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 ✆ firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ✆email@example.com
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 ✆ firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ✆ email@example.com
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:
The first myth to dispense with is that the GOP is a conservative political party. The millions of registered Republican voters, that truly want a genuine conservative to lead this nation, are disappointed with every election cycle. The idiots that emerge as the standard-bearer of the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, are would be despots, wrapped in the flag of a failed empire. The comic performances in the arena of staged debates, just proves that the party of NeoCons, deserves trouncing into the ground of their blood stained soil. Only Ron Paul has the dignity and courage to claim the consent of the public and lead a revolution that dismantles centralized government. So why won’t rank and file Republicans demand that the Grand Old Party go to battle against the forces of the New World Order?
Who in the mug shots below will make a clear break from the tragic treasonous policies of the last three Republican administrations? Examine each, one at a time.
Michele Bachmann is a Christian Zionist. Her viewpoint that America must be the chief defender of Israel places her in the camp of the NeoCons. The question for her centers on her definition of what exactly is pro-American. Her version of an Israel-First course of action, is inconsistent with the traditional canons of national defense, established in Washington’sFarewell Address. “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?” – Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling for a new McCarthyism, Oct. 2008.
Herman Cain plays the victim, while he champions the Federal Reserve as the crown jewel for the gatekeepers of the corporatist criminal syndicate. Yet, he claims his character is above charges of indiscretion, don’t blame me. “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself! ” When the erudite
Newt Gingrich proclaims himself a “cheap hawk“, he is really saying his neo-conservatism loyalty is to a government imperium that is efficient in its pillage and conquests. Newt supports the CIA sub-rosa government. “Frankly I believe that there’s too little funding for intelligence, we have too few assets and too few analysts. And I think if the Congress and others are going to demand a greater capacity in intelligence we’re going to have to be prepared to pay for a more sophisticated and a more intense structure of intelligence capabilities, and I think its wrong for some members of Congress to vote to cut intelligence spending, to vote to cut the number of intelligence analysts and then to set unrealistically high demands on the intelligence community.”
Jon Huntsman, Jr. accepts that government economic development is a necessary function. How conservative is it to institutionalize FDR socialism as a cornerstone of the corporate/state? “I was criticized at some level within the Republican Party by those who say government should not be in the economic development business at all. My response is that the only country I know that doesn’t have an economic development plan is Papa New Guinea.”
Ron Paul stands out from the crowd of candidates for several reasons. This quote reflects the insight lacking in the other GOP hopefuls. “As recent as the year 2000 we won elections by saying we shouldn’t be the policemen of the world, and that we should not be nation building. And its time we got those values back into this country.” It is because of this distinction that the elitist masters of the Republican Party are so scared to allow the Congressman from gaining the nomination.
Rick Perry, Oops . . what can you say about the governor? This video of Highlights of Rick Perry’s Bizarre (Drunk) Cornerstone Speech, explains a lot. Perry and Cain have much in common neither are ready for prime time.
How is Mitt Romney any different from the NeoCons? “We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might, and standing by and strengthening our intelligence officers.” Here is where Mitt and Newt become joined at the hip. Both are able to deliver an articulate message that seems to resonate to many, but when you dissect their actual methods for implementing policy, the similarities with the Bush era gang of internationalists, is exposed.
Rick Santorum bills himself as the most socially conservative among the latest gang of dwarfs. But, he buys hook line and sinker the phony war on terror. “This is a huge victory for the people of the 911th and the team we put together. Not only did they get the expanded mission, they get to keep what they’ve had, too. It’s more than a complete victory.”
With the exception of Ron Paul, the stature of the Republican candidates for President cannot hold a candle to the like of Congressman Hamilton Fish III, Senator Robert Taft, Senator Barry Goldwater, and Pat Buchanan.
Read each article from the following list of remarks for a comprehensive overview, why the Republican Party is irrelevant.
“We have heard the resounding voices of our patron saints from the Right lately that depart from the usual message of common sense and advocacy of Liberty. They have become the ‘new jingoist’, defender of the State and ‘revenging angel’. You know of who they are: David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. They all claim to be Conservative. But what does that really mean, especially in today’s crisis environment?”
“Will our mainstream raconteurs experience an epiphany of a ‘Conscience of a Conservative’, to use Barry’s words; or will they run to the beat of the Jonah Goldberg’s?
Barry’s notion of Liberty is our prize! Transform the ‘War Party’ into an assemblage of Justice seekers, that promote Liberty.”
“A person can’t be a real conservative if he rejects the primary populist message. The political solution is to become a populist and convince the uninformed that real conservatism is the best hope for promoting the maximum opportunity for the greatest number of people.”
“For Republicans knew what they were all about and had an example of a true champion of principle in one, Senator Robert A. Taft.”
“The vast apathetic hordes of the American public desperately want to follow a serious change in the status quo. The reason that so many have dropped out of the process is because the nature of the Republicans resemble the mirror image of a Democrat, only in a better suit.”
“The Republican Party has long pursued a path contrary from its heritage. Under President George W Bush, that direction has cumulated in a repudiation of traditional conservative principles. Any honest conservative maintains a core roster of values and policies that reflect their passionate support for the Republic.”
7) The Future of the Conservative Movement, evaluates Russell Kirk’s conservatism.
A short reflection of Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk is in order. Read the explanation of each.
“The Republican Party’s attempt to co-opt the spontaneous spirit of the Tea Party geneses illustrates the panic that both entrenched parties have from a true populist movement. The mind dead voters who continually vote for the lesser of two evils, or adhere to the squishy William Buckley rule guarantee perpetual servitude.”
“Paleoconservatives have their own message for the Congressional freshman class. Dump your leadership. Purge NeoCons from your party.”
“The stark reality about the Ron Paul revolution is that the power elites could not survive in a society based upon individual liberty.
Now the Ron Paul generation understands that liberty and genuine national security is never advanced under the military-industrial-homeland war party.”
These ten essays map out a clear distinction that the conservative tradition in American politics is virtually absent in the current Republican Party. If you believe you can work to take over the national GOP and restore time-honored principles, you are naive.
The only rational option is to create a true grass roots party that encompasses the disaffected middle class. NeoCons are traitors. Establishment proponents loyal to the two party farce, do not allow genuine conservative doctrines into public policy.
Explain how a sincere Republican can ignore Ron Paul and support any of the phony status quo clones for the nomination? The straightforward explanation is that the average GOP voter is just as dumb as a Democrat supporter. End the tyranny of the NeoCons and regain your own dignity.
Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of 9-11: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died … ha- ha.”
Clinton and her partners-in-crime in NATO can also have a good laugh at how they deceived the world. The destruction of Libya, the reduction of a modern welfare state to piles of rubble, to ghost towns, the murder of thousands … this tragedy was the culmination of a series of falsehoods spread by the Libyan rebels, the Western powers, and Qatar (through its television station, al-Jazeera) — from the declared imminence of a “bloodbath” in rebel-held Benghazi if the West didn’t intervene to stories of government helicopter-gunships and airplanes spraying gunfire onto large numbers of civilians to tales of Viagra-induced mass rapes by Gaddafi’s army. (This last fable was proclaimed at the United Nations by the American Ambassador, as if young soldiers needed Viagra to get it up!)1
The New York Times (March 22) observed:
… the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.
The Los Angeles Times (April 7) added this about the rebels’ media operation:
It’s not exactly fair and balanced media. In fact, as [its editor] helpfully pointed out, there are four inviolate rules of coverage on the two rebel radio stations, TV station and newspaper:
- No pro-[Qaddafi] reportage or commentary
- No mention of a civil war. (The Libyan people, east and west, are unified in a war against a totalitarian regime.)
- No discussion of tribes or tribalism. (There is only one tribe: Libya.)
- No references to Al Qaeda or Islamic extremism. (That’s [Qaddafi's] propaganda.)
The Libyan government undoubtedly spouted its share of misinformation, but it was the rebels’ trail of lies, both of omission and commission, which was used by the UN Security Council to justify its vote for “humanitarian” intervention; followed in Act Three by unrelenting NATO/US bombs and drone missiles, day after day, week after week, month after month; you can’t get much more humanitarian than that. If the people of Libya prior to the NATO/US bombardment had been offered a referendum on it, can it be imagined that they would have endorsed it?
In fact, it appears rather likely that a majority of Libyans supported Gaddafi. How else could the government have held off the most powerful military forces in the world for more than seven months? Before NATO and the US laid waste to the land, Libya had the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, and highest UN Human Development Index in Africa. During the first few months of the civil war, giant rallies were held in support of the Libyan leader.2
For further discussion of why Libyans may have been motivated to support Gaddafi, have a look at this video.
If Gaddafi had been less oppressive of his political opposition over the years and had made some gestures of accommodation to them during the Arab Spring, the benevolent side of his regime might still be keeping him in power, although the world has plentiful evidence making it plain that the Western powers are not particularly concerned about political oppression except to use as an excuse for intervention when they want to; indeed, government files seized in Tripoli during the fighting show that the CIA and British intelligence worked with the Libyan government in tracking down dissidents, turning them over to Libya, and taking part in interrogations.3
In any event, many of the rebels had a religious motive for opposing the government and played dominant roles within the rebel army; previously a number of them had fought against the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.4 The new Libyan regime promptly announced that Islamic sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation, and laws that contradict “the teachings of Islam” would be nullified; there would also be a reinstitution of polygamy; the Muslim holy book, the Quran, allows men up to four wives.5
Thus, just as in Afghanistan in the 1980-90s, the United States has supported Islamic militants fighting against a secular government. The American government has imprisoned many people as “terrorists” in the United States for a lot less.
What began in Libya as “normal” civil war violence from both sides — repeated before and since by the governments of Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria without any Western military intervention at all (the US actually continues to arm the Bahrain and Yemen regimes) — was transformed by the Western propaganda machine into a serious Gaddafi genocide of innocent Libyans. Addressing the validity of this very key issue is another video, “Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence“. The main feature of the film is an interview with Soliman Bouchuiguir, Secretary-General, and one of the founders in 1989, of the Libyan League for Human Rights, perhaps the leading Libyan dissident group, in exile in Switzerland.
Bouchuiguir is asked several times if he can document various charges made against the Libyan leader. Where is the proof of the many rapes? The many other alleged atrocities? The more than 6,000 civilians alleged killed by Gaddafi’s planes? Again and again Bouchuiguir cites the National Transitional Council as the source. Yes, that’s the rebels who carried out the civil war in conjunction with the NATO/US forces. At other times Bouchuiguir speaks of “eyewitnesses”: “little girls, boys who were there, whose families we know personally”. After awhile, he declares that “there is no way” to document these things. This is probably true to some extent, but why, then, the UN Security Council resolution for a military intervention in Libya? Why almost eight months of bombing?
Bouchuiguir also mentions his organization’s working with the National Endowment for Democracy in their effort against Gaddafi, and one has to wonder if the man has any idea that the NED was founded to be a front for the CIA. Literally.
Another source of charges against Gaddafi and his sons has been the International Criminal Court. The Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is shown in this film at a news conference discussing the same question of proof of the charges. He refers to an ICC document of 77 pages which he says contains the evidence. The film displays the document’s Table of Contents, which shows that pages 17-71 are not available to the public; these pages, apparently the ones containing the testimony and evidence, are marked as “redacted”. In an appendix, the ICC report lists its news sources; these include Fox News, CNN, the CIA, Soliman Bouchuiguir, and the Libyan League for Human Rights. Earlier, the film had presented Bouchuiguir citing the ICC as one of his sources. The documentation is thus a closed circle.
Historical footnote: “Aerial bombing of civilians was pioneered by the Italians in Libya in 1911, perfected by the British in Iraq in 1920 and used by the French in 1925 to level whole quarters of Syrian cities. Home demolitions, collective punishment, summary execution, detention without trial, routine torture — these were the weapons of Europe’s takeover” in the Mideast.6
The worldwide eternal belief that American foreign policy has a good side that can be appealed to
On April 6, 2011 Moammar Gaddafi wrote a letter to President Obama, in which he said: “We have been hurt more morally than physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you. Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. … Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu Oubama, your intervention in the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair.”7
Before the American invasion in March 2003, Iraq tried to negotiate a peace deal with the United States. Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction and offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search; they also offered full support for any US plan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. If this is about oil, they added, they would also talk about US oil concessions.8 … Then came shock and awe!
In 2002, before the coup in Venezuela that briefly ousted Hugo Chávez, some of the plotters went to Washington to get a green light from the Bush administration. Chávez learned of this visit and was so distressed by it that he sent officials from his government to plead his own case in Washington. The success of this endeavor can be judged by the fact that the coup took place shortly thereafter.9
In 1994, it was reported that the leader of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, Subcommander Marcos, said that “he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once US intelligence agencies are convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians.” “Finally,” Marcos said, “they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true causes.”10 Yet for many years, the United States provided the Mexican military with all the training and tools needed to crush the Zapatistas.
The Guatemalan foreign minister in 1954, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana in 1961, and Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983 all made their appeals to Washington to be left in peace.11 The governments of all three countries were overthrown by the United States.
In 1945 and 1946, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, a genuine admirer of America and the Declaration of Independence, wrote at least eight letters to President Harry Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French. He wrote that world peace was being endangered by French efforts to reconquer Indochina and he requested that “the four powers” (US, USSR, China, and Great Britain) intervene in order to mediate a fair settlement and bring the Indochinese issue before the United Nations.12 Ho Chi Minh received no reply. He was, after all, some sort of communist.
Imagine that the vicious police attack of October 25 on the Occupy Oakland encampment had taken place in Iran or Cuba or Venezuela or in any other ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) … Page One Righteous Indignation with Shocking Photos. But here’s the Washington Post the next day: A three-inch story on page three with a headline: “Protesters wearing out their welcome nationwide”; no mention of the Iraqi veteran left unconscious from a police projectile making contact with his head; as to photos: just one — an Oakland police officer petting a cat that was left behind by the protesters.
And here’s TV comedian Jay Leno the same night as the police attack in Oakland: “They say Moammar Gaddafi may have been one of the richest men in the world … 200 billion dollars. With all of the billions he had, he spent very little on education or health care for his country. So I guess he was a Republican.”13
The object of Leno’s humor was of course the Republicans, but it served the cause of further demonizing Gaddafi and thus adding to the “justification” of America’s murderous attack on Libya. If I had been one of Leno’s guests sitting there, I would have turned to the audience and said: “Listen people, under Gaddafi health care and education were completely free. Wouldn’t you like to have that here?”
I think that enough people in the audience would have applauded or shouted to force Leno to back off a bit from his indoctrinated, mindless remark.
And just for the record, the 200 billion dollars is not money found in Gaddafi’s personal bank accounts anywhere in the world, but money belonging to the Libyan state. But why quibble? There’s no business like show business.
The Iraqi Lullabye
On February 17, 2003, a month before the US bombing of Iraq began, I posted to the Internet an essay entitled “What Do the Imperial Mafia Really Want?” concerning the expected war. Included in this were the words of Michael Ledeen, former Reagan official, then at the American Enterprise Institute, which was one of the leading drum-beaters for attacking Iraq:
If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now.
After a year of the tragic farce that was the American intervention in Iraq I could not resist. I sent Mr. Ledeen an email reminding him of his words and saying simply: “I’d like to ask you what songs your children are singing these days.”
I received no reply.
Has there ever been an empire that didn’t tell itself and the world that it was unlike all other empires, that its mission was not to plunder and control but to enlighten and liberate?
The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo — 20 years in a row
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We don’t hear that any more. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):
|Year||Votes (Yes-No)||No Votes|
|1993||88-4||US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay|
|1995||117-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1996||138-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1997||143-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|2000||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2001||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2002||173-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2003||179-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2004||179-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2005||182-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2006||183-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2007||184-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2008||185-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2009||187-3||US, Israel, Palau|
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.
How it began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”14 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its eternally-declared enemy.
- Viagra: Reuters, April 29, 2011 ↩
- See, for example, “Million Man, Woman and Child March in Tripoli, Libya”, June 20, 2011↩
- The Guardian (London), September 3, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, September 15, 2011, “Islamists rise to fore in new Libya” ↩
- USA Today, October 24, 2011 ↩
- Rashid Khalidi, professor of Arab studies, Columbia University, Washington Post, November 11, 2007 ↩
- Associated Press, April 6, 2011, some obvious errors in the original have been corrected ↩
- New York Times, November 6, 2003 ↩
- New York Times, April 16, 2002 ↩
- Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1994, p.7 ↩
- Guatemala: Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (1982), p.183; Jagan: Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days (1965), p.774-9; Bishop:Associated Press, May 29, 1983, “Leftist Government Officials Visit United States” ↩
- The Pentagon Papers (NY Times edition, 1971), pp.4, 5, 8, 26; William Blum, Killing Hope, p.123) ↩
- Washington Post, October 26, 2011 ↩
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 ↩
Dr. William Stockton celebrates yet another birthday surrounded by family and friends in the midst of a grand suburban paradise. The party is warm, and the evening is filled with joy and merriment. These people singing his praises, laughing and imbibing generous amounts of spirits, are neighbors he’s known for over 20 years. He understands them well, or at least, he thinks he does…
The good doctor, as his neighbors often point out with a jabbing chuckle, is a prepper; a brand of survivalist who participates in the day to day routine of mundane American life while using his spare time to safeguard against unforeseen disaster. His friends view this behavior as an amusing curiosity, an eccentric hobby, but none take it nearly as seriously as William does. It’s not that he is paranoid; far from it. In fact, William Stockton is a professional, a man of sense, and a man of family. He merely lives in an era of great potential danger, where nuclear war and societal collapse are anything but fantasy. Stockton takes these issues into account as an individual, and acts according to the severity of his environment. Much more than his neighbors, he represents legitimate rationality.
Unfortunately for the doctor, and for those who live around him, the days of wine and frosted cake are about to abruptly end as a Civil Defense emergency bulletin blares over the wire. The reality that today’s comforts could disappear in the blink of an eye sets into the minds of the frightened listeners. And soon, we begin to witness the TRUE character of those William once held dear.
This scenario might sound like a familiar consideration to many of us, but for now it remains the stuff of nighttime TV. So begins a rather prophetic and ingenious episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “The Shelter”…
The fascinating thing about “The Shelter” is that it is one of the few short stories showcased in The Twilight Zone (a science fiction program) which hasn’t a single element of science fiction within it. “The Shelter” is terrifying exactly because it is NOT a product of wild imagination, but a representation of social fact that cuts to the calcium rich bone of our culture, even 50 years after it aired on television.
The cold hard truth is, much of our country is completely unprepared for a crisis of any considerable proportion. While the 1950’s and 1960’s held the specter of immediate full scale nuclear war, and thus a highly persuasive incentive for preparedness, the new millennium has hardly been anything to sneeze at. Economic collapse is just as destructive to a nation as an atomic bomb, if not more so. The likelihood of social unrest and the long term implosion of our financial system is greater today than it has been in any other era of American history. So much so that even our currency may evaporate along with our standard of living. Those who prep today are acting in as much a logical fashion as those who built shelters during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The knee jerk conclusion here by skeptics of the prepper lifestyle will be that the bunker owning citizens of the “red scare” days wasted their time. That obviously, there was no nuclear holocaust, and all their careful planning was for naught. Or why not bring up the media generated hysteria of Y2K, which played on the public’s utter lack of general knowledge concerning computers and U.S. infrastructure to inspire a widespread prepping panic? Did that farce not prove the absurdity of the survivalist mentality?
The answer is no, not really…
The eventuality of collapse is not the issue. Though America today has zero room to maneuver as far as inflationary printing and debt based spending are concerned, and economic instability is inevitable according to the fundamentals regardless of any practical or impractical political measures that could be introduced, the crisis is not our focus. Our focus is, and always has been, independence and self reliance regardless of the circumstances. Through national prosperity, or national pain, the key to survival is to never make assumptions. To never count on your environment to remain hospitable. To keep catastrophe in mind, even if others around you do not.
One vital aspect of survival that often goes unaccounted for by even the most astute preppers, however, is the issue of community. When the last vestiges of normal society crumble, will you be surrounded by friends, or foes? The difference is not always apparent, as Rod Serling noted in the brilliant episode of the Twilight Zone above. The question then arises; how do we know who to work with, who to trust, and when to keep our mouths shut? When the going gets brutal, who will have the guts to stand firm, who will run, and who will stab us right in the back if they get the chance?
Being a prepper for some years myself, and working with a myriad of character types, I have found that certain personality signals and quirks should be addressed in those who live around you, or those you plan to associate with. Certain kinds of people can be pure poison for any survivalist or any organization striving for practical solutions to collapse. Look at your neighbors and your associates carefully and with some objectivity. Do they fit any of the below profiles a little too well…?
This person lives life to the fullest, which by their definition essentially means working 9 to 5 in a job they despise with co-employees they hate, going home to watch reruns of The Apprentice while drinking away the pain of inadequacy, and bathing in the warm oily coconut butter glow of mainstream news before sinking into their soft feather bed of political ineptitude and dreaming sensible dreams of cult-like consumerist mayhem.
This kind of neighbor will likely freak at even the most non-invasive philosophies. Mention of voting for third party candidates (or Ron Paul) draws googly eyed expressions of disbelief, as if you just broke wind at their dinner table. Conversations of possible economic collapse inspire in them reactions of either complete dismissal along with skeptical cackling, or shrugged shoulders and passive solutions. They buy into anyone who happens to be in a position of petty authority, and would jump into a septic tank filled with rusty nails if someone in an expensive suit or a white coat told them to.
In a post collapse situation, this person will immediately look around for the first truck he can find filled with FEMA goodies. If he finds no government handouts are coming and that he is on his own, he will transform from a lackadaisical and humorously obscure human being into a rabid ax wielding (yet still humorously obscure) murdering food stealing two legged weasel.You do NOT want this person knowing who you are and living within 100 miles of you during a time of instability. They WILL show up at your doorstep…
Commonly spoken phrases include:
“I just want to have fun and not worry about stuff like that…”
“If we stay positive, it will all blow over…”
“That could NEVER happen in this country…”
A real badass…in his own mind. Unfortunately, not all activists make good neighbors for the well grounded prepper. This “survivalist” is all talk and no action. All bark and no bite. His training methods consist solely of You Tube videos, shopping expeditions to Cabelas, and a trip to the shooting rage once every three months. He talks a good game, and may lure you into a cooperative agreement by regaling you with his ability to memorize information from Gun Digest, but when the full fury of a financial firestorm is unleashed, he will let you down in the worst way.
Rambo-Lite is like most men, in that he seeks opportunities to prove himself, and to one day, he hopes, be looked upon as a kind of hero. There is nothing wrong with this. However, being usually overweight or out of shape, our little friend is too lazy to pursue the skills necessary to fulfill such a destiny. On top of this, he often has extremely overblown delusions of grandeur, and feels no need to heighten his knowledge. Why train when you already know everything? He is the kind of prepper that makes real preppers look bad.
Rambo-Lite has all kinds of gear, all kinds of advice, but will whine through the night during a cold winter march, never stay on task, never listen to the sage wisdom of those more experienced, and run at the first sign of substantial danger. Ultimately, he is an obstacle, not a comrade. When looking for neighbors who will provide mutual support in hard times, look elsewhere…
Commonly spoken phrases include:
“I don’t care about any of that! I just want to shoot blue helmets!”
“All I need is my hunting rifle and my bowie knife…”
“I don’t need to store food. I’ll just take other people’s…”
“I used to be a navy-seal-air-force-ranger-marine-scout-sniper-jiu-jitsu-master…”
The Cynic On Steroids
As if things aren’t bad enough, some people have to make them worse by constantly pointing out how unavoidably “doomed” we all are, and that the act of survival is in itself a waste of energy. This neighbor is quite aware of the scale of the dangers we face down the road as a culture, but instead of taking proactive measures to prepare and to help others around him, he does nothing, and revels in the thought of widespread destruction. The warped dynamic of the modern American lifestyle has not been kind to this person. Of course, it has not been kind to most of us. Our Cynic reverts to a childish methodology of nihilism because he believes he has somehow been dealt a worse hand than anyone else, and the only thing that will satisfy him would be a hailstorm of napalm across the face of the planet.
Rarely leaves his home to organize with other activists, but when he does, the urge for most people to sink a fist into his scowling face is almost irresistible.
As excited as this guy is to see the world burn, he is actually very afraid of dying. Strangely, like most eugenicists, or members of PETA, in his darkest fantasies, he imagines a future in which nearly everyone meets a horrible gurgling end except himself. Unscathed by the genocide, he skips along his merry way in lush fields of dandelions and bunnies to meet the celebrity woman of his dreams (or any woman who will feel forced to settle because there are so few men left alive).
It goes without saying, this neighbor is not going to be of much service to anyone. Confronted with very real doom (namely his own), and realizing that his dreamworld musings of a day when he will have the Earth to himself are not going to come true, he will blame the closest and most successful preppers around him for his misfortunes. He won’t ask for food, and he won’t try to take it by force either. Instead, he’ll turn you in to the authorities (if there are any left), or, he’ll attempt to snatch away what he can from those people weaker than him (if there are any left).
Commonly spoken phrases include:
“We’re all going to die anyway…”
“They have tanks and predator drones! You’ll be wiped off the map!”
“No woman is smart enough to understand me…”
Ah yes, my favorite! Every neighborhood in America has one of these dastardly specimens.Every apartment building, every city block, every gated community. The Snoop is like the Lemming in that they almost pride themselves on their unwillingness to listen to reason or consider facts, but the Snoop takes this one step further. Not only will you find them sneering at those of us who express independent or anti-establishment views, but they will also go out of their way to bring trigger happy SWAT teams to our doorsteps. These are the people who actually call Janet Napolitano’s “See Something, Say Something” hotline thinking they are good samaritans.
The Snoop has been the mainstay of every tyrannical government of the last century, from Mussolini’s Italy, to Franco’s Spain, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc. Today, the Snoop is being tapped by the DHS and the Obama Administration as a resource once again within the borders of America itself.
Snoops fancy themselves amateur detectives. They will ask odd probing questions that seem out of place in regular conversation. They will form superficial friendships that feel even more fake than many neighborhood relations tend to. Disapproval of your politics will be met not with arguments, but with silence, and increasing distance. Snoops reveal themselves through their addiction to gossip. Eventually, you will discover from other neighbors that they slander you constantly behind your back.
Under normal circumstances, this is something to be laughed at and ignored. But, post collapse, it is something to be very concerned about. Snoops aren’t looking for advantage, like the Cynic. They are looking for vindication, and approval. They desperately want to be a part of a collective, and revile anyone who displays outward individualism. If turning you in, or organizing others against you, will bring them a pat on the head, they will do it.
The Snoop is a coward, and will never confront you directly. But, he or she will try to use the force of the state or the community against you if you offend their twisted world view.
Commonly spoken phrases include:
“We really need to keep our eyes open for terrorists…”
“I hear the terrorists are using white people at bus stations now…”
“Liberty Movement? Isn’t that one of those homegrown terrorist groups?”
The Idle Enthusiast
Some people are absolutely gung-ho about supporting activist projects or organizing for mutual aid, until the situation requires patience and effort. Then, they disappear from the scene, never to be heard from again. Most movements, especially grassroots movements, are rife with this behavior. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon after its moving at full speed; they don’t want to have to push it uphill. The same goes for prepping…
Getting the Idle Enthusiast excited about the prospect of community growth and survival training is not difficult. Getting him to show up to provide needed assistance is another matter. Without fail, this character will make numerous offers to carry a mission forward, and will fail to follow through on almost every single occasion. After a while, you find yourself astonished when they accomplish ANTHING, no matter how small the task.
Their prepping list is always half finished, their training is always half finished, and their promises are always half finished. The strain of asking them to apply even the most remedial effort becomes so painful that you’ll begin entertaining thoughts of violent pillow smothering and strangulation.
The Idle Enthusiast is the kind of neighbor who will volunteer for the most arduous projects. At first, they’ll leave you pleasantly surprised, and then, they’ll leave you hanging.
Commonly spoken phrases include:
“Don’t worry bro, I got this…”
“I’ll have that done in no time…”
“Oh man, I totally got sidetracked…”
The smart prepper understands well that going it alone is not an option, at least not for the long term. Thus, we are required to build relationships with those who live near us. If we cannot find enough like-minded souls in our immediate vicinity, then we must relocate to a place where this process is more viable (at least, if we want to survive). Staying put, wrapped in a web of tract homes or city dwellings filled with dangerously unaware and unprepared people is not an intelligent post collapse strategy. Retreat planning without proper group support and indigenous support is not only a logistical nightmare but a surefire avenue to discomfort of the terminal variety.
Think carefully about the kinds of people you want to have around you in the wake of disaster, and the community you plan to participate in after the smoke has cleared. The decisions you make now may be the kind you are stuck with for quite some time through events that will test your endurance and your very spirit. The more friendships we forge today with those who are prepared not just in supply, but in mind, the safer we will all be tomorrow. The company we keep in the days ahead is not a factor to be taken lightly…
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
This is an absolutely outstanding clip that tells the truth about Paul’s massive success in Iowa and beyond, and skewers the corporate media for ignoring the truth.
Ron Paul Remains Media Poison
By Roger Simon
August 16, 2011 “Politico” — I admit I do not fully understand Ron Paul and his beliefs. But I do understand when a guy gets shafted, and Ron Paul just got shafted.
On Saturday, the Ames Straw Poll was conducted in Iowa amid huge media interest and scrutiny. The results were enough to force one Republican candidate, Tim Pawlenty, out of the race, and catapult another, Michele Bachmann, into the “top tier.”
There are so many “top tier” stories in the media today that I can barely count them, let alone read them all, and Bachmann is in all of them by virtue of her victory at Ames. The rest of the tier is made up of two candidates who skipped Ames, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
As The Daily Beast put it: “The new top tier of Bachmann, Perry, and Romney — created by Bachmann’s Iowa straw poll win, Perry’s entry into the race and Romney’s lead so far in many national and state polls — has unleashed torrents of talk about the reshaped race.”
Paul’s name was not mentioned in this piece nor in many others. A Wall Street Journal editorial Monday magnanimously granted Paul’s showing in the straw poll a parenthetical dismissal: “(Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.)”
But “close” does not fully describe Paul’s second-place finish. Paul lost to Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast.
If it had been an election, such a result would almost certainly have triggered a recount. It was not an election, however, and that is my point. Straw polls are supposed to tell us, like a straw tossed into the air, which way the wind is blowing.
And any fair assessment of Ames, therefore, would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul.
Nonsense, some would say. Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.)
What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates.
Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers?
I am far from a Libertarian. I believe big government is swell as long as it does big things to help the common good. But after Ames, it was as if Paul had been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.
Bachmann appeared on five Sunday shows following Ames. Paul appeared on none. POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt was one of the few reporters to do a separate storyon Paul’s showing at the straw poll, but to most of the media he remained an exotic, unworthy of attention.
And I don’t disagree that some of his beliefs — legalizing heroin, the right of states to secede — are strikingly peculiar (though he has been elected to a congressional district in Texas 12 times). But if Bachmann’s victory at Ames was good enough to gain her enormous publicity and top-tier status, why was Paul’s virtual tie good enough only to relegate him to being ignored?
So I asked Paul Monday if the media blackout disturbed him,
“It did disturb me, but it was not a total surprise,” he replied. “The result at Ames was significant; it might well have propelled us to the top tier. The media cannot change that.”
Though the media can, of course, change that since we get to determine who the top tier is.
“It is hard for them to accept,” Paul said of his showing at Ames. “I had one interview scheduled for this morning, a national program, but they canceled. It is shocking to be told nobody wants you.”
Was this because technically Paul came in second and not first? I don’t think so. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee came in a bad second to Romney, losing by 13.4 percentage points. Huckabee managed to spin that into a victory at Ames and became a media darling.
But Paul almost wins the thing and he remains poison.
“They [the media] believe this guy is dangerous to the status quo,” Paul said, “but that is a reason to be more energized. I am a bit more challenging, but I am not on the wrong track. I don’t think that my ideas are more exotic. They are threatening.”
In his interview with me, Paul stressed his “peace” message — he wants our troops brought home from foreign soil — and believes that and his fiscal conservatism will gain him supporters.
“We are trying to reverse 100 years of history, the change from a republic to an empire, the change to tax and spending, who wants to admit that?” Paul said. “Who wants to admit we don’t have to be policeman of the world?”
Let me say right here that unlike many of Paul’s supporters, I don’t believe there is a left-wing media conspiracy working against him. Ralph Nader, who is about as far as you can get from Paul politically, has the same problem whenever he runs for president.
And, no, media attention is not based solely on polls. The most recent polls, taken before Ames, showed Bachmann with 10.2 percent of the vote and Paul with 9.0 percent. That’s not a huge difference. Though those polls will no doubt change with all the publicity Bachmann is now getting because of her “stunning” victory at Ames.
There was a deliciously intriguing line in The Washington Post’s fine recap of Ames on Sunday. It said had Paul edged out Bachmann, “it would have hurt the credibility and future of the straw poll, a number of Republicans said.”
So don’t blame the media. Here are Republicans, presumably Republican operatives, who said if one candidate wins, the contest is significant, but if another wins the contest is not credible
Amazing. And disturbing.
“Well, yes I can get discouraged and dispirited,” Paul told me. “We came so very close. To come that close to winning, it shows my views are very mainstream. And if we are worth our salt and our message is sound and we tell it honestly, we will do well.”
Though possibly no one will notice.
Review of Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlee (2010, 322 pp.); and Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening by Sepp Holzer (English version 2011, 232 pp.)
While the Bush reign may be described as a war on privacy, Obama’s is clearly a war on food freedom.* As his Monsanto administration arrests organic farmers and distributors, seizing and destroying healthy foods privately contracted and sustainably grown, this tyranny is not unique to the United States. All over the world, organic, sustainable farmers are under attack by large agribiz actors who, through government and trade agreements, are regulating them out of business and destroying the environment in the process.
Two farmers arguing against ecocidal hyper-regulation and “conventional” and “orthodox organic” farming are Simon Fairlee of England and Sepp Holzer of Austria. Both have written seminal books that should grace the bookshelves of everyone who gardens, farms or cares about the impact of agriculture on the biosphere.
In Meat: A Benign Extravagance, Simon Fairlee successfully proves that animal husbandry must be part of any sustainable farm, but used under a permaculture system (that which mimics nature) – beyond organic. “Permaculture” is short for “permanent agriculture” – agricultural ecosystems that are designed to be self-sustaining. It practices natural anarchy.
Ohio farmer Gene Logsdon, who authored Holy Shit and The Contrary Farmer, wrote the forward to Benign Extravagance. In it, he agrees that food security “is being undermined by well-intentioned people of all persuasions who are demanding rules and regulations in food matters without enough knowledge.”
The use of animals for sustainable farming has long been supported in the alternative ag field. What’s new is Fairlee’s stunning conclusion that animals protect against greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), turning expert conclusions on their head.
He doesn’t reach this conclusion easily, and he agrees that fewer food animals are needed, but his research exposes the gross exaggerations made by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), oft-repeated in the vegan world. Instead, he finds that animals are being scapegoated by fossil-fuel users. To reduce GHGs, he charges logically, reduce fossil fuel use.
Though it focuses on the environmental ethics of raising animals, Benign Extravagance also chronicles the historical move away from a pastoral society to urbanized stockyards and monocultured farms that spread for miles. Today’s industrialized ag system has separated animals from vegetables, with a result of too much animal waste concentrated in one place, and not enough fertilizer in the other. This bifurcation creates toxic ponds at one end and the need for oil-based synthetic fertilizer and pesticides, as well as fossil-fuel using machinery, at the other.
An interesting tidbit reveals that Wall Street got its name because, at the time, imported pigs roamed free on Manhattan island, requiring a stockade to keep them off the farms. If only it were just as easy to keep the piggish banksters out of food speculation. Other tidbits include how the tsetse fly and the Bubonic Plague guided which animals and crops were raised where.
Much of the vegan debate for no animals centers on the inefficiency of land use in growing food to feed the stock animals. The oft-quoted and, he shows, erroneous figure is 10:1 – the amount of nutrients in animal meat compared to vegetables.
But when adding in food miles, the need for synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and fossil-fuel machinery on farms that don’t use animals, and when subtracting the opportunity cost for secondary use of cattle in the trade of hides, value-added dairy products, plus the hard-to-calculate value of warmth and companionship provided by farm animals, the real efficiency figure is 1.2:1, he calculates.
“Food miles may not be over-extravagant in their energy use [accounting for about 10-15% of GHGs], but they are thickly implicated in a centralized distribution system.” It is in a decentralized system that food security is increased and GHGs are reduced.
His calculations and arguments span several chapters. Two refute the absurd and deceptive FAO claim that cow farts account for 18% of GHGs. Fairlee holds his own on this argument, but probably would have appreciated having Olivier De Schutter’s report, Agroecology and the Right to Food, which was published later. De Schutter is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food who rejects industrialized farming, instead showing how small, mixed farms provide more food and improve the land.
Part of his equation acknowledges that the world’s subsistence farmers – who are primarily women – all use animals to boost farm productivity (via manure), as draft animals instead of tractors, and to enhance their family’s food security by providing secondary products like eggs and milk, along with other value-added products. And, he points out, herding also saves the world’s landless nomads from starvation.
“While meat is a luxury of the rich, it is a necessity of the poor,” he writes. “Sixty percent of all rural households in poor countries keep livestock.”
Those who want to skip the statistical arguments and exposure of deceptions used to promote industrial farming should not miss Chapter 15: The Great Divide. It is here that an overview of the meat vs. vegan debate is laid out and cemented in common sense. Whether they are aware of it or not, vegans promote factory farms by opposing livestock.
Another paradigm shift he urges involves the concept of the “Tragedy of the Commons” that he refutes with the “Tragedy of Technology,” which is solely to blame for depleted ocean stocks. One fascinating chart reproduced in the book was originally prepared by David Thompson of the FAO, who exposed the gross inefficiency of industrial fishing compared to small fisheries. Below is a slightly updated version:
His final chapter details his vision of a permaculture economy where he sees more trees, fewer animals and a re-ruralized society. While much of his book is written with humor, and readers shouldn’t miss his continual references to GOOFs – global opponents of organic farming – it is this last chapter that reveals Fairlee’s genius.
He convincingly argues that famine is not caused by “inefficient animal husbandry displacing efficient” farms. “The conflict” he says, “arises when symbiotic land use is usurped for monoculture designed for export.”
Sepp Holzer couldn’t agree more. He has been described as the “European counterpart” to Australia’s Bill Mollison and Japan’s Masanobu Fukuoka – “as all three independently discovered ways of working with nature that save money and labour and that don’t degrade the environment, but actually improve it.”
In Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale Integrative Farming and Gardening, he provides practical hands-on instruction with a caveat: Each permaculture system is unique. The gardener or farmer must understand all the factors that go into completing a self-sustaining ecosystem, including water, wind, sun, soil, wildlife and terrain, as well as climate and nearby pollution sources that impact all of this.
His 110-acre alpine farm in Austria sits between 3,300 and 4,900 feet in altitude (1,000-1,500 meters). It supports 10,000 fruit and nut trees, 30 different types of potatoes, a variety of grains, mushrooms, vegetables, herbs and wildflowers, as well as domestic and wild cattle, pigs, chickens, introduced snakes and even alpine crocodiles at one time.
“Once planted, I do absolutely nothing,” Holzer told Reuters. “It really is just nature working for itself – no weeding, no pruning, no watering, no fertiliser, no pesticides.”
Having practiced his own brand of permaculture for 50 years, he knows of what he speaks.
Instead, he modified the landscape with terraces, giant stone slabs, and over 70 ponds to direct wind, water, solar energy, and the terrain to permanently support the system.
Not one square meter of Holzer’s ground hosts only one type of plant. Starting from the age of five, he learned that as plant variety increases, parasites are reduced and the ecosystem becomes stable.
As an adult, he realized that most of what he learned in agriculture college and books was destroying the farm he inherited from his parents. He rebelled.
His autobiography, The Rebel Farmer, chronicles his battles against ignorant regulators whose rules were destroying his farm. He has fought regulatory agencies for decades, being mired in litigation and fined several times, and threatened with imprisonment. One example that cost him in fines involved his refusal to prune his trees as regulated.
He noticed that the only apricot tree faring well during the winter, where temperatures can drop to -29 °F (-34 °C), was the one he had not pruned. The length of the uncut branches allowed them to droop enough to touch the ground, providing support while the snow slid off. The branches of the pruned trees broke under the weight of the snow, killing the trees.
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture is filled with photos, diagrams and detailed instructions on every aspect of his mixed-farm system that increased his wealth and the quality of his land. It exemplifies “beyond organic” by mimicking nature in every aspect from natural roads and buildings to natural pesticides (like his homemade bone salve used to protect his trees) to companion plants to vermiculture, and much more.
Instructions aren’t limited to large farms, either. He describes and diagrams balcony gardens and small town gardens that can feed families or whole neighborhoods. And, of course, his theories apply to both farms and gardens.
Nearly everything he does is different from what most of us learn – even how to plant trees. Most of us buy a small tree with a root ball covered in burlap, but his are square with companion plants at the base of the tree. Among several free videos of or about Holzer’s techniques, this one is probably best.
One thing is clear from his book; Holzer would never farm without animals, as they are a part of the play of nature.
“Livestock play a large role in a permaculture system; they do not just provide high-quality produce, they are also industrious and pleasant workers…. The animals actually work for me by loosening the soil and tilling my terraces.” And, they bring the added fertilizer in the form of manure.
Like Joel Salatin on his Polyface Farm, Holzer rationally grazes his animals on various paddocks to ensure no one spot is over- or under-grazed. He also grows poisonous plants because he’s observed that animals suffering from diarrhea will deliberately eat them. He no longer has to worm his animals.
“The fact that it is actually necessary to become a ‘rebel’ to run a farm in harmony with nature is very sad!”
Many would agree. The joy comes in practicing a holistic approach when growing your own food, he says, giving you independence and healthy foods from an environment that is enriched rather than depleted. It is this very anarchy that will save the environment and feed the world.
Here’s a small sampling of articles revealing hyper-regulation:
Georgia cops bust 10-year-old’s lemonade stand
Michigan woman fined for growing veggies on her front lawn
Georgia farmer fined $5K for growing too many veggies
Kentucky Food Club defies illegal Cease and Desist Order from Health Dept
Elderly Man Evicted from His Indiana Land for Living off the Grid
UK family living off the grid evicted from their own land
Australia proposes ban on 1000s of plants including national flower
Urban garden that grosses $2,500 must buy permit for ‘several thousand dollars’
(Meat vs Vegan image)