That the American Church has problems is no surprise. Critics of the Church, many of whom have never actually taken an active part, have hurled pot shots at the Church since its inception. Churches are led and comprised of sinful, fallen people. Accordingly, there will be imperfections, shortcomings, failures, etc. Name an institution managed by people that does not have the same pitfalls.
That said, the current Church in America not only has problems, it has BIG problems. I’m talking about problems that are so huge they threaten the very survival of not only the Church itself, but of our nation, as well.
During the Twentieth Century, liberalism pretty much killed America’s mainstream denominational churches; and legalism did the same thing to America’s fundamentalist conservative churches.
In mainstream denominational churches, the rejection of the veracity of the Scriptures, the repudiation of essential Biblical doctrines, and the reception of liberal social agendas sent people by the millions fleeing these fellowships. Virtually every mainline denomination has been losing membership for decades.
For example, it is one thing for the state to grovel before politically correct ideology and embrace such moral deviances as homosexual marriage. To begin with, the state has no rightful place in sanctioning, defining, or legislating marriage at all. Marriage was never a state matter. It is a sacred matter. Our Creator has already sanctioned and defined marriage. What the state does or doesn’t do is irrelevant. As with most issues involving faith, the best thing civil government can do is butt out. But for the Church to embrace homosexual marriage is another matter altogether. No Christian who has even a rudimentary understanding of the Biblical and Natural laws regarding marriage could maintain fellowship with a church or denomination that would surrender to the amoral machinations of a degraded society. And that is just one issue that has caused millions of believers to flee America’s mainline churches and denominations.
For fundamentalist conservative churches, legalism has had the same effect as liberalism among mainline churches: it has pretty much killed them. During the last half of the Twentieth Century, fundamentalist conservative churches exploded in growth. A few decades ago, the largest churches and Sunday Schools in America were fundamentalist. But, just as mainstream churches succumbed to liberalism, fundamentalist churches succumbed to legalism. As the Scripture notes, “the letter killeth,” and, indeed, it has pretty much destroyed America’s fundamentalist churches. In fact, as a movement, it HAS destroyed them.
Accordingly, going into the Twenty First Century, these two cancers were already major problems within the American Church. But the problems that have wormed their way into the Church during the first decade and a half of the Twenty First Century have grown in both intensity and pervasiveness to the point that only a miracle from Heaven can avert impending disaster.
Here are the major problems that are destroying the American Church:
America’s churches went from a “church growth” ideology in the latter half of the Twentieth Century to a “success” orientation in the formative years of the twenty-first century. “Success” is now the driving motivation of the vast majority of America’s churches. But “success” is not defined in Scriptural terms; it is defined in secular terms.
A major study released by George Barna a few months ago clearly showed that “success” is the predominant philosophy of America’s churches. And Barna’s research listed the five-fold criteria that determined “success” in the minds of most pastors and churches: 1) Attendance, 2) Offerings, 3) Number of programs, 4) Size of staff, and, 5) Square footage of facilities. In fact, Barna’s research showed that the vast majority of pastors will purposely NOT preach what they know is Biblical truth in order to accommodate the five-fold “success” goals listed. This has led to popularity-preaching; entertainment-oriented programs; soft, non-confrontational teaching; and an overall weak and compromising pulpit.
The “success” orientation of the modern church is a major problem.
*The Egregious Misinterpretation of Romans 13, the 501c3 IRS non-profit organization status for churches, and Statism
Though these three issues each have an independent nature, I put them together as they are intricately connected.
Though many pastors and church leaders would probably not be willing to admit it, for all intents and purposes, our churches are mostly more concerned with being the compliant servant of the state than they are the obedient servant of God. The way most pastors teach Romans 13 is nothing more than the promotion of idolatry. Christians are taught to obey civil government almost without question. As was the case in Nazi Germany, America’s churches are taught that obedience to the state is obedience to God.
Have you been to a modern church wedding recently? If you have, as the pastor pronounced the bride and groom as husband and wife, you probably heard him say, “As an officer of the laws of the State of (your State) and in the presence of God…I now pronounce you man (or husband) and wife.”
The IRS 501c3 non-profit organization status for churches (instituted in 1954) has turned pastors and church officers into corporate officers of the state–and most pastors and church leaders KNOW it–even if they are unwilling to admit it.
It’s all about preserving the church’s non-profit status so contributors can deduct their offerings on income tax forms and so that the church doesn’t have to pay sales taxes on what they purchase or property taxes on what they own. And whatever pastors and church officers are required by the state to do in order to preserve that non-profit status, they will comply.
This doesn’t require a knock at the door by an IRS agent; it doesn’t require threatening letters or phone calls; it doesn’t require any direct show of force by any government agency against the church. Pastors and church officers INSTINCTIVELY know where the “third rail” is and will avoid it at all costs in order to not jeopardize their non-profit status.
The desire to comply with the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) for churches makes it easy for pastors to teach the Hitlerian version of total submission to civil government.
Statism is NOT patriotism. Neither is it Christian. The Bible is chock-full of examples of resistance to unlawful government. I’m sure many of our pastors and church leaders have never personally studied the issue and are simply regurgitating what they have been taught. I am confident that many of them are truly ignorant of what they are doing, but that doesn’t change what they are doing. Wittingly or unwittingly, they have allowed themselves to become statists: the sheepish servants of the state.
The condition of the American Church today is EXACTLY the same as was the condition of the German and Russian Church during the rise of Adolph Hitler and Joe Stalin. This is why the Church seems totally unconcerned and indifferent to the growing Police State in America today.
*Ignorance of Natural Law and the Law of Nations
God-ordained Natural Law has not been taught from America’s pulpits since the Nineteenth Century. The vast majority of pastors and church leaders in America are totally ignorant of these immutable laws.
The lack of understanding regarding Natural Law has made it virtually impossible for the American Church to truly understand the fundamental principles of good government and liberty. All most Christians know about government is what they hear on FOX News or from Rush Limbaugh. Their pastors almost never broach the subject. And for good reason: most pastors are themselves ignorant on the subject. Therefore, about all they can talk about is “liberal” vs. “conservative,” or Democrat vs. Republican. The divine principles of Natural Law that are supposed to govern nations and man-to-man relationships are foreign to the thinking and understanding of the vast majority of pastors and churches.
The ignorance and misunderstanding of Natural Law by the Church has created the societal and political conditions that now exist in this country.
But there is one more major problem in the American Church. And I believe this problem is the GREATEST problem of all. And, to be honest, it had not dawned on me how pervasive and deep this problem was until last week.
*The Church is Filled With Hate
In my column last week, I used the movie, American Sniper, as a catalyst to point out that the United States has been waging unjust war on countries such as Iraq–and meddling in the internal affairs of countries such as Iraq–for decades. I also pointed out that not all Muslims are terrorists and to condemn all Muslims on the basis of Muslim Jihadists is wrong.
Folks, you can’t believe the firestorm of anger that deluged me. My Facebook page registered over 100,000 views of my comments and precipitated a flood of hate-filled responses. Here is a sample of the more-mild reactions:
“All Christians should be standing against Islam and proclaiming America for the kingdom of Christ. I am not a Muslim sympathizer and I have lost respect for you, Mr. Baldwin. Islam is anti-Christianity. You cannot serve 2 masters.”
By standing against Islam, Cathy means it is right and righteous to go to war against Muslim nations, because they are “anti-Christianity.” So, Cathy, since when is it America’s responsibility to export Christianity over the barrel of a gun? I suppose we should then invade and destroy every Muslim nation in existence, including Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of Saudi Arabia, if we can believe the official story of 9/11 (which I don’t), the Muslim terrorists that perpetrated those attacks were all from Saudi Arabia, NOT Iraq. Why didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia? Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11 and everyone on the planet knows it. In truth, Saudi Arabia has done more to fund Islamist terrorists than any other nation in the region. Yet, official American foreign policy regards Saudi Arabia as our friend and ally.
But Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, which means they are “anti-Christianity,” so Cathy (and many like her) believes we should go to war with these nations to advance “the kingdom of Christ.” But what about Judaism, Cathy? Judaism is as “anti-Christianity” as Islam. What about Hinduism? What about Buddhism? What about Atheism? Is America supposed to go to war with every nation of the world that has a population of people who are “anti-Christianity”? If so, we should be attacking most of the nations of the world.
And since when can we evangelize the pagan peoples of the world via brute force? When has that ever worked? And what Scripture do you base that theory on? People are won to Christ with the message of God’s amazing grace and love through Christ’s death on the cross. What? Did God commission us to kill and destroy all of the heathen of the world? I thought our commission was to love and win them, not attack and kill them.
But a host of attacks against my comments last week were much more caustic. Here is an example:
“Imam Mohammed Judas Baldwin; My wife and I were listening on line to your 1-25-15 program, I shut the program off when I heard your rant against your Christian brother and sister Pastors. My wife astutely said: ‘Muslim Lover?’ I believe I have figured out your love of all things Islam, and your betrayal of God, Jesus Christ, and Christians. Your God Allah, Your savior Mohammad, and your fellow Muslims. Allah offered you a better deal. Paradise and 72 Virgins. The Virgins, in your case, 50/50 prepubescent boys and girls. Judas Iscariot had the decency to hang himself for his betrayal of my savior Jesus Christ. How about you? You can get Allah and the virgins, sooner, if you do it to day…Shame on you, you Fool.”
The message I delivered last Sunday, and to which Michael was reacting to, was taken from Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies,” and from Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
And, yes, Michael, I do love Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc. They are all souls for whom Christ died.
If unbelievers and pagans want to be filled with hate, so be it; but hatred has NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in the heart of a Christian. And after receiving tens of thousands of hate-filled responses regarding my comments last week, it dawned on me that the American Church is largely filled with hate–hatred against the Muslim people.
Ever since 9/11, Christians and conservatives have developed a hatred and animus, not just against Jihadist-Muslims (which, even that is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for a Christian), but against Muslim people everywhere. All Muslims are commonly castigated and vilified just because they are Muslims.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is absolutely NOT TRUE that all Muslims are anti-American, anti-Christian murderers and terrorists. It is NOT TRUE that all Muslims want to enact Sharia Law in the United States. It is NOT TRUE that all Muslims are our enemies.
I wonder how many of these Muslim haters have ever met a Muslim in person. I have. I have met many–both in the United States and in the Middle East. They are NOT all America-haters. They are NOT all trying to kill us. America has had Christian missionaries ministering among Muslim nations for as long as our country has been in existence. And many Christians would be shocked to know that overall the Gospel has received greater acceptance by the Muslim population than by other religions of the region–much more, in fact, than by the Jewish population.
Here is a letter I received from a Christian missionary named Jeff:
“Hi, Chuck! We…want to tell you that we stand 100% with what you said in both your column and to your congregation. We have been missionaries for 40 years, a good ten of those in Muslim countries (Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Bosnia, and Albania). We have not just met or talked to a Muslim, we have witnessed to them in depth for years. It is SO RARE to hear anyone nowadays saying anything conciliatory towards Muslims, much less positive. I thank you for the things you have said, and am so very sorry for the hateful responses you received in the comments to your column that reveal the dark heart of many Christians in the U.S.”
To be honest, most of the Muslims I have met in the U.S. and in the Middle East demonstrate more kindness, common courtesy, and genuine compassion than many of the so-called Christians I have known.
Let’s be honest: some Muslims are Muslims in name only, much like many Baptists are Baptists in name only, or Catholics are Catholics in name only, or Mormons are Mormons in name only, or Jews are Jews in name only, etc. There are millions of Christians in America’s churches that couldn’t tell you what’s in the Bible to save their lives. They couldn’t quote the Ten Commandments; they couldn’t quote the Golden Rule; they couldn’t name Christ’s apostles; they couldn’t quote five verses of Scripture from memory if their lives depended on it. There are many Muslims in the exact same condition.
Furthermore, not all Muslims, who are devout, take the verses of the Koran that speak of Jihad and killing infidels, etc., to literally mean killing all non-Muslims today. No, not all of them do!
Think of this: how many of us Christians believe that the civil laws and military commands that God gave to the children of Israel through Moses should be literally incorporated into the Church and into the civil laws of America today? Do you believe we should be stoning people to death for adultery, or breaking the Sabbath (So, any Christian nurse or policeman or physician or fireman, etc., who works on Saturday should be stoned to death?), or blasphemy, or for children who curse their parents? Do you? Should we literally destroy entire nations–including men, women, and children today? These things were literally commanded by Jehovah God for the children of Israel under Moses. And, yes, God is God and is righteous and just as much when he condemns as when he forgives. No man sits in judgment of God. His ways are always right and holy. But God is NOT giving direct audible commands to anyone in the U.S. government today–or to anyone in our church pulpits, for that matter.
Many Muslims I’ve met interpret those passages in the Koran like we do those Old Testament Scriptures. Why can Christians interpret our Bible in this manner but Muslims cannot interpret their bible in a similar fashion?
In fact, I know of several Christian pastors and preachers in America who mimic Muslim Jihadists and believe that we SHOULD be implementing the Mosaic Law in our country today. If they had their way, we would be stoning people to death for the sins mentioned above just as they did under Moses. Have you ever witnessed a stoning? It is as equally torturous as beheading–maybe even more so.
Beyond that, these Muslim haters seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that every day there are tens of thousands of Muslims who risk their lives resisting Muslim Jihadists. It was a Muslim village that risked their lives against the Taliban to save the American fighting man that was depicted in the movie, Lone Survivor. Why don’t we recognize this reality? It’s because hatred and bigotry against the Muslim people have blinded us.
Plus, the dirty truth that most Americans, including most Christians, seem unwilling to accept is that most of the conflict between the United States and the Muslim nations of the Middle East has been created by our own federal government.
I speak regularly with retired Special Forces military personnel who share with me the way our own CIA and State Department have bullied, lied to, intimidated, and betrayed our Muslim friends in the Middle East. They have seen it up close and personal. This has been going on for decades. In fact, our federal government has tortured hundreds of people in the Middle East in some of the most vile ways possible. The only difference is, they don’t broadcast it over television.
I recently asked a retired Green Beret, “How much of the conflict between the U.S. and Middle Eastern states would stop if Washington, D.C., would simply stop meddling in the internal affairs of those countries?” This Green Beret served in the the Middle East for years; he was a Special Ops soldier. He saw the surreptitious and covert things that our government routinely does–things the public doesn’t see. His answer to me was, “100%.”
Our own federal government put the Taliban in power, put Al Qaeda in power, and put ISIS in power. Our federal government often uses war and conflict to cover up its own murderous activity or to kill the very people that they formerly gave arms to, supported, befriended, etc. Whether one wants to believe it or not, most of the conflict in the Middle East has been caused by our own government. We are our own worst enemy. How convenient that we make Muslim people everywhere the straw man to divert attention away from the real criminals.
Yes, the American Church has a BIG problem: much of it is filled with HATE. To be sure, Christians are instructed to hate “evil,” but nowhere are we instructed to hate people–any people. Yet, the hatred of Muslims by Christians in America appears to be epidemic.
Hatred is a cancer. Hatred, bitterness, resentment, bigotry, etc., kill the soul. When Jesus instructed us to love our enemies, it was NOT for our enemies’ sake; it was for OUR sake. How can God bless a hate-filled Church when He commands us to love our enemies? How can He bless warmongers when he tells us that it is peacemakers who are blessed?
When America MUST defend itself against any enemy, regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, etc., we are obligated to do so. In the Twentieth Century, we fought hot wars against Christians from Germany and Italy, against Shintoists from Japan, against atheists from North Korea, and against Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucianists from Vietnam. But there is a huge difference between defending oneself against an enemy that poses and imminent threat and fomenting hatred against an entire people for the crimes of a few.
How can Christians claim to love God and believe in winning lost souls to Christ be so consumed with hatred against an entire people–most of whom have done NOTHING to harm them? Yes, I realize there are some who call themselves Christians who hate other people besides Muslims. Some hate everyone who is a Jew; some hate everyone who is a minority; some hate everyone who is victimized by an aberrant sexual lifestyle, etc. Hatred has been with us since the dawn of human history. But in my entire lifetime, I have never witnessed anything like I am witnessing now: the pervasive, widespread, almost universal hatred of the Muslim people–by Christians.
As I said, hatred destroys the soul. And I fear that hatred is destroying the soul of the Church.
Whose fault is it that mosques are being built in America? Many of the buildings being used for these new mosques are abandoned CHURCH buildings. The darkness of false religion will always fill the vacuum that is left when truth departs. And the fact is, Christianity is dying in the United States. No, it’s not dead; but it’s dying. There are tens of thousands of empty abandoned churches all over America. More and more Americans are turning their backs on the Church. What difference does it make which form of darkness invades the land? The problem is that the true light (the Church) is failing. What do you expect will happen?
What difference does it make whether the darkness takes the form of Islam, or Buddhism, or Shintoism, or Judaism, or Atheism, or Communism, or any other “ism?” The problem is not the presence of darkness; the problem is the absence of light.
The Church has lost its light and its love. Christ is doing what He said He would do to those who lose their love: He is removing the candlestick.
The American Church has focused on being “successful” instead of being righteous; it has capitulated to the lordship of the state; it fears the IRS more than it fears God; it has stopped preaching the “hard” messages of the Bible; it is popularity-driven, entertainment-driven, and comfort-driven; it has abandoned the fundamental principles of Natural Law and liberty; it has replaced genuine patriotism with statism; and it has used Romans 13 as justification for idolatry.
A quote from Charles Caleb Colton (1820) is in order here: “Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but–live for it.”
The Muslim people are NOT our problem; the problem is the American Church. It needs to start living its religion.
The West presents Putin as a bloodthirsty warmonger with grand imperial ambitions. The reality is that Putin wants a stable, federalized Ukraine—anything else would be too costly for Russia
In February, it is a long way to the spring, lamented Joseph Brodsky, the poet. Indeed, snow still falls heavily in Moscow and Kie
Tired by the siege and by intermittent shelling, the rebels disregarded the snow and took the strategic Donetsk airport. This airport with its Stalin-built tunnels, a symbol of solid Soviet defence work, presented a huge challenge for the under-equipped militia. Its many-leveled underground facilities were built to sustain a nuclear attack; still, the rebels, after months of fighting, flushed the enemy out and took it.
In a bigger offensive, they trapped Kiev’s troops in the Debaltsevo pocket, and Kiev is already suing for a cease-fire. The rebels hope to dislodge the enemy from their lands altogether; as now they hold only about one third of Donbass; but Russia’s president is still groping for the brakes. He prefers a bad peace to a good war. For him, the Ukraine is important, but not a sine qua non, the only problem in the world. This attitude he shares with the American leader. There is a big difference: Russia wants peaceful Ukraine, Americans prefer one at war.
Russia would prefer to see Ukraine united, federal, peaceful and prosperous. The alternative of splitting Donbass is not very tempting: Donbass is strongly connected to the rest of Ukraine, and it is not easy to sever its ties. The war already has sent millions of refugees from Donbass and from the rump of Ukraine to Russia, overloading its systems. Putin can’t cut loose and forget about Donbass – his people would not allow him anyway. A cautious man, he does not want to get into an open-ended war. So he has to navigate towards some sort of peace.
I had a meeting with a well-informed and highly-placed Russian source w
- Russia supported the West-brokered agreement of February 21, 2014, but the US still pushed for the next day (February 22) coup, or “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” , in Obama’s words.
- After the coup, the South-East Ukraine did not submit to the new Kiev regime and seceded. Still, Moscow asked the Donbass rebels to refrain from carrying out their May referendum. (They disregarded Putin’s appeal).
- Moscow recognised the results of sham May elections carried out by Kiev regime after the coup, and recognised Poroshenko as the president of the whole Ukraine – though there were no elections in the South East and opposition parties were banned from participating.
- Moscow did not officially recognise the results of November elections in Donbass, to the chagrin of many Russian nationalists.
These steps were quite unpopular in Russian society, but Putin made them to promote a peaceful solution for Ukraine. Some war-like Donbass leaders were convinced to retire. In vain: Putin’s actions and intentions were disregarded by the US and EC. They encouraged the ‘war party’ in Kiev. “They never found a fault with Kiev, whatever they do”, said the source.
Peace in Ukraine can be reached through federalisation, my source told me. That’s why the two most important parameters of the Minsk accords (between Kiev and Donetsk) were those we never hear about: constitutional and socio-economic reforms. Russia wants to secure the territorial integrity of the Ukraine (minus Crimea) but it can be achieved only through federalisation of Ukraine with a degree of autonomy being given to its regions. Its west and east speak different languages, worship different heroes, have different aspirations. They could manage together, just, if the Ukraine were a federal state, like the US or Switzerland or India.
In Minsk, the sides agreed to establish a joint commission for constitutional reforms, but the Kiev regime reneged on it. Instead, they created a small and secretive constitutional
As for integration, it was agreed in Minsk to reintegrate Donbass within Ukraine. This was disappointing for Donbass (they would prefer to join Russia), but they accepted it, – while Kiev laid siege to Donbass, cut off its banks, ceased buying Donbass coal, and stopped paying pensions. Kiev troops daily shell Donetsk, a city of a million inhabitants (in peaceful times!). Instead of amnesty for rebels, as agreed in Minsk, there are more government troops pouring eastwards.
The Russians did not give up on Minsk accords. The Minsk agreements could bring peace, but they have to be implemented. Perhaps president Poroshenko of Kiev would like to, but Kievwar party with its western support will unseat Poroshenko if he goes too far. Paradoxically, the only way to force him to peace is through war, – though Russia would prefer the West to put pressure on its clients in Kiev. The rebels and their Russian supporters used warfare to force him to sign the Minsk accords: their offensive against Mariupol on the Sea of Azov was hugely successful, and Poroshenko preferred to go to Minsk in order to keep Mariupol. Since then, Kiev and Donetsk had a few cease-fires, they exchanged POWs, but Kiev refuses to implement the constitutional and socio-economic demands of Minsk accord.
It does not make sense to agree to a cease-fire, if Kiev only uses it to regroup and attack again. The Cease-fire should lead to constitutional reform, said my source, a reform negotiated in an open and transparent dialogue of the regions and Kiev. Without reform, Donbass (or Novorussia) will go to war. So the Debaltsevo operation can be considered a way to force Poroshenko to sue for peace.
Russia does not intend to take part in the war, or in peace negotiations, said the source. The Russians are adamant to stay out, while the Americans are equally adamant to present Russia as a side to conflict.
Meanwhile, the Russian-American relations were moved forty years back to the Jackson-Vanik amendment of 1974 by the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry considered this act an unfortunate development, but a temporary one. The Russians are not that optimistic: for them, the Act codified anti-Russian sanctions. The US has tried to turn other states against Russia, with some success. In one sweep the German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel eliminated all organisations, structures and ties built between Germany and Russia over many years. Every visit of Joe Biden causes a conflagration.
The Russians are upset with the story of the Malaysian Boeing. In every high-level encounter with the Americans, they are reminded of the hysterical accusations and claims that the liner was downed by the rebels using Russian missiles. Six months have passed since the tragedy; still the Americans have not presented a single shred of evidence of Russian and/or rebel involvement. They have not presented photos from their satellites, nor records of their AWACS aircraft hovering over Eastern Europe. My source told me that the American high-ranking officials do not insist anymore that Russians/rebels are involved, but they stubbornly refuse to apologise for their previous baseless accusations. They never say they are sorry.
Still, the Americans want to play the ball. They insist that they do not seek Russian ‘surrender’, that they find the confrontation costly and unwelcome; meanwhile, the US needs Russian support for dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme, the removal of Syrian chemical weapons, and the Palestinian problem. The Russians retort they have heard it all during the Libyan affair and aren’t impressed.
Differences of opinion between Russia and the US are considerable. But there is one common feature: from Syria to Donbass, Russians endorse peace, Americans push for war. Now the Russians have invited opposition figures and government representatives from Syria for talks in Moscow. They came, talked, went away and will come again. They could probably settle but the US representatives say that they will never accept Assad’s presidency and will fight to the last Syrian for his dismissal. It is not that Americans are bloodthirsty; war makes sense for them: every war on the globe supports the US dollar and invigorates Dow Jones, as capital seeks safe haven and finds it in the US.
They do not think about the fate of Syrians who flee to Jordan—or of Ukrainians who escape to Russia in ever increasing numbers. What a shame for two wonderful countries! Syria was peaceful and prosperous, the diamond of the Middle East until ruined by the US-supported Islamists; the Ukraine was the wealthiest part of the former Soviet bloc, until being ruined by the US-supported far-right and oligarchs. Joseph Brodsky bitterly predicted in 1994, as the Ukraine declared its independence from Russia, that the shifty Ukrainians will still evoke Russian
As did millions of other Americans, I went to see the hugely popular Clint Eastwood-directed movie, “American Sniper.” Here are some of my thoughts:
No one, at least not me, doubts the patriotism, courage, and sacrifice of our nation’s military personnel–especially our combat forces. I certainly do not share Michael Moore’s opinion that Chris Kyle (and the rest of our military snipers) was a coward. Snipers have been effective in helping to wage America’s wars since our War for Independence. In lawful combat, snipers are as needful as any other specialized fighting man.
My issue is not with Chris Kyle–or with any other American fighting man. My issue is with the justness of the war Chris Kyle was ordered to fight. Yes, I realize that we have an all-volunteer army; but let’s be honest enough to admit that the vast majority of our young people joining the U.S. military sincerely believe that they are doing their patriotic duty by volunteering to conduct war against America’s “enemies.” They learn nothing else from family, school, movies and television, and church. The singular message they hear is that everything the U.S. military does is right and righteous and that every military engagement is just and justified. I’m sure Chris Kyle was no different.
However, at the risk of sounding unpatriotic, after watching the real-life military exploits of Chris Kyle on the Big Screen, I left the theater extremely angry.
In the first place, Saddam Hussein and the country of Iraq had absolutely NOTHING to do with 9/11, and virtually everyone on the planet now knows it. G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney unabashedly lied to the American people about the necessity of America invading Iraq. We invaded Iraq under false pretenses; we occupied Iraq under false pretenses; and we took (and lost) thousands of lives under false pretenses.
If those miscreants in Washington, D.C., want to invade countries that truly have Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), why don’t they invade Russia, or China, or Great Britain, or North Korea, or India, or Pakistan, or Israel? We haven’t heard the first word about the need to invade and occupy any of those countries. Why not? Each of those countries has known stockpiles of nuclear weapons. And when it comes to abusing human rights, most of the countries listed above have miserable records. But, no one from either party in Washington, D.C., even broaches the idea of invading and occupying (or even bombing) any of these nations. But we were told that the little country of Iraq posed such a severe and imminent threat against the United States that a military invasion was required. Everyone in the world now knows that was poppycock.
And for the benefit of my Christian readers, Saddam Hussein was one of the most tolerant and accommodating Muslim leaders in the entire region. Christian churches thrived under Hussein. For the most part, Hussein happily accommodated the exercise of the Christian religion in Iraq. He even had at least one Christian in his cabinet.
What has happened to Christianity in Iraq since the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein? Several recent reports have documented the fact that, for all intents and purposes, Christianity has been totally expunged from the country of Iraq. Christians have fled the country in terror due to intense persecution. There are no churches left in Iraq. This is AFTER the “liberation” of Iraq and the installation of a puppet government by the United States.
Secondly, as I watched the depiction of U.S. Marines going house-to-house kicking down doors and manhandling old men, women, and children, it occurred to me that these exact same tactics are now being employed by American police agencies against the people of the United States. Our so-called SWAT teams are nothing more than occupying military units on American soil. The strategies, philosophies, mindset, and tactics are exactly the same as soldiers in a war zone.
Thirdly, ask yourself these questions: what if, instead of the place being Fallujah, Iraq, the place was Kansas City, Missouri? Instead of the invasion force being the U.S. military, it was military troops from China, Russia, or North Korea? What if the occupying military snipers were killing American women and children instead of Iraqi women and children? Would we still consider them “heroes?” And would we act any differently from the Iraqi people who were simply trying to defend their homes and communities against an occupying foreign power?
When I left the theater, I was not angry with Chris Kyle because he happened to apparently be the best at what he was trained to do; I was angry with the politicians in Washington, D.C., who sent Chris Kyle into an unjust and undeclared war against people who posed NO imminent threat to the United States.
I am also angry with an American culture that seems to lack the discernment to recognize the difference between just and unjust war. I am further angered by ubiquitous U.S. propaganda against the Muslim people in general (especially by my Christian brethren).
It seems that hardly anyone recognizes that the power-elite are engaged in a global conspiracy to pit the Muslim nations of the Middle East against the West, and vice-versa. Our own CIA has manipulated the internal affairs of Middle Eastern states for decades. The CIA put Saddam Hussein in power. Where do you think those brand new hundred-dollar bills (in the amount of millions of dollars) stored between the walls of Hussein’s house, all wrapped in Bank of America wrappers, came from?
The CIA put Osama bin Laden in power. The CIA created Al Qaeda. The CIA created ISIS. And dare we even talk about the illegal drug-running operations that have been conducted by the CIA in both Middle Eastern and Far Eastern nations (not to mention Central and South America) for at least a half-century?
It might make modern Christian leaders feel morally righteous as they constantly stir hatred in the hearts of their followers against the Muslim people, but what it really does is demonstrate their utter ignorance as to who the real enemy is.
The global elite are using radical Islamists, Jews, and Christians alike to stir fear and hatred among nations. No religion has a monopoly on hatred and violence. I remind readers that it wasn’t Muslims who killed our brave patriot forebears at Bunker Hill, Lexington Green, and Concord Bridge. It was Christians. It wasn’t Muslims who invaded the newly formed United States in 1812. It was Christians. It wasn’t Muslims who were beating, imprisoning, and murdering non-traditional believers in early America. It was Christians.
And for all of you who are scared silly about the threat of Sharia Law, I can tell you for a fact that there are numerous Christian preachers today who openly promote bringing America under the civil laws of Old Testament Israel. Yes, that means legalizing capital punishment for adulteresses, children who curse their parents, people who break the Sabbath (Who would define that?), people who are guilty of blasphemy (Who would define that?) homosexuals and lesbians, etc. If these preachers had anything to do with it, we Americans would suffer as much under their brand of “Christianity” as did the people of Israel under the Pharisees and as many who are currently suffering under the heavy hand of Islamic militants today.
And if you think there is religious liberty for the Jewish people in the modern state of Israel, you haven’t been there. Let a Jew in Israel convert to Christianity and try to publicly witness for his faith (in much the same manner as did the Apostles in the New Testament) and see what happens. The persecution is intense.
When I was in Israel, I preached in the two Baptist churches in that country. One was in Jerusalem; the other was in Bethlehem. What I discovered surprised me: over ninety percent of the Christians in those churches were not converted Jews; they were converted Muslims. And most of them were Palestinians. In fact, Christianity is growing exponentially among the Palestinian people, even as we speak.
Christians who are constantly fear-mongering against Muslim people are playing right into the hands of the globalists who are using people of different faiths and cultures to inflame hatred and violence, thus creating the conditions for globalists to come to the rescue with their plans for world government. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The American people have far more to fear from Washington, D.C., than they do from Baghdad, Damascus, or Tehran.
As I left the theater, I was angry with a federal government that cares absolutely nothing about our brave U.S. military personnel. They send them to fight unjust wars only then to treat them like second-class citizens in our VA hospitals. If D.C. truly cared about our military personnel, they would never ask them to risk life and limb except for those times that are truly necessary for the safety and security of the United States.
America has NO RIGHT to take upon itself the role of the world’s policeman. It has NO RIGHT to send U.S. fighting men to vindicate the policies and prejudices of the United Nations. The President of the United States has NO RIGHT to invade and occupy foreign countries without a Declaration of War by Congress.
And in the case of rogue militants who pose an imminent danger to the people of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison handled it constitutionally by asking Congress for a letter of marque and reprisal. Congressman Ron Paul introduced just such a bill following the 9/11 attacks. Had Congress followed the Constitution and passed Dr. Paul’s bill, much of the turmoil and unrest that currently exists in the Middle East today would have been completely circumvented. But, then again, the globalists would not have been able to inflame the world against each other like they have.
I am angry because, in the name of fighting the War on Terror around the world, the American people are quickly losing the liberties guaranteed in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. And out of a misguided spirit of patriotism, the majority of the American people seem fine with it.
I am angry because our brave military troops are being asked to give their arms and legs and families and lives for the selfish, political, and economic interests of the ruling elite–and are also asked to take the lives of thousands of innocents in the process.
If you ask me, Chris Kyle was the victim of a sadistic and out-of-control federal leviathan that respects NOTHING. Not the rule of law. Not liberty–at home or abroad. Not family–our own or the families of other nations. Not constitutional government. Not national borders–our own or anyone else’s. And certainly not the sacredness of life.
Yes, I watched the movie “American Sniper.” And I left the theater angry.
“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution….. taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.” – Thomas Jefferson
Many are unaware that it was action by 2/3 of the states which helped force Congress to propose, and pass, the Bill of Rights. This exercise of power by the states fell into disuse and America moved toward a Federal government which exercised far more power than originally envisioned by our Founders.
Today, when many are looking for ways to curb Federal power the application of what has already worked has a strongl attraction. Advocates say they are moved by the need to restore accountability and balance in Washington.
Today, 2/3 of the states, if they agree on a specific Amendment could force Congress to propose the “Regulation Freedom” Amendment. Which reads, “Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”
Passage by the Wyoming House of Representatives of a bipartisan vote, 51-9, was passed to make the will of the people known to Congress. Wyoming was not the first state to pass the measure, which has also been passed in Arizona, as Regulation Freedom Amendment, SCL 1005, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto. Other states, including Indiana and Georgia have recently passed similar measures.
Governors of two states and more than 200 state legislators plus the 6 million member American Farm Bureau now support the Regulation Freedom Amendment.
Each of these Resolutions urges Congress to propose the “Regulation Freedom Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution to require that Congress approve major new federal regulations. These Resolutions are steps in the process of passage for the proposed Amendment but also open up the political process to more direct control by the people through their state legislatures.
The movement, which includes Regulation Freedom and the Madison Amendment is the brain child of Roman Buhler, an attorney and formerly counsel for the U. S. House of Representatives, from 1989 to 2003.
Buhler has also proposed the Madison Initiative, which gives States the same power as Congress to propose individuals amendments to the United States Constitution. Many view this as the better avenue for cutting back the growth of Federal power, avoiding a new Constitutional Convention.
Counting the sellouts, sycophants, sissies and socialists (by whatever name they call themselves, including Republican) is certainly easier than counting the plucky, perspicacious, passionate patriots, that is for sure. For every one of the latter, there are thousands of the former. In fact, since God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah had he found a faithful ten (out of a population of around ten thousand), it may be that America is teetering around that same percentage. We might be looking at a similar one in a thousand preserving percentage in this country today.
On Capitol Hill, there are fewer than fifty House members and senators (out of 535) that could be categorized as faithful patriots. In certain State houses and senate chambers, the percentage would be considerably higher. In many states, however, the percentage would be much lower.
When it comes to America’s pulpits, the percentage of faithful patriots is almost certainly no more than five percent. That was the percentage of faithful pastors in Nazi Germany who boldly stood against Hitler’s Police State. And I’m confident the percentage of pastors in America today who are courageously standing against the modern-day Police State is about the same.
There are almost NO mainstream journalists in print or television who haven’t sold their souls to a paycheck. The same is true for the talking heads on the talk radio shows. Likewise, the vast majority of our judges seem completely ignorant of constitutional government and the Bill of Rights–or have complete contempt for the same. As for educators in the halls of higher learning, forget it!
From a futuristic perspective, the horizon of America can be put into three basic camps: 1) Jesus is going to come like the Seventh Cavalry and bail all of the good Christians to Heaven, and then destroy everything; but who cares? Only the “bad” people will be here, 2) There is no hope; it’s all over; it’s only going to get worse until the fiery end comes, and all one can hope for is to prepare his family and close friends to “survive,” 3) All of the trends point to a continuing demise of liberty, and, in all probability, the future will be very problematic for EVERYONE (Christians and unbelievers alike), but our Creator–who is the author of liberty–still has a providential plan for freedom in this land and is (and will continue) separating and calling out a courageous remnant for that purpose. Put me in the last camp.
With all due respect, I think the folks who align themselves in the first two camps are trying to escape reality and evade responsibility. One is as bad as the other. The one who sits back and does nothing because he believes God would never allow Christians in America to go through “tribulation,” and the person who believes tribulation is coming but the only option is to hide in a hole (figuratively speaking) are both abrogating their responsibility to be the “salt” of the earth and the protectors and defenders of liberty.
However, between the two, I feel more umbrage against my Christian brethren in the first group. They are supposed to have the Spirit of God in them. They are supposed to be students of the Scriptures. More than anyone, they should be the ones to take seriously their charge to “Occupy” till Christ comes.
Try selling the line that “Jesus won’t let us go through tribulation” to the Christians in Sudan. For the last twenty years, more than two million Christians have been persecuted, imprisoned, beheaded, disemboweled, dismembered, tortured, sold into slavery, hung on crosses, etc., in that war-torn land. I guess God doesn’t love those poor suffering souls as much as He loves us soft, self-righteous, comfort-crazy, entertainment-mad, feel-good Christians in America. What rubbish!
Try selling that line to the beleaguered Christians in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Burma, China, India, even Israel, etc. These believers have been in tribulation for generations. Only in America could a theological position on eschatology result in a complete slave-mentality.
I can understand people who don’t believe in God losing hope and resorting to withdrawing from society. But, for the life of me, I cannot understand my Christian brethren using the doctrine of the Rapture as an excuse to remove themselves from the freedom fight. Personally, I think the doctrine of the Rapture is often nothing but a covering to mask the cowardice or indifference that grips their hearts.
Therefore, I regard patriots as possibly being from virtually any religion, church denomination, political affiliation, ethnicity, race, educational background, or social strata. I know Catholics who are patriots, Mormons who are patriots. I know Jews who are patriots. I even know Muslims who are patriots. Yes, you read it right, Muslims. There are patriots who are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, etc. There are self-proclaimed liberals who have more understanding of liberty than many professing conservatives. There are patriots counted among the Democrat Party, the Republican Party, the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, The Reform Party, the Green Party, etc.
As Thomas Jefferson and John Adams stood side by side for the Declaration of Independence, as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton and Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin, did the same, so I will stand with any defender of liberty, regardless of race, religion, denomination–and even with those who have no faith.
Of course, my approach to liberty is God-centered. And my hope in the future is, likewise, God-centered. I do not believe that God is finished with liberty in America. And I am convinced that God is calling out a freedom-remnant even as we speak. I see this almost every week here in the redoubt of the Montana Flathead Valley. I am very much a realist; but I am very much NOT a pessimist. I guess I am a futurist: I believe there is a future for liberty-minded people in this country. The one in a thousand is still among us; I am convinced of that.
On Capitol Hill there are a faithful few: Justin Amash of Michigan, Mike Lee of Utah, Steve Stockman of Texas, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, for example. (I’m withholding judgment on Rand Paul, although among the current list of presidential hopefuls, I like him best so far. I think his foreign policy is far superior to that of Ted Cruz. But Ted’s stand on illegal immigration eclipses Rand’s so far. So, I’m reserving judgment. Jeb Bush is disaster!)
In many State legislatures, there are dynamic patriots fighting ferociously for our liberties. I’m talking about people such as Montana’s Jerry O’Neil, Washington State’s Matt Shea, and Nevada’s Michele Fiore.
Behind the pulpit, there are only a precious few numbered among the patriots. Those five pastors whom the Liberty Church Project just recently helped to withdraw from (or bypass altogether) the devilish 501c3 tax exempt organization status stand out. Warren Luke Campbell and his dad, Warren Campbell, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Tony McGhee in Wilmington, North Carolina, Eric Philpot and Nathan Kealer of Dallas,Texas, and Roy Magnuson and his son, Josiah, in Greenville, South Carolina.
Of course, Dr. Greg Dixon, Sr. has been in the freedom fight longer than most of us have been alive. And Dr. David Manning has been an indefatigable opponent of the New World Order as I have ever seen. He just might be the most politically incorrect and bravest pastor in America. And thank God for patriot-preachers such as David Schnittger, Paul Blair, Barry Byrd, Stevie Craft, Hal Curtis, Wiley Drake, Jay Grimstead, and Steve Wagner.
I appreciate the founder and editor of NewsWithViews.com. His website has grown to include a plethora of writers, not all of whom do I agree with, of course. But I know Paul Walter: in his core, he is a patriot. Tom DeWeese has been fighting Agenda 21 longer and more effectively than anyone I know. Christine Tobin over at “Fair And Equal” has done yeoman’s work for years to try and restore free and equal elections to America’s political process. Judge Andrew Napolitano has been a refreshing voice for individual liberty and constitutional government for years, as well. Dr. Tom Kendall stands extremely tall in the world of medicine, as does Dr. Curtis Caine, and the Flathead Valley’s very own Dr. Annie Bukacek.
In the field of law, I am very proud of the stand for freedom taken by my son, Tim. And attorneys Bill Olson and Herb Titus stand as pillars of their profession. And I also greatly admire other patriot-lawyers such as John Whitehead, Larry Klayman, Gene Garrison, Gary Kreep, Ed Vieira, and my dear friend, Danny Kepner.
And though not a majority, there are hundreds of patriot-sheriffs across the country who are relentless in their defense of the liberties of the people of their counties. I’m talking about sheriffs such as Shane Harrington, Joe Arpaio, Bruce Newman, John Hanlin, Gil Gilbertson, Denny Peyman, Larry Smith, and Richard Mack.
And patriots such as Scott Bradley, Sam Bushman, Larry Breazeale, Randy Brogdon, Joel Skousen, Alex Jones, LCDR Guy Cunningham, Aubyn Curtis, Coach Dave Daubenmire, author Thomas DiLorenzo, LCDR David Gillie, filmmaker James Jaeger, Brigadier General Charles Jones, Rick Jore, Roger Koopman, Gary Marbut, and Stewart Rhodes have been fighting the good fight for years. And, of course, Richard Viguerie has been our champion forever.
The numbers of patriots that we have lost over the past few years is too numerous to list. The hole in the freedom fight that they left is massive. God, please raise up freedom-loving Elishas to wear their mantles.
If my estimation is correct, and we still have that preserving-percentage of one in a thousand yet in this country, it means we have 325,000 patriots in America who have not bowed the knee to the New World Order and in whose hearts the love of liberty still beats strong. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an UNCONQUERABLE host.
To all of my fellow patriots: Kudos! Don’t quit! Stay strong! The battle is not over! Freedom still has a future in America!
Is Putin Creating A New World Order?
“If undercharging for energy products occurs deliberately, it also effects those who introduce these limitations. Problems will arise and grow, worsening the situation not only for Russia but also for our partners.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin
It’s hard to know which country is going to suffer the most from falling oil prices. Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit, but that will probably change as time goes on. What the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up in terms of higher unemployment, market volatility, and wobbly bank balance sheets. That’s where the real damage is going to crop up because that’s where red ink and bad loans can metastasize into a full-blown financial crisis. Check out this blurb from Nick Cunningham at Oilprice.com and you’ll see what I mean:
“According to an assessment from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, an estimated 250,000 jobs across eight U.S. states could be lost in 2015 if oil prices don’t rise. More than 50 percent of those job losses would occur in Texas, which leads the nation in oil production.
There are some early signs that a slowdown in drilling could spread to the manufacturing sector in Texas… One executive at a metal manufacturing company said in the survey, “the drop in crude oil prices is going to make things ugly… quickly.” Another company that manufactures machinery told the Dallas Fed, “Low oil prices will drive reductions in U.S. drilling rigs, which will in turn reduce the market for our products.”
The sentiment was similar for a chemical manufacturer, who said “lower oil prices will adversely impact margins. Energy volatility will cause our customers to keep inventories tight.”
States like Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen their economies boom over the last few years as oil production surged. But the sector is now deflating, leaving gashes in employment rolls and state budgets.” (Low Prices Lead To Layoffs In The Oil Patch, Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com)
Of course industries lay-off workers all the time and it doesn’t always lead to a financial crisis. But unemployment is just one part of the picture, lower personal consumption is another. Take a look:
“Falling oil prices are a bigger drag on economic growth than the incremental “savings” received by the consumer…..Another way to show this graphically is to look at the annual changes in Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) in aggregate as compared to the subsection of PCE spent on energy and related products. This is shown in the chart below.
Lower Energy Prices To Lower PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures):
(The Gasoline Price Myth, Lance Roberts, oilprice.com)
See? So despite what you might have read in the MSM, lower gas prices do not translate into greater personal consumption or more robust growth. Quiet the contrary, they tend to intensify deflationary pressures and reduce activity which is a damper on growth.
Then there’s the knock-on effects that crashing prices and layoffs have on other industries like mining, manufacturing and chemical production. Here’s more from Oil Price:
“Oil and gas production makeup a hefty chunk of the “mining and manufacturing” component of the employment rolls. Since 2000, when the oil price boom gained traction, Texas has comprised more than 40% of all jobs in the country according to first quarter data from the Dallas Federal Reserve…
The majority of the jobs “created” since the financial crisis have been lower wage paying jobs in retail, healthcare and other service sectors of the economy. Conversely, the jobs created within the energy space are some of the highest wage paying opportunities available in engineering, technology, accounting, legal, etc. In fact, each job created in energy related areas has had a “ripple effect” of creating 2.8 jobs elsewhere in the economy from piping to coatings, trucking and transportation, restaurants and retail….
The obvious ramification of the plunge in oil prices is that eventually the loss of revenue will lead to cuts in production, declines in capital expenditure plans (which comprise almost 1/4th of all capex expenditures in the S&P 500), freezes and/or reductions in employment, and declines in revenue and profitability…
Simply put, lower oil and gasoline prices may have a bigger detraction on the economy than the “savings” provided to consumers.” (The Gasoline Price Myth, Lance Roberts, oilprice.com)
None of this sounds very reassuring, does it? And yet, all we hear from the media is how the economy is going to reach “escape velocity” on the back of cheap oil. Nonsense. This is just more “green shoots” baloney wrapped in public relations hype. The fact is, the economy needs the good-paying jobs more than it needs low-priced energy. But now that prices are tumbling, those jobs are going to disappear which is going to be a drag on growth. Now check out these headlines I picked up on Google News that help to show what’s going on off the radar:
“Texas is in danger of a recession”, CNN Money.
“Texas Could Be Headed for an Oil-Fueled Recession, JP Morgan Economist Says”, Wall Street Journal “Good Times From Texas to North Dakota May Turn Bad on Oil-Price Drop”, Bloomberg
“Low Oil Prices in the New Year Are Screwing Petrostates”, Vice News
“Top US Oil States Are Taking A Hit From Plunging Crude Prices”, Business Insider
Get the picture? If oil prices continue to fall, unemployment is going to spike, activity is going to slow, and the economy is going tank. And the damage won’t be limited to the US either. Get a load of this from the UK Telegraph:
“A third of Britain’s listed oil and gas companies are in danger of running out of working capital and even going bankrupt amid a slump in the value of crude, according to new research.
Financial risk management group Company Watch believes that 70pc of the UK’s publicly listed oil exploration and production companies are now unprofitable, racking up significant losses in the region of £1.8bn.
Such is the extent of the financial pressure now bearing down on highly leveraged drillers in the UK that Company Watch estimates that a third of the 126 quoted oil and gas companies on AIM and the London Stock Exchange are generating no revenues.
The findings are the latest warning to hit the oil and gas industry since a slump in the price of crude accelerated in November when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided to keep its output levels unchanged. The decision has caused carnage in oil markets with a barrel of Brent crude falling 45pc since June to around $60 per barrel.” (Third of listed UK oil and gas drillers face bankruptcy, Telegraph)
“Carnage in oil markets,” you say?
Indeed. Many of the oil-drilling newcomers set up shop to take advantage of the low rates and easy money available in the bond market. Now that prices have crashed, investors are avoiding energy-related junk bonds like the plague which is making it impossible for the smaller companies to roll over their debt or attract fresh capital. When these companies start to default en masse, as they certainly will if prices don’t rebound, the blowback will be felt on bank balance sheets across the country creating the possibility of another financial meltdown. (Now we ARE talking about a financial crisis.)
The basic problem is that the banks have bundled a lot of their dodgy debt into financially-engineered products like Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) that will inevitably fail when borrowers are no longer able to service the loans. The rot can be concealed for a while, but eventually, if prices don’t recover, a significant number of these companies are going to go under which will push the perennially-undercapitalized banking system to the brink once again. That’s why Washington’s plan to push down oil prices (to hurt the Russian economy) might have made sense on a short-term basis (to shock Putin into submission) but as a long-term strategy, it’s nuts. And what’s even crazier, is that Obama has decided to double-down on the same wacky plan even though Putin hasn’t given an inch. Check this out from Reuters on Monday:
“The Obama administration has opened a new front in the global battle for oil market share, effectively clearing the way for the shipment of as much as a million barrels per day of ultra-light U.S. crude to the rest of the world…
The Department of Commerce on Tuesday ended a year-long silence on a contentious, four-decade ban on oil exports, saying it had begun approving a backlog of requests to sell processed light oil abroad.
The action comes at a critical juncture for the global oil market. World prices have halved to less than $60 a barrel since the summer as top exporter Saudi Arabia, once a staunch defender of $100 oil, refused to cut production in the face of surging U.S. shale output and tempered global demand…
With global oil markets in flux, it is far from clear how much U.S. condensate will find a market overseas.”
(Analysis – U.S. opening of oil export tap widens battle for global market, Reuters)
Does that make sense to you, dear reader? Why would Obama suddenly opt to change the rules of the game when he knows it will increase supply and push prices down even further? Why would he do that? Certainly, he doesn’t want to inflict more pain on domestic producers, does he?
Let’s let Obama answer the question for himself. Here’s a clip from an NPR interview with the president just last week. About halfway through the interview, NPR’s Steve Inskeep asks Obama: “Are you just lucky that the price of oil went down and therefore their currency collapsed or …is it something that you did?
Barack Obama: If you’ll recall, their (Russia) economy was already contracting and capital was fleeing even before oil collapsed. And part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil. And if, in fact, we were steady in applying sanction pressure, which we have been, that over time it would make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were disruptions with respect to the price of oil — which, inevitably, there are going to be sometime, if not this year then next year or the year after — that they’d have enormous difficulty managing it.” (Transcript: President Obama’s Full NPR Interview)
Am I mistaken or did Obama just admit that he wanted “disruptions” in the “price of oil” because he figured Putin would have “enormous difficulty managing it”?
Isn’t that the same as saying that it was all part of Washington’s plan; that plunging prices were just the icing on the cake for their asymmetrical attack on the Russian economy? It sure sounds like it. And that would also explain why Obama decided to allow domestic producers to dump more oil on the market even though it’s going to send prices lower. Apparently, none of that matters as long as the policy hurts Russia.
So maybe the US-Saudi oil collusion theory isn’t so far fetched after all. Maybe Salon’s Patrick L. Smith was right when he said:
“Less than a week after the Minsk Protocol was signed, Kerry made a little-noted trip to Jeddah to see King Abdullah at his summer residence. When it was reported at all, this was put across as part of Kerry’s campaign to secure Arab support in the fight against the Islamic State.
Stop right there. That is not all there was to the visit, my trustworthy sources tell me. The other half of the visit had to do with Washington’s unabated desire to ruin the Russian economy. To do this, Kerry told the Saudis 1) to raise production and 2) to cut its crude price. Keep in mind these pertinent numbers: The Saudis produce a barrel of oil for less than $30 as break-even in the national budget; the Russians need $105.
Shortly after Kerry’s visit, the Saudis began increasing production, sure enough — by more than 100,000 barrels daily during the rest of September, more apparently to come…
Think about this. Winter is coming, there are serious production outages now in Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela and Libya, other OPEC members are screaming for relief, and the Saudis make back-to-back moves certain to push falling prices still lower? You do the math, with Kerry’s unreported itinerary in mind, and to help you along I offer this from an extremely well-positioned source in the commodities markets: “There are very big hands pushing oil into global supply now,” this source wrote in an e-mail note the other day.” (“What Really Happened in Beijing: Putin, Obama, Xi And The Back Story The Media Won’t Tell You”, Patrick L. Smith, Salon)
Vladimir Putin: Public Enemy Number 1
Let’s cut to the chase: All these oil shenanigans are really aimed at just one man: Vladimir Putin. There are a number of reasons why Washington wants to get rid of Putin, the first of which is that the Russian president has become an obstacle to US plans to pivot to Asia. That’s the main issue. As long as Putin is calling the shots, there’s going to be growing resistance to NATO’s push eastward and Washington’s military expansion across Central Asia which could undermine US plans to encircle China and remain the world’s only superpower. Here’s an excerpt from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s The Grand Chessboard which helps to explain the importance Eurasia is in terms of Washington’s global ambitions:
“..how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (p.31) (Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives, Key Quotes From Zbigniew Brzezinksi’s Seminal Book)
Get it? Prevailing in Asia is the administration’s top priority, which is why the US is rapidly moving its military assets into place. Check this out from the World Socialist Web Site:
“Under Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” the Pacific Command will account for more than 60 percent of all US military forces, up from 50 percent under the Bush administration. This includes new US basing arrangements in the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, as well as renewed close military ties to New Zealand, and ongoing US military exercises in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan….(as well as) large troop deployments in Japan and South Korea, including nuclear-armed units.” (The global scale of US militarism, Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site)
The “Big Shift” is already underway, which is why obstacles have to be removed and Putin’s got to go.
Second, Putin has made himself a general nuisance vis a vis US strategic objectives in Syria, Iran and Ukraine. In Syria, Putin has thrown his support behind Assad who the US wants to topple in order to redraw the map of the Middle East and build gas pipelines from Qatar to Turkey to access the lucrative EU market.
Third, Putin has strengthened a number of coalitions and alliances –the BRICS bank, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization–all of which pose a challenge to US dominance in the region as well as a viable alternative to neoliberal financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank. Going back to Brzezinski’s “chessboard” once again, we see that the US should not feel threatened by any one nation, but should be constantly on-the-lookout for “regional coalitions” which could derail its plans to rule the world. Here’s Brzezinski again:
“…the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” (p.40)
“Henceforth, the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power.” (p.55) (Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives, Key Quotes From Zbigniew Brzezinksi’s Seminal Book)
As a founding member and primary backer of these organizations, (and initiator of giant energy deals with China, India and Turkey) Putin has become Washington’s biggest headache and a logical target for regime change.
Finally, Putin is doing whatever he can to circumvent dollar-denominated business and financial transactions. The move away from the buck is a direct attack on the US’s greatest source of power, the ability to control the de facto international currency and to require that other nation’s stockpile dollars for their energy purchases which are then recycled into US financial assets, stocks bonds and US Treasuries. This petrodollar-recycling scam allows the US to run gigantic current account deficits without raising interest rates or reducing government spending. Putin’s anti-dollar policies could diminish the greenback’s role as reserve currency and put an end to a system that institutionalizes looting.
This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar.
Naturally, Washington’s powerbrokers are worried about these developments, just as they are worried about the new world order which is gradually taking shape under Putin’s guidance. But, so far, they haven’t been able to do anything about it. The administration’s regime change schemers and fantasists have shown time-and-again that they’re no match for Bad Vlad who has beaten them at every turn.
It is futile to make any but short-term predictions on world affairs: there are just too many variables in the equation, too many unknown-unknowns. The escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and the rise in U.S.-Russian tensions could have been forecast a year ago, in general terms at least, but the explosive rise of ISIS could not.
It is nevertheless possible and often useful to outline the contours of probable developments on the basis of existing structural vectors and recent dynamics. “Time is not heterogeneous,” Raymond Aron correctly noted half a century ago, when writing on Max Weber’s approach to historical causality. If time is homogenous, then – in theory at least – “the possibility of causal explanation is the same for the past and for the future.” In practice, we can expect two key developments to make an impact on the global scene in 2015:
- The government in Kiev and its handlers in Washington will not settle for a long-term frozen conflict in the east of the country. Armed, trained and equipped by NATO, Ukrainian forces are likely to launch a major military assault against Donetsk and Lugansk in late spring – I’d put the odds at 3:1. If the attack is successful, the regime would use it to compensate for the adverse effects at home of the ongoing economic and financial collapse, while the U.S. would show the world that Putin is not invincible. If Russia intervenes openly to prevent the two self-proclaimed republics’ collapse, Putin would finally enter the trap which he has been avoiding ever since the massacre in Odessa eight months ago. If the Novorossiyan forces defeat the attackers, thus repeating the feat of last August – obviously the least desirable scenario from Washington’s and Kiev’s point of view – there is still the fallback option of another Minsk-like ceasefire agreement, which leaves the military option open for 2016.
- Russia’s pivot to Asia will gather momentum, reflecting Moscow’s strategic decision to abandon the elusive quest for a neo-Gaullist long-term partnership with the EU. That decision was made symbolically public in Ankara last November with the abandonment of the South Stream pipeline project. China and Russia are long-term economic, political and – increasingly – military partners now. Putin’s recent visits to Modi in India and Erdogan in Turkey indicate his ongoing efforts to build a massive Eurasian bloc and his growing indifference to the Brussels connection. This means the end of the “Europe from the English Channel to Vladivostok” idea, but my notion of a Northern Alliance never had a chance with the Duopoly so firmly in charge. The implications are serious for the Beltway global hegemonists, primarily because progressive de-dollarization of financial transactions among those countries has the potential to bring the Empire down without a shot being fired. That is a long-term, rather than immediate danger, however.
Those two issues matter the most in geopolitical terms. On other fronts, in the Greater Middle East the Islamic State will not be defeated, Bashar will continue to hold on, Egypt will remain stable and peaceful under Sisi, and there will be no progress in Israel-Palestine; everything else is up in the air. The Eurozone will struggle on, just, but recent oil price collapse means deflation and continued sluggish growth in 2015. We can expect oil prices to bounce back somewhat, settling at or near $70 per barrel for a long while. Russia is and will continue to be badly hit, but this may prompt her long-overdue economic diversification. The most vulnerable exporter is Venezuela, where social and political unrest against the Maduro government – aided and abetted by the NED et al – is a distinct possibility. (Nigeria is in the same boat, but sub-Saharan Africa is irrelevant to the rest of the world.)
The only thing I am willing to predict with some certainty is that 2015 will be worse than 2014 and better than 2016.
It Only Increases The Pain…
Recently my email brought me a message from a local Doctor friend who has been an exemplary example of what an activist for righteousness should be. He has been inventive and hard working for several decades with a particular emphasis on our educational system.
The headline of the email reads, “Do You Want to Make a Difference?”, “If so, Here’s How to Impact” the judicial system, educational system, abortion, law enforcement, and the 2nd Amendment.
He suggests Jury Nullification for reforming our courts, distributing flyers to impact abortion and schools, confronting police with the Constitution for supporting the 2ndAmendment, and letters to radio talk shows, newspaper editors, Mayors, Chiefs of Police, and Sheriffs. He also supports placing stickers on bumpers, credit cards, currency, clothing, doorways, drink machines, gas pumps, etc.
His final coup d’état is responding to the greeting “How are you?” with “I haven’t had a good day since Obama was elected!”
This man is genuine and sincere. His efforts are well meaning and directed at evil. However, he is treating symptoms and ignoring the underlying problem I have watched and sometimes participated in these same efforts in past decades. They do not work. They have enjoyed nominal victories but they have failed to stop or even slow the inexorable progression of tyranny and evil in our nation and around the world.
Former President Bush was and President Obama is a stooge to unseen powers. Both passed laws and worked at destroying our sovereignty, tyrannizing the populace, and subduing foreign nations. United States presidential candidates make promises of reform but when they are elected they do the bidding of the power elites who have longtime experience in forcing others to do their bidding.
The under-cover powers that control our elected officials are the real enemies. It is a conspiracy of long standing that includes clandestine power as well as some of the world’s well known individuals. The desires of these powerful people are reflected in the often erratic policies of our government. It is useless to rail at the stooges that get elected to high government positions. They are selected and controlled often before they run for office. Until we understand that the entire government is fixed we will make no progress against those who seek to enslave us.
In United States, Christians have been involved in Right Wing endeavors well back into the
Twentieth Century. They have supported U. S. exceptionalism and often the evil results it has produced. They have been mesmerized by newspapers and television and have refused to seek or even believe the truth. They not only work against their own nation but also against the God who created it.
Every day my email contains articles about atrocities against American citizens: immigration, taxation, Constitutional violations, police brutality, farcical educational programs, injustices in government programs, coming collapses, inaccurate press coverage, inflation, Chinese power, Mexican encroachment, national debt, dishonest politicians, Ebola, etc. etc. Most are atrocious and contain at least an element of truth.
This was my question to my Doctor friend: Why is all this happening and why is it impervious to the strenuous efforts of so many citizens?
He did not respond.
It continues, gentle reader, because the bulk of America’s Christians have accepted a heretical theology that renders them impotent. It continues because those who resist it have not confronted the actual source of the problem. It continues because there is no consensus among the resistors. It continues because there is no real leadership and the constituents are like a herd of cats.
We live in a nation whose citizens consistently vote for politicians that are destroying the nation.
The second part of the question is why is all this happening?
First, the Christian triune God is the one and only sovereign God. He created the Universe and is in control of all that is in it. He has brought about this seemingly irreversible plunge into chaos and tyranny and unless He changes His mind, human efforts to reverse it are useless. Not only will our efforts fail, we will be working against God’s Will and in the process incur His wrath. Second, the battle cannot be won nor can we achieve a single victory until we begin to work and pray against the forces that plague us. Attacking symptoms and allowing the genesis to continue without challenge is futile. Third, discernment is a gift God gives to Christians who are in good standing. When Christians lose their discernment, they need to evaluate their relationship to the One True God. Fourth, God seeks workers that will bear fruit. Those who continue to hit themselves on the thumb will be set aside. Fifth, continued effort to solve our national dilemma by supporting the corrupt system that now exists contributes to the heresy that government is divine and should be responsible for all civic and social ills. Government is not God. God has control over His creation and He is allowing our serious dilemma to fester.
We are being torn asunder by forces that most of our population has failed to identify. Our political system is irreversibly corrupt and attempts to reverse our plunge through that venue are useless.
What to do?
My Doctor friend wants to continue attempting to alert our citizens.
My sister, a smart gal, told me she thinks President George W. Bush really thought he could bring a democratic government to the people of Iraq. She is somewhat like the Russian citizen who on a train to Siberia told his fellow prisoner that he did not think Stalin knew what was going on. Attempts to change her mind are futile. She is concerned that if she accepted the truth her friends would laugh at her. She is typical of many of our citizens
Recently I listened to a talk by Marc Victor, an Arizona Defense Attorney. He stated that the United States of America is a police state and proceeded to prove his contention. He told how the Commerce Clause (To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes) in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution has been construed to allow the federal government to prosecute almost any crime anywhere in the country. He cited our astounding incarceration rate, the highest per capita in the entire world, and the uncontrolled power of every police officer in the nation. He said that if you are stopped by a policeman for a traffic violation take the ticket and go; argument might cost you your life. Listen here.
Our recently married son traveled to northern Louisiana to spend the holiday with his wife’s family. Patty and I booked a room in Clearwater where we spent a few very interesting days in one of the upscale Marriott Hotels. We were astonished at the variety of people. Several Asians with children, a tall Black man with a handsome White wife and two very well behaved boys. A Muslim and his wife from Ghana, he works with computers in Orlando; couples from Michigan, North Carolina, and several other states. A man from North Carolina had a son playing in the North Carolina State/ UCF football game (UCF lost). Several Indian families and several Black families, people from around the world.
Two couples stood out among those we met, they were from Chicago. A few years ago they moved from Russia. We talked about the United States and I expressed my concern for the country. Their impression was opposite to mine. They disliked Putin contending that he did not care for the Russian people but they were delighted with the U. S. enjoying its freedom and confident in its strength. As we talked it became apparent that they were judging our nation from a different perspective. One of the men had lost his grandparents to Stalin’s purges. They had moved from a totalitarian regime to a nation that still has a large degree of individual freedom. While I am judging America against the freedom we enjoyed when I was growing up during the 1930s depression, they are enjoying a degree of freedom they have never known.
The entelechy of perspective determines the evaluation of life. The Triune God of the Bible provides the only true perspective. Christians must accept the fact that neither they nor the government they elect can control the world. It is God’s world and He controls it. Loss of freedom is a Biblical punishment for disobedience and our nation and its people have been and continue to be disobedient.
When we begin to see and accept the truth things will get better.
Do we continue hitting our thumb with the hammer or do we take another tack?
“Our task as Christians is to move ourselves and our society from the realm of curses to the realm of blessings.” R. J. Rushdoony, “Systematic Theology”, Pg. 1024
In Ukraine the United States presented Russia with its most serious challenge in the last quarter-century. Russia has not responded to that challenge in a timely manner. She proved unable to anticipate and then counter the Maidan scenario last winter, even though the grand rehearsal was presented with the “Orange Revolution” ten years ago. Now Russia’s relations with her strategically essential neighbor – Ukraine – are on the brink of rupture, or a painful restructuring for decades to come.
Normal US-Russian relations would require the recognition that Russia has legitimate interests in her near abroad. To understand the Washingtonian mindset, however, we need to recall a quote from President Obama’s graduation address at West Point in May 2014: “The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.” Evidently he was alluding to the Maidan.
The Founding Fathers would turn in their graves to learn that, according to the president of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnibok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs of Stepan Bandera who now sit in the Parliament of Ukraine. The mindset is hardly new. In 1999 Senator Joseph Lieberman declared, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” Obama says. “That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.” In reality it has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous claim along those lines back in the 1990’s was a sign of her mental instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech on Bosnia. That Obama has chosen to recycle such inanities is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy, not only his own but also that of a sizeable segment of the American foreign policy establishment. But the march goes on. If some country dares resist the will of the “indispensable nation,” then it is necessarily evil. Susan Rice thus condemned China and Russia at the UN for vetoing the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution to bomb Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable.” It’s psychotic.
A state’s political, military, economic, and moral resources are conventionally used in a balanced way to protect or enhance its security. The U.S. is practicing a different brand of diplomacy, which is in ample evidence in Ukraine. And Russia, in responding to the initial Maidan crisis, has made a severe miscalculation.
This error now needs to be corrected as part of Russia’s long-term strategy aimed at regime change in Kiev. Let us be clear: Moscow will never obtain Western recognition of its legitimate interests in the near abroad. Moscow should therefore defend its national interests as it deems fit. It should be understood that the sanctions and demonization of Russia’s and Putin personally, of diplomatic abuse and military pressure, will continue regardless of what Russia does. If Russia does not act to prevent the transformation of Ukraine into a Russophobic “Banderistan”, then the return of the Crimea will prove to be scant compensation for the overall weakening of Russia’s geopolitical position. To avoid this, Russia needs to do several things.
First of all, it should fight the regime in Kiev on all fronts – openly and secretly, diplomatically and undiplomatically. No handshakes with Poroshenko. Join the already raging information war. Moscow should constantly remind the world of the false-flag stunt with the Malaysian Boeing in the sky above Ukraine, and insist on a full disclosure of all facts which are still concealed. It should demand an investigation of the massacres in Odessa on May 2 and on May 9 in Mariupol, and an internationally supervised trial. Finally it should tell the world about the ongoing mass murder of ordinary people in southeastern Ukraine, where a ceasefire is supposed to be in operation.
It is necessary to take TV documentaries and feature films revealing these and other Western myths. It is necessary to politically support the Novorussian de facto independence. The Kiev regime has already lost the right to Novorossia, so now it is necessary to support the irreversible changes to ensure its viability. Using the U.S. terminology, Russia has the “Responsibility to Protect.” In my opinion, Kiev should be forced to abandon all hope for the resumption of military operations.
Third, you need to provide political and financial support to the opposition in Ukraine, to the non-Banderist civic groups. These groups are small, but given the fact that Ukraine is facing inevitable economic collapse, there exists a favorable and growing environment for Russia’s use of “soft power.” It is necessary to tighten the screws in economic relations with Ukraine, based on an understanding that there will be no security, no stability, for as long as Kiev is controlled by the current regime. It needs to be discredited, starting with the coup February 21, 2014.
Regime change in Kiev and Ukraine’s de-nazification are a matter of life and death for Russia. Ukraine’s partition is a poor alternative. Even if Novorossiya were to include Kharkov and Mariupol, the Banderist remnant will become even more Russophobic – and it will still include most of Ukraine, on both sides of the Dnieper. That would poison Russian-Ukrainian relations for a very long time. It makes more sense to preserve the unity of Ukraine, but to create conditions for its denazification.
Don’t expect any readiness for compromise from the U.S. They will continue to bait their protégés in Kiev to continue military operations in the east. Not right now, of course, but in the spring of 2015, when NATO rearms Ukraine’s military forces. The chaos in Ukraine is a long-term condition, and this is only one part of the global strategy of the United States based on the notions of global dominance and exceptionality. Instead of calming the situation in the South China Sea, Washington will continue to encourage its Asian satellites Japan, South Korea to be tough with China. But as Obama said two years ago, the national security strategy is to retain full-spectrum dominance, to maintain the ability to counter threats worldwide, and to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.”
Meanwhile, the Hudson Institute claims that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is critical to U.S. national security, and Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says that the U.S. commitment to Moldova’s territorial integrity is essential if America is not to surrender its position in a key region to U.S. foreign policy.
So there. Ukraine, Syria, gays, lesbians, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova – all of them are among the vital interests of the one indispensable nation. Not one, not even the smallest such “interest” can ever be dropped, for – as Obama said at West Point – “that’s not leadership; that’s retreat. That’s not strength; that’s weakness.”
In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.
That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.
So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.
The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office.
Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”
The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, amongst other torture centers employed by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business, as is the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.
Moreover, the key Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?
The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions, amongst other charming examples of American Exceptionalism.
After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ … But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”
The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely and solely because they were willing and able to torture them.
Four months after Obama and Panetta took office, the New York Times could report that renditions had reached new heights.
The present news reports indicate that Washington’s obsession with torture stems from 9/11, to prevent a repetition. The president speaks of “the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era”. There’s something to that idea, but not a great deal. Torture in America is actually as old as the country. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of international torture centers, kidnaping people to these places, solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
In 2011, Brazil instituted a National Truth Commission to officially investigate the crimes of the military government, which came to an end in 1985. But Mr. Obama has in fact rejected calls for a truth commission concerning CIA torture. On June 17 of this year, however, when Vice President Joseph Biden was in Brazil, he gave the Truth Commission 43 State Department cables and reports concerning the Brazilian military regime, including one entitled “Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives.”
Thus it is that once again the United States of America will not be subjected to any accountability for having broken US laws, international laws, and the fundamental laws of human decency. Obama can expect the same kindness from his successor as he has extended to George W.
“One of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.” – Barack Obama, written statement issued moments after the Senate report was made public.
And if that pile of hypocrisy is not big enough or smelly enough, try adding to it Bidens’ remark re his visit to Brazil: “I hope that in taking steps to come to grips with our past we can find a way to focus on the immense promise of the future.”
If the torturers of the Bush and Obama administrations are not held accountable in the United States they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction.
In 1984, an historic step was taken by the United Nations with the drafting of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (came into force in 1987, ratified by the United States in 1994). Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity. We cannot slide back. If today it’s deemed acceptable to torture the person who supposedly has the vital “ticking-bomb” information needed to save lives, tomorrow it will be acceptable to torture him to learn the identities of his alleged co-conspirators. Would we allow slavery to resume for just a short while to serve some “national emergency” or some other “higher purpose”?
If you open the window of torture, even just a crack, the cold air of the Dark Ages will fill the whole room.
Cuba … at long, long last … maybe …
Hopefully, it’s what it appears to be. Cuba will now be treated by the United States as a country worthy of at least as much respect as Washington offers to its highly oppressive, murdering, torturing allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
It’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a country whose police force murders its own innocent civilians on almost a daily basis, and even more abroad, but Cuba needs to do it. Maybe the Cubans can civilize the Americans a bit.
Let’s hope that America’s terrible economic embargo against the island will go the way of the dinosaurs, and Cuba will be able to demonstrate more than ever what a rational, democratic, socialist society can create. But they must not open the economy for the Yankee blood-suckers to play with as they have all over the world.
And I’ll be able to go to Cuba not as a thief in the night covering my tracks and risking a huge fine.
But with the Republicans taking over Congress next month, all of this may be just a pipe dream.
Barack Obama could have done this six years ago when he took office; or five years ago when American Alan Gross was first arrested and imprisoned in Cuba. It would have been even easier back then, with Obama’s popularity at its height and Congress not as captured by the Know-Nothings as now.
So, Cuba outlasted all the punishment, all the lies, all the insults, all the deprivations, all the murderous sabotage, all the assassination attempts against Fidel, all the policies to isolate the country. But for many years now, it’s the United States that has been isolated in the Western Hemisphere.
Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the “superbugs” – if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.”
The problem, it appears, is that “Antibiotics generally provide low returns on investment, so they are not a highly attractive area for research and development.”
Aha! “Low returns on investment”! What could be simpler to understand? Is it not a concept worth killing and dying for? Just as millions of Americans died in the 20th century so corporations could optimize profits by not protecting the public from tobacco, lead, and asbestos.
Corporations are programmed to optimize profits without regard for the society in which they operate, in much the same way that cancer cells are programmed to proliferate without regard for the health of their host.
Happy New Year. Here’s what you have to look forward to in 2015.
- January 25: 467 people reported missing from a university in Mexico. US State Department blames Russia.
- February 1: Military junta overthrows President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Washington decries the loss of democracy.
- February 2: US recognizes the new Venezuelan military junta, offers it 50 jet fighters and tanks.
- February 3: Revolution breaks out in Venezuela endangering the military junta; 40,000 American marines land in Caracas to quell the uprising.
- February 16: White police officer in Chicago fatally shoots a 6-year old black boy holding a toy gun.
- March 6: Congress passes a new law which states that to become president of the United States a person must have the surname Bush or Clinton.
- April 30: The Department of Homeland Security announces plan to record the DNA at birth of every child born in the United States.
- May 19: The Supreme Court rules that police may search anyone if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the person has pockets.
- May 27: The Transportation Security Administration declares that all airline passengers must strip completely nude at check-in and remain thus until arriving at their destination.
- June 6: White police officer in Oklahoma City tasers a 7-month-old black child, claiming the child was holding a gun; the gun turns out to be a rattle.
- July 19: Two subway trains collide in Manhattan. The United States demands that Moscow explain why there was a Russian citizen in each of the trains.
- September 5: The Democratic Party changes its name to the Republican Lite Party, and announces the opening of a joint bank account with the Republican Party so that corporate lobbyists need make out only one check.
- September 12: White police officer in Alabama shoots black newborn, confusing the umbilical cord for a noose.
- November 16: President Obama announces that Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba all possess weapons of mass destruction; have close ties to the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban; are aiding pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine; were involved in 9-11; played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor; are an imminent threat to the United States and all that is decent and holy; and are all “really bad guys”, who even (choke, gasp) use torture!
- November 21: The United States invades Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.
- December 10: Barack Obama is awarded his second Nobel Peace Prize
- December 11: To celebrate his new peace prize, Obama sends out drones to assassinate wrong-thinking individuals in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen.
- December 13: Members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties, which hold several high positions in the US-supported government, goose-step through the center of Kiev in full German Storm Trooper uniforms, carrying giant swastika flags, shouting “Heil Hitler”, and singing the Horst Wessel song. Not a word of this appears in any American mainstream media.
- December 15: US Secretary of State warns Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of wanting to re-create the Soviet Union.
- December 16: White police officer shoots a black 98-year-old man sitting in a wheel chair, claiming the man pointed a rifle at him. The rifle turns out to be a cane.
- December 28: The Washington Redskins football team finish their season in last place. The White House blames Vladimir Putin.
- Associated Press, December 11, 2014
- New York Times, December 11, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
- New York Times, February 6, 2009
- New York Times, May 24, 2009
- Washington Post, December 11, 2014
- National Security Archive’s Brazil Documentation Project
- Washington Post, December 10, 2014
- See note 7
- Washington Post, December 13, 2014
Anyone who follows the news regularly, knows that the media has done everything in its power to smear Vladimir Putin and to demonize him as a tyrant and a thug. Fortunately, most people aren’t buying it.
Yes, I’ve seen the polls that say that Putin and Russia are viewed “less favorably” than they were prior to the crisis in Ukraine. In fact, here’s a clip from a recent PEW survey which seems to prove that I’m wrong:
“Across the 44 countries surveyed, a median percentage of 43% have unfavorable opinions of Russia, compared with 34% who are positive.
Negative ratings of Russia have increased significantly since 2013 in 20 of the 36 countries surveyed…
Americans and Europeans in particular have soured on Russia over the past 12 months. More than six-in-ten in Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the U.S. and the UK have an unfavorable image of Russia. And in all but one of these countries negative reviews are up by double digits since last year, including by 29 percentage points in the U.S., 27 points in Poland, 24 points in the UK and 23 points in Spain.” (Russia’s Global Image Negative amid Crisis in Ukraine: Americans’ and Europeans’ Views Sour Dramatically, PEW Research)
These results strongly suggest that the public blames Moscow for the fighting in Ukraine and (presumably)agrees with the prevailing storyline that Putin is a vicious aggressor who seized Crimea in order to rebuild the Soviet Empire. The problem with the PEW survey is that the results are based random samples of nationwide face-to-face or telephone interviews.
Why is that a problem?
It’s a problem because the man-on-the-street hasn’t the foggiest idea of what’s going on in Ukraine. All he knows is what he’s heard on TV. So, naturally, when he’s asked to offer his opinion on the matter, he’s going to regurgitate some variation of the official version, which is that Putin is responsible.
But try asking someone who’s actually been following events in Ukraine that same question, and you’re going to get an entirely different answer. Among the people who follow the daily developments in Ukraine, roughly two out of three support the Russian position. This isn’t something you’re going to find in the survey data, but if you take the time to comb the comments lines in the international media, you’ll see what I’m saying is true.
I hadn’t figured this out until last week’s G-20 Summit in Brisbane when Canada’s PM Stephen Harper brusquely greeted Putin saying, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”
The incident immediately became headline news around the world as journalists for all the major media heaped praise on Harper for courageously “shirt-fronting” the dastardly Putin. What was left out in the media’s account of the exchange, was Putin’s crisp retort, which was, “Unfortunately it is impossible, (for us to leave Ukraine) because we are not there.”
Touché. As you might expect, Putin’s response did not fit with the media’s narrative, so it was scrubbed from the coverage altogether.
The Harper incident was a particularly big deal in Canada where all the newspapers ran gushing articles lauding the prime minister for his righteousness and fortitude. Oddly enough, however, only a small percentage of the people who commented on the dust-up, saw Harper as the hero. Here’s a few samples of what ordinary people had to say. This is from BobsOpinion:
“Harper embarrasses Canadians again on the international stage. It will take years for Canadians to re-build our international relationships and to re-build our reputation.”
This comment is from redondex:
“Harper made a childish and baseless remark to Putin and walked off with a grin of a proud five year old spoilt kid. All Harper achieved was to ridicule himself in front of the rest of the world. That is our leaders usual behavior.”
This is from Makman1:
“I was under the impression that a proper democracy would first use negotiating as a way to understand the divergent groups involved in the Ukrainian revolution and then apply a political solution, if possible. The present Ukrainian government immediately used force. PERIOD! The Harper government, instead of using its “influence” to attempt to defuse a complex situation blindly followed the actions of the USA. If Harper really cared at all he would ask his foreign minister to get directly involved with Russian and Ukrainian counterparts and help reach a compromise…. Hopefully, Harper is not supporting Ukrainian right wing fascists?”
This is from Jörð:
“It’s not wise for Harper to follow America’s lead on every foreign policy. The USA government has a terrible track record when it comes to getting things right in foreign lands. Also Putin was correct when he responded to Harper’s comment by saying “It’s impossible, we are not there.” Technically Russia is not “In” the Ukraine.”
This is Time4Change:
“This is another example of Harper BLUSTERING backed with NO SUBSTANCE! Why are there NO SANCTIONS on the Russian Energy Giants Rosneft and Rostec? Could it be the hundreds of billions of $s the Russians have invested in the tar sands have caused Harper to be the SOFTEST on ACTIONS while shouting the loudest.”
And this is from Mt Athabaska:
” …one day Harper will reach puberty on global affairs.”
It’s worth noting that these comments were lifted from article that was published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I was shocked at how harshly Harper was criticized by his own countrymen. I was also surprised that the author’s obvious anti-Putin bias had virtually no impact on the opinions of the people who commented on the incident. In fact, it appeared to make many of them mad.
I should also mention that I omitted all of the comments that lambasted Harper for hiding in a broom closet “while a gun battle ensued in a nearby hallway of the Parliament building in Ottawa” in early October. (See here: Needless to say, Harper’s comical performance at the G-20 hasn’t convinced anyone that he’s the courageous leader he imagines himself to be.)
The media is increasingly worried that it’s losing its ability to persuade people to support policies that only serve the interests of elites. The media has rolled out all the heavy artillery in its campaign to demonize Putin, but the strategy hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s backfired quite badly leading some publications to cancel their comments section altogether.
And the response from readers has been huge too, mainly because the standoff between two nuclear-armed adversaries has galvanized the publics’ attention. For example, in the CBC article I cited above, more than 2,500 comments have been posted already, while many of the other articles on Ukraine or Putin have exceeded 6,000 comments. This just shows how closely people are following events and how passionate they feel about the policy.
And, as we said earlier, this isn’t just a Canadian phenom either. For example, here are a few of the comments I picked up from an article in the conservative UK Telegraph in an article titled Global economy to suffer as Putin quits G20 early.
“The US supports the neo-Nazi ethnic cleansing campaign in east Ukraine, Russia supports the Russian speaking Ukrainian majority in the east against it. Pretty simple really, and the US enforced sanctions can only harm EU Russian relations, a win-win all round for the neoconservative hawks.”
“So, the media tells us in the Title that Putin is to blame when the Global economy suffers, because he left the G20 early. What stupidity. And what a statement in bringing warships as their targeted President attends yet another meeting. Good for Putin. Blame the US-backed coup and looting and 4000 deaths on Putin, and blame the Ukrainian plane that shot down a passenger flight on him, too. Then shun him at a world meeting, as if he doesn’t have the right and responsibility to defend his country’s borders, Naval base, pipeline and brothers in the Ukraine as they are shelled and killed by US manipulation.
Instead of shock and awe and intruding where they didn’t belong like the US in all the Mid-Eastern countries according to long-ago made plans, Putin sends humanitarian aid and the people vote in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Putin-not all Americans are stupid sheep. My apologies for the onslaught of ignorance and imperialism. You are standing up to bullies of the worst kind. The world needs peaceful solutions to restore the harm of NWO fanaticism and corrupt bankers. Hold the line.”
MP Jones: “The US never ended the cold war and the ‘useful idiots’ in this context are us in Europe and the UK.”
“Most British people are deeply unconvinced by the flood of US and EU propaganda over Ukraine, trying to cast Russia as the villain – when the civil war there was caused directly by the US and their EU side kicks backing a coup to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country, Ukraine.”
“With due respect to the author, you say that his (Putin’s) popularity will rise at home as a consequence of this. Please read the message boards North American and European, you will find his popularity seems to have increased everywhere.
Guess the Brains behind 5 eyes and snooping will now have to move into the new reality of the power of the internet to provide information which they would not like others to get. Just a question of time before they make their next move – Censorship!”
“If, the ‘Seven Dwarfs’ (US, UK, EU, Japan, Australia, Canada, and South Africa) like bullies, weren’t so obsessed with beating Russia or China into a corner, rather than bringing Russia or China into their corner; the world would be a better place. Co-operation works better than devastation.”
John Derbyshire :
“Why all this Anti Russian propaganda. The fools who run the West keep creating bogeymen Bin Laden, ISIS, oddly both had connections to Western Powers. So as we face an economic down in the world economy we need another bogeyman, and up pops Putin in the Capitalist controlled media!
People seem to have short memories of pre Putin era, when Yeltsin backed by the West led the country to economic meltdown. Maybe he has scant regard for democratic institutions, but do Western governments support the views of the people!
All of this came about when the United States pushed Nato’s borders eastward and involved themselves in the Ukraine, particularly Mr Kerry. Russia felt itself threatened not by demands of democracy a device used by the worlds superpower, but the growing influence of the United States in the region. The fact that the USA exploited ethnic tensions only shows what was their intention in the region.”
“If the objective is to make Mr Putin appear isolated on the world stage in order to make him less popular at home, it isn’t working and also shows a profound misunderstanding of the Russian mind-set. ‘
Our Western political leaders also have a profound misunderstanding of strategy. Just about everything they do in relation to Russia is wrong and gains the West nothing. But they do like willy waving. Just a pity they do so much damage while they are at it.”
RedBaron9495: “With the public, the effect is rebounding and probably starting to gain Putin more support and worldwide sympathy. This British news forum is good example of that. They made the mistake of going into overkill…..and the public are wising up to the propaganda. They seen this all before prior to Iraq 2003 invasion…and again with Gaddafi.”
Circle of DNA :
“Well, the lives of average folks in Russia has been drastically improved since Putin took the reins of power. He defends Russian interests, fights the empire of chaos, and is massively supported by his people. He is also well educated and a first class statesmen. What is there not to like about him?”
Alltaxationistheft: “The Russian people appreciate how lucky they’ve been for Vladimir Putin to be around at the right time to resist the Neocon supremacist Wolfowitz doctrine…
Since the 1990s , the war mongering maniacs in the West have been planning to asset strip, and plunder Russia via ”liberal democracy”, claiming its natural resources while funding serial inter-ethnic tribal wars via US allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia…
In the 1990s, Russian people were driven into starvation ,prostitution and suicide under pro American ”Liberal” US corporate puppet Yeltsin… but Putin kicked the CIA EU Mossad lunatics out and has been re-building a Russia into a world power ever since.”
“The classless western free (loading) world that produces very little except paper currency, lies and bullshit. I am surprised Mr. Putin came and surrounded himself with such low life scum.
When all the western oligarchs hate someone as much as they hate President Putin, you know he has to be doing something right.”
There’s no need to be selective. Curious readers should go to any editorial platform that covers the crisis in Ukraine and judge for themselves if what I’m saying is true or not. The comments above are in no way extraordinary. What they do show, however, is that the media is losing the propaganda war in pretty stunning fashion, and that’s a huge victory for ordinary people. It’s very difficult for elites to prosecute their criminal wars or implement their rip-off economic policies when people can clearly see what they’re up to.
Now check out this article in the German paper Zeit Online where the author bemoans the media’s loss of influence. The article is titled “How Putin Divides”:
“Why do so many German citizens judge the crisis in Crimea in a completely different way than politicians and the media?
In my 30 years of experience with debates, I have never seen anything like what is now happening in Germany in the dispute over Russia and Crimea….
Unless surveys are misleading, two-thirds of German citizens, voters and readers stand opposed to four-fifths of the political class – in other words, to the government, to the overwhelming majority of members of parliament and to most newspapers and broadcasters. But what does “stand” mean? Many are downright up in arms. And from what one can gauge from letters to the editor, the share of critics seems significantly higher now than what was triggered by Sarrazin’s inflammatory book back then.” (Zeit Online)
Did you catch that part about the “two-thirds of German citizens.. stand opposed to four-fifths of the political class…and to most newspapers and broadcasters”?
That’s a triumph in itself, isn’t it? And what is the issue they disagree about?
They disagree “about the conflict between an aggressive autocrat (Bad Vlad) and Western democracies.”(the Washington-led troublemakers)
Here’s more from the same article:
“…the legitimacy of international law is being questioned in an offensive manner, while the legitimacy of Putin’s nationalist-imperialist ideology is being seriously considered….. It doesn’t do any good to accuse the majority of sheepishness or base economic selfishness, even if that seems to be the driving motive of some business leaders… The issue goes deeper, much deeper.” (How Putin Divides, Von Bernd Ulrich, Zeit Online)
“The legitimacy of international law is being questioned”?!?
Have you ever read such crybaby gibberish in your life?
Why is “the legitimacy of international law is being questioned”? Because people don’t accept blindly what they read the papers and hear on the news anymore? Because corporate editors no longer control how people think about issues? Because people are using their critical thinking skills to see through the lies and bullshit that idiots like the author ladle out in heaping doses every day? Is that why?
It seems to me that that’s a positive development, that people should question whatever they read in the papers and look for other sources of information before they form an opinion.
The bottom line is that no one believes the goofy propaganda the western media is trying to ram down the everyone’s throat anymore.
As kyle555 at Zero Hedge says: “India, China, Brazil and a host of other countries, representing more than half the world’s population, aren’t buying the western imperialist narrative on Ukraine. Nor are major segments of the domestic populations of the countries that are warmongering against Russia.”
Nor do they believe that US wars are a force for good in the world. Here’s strannick at Zero Hedge:
“Russia has seen firsthand the American dream for other nations, as American backed Oligarchs pillaged Russia while it’s people starved and were impoverished. Putin loves his country, and won’t sit on his thumbs while America attempts to encircle it through proxies while rationalizing its actions through corrupt MSMedia propaganda.”
Nor are they buying the “Putin is Hitler” crappola.
This is from smacker:
“People see in Putin a proud national leader who has the guts to stand up to our own criminals and who has over 80% support from his own population. That is enough to admire the guy, whatever else he might be.”
This is from Gaius frakkin':
“A lot of the hatred from the political puppets in the West is due to Putin’s popularity. They’re jealous sociopaths who yearn to be respected and admired as much as him. The fact that Putin’s popularity is never mentioned is the key tell.”
And this from Joe Tierney:
“Vladdy-Poot is hammering home the point that the euros need to stop being America’s bitches, think for themselves, consider the terrible “costs” accruing to them for “wearing the blue dress” for America.
…America’s “global chaos ploy” is failing. Its cynical, “throw everyone under the bus” strategy just to cut across the rise of Russia-China is exposed for what it is – America cares nothing about the euros or anyone else. All it cares about is its own global dominance in perpetuity, no matter the “costs” to the rest of the world, including its friends and allies.
Putin has balls the size of the moon, and you can damn well bet that right now Russia and Putin are secretly being cheered on a grand scale around the globe.”
There’s a reason why, according to Gallup, Trust in Media (is at an) All-Time Low. It’s because the corporate media is the most perfidious, double-dealing, hypocritical institution in the country today. That’s why the anti-Putin propaganda has fallen on deaf ears. It’s because most people know you can’t believe anything you read in the news.
Throughout the de-Christianized West and America neo-pagan and mystical pantheist evolutionary reasoning is taken for granted throughout the college curriculum, just as it is in all aspects of modern thought and experience. It not only undergirds biological and earth sciences, but also Freudian and Jungian psychology, anthropology, law, sociology, politics, economics, the media, arts, medicine, and all other academic—and increasingly seminarian—disciplines as well. The West’s amoral transnational elite Gnostics, the “chosen” ones, are particularly enamored of evolutionary reasoning:
“Western cultural elites have disregarded God for more than two centuries, but for a while the effects were mostly confined to their own circles. At first, they disregarded God. Then they deliberately desecrated Western tradition and lived in ways that would have spelled disaster if they had been followed more closely. But now in the early twenty-first century, their movement from disregard to desecration to decadence is going mainstream, and the United States is only the lead society among those close to the tipping point…. Soon, as the legalization and then normalization of polyamory, polygamy, pedophilia and incest follow the same logic as that of abortion and homosexuality, the socially destructive consequences of these trends will reverberate throughout society until social chaos is beyond recovery. We can only pray there will be a return to God and sanity before the terrible sentence is pronounced: “God has given them over” to the consequences of their own settled choices.” (Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times, Os Guinness, p. 20)
Evolution: what is it?
“Evolution has always been a fundamentally spiritual concept. In fact, some of the first thinkers to seriously explore the topic—the German Idealists of the early 19th century—were mystic philosophers who predated Darwin’s Origin of Species by at least a century.” (A Brief History of Evolutionary Spirituality, Tom Huston)
Rene Guenon (1886-1951) concurs. Guenon was a French metaphysician, writer, and editor who was largely responsible for laying the metaphysical groundwork for the Traditionalist or Perennialist school of thought in the early twentieth century. In his brilliant critical analysis of Theosophy and Spiritism entitled, “The Spiritist Fallacy” Guenon investigates and exposes the satanic esotericism working through various modern Western secret societies to pervert true religion—orthodox Christianity in particular— in order to ultimately turn the world over to Luciferian forces.
Guenon reveals that in early Theosophist and spiritist circles use of the word ‘progress’ or ‘progressivist’ preceded the use of the word ‘evolution.’ The roots of Theosophy, hence of evolution–the universal life force–stretch back to the ancient Upanishads of India in the East and in the West to ancient Babylon, Egypt and Greece. In its modern version, progress, transformism, and/or evolution describes the progress (transmigration) of soul made possible by the life force as it inhabits in succession the bodies of different kinds of beings over the course of thousands or even millions and billions of years.
Eventually the word evolution became preferred, especially by empirical realists and materialists like Karl Marx because it had a more ‘scientific’ allure:
“This kind of ‘verbalism’…provides the illusion of thought for those incapable of really thinking…” (ibid, p. 231)
Evolution is an ancient occult doctrine originating in ancient Babylonian Cabbala, Egyptian Hermetic magic and Mystery Religion traditions both East and West from the time of Babylon—the mother of all Mystery Religions—that entered Christendom during the Renaissance. In “God and the Knowledge of Reality,” the Catholic philosopher and historian, Thomas Molnar (1921–2010), reveals that certain Christian theologians, mystics and scholars such as Emanuel Swedenborg had discovered Hermetic magic and occult Jewish Cabbala texts which they studied and translated resulting in Hermetic Cabbala. Then like Pico della Mirandola, they argued that Hermetic Cabbala— the divine occult science or Magic Way of reaching divine status and powers through initiation, evolution (progress), and ritual procedures is the best proof of the divinity of Christ. In other words said Molnar,
“…..by the time of the Renaissance the esoteric texts of the first centuries A.D. had acquired in scholarly and humanist circles an unparalleled prestige, confronting as equals the texts held sacred by the church. In Pico’s estimation, ‘nulla est scientia que nos magis certificet de divinitate Christ quam magia et Cabala’ (there is no science that would prove for us Christ’s divinity better than magic and the Cabala.)” (pp. 78-79)
That Hermetic magic and Babylonian Cabbala are ancient Mystery Religion traditions undergirded by evolution is affirmed by G. H. Pember in his classic work, “Earth’s Earliest Ages.” In his impeccably researched book Pember thoroughly examines the role of fallen angels in connection with the occult science they taught to pre-flood generations and compares them to the explosion of spiritism (open intercourse with evil spirits), astrology, the Mysteries and other occult traditions sweeping over Christendom.
Pember writes that the Mysteries are no longer veiled in mystery but boldly presented by the powerful occult progressive brotherhood that emerged out of the Renaissance as the fruit of modern science, especially evolutionary philosophy, which the brotherhood assert was included in the instructions given,
“…to the initiates of the Hermetic, Orphic, Eleusinian, and Cabbalistic mysteries, and were familiar to Chaldean Magi, Egyptian Priests, Hindu Occultists, Essenes, Therapeutae Gnostics, and Theurgic Neo-Platonists.” (Pember, pp.243-244)
Today, evolutionary dynamics and science as the instrument of the will of sovereign man has so thoroughly replaced the personal Creator in the consciousness of vast numbers of secularized Westerners, both within and without the whole body of the Christian Church, that one of the leading evolution-worshippers of our day, Professor S.J. Gould, goes so far as to describe evolutionary biology as the story of mankind. Evolution:
“….tells us where we came from, how we got here, and perhaps where we are going. Quite simply, it is science’s version of Roots, except it is the story of us all.” (The Religious Nature of Evolution Theory and its Attack on Christianity, John G. Leslie and Charles K. Pallaghy, Ph.D., creation.com)
In fascinated affirmation, Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) , a prominent evolutionary biologist and progressive creationist, sees evolution as a light that illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow, for if man,
“…has arrived at his present state as a result of natural processes rather than a supernatural will, he can learn to control these processes…The concept of evolution, which is now basic to the life sciences, has provided new and in some ways revolutionary answers to questions men have been asking for centuries. The two most important of these are, ‘Why am I here, what is the purpose of human existence, and what is the nature of the world of life that surrounds us?” (Dobzhansky, T., Ayala, F.J., Stebbins, G.L. and Valentine, J.W., Evolution, W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, 1977)
The most widely held evolutionary cosmology, or model of the universe’s beginning and development is the Big Bang theory. According to this version of the “story of us all” the universe is thought to have ‘exploded’ from a ‘cosmic egg,’ sometimes called the ylem in a universe bounded by an edge. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the big bang is a theory,
“…of the evolution of the universe. Its’ essential feature is the emergence of the universe from a state of extremely high temperature and density—the so-called big bang that occurred at least 10,000,000,000 years ago…..”(Big Bang Model, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 2:205, 1992)
The big bang is based on two assumptions:
“The first is that Einstein’s general theory of relativity describes the gravitational attraction of all matter. The second assumption, called the cosmological principle, states that the observer’s point of view of the universe depends neither on the direction in which he looks nor on his location. This principle applies only to the large scale properties of the universe, but it does imply that the universe has no edge, so that the big bang occurred not at a particular point in space but rather throughout space at the same time. These two assumptions make it possible to calculate the history of the cosmos after a certain epoch called the Planck time. Scientists have yet to determine what prevailed before Planck time.” (ibid)
Distinctions are in order here. While the first assumption qualifies as true science, the second assumption, sometimes misnamed the Copernican Principle, does not since it is completely metaphysical, or philosophical. This is illustrated by Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) who discovered that distant objects appeared to have ‘red shifts’ approximately proportional to distance from earth. Hubble’s speculative interpretation of this discovery presented it as evidence of an expanding universe without a center and without an edge (unbounded) as opposed to Hugh Ross, the popularizer of progressive creationism whose own imaginative assumption pictures everything exploding from a central point in a universe bounded by an edge. (Refuting Compromise: A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of ‘Progressive Creationism’ as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross, Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M., p. 146-147)
Ross’s brand of evolutionary Christianity is wildly popular among certain Christians. It was as a teenager that Ross decided the non-biblical big bang was a fact, thus it is the foundation stone of his twisted Scriptures—twisted because his big bang assumptions lead him to trip, stumble and fall down evolution’s downward-spiraling vortex blurring distinctions between humans and animals as he goes. (ibid)
The Big Bang is devoid of experimental proof, yet because the universe is definitely running down this fact surely points to some kind of beginning. This is apparently why some Christian leaders–theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists such as Pope Francis, Hugh Ross, Tim Keller and many others who feel we simply have to accept the evolutionists’ billions of years— have decided to accept the Big Bang theory. After all, the Big Bang requires a beginning, and they feel this fits with the Bible. (Big Bang — The Bucks Stop There, Henry Morris, Ph.D., icr.org)
However, not only does the Big Bang—or any other evolutionary cosmology—- not fit into the Bible but it also turns the Creator, Jesus Christ, into a liar, for He said that Adam and Eve were there “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10: 6; Gen. 1: 26-27) rather than several billion years after the beginning of the creation as evolutionary speculators hold.
As the Nicene Creed affirms, Gods Word starts with the creation of absolutely everything visible and invisible ex nihilo in the space of six days. In his “Literal interpretation of Genesis” Augustine of Hippo notes that when God brought material reality into existence, “then time began its flight.” That is, when God created material things (the visible), at the same time He created space and time (the invisible) as their context. (Creator and Creature, Douglas F. Kelly, Table Talk: Biblical Dichotomies, p. 6)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh (matter) is no help at all” John 6:63
The Triune God brought the angels into being sometime during that first creative week and as Thomas Aquinas, one of the most respected theologians of the medieval church affirms,
“Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God, but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the work of the six days. Some things…had a previous experience materially, as the rib from the side of Adam out of which God formed Eve; whilst others existed not only in matter but also in their causes, as those individual creatures that are now generated existed in the first of their kind.” (Summa Theologica, ibid, Sarfati, p. 120)
Evolutionary Cosmologies: Imaginative Assumptions
George Francis Rayner Ellis, a high-profile evolutionary cosmologist lets the cat out of the bag with his candid confession regarding the important role of imaginative assumptions with respect to the broad range of evolutionary models of the universe such as the Big Bang. Ellis admits:
“…I can construct…a spherically symmetrical universe with earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” (ibid, Jonathan Sarfati)
In other words, the Authority and Revelation of God, particularly in His six day creation account is rejected a priori not on the grounds of observational science but on the philosophical assumptions of arrogant, defiant speculators whose imaginative evolutionary models are metaphysical projects pretending to be observational science.
Another unspoken Big Bang assumption is neo-pagan and mystical pantheist naturalism, which ought to ring alarm bells for faithful, orthodox Christians. Naturalism posits that the universe and everything in it, including conscious life, is the result of entirely natural processes. The Big Bang therefore, is a neo-pagan and occult pantheist evolutionary cosmology, an esoteric program from hell that rejects both the personal Creator and the supernatural dimension. This position holds true despite the uninformed claims of speculators like Hugh Ross who claim that God created and ignited the Big Bang.
While Pope Francis, Tim Keller and many other liberal revisionists embrace and endorse Big Bang cosmology thirty-three leading evolutionary scientists expose its frauds and fallacies in ‘Open Letter to the Scientific Community’ published on the internet (www.cosmologystatement.org) and in New Scientist (Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182 (2448) 20, 22 May 2004). According to these evolutionary scientists:
“Our ideas about the history of the universe are dominated by big bang theory. But its dominance rests more on funding decisions than on the scientific method, according to Eric Lerner, mathematician Michael Ibison of Earthtech.org, and dozens of other scientists from around the world.” (Secular scientists blast the big bang: What now for naïve apologetics? Carl Wieland, creation.com)
The open letter includes statements such as:
- “The big bang…relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory.’
- “But the big bang theory can’t survive without these fudge factors. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature and thus emit the same amount of microwave radiation. … Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big bang nucleosynthesis, the theory’s explanation of the origin of the light elements.”
- “In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.”
4.”What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centred cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.” (ibid, Carl Wieland)
It’s amazing to see how many Christian leaders have not merely succumbed to the ‘big bang’ idea, but embrace it wholeheartedly. Carl Wieland comments:
“To hear their pronouncements, believers should welcome it as a major plank in our defense of the faith. ‘At last, we can use science to prove there’s a creator of the universe.’ However, the price of succumbing to the lure of secular acceptability, at least in physics and astronomy, has been heavy. We have long warned that adopting the big bang into Christian thought is like bringing the wooden horse within the walls of Troy.”
The Big Bang model is not the only game in town. Among other imaginative models there is the quasi-steady-state model of the big bang antagonist, the late Sir Fred Hoyle. Then there is the ekpyrotic model positing that our universe is a four-dimensional membrane embedded in a five-dimensional ‘bulk’ space. Its proponents admit:
“Our proposal is based on unproven ideas in string theory and is brand new.” (ibid, Sarfati, p. 182)
Then there are the openly occult multiverse models proposing that our universe is not the only one but that space is filled with an infinite number of parallel universes. Royal Astronomer Lord Martin Rees, who holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal champions multiverse conceptions in the hope that in at least one or more of them living beings created themselves who are far more advanced than our own life-forms. Rees believes that if this is the case, then super-intelligent aliens might be capable of simulating in their brains or in a super-computer the complex history of our universe, meaning the universe we inhabit is a simulation lacking real substance and existing only as a mental construction in the minds of highly evolved aliens who seeded our world with life and travel through time in order to control man’s evolutionary progress. (Scientific Mythologies, James A. Herrick, p. 216)
The idea that the universe we inhabit exists only as a mental construction is very similar to Hinduism’s Brahman. Brahman is the Great Cosmic Spirit – the Ultimate One Substance (energy field, Void, Essence, prakriti matter) of material phenomena, meaning that the universe exists only as a mental construction in the mind of Brahman: brahma satyam jagan mithya, or “Brahman is real, the world is unreal.” (swamij.com/mahavakyas)
Rees proposal is also similar to the fanciful hypothesis presented by Olaf Stapledon, a scientist who has always kept one foot firmly planted in neo-pagan and occult pantheist science fiction accounts and imagines our universe to be an artifact of the Star Maker. Building off of Stapledons fantasy Carl Sagan suggests that we are“star folk” made of “star stuff.” (Herrick, pp. 216-217)
Replace Star Maker with Brahman and “star stuff” with sarvam khalvidam brahma, or “All is truly Brahman” (swamij.com) and we have ayam atma brahmam: “The Self is Brahman.” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5
In the caption of his book, “Just Six Numbers,” Rees reveals that the ancient occult basis of his proposition is the serpent biting its tail:
“The ouraboros. There are links between the microworld of particles, nuclei and atoms and the cosmos.” (Rees M., Just Six Numbers, P. 9)
The serpent-powered Ouroboros with its astral planes or multiverses is well-known around the world in its’ many ancient and modern occult traditions.
Evolutionary Cosmologies: Abominations that Desolate
Like witless moths mesmerized by strange fire, from the Renaissance to our own time liberalized Christian theologians situated within the whole body of the Christian Church have been drawn irresistibly to evolution. Followed by countless unwitting souls, they’ve been flying into an abomination that desolates and ejects them into a downward-spiraling vortex issuing into eternal hell unless they repent and turn back to the Truth, the Way, and the Life (John 14:6).
Evolutionary Cosmologies: The Significance
Today’s broad range of evolutionary cosmologies symbolize the deep religious desires of certain men, who in their rejection of our Lord Jesus Christ and physical resurrection, seek autonomous self-creation, transcendence and self-redemption, thus are incarnations,
“….of the ancient, deeply religious endeavor ‘to become like God’— infinitely wise, omnipotent, autonomous, and immortal.” (Mircea Eliade, “The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy,” Dr. Erdmann)
They endeavor to become like God but shall instead,
“…drink of the wine of the wrath of God and be tormented with fire and brimstone.” (Rev. 14:10) And the devil who deceived them shall likewise be “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur…” (Rev. 20:10)
“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.”
None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.
“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”
Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.
“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”
This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?
“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”
Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?
Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:
- The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
- “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
- “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
- “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)
Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.
On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.
This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?
And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.
Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.
The United States punishing Cuba
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):
|Year||Votes (Yes-No)||No Votes|
|1993||88-4||US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay|
|1995||117-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1996||138-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1997||143-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|2000||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2001||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2002||173-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2003||179-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2004||179-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2005||182-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2006||183-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2007||184-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2008||185-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2009||187-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2012||188-3||US, Israel, Palau|
This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.
Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.
However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:
The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.
So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12 ; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.
Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.
As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?
The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.
How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.
The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world
In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here.
Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.
Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.” There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.
The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.
Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy
In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
- 2012 presidential election:
223,389,800 eligible to vote
128,449,140 actually voted
Obama got 65,443,674 votes
Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
- There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
- If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
- “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
- “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
- “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
- The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
- Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
- If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
- “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
- The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
- The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
- Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
- Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
- The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
- How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
- H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
- “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
- In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
- “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
- “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
- “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
- We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
- What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
- Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
- We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
- “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
- “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
- After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
- “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
- “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
- “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
- US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
- “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012
- Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
- Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba(1991), p.885 (online here)
- For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
- U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013
Global trade relationships and agreements are moving in very different directions. The public relations press releases hide the undercurrents that are driving the formations of alternative economic alliances. While the G 20, markets its all inclusive umbrella policy forums, the mere formation of a BRICS counterweight forecasts deep and fundamental differences. So what is really behind the creation of a different approach to the post WWII dominate U.S. lead model? A clue can be found in an attempt to modify the operations and direction of IMF functions.
Announced in the Russian press, BRICS to propose IMF reform at G20 summit, is a pressure attempt to move the center of power away from current synergism.
“At the G20 summit in the Australian city of Brisbane on November 15-16, Russia and other BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) will propose alternative solutions concerning the reform of the International Monetary Fund, involving, in particular, gradual implementation of reforms, Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash told reporters.
“The most important thing for us is the still unresolved G20 problem of the IMF reform,” Lukash said. She recalled the U.S. Congress has yet to ratify the 2010 resolution. “Not only does it thwart the process of renewing the IMF in accordance with the current reality where we see a big rise in the role of emerging economies. It also prevents the decisions to double the IMF capital from coming into force,” she said.”
The appearance of maintaining a working relationship among opposing interests may present an assuring PR message, but who really believes that the path to a new cold war is paved with mutual cooperation? Impetus for a parallel financial system is certainly based more on political objective than commerce or economic benefits.
The Washington Post describes What the new bank of BRICS is all about in this manner.
“Heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the so-called BRICS countries) agreed to establish a New Development Bank (NDB) at their summit meeting. They will have a president (an Indian for the first six years), a Board of Governors Chair (a Russian), a Board of Directors Chair (a Brazilian), and a headquarters (in Shanghai). What is the purpose of this BRICS bank? Why have these countries created it now? And, what implications does it have for the global development-finance landscape?
The “what” is relatively straightforward. The NDB has been given $50 billion in initial capital. As with similar initiatives in other regions (see below), the BRICS bank appears to work on an equal-share voting basis, with each of the five signatories contributing $10 billion. The capital base is to be used to finance infrastructure and “sustainable development” projects in the BRICS countries initially, but other low and middle-income countries will be able buy in and apply for funding. BRICS countries have also created a $100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), meant to provide additional liquidity protection to member countries during balance of payments problems. The CRA—unlike the pool of contributed capital to the BRICS bank, which is equally shared—is being funded 41 percent by China, 18 percent from Brazil, India, and Russia, and 5 percent from South Africa.”
China’s motivation to participate in BRICS banking is most interesting and revealing. Since it is not absolutely essential for China to be a member of BRICS, Gudrun Wacker, from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs presents this finding in a report, China’s role in G20 / BRICS and Implications, may shed an insight on their reasoning.
“The future of BRICS depends on the future performance of the G7/8 and G20: If the G20 develops into a real coordination mechanism, there might be less Chinese interest in BRICS. The future prospects of BRICS were presented as less promising than those of the G20, since BRICS will not be able to solve global problems. It is not yet clear whether the main deliverable of BRICS will be directed at cooperation among its members or at third countries. While the idea of BRIC as a group was originally picked up by Russia (the invitation to the first summit, as a move toward “extension” of the strategic triangle Russia, China. India?), its members are now all active in certain fields. For China, it is also an important effort to emerge from its isolation (Copenhagen climate summit). Another factor shaping the future of BRICS might be the development of US-China relations: While all interview partners agreed that BRICS does not aim at creating a new, anti-Western world order, it can be seen as a response to the US-led world order.”
The methodology of Mr. Wacker’s research relied upon comments from interviews. Relying on sentiments that BRICS goal is not bent on developing a counterbalance to Western banking hegemony is poppycock. Geopolitical dimensions in international affairs have Russia as the latest bogyman. Any economic analysis that ignores power brokers desperate attempt to shift the causes of a failing world economy onto the backs of enemy nations is flawed.
Also, the notion that major economic transnational corporatists operate with altruism for third world countries is sheer lunacy. All these trade organizations are attempts to position vying interests to settle for a subservient role to a subordinate structure under a global debt creation banking system.
Attempts to scare the populist into believing that Global Warming inaction raises specter of war over climate change are absurd. “At the G20 summit, other nations overrode host Australia’s attempts to keep climate change off the agenda and agreed to call for strong action with the aim of adopting a binding protocol at the Paris conference.” Such initiatives are pure political “PC” orthodoxy and actually diminish prosperity.
The great schism in trade among nations is that some countries are not willing to lie down with diseased parasites. This should not be construed to favor the emergence of the BRICS union as a shining future. However, what it does purport is that the road to the NWO modeling for globalism by entrenched financial elites has produced opposition.
Conflict is the normal human condition, and especially when money is used as a medium of world control and domination is the goal. The G 20 is useless. Breaking the banking monopoly that fosters endless terror and war is the universal objective for the inhabitants of this planet. Another unsavory photo op for world leaders just produces more nausea.
The bad news is that John Dewey’s “progressives” are winning big. They mobilized every educational front group and every pedagogical gimmick to achieve the goal of controlling what goes on in the schools, as a way of achieving a fundamental transformation of America, to coin a phrase.
The educational front groups include the National Council of Teachers of Math, the Common Core Consortium, National Education Association, International Reading Association, National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and many more. Their favorite pedagogical gimmicks include Whole Language, Reform Math, Balanced Literacy, Constructivism, Project-Based Learning, Cooperative Learning, 21st-Century Skills, and many more.
So it’s clearly a far-flung, intricately coordinated attack, like Hitler’s military roaring into Russia during the summer of 1941. The progressives want total control so they can turn the schools into social engineering experiments. Traditional approaches will be denigrated; knowledge will be disdained. John Dewey gave the marching orders 100 years ago. Our Education Establishment probably feels it is close to total victory, thanks to all the new gimmicks contained in Common Core Standards.
So how can there possibly be any good news? Hitler’s Wehrmacht could tell you. When you advance 100 miles into new territory, overrunning everything in sight, you can easily gobble up too much too fast.
At some point, even the most successful invaders find they have overextended their lines and exposed their flanks to counterattack. There’s the good news.
In education, this has a peculiar form. Quite simply, the public is starting to see the comic bizarreness of it all. Everywhere people look in education they see frantic activity (and frantic spending) but nobody’s learning very much. Millions of kids can’t read well or do simple math. Surely, someone must be playing a prank, and the whole country is being punked.
The public watches the foolishness and rolls their eyes. What, is the circus in town? Who are all these clowns running around with their funny little cars and pratfalls?
We see the garish makeup, the big red noses, the comedy routines. But we are no longer amused. What does this Clown Corps think it’s doing? How can they squander billions every day, but somehow the children get more ignorant and less literate?
Summing up, public education in America resembles a Rube Goldberg contraption with the Three Stooges operating all the levers. The good news is that the public can no longer take these people seriously, no more than the majority of the public now takes Obama seriously, and for the same reasons. The public sees the Emperor has no clothes, he’s tipsy, and stumbling around in public.
Here’s another way you know. Common Core rolled over the country–altogether 45 states embraced it, thanks to lavish bribes (stimulus money repurposed as Race to the Top grants). But now most of those states are suffering buyer’s remorse. Indiana has pulled out. Other states will follow. Hallelujah. The sooner every state cancels Common Core, the safer the country will be.
Another way you know is that the Internet is full of videos where children are crying because they can’t do their homework, parents are at meetings to denounce the failed methods used in the schools, and employers complain ever more loudly they can’t find educated workers.
In fact, Our Education Establishment has been practicing the art of going too far for decades. But now the public is noticing. The election of Obama may have pushed our education commissars over the edge. Perhaps they were worried they might have only eight years, and they needed to complete their project immediately. Helter-skelter, with a rush of urgency, they had to drive out every traditional approach, terminate every old-fashioned teacher, silence every conservative voice, and banish every administrator who wasn’t a complete toady. Common Core—with its top-down, same answer for every situation—was supposed to finish the job.
Recall the famous World War II movie A Bridge Too Far. Our Education Establishment has committed the strategic sin of A Gimmick Too Many.
Siegfried Engelmann explains the main flaw “The system adopts instructional programs and practices that have never been tried out on a small scale—like the Common Core standards. The same is true of many instructional programs. They are adopted, then tried out for the first time. That is completely backward.”
The main effort is to drive content out of the school. They’ve got a dozen pretexts for doing this. After you’ve deleted as much content as possible, you garble whatever is left. Each year, the typical student ends up learning less than the year before. We will hear constantly about “social justice,” which roughly translates “If everyone is mediocre, that’s fairer.”
All this dumbing down makes even the people in charge dumber. In the process, they make a mockery of their claim to be “educators.” Anti-educators is more accurate. It’s time for the circus to leave town.
Sunni-Shia Bellum Sacrum Fault Lines Deepen…
Historically, the term “religious war” (Bellum Sacrum) was used to describe various European wars among Christian denominations spanning mainly the 16th to the 18th century such as the Seven Year’s War (1756-1763) which spread widely throughout Europe and on to North America, Central America, the also to the West African coast, India, and the Philippines. There were dozens of other intra-Christian religious wars the seeds of which began to sprout shortly after the death of Jesus Christ.
The Encyclopedia of Wars, by authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, estimate that only 7% of the 1,783 wars they chronicled involve religion. Lebanon is one of these and is still mired in a cold war phase of its 15 year (1975-90) Civil War, from which Lebanon yet to recover. Religious differences are one of the major causes on Lebanon’s many problems today and it is within this context that the mushrooming intra-Muslim war between Sunni and Shia is spreading and intensifying. Sunni comprise approximately 90% percent of the followers of Islam and their increasingly vilified coreligionists, Shia Muslims, 10%. This month Lebanon’s Shia are commemorating Ashoura and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali at the battle of Karbala in 680 under increased security with additional checkpoints manned by the Lebanese army and Hezbollah forces because Da’ish and al Nursa have announced their intent to target the Shia worshipers.
Many among Lebanon’s older Sunni and Shia generation, report that as youngsters they were not aware of Shia-Sunni antagonisms nor did they harbor animosity with their neighbors. Sometimes inter-marrying, sharing holidays and developing strong friendships with each other. “That is all changed now, perhaps until End Times” according to an employee at Beirut’s Dar al Fatwa in the mixed neighborhood of Aisha Bikar near the American University of Beirut.
The gentleman and his colleague elaborated:
“Everyone alive today in Lebanon and for many generations to come will have their family’s lives negatively affected by the rapidly spreading sectarian hostility. The Sunni-Shia hatred is poisonous—it’s the new political Ebola virus! Can it be eradicated? How can we stop it from engulfing the Middle East or has it already done so?” Another added, “And forget about the Christians! In a few years’ time there will probably not be enough of them left in the Middle East to matter.”
To this observer, the spiraling sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia in Lebanon appears to be coming mainly from Sunni groups and militia who vent a laundry list of complaints against their fellow Muslims. Many but not all stemming from Hezbollah’s involvement in the civil war still raging across the anti-Lebanon mountain range to the east.
Members of the two Muslim sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. But there are Sunni-Shia differences in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organization and are based in part over a political dispute soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad over who should lead the Muslim community. Sunni Muslims regard themselves as the orthodox and traditionalist branch of Islam and adhere to traditions and practices based on precedent or reports of the actions of the Prophet Muhammad and those close to him. Sunnis venerate all the prophets mentioned in the Koran, but particularly Muhammad as the final prophet. In early Islamic history the Shia were a political faction – literally “Shiat Ali” or the party of Ali and they claimed the right of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his descendants to lead the Islamic community.
In Sunni ruled countries, for hundreds of years Shias made up the poorest sections of society and today many view themselves as victims of discrimination and oppression as some extremist Sunni doctrines continue to preach hatred of Shia. Some argue that the Shia-Sunni Bellum Sacrum is more political than religious. If true, the mutually destructive conflict now intensifying in Lebanon would share much in common with other religious wars which were basically political conflicts justified in the name of religion. Iran which supports some Shia militias beyond its borders is in conflict with some Sunni countries, especially regional neighbors who support Sunni militia. Lebanon’s hemmed population-Sunni and Shia has been put in a difficult situation caught up also in spill-over from the Syrian civil war. Teheran’s policy of supporting Shia militias and parties beyond its borders is essentially matched by the Sunni Gulf states with Shia and Sunni leaders often seem to be in competition as the latter continue to strengthen their links to Sunni governments and movements abroad.
Lebanon is paying a big price. Lawmakers failed on 10/29/2014 for the fifteenth time to elect a new president over a lack of quorum at parliament they will “try again” on 11/19/2014 with likely the same result because those holding power want a deadlock. Only 54 members out the 128 in Parliament showed up, well short of a quorum. The others were instructed to boycott by their parties, including the pro-Hezbollah Change and Reform and Loyalty to the Resistance blocs of the March 8 alliance. Their motive, their opponents the pro-Saudi March 14 alliance claim are purely political. The latest failed session was also boycotted by Speaker Nabih Berri, the Shia leader of the pro- Bashar Assad, Amal militia with Berri insisting he is simply trying to encourage ‘dialogue”.
“It has never been this bad” explains the proprietor of a neighborhood grocery store, agreeing with ever more of his fellow countrymen, as now opening curses both sides in public.
A few brief examples from the past week illustrate the rapidly intensifying Sunni-Shia clash.
As the Hezbollah continues boycotting Parliamentary electoral sessions due to disagreements with the mainly Sunni March 14 camp over a compromise presidential candidate. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, himself a presidential candidate, this week accused Hezbollah of “blocking Parliament in to order to blackmail political blocs into electing, their puppet, Michel Aoun.” Aoun who is as anti-Palestinian as Geagea is, denies media speculation “ that the ongoing obstruction is no longer a political maneuver, but an attempt to target Lebanon’s political system,”
Hezbollah is also being accused of joining the Syrian war and sacrificing Lebanese young men while killing many innocent Syrians solely on orders from Tehran. According to one March 14th Member of Parliament, “No one believes, not even the Hezbollah leadership that Hezbollah is fighting in Syria to protect Lebanon whose people are paying a big price for their adventure. “ Sunni opponents of Shia Hezbollah, including the spokesman for the March 14th alliance claim that “terrorists” or the so-called ‘Takfiries” would never have come to Lebanon if Hezbollah had not invaded Syria and started killing Sunni.”
The largely Sunni families of the 27 captive troops and policemen being held for ransom by the al-Nursa front are blaming Hezbollah and the Shia leader of Lebanon’s Internal Security Force, (ISF) Major-General Abbas Ibrahim, for not acting seriously to negotiate their loved ones release from captivity for purely sectarian reasons. On 10/30/14 the families threatened again to escalate their protests and have been burning tires at the Riad al-Solh Square in downtown Beirut while their relatives captors, al-Nusra Front, in increasingly setting up sleeper cells and advocating for the Sunni community in Lebanon is also accusing the ISF director of not being serious are obtaining the release of Sunni captives.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame University – Louaize and Saint Joseph University decided this week to suspend student elections for the current academic year as sectarianism spreads. “The political and security situation in Lebanon, which could impact the campus, will not allow the students to practice their democratic role positively,” USJ board of members said in a statement. Religion is a factor in this conflict also according to campus security guards on the scene trying to maintain order.
The United Nations has warned again this week that foreign religiously motivated jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale and some with religious motives and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism”. More than 1,500 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has increased since US airstrikes against Da’ish (Isis) began last month (9/23/14). The trend line established over the past year would mean that the total number of foreign fighters in Syria exceeds 16,000, and the pace eclipses that of any comparable conflict in recent decades, including the 1980s war in Afghanistan. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights just announced that 560 people have been killed in airstrikes since they began. That group counted 32 civilian deaths, including six children and five women.
The Pentagon estimates that each of the more than 600 US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq costs the American taxpayer approximately $ 9 million which given the claimed “kill count” means each death costs roughly $ 1.4 million each, militiamen or civilians. The rate of jihadists arriving just in Syria, again according to the Pentagon, were 12,000 in July, and 7,000 in March. But other US government’s estimates for just Syria put the jihadist arrival figures at currently 1,500 each month with the numbers accelerating and increasing coming to Lebanon. There are higher estimates according to U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights who rank “Democracy Success Story and Arab Spring Winner” Tunisia as the country contributing the most jihadists currently arriving in the Levant.
As noted above, many of the religiously motivated jihadists are coming to Lebanon, especially up north near Tripoli which has seen heavy fighting between Sunni and Shia backed militia. If one credits their social media, several want to fight Hezbollah which they often label the “Party of Satan” and “Iran’s militia.”
On 10/30/13 Saudi National Guard Minister Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, directing his comments to the KSA’s arch foe Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nassrallah proclaimed that “The parties embracing terrorism in the region have become well-known.” Within minutes Saudi media outlets open with commentary and statements like those currently appearing in Lebanese media outlets such as Naharnet: “Yes those supporting terrorism they are the same who killed Rafik el Hariri and the remaining M14 leaders. They are the same who refuse to abide by Lebanese justice and deliver the accused/witness for investigations, they are the same who in order to remain in power, decide to destroy their country and kill their people and allow a huge inflow of terrorist into their land to show a worse alternative.”
Sentiments shared by some in the Sunni community who, unlike during the years following the 2006 July war, and Hezbollah’s widely acknowledged success against the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine, are no longer reluctant to criticize openly Shia Muslims generally and Hezbollah specifically.
Where this all ends is anyone’s guess but a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict, even limited area by area as Washington, Tehran and Moscow are discussing would perhaps help—or, as various analysts and some serious scholars postulate, the latest Sunni-Shia manifestation of Bellum Sacrum may take a long time to control if not resolve. Tens of years or centuries they advise only time will tell.