This week I am going down to Long Beach, CA, in order to attend the world-renowned BoucherCon, a fabulous annual convention for mystery book writers and readers. You just gotta love BoucherCon.
At last year’s convention in Albany, NY, I scored 50 free books — but still haven’t finished reading them yet. However, it’s always reassuring to know that I’ll probably never run out of murder-mystery books to read ever again — especially since I’m about to score yet another 50 free books at this Long Beach convention.
But the biggest mystery of all these days seems to be “Who, exactly, is actually running the American government?” Well, here’s a big clue: “It ain’t you or me.” The fact that we ourselves definitely do not run America was clearly demonstrated once again in this last election cycle — when a huge majority of Americans either voted against their own best self-interests or didn’t even vote at all.
Apparently we Americans can just barely manage to keep the kids dressed, the dog washed, the bathroom stocked with toilet paper, the mortgage paid, the 401K alive and our own lives up and running — let alone keep a democracy alive and well. It’s definitely not like 1776 around here right now.
But not to worry. I myself have already solved the mystery of who actually does run America while most Americans are all busy doing something else.
According to political analyst Peter Dale Scott, America is actually run by a select group of people that he calls the “American Deep State”. And these guys are really bad-ass. They even have their own internet system — and probably even their own FaceBook apps too. And of course they also have their own bunkers, billionaire supporters, lobbyists and election fixers as well — and Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House all take orders from them. That’s totally scary! Makes those “October Surprise” Ebola and ISIS scares look like a walk in the park. http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/
So. Why do I think that Peter Dale Scott is right? There just has to be a shadow government here in America — because what else could possibly explain why America continuously and consistently acts so strongly against its own best interests? http://3chicspolitico.com/
“But Jane,” you might ask, “just exactly who are these underworld shadowy cartoonish characters that you’ve just described — and exactly what are they up to?” Well, from all my recent sleuthing around, I’ve discovered that this uber-shadow government, whoever it is composed of, obviously has a soft spot in its heart for starting wars, ruining economies, and disrupting countries, regions and even whole continents whenever they possibly can. No American in his or her right mind would ever want to do that.
“But, Jane,” you might ask next, “how can you actually prove all this? Sounds rather paranoid and conspiracy-theory-ish to me.” Hey, I’m on this like Sherlock Holmes!
But even though I can’t exactly sneak into these guys’ bunkers or onto their yachts or secretly listen in on their phone conversations, I can still easily see all the footprints these hoodlums have left behind in the snow. “Means, motive and opportunity,” as Holmes would say. Just get out your magnifying glass and look at these clues:
Footprint # 1: China and Korea. Before we even knew what hit us after WWII, suddenly China had been torn up in rebellion against our corrupt man in Peking, Chaing Kai Shek. And then the whole Korean peninsula blew up. Was the loss of China and the destruction of Korea in the average American’s best interests? Totally not. So who had the motive, means and opportunity here? You tell me.
Footprint # 2: Vietnam. The whole result of that “war” was to destabilize all of Southeast Asia. Okay. You got China, Korea and Southeast Asia destabilized now. And did it benefit the average American to have Asia so broken and hateful against us? It did not. But who did it benefit?
Footprint # 3: Mexico, Central America and South America. Do Americans really benefit from having death squads and drug lords on the rampage down there? What do you think? I think not. All we got out of this deal was a whole bunch of undocumented refugees coming up here in search of their lost treasures. But then who does benefit? Those shadowy guys behind the curtain who sell arms and own banks? Yeah.
Footprint # 4: Yugoslavia. The American Deep State picked at Yugoslavia and picked at Yugoslavia until it too finally fell apart. Balkanization. How could that have possibly been good for America? It wasn’t. But who did benefit from its fall? Wall Street and War Street. Of course.
Footprint # 5: The Middle East. What a freaking mess! And who made this mess? It wasn’t the American people. We had no dog in this fight. But the American Deep State both did then and does now. Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel? Means, motive and opportunity to make a real mess. And, yes, Israel is a hot mess too.
Footprint # 6: Africa. Africa has been fried, poached and eaten whole by the American Deep State too. From apartheid South Africa and the bloody attacks on democratic Angola to the Ebola and HIV disasters, blood diamonds, IMF loans with never-ending interest payments and rape in the Congo, Africa is now a hot mess. And who exactly benefited from this scramble for Africa? Not you and me — or our children or our dogs either.
Footprint # 7: Ukraine: You have no idea what a broken egg Ukraine has become recently as neo-Nazis kill innocent civilians right and left. Their theme song seems to be, “Party like it’s Serbia in 1995!” Plus a German company, Telefunken Racoms, is actually selling these Ukrainian neo-Nazis their weapons. “Party like it’s Leningrad in 1942!” http://cyber-berkut.net/
But have any of us average Americans actually benefited from all this world-wide chaos? No, no, no and no. So who did? The American Deep State.
Footprint # 8: America. That’s us. It should come as no surprise to anyone even semi-conscious right now that our economy has tanked, we’re at each others’ throats and Corporations are now People. The propaganda machine that the Deep State now runs here would make Hitler proud! Or happily match up with George Orwell’s prescient observation that “War is Peace.” And this is all part of a plan to make Americans as dazed and confused as, say, Africans and the folks in the Middle East are now. But who the freak benefits from all this? Definitely not us. http://readersupportednews.
So then your next question should be, “How can we stop this, put an end to the American Deep State and return to being a democracy?” How can you even try to stop a shadow? It’s hard. But we could start by regulating Wall Street, limiting weapons manufacturers’ profits, making sure that our election laws never let anyone anywhere for any reason contribute more than $200 to any election campaign, having fact-checkers sort out all those blatant lies in campaign broadcasts, and fiercely guarding against election violations. Oh, and also get rid of all those Deep State bunkers, yachts and private internet rat-lines that we American taxpayers are paying for now.
Or perhaps we could just run a PowerBall lottery for every available position in Congress, on the Supreme Court and in the White House. Surely any random lottery winner would do a better job of resisting the American Deep State than those sorry wimps that we now have kissing the DS’s booties and being their gollums.
But however we go about it, we have just got to stop the American Deep State from murdering our democracy — before it’s too late and the American dream’s corpse arrives DOA at the morgue.
PS: See you at BoucherCon! It would be a mystery to me why anyone would not want to attend that.
Large numbers of people today believe that modern secular science has proven the earth and cosmos to be billions of years old, and that every living thing, from fish to dogs, apes and humans, evolved from a single cell which itself is the result of chance combination of chemicals. Most believe that primordial matter resulted from the Big Bang. Certain high profile Christians like Hugh Ross and the influential Evangelical theologians and scholars who support him, teach that God is both the energizing force behind the Big Bang and the director of evolutionary process.
Against this way of thinking, the Word of God authoritatively teaches a six day historical creation, which today is vastly unpopular with and downright offensive to scientifically enlightened theologians and their followers.
The rejection of the literal six day creation is an aberration of modernism, meaning liberal (pantheist) Protestantism and its’ openly hostile ‘secular’ antitheist and atheist counterparts such as Marxist Communism and Secular Humanism.
Of the many early Church Fathers who wrote on Genesis, all but Augustine, who erred by teaching instantaneous creation, affirmed a literal, historic six day account of creation.
For instance, St. Cyril of Alexandria argued that higher theological, spiritual meaning is founded upon humble, simple faith in the literal and historic meaning of Genesis and one cannot apprehend rightly the Scriptures without believing in the historical reality of the events and people they describe. (Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 40)
In the integral worldview teachings of the Fathers, neither the literal nor historical meaning of the Revelations of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Angel who spoke to Moses, can be regarded as expendable. There are at least four critically important reasons why. First, to wrest and distort Genesis so as to conform it to Big Bang and other secular scientific assumptions is to contradict and usurp the authority of God, ultimately deny the deity of Jesus Christ; twist, distort, add to and subtract from the entire Bible and finally, to imperil the salvation of believers.
It’s important that we understand that the Church Fathers weren’t primitive, unscientific goat-herders as dishonest modernists have made them out to be, but rather highly intelligent, well-educated men. Many came from backgrounds of evolutionary pantheism, occultism and pagan animism thus were intimately familiar with much of what passes for contemporary secular science such as Big Bang and Steady State theories (evolutionary cosmogonies), inflationary models, vast ages, chance, the universal life force (serpent power, Zoë, evolution) and much more, even though by other designations.
Long before Darwin, Greek nature philosophers (600–100BC) were teaching primitive evolutionary conceptions, abiogenesis, chance, determinism, natural selection, transmigration, reincarnation and vast ages together with many other modern assumptions.
The fragments of Anaximander’s (c. 610–546 BC) evolutionary speculations show he taught that ‘humans originally resembled another type of animal, namely fish’ while Democritus (c.460–370BC) taught that primitive people began to speak with ‘confused’ and ‘unintelligible’ sounds but ‘gradually they articulated words.’ (Evolution: An Ancient Pagan Idea, Paul James Griffith, creation.com)
The Greek Atomist Epicurus (341–270BC), the father of contemporary materialism and many of its’ secular scientific assumptions, taught there was no need of a God or gods, for the Universe came about by a chance movement of atoms. (ibid)
Darwinism affirms the claim made by Epicurus that living beings created themselves, while modern evolutionary biology affirms Anaximander’s claim that humans evolved from lower order life-forms.
With respect to old earth or vast ages, Plato and many other Greek philosophers taught that the present universe came about millions of years ago. Writing in the fourth century AD, Lactantius said:
“Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed … .“ (ibid)
After the Greeks, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD23–79) said we are so subject to chance,
“….that Chance herself takes the place of God; she proves that God is uncertain.” (ibid)
Greek and Roman philosophers received these ideas from ancient Sumerians (Babylonians), Egyptians and Hindus whose Mysteries, nature philosophies and evolutionary cosmogonies extended back centuries before Greek and Roman civilization. For example, one Hindu belief was that Brahman (the Void or Universe) spontaneously generated itself (the modern theory of abiogenesis) as something like a seed or singularity (Cosmic Egg or Big Bang) about 4.3 billion years ago and then evolved under its’ own power by which it expanded and formed all that exists:
“These Hindus believed in an eternal Universe that had cycles of rebirth, destruction and dormancy, known as ‘kalpas’, rather like oscillating big bang theories. We also read in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita that the god Krishna says, ‘I am the source from which all creatures evolve.” (ibid, Griffith)
In India the doctrines of evolution/reincarnation/karma were thoroughly established from ancient times. They were expounded first in the Upanishads (c. 1000 BC – AD 4), the philosophical-mystical texts held to be the essence of the Vedas.
Representing the young earth view and resurrection of the dead (Acts 17: 16-34) the Apostle Paul contended against the Greek Epicureans (materialists) and Stoics (pantheists), representatives of Cosmic Egg theories (Big Bang), vast ages (old earth view), universal life force (evolution), void, atoms, animism (i.e. Karl Marx’s animated ‘divine thinking’ matter), fate, determinism, and reabsorption after death.
Speaking to the nature sages, Paul said “this is what I’m going to proclaim to you,”
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth… he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
When Greek sages heard about the resurrection of the dead, many of them sneered due to their belief that the body is a rotting tomb within which their souls were trapped. Since they believed that the fall consisted of an inexplicable plunge from being as one with the impersonal One Substance, then salvation was reabsorption of soul into the One Substance, therefore the idea of bodily resurrection was repulsive. In “Adversus nationes” (2:37) Arnobius complains,
“If souls were of the Lord’s race…They would never come to these terrestrial places (and) inhabit opaque bodies and (be) mixed with humors and blood, in receptacles of excrement, in vases of urine.” (The Pagan Temptation, Thomas Molnar, p. 27)
The framework behind the way of thinking which Paul contended against is naturalism, the ancient idea that living beings make themselves. Naturalism is like a leopard, meaning its’ spots cannot be changed even by defiant Scriptural retrofitters like Teilhard de Chardin, Leonard Sweet, Hugh Ross and other natural science and evolution compromisers.
As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. What once was will be again. In this light, when Peter prophesied about the “scoffers” in “the last days” who claim that“everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4) he is speaking of this generation of God-haters and theological compromisers, who being wise in their own wisdom, willingly reject the Authority of God and six day special creation in preference of ancient ways of thinking revised and revamped for our own age.
The real issue behind objections to literal six day special creation is what kind of God progressive creationists and evolutionary theists believe in and peddle to unsuspecting believers. This is a question that needs to be addressed because by espousing Big Bang and old earth views theological compromisers have elevated naturalism in the guise of secular science and evolution above the Word and Authority of God resulting in an upside-down exegesis
Their inverted creation account is in the claim of a six day creation that occurred at the end of billions of years of evolutionary process. Logically, this means that billions of creatures lived and died long before man arrived on the scene, making the Word (John 1:1), our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the cause of death and suffering rather than the fall of Adam. By making the fossil record the measure of a sequence of long ages, God becomes the cause of death and suffering because the history of life appears to be a record of ineptitude, extinctions and constant brutality for billions of years. In the words of the atheist astronomer and evolution promoter Carl Sagan (1934-1996), if God,
“….is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why is he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business if there was any competition.” (Refuting Compromise, Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M., p. 220)
The Big Bang, old earth view also leads to a philosophy of moral relativism because if men were once something else, a genderless blob of matter and then later on lizards and even later still some kind of ape-like creature, then not only are we going to become something else–maybe divine supermen, god-men, super robots or cosmic beings—but nothing can be said about transgender, ‘gay,’ and lesbianism since all life forms ascended from a genderless blob of matter generated by the inexplicable explosion of a Cosmic Egg which may or may not involve a stumbling God shaped and molded by theologians who require Him to ignite the Big Bang.
With regard to soul/spirit, if life arose from chemicals and then billions of years later man evolved from lower life-forms, then his rational nature, his soul, differs not qualitatively but only quantitatively from the beasts. Like beasts, man is not a person but a creature of the earth. Like them he has no spirit—free will, higher mental faculties, and conscience. He is a fleshy androgynous robot or hominid whose brain is organized by the genome and the genome shaped by natural selection.
Dr. Sarfati argues that denial of the literal and historic meaning of Genesis (young earth view) is foundationally the result of ‘imposing outside ideas upon the Bible.‘ Thus, it has‘baneful consequences which don’t just stop with Genesis,’ but adversely affect many areas. The atheist Frank Zindler enthusiastically agrees:
“The most devastating thing that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus…into the ranks of the unemployed. I think evolution absolutely is the death knell of Christianity.” (“Atheism vs. Christianity,” 1996, Lita Cosner, creation.com, June 13, 2013)
The faith of the Christian Church and of the average Christian has had its foundation as much in the literal and historic meaning of Genesis as in that of the person and deity of Jesus Christ. Belief in a six day creation period about 6,000 years ago has been the authoritative teaching of the Church for most of its history and is essential for consistency in doctrine and apologetics. Only with a firm, unshakable foundation in Genesis are Christians able to stand strong in their faith.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…” “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 1-2, 14
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 8:58 & 17:5
If God is really Who He said He is, if He is the God Who revealed Himself to man through Jesus Christ (Messiah), then He can call everything into existence in six literal days (Gen. 1), bring about a virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), be both God and man (Gen. 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 12:10 & 13:7; 1 Chron. 17:1014), remove the curse due to Adam’s fall (Gen 5:21-29), resurrect Himself from the dead and ascend unto Heaven (1 Pet. 1:3; Romans 1:4; Matthew 27:53) because for the Word Who became flesh, all of these things are very simple matters.
So what kind of God do you believe in? The limited, bumbling God of death and suffering, the incompetent ‘sloppy manufacturer’ peddled by evolutionary theists and progressive creationists or the all-powerful personal loving God Who called everything into existence in six literal days? The first one is an untrustworthy deity that cannot save you. The second one is the God of eternal life. Only He can resurrect the faithful unto eternal physical life in a physical paradise.
What will paradise be like? C.S. Lewis describes paradise as a place of matter, of weight and mass, and the blessed inhabitants in their resurrected bodies are the beautiful “bright solid people.” N.T. Wright explains,
“…there will be a new mode of physicality, which stands in relation to our present body as our present body does to a ghost….a Christian in the present life is a mere shadow of his or her future self, the self that person will be when the body that God has waiting in his heavenly storeroom is brought out…and put on…over the self that will still exist after bodily death.” (Eternal Perspectives, Randy Alcorn, p. 154-155)
A geopolitically tense atmosphere prevails.
Security is extremely tight. It’s prioritized for good reason. Terrorist attacks are possible. Don’t discount potential Washington shenanigans.
Perhaps raining on Putin’s parade is planned. Obama may want him embarrassed. False flags are a longstanding US tradition. Will Sochi be Washington’s next target? The fullness of time will tell.
It’s a virtual armed camp. Measures in place are unprecedented. Around $2 billion was spent on security.
Ahead of February 6, around 23,000 personnel assured proper measures were in place as planned.
Tens of thousands of police officers are deployed. They’re backed by helicopters, drones, gunboats, submarines, and 70,000 Russian troops.
Hundreds of Cossacks are involved. They’ll check IDs. They’ll detain suspects. Sochi’s proximity to the North Caucasus raised concerns.
Islamist jihadists named it a target. They’re US assets. They’re used strategically. Washington used likeminded ones against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan.
Libya was targeted this way. They comprise America’s anti-Syrian proxy death squads.
Russia raised concerns after December Volgograd bombings killed 34 people. Were Washington’s dirty hands involved?
Is something similar planned for Sochi? Hegemons operate this way. America is by far the worst. Anything ahead is possible.
According to Sochi Organizing Committee chairman Dmitry Chernyshenko:
“Terrorism is a global threat, and for terrorism there is no boundaries, no territories, but here in Sochi from the very beginning of the construction phase the state authorities did their utmost to prepare special measures, starting from the screening of raw materials, checking all the venues and preparing far-reaching security measures to provide the safest ever environment here.”
A controlled zone was established. It covers 60 kilometers. It runs along the coast. It extends 25 kilometers inland.
It includes all venues. They’re heavily guarded. The entire area is for authorized visitors only.
Western anti-Russian sentiment persists. Cold War politics continues. Putin bashing is featured. He’s not about to roll over for Washington.
He wants rule of law principles respected. He opposes Western imperialism. He’s against meddling in the internal affairs of Russia, Syria, Ukraine and other nations.
He stresses Moscow’s “independent foreign policy.” He affirms the “inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissibility of excessive force, and unconditional observance of international law.”
He and Obama disagree on fundamental geopolitical issues. Key is national sovereignty. So are war and peace. America claims a divine right to fight. Putin prioritizes diplomatic conflict resolution.
Disagreements between both countries play out in dueling agendas. Washington notoriously plays hardball. Putin protects Russia’s national interests. They’re too important to sacrifice.
US media scoundrels target him. They vilify him. They mischaracterize him. They call him a Russian strongman. They make all kinds of baseless accusations.
Lies, damns lies and misinformation substitute for truth and full disclosure. They want him embarrassed. They’re raining on his Sochi parade.
On February 6, the Financial Times headlined “Putin gambles all on creation myth behind Sochi.”
“I am particularly pleased to see what is happening here because I chose this place myself,” he said.
“It must have been in 2001 or 2002,” he added. “(W)e were driving around and arrived at this brook, and I said: ‘Let’s start from here.’ That’s how it all began.”
Putin staked much on the games, said the FT. George Washington University’s Sufian Zhemukhov said “(i)f all goes well, (he’ll) be seen as the leader who resurrected Russia.”
Failure perhaps won’t be forgiven, he added. His forthrightness for peace “made him a force on the world stage,” said the FT.
A January Levada Center poll showed he’d be elected today by a wide margin. At the same time, his overall support dropped.
Excluding undecided respondents, its “higher than ever.”
He’s taking no chances. He’s going all out to make Sochi successful. FT comments were tame compared to America’s media.
The Wall Street Journal headlined “The Putin Games.” He wants them to “showcase…modern Russia.”
“(H)e succeeded (but) not as he intended…What could go wrong?” Sochi is the most expensive Olympics in history.
Around $50 billion was spent. It’s five times the original estimate. It’s double what Britain’s 2012 summer games cost. It’s a fourth more than China spent in 2008.
Much of Sochi’s cost related to building vital infrastructure. It had to be done from scratch. Doing so added enormously to costs.
Major projects are expensive. According to Journal editors, “(t)he games are proving to be a case study in the Putin political and economic method.”
They claim billions of dollars “lost to corruption.” They provide no evidence proving it. They said “Russians call this Olympiad the Korimpiad.”
More Putin bashing followed. It’s standard scoundrel media practice. Journal editors feature it.
They claim he “made it impossible to hold his regime accountable through free elections or media.”
Russian elections shame America’s sham ones. They’re democratic. They not rigged. Monied interests don’t control them.
Outcomes aren’t predetermined. Russian voters decide. US ones have no say.
Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. Or how Voice of Russia and RT (formerly Russia Today) shame America’s corporate media.
They feature news, information and opinion viewers most need to know. They do it forthrightly. They’re polar opposite America’s managed news misinformation.
Truth is systematically suppressed. Demagoguery, propaganda, scandal, sleaze, junk food news, and warmongering substitute.
Journal editors ignore truth and full disclosure. Bias permeates their opinions. They betray readers. They shame themselves doing so.
They claimed billions spent on Sochi left it unprepared. They cite “unfinished hotel rooms, incomplete road work and now the famous photographs of two toilets in a single stall.”
RT.com responded. On February 6, it headlined “Spread fear, toilet humor? MSM guide to ‘Worst. Olympics. EVAR!” (Repeat: EVAR!)
Even before the opening ceremony, MSM scoundrels drew conclusions “Sports? Not really,” said RT. At issue is malicious Putin bashing. It’s longstanding practice.
It’s MSM’s “own Sochi 2014 moan-athon.” Imagine claiming something yet to occur the “worst Olympics ever.” They beat up on Beijing the same way.
They “never believed in Sochi,” said RT. They called its climate unfit for winter games. They cite corruption with no substantiating evidence.
They claim lax security despite unprecedented measures in place. They discuss possible terrorist threats. They leave unexplained what most worrisome – a possible disruptive US false flag attack.
It bears repeating. Perhaps Washington plans raining on Putin’s parade.
On August 7, 2008, hours before Beijing’s summer Olympics’ opening ceremony, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia. He did so at Washington’s behest. Attacking was strategically timed.
After Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, South Assetia broke away from Georgia. It declared independence. It’s home to many Russian nationals.
Moscow responded responsibly. Conflict continued for days. Then President Medvedev was on vacation. Then Prime Minister Putin was in Beijing.
In half a day before Russia intervened, 1,700 people were killed. Included were 12 Russian peacekeepers.
Moscow was blamed for Georgian aggression. Does Washington plan something similar this time? Will a false flag attack occur?
Will Obama usurp a freer hand in Ukraine? Will he take advantage in Syria? Does he plan other mischief? Is disrupting Sochi planned?
Hegemons operate this way. Washington’s disturbing history gives Russia good reason for concern.
Preparations in Sochi aren’t perfect, said RT. “(F)laws and problems” exist. “But what makes the Sochi Olympics ‘the worst’ so far is…accommodation for the global media elite.”
“See it, slam it,” said RT. “Intrepid Olympic reporters, we thought, would get behind the scenes, unravel the PR.”
“Nope. Not this time. Of global importance were rooms (if they were available), toilets, floors, and shower curtains.”
“Oh – and a request to not flush toilet paper (it’s rarely done in public toilets) had the press pack throwing up.”
Washington Post reporter Kathy Lally was upset about “a tiny, tiny (hotel room) sink.”
It “sits atop an exposed white plastic pipe, stuck to the wall and surrounded by an unruly gob of caulk,” she said.
“The single room has two lamps – which don’t have light bulbs, but that’s okay because they aren’t near any unused outlets.”
Other journalists reported missing shower curtains, lamps, chairs, inadequate heat and hot water, and whatever else they wanted to cite to bash Putin.
Fox News called conditions “laughably bad.” It warned about event coverage being just as dreadful.
MSM scoundrels feature daily “hotel horror stories.” They regurgitate similar tweets to each other. They find new reasons to complain.
BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg tweeted about two sit-down toilets shown side-by-side with no partition. It went viral.
RT calls it a “must have” for every Sochi story. Imagine toilet humor substituting for real journalism. It gets worse.
Whatever is happening in Russia multiple time zones away gets reported. A Moscow school shooting creates Sochi shudders.
So does a derailed gas-laden freight train exploding. It happened 500 miles northeast of Moscow. It made Sochi headlines.
CNN connected Sochi to the September 2004 Beslan school siege. Its February 5 report said:
“Amid the shrill noise of militant threats ahead of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the gym in Beslan is now steeped in silence, a monument to the dead, untouched almost.”
Trashing Sochi bashes Putin. MSM scoundrels are deplorable. They disgrace themselves before dwindling audiences.
CNN and other US cable news networks report increasing to fewer viewers. Maybe one day they’ll all tune out.
RT called Sochi the “biggest construction site in the world over the past seven years.”
“Everything there – most of the hotels, sport venues, high-speed rail links, highways, 50 bridges, even the Olympic village itself – was built from scratch.”
It’s an extraordinary achievement in a short time. It’s almost like building an entirely new city in record time. Sochi deserves praise, not criticism.
Toronto Star reporter Rosie Dimanno wrote:
“Mounds of debris, parts of roads unpaved, mesh hoarding to hide the eyesore bits, lots of trash, unreliable power – nothing upsets journalists more than an internet that goes up and down – these have all featured in Olympics over the past three decades, as the Games have grown too big, too gaudy and too complicated.”
“The Olympics are no (place) for old sissies,” she added. “So I’ll take my own advice: Just chill.”
Most MSM scoundrels report as expected. They mock legitimate journalism. It’s verboten in America. It’s lacking in Canada. It’s largely absent in Western Europe. Managed news misinformation substitutes.
WSJ editors called Sochi “a shrine to authoritarianism.” They bashed Putin relentlessly. One bald-faced lie followed others.
“(T)he underbelly of Mr. Putin’s regime (was) exposed,” they claimed.
New York Times editors were just as bad. They headlined “A Spotlight on Mr. Putin’s Russia,” saying:
“(T)he reality of (his) Russia…conflicts starkly with Olympic ideals and fundamental human rights.”
“There is no way to ignore the dark side – the soul-crushing repression, the cruel new anti-gay and blasphemy laws, and the corrupt legal system in which political dissidents are sentenced to lengthy terms on false charges.”
NYT editors have a longstanding disturbing history. They one-sidedly support wealth, power and privilege. Whenever Washington wages imperial wars or plans them, they march in lockstep.
They long ago lost credibility. They feature mind-numbing misinformation. They violate their own journalistic code doing so.
They invented anti-gay law controversy. Russian gay propaganda law has nothing to do with persecuting people for their sexual orientation.
Everyone’s rights are respected. Russia wants its children protected from malicious anti-gay propaganda, illicit drugs, alcohol abuse and whatever else harms them.
Responsible governance demands it. America leaves millions of children unprotected. Cutting food stamps alone denies them vital nutrition.
Don’t expect Times editors to explain. Or about thousands of political prisoners languishing in America’s gulag.
About torture being official US policy. About rigged US elections. About impoverishing neoliberal harshness.
About destroying social America. About eliminating America’s middle class. About waging war on freedom.
About unprecedented levels of public and private corruption. About kleptocracy masquerading as democracy.
About out-of-control corporate empowerment. About Washington being corporate occupied territory. About crushing organized labor.
About commodifying public education. About ignoring international, constitutional and US statute laws.
About violating fundamental human and civil rights. About Obama’s war on humanity.
Bashing Putin takes precedence. Managed news misinformation proliferates.
Times editors report like other media scoundrels. MSM ones long ago lost credibility. They replicate the worst of each other.
They support what demands condemnation. They back wrong over right. Readers and viewers demand better.
MSM scoundrels don’t deliver. Sochi games run through February 23. Expect lots more Putin bashing ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip…
(Theme song from the TV show “Gilligan’s Island”)
You’re probably familiar with the “scientific” expedition from Australia which got stuck in the ice in Antarctica last Christmas Eve, but you may not be aware what a rollicking good tale it is. “You’re sure to get a smile,” as the show’s theme song promises, but I promise you more than just a chuckle. There’s a moral to the story as well.
The first comic relief – other than the fact it’s summer down under, mate – comes with the introduction of the organizer of the “Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE)”, Chris Turney, self-described “scientist, explorer, writer” and ardent global warmist. Christened “The Spirit of Mawson” after an Australian scientist who led an expedition to Antarctica in 1911, the expedition’s purpose was to “meld science and adventure, repeating century old measurements to discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment”. Despite the scientific veneer, the make-up of the 50-odd person crew resembled more the complement of the good ship Minnow (“The millionaire and his wife; The movie star; The professor and Mary Ann”) than that of Mawson’s S. Y. Aurora. The pseudo-scientific antics of this menage a trois of scientists, journalists, and tourists made the voyage look more like Winter Carnival at Dartmouth than Darwin aboard the Beagle.
Comments on Turney’s website (“marked shift in westerly winds… melting large sections of the Antarctic ice sheet” ) suggest he expected to find more open water than had Mawson a century earlier. Why Turney hoped to find open water when it was well known sea ice in the Antarctic was setting records is a mystery. I suspect he’d been led astray by fellow warmists like Al Gore, who predicted in 2008 “the entire North Polar ice cap may well be completely gone in five years” . Gore almost achieved prophet status in 2012 when Arctic ice shrank to its smallest extent since modern recordkeeping began, but last year the ice made a huge comeback and is now almost back to normal.
Whatever the case, the expedition’s Russian ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, got stuck in the ice. The Australian government sent out its ice breaker, the Aurora Australis, to rescue the ship, but they could come no closer than 10 miles from their fellow countrymen. A larger icebreaker, the Chinese Xue Long, got within six miles but could get no further. The decision was made to helicopter the stranded Aussies to the Chinese ship, leaving the Russians to their fate. But for days bad weather forced postponement of the airlift.
Meanwhile, aboard the Shokalskiy it wasn’t exactly “No phone, no lights, no motor car; Not a single luxury; Like Robinson Crusoe; It’s primitive as can be”, but then our castaways weren’t exactly basking in the tropics, either. The first mate and his Skipper too, will do their very best to make the others comf’terble in their tropic island nest (make that “antipodal mess”). Courageously ignoring their life-threatening predicament (or too drunk to remember they were in one), the boozy explorers partied as if there were no tomorrow (which might be true if the weather didn’t break and the heat ran out). On New Year’s Eve the ice-olated penguin-huggers celebrated with a concerned world through
YouTube (a bit nerdy, almost makes them look like scientists).
Unable to get a good weather forecast, the expedition contacted a San Diego TV station and asked if they could help. The station’s weatherman, John Coleman, contacted some colleagues knowledgeable on the Antarctic, who came up with a
forecast which held out the hope the wind might shift to offshore, causing the ice to break up and free the vessel. But before that could happen, the expedition opted for evacuation by helicopter when the weather improved sufficiently a day or two later.
From the Xue Long, the now world-infamous Australasian Antarctic Expedition was transferred to the Aurora Australis, which then continued on its original mission to re-supply an Australian Antarctic base. Meanwhile, the Xue Long now became stuck in the ice. Fortunately, the wind shift postulated by the weathermen came to pass, and both stuck ships, the Xue Long and the Akademik Shokalskiy, were able to free themselves. As it turns out, our intrepid explorers would have gotten home sooner had they not abandoned ship as the Shokalskiyarrived back in Australia while our parka-clad party animals were still stuck in Antarctica waiting for a ride home.
If all this hasn’t given you a chuckle, you’re a diehard warmist with no sense of humor. One last attempt to tickle your funny bone. The meteorologists who predicted the weather might improve sufficiently for the Akademik Shokalskiy to free itself are global warming skeptics, or, as the still unbowed leader of the AAE might say, deniers.
Not so funny (even by my warped standards) is the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars someone, maybe the Australian taxpayer, is going to have to ante up to cover the cost of the rescue. The AAE vowed prior to departure to plant trees in New Zealand to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their expedition. Adding in the emissions spewed out by the fossil fuel-guzzling icebreakers, this should result in a forest of taigan proportions, which, like its Siberian counterpart, will be a tribute to the awesome, fear-inspiring forces of nature.
On the bright side, the expedition fared better than Mawson’s in one respect: they all came back alive. Mawson and two companions were forced to make a 300-mile trek across the ice back to their base camp. Losing his companions to the harsh conditions along the way, Mawson stumbled into the camp after a months-long trek only to see the S. Y. Aurora steaming away in the distance. Living off the provisions left behind, Mawson spent the winter alone on Terra Australis, dreaming of that other “Land of the South” from whence he came and to which he would belatedly return the next summer.
The moral of the story? Global warming is real. Just kidding. The true moral is not to defy settled science, the science that is settled being that there is a lot about the climate we don’t understand. To see everything through the prism of a still young, still baffling warming trend is to risk, to put it ironically, snow blindness. The attribution of the recent Polar Vortex-induced cold wave in the United States to
global warming is a case in point. An obsessively global warming-centric view of the world can lead to errors of the fatal variety, as almost befell our Gilliganesque lot, but perhaps even more dangerous in the long run, to errors of science.
The Legend of “Nostradamus, Jr.” continues…
Most predictions about the future are risky attempts at guessing. If one is fortunate, they come across a clairvoyant, who has a long established record of forecasting political prospects. In the long tradition of prognostication, by the one and only, Nostradamus, Jr., William B. Kaliher presents his 2014 prophecy. The yearly feature on the EtherZone site produced a loyal following of eager future deprived junkies. Taking pleasure in continuing this esteem exercise in sarcasm, Stuck on Stupid offers commentary on a sample of these mystic omens, which can be found on “Nostradamus, Jr.” Kaliher’s Annual Top 101 Predictions for 2014
10. A new danger this year will be Progressive heads unexpectedly exploding. Study of the syndrome will reveal after mistakenly reading a reputable publication, damaged and unused synapses in Progressives will heal sufficiently to realize even after six years imitating a president, Obama’s resume and accomplishments still don’t measure up to superwoman Sarah Palin.
Such an admission that NeoCon Palin has more accomplishments means there is an antidote to government school brainwashing.
14. Communist Mijail Gorbachov will be recognized as more enlightened than Abraham Lincoln for allowing bullied states to secede.
The realization of self-determination impacts Europe, while still unknown in the Disunited States of Amerika.
18. The original Birthers, the Hillary Clinton camp, will feed more information to their front man Donald Trump to find the grave of the real Barry Bin Hussein Obama who was born dead.
When the CIA creates one of their own Manchurian Candidate’s they better use MI6 to forge the documents.
20. Quivering Chris “Fatty” Matthews, will admit the Obama administration is the most corrupt in American history, but insist Obama is so sexy it’s no wonder the media overlooked his failures.
MSNBC casting couch requires an interview with Bill Gates and a test of how far the Feeling and Thrill Goes up the Leg.
23. Facing questioning on her failures concerning the Benghazi disgrace America’s favorite crone, H. Rodham Clinton, will harken back to her infamous Selma days, and employ her “colored voice” in an effort to claim the Senators questioning her are racist.
When under attack the best defense is a rally of all the Boyz n da Hood.
25. Newt Gingrich will change parties and be re-elected to the House as a Congressman from New Jersey.
Closet DeomcoRATS strip off their GOP garb and get down to their real roots.
27. Eric Holder’s, of Fast & Furious shame, next false flag operation in Mexico will involve sending the drug cartels 15,000 automatic rifles as well as an undetermined amount of anti-personnel and anti-tank weaponry.
Preparing for the final invasion of the borders requires the deployment of the heavy infantry.
39. Progressives and their lackeys will fail to understand why Conservatives find it hilarious the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street operation was underwritten by corporate offices on Wall Street.
The grunts that camp out to protest the international bankers are collecting their sustenance from debit cards.
44. Illegal alien and famed American clown, Barack Hussein Obama, will handle the Iranian nuclear crisis by sending Chicago Community Organizers, commanded by dingle-berry-eating Janeane Garofalo, to pow-wow with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Chicago outfit will make a deal that they can’t refuse. Just ship some of the same nuke fuel that previously went to Israel.
45. When Hillary Clinton finally sobers up and recovers from her, (ha-ha-hee-hee-hee), concussion to testify concerning the Benghazi disgrace, she will claim the failure was because her security man, Craig Livingston, of Filegate fame, wasn’t on the job.
The queen of mean never gets dirty when a Mr. Clean crew is on duty. In this case, they were in rehab.
46. Liberal/Progressive/Democrats will be so embarrassed over being played for fools and buying snake oil salesman Albert “Carbon Footprint” Gore’s “man-made Global Warming” farce; he will no longer feel safe in England.
Brits will disclose that Gore is the programmer of the NSA information leak that exposed the global warming hockey stick.
48. It will be revealed Chucky “Sanctimonious” Schumer, Democrat, N.Y., suffered bouts of depression because 193 fellow Progressives beat him for television face time to decry the second amendment before the blood dried after the Connecticut school shootings.
Schumer’s press agent gets him a booking on the spin off the biggest loser for “POLS”.
51. Chinese diplomats will defend North Korea and the sanity of former leader and world class golfer, Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong-un, explaining, “With Obama in office the Jong’s aren’t the craziest leaders around. They’re actually reasonable and stable in comparison.”
Jong addresses the UN and condemns Obama for crimes against humanity.
61. Obama will confuse opponents about the tax money his thirty-plus czars take from the poor via the public trough by naming Mijail Gorbachov as the first non-Marxist in the group.
Twitter posts the first news that an IPO is ready from the bankrupt TARP interests to refloat their operations.
65. Satan’s more evil son,108 year-old Nazi George Soros, will be given command of both Obama’s first armed FEMA brown-shirt graduates http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/10/federal-goverment-graduates-first-class-of-homeland-youths/ and their armored personnel detachment.
The neo-Stasi brigade infiltrates resisting neighborhood to enforce DNA collection.
71. Democrat Party fact-falsification operation, Snopes, will deny the media quit covering Darfur, homelessness, Club Gitmo and environmental problems after Mr. Obama’s election.
Politico and the Huffington Post win pulitzer prizes for blaming Bush for ongoing Obama decisions.
72. Caring Liberals, (are there any other kind?) will band together to discover what evil is preventing tax escape artist Warren Buffet, from voluntarily and patriotically paying more taxes.
Buffet announces that Berkshire Hathaway invested into underwriting the next cycle of Democrat candidates.
80. Progressives will quit their war on Christmas when new birth questions force Obama sycophants to claim Barry was born in a manger.
Valerie Jarrett heads up the acquisitions of the CTN, TBN and the TCT networks to facilitate an orderly transition into the Church of Obama.
87. The DNC will give a special award of merit to John Boehner for his work in passing Democrat legislation.
Boehner get a CNN gig now that Gingrich joined the Democratic Party.
92. By June over half the American population will think Vladimir Putin cares more about American democracy than the administration.
Inquiries begin to see if a foreign born can become U.S. President.
95. Joe Biden will refer to the Prez using the “N” word and fellow liberals will justify his racist remark by claiming Biden has grown in office.
Obama claims he has matured as a white in office and is now under attack by his former brothers.
96. Some liberal Democrats will be removed from management positions in the Republican National Committee.
The GOP big tent collapses as a failure.
100. Barry Obama will set new records funding Green companies, including Alaskan Palm Orchards, Ltd., Arizona Cactus From South Georgia Swampland, Inc., Sliced & Diced Rare Birds of Yet-More Wind Propellers, Corp., owned by friends and political allies.
Obama reaches out to Gore to fund his retirement and provide the ex-VP with protection.
This list was selected as the tame examples. If you are daring, read the entire 101 items. A serious analysis and critical review of politics is mostly ignored by the general public. The popular culture is made up of people who cannot learn, of fools who repeat their mistakes time and again, and persons who constantly screw up.
The art in satire varies with the source and even more with the audience. Mr. Kaliher’s perspective may seem twisted to an apologist for the establishment. It might seem downright hostile to the statist, who places trust in government. However, the continual absurdity, year after year, just grows.
Both in the irony of the illustrations and in the intensity of the deranged circumstances, what comes out of the political class of illusionists, is even more frightening. Truth is stranger than fiction. Yet the refusal to admit the con game that is played on citizens is the primary reason that it never ends.
Accepting a corrupt system as normal or inevitable is defeatist to the core. Each generation of public officials move closer to act as irrelevant puppets and lap dog administers for the dictates of perverted elites. Is there humor in this act or is it beyond the abilities of the system to provide a correcting mechanism to reverse the unwavering descent into the ridiculous.
So what are the reasonable expectations for 2014? Will the Republicans take the Senate? Will an amnesty immigration bill pass? Or will the administration find a magic medicine to cure Obamacare? The score card usually misses the final outcome of the game.
When drawn together, all the Nostradamus, Jr. Predictions for the last ten years, the picture seems far more enlightening than entertaining. The sorry state of affairs, when considered as a continual trend towards a loss in quality of life, is the only conclusion possible. Only a lazy meathead refuses to face the facts and adjust behavior when the seer speaks.
When thespians become caricatures of a popular culture that accelerates the demise of civilization, the routine loses all comic relief. The dramaturge of classic theater, relegated to the standing room galley or the cheap seats, creates a void in context and meaning. Today the promenade of audience interaction merges with the performance of a surreal life play. Looking into the rabbit hole applauds an adventure in the wonderland of narcissism by adopting the cult of celebrity.
Chris Renzo writes in Waking Times, How Celebrity Culture is Destroying Who We Are.
“We live in a world that celebrates image over substance and because of this we have lost sight of who we are. We are bombarded daily with images that celebrate vanity, debauchery, and acts of senselessness. Through the corporate mass media we are subliminally told what to think, how to interpret the way society operates, what is “right,” what is “cool,” and how to keep from looking old and unhip.”
It is said that the only thing funny about Henny Young jokes is his violin. Such quips like “My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.” – seems downright dim-witted. However, the passé humor of your grandparent’s generation is benign and harmless when weigh against the licentiousness of the actual lifestyles of the celeb sect. By comparison, George Carlin appears tame. The political innuendo in his humor, “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.” approaches the wisdom of the Greek proverb, “Either dance well or quit the ballroom.”
The entertainment industry does not qualify as being a cynic since their value culture never came near to being noble-minded. When they perform on stage their boogie moves and trip the light fantastic toe of their kinky art, Fred Astaire turns in his grave. Their lack of class to exit the theater and perform on the streets, set afire from the relativism of their decadent imagery, causes the pop culture to sink further into the sewer of Hollywood excess.
Gone are the days of Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny. Ethnic humor, now banned from the airwaves, replaced with hip-hop, and rap music, prompts the next class in the School of the Arts to do the hood boogie-woogie. Clowns like the tame Red Skelton or the risqué Benny Hill were mild showmen judged against the likes of the Showtime staple of vulgarism. Bob Newhart’s wit replaced with Kathy Griffin’s filth is analogous about the state of mind in today’s society.
The folksy humor of Will Rogers, rides into the sunset as the “Cowboy Way”, replaced by the broke back way of life roundup, spread across the plains. Where is the humor in the eviction from the “Little House on the Prairie”?
That familiar Three Stooges carnival has become the Barak Obama circus. The spotless reflection of presidential shame, exhibited with each Leno appearance, razz the faithful follower fools. A pre-presidential appearance on Saturday Night Live video has the touchy feely and future fearless leader geared up to bring in a new era. Somehow, the skits of Moe, Larry and Curley give more confidence than the nauseating charms of the current joke POTUS.In the NeoCon publication FrontPage, Mark Tapson gives a damaging account of Actor Steven Weber Proves That ‘Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.’
“Weber, a self-described “wise-ass” (he got that half-right anyway), posted a painfully unfunny political rant there entitled ” Comedy Relief.” As near as I can decipher it, the piece asserts that conservatives are a big joke, what with their insistence on sabotaging this country and demonizing the genius President Obama despite all the good he has accomplished.Weber clearly amuses himself, but when it comes to savagely funny and incisive political commentary, the man is no Mark Steyn. Here’s an example of his wit and insight into current events: “Bin Laden’s been gone, Qaddafi’s ka-dead, and the Arab Spring’s been sprung.” Weber actually cites these as examples of Obama’s “real foreign policy victories.”
Weber is right about his vague statement that Obama has the American people “aroused and assembling.” Yes, millions of Americans are aroused and assembling – not in support of Obama, but in opposition to his dismantling of our Constitutional rights, our military, our economy, our borders, our very exceptionalism.”
While Weber is an insignificant celebrity, his essay in the Huffington Times reinforces the gonzo ignorance of glorified groupies exhorting their devotion to political correctness. The history of Hollywood disdain towards Free Speech is legendary, when practiced by traditional conservative Christians. The political affiliation of the Screen Actors Guild members is well known.
Backstage columnist Simi Horwitz reports in In Left-Leaning Business, Conservative Actors Feel Marginalized.
“There are well-known conservative actors—including Gary Sinise, Tom Selleck, Patricia Heaton, James Woods, Robert Davi, James Belushi, Dennis Miller, and Sylvester Stallone—but according to Morris, their numbers are far fewer than those in the left-wing camp and, more important, they simply don’t have the clout. “If you think even for one instance Stallone can get the same press as Clooney, you’re nuts,” he said. “Clooney is a media darling. If he says something he’s taken seriously. If Stallone says something, it’s ‘Look what the asshole said.’ “
Well, “That’s Entertainment” in the world of star power mania.
From Big Hollywood, the Breitbart team argues back in March 2013, Andrew Was Right: CPAC Hollywood Panel Confirms Culture’s Impact On Politics.
“Andrew’s message that culture is upstream from politics could be heard loud and clear Friday during a panel of Hollywood heavy hitters who implored to directly engage the entertainment industry.
John Sullivan, director of 2016: Obama’s America, told the crowd the biggest deficit conservatives face today isn’t at the ballot box. The “cultural deficit” remains staggering, Sullivan said, estimating about $4 billion is being spent “working against conservative values” when one considers the total money spent on movies and television product.
“Republicans will come into an election year, and they’ll match the Democrats in political campaign contributions and pat themselves on the back on doing a good job,” Sullivan said, ignoring the culture imbalance.”
Now the clowns that control the organization apparatus in both criminal political parties really despise Will Rogers the moralist.
Tom Ashbrook from On Point writes,
“Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Mort Sahl and Lewis Black, Americans fell in love with a cowboy comedian who told it like it was, plain and simple.
Will Rogers was famous for his lariat and rope tricks, his aw-shucks way, his common touch. Everything he knew he read in the newspapers, he said.
But in his day, Will Rogers, homespun comic, was a much bigger draw than Oprah, and a political powerhouse. His humor moved the nation.”
“He was the most incisive political commentator of his era who, beneath his humor, provided his countrymen a critically honest appraisal of American politics and world affairs. Few men touched the American moral and political conscience more deeply than Rogers. His astute observations, his ability to go straight to the heart of the matter and then put that into words that resonated with his listeners, propelled him to a level of influence unequaled in American history. When the witty one-liners are stripped away from Rogers’s message, a sobering and powerful view of his political clout appears. A closer look at whom he met, where he traveled, and the subjects of his writings and speeches reveals not so much a comedian but a true political insider with the power to shape public opinion and ultimately influence public policy.”
The intense cultural imbalance that Mr. Sullivan asserts did not exist back in the day of Will Rogers. Although the reappearance of the American innocence of nearly a century ago will never return, the character of traditional principles and values remain intact for the remnant of faithful loyalists, who adhere to the spirit of limited government and individual liberty.
Corporatists and authoritarians, of all persuasions and ideologies are essentially anti (small r) republicans. There is no humor coming out of the camps of these culturally deprived “true believers”. The achievement of crowd ignorance is significantly a product of mass media distortion and deception. Entertainment artists are not a privileged class, contrary to their own self-pronouncement.
The stupidity that Will Rogers speaks of, intentionally designed to cast a tragic play for the country, is a national pandemic. Buffoons that use comedic lingo to push a repressive agenda are not funny. Actors who lionize tyrannical outlaws and insert subliminal messages in the recital of their play-acting are wretched role models.
Emphatically, the public needs to have the last laugh. An old fashion boycott is in order. Lost generations that swallow the poison from popular culture icons need a sanity intervention. Stop the support of your own ruin. Artists are naturally insecure. Make sure their fear becomes a permanent proviso every time they betray our heritage. Shut off the tube, turn the volume to zero and regain a healthy perspective on your own well-being.
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.
Today, if you sport white skin in America, you cannot make one single comment concerning race. You cannot make a joke, tell a story or say anything that would ruffle the feathers of any other race in America.
But if you are black, you can use the N-word with impunity in speech and songs. You can call whites “crackers, honkeys, whitey” and worse names with no consequences.
While white America elected the first black president, it also brought out the worst in some black Americans that should know better, act better and think with a brain instead of emotions.
Black actor Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live this past weekend started a wild fire of anger and responses with his racist diatribe on national TV. If a white person had said anything like Foxx said, “I get free, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that?” That white person would be arrested for hate crimes. He would have started black riots all over the country. He would have been on trial for his life. If he had been a white movie star or a politician, he would have been buried by the media.
Yet, during the SNL performance, viewers in the audience cheered Foxx for every racist comment he made.
“But I’m going to tell you right now, speaking of blackness, my President, President Obama is back up in the White House four more years,” said Foxx. “How black is that? And not only that, he’s so black, he was playing basketball during the Election Day. How black is that? But he was also late for his acceptance speech. Okay, all the white people, this is your turn – how black is that?”
In America, Foxx earns multi-millions of dollars for his acting. His black brothers in Africa die of starvation by the millions. In America, he enjoys freedom of speech while his black brothers in Africa die of AIDS, rapes, war and malaria. In America he drives a car while his black brothers and sisters in Africa drink polluted water, eat food out of garbage dumps and generally suffer brutality from the latest dictator.
Foxx continued, “But he going to be extra black this next four years. He going to get everything black, and white people, don’t get nervous about that because he is mixed. Now the first four years was the white side of him, because I don’t know if you saw him on Ellen when he was dancing and everything. I don’t know what this is. That wasn’t President Obama, that was President Barry Gibb Obama. But the next four years he’s even changing his name from to President Barack Dikembe Mutombo Tupac Mandela Hussein Obama X. How black is that? And the next time you see him dancing on Ellen, he gonna be dancing like this.”
He raged that, “Black is the new white. I’m telling you, how black is this right here? You know how I know black is in right now? Cause the Nets moved to Brooklyn. How black is that? They got black jerseys, black court. I mean, how black is that? And Jay-z is the owner, a rapper. How black is that? And Jay-z only own about this much of the team. But he act like he own all of New York. How black is that?”
Jamie Foxx enjoys his riches, food, clothing, a toilet and shower, and shelter while his black brothers and sisters in Africa live in horrid starvation, war and diseases daily. At some point, instead of denigrating Americans of all colors, he might get down on his hands and knees and thank his lucky stars for living in America.
If we expect this country to survive in the 21st century, we need all citizens to respect all races, creeds and colors as one human family. Otherwise, we will continue on our long slow gallop toward separation, division and angst.
Jamie Foxx must move past his racism, whether joking or not, and become a healer for his race and the other races that share this country with him. This country houses blacks, whites, browns, reds and yellow people. Everyone needs the same respect, honoring and sense of belonging.
Otherwise, Foxx’s funny form of racism will continue to divide and separate all Americans. It’s not funny, it’s not good, it’s not humorous and it’s not going to make America a good place to live.
All the buzz in the aftermath of the last election is that secession is in the air. Despite the improbable prospects that the globalists, that control the federal government, would allow the upstart masses to leave the dominion of Disunion States, it is promising that the country builds critical mass for dissolution. Secession in this day is not your call to arms in the defense of home. “Honest Abe’s” version of despotism caused many politicians to “Wave the bloody shirt”, but today’s crop of brave leaders just asks you to sign a petition to beg for a cordial severance. Just imagine the response from the unprincipled governmental career class. The re-education FEMA facilities are ready to become today’s “Camp Douglas” detention centers.
The League of the South list Ten Reasons For Secession and offers this assessment. “What is behind this increasing support for secession and independence? Perhaps the answer is this: hard reality has finally trumped the myth of a sacred, indivisible union. In other words, many citizens are beginning to see the hand writing on the wall, and the message is alarming.”
Notwithstanding, the sentiments of the Old South, the contemporary motivation to reject the arrogant and oppressive dictates of the central government is taking hold for a myriad of reasons. One of the stronger reasons appears in the article, Pluralism Leaves No Other Option – LIBERTY Demands Secession.
“It is absolutely crucial to view the concept of America not as a country, and certainly not as a government. The uniqueness in the notion of the 1776 revolution lies within the shot heard round the world. Equity – adjudication of the inadequate common law, supplant natural law with chancery courts. “Equity follows the law” is the claim, but the practice is that the law becomes arbitrary, that which men desire.
Secession is the moral course. Yes, you will reply that the government will never allow such a wild proposal. Surely, you would be correct, the nature of the federal system is to control people, and would not give up the power to dominate citizens. But, that evaluation does not dispel the validity of the ethical case. So much for the prospect of Liberty in a free society.”
Set aside the fear of federal retribution and coercive retaliation. Is it justified to seek dissolution of the failed empire that has long ago buried the essence of a constitutional republic? The great departed Joseph Sobran in Secession, Anyone?, urges you to search your conscience and be true to your immortal soul.
“A few readers think I’m writing with tongue in cheek when I propose secession. Well, though I see the humor of it, I’m not exactly joking. I know it’s unlikely to happen, for the time being, but the idea has value as a thought-experiment. It can help free our minds of the illusion that the present political status quo was, and is, “inevitable.”
How would such a movement proceed? The essay, Representation, Secession and Taxation, illustrates unbearable circumstances and practical steps to ratchet up populace pressure. “As discontent rises and practical solutions evaporate, that dirty historic sentiment begins to bubble to the surface, SECESSION. Russell D. Longcore provides a standard, when secession is a vital and justified option that many would accept.
“Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected representatives and the state citizens. Secession should be initiated at the moment that any state reaches the point at which it will no longer accept the despotic tyranny and laws coming from the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. Or, secession should be initiated upon a collapse of the Dollar, or the imposition by Washington DC of martial law in the event of social upheaval.”
The initiative, Petitions to secede are filed for 23 states since election, as previously reported by the Washington Times explains the procedure.
“The White House may have to take the requests seriously. According to the website, any petition receiving 25,000 online “signatures” on the “We the People” page within 30 days of posting will receive a review by the appropriate executive department and a response from a White House staffer.As of Monday, the Texas petition had already exceeded the 25,000-signature threshold, and the Louisiana petition was fast approaching the cutoff with more than 18,000 signatures. Most of the petitions were posted online Nov. 10, which means they have until Dec. 10 to qualify for a response.”
A further update appears on U.S. Citizens In Over 40 States File Petitions For Secession, which also lists the states and the proposed response. “The Obama administration explains on thewebsite, “If a petition meets the signature goal within the designated period, the White House will respond to that petition in a timely fashion.”
Finally, the Daily Caller raises attention from the state of Texas.
“The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin. Shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, it had attracted 94,700 signatures. But a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday afternoon that he does not support the idea of his state striking out on its own.
“Gov. Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it. But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
A backlash Monday night saw requests filed with the White House to strip citizenship rights from Americans who signed petitions to help states secede.”
This last implication, suggesting that any citizen that petitions for secession to the federal government should be stripped of citizenship, essentially supports the case why beleaguered and osterized proponents of a nation of laws, as opposed to a banana republic of the rule of men, deserves a peaceful severing of ties.
Read closer the real intentions of the global fascists: Anti-secession forces fight back with White House deportation petitions.
“Mr. President,” reads one, “please sign an executive order such that each American citizen who signed a petition from any state to secede from the USA shall have their citizenship stripped and be peacefully deported.”
This “so called” peaceful deportment is basically the separation sought, when the destination for exile is the very state that seeks secession. Each individual state retains their sovereignty and every citizen is endowed with intrinsic natural rights.
The fault with petitions to the federal government for the privilege of exercising your own inherent rights is absurd. State governors need to demonstrate the leadership to rally their legislatures to employ their legitimate dominion in the face of federal government tyranny.
Force, bribery and unlawful court decisions are the tools used by the central government to intimidate, cajole and dictate their formula of oppression. Mr. Sobran’s questioning the inevitability for acceptance of federal authoritarianism, rests on your fortitude and character of exercising your basic human rights.
Secession from tyrannical government is a moral imperative.
Any illusion that the Obama administration would willingly bend to the will of the people from a sovereign state escapes normal thought, however, in the face of stark repression, only consistency with valuing the sanctity of life and human rights, allows for principled stands on high moral ground.
Governments fall, while a consensual nation state can still survive. With the destruction of an accepted traditionalistic national identity, time-honored heritage becomes the target of dictatorial “do gooders” who facilitate subjugation of independent self-governing states.
The disease of false patriotism in a corrupt and imperial empire is destroying the lives and moral character of the multitude. Decent citizens need to proceed with advocacy on secession with more action than signing a petition. They must confront the domination out of Washington directly. They must lobby their state legislatures to reject federal intrusion. Also, they must pressure their governors to resist and fight back the coercion from central governance.
When the oppressed masses realize that the welfare state is actually a Chicago style detention camp intended with their demise, the prospects for a ground swell for secession would explode.
The context of justifiable rebellion starts in Texas as stated in Politico account, Secession petition leader: Obama’s baked.
“I am completely aware that Election Day was a catalyzing moment, but I do not believe that the underpinnings of this are solely about Barack Obama,” Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller told POLITICO. “This cake has been baking for a long time — it’s the Obama administration that put the candles on the cake and lit it for us.”
Blowing out the candles of federal absolutism is the imperative of our age. Secession is not a dirty word, but is an indispensable solution. Dissolving the union of the suppressed, under the auspices of the subverted elite, is the path to social freedom and human liberty.
Non-violent civil disobedience needs to be the personal task of every citizen that believes in the origin of the country. A majority is not necessary to endorse and adopt this strategy in order to achieve a peaceable social revolution. A core element of activists and dedicated compatriots can change the world. Fear of internment is miniscule to everlasting captivity.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday from Bagram Air Base, President Barack Obama declared the advent of a new, post-war era in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. During his six-hour unannounced visit Obama signed an agreement with President Hamid Karzai that is supposed to define the role of the U.S. after the scheduled departure of American troops in 2014. The TV address—filled with contradictions, omissions, and half-truths—indicates that Obama is prepared to misrepresent the failed U.S. mission in Afghanistan as a success in order to help his reelection. An ad-hoc analysis follows, with the President’s words in italics.
“Today, I signed an historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries—a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states; a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.”
Hundreds of agreements signed by U.S. presidents over the decades have been called “historic,” including several high-profile ones from the Cold War era—agreements involving serious partners in charge of serious countries—yet they are mostly long forgotten.
A generation from now the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” (SPA) signed by Presidents Obama and Karzai on May 1, 2012, will be forgotten, too. It may be vaguely remembered by a few historians specializing in the U.S. foreign policy in the early 21st century, and even then only for its sheer frivolity. The sole detail that matters is negative: the SPA does not commit the U.S. to the maintenance of any troop levels or funding after 2014; the pending exit will be conclusive. The rest is wishful thinking bordering on the surreal, including:
- “Protecting and Promoting Shared Democratic Values” (Afghanistan reaffirms its strong commitment to inclusive and pluralistic democratic governance, including free, fair and transparent elections, and to protecting human and political rights.)
- “Advancing Long-Term Security” (The U.S. will designate Afghanistan a “major non-NATO ally,” and after 2014 will support training and equipping the government forces.)
- “Reinforcing Regional Security and Cooperation” (Working with regional countries and organizations in fighting terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering.)
- “Social and Economic Development” (The U.S. will encourage American private sector investment, with both parties fighting “decisively against all forms of corruption.”)
- “Strengthening Afghan Institutions and Governance” (Afghanistan will promote efficiency and accountability at all levels of the government.)
This is not an agreement. This is a work of romantic fiction hardly worthy of detailed comment (see my Afghan Debacle of February 29). Its cloud-cuckoo quality would be humorous were it not for all the wasted lives and treasure in the decade preceding it.
The rest of President Obama’s TV address had the same absurdist quality as the “historic” agreement itself.
[L]et us remember why we came here. It was here, in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden established a safe-haven for his terrorist organization… It was here, from within these borders, that al Qaeda launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children. And so, ten years ago, the United States and our allies went to war to make sure that al Qaeda could never again use this country to launch attacks against us. Despite initial success, for a number of reasons, this war has taken longer than most anticipated.
“For a number of reasons” is a curious turn of phrase which glosses over the problem of flawed strategy. It is true that the initial objective of U.S. military operations was to remove the Taliban regime and deny Islamic terrorist networks a key base of operations, but the chosen method was wrong. A surgical operation against al-Qaeda, a brief occupation of Kabul in the aftermath of 9-11, and a vigorous supervision regime based on pilotless aircraft, should have been enough to demonstrate American resolve, to neutralize terrorist threats, and to satisfy the public opinion at home. Making Afghanistan peaceful, democratic and prosperous—reflected in the Agreement wish-list—had never been an attainable goal. No “strategy” based upon it could be successful.
The initial objective—ostensibly limited and attainable—had morphed under George W. Bush’s presidency into an open-ended exercise in nation building underpinned by grossly wasteful development programs. By the end of his second mandate, the situation on the ground had settled into a stalemate. The Taliban were able to reestablish their more or less permanent presence in the majority Pashtun rural areas in the south; the “allies” held the cities and kept the main roads open; Mohammad Karzai and his corrupt cronies pretended to be a real government.
The Obama administration decided to give Afghanistan higher priority, however. Unlike Iraq—which was treated as “Bush’s war” and eventually terminated on terms far from satisfactory—Afghanistan was adopted as Obama’s own project. Starting in early 2009, the U.S. committed significant additional financial and military resources to the country. The new strategy was twofold. One objective was to transfer responsibility for security to the Afghan National Army and police throughout the country and to withdraw U.S. and NATO forces by the end of 2014. The other was to facilitate a power-sharing agreement that would bring the Taliban into political mainstream, thus creating conditions for durable and stable peace in the country after the U.S. withdrawal. Both goals were unrealistic from the outset, as the slow progress on both fronts in 2011 confirmed. Even worse, achieving one without the other was neither useful nor possible: the twin pillars of U.S. strategy were unattainable in isolation from each other. “This war has taken longer than most anticipated” because it was unwinnable on Obama’s own terms—and it remains so, contrary to his claim on Tuesday night that “the tide has turned”:
[O]ver the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set—to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild—is within reach. Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over. But tonight, I’d like to tell you how we will complete our mission and end the war in Afghanistan.
Obama’s claim that his goal all along has been “to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild” is incorrect: that may have been the original goal, but three years ago Obama broadened it. His current twin goals of making Afghanistan secure by transferring security tasks to the Karzai government and by bringing the Taliban into political mainstream are not “within reach.” His strategy started collapsing last February, when a wave of mass protests—triggered off by the burning of Qurans at an American military base—indicated that the fight for Afghan hearts and minds had failed. The violence resulted in several murders of Americans by their Afghan “allies.” This made mockery of the process of Afghanization of security tasks. The key issue of the lack of “partnership” with the Afghan forces was not new. In May 2011, a U.S. Army study established that murders of Westerners by Afghan forces did not represent “rare and isolated events.” Even before last winter there had been little trust between U.S.-led coalition forces and their Afghan “allies,” contrary to Obama’s assurances:
[W]e have begun a transition to Afghan responsibility for security. Already, nearly half the Afghan people live in places where Afghan security forces are moving into the lead. This month, at a NATO Summit in Chicago, our coalition will set a goal for Afghan forces to be in the lead for combat operations across the country next year. International troops will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghans and fight alongside them when needed. But we will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward.
This statement overlooks the crisis in relations which started on March 11th with the killing of 16 unarmed Afghan villagers by a U.S. Army sergeant. The reaction in the country was predictably frenzied. In a symbolic gesture, the Taliban took over the village where the killings took place without a fight. Five days later, Karzai called on U.S. and NATO troops to leave Afghan villages and confine themselves to major bases, and asked for the withdrawal to be accelerated to late 2013. As if anticipating Obama’s TV address, Karzai asserted six weeks ago that the “Afghan security forces have the ability to provide security in the villages of our country.” Both claims were belied by the December 2011 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan, which warned that the war was still essentially a stalemate. Moreover, the “State of the Taliban”—a classified NATO report leaked to the media in February — warned that once the coalition withdraws, “the Taliban considers victory inevitable.”
[B]y the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.
Second, we are training Afghan security forces to get the job done. Those forces have surged, and will peak at 352,000 this year. The Afghans will sustain that level for three years and then reduce the size of their military. And [at the NATO summit] in Chicago, we will endorse a proposal to support a strong and sustainable long-term Afghan force.
The notion that U.S. troops will be able to hand over security to Afghan forces able and willing “to get the job done” is unrealistic. Obama is still sticking to the timetable predicated upon successful Afghanization of operational tasks, but the effort has been badly behind schedule for months. Last summer, Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell admitted that the plan to train Afghan soldiers and police to replace the 100,000 American troops remained plagued by high attrition, corruption, attacks on allied troops and assassinations of Afghan officials by “rogue” members of government security forces. Gen.Caldwell admitted that only one of the 84 infantry battalions trained and fielded by the coalition was ready to operate independently. Obama must be aware that, left to their own devices, those units will disintegrate and a significant minority of their rank-and-file will desert to the Taliban. His address therefore makes sense only as a deliberate bid to conceal from the nation, six months before the election, the fact that the “mission” has failed. That is the true meaning of the “agreement” signed with Karzai, and Obama’s rhetoric seemed to confirm the underlying agenda:
The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghan people: as you stand up, you will not stand alone… It includes Afghan commitments to transparency and accountability, and to protect the human rights of all Afghans—men and women, boys and girls… [W]e will work with the Afghans to determine what support they need to accomplish two narrow security missions beyond 2014: counter-terrorism and continued training. But we will not build permanent bases in this country, nor will we be patrolling its cities and mountains. That will be the job of the Afghan people.
Obama further said that “our goal is not to build a country in America’s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban.” Quite so: the time has come to cut the losses and leave Afghanistan to the devices of its own “men and women, boys and girls.”
A few hours after Obama’s crack-of-dawn departure a suicide car bomber and Taliban militants disguised in burqas attacked a Kabul compound housing hundreds of foreigners, killing seven. This is the shape of things to come. “Tens of thousands of people will be killed here if the Americans pack and get out,” says Afghan independent parliamentarian Mirwais Yasini, who warns that the Taliban would seize power again in just a matter of weeks. He may be right, but that is an Afghan problem. Ensuring lasting peace and stability in the country is theoretically desirable, but neither essential to U.S. security nor likely to be attained.
The final part of Obama’s address promised American assistance in the quest for a lasting political solution, but that is a bad idea. A future intra-Afghan dialogue involving the Taliban and their Pashtun tribal base on the one hand, and Tajiks, Uzbeks and other elements of the Northern Alliance on the other, should be left to the parties concerned. American involvement would be detrimental to success. Confidence-building measures aimed at bringing disparate factions to the table are probably doomed to fail anyway, but they certainly cannot work if one or more of the parties have no confidence in the United States as the facilitator of the process.
After Obama’s television address it is obvious that the Afghan mission is over. From now on the decision-makers’ energies should focus on the technicalities of a swift withdrawal and on the preparation of contingency plans to neutralize any future terrorist threat using drones and missiles. All along, the Taliban had only needed to survive to win, and they have survived. Within weeks or months after the last American soldier leaves Kabul, the Afghan National Army will collapse, Karzai will be killed or exiled, and Afghanistan will be its old unpleasant self. And, more importantly, Barack Obama will likely still occupy the White House.
Do you believe that America is a seething cesspool of filth and corruption? If not, you might change your mind after reading this article. Sadly, the truth is that the United States is absolutely corrupt to the core. This is true from the very top of our society all the way to the very bottom. The current occupant of the White House will likely go down in history as the most corrupt president in history, and that is really saying something. Almost every single day he adds something new to his list of corrupt deeds. He is a con man that deserves to be impeached for a whole host of reasons, but that will never happen because we have a Congress that is also deeply corrupt. But it is not just our politicians that are corrupt. Even the men that are supposed to be in charge of protecting the president are corrupt. A whole bunch of them were recently discovered sleeping with prostitutes in Colombia. We also find very deep and very pervasive corruption in our financial institutions, in our judicial system, in our police departments and in our religious institutions. It is almost as if nearly the entire nation is saturated with filth and depravity. It is becoming harder and harder to find men and women of integrity, and our young people have very few positive role models to look up to. How long is our society going to be able to continue to function normally if all of this corruption gets even worse?
The following are 25 signs that America is a seething cesspool of filth and corruption….
#1 The men and women of the Secret Service are supposed to be the best of the best. Instead, they have become a national embarrassment. 11 members of the U.S. Secret Service are under investigation for consorting with prostitutes in Colombia. Reportedly, several of the Secret Service agents that hired prostitutes were married.
#2 Our financial institutions are filled with cheats and liars. 2011 and 2012 have been absolutely horrible years for natural disasters in the United States. At a time when homeowners need their insurance companies more than ever, many insurance companies are systematically trying to weasel out of payouts and are trying to shift as much liability over to homeowners as possible. The following is from a recent Reuters article….
Insurance companies are raising rates, cutting coverage, balking at some payouts and generally shifting more expense and liability to homeowners, according to reports from the industry and its critics.
“Insurance companies have significantly and methodically decreased their financial responsibility for weather catastrophes like hurricanes, tornados and floods in recent years,” the Consumer Federation of America said in a statement after studying industry data.
The industry concedes that it is trying to avoid getting trounced by those same punishing weather patterns.
#3 Identity theft for the purpose of stealing tax refunds has reached epidemic proportions in America. The following is one shocking example that made the news recently up in New York….
Authorities say a former manager at a nonprofit Long Island health agency stole the IDs of more than 50 brain injury patients to get their tax refunds.
#4 The filth on television continues to get worse and worse. As WorldNetDaily recently reported, one new HBO series is going way over the line….
HBO’s irreverent mockumentary “Angry Boys” is under fire for combining child actors and phallic humor, including one scene in the series’ 12th episode, where a little girl drinks from a water bottle shaped like a giant, pink penis.
#5 All over the country, violent crime is getting worse. For example, there were 60 percent more homicides in Chicago during the first three months of 2012 than there were during the first three months of 2011.
#6 Some of the violent crimes committed recently in cities such as Chicago appear to be absolutely senseless. The following is one recent example from the Chicago Tribune….
A woman was shot in the face while driving in the Gresham neighborhood on the Far South Side late Wednesday.
The woman, 38, was driving west in the 2000 block of West 84th Street about 11:30 p.m. when a light colored car pulled alongside her and someone inside fired shots, according to police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.
#7 It isn’t just in the big cities where these kinds of senseless crimes are being committed either. One crime that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma recently is almost too horrifying to describe. The following is from a recent Daily Mail report….
An 85-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and battered to death by a home invader who also shot her 90-year-old husband in the face with a BB gun.
Nancy and Bob Strait, who had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in December, were discovered by their daughter at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Both the pensioners were rushed to hospital where Mrs Strait, who was nearly blind, died from her injuries.
#8 The flash mob epidemic that made headlines all over the nation last year is continuing in 2012. For example, several dozen young people recently stormed into a gas station in the Portland, Oregon area and took off with whatever they could carry.
#9 Thieves all over the nation are becoming incredibly bold. Up in New York, thieves recently stole brass plaques and bronze vases from a cemetery.
How desperate and corrupt do you have to be to desecrate the graves of the dead?
#10 These days thieves will steal anything that they can sell easily on the streets. For example, Tide detergent has become extremely popular to steal because it is being used as an alternative form of currency on the streets of many American cities. The following is from a recent article in The Daily….
Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.
One Tide taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.
“That was unique that he stole so much soap,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. “The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?”
Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
#11 In Baltimore, a man was recently knocked to the ground, stripped naked and had his car keys, watch, money and cell phone taken. In itself, that is not much of a story. But what made it a story was that instead of helping the man, the crowd of onlookers watching all of this happen laughed hysterically while recording the incident with their cell phone cameras for YouTube.
#12 The number of Americans that are willing to become permanently dependent on the government is absolutely astounding. At this point, there are approximately 67 million Americans that get some form of financial assistance from the federal government.
#13 Government dependence is increasingly being glamorized in popular culture. For example, one nightclub down in Alabama recently held a “Food Stamp Friday” party.
#14 As I have written about previously, employees of the federal government are living the high life at the expense of hard working American taxpayers. In fact, one federal employee recently made an outrageous rap video about it.
#15 Recently, I reported on the “Obama flag” that was flying above a Democratic Party headquarters down in Florida. Well, now another one has been spotted flying above a home in New Jersey. During the 2012 election season will we see American flags that have had the stars replaced with the face of Barack Obama flying over homes and businesses from coast to coast?
#16 In the United States today, the use of sexual humiliation by security officials has become normalized. If you are not convinced of this yet, you should check out this video of a woman sobbing as the TSA touches her private areas as they pat her down.
#17 Sadly, TSA officials have shown over and over that they are deeply corrupt and cannot be trusted. For example, one TSA manager at Dulles International Airport was recently discovered to be running a prostitution ring out of a local hotel room.
#18 According to the U.S. Supreme Court, police in the United States can now strip search you any time that they want. All they need to do is to make up some reason to arrest you. Needless to say, police all over the country are now going to be looking for any reason that they can think of to arrest very attractive women.
#19 In the United States, it has become regular practice for young couples to “live together” before marriage. In fact, in America today more than half of all couples now move in together before they get married. Sadly, the divorce rate for couples that live together first is also significantly higher than for those that do not. At this point, America has thehighest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.
#20 The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by far. In fact, the United States has a teen pregnancy rate that is more than twice as high as Canada, more than three times as high as France and more than seven times as high as Japan.
#21 Unfortunately, there are dramatic consequences for all of the loose sexuality going on in America. The CDC says that there are approximately 19 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in America every single year.
#22 Most Americans have no idea this is happening, but the truth is that abortion clinics all over the country are sellingaborted baby parts to scientists for medical research. If we keep cheapening human life like this, eventually it will mean next to nothing to us.
#23 According to the results of one recent investigation, an astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic goes to pornography websites. A different survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States visit pornography websites while they are at work.
#24 There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. This is especially true when it comes to notifying military wives that their husbands are dead. Sadly, some women are now being notified about the deaths of their husbands in the militarythrough Facebook.
#25 Our politicians are stealing 150 million dollars an hour from future generations so that we can live more comfortably right now. The American people participate in this theft by voting these politicians back into office over and over again. The crime that we are committing against future generations is almost too horrible for words.
So what is causing all of this filth and corruption?
Why has America become such a cesspool?
Source: The American Dream
“I need to get in and get out fast”
(BEIRUT) – Marie Colvin left Beirut on Valentine’s Day on a fateful mission to illegally enter Syria from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to Homs, Syria. Her clear intention was to document the conditions of the civilian population in Homs who had been under heavy attack for the preceding two weeks.
Marie, with more than a quarter century experience in the Middle East had made contact through friends in Beirut with some smugglers who agreed to take her and her colleague, French Photographer Remi Ochlik to a makeshift media center in the besieged flash point neighborhood of Baba Amr.
Marie promised apprehensive friends in Beirut that she would return “no later than one week maximum, certainly I’ll be back by your birthday Franklin! (Feb. 26)” she told this observer.
According to her mother, Rosemarie, who lives in New York City, Marie planned to arrive back in Beirut on February 22nd.
As it turned out, that was the day she was killed as eleven artillery shells slammed into her cramped quarters.
An accident? Eleven rockets fired into one 30 foot wide two story building? On the 19th day of shelling of the area?
Or was Marie and her colleagues targeted as is widely claimed by witnesses on the scene in Baba Amr?
Jean-Pierre Perrin, a journalist for the Paris-based Liberation newspaper who was with Marie until the day she died said the journalists had been told that the Syrian Army was ‘deliberately’ going to shell their center.
Marie Colvin’s mother, Rosemarie: “Telling the story was her life”
Mr Perrin said: ‘A few days ago we were advised to leave the city urgently and we were told: ‘If they (the Syrian Army) find you they will kill you‘.
‘I then left the city with Marie but then she decided to go back when she saw that the major offensive had not yet taken place.’
A very dark day
Marie’s joie de vie and charm earned her many good friends all over the World.
” I need to get in and get out fast”, Marie said as she waited to hear from her transport team in Beirut on February 13, 2011
Marie asked my help in getting a Visa to enter Syria. I was humbled that this highly accomplished career journalist (Marie was twice named foreign reporter of the year (2001 and 2010) in the British Press Awards.
She was given an International Women’s Media Foundation award for courage in journalism for her coverage of Kosovo and Chechnya. And the Foreign Press Association named her as journalist of the year in 2000) would seek my help as if I had any influence on such an issue.
I did give her contact information for friends in Syria, including Dr. Bouthania Shaaban and her brilliant associate Nizar, whose friendship I value very much.
I mentioned to Marie that I hoped they are both well but that I was worried about them. We used to see a lot of Bouthania on TV. One of her jobs was as Media adviser to Bashar Assad on TV but now nothing.
Bouthania is a great woman and Syrian nationalist from Homs whose eyes welled with tears as she explained to me not long ago that she could not visit her mother’s grave in Homs because she would be killed.
I urged Marie to try to meet with Bouthania who I am certain would help her if she possibly could. I am not sure if the two women ever did make contact.
It was clear to Marie’s friends that she needed to document the story of Homs and to tell the story and give a voice to the voiceless who had been under bombardment since February 3rd.
Her mom said Marie had been told twice by her editor to leave the country because of the danger she was facing, but Marie replied that she “wanted to finish one more story”.
The London Times editorialized that Marie’s reporting and subsequent death had strengthened global opposition to oppression and that “Marie stood for truth and courage, which, when brought together, are the greatest moral force on the planet.”
The Sunday Times editor John Witherow said in a statement that Colvin “believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice.”
Simon Kelner, chief executive of the Journalism Foundation wrote that: “Marie Colvin embodied all the qualities required of a great journalist: bravery, integrity and a fearless desire to seek the truth. At a time when newspapers are under intense scrutiny, her work is a reminder of the fundamental purpose of journalism, and her death, along with the French photographer Remi Ochlik, represents a dark day indeed.”
In her own words, Marie explained not long ago how she viewed a reporter’s job.
“You hear all this talk about the meaning of the media, the need for integrity etc etc,” she said during a November 2010, talk at London’s St Bride’s Church – the “journalists’ church” on Fleet Street at an event to honor fallen journalists.
“But isn’t it quite simple? You just try to find out the truth of what’s going on and report it the best way you can. And because we are kind of romantic, our sympathy goes towards the underdog.”
It was after the loss of her eye that Marie elaborated publicly on her reason for covering wars. She wrote of the importance of telling people what really happens and about “humanity in extremis, pushed to the unendurable”. She explained “My job is to bear witness. I have never been interested in knowing what make of plane had just bombed a village or whether the artillery that fired at it was 120mm or 155mm. I write about people so that others might understand the truth.”
Colvin in Chechnya in 1999. She was acknowledged by her peers as Britain’s foremost war correspondent. Photograph: Dmitri Beliakov/Rex
A true friend and a great humanitarian and journalist
Marie (on the right shaking hands with MG) helped the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen get one of the major final interviews with Col Gaddafi
I had known of Marie Catherine Colvin since the late 1980’s when we crossed paths at the Grand Hotel in Tripoli, currently a base for the Zintan militia, and like everyone then and since we basically sat around the hotel lobby for lots of hours waiting for an appointment with “the Brother Leader” or one of his associates for whatever reason brought us to Libya.
I followed Marie’s work over the years and was in contact in 2001 when she lost her left eye reporting on the Tamil resistance in Sri Lanka.
But I was honored to get to know Marie know much better during this past summer and fall, again in Libya, and we continued to stay in regular contact mainly via email.
It was following the August 21-2nd rout of the pro-Gadhafi defenders of Tripoli that Marie arrived in Tripoli from months of covering the rebels in the east and then in the west.
On August 22nd, the nearly empty Corinthia Bab al Africa hotel where I was staying suddenly filled with dozens of arriving Journalists who, like Marie, had been following the rebels advance toward what some were calling “the final battle at Tripoli”.
We immediately reconnected and began helping each other. She briefed me for hours on what had been going on in the east and I filled her in on what I knew about developments in Tripoli. Both of us, like just about everyone, were shocked how quickly Tripoli had fallen and how the claimed 65,000 well-trained loyalist defenders that the regimes persuasive spokesman Musa Ibrahim assured us would be waiting in all the streets and alleys and on every roof top of Tripoli for the expected arrival of the “NATO rebels” had suddenly vanished.
The arriving brigades of journalists were disappointed to find the 5 star Corinthia Hotel without water, or employers to clean the rooms, no electricity most of the time, not much worth eating or much else that they had looking forward to. Of course this did not mean the hotel would lower its astronomical room rates and the place made a financial killing as did the Rixos and Radisson Hotels.
I was able to show Marie a ‘secret’ bathroom off the lobby that no one had discovered and it was the only one in the Corinthia to my knowledge that was not filthy and overflowing. She also appreciated a hidden plug I showed her that worked off a hotel battery backup near the mezzanine that she could use to make coffee—which she always seemed in search of– and to charge her laptop and mobile.
In appreciation Marie supplied me with some of those cups of noodles things that I learned many in the international press survived on when amenities faded. Actually, some of them taste pretty good at 3 am as we would sit outside the hotel watching the city and the sea.
Marie was the only person I trusted with the knowledge that Mohammad, the black gentleman from Mali was hiding in my room from gangs of wannabe lynchers from Misrata. He got plenty of cups of noodles also.
Marie also met my Chadian princesses friends and she agreed immediately that the treatment I was receiving including the Sahara paste was just what my infected leg needed. Marie particularly enjoyed “Dr.Fatima’s cactus flower drink” since no whiskey or vodka was available.
November of 2010 with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who became her friend and whom Marie liked very much.
She would let me ride with her as she investigated the stories she wanted to cover and she introduced me to Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn who was staying at the Radisson Hotel where conditions were only marginally better than Marie and I were experiencing. Sitting together on the Radisson patio I mentioned to Marie and Patrick that during the summer I used the swimming pool at the Radisson plenty. Patrick informed us that these days hotel guests would dip buckets of water from the swimming pool to flush their toilets.
Marie’ great sense of humor and concern for others made her a joy to be around and we kept in touch by phone and email while moving in and out of Libya.
She was a unwavering supporter of the Palestinian cause and wrote and produced documentaries, including Arafat: Behind the Myth for the BBC in 1990. She was equally at ease among royalty or peasants, although she preferred the company of the latter she once told me.
Marie Colvin ✆
Lovely to hear from you. How is Shatila camp these days? I haven’t been there for a while but
when I am next in Beirut I get a tour and briefing ok? How is Bayan al Hout?Please give her my love. Is everyone heartened by Abbas’ call for a State?
Sadly, I will miss you in Tripoli as I am scheduled to return on Sunday. Would it be possible for
you to send me Omar’s number? I would only contact him if you felt it was okay.
Obviously, no names to be used.
Send your news when you have a chance, hope all is well with you.
Bring something a bit warmer for this trip, the rain set in today although I’m sure it will stay hot for a while.
And she was ever ready to help facilitate a friend’s research projects:
Marie Colvin ✆ email@example.com
Hi Franklin. I am now in Misrata. I got a visa at the border, had to talk my way in. Essentially they seem aware that there is no real system for getting visas and will give them out if you arrive there. (Tunisian border crossing). How is Algiers? Have you seen_______ and family? When are you coming here – and let me know if you need help.
Marie Colvin ✆firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your concern dear. I am in Sirte. Terrible, macabre scene here and in Misrata.
More later, but otherwise all well,
Sincere regards, Marie
Marie Colvin ✆ email@example.com
I had a smile reading your Yuletide greeting, much appreciated and I heard your voice in each line.
When you have a chance, send news of your journey to Algeria.
Wish I could see you. I am in London, having returned from harrowing Misrata and Tripoli just days ago. Please call. I so hope you are well and I know you are fighting the good fight!
Marie took an interest in her friends work and often commented on particular articles she liked:
Shortly before she left for Homs I received a short final email from her on Saturday February 12, 2012 concerning a piece on the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their struggle for civil rights.
Marie Colvin ✆ firstname.lastname@example.org
Powerful piece Franklin. Thank you for reminding us. Best regards, Marie
Marie’s final audio report was during the night of 21 February during British ITN news report from Homs from arguably the middle of the world’s most dangerous war zone: Marie reported: “The Syrians are not allowing civilians to leave … anyone who gets on the street is hit by a shell. If they are not hit by a shell they are hit by snipers. There are snipers all around on the high buildings. I think the sickening thing is the complete merciless nature. They are hitting the civilian buildings absolutely mercilessly and without caring and the scale of it is just shocking.”
The next morning 2/22/12, shortly before she died, Marie filed her final written report. It is testimony to the quality of her reporting, her humanity and her skill and passion in telling the human drama she witnessed.
A few excerpts:
“The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense. The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one.
’They call it the widows’ basement. Crammed amid makeshift beds and scattered belongings are frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs, the Syrian city shaken by two weeks of relentless bombardment.
Among the 300 huddling in this wood factory cellar in the besieged district of Baba Amr is 20-year-old Noor, who lost her husband and her home to the shells and rockets.
“Our house was hit by a rocket so 17 of us were staying in one room,” she recalls as Mimi, her three-year-old daughter, and Mohamed, her five-year-old son, cling to her abaya.
“We had had nothing but sugar and water for two days and my husband went to try to find food.” It was the last time she saw Maziad, 30, who had worked in a mobile phone repair shop. “He was torn to pieces by a mortar shell.”
For Noor, it was a double tragedy. Adnan, her 27-year-old brother, was killed at Maziad’s side.
Everyone in the cellar has a similar story of hardship or death. The refuge was chosen because it is one of the few basements in Baba Amr. Foam mattresses are piled against the walls and the children have not seen the light of day since the siege began on February 4. Most families fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs.
The city is running perilously short of supplies and the only food here is rice, tea and some tins of tuna delivered by a local sheikh who looted them from a bombed-out supermarket.
A baby born in the basement last week looked as shell-shocked as her mother, Fatima, 19, who fled there when her family’s single-story house was obliterated. “We survived by a miracle,” she whispers. Fatima is so traumatized that she cannot breastfeed, so the baby has been fed only sugar and water; there is no formula milk.
Fatima may or may not be a widow. Her husband, a shepherd, was in the countryside when the siege started with a ferocious barrage and she has heard no word of him since.
Snipers on the rooftops of al-Ba’ath University and other high buildings surrounding Baba Amr shoot any civilian who comes into their sights. Residents were felled in droves in the first days of the siege but have now learnt where the snipers are and run across junctions where they know they can be seen. Few cars are left on the streets.
Almost every building is pock-marked after tank rounds punched through concrete walls or rockets blasted gaping holes in upper floors. The building I was staying in lost its upper floor to a rocket last Wednesday. On some streets whole buildings have collapsed — all there is to see are shredded clothes, broken pots and the shattered furniture of families destroyed.
It is a city of the cold and hungry, echoing to exploding shells and bursts of gunfire. There are no telephones and the electricity has been cut off. Few homes have diesel for the tin stoves they rely on for heat in the coldest winter that anyone can remember. Freezing rain fills potholes and snow drifts in through windows empty of glass. No shops are open, so families are sharing what they have with relatives and neighbours. Many of the dead and injured are those who risked foraging for food.
Fearing the snipers’ merciless eyes, families resorted last week to throwing bread across rooftops, or breaking through communal walls to pass unseen. “
Marie Catherine Colvin will never be far from the hearts of those who were honored to know her from her writings and sincere friendship. Marie’s murder is a great loss for all people of good will.
[Book Review by Israel Shamir of Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics]
Gilad Atzmon is larger than life; no delicate and sensitive artistic soul, he is rather a living volcano, a titan with a Rabelaisian sense of humor and enough energy to power a city. Nights, you will find him entertaining his fans in every corner of the globe with his masterful saxophone playing: tonight in Mexico City, tomorrow night in Sheffield. His days are spent producing a vast quantity of writing and blogging, sending out at least two letters a day to his many readers. His previous book, My One and Only Love, is a very funny novel with more than a touch of the macabre and grotesque. It features a roving Israeli orchestra smuggling Nazis in double bass cases. It also contains kosher pigs, sexy spies, smelly underwear, casual killings, and a row of Israeli national leaders, all with their trousers down.
The best writings of Gilad Atzmon firmly belong to the realm of Israeli literature. His preference for writing in English attennuates his essentially Israeli character, just as Beckett remained a British writer while writing in French. His merciless goading of tender Jewish sentiments recalls the much-loved Israeli playwright, Hanoch Levin; this explains why Atzmon is enjoyed more by his country-mates than by Diaspora Jews. His newest book, The Wandering Who? is a collection of essays that revolve around Jewish-identity politics. This subject (“what does it mean to be a Jew”) holds much fascination to people of Jewish origin. Many contemporary Jewish writers indulge in this sort of reflection, usually slipping into woe and whine mixed with self-adoration, and coated over with treacle and romanticism.
Being no delicate flower (see above), Atzmon delivers robust and forceful opinions with both hands. He regains some of the lost honesty once expressed by free thinkers and Zionists of the fin-de-siècle. Early Zionists from Nordau to Herzl provided some very frank and critical assessments of Jewish society. Yet even more critical was Otto Weininger (1880 – 1903), the tragic Viennese writer who dared to connect sex and Jews in his great bestseller Sex and Character; he followed up his success by committing suicide at the age of 23. Weininger has long been forgotten in Europe, and yet he holds a fascination for Israelis. A play by prominent Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, Weininger’s Night (subtitled “The Soul of a Jew”) was a great hit in 1983; it was responsible for opening up Israeli theatre to the world. It was the first Israeli play ever staged in Moscow’s MXAT theatre (in 1990), directed by talented Gedalia Besser.
Atzmon has a loving and thoughtful essay about him. He provides some valuable insights. He turns Weininger’s “I dislike what I am” into “I dislike what I do”. Atzmon sees Weininger’s suicide as an impetuous reaction against his womanly/Jewish side. Atzmon sympathizes with Weininger’s feeling that “Jewishness” is somewhat similar to “queerness”, and this provides a key to the book’s understanding.Jewish-identity musings, like gender-identity discussions, tend to fluctuate between the vulgar and the brazen; both can seem boring and repetitious unless the reader is directly involved, and perhaps even then.
The first essay of the collection has the freshness and sincerity of true testimony. The story of a young man trying to break free from his fiercely nationalist non-religious Jewish family background is akin to any man’s escape from stifling gender politics. Imagine a virile young man conceived in vitro and brought up by a sorority of lesbian activists, who has finally come of age and broken out into a rich and satisfying world of natural love. Clearly one might expect and forgive such a young man his unflattering depictions of “dykes” and “butches”, but such transgressions could never be forgiven by the sanctimonious gay activists and PC wardens who decide for us what is permissible and what is not.
This in fact has happened with Atzmon’s book: it has generated a significant amount of heated controversy. This kind of publicity is never bad for book sales. As for the author, he is no shrinking violet and quite up to the task; in fact, he is a pugnacious fellow, able to defend himself and always ready for a good brawl. Many of Atzmon’s critics seem to think that when we talk about Jews we must speak as we do about the dead: say something nice, or don’t say anything at all. And yet who should critique the activities and attitudes of the dead but the living? Banning all outsiders from the debate is a recipe for insipidity.
And yet, Atzmon is no outsider. An (ex-) Israeli, he has some first-hand knowledge, and he introduces us to a long obscured side of Jewishness, just as Jean Genet once reminded us about the backside of queerness. In Genet’s oevre we see the gender-confused men who are not saintly martyrs on their way to Auschwitz, but brutal criminals who kill and betray their friends in the hellish darkness of a jail. Though art is perhaps a better mode for such delivery.
One of his problems is that the Jewish subject is over-explored, and one treads on the footsteps of predecessors, even if one does not give them credit. The most interesting essay in the book contains Atzmon’s reflections on an essay by Milton Friedman. Friedman was curious as to why so many Jews had abandoned their historically Left-leaning socialist ways. To avoid the conclusion that Jews used to love Justice and Mercy, and now they have traded it for Power, Friedman instead posits that Jews are most naturally creatures of the Right. Friedman declares that while pure capitalism is the environment in which Jews thrive best, for one hundred years Jews were kept out of right-wing politics because the Right stood with the Church; the Left, anti-clerical and atheist, accepted them as they were. It was only after the Right was separated from the Church that Jews began to stream back into right-wing movements, and they ended up wholeheartedly embracing capitalism of the most brutal kind. This is a valuable observation, something that has yet to be learned by leftist philosemites like Seumas Milne, and by the Christian Right. The mass participation of Jews in a movement has a price, and this price is the rejection of the Christian Church.
Atzmon rejects Friedman’s conclusions: he would rather walk us through all the hypocrisies of the Jewish Left, as though a change in leadership would solve the problem. This attitude is very common among educated Israelis who have lived through the great betrayal of humanism by the left-wing parties, climaxing with labour leader Ehud Barak carrying water for Sharon and Netanyahu. Since the destruction of the Israeli Left can be directly attributed to these “traitors to the cause”, Atzmon might be forgiven for thinking that but for a crisis in leadership the Left would be still ruling the roost.
Atzmon gets carried away by his own rhetoric when he proclaims that the Jewish Left wants to seize assets of the rich just because Jews do not respect Goyim property rights. This is plainly not true: radical leftists everywhere call for the expropriation of all banks, Jewish or otherwise, and Jewish leftists are no different in this aspect. Jews are the wealthiest minority in the world; they have the most to lose in a leftist revolution. It’s apparent to everyone except Atzmon that the Jewish move to the Right is as natural as bacon.
With zeal of a born-again Christian, Atzmon offers not the smallest fig leaf of hope for good-hearted Jews. If a Jew supports the Left, he is doing it because he wants to rob wealthy Goys with Talmudic impunity. If a Jew supports the Right, it is because he wants to steal land. If a Jew supports Palestine, he is doing it in order to take over the Palestinian movement. This is a bridge too far. This sort of self-criticism should be reserved for confession. Not all Jews are that self-serving. Yes, there are hopeless wretches like Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance, leftist British Jews whose main participation in the Palestinian struggle is constrained to battling phantom antisemitism and Holocaust rhetoric, but not all Atzmon’s adversaries are paper tigers.
However, as Atzmon wrote in his essay on Weininger, one condemns one’s own faults, so perhaps this is a form of his contrition.
Atzmon is tough on Jewish tribalism, no endearing feature to be sure, but something not all rare in the Middle East. Jews are not any more tribalist than are Armenians, and no more nationalist than Georgians. This clannishness may be less common in British/American culture, but the tribal setup of immigrant croups is well known even there. Jewish success in the US and the UK cannot be explained by expounding upon Jewish insularity; a better explanation is traditional Jewish fidelity to power.
We could do with less psychologism and Portnoy’s complaints. Discussion of English or American identity and mentality does not lead to better understanding of British and American imperial policies. Likewise, policies of the World Jewry are very relevant for us, while Jewish mental attitudes are not. Who cares what Jews feel towards their neighbours? We care what the Jews do. Instead of dealing with bees, we need to know of swarms, and this is what Atzmon fails to deliver, because this brave man gets cold feet.
Atzmon is least convincing and most dull when he pedantically constructs his castle of exceptions and explanations intended to ward off the inevitable accusations of ‘hate’ and ‘racism’. He declares his preference for “accidental Jews”, i.e. people who are Jews by accident of birth. This alibi is designed to fortify his position against attack. It is as if Nietzsche added to his famous dictum (“You are going towomen? Do not forget the whip!”) a caveat “but beware some women are able to use the whip, too”. An allegoric poetic quality of writing has been ruined, and now nobody is happy. We admire Atzmon’s fierce and fearless qualities, and it’s kind of a let-down when he chooses to be prudent now and then.
One can point out several errors of fact in his book. For instance, he claims that Jews did not write any histories until the 19th century. This is not true: Abraham Zacuto produced his History of the Jews (“Sefer Yohassin”) in the last decades of the 15th century, and this book is available on Amazon. Still he builds some castles on this factual error, and they collapse like straw houses.
However, Atzmon’s greatest fault is narcissism, or perhaps it is a myopic solipsism. Atzmon remains locked in the very Jewish dichotomy of Jews vs. Gentiles. He does not seem to appreciate the marvellous variety of the Gentiles; he cannot recognize that the Nations of the Earth are quite different from each other. The British are not the same as the Palestinians, nor are they as French as France. And yet for Atzmon, they are all one happy crowd without specific features. In vain shall we seek to learn what are the qualities of the Palestinians that have attracted him (except perhaps the ability to make good hummus). The one all-redeeming quality that they all share is that they are not Jewish. For this reason he suggests that Jews fully adapt to the modern, generic, global cosmopolitan monoculture of multiculturalism. This is absolutely unnecessary. While we applaud acculturation, Jews should adopt the culture of the land they inhabit, become one with the folk they live with. There is no shortcut to universality. I would like to read about Atzmon hanging out with average Brits, Scouses, and Brummies, or about his adventures with Palestinian shepherds, but they are not to be found: in a diverse world, he sees only Jews.
Another problem is the absence of God. Indeed, all discourse on Jews sine God is quite useless. I am aware that in the modern British climate, if Atzmon were to publish his thoughts on God and Jews, he would not find a publisher. You may use every obscenity, but you should not mention Christ. And yet Jews are first of all a religious community; a valid analysis of Jewish identity must take religion into account. Atzmon purposely adds a disclaimer declaring he will not criticise Judaism, but this simply ducks the issue.
He does give himself permission to use the Bible against them, but his literal readings are too primitive for the sophisticated readers of the 21st century. One can’t quote bloody stories of the Conquest of Canaan from the Book of Joshua like one quotes the admissions of a criminal. So many wonderful minds have discussed these tales, from St Jerome to Edward Said, and all of them had more valuable thoughts than Atzmon has to share. Indeed, when God says: you will inherit houses you did not build and vineyards you did not plant, Atzmon says: “that’s why the Jews seized Palestine!” This is trite. We live in houses we did not build, most especially in the houses of our bodies, built by God. We enjoy many wonderful things we did not produce. For instance, we enjoy Atzmon’s saxophone, though we didn’t built it. God’s grace gave us these things. This Biblical verse reminds us all that we receive a lot of undeserved things, and that we should all work harder to justify God’s trust in us.
The bottom line is that identity musings are dry and boring stuff; Atzmon is actually a much better writer than one would conclude from reading this book. He wanted to get it off his chest. Fine! Now let us see more of his witty novels.
P.S. Naturally I side with Atzmon in his polemics against his numerous detractors, but their arguments are so senile that it would be a waste of reader’s time to dwell time and time again on the endless and fruitless assertions of ‘hate’ and ‘self-hate’. What we do is soul-searching, not hate. Non-Jews have become so over-sensitised to allegations of race hatred that they swarm with the rest even when it’s an honest discussion between Jews.
ROME, Ohio – Two speeches made to different groups of supporters last Tuesday evening may change the world. The remarks were given by the winning and second place candidates vying to be the GOP nominee for president at two locations in New Hampshire minutes after the polls closed. Between these two, enunciated in word, delivery and the reaction of supporters, the watcher could see, in sharp relief, demarcation lines revealing ideas and values which define an America reaching for the future. If you have not watched the links below you should do so.
The two men themselves are both registered Republicans but live in, by and for, very different values. The winner of the GOP primary in New Hampshire was Mitt Romney, a monied and manicured contender whose campaign funds come fromcorporate sources. Leading the list provided through Open Sources is Goldman Sachs, donating $367,200, followed by Credit Suisse Group.
The second man is Dr. Ron Paul, whose campaign funds originate from the efforts of grass roots people, hungry for the truths Paul has lived all of his life. Paul’s top donor – Beefcarver Restaurants contributed $1,000. It takes a lot of donors to raise over $12,000,000, the amount reported for Paul for money raised. U. S. military serving now contribute more to Paul than to all other candidates combined.
The words of Romney and Paul spoke the shattering truths which are today changing the face of the Republican Party, repopulating its ranks from the grass-roots.
Ron Paul, whose supporters are responsible for those changes, is the People’s candidate, his supporters including a strong flow of Democrats and Independents who otherwise have no one to vote for.
The Tea Party, captured in its infancy, by money supplied by Charles and David Koch, have done all in their power to stave off the assault of the simple, direct words supplied by Dr. Ron Paul but they have, again, failed.
Commentators feverishly attempt to explain away the showing of a campaign entirely originating in the grass roots efforts of ordinary Americans with analysis. These graphs and exit polls caught on the question of ‘electability.’ The unspoken subtext, present but unstated being, “well, you can’t have what you want so which corporate candidate is the least offensive?” These analyzes originated with the driving need to get people to forget Paul is in the race, necessary to the powers that be. Unlike the other candidates Paul’s loyalty is not to the GOP, a corporately-controlled tool for political organizing, but to the people of our nation and to the Constitution.
Speaking straight off the cuff, as is his way, Dr. Paul thanked his supporters humbly, delight and gratitude for what they, not he, had done, clear in his face. As he said during the 2007 race, “thank you for inviting me to the Revolution.” Paul went on to enumerate, the wrongs done to Americans and the changes he would enact, if elected. It was a lengthy list, detailed and specific, leaving no doubt as to what voters will get the day he is inaugurated. Over and over again his supporters interrupted the speech with cries of “President Paul, President Paul,” and tumultuous applause.
Dr. Paul noted a first in election history, as did Romney on a very different subject. Ron Paul proudly noted he is the first to mention the Federal Reserve as a dominant issue and call for its end. He promised the ‘token’ of his intentions by pledging to cut one trillion from the budget in his first year in office. Our monetary system said Paul, is “sneaky, deceitful.”
Paul left no doubt as to his views on war, individual rights, the impact imposed by the regulatory role undertaken by the federal government ,or the hunger of people for the America, which once held so much hope to people around the world.
In 2007 Paul was also the first candidate to mention, “blow-back,” a term coined by the CIA to explain the growing hostility to America by countries where their operations are taking place. Paul called for the orderly withdrawal of troops and an end to the role of ‘policeman to the world,’ for America.
Paul’s vision for America evokes a very different vision for the future than continuous wars, which profit no one but the corporations who donate to the campaigns of his opponents. Paul calls for a world at peace. His supporters chanted, “bring them home, bring them home.” Paul is a real conservative who showed visible concern for people attempting to subsist on Social Security today and the continued reduction of spending power which is causing real suffering for older Americans.
On the subject of the Constitution Paul said, “the Constitution was written for a very precise manner. It was not designed to restrain the individual — not to restrain you — it was to protect your liberties and to restrain the federal government.”
The Paul vision is clear, unambiguous, straight from the heart, and consistent. His delivery was unstudied, warm, sincere.
And then you have Mitt Romney. On a positive note Mitt’s supporters were far more polite. They rarely interrupted with cheers or applause.
As Mitt’s speech went on he had no problem blaming Obama for the disappearance of the Middle Class, the huge bail-outs, and the myriad of other problems plaguing Americans today. Unfortunately, though he, having a firm background in economics and the financial realities of recent years, was less than candid when he blamed Obama for the US loss of the AAA credit rating, now gone. The AAA was already going before Obama was elected due to financial decisions and legislation originating in the Bush presidency, indications of which were present in 2007.
Sometimes it is small things which are most telling.
In October of that year W. Leon Smith, publisher and editor of the Lone Star Iconoclast, wrote a check to Alltel, his phone company, to pay his monthly bill. The check was run through, debiting his bank account twice, causing him to bounce checks. Smith investigated how this could have happened, resulting in an article titled, “Paper or Pretense,” which ran in the Lone Star Iconoclast January 30, 2008.
Smith’s article closes with the illuminating statement by the FBI, who Smith contacted to file a complaint, that they work for the banks. Now that is a real ‘Ah Hah!’ moment, the FBI takes orders from banks, such as JP Morgan, a leading donor to the Romney campaign.
The ‘bank error,’ ignored by most analysts, had, in this once instance, impacted 27,000 customers, each having their check run twice. As time passed Smith began to hear of other instances with other companies. The result had been to allow JP Morgan Bank, then attempting to maintain a AAA rating, to gain millions of dollars in interest on the combined small amounts held which staved off the loss of their rating until recently.
Today Mitt is not running against Obama. He, and all other GOP candidates, are running against each other. Therefore comments on the positions expressed by Paul, the second most popular candidate, would be most useful – if Mitt actually wanted to provide the public with a comparison of what they will do, if nominated and then elected.
Romney offered “I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation, Under God. Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defense.”
Can you tell what this means?
I’m sure the line causes shivers of happiness to ripple through the faces of Dave and Charles Koch as they cash government checks issued for cost plus contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Evidently, Mitt thinks what we have today is free enterprise, which is economic freedom and nothing could be farther from the truth. What we have today is corporate fascism, control by corporations through government.
Otherwise, the Romney speech was stilted, filled with platitudes and meaningless rhetoric, such as, “We still believe in the America that is a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom. We believe in the America that challenges each of us to be better and bigger than ourselves. This election, let’s fight for the America we love. We believe in America.”
Here is the translation.
The strategy underlying the highly repetitive Romney speech is entirely understandable if you realize this. If Mitt had been clear or specific it would be impossible for people to fool themselves into believing him. The only way to lie to large groups is to allow them to deceive themselves by using emotionally charged images with little real meaning. Words like, “America” “One Nation” and “God” allow the listener to substitute an image, idea, or words from their own minds. The listener persuades themselves to ‘believe.’ You would not hire a plumber like this, you should not hire a CEO in this fashion, either.
But Romney’s haircut was perfect, his teeth shiny white. He was craggy and attractive.
But a real debate on the issues needs to happen and, fortuitously, one will be taking place.
Along with being a columnist for the Iconoclast I was drafted to run, as a Democrat, for president, much to my surprise. The campaign is registered with the Federal Election Commission. W. Leon Smith is my Campaign Chairman. Leon’s draft letter is here. While Obama might not want to debate me you will be able to view a debate between the First Dog, Bo, and my son’s animal companion, Meow-Meow in a matter of days. There will be specifics, substance, and dollops of humor.
The debate will really dig in to all the things, as Mitt so ably demonstrated, candidates are desperate to evade. And although I’m running as a Democrat for the nomination of the Democratic Meow-Meow is ready for action
Party, no corporate candidate will be left behind to languish any longer in the present rhetoric of the absurd.
Even Meow-Meow knows about reality.
- Ratify the ERA
- Fully fund Social Security
- Hold the Bankers accountable
- Give our veterans what they need to heal
- Give the world peace, withdraw the troops
- Abolish the FED
- And force restitution from the corporations for all those victimized
This is the time for New Year’s resolutions. Notwithstanding occasional gains like President Obama’s promise to delay approval of the Keystone XLpipeline, a promise now whittled down to 60 days by his signature on recent legislation, we are losing the fight against global warming decisively, and with it, losing
– the homelands of a number of the world’s nations,
– the productivity and reliability of global agriculture, and
– likely more of the world’s biodiversity, and faster, than in any other period in geological history,
Maybe there are physical forces making disaster inevitable, or maybe what is happening is within the control of human free will, but the window of opportunity for the latter is rapidly closing. Hopefully it is not entirely shut yet.
Global warming may be lethal, but it is still only one of Earth’s illnesses. A debt-ridden, overpopulated, hungry and warring humanity is shredding the biosphere, home to billions of beautiful and innocent creatures like the family of mergansers you see, and at the same time facing “peak everything,” with fossil fuels at the top of the list, along with many of the minerals essential for agriculture and high technology. (1) Our erstwhile governments and most of the seven billion or if you prefer, the 99%, are sitting in a stupor as if paralyzed. Some, last spring’s Middle Eastern protesters and the Occupiers around the world in recent months, were awoken by a Middle Eastern fruit vendor who immolated himself. This appeal is made by one of the seven billion, from a tiny American town not far from the home of Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau, explaining why he went to jail rather than pay his head tax to support the Mexican-American War, wrote, “It is not so important that many should be as good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump.” That was also the message of the fruit vendor who sacrificed his life for us all. There is very little evidence that the world’s governments are willing or capable of taking decisive action, so it is up to us, the 99%, or however many of us are willing, to “leaven the lump” and bring back the world from the precipice.
This article will argue that we the people, and more specifically those of us who call ourselves “green,” are losing the battle to stop global warming, and many other battles largely because we all or at least too many of us have been indoctrinated
– to forget Mr. Thoreau’s other reminder, that ‘The government is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will.”
– to forget what “conservationists” understood before Earth Day 1970, that every environmental problem has its roots in “too many people using too much stuff.”
– to forget what Thoreau and Gandhi and many others have taught us, that relinquishment of material wants is empowerment, not self-sacrifice.
– to forget the foremost teaching of religion and spiritualism and ethics for at least four millenia: the Golden Rule.
We are all guilty. So we need to resolve now to reinstate those principles in our personal lives and the life of society, not tomorrow but today. It’s a tall order, but in fact we are coming so close to destroying civilization and the earth, that only a rethinking of fundamental values will save us.
What is more difficult to understand than that we have been losing the battles against environmental and human injustice, is that the people of the Baby Boom, now in power ’round the world or at least in the United States, grew up in the shadow of a great man, John Kennedy, who said, “Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.” (2) We believed him then, and indeed it seems self-evident, doesn’t it? So we can believe him now. Yet most of us sit as if paralyzed.
On the global warming front in particular, the test case for survival of the Earth, all the talk and agreements and campaigns since the eighties have not even created a “blip” in the seemingly inexorable rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, never deviating in the slightest from a course followed for half a century (3):
If the cacophony since the eighties has resulted in any progress, it is not apparent in the physical world, is it? There are those who say that the talk alone is a sign of progress, and they may be right. But not for Mama Nature.
Look what’s happened in the last few weeks. This is what you already know if you’ve been paying attention.
1.International Energy Agency (IEA) scientists, the ones the world pays to know, announced that we have about five years (that’s until 2016, just around the corner) to put a stop to increased greenhouse-gas emisssions before global warming gets completely out of control. Their reasoning was economic. When you build a power plant or tar sands oil pipeline or widget-manufacturing facility, you expect to pay for the investment out of the sale of electricity or tar sands oil or widgets. So the construction locks everyone in to producing the widgets or oil or electricity, and if that causes CO2 emissions, the economics makes it much harder to cut the emissions than before the construction happened.. Five years from now the expenditures will have been made that lock us into emissions that will cause more than 2 degrees C of warming. The time to halt the emissions is now, not after many costly new CO2-generating plants and pipelines have been built, which must somehow be paid for.. “The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, says. “If we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.” (4) Forever.
2. The IEA scientists also announced that global warming is happening much faster than expected; and unless practices and policies change very rapidly, global warming could easily be 3 degrees C by 2050, 6 degrees C (11 degrees F) by 2100. The politicians had made an official finding at Copenhagen that anything more than a 2-degree warming, any time sooner than the end of the century, would have unacceptable environmental and economic impacts. Three times the warming by century’s end or 50% more in less than half the time? We’re in trouble. The unacceptable is becoming the inevitable. It’s getting so warm in the arctic that (a) the ice is rapidly disappearing, which causes more sunlight to be absorbed and less reflected, which in turn means the earth heating up rapidly just because of that regardless of how how much more CO2 we put into the sky, and (b) methane is bubbling up from under where the ice used to be and from formerly frozen peat – LOTS of methane, which is a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful. than CO2 on a 100-year average basis, and even several times worse than that on an immediate short-term basis The methane emissions will just keep coming faster, and like the missing ice, they’ll create their own global warming without regard to CO2.
3. There was also agreement at Copenhagen that for the protection of the more vulnerable countries that will be annihilated by rising seas, the 2-degree ceiling should be reconsidered no later than 2015 to be possiby lowered to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F),
4.. As the politicians were about to fly into Durban on highly-polluting planes to talk about global warming, it was announced thaqt 2010 had seen a 5.6% increase in world CO2 emissions, the largest gross increase in human history. And that’s with the Kyoto protocols in effect as much as they have ever been. The problem is, of course, that China and the US, the biggest emitters, don’t have to do anything at all under Kyoto, and Europe, which at least gives lipservice to it, uses paper emissions trading said by some to be 90% fraudulent (5).
5. The politicians flew into Durban
– knowing that Kyoto is hardly working at all and in particular that under Kyoto we just saw the largest increase in CO2 emissions in history. , .
– knowing that we’ve got five years to put into effect something that will halt further commitments to emissions increases;
– knowing that they had promised to reconvene in 2015 to consider lowering the ceiling to 1.5 degrees to protect the more vulnerable nations, and
– knowing that warming is now happening much more and much sooner than the maximum they had declared acceptable at Copenhagen..
6. What was their response? .
– They agreed to extend Kyoto, due to lapse next year.
– They agreed to try to come up with a new plan in 2020, already four years after the scientists say it will be too late, five years after they had promised to consider lowering the ceiling to 1.5 degrees, and thirty years after Kyoto…
– They declared a victory and went home for the holidays.
7. As soon as the folks in Durban announced the extension of Kyoto, Canada announced it was going to walk out of the treaty. Bad medicine. Why? because Canadian tar sands oil is just as polluting as conventional oil when it is consumed, but more polluting in the refining process and the greater source of emissions for tar sands oil is where it’s gotten out of the ground rather than where it is ultimately used. Tar sands oil will
– produce vast quantities of CO2 emissions where it is produced in Canada, where the emissions will be completely uncontrolled with Canada out of the treaty, and
– produce vast quantities of CO2 emissions where it is consumed – in the US if the Keystone XL pipeline is built, or elsewhere via a Pacific Coast pipeline if the Keystone XL pipeline is not built..
There are those who say that if the pipeline is built, the battle to halt global warming is lost forever, and they are likely right. (6) The same is true by the same logic, of course, if the pipeline is not built but the oil is sent elsewhere.
2010 was a bad year for CO2 emissions? You ain’t seen nothin’.
8. In the meantime, the govenment and industry have been busy working to bring Canadian tar sands oil into the US, for all the world as if we should never cease burning oil.. . Back in Washington, thanks to 350.org and William Mckibben surrounding the White House with protesters, President Obama said he would postpone approval of the pipeline until there had been further environmental studies done. Good. Of course if the pipeline is blocked, the oil will likely go out to the Pacific Coast by a much more environmentally damaging pipeline route, and will be used elsewhere. (7) Oh well, at least the US won’t be blamed for the inevitable massive increases in emissions, even if Mama Nature can’t tell the difference.. So 350.org declared a victory and the protesters went home for the holidays..
9. And then there is “fracked” shale gas, an immense new source of natural gas, which will become its own immense new source of greenhouse gas emissions. Anyone who cares about global warming knows that the only thing to do with new fossil fuels is to leave them in the ground at least until there is a global warming treaty, and not make investments in their exploitation that will have to be repaid through their sale. “Fracking,” even if it could be done “cleanly,” is for economic reasons, one more pound of nails in the earth’s coffin.
10. Last but perhaps more appropriately first, the UN recently admitted for the first time that its projected world population of 9 billion by mid-century, already more than can be fed sustainably under any plausible scenario without corresponding increases in fossil fuel consumption,, is going to keep spiralling upward to over 10 billion by the end of the century. The farther we go in that direction, the more locked in we will be to impossubly destructive CO2 emissions, not to mention impossibly destructive losses of remaining forest lands. As was pointed out years ago, the really “inconvenient truth”about global warming is that uncontrolled population growth means uncontrolled global warming.(8)
Of course we should have known that our efforts at Durban would fail. The politicians flew to Copenhagen, accomplished very little, declared victory and went home. With both the United States and China refusing to commit to anything legally binding, the possibility of meeting the 2 degree ceiling is receding into fantasy-land.. Talks began before 1990, and now the earliest we could even hope for a treaty binding on the largest emitters is more than 30 years later. And the biosphere hangs in the balance.
To this writer what is more difficult to understand about the present state of affairs is this. We greens will have been hard at work over thirty years trying to convince the governments to do the only thing that can be done about global warming: at this point: to tell us to stop putting so much CO2 in the air. What we have to show for it is thirty years of steadily increasing emissions with no end in sight. If we fail to get the governments to order us to stop polluting, what stops us from doing it ourselves.without orders, however difficult that may be what more realistic alternatives do we have, and why does there seem to be resistance to the idea?
The mainstream environmental groups are very vague about who will in fact have to stop polluting, and how much, but the truth is that to reach the goals we assert to be needed, we will have to decrease our driving radically, decrease our consumption of electricity radically, decrease our consumption of home heating fuels radically, etc.. How much? Probably at least 80%, because in the thirty years between Kyoto and our next meeting date, huge volumes of CO2 will have been added to the atmosphere, making additional heating for the next century inevitable.. You and I have to make those cuts or leave an almost unlivable earth to our descendants, yet we go on using whatever fossil fuels are available as if there were no concerns, making small efforts like purchase of hybrid vehicles, which fail to show up on the chart. “Alternatives” (eg solar electricity, biofuels, “hybrids,” etc. are there, but they appear at this point to be too little, too late. And when environmentalists talk about decreasing emissions, there are always two fundamental approaches – conservation (e.g. drive less) or efficiency (e.g. fuel efficiency standards). We hear proposals for the latter, (which have not been shown to be sufficient soon enough, not to mention that they are fleeting at best because they will be negated by population increases), but not proposals for the former.
Forty years ago, it was gospel that the root causes underlying almost all deterioration of the environment were “too many people using too much stuff.” The fundamental solutions, then, were fewer people using less stuff. For close to four decades, however,the mainline environmental organizations have had a conspiracy of silence about the “too many people” part. And when it comes to “stuff,” there is a lot of talk about “sustainable alternatives” ( clean energy, hybrid vehicles, etc). but very little talk about “less stuff” – before Earth Day we called ourselves “conservationists,” but now the major environmental groups hardly talk about conservation at all. It’s as if the former “conservationists” have acquired a conspiracy of silence about conservation itself as well as population.
From people who saw the root cause as “too many people using too much stuff,” mainstream professional environmentalists have become folks who won’t say there are too many people and won’t say they use too much stuff.. Of course the GDP is measured by how many people there are and how much “stuff” they create in monetary terms, so “too many people using too much stuff” is almost the same thing as too high a GDP. Admitting that in today’s world is trouble,. so we seek “sustainable growth,”
As has been observed, “sustainable growth” is an oxymoron. In the global warming context the weakness of the “alternatives” approach (which is also the “sustainable growth” approach) is self-evident. You build a car with greater fuel efficiency, and that just allows more driving or a larger population of drivers. The amount of fuel used has to be addressed head-on, but that doesn’t seem to be happening in active programs among the mainline environmental groujps. No wonder we lose. This blindness shows up directly when it comes to global warming – a refusal to talk about people actually using less of what generates greenhouse emissions. We don’t want to talk about conservation, yet expect the government to impose it. Huh?
The primary stumbling block to implementation of the Copenhagen goals was that both the United States and China refused to make any legally binding commitment at all. Wen this writer reviewed Copenhagen from his personal point of view (9), he pointed out that there was little on the horizon that would make the outcome different in future attempts to reach an accord, and said (I’ll repeat verbatim, italicized, because the facts above only demonstrate that what was apparently true then is unquestionably true now, two years deeper into the hole.For the reader’s convenience, endnotes and interlineations are provided for further clarification.)
We are left with the two largest GHG emitters, the United States and China, unwilling to commit to binding goals for reduction. All the while, there’s little hope that the public can introduce any sort of meaningful change in this situation. At the same time, the rest, the signers of the Kyoto accords, increased their emissions when the protocols called for decreases. So much for governments.
All considered, we have lost twenty years [now 31, since the parties at Durban postponed further discussions until 2020] for bringing about meaningful climate change mitigation and we have little time left because every year that the atmospheric CO2 load increases, there is even a lesser chance that the dangerous processes can be reversed. Meanwhile, we, clearly, face governments in the hands of corporations and corporations blind to any need that could adversely affect the next quarterly report. Are these conditions going to change in the few years we have? It is unlikely. The concerned public has thus far proved incapable of accomplishing meaningful governmental and corporate programs to halt global warming, so how can we have confidence except in more of the same until time runs out?
Is it hopeless? Apparently so if we are going to depend on the governments and the corporations. Yet in taking that position, we are putting aside an “inconvenient truth” – inconvenient because we might rather put responsibility on irresistible forces out there in the universe than on ourselves.
The inconvenient truth is that there are few if any human CO2 emissions not the result of our own individual and collective consumer decisions. There are our direct uses of fossil fuels for transportation and home heating, there is the electricity we consume that is generated by burning fossil fuels or, more recently, biofuels and biomass. There is the energy consumed in production and transport of our food and consumer products. Why – the catalogue is in fact the same catalogue that would have to be dealt with under a global treaty!
So in fact, we the people, in the United States and all over the world, have no need to wait until we are forced by government programs to take the steps necessary to reduce CO2 emissions. We can do what we’ve been waiting for the governments and corporations to do, and because they are doing nothing, we no longer have any alternative except to make the changes, ourselves.
Are we so childish that we can do nothing except whine that we haven’t been told what to do, when the future of the earth, the future of humanity, depends upon action? Maybe the answer is yes – I don’t know what you will do, and I don’t know what I will do. Yet if we do not want to be responsible, individually and collectively, for the horrors to come, then we must, individually and collectively, say no to any more greenhouse emissions than the scientists say are safe.
Henry Thoreau and Mohandas Gandhi taught us that our needs are much less than our wants and that we can peacefully bring down governments and corporations by refusing to accept their measures of our needs.
[Thoreau is widely viewed as the originator of civil disobedience as a moral and civic duty, especially in all societies aspiring to democracy. .He believed that the Mexican-American war was immoral, yet he found himself requested to pay a head tax to finance the war. So he said no, and went to jail. We shall never know how far he would have taken the experiment, because his neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson, over his objection, paid the tax and got him released. In explaining why he viewed refusal to pay the tax as his duty, he said, “It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support ” (7) Obviously we have not wiped our handsof global warming when we buy the fuels or the electriciy or consumer goods and not only create emissions but finance our opponents as Thoreau’s head tax financed the war. We will not by ourselves have stopped global warming, but the example will be seen, and our willingness to make sacrifices for reductions in emissions will for the first time be unquestionable. As Thoreau explained, “It is not so important that many should be as good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing;” Rather, if substantial numbers of people refuse to pay the profiteers or to engage in throwing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it will demonstrate their sincerity in a manner that cannot be accomplished by just asking the government to do something. We shall, hopefully, “leaven the whole lump,” and ideally, slow the growth of demand for products destroying the earth. There will be less profit in building the power plants and pipelines about to lock us in to failure, and we can sleep better in the knowledge that we “washed our hands of it.” BESIDES, NOTHING ELSE THAT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED WILL WORK.
The core teaching of “Civil Disobedience” is, as Martin Luther King saw it, “Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.” As consumers and users and financial contributors to the makers of the pollutants that are destroying the earth, its biodiversity, and its agricultural productivity for millions of years to come, we must demonstrate our opposition with noncooperation. Why?
– Because it is a moral duty,
– Because it will “leaven the whole lump,”
– Because nothing else is working at all.
Another important part of Thoreau’s teachings is his examination of our ability and responsibility to reduce our material consumption to the core at which we can carry on our lives as principled members of the community without either imposing on others, depriving ourselves of freedom or violating our own moral beliefs. That is Walden, which forces us to understand that consumerism locks us out from living our lives with integrity and freedom. It’s a message essential for giving up the material “needs” for which we are destroying the earth.
Gandhi’s self-imposed poverty gives us the same message – that abandonment of material needs is empowerment, not self-sacrifice. It’s a view, of course, that is anathema to the global corporations that control our lives through the culture of materialism. Without that understanding, it is unlikely that Americans can voluntarily relinquish their “rights” to a standard of living Russia’s President Putin and undoubtedly millions or billions of others have rightly called parasitism. As long as Americans maintain that view, they are playing with the danger that the world will quickly and painfully take away the material “rights” they enjoy at everyone else’s expense – “rights” that will soon be gone in any event as “peak everything” imposes itself on us.. To fail to make a virtue of a necessity is the height of folly.
Remember Gandhi’s spinning wheel? It was a simple declaration of independence from British capitalism, a statement that India could do without the capitalists. “Mahatma Gandhi Album: the Man and the Wheel,” http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/wheel.htm To the extent we liberate ourselves from the causes of global warming, so will we also liberate ourselves from the corporations of Wall Street,which act in arrogant confidence that we are ever their dependents and ever in debt to them. If we step away from the shiny things they produce, they will have no power over us, so it is time to do it in small ways and large.].
It is time to stop waiting for governments to act as we expected them to act at Kyoto long ago and at Copenhagen [more than two years ago and at Durban most recently.]
At this point, exclusively focussing on government action is little more than avoidance of the inconvenient truth of our individual and collective responsibility. So we must get on with the show – convincing and helping ourselves, convincing and helping our neighbors, convincing and helping humanity to reduce CO2 emissions by all means within our power, to reach the goals and timelines the scientists are telling us we must meet. . We must do it with the good will and generosity so lacking in Copenhagen because our “leaders” showed us in Copenhagen [and Durban] that the needed changes, assuredly, will not happen otherwise.
There is a little catch. The fundamental rule of social behavior, raised to a pinnacle by “free-market” economics, has been for generations, in the words of 1952 U.S. Progressive Party Presidential nominee Vincent Hallinan, “Fuck you Jack, I got mine!” That is unnatural and unsustainable.
Every major religious text, back at least as far as the Egyptian Book of the Dead [four millenia ago], has taught us in substance, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
[For specific wording of the rule in twenty of the world’s religions, see “Universality of the Golden Rule,” http://www.edminterfaithcentre.ca/goldrule.htm. The rule explicitly dictates behavior towards all things living among the Jains, Native Americans, and Nigerian Yoruba, and this writer submiots, implicitly does so among others. It is hard to seen how a universally accepted rule of behavior can be, as asserted by our colleagues in the corporate world, genetically impossible, and it is of course a necessary rule for survival among the hunter-gatherer tribes from which we descend.
The corporate anti-Christ has tried to tell us otherwise for centuries. That is hardly surprising, because it is increasingly coming to be understood that the structure of large corporations, indeed probably all large integrated organizations, regardless of stated mission, automatically draws to the top, psychopaths, people who, generally through factors of nature and nurture beyond their control, lack the ability to empathize. (9)
Look where it has gotten us.] There are reasons why the free market rule has repeatedly brought down the US economy, destroyed the Copenhagen and Kyoto efforts and will make our efforts to stop global warming, with or without the aid of the governments, an impossibility .No other rule than that taught by universal religion, will work to leave a world to future living beings in which they can, actually, survive and thrive.
We certainly have our work cut out for us, but we have no choice. And the governments and corporations are welcome to join us all if they see fit. If the offenders find themselves boycotted, they should not be surprised. So think about this message, start saying no to carbon, along with unnecessary consumption of goods and services. Instead, share the vision for a low carbon footprint with your neighbors, friends, other associates, congregations, nonprofit organizations, everyone. Then ever so nicely, ask them to get with the program post haste, because the responsibility is now with us.
We the seven billion are well-meaning folks on the whole, but with all due respect we are also all the righthand men and women of Wall Street. Want to bankrupt the global corporations, one or all? Just stop consuming what they sell, and stop producing future consumers. I,It’s that simple, and within decades it will in any event be forced upon us by the limits to growth. t’s all about “too many people using too much stuff,” so if we fail to do now what the limits to growth will force us to do tomorrow, future generations, if they survive, will pay dearly.. We allowed ourselves to be indoctrinated by the corporate psychopaths into believing that we are like them, constitutionally unable to care for our fellow beings. That’s not us, or wasn’t until they took over control of our minds and our religions. Things might be different if we decided to “occupy” ourselves without abandoning the occupation of Wall Street, and having done so, to implement the Golden Rule, the central teaching of every major religion on earth, and the principle that conservation is empowerment, not self-sacrifice..
Think of these things, please, but with humor and good will, as you honor in your own way the religious and spiritual holidays. And to be effective, the nonprofits need to change course too, and stop knocking their heads against walls that will remain unmoved until we all change our ways.
(1) Vernon, 2007, “Peak Minerals,” Oil Drum Europe, http://europe.theoildrum.com:80/. Thee appears to be consideable uncertainty as to the supplies of key minerals, which have not been studied in nearly the detail of oil, so this writer will not vouch for the current accuracy of Vernon’s work.
(2) American University Speech, June 13, 1963.
(3) Farley, The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming, Monthly Review
(4) “World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will ‘lose for ever’ the chance to avoid dangerous climate change,” Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 November 2011 05.01 EST http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/09/fossil-fuel-infrastructure-climate-change
(5) “Carbon offsets have already run out of credit,” http://tgrule.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/carbon-offsets-have-already-run-out-of-credit/. See also Carbon Trade Watch, which reports, “Carbon trading schemes are awash with paper “reductions” that do not correspond to actual reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in the real world, and this is a systematic problem.” http://www.corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/publications/LettingTheMarketPlay.pdf
(6) Why? because of tar sands oil’s “EROEI” (energy recovered over energy in.) When the energy recovered in extracting a fuel from the ground is less than the energy needed to extract it (ie EROEI < 1) , getting it out is pretty much worthless, and when EROEI is only a little over 1 (as when you pull 4 barrels of oil out of the ground but burn the equivalent of three of them to get them), you’ve already expended several times the net recovery to get there, which means the oil from tar sands has already caused more CO2 emissions before it even reaches the refinery than it or conventional oil causes after it’s burnt. Really bad medicine. Additionally, meeting recognized scientificly-established goals for reduction of CO2 emissions requires using less than the total reserves of “conventional” oil and gas. Once development of “unconventional” sources (tar sands oil, shale oil, deep sea oil and “fracked” shale gas) are initiated in full scale, it will become virtually impossible to halt their use, since the investors will fight to retrieve their investments.
(7) See http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sclefkowitz/pipeline_and_tanker_trouble_ne.html
Pipeline and Tanker Transport Trouble: New report shows the impact to British Columbia’s communities, rivers and Pacific coastline from tar sands oil http://www.climateark.org/blog/2011/12/release-another-tar-sands-pipe.asp December 12, 2011 RELEASE: Another Tar Sands Pipeline Postponed in Major Victory for First Nations and Ecological Internet, http://www.wcel.org/our-work/tar-sands-tankers-pipelines TarSands,Tar Sands, Tankers & Pipelines.
(8) See, eg, Diane Francis, “The Real Inconvenient Truth,” http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2314438 See also, “Peak Food: Can Another Green Revolution Save Us?”. www.countercurrents.org/arguimbau310710.htm, one of many discussions of the need to maintain growth of fossil fuels to maintain growth of food production.
(9) “Copenhagen Failed Us. What Do We Do Next?” http://www.countercurrents.org/arguimbau150210.htm
(10) end of “Civil Disobedience” Part One, http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil1.html
(11) Brian Basham Thursday, 29 December 2011″Beware Corporate Psychopaths – They Are Still Occupying Positions of Power.” Basham cites some of the recent peer-reviewed academic literature on the subject http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/brian-basham-beware-corporate-psychopaths–they-are-still-occupying-positions-of-power-6282502.html
Newt also stated “It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.”
In solidarity with “enough lying” and because it’s not my revolution unless I can laugh I’ll begin with Jon Stewart’s nailing of the pandering from the GOP:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Matzorian Candidate|
Naim Ateek is a Palestinian Christian who became a refugee in 1948 and he founded SABEEL after the first Palestinian intifada [translates to: rise up and cast off] that erupted on December 9, 1987.
The theology of SABEEL rose out of the oppression of Palestinians by the state of Israel and is rooted in righting the injustices inflicted upon the indigenous people of the Holy Land.
SABEEL seeks to unite the World Wide Body of Christ to the suffering of their sisters, brothers and cousins in the dysfunctional family of Father Abraham.
SABEEL is a global ecumenical Christian organization that collaborates with Muslims, Jews and any other faith and those without who work together for peace by seeking justice in the Holy Land: equal human rights for all and an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.
Rev. Ateek teaches that when the Bible is correctly read it points to a God of justice and God seeks the liberation of all people.
SABEEL addresses in particular the Christians who have been misled and misinformed by an heretical and anti-Christ theology, such as Christian Zionists like the GOP candidates who support the ongoing 44 years of military occupation, The Apartheid Wall and the illegal settlers but they have no eyes to see or ears to hear their Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ, who are known as The Forgotten Faithful.
SABEEL’s theology is based on Jesus’ example of non-violence and on what Jesus taught: that one must forgive to be forgiven, one must pray for and do good towards ones enemies-NOT to impose sanctions, bomb, torture or occupy them!
Jesus’ death on the cross is in vain unless his follower’s comprehend he was saying ENOUGH with the violence of man against man! It is to END with my broken body!
Over a thousand years prior, in Genesis 9: 5-6, it was written:
“And from each man, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made.”
The 6th Commandment is “You shall not murder.”
SABEEL also reminds us that God is not a racist, does not play favorites, nor loves any ethnic group over any another.
SABEEL sees Jesus in his divinity and in the fullness of his humanity and I add that the term Christian was not even coined until three decades after Jesus walked the land where he promised the peacemakers are the children of God.
Jesus was a Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior and he was born, lived and died under a brutal Military Occupation and his follower’s were called Members of The Way.
Author and Feminist Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether explains SABEEL developed “an anti-imperial theology. It stands in the tradition of the anti-imperial theologies of Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, and applies this critique of ancient empire to modern empires, such as the American empire. It rejects a Son of David imperial Christology, rooting itself in a Suffering Servant Christology of the early Church, in its non-violent way of the cross. It is a theology that aims at reconciliation and peace, through a social, economic and political transformation of relationships between Israel and Palestinians that makes it possible for these people to co-exist in genuine justice.”
In November 2008, I attended SABEEL’s 7th International Conference in the Holy Land: THE NAKBA: MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, Read more…
During that conference Reverend Ateek also guided me through his boyhood village which had became 100% Israeli in 1948 when the Zionists came and forced all the Palestinians to flee under threat of death.
Ateek’s father was the town’s only and very successful Jeweler. His response to the Israeli soldiers who ordered him to vacate his home immediately and board a bus that would make the family into refugees was, “Naked I came into this world and naked I will leave it.”
In his book, “A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation” Rev. Ateek wrote:
“The Christian faith points to two superior levels that can lead to reconciliation and forgiveness and repentance is a precondition; it must precede reconciliation and forgiveness. Repentance calls for the admission of guilt, crime and injustice.
“In the conflict between Israel and Palestine, repentance would correspond to an admission of guilt by the government of Israel of the injustice it has dealt to the Palestinians in its confiscation of land, violation of human rights, and its systems of domination and oppression.
“There is the divine paradigm of revolutionary forgiveness even when no admission of guilt [is expressed]. Christians are suppose to practice forgiveness of others because it is how God deals with us: as God forgives continually, we must forgive others.” [Ateek, Page 183-184]
That kind of forgiveness is radical and revolutionary and exactly what Jesus demonstrated as he hung upon the Roman Empire’s Cross of capitol punishment after he quoted from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus ended with a plea for reconciliation: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]
Way past time for Christian and Mormon politicians to act upon the simple truth that only the truth can set US free and only justice can bring a secure peace for all the people of the Holy Land.
“Justice is done when international law is implemented. So long as the injustices persist, hate and its derivatives have the upper hand…justice and peace begins when the oppressor becomes aware of its violations of the other’s humanity. Justice is done when the international community, through nonviolent methods, forces Israel to put an end to its injustice…justice tempered by mercy and compassion. The doing of justice must not crush the enemy but hold the enemy accountable…no hope for change is possible until the occupation ends.” [Ateek, Page 185]
The essence of Christianity is to bear witness to what Jesus was always on about; forgiveness and love.
“Christians must condemn violence and terrorism whether it is recorded in legendary stories or in history being written today. We condemn suicide bombings as a crime against God. It is a crime to shed another’s blood; it must also be equally criminal, if not more so, to shed ones own blood. Those who love God do not kill themselves for the sake of God. Nothing justifies the killing of people.”[Ateek, Page 123-124]
“No hope for change is even possible until the occupation ends!
“The first step is to confront and analyze the roots of the conflict and its development…to move toward a solution in Israel-Palestine, the illegal Israeli occupation must come to an end and Palestinian violence must stop…Justice will be done when international law is implemented…Once justice is done, peace will not be far off.” [Ateek, page 185]
The last time I saw AReverend Ateek was on October 5, 2009 in D.C. at a SABEEL conference. I was already convinced there was no need for me to take my 8th reality trip through the West Bank to investigate and report because:
“Enough with the analysis! We are dying in Palestine and everything is clear! We need an American Intifada [Arabic for rise up and cast off]. We must continue our work here in D.C. and empower the UN; the conflict belongs there and USA policy must be changed. And yes we can do it because our God is a God of Justice, Hope and Love.”
In 2011, I became a candidate for US House of Representatives, Florida District 5.
On November 3, 2006, Ateek addressed over 330 international ecumenical Christians who had gathered in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Conference Center for SABEEL’s 6th International Conference: The Forgotten Faithful.
He sent chills through me when he stated, “Israel will not survive unless it does justice! The situation is deteriorating and we must frustrate Israel’s plans and actions because they are not built on justice. All we are asking for is that they honor International Law! Israel is afraid of International law and this proves something is very wrong with Israel. We want Israel to live in peace and with security. The only way is honoring International law. That is the bottom line and what we work and pray for.”
Reverend Ateek’s classic “Justice and Only Justice” laid the foundation of a theology that addresses the conflict over Palestine and explores the political as well as the religious, biblical and theological dimensions. From a position of faith, Reverend Ateek seeks solutions based on justice, peace, nonviolence and reconciliation.
On November 8, 2006 Reverend Ateek informed me:
“In Israel officially speaking of Palestinians is taboo: we are referred to as Arab Christians. When I say the Holy Land I include both Israel and Palestine. Ultimately only God knows about the future of Christianity in this place. We live in the scientific world and God has given us wisdom, knowledge, technology to be used for good and our future and destiny are in Gods hands.
“There are many red lights; external and internal dangers. What can we do at the grass roots level? The Palestinian Christian community must rise above petty denominational differences. The impending dangers force us to ask what can we do, what must we do?
“There is no future in isolation or passivity. Our futures are all linked together. There is an urgent need to articulate and work with other faiths, especially Islam. Our future depends on good relations with all our brothers and sisters. We need a Committee of Christian and Muslim leaders to dialogue and work together to confront militant extremist fundamentalism.
“Our relation with Israel is the most important issue for there can be no peace without justice. There can be no effective policy without ending the occupation in accordance with all UN Resolutions. The city of Jerusalem must be shared and there must be a just solution for refugees.
“Pressure on Israel must be done with nonviolent needs and the way is the way Christ taught: nonviolent and forgiving. The achievement of peace is not the end; but the beginning of reconciliation. The survival of Christianity in the Holy land is through true democracy. We must avoid the minority complex. We cannot depend on the good will of people in power. We want to be protected by a constitution with full citizenship and nationality must be combined. Only in Israel is there a distinction between nationality and citizenship. Only good democracy can guarantee all citizens are treated equally under the same law.”
“What can the West do? There is an urgent need for education about the roots of Christians in Palestine and to challenge the myths. Seek out Palestinian Christians in your midst and relate to them. Be aware of Palestinian concerns for justice and human rights. Work for a just solution of the conflict, which is equal human right for all. Support projects to increase the Christian witness: visit the Holy land and meet with Palestinian Christians. Forge closer links with churches in the West and in the Holy Land. Challenge Christian Zionism. Think Creatively!
“In the beginning the Jesus movement was very small. It began with 12 committed citizens. It began with love and Christ addressed his followers: FEAR NOT little flock! You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. To capture the essence of what Christians should be is to be salt and light. You don’t need a lot of salt to add flavor and even a small light can illuminate the way for many.
“To be salt and light is to be truthful, honest, have integrity and to be of service and do it with humility. Salt affects change: it is active, never passive. To be a light is a global challenge and when the light is seen clearly so is the glory of God. Sabeel means the way, and the way is to love all your neighbors and labor on with God.”
Israel has no constitution but does have a Declaration of their Establishment:
“On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.” – May 14, 1948.
And what a wonderful world it will be when Israel honors its original promises and words and American politicians told the truth and everyone listened to what the many Palestinian Gandhi’s are talking about: