They are 67 new families, or about 400 Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria, residing in 60 recently erected tents set up as an emergency ‘gathering’ near the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp adjacent to the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon. In all, there are approximately 75,000 thousand Palestinians in Lebanon who have fled from Syria over the past 28 months.
Additional Palestinians arrive every week and sometimes meet former neighbors from Yarmouk and other Syrian Palestinian camps at the Masnaa Lebanon-Syria border crossing. The new arrivals are often grimaced to happen upon their countrymen who are returning to take their chances facing death in Syria including dodging the snipers and bombings targeting Yarmouk and elsewhere. The reasons the returnees give for returning to Syria focus on the appalling humanitarian conditions in Lebanon for Palestinians as well as the nearly 780,000 other refugees here from Syria.
Palestinians forced into Lebanon from Syria soon learn, if they were not aware previously, that all Palestinians refugees in Lebanon are barred by law from the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home. More than 50 professions open to Palestinians in Syria and in every other country, including occupied Palestine, are forbidden here. Two examples of jobs Palestinians can do and are doing in Lebanon when they arrive from Syria include scavenging through the rotting filth at Saida Garbage Mountain and other Lebanese government public garbage dumps to find something worth a few Lebanese Lira (LL) to help their loved ones survive. No, nearly impossible to secure work permit, is even required so they need not fear arrest by the Lebanese authorities who irregularly round up Palestinian violators of this country’s no work for Palestinian refugees ban.
The same, “no work permit required” reality is true of another profession which critics accuse the “Government” of Lebanon and its competing politicians of approving instead of allowing even one currently banned legitimate job to those whose lives are at risk and who are desperately in need of livelihood.
That profession which is open to every Palestinian today in Lebanon willing to consider it, is ‘hired gun’.
While both the major political grouping in Lebanon will deny they do it but will accuse the other, the fact of the matter is that both continue to discreetly recruit Palestinians to fight their personal battles on the cheap. It is unfortunately the case that some Palestinians, sweltering in the squalid, fetid camps in Lebanon, discriminated against in public institutions of higher learning, and barred from internationally mandated elementary civil rights, are seeking jobs as militiamen. This against the admonitions and sage counsel of the older generation of PLO fighters, now mainly retired, that the Syrian civil war is not theirs and that Palestinian involvement will not advance Return to Palestine and reclaiming stolen homes and land, by one minute or by one inch.
The choice for many Palestinian young men in Lebanon has come down to guns or education. By force of Lebanese law and under threat of prison for violators, Palestinians are denied the elementary civil rights to work in more than 50 professions and are barred by a 2001 racist law from them or their families, more than six decades living as refugees in Lebanon, from even owning a home. Among Palestinian youth, unemployment rates hover around 70%, while refugee students are also discriminated against in admission to Lebanese state institutions of higher education, including the relatively low-tuition fees at Lebanese University. This makes it difficult for young Palestinians in Lebanon to pursue higher education after graduating from UNWRA schools and passing the Baccalaureate II exam. Being barred from most jobs, it is very difficult to come up with even modest sums for tuition payments.
Against this backdrop of flagrant state sponsored discrimination, if one were to offer un-employed young camp resident, say $ 200 per month, an AK-47 with plenty of ammo, and free cigarettes, the odds are good that you just might have yourself a militiaman. Those journalists and observers who spent much of the summer of 2011 in Libya saw a similar phenomenon and now it’s also the case in Syria. In Lebanon, it is resurgent from the 1975-90 civil war days. The gun for hire resource is being exploited across the political spectrum here among many of the same confessions and political parties that ignited this country’s massively destructive civil war more than three decades ago.
Today, some Palestinians are being paid to fight for certain factions whether from the North of Lebanon at Tripoli and Akkar, to Beirut and various contentious areas such as Tariq al-Jdideh, Sabra, Cola, and down south in Saida during recent clashes that saw 16 Lebanese army killed and twice that number from the supporters of Salafist activist Ahmad Asir. Despite denials from some sources, there were a few Palestinians who fought for Asir and some Palestinians joined other militia including the Hezbollah organized “Resistance Brigades’ and the Lebanese army in fighting against Asir’s forces. An investigation in supposedly underway of the army’s conduct and the involvement of political parties from both the March 14anti-Assad sects and elements of the March 8th pro-Assad groups regarding recruitment of Palestinian youngsters.
President Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly warned Palestinians in Lebanon during his 72 hour visit to Lebanon last week to reject these offers and not to be drawn into the Syrian conflict despite the ‘market place maneuverings’ going on here from various armed confessions. What he meant is that as most of the Lebanese sects are frantically arming and seeking gunmen and weapons, that Palestinian s must refuse to be exploited once again and that they must reject any involvement in a military conflict that contravenes their communities wishes and their national interest. He lectured a gathering of PLO factions at a Palestine Embassy event that this terrible error was the case during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil wars. For that involvement, Palestinians in Lebanon continue to pay a very heavy price from certain factions here that rather see Lebanon’s economy continue to decline than allow Palestinians to work and help build the local economy as they have done in countless other countries which granted them the right to work and the opportunity to invest in the economy with their technical competence and business skills.
As one Palestinian academic pointed out last week to this observer, “While President Abbas assured Lebanese politicians that Palestinian factions did not want to join the Syrian civil war, he also chastised Lebanon’s government in private for not pressuring various factions, most with representatives in Parliament, to stop recruiting and enticing the hapless, desperate for work refugees, forced into Lebanon against their will.
PA President Abbas also repeated the PLO’s willingness to turn the refugee camps weapons over to the government. He did this with a straight face but surely he knows well that despite the regular scapegoating of Palestinians refugees in Lebanon and the danger they are said by some to pose because some have access to light arms, as everyone in Lebanon does, the truth of the matter is that the Lebanese political groups, even the most open about their hatred of Palestinians in Lebanon, do not want the state to collect or receive as gifts the arms in the Palestinian camps and gatherings, however many there they in fact are. The reason is that if the Palestinians had no weapons at all in the camp, it would make it awkward for some politicians to use the fear of a return to the early 1970’s and the potential danger of a Palestinian uprising for sects political advantage. Truth told, there is no realistic fear, unless provoked, from Palestinians arms. They are exaggerated as is the number of salafist factions inside camps. Yet without the right to work, some Palestinians will doubtless be seduced into becoming hired guns for scarce cash to feed their families.
Hiring young men as gunmen in Lebanon is also impliedly condoned by silence on this problem from various polarized and politicized religious leaders. Some of Lebanon’s religious personalities, too often, wearing pious faces and donning prelatical ‘Pope-wannabe’, if sometimes comical, outfits, and often sporting fingers ringed with gold and precious jewels, intone their gospels according to St. Mark, or his equivalents, about human dignity and being our brother’s keeper, and often referencing “ our blood-veins support for Palestine and the Right of Return.” While simultaneously standing in Janus-faced opposition to the elementary internationally mandated right to work for Palestinians in Lebanon.
When a Palestinian is arrested for carrying a weapon, it’s often front-page news but also usually exaggerated or later shown to be inaccurate. What is more surprising is that more Palestinians are not in the streets, motivated by the Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening, demanding the civil right to work. Yet signs are starting to appear of a pending and overdue intifada in Lebanon demanding this universally recognized right of every refugee to be able to seek work to sustain oneself and family.
Rumors abound these tense days in many part of Lebanon, as if to say, “I told you didn’t I? The Palestinians are the source of most of Lebanon’s problems!” (or the Zionists, or the Saudis, EU, Iranians, Syrians, other Lebanese sects or the Americans, or just about anyone except, this countries deeply destructive confessional system and the Lebanese who profit from this, to date, failed state. Too many Lebanese politicians reject granting rights to Palestinian refugees while they seek to gain personal, regional and international benefits from playing the “Palestinian card”. Meanwhile, dangerous temperature and pressure levels are building in the huge Presto cookers that are Lebanon’s camps.
On a brighter note, arriving with a late news item of 7/18/13, are the just released results of the General Science (SG) and Life Science (SV) secondary school official exam results known as the Baccalaureate II exam results. Preliminary analysis suggests that despite all their hardships, Palestinian and Syrian refugees have done well on the required exams.
One Palestinian mother from Yarmouk camp in Damascus, now among the 700 Palestinian refugee families temporarily here from Syria, and squeezed into the already overflowing Shatila camp explained to this observer as she proudly displayed this week’s announcement of her children’s academic success. She beamed that even with little electricity in her family hovel, polluted drinking water, no fresh air and not much food this past year, her daughter’s and son’s success in passing ‘the BACC II” made her forget her family’s misery.
So it is that the doors are cracked open for higher education, if Palestinian refugees in Lebanon can come up with tuition, sometimes fairly modest by western standards but beyond the means of a majority of camp families. The good news that there will be places in Lebanon’s institutions of higher learning this fall semester, assuming that these youngsters, desperate to be allowed to work at the same jobs that every other foreigner in granted on arriving to Lebanon, do not heed the sirens calls of various sects here, singing seductive songs of quick cash in exchange for carrying a gun.
On April 19, 2013 at the Shatila Camp Youth Center, exactly 30 years to the week following the death of American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens here in Beirut, and recalling times during the 1982 Israeli aggression that rained American bombs of various types down on the civilian population, and still hearing Janet’s voice telling young Palestinian defenders, during the 75-day Zionist siege, “ Once the fighting ends you must, every one of you, return to school, whether to study quantum physics or literature or whatever interests you. Higher education is what will hasten your return to Palestine. Education is your greatest resource and your most potent weapon.”
Speaking at the Shatila Scholarship Award event, one American, paying tribute to Janet as a mediator and advocate for Palestine, and addressing the tuition grant recipients, sought to encourage these future Palestinian leaders:
“An education is forever and its purpose is to enjoy a more productive lifetime while seeking to fulfill all of what each of us is capable as we give back to our respective communities. Staying in school here in Lebanon where we are all guests, just for the time being, and pursuing knowledge and practical skills is a quintessential and noble act and commitment of Resistance against oppression and occupation – anywhere. Education cannot be ethnically cleansed, stolen, tortured, jailed, uprooted, bulldozed, massacred, murdered, bombed or burned down. Rather, staying in school and pursuing ones dream is what your cherished for-bearers, who were forced from their homes and lands into Lebanon and trekked from Palestine- approximately 130,000- in the summer and fall of 1948, would want for you, and expect of you.
Education is a Saladinian Resistance toward liberating, six decades after the Nakba, those still under occupation in Palestine. And to help achieve for refugees in the diaspora, their inalienable full Right of Return.”
When and how do we put an end to this outrage which is an urgent humanitarian imperative shared by every one of us?
We end it immediately.
We do it by Lebanon’s parliament, taking 90 minutes of its time, which is all that would be required, and grant these youngsters the most elementary civil right to work which will also enable them to pursue their dreams of higher education.
And by international support.
This can be facilitated by international pressure. One telephone call from Washington, Riyadh, or Tehran, to local political allies, can get the job done in just over an hour without further procrastination.
If not, to add to its other problems, Lebanon may face a civil right intifada– ignited by continued repression.
In the words of the angelic Miss Hiba of Ein el Hilweh camp, now 19 years old and three years after her defiant declaration in 2010 to those who sneered at her that she should get married at age 16, and with her beauty, could demand a handsome dowry for her impoverished family, and forget about college: “There is no other choice than success with the civil rights goal of every Palestinian in Lebanon to seek a job and to pursue education as we peacefully intensify our struggle to Return to our stolen and still occupied country, Palestine. “
Today, Hiba continues the good fight as she completes next year, her degree in engineering. She insists she will need this knowledge when she returns to her family’s occupied home near Safed.
President (aka Barry) Obama is not, nor ever was a master politician, master diplomat, master bureaucrat, master lawyer or master anything. As a former professor who had to publish or perish, I was especially impressed that Obama lacked a hefty, impressive record of academic publications, actually nothing. As Ed Lasky summed up: “Notwithstanding an apparent eleven-year teaching career in constitutional law at a top-flight law school, not one single article, published talk, book review, or comment of any kind, appears anywhere in the professional legal literature, under Barack Obama’s name.”
Instead of actual accomplishment and performance, he simply took advantage of his color, personality, unusual political opportunities, and an innate talent for sometimes being able to give a great (but not necessarily honest) speech to become President. He took advantage of new national demographics to capture the necessary Electoral College votes to achieve victory, not once, but twice. His ability to enlist the critical assistance of brilliant masters at political fund raising and campaigning has never been matched by being able or willing to obtain similar high caliber people to run his White House and administration.
As someone who held high level positions inside the Washington, DC political system for some twenty years I was always convinced that Obama never was even close to being qualified to be US President. On the other hand, I was totally dismayed at the awful Republican candidates who opposed him. Still, I was bewildered how so many Americans could be seduced by lofty speech rhetoric and end up believing Obama was an unusually honest politician capable and willing to reform an inefficient, corrupt political system. Sure, unlike Hillary Clinton, he was no long term Washington insider. But neither was there any evidence that he was a true, courageous reformer. Obama was never authentically bold and creative, nor driven by a strong moral compass but rather by extreme arrogance. Think: the audacity of arrogance. Self-delusion prevailed, especially among Democrats and progressives drunk over terrific political slogans.
What could not be predicted, however, was that millions of angry and mostly white Americans would seize upon his color, birthplace and family roots to wage an effective national campaign within the boundaries of the Tea and Republican Parties to help make his presidency largely paralyzed through warlike partisanship. What was best for the nation has never been able to overcome hateful political emotions. The combination of hate and racist driven right wing zealots and self-deluded people on the left has dragged American democracy deeper into dysfunction.
Everyone should remember that with just over 50 percent of eligible voters voting and the presidential winner obtaining just over 50 percent of voter support, not much more than 25 percent of Americans actually support this or any other President. Factor in that nearly all incumbent members of Congress get reelected despite dismal overall public support, most recently just 10 percent for Congress. If you still believe in the myth that US democracy is the best on the planet, then you are just plain nuts.
It would take many thousands of words to fully articulate all the presidential failings of Obama. My own personal favorites are these: He failed to pursue a single payer approach for universal health care insurance and instead created a hugely complex and costly system that will probably collapse of its own awfulness. He did not swiftly end the ludicrous and incredibly costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His administration has failed miserably in adequately taking care of veterans. He has clearly done next to nothing to ensure a truly transparent federal government and, instead, has aggressively pursued secret and invasive information and intelligence gathering of US citizens. His policies about underemployment and jobs have been pathetic. His Department of Justice utterly failed to pursue criminal indictments of the many people and companies in the banking, mortgage and financial sectors that caused the national and global economic collapse in recent years that even today explains the economic plight of many millions of Americans.
American democracy has so deteriorated that I can see little hope of its resurrection absent some form of revolution consistent with the Constitution, namely using what our Founders gave us: an Article V convention of state delegates with the legal authority to propose true reform constitutional amendments that still would have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Clearly, there is no reason to have any faith that Congress would ever propose amendments to fix our corrupt, inefficient and dysfunctional federal system that Senators and Representatives continue to deface and defraud. For example, taking all private money out of politics. Nor is there any basis for believing that the Supreme Court will come to the rescue.
Seems pretty hopeless, don’t you think? Unless millions of Americans join together and demand that Congress obey the Constitution, honor the many hundreds of state requests for a convention and convene the first one.
It is a scene out of a futuristic political thriller—the Secretary of State issues secret orders for embassy officials to collect the DNA of foreign heads of state while the President, speaking at a $1000 a plate dinner, is surrounded by a contingent of Secret Service agents wiping clean his drinking glasses and picking up stray hair follicles. They are not just protecting the President—they are protecting the President’s DNA.
If this sounds like a script treatment for a Hollywood version of a Philip K. Dick novel, consider this: The Secretary of State’s name is Hillary Clinton and her directives to embassies were uncovered in a 2010 Wikileaks cable release. The President in this scenario is Barack Obama and the Secret Service unit pledged to protect his DNA is a group of Navy stewards, as revealed in the 2009 book by Ronald Kessler, entitled “In the President’s Secret Service.”
Our government’s DNA obsession was again in the news this week as the Supreme Court handed down a decision, worthy of penning by George Orwell, that law enforcement collection of arrestees’ DNA is not an invasion of privacy. The decision likened DNA to fingerprints, neatly sidestepping the fact that a person’s complete genetic makeup is contained in those drops of blood that the police can now collect with impunity and without fear of a civil rights lawsuit.
Beyond the obvious surface concerns that this decision violates both the Fourth Amendment and the subsequent exclusionary rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Since we are not yet threatened with the spectre of toddlers robbing banks or committing rape, one must look further to discern what is the big deal about our DNA.
Back in 1997, Dr. Wayne Nathanson warned a meeting of the Science and Ethics Department of the Medical Society of the United Kingdom that “gene therapy” might be turned to insidious uses and result in “gene weapons,” which could be used to target specific people containing a specific genetic structure. These weapons, Nathanson warned, “could be delivered not only in the forms already seen in warfare such as gas and aerosol, but could also be added to water supplies, causing not only death but sterility and birth defects in targeted groups.” /www.projectcensored.org/top-
Decades before Dr. Nathanson’s highly publicized warning, the U.S. Government was already hard at work in scientific endeavors to find gene and ethnic specific weapons. In an article entitled “Ethnic Weapons,” published in the Military Review in 1970, the author, Dr. Carl A. Larson, was found rhapsodizing about the state of technology facilitating the targeting of ethnic groups with covert weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.”
However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly, that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
Larson concludes with the following stark declaration: “The enzymatic process for RNA production has been known for some years but now the factors have been revealed which regulate the initiation and specificity of enzyme production. Not only have the factors been found, but their inhibitors. Thus, the functions of life lie bare to attack.” (emphasis added)
Dr. Wouter Basson’s research for Project Coast, the biological and chemical warfare unit under the apartheid government in South Africa, was known to be focused on developing a “blacks only” bioweapon. Basson, who was tied to intelligence facilities and labs in both Great Britain and the U.S., has been reported to have been successful in his endeavors, which were taking place back in the seventies. According to sources close to Basson, his research entailed locating substances which would attach onto melanin. Melanin is present in high degrees in darker colored skin.
Since Basson’s work on the melanin project, the rates of hypertension and diabetes have skyrocketed in people of color—specifically those of African descent and also indigenous, brown skinned populations. In some communities, the incidence of these diseases is now reported as up to 50%. Consonant with the reports that this disease- producing melanin- related substance has been leaked into processed food, one finds the spiking rates of the “silent killers,” hypertension and diabetes, to be present in the developed world, where people eat more processed food. In rural Africa, for example, where the population eats food from natural sources, the rates of diabetes and hypertension have remained constant over the years.
The mapping of the human genome satisfied all the requisites for creating gene specific weapons. Geneticists have maintained that developing an ethnic weapon is actually far more difficult than creating a gene weapon to target a specific person. The differences between groups are apparently much smaller than the differences between individuals and therefore the creation of a genetic weapon to target, for example, a head of state or a President is far less challenging than creating such a weapon to target an entire race.
The FBI admits to a database of around 13 million offenders, many only arrested and never charged with a crime. According to Twila Brase, President of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, around 4 million samples (filed with the babies’ names) are collected each year by State Health Departments. Some states, such as Minnesota, have been collecting newborn DNA samples since the mid-eighties. Minnesota alone is reported to have a newborn database of over 1.5 million samples.
The delivery systems for a DNA weapon would be easy: Everything.
Because the weaponized genetic material would only affect the target, the weapon could be leaked into the food supply, the water supply or sprayed in an airborne delivery system, such as the inexplicable chemtrails that are now blanketing our skies. And should a low profile target suddenly die, who would ever know that he died of a gene based weapon? Should the target be high profile, like perhaps a Hugo Chavez or Canada’s Jack Layton, who would be able to trace a deadly disease back to a weapon targeting his DNA?
The insistence of the U.S. Government that it is only trying to protect its citizens from a terrorist threat is the perfect cover of plausible deniability. Under the mantle of “protection,” our rights have been systematically stripped away while wars abroad have been launched against the Semitic peoples of the Middle East. Genetic based weapons are another tool in the plausible deniability eugenics tool box. They may, in fact, be one of the most salient tools.
Years before Nathanson’s warning was issued, our government had already attained a significant level of ability to weaponize against ethnic groups. An article entitled Ethnic Weapons, published in the Military Review in 1970, found the author, Dr. Carl A Larson rhapsodizing about the scientific accomplishments enabling the creation and deployment of ethnic weapons. Wrote Larson: “Surrounded with clouds of secrecy, a systematic search for new incapacitating agents is going on in many laboratories. The general idea, as discussed in open literature, was originally that of minimum destruction.” However, his tone soon changes and he writes, somewhat chillingly that “It is quite possible to use incapacitating agents over the entire range of offensive operations, from covert activities to mass destruction.”
Call it living in Upside-downLand or the realization of the Bible’s prediction of a time when bad will be called good and good, bad, but once again innocent schoolchildren have been persecuted for, well, just being children. This time the offender was Chase Lake Elementary School (CLES) in Edmonds, WA, where some kids were suspended for using Nerf guns on school grounds. And it’s an all-too-common story. A child will be punished for drawing a gun, shaping his fingers as one and saying “bang!” merely talking about guns or some other innocuous action. And recently there was a case of a five-year-old boy who brought a cap gun to school to show a friend and then was interrogated for two hours until he wet his pants. It’s all very bizarre and very twisted.
In the Edmonds case, the children were told that they could bring the toys to school, but I’m not interested in individual details but deeper matters. And make no mistake, something deeper is afoot here.
To introduce this, let’s start with another common thread in these cases: the reaction of the persecuted children’s parents. While they’re always upset about the relatively draconian punishment visited upon their kids, their comments often reflect those of Edmonds mother Stacey Leidholm, who addressed her son’s suspension and marred permanent record and said “I do understand that they definitely need consequences, but not that harsh of a consequence.”
Let’s stop right there. Why do they “need consequences”? This isn’t a matter of simply having to respect the rules even if you disagree with them, since “with toy or facsimile guns, discipline is handed out at the discretion of the principal [at CLES],” writes KomoNews.com. Moreover, consequences imply a transgression, but what’s wrong with playing with toy guns? It’s not as if these brightly colored toys could be mistaken for real guns, and playing with them is certainly less likely to cause injury than is playing baseball or most any other sport. So what danger is posed by the possession of toy guns on school grounds?
Before I get to that, a bit of history. Not that long ago it was common for boys to bring guns to school, as they might have target shooting afterwards; this was even the case in New York City in the 1940s and ‘50s, where kids would often ride the subways with their guns. And while this no longer occurred when I attended school in the Bronx in the ‘70s, no school official even batted an eye at our bringing toy guns to school. That was just what little boys did. Clearly, something has changed in society—and it isn’t the availability of guns or little boys’ desire to play with them.
The obvious answer here is that the last two decades’ school shootings and our civilization’s general moral decline have changed the equation. But while this would explain the desire to keep students with real firearms off school grounds, there is no logical reason to apply this to toy guns. Saying otherwise is like claiming that because you wouldn’t trust an 11-year-old to drive the family car to school, you won’t let him bring toy cars with him, either; or that he won’t be allowed to possess toy airplanes because he isn’t ready to pilot a 747 for Delta. The same applies to the argument that bringing toy guns to school makes the leap to bringing real ones that much shorter; it’s as nonsensical as saying that junior is more likely to steal the family sedan if you let him play with Matchbox cars.
Of course, there is the paranoia explanation: the school shootings have made people so fearful that anything smacking of firearms is reflexively rejected. And I’m sure this is a factor—but I’m also sure there’s more to it. What is it?
Many have posited the theory that the goal here is to raise generations amenable to strict gun control by instilling the young with negative attitudes toward firearms. And how better to do this than with swift and sure punishment for anything that evidences even the thought of a gun? Doodle a firearm, point your fingers like one—anything at all—and, bang!, you suffer for your wrong thinking. Think doubleplusgood thoughts, little boy, about flowers and kittens and rainbows and what gender you want to be. And should a child be a tad recalcitrant, nothing creates negative associations with firearms like a two-hour, pants-wetting interrogation at the age of five.
(By the way, it’s funny how leftists who would outlaw a 30-second spanking will then commit horrendous psychological and emotional child abuse. Hey, nothing convinces a situational-values libtard of the value of punishment like a person in need of reeducation.)
To buttress this theory, please consider this 1990s video of our beloved attorney general, Eric Withholder. He outlines a plan for combating violence and says:
What we need to do is change the way people think about guns—especially young people—and make it something that’s not cool; that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way that we’ve changed out attitudes about cigarettes. …Over time we changed the way people thought about smoking, so now we have people who cower outside of buildings and kind of smoke in private and don’t want to admit it. And that’s what I think we need to do with guns. …I’ve asked that the creative community in Washington… devote [their] talent in a more constructive way, so we can get at the minds of these young people. …. People who have credibility with young people should be on the television, on the radio…and telling these youngsters that it’s wrong to carry a gun…. I’ve also asked the school board to make a part of every day some kind of anti-violence, anti-gun message; every day, every school at every level. One thing that I think is clear with young people, and with adults as well, is that we have to be repetitive about this…. We need to do this every day of the week and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way [emphasis added].
Now, I don’t imply this is a grand conspiracy. It doesn’t have to be when you have millions of like-minded people who, being fellow travelers, all act in similar ways quite instinctively. Sure, there are puppet masters in the vanguard of these movements who create policy (like the zero-tolerance nonsense) and who purposely effect Machiavellian designs, but they are mere catalysts. Of course, there are many others—teachers and administrators (mostly women)—who instinctively dislike guns, or fear them, and for this reason are inclined to carry out these policies and punish a wrong-thinking child harshly. But theirs is more an emotional reaction, as opposed to the colder, more insidious, Luciferian motives of the world’s Withholders.
But then there are millions of other sheeple, caught in the Matrix, who simply enforce these rules because they exist. As to this, I called CLES and asked someone in community relations the following: “How does the possession of toy guns on school grounds pose a threat?” After giving me a non-answer and then my having to rephrase the question once or twice, the school official seemed genuinely flummoxed and said that she would have to consult the literature and get back to me. An unthinking drone.
But the question is, are the rest of us going to be sheeple as well? If not, there are things we can and should do to counter the schools’ war on guns and tradition. First, parents should organize, pick up their children from an offending school with toy guns in hand, and play a visible shoot-‘em-up game on school grounds. I’m serious. It’s called desensitization. Moreover, it tells the children in the strongest way possible that there is nothing wrong with toy-gun play. And if the schools are trying to condition your kids the wrong way, why not condition them the right way?
Then there is the stick. The reason insanity keeps occurring at schools and elsewhere is that leftists are never held accountable. But here we must take a leaf out of their book. When someone transgresses against their politically correct code—think Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder, Don Imus, or James Watson here—an apology won’t suffice.
The left wants the person destroyed.
So follow suit. Don’t be like a certain popular cable-news host who is wont to say “I don’t want to see ____ (the tyrant du jour) lose his job.” Make sure a school official who commits leftist abuse upon a child never works again. Go for the jugular, for the kill shot; give no quarter. Go Roman. It’s only when thousands of the thought police’s decaying corpses of careers are lining the Apian Way that those in darkness will see the light. The Culture War is just that—a war. And if you want to turn it around, this must be your mindset—every day, every way, every school, at every level.
Success stories of medical marijuana use in children range from the treatment of disorders that affect classroom performance such as autism and ADHD to life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy and cancer. But while a growing number of doctors are beginning to consider medical marijuana as a legitimate form of clinical therapy, the vast majority remain wary of its impact in younger patients.
The underlying factor in the medical community’s resistance to cannabis seems to be the overall lack of clinical research that has been conducted so far, especially in children and adolescents. On the other hand, the absence of research happens to be only a recent phenomena, as a review of the medical literature reveals numerous reports and studies on the safety of marijuana commissioned over the past many decades.
What these studies demonstrate appears to echo what marijuana advocates have been saying for decades: Cannabis is an overwhelmingly harmless substance.
Safety Profile of Marijuana
Perhaps the earliest study to investigate the safety profile of marijuana comes from the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission — a research team ordered by the British government in 1893 to study the effects of ever-prevalent cannabis use in India. The Commission completed their report in 1894 — a lengthy 3,281 page document which demonstrated a clear lack of observable drawbacks associated with marijuana use.
“In regard to the physical effects, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all… It has been the most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves on observation.”
Likewise, a report published by the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse in 1972 could find no fault with the use of cannabis, despite governmental pressure to prove otherwise.
“Marijuana has been used by man around the world for many centuries. Scientifically, more is known about marijuana’s effects than many other botanical substances used by man… Almost all chronic, heavy hashish smokers are indistinguishable from their peers in social behaviour, work performance, mental status and overall life style.”
Risks For Children/Teens
Despite significant evidence of marijuana’s lack of side effects, children and adolescents are treated with particular caution when it comes to any form of medical therapy, because of the developmental vulnerability that individuals face during their formative years.
In fact, one of the largest concerns of doctors and parents alike are the effects of drugs on a child’s developing brain. And while evidence of marijuana’s impact on neural development remains conflicted, some studies have managed to link early marijuana use with deficits in brain volume and intelligence (1).
Still, it’s important to note the lack of census among the medical community on these findings, as large-scale clinical trials have never been conducted. Furthermore, cannabis-based pharmaceuticals, such as Marinol, have already been approved by the FDA for childhood use (2). Marinol is a pure THC pill that shares a nearly identical side effect profile as medical marijuana (3).
However, the fact remains that the safety of marijuana use in children and adolescents remains a largely unknown variable, which also happens to be the most common reason given by doctors when explaining their lack of support for medical marijuana (4).
But while this is true for cannabis, it is also true for many other cancer medications and anti-psychotics that are regularly prescribed to children. As such, a minority of health practitioners have already begun to voice their support for the use of medical marijuana, even in child and adolescent patients.
Support For Medical Marijuana
Although still a subject of much debate, medical marijuana has become an increasingly popular form of treatment among the North American population — both for adults and children. In fact, a number of paediatricians, including Dr. Claudia Jensen, have started to recommend medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for conditions that have traditionally been dominated by the pharmaceutical industry such as ADHD (5).
In an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Jensen explained how medical marijuana could be used effectively as a treatment for ADHD without the mind-numbing side effects that are typically associated with cannabis use.
“They don’t have to get stoned — it’s dose-related. But they do get the benefit of being able to focus, pay attention, not be impulsive, not be angry, be peaceful and relaxed and pay attention in school, which helps them get better grades.”
Likewise, Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Lester Grinspoon voiced his support for using medical marijuana to control childhood ADHD in a recent interview with Sphere (6).
“I’d have no hesitation giving a youngster with ADHD a trial of oral marijuana. For some kids, it appears to be more effective than traditional treatments. And marijuana certainly has fewer potential dangers than Ritalin.”
Indeed, while concerns continue to be expressed over the use of medical marijuana in society’s most vulnerable of patients, evidence of its relative safety seems more than obvious to those with an open mind towards non-traditional therapies.
As Dr. Grinspoon states, medical marijuana could very well be a safer treatment option for children with ADHD and, more than likely, many other conditions that afflict the younger generation of patients.
About the Author
Kent Mao is a contributor to Waking Times and the editor of TruthOnPot.com, an online resource for medical marijuana facts, information and research. TruthOnPot.com
Source: The Waking Times
Drones are a weapon of war, presently being used by the U.S. Military using assertions not supported by facts. These weapons are manufactured and sold to the military by companies which own the technologies and thereby profit. The right or wrong of the war is ignored in their calculations, which focus on the profit to be made.
The membership organization which lobbies for the use of drones for the corporations which comprise its membership is the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. The growth of this industry is now measured in the billions of dollars, with applications for drone usage growing out into law enforcement within the United States on a weekly basis.
These are facts, supportable by contracts reflecting sales.
Facts are generally inconvenient for parties attempting to ‘win’ the battle for public opinion. These facts are true for drone contractors today and were true of the Military Industrial Complex on January 17, 1961 when Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address, and warning about the influence of these corporations, to the American People.
Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complexLoading...
Manufacturing opinion in Americans results in increased sales and a limiting of the options they see as possible. This is at the heart of the strategy by which the Multi-National Corporations have build their business plan from the time of World War I – present day.
Propaganda had been used to influence groups and nations for as long as we have recorded history. But the practice was codified with a set of rules by Edward Bernays, a cousin of Sigmund Freud, in the 1020s. There are seven principles of propaganda, which include:
Seven Main Principles
Bandwagon – Follow the Crowd.
Card stacking – Tell them ONLY what you want them to know.
Glittering Generalities – Use words which let the listener fool themselves.
Name Calling - Negative, derogatory langauge to describe the enemy in speech, images, and writing.
Plain Folks – Taking on language, idioms, jokes, and accent to increase of the target audience to increase familiarity and elicit acceptance and trust.
Assertion – Say it, and say it again with conviction
Lesser of Two Evils – Limit the choices to this or that, ignoring all other possibilities.
Pinpointing the Enemy – Name an individual, group, or nation as the ‘problem.’ Ignore refuting facts.
Simplification (Stereotyping) – Similar to Pinpointing. Ignore refuting facts.
The opinions held by Americans are largely the product of propaganda today, though this is now changing through access to the Internet.
Public Relations professionals know the public forgets about scandals, both corporate and politically, in only a few months or years. Today, major scandals of the early 90s have vanished from the collective memory.
Main Stream Media
Controlling the Main Stream Media, which is owned entirely my major corporations, ensured this would remain true. America originally saw independent journalism as an essential protection for the rights of the people. Newspapers were mostly owned locally, reflecting a diversity of voices.
Local ‘government,’ which was understood to be a service center used by the People, who together were and are the real government under American theory and law, was used to carry out those functions deemed of mutual benefit by the People.
Until the rise of the Internet, Americans had, in large part, lost connection with their own history and the foundations for American government. A reading of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, theBill of Rights, and survey of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers shows this to be the case.
The rising power of corporations, asserting itself through government, began to change this in the late 1800s. World War I and World War II enormously enriched the same corporations and banks named by Eisenhower in his speech. A significant number of these were simultaneously in business with Nazi Germany before and during World War II and also Russia. In his book, “Creature from Jekyll Island,” G. Edward Griffin provides documentation for this.
Major General Smedley Butler was the most respected and decorated military figure in America in the first half of the 20th Century. Having spent his life serving his country as a Marine in wars dictated by the economic wishes of corporations for decades he realized he and the troops he commanded had been used by those corporations. In response, he wrote, “War is a Racket.”
VIDEO – Major General Smedley Butler & The Fascist Takeover Of The USA – A Warning From History
The General conveniently, and very suddenly, died in 1940 before our entry into World War II. War was building immense wealth within a small number of corporations, who were determined this flow of power and money continue.
Wars for Profit
The Second World War was opposed by Conservative Republican congressional leader Robert A. Taft, “who articulated a non-interventionist foreign-policy vision sharply at odds with the internationalism of Truman and Eisenhower. Although derided as ostrich-like, Taft was prescient on several points, such as the structural weakness of the United Nations and the propping up of repressive regimes that would result from U.S. interventionism.”
After World War II Conservatism was targeted by the Rockefeller Republicans, who today we know as NeoConservatives. To accomplish this they used an array of tools which included the C. I. A., an agency which recruited from a social elite who had strong connections to the corporate world.
Today, the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963, is credited to a cooperative effort between the C.I.A., and corporations in such first hand and authoritative books as “Mary’s Mosaic,”by Peter Janney. Janney is the son of Wistar Janney, a high level operative in the C. I. A. from close to the time of it’s inception after World War II through the 1960s.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall the world appeared to be heading for a long-awaited peace. But this was not in alignment with the business plans of the Military Industrial Complex.
Managing American Fear
The public relations people for the corporations had used boogymen to persuade Americans to the necessity of war and vast expenditures in military spending from World War I until the Wall came down. For this purpose they had first vilified the ‘Hun,’ and then ‘Communism.’
They chose a new boogyman in the last years of the Reagan Administration.
“The Power of Nightmares,” produced by the BBC, digs into the history of the C.I.A., and its manipulation of Islam and placement of operatives to stymy their move toward liberalization, which threatened the oil companies. The issue of a threat from a radical Islam must be considered outside the narrowing confines of propaganda, the corporate tool used to herd Americans, keeping us within the limits which powers their profits. This is especially true for the strategies of Pinpointing the Enemy, and Stereotyping.
If you identify the location of the major world sources of oil you will notice much of the world reserves are located in land controls by Islamic people. Until this became known Islam was never presented as a threat. Once this took place, this changed.
Multiple operations in these countries by the CIA and its corporate partners caused shifts in attitudes within the people living in these countries. Ron Paul, using the term coined by the CIA, called it “Blow-Back.” John Perkins, in his book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man,” explains the means used to defraud smaller nations of their natural resources, oil chief among these.
People resent being manipulated, bombed, and defrauded. Where we did not have enemies, they were created.
VIDEO – Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions
For a century corporations have used the military and government of our country to make war on people around the world. They have done this for profit and without showing a shred of conscience.
Today, the world is fed up. If the roles were reversed, we would have taken action long since.
These same interests understand well Americans are waking from their long sleep. This why drone technologies are now being deployed within the United States.
Every so often we come across a secular Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’ who argues that Zionism is not Judaism and vice versa. Interestingly enough, I have just come across an invaluable text that illuminates this question from a rabbinical perspective. Apparently back in 1942, 757 American Rabbis added their names to a public pronouncement titled ‘Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism’. This Rabbinical rally for Zionism was declared at the time “the largest public pronouncement in all Jewish history.”
Today, we tend to believe that world Jewry’s transition towards support for Israel followed the 1967 war though some might argue that already in 1948, American Jews manifested a growing support for Zionism. However, this rabbinical pronouncement proves that as early as 1942, the American Jewish religious establishment was already deeply Zionist. And if this is not enough, the rabbis also regarded Zionism as the ‘implementation’ of Judaism. Seemingly, already then, the peak of World War two, the overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regarded Zionism, not only as fully consistent with Judaism, but as a “logical expression and implementation of it.”
In spite of the fact that early Zionist leaders were largely secular and the East European Jewish settler waves were driven by Jewish socialist ideology, the rabbis contend that “Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism.
Those rabbis were not a bunch of ignoramuses. They were patriotic and nationalistic and they grasped that “universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism.” The rabbis tried to differentiate between contemporaneous German Nationalism and other national movements and they definitely wanted to believe that Zionism was categorically different to Nazism. “Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil.” But as we know, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the new Jewish State launched a devastating racially driven ethnic-cleansing campaign. Zionism has proven to be militaristic and chauvinistic.
Shockingly enough, back in 1942 as many as 757 American rabbis were able to predict the outcome of the war and they realised that the suffering of European Jewry would be translated into a Jewish State . “We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society (a Jewish State).”
Some American patriots today are concerned with Israeli-American dual nationality and the dual aspirations of American Jews. Apparently our rabbis addressed this topic too. According to them, there is no such conflict whatsoever. All American Jews are American patriots and all American decision makers are Zionists. “Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.”
Back in 1942 our American rabbis were bold enough to state that defeating Hitler was far from sufficient. For them, a full solution of the Jewish question could only take place in Palestine. “Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe. “
But there was one thing the American rabbis failed to mention – the Palestinian people. For some reason, those rabbis who knew much about ‘universalism’ and in particular Jewish ‘universalism’ showed very little concern to the people of the land. I guess that after all, chosennss is a form of blindness and rabbis probably know more about this than anyone else.
ZIONISM AN AFFIRMATION OF JUDAISM A Reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism
THE SUBJOINED REPLY was prepared at the initiative of the following Rabbis who submitted it to their colleagues throughout the country for signature: Philip S. Bernstein, Barnett R. Brickner, Israel Goldstein, James G. Heller, Mordecai M. Kaplan, B. L. Levinthal, Israel H. Levinthal, Louis M. Levitsky, Joshua Loth Liebman, Joseph H. Lookstein, Jacob R. Marcus, Abraham A. Neuman, Louis I. Newman, David de Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Milton Steinberg, and Stephen S. Wise.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RABBIS of all elements in American Jewish religious life, have noted with concern a statement by ninety of our colleagues in which they repudiate Zionism on the ground that it is inconsistent with Jewish religious and moral doctrine.This statement misrepresents Zionism and misinterprets historic Jewish religious teaching, and we should be derelict in our duty if we did not correct the misapprehensions which it is likely to foster.
We call attention in the first place to the fact that the signatories to this statement, for whom as fellow-Rabbis we have a high regard, represent no more than a very small fraction of the American rabbinate. They constitute a minority even of the rabbinate of Reform Judaism with which they are associated. The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.
Our colleagues concede the need for Jewish immigration into Palestine as contributing towards a solution of the vast tragedy of Jewish homelessness. They profess themselves ready to encourage such settlement. They are aware of the important achievements, social and spiritual, of the Palestinian Jewish community and they pledge to it their unstinted support. And yet, subscribing to every practical accomplishment of Zionism, they have embarked upon a public criticism of it. In explanation of their opposition they advance the consideration that Zionism is nationalistic and secularistic. On both scores they maintain it is incompatible with the Jewish religion and its universalistic outlook. They protest against the political emphasis which, they say, is now paramount in the Zionist program and which, according to them, tends to confuse both Jews and Christians as to the place and function of the Jewish group in American society. They appeal to the prophets of ancient Israel for substantiation of their views.
TREASURING the doctrines and moral principles of our faith no less than they, devoted equally to America and its democratic processes and spirit, we nonetheless find every one of their contentions totally without foundation.
Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism. Scripture and rabbinical literature alike are replete with the promise of the restoration of Israel to its ancestral home. Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion. Nothing in the entire pronouncement of our colleagues is more painful than their appeal to the prophets of Israel—to those very prophets whose inspired and recorded words of national rebirth and restoration nurtured and sustained the hope of Israel throughout the ages.
Nor is Zionism a denial of the universalistic teachings of Judaism. Universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism. Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil. The prophets of Israel looked forward to the time not when all national entities would be obliterated, but when all nations would walk in the light of the Lord, live by His law and learn war no more.
Our colleagues find themselves unable to subscribe to the political emphasis “now paramount in the Zionist program.” We fail to perceive what it is to which they object. Is it to the fact that there are a regularly constituted Zionist organization and a Jewish Agency which deal with the mandatory government, the Colonial office, the League of Nations and other recognized political bodies? But obviously, even immigration and colonization are practical matters which require political action. The settlement of a half million Jews in Palestine since the last war was made possible by political action which culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. There can be little hope of opening the doors of Palestine for mass Jewish immigration after the war without effective political action. Or is it that they object to the ultimate achievement by the Jewish community of Palestine of some form of Jewish statehood? We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society.
Certainly our colleagues will allow to the Jews of Palestine the same rights that are allowed to all other peoples resident on their own land. If Jews should ultimately come to constitute a majority of the population of Palestine, would our colleagues suggest that all other peoples in the post-war world shall be entitled to political self-determination, whatever form that may take, but the Jewish people in Palestine shall not have such a right? Or do they mean to suggest that the Jews in Palestine shall forever remain a minority in order not to achieve such political self-determination?
PROTESTING their sympathy both for the homeless Jews of the world and for their brethren in Palestine, our colleagues have by their pronouncement done all these a grave disservice. It may well be that to the degree to which their efforts arc at all effective, Jews who might otherwise have found a haven in Palestine will be denied one. The enemies of the Jewish homeland will be strengthened in their propaganda as a result of the aid which these Rabbis have given them. To the Jews of Palestine, facing the gravest danger in their history and fighting hard to maintain morale and hope in the teeth of the totalitarian menace, this pronouncement comes as a cruel blow.
We do not mean to imply that our colleagues intended it as such. We have no doubt that they are earnest about their fine spun theoretical objections to Zionism. We hold, however, that these objections have no merit, and further that voicing them at this time has been unwise and unkind.
We have not the least fear that our fellow Americans will be led to misconstrue the attitudes of American Jews to America because of their interest in Zionism. Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.
Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe.
An Allied peace which will not frankly face the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people will leave the age-old tragic status of European Jewry unchanged. The Jewish people is in danger of emerging from this war not only more torn and broken than any other people, but also without any prospects of a better and more secure future and without the hope that such tragedies will not recur again, and again. Following an Allied victory, the Jews of Europe, we are confident, will be restored to their political rights and to equality of citizenship. But they possessed these rights after the last war and yet the past twenty-five years have witnessed a rapid and appalling deterioration in their position. In any case, even after peace is restored Europe will be so ravaged and war-torn that large masses of Jews will elect migration to Palestine as a solution of their personal problems.
Indeed, for most of these there may be no other substantial hope of economic, social and spiritual rehabilitation.
THE freedom which, we have faith, will come to all men and nations after this war, must come not only to Jews as individuals wherever they live, permitting them to share freedom on a plane of equality with all other men, but also to the Jewish people, as such, restored in its homeland, where at long last it will be a free people within a world federation of free peoples.
Of the 757 Rabbis listed below, 214 are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); 247 are members of the Rabbinical Assembly of America (Conservative); and the rest are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) or the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. The total represents the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history.
To see the scanned image in PDF format with the list of signers, click here
Note: A version of the above statement was released to the press on November 20, 1942. By that time 818 rabbis had signed on. It appears in Samuel Halperin’s The Political World of American Zionism. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1961) 333.
Many of us non-RC traditionalist all over the world had awaited the news from Rome with some trepidation. In the end it turned out to be rather good. Pope Francis, the first non-European Bishop of Rome since Gregory III (d. 741), is universally described as “modest” and “moderate”—which is much preferred to the dreaded “bold” or “courageous,” in the sense that those words are used by the global media.
“He lives like a monk in a small apartment, travels by bus, and detests all vanity,” Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro told me when he heard the news. His Grace has visited Buenos Aires repeatedly in recent years as the Orthodox Diocesan Administrator, but he has not met Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who was mostly in Rome on those occasions. “I’ve heard from many local people, however, both lay and clergy, that he radiates a burning faith,” says the Metropolitan and adds that his simplicity and compassion for the poor go hand in hand with doctrinal firmness.
Two examples illustrate this dichotomy. When Pope John Paul II appointed him a cardinal in 2001, Bergoglio appealed to affluent Argentines not to fly to Rome to celebrate his investiture but instead to donate to charity the money they would have spent on air fare. In 2010 he furiously opposed Argentina’s legalization of same-sex “marriages,” arguing that children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother. In a letter to the faithful he spoke strongly: “Let us not be naïve, we are not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner reacted by saying that his tone was reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”
After an unprecedented 35 years of non-Italian pontificates, many observers had expected the Italian contingent in the College of Cardinals to insist on one of their own. Jorge Bergoglio is as close to being an Italian, however, as is possible for a straniero. He was born in Argentina in 1936 to first-generation Italian immigrants, speaks Italian without an accent, and has a deep grounding in Italian culture, arts and literature. At 76, Pope Francis is significantly older than expected by laity or predicted by punditry. His election is a compromise which will keep most traditionalists contented, if not exactly enthused, while giving the reformist zealots another decade or so to select a strong, charismatic candidate for their long-planned onslaught. Pope Benedict’s sudden decision has caught them off-guard and unprepared.
Among the congratulatory messages sent to Francis, the one from France’s President Francois Hollande was remarkable for its cold, Christophobic rudeness. Hollande said that France, “faithful to its universal principles of liberty, equality and fraternity,” would continue its “dialogue” with the Holy See for “peace, justice, solidarity and human dignity.” That country used to be Christian, once. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, on the other hand, made an innocent mistake when stating that the new pope’s “choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe.” As a Jesuit—the first ever to become pope—Bergoglio was guided in his choice of the name by the co-founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Francis Xavier.
If you wonder, why the world is so confused and incoherent, look no further then the concept that All Truth Is Local. “Cultural Relativism is the view that moral or ethical systems, which vary from culture to culture, are all equally valid and no one system is really “better” than any other. This is based on the idea that there is no ultimate standard of good or evil, so every judgment about right and wrong is a product of society. Therefore, any opinion on morality or ethics is subject to the cultural perspective of each person. Ultimately, this means that no moral or ethical system can be considered the “best,” or “worst,” and no particular moral or ethical position can actually be considered “right” or “wrong.”
This viewpoint is patently absurd on face value. Yet much of humanity uses “words like “pluralism,” “tolerance,” and “acceptance” in a loose way in which modern society defines these ideas has made it possible for almost anything to be justified on the grounds of “relativism.”
The article by Gene Howington, Ethical Relativism: A Good Idea or a Path to Anarchy? – cites a compelling example of an indisputable immorality performed that resulted in the deaths of innocents.
“One of the strongest arguments against ethical relativism comes from the assertion that universal ethical and/or moral standards can exist even if some practices and beliefs vary among cultures. In other words, it is possible to acknowledge cultural differences and still find that some of these practices and beliefs are wrong. Consider that although the Aztec had a society that was in some ways more advanced that their contemporary European counterparts, that their practice of human sacrifice is simply wrong.”
Most people seldom analyze their personal behavior in light of such extreme historic atrocities. However, many live a life of individual relativism. The OBJECTIVITY, SUBJECTIVITY, AND MORAL VIEWS site poses the danger of accepting a situation ethics and the risk of adopting the dead end captivity of iconoclasm.
“Individual relativism is close to, but should not be confused with, moral nihilism. An individual relativist takes standards seriously perhaps even by going so far as establishing a strict, or burdensome moral code for himself or herself. Under this position, we view the code as binding only for that one person. A nihilist, on the other hand, believes that morality is an illusion. Nothing is really binding, even a code one establishes for oneself. Nihilism about any subject is difficult to overcome, if overcoming it means giving a nihilist reasons adequate to change his or her belief, because the nihilist can continually reject the basis for our reasoning. We may claim that an objective moral code is needed for proper social function, to avoid harm, to do good, to preserve integrity. The nihilist keeps telling us that all of this is an illusion or that each involves an imposed standard.”
Is there really a difference between a personally devised ethical system, which inescapably descends into an abstruseness of conflict and indiscriminate conduct, and the nihilistic delusion that no moral behavior is attainable? Admittedly, each act of moral conscience is individual, but when society promotes a cultural relativism mystique, in order to establish an egalitarian moral neutral acceptance, the glue that binds civilization together breaks apart.
The conventional basis that philosophers acknowledge as foundational for any culture that accepts a deity, is natural law. The University of Tennessee provides an impressive summary of moral thought, in MORAL PHILOSOPHY THROUGH THE AGES.
The traditional underpinnings that apply Aristotle’s precepts, to Christian teachings are found in Aquinas Natural Law Theory. Aquinas’s account of natural law appears in his “Treatise on Law,” a section of his several thousand page Summa Theologica (1a2ae q. 90-144).
“In short, for Aquinas, all moral laws are ultimately grounded in God’s unchanging eternal law, and we discover general rules of natural law through intuition. Legal experts then deduce more specific rules of human law from these, and in scriptural divine laws we find examples of both general and specific rules. Since we don’t have access to the complete list of eternal law, from our limited human perspectives morality begins with a search for the general rules of natural law. But where do we begin looking for the general rules of natural law? Aquinas says that we must look to human nature as a guide:
… [each human being] has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. [Summa Theologica, 1a2ae 90:2]
According to Aquinas, when God created us he gave us natural instincts that reflect the general moral principles of natural law. There are two distinct levels of morally-relevant instincts. First, God implanted in us an instinctive intuition that we should pursue our proper human end. Second, God implanted in us a series of instincts that define our proper end as living, reproducing, and rational creatures.”
Now the relevance of submitting yourself unto the authority of divine design is rare in an age of godless cultural relativism. Without a willful acceptance of inspired purpose and rules for prescribed conduct, the barbarism of immoral nihilism is inevitable. Politically, the rages of wicked government repression become institutionalized, and a much greater cruelty, than most cleric domination abuses. One need not be a defender of any particular faith to accept the fundamental inherent autonomy of your being within the world. Your plight is often proportional to your circumstance, but your morality or lack thereof; is directly tied to the nature of your created soul.
The ontogeny of every individual is a product of social environment, mortal will and providential inspiration. Most of temporal society is geared to combating political disputes or fostering phony promises. Personages cope according to their singular talents and determination to compete. Many reject, from this equation, the role and influence of the muses consorting with your own mythology. Notwithstanding, the very mention of obedience to Almighty God and the submission to His natural law, bears the risk of being burned at the stake of the cultural relativist.
Thinking About Obscurity suggests: “Obscurity is the idea that when information is hard to obtain or understand, it is, to some degree, safe.” Alas, this seems to be the current condition of embracing natural law in an age of cultural relativism. Asking for divine inspiration that seeks eternal reason or using your natural instincts to discover everlasting principles, is hidden from the nihilist and their relativist cousins. Their condescending attacks against religion stems from their own inadequacies, while they spend their energy on convincing themselves of the illusion that a world without God is safe for their own form of Nahuatl liturgy sacrifices.
Dr. Edward Younkins provides a strong defense of Western Civilization in his essay, “Why the World is the Way It Is: Cultural Relativism and It’s Descendents”. By including, “Multiculturalism, racism, postmodernism, deconstructionism, political correctness, and social engineering are among cultural relativism’s “intellectual” descendents”, into this mistaken value system, the stage is set for his valid conclusion.
“In reality, the superiority of Western culture can be objectively demonstrated when cultures are appraised based on the only befitting standard for judging a society or culture—the extent to which its core values are life affirming or antilife. Prolife culture recognizes and honors man’s nature as a rational being who needs to discern and produce the circumstances that his survival and flourishing require. Such a culture would promote reason, man’s natural rights, productivity, science, and technology. Western culture, the prime example of this type of culture, exhibits levels of freedom, opportunity, health, wealth, productivity, innovation, satisfaction, comfort, and life expectancy unprecedented in history.
Western civilization represents man at his best. It embodies the values that make life as a man possible—freedom, reason, individualism, and man’s natural rights; capitalism, self-reliance, and self-responsibility based on free will and achievement; the need for limited, republican representative government and the rule of law; language, art, and literature depicting man as efficacious in the world; and science and technology, the rules of logic, and the idea of causality in a universe governed by natural laws intelligible to man. These values, the values of Western civilization, are values for all men cutting across ethnicity, geography, and gender.”
That so many pseudo intellectuals not only reject this timeless assessment and actually rebel against the natural order of society, demonstrates why the world is such a mess. Diversity of ethnical relativism cries out for a methodical demise. The cultural suicide of civilization is really a crisis in valid moral values.
There is little safety left on a planet that surrenders it individual responsibility to the collective and forgoes any duty to fulfill ones natural purpose. The progressive slough that society proceeds upon only demeans the whole. Abandoning the quest for universal ethics denies our instinctive intuition. In order to fulfill our nature as a rational creature, humanity must believe that rightful moral principles are ubiquitously applicable.
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
Upcoming Scientific Publication: “governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation.”
In a peer-reviewed paper by the American Institute of Biological Sciences titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” (available ahead of print), to be published in the march 2013 edition of the Institute’s yearly journal BioScience, a group of well-known scientists calls on government and scientists to start with the planned social engineering of “norms” and “values” in regards to environmental policies. In addition, they propose putting into effect all sorts of environmental fines and regulations in the spirit of Agenda 21 to hasten the social acceptance of increased governmental control. Also, they propose that the scientific community as a whole should align itself with government “through a concerted effort to change personal and social norms”.
The group of scientists involved in the upcoming publication include two Nobel Prize winners, economist Kenneth Arrow and political scientist Elinor Ostrom, as well as behavioral scientists, mathematicians, biologists- not to mention population scientists, the most well-known of whom are Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen C. Daily- whose professional relationship dates back to the Ecoscience days. The authors start out by stating:
“Some have argued that progress on these (global environmental) problems can be made only through a concerted effort to change personal and social norms. They contend that we must, through education and persuasion, ensure that certain behaviors become ingrained as a matter of personal ethics.” Stating that education and persuasion are insufficient to accomplish behavioral changes, they note:
“Substantial numbers of people will have to alter their existing behaviors to address this new class of global environmental problems. Alternative approaches are needed when education and persuasion alone are insufficient. Policy instruments such as penalties, regulations, and incentives may therefore be required to achieve significant behavior modification.”
Proposing that “effective policies are ones that induce both short-term changes in behavior and longer-term changes in social norms”, the collection of prominent scientists assert that “government is uniquely obligated to locate the common good and formulate its policies accordingly.”
The upcoming report however stresses that scientists are given the tools to have a hand in
“government policies intended to alter choices and behaviors” such as “active norm management, changing the conditions influencing behaviors, financial interventions, and regulatory measures.”
Each of these policy instruments potentially influences personal and social norms in different ways and through different mechanisms. Each also carries the danger of backfiring, which is often called a boomerang effect in the literature—eroding compliance and reducing the prevalence of the desired behaviors and the social norms that support those behaviors”.
“Eroding compliance”, it is called. Anticipating that an increase in regulatory interventions by government are sure to create resistance among the target population, the scientists express confidence that their recommendations “can be carried out in a way that abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability.”
Despite these on-the-surface soothing words, the authors stress that government (and the scientific community) should ultimately “move beyond” public consent when it comes to top-down regulations imposed on the American people:
“Some have argued that regulations are inherently coercive and cannot or should not exceed implied levels of public permission for such regulations. An alternative viewpoint is that governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation”.
By admitting they are willing to “move beyond existent levels of public permission” to push ahead with draconian environmental policies, these prominent scientists (among whom we find two Nobel laureates and one Paul Ehrlich) have proven their willingness to deceive the American population for their “environmental” control model. As Aaron Dykes put it while interviewing Lord Christopher Monckton,, the environmental “cause” is nothing more than “an absolute valued pretext for their absolute control model”.
The engineering of public “norms” serves not so much any environmental cause, but another one, namely that environmental policies, even draconian ones, will finally be perceived by the US population as being consistent with their own personal norms.
The way in which government may go about it shifting norms, the scientists argue, is by on the one hand “managing norms” through “such things as advertising campaigns, information blitzes, or appeals from respected figures”. The other aspect involved is the use of financial incentives and disincentives with the aim of conditioning the public to accept an increasing governmental control over personal behavior. The paper continues by saying that the best way to alter existing behaviors is through persuasive government regulations “such as penalties, regulations, and incentives” in order to “achieve significant behavior modification.”
“Fines can be an effective way to alter behavior, in part because they (like social norm management) signal the seriousness with which society treats the issue.”
By extension, the authors express hope that behaviors and values will “coevolve” alongside increased government control in the form of state regulations and “fines”:
“A carbon tax might prove effective even in the face of near-term opposition. What needs to be assessed is the possibility that behaviors and values would coevolve in such a way that a carbon tax—or other policy instrument that raises prices, such as a cap-and-trade system—ultimately comes to be seen as worthy, which would therefore allow for its long-term effectiveness”
In the context of this idea that shifting norms will “coevolve” alongside increased government regulations, the authors state:
“Each of the government interventions can influence both personal and social norms, although they do so through different mechanisms. Only social norm management directly targets norms. Choice architecture, financial instruments, and regulations can all alter social norms by causing people to first change their behaviors and then shift their beliefs to conform to those behaviors.”
In other words: the scientists propose arousing the concept of cognitive dissonance in the minds of people in order to guide the herd towards “proenvironmental” citizenship.
“When it comes to environmental issues”, the scientists write, “two different types of social norms are at play in these dynamics: social norms of conformity or cooperation and proenvironment social norms. Only the first type need be present to induce proenvironment behaviors (although proenvironment personal norms may emerge from this through, e.g., cognitive dissonance, experience, or associating the positive feeling from social approval for an act with the act itself).”
In the upcoming publication the concepts of peer-pressure and cognitive dissonance are being brought into the equation as effective norm-determining factors:
“norms of conformity and cooperation are far more universal than are proenvironment norms and are therefore far more powerful in inducing proenvironment behaviors that do not conflict with preexisting values or preferences. In other words, proenvironment values are not a necessary prerequisite to proenvironment behaviors.”
While the authors express their hope that government expands control through all kinds of environmental regulations, they argue that scientists (especially life scientists) should align with big government, join forces in an unrelenting campaign to gradually create changes in behavior so environmental policies will be more easily accepted over the course of some time.
“Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms”, the group asserts.
“many of the empirical studies cited in this article originate in law, psychology, economics, behavioral economics, anthropology, political science, and sociology. We know, for example, that the effective management of any commons requires sensitivity to local conditions, sound monitoring, graduated sanctions, and conflict-resolution mechanisms.”
Who better to guide the sheep towards “good environmental citizenship” than those scientists specialized in social engineering:
“Life scientists have a role to play in this by extending their existing theoretical analyses. To be effective, scholars of all stripes will have to extend their capacity to collaborate with decision- and policymakers in order to ensure realism and relevance.”
The scientists would, in such an environmental dictatorship, also have a monitoring capacity:
“Scientists could effectively examine how combinations of different policy interventions and of the relative timing of deployment play out.”
The paper is concluded with three distinct recommendations to both scientists and governmental agencies:
“(1) the greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists in periodic environmental policy assessments; (2) the establishment of teams of scholars and policymakers that can assess, on policy-relevant timescales, the short- and long-term efficiency of policy interventions; and (3) the alteration of academic norms to allow more progress on these issues.”
This entire publication is a clear and unmistakable sign that a scientific dictatorship is emerging under the pretext of environmentalism. More government control through regulations and fines combined with a proactive scientific community, brainwashing people into accepting this increasing governmental control where they would otherwise reject it. And guess who should be the coordinating body of this scientific dictatorship, according to the report:
“Teams might be supported by permanent entities that maintain communication with policymakers; these will differ among nations but could be attached to the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies in the international context. One potential model is a national commitment of scientific talent in the service of United Nations agencies.”
The United Nations. Of course!
“These teams could also be charged with anticipating crises and evaluating potential policy responses in advance, since detailed evaluation in the midst of a crisis may be problematic; such emergency preparedness would probably focus on the immediate effects of policies on behaviors rather than on changing social norms, because this is likely to be of greatest relevance in a crisis.”
All this talk of putting the UN behind the steering wheel of American government and the American scientific community points to the coming of age of the dreaded scientific dictatorship, against which many observers have warned us.
Source: Jurriaan Maessen | BlacklistedNews.com
A cri de coeur from a student at Damascus University…
Damascus - This observer has learned from time in this region that if one wants to learn what is happening on the ground politically and socially it is fine to speak with government officials, journalists, long tenured academicians, NGO’s, and people on the street. But I have learned that one of the best sources of objective information comes from university students. As explained to one official the other day, if ones sit with half a dozen graduate students one is sure to witness and benefit from a spirited, challenging exchange with varying points of view and few expressed without having to justify to the others one’s positions or interpretation of events.
It is for this reason that when this observer gets the chance he heads for a college in Damascus.
Today in Syria, from the streets and cafes to the Universities, a main subject of discussion and one that is nearly universally judged immoral and illegal are the US-led sanctions that in effect, are targeting the civilian population.
Partly as result of these brutal sanctions, today four million people in this country need of some type of humanitarian aid and as of today, there are 637,958 registered refugees inside Syria who are in need of emergency help, a 57,000 person increase from last year at this time.
The fighting here has obviously contributed to the continuing crisis faced by the civilian population. For example, the increasingly dangerous situation means that the World Food Program has evacuated its staff from Homs, Aleppo, Tartus Qamisly and other areas. The reason is that the past three months saw a sharp rise in the number of attacks on WFP aid trucks, which have also been hit by fuel shortages. Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency has just reported that the number of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria has leapt by nearly 100,000 in the past month. Both the Syrian Arab Republic Red Crescent Society and other NGO’s-foreign and domestic- are stretched beyond their limits and are struggling with approximately 10,000 more people in the areas they are able to assist every month being added to those in desperate need of help.
Virtually all the NGO’s here attest to the fact that if the US-led sanctions are lifted or even suspended until the spring, it would be a humanitarian gesture consistent with American claimed values. To continue to allow the dying and suffering under the weight of these sanctions suggests that we in America have learned nothing from the results of similar sanctions imposed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The deeply inhumane US-led sanctions prevent businesses from re opening, investments from being made, financial transactions, re-supply, and other necessary economic activities which means the basic necessities such as mazot fuel to heat homes, is very hard to come by as well as bread in many areas. These shortages are the direct and foreseeable results of the sanctions and rebel sabotage, as to a lesser extent of Lebanese, Turkish and other smugglers buying up the supplies and spiriting them across the borders to cash in on black market price gauging.
As a result of the sanctions, food prices have soared beyond the means of much of the Syrian civilian population. Too many of the young, old, infirm, and impoverished are dying monthly, according to Nizar, an English literature major, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of these sanctions.
The single rational foreigners visiting Damascus hear from Washington, and what the Obama administration is telling EU countries that are becoming concerned, is that the sanctions are vital to achieve regime change in Syria and when the government falls–to be replaced but who knows what or who– the US will then lift the sanctions and remove its boot from the throats of Syria’s students and civilian population.
Nizar takes another view. “If terrorism is the killing of innocent civilians for political goals, then your government, the world’s claimed expert on terrorism is very guilty of massive terrorism and doesn’t need to lecture anyone on this subject because this is exactly what they are doing with their sanctions in my country.”
The fervent wishes of the US-Israel and certain other governments to the contrary, regime change is not likely to happen anytime soon in Syria according to most of the students this observer meet with, and it’s the next four months that are critical they insist-starting today.
Syrian students follow local and regional events closely and a common view is that from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan and even some on capitol hill in Washington, are coming multiple signals that all are in consultation via their intelligence services with Syria’s government in order to reach a solution because they finally concede that, despite funding and aiding the rebel panoply with guns, money and training, these countries, including Egypt, that the regime will survive and that the al Nusra type salafists would not be satiated by the fall of Syria but would quickly turn on Doha, Riyad, Amman, the UAE and other countries in the region.
History instructs us those sanctions do not cause regime change and those affected are not the ones wielding power. It’s the wretched, the poor, the huddled refuge seeking to survive, to paraphrase Lazarus’ inscription on our Statute of Liberty who we are being ground into early graves by American government imposed sanctions.
The political goals of the sanctions imposed on Syrian civilian are one thing. The reality, quite another. US sanctions, some still in place against Cuba, after more than 53 years were a failure, as were US sanctions in China, Vietnam Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and now Syria, to name a few.
“They are all about unbridled vengeance, not rational consequences as offered in press releases from US government agencies” explained Samer, a business major from Aleppo.
Once more, much of the world including this region, as well as history will condemn the United States for these brutal economic crimes against a defenseless civilian population. Equally, among American citizens and others I have met recently in Lebanon, Egypt and Libya, who know what is happening on the ground in Syria. The overwhelming percentage does not accept and will never accept targeting innocent civilians, whether by drones or sanctions. They express feelings of shame, not just for the past 11 years of unnecessary, criminal wars of choice in this region but for the current and continuing sanctions crime against the Syrian people.
The hatred that our government has brought to itself over more than 15 years of targeting civilians is intensifying daily because those suffering and dying here in Syria due to starvation and the effects of the now freezing temperatures in Syria, do not blame their government nearly as much as our American policy makers apparently hoped for. Rather, they blame, quite correctly, our government.
As one observer noted this week, “The tents are drenched. Kids are crying. Puddles of water are all over…I am walking; my shoes are covered with rainwater. I can’t remember being so cold. I don’t even want to think about more than half of those living in my area. Something has to be done.”
We American are demonstrating yet again to the world that we have the power to destroy civilian populations. But we are better than that as a people. And in the words of Oregon’s late Senator Wayne Morse, “each one of us has a personal obligation to change, by all legal means necessary, our governments criminal acts.”
Sitting at our table in the student union refectory at Damascus University on 1/9/12, Rana, a passionate and, on that occasion indignant, history student majoring in American history and culture may have reflected accurately the views of many on Syrian campuses these days.
Rana wished out loud to us that she could tell Barack Obama face to face: “Mr. President, in 1987 on the 750th anniversary of Berlin, your predecessor Ronald Reagan, spoke about the importance of human dignity and challenged Russian leader Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall.” In 2013, we students and our families from Damascus, the city of Jasmine, which was inhabited as early as 8,000 BC, and whose livelihood, opportunities and hope you are destroying today for no sane reason, urge you to ‘tear down these sanctions’, come to Syria, visit our campus, and engage in dialogue with us.”
The Syrians are a great people. Rana, and her student colleagues, are a credit to Syria and to all humanity.
A few thoughts rushed through this observers mind when he saw a distraught looking woman sitting alone, tightly holding two babies, at one corner of the vast parking lot of the central Damascus bus station known as Al-Soumariyeh. It is from here where inexpensive transportation can be had for those traveling west, east, north and south.
One thought was about a character out of a Charles Dickens novel and the other was ‘waif, frail, malnourished, frightened’, so the lady, holding the babies appeared. She managed a polite but weak smile as I passed and she said “hello.”
Long story made short, the lady and I chatted and it turned out that Souha was fleeing the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood on the southern edge of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. This is one of the ‘hot-line’ areas of Yarmouk, where on 12/16/12 approximately 400 Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) militia fighters joined by various other salafist jihadists defeated Palestinian “popular committees” fighters supposedly loyal to Ahmed Jabil’s, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-GC (PFLP-GC). There are various unconfirmed estimates of how many ‘General Command’ fighters defected during the fighting to the rebel forces, but the PFLP-GC admits that some did. Also in the camp are some fighters from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front (PFLP).
Souha who is studying English literature, had lost her husband and was trying to travel to Ein el Helwe refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. She had the name of a distant relative, she thought was still living in Ein el Helwe, but she was unsure how to find her but knew that she desperately needed to get out of Syria.
Nearly 70% (UNWRA puts the figure at 90%) of the 180,000 Yarmouk camp residents in the 2.1 square-kilometer camp area have, as of this morning fled. This figure was provided by, Anwar Raja, politburo member of the ‘General Command” with whom this observer had a three hour meeting during the night of 12/18/2012 inside the north edge of Yarmouk. Any camp resident with a MTN or Syriatel mobile phone got a text message, from the Syrian military to leave the camp for their own safety.
Souha asked me if I had heard about the problems of the Palestinian people and explained that she fled the bombing at Yarmouk camp and that most of her neighbors also scattered. Some of the thousands of refugees who continue to flee Yarmouk can be seen today near central Damascus, and sitting in the streets of Midan. These areas are still safe. Other are huddled in parks and camped under concrete underpasses, in schools, mosques and basically anywhere they can find a spot. Many are sleeping on sidewalks at al-Sabaa Bahrat square. A friend and I spoke last night to a family of four who had only thin UNCHR blankets for the night.
Souha said she was afraid to seek safety in a Mosque because they are no longer a safe refuge and she explained that she passed about a dozen bodies on the steps and front ground next to the Abdul Qader Al-Hosseini mosque as she left Yarmouk.
Happy to learn that there are actually non-stop vans going from central Damascus to Saida, Lebanon, without having to change vehicles, we found the driver, agreed on a price of 30 LL (about $ 45) for Souha and the same price for her two babies. I insisted on a two-for-one price for the little ones and since it was starting to get dark, the nice fellow agreed. I gave Souha what money I had and also contact information for friends in Lebanon who I knew would help her.
As the van pulled off she waved from the window and I could not help thinking that she may not get much help from the Lebanese government on arriving. Yet I knew that Palestinians there would assist her. I recalled the words of the late murdered Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad) when he explained nearly three decades ago, to this observer and the American journalist, Janet Stevens,: “At the end of the day, we Palestinians can rely only on ourselves.” I did not dwell much on his words at the time but since then I have come to understand very well what the great Resistance leader meant.
Yesterday morning I assumed Souha was in Lebanon and had arrived to Saida. Then I began to hear the unsettling news of long lines at the Maznaa crossing from Syria into Lebanon. The news got worse. Thousands of Palestinian refugees were lined up, some waiting for 10 hours or more to cross and many being refused entry into by Lebanese General Security because of “inadequate documents.” Many right now are being forced to return to Damascus.
Lebanon has an international humanitarian duty to ease entry and to assist refugees, as required by well-established and globally accepted international law. But with the exception of Zionist occupied Palestine, Lebanon has the worst human rights record toward Palestinians than any country on earth. The Lebanese Parliament still refuses to grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the elementary right to work or to own a home. Even though according to various economic studies, if Palestinians could work, they would help dramatically to build Lebanon’s weak economy.
During the morning of 12/19/12 the news got even worse regarding Souha. Someone from Reuters sent me a published photo showing her stuck on a bus at Maznaa for over 12 hours. According to one report she was forced to return to Damascus. Wherever Souha is she is hopefully someone is helping her.
Ahmed Jebril, an ally of the Syrian government is blaming foreign paid terrorists for the attack that is forcing the emptying of Yarmouk and also the rather quick defeat of his fighters. He and his GC staff told this observer that the General Command had no plans to attempt to return to Yarmouk. Reports from the camp claim that more than half of the GC’s 1000 fighters, mainly younger ones, defected to the rebels. It is difficult to know the truth, but it is fairly clear that Yarmouk has substantially been emptied and that government forces are surrounding the camp, presumably in preparation for a massive counter-attack and or aerial bombardment.
One statement that Ahmed Jebril, who contrary to a New York Times report, has not fled to Iran or Tartous, made that is probably accurate is that “As Yarmouk goes, so goes Damascus. As Damascus goes, so goes Syria”. Jabril’s aid Anwar Raja said that the camp will be used by the rebels to destroy the airport and to launch their “final assault” into the center of Damascus. They showed this observer fragments of ‘home made’ weapons similar to those collected from around Syria by military intelligence who in late October briefed this observer.
Teachers are specifically told not to do all the obvious things that teachers have traditionally done through the centuries. There’s a lot of talk about being more passive, about becoming a guide or facilitator.
Did anybody tell you to learn a lot and take charge of your classroom? (You probably weren’t even required to major in the subjects you will teach — surely that’s a bad beginning.)
Didn’t you dream of teaching kids a lot of interesting, exciting stuff and making them ready to be successful in the world?
First step, make sure you know a lot of interesting exciting stuff so you can teach it. Second step, clean all the fashionable nonsense out of your mind.
Get back to what works. How about the 3 R’s? How about Geography, History, Science, and Literature? How about anything factual and substantial? How about essential knowledge? When in doubt, teach something!
Schools today are too often set up to teach little. Don’t you see it all around you? To a bizarre degree, the Education Establishment is in a war against substantive education, and in a war against teaching and teachers. An elaborate form of effusive non-teaching is becoming the rule.
The Progressive idea (a very silly one) is that teaching is all about techniques and process. Here’s the theory: if you know the techniques, you can teach anything. This is obviously not true. You can only teach what you know yourself.
Progressives said that what you actually teach is unimportant. They took the emphasis off content, off what children should learn.
Instead, they put all the emphasis on arranging the desks a certain way, on having the teacher perform in a certain way. Everything is style, acting, hype, and psychological manipulation. Telling kids where the pyramids are is considered a waste of time.
To see through all the anti-intellectual chatter in the public schools, all you have to do is flash back to the last time you attended a really good lecture or watched a great program on the History Channel. You settled back in your chair and somebody who was really informed and passionate about a subject talked to you in a way that was just totally spellbinding. At the end you had learned all this exciting stuff; and that new knowledge is still exploding in your brain.
It doesn’t matter whether the subject was cooking, heart surgery or Greek battles 25 centuries ago. The expert taught. You learned. That’s what is supposed to happen in a classroom. It would if only the Education Establishment would get out of the way.
Here is a short checklist for teachers who want to be great teachers:
Be an expert on your subjects. Be the most informed person in your classroom by far.
A sage on a stage is exactly what students need and deserve. If not you, then who?
Teach more than required. You never know what will strike a spark. Facts reinforce each other. (Facts by themselves are lonely creatures. They are most easily learned in large familial groups. To give just one simple example, it’s easier to talk about tools you might use to build a house or foods that grow on a vine that about all tools or all foods.)
Finally, be suspicious of fads. Older teachers will tell you that new fads are continually pushed down on the teachers. A few years later, gone! It didn’t work, so here’s a new fad. Knowledge does not go out of fashion. It always works. So just stay focused on what kids need to know. For one example out of 1,000, they need to know where the pyramids are.
Good teachers are the hope of the future. Sure, there is a public-speaking aspect that teachers need to be good at. But almost everything else is knowing your subject, and then communicating what you know with love and conviction to your students.
(For a basic K-12 curriculum, see “A Bill of Rights for Students 2012” on the writer’s site Improve-Education.org.)
The EU’s unilateral sanctions come after the United States targeted Iran with a set of sanctions against the country’s Central Bank and a number of individuals and companies and threatened to penalize the foreign firms and banks which have financial transactions with Iranian counterparts.
The sanctions are not unprecedented and unexpected for the Iranians, as the United States began to cut off its economic deals with Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which toppled the Washington-backed Shah; however, what is new and surprising is that the United States and its European allies are extraordinarily intensifying the sanctions, tightening the noose around the ordinary Iranians who are unquestionably the innocent and silent victims of the West’s vitriolic animosity with Iran.
Perhaps what the majority of people in different countries think about Iran’s nuclear program which is the main cause of the West’s hostility with Iran is inspired by the mainstream media’s coverage of the developments in the country. After the painful 9/11 attacks which was followed by George W. Bush’s initiation of the War on Terror plan, the corporate media began to disseminate and foster anti-Iranian sentiments as part of their agenda for demonizing the Muslims and Muslim-majority countries. Iran was dubbed as one of the elements of the so-called Axis of Evil by President Bush during his 2002 State of the Union address and a venomous media campaign against Iran was set in motion afterwards.
Aggrandizing the shortcomings and internal problems, frequently accusing the country of violating human rights, propagating the idea that Iran has become an isolated and reclusive country and portraying a distorted and falsified image of Iranian people and their lifestyle constituted the core of Western mainstream media’s coverage of Iran over the past years. Such a biased coverage laid the groundwork for the United States and its allies to put an excessive pressure on Iran, work to further isolate the country, adopt crippling sanctions against her and even drum-beat for a possible military invasion with the final objective of a regime change in Tehran.
President Bush and his successor who came to power with the flaunting and pompous slogan of “change” identically pursued a policy of antagonism with Iran and although the latter had vowed to take up reconciliation and détente with Iran, he exactly imitated what his predecessor has done.
On September 30, 2006, the U.S. Congress ratified the Iran Freedom and Support Act which allocated $10 million to anti-Iranian groups both inside and outside the country who were seeking to overthrow the Iranian government.
On May 27, 2007, Daily Telegraph quoted intelligence sources as reporting that President Bush had given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran. According to the British paper, Bush had signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a campaign of propaganda and disinformation intended to destabilize and eventually topple the Islamic Republic government.
Bush’s plan also included covert support for notorious terrorist gangs such as Jundallah and MKO which over the past years have carried out several terrorist operations across Iran, claiming the lives of tens of innocent civilians. The main goal of these cults is to sabotage Iran’s security and pave the way for the United States and its allies to invade Iran and implement their perilous plans for the country.
According to an ABC News report published on May 22, 2007, some former officials in the Bush administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that the U.S. government had designed plans for manipulating the value of Iran’s currency and damaging its international financial transactions.
They also unveiled that the U.S. government which has been involved in several regime change operations in such countries as Syria, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Greece, Chile, Argentina, Afghanistan, Turkey, Poland and Nicaragua since the World War I had authorized a $400 million covert operation to create unrest in Iran, especially following the 2009 presidential election in which the defeated candidates claimed that the results had been rigged.
At the same time, however, the leaders of the United States and the European states who imposed upon Iran a set of relentless biting sanctions hypocritically talk of friendship with the Iranian nation and state that they seek rapprochement and camaraderie with Iran.
In his March 2009 videotaped message to the Iranian people on the occasion of Persian New Year (Nowrouz), the U.S. President Obama adored Persian culture, civilization, arts and literature and overtly cajoled Iranians with the aim of persuading them to confide in the United States and its policies vis-à-vis Iran: ” In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place… Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.”
Thereafter, he turned to the leaders of Iran to reach out to them directly: “we have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.”
President Obama appreciated Iranian culture and talked of his commitment to diplomacy and negotiations with Iran; however, by the end of the same year, he authorized the renewal of the long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against Iran, provoking a wave of anger and disappointment among Iranians.
In the following years, President Obama recorded similar videotaped messages on the occasion of Nowrouz, and despite the fact that his tone got unsympathetic over time, he still insisted on his being concerned for the Iranians and their “rights.”
With regards to Iran, the Western politicians, including President Obama, seemingly follow a modus operandi of “divide and rule.” They want to separate the Iranian government and people and pretend that they care for the interests of the Iranians, and at the same time, oppose the policies of the government; a government which they say has long repressed its own people, while the reality proves otherwise.
Now, the gist of Iran-West standoff can be expressed this way: the United States and its allies demand that Iran should give up its nuclear rights and make other concessions. Iran doesn’t accept these demands, calling them illegitimate and beyond its liability. The West doesn’t spare any effort to punish Iran: sanctions, assassination of its nuclear scientists, passing resolutions in the UN Security Council, psychological operations and other punitive measures. Iranians have firmly tolerated the pressures to show that they don’t give in to bullying. The future is unclear and blurred; however, what is certain is that the ones who bear the burden of West’s hostility toward Iran are the ordinary people.
The sanctions have targeted Iran’s medical sector. Aside from the official data which show that many European countries have banned the shipment of different medicines to Iran, my personal observations prove that Iran is direly running out of sensitive medical products, including medicine for psychological patients, those who suffer from various types of cancer, diabetes, hemophilia, thalassemia, multiple sclerosis and heart diseases. I’ve personally encountered patients who needed medicine from countries such as Canada and Belgium, but as a result of the sanctions, they couldn’t find them. Aren’t such diabolical sanctions contrary to the principles of human rights? Why don’t those who preach human rights and democracy take the fact into consideration that banning the export of medicine to a country whose people are in dire need of such products is simply a collective punishment of innocent civilians?
Every year, tens of Iranian citizens are killed in painful air accidents, which is a direct result of the U.S.-engineered sanctions against Iran. According to the U.S. sanctions which were implemented almost 30 years ago, the European aviation companies are not allowed to sell aircrafts to Iran and the aging fleet of Iranian airlines cannot accommodate the growing demand of the people for safe and secure air travels. According to the chancellor of Amir Kabir University of Iran, the country needs at least 600 civilian aircraft, but no country sells Iran such a huge number of aircrafts and the people always travel via Iranian airliners in an atmosphere of trepidation and anxiety.
Overall, what is clear is that the sanctions game started by the U.S. and its European allies has no winner. It simply blackens the image of the Western superpowers in the eye of Iranian people and makes them believe that the United States and its cronies cannot ever be trusted.
The latest spectacle of disgusting posthuman monsters in expensive suits squandering other people’s billions—while displaying nothing but studied contempt for hoi polloi whose blood is their sustenance—is sickening and infuriating. Déjà vu all over again. Never mind the regulators and government officials with whom they are in existential cahoots; the bastards will continue doing their thing as surely as the Muslims will go on murdering Christians, and lung cancer cells will go on multiplying. It is their vocation.
So should they be killed? The thought is tempting and rather appealing, the imagination runs pleasingly wild. On reflection it has to be rejected. Provided we accept the morally necessary assumption that for all their sulphurically scented traits, the Bankers are “humans,” we cannot escape the Raskolnikov dilemma.
The Russians are the last civilized nation to take literature as seriously as life, and they will be the last to subject that heritage to the deconstructivist butchery of effeminate idiots with minor-college PhDs. This is to their credit because Raskolnikov should be seen as a living person living a real life in New York, or London, or the Midwest today. This real-life person—a teacher, a corporate bureaucrat, a construction engineer, a retired policeman, or a housewife…—should be forgiven for wishing Bankers dead. But their all too understandable sentiment is essentially the same as that of the Red Commissars of 1917 and their heirs everywhere As Dostoyevsky understood decades before Lenin, it is dangerous; understandable; but not justified.
The Bankers should be discredited, tarred, and feathered, stripped of every last cent of their ill-gotten gains, and put to work on a Californian orange farm—absolutely!—but they should not be killed.
A bit of history. I was 15 when I visited St. Petersburg—then still “Leningrad”—with a Belgrade high school tour. My purpose was to go in quest of Dostoevsky, my favorite writer, whom I had just started discovering at that time. He wrote Crime and Punishment on the banks of the Neva—one of the best structured, intricately multi-layered novels of all time. (I even named my son Theodore in Fyodor Mikhailovich’s honor.)
It was early July and the White Nights of the North were at their whitest, and the days were sunny. Yet the essential gloomy essence of the place—thickly felt in the courtyard of the building the author inhabited when writing his masterpiece, and in which his tortured hero Raskolnikov lived—could not be concealed. Behind the layers of Soviet decrepitude, one could sense the splendor of Peter the Great’s design. Such splendor makes up not for joyful livability. The city was essentially unchanged since the 1860s (minus some 1941-44 German-inflicted damage, not too visible) and its misty distances looked flat and indistinct against the pale backdrop of the Northern sky behind and the rising mist of its many waterways and canals in front. St. Petersburg is the most European city in Russia and the most inherently perverted for being so. Dostoevsky’s novel embodies the worst aspects of both cultures that offer two poles of one civilization.
That essential gloom of the place (which I have not visited since but I don’t believe has changed) provided a perfect setting for the novel which is the essential key to understanding the dilemma of our postmodern times. Raskolnikov rails against the social injustice without being a Marxist (not even knowing that the author of Das Kapital exists), adores Napoleon as the 19th century model of superhuman greatness but does not seek l’Empereur’s glory for himself. His obsessive quest for “justice” becomes tangibly personified in the old usurer whom he finally kills—premeditatedly murders her—as an act of ontological retribution.
“I wanted to kill without casuistry, to kill for my own sake,” Dostoevsky has him say reflecting obviously his own passions, “it was not money I needed but something else…I wanted to know, and to know quickly, whether I was a worm like everyone else, or a man. Shall I be able to transgress or shall I not? Shall I dare to stoop down and take, or not? Am I a trembling creature, or have I the right?”
But Raskolnikov soon discovers he is not a superman capable of enacting his own moral laws, and the lesson has been re-learnt at a great cost by Dostoyevsky’s heirs in the horrible century that followed his death. On the other hand, Raskolnikov is not satisfied with the lower-category claim that because the victim was a horrible, laecherous hag (the usurer was ugly, unlike many of her well-groomed Wall Street heirs), her death was for the good of all. The key issue is that Raskolnikov is utterly unable to live with what he has done; he is going neurotic verging on insane; and in the fullness of time, he willingly makes a full confession to a police inspector who knows his soul. Porfiry Petrovich is not playing games—but merely leading him along the way to inner release that comes with confession.
This dilemma—can we be Gods?—is at the novel’s heart, and at the heart of the crisis of our civilization. And that is why we should let the bankers live, which is not to say we should try to destroy them and all they stand for.
Unlike the Communist mass murderers of the past century, Raskolnikov sees clearly his tragic predicament through the prism of a distinctly Christian hate of cunning commerce and ruthless profitmaking. Being prepared to use violence against those who destroy the meek and the pure of spirit for Mammon’s sake, but NOT being a secular revolutionary—he IS what the Rulers of the World fear the most.
But in the end, with a Russian twist that is essentially pan-Christian, he repents and realizes that “Thou shalt not kill!” takes precedence. And the end of the story is the new beginning, as he serves his sentence in Siberia, accompanied by his long-suffering Sonia: “Here begins a new story, the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his rebirth, of his gradual transition from one world to another, and of the revelation to him of a new, hitherto quite unknown reality.”
This is a blueprint for our own rebirth and renewal in the dark times ahead. And screw the bankers.