“Repo has a flaw: It is vulnerable to panic, that is, ‘depositors’ may ‘withdraw’ their money at any time, forcing the system into massive deleveraging. We saw this over and over again with demand deposits in all of U.S. history prior to deposit insurance. This problem has not been addressed by the Dodd-Frank legislation. So, it could happen again.” – Gary B. Gorton, Professor of Management and Finance, Yale School of Management (lifted from Repowatch)
Subprime mortgages did not cause the financial crisis, nor did the housing bubble or Lehman Brothers. The financial crisis originated in a corner of the shadow banking system called the repo market. That’s where the bank run occurred that froze the secondary market, sent prices on mortgage-backed assets plunging, and pushed the financial system into a death spiral. In the Great Crash of 2008, repo was ground zero, the epicenter of the global catastrophe. As analyst David Weidner noted in the Wall Street Journal, “The repo market wasn’t just a part of the meltdown. It was the meltdown.”
Regrettably, the Federal Reserve’s nontraditional monetary policies (ZIRP and QE) have succeeded in restoring the repo market to it’s precrisis level of activity, but without implementing any of the changes that would have made the system safer. Repo is as vulnerable and crisis-prone today as it was when the French bank PNB Paribas stopped redemptions in its off-balance sheet operations in 2007 kicking off the tumultuous bank run that would eventually implode the entire system and push the economy into the deepest slump since the Great Depression. By failing to rein in repo, the Fed has ensured that financial crises will be a regular feature in the future occurring every 15 or 20 years as was the case before banks were more strictly regulated and government backstops were put in place. Repo returns us to Wild West “anything goes” banking.
Why would the Fed be so reckless and pave the way for another disaster? We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s give a brief explanation of repo and how the system works.
Repo is short for repurchase agreement. The repo market is where primary dealers sell securities with an agreement for the seller to buy back the securities at a later date. This sounds more complicated than it is. What’s really going on is the seller (primary dealers) are getting short-term loans from money market funds, securities firms, banks etc in order to maintain a position in securities in which they’re suppose to make markets. So, repo is like a loan that’s secured with collateral. (ie–the securities) It is a “funding mechanism”.
What touched off the Crash of 2008, was the discovery that the collateral that was being used for repo funding was “toxic”, that is, the securities were not Triple A after all, but subprime mortgage-backed gunk that would only fetch pennies on the dollar. So, when PNB Paribas stopped redemptions in its off-balance sheet operations on August 9, 2007, the rout began. Cash-heavy investors (like money markets) turned off the lending spigot, which reduced trillions of dollars of MBS to junk-status, precipitated massive fire sales of distressed assets that were dumped on the market pushing prices further and further down wiping out trillions in equity and reducing the financial system to a smoldering pile of rubble. That’s why the Fed stepped in, backstopped the system with explicit guarantees for both regulated and unregulated financial institutions and set about to reflate financial asset prices to their precrisis highs.
Newly appointed Fed chairman Janet Yellen summarized what happened in the panic in a speech she gave earlier this year. She said:
“The trigger for the acute phase of the financial crisis was the rapid unwinding of large amounts of short-term wholesale funding that had been made available to highly leveraged and/or maturity-transforming financial firms.”
In other words, the crisis began in repo. Unfortunately, Wall Street has fended off all attempts to fix the system, because repo is a particularly lucrative area of activity. And we are talking serious money here, too. Tri-party repo alone–which is a small subset of the larger repo market–represents “about $1.6 trillion in outstanding repos daily.” That means that the prospect of a big dealer dumping his portfolio of securities on the market at a moment’s notice igniting another panic, is never far away.
Why do banks borrow in the unregulated, shadow system instead of conducting their business in the light of day where regulators can check the quality of the underlying collateral, oversee the various transactions on public trading platforms, and make sure that capital requirements are maintained?
It’s because the banks want to deploy all their capital, leverage up to their eyeballs and play fast-and-loose with the rules. Here’s what the New York Fed has to say on the topic:
“One clear motivation for intermediation outside of the traditional banking system is for private actors to evade regulation and taxes. The academic literature documents that motivation explains part of the growth and collapse of shadow banking over the past decade…
Regulation typically forces private actors to do something which they would otherwise not do: pay taxes to the official sector, disclose additional information to investors, or hold more capital against financial exposures. Financial activity which has been re-structured to avoid taxes, disclosure, and/or capital requirements, is referred to as arbitrage activity.” (“Shadow Bank Monitoring“, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, September, 2013)
In other words, the banks are conducting their operations in the shadows because it’s cheaper. That’s what this is all about. Here’s more from the same report:
“While the fundamental reason for commercial bank runs is the sequential servicing constraint, for shadow banks the effective constraint is the presence of fire sale externalities. In a run, shadow banking entities have to sell assets at a discount, which depresses market pricing. This provides incentives to withdraw funding—before other shadow banking depositors arrive.”
Okay, so when there’s a run on the local bank, the bank may have to offload some of its illiquid assets (real estate, commercial property, etc) to meet the increased demand of depositors who want their money, but they can also rely on government backing. (deposit insurance). But with shadow banking–like repo– it’s a bit different; the problem is fire sales. For example, when repo lenders–like the big money markets–demanded more collateral from the banks in exchange for short-term funding; the banks were forced to dump more of their assets en masse pushing prices lower, eroding their equity and leaving many of the banks deep in the red. This is how the panic wiped out Wall Street and cleared the way for the $700 TARP bailout. It all started in repo.
The point is, had the system been adequately regulated with the appropriate safeguards in place, there would have been no fire sales, no panic, and no crisis. Regulators would have made sure that the underlying collateral was legit, that is, they would have made sure that the subprime borrowers were creditworthy and able to repay their loans. They would have made sure that repo borrowers (the banks) had sufficient capital to meet redemptions if problems arose. And regulators would have limited excessive leveraging of the securitized assets.
Regulation works. It provides safety, stability, and security as opposed to panic, bankruptcy and severe recession which is the scenario that Wall Street’s profiteers seem to prefer. Now check this out from the NY Fed:
“While leveraged lending collapsed in 2008 from a peak of $680 billion in 2007, it has rebounded very quickly, and is now at record levels of volume, projected to be larger than $1 trillion in 2013…” (NY Fed)
How’s that for progress, eh? So, Bernanke’s reflation efforts have effectively restored the same shabby, poorly designed system to its former glory putting all of us at risk again. Here’s more:
“One area of concern, however, is the significant increase in the fraction of covenant lite loans, which have increased dramatically from 0 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2013. This deterioration in loan underwriting has come hand-in-hand with an increased presence of retail investors in the leveraged loan market, through both CLOs and prime funds, as relatively sophisticated investors, like banks and hedge funds, are exiting the asset class.” (New York Fed)
Great. So now we are seeing the same problems that emerged in 2004 and 2005 with subprime mortgages, that is, there’s so much liquidity in the system–thanks to the Fed’s zero rates and QE– that investors are dabbling in all-types of risky garbage that you wouldn’t normally touch with a 10 foot dungpole. Check this out from Testosterone Pit:
“Shadow banking loans are estimated to have reached $15 trillion in the US. And among them is a particularly hot category: lending to highly leveraged companies with junk credit ratings. … the NY Fed found that these loans are increasingly issued in a loosey-goosey manner, with low underwriting standards. And issuance has soared…
Layered into these crappy and risky loans are the crappiest and riskiest of all loans, namely “covenant-lite” loans. Their covenants are so watered down and so full of holes that investors have few if any protections in case of default. If the Fed ever allows reality to set, and these companies stumble under their load of debt or can’t refinance it at ridiculously low rates, investors can kiss their money goodbye.” …
these desperate small investors…have unknowingly made a quantum leap in risk – allowing the smart money, which hears the hot air hissing from the credit bubble, to bail out. This must be one of the proudest moments in Chairman Bernanke’s glorious tenure.” (“Fed: Hedge Funds, Banks Sell Crappiest Debt To Small Investors (Before Credit Bubble Blows Up) ” Testosterone Pit)
Nice, eh? So the big boys are planning to vamoose before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Meanwhile, Mom and Pop are about to get reamed for the umpteenth time when the Fed “tapers” and these covenant lite IEDs blow up in their face taking another sizable chunk out of their retirement savings. Way to go, Bernanke. Here’s more from the NY Fed report:
“Shadow credit transformation increased from only 5 percent of total credit transformation in 1945 to a peak amount of 60 percent in 2008 before declining to 55 percent in 2011.”
So now the shadow players are generating more than half of all the nation’s credit via their dodgy, unregulated operations. Why? So a handful of ravenous banks can make bigger profits.
According to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) “credit intermediation that takes place in an environment where prudential regulatory standards and supervisory oversight are either not applied or are applied to a materially lesser or different degree than is the case for regular banks engaged in similar activities.” (FSB, 2011).
Read that over again. What they’re saying is that it’s a completely ridiculous, insane system. We’ve given the banks this outrageous privilege of creating private money out of thin air, (credit) and they spit in our face. They won’t even follow a few simple rules that would make the process safer for everyone. Keep in mind, that Dodd Frank does nothing to remedy the problems in repo.
One last thing (from the NY Fed):
“Intermediaries create liquidity in the shadow banking system by levering up the collateral value of their assets. However, the liquidity creation comes at the cost of financial fragility as fluctuations in uncertainty cause a flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets. The collapse of shadow banking liquidity has real effects via the pricing of credit and generates prolonged slumps after adverse shocks.”
Repeat: “liquidity creation comes at the cost of financial fragility as fluctuations in uncertainty cause a flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets.”
Can you believe it? The Fed doesn’t even try to deny what’s going on. They admit that letting the banks ratchet up their leverage increases “financial fragility ” which could precipitate another crash. (“flight to quality from shadow liabilities to safe assets.”) In other words, the Fed KNOWS the system is nuts, just like they know that it’s only a matter of time before the whole bloody thing blows up again and the economy goes off the cliff. Still, they’re not going to lift a finger to change the system.
You know why.
Because a few fatcats at the top like the way things are now, that’s why.
If that doesn’t make your blood boil, I don’t know what will.
I could barely make out Barack Obama’s Syria speech to the nation on my old car radio as I negotiated the narrow curves of Route 79 on the western banks of the Mississippi River in central Missouri last Tuesday night. What I could hear sounded very much like more of Obama’s by now standard if stunning arch-mendacity.
“To Take This Debate to Congress”
Looking at the speech transcript and video online recently, my suspicions were richly confirmed. Speaking from the end of the same long red carpet where George W. Bush delivered his demented announcement of the invasion of Iraq, Obama claimed that he has turned to Congress for authorization to use force against Syria because “I’m…the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy” and “believe[s]…it [is] right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.”
That is certainly a lie. He did no such thing in the case of Libya, subjected to a five-week U.S. bombing campaign (though it posed no “direct or imminent threat to [Americans’] security”) because he didn’t have to, politically. This time it’s different, as the liberalMiddle East historian Juan Cole has explained: “Obama did not need Congress in the case of Libya. He had the Arab League, the UN Security Council, and NATO…But [he has] became more and more isolated [on Syria]. The Arab League declined to call for intervention… Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and other Arab countries forthrightly denounced the idea of foreign military intervention in Syria, a very different stance than many of them took in 2011 with regard to Libya…Then NATO declined to get involved, with Poland, Belgium, and others expressing reluctance…Then the British Parliament followed suit.” Failure to garner any meaningful fig leaf of formal international support is why Obama ran to Congress this time.
“I Possess the Authority”
Obama claimed he has gone to Congress “even though I possess the authority to order military strikes.” The former “liberal” constitutional law professor with a degree from Harvard Law certainly knows that the U.S. Constitution grants war-making authority in Congress alone. He should know further that it is thoroughly criminal under international law for him to attack any sovereign nation in the absence of any direct or imminent threat to the U.S.
Claims of Humanitarian Concern
Obama’s claim to be moved to act by civilian deaths in Syria, citing the horrors of “children writhing in pain, and going still on a cold hospital floor.” This claim is contradicted by the grim determination with which he has regularly murdered innocent civilians (including large numbers of women and children) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere – “collateral damage” in the dirty global war on/of terror he inherited from Cheney-Bush and then expanded. One horrific example – neither the first nor the last among many – occurred in the May of 2009. That’s when U.S. air-strikes killed 140 civilians in Bola Boluk, a village in western Afghanistan’s Farah Province. Ninety-three of the dead villagers torn apart by U.S. explosives were children. Just 22 were males 18 years or older. Villagers brought tractor trailers full of the pieces of human bodies to the provincial governor’s office to prove that the casualties had occurred. “Everyone at the governor’s office was crying, watching that shocking scene,” one observer reported.”
The initial response of the Obama administration and Pentagon to this appalling incident (one of many mass civilian-butchering U.S. aerial killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world under Obama) was to absurdly blame the civilian deaths on “Taliban grenades.” Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” about the loss of innocent life, but the administration refused to issue an apology or acknowledge U.S. responsibility for the blasting apart of civilian bodies in Farah Province.
The matter was quickly dropped and forgotten, sent down George Orwell’s memory hole, with deep media complicity, as the Pentagon wrote checks to the Afghan government to give families a couple thousand dollars per corpse. The U.S. subsequently conducted a dubious “investigation” that reduced the civilian body count drastically and blamed the Taliban for putting civilians in the way of U.S. bombs.
There have been many crimes like Bola Boluk under Obama. People who command glass houses of a sociopathic, mass-murderous empire should not expect to be taken seriously when throw “humanitarian” stones at other butchers.
If Obama is so dismayed by the spectacle of a government “killing its own people,” why is he not calling for missile strikes against the military dictatorship in Egypt, which recently slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of civilians to stop popular protests against the regime? Is it okay to kill your own civilians as long as you are a U.S.-allied regime and/or do the killing with “conventional” weapons?
But why does Obama think we should believe that he can advance humanitarian goals by lobbying cruise missiles at anyone? Two days after Obama’s speech, the New York Times published an Opinion-Editorial from Russian president Vladimir Putin. “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders,” Putin reasonably observed. “A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”
Selective History and Terrible Weapons
In his discussion of the past horrors of chemical weapons (by European powers during World War I and by the Nazi holocaust) last Tuesday night, Obama deleted the United States’ vicious deployment of dioxin during the Vietnam War. That example of chemical warfare caused an explosion of birth defects among other terrible results in Southeast Asia. The president also failed to mention that Washington helped Saddam Hussein use nerve gas against Iranian soldiers and the U.S. Marines used white phosphorous in their massive assaults on the civilian population of Fallujah, Iraq in November of 2004.
Will Obama threaten Tel Aviv with cruise missiles for using white phosphorous against Palestinian civilians in Gaza? Of course not: the Palestinians are officially unworthy victims, like the East Timorese and countless others who have been killed and tortured by governments that are allied with the inherently good United States and therefore officially incapable (like the U.S.) of crimes against humanity.
Obama painted out Syria as a rogue state because it has not signed a treaty against chemical weapons like “189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.” He did not mention that Syria’s neighbors Syria and Egypt (both U.S. allies) have also not signed the treaty.
Obama had nothing to say, of course, about the even greater dreadfulness of nuclear and radioactive ordnance. The U.S. stands alone in having incinerated and poisoned civilians with atomic weapons – quite unnecessarily in August of 1945. And thanks to America’s deployment of depleted uranium in Iraq, the toxic legacy of the U.S. attacks on Fallujah was worse was that of the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An epidemic of cancer, leukemia, and birth defects quickly followed in Fallujah.[5A]
“We Know the Assad Regime was Responsible”
“We know,” Obama said, “the Assad regime was responsible” for the Syrian chemical weapons attack of August 21, 2013. Not so. The proof offered by the president, a former lawyer, was hardly impressive. It contained nothing remotely like a smoking gun. Obama made no attempt to disprove other theories of what might have happened, including some German journalists’ finding that the attack was conducted by a rogue Syrian officer acting without Assad’s approval. Nor did he address what left commentator Glen Ford rightly calls “credible reports (everybody’s reports are more credible than the Americans) that rebels under U.S. allied control were told to prepare to go on the offensive following an American retaliation to chemical attack that would be blamed on Assad’s forces.”
“No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria,” Putin wrote in his Times editorial: “But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with [Islamic] fundamentalists.” That is a reasonable judgment.
Nobody should doubt the monstrosity of the Assad regime, but Obama’s proof of Assad’s culpability for the attack in questions amounts pretty much to this: “because I say so.”
“These Things Happened:” The Memory Hole
“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory,” Obama said. “But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied.”
An interesting thing to hear from an American president! “From the end of World War Two through the present, the U.S. Empire has caused “the extinction and suffering of countless human beings. The United States,” William Blum Pilger noted eight years ago, “attempted to overthrow fifty governments, many of them democracies, and to crush thirty popular movements fighting tyrannical regimes. In the process, twenty-five countries were bombed, causing the loss of several million lives and the despair of millions more.”
The leading American imperial crimes include a massive U.S. assault on the peasant nation of Vietnam – an epic attack that killed 3 million Indochinese – and the illegal invasion of oil-rich Mesopotamia, whose terrible human consequences (including at least 2 million Iraqis dying prematurely) remain essentially unmentionable in “mainstream” (dominant) U.S. media. Chemical weapons were deployed in both of these grand imperial transgressions.
Over these decades, the U.S. has been what Noam Chomsky calls “ a rogue state, the leading rogue state, radically violating international law, refusing to accept international convention” and even maintaining “self-authorization to commit genocide.”
Is it any wonder that, as Putin noted in the Times, “Millions around the world …see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us’” (emphasis added).
“The Anchor of Global Security”
There should be little surprise that knowledgeable observers the world over cringe and/or roll their eyes when U.S. presidents say things like this, from Obama’s Tuesday night address:”My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security…The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them” (emphasis added).
That is a blatant lie, as Obama surely knows. Tell it to the survivors of the millions who have been snuffed out by rogue state America, consistently identified by the global populace for many years as the leading threat to peace and security in the world. Tell it to the people of Chile. Two days ago they commemorated the 40th anniversary of their 9/11 – the September 11, 1973 coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of socialist president Salvador Allende. The coup was assisted and supported by Washington, determined to install a vicious military dictatorship that executed thousands of leftists and others and became a leading center of international terror. The U.S. would not permit the continued existence of democratic socialist government in “our hemisphere.”
What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., say about Obama’s claim that the U.S. has been “the anchor of global security” since World War II? In 1967, well within the timeframe of Obama’s sweeping historical claim, King identified the U.S. as “the leading purveyor of violence in the world today.” The Vietnamese, King said, “must see Americans as strange liberators” as they “languish under our bombs….as we he herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps. They know they must move or be destroyed by bombs. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops [with chemical weapons]. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one ‘Vietcong’-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them – mostly children…” 
Looking at the historical literature on the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent moment of supreme nuclear danger, a living King (who would be 84 today had he not been assassinated or perhaps executed inside “the anchor of global security” exactly one year to the day after publicly declaring his opposition to the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City) today might also like to mention (among other things) the remarkable degree to which the Ahabs of Washington have been willing to risk global thermonuclear war (very barely averted in October 1962) in their quest for unchallenged global supremacy.
“It Never Happened”
But in the U.S, and indeed across much of the West, the record of ongoing, mass-murderous American criminality is airbrushed out of the official history and mass culture. It is tossed down Orwell’s memory hole, consistent with Big Brother’s dictum in Nineteen Eighty Four: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” As Harold Pinter noted in his biting acceptance of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, the reigning Western cultural authorities behave as if U.S. crimes simply did not occur. When it comes to America’s transgression against civilized norms and international law, “nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening,” Pinter added, “it never happened. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.” Dominant U.S.-led Western cultural codes mandate that the only victims meriting acknowledgement and compassion are those assaulted by officially designated enemies. The larger number victimized by the U.S. and its clients and allies (e.g., the Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation and apartheid) do not qualify for sympathy or even existence. They don’t exist. The crimes against them didn’t take place.
Detour and Lost Cool
Eleven minutes into his war speech, Obama had to strangely shift gears and acknowledge the need to delay his hoped-for war vote in light of Russia and Syria’s last-minute proposal to demolish Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision and control. He tried to save militaristic face by attributing the Russian and Syrian move to his threatened use of force. He seemed to expect his listeners to preposterously believe that a peaceful, diplomatic, and international solution is his idea. Obama wants us to think that the United Nations route was his preferred path all along.
That’s nonsense. Obama is an aggressive commander of a rogue military state that prefers force and unilateral action in the names of unimpeded hegemony and “American exceptionalism.” He and many of his fellow fake-humanitarian cruise missile liberal imperialists have been itching for a bigger war in the Middle East, one that will let him attack the great regional enemy Iran and wrap the remainder of his lame-duck presidency in the splendor of war-fed patriotism.
Like the British Parliament’s vote against attacking Syria, Putin and Assad’s peace gambit is a great humiliation for Obama. It knocked more stuffing out of his failing fake-humanitarian effort to rally a reluctant, war-weary citizenry plagued by massive domestic problems (including remarkably durable “homeland” poverty and unemployment alongside stunning, New Gilded Age levels of inequality that have only increased under Obama’s supposedly progressive presidency) behind another expensive imperial campaign.
Expect the defeated president to do his best to get the nation back on a unilateral war footing. For now, he has been defeated not simply by other politicians but also by public opinion – by the citizenry in whose name he claims to speak. Imagine that. Along the way, Barack “The Empire’s New Clothes” Obama may well have lost his public cool, the swagger in his step, once and for all. Syria may prove his undoing –the moment when the outwardly nice and smooth-talking “leader” is most clearly revealed for what he really is: a cold-blooded sociopath and pathological liar. That’s long overdue, but its better late than never.
Paul Street (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of many books, including The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (2010), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (2008), Crashing the Tea Party (2011), and They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm Publishers, forthcoming in January 2014).
2. Carlotta Gall and Taimoor Shah, “Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War,” New York Times, May 6, 2009.
3. Gall and Shah, “Civilian Deaths;”
4. Paul Street, “Niebuhr Lives, Civilians Die in the Age of Obama,” ZNet (June 15, 2009), read athttp://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/21701. By contrast around the same time in 2009, there was a brief media frenzy over a very different occurrence, enough to elicit a full apology and to fire a White House official. The problem was that the White House had scared New Yorkers with an ill-advised Air Force One photo-soot flyover of Manhattan that reminded people below of 9/11. SeeChristina Boyle, “President Obama Calls Air Force One Flyover ‘Mistake’ After Low-Flying Plane Terrifies New York,” New York Daily News, April 28, 2009; Michel Muskai, “Presidential Plane’s Photo-Op Over New York Coast as Much as $357,000,” Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2009; Peter Nicholas, “Louis Caldera Resigns Over Air Force One Flyover Fiasco,” Los Angeles Time, May 9, 2009.
5. Vladimir Putin, A Plea for Caution From Russia,” New York Times, September 12, 2013.
5A. Patrick Cockburn, “Toxic Legacy of U.S. Assault on Fallujah ‘Worse Than Hiroshima,” The Independent, July 24, 2010,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/toxic-legacy-of-us-assault-on-fallujah-worse-than-hiroshima-2034065.html; “Fallujah More Radioactive Than Hiroshima,” RT, uploaded on July 29, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWIy9-cfMIo. A useful history of U.S. use and encouragement of chemical and biological weapons at home and abroad can be found in William Blum,Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Monroe. ME: Common Courage, 2005), 136-160.
6. Glen Ford, “Obama’s Humiliating Defeat,” Black Agenda Report (September 11, 2013),http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/obama%E2%80%99s-humiliating-defeat
7. Blum, Rogue State, 1-2. Honduras and Libya must (at the very least) be added to the list of countries where the U.S. has acted to overthrow governments since Blum wrote. Libya and Somalia must (at the least) added to the list of countries bombed by the U.S.
8 Noam Chomsky, “Instead of Illegal Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations,” Democracy Now! (September 11, 2013), http://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/11/chomsky_instead_of_illegal_threat_to
9. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break the Silence” (Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967), audio recording at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k29PAUSyrlA
10. Noam Chomsky, Address to Left Forum, New York City, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yvHMtgac0Q
11.Quoted in John Pilger, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (New York: Nation Books, 2007), 4.
Via Z Net
At issue is by far the worst environmental disaster in history. It’s multiples worse than Chernobyl. It’s an unprecedented catastrophe. It’s reason enough to abolish nuclear power.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, about 300 tons of radioactive groundwater flow into the Pacific daily.
It’s done so since Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami triggered Fukushima’s meltdown.
Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) says water’s getting over and around “chemical walls.” It can’t be stopped. Three Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns. A fourth was badly damaged.
The worst fear remains. Unit Four’s structural integrity was seriously undermined. It contains hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water.
If an earthquake or other natural disaster occurs, its fuel rods almost certainly will catch fire. Radioactive emissions will follow. They’ll compound what’s already disastrous.
Emissions will continue longterm. They’ll circle the planet. They cause catastrophic harm.
Since March 2011, Tepco estimates around 20 to 40 trillion radioactive tritium becquerels leaked into the Pacific. So have large cesium and strontium discharges. They continue. They’re much more dangerous.
According to nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson, “(t)he horse is already out of the barn.” Leakage continues since earthquake and tsunami struck.
Radioactive water contaminates the Pacific. Gunderson’s “experience with underground water is that – if it is serious at the ocean, it is more serious” on land.
Japanese officials proposed erecting a barrier. At issue is preventing water from reaching the Pacific. Whatever’s done “is two years too late and will be too late by the time” construction’s finished, said Gunderson.
A barrier’s not the solution. It causes another problem. “If the water can’t go anywhere into the Pacific Ocean, it is going to build up onsite, which means that the nuclear reactors themselves will become unstable.”
“The water can pull underneath the nuclear buildings and if there is an earthquake, in fact the nuclear buildings could topple. So, by solving one problem, they are creating another problem.”
Gunderson believes contaminated water will keep discharging for at least 20 to 30 years. It’s the most radioactive water he ever experienced.
Cost is another issue. Cleanup involves around half a trillion dollars, says Gunderson. Most important is human health.
Epidemic cancer levels are certain. And not just in Japan. In early July, Fukushima’s former chief operator, Masao Yoshida, died of esophogeal cancer.
He was 58. Tepco lied saying his death was unrelated to radiation exposure. Japanese children are experiencing a shocking 40% rise in thyroid irregularities.
Experts expect much higher numbers ahead. Fukushima’s an ongoing disaster. It persists. It’s not ending. It’ll continue for decades.
According to Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) president Arjun Makhijani:
“Fukushima continues to be an emergency without end – vast amounts of radioactivity, including strontium-90 in the groundwater, evidence of leaks into the sea, the prospect of contaminated seafood.”
“Strontium-90, being a calcium analog, bioaccumulates in the food chain. It is likely to be a seaside nightmare for decades.”
It’s much more dangerous than cesium 137 and 134. It’s at levels 30 times higher.
“So to give you an idea of the level of contamination, if somebody drank that water for a year, they would almost certainly get cancer.”
“So that’s one problem. The other is the defenses to hold back this water from the sea seem to be overcome.”
“So now the contaminated waters, 70,000, 80,000 gallons, are flowing into the sea every day.”
“(S)ome of it will disperse and dilute. Some of it goes into the sediment, and some of it is taken up by the life in the sea.”
“And the unfortunate thing about strontium especially is that it bioaccumulates in algae. It bioaccumulates in fish.”
“It targets the bone, because it’s like calcium. And so this is a problem. We don’t have measurements far out to sea.”
“The Woods Hole Institute has done some surveys. And they were surprised by how much continuing radioactivity they found, but no clear explanation yet.”
The effect on human health’s expected to be devastating. It’s already bad. It’s getting progressively worse. The genie’s out of the bottle. No end in sight looms.
Strontium-90 and cesium are both perilous. “(S)ince strontium-90 is more mobile and also more dangerous biologically, (it) behaves like calcium, so it goes to the bone.”
“It also bioaccumulates in the base of the food chain and algae. Ultimately because it does bioaccumulate and there is quite a lot of strontium, you could have a large part of the food chain near Fukushima being contaminated.”
If pregnant women ingest contaminated water, fish or other food, “the outcomes could be worse than cancer because then you’re talking about a much more compromised child in the sense of having a compromised immune system – it makes you more vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.”
Makhijani doesn’t know how Tepco can handle the problem. It’s uncontrollable.
“It’s very, very unclear to me how they are going to be able to get at this molten fuel, extract it from the bottoms of these highly damaged buildings and package it for safer or less dangerous storage or disposal.”
“This is an accident that’s shockingly not stopping.” It’s certain to worsen. It’s unchartered territory.
It affects the region. It’s humanity’s worst environmental nightmare. Nuclear rain affects North America and Europe. Obama’s an unabashed nuclear power promoter.
He wants more reactors built. He wants licenses for aging poorly maintained plants with poor safety records extended. He wants them operating unregulated.
He’s recklessly endangering Americans. He talks clean energy alternatives. Policy measures spurn them. He fronts for corporate favorites.
He’s captive to a destructive industry. He risks a Fukushima-type disaster on US soil. He risks millions of American lives. He’s mindless of potential dangers.
Nuclear power’s inherently unsafe. Einstein called it a hellova way to boil water. It does so through massive heat. It turns it into steam. It powers an electricity generating turbine.
According to anti-nuclear activist Karl Grossman:
Avoiding potentially catastrophic accidents “requires perfection and no acts of God.” Humans and technology aren’t perfect. Natural and other disasters happen.
“We can’t eliminate them. But we can – and must – eliminate atomic energy.” Otherwise it’ll eliminate us.
Nuclear expert Helen Caldicott’s clear and unequivocal, saying:
“As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction.”
“If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
A Final Comment
Coverup and denial followed Chernobyl’s disaster. Helen Caldicott called doing so “the most monstrous coverup in the history of medicine.”
The death toll was many multiples greater than reported. Estimates range up to a million or more.
The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) translated thousands of Russian articles and papers. It added “revised and updated contributions.”
“Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster,” NYAS said.
“According to the authors, official discussions from the (IAEA) and associated (UN) agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.”
Fukushima far exceeds Chernobyl. Millions of lives are threatened. Perhaps future independent studies will explain. They’ll be too little to late to help victims.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Brothers are supposed to be allies; they are supposed to be friends. This is true for spiritual brothers as well as physical brothers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, brothers become enemies.
Think about it: in our War for Independence, brother fought against brother. How many Christians sided with the British Crown and raised voice and bayonet against their brothers in Christ who stood for American liberty and independence? More than we can possibly count. How many Christians were among the British troops that participated in the Boston Massacre? How many Christians were among the British troops that participated in the raid on Lexington and Concord? How many Christians were among the British troops that participated in the assault against the colonists (many of whom were Christians) on Bunker Hill?
The same thing happened in the War for Southern Independence. How many Christian men in the North took up arms against their spiritual brethren in the South for basically the same reason that Christian Tories took up arms against colonial patriots years before: to forbid them from declaring independence. Too many to count. How many Christians were among the troops that invaded Virginia and assaulted the citizens of that State (a sizeable percentage of whom were believers) in the First Battle of Manassas? Again, too many to count.
As an aside, I find it more than interesting that great spiritual revivals broke out among the Confederate Army throughout the War for Southern Independence in much the same way that they had erupted among the Colonial Army during our Revolutionary War. One could make the argument (and I do) that it is the thirst and fight for liberty and independence that almost always coincides with great spiritual awakenings. Therefore, I am absolutely convinced that there will be no more spiritual awakenings in this country without a subsequent thirst and fight for liberty and independence, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (II Cor. 3:17) Turn that verse around and it says, “Where liberty is, there is the Spirit of the Lord.” The antithesis of the verse would read, “Where there is no liberty, there is no Spirit of the Lord.”
Think about what happened in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. The vast majority of Christian pastors and churchmen turned against their freedom-loving brethren in the Confessing Church and helped Hitler’s henchmen and stormtroopers to persecute, imprison, and even murder fellow followers of Christ. The historical record indicates that 95% of the pastors and churches of Germany supported Hitler and openly opposed Christian freedomists such as Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Niemoller and hundreds of others wound up fleeing Germany, while Bonhoeffer and hundreds of others were executed by the Reich.
How is it that so many professing Christians can be so blind to the divine principles of liberty? How is it that they can be so quick to turn against their brethren who choose to stand and fight for those divine principles of liberty? I believe the answer is because, 1) they are truly ignorant of the divine principles of liberty, and/or, 2) they are statists at heart.
1) They are ignorant of the divine principles of liberty
Without courageous preachers and teachers expounding, explaining, exegeting, extrapolating, and elucidating the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty, Christians (as with anyone else) become quickly dulled and unschooled in liberty principles. The great examples of Abram, Gideon, Samson, David, Daniel, the three Hebrew children, John the Baptist, Simon Peter, etc., are spiritualized away without the principles behind those acts of faith and resistance being the least bit taught, and without any practical application to the modern day. This kind of preaching leaves men totally ignorant and unprepared to understand and deal with modern acts of tyranny when they occur. And this is exactly what is happening in the pulpits and churches of modern America. But it gets even worse than that.
Not only are Christian ministers deliberately not teaching the divine principles of liberty, they are aggressively misinforming their congregations with erroneous teachings of Scripture relative to freedom principles. And nowhere is this more evident than in the way the vast majority of ministers are teaching Romans 13. This brings me to the second point.
2) They are statists at heart
Let’s face it: the fallacious “obey-the-government-no-
Readers should know that I recently co-authored a book (with my son) to show the true teaching of Romans 13–and all Scripture–regarding submission to government. It is called, “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission.” For more information, or to order, go here:
In reality, the vast majority of America’s pastors, TV preachers, radio preachers, ministers, evangelists, etc., are promoting the Hitlerian philosophy that the state stands in the place of God and must be obeyed without question or hesitation. They believe that anyone (Christian or otherwise) who dares to resist the state is doing a disservice to God and should be punished. And with the clever enticement of the 501c3 non-profit corporation status that most churches submit to today, they have become, either wittingly or unwittingly, the sheepish slaves of the state.
Look at how many Christians believe that whistleblower Eric Snowden is a traitor and enemy of America. Instead of realizing that what our own federal government is doing by creating this Orwellian surveillance society is blatantly and overtly unconstitutional, illegal, and immoral–and that every church in America should be sounding the clarion call repudiating this unlawful activity–instead, America’s churches are blaring the call of compliance and non-resistance to unlawful government, even to the point of calling for the death of the man who simply tried to warn the American citizenry to the evil machinations of their own federal government. I am convinced that many of these Christian statists would applaud the imprisonment and execution of the likes of the great Christian theologian and freedomist Dietrich Bonhoeffer all over again.
Ladies and gentlemen, the chasm between freedomists and statists is widening. It is pitting brother against brother; husband against wife; father against son; mother against daughter; friend against friend; and Christian against Christian. In much the same way that the great struggles for liberty have divided brethren in the past, so, too, it is happening today. And the chasm is only going to widen further in the months and years to come.
And mark this down: as the chasm widens, there will be no room for neutrality. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have to pick a side. We either believe and understand the divine principles of liberty and are ready and willing to fight and defend those principles, or we support the tyrant’s position that the state stands in the place of God and must be obeyed at all costs.
This is why it is so important for Christians to leave these churches that promote the damnable doctrine of unlimited submission to the state; and I mean right now. Pastors who continue to preach this fallacious doctrine of unlimited submission to the state are facilitating the destruction of liberty in America. They are helping to put shackles around the necks of our children and grandchildren.
I realize that there are many sincere Christians out there who believe that all their pastor and church must do is preach the Gospel, win souls, etc., and America will be healed. They are sincerely mistaken.
Over the last 60 years in America, we have seen an explosion of Christian witness–an explosion unparalleled in church history. There are over 300,000 churches in this country. For the most part, Baptists faithfully preach Baptist doctrine; Methodists faithfully preach Methodist doctrine; Lutherans faithfully preach Lutheran doctrine; Presbyterians faithfully preach Presbyterian doctrine, etc. Yes, I realize there are schisms and disagreements internally among Christian denominations. And, yes, I realize that some Christians reading this will retort that if everybody else’s church was as “true” as is their church, America’s problems would be solved. Again, they are wrong.
Over these past 60 years, we have seen more Gospel preaching, more Gospel literature, more Christian colleges, universities and seminaries, more Christian TV and radio ministries, more youth retreats, couples retreats, marriage retreats, Sunday Schools, missions organizations, evangelism programs, ad infinitum, than at any time in church history. And, while many of these institutions and organizations will differ on the nuances of secondary doctrine, for the most part, they have shown fidelity to the Great Commission. With all of this Christian witness, one would think that we would be in the Millennium by now (and, yes, I realize that some Christians think we are). So, why is America teetering on the brink of despotism?
During this same period of time, America has plummeted morally, socially, culturally, politically, and, yes, spiritually. Why? The “salt” has lost its savour and is being cast out, and trodden under foot of men. (Matt. 5:13) Christian pastors and churches are no longer fighting against the decay and decomposition of our country–including against that political and spiritual bacteria that are eating away at the fundamental principles of liberty upon which America was built. As a result, our nation’s freedoms are being systematically and rapidly expunged.
For all intents and purposes, freedom and liberty are entering a modern-day Dark Ages. And just as in the ancient days of Middle Eastern and European persecutions and inquisitions, those Christians who stand for liberty today are being ostracized, marginalized, and demonized–by their own brethren. More and more, the same man who is my brother is also my enemy.
In government, failure is success. That’s what I call DiLorenzo’s First Law of Government. When the welfare state bureaucracy fails to reduce poverty, it is rewarded with more tax dollars and more responsibilities. When the government schools fail to educate children, they are rewarded with more tax dollars and more power to meddle in education. When NASA blows up a space shuttle, it is rewarded with a large budget increase (unlike a private airline which would probably go bankrupt). And when the Fed caused the worst depression since the Great Depression in 2007, it was rewarded with a vast expansion of its powers.
DiLorenzo’s Second Law of Government is that politicians will rarely, if ever, assume responsibility for any of the problems that they cause with bad policies. No one group in society is more irresponsible than politicians. There are a few exceptions, but in general they will always blame capitalism for our economic problems even when capitalism is not even the economic system that we live under (economic fascism or crony capitalism would be more accurate). Nothing is more irresponsible than knowingly destroying what’s left of our engine of economic growth with more and more governmental central planning, even if it is given the laughable name of “public interest regulation.”
DiLorenzo’s Third Law of Government is that, with few exceptions, politicians are habitual liars. The so-called “watchdog media” is more appropriately labeled the “lapdog media,” for pointing out the lies of politicians is the best way to end one’s career as a journalist. Do this, and your sources of information will cut you off.
One of the biggest governmental lies is that financial markets are unregulated and in dire need of more central planning by government. Laissez-faire is said to have caused the “Great Recession.” Fed bureaucrats have lobbied for some kind of Super Regulatory Authority to supposedly remedy this problem. This is all a lie because according to one of the Fed’s own publications (“The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions”), the Fed already has “supervisory and regulatory authority” over the following partial list of activities: bank holding companies, state-chartered banks, foreign branches of member banks, edge and agreement corporations, U.S. state-licensed bank branches, agencies and representative offices of foreign banks, nonbanking activities of foreign banks, national banks, savings banks, nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies, thrift holding companies, financial reporting procedures of banks, accounting policies of banks, business “continuity” in case of economic emergencies, consumer protection laws, securities dealings of banks, information technology used by banks, foreign investment by banks, foreign lending by banks, branch banking, bank mergers and acquisitions, who may own a bank, capital “adequacy standards,” extensions of credit for the purchase of securities, equal opportunity lending, mortgage disclosure information, reserve requirements, electronic funds transfers, interbank liabilities, Community Reinvestment Act sub-prime lending “demands,” all international banking operations, consumer leasing, privacy of consumer financial information, payments on demand deposits, “fair credit” reporting, transactions between member banks and their affiliates, truth in lending, and truth in savings.
In addition, the Fed also engages in legalized price fixing of interest rates and creates price inflation and boom-and-bust cycles with its “open market operations.” In addition, financial markets are just as heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and dozens of state government regulatory agencies. All of this is the Washington, D.C. definition of “laissez-faire” in financial markets.
DiLorenzo’s Fourth Law of Government is that politicians will only take the advice of their legions of academic advisors if the advice promises to increase the state’s power, wealth, and influence even if the politicians know that the advice is bad for the rest of society. The academics happily play along with this corrupt game because it also increases their notoriety and wealth. A glaring example of this phenomenon is the fact that, in the aftermath of the onset of the “Great Recession” there was almost no discussion at all by government officials, the media, or op-ed writers about the vast literature of economics that documents the gross failures of government regulation over the past century to promote “the public interest.”
There has always been some kind of government regulation of economic activity in America, but the federal regulatory state got its first big boost with an 1877 Supreme Court case known as Munn v. Illinois. The two Munn brothers owned a grain storage business and the powerful farm lobby in their state wanted to essentially steal their property by having the state legislature impose price ceilings on grain storage. Such laws had previously been ruled unconstitutional as a violation of the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution. But the plunder-seeking farmers prevailed, and it was hailed by statists everywhere as a victory for “the public interest.” Thus, the very first major example of “public interest regulation” was unequivocally an act of legal plunder that benefited a very narrow special interest at the expense of the public, which would have benefited more from a free market.
Either because of ignorance or corruption (or both), the statist academics of the time sang the “public interest” tune with regards to regulation, creating the myth that markets always “fail” and that the remedy is benevolent and wise government regulation in the public interest. The academics did this despite the fact that there was glaring evidence all around them that regulation was always and everywhere a special-interest phenomenon, as indeed almost all governmental activity is.
As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in his 1963 book, The Triumph of Conservatism, big business in the early twentieth century sought government regulation because the regulation “was invariably controlled by leaders of the regulated industry, and directed toward ends they deemed acceptable or desirable.” Government regulation has generally served to further the very economic interests that are being regulated. Chicago School economists labeled this phenomenon the “capture theory of regulation.”
Most academic economists, seduced by the prestige, employment, and money that came from being governmental advisors, ignored all of this reality and instead spent roughly fifty years—from the pre-World War I years to the 1960s—inventing myriad factually emptytheories of “market failure.” A popular book at the time was entitled Anatomy of Market Failure, by Francis Bator. This literature was (and is) based on the fraudulent technique of comparing real-world markets to an unobtainable, theoretical, Utopian ideal (“perfect competition”) and then condemning the real world for being “imperfect,” all the whileassuming that the politics of government regulation would perfectly “correct” these imperfections. Economist Harold Demsetz labeled this charade “the Nirvana Fallacy.” Comparing real-world markets to “Nirvana” will always cause one to conclude that markets are “imperfect” by comparison. The market failure theorists never once compared government to Nirvana to subject interventionism to the same criteria. The Austrian School of economics is the only school of thought within the economics profession that never participated in this farce.
To its credit, the Chicago School of economics joined with the Austrians in exposing many of the market failure/regulation—is-always-good fallacies. Hundreds of journal articles and books were published that rediscovered the old truth that “as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit,” as Nobel laureate George Stigler wrote in 1971.
This kind of research was expanded over the years to show that large corporations often support and lobby for onerous government “safety” and environmental regulations because they understand that the regulations will be so costly to enforce that they will likely bankrupt their smaller competitors while deterring others from entering the market in the first place. Businesses long ago discovered that the only way to have a long-lasting cartel is to have the cartel agreement enforced by the government. Privately-enforced cartels always break down because of cheating by the cartel members. The railroad and trucking industries were cartelized by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) for many decades, for example. The ICC set monopolistic prices in these industries and prohibited genuine competition. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) cartelized the airline industry by prohibiting price competition until it was deregulated in the late 1970s. There was vigorous competition in the electric power industry in the U.S. until it was ended by government regulation in the early twentieth century by the creation of monopoly franchises by state and local governments. AT&T enjoyed a government-sanctioned monopoly for many decades as well.
During the period of history when government-sanctioned monopoly was increasingly the norm, the Fed was created to facilitate the creation of a banking industry cartel. As Murray Rothbard wrote in A History of Money and Banking in the United States,
the financial elites of this country … were responsible for putting through the Federal Reserve System, as a govemmentally created and sanctioned cartel device to enable the nation’s banks to inflate the money supply … without suffering quick retribution from depositors or note holders demanding cash.
In other words, giving the Fed more regulatory authority is not unlike giving an alcoholic another bottle of whisky, a murderer another gun, or a bank robber a ski mask. It is bound to make things worse, not better.
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