americans lived and worked in Iran- all in singular harmony and with myriad mutual benefits.
The deep connection among Muslims and Christians from the seventh century sacrifice at Karbala by Hussein bin Ali and the first century sacrifice at Calvary by Jesus Christ, established forever a claimed divine principle of sacrifice of one’s self to resist injustice for the greater good of the community. This bond underpins and connects the two religions and their followers inextricably.
There is probably no country more misunderstood in America than Iran And its due almost entirely to politically motivated demonizations and misrepresentations, including, but not limited to, what President Ahmadinejad really said during speeches relating to the US and the West and the historical imperative to liberate occupied Palestine and every country’s right to develop nuclear energy and to live independently and free of US-led western hegemony. Most Americans’ perceptions of Iran, according to Iranian friends, are limited to images of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad accused of delivering anti-American speeches.
Another example is the media reports of the 2/09/13 celebration of the 34th anniversary of the Iranian revolution where the BBC and most other media reported the crowds were “frenzied and chanting death to America.” I was there and this report is rubbish. I did hear from time to time a few chants mixed in with revolutionary songs, religious exhortations, and just plain fun. Helping others by offering water and heavy laden older citizens or kids was the motif.
People were happy not angry and they could not have been more friendly or curious about the Americans they came upon and who helped them pick up Iranian leaflet flags that blew or were dropped onto the streets as the Americans understood Iranian pride in their flag and not wanting to see it walked on or subjected to disrespect.
One does not have to look further than the morning newspapers for examples and to find the likes of Zionist apologist, Iranophobe and Islamophode Jennifer Rubin, in her Washington Post screed. Ms. Rubin, on Valentine’s Day had only poisonous invective in her heart for any American- even cupid one imagines- who would dare express any remotely objective idea about Iran. Rubin, a former AIPAC volunteer, lambasted Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, former US Senator, Chuck Hagel, as nearly all 52 Zionist organizations in America have done this past month, because he advocates mutual respect and friendship with Iran. Hagel’s unforgiveable sins includee his words on the subject of criminal US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria and the need to build trust and normalize relations through dialogue.
Said Hagel about U.S.-Iran relations: “We shouldn’t be putting conditions on talks or putting all other issues to the side except one issue that we will ‘dictate’ to Iran.” As far back as 2007, Hagel stated that “In the Middle East of the 21st century, Iran will be a key center of gravity… a significant regional power. The United States cannot change that reality. America’s strategic 21st-century regional policy for the Middle East must acknowledge the role of Iran today and over the next 25 years.” Hagel continued: “On Afghanistan, the United States and Iran found common interests — defeating the Taliban and Islamic radicals, stabilizing Afghanistan, stopping the opium production and the flow of opium coming into Iran. From these common interests emerged common actions working toward a common purpose. It was in the interests of Iran to work with the U.S. in Afghanistan. It was not a matter of helping America or strengthening America’s presence in Central Asia. It was a clear-eyed and self-serving action for Iran.”
Hagel may have erred a bit on Afghanistan and the Taliban, but Rubin found Hagel’s point of view treasonous and has joined the the US Zionist lobby’s call for a witch-hunt when she asks her readers: “Why would the president select someone so deferential toward the Islamic revolutionary government? ..During the Congressional recess, the Senate should think about that. And it might be interesting to find out who was helping him with these intensely pro-Tehran speeches.
In Iran today one does not hear Rubinesque hate speech or even lectures about the 1953 US-UK overthrow of Iranian leader Mohammad Mossedeg or the shooting down on July 3, 1988 of the commercial passenger aircraft Iran Air Flight 655 (IIR655) or the US giving chemical weapons to Iraq, during its US backed aggression, or even the assassination of Iranian scientists or a number of other US green lighted aggressions against the country.
Much more often, conversations are likely to turn to the need to improve relations and friendly questions about what foreigners are experiencing in Iran and if they need assistance in doing something or information about their country. Iranians are as open as Americans are by their very nature, and unlike many other countries no subject for discussion is taboo. For this observer it included topics such as the “morality police”, execution of drug dealers and homosexuals, “stoning” of women, attacks on the Bahá’í Faith, which is the country’s second-largest religion after Islam, the 2009 “Green Revolution” and any other subject that came to mine, including drinking alcohol and public dating.
One hilarious conversation this observer had with four early 20’s female students during a Conference last week was about the number (more than 60%) of Chador wearing women who openly wear makeup these days, how Iranian society is changing rapidly, and the amount of hair some women expose while in public and wondering if this was not prohibited by Fatwa and how they deal with it. Their responses were immediate and nearly all at once. No one had even seen one of the Western hyped “morality police” for a long time and they are few and far between. One young lady explained that its true she wears her hijab 2/3’s the way back on her head and “if one of those guys dares to say something I will either tell him to mind his own business or if I am in a good mood I will act really, really surprised, shrug my shoulders, wink at him and say something like, “Oh so very sorry, really I am!. It was a big gust of wind that must have blown it back on my head without me noticing!” Even if there had not even been so much as a soft breeze in days.
Iranian women are smart, strong willed-even a bit pushy at times and naturally alluring. Who would want to join some “morality police” unit? The ladies explained that if one comes up to you on the street and if you are really rude to him and tell him to get lost, or worse, you might get a ticket and your parents would have to come to the police station and sign a pledge that you would try to do better about trying to observe some modesty in public. Again rather different from what the MSM tells us in the West.
And it’s clear whether attending an international conference on Hollywoodism (www.hollywoodism.org) at the Azadi (Freedom Hotel-formerly the pre-Revolution Hyatt ), traveling on the Tehran subway (far cleaner than New Yorks!) exploring street souks, visiting the Holy Defense Museum (explaining the 8 years Iran-Iraq war) or visiting the home of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979 Revolution and was Iran’s leader until his death on June 3,1989 in or walking, for miles it seemed, among the nearly two million people marching to Azadi Square to commemorate this month’s 34th anniversary of the Revolution when the people of Iran overthrew the American agent, Shah Reza Palavi, that the Iranian people are kind and they are gifted.
When I got on the crowded Tehran subway, two young men immediately stood up to offer this observer their seats. And then we engaged in a very interesting long animated conversation. Said, Hamzeh, “You know, we feel like we understand America and we should be friends. Both of our countries are culturally unique somehow. Your country evolved from European culture but moved in very distinct direction. In our history Islam arrived via the Arabs but as you have been seeing I am sure, our identity is completely different from Arab countries.”
Mahmoud joined in: “Our society is also made up of many minorities, but we have a single Iranian identity and are very proud of our culture. We’re also familiar with Western ways. For the last 200 years, we were open to the Western world and influenced by European culture, even if some of the ideas, like democracy, have never had a chance to really develop properly but we will continue trying. But we also know what it’s like to be a superpower. For us it was a long time ago, but we played an important role in this part of the world for many centuries so we can never see ourselves as subject to western or eastern hegemony.”
No experience impressed a group of American visiting Iran, including this one, than the home of Imam Kohmeini and learning from his neighbors and students about the man, scholar and revolutionary. Visiting his home and Hassineyeh which have been kept just as they were the day he died, one neighbor recounted how
Ayatollah’s Khomeini’s wife Khadije Saghafi, who passed away in 2009, told her friends that she had only one wish her whole life that the Imam never granted to her. And that was that she wished for him to ask her for a glass of water at least once. But he never did. The sweet and gentle husband and father did not want even the wind to visit his family’s faces too harshly or for himself to impose on them. Another neighbor told us, “When we visited his home we often found the Imam washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, and helping in other household chores.
According to others who knew him well, the Imam led a life of utmost piety and spirituality. In the severe winters of Qom, the he would wake up each night, perform ablution the act of washing oneself for ritual purification) with ice water, and offer his night prayers. His Mafatih (prayer almanac) had to be rebound every few weeks because of how much he used it. Before he began lecturing his students on political activism, he emphasized to them the importance of spirituality and attaining the nearness of Allah.
The simplicity of life style and the modesty of Iran’s revolutionary, Imam Khomeini leader has universal appeal including American ideals.
There is every reason for Washington’s new administration to reach out to Iran, not just with words but with actions. The American and Iranian people fervently want this and it wills inestimably benefit both societies. The solution to positive the current straightened Iran-US relations includes contact, visitations, discussions and more discussions and from this both peoples can pressure their governments to leave the past behind and develop bonds of friendship.
Condemned By Every Syllable They Utter…
Tehran — Azadeh, a graduate law student from Tehran University, on the sidelines of Iran’s Third Annual Hollywoodism (www.hollywoodism.orghttp) reminded her interlocutors, of the obvious damming admissions last week by two US politicians:
“It would be a defense lawyer’s worst nightmare wouldn’t it? I mean to have one’s clients, in this case the Vice-President of the United States and the outgoing Secretary of state confess so publicly to serial international crimes against a civilian population?”
The confessions and the crimes, she correctly enumerated to her audience, were those admitted to by US Vice-President Joe Biden and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this past week.
Both of the US officials, in discussing US relations with the Islamic Republic, openly admitted that the US-led sanctions against Iran (and Syria) are politically motivated and constitute a “soft-war” against the nearly 80 million people of Iran (23 million people in Syria) in order to achieve regime change.
Mrs. Clinton, was the first of the dynamic duo to be heard from. She acknowledged that the harsh US sanctions were intended to target and send the people of Iran a message. “So we hope that the Iranian people will make known their concerns… so my message to Iranians is do something about this.”
Some listening concluded she meant food riots and inflation riots to overthrow the Iranian government. An Australian Broadcasting Company interviewer asked Clinton on January 31 of last year: “If you have issues with the government of Iran, why destroy the Iranian people with the current sanctions in place? It’s very difficult to find certain medicines in Iran. Where is your sense of humanity?”
What the Clinton interrogator had in mind, she explained later, were the US-led sanctions reducing Iran’s GDP growth (-1.1% GDP) resulting in an inflation of 21.0% that is being felt mostly by the civilian population. As well as periodic food shortages in the supermarkets of such staples such as rice, there are price rises on everything. For example, per page printing for students is up as much as 400% and the cost of a used car up 300%. In general, supermarket items have risen 100 to 300 percent or higher over the past twenty-four months and, devastating for many, certain lifesaving medicines are no longer available.
Clinton: “Well, first, let me say on the medicine and on food and other necessities, there are no sanctions.” This statement is utter nonsense and Mrs. Clinton knows it.
The targeting process by the US Treasury Department is well entrenched in Washington. When dear reader is next in Washington, DC, perhaps on a tour bus riding down NW Pennsylvania Avenue following a visit to the US Capitol, consider getting off the bus at 15th and Pennsylvania at the US Department of the Treasury. Walk around the main building and you will see an Annex building. This building, as Clinton knows well, and like Biden, has visited more than once, houses the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC). The well-funded agency’s work includes precisely targeting “food and medicines and other necessities” in order to force the civilian population of Iran to achieve regime change.
For more than two hundred years, since the War of 1812, when OFAC was founded to sanction the British, the office has become expert at imposing sanctions and it has done so more than 2000 times. OFAC currently uses a large team of specialists and computers to think-up, design, test, and send to AIPAC and certain pro-Zionist officials and members of congress their work-product topped off by recommendations.
OFAC and its Treasury Department associates have had a hand in virtually every US sanction applied to Iran since President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170 in November 1979 freezing about $12 billion in Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold and other properties. From the State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act in 1979 to the Syria Accountability Act of 2004, more than a dozen Presidential Executive Orders including the 2011-2012 Executive orders which froze the US property of high-rankling Syrian and Iranian officials and more broadly E.O. 13582 which froze all governmental assets of the Syrian government and prohibited Americans from doing business with the Syrian government and banned all US import of Syrian petroleum products.
What OFAC does with its data base is science not art. It can calculate quite precisely the economic effect on the civilian population of a single action designating one company, bank, government entity or infrastructure system of a country. OFAC, on behalf of its government, electronically wages a cold war against its civilian targets.
This week OFAC and the Treasury Department blacklisted Iran’s state broadcasting authority, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, responsible for broadcast policy in Iran and overseas production at Iranian television and radio channels, potentially limiting viewing and listening opportunities for Iran’s civilian population. Its director, Ezzatollah Zarghami, was included
in the action. Additionally sanctioned are Iran’s Internet-policing agencies and a major electronics producer. David S. Cohen, the pro-Zionist Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who oversees the OFAC sanctions effort, reportedly following meetings with Israeli officials, said last week’s actions were meant to “tighten the screws and intensify the economic pressure against the Iranian regime.”
In reality, the sanctions target the civilian population and the “Iranian regime” won’t be much affected. The same applies to Syria. Despite the public relations language that “food and medicine are exempted from the brutal US-led sanctions, as OFAC well knows, the reality is something else. They know well the chilling effects of the sanctions on international suppliers of medicines and food stuffs with respect to a targeted country. The US Treasury department has thousands of gigabytes of data confirming that the boards of directors of international business do not, and will not allow their companies to risk millions of dollars in profits by technically violating any of the thousands of details in the sanctions — many of which are subject to interpretation — for the sake of doing business with Iran or Syria. This is why there are severe shortages of medicines and certain foodstuffs in these sanctioned countries and to state otherwise is Orwellian News-Speak.
OFAC does not operate in a vacuum. It works closely with other US agencies including the 16 intelligence agencies that together make up the UN Intelligence Community. Together they have applied sanctions of great breadth and severity against the civilian populations of Syria and Iran. These sanctions have been bolstered on occasion by several direct and/or green-lighted Israeli assassinations and cyber-assaults, hoping to foment civil unrest to achieve regime change and other political goals.
A few days after Mrs. Clinton’s somewhat inadvertent confession that the US government intentionally targets the civilian population of Iran, Vice President Joe Biden chimed in on the 4th of February that the US was ready to hold direct negotiations with Iran but added the caveat, “We have also made clear that Iran’s leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation,” acknowledging as did Hillary that the US sanctions are intended to target and harm the Iranian and Syrian people. A senior Obama administration official described the latest step as “a significant turning of the screw,” meaning that the people of Iran face a “stark choice” between bowing to US demands and reviving their oil revenue, the country’s economic lifeblood or more and more sanctions will follow until they do.
This targeting of Iran’s and Syria’s civilian population by US-led sanctions is a massive violation of the principles, standards and rules of international law and their most fundamental underpinnings which is the protection of civilians.
The 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit any measure that has the effect of depriving a civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival. Article 70 of Protocol I mandates relief operations to aid a civilian population that is “not adequately provided” with supplies and Article 18 of Protocol II requires relief operations for a civilian population that suffers “undue hardship owing to a lack of supplies essential for its survival, such as foodstuffs and medical supplies.”
Prohibition on Starvation as a Method of Warfare
• Under international humanitarian law, civilians enjoy a right to humanitarian assistance during armed conflicts.
• Art. 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention obligates states to facilitate the free passage and distribution of relief goods including medicines, foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under 15, expectant mothers, and maternity cases.
• Art. 70 of Additional Protocol I prohibits interfering with delivery of relief goods to all members of the civilian population.
• US-led sanctions are prohibited by the principle of proportionality found in Arts. 51 and 57 of Additional Protocol I.
• Under the terms of Art. 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, humanitarian and relief actions must be taken. Pursuant to Art. 18(2) of Additional Protocol II, relief societies must be allowed to offer their services to provide humanitarian relief
• The US-led sanctions violate the Rule of Distinction between civilians and combatants
The Right to life
The US-led sanctions violate the right to life incorporated in numerous international human rights instruments including Art. 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; Art. 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950; and Art. 4 of the African Charter of Human Rights, 1981.
The Rights of the Child
One of the groups most vulnerable to US-led sanctions in Syria and Iran are children. The rights of children are laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, which currently stands as the most widely ratified international agreement. Most relevant in the context of the US-led sanctions are Arts. 6 and 24 of the Convention, according to which every child has the inherent right to life and the right to the highest attainable standard of health and access to medical services.
If “terrorism” means, as the United States government defines it as the targeting of civilians in order to induce political change from their government, what is it called when the American government itself applies intense economic suffering on a civilian population, causing malnutrition, illnesses, starvation and death in order to induce regime change?
The US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria are illegal, inhumane, ineffective, immoral and outrageous. They must be resisted every day by every person of good will, everywhere, until they are withdrawn.
The obvious has already been said about placing women in front-line combat positions. Their presence will reduce unit cohesiveness; male soldiers’ natural instinct to protect women will influence battlefield decisions; there will be the problem of sexual impropriety within the ranks and of rape when women are captured; women will have more trouble measuring up to the physical and psychological demands of battle; special accommodations will no doubt be made so that women may tend to feminine concerns; and, as the high pregnancy rate aboard naval vessels has proven, having young men and women operate in close quarters is folly. Yet the truth is that it was just a matter of time before women were allowed in combat; it’s a piece that fits seamlessly into the modern sex-role puzzle. And it’s not surprising if a majority of Americans support the policy; they are sex-role puzzled.
When I worked with children years ago, one of my students, an 11-year-old boy, guessed that the women’s world record for the mile would be faster than the men’s when a question about the matter was put to him. In the same vein, a respondent to one of my articles mentioned a young man she knew who opined that women and men should compete together in sports. When she informed him that this would eliminate athletic opportunities for women — boys’ American high school records surpass women’s world records — he was surprised that the gap between the sexes was so great. You may be surprised at a knowledge gap so great. Don’t be.
For a few decades now, children have been raised seeing women in combat. Movies and television shows have long featured masculinized female characters who talk, act, and fight like men — except when they’re shown fighting even better and vanquishing men. If a show features a male hero, he almost invariably has to be balanced with a tough(er?) heroine. Professional wrestling will now occasionally even show women grappling with men (yes, it’s fake, but not to a seven-year-old). Kids also have equality dogma drummed into them; equality this and equality that, and the only departure from it is when they’re exposed to entertainment that makes men appear weak or to specious science indicating female superiority. It is another example of how the left presents the young with a distorted picture of reality.
It’s thus no surprise that people make poor decisions on policy affecting the sexes. We better understand the different roles of horses and dogs because we perceive their characteristic strengths and weaknesses; likewise, how can we understand what roles are suggested by the sexes’ characteristic qualities if we blind ourselves to them?
Ah, dare I speak of “roles”? Some will now accuse me of fostering sex stereotyping, the very thing the left has been combating with the agenda outlined earlier. (This, by the way, is one of the main reasons Hollywood mainstreamed masculinized female characters: they wanted to change how people think. It worked.) All right, let’s discuss stereotypes.
One of these stereotype opponents would be Beck Laxton, a British mother who strives to raises “gender neutral” children and has said, “Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?” Thus, Laxton believes in allowing her son to find his own sex-role path; as Shine’s Piper Weiss tells us, she is on a quest to “let her kid just be a kid.” But this raises a question: if putting people in boxes is such an imposition, why put your kid in a kid box?
In other words, why impose species-oriented norms on a child and put him in a human box? After all, we instill ideas about identity and innumerable other things when we put children in clothing; cut their hair; teach them to wash and brush their teeth; teach them language, manners, a conception of virtue, and social norms; and laugh at some behaviors while frowning at others. But do we consider that, like self-professed canine “Wolfie Blackheart,” the child may later decide that homo-sapiens status isn’t for him?
The point is that it isn’t a matter of whether we’ll put children in boxes; that is unavoidable.
It’s a matter of putting them in the correct boxes.
And we put a little human in a human box not because we’ve been brainwashed with some arbitrary social construct but because he was born in a human body, and it’s better for everyone if is he is socialized as a human than trained as a ferret. His human status involves unique abilities and relative physical weaknesses; thus do we apply “species stereotyping” when raising him. Of course, he may announce when he is 18 that he is a ferret, or something slightly larger, such as Robert Reich. That’s what mental institutions are for.
The truth is that we only hear complaints about stereotypes when those stereotypes are out of fashion — or out of favor with the “fashionable” set. For example, it’s now common to scoff at traditional female portrayals such as that of devoted housewife June Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. But what of her husband, Ward? Do little boys dream of growing up, wearing a suit, and working 9 to 5 at a job that is probably drudgery? Yet what would have been better? Should Ward Cleaver have been cast as a layabout Beat Generation type who some nights never came home, drank like a fish, mainlined heroin, and frequented bathhouses? Would it have been healthy to destroy the Cleaver stereotype and institute a new one such as that reflected in the now cancelled All My Babies’ Mommas? I think men should be pushed toward the box of gainfully employed, loving, responsible father — that’s the only way civilization can survive. And women have their boxes, too.
This is where “sex stereotyping” (the term gender is misused today) comes into play. Sure, we’ve heard that it places children in a potential-stifling straitjacket. But there is another theory, one considered self-evident truth not long ago. It goes like this: at issue here isn’t negatively connoted “stereotyping.” Rather, just as we give humans a species-specific upbringing, we should give a boy a sex-specific upbringing; this is not because we’ve fallen victim to some arbitrary social construct but because he was born in a boy’s body (that’s called a clue). Is this stifling? On the contrary, just as you may provide art-specific opportunities to help a child with a proclivity for art exploit his potential, sex-specific childrearing helps the sexes cultivate and augment their unique potential. That is how boys and girls come to full flower as men and women.
I haven’t said much here about women in combat, and for good reason. It’s just a branch on the feminist tree, a branch whose appearance was just a matter of time. And now I’ll be the hatchet man.
Even science, which often eventually catches up with common sense, tells us that the sexes have different characteristic qualities and strengths. And since “male” and “female” are real and different statuses, also real are the adjectives that describe what is characteristic of each one, “masculine” and “feminine.” It also then follows that the verbs “masculinize” and “feminize” describe actual changes that really can be effected.
Taking it further, the sexes’ different proclivities imply different roles, which we call masculine and feminine roles. Two of these, “mother” and “father,” are of inestimable importance because they constitute the nucleus of civilization’s central building block: the family. Thus, anything that diminishes the chances of the sexes successfully performing those roles threatens to destroy the family — and, hence, civilization.
Given this, should we accept any social norm that discourages the cultivation of a sex’s respective qualities or serves to masculinize women or feminize men? Does it behoove us to steer girls toward masculine endeavors? Those are the big questions — and they get at the big picture.
And this answers the little-picture question of women in combat. If warfare isn’t a masculine endeavor, what is? And if putting women in military uniforms, giving them weaponry, and teaching them to be warriors doesn’t masculinize them, what does? And what does it say about our society that the masculinization of women has reached this advanced stage?
It says that the feminist tree is deep-rooted and tall, with a canopy that blocks out the light of common sense. The sooner that tree is burnt to ashes with the world’s fiercest accelerant, the better.