Perhaps we should have chosen the turkey as our national bird, as Benjamin Franklin suggested. It would certainly be more appropriate for our times. But if any flying creature would do, a moth might be more fitting still — with political correctness playing the role of that devilishly irresistible flame.
America long ago lost her will to live. Historically, trespassing into another people’s territory could bring violence. And nations the world over secure their borders, sometimes at the end of a gun fondled by an itchy finger. But not the US. We place water stations in the Arizona desert for thirsty trespassers, offer driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for them, and now a Supreme Court justice has opined that calling illegal migrants “criminals” is insulting. I don’t know, what do you call someone who broke the law? Legally challenged?
But it’s even worse than that. About 20 years ago Japan expelled illegal migrants and made the statement (I’m paraphrasing), “Japan is for Japanese. Others are welcome to come and visit, but they’re expected to go home.” Under the Mexican constitution, a foreign-born individual perhaps can be naturalized — but he can never enjoy full citizenship rights. And as would be the case if some tribe of “noble savages” were being overwhelmed by a colonizing people, when millions of Chinese flood Tibet and seek to supplant its ancient Buddhism-saturated culture, liberals are the first ones to scream “cultural genocide!” Heck, they don’t even like the gentrification of minority neighborhoods or when an adopted black child is raised by white parents and denied bona fide “black” enculturation. Yet millions of unassimilable foreigners violate the US’ borders and sovereignty, sometimes commit further crimes and stress our social services, and we’re only supposed to discuss secondary issues. Are the illegals a benefit or a liability economically? Do they contribute more in taxes than they take in handouts? Who’ll pick the grapes? But with our bones poised to be picked, can we ask about culture? After all, people make the nation, not the other way around. Import enough Mexicans or Muslims into your country, and you no longer have Western civilization. You have Mexico Norte or Iran West.
Yet the very same people who claimed they could orchestrate the health care of 317 million people will insist that “we can’t deport” 20 million people. In fact, even though deportation should be reflexive, it isn’t even on the radar screen. To suggest it brands you bigot or xenophobe, and the only thing really at issue is the rate of surrender: will it be sudden with full-on amnesty or the slower “path to legal status,” the coup de grace or the death by a thousand cuts?
So all we hear instead are ridiculous arguments justifying the illegals’ presence, as if they have no country to which to return. We’ll hear that they’re hard-working people who love their families, which is about as meaningful as saying they’re bipeds who breathe air. I’m sure that German soldiers during WWII were generally hard-working people who loved their families, too, but as long as they posed a threat to the US, they had to be dealt with as such.
Particular indignation is exhibited when defending children of illegals, who, we’re told, “are here through no fault of their own.” This also is meaningless. Countless millions of children throughout the world are poor through no fault of their own, yet we don’t propose they all be allowed green cards. And how many children have ended up in foster care through no fault of their own after their parents were imprisoned for committing crimes? Perhaps we should stop enforcing laws, period — “for the children.”
Then there’s language. Every liberal psychologist will talk about the importance of communication in a family. But what about a national family? India recognized a common language to be such a necessary cultural glue that it actually adopted the tongue of its former colonizer, England, as its co-national language. Meanwhile, Americans stand by while their government prints official documents in foreign tongues and transforms us into a Tower of Babel.
And the surrender and silly arguments never end. I heard a caller on Michael Savage’s Tuesday radio show say that he agreed with NYC mayor Bolshevik Bill’s plan to make two Muslim religious days and the Lunar New Year official school holidays; his reasoning was that since American culture is made up of so many different things, how can we exclude anything? Interestingly, though, he did agree with Savage that English should be our common language.
But why? English is also made up of so many different things, with Greek and Latin as well as Angle, Saxon, Frisii, Jute and Frankish influences. Hey, press two for Latin, folks.
Of course, American culture is the product of many influences. And the Greeks and Etruscans influenced each other, Rome was influenced by Greece and the Etruscans, Western Europe by Rome and by extension the Greeks and Etruscans, and then the rest of the world by…well, you get it. Everyone was influenced by someone except for Adam and Eve, and even they — as we have our liberals — had their serpent. And since our whispering voices tell us that we shouldn’t trouble over cultural genocide because culture is a relative thing, let’s examine the matter further.
Having been influenced not just by the aforementioned groups but also the Germanic Franks, French culture is an amalgamation of many different elements. But it is also now a specific thing. It’s much as how cubed beef, vegetable oil, tomatoes, peppers, paprika and salt, cooked a certain way, become something specific: Beef Goulash. And so it is with many things. Combine iron and carbon and the result is the unique thing called steel; two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule yield water. (And for you warmists, note that CO2 isn’t carbon any more than it’s oxygen.) Now, would goulash be better if we added other “influences” (ingredients)? That depends — but it might no longer be goulash.
Of course, you may not like Beef Goulash; you may prefer Vegetable Curry, Chicken Cacciatore, Roast Pork Lo Mein or Steak and Ale Pie. Then make your case; explain your vision of a deific diet, a meritorious menu. That’s not what we’re doing, however. Under the illusion that all ingredients are equal — and equally compatible — we haphazardly throw anything and everything into the mix. Some vanilla syrup in that goulash? Sure, why not? You’re not a syrupist, are you? Some cinnamon sticks, limburger cheese, hay from the field, eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog? Now that’s diversity! And throw in some foxglove while you’re at it — no worries about indigestion afterwards then.
We’re no longer a melting pot, but a dish gone to pot. We’ve forgotten that robust, healthy America was a result of a specific recipe, and we cannot perpetuate that republic unless we remember the recipe. Of course, some say that limiting a land to one recipe is narrow and exclusionary. I say that the road to Heaven is narrow. And all recipes necessarily include only some ingredients and exclude most others, just as definitions limit by defining. If America can mean anything, she means nothing; but if she is something, then she can be defined. And then, by definition, she would have to be exclusionary — like any nation.
Why are many Americans indifferent about their cultural destruction? For one thing, they’ve been conditioned to feel that Western culture is either nothing special or especially bad. At the same time, however, they’ve been imbued with moral relativism, which blinds one to danger. After all, different cultures espouse different values, but this won’t matter to a person who considers all values equal. And, yes, it is possible to hate the West at one moment while claiming all cultures are equal the next. For a person disconnected from Truth will tend to operate based on emotion, which changes with the wind. Besides, consistency is no better than inconsistency in a relativistic universe.
But reality is an absolutist. And having been fed lies for decades, Americans will soon find out that their tomorrows will only be as great as their appreciation of their yesterdays.
Over the last half century, the public school establishment in America has achieved enormous results, if the intention was to dumb down the population. The term public is archaic, since the current age promotes an internationalist interdependency culture, where the state defines institutional roles and sanctions accepted standards. The public plays virtually no effective role in this process. For this reason the proper term to use is government indoctrination centers. Bringing back the McGuffey Readers as the alternative to the state syllabus of common core is a step in the right direction.Our Dysfunctional Public Education Is No Accident essay lays out the correct standard.
“Education needs to be about teaching the tools, methods and process of “How To Think”. The mission of the instructor is one of developing the intuitive nature of inquiry that is natural in every person. Training the intrinsic urge of curiosity as the means of discriminating and rational thought is the prime goal for the educator. But to achieve this level of tutoring the teacher must be founded in their own understand in logic and analytical thinking. In today’s classroom, social engineering has replaced Aristotle, Locke and Kant with the latest celebrity of multiculturalism.”
The Common Core site attempts to outline the purpose and worthiness of their education standards. Sounds like a noble goal; however, what is the reality?
“As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to define college and career readiness, the Standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.”
Dr. Susan Berry presents a wealth of information and resource links in her article, Common Core Rooted In Math Class Social Justice Indoctrination ”While proponents of the Common Core claim that the new standards are focused on “college and career readiness,” more evidence is surfacing that a central purpose of the initiative is social justice and income redistribution indoctrination.” This one example sums up the dilemma.
“Radical Math boasts over 700 lesson plans, articles, charts, books, and websites that cover a wide range of socio-political issues including redistribution of wealth, discrimination against the poor by whites, corporations, banks, etc., and the message that widespread racism against blacks continues in the United States today.”
Now compare this critical appraisal to the lofty mission of math back in the Common Core mission statement. How can this statement below square with the above practice?
“For over a decade, research studies of mathematics education in high-performing countries have pointed to the conclusion that the mathematics curriculum in the United States must become substantially more focused and coherent in order to improve mathematics achievement in this country. To deliver on the promise of common standards, the standards must address the problem of a curriculum that is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” These Standards are a substantial answer to that challenge.”
Integration into a 21th century business and social model is the ultimate intent of the common core objective. Nowhere is there a debate of what kind of future mankind wants or the kind of reality that all human beings are intrinsically part of. Those questions require the study in humanity education and liberal arts training that are quite different from the instruction in algorithm programming.
The world view of this common core inculcation presupposes that society accepts their premises as a fait accompli. Their technocrat approach to instruction demands that authentic education must be marginalized if not outright eliminated. The traditional Christian cosmology has no place in this brave new world. In the article, Common Core’s Negative Impact on Education and Biblical Literacy, explains the destructive nature of this dehumanizing standardization.
“The central organizing theme of the Common Core ELA standards is that study of creative literature must be diminished in favor of nonfiction “informational texts.” The idea is that students should be drilled in the types of documents they are more likely to encounter in their entry-level jobs (and make no mistake, Common Core is a workforce-development model, not an education model).
The fundamental problem with the Common Core approach is that, to achieve its job-training goals, it recognizes no difference between one “complex” text and another “complex” text. A great work of literature has value far beyond the complexity of the words used – it allows students to understand the eternal human condition; it allows them to confront human challenges that recur throughout the ages; it teaches empathy, prudence, forgiveness; it transports the readers to places and times not their own. The Common Core ELA standards are, quite simply, indifferent to this type of education. Training, not educating, is their goal. They are not interested in helping students become the people God created them to be; they are interested in creating workers.”
You can just hear the profane condemnation from the American Federation of Teacher and the National Education Association opposing the mere mention of God in their secular temples of perdition. Irony excluded how biblical revelation dare be debated in a non-judgmental culture of relativism. At the heart of the government school establishment is an unending choir of fallen angels that preach their vision of paradise, while demanding ever higher budgets and far greater control over the indoctrination of their impressionable guinea pigs.
America is now a country stuck on stupid, greatly because of this unholy and apocalyptic system that dooms our society. Gee, moving to a common core curriculum has the intent to eliminate the last remnants of independent school boards. Home Schooling is also threatened as the article, What Homeschool Parents Need to Know about the Common Core argues.
“One factor is the century-long effort to nationalize and standardize American education. The standardization efforts have their roots in Dewey, Cubberley, and the schools of education at Stanford and Columbia. They picked up steam in the 1960s and 1970s as the national teachers’ unions gained more power. They strengthened more when President Jimmy Carter fulfilled a promise to the NEA by creating a separate, cabinet-level Department of Education.
The educrats dream of a day when every student in America will receive exactly the same education, using the same textbooks and lesson plans. Those textbooks and lesson plans will, of course, be developed by the best and the brightest, who will pass them down on tablets of stone. The worker bees and drones will be programmed to follow them exactly. This is a nightmare scenario, one which anyone who believes in individual rights, local control, and federalism should oppose at every opportunity. The Common Core Standards become dangerous when they form a stepping stone which helps to move the educrats’ vision forward.”
Top down control always is intended to eradicate the voice of the individual. Under a national coordinated imposition of federal funding, local school districts have become dependent upon the conditional requirements of conformity to keep the money flowing.
So what is the solution? From the Dysfunctional Public Education Is No Accident article.
“Reform is no long possible. A Federal Department of Education hastens central controls for social compliance. At this point, an education free from public schools, has more value than going through the disinformation that is currently being taught. The errors that are learned in childhood are more difficult to overturn, then if they were never acquired in the first place. So what exactly is the advantage in an education under government approved instructors? If you want to reverse the decay in moral aptitude, you must find alternatives for the education of your children.”
Common Core pronouncements sound so nice. In spite of this, the key question is whether their program of study teaches the principles of developing good citizens. Lest we forget, a good citizen is an independent thinking and rationally responsible trained advocate of liberty and moral values. Maintaining and expanding a structure of mindless and obedient state compliance is ridiculous.
Our founding fathers were distinguished, well spoken and skilled in the understanding of human nature. Today’s specimens, hatched from government schools, are chicken-livered dimwits that aspire to the lowest paradigm that a common core can establish. The miserable failure of the taxpayer collective education system is undeniable by any judicious measure. RIP before the entire nation dies.
“If law does not reflect the fact that God is the Lord and Sovereign, it will reveal the premise that man and the state are gods. No more dangerous gods have ever been affirmed by man.” R. J. Rushdoony
Real Christianity is a foreign religion to the majority of those who claim the name. We tend to think of ourselves as the center of reality and as arbiters of our beliefs and our conduct. The Christian Church supports this heresy. In spite of the Bibles unswerving record of God choosing His servants, Christian leaders urge the heathen to “make a decision” for Christ. When the creature decides to affirm the Creator the creature becomes the sovereign – a blatant form of humanism. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have allowed this heresy to invade their beliefs and, as a result, have never achieved a proper relationship to Christ.
The Triune God is the center of the Universe and we are His servants. We are chosen by God before we voiced our allegiance and as one of God’s chosen people our duty is to obey His Law and seek to bring the creation under it.
With the Latin mantra Lex Rex (The law is king) the Protestant Reformation was partially successful in upending the Tower of Babel constructed by the divine right of kings. Protestant Christianity brought the world its first taste of real freedom, order, and prosperity.
Though it was tainted by Arminianism and the Enlightenment colonial America set in place many of God’s legal principles and some of today’s fast fading elderly generation can remember the wonderful freedom it produced. During the 1930s mothers did not worry about their children. Doors were not locked and children ran through the neighborhood without fear. It was a wonderful almost utopian time that now seems remote.
Obedience to God’s Law offers nations the closest thing to Libertarianism that humans can attain. Liberal, Conservative, or anarchic Libertarian governments cannot sustain freedom and justice. The sinful nature of man will always overcome freedom and righteousness with centralization and evil. Without the immutable yardstick of God’s Law man will be unduly restricted.
New Testament Christianity (Arminianism) is cultic and like all cults it is difficult to bring followers to righteousness. True Christianity was bequeathed to us by the Reformation and for the cultic Christian to return is like accomplishing a difficult passage on a piano or understanding a complex mathematical problem; it is exhausting hard work that must be continued until the blessed truth lights up the mind and one understands what God intends for His chosen people.
Christians in their largest realm are not much different than their unbelieving neighbors. Non-Christians often believe in a god and pray but they do not pray to the God of the Bible their prayers are to another deity or a god of their own making Cultic Christians are no different;; they pick and choose what parts of God’s Word they will believe and obey thereby constructing their own god; they do not worship the God of the Bible.
Most so-called Christians will tell you that they chose to accept Christ as their personal Savior and are in the process of trying to please him by improving their relationship with Him. They live in a spiritual quandary not unlike the “war on terror”; their behavior is evil and their objective is obscure.
We treat the King of the world as if He is our next door neighbor. We ignore His nature which is described in stark detail in the Books of the Old Testament and instead of approaching Him with awe, terror, and a subservient spirit, by regaling Him with requests we make Him our servant rather than us His. We are made in the image of God but Jesus, our Savior, is the ruler and judge of the world. We are His servants and until we begin to understand that we are to obey His Commandments we are missing the nature of the relationship.
Arminian Christians (Lawless) have no defense against the satanic tyranny that threatens the world. When God’s Law is no longer in vogue and human opinion rules, opinion enforced by power will win and slavery will result. God’s immutable Law must rule His creation.
God’s judgment often comes in the form of tyranny. Christians and their churches have failed to honor and obey the ruler of the world and we are being punished by the specter of a burgeoning police state. Had we been obedient Christians and used His Word and His Law against the forces of evil we would not be in this dire state. The Christian Church has forgotten its mission to teach and define obedience, to confront and resist sin, both personal and public, and to support and define truth, righteousness, and justice.
The former president of J. C. Penney, Ron Johnson, made an effort to return honesty to the Department Store business; he failed miserably because the American public prefers to be flimflammed into thinking they are getting a bargain. Rushdoony writes, “A lie moves a man from the real world into a world of fiction, and his life begins to rest on falsity. Truth gives us freedom in the real world God has made. We are to live all our life in God and therefore in truth. Because a lie moves men and nations from the free world into fiction and slavery, men and nations must require a true witness or else theirs is a course of disaster and ruin.”
American Christians have allowed lying, cheating, theft, and immorality to become rampant in our nation. We are propagandized by our media, lied to by our retail stores, cheated by our merchants, filled with blatant prevarications by our elected representatives, and deceived by our churches. Is it any wonder that our nation and our individual citizens are hopelessly in debt, that we have become a puppet to hidden powers that are trashing our country to achieve world domination.
And where do our citizens go for help in this dire emergency? Like dumb oxen they go to the major source of the problem, the United States Government. Over and over again like imbeciles they seek the same failed solution. When will we realize the only remedy to our dilemma is the God of the Bible? How long will it take us to repent and to seek His blessing? God still runs this world and He is angry with the United States of America!
Many of our citizens have become so addicted to the sensual pleasures of living a leisurely life devoid of worry that they refuse to understand what is happening all around them. Faced with factual information they will dismiss it without consideration. When the truth is ignored by a major portion of society there is no way to stop the decline of our civilization. Truth is essential to freedom!
The United States Government is a modern day Tower of Babel that is not only unable to save America but is itself the source of our problem. A nation cannot remain free without an anchor. The Constitution was supposed to maintain our freedom but it has been discarded and replaced by presidential fiat.
No Constitution is of any worth when the people it is designed to govern become dishonest and immoral. The Constitution was crafted to govern a Law abiding, Christian people and we no longer have such a populace. Christians and the leaders of their deceitful churches must shoulder the responsibility for this social deterioration.
Joseph C. Morecraft writes, “The entire community has a responsibility when crimes are committed or injustice done. A community cannot be indifferent to any sin, crime or injustice in its midst, or else it bears the guilt as well as the offender and is under judgment. When a community shuts its eyes to any evil in its midst and refuses to deal with it justly and in accordance with God’s law, then the whole community is under God’s condemnation.”
The answer to our problem lies in God and our relationship to Him – and nowhere else!
This essay was a result of the ideas express in “Deuteronomy” and excellent commentary by R. J. Rushdoony. Buy it here.
A few years ago, Reuters News reported that a nationwide poll conducted of the Russian people found that former dictator Josef Stalin was voted the third most popular historical figure. Over one-third of the Russian population participated in the poll.
See the report here:
Can you imagine? Stalin just might be the greatest mass-murderer in human history. Estimates of the body count during Stalin’s reign of terror range anywhere from 20-60 million, and that doesn’t include the millions of people who were starved, imprisoned, and tortured but who didn’t die. Only China’s Mao Tse-tung rivals Stalin’s butchery. Then, again, many Chinese people still love Mao Tse-tung, too.
How is it that people can laud and honor tyrants and butchers? How can people so easily submit to slavery and despotism?
No tyrant rises to power calling himself a tyrant. Tyranny is never sold as tyranny. Every tyrannical regime of history considered itself to be patriotic and compassionate; and the people who supported and submitted to such regimes considered themselves to be patriotic and compassionate, as well. The police state is never called that by those who promote it; they call it “law and order,” “keeping the peace,” “protecting the homeland,” etc.
Ask the average American today about the possibility that our country could become a police state and the common response is, “That could never happen here.” But, ladies and gentlemen, it is already happening here. And, furthermore, it seems that the vast majority of the American people are all in favor it. Republicans love it; Democrats love it; Christians love it; politicians love it; police officers love it; pastors love it; school teachers love it; businessmen love it; everyone loves a police state.
Threaten to remove Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, and Christians and conservatives come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. Threaten to put a Nativity scene on some courthouse lawn, and Democrats and liberals come out of the woodwork in righteous indignation. But propose laws that strip the American people of their God-ordained liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, and conservatives and liberals alike, Christians and unbelievers alike, think it’s just about the greatest thing since sliced bread.
You don’t believe that? Try this news story on for size:
According to a World Net Daily report, “The 2014 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson.
“Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.”
The report continued saying, “Section 1021 allows the detention of anyone, including American citizens, by the military, if the president considers that person to have helped with terror.”
The report further said, “Congress specifically expressed its desire for the detention provision to apply to American citizens even on American soil by rejecting multiple amendments that would have exempted them.”
So, where are the notable leaders of the Religious Right? Where are the liberal groups? Where is the national media? Where are the talking heads from the right and the left? With precious few exceptions, they are absolutely silent on the subject. Why? Because they like it.
Liberals never met a big-government program or proposal they didn’t like. If it increases the size and scope of government, liberals love it. Conservatives love anything that smacks of “law and order.” (A word of caution: you never want to be the defendant in a courtroom where the jury is stacked with conservatives. If you do, you’re dead meat, friend.) And Christians get goose bumps up their spine about anything they think resembles Romans 13. Give government more power over our lives and listen to the Hallelujahs ringing out from the all of these 501c3 churches. And ditto for most of the talking heads on radio and television and the vast majority of the pundits and spokesmen from the national news media. Like I said, everyone loves a police state.
Well, not everyone, thank God!
The same WND report mentioned above states, “Some of the nation’s most respected legal teams are asking the Supreme Court to take up a challenge to the indefinite-detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, charging the law has created the framework for a police state.
“The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to ‘represent an enduring security threat to the United States.’
“Journalist Chris Hedges is among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.
A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case states: ‘The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.’
“The brief was submitted to the Supreme Court by attorneys with the U.S. Justice Foundation of Ramona, Calif., Friedman Harfenist Kraut & Perlstein of Lake Success, N.Y., and William J. Olson, P.C. of Vienna, Va.”
See the report here:
Believe it or not, there was a time in this country when people from both sides of the political aisle believed in freedom. I know it’s hard to imagine, but there was a time in this country when pastors from virtually every denomination believed in freedom. Not only did they believe in it; they fought for it. It seems like a long time ago.
Have you taken a close look at your State and local police agencies lately? More and more, our police officers and sheriff’s deputies resemble soldiers more than they do peace officers. I challenge you to Google “police abuse.” What you will discover will shock you. And, for all intents and purposes, the folks who live in many Northeastern states—along with California and Illinois–are already living in a State that is more controlled than many foreign countries, including some of the countries that we would call oppressive. And even our freer states are feeling the heavy hand of Big Brother more and more each day.
In fact, if you want to really get a taste of a police state, just move into some neighborhoods with their Gestapo-like Home Owner Associations (HOA). I’m telling you, some of these HOA rival anything Adolf Hitler could dream up.
Folks, take a good, hard look at reality: America is already in the beginning throes of a police state. Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World” are here. And far, far too many people seem fine with it.
I tell you the truth: I am to the point where I don’t know what to call myself. “Conservative” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “conservative” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Likewise, “Christian” means nothing today. Nothing! One can be a “Christian” and believe in Big Government, undeclared wars of intervention, debt-driven economics, socialized medicine, increased taxes, and, of course, a police state. Oh, many “conservatives” and “Christians” might SAY they don’t believe in these things, but their actions (or lack of them) speak louder than their words.
A big THANK YOU is in order for Bill Olson, Herb Titus, Chris Hedges, et al. And THANK YOU to all of you folks out there who see what’s going on and are actively engaged in “the holy cause of liberty.” (Patrick Henry) I am your brother and compatriot, no matter what you call yourself. At this point, we aren’t conservatives or liberals, Christians or unbelievers; we are freedomists or statists.
Tyrants such as Joe Stalin and Mao Tse-tung might be popular with some people, and a burgeoning police state might be popular with some people, but there is a whole host of us in these United States who aren’t going to the gulags and gas chambers peacefully. And unlike the peasants of Europe and Asia, we aren’t surrendering our means of self-defense, either.
No, not everyone loves a police state.
There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people. One dollar, one vote describes the new reality.
Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich consider some facts about them.
How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individuals became billionaires since the 2009 global financial crisis. In other words, plain millionaires moved up to billionaire status.
But the super rich include many more than the billionaires, because the top one percent on the economic scale have monster size wealth, according to a new report Working for the Few. The one percent of the richest people in the world have $110 trillion. That equates to some 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. But among the millions of the top one percent, the richest 85 people, true billionaires, have wealth equal to the bottom half of the world’s population. As to the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. That leaves 9 percent, about 30 million Americans, in the upper class that did very well as they strive to make it into the top one percent.
When people talk about economic, wealth or income inequality they are really talking about the incredibly small fraction of the richest people relative to the larger population that still are not sharing in the global jackpot, no matter how hard they work. Inequality means that money is not being fairly distributed. There have been times in history when prosperity was shared, as in the several decades after World War II.
No surprise that only 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup report, currently feel “very satisfied” with our nation’s distribution of income and wealth. Similarly, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is working very or fairly well for the wealthy, compared to 22 percent for the middle class.
Why hate the super rich and the rising economic inequality that benefits them?
This distorted economic system means that democracy is more delusional than real. Consider this: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.” Truly wise words.
The near total lack of public confidence in Congress, both major political parties and the whole political system by Americans goes hand-in-hand with the perverted economic system. You have every right to hate the super rich because for a long time in many visible and invisible ways they have intentionally manipulated the political system to create and maintain the unjust economic system. Their economic power gives them political power. Rather than one person one vote, think in terms of one dollar one vote.
Hate the super rich because their degree of wealth and power is obscene.
Hate the super rich because they persecute the vast majority of people worldwide. Some of the super rich play up their charitable activities, but that does not negate all the evil consequences of economic inequality on the daily lives of billions of people.
Hate the super rich because their greed is ungodly. If true democracy is to be restored, then Americans need to be much more than dissatisfied. They need to get more emotional. They need to hate. Then they must convert that hatred into political demands and actions.
he media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding goal of Syrian regime change. Here are the top three Western media lies about the Syrian peace talks.
1) The removal of Syrian Bashar al-Assad was an agreed upon “precondition” for the Geneva II peace talks.
This lie has been repeated over and over by government and media alike. It has zero basis. The Obama administration claims that this precondition was expressed in the “Geneva communiqué,” which was a road map agreement meant to guide the Geneva II peace talks, agreed upon by some of the major parties of the negotiations, including Russia.
The communiqué does indeed call for a negotiated political transition, but nowhere does it state that such a transition cannot include President Assad. Such a condition would have been outright rejected by Russia.
In fact, the Geneva communiqué includes this crucial statement:
“[a transition government] could include members of the present [Syrian] government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.” Nowhere does it specifically mention or imply President Assad would have to leave power first.
The Los Angeles Times recently stepped out of line and exposed this lie:
“[John] Kerry regularly cites the “Geneva communiqué,” a kind of peace road map hammered out in June 2012 during a United Nations-organized summit. But the document does not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster.”
The Obama administration’s constant repeating of this lie only causes divisions in the peace process, undermining the chances that the peace process will succeed.
The Obama administration is especially adamant about this “Assad must go” precondition because it knows that, if free and fair elections were held tomorrow in Syria – as part of a UN-backed “transitional process” – President Assad would likely win. This is the result of the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria that have rallied behind President Assad, since they’ve witnessed the consistent religious sectarian atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed rebels (which the U.S. media loves to ignore or minimize).
Assad would probably win an election since there is also simply no one else on the government side or the opposition side with his name recognition or popularity. The U.S.-backed rebel war in Syria has vastly strengthened Assad’s political hand, but you wouldn’t know it from the Western, anti-Syrian media.
Demanding Assad’s ouster also does not reflect the situation on the ground. The U.S.-backed rebels have never controlled more than one Syrian city, namely Raqaa, which is dominated by al-Qaeda and is governed under a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law, which includes a strict ban on music. Thus, the rebels don’t have the ground power that would even enable them to make the demand that “Assad must go”.
2) The U.S.-backed rebel militias are “moderate” Islamic groups.
The fact that this lie can even be uttered publicly without encountering ridicule is a major success of Western media propaganda. The media narrative paints the U.S.-backed “good” rebels fighting both the Syrian government and the “bad” al-Qaeda linked rebels.
But the “good” rebels in the U.S.-backed Islamic Front share the same vision for Syria’s future as the al-Qaeda rebels: a fundamentalist version of Sharia law, where women live in virtual house arrest and where religious minorities are second class citizens (non-Sunni Muslims would simply be butchered, as they are on a regular basis in Syria, which is again minimized or ignored in the Western media.)
The “moderate rebel” lie was further exposed recently when a top leader in the most powerful militia, Ahrar al Sham, within the Islamic Front declared Ahrar al Sham to be the “real” representative of al-Qaeda in Syria, as opposed to the rival al-Qaeda faction that the Islamic Front had recently begun fighting.
Ahrar al Sham has long been known to be an al-Qaeda type Islamist extremist group; the Western media simply chose to ignore it. But when it was recently made official, the US media chose to continue its ignoring stance, since actually reporting on it would destroy their “moderate rebel” lie. The Western media also continues to ignore the fact that the “moderate” U.S.-backed Islamic Frontissued a joint statement that aligned itself to the extremist views of Ahrar al Sham, the “real” al-Qaeda.
3) New Evidence of Syrian government “industrial scale” torture.
The Western media recently blasted the “breaking news” of brand new evidence showing massive “Nazi-like” torture and murder by the Syrian government, released at the beginning of the Syrian peace talks. This may or may not be true, but the lie here is that the Western media promoted the “evidence” as being unquestionably true, when the story doesn’t reach first base when it comes to evidence-based journalism.
All we really know is that there are hundreds of pictures of dead people that a “trusted source” says were killed by the Syrian government. The trusted source was designated as such by pro-Western intellectuals, who have earned professional “credibility” by helping convict war criminals in the International Criminal Court [ICC]. But as author Diane Johnstone pointed out in her excellent book “Fools Crusade,” about the war against Yugoslavia – as well as in other articles – the ICC has long been used by western powers as a tool to create a pretext for war, or a tool to justify a war after the fact.
The evidence of the “NAZI-like” atrocities was written in a study paid for by the government of Qatar, which has long funneled cash, guns, and Jihadis to Syria in aid of the anti-government rebels.
Again, we don’t know if the story is true or not. But such an important investigation should be conducted by the UN or another more objective institution. The same biased dynamic occurred in relation to the infamous chemical weapons attack, where no real evidence was provided, though an unending string of “experts” were quoted in the Western media, testifying to the guilt of the Syrian Government. But when Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the Obama administration lied about the rebels not having the capacity to perform such an attack, the Western media simply ignored the legend of journalism. The wrench in the propaganda machine was simply dislodged.
How do these lies become such permanent fixtures in the Western media? An excellent article in the Guardian newspaper recently discussed in depth the principal sources the Western media has used to understand the Syrian conflict.
The article exposed the incredible bias of some of the most important Western media sources on Syria, which is why they were handpicked in the first place to be “expert” sources: they had political agendas that were aligned with the US government’s foreign policy decisions. The other side of the conflict was completely ignored, except when it was targeted for ridicule. Thus, Americans and Europeans have a completely one-sided, if not fantasy-based perspective of what is happening in Syria. This has been systematic since the beginning of the conflict, as happened with the Yugoslav, Afghan, Iraq, and Libya wars.
The result of this media-led ignorance could result in yet more unnecessary deaths in a country that now has millions of refugees and over a 100,000 dead. Obama seems like he intends to exploit these peace talks with the intention of blaming the Syrian government for their failure. Having failed to defeat Assad on the battlefield in a proxy war, the Obama administration is trying to win the propaganda war. And once peace talks have failed, talk of war will resume, since “all other options have failed.”
Yesterday marked the 41st anniversary of the infamous US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which, in effect, legalized abortion-on-demand nationwide. The aftermath of this tragic ruling is the deaths of over 55 million innocent unborn babies. It is no hyperbole to say abortion-on-demand is America’s national holocaust. Think about it, every American citizen today, 41 years old or younger, has never known a country that respected and protected innocent human life in the womb.
Consider this, too: when Hitler’s Third Reich was at its zenith, the abortion rate in Germany was 40%. Guess what? The abortion rate in America today is right at 40%. In fact, statistically speaking, the most dangerous place to be in America is not in an automobile without wearing a seat belt, or on a commercial airliner with a potential terrorist on board, but in the womb of one’s mother.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson once headed America’s largest abortion clinic in New York City. He admitted superintending over the killing of 75,000 unborn babies. He later recanted his pro-abortion activity and wrote what may be the quintessential book defending an unborn child’s right to life, “Aborting America.” Dr. Nathanson said, “There is no longer serious doubt in my mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.”
Dr. Mildred Jefferson was a surgeon at Boston University Medical Center, a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery with many honors and awards. She said, “Many people try to hide behind the confusion of not knowing what happens before a baby is born. But we do not have to be confused. We in medicine and science have a different name for every stage of the development of the baby, but it does not matter at all whether you know those names or not. When a young woman has not had much opportunity to go to school and she becomes pregnant, no one has to tell her that she is going to have a baby.
“I became a doctor in the tradition that is represented in the Bible of looking upon medicine as a high calling. I will not stand aside and have this great profession of mine, of the doctor, give up the designation of healer to become that of the social executioner. The Supreme Court Justices only had to hand down an order. Social workers only have to make arrangements, but it has been given to my profession to destroy the life of the innocent and the helpless.
“Today it is the unborn child; tomorrow it is likely to be the elderly or those who are incurably ill. Who knows but that a little later it may be anyone who has political or moral views that do not fit into the distorted new order? To that question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ I answer ‘Yes.’ It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard and preserve life. A child is a member of the human family and deserves care and concern.”
How many physicians, scientists, teachers, artists, musicians, pastors, missionaries, statesmen, musicians, businessmen, tradesmen, engineers, and notable contributors to society have been murdered in the womb since abortion-on-demand was legalized in this country? Millions, I’m sure.
At this point, I can hear someone interrupting, “What about cases involving rape or incest?”
While these cases number less than 1% of pregnancies, consider this case history: a 12-year-old girl was raped and became pregnant. “Get an abortion,” you say? Congratulations! You just killed Ethel Waters. The manner in which a baby was conceived in no way diminishes the human worth of the baby. Since when do we kill children for the sins of one parent?
And as Dr. Jefferson said, just where does the acceptance of abortion lead? Does anyone remember Baby Doe in Bloomington, Indiana?
A little baby was born April 9, 1982, with Down’s syndrome in a Bloomington, Indiana, hospital. The parents refused to allow a doctor to correct a defect in the esophagus that prevented eating, because the child was born with Down’s. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the parents’ right to make this decision. When news of this atrocity got out, adoption offers came in from all over America. Several members of the medical staff who were aghast that such a thing could happen in their hospital resigned over the incident. An appeal was quickly started, but Baby Doe died of starvation on April 15, 1982. There is no doubt that this case, and many others similar to it, are directly related to the Roe v Wade decision that, in effect, makes babies nothing more than the property of the state with no human rights ascribed to them.
Add to this blatant disrespect for human life the new socialized, mandated government-run health care system now in effect–complete with cost-related rationing of medical treatments–and one can only imagine how the value of human life will continue to decline in this country. We are already hearing multiple reports of people who are not able to have surgical procedures because of all of the government red-tape and the uncertainty of physicians and hospitals as to whether the government will authorize payment.
I suggest that everyone start taking care of themselves and trying to stay healthy, because, under Obamacare, illness could become a death sentence–not because of the illness, but because of the lack of proper medical treatment due to the rationing of health care by government-imposed financial stipulations.
Plus, if you want to do some personal research that will really send chills up your spine, start investigating the fact that many scientists and researchers are seriously discussing genetic manipulation and genetic engineering. Our own government and military are already culpable in grotesque medical experimentation on both civilian and military personnel.
Our own Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has admitted to using military personnel as human guinea pigs for medical, biological, and mental experimentation under various programs associated with the now-infamous title, MK-ULTRA. CIA officials say the programs have all been scrapped. Don’t you believe it.
In addition, consider the testimony of Dr. Carolyn Gerster, a physician specializing in internal medicine and cardiopulmonary diseases. She obtained her medical degree from the University Of Oregon Medical School in Portland.
Dr. Gerster told Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, “I was asked to become a member of the American College of Physicians many years ago. It’s an honorary society of internal medicine. I was very proud right up until the day that the society gave the James D. Bruce Award for Medical Research to Dr. Saul Krugman for the following experiment. Dr. Krugman had taken living hepatitis virus MS2 and injected this living virus into 25 retarded children in Willowbrook Home for the Retarded in upstate New York. This was defended on the basis that they would probably get the hepatitis virus anyway.”
Consider, too, that contrary to what most people assume, the vast majority of physicians graduating from medical school today no longer take a Hippocratic-type oath–an oath that binds physicians to the following: “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary [medical device] to cause an abortion.”
As Schaeffer and Koop pointed out in their book, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” “The Declaration of Geneva (adopted in September 1948 by the General Assembly of the World Medical Organization and modeled closely on the Hippocratic Oath) became used as the graduation oath by more and more medical schools. It includes: ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.’ This concept of the preservation of human life has been the basis of the medical profession and society in general. It is significant that when the University of Pittsburgh changed from the Hippocratic Oath to the Declaration of Geneva in 1971, the students deleted ‘from the time of conception’ from the clause.”
Today, the ageless principles that had guided the medical profession throughout Western Civilization have been expunged from a majority of our physicians’ training and practice. And the Roe Supreme Court decision had much to do with it.
What is especially irritating about the whole abortion debate is the way the subject has been used as a political football by those on both the right and the left of the political aisle. While the national Democratic Party proudly touts itself as being “pro-choice,” it has been the so-called “pro-life” Republican Party that is mostly to blame for legalized abortion being left as the law of the land for over four decades.
Think of it: the GOP has dominated US Supreme Court appointments for the 41 years since the Roe decision. In fact, the 1973 court that released the Roe decision was a Republican-appointed court by a 6-3 margin. The same GOP-dominated court also rendered the Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decision reaffirming Roe.
Consider still: the “pro-life” Republican Party controlled the entire federal government from the election of 2000 to the election of 2006: six long years of GOP domination of both houses of Congress, the White House, and the US Supreme Court. And in all of that time, not one single unborn baby’s life was saved. Not one!
And, yet, each year, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) would introduce the Sanctity of Life Act. And each year, the bill would sit in the document room of the Capitol Building and gather dust. What would Rep. Paul’s bill have done? (1) It would have defined unborn babies as persons under the law. (2) Under the authority of Article. III. Section. 2. of the US Constitution, it would have removed abortion from the jurisdiction of the court. Had the “pro-life” Republican congress passed Dr. Paul’s bill, and the “pro-life” President, G. W. Bush, signed it into law, Roe v. Wade would have been effectively overturned.
So, why didn’t President Bush trumpet the bill? Where was the Republican leader in the Senate? Where was the Republican Speaker of the House? Where was Orrin Hatch? Where was John McCain? Where was Lindsey Graham? Where was the National Right to Life Committee? Where were the tens of thousands of “pro-life” pastors and Christians?
Not only that: these same “pro-life” pastors, church members, and conservatives refused to support Congressman Ron Paul for President in 2008, and again in 2012, because he was not “conservative” enough. Actually, they opposed him because he opposed the war in Iraq, which means they would rather support a politician who promotes taking America into unconstitutional wars–and who will do nothing to overturn Roe v Wade and save the lives of unborn babies–than support a man who insisted that the Constitution be followed, and actually had a constitutional plan to overturn Roe v Wade and end abortion-on-demand as a national “right.” No wonder Jesus noted that unbelievers often have it over believers in the brains department. (See Luke 16:8.)
I remind you that securing life and liberty is the primary purpose of government (read the Declaration of Independence). Should it surprise us that the same government that feels no responsibility to protect the lives of innocent unborn children would feel any responsibility to protect our liberties? No wonder this government seems hell-bent on destroying our personal liberties: the wanton slaughter of 55 million unborn babies has seared its conscience.
Worse yet is the manner in which our pastors and churches seem completely unsympathetic to the silent screams of the slaughtered unborn. How many pastors will even mention Roe v Wade in their pulpits this week? Most Christians will go through this week and never even give a second thought to the plight of the millions of unborn babies being legally murdered in this country. And, furthermore, their conscience will certainly not be pricked by anything they hear from the pastors in their pulpits this week–or any other week, for that matter.
Legalized abortion is a national holocaust; an affront to our national character; a contradiction of established principles subscribed to from the beginning of Western Civilization; an insult to the principles of our Declaration of Independence; a bane of our national spirit; and a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God. That we have allowed it to continue for 41 years now stands as an indictment against this generation of Americans (especially America’s Christians) and bodes ominously for the well-being of our posterity.
Can the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sustainability, then such claims are without substantiation – although there are many hopeful signs that the conversation is slowly moving in the right direction.
In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise. According to most general definitions that are widely available online, the sharing economy leverages information technology to empower individuals or organisations to distribute, share and re-use excess capacity in goods and services. The business icons of the new sharing economy include the likes of Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Poshmark, although hundreds of other for-profit as well as non-profit organisations are associated with this burgeoning movement that is predicated, in one way or another, on the age-old principle of sharing.
As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media, a debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction. There is no doubt that the emergent paradigm of sharing resources is set to expand and further flourish in coming years, especially in the face of continuing economic recession, government austerity and environmental concerns. As a result of the concerted advocacy work and mobilisation of sharing groups in the US, fifteen city mayors have now signed the Shareable Cities Resolution in which they officially recognise the importance of economic sharing for both the public and private sectors. Seoul in South Korea has also adopted a city-funded project called Sharing City in which it plans to expand its ‘sharing infrastructure’, promote existing sharing enterprises and incubate sharing economy start-ups as a partial solution to problems in housing, transportation, job creation and community cohesion. Furthermore, Medellin in Colombia is embracing transport-sharing schemes and reimagining the use of its shared public spaces, while Ecuador is the first country in the world to commit itself to becoming a ‘shared knowledge’-based society, under an official strategy named ‘buen saber’.
Many proponents of the sharing economy therefore have great hopes for a future based on sharing as the new modus operandi. Almost everyone recognises that drastic change is needed in the wake of a collapsed economy and an overstretched planet, and the old idea of the American dream – in which a culture that promotes excessive consumerism and commercialisation leads us to see the ‘good life’ as the ‘goods life’, as described by the psychologist Tim Kasser - is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. Hence more and more people are rejecting the materialistic attitudes that defined recent decades, and are gradually shifting towards a different way of living that is based on connectedness and sharing rather than ownership and conspicuous consumption. ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials.
However, many entrepreneurial sharing pioneers also profess a big picture vision of what sharing can achieve in relation to the world’s most pressing issues, such as population growth, environmental degradation and food security. As Ryan Gourley of A2Share posits, for example, a network of cities that embrace the sharing economy could mount up into a Sharing Regions Network, then Sharing Nations, and finally a Sharing World: “A globally networked sharing economy would be a whole new paradigm, a game-changer for humanity and the planet”. Neal Gorenflo, the co-founder and publisher of Shareable, also argues that peer-to-peer collaboration can form the basis of a new social contract, with an extensive sharing movement acting as the catalyst for systemic changesthat can address the root causes of both poverty and climate change. Or to quote the words of Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, we are going to have to “share to survive” if we want to face up to a sustainable future. In such a light, it behoves us all to investigate the potential of sharing to effect a social and economic transformation that is sufficient to meet the grave challenges of the 21st century.
Two sides of a debate on sharing
There is no doubt that sharing resources can contribute to the greater good in a number of ways, from economic as well as environmental and social perspectives. A number of studies show the environmental benefits that are common to many sharing schemes, such as the resource efficiency and potential energy savings that could result from car sharing and bike sharing in cities. Almost all forms of localised sharing are economical, and can lead to significant cost savings or earnings for individuals and enterprises. In terms of subjective well-being and social impacts, common experience demonstrates how sharing can also help us to feel connected to neighbours or co-workers, and even build community and make us feel happier.
Few could disagree on these beneficial aspects of sharing resources within communities or across municipalities, but some controversy surrounds the broader vision of how the sharing economy movement can contribute to a fair and sustainable world. For many advocates of the burgeoning trend towards economic sharing in modern cities, it is about much more than couch-surfing, car sharing or tool libraries, and holds the potential to disrupt the individualist and materialistic assumptions of neoliberal capitalism. For example, Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude perceives that a new economics based on sharing could be an antidote to the hyper-individualised, hyper-consumer culture of today, and could help rebuild the social ties that have been lost through market culture. Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff project, in her latest short video on how to move society in an environmentally sustainable and just direction, also considers sharing as a key ‘game changing’ solution that could help to transform the basic goals of the economy.
Many other proponents see the sharing economy as a path towards achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits, and an essential first step on the road to more localised economies and egalitarian societies. But far from everyone perceives that participating in the sharing economy, at least in its existing form and praxis, is a ‘political act’ that can realistically challenge consumption-driven economics and the culture of individualism – a question that is raised (although not yet comprehensively answered) in a valuable think piece from Friends of the Earth, as discussed further below. Various commentators argue that the proliferation of new business ventures under the umbrella of sharing are nothing more than “supply and demand continuing its perpetual adjustment to new technologies and fresh opportunities”, and that the concept of the sharing economy is being co-opted by purely commercial interests – a debate that was given impetus when the car sharing pioneers, Zipcar, were bought up by the established rental firm Avis.
Recently, Slate magazine’s business and economics correspondent controversially reiterated the observation that making money from new modes of consumption is not really ‘sharing’ per se, asserting that the sharing economy is therefore a “dumb term” that “deserves to die”. Other journalists have criticised the superficial treatment that the sharing economy typically receives from financial pundits and tech reporters, especially the claims that small business start-ups based on monetised forms of sharing are a solution to the jobs crisis – regardless of drastic cutbacks in welfare and public services, unprecedented rates of income inequality, and the dangerous rise of the precariat. The author Evgeny Morozov, writing an op-ed in the Financial Times, has gone as far as saying that the sharing economy is having a pernicious effect on equality and basic working conditions, in that it is fully compliant with market logic, is far from valuing human relationships over profit, and is even amplifying the worst excesses of the dominant economic model. In the context of the erosion of full-time employment, the assault on trade unions and the disappearance of healthcare and insurance benefits, he argues that the sharing economy is accelerating the transformation of workers into “always-on self-employed entrepreneurs who must think like brands”, leading him to dub it “neoliberalism on steroids”.
Problems of definition
Although it is impossible to reconcile these polarised views, part of the problem in assessing the true potential of economic sharing is one of vagueness in definition and wide differences in understanding. The conventional interpretation of the sharing economy is at present focused on its financial and commercial aspects, with continuous news reports proclaiming its rapidly growing market size and potential as a “co-commerce revolution”. Rachel Botsman, a leading entrepreneurial thinker on the potential of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies to change our lives, has attempted to clarify what the sharing economy actually is in order to prevent further confusion over the different terms in general use. In her latest typology, she notes how the term ‘sharing economy’ is often muddled with other new ideas and is in fact a subset of ‘collaborative consumption’ within the entire ‘collaborative economy’ movement, and has a rather restricted meaning in terms of “sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits” [see slide 9 of the presentation]. This interpretation of changing consumer behaviours and lifestyles revolves around the “maximum utilization of assets through efficient models of redistribution and shared access”, which isn’t necessarily predicated on an ethic of ‘sharing’ by any strict definition.
Other interpretations of the sharing economy are far broader and less constrained by capitalistic assumptions, as demonstrated in the Friends of the Earth briefing paper on Sharing Cities written by Professor Julian Agyeman et al. In their estimation, what’s missing from most of these current definitions and categorisations of economic sharing is a consideration of “the communal, collective production that characterises the collective commons”. A broadened ‘sharing spectrum’ that they propose therefore not only focuses on goods and services within the mainstream economy (which is almost always considered in relation to affluent, middle-class lifestyles), but also includes the non-material or intangible aspects of sharing such as well-being and capability [see page 6 of the brief]. From this wider perspective, they assert that the cutting edge of the sharing economy is often not commercial and includes informal behaviours like the unpaid care, support and nurturing that we provide for one another, as well as the shared use of infrastructure and shared public services.
This sheds a new light on governments as the “ultimate level of sharing”, and suggests that the history of the welfare state in Europe and other forms of social protection is, in fact, also integral to the evolution of shared resources in cities and within different countries. Yet an understanding of sharing from this more holistic viewpoint doesn’t have to be limited to the state provision of healthcare, education, and other public services. As Agyeman et al elucidate, cooperatives of all kinds (from worker to housing to retailer and consumer co-ops) also offer alternative models for shared service provision and a different perspective on economic sharing, one in which equity and collective ownership is prioritised. Access to natural common resources such as air and water can also be understood in terms of sharing, which may then prioritise the common good of all people over commercial or private interests and market mechanisms. This would include controversial issues of land ownership and land use, raising questions over how best to share land and urban space more equitably – such as through community land trusts, or through new policies and incentives such as land value taxation.
The politics of sharing
Furthermore, Agyeman et al argue that an understanding of sharing in relation to the collective commons gives rise to explicitly political questions concerning the shared public realm and participatory democracy. This is central to the many countercultural movements of recent years (such as the Occupy movement and Middle East protests since 2011, and the Taksim Gezi Park protests in 2013) that have reclaimed public space to symbolically challenge unjust power dynamics and the increasing trend toward privatisation that is central to neoliberal hegemony. Sharing is also directly related to the functioning of a healthy democracy, the authors reason, in that a vibrant sharing economy (when interpreted in this light) can counter the political apathy that characterises modern consumer society. By reinforcing values of community and collaboration over the individualism and consumerism that defines our present-day cultures and identities, they argue that participation in sharing could ultimately be reflected in the political domain. They also argue that a shared public realm is essential for the expression of participatory democracy and the development of a good society, not least as this provides a necessary venue for popular debate and public reasoning that can influence political decisions. Indeed the “emerging shareability paradigm”, as they describe it, is said to reflect the basic tenets of the Right to the City (RTTC) – an international urban movement that fights for democracy, justice and sustainability in cities and mobilises against the privatisation of common goods and public spaces.
The intention in briefly outlining some of these differing interpretations of sharing is to demonstrate how considerations of politics, justice, ethics and sustainability are slowly being allied with the sharing economy concept. A paramount example is the Friends of the Earth briefing paper outlined above, which was written as part of FOEI’s Big Ideas to Change the World series on cities that promoted sharing as “a political force to be reckoned with” and a “call to action for environmentalists”. Yet many further examples could also be mentioned, such as the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Manifesto for the New Materialism’ which promotes the old-fashioned ethic of sharing as part of a new way of living to replace the collapsed model of debt-fuelled overconsumption. There are also signs that many influential proponents of the sharing economy – as generally understood today in terms of new economic models driven by peer-to-peer technology that enable access to rather than ownership of resources – are beginning to query the commercial direction that the movement is taking, and are instead promoting more politicised forms of social change that are not merely based on micro-enterprise or the monetisation/branding of high-tech innovations.
Janelle Orsi, a California-based ‘sharing lawyer’ and author of The Sharing Solution, is particularly inspirational in this regard; for her, the sharing economy encompasses such a broad range of activities that it is hard to define, although she suggests that all its activities are tied together in how they harness the existing resources of a community and grow its wealth. This is in contradistinction to the mainstream economy that mostly generates wealth for people outside of people’s communities, and inherently generates extreme inequalities and ecological destruction – which Orsi contends that the sharing economy can help reverse. The problem she recognises is that the so-called sharing economy we usually hear about in the media is built upon a business-as-usual foundation, which is privately owned and often funded by venture capital (as is the case with Airbnb, Lyft, Zipcar, Taskrabbit et cetera). As a result, the same business structures that created the economic problems of today are buying up new sharing economy companies and turning them into ever larger, more centralised enterprises that are not concerned about people’s well-being, community cohesion, local economic diversity, sustainable job creation and so on (not to mention the risk of re-creating stock valuation bubbles that overshadowed the earlier generation of dot.com enterprises). The only way to ensure that new sharing economy companies fulfil their potential to create economic empowerment for users and their communities, Orsi argues, is through cooperative conversion – and she makes a compelling case for the democratic, non-exploitative, redistributive and truly ‘sharing’ potential of worker and consumer cooperatives in all their guises.
Sharing as a path to systemic change
There are important reasons to query which direction this emerging movement for sharing will take in the years ahead. As prominent supporters of the sharing economy recognise, like Janelle Orsi and Juliet Schor, it offers both opportunities and reasons for optimism as well as pitfalls and some serious concerns. On the one hand, it reflects a growing shift in our values and social identities as ‘citizens vs consumers’, and is helping us to rethink notions of ownership and prosperity in a world of finite resources, scandalous waste and massive wealth disparities. Perhaps its many proponents are right, and the sharing economy represents the first step towards transitioning away from the over-consumptive, materially-intense and hoarding lifestyles of North American, Western European and other rich societies. Perhaps sharing really is fast becoming a counter-cultural movement that can help us to value relationships more than things, and offer us the possibility of re-imagining politics and constructing a more participative democracy, which could ultimately pose a challenge to the global capitalist/consumerist model of development that is built on private interests and debt at the cost of shared interests and true wealth.
On the other hand, critics are right to point out that the sharing economy in its present form is hardly a threat to existing power structures or a movement that represents the kind of radical changes we need to make the world a better place. Far from reorienting the economy towards greater equity and a better quality of life, as proposed by writers such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Tim Jackson, Herman Daly and John Cobb, it is arguable that most forms of sharing via peer-to-peer networks are at risk of being subverted by conventional business practices. There is a perverse irony in trying to imagine the logical conclusion of these trends: new models of collaborative consumption and co-production that are co-opted by private interests and venture capitalists, and increasingly geared towards affluent middle-class types or so-called bourgeois bohemians (the ‘bobos’), to the exclusion of those on low incomes and therefore to the detriment of a more equal society. Or new sharing technology platforms that enable governments and corporations to collaborate in pursuing more intrusive controls over and greater surveillance of citizens. Or new social relationships based on sharing in the context of increasingly privatised and enclosed public spaces, such as gated communities within which private facilities and resources are shared.
This is by no means an inevitable outcome, but what is clear from this brief analysis is that the commercialisation and depoliticisation of economic sharing poses risks and contradictions that call into question its potential to transform society for the benefit of everyone. Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sound environmental stewardship, then the various claims that sharing is a new paradigm that can address the world’s interrelated crises is indeed empty rhetoric or utopian thinking without any substantiation. Sharing our skills through Hackerspaces, our unused stuff through GoodShuffle or a community potluck through mealshare is, in and of itself, a generally positive phenomenon that deserves to be enjoyed and fully participated in, but let’s not pretend that car shares, clothes swaps, co-housing, shared vacation homes and so on are going to seriously address economic and climate chaos, unjust power dynamics or inequitable wealth distribution.
Sharing from the local to the global
If we look at sharing through the lens of just sustainability, however, as civil society organisations and others are now beginning to do, then the true possibilities of sharing resources within and among the world’s nations are vast and all-encompassing: to enhance equity, rebuild community, improve well-being, democratise national and global governance, defend and promote the global commons, even to point the way towards a more cooperative international framework to replace the present stage of competitive neoliberal globalisation. We are not there yet, of course, and the popular understanding of economic sharing today is clearly focused on the more personal forms of giving and exchange among individuals or through online business ventures, which is mainly for the benefit of high-income groups in the world’s most economically advanced nations. But the fact that this conversation is now being broadened to include the role of governments in sharing public infrastructure, political power and economic resources within countries is a hopeful indication that the emerging sharing movement is slowly moving in the right direction.
Already, questions are being raised as to what sharing resources means for the poorest people in the developing world, and how a revival of economic sharing in the richest countries can be spread globally as a solution to converging crises. It may not be long until the idea of economic sharing on a planetary scale - driven by an awareness of impending ecological catastrophe, life-threatening extremes of inequality, and escalating conflict over natural resources – is the subject of every dinner party and kitchen table conversation.
Agyeman, Julian, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego, Sharing Cities, Friends of the Earth briefing paper, September 2013.
Bollier, David, Bauwens Joins Ecuador in Planning a Commons-based, Peer Production Economy, 20th September 2013, bollier.org
Botsman, Rachel, The Sharing Economy Lacks a Shared Definition: Giving Meaning to the Terms, Collaborative Lab on Slideshare.net, 19th November 2013.
Childs, Mike, The Power of Sharing: A Call to Action for Environmentalists, Shareable.net, 5th November 2013.
Daly, Herman and John Cobb, For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Beacon Press, 1991.
Eberlein, Sven, Sharing for Profit – I’m Not Buying it Anymore, Shareable.net, 20th February 2013.
Enright, Michael in interview with Benita Matofska and Aidan Enns, Sharing, Not Buying at Christmas (Hr. 1), CBC Radio, 16th December 2012.
Friends of the Earth, Big Idea 2: Sharing – a political force to be reckoned with?, 26th September 2013.
Gaskins, Kim, The New Sharing Economy, Latitude, 1st June 2010.
Gorenflo, Neal, What’s Next for the Sharing Movement?, Shareable.net, 31st July 2013.
Grahl, Jodi (trans.), World Charter for the Right to the City, International Alliance of Inhabitants et al, May 2005.
Griffiths, Rachel, The Great Sharing Economy, Co-operatives UK, London UK, 2011.
Grigg, Kat, Sharing As Part of the New Economy: An Interview with Lauren Anderson, The Solutions Journal, 20th September 2013.
Heinberg, Richard, Who knew that Seoul was a leader in the sharing economy?, Post Carbon Institute, 12th November 2013.
Herbst, Moira, Let’s get real: the ‘sharing economy’ won’t solve our jobs crisis, The Guardian, 7th January 2014.
Jackson, Tim, Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Routeledge, 2011.
Johnson, Cat, From Consumers to Citizens: Welcome to the Sharing Cities Network, Shareable.net, 9th January 2014.
Kasser, Tim, The High Price of Materialism, MIT Press, 2003.
Kisner, Corinne, Integrating Bike Share Programs into a Sustainable Transportation System, National League of Cities, City Practice Brief, Washington D.C., 2011.
Martin, Elliot and Susan Shaheen, The Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Ownership, Access (UCTC magazine), No. 38 Spring 2011.
Matofska, Benita, Facing the future: share to survive, Friends of the Earth blog, 4th January 2013.
Morozov, Evgeny, The ‘sharing economy’ undermines workers’ rights, Financial Times, 14th October 2013.
Olson. Michael J. and Andrew D. Connor, The Disruption of Sharing: An Overview of the New Peer-to-Peer ‘Sharing Economy’ and The Impact on Established Internet Companies, Piper Jaffray, November 2013.
Opinium Research and Marke2ing, The Sharing Economy An overview with special focus on Peer-to-Peer Lending, 14th November 2012.
Orsi, Janelle and Doskow, Emily, The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life and Build Community, Nolo, May 2009.
Orsi, Janelle et al, Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders, Shareable / The sustainable Economics Law Centre, September 2013.
Orsi, Janelle, The Sharing Economy Just Got Real, Shareable.net, 16th September 2013.
Quilligan, James B., People Sharing Resources: Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons, Kosmos Journal, Fall/Winter 2009.
Schor, Juliet, Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, Tantor Media, 2010.
Simms, Andrew and Ruth Potts, The New Materialism: How our relationship with the material world can change for the better, New Economics Foundation, November 2012.
Standing, Guy, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011.
Tennant, Ian, What’s in it for me? Do you dare to share?, Friends of the Earth blog, 8th January 2014.
Wiesmann, Thorsten, Living by the Principle of Sharing – an interview with Raphael Fellmer, Oiushare.net, February 2013.
Wilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, Penguin, 2010.
Yglesias, Matthew, There Is No “Sharing Economy”, Slate.com, 26th December 2013.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery. This means that if you are a slave today, it’s either illegal, or you have voluntarily accepted your servitude.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
You have a Constitutionally protected right to be free. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty.
Many people believe that revolution requires that they lead a march, stand in front of a crowd with a bullhorn, or form a militia. They feel like it’s a job for the Alex Joneses, the Adam Kokeshes, the James Wesley Rawleses, and the Bradley Mannings of the world.
They’re wrong. You don’t have to be a person with thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook . You don’t have to be a person with a military leadership position on your resume. You need not get yourself arrested on the steps of the White House, got to prison forever for telling the truth about your unit in the army, or stare down a bunch of scary-looking thugs in jack boots.
But you do have to do something.
You can’t just sit there and complain unless you are really just another armchair Rambo.
The way you lead your life every single day can be an act of revolution. By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution. Walking the walk doesn’t always require civil disobedience or militia membership (although those actions definitely have their places). It requires your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.
It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer mom from the suburbs, a college student in a dormitory, a church-going dad and husband, or a person who has found themselves homeless through the ongoing economic crisis – by living resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.
Don’t get me wrong – we need the Alexes, the Adams, the militias, the Bradleys, and the JWRs. We need the people who stand in protest. We need those who expose wrongdoing. We need the organizers, the shouters, the big personalities, the quiet strong types, and the leaders. But these are not the only ways to revolt. If every single person was off organizing their own rally, there’d be no one left to march in it.
What it is imperative upon us to do is to find our compass and follow it. We must make ourselves immune to control by not needing what “they” hand out. We have to be armored against the way everyone else lives and choose our own paths. We must stubbornly refuse to participate in the hoop-jumping that is everyday life in North America. By all of us who believe in liberty doing this, we form an army of stubborn non-participants in the status quo.
Here’s an example. It’s a small thing, a battle that today only affected my daughter and me. My daughter is not vaccinated. She attends a public school where the kids must be vaccinated, or hoops must be jumped through. I filled out the initial forms stating that I had an objection of conscience to vaccines. I was contacted by a representative of the school system who suggested that I sign instead the form that stated a religious objection, because that was “easier”. I refused, because my objection is NOT one of religion, and I felt like that was a cop-out. I knew that I was within my rights to have an objection of conscience, and I felt that it was important to make a point that might make it easier for the next parent. I was then told that I’d have to pay $25 and get a statement notarized to allow her exemption on my basis. I said I’d be happy to get a statement notarized, but not at my expense. I pointed out that nowhere does our local law state that I should have to pay any money for my child to NOT do something. Lo and behold, after 5 months of politely going back and forth, being escalated through numerous different superiors of superiors in the school board and public health system, my daughter is still unvaccinated, I have not spent $25, and she was not suspended from school. The point I’m making is not about vaccines, but about not stepping back from your rights, for your convenience or for the convenience of others. This requires that you read the relevant laws and understand them. It requires a certain degree of persistence and a willingness to be a pain in the butt.
There are valid reasons for revolution.
One of the benchmarks of tyranny is the dizzying arrays of laws on the books, with more and more added every single day. It is humanly impossible not to break multiple laws every single day. Regulations are revenue builders and/or control mechanisms. If the “authorities” can ALWAYS find a law that you’ve broken, then they can ALWAYS give a “reason” for punishing you. Punishment might include incarceration, hefty fines, or the removal of some privilege (like taking away your driver’s license or not allowing your child to go to school).
If the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? - James Madison, Federalist Papers 62
The police state is growing at a dizzying rate, and often the news makes it look like we live in Nazi Germany. It is now or never. Like cockroaches, “they” – the thugs in jackboots and their masters – multiply in the dark, and will soon overtake us if we don’t put a stop to it right now. They want to take our guns because that would make our resistance more difficult. They keep buying up ammo and now have more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America multiple times. The NDAA means that any person can be indefinitely detained. There has been a sustained attack on the Bill of Rights and one by one our rights are being submerged beneath the desires of those who would demand our submission.
How can you be an everyday revolutionary?
The most revolutionary act is to be self-sufficient and in need of nothing that the government can provide for you in exchange for some small liberty. When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then bullying you becomes much more difficult.
This list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive. Please, add your own random acts of resistance in the comments below.
- Question absolutely everything you hear on the news. Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates. The “news” is now all a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power. The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week. These people and others like them are the ones that decide what “we the people” get to see. If they feel like a candidate or a news item might upset the status quo, they black it out by refusing to cover it.
- Call out the media. Let everyone know that the mainstream media is the enemy of the people. When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it. Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage. If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.
- Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you. When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.”
- Turn your savings into precious metals or tangible assets. On the same note as unbanking, you definitely don’t want to rely on a 401K or savings account to provide for you in your old age. Ask the people of Cyprus how well that worked out for them. Diversify with assets you can touch. Purchase tangible goods like land, food, ammo, and seeds. Once you are well supplied, move on to precious metals to preserve your wealth.
- Educate others. At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs. If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper. By ranting incoherently or by keeping your mouth shut, you influence no one. By providing provable facts, you can open minds and awaken others to tyranny.
- Get others involved in the fight. For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor. When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down. Look at the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook. Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet. It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grass roots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.
- Grow your own food. Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act. Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence. When you educate yourself (and others) about Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods. Refuse to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles. Refuse to be held subject to Agenda 21′s version of “sustainability”.
- Take control of your health. It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment. Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma. Millions of children are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day. Americans spent 34.2 BILLION dollars on psychiatric drugs in 2010. (Source) Big Pharma is an enormously profitable industry that only pays off if they can convince you that you’re sick. Learn about the toxic injections and medications, weight the risks and benefits, and always look for second and third opinions before making a medical decision. Maintain your health by avoiding toxins, exercising, and ditching your bad habits to reduce the number of doctor’s visits that are necessary.
- Refuse to comply. If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you. You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
- Learn. Every day, spend time learning. This shouldn’t stop once our formal education ends. Fill your mind with history, with current events, with constitutional law, and information about the natural world. Learn about health, study economics, research things that interest you, and unravel the complicated conspiracies that are afoot. To pursue unbiased knowledge is to free your mind from the prison of propaganda and indoctrination.
- Don’t consume chemicals that cause you to be dumbed down. Avoid chemical-laden food with brain-killing neurotoxins like MSG and aspartame. Don’t drink fluoridated water.
- Embrace your right to bear arms. Be responsible for your own safety and security.
- Don’t be in debt. No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job. in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy. Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.
- Be prepared for disaster. Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.
- Be involved in your children’s education. For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school. Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.
- Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes. Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.
- Reduce your consumer spending. Spending less helps to starve the beast by reducing the sales taxes you pay and withdrawing your financial support to big conglomerates. If we vote with our dollars, eventually there will, of a necessity, be a paradigm shift that returns us to simpler days, when families that were willing to work hard could make a living without selling their souls to the corporate monoliths. A low-consumption lifestyle reduces your financial dependency, which allows for more freedom.
- Ditch popular culture. If reality TV isn’t a tool for dumbing people down, I don’t know what it is. My daughter recently begged to watch an episode of a popular reality TV show that “everyone” was watching. She managed about 15 minutes of it and then said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” She decided to read a book instead. Popular entertainment is a media tool used to change our perspectives about our personal values, and to tell us how to think and feel about issues.
- Buy locally. Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system. You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.
- Develop multiple streams of income. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Figure out several ways to bring in income. Not only does this free you from being a wage slave, but it allows you to hire friends or family members. You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims. If one business fails, or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head.
- Say thanks, but no thanks. There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out. Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached. Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand. Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.
- Don’t take the easy road. The PTB like to seduce people with simplicity. ”If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say. ”This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you. ”By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.” The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster. Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself. Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself, and know that anything you give up, you will never get back.
According to the Declaration of Independence, ”Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice. That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it.
There are nearly 316 million people in the United States. (source)
Only 3% of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and 10% actively supported them.
If 9,480,000 people quietly and peacefully revolted by withdrawing their consent to be governed by tyrants we could not be silenced.
If 31,600,000 people supported those revolting, we could not be stopped.
The government might be watching us, but we can watch them right back. Make the way you live your life a revolutionary act.
Source: The Organic Prepper
“I’ve gotten some of my best light from bridges I’ve burned.”– Don Henley
What does it take, in an era dominated by progressive identity politics, to be accepted as a fully qualified member of the Left?
Jane is a London lawyer who identifies politically ‘as a woman,’ and marches enthusiastically for human rights. Can she join? I think the answer is yes, she can.
George is a medical doctor who happens also to be a black man and identifies as ‘Black middle class.’ Can he subscribe to a progressive email group and contribute to the discussion? I hope and suspect that he can.
And what about Julie? She runs an estate agency on the posh side of town but she also identifies as a ‘gay lesbian,’ can she join the parade? What a question! Of course she can.
Now Abe is an accountant and very attached to his Jewish heritage. Abe identifies as a ‘secular Jew,’ can he join the anti-war movement? More than likely he can, in fact he may even, within hours of his joining, find himself in a position of leadership.
But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ — can he join a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious at all because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ ideology and indeed, activism, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.
So, while Hammed is identifying with a universal and humanist precept, Jane, ‘the woman’, Julie ‘the Gay Lesbian’ and George ‘the Black’ openly subscribe to biologically-determined political identities. Furthermore, Abe, Identifying as a secular Jew, affiliates himself with a blood-based ethnocentric tribal identity. Clearly, the Left has no problem with such marginal and exclusivist political identities.
So, how is it possible that the contemporary Left discourse is sustained by people who, themselves subscribe to biologically-determined identity politics, yet so often reject similar, though often working class folk, who actually support equality and human rights issues? Could it be that the Left has in fact, drifted away from working class politics into some vague and inconsistent pseudo-empathic discourse primarily engaged in sectarian battles?
And there’s more.
Uri is an Israeli peace activist and writer who also identifies as an Israeli Leftist. Is Uri welcome within the progressive network? The answer is unreservedly, yes. But John Smith, an English bus driver from Liverpool is proud to be English and ‘as an Englishman’ he opposes the war because John actually believes that peace is patriotic. Can he join an anti-war protest and, while he’s at it, carry a Union Jack to demonstrations? I leave the answer to you.
Tony is a ‘Jewish Socialist’ – certainly not religious but an ethnic Jew who identifies ‘as a Jew’ racially and ethnically. And by the way, Tony also operates politically within Jews-only anti-Zionist groups. Now Tony is hugely welcome at most Left and progressive gathering. But can the same be said for Franz who identifies as an ‘Aryan socialist’? Again, I leave the answer to you.
The point is that yet again we detect a critical discrepancy in Left or progressive thinking. While Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is accepted, other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected. Is this a contradiction? You judge.
And, while we’re at it, what about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind the veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ gatherings? Not really. But Laura certainly supports human rights and equality almost as much as she loves Allah. But the Left’s and progressives’ tolerance towards Allah worshippers is particularly limited while, on the other hand, worshippers of the Talmud who are willing to oppose Israel are, not only tolerated, they are positively welcomed. Torah Jews, for instance, are often invited to progressive gatherings though, it must be said, they also encounter some resentment, especially from Jewish activists (This surely is because progressive Jews don’t like to be associated with people in caftans).
So it seems that membership of a progressive club is no straightforward matter because here we are here dealing with a discourse that is far from being open or inclusive. On the contrary, it is a pretty selective operation and far from being principled, coherent or universal. No longer is it committed to ‘members’ of the ‘working class’ - unless they first demonstrate adherence to a predetermined tablet of ‘correct politics’.
So what are these ‘correct politics’? Where are they defined and by whom?
In order to address this question we have to first delve into the peculiar ‘progressive’ threshold that leaves the Muslim and the nationalist out yet happily embraces other biologically-determined political, and even racial categories. Strangely enough, the mix that forms the Left alliance is suspiciously similar to the mix that sustains Liberal Zionist political power.
Is this a coincidence? Is it really that surprising that the Left, traditionally defined as a universal humanist discourse, is now supported politically and financially by a mixture of political identities that also lend their support to Israel and its rabidly nationalist, capitalist and ethnocentric ideology? No, it’s not, so I guess that the growing similarity between the Left and Liberal Zionism alliance demands some explanation. I’ve managed to come with three possible answers.
1. The Spin – The similarity between the Liberal Zionist alliance and the Left compound is a complete coincidence and reveals nothing about either Zionism or Left ideology.
2. The Observant – The Left and Liberal Zionism are basically two faces of the same coin.
3. The Forensic – By following the money trail, we see that most Left groups and liberal Zionism (a la J-Street and practically the entire progressive network) are funded by the same organizations, leading amongst them being George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
If the last is true (and I think it is) it may as well mean that a large part of the ‘dissident’ network is sustained by….wait for it… a Wall Street hedge fund. In other words we are dealing here with an institutional and well-funded controlled opposition apparatus. This may explain, what so often seems on the part of the Left and Progressive discourse generally, like complete dysfunction and utter impotence – whether in labour matters, domestic politics, foreign affairs, global wars and, of course, Palestine.
If the Left sees any reason to rescue itself — and this is indeed a big ‘if’ – it would first have to redeem itself from its greed and attachment to ‘big money.’ It may have to redefine for itself exactly what labour and ‘working class politics’ means for the workless.
Of course, it may just be that the Left has ended its political and ideological role, that basically, it belongs to the past. In other words, our capacity to think universally and ethically is now completely liberated from dialectical materialism or class division.
In the end, I doubt whether anyone within the progressive network possesses the intellectual capacity and ideological stamina to endure such a serious discussion.
I guess we’d just better move on.
It is obviously clear. President Obama is a threat not only to the American people. He is destabilizing the United States every way he can. He did this paying for Treyvon protest trying to start race wars as one example. He is a threat to world peace. He has to be neutralized before he takes the world into an age of war and destruction. Now how can that be done? Congress can pass all the impeachment bills. The US Senate will not by two thirds vote him guilty removing him from office. Politically there is very little that can be done to interpose between Obama and him destroying the world.
So who will step in and take action to avert a disaster from happening? The usurper in the White House is the most lawless President in history that makes Nixon and Clintonlook like choir boys in comparison. President Obama does not respect the Constitution and international law. He is waging war against the American people economically and shredding our Bill of Rights daily.
He is waging war against Christianity on the domestic front attacking religious freedom by forcing people of conscience to pay for Obamacare the pays for abortions. He is attacking Christians in the military daring to say the name of Jesus forcing chaplains to marry homosexuals against the moral conviction of the clergy. At the same time erecting Pagan places of worship on military installations. For this matter I call on the Patriots to relieve officers of duty and command who attack the religious freedom of the men and women in uniform. I do not care if the commander is a Buddhist and gay. He must respect and defend all faiths and conscience. If he is willing to follow an unlawful, immoral order without question that will weaken the fighting strength. Then the commanders and officers who carry these immoral orders need to be relieved of command.
President Obama is waging war on Christians in Syria, Egypt and now in Kenya. He is waging war against Christians world wide. He is a threat to the faith. He is arming the enemies of Christianity who are murdering unarmed woman and children. His actions are bringing instability to the world. He does not regard public opinion at all when it comes to gun control when the people are buying guns in record numbers and the citizens reluctance to go to war with Iran and Syria. Obama is a dangerous loose cannon that must be stopped.
First, Obama may be a natural born US Citizen because he was born in Hawaii. But he renounced his US citizenship becoming an Indonesian citizen taking on the name Barry Soetoro. His records are sealed where we do not know his immigration and naturalization records documenting repatriation or if he is a US citizen. Therefore he might be ineligible to hold office. Obama by his actions says he is an agent of a foreign power working against the United States. He is a domestic enemy of the United States.
He is arming Al Qaeda. The same terrorist that killed and maimed soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama’s half brother is being funded by the CIA to fund the Muslim brotherhood. Obama’s cousin Odinga is destabilizing Kenya. Odinga was given advice from Obama when he was a US Senator on how to cause havoc and destabilize Kenya for political gain.
Now with this massacre in Nairobi Kenya killing Christians in a Shopping mall. Now there are calls for the TSA to be in Shopping Malls that are another gun free zone. It would not surprise me if there are shootings in the malls in the states to further a police state here. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri was calling for small scale attacks on US soil. Al Zawahri is a CIA backed operative who was behind the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Obama is the head of the Muslim Brotherhood and backs AL Qaeda therefore must be taken down and brought to justice.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
President Obama is commiting treason daily against the Americans people waging war every way possible to weaken our republic. He is involved in insurrection and rebellion against the laws of the Union.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution.
If we took the oath. We are all duty bound to uphold that oath against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Those who are commissioned Officers in the Armed forces take the oath below:
I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
(DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution ofthe United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the UnitedStates and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
(Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
That oath does not say to defend unconstitutional laws and illegal orders. It does not say defend a political agenda or corrupt politicians. It does not say defend the dictator. If the laws contradict the USMJ and the Constitution of these United States. The people in the Armed forces are duty bound not to carry out the order.
We are very unique because our oaths are not to a person. But to the US Constitution. The people who written the Constitution and requiring an oath of affirmation to support and defend the Constitution. Not a monarchy. They knew the British Redcoats were bound to the will of the King. Not to any morals. They had to follow the decrees of the King without question. We do not serve a monarchy. We never swore to a dictator. We serve the cause of freedom defending and preserving our Constitution. Our oath to preserve, protect and defend out Constitution is a vital check and balance against tyranny and despotism. The UCMJ requires us to follow lawful orders and not illegal edicts that goes against the law of the land
President Obama through insurrection is working hard to overthrow the government ofthe United States. Obama is trying to find an excuse to declare a national emergency to place the USA under Martial law. He can announce the President is suspending the Constitution so continuity of government declaring the President Dictator under PD-51 President Bush singed. This makes the President a Dictator under any national emergency the chief executive decides what is and what isn’t . Congress has no say to review. This is a classified document congress is not allowed to read.
Right now in Benjamin Fulford newsletter he says with much skepticism from a source inside the Pentagon. General Staff officers are making a list of 30,000 people who are New World Order thugs including the President. All to be arrested for treason and insurrection attempting to overthrow the Constitutional government.
It has been rumored the Provost Marshal was going to arrest Obama for attempting to detonate a nuclear device in Washington DC on the 12th Anniversary of Sept 11th. The shooting in the Navy yard could be a smoke screen of the attempted arrest of Obama for treason. I can tell the Military is getting ready to act to defend this nation. When Secretary of State John Kerry signed the UN Small Arms Trade Treaty. That was an act of treason trying to repeal the Second Amendment by underhanded means using treaty law.
I do not see much of the Military going out to confiscate guns. It is not 2005 in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is a different world.
The Military is very awake now to the President’s treasonous ways. It is my hope the Military stands down instead of carrying out illegal orders where Obama is crowned King Nothing.
Source: From The Trenches World Report
A former female MP was involved in a paedophile network at the heart of government, police have been told.
She is alleged to have forced a boy in care to perform a “vile” sex act at one of a series of drug-fuelled parties in Westminster in the Eighties where boys and girls as young as 13 were allegedly abused.
Last night her alleged victim told the Sunday Express: “I want justice.”
Andrew Ash, now 45, said he has given Scotland Yard the name of the former MP. We cannot name her for legal reasons.
Mr Ash claims he was frequently ferried down to London from the North of England, where he was in care, to take part in sex parties.
He says they were organised by a paedophile ring involving David Smith, Jimmy Savile’s former chauffeur who killed himself last year before he was due to stand trial for sex offences.
He said: “It wasn’t just politicians, there were also a number of celebrities, including Jimmy Savile, who seemed to have a lot of good links to MPs and powerful businessmen.
“There was usually drugs like cocaine and speed available as well as bottles of champagne.”
Of his encounter with the female MP, he said: “She was extremely drunk and was laughing as she did it.
“I didn’t really know what was going on but the others around her were goading her on.
“I must have been about 13 years old at the time and felt humiliated.” We can also reveal that security services have been working closely with Yard detectives because of the highly sensitive nature of the allegations.
The Sunday Express understands police seized video footage and photographs of an alleged sex party from a well-known paedophile last year.
Mr Ash claims officers have footage which shows a senior male MP in the same frame as him, although no abuse takes place on camera. He said he is speaking out now because he is frustrated by the lack of action after being interviewed for 70 hours by the Met Police’s Paedophile Unit.
He says he was abused by the male MP on another occasion too. He said: “I remember being filmed with this MP, who was abusing me in a garage of a very prominent building behind a Rolls-Royce.
“Another politician turned up with a video camera but the man abusing me just smirked and joked, ‘OK, OK, I’ll vote any way you want’ as if he was being blackmailed. What I want to know is why they haven’t arrested him yet if they have this evidence.
“All I want is justice and for the truth to come out because these people have been protected for far too long.”
Mr Ash said two Met officers called at his home in Yorkshire last May.
Interviews were conducted mainly at a safe house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, but also in London. “The interviews were usually carried out in blocks of three, normally every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“On at least two occasions there were two other officers present that I didn’t recognise. They didn’t ask me a thing, they just scribbled notes.
“I asked who they were but all I was told was that they were from ‘upstairs’. It was clear from the tone that they were intelligence officers.
“They had obviously been made aware of the high-profile names and the sensitive information I had given police.”
Dutch intelligence officers attended at least one interview because Andrew told of being trafficked to Amsterdam on a number of occasions to be abused by a group of paedophiles including convicted child killer Sidney Cooke.
He claims Cooke, now 84, made him film the paedophile abusing another young boy on video. It is feared Cooke may have abused and killed young boys in the Netherlands.
Mr Ash also told police he was abused by a big-name celebrity.
He said: “This particular person was able to get youngsters into glitzy nightclubs in the West End. After one evening he invited me and a young girl back to his house where he made us have sex before joining in.”
Mr Ash is being helped by anti-abuse campaigners Bill Maloney and Chris Fay.
Mr Fay said: “The police have spent a good deal of time with him, listening to his evidence, and now potentially have compelling information that Andrew was at one of these parties with at least one prominent former MP.
“He hopes by speaking out, other victims may come forward.”
There is a certain level of dishonesty in the common study of history. We look back at the tyrannies of the past, the monstrous governments, the devastating wars and the unimaginable crimes, and we wonder how it could have been possible. How could the people of that particular generation let such atrocities come to pass? Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they protest? Why didn’t they fight back?
We wonder all of this as we absorb the lists of dates, names and actions in books written by other men who memorized other lists of dates, names and actions. We are taught to study and wonder without ever actually applying the lessons of the past to the developments of today. We are conditioned to assert our own narrow spin on yesterday, instead of placing ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors or recognizing that their struggles remain our struggles. The modern method of viewing history detaches us from it, making it seem distant, alien or surreal.
Perhaps many societies fail to prepare or act in the face of tyranny because they had forgotten their own histories, making the demise of their culture appear so schizophrenic they would not believe what their eyes were telling them.
Often, the only way to grasp the more complete truth of the present is to examine it through the lens of the absurd. Sadly, our Nation, our culture and most of the world around us have become so backward, ugly, feeble and twisted that the only adequate comparison is to the nightmares of surrealists.
When I examine recent U.S. legislation, the exposure of classified documents, and the openly admitted criminality of political leadership, I am consistently reminded of Franz Kafka’s The Trial.
Kafka was a self-styled socialist back in the days when socialism was thought to be the next revolutionary movement for the downtrodden masses. It was, of course, controlled opposition created by global elitists attempting to exploit the natural rebellious tendencies of the general public within a false paradigm — using the masses to achieve greater power for a select few, while making the people think that they had won. It is ironic that Kafka would write The Trial, one of the greatest condemnations of totalitarian surveillance society, while at the same time supporting the socialist political vehicle that would eventually be used to implement unrelenting bureaucratic despotism.
The Trial is commonly labeled a “surrealist” piece of fiction, but I wonder now if it was actually far more literal than the academics of the past actually gave it credit for. The problem is that most of America, and much of the Western world, has forgotten what it is like to experience true danger and true suffering. We read about it now and watch movies about it like it’s entertainment, but few people have the slightest inkling how to deal with the real thing. We don’t even know how to recognize it. Because of this, Americans tend to pay more attention to fictional representations of tyranny rather than legitimate tyranny taking place right under their noses.
With that sad fact in mind, watch this clip from Orson Welles’ cinematic version of The Trial. See if you recognize your own world in this work of “fantasy”:
The main character of The Trial, Josef K., finds his apartment invaded by police in the early hours of the morning. Josef responds with anger but also fear, attempting to defend his character without actually understanding the nature of the police visit. The police answer his questions with more accusatory questions, only later warning him that he is being watched and that he is under arrest. The police do not, however, take him immediately into custody; nor do they ever tell him what his crime was. It is implied, in fact, that Josef is not allowed to know what he is being charged with.
This episode in The Trial has been played out in the real world over and over again, from the Soviet Cheka, to Adolf Hitler’s SS and Brownshirts, to Benito Mussolini’s Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Anti-Fascism (OVRA), to the German Stasi, to Mao Zedong’s Central Security Bureau, etc. In the United States, the culture of surveillance and intrusion has (for now) taken a more subtle approach through the use of technology. We do not yet have agents physically rummaging through all our homes and asking for our papers (though we are not far away from this). Rather, we have the National Security Agency, which rummages through our electronic communications while using our own computer cameras and cellphones to watch us, listen to us and track us. All of this, mind you, is done on a massive scale without warrant.
We have the Authorization for Use of Military Force and the National Defense Authorization Act, which give the President the centralized authority to detain and even kill those Americans designated as “enemy combatants” without trial, without due process and without public oversight.
Our government now uses secret evidence to charge citizens with crimes they are not allowed to discuss with the public on the argument that to do so would “threaten national security.”That’s right; the government can arrest you or assassinate you based on evidence they never have to disclose to you, your family, your lawyer or the citizenry.
In the U.S. today, the kind of establishment terror Kafka imagined is indeed a reality. We are not on the verge of a total surveillance state, we are there. It exists. And if we do not accept that this is our social condition, there may be no historians tomorrow to look back on our era and wonder: “Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they fight back?”
The revelations brought by Edward Snowden on the NSA and its PRISM mass surveillance program are still only partially understood by the public. Even many self-proclaimed “cypherpunks” and “techno-warriors” don’t really grasp the pervasiveness of the all-seeing NSA eye. Recent documents leaked to German news source Der Spiegel by Snowden reveal an Internet almost completely dominated by the NSA, where even total encryption would be a mere temporary stopgap, according to tech researcher and journalist Jacob Appelbaum. The TAO group, sanctioned by the NSA, has been using technologies for years that startle even the most avid tech experts. To make matters worse, many of the intrusive mechanisms have been implemented — likely with the direct aid of American software and computer companies.
With NSA access to the backbone or core of the Internet, there is no digital privacy anywhere. The cypherpunks lost the war for the Web a long time ago, and they don’t seem to know it yet.
Beyond the undeniable prevalence of government surveillance, what would our American Kafkaesque experience be like without kangaroo courts designed to defend the criminal establishment instead of the victimized population? The latest Federal court decision on the NSA’s methods is that they are perfectly legal and “necessary” to protect Americans from national security threats. If you are a student of Constitutional law, this decision truly boggles the mind.
One of the most powerful incidents in The Trial is Josef’s speech to his court of accusers. In this moment, Josef argues with concrete logic and impassioned reason. His position is supported with beautifully crafted merit and truth. But what he does not realize is that the court he is trying to convince does not exist to discover the truth. The court is a sideshow, a piece of elaborate theater. The participants are there to make Josef, and the society at large, feel as though justice has been given a fair chance. Josef’s pleas are met with fake cheers, scripted jeers and even engineered distractions. Finally, he comes to understand that the system’s purpose is to destroy him. Everything else is an illusion.
The Web cannot be made free or private from within; our courts cannot be made fair and just from within; neither political party can be forced to represent the common man from within; and our government cannot be made honest or transparent from within. To play games of activism within establishment dominated systems is to play make-believe within a surrealist nightmare; a piece of “Alice in Wonderland” political quackery. Like the audience at Josef’s trial, the elites simply laugh at such activists, or feign applause, while continuing forever with the same corruption and the criminal status quo.
America has long presented itself as the ultimate alternative to the torturous mechanisms of oligarchs; and a long time ago, it was certainly a noble effort. However, our heritage of liberty — the faint memory of it — is all that’s left today. There is a contingent of men and women in our country, millions of us, that steward over this memory and seek to make whole once again, but the road ahead is long, with struggles beyond all reckoning.
Some people may ask how this could have occurred. How did we become the monster we were supposed to fight against? What happened to the good side and the bad side? Have they become exactly the same?
Those of us who have looked beyond the standardized veil of history know that this is not by accident. Those of us who decipher the surreal know that there is a method to the madness and an ultimate goal. To explain further, I leave you with another piece of fiction, a clip from the British TV series “The Prisoner.” While not written by Kafka, it was definitely inspired by him. It carries a message I would have liked to have warned him about concerning the disturbing path of duality, the mask with multiple faces that tyranny uses to subvert and enslave…
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.
1. Mainstream media exists solely to make profit
What´s the purpose of the mainstream media? Saying that the press exists to inform, educate or entertain is like saying Apple corporation´s primary function is to make technology which will enrich our lives. Actually, the mass media industry is the same as any other in a capitalist society: it exists to make profit. Medialens, a British campaigning site which critiques mainstream (or corporate) journalism, quotedbusiness journalist Marjorie Kelly as saying that all corporations, including those dealing with media, exist only to maximize returns to their shareholders. This is, she said, ´the law of the land…universally accepted as a kind of divine, unchallengeable truth´. Without pleasing shareholders and a board of directors, mass media enterprises simply would not exist. And once you understand this, you´ll never watch the news in the same way again.
2. Advertisers dictate content
So how does the pursuit of profit affect the news we consume? Media corporations make the vast majority (typically around 75%) of their profit from advertising, meaning it´s advertisers themselves that dictate content- not journalists, and certainly not consumers. Imagine you are editor of a successful newspaper or TV channel with high circulation or viewing figures. You attract revenue from big brands and multinational corporations such as BP, Monsanto and UAE airlines. How could you then tackle important topics such as climate change, GM food or disastrous oil spills in a way that is both honest to your audience and favorable to your clients? The simple answer is you can´t. This might explain why Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times- sponsored by Goldman Sachs- is so keen todefend the crooked corporation. Andrew Marr, a political correspondent for the BBC, sums up the dilemma in his autobiography: ´The biggest question is whether advertising limits and reshapes the news agenda. It does, of course. It’s hard to make the sums add up when you are kicking the people who write the cheques.´ Enough said…
3. Billionaire tycoons & media monopolies threaten real journalism
The monopolization of the press (fewer individuals or organizations controlling increasing shares of the mass media) is growingyear by year, and this is a grave danger to press ethics and diversity. Media mogul RupertMurdoch´s neo-liberal personal politics are reflected in his 175 newspapers and endorsed by pundits (see Fox news) on the 123 TV channels he owns in the USA alone. Anyone who isn´t worried by this one man´s view of the world being consumed by millions of people across the globe- from the USA to the UK, New Zealand to Asia, Europe to Australia- isn´t thinking hard enough about the consequences. It´s a grotesquely all-encompassing monopoly, leaving no doubt that Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. But as the News International phone hacking scandal showed, he´s certainly not the most honorable or ethical. Neither is AlexanderLebedev, a former KGB spy and politician who bought British newspaper The Independent in 2010. With Lebedev´s fingers in so many pies (the billionaire oligarch is into everything from investment banking to airlines), can we really expect news coverage from this once well-respected publication to continue in the same vein? Obviously not: the paper had always carried a banner on its front page declaring itself ´free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence´, but interestingly this was dropped in September 2011.
4. Corporate press is in bed with the government
Aside from the obvious, one of the most disturbing facts to emerge from Murdoch´s News International phone hacking scandal (background information here ) was the exposure of shady connections between top government officials and press tycoons. During the scandal, and throughout the subsequent Leveson inquiry into British press ethics (or lack of them), we learned of secret meetings, threatsby Murdoch to politicians who didn´t do as he wanted, and that Prime Minister David Cameron has a very close friendship with The Sun´s then editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks. How can journalists do their job of holding politicians to account when they are vacationing together or rubbing shoulders at private dinner parties? Clearly, they don´t intend to. But the support works both ways- Cameron´s government tried to help Murdoch´s son win a bid for BSkyB, while bizarrely, warmongering ex Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch´s daughter Grace. As well as ensuring an overwhelming bias in news coverage and election campaigns, flooding newspapers with cheap and easy articles from unquestioned government sources, and gagging writers from criticizing those in power, these secret connections also account for much of the corporate media´s incessant peddling of the patriotism lie- especially in the lead-up to attacks on other countries. Here´s an interestinganalysis of The New York Times´s coverage of the current Syria situation for example, demonstrating how corporate journalists are failing to reflect public feeling on the issue of a full-scale attack on Assad by the US and its allies.
5. Important stories are overshadowed by trivia
You could be forgiven for assuming that the most interesting part of Edward Snowden´s status as a whistleblower was his plane ride from Hong Kong to Russia, or his lengthy stint waiting in Moscow airport for someone- anyone- to offer him asylum. Because with the exception of The Guardian who published the leaks (read them in fullhere), the media has generally preferred not to focus on Snowden´s damning revelations about freedom and tyranny, but rather on banaltrivia – his personality and background, whether his girlfriend misses him, whether he is actually a Chinese spy, and ahhh, didn´t he remind us all of Where´s Waldo as he flitted across the globe as a wanted fugitive? The same could be said of Bradley Manning´s gender re-assignment, which conveniently overshadowed the enormous injustice of his sentence. And what of Julian Assange? His profile on the globally-respected BBC is dedicated almost entirely to a subtle smearing of character, rather than detailing Wikileaks´s profound impact on our view of the world. In every case, the principal stories are forgotten as our attention, lost in a sea of trivia, is expertly diverted from the real issues at hand: those which invariably, the government wants us to forget.
6. Mainstream media doesn´t ask questions
´Check your sources, check your facts´ are golden rules in journalism 101, but you wouldn´t guess that from reading the mainstream press or watching corporate TV channels. At the time of writing, Obama is beating the war drums over Syria. Following accusations by the US and Britain that Assad was responsible for a nerve gas attack on his own civilians last month, most mainstream newspapers- like the afore-mentioned New York Times- have failed to demand evidence or call for restraint on a full-scale attack. But there are several good reasons why journalists should question the official story. Firstly, British right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail actually ran a news piece back in January this year, publishing leaked emails from a British arms company showing the US was planning a false flag chemical attack on Syria´s civilians. They would then blame it on Assad to gain public support for a subsequent full-scale invasion. The article was hastily deleted but a cached version still exists. Other recent evidence lends support to the unthinkable. It has emerged that the chemicals used to make the nerve gas were indeed shipped from Britain, and German intelligenceinsists Assad was not responsible for the chemical attack. Meanwhile, a hacktivist has come forward with alleged evidence of US intelligence agencies´ involvement in the massacre (download it for yourself here ), with a growing body of evidence suggesting this vile plot was hatched by Western powers. Never overlook the corporate media´s ties to big business and big government before accepting what you are told- because if journalism is dead, you have a right and a duty to ask your own questions.
7. Corporate journalists hate real journalists
Sirota rightly points out the irony of this: ´Here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.´ Sirota goes on to note various examples of what he calls the ´Journalists against Journalism club´, and gives severalexamples of how The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has been attacked by the corporate press for publishing Snowden´s leaks. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest, while NBC’s David Gregory´s declared that Greenwald has ´aided and abetted Snowden´. As for the question of whether journalists can indeed be outspoken, Sirota accurately notes that it all depends on whether their opinions serve or challenge the status quo, and goes on to list the hypocrisy of Greenwald´s critics in depth: ´Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. (The Washington Post´s David) Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. (The Washington Post´s Bob) Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. (The Atlantic´s Jeffrey) Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. (The New York Times´s Thomas) Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstated assumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity.´
8. Bad news sells, good news is censored, and celebrity gossip trumps important issues
It´s sad but true: bad news really does sell more newspapers. But why? Are we really so pessimistic? Do we relish the suffering of others? Are we secretly glad that something terrible happened to someone else, not us? Reading the corporate press as an alien visiting Earth you might assume so. Generally, news coverage is sensationalist and depressing as hell, with so many pages dedicated to murder, rape and pedophilia and yet none to the billions of good deeds and amazingly inspirational movements taking place every minute of every day all over the planet. But the reasons we consume bad news are perfectly logical. In times of harmony and peace, people simply don´t feel the need to educate themselves as much as they do in times of crises. That´s good news for anyone beginning to despair that humans are apathetic, hateful and dumb, and it could even be argued that this sobering and simple fact is a great incentive for the mass media industry to do something worthwhile. They could start offering the positive and hopeful angle for a change. They could use dark periods of increased public interest to convey a message of peace and justice. They could reflect humanity´s desire for solutions and our urgent concerns for the environment. They could act as the voice of a global population who has had enough of violence and lies to campaign for transparency, equality, freedom, truth, and real democracy. Would that sell newspapers? I think so. They could even hold a few politicians to account on behalf of the people, wouldn´t that be something? But for the foreseeable future, it´s likely the corporate press will just distract our attention with another picture of Rhianna´s butt, another rumor about Justin Bieber´s coke habit, or another article about Kim Kardashian (who is she again?) wearing perspex heels with swollen ankles while pregnant. Who cares about the missing$21 trillion, what was she thinking?
9. Whoever controls language controls the population
Have you read George Orwell´s classic novel1984 yet? It´s become a clichéd reference in today´s dystopia, that´s true, but with good reason. There are many- too many- parallels between Orwell´s dark imaginary future and our current reality, but one important part of his vision concerned language. Orwell coined the word ´Newspeak´ to describe a simplistic version of the English language with the aim of limiting free thought on issues that would challenge the status quo (creativity, peace, and individualism for example). The concept of Newspeak includes what Orwell called ´DoubleThink´- how language is made ambiguous or even inverted to convey the opposite of what is true. In his book, the Ministry of War is known as the Ministry of Love, for example, while the Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda and entertainment. Sound familiar yet? Another book that delves into this topic deeper is Unspeak, a must-read for anyone interested in language and power and specifically how words are distorted for political ends. Terms such as ´peace keeping missiles´, ´extremists´ and ´no-fly zones´, weapons being referred to as ´assets´, or misleading business euphemisms such as ´downsizing´ for redundancy and ´sunset´ for termination- these, and hundreds of other examples, demonstrate how powerful language can be. In a world of growing corporate media monopolization, those who wield this power can manipulate words and therefore public reaction, to encourage compliance, uphold the status quo, or provoke fear.
10. Freedom of the press no longer exists
The only press that is currently free (at least for now) is the independent publication with no corporate advertisers, board of directors, shareholders or CEOs. Details of how the state has redefined journalism are noted here and are mentioned in #7, but the best recent example would be the government´s treatment of The Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks. As a side note, it´s possible this paper plays us as well as any other- The Guardian Media Group isn´t small fry, after all. But on the other hand- bearing in mind points 1 to 9- why should we find it hard to believe that after the NSA files were published, editor Alan Rusbridge wastold by the powers that be ´you´ve had your fun, now return the files´, that government officials stormed his newsroom and smashed up hard drives, or that Greenwald´s partner David Miranda wasdetained for 9 hours in a London airport under the Terrorism Act as he delivered documents related to the columnist´s story? Journalism, Alan Rusbridge lamented, ´may be facing a kind of existential threat.´ As CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wrote: ‘We have few princes and earls today, but we surely have their modern-day equivalents in the very wealthy who seek to manage the news, make unsavory facts disappear and elect representatives who are in service to their own economic and social agenda… The “free press” is no longer a check on power. It has instead become part of the power apparatus itself.’
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and a freelance feature writer for various publications on society, activism and other topics. You can read more of her stuff here.
Source: True Activist
Ain el Helweh camp, Lebanon – It’s not just the leadership of the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine, six decades after the 1948 Nakba, that appears to be salivating at the current stoking of current tensions between the Palestinian Resistance and in some respects, its historic off-spring Hezbollah.
From Tel Aviv, to Amman, Riyadh, the Gulf Kingdoms to Washington DC and beyond, the forces allied against the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah-Palestinian Resistance are working on yet another project to weaken and hopefully destroy all four.
It won’t be easy, but it is reportedly a key element among the anti-Resistance forces still seeking regime change in Syria. Even while some of these governments have been playing down their central goal of regime change in public. The same governments appear to be fantasizing that by building up the Lebanese army with a pledged $three billion from Riyadh, its troops will somehow confront Hezbollah and its allies as part of a long-term “beat em or bleed em” project.
Patrick Cockburn writing recently in the UK Independent and Counterpunch accurately summarized situation of “Anti-Shia hate propaganda spread by Sunni religious figures sponsored by, or based in, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, is creating the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world.”
The egging on the Palestinian and Hezbollah to confront each other has increased over the past three months in Lebanon’s camps and particularly from some of the local Sunni and Christian power centers. This in addition to continuing support for various ‘militia of the month’ groups terrorizing the population of the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as essentially imprisoning without food and medical care the remaining 17,000 out of a March 2011 population of 250,000 Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp in Damascus.
This is not to say that there are no continuing, and sometimes long held tensions among a small percentage of the Palestinians in Lebanon and some among Hezbollah and its allies, the Amal Movement and Michele Aoun’s, Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). It is the latter who is among the most anti-Palestinian of the Christian warlords and who some in Hezbollah and Palestinian factions cite for blocking Hezbollah from pushing for the right to work and to own a home for Palestinians in Lebanon. As for Amal, this Hezbollah’s Shia ally, is widely believed to have killed more Palestinians in Lebanon during the 1985-88 camp massacres ( it’s a misnomer to call them “wars” as the camps were basically defenseless) than Zionists have in the past 60 years. To this day, many Palestinians take deep umbrage with the long-time Amal leader posters placed outside Shatila and other camps since he is fairly universally despised by Palestinians in Lebanon for giving the orders for slaughtering so many of them. Attempts to remove his posters-portraits from Palestinian camps which are considered a provocation by many, risk facing his armed militia that occupies part of Shatila. The Sunni and Shia populations in the camps largely co-exist in a tense but generally peaceful juxtaposition with refugees from Syria. But it’s not the quality of relations that obtained before the Syria crisis and Hezbollah’s involvement there.
Hezbollah also has several reasons to question Palestinian support of the “National Lebanon Resistance” which the Party of God leads. There has been some evidence of individual Palestinians supporting anti-Hezbollah militia forces and political parties in Lebanon, and, according to camp officials they admit that some individual Palestinians go and return to Syria to fight against the Assad regime. Some who are close to Hezbollah claim that many Palestinians don’t appreciate that the organization is the main supporter of their cause to return to Palestine and are ingrates for all that Hezbollah does for them. Rebuttals include that regrettably Hezbollah has done little for Palestinians living in Lebanon’s camps and that Hezbollah has to date refused to use its political power to force Lebanon to comply with international law and grant elementary civil rights to them, including the rights to work and to own a home.
Against this backdrop, Al-Nusra Front leader Abou Mohammed al-Jawlani said that the Al-Qaeda-linked organization is active on Lebanese soil in order to help the Sunnis including Palestinians face the “injustice” of Shiite Hezbollah. “Lebanon’s Sunni are requesting that the mujahideen intervene to lift up the injustice they are suffering from at the hands of Hezbollah and similar militias,” Jawlani said in an interview on Al-Jazeera recently.
Shiite-populated areas across Lebanon have been the target of terror attacks since Hezbollah declared it was fighting on the side of the Syrian regime in May. Three car bomb attacks have targeted southern Beirut in recent months while a number of IED attacks have occurred in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley.
The head of the Islamic Jihadist Movement in Ain al-Helweh camps, Sheikh Jamal Khattab, voiced fears on 1/8/14 of a possible armed sectarian confrontation between Hezbollah and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon if the party did not revise its policies at home and in Syria. Sheikh Khattab told the Beirut Daily Star that “any fighting between Palestinians and Hezbollah could be worse than the three year violence between the Amal militia and Palestinians in the 1980’s, known as the “war of the camps.” (read: massacres) That conflict in which largely Shia forces attacked Sunni was not considered particularly sectarian and Hezbollah helped end it and protect the overwhelmingly Sunni Palestinians civilian population. Today it would be a Sunni vs. Shia war with regional and international consequences given the poisonous sea-change in sectarian relations since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In Ain al-Helweh and other camps, posters of local men killed while fighting alongside Syrian rebels or against U.S. troops in Iraq are tacked up throughout the camp. Lebanese security sources claim that Palestinian Islamist groups in Ain al-Hilweh, particularly Usbat al-Ansar, Jund al-Sham, Fatah al-Islam, other Salafist groups and supporters of controversial fugitive Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir have all finalized preparations to defend Sidon against any attack by Hezbollah’s organized and trained “Resistance Brigades”. Rumors abound that these groups are being financed for this purpose by certain of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries and some Lebanese pro-Western March 14 parties. These groups and some of their sponsors consider conditions ripe in Lebanon for an expanded war against “Shia infidels” and have plans to bring it here. Several groups now fighting in Syria claim to seek a wider war “against Shia infidels “and pledge to bring the Sunni-Shia war here.
The Palestinian Follow-Up Committee, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Fatah and the Palestinian National Security Forces have all strongly condemned as haphazard any irresponsible accusations against Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp after the assassination of ex-Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s adviser, Mohammed Shatah, Also recent harassment of passersby near Ain el Helweh camp remind some of the tight grip the army continues on Nahr al Bared, near Tripoli in the north of Lebanon. Based on interviews by this observer with residents of Ain el-Helweh, there clearly are supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades among others. But one can find the same across Lebanon especially in Sunni areas. The officials claim that while they cannot prevent anyone from joining the fighting in Syria, all Palestinian groups in Lebanon and Syria and elsewhere have consistently maintained their policy of non-involvement in the Syrian crisis. Yet some Palestinian Islamist factions and camp residents criticize Hezbollah’s armed support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
For their part, some pro-Hezbollah groups and many Lebanese citizens are suspicious of possible Palestinian involvement in recent terror attacks in Dahiyeh and the recent bombing of the Iranian Embassy. In point of fact, one of the two suicide bombers who attacked the Iranian Embassy on 11/17/13 was a Palestinian named Mouin Abu Dahr. His mother is a Shiite and his father a Sunni. Ain al-Hilweh is also in the spotlight currently due to the arrest of Majid al-Majid, the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Majid is believed to have lived in Ain al-Hilweh since 2012.
Israel and its new and longtime allies seek Sunni-Shia war and the sooner the better. They also favor the continuation of the Syria crisis for the reason they consider Hezbollah is squandering some of their best fighters and commanders and well as their weapons stores. Western Diplomats have spoken about US-Israeli hopes that Syria will be Hezbollah’s Achilles heel and Iran’s Vietnam. Meanwhile Israeli media has commented on the views of some officials who are claiming that Hezbollah has shifted its attention to Syria and away from the southern front with occupied Palestine.
Time will tell.
But for its part Hezbollah maintains that by defending Lebanon and fighting ” takferi terrorists” it is using only five percent of its capacity to confront Israel. One source close to the Resistance reported that “Hezbollah has self-sufficiency when it comes to the missiles, strategic and non-strategic weapons. All these weapons are quite abundant. Any additional equipment will constitute a negative factor because there is no need for them. All the weapons that are manufactured by Iran or owned by Syria are also available for Hezbollah. The land forces and the Special Forces fighting in Syria have acquired a lot of practical and intelligence related experience and a force of maneuvering on the land. This experience will be used when the war with Israel begins again.”
The Sunni and the Shia just as with the Palestinians and Hezbollah need each other for many reasons including to confront growing Islamophobia, anti-Arab hate propaganda and the deepening and broadening Apartheid occupation of Palestine.
All must work to tamp down their differences publicly and privately while working to neutralize both Sunni and Shia sectarian provocateurs, domestic, regional and international that today are seeking internecine and sectarian violence in order to weaken both.
“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” – President Woodrow Wilson, Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?
People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists.
“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. “They are different from you and me.”
And let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. Let’s begin in 1979 in Afghanistan, where the Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”) were in battle against a secular, progressive government supported by the Soviet Union; a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.
With America’s massive and indispensable military backing in the 1980s, Afghanistan’s last secular government (bringing women into the 20th century) was overthrown, and out of the victoriousMoujahedeen arose al Qaeda.
During this same period the United States was supporting the infamous Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; yes, the same charming lads of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields.
President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a leading force behind the US support of both the Moujahedeen and the Khmer Rouge. What does that tell you about that American leader? Or Jimmy Carter – an inspiration out of office, but a rather different person in the White House? Or Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who chose Brzezinski as one of his advisers?
Another proud example of the United States fighting the awful jihadists is Kosovo, an overwhelmingly Muslim province of Serbia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began an armed conflict with Belgrade in the early 1990s to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against Serbia. But Washington’s imperialists, more concerned about dealing a blow to Serbia, “the last communist government in Europe”, supported the KLA.
The KLA have been known for their torture and trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.
More recently the US has supported awful jihadists in Libya and Syria, with awful consequences.
It would, moreover, be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.
Not exactly the grand savior our sad old world is yearning for. (Oh, did I mention that Washington’s policies create a never-ending supply of terrorists?)
And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club when she wrote that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history.”
If you’ve never done anything you wouldn’t want the government to know about, you should re-examine your life choices.
“The idea is to build an antiterrorist global environment,” a senior American defense official said in 2003, “so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited.”
One must wonder: When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, CIA torture renditions, and round-the-world, round-the-clock surveillance become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and John Brennan will be too embarrassed to defend?
Last month, a former National Security Agency official told the Washington Post that the Agency’s workers are polishing up their résumés and asking that they be cleared – removing any material linked to classified programs – so they can be sent out to potential employers. He noted that one employee who processes the résumés said, “I’ve never seen so many résumés that people want to have cleared in my life.”
Morale is “bad overall”, said another former official. “The news – the Snowden disclosures – it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” he said. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’ And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”
President Obama was recently moved to declare that he would be proposing “some self-restraint on the NSA” and “some reforms that can give people more confidence.” He also said “In some ways, the technology and the budgets and the capacity [at NSA] have outstripped the constraints. And we’ve got to rebuild those in the same way that we’re having to do on a whole series of capacities … [such as] drone operations.”
Well, dear readers and comrades, we shall see. But if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope to begin a new year, you may as well try grabbing onto these little offerings. When the American Empire crumbles, abroad and at home, as one day it must, Edward Snowden’s courageous actions may well be seen as one of the key steps along that road. I’ve long maintained that only the American people have the power to stop The Imperial Machine – the monster that eats the world’s environment, screws up its economies, and spews violence on every continent. And for that to happen the American people have to lose their deep-seated, quasi-religious belief in “American Exceptionalism”. For many, what they’ve been forced to learn the past six months has undoubtedly worn deep holes into the protective armor that has surrounded their hearts and minds since childhood.
A surprising and exhilarating example of one of these holes in the armor is the New Year’s day editorial in the New York Times that is now well known. Entitled “Edward Snowden, Whistle-blower” – itself a legitimation of his actions – its key part says: “Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
The president has been moved to appoint a committee to study NSA abuses. This of course is a standard bureaucratic maneuver to keep critics at bay. But the committee – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – did come up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:
“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”
“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”
The first recommendation refers to a practice, though certainly despicable, that is something the United States has been doing, and lying about, for decades. Just this past September, James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, declared: “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies.”
Clapper is the same gentleman who told Congress in March that the NSA does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans; and, when subsequently challenged on this remark, declared: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no’.”
The second recommendation had not been revealed before, in a Snowden document or from any other source.
“That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about,” observed the director of a government transparency group.
ABC News reported that “A spokesperson for the NSA declined to comment on the issue of bank account hacking, and a representative for U.S. Cyber Command did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.”
Manipulating bank records is about as petty and dishonorable as a superpower can behave, and could conceivably, eventually, lead to the end of the NSA as we’ve all come to know and love it. On the other hand, the Agency no doubt holds some very embarrassing information about anyone in a position to do them harm.
The bombing of Flight 103 – Case closed?
When the 25th anniversary of the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 occurred on December 21 I was fully expecting the usual repetitions of the false accusation against Libya and Moammar Gaddafi as being responsible for the act which took the lives of 270 people over and in Lockerbie, Scotland. But much to my surprise, mingled with such, there were a rash of comments skeptical of the official British-US version, made by various people in Scotland and elsewhere, including by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Libya.
In a joint statement the three governments said they were determined to unearth the truth behind the attack. “We want all those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed”, they declared.
Remarkable. In 1991, the United States indicted a Libyan named Adelbaset al-Megrahi. He was eventually found guilty of being the sole perpetrator of the crime, kept in prison for many years, and finally released in 2009 when he had terminal cancer, allegedly for humanitarian reasons, although an acute smell of oil could be detected. And now they speak of bringing to justice “those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism”.
The 1988 crime was actually organized by Iran in retaliation for the American shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in July of the same year, which took the lives of 290 people. It was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), a 1968 breakaway from a component of the Palestine Liberation Organization, with some help from Syria. And this version was very widely accepted in the Western world, in government and media circles. Until the US buildup to the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria was needed. Then, suddenly, we were told that it was Libya behind the crime.
If the US and UK now wish to return to Iran, and perhaps Syria, as the culprits, they will have a lot of explaining to do about their previous lie. But these two governments always have a lot of explaining to do. They’re good at it. And the great bulk of their indoctrinated citizens, with little resistance, will accept the new/old party line, and their mainstream media will effortlessly switch back to the old/new official version, since Iran and Syria are at the top of the current list of Bad Guys. (The PFLP-GC has been quiescent for some time and may scarcely exist.)
If you’re confused by all this, I suggest that you start by reading my detailed article on the history of this case, written in 2001 but still very informative and relevant. You may be rather surprised.
The UK, US and Libyan governments have now announced that they will co-operate to reveal “the full facts” of the Lockerbie bombing. And Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, said he believes more people will be charged. This could be very interesting.
Free books of historical value
- The complete set, less one volume, of the 15 Church Committee (1975-6) volumes. Lacking only Final Report, book 6: “Congressional Research Service. Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activities.”
- The complete set, less one volume, of the 6 Pike Committee volumes. Lacking only volume 6: “Committee Proceedings, part II”
- The Rockefeller Commission Report, one volume.
- Hearings on FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) before Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (same as Church Committee), one volume.
Total of 21 volumes, all from 1975-1976, all in good condition. Either pick them up in Washington, DC or send me $10 for postage.
- Washington Post May 11, 1979; New York Times, April 13 1979
- William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” (2005), chapter 10
- RT TV (Russia Today, Moscow), May 4, 2012
- Associated Press, December 14, 2010
- Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations), January/February 2000 issue
- New York Times, January 17, 2003
- Washington Post, December 7, 2013
- Washington Post, December 18, 2013
- Washington Post, December 7, 2013
- “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”, p.221
- See Anti-Empire Report, #118, June 26, 2013, second part
- Statement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Allegations of Economic Espionage, September 8, 2013
- NBC News, June 9, 2013
- Kel McLanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, speaking to ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
- ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
- Reuters news agency, December 22, 2013