A major investigative report by the Washington Post tells a chilling story: police killings nationwide are on a pace to eclipse 1,000 by year’s end. That’s more than double the national average in recent years. Even more disturbing is the fact that police shootings are largely underreported. Mind you, these statistics do not include police-inflicted deaths by means other than police bullets, such as stun guns and people in police custody.
The report states, “‘These shootings are grossly underreported,’ said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement. ‘We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information.’”
“And in a high-rise apartment in Birmingham, Ala., police shot an elderly man after his son asked them to make sure he was okay. Douglas Harris, 77, answered the door with a gun.”
Mr. Harris is one of nearly 400 people who were shot and killed by police during the first five months of this year. This equates to more than two a day.
Eighty percent of the victims of police shootings were in possession of “potentially lethal objects.” However, this statistic is deceptive, in that it includes people such as Mr. Harris who was simply armed for his own protection and was shot and killed because he was armed. The remaining victims were completely unarmed; and many were actually running away.
The dead ranged in age from 16 to 83. About half of the calls were in response to some sort of domestic disturbance. Some involved homeless people behaving erratically or someone threatening suicide. Nearly 25% of the victims were identified as being “mentally ill.”
“In Miami Gardens, Fla., Catherine Daniels called 911 when she couldn’t persuade her son, Lavall Hall, a 25-year-old black man, to come in out of the cold early one morning in February. A diagnosed schizophrenic who stood 5-foot-4 and weighed barely 120 pounds, Hall was wearing boxer shorts and an undershirt and waving a broomstick when police arrived. They tried to stun him with a Taser gun and then shot him.”
Police are only authorized to use deadly force when they fear for their lives or the lives of others and there is an imminent threat to life. This is the same principle of law that governs the conduct of American citizens in general. However, nowadays, running away from a police officer could easily get one shot.
“Running is such a provocative act that police experts say there is a name for the injury officers inflict on suspects afterward: a ‘foot tax.’”
Of the nearly 400 police killings so far this year, only three have resulted in an officer being charged with a crime. That’s less than one percent.
“The low rate mirrors the findings of a Post investigation in April that found that of thousands of fatal police shootings over the past decade, only 54 had produced criminal charges. Typically, those cases involved layers of damning evidence challenging the officer’s account. Of the cases resolved, most officers were cleared or acquitted.”
According to FBI statistics, over the past several years, police have killed around 400 people each year. But this stat was achieved in just the first five months of this year. To be sure, many of these killings were completely justified–and sometimes even heroic.
The problem is, far too many chiefs of police, sheriffs, county prosecutors, judges, etc., are willing to either, 1) not properly and thoroughly investigate police killings or, 2) look the other way at questionable killings or, 3) actually cover-up wrongful deaths committed by police. Regardless, all of the above leads to a breakdown of justice and true law and order–and serious distrust on the part of the American citizenry regarding law enforcement agencies and the court system itself.
Just about everyone is predicting a long, hot summer of anti-police violence this year in many of America’s major cities–especially after the highly controversial episodes involving police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. But the problem is much deeper than these two events. A recent history of police abuse and killings has produced deep resentment against the police, especially within many minority communities. And it’s time that the American people (and especially America’s police agencies) began realizing that this resentment is not entirely unfounded.
The Post report notes that for most police departments and sheriff’s offices, a fatal shooting is a rare event (as it should be). However, 19 state and local police agencies have had at least three police killings so far this year including the police departments in Los Angeles, California, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Bakersfield, California.
“The most troubling cases began with a cry for help.
“About half the shootings occurred after family members, neighbors or strangers sought help from police because someone was suicidal, behaving erratically or threatening violence.
“Take Shane Watkins, a 39-year-old white man, who died in his mother’s driveway in Moulton, Ala.
“Watkins had never been violent, and family members were not afraid for their safety when they called Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies in March. But Watkins, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was off his medication. Days earlier, he had declared himself the ‘god of the fifth element’ and demanded whiskey and beer so he could ‘cleanse the earth with it,’ said his sister, Yvonne Cote.
“Then he started threatening to shoot himself and his dog, Slayer. His mother called Cote, who called 911. Cote got back on the phone with her mother, who watched Watkins walk onto the driveway holding a box cutter to his chest. A patrol car pulled up, and Cote heard her mother yell: ‘Don’t shoot! He doesn’t have a gun!’
“‘Then I heard the gunshots,’ Cote said.
“Lawrence County sheriff’s officials declined to comment and have refused to release documents related to the case.”
“Catherine Daniels called police for the same reason. ‘I wanted to get my son help,’ she said. Instead, officers Peter Ehrlich and Eddo Trimino fired their stun guns after Hall hit them with the metal end of the broomstick, according to investigative documents.
“‘Please don’t hurt my child,’ Daniels pleaded, in a scene captured by a camera mounted on the dash of one of the patrol cars.
“‘Get on the f—ing ground or you’re dead!’ Trimino shouted. Then he fired five shots.
“Police spokesman Mike Wright declined to comment on the case. Daniels said no one from the city has contacted her. ‘I haven’t received anything. No apology, nothing.’
“But hours after her son was killed, Daniels said, officers investigating the shooting dropped off a six-pack of Coca-Cola.
“‘I regret calling them,’ Daniels said. ‘They took my son’s life.’”
See the Washington Post report here:
The Post report seems to suggest that the answer is for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., to take a more active role in monitoring local and State policing. I strongly disagree!
One of the reasons why so many of our police officers and sheriff’s deputies have become so abusive and trigger-happy is due to the training they are receiving. The “us versus them” mentality is much the result of training indoctrination. And, since 9/11 and the advent of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the federal government is mostly responsible for training policies, procedures, philosophies, etc., within State and local police agencies. In fact, most of our local police SWAT teams are trained by U.S. military Special Forces troops. DHS has turned our State and local police agencies into quasi-military units. And it has turned the U.S. citizenry into enemy combatants. I argue that the problems we are having with our police agencies today is the result of the ubiquitous and draconian influence from Washington, D.C.
Plus, think about the manner in which the federal government “bribes” State and local police agencies with all kinds of funding for everything from personnel to tanks and armored carriers, to sophisticated eavesdropping equipment, to military arms and ammunition, to helicopters, ad infinitum. If anything, the American people should be demanding that their local police departments and sheriff’s offices STOP accepting federal funding OF ANY KIND for their agencies. The way it is now, our State and local law enforcement agencies are more beholden to Uncle Sam than they are to the people whom they are supposed to serve. To ask the federal Justice Department to become more involved in local policing is like asking the proverbial fox to guard the proverbial hen house. Do you really want to turn your local police department over to the people who massacred the Branch Davidians?
Another remedy is the citizens of our respective counties should demand that the State legislatures and/or county commissions establish an independent Citizen Review Committee charged with the task of investigating EVERY incident of alleged police abuse and, especially, EVERY incident involving a police shooting. Quite frankly, we can no longer trust the internal affairs division of our respective police agencies to adequately police their own. This committee should have the financial ability to hire independent private investigators to examine these incidents. And the committee should be given teeth. It should be mandatory that the prosecutor’s office prosecute an officer if the committee investigation finds probable cause–in much the same way that a grand jury’s indictment is binding. It would be even better if an independent prosecutor was assigned to these type cases. In many counties, blatant cronyism between the prosecutor’s office and the city police departments and county sheriff’s office is way too common. The money should be taken from the annual budget appropriated for the actual police agencies. After all, providing accountability to the public is as much a part of a police department’s responsibility as providing a squad car or K-9 unit to police personnel. Without accountability and the respect of the public, all of the police personnel and equipment in the world is not sufficient to keep the peace.
Thirdly, the American people should demand that appropriate tax-dollars be allotted for the Office of Public Defender (OPD)–even if that means it is taken from funds allotted to police departments. In most states and districts, the OPD is one of the most underfunded entities of all. And the OPD is the one office at the courthouse that is constitutionally-mandated within our U.S. Constitution. Yet, most “law and order” conservatives look at the OPD with disdain–but somehow they still refer to themselves as “constitutionalists.”
Believe me, the last place you want to be forced to defend yourself in a court of law is in a mostly conservative, Christian, FOX News-type-Republican district. To many, if not to most of these good folks, you are guilty simply because you are arrested and you must PROVE YOURSELF INNOCENT. I know what I’m saying rubs many people the wrong way; but it is an absolute fact.
One of the bedrock principles of American law and justice is that a person is INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty in a court of law. Tragically, this principle has been all but lost in the thinking of many of our citizens today–especially those who watch FOX News too much. It demonstrates a serious lack of understanding and appreciation for liberty itself. For a civil government–any civil government–to take away an individual’s liberty should require the strictest requirements. The old adage is still true: “It is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to go to jail.” Americans need to start defaulting to liberty in their thinking once again. This was the Spirit of ’76. For so-called “conservatives” and Christians to demonstrate a “prove your innocence” mentality reveals that they have lost all appreciation and respect for individual liberty and the due process of law.
The county prosecutor’s office has virtually unlimited monies to prosecute people. In fact, the prosecution and imprisonment of the American people has become a HUGELY PROFITABLE BUSINESS. The confiscation of properties and assets of accused (sometimes accusation is all that is required to confiscate a person’s wealth and property) and convicted persons often serves as a significant revenue stream for many cities and counties–as do traffic citations.
Anyone who thinks speed laws are mostly for “safety” is seriously naïve. It’s mostly about generating revenue for the various State and local police agencies, prosecutor’s offices, courts, etc. Most police agencies and prosecutor’s offices directly benefit from speeding tickets and from people being arrested and sent to jail. Not to mention, the incentives that come from Washington, D.C.
A properly constituted and funded OPD is the second to the last line of peaceful defense against government overreach, abuse, and tyranny. The last line of peaceful defense against government overreach and abuse is the citizen jury. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that a sizeable percentage of people serving time behind bars today are there unjustly. They were convicted by overzealous prosecutors trying to make a name for themselves (not to mention a pile of money), by circumstantial evidence, and by the lack of an adequate defense.
Public defenders are pressured to “go along with the system” and not backlog the court by rendering a thorough and vigorous defense of their clients. The weight of city hall often threatens to come down hard on honest public defenders who won’t roll over for the prosecutor’s office. Judges, likewise, pressure public defenders to “hurry up” with their defense procedures, as all of these myriad laws (especially drug laws) enacted over the years have resulted in most courts being seriously backlogged with cases. And in the minds of most of these “public servants,” the answer is for the public defenders to not bog down the system by being too detailed and thorough in the defense of their clients.
It’s a rigged system, folks! And it’s not rigged in favor of you and me; it’s rigged in favor of the police and prosecutors. This reality makes it far too easy for police to literally “get away with murder.” Fully authorized and functional Citizen Review Committees, and an adequately funded (and appreciated) Office of Public Defender, and police departments and sheriff’s offices that are NOT beholden to the federal government could make a tremendous difference in restoring accountability to our police agencies and public trust in our police departments and prosecutors’ offices.
As police killings rise–and as public distrust and anger rise along with it–a rational and reasoned response becomes obligatory. It begins with people, especially our conservative, Christian, Republican friends, recognizing the current holes in our justice system and returning to common-sense, constitutional principles. If this doesn’t happen soon, political agitators will create a climate of violence and lawlessness that will only produce more of the abuse and misuse of law that is already taking place. And this accomplishes nothing, except making it easier for Big-Government usurpers to justify themselves in their attempt to encroach upon more and more of our liberties.
During the Oscars last Sunday night, winner Patricia Arquette, Boyhood, admonished America to work for women’s equal pay. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash, invited Americans to phone their parents and thank them. Michael Keaton, Birdman, told the audience how thankful he felt for his life and his son.
All of the winners and losers spoke eloquently about their fortunes and misfortunes in the American film making business. Ironically, legendary Clint Eastwood’s epic film, American Sniper, out-grossed all the other top Oscar winning films combined. The academy ignored his movie.
The movie, Selma, produced by Oprah Winfrey, didn’t fare very well. If you remember, back in the era of Dr. Martin Luther King, African-Americans marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to force this nation toward voter rights and Black rights in the American pantheon.
Since that time, America evolved to see African-Americans like Colin Powell become Secretary of State; Clarence Thomas and Thurgood Marshall served on the Supreme Court; Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State; Barack Obama became president and much more as US Senators, governors, mayors and House of Representatives feature African-Americans from every walk of life.
African-Americans dominate the NBA, NFL and major television shows such as “Scandal” and “How to get away with murder.” American Blacks head up Fortune 500 companies.
With all of their success, a black dance group pranced on the stage at the Oscars with a highly racially charged routine depicting their struggles against White America. At one point, they all raised their hands, shouting, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” They referred to 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri who lost his life after he robbed a convenience store and charged a police officer.
Six African-American witnesses testified that Brown wrestled the police officer for his gun in the police squad car and they testified that Brown charged the police officer with intent to overpower him. Riots and carnage resulted in burning down a good portion of the city while Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson charged racism and ruthless police tactics.
In reality, Michael Brown showed up in several videos where he viciously beat an old man senseless and his crime sheet showed a budding criminal who would reach jail or death, whichever came first.
Somehow, major Black leaders lay the blame on White America for all of Black America’s problems. Even Barack Obama said that Trayvon Martin, a budding criminal in his own right, could be Obama’s son.
Black Americans omit or ignore numerous aspects of Black crime, poverty, illiteracy and prison sentences.
First of all, the latest statistics show that 6,000 Black on Black killings occur annually in the USA via strangling, guns, knifes and beatings. No Black leaders whisper a word about how to solve such horrible numbers. They don’t condemn their own actions, but they always condemn Whites.
Second, 73 percent of African-American children arrive out of wedlock and into welfare with a single mother annually. None of the Black community that screams at the Brown and Garner killings, breathes a word about the irresponsible actions of Black teen girls and their boyfriends. They live on welfare provided by the American taxpayer. Is it any wonder that the African-American family devolves into fatherless families, rogue children, violence, illiteracy, shoplifting and cyclical dependency on taxpayers?
Third, figures show that Black American teens quit high school by 50 to 60 percent in our major cities. Millions of African-Americans guarantee their poverty, homelessness, joblessness and fatherless families. They choose their conditions.
Fourth, millions of Black Americans fill our prisons in a response to their choices to deal, consume and transport drugs. Each African-American chooses prison when they choose to break the law.
Fifth, a whopping 48 million Americans failed themselves as to education, personal responsibility and personal accountability as they subsist on food stamps provided by American taxpayers. Millions of Blacks stand in the ranks of those who gain EBT cards (Electronic Benefits Transfers) for food stamps and free housing.
Each person, Black or White, suffering lack of an education and making poor choices, brings a personal tragedy into the fabric of American life. Our inner city projects like Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and Los Angeles—bear witness that we must change our national priorities.
Instead of massive financial disasters of 13-year wars created and maintained by bankers and the Military Industrial Complex, we need to fund national educational systems that work for our youth. We need all male and all female schools with dress codes to take the sexual intrigues out of the classrooms. We need to teach parents how to parent their children by mandatory classes before marriage. We need to pay teachers and mentors ample money to create discipline and respect for education.
We need to stop endless and massive legal immigration, that injects 1.2 million people annually, who take jobs from our working poor. We need to reduce all immigration to less than 100,000 annually instead of the current 100,000 every 30 days. We must elect Congressional leaders who garrison troops on our Mexican border to stop in excess of 500,000 illegal aliens jumping our borders and into our workforce annually. If not, we cannot and will not solve mass unemployment of Black America. The past five presidents and Congresses did nothing to help Black or White Americans as to jobs. In fact, Congress forces our poorest into more poverty by mass immigration.
We need Black national leaders to lead, guide and inspire African-American youth to participate in the American Way of Life. Whether Black America likes its past or not, it now must deal with living in a highly educated, highly industrialized 21st century country.
We need all the angry Al Sharpton’s, all Black entertainers, all sports heroes and political leaders to stand in front of Black audiences and thank their lucky stars for living in America. If Black Americans lived in the unending violence of Africa for a few months, examples—mass murderer Boko Haram, Somalia, Sudan, Congo, millions dying of AIDS, etc., they would change their mantra of “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” to “How lucky I am! Praise the Lord!”
Have Black Americans wondered why all those millions of starving African immigrants clamor to come to America? They die by the millions in Africa from starvation, AIDS, cholera, Malaria, genocide wars and worse.
If we hope to maintain a viable civilization, we all need to buckle down to education, jobs, lawful communities and civil participation. If not, we all face Ferguson, Missouri’s in our own towns across the nation, especially in our cities where the cauldrons boil with contempt for law and order. You heard the marches, “Kill cops now!”
Once our nation loses its respect for law and order, we all face what occurs in Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and Paris, France daily. It’s not going to be pretty for anyone.
In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.
That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.
So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.
The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office.
Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”
The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, amongst other torture centers employed by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business, as is the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.
Moreover, the key Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?
The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions, amongst other charming examples of American Exceptionalism.
After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ … But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”
The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely and solely because they were willing and able to torture them.
Four months after Obama and Panetta took office, the New York Times could report that renditions had reached new heights.
The present news reports indicate that Washington’s obsession with torture stems from 9/11, to prevent a repetition. The president speaks of “the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era”. There’s something to that idea, but not a great deal. Torture in America is actually as old as the country. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of international torture centers, kidnaping people to these places, solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
In 2011, Brazil instituted a National Truth Commission to officially investigate the crimes of the military government, which came to an end in 1985. But Mr. Obama has in fact rejected calls for a truth commission concerning CIA torture. On June 17 of this year, however, when Vice President Joseph Biden was in Brazil, he gave the Truth Commission 43 State Department cables and reports concerning the Brazilian military regime, including one entitled “Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives.”
Thus it is that once again the United States of America will not be subjected to any accountability for having broken US laws, international laws, and the fundamental laws of human decency. Obama can expect the same kindness from his successor as he has extended to George W.
“One of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.” – Barack Obama, written statement issued moments after the Senate report was made public.
And if that pile of hypocrisy is not big enough or smelly enough, try adding to it Bidens’ remark re his visit to Brazil: “I hope that in taking steps to come to grips with our past we can find a way to focus on the immense promise of the future.”
If the torturers of the Bush and Obama administrations are not held accountable in the United States they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction.
In 1984, an historic step was taken by the United Nations with the drafting of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (came into force in 1987, ratified by the United States in 1994). Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity. We cannot slide back. If today it’s deemed acceptable to torture the person who supposedly has the vital “ticking-bomb” information needed to save lives, tomorrow it will be acceptable to torture him to learn the identities of his alleged co-conspirators. Would we allow slavery to resume for just a short while to serve some “national emergency” or some other “higher purpose”?
If you open the window of torture, even just a crack, the cold air of the Dark Ages will fill the whole room.
Cuba … at long, long last … maybe …
Hopefully, it’s what it appears to be. Cuba will now be treated by the United States as a country worthy of at least as much respect as Washington offers to its highly oppressive, murdering, torturing allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
It’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a country whose police force murders its own innocent civilians on almost a daily basis, and even more abroad, but Cuba needs to do it. Maybe the Cubans can civilize the Americans a bit.
Let’s hope that America’s terrible economic embargo against the island will go the way of the dinosaurs, and Cuba will be able to demonstrate more than ever what a rational, democratic, socialist society can create. But they must not open the economy for the Yankee blood-suckers to play with as they have all over the world.
And I’ll be able to go to Cuba not as a thief in the night covering my tracks and risking a huge fine.
But with the Republicans taking over Congress next month, all of this may be just a pipe dream.
Barack Obama could have done this six years ago when he took office; or five years ago when American Alan Gross was first arrested and imprisoned in Cuba. It would have been even easier back then, with Obama’s popularity at its height and Congress not as captured by the Know-Nothings as now.
So, Cuba outlasted all the punishment, all the lies, all the insults, all the deprivations, all the murderous sabotage, all the assassination attempts against Fidel, all the policies to isolate the country. But for many years now, it’s the United States that has been isolated in the Western Hemisphere.
Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the “superbugs” – if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.”
The problem, it appears, is that “Antibiotics generally provide low returns on investment, so they are not a highly attractive area for research and development.”
Aha! “Low returns on investment”! What could be simpler to understand? Is it not a concept worth killing and dying for? Just as millions of Americans died in the 20th century so corporations could optimize profits by not protecting the public from tobacco, lead, and asbestos.
Corporations are programmed to optimize profits without regard for the society in which they operate, in much the same way that cancer cells are programmed to proliferate without regard for the health of their host.
Happy New Year. Here’s what you have to look forward to in 2015.
- January 25: 467 people reported missing from a university in Mexico. US State Department blames Russia.
- February 1: Military junta overthrows President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Washington decries the loss of democracy.
- February 2: US recognizes the new Venezuelan military junta, offers it 50 jet fighters and tanks.
- February 3: Revolution breaks out in Venezuela endangering the military junta; 40,000 American marines land in Caracas to quell the uprising.
- February 16: White police officer in Chicago fatally shoots a 6-year old black boy holding a toy gun.
- March 6: Congress passes a new law which states that to become president of the United States a person must have the surname Bush or Clinton.
- April 30: The Department of Homeland Security announces plan to record the DNA at birth of every child born in the United States.
- May 19: The Supreme Court rules that police may search anyone if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the person has pockets.
- May 27: The Transportation Security Administration declares that all airline passengers must strip completely nude at check-in and remain thus until arriving at their destination.
- June 6: White police officer in Oklahoma City tasers a 7-month-old black child, claiming the child was holding a gun; the gun turns out to be a rattle.
- July 19: Two subway trains collide in Manhattan. The United States demands that Moscow explain why there was a Russian citizen in each of the trains.
- September 5: The Democratic Party changes its name to the Republican Lite Party, and announces the opening of a joint bank account with the Republican Party so that corporate lobbyists need make out only one check.
- September 12: White police officer in Alabama shoots black newborn, confusing the umbilical cord for a noose.
- November 16: President Obama announces that Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba all possess weapons of mass destruction; have close ties to the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban; are aiding pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine; were involved in 9-11; played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on Pearl Harbor; are an imminent threat to the United States and all that is decent and holy; and are all “really bad guys”, who even (choke, gasp) use torture!
- November 21: The United States invades Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, North Korea, Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.
- December 10: Barack Obama is awarded his second Nobel Peace Prize
- December 11: To celebrate his new peace prize, Obama sends out drones to assassinate wrong-thinking individuals in Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen.
- December 13: Members of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi parties, which hold several high positions in the US-supported government, goose-step through the center of Kiev in full German Storm Trooper uniforms, carrying giant swastika flags, shouting “Heil Hitler”, and singing the Horst Wessel song. Not a word of this appears in any American mainstream media.
- December 15: US Secretary of State warns Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of wanting to re-create the Soviet Union.
- December 16: White police officer shoots a black 98-year-old man sitting in a wheel chair, claiming the man pointed a rifle at him. The rifle turns out to be a cane.
- December 28: The Washington Redskins football team finish their season in last place. The White House blames Vladimir Putin.
- Associated Press, December 11, 2014
- New York Times, December 11, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
- New York Times, February 6, 2009
- New York Times, May 24, 2009
- Washington Post, December 11, 2014
- National Security Archive’s Brazil Documentation Project
- Washington Post, December 10, 2014
- See note 7
- Washington Post, December 13, 2014
Okay, so what? So what if you’ve just joined ISIS, been given a sword and been sent off to Syria and Iraq. So what if you now have a huge bloody sword in your hand and you’ve just cut off somebody’s head? Big freaking deal. You’re the one that will be going to Hell, not me. But what I want to know is this: Where, exactly, did you get that huge bloody sword in the first place? “Swords R Us”?
From your local “Samurai of the Desert” katana convenience store?
To find out who is really financing, training and supplying ISIS, just check out who is supplying its swords.
“Made in China”? Of course. Isn’t everything these days. But who are the swords being shipped to?
Syrians aren’t supplying the swords. Syrians stand solidly behind Assad — as evidenced by their June elections, and also by the fact that almost all Syrian internal refugees flee to Assad refugee camps, and no one, I repeat, no one ever flees off to ISIS.
Syrians hate ISIS — almost as much as they hate being beheaded! Plus ISIS is still beheading their fathers and mothers and nephews and cousins and aunts. How can you possibly become BFFs with someone like that? Let alone give them more swords so that they can go after your wives and kids too?
According to a new Tweet just sent out from Kurdish Syria, “Hoped American planes will help us. Instead American tanks in the hands of ISIS are killing us.”
And Libya isn’t supplying the swords either. Why? Because Libya itself just had its head handed to it on a platter too — courtesy of the dread Sword of NATO. All that those American-backed “rebels” now in charge of the failed state of Libya are supplying ISIS with currently are some used American rocket launchers and RPGs left over from Benghazi, and a bunch of guys trained by the US to behead Gaddafi.
But perhaps Saudi Arabia is supplying the swords? After all, their state symbol is two swords and a palm tree. But I still don’t understand why the Saudis would do such a dumb thing — buy entire shipments of swords to give to creepy guys hovering right outside their borders? Aren’t the Saudis afraid of blow-back?
Aren’t the Saudi princes afraid that “Behead like a Pirate” day might be coming to Riyadh too?
And isn’t it bad enough already that a bunch of Saudis got their hands on those box-cutters over on the other side of the Atlantic back in 2001 — and just look at all the mischief that caused! Can Saudis really be trusted to play well with swords right in their very own backyards? Saudi Arabia is about to find out.
And how about Turkey? Seen any bloody swords stamped “Made in Istanbul” lately? But why would the Turks want to do that? The blow-back there would be even more immense. You’d have to be crazy to arm a horde of ISIS madmen to go next door and cut off your Syrian neighbors’ heads — no matter how much you hate Syrians. Oops, too late. Turkey has already supplied ISIS with every kind of weapon you can think of — and then naively hired ISIS to be its Neighborhood Watch.
But apparently Turkey thinks that by supplying weapons to ISIS (and also establishing a no-fly zone over Syria) that Syria will fail too and then Turkey will get the Ottoman empire back.
Sorry, Turkey. It’s heads. You lose.
But what about Israel? Did Israeli neo-cons supply all those swords? Who will ever know? Who the freak ever knows what Israeli neo-cons are up to? Certainly not the Jews who first hired them. And definitely not me. Ask the Mossad. But a fly on the wall at Mossad headquarters would probably hear something like this: “Those stupid Americans actually think that we are their only friends in the Middle East. However, before we came along America had no enemies there at all. Good job, guys!” Followed by a high-five.
The nightmare of having ISIS swordsmen let loose to create panic and havoc in the Arab world sounds like an Israeli neo-con wet dream to me.
And what about American neo-cons? Nah. Their most important product is weapons, sure, but they prefer selling Tomahawks rather than swords.
“But Jane,” you might say, “American weapons-manufacturers will sell anything to anyone, even swords to ISIS, if it will make them a buck.” Hell, they’d even sell drones to the Taliban if they thought that money was involved. They’d sell out America in a heartbeat for money. They’d probably even behead their own mothers for a few dollars more.
According to former Austrian general Matthias Ghalem, several years ago Al Qaeda wannabes “signed a financial-military contract to confront upcoming military and security challenges in southern Syria in the future…and that two deputies of Robert Stephen Ford, US former ambassador to Syria, were also present at the meeting…. And according to the Los Angeles Times, since the opening of a new US base in the desert in southwest of Jordan in November 2012, CIA operatives and US special operations troops have covertly trained these militants in groups of 20 to 45 at a time in two-week courses.”
But according to US vice-president Joe Biden, the Saudis are to blame for arming ISIS. Of course they are. But it is American weapons that these ISIS cutthroats are firing — and it is American humvees that ISIS is doing donuts with out in the desert too. So why not brandish American swords as well? American neo-cons suddenly draw a line in the sand against swords? But RPGs are okay?
And then there’s Russia. Russia stood silently by while the “Coalition of the Willing” beheaded Iraq and Libya. Would it really be in their best interests to let Syria and Iran get beheaded next? Or is Russia playing the “Afghanistan Game” with the US instead — wherein America slowly but surely beheads its own economy by trying to put eleven trillion dollars worth of “boots on the ground” all over the freaking world where they don’t belong?
Or did Iran sell ISIS the swords? With the American military-industrial complex and Israeli neo-cons using every trick in the book to try to find an excuse to put Iran’s head on the chopping block for fun and profit even as we speak? I think not.
And a friend of mine just asked me the following question: “Or else could it be that Libya and Syria are/were among the few remaining countries that have resisted the imposition of a central bank associated with the Bank of England/Federal Reserve?” Hadn’t thought of that. Hell, maybe the banksters bought ISIS their swords!
And now we get to the next question. Who the freak would ever even want to behead anyone in the first place? That takes a whole bunch of work. Not to mention all that blood-splatter involved — and with no laundromats in sight either.
You’ve got to be really really angry or crazy or both to cut off someone’s head. So what got these ISIS fruitcakes so pissed off in the first place? Perhaps it might have been all these past 60 or 70 years that they, their parents and their grandparents have spent trying to survive the constant “War on Arabs” by American colonialists and Israeli neo-cons? Perhaps this is what has finally sent them around the bend and into horror-movie mode?
Just be glad that ISIS got their inspiration for weapons from watching the “Walking Dead” and not from watching the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. But I’m sure that the weapons industry would far rather prefer to produce chainsaws than swords. Chainsaws are a bit more profitable to make, more effectively bloody and just a bit less Old School.
The gullibility of the American public only exceeded by the ease that the fascist establishment is able to conduct their criminal government without any meaningful protest – just keeps rolling along. The mainstream media is still able to practice their black art of painting their masterpiece, entitled discovering a new cell of terrorists in every news report. Making up a scripted narrative to fix all seasons, take the creative ability of a screenwriter and the guidance of the intelligence community to shepherd the story to fix the immediate political objective. In a world where truth is the rarest of all commodities, you can be assured that the simpletons, who believe the psychological warfare accounts reported as fact, will invariably remain docile fools.
The news machine has become pure government propaganda. If the fantasy spin was merely benign diversion or trivia, one might be able to simply ignore or dismiss the poppycock as the price of driving broadcasts for ratings. However, when national survival as a free society, systematically being dismantled to rationalize some phony made up terrorist threat, the luxury of pampering an imbecilic public attitude that accept lies as reality, can no longer be tolerated.
Mikael Thalen’s article, ISIS Beheadings of Journalists: CIA Admitted to Staging Fake Jihadist Videos in 2010, cites “A 2010 Washington Post article authored by former Army Intelligence Officer Jeff Stein features a detailed account of how the CIA admittedly filmed a fake Bin Laden video during the run up to the 2003 Iraq war.”
Mr. Thalen goes on to say: “Only days after Infowars’ questioned several discrepancies in the James Foley beheading video, top British forensic experts concluded that the video was likely staged using “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques.”
Whether or not Foley lost his head, the accounts provided by a hysterical media, calling for an immediate reversal from rejecting a bombing campaign against Syria, has the smell of a cooked up plan to expand the Middle East regional conflict.
Note that the LiveLeak provides several links to information that supports the claim, Headless James Foley – His Secret Life and the CIA.
“James Foley was a key propagandist in sparking the U.S. air invasion of Libya, in 2011. The proof is here. Believe it or not, it was through his kidnapping then ALSO… part of it spent on a posh resort island! Just about a year after his ‘release’ from that, he’s kidnapped AGAIN! This time, he’s calling us to attack Assad… apparently.
There seems to be plenty of evidence, that we have NOT been told the truth about Foley’s life at all – AND, perhaps not surprisingly, that he works for the CIA… under “press” cover.”
Most people only hear, and sequentially believe, what their prejudicial indoctrination from the government press releases say, and reported as fact, by the controlled media. Those who doubt this occurrence need to reflect on the Intercept account by Ken Silverstein, The CIA’S Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reported Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication.
“A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.
“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the flack: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”
Some of the most bold and significant revelations appear under the byline of the Intercept. It comes as no surprise that the founding editor Glenn Greenwald is front and center on the government’s radar as a press source that needs silencing. Simply dismissing him as a tin foil hat conspiracy kook does not fly even in the delusional minds of the NeoCons.
Now that the thirteenth anniversary of the false flag spectacle of September 11, 2001 approaches, it would be useful to review the two BATR articles. 911 has become the ultimate excuse and 911 Ten Years After. With all the chatter and hype, that another attack is imminent coming from the airwaves and presses, creating another diversion to warrant the insidious police state, which has engulfed our land, is probable.
The “presstitutes” are the gatekeepers for the New World Order, AKA the Nefarious Warrior Organism. The War of Terror is and always has been a colossal fraud. Even so, the collective mind of the MSM audience sucks up the disinformation and spin and accepts the account as fact and truth. If this was not so, how can it be objectively explained why it is so easy to turn the psyche dislocation of society on the preverbal dime?
Volumes in the social literature, written on the techniques and practices of mind manipulation, do not adequately excuse, and certainly do not vindicate the pernicious undermining of our lawful and traditional social order. Most analysis makes a feeble attempt to rationalize the scientific perfection of mass adverting and focus group polling to gauge current public sentiment.
In a gonzo and ideological viewpoint published in Truthout, Dr. Cynthia Boaz presents her Fourteen Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans.
1. Panic Mongering
2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem
4. Rewriting History
6. Conflating Violence With Power and Opposition to Violence With Weakness
10. Invoking the Christian God
12. Disparaging Education
13. Guilt by Association
“Pause for a moment and ask yourself what it means that the world’s largest, most profitable and most popular news channel passes off as fact every whim, impulse and outrageously incompetent analysis of its so-called reporters. How did we get here?
My curiosity about this question compelled me to sit down and document the most oft-used methods by which willful ignorance has been turned into dogma by Fox News and other propagandists disguised as media. The techniques I identify here also help to explain the simultaneously powerful identification the Fox media audience has with the network, as well as their ardent, reflexive defenses of it.”
Academia liberal bias never disappoints. Even a proponent of peaceful nonviolent struggle and civil resistance backs herself in a corner by simply trashing FAUX News as a purveyor of indoctrination. Surely, the collectivist progressives teach the brain path road to authoritarian fascism better than any self respecting genuine “conservative”. The NeoCon persuasion from such stalwart beacons of “Kill’em all, and let God sort’em out” philosophy, does not solely reside at Fox. There is more than enough blood on the hands of the last two Democratic administrations to rival the horrible record of George W. Bush.
Government propaganda continues under a bipartisan umbrella of protection. The War of Terror, entirely embraced by the political class of careerist parasites, has only one litmus test; namely, preservation of the empire.
Deflecting the emphasis away from the root cause in the despotism that is rampant in every institution and agency of government merely practices several of the propaganda techniques that Dr. Boaz condemns.
Rewriting history is the function and purpose of an obedient press. Who can dispute that the corporatist media coverage of the entire Obama administration is a textbook example of submissive adoration? The reign of terror is real, but it stems from internal tyrannical policy, not from an external terrorism, which reinvents itself as the situation demands. ISIS is just the latest morphing of a manufactured enemy whose existence is a direct result of clandestine funding, training and mission selection, from our own intelligence community.
Why has this latest maturation of Islamic assassins not set their sights on Zionist Israel? Just look to the controllers of U.S. foreign policy for the obvious answer. Yet a trusting domestic public so easily accepts the latest photoshop images and video cropping of a bogyman executioner. Jihad John, single handily shifted public sentiment to bomb Syria now that you can envision what the lying eyes in the media sees. It is assured that future ISIS locations for drone annihilations must protect all those stolen weapons from Muammar Gaddafi Libya’s arsenals.
The War of Terror is the surest bet in town. Tricking American suckers is just as easy as tuning into your latest government propaganda public service announcement.
If You Don’t Have Such A Rifle, Go Buy One Now!
The recent killing of an unarmed teenager by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer incited riots in and around the northern St. Louis area. As usual, the police version and the version of several eye witnesses lie in stark contrast. The police version is, the young man was struggling with the officer and trying to take his weapon from him–and the officer fired his weapon in self-defense. Several eyewitnesses say the young man had his hands in the air and was surrendering when the officer shot him. The latter version is the more popular view of local residents, which prompted hundreds of people to riot. Yes, the victim was a young black man.
It is very unfortunate and counter-productive when race becomes the focus of any story such as this. But it almost always does. Our propaganda media, which loves to use the race card, almost always makes any such tragedy some kind of racial discrimination story. Sometimes it is; but more often than not, race had nothing to do with it.
It is also very unfortunate that among the vast majority of God-fearing, law-and-order Americans, policemen are automatically assumed to be guiltless in the face of accusations of police abuse. It’s almost like when a man puts on a badge and a gun, he becomes incapable of human misconduct.
Am I suggesting that a majority of police-killings are unjustified? I am not. I still believe that the vast majority of our men and women in blue (and brown for sheriff’s deputies) are good-hearted, sincere, law-abiding people who do a tough job outstandingly well. The vast majority–but not all.
Sadly, incidences of police abuse seem to be skyrocketing. Examples of police arrogance and overreach are ubiquitous. More and more law enforcement personnel have an “us versus them” mentality. And the “them” are the citizens they (the “us”) took an oath to protect and serve. More and more policemen have a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later mindset. And more and more of them look upon their fellow citizens as “the enemy.”
True story: A Christian policeman was recently asked to speak at a church gathering. The officer works in the traffic division of a small town. Mostly, he gives out parking and speeding tickets. As he opened his address to his fellow churchmen, he said, “I am a cop; I work among the dregs of society.” Really? People who get parking tickets and drive 10 or 15 miles an hour over the speed limit are the “dregs” of society? That statement should have disqualified everything the officer had to say after that. But, sadly, the vast majority of Christians in the audience thundered their approval with choruses of “Amen!” This illustrates the depth of the problem we are now facing.
Putting on a badge and a gun no more makes a man righteous than putting on a tool belt or a fire suit or a waitress apron or a clergyman’s frock or a welder’s helmet or a lab coat, etc. If anything, putting on a badge and a gun makes a man more accountable for his actions than an ordinary profession.
While the incident in Missouri is still being investigated, there are plenty of examples of police conduct that is either questionable at least or downright Gestapo-like at worst. Last month, an unarmed man was choked to death by a police officer in Staten Island, New York. Five years ago, an Oakland, California police officer shot and killed a young man while he was lying face down on a subway platform. Two years ago, an unarmed National Guardsman was shot and killed by a New York policeman during a traffic stop. Unfortunately, these incidents seem to be escalating. Yes, the Oakland officer was prosecuted and convicted, but this is the exception not the rule. Seldom is an offending police officer ever charged with a crime–or even removed from his post.
Add to the list of police killings the tens of thousands of people who are severely beaten or abused, often without provocation, by out-of-control rogue officers, and the picture becomes even more ominous. Again, I readily recognize that these rogue officers are the exception and not the rule, but the sad reality is that these bad cops are mostly allowed to continue their brutality with impunity. For a policeman to be removed from his job, much less face prosecution, is a rarity indeed.
And here is the kicker: after the New York and Missouri incidents mentioned above, the U.S. Justice Department has announced that it is widening its involvement in local policing in an attempt to curb the growing abuse of power.
Are you kidding me?
The reason that so many of our local and State police agencies are succumbing to increased examples of police abuse is directly due to the militarization of local and State police agencies by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is providing the funding, the armaments, the military-style vehicles, military-style tactics and training, etc. for all of these local and State police agencies. The arrogance and heavy-handed tactics of these rogue police officers is largely attributed to the influence of the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security. Now, this same U.S. government is going to “widen” its involvement with local police agencies in order to curb police violence? Get real! You know what’s happening: the U.S. Justice Department is widening its involvement in local police agencies in order to further its parochial political agendas and to further promote political correctness.
What we need are constitutional sheriffs who will courageously serve as the people’s vanguard against both the overreach of the federal government (which spawns so much police abuse, both local and federal) and against rogue officers among the police agencies of his jurisdiction. We also need partisan-free prosecutors in the local court systems. So many prosecutors are primarily motivated by partisan politics than they are “liberty and justice for all.” And we also need jurors who are truly blind to their prejudices and propensities and are willing to acquit or convict on the basis of proven fact alone. When a policeman steps over the line, he or she must be held as accountable as any ordinary citizen.
I personally believe, and would aggressively support, making all sheriff and county prosecutor’s races non-partisan (like judges). Justice should always be politically (and, yes, racially) blind. We have far, far too many political prisoners in our jails and prisons in this country. And if you don’t think that’s true, it’s because most of the local media refuses to report this kind of injustice due to the political connections and partisanship of the paper’s publishers and editors. The same is true with local television news. Accordingly, I strongly believe that sheriff and county prosecutor’s races should be non-partisan. We should probably throw in the State attorney general’s race, also. Lady Justice is supposed to be blindfolded, but political partisanship has taken away her blindfold and given her tainted glasses.
Obviously, even if the killing of the young man in Missouri was unjustified, the ensuing riots were also unjustified.
My friends, if you live in a big metropolitan area, you are one Rodney King or Hurricane Katrina event away from a potential all-out war against your family and property. As in the riots in South Central Los Angeles in 1992, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, people in northern St. Louis were subjected to the destruction of their property and the potential loss of life in the aftermath of the shooting of the young man in Ferguson.
And, just as was the case in South Central Los Angeles, business owners in northern St. Louis protected their lives and properties with–you guessed it: AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. Had President Obama and Senator Feinstein had their way a few months back, those people in North St. Louis would have been defenseless against the violent rioters that were attacking them. The presence of the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle saved many a life and much property in Los Angeles, California in 1992, in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, and in North St. Louis, Missouri in 2014.
In any kind of civil unrest, the best protection any of us have is God, the loyalty and dedication of good friends and family members who are willing to protect our backs, and a .223 or .308 semiautomatic battle rifle with loaded, large-capacity magazines. If you don’t have such a rifle, GO BUY ONE NOW! If you don’t have enough ammo, go buy it now. And if you live in a State or city that won’t let you buy one, MOVE!
Add to the chaos of civil unrest caused by either man-made or natural disasters the fact that the U.S. government is unloosing hundreds of thousands–maybe millions–of violent illegals into our country, and anyone who is not well-armed for his or her own protection is downright foolish. According to Texas State officials, there have been nearly a half-million felonies committed by illegals during the last four years IN THE STATE OF TEXAS ALONE–including over 5,000 rapes and over 2,000 murders. Remember, these are crimes committed by illegals alone in the State of Texas alone.
Border Patrol agents are warning us that violent Mexican gang members, many of whom have already committed murder, are being allowed free access into the heartland of America. Texas State Senator Dan Patrick recently reported that his State now has over 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members. Again, that’s just in Texas.
The crime rate across the United States has been declining for years, and is currently at its lowest level in recent history. But watch out! Violent illegal gang members, including members of one of the most violent and notorious gangs ever, MS-13, are pouring into this country. The crime rates in communities across America are about to explode. There is no way that local police agencies are going to be able to protect you. And, in truth, that is not their job. It is your job to protect yourself, dear friend. And you are not going to protect yourself from marauding rioters or violent gang members with a six-shot revolver. Oh, the handgun is fine defense for one or two attackers; but for more than that, you need a large-capacity semiautomatic battle rifle. How many examples of civil unrest do you need to convince you? I guess the one that breaks out next to your neighborhood, huh?
Of course, the federal government is allowing these violent illegals into our country KNOWING the crime and havoc they will unleash on this country. They WANT violence and havoc to be unleashed on this country. They must raise the crime rates in America in order to justify the expansion of the national Police State they are determined to construct. But in the meantime, tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of Americans are going to be beaten, paralyzed, robbed, raped, and murdered.
We don’t have to make it easy for these two-legged beasts: we can and should be an armed and ready populace capable and determined to protect our families, friends, neighborhoods, and communities: anything less is un-American, unmanly, and, un-Christian. Yes, you heard it right: It is un-Christian.
The Bible tells believers that any man who does not provide for his own, especially those of his own house, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an infidel. (I Timothy 5:8) And most certainly, “providing” for one’s own entails protection as much as it does food, clothing, and shelter. I, therefore, maintain that any Christian who is not prepared to protect and defend his family by being duly armed and trained in the use of arms has denied his faith and is truly worse than an infidel. Even heathens understand the Natural Law of self-defense. In fact, the entire natural kingdom understands the law of self-defense.
The recent killing of that young man in Missouri should serve to remind us that police, too, must abide by the law (I sincerely hope that the police officer involved did just that), that civil unrest can erupt anywhere in seconds, and that the need of the people to keep and bear, not just any arms, but semiautomatic battle rifles, is the best insurance for the survival of our lives and our liberties.
During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.
E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:
Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”
Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.
Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.
– William Blum
I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. Do they have something to hide?
The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.”
Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.
My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”
As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.
The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.
It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:
“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”
“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”
“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.”
There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?
There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.
Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.
The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …
Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?
One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”
It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.
The United States and torture
Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.
Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”
And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.
But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.
Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”
The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.
Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?
The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.
After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”
The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.
No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.
In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:
The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.
I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.
The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.
“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013
John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence.
Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.
During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.
Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.
The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.
Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?
For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.
On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.
These votes took place under the Reagan administration.
Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.
The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.
I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.
- See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
- Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
- “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
- “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”, Before It’s News, July 31 2014
- Associated Press, August 4, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
- New York Times, February 6, 2009
- Associated Press, November 17, 2008
- Associated Press, November 26, 2008
- Washington Post, November 18, 1996
- Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002
There is this notion, one we hear more and more, that the Republican Party has to shed the social issues to seize the future. “Social issues are not the business of government!” says thoroughly modern millennial. It’s a seductive cry, one repeated this past Tuesday in an article about how some young libertarians dubbed the “Liberty Kids” are taking over the moribund Los Angeles GOP. Oh, wouldn’t the political landscape be simple if we could just boil things down to fiscal responsibility? But life is seldom simple.
If you would claim to be purely fiscal, or assert that “social issues” should never be government’s domain, I’d ask a simple question: would you have no problem with a movement to legalize pedophilia?
Some responses here won’t go beyond eye-rolling and scoffing. Others will verbalize their incredulity and say that such a movement would never be taken seriously. This is not an answer but a dodge. First, the way to determine if one’s principles are sound is by seeing if they can be consistently applied. For instance, if someone claims he never judges others, it’s legitimate to ask whether he remains uncritical even of Nazis and KKK members; that puts the lie to his self-image. And any thinking person lives an examined life and tries to hone his principles.
Second, there is no never-land in reality. People in the ’50s would have said that homosexuality will “never” be accepted in the US. And Bill O’Reilly said as recently as 15 or 16 years ago that faux marriage (I don’t use the term “gay marriage”) would “never” be accepted in America. Sometimes “never” lasts only a decade or two.
Third, my question is no longer just theoretical. As I predicted years ago and wrote about here, there now is a movement afoot — one that has received “unbiased” mainstream-media news coverage — to legitimize pedophilia. Moreover, it has co-opted the language of the homosexual lobby, with doctors suggesting that pedophiles are “born that way” and have a “deep-rooted predisposition that does not change,” a film reviewer characterizing pedophilia as “the love that dare not speak its name” and activists saying that lust for children is “normative” and those acting on it are unjustly “demonized.” Why, oneLos Angeles Times article quoted a featured pedophile as saying, “These people felt they could snuff out the desire, or shame me into denying it existed. But it’s as intrinsic as the next person’s heterosexuality.” My, where have we heard that before?
So, modern millie, as we venture further down the rabbit hole, know that one day you may be among “these people,” these intolerant folks who just can’t understand why “social issues” should be kept out of politics and government out of the bedroom.
Of course, I’m sure that many libertarians have no problem with legalized bestiality; hey, my goat, my choice, right? And there may even be a rare few who would shrug off pedophilia, saying that, well, if a child agrees, who am I to get in the way of a consensual relationship? But these issues, as revolting and emotionally charged as they are, are just examples. There are a multitude of others, and this becomes clear if we delve a bit more deeply.
After all, what are “social issues”? What are we actually talking about? We’re speaking of moral issues, which, again, thoroughly modern millie would say should be kept out of politics. But this is impossible. For the truth is that every just law is an imposition of morality or a corollary thereof — every one.
Eyes may be rolling again, but let’s analyze it logically. By definition a law is a removal of a freedom, stating that there is something we must or must not do. Now, stripping freedom away is no small matter. Why would we do it? Unless we’re sociopathic, like Aleister Crowley believe “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and are willing to impose our will simply because it feels right, there could be only one reason: we see the need to enforce an element of a conception of right and wrong. We prohibit an act because we believe it’s wrong or mandate something because we believe it’s a moral imperative. This is indisputable. After all, would you forcibly prevent someone from doing something that wasn’t wrong? Would you force someone to do something that wasn’t a moral imperative? That would be truly outrageous — genuine tyranny.
There are laws where this is obvious and unquestioned, such as the prohibition against murder. But the same holds true even when the connection to morality isn’t so obvious, such as with speed laws: they’re justified by the idea that it is wrong to endanger others.
Then there is legislation such as ObamaCare. The wind beneath its wings was the idea that it was wrong to leave people without medical care; this case was consistently made, and, were it not for this belief, the bill could never have gotten off the ground. Or consider the contraception mandate and the supposed “war on women”: the issue would have been moot if we believed there was nothing wrong with waging a war on women.
Some will now protest, saying that there is nothing moral about ObamaCare and the contraception mandate. I agree, but this just proves my point. Note that my initial assertion was not that every law is the imposition of morality — it was that every just law is so. Some legislation is based on a mistaken conception of right and wrong, in which case it is merely the imposition of values, which are not good by definition (Mother Teresa had values, but so did Hitler). It is only when the law has a basis in morality, in Moral Truth, which is objective, that it can be just. Hence the inextricable link between law and morality. For a law that isn’t the imposition of morality is one of two other things: the legislation of nonsense or, worse still, the imposition of immorality.
So this is the fatal flaw behind the attack on social conservatives. It would be one thing if the only case made were that their conception of morality was flawed; instead, as with those who sloppily bemoan all “judgment,” they’re attacked with a flawed argument, the notion that their voices should be ignored because they would “impose morality.” But what we call “social conservatives” aren’t distinguished by concern for social issues; the only difference between them and you, modern millie, is that they care about the social issues that society, often tendentiously, currently defines as social issues and which we happen to be fighting about at the moment. This is seldom realized because most people are creatures of the moment. But rest assured that, one day, the moment and “never” will meet. And then you very well may look in the mirror and recognize that most unfashionable of things: a social-issues voter.
What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?
US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”
President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”
Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”
Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”
Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”
John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”
Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”
Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”
Gallup poll, 2013:
Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”
- United States 24%
- Pakistan 8%
- China 6%
- Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
- India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
- Syria 3%
- Russia 2%
- Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%
The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?
Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”
The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.
But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.
In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.” …
In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force. And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.
If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.
The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.
The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.
As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28  in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.
The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.
But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.
Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.
These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.
It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.
Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”
In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.
On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.
So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?
The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.
And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:
“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.”
And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.
“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”
- Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994
- Washington Post, July 18, 2001
- BBC, August 14, 2004
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 23 and July 2, 2012
- Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (2007), p.116-21
- Washington Post, August 30, 2005
- Washington Post, June 6, 2014
- Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on the June 21, 2007 edition of Democracy Now!
“Aliens visiting Earth would report back to their superiors: ‘It’s quite amazing, those people worship images. They know it and they pretend not to know it.’” — Hypnotherapist Jack True.
This is a backgrounder for my mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, which contains many exercises designed to liberate an individual from the standardized perception of reality—and usher in his own creative reality.
Mass mind control focuses on two elements: image and feeling.
By linking the two primary elements, it is possible to short-circuit thought and “cut to the chase,” when it comes to enlisting the allegiance of huge populations.
Two seemingly unrelated events spurred my interest in mass mind control.
On the evening of April 12, 1945, I listened to a radio report on the death of Franklin D Roosevelt. I was seven years old.
I became upset. I didn’t know why. I was angry at my own reaction.
Forty years later, I pulled into a gas station near my apartment in West Los Angeles. I got out of my car and took the cap off my gas tank. I looked to my right and saw Tony Curtis sitting in his car. I was shocked.
A few days later, I began making notes under the heading of “image-emotion cues.” At the time, I was working as a reporter, writing articles for LA Weekly. I knew next to nothing about mind control, MKULTRA, Soviet psychiatric gulags, Chinese re-education programs, or US psychological warfare operations.
But because I had been painting for 25 years, I knew something about the power of images.
I remembered my first exhibition of paintings in LA, at my friend Hadidjah Lamas’ house. We had hung my work in her large living room and dining room. Hadidjah had enlisted the services of a friend who had videotaped me painting in my studio, and at the exhibition she set up a television set out on her patio and continuously played the videocassette.
People came through her front door, almost automatically walked through the house to the patio, as if guided by an unseen hand, and watched the video; then they came back inside and looked at the paintings.
They would stop at a painting and say: “That picture was in the video!” It excited them.
My first note on “image-emotion cues” was, “Investing an image with importance. Projecting emotion into an image.”
Projecting emotion into a newspaper image of the president, FDR. Projecting emotion into the screen image of Tony Curtis. Projecting emotion into a video of a painter working in his studio.
When people encounter an image, when they invest it with importance, they project feeling into the image—and this all happens in a private sphere, a private space.
If this didn’t happen, there would be no way to control populations through images. It wouldn’t work. It all starts with a person setting up his own personal feedback loop that travels from him to an image and back again.
Coming out of World War 2, US psychological warfare operatives knew they could turn their skills to political purposes. They had just succeeded in making Americans believe that all Japanese and German people were horribly evil. They had been able to manipulate imagery successfully in that area. Why couldn’t they shape America’s view of a whole planet that lay beyond personal experience?
They could and they did. But the power to do that emanated from the fact that every person invests images with feeling. That’s where it really starts.
I had seen the 1957 film, Sweet Smell of Success, a number of times. I admired it. Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis gave tremendous performances. When, decades later, I saw Curtis sitting in his car at that gas station, I was “working from” the emotion I had invested in his onscreen image. It produced a sense of shock and paralysis for a few seconds.
Other people might have rushed up to Curtis and asked for his autograph. With me, it was shock, cognitive dissonance. Ditto for the death of FDR. I was working off newspaper pictures I’d seen of him, and the feeling I’d invested in those presidential images. Other people, when FDR died, went out into the street and hugged their neighbors and wept openly. For me, it was upset and shock and anger.
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with investing emotion in images. It can be exhilarating. It can be uplifting. As a painter, I know this in spades. Putting emotion into images can, in fact, vault you into a different perception of reality.
But on the downside, it can also take you into lockstep with what media/propaganda operatives want you to experience, second-hand.
We focus to such a degree on how we are being manipulated that we don’t stop to consider how we are participating in the operation. And our own role is clear and stark: we invest images with feeling.
So how does one individual’s projection of feeling into an image become a uniform projection of the same feeling into one image, by millions of people? How does what one person invests privately become mass mind control?
Through external instruction or cues. And also, by engendering the idea that there is only a limited palette of emotions to work with in the first place.
Why do millions of people fall into line?
Because they don’t realize they started the whole ball rolling themselves. All they know is: images are connected to feelings.
If they knew they were the real power in the whole operation, if they knew they were investing feelings into images all day long, if they could actually slow down enough to see how they do this….then they would be far less prone to taking instruction about what feelings they “ought to” invest in second-hand images.
Hypnotherapist Jack True unceremoniously put it to me this way: “If a dog could analyze how he got from eating meat to drooling at the sound of a bell that came at feeding time, he could stop drooling.”
(If Chris Matthews could analyze how his own voluntary investment of feeling in the image of Barack Obama sends a tingle up his leg, he could stop tingling.)
We see images of people rioting all over the Middle East. We see burning flags and crowds outside embassies. We’re supposed to invest our own anger and resentment into those images. Unless we’re suddenly told those rioters are actually “the good rebels,” in which case we’re supposed to invest our joy in the images.
We see a picture of miles of flat farmland and (GMO) corn waving in the breeze. We’re supposed to invest that image with feelings of happiness and pride.
Nowhere are we told we can back up a step and realize that we are the ones who begin the whole process, by projecting feelings into images. Any images.
When I was 19, I was sent to a trained expert in New York to take a Rorschach (ink-blot) Test. I was displaying signs of what would now be called Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
The expert said he wanted me to tell him everything I saw in each ink-blot. I took him at his word.
An hour later, I was still working on the first blot. I was describing everything from bats and owls and chickens to space ships and buckets of hidden treasure in caves.
Well, I was cheating a little. I wasn’t really describing what I saw. I was imagining. I was taking off from what was on the page and improvising. This was outside the bounds of the Test.
The expert was seething. He was sweating, because he had many other blots to show me, and it was late in the afternoon, and he was looking at spending the entire evening with me. Finally, he held up his hand and put an end to the Test.
I wasn’t playing his game. Among other sins, I wasn’t investing a limited palette of feelings in the images. Therefore, my choices of “what to see” in the blots expanded greatly.
When I go to a museum, I like to watch people stand in front of abstract paintings. Many of them are stumped. They’re trying to figure out what feelings they “are supposed to” project into the painting. They’re looking for “instruction,” and there isn’t any. They’re asking for mind control, and they’re not getting it.
Fanaticism of any kind begins with individuals projecting feelings into images. This is harnessed by leaders, who then choose the images and direct which feelings are permitted. The tempting prospect for the follower is: participation in a drama that goes beyond what he would ordinarily experience in life. This is bolstered by the idea that what he is doing is moral.
In an election season, people on the left are urged to project messianic feelings into images of X. People on the right are cued to invest feelings of pride, hope, and “tradition” into images of Y. The real candidates aren’t actually experienced.
Since Vietnam, shooting wars have been more difficult to sustain among soldiers. “In the old days,” feelings of hatred could be projected into images of enemies that included civilians, so overtly killing everybody on foreign soil was easier to accept. Now, soldiers are taught “enemy combatant” and “civilian” are two different images that require the injection of two different feelings.
Here at home, police and military are taught, more and more, to invest feelings of suspicion into images of American civilians. This is an acceleration of mass mind control for law enforcement.
The astonishing number of civilians who participate in government and corporate surveillance of the public, through technological means, learn to invest “dead empty feelings” into images of citizens, as if these targets are nothing more than ciphers, units.
Bizarre instances of police detaining and questioning parents who allow their children to play unsupervised reveal another accelerating trend. These confrontations start with neighbors snitching on the parents. The neighbors have learned to invest feelings of panic, suspicion, and anger in images of “free children.”
In all these cases, there is no real experience. It’s all second-hand. It’s all feeling-projected-into-image.
In the medical arena, countless advertisements and news stories are geared to convince people to invest feelings of trust in images of doctors. The suggestion, “Ask your doctor if X is right for you,” is framed as the solution to a little problem. The problem is set this way: Drug X is wonderful; drug X has serious adverse effects; what to do? Solution: ask your doctor; trust him; he knows.
As the class of victims in society has grown by leaps and bounds, including any group that can organize and promote itself as needing help or justice—going miles beyond the people who really do need assistance—citizens have been trained to invest feelings of sympathy and concern for all images of victims everywhere, real or imagined. This, too, is mass mind control.
Pick an image; invest feelings in it. Facts don’t matter. Evidence doesn’t matter.
You’ve heard people say, So-and-so (a celebrity) has become a caricature of himself. Well, that’s what it means. The celebrity has projected massive feelings of approval into a concocted, cartoonish image of himself.
As a society, we can go on this way until we become a horrific cartoon of a cartoon (well, we’re already there), or we can step back and discover how we invest emotion into images, and then use that process to pour feelings into visions of our own choosing and invent better futures.
Since the dawn of time, leaders have portrayed themselves as gods. They’ve assembled teams to promote that image, so their followers could project powerful emotion into the image and thereby cement the leaders’ control and power.
The game isn’t new. Understanding the roots of it within each individual could, however, break the trance of mass mind control.
During the first West Nile fake outbreak of 1999, I spoke with a student who had just dropped out of medical school. He told me he’d been looking at electron-microscope photos of the West Nile Virus, and he suddenly realized he was “supposed to” invest feelings of “great concern” in those images.
Somehow, he broke free from the image-feeling link. He was rather stunned at the experience. His entire conditioning as a medical student evaporated.
Parents all over the world are having the same experience vis-a-vis vaccines. They realize they’re supposed to invest fear in images of germs and disease, and they’re also supposed to invest feelings of hope and confidence in images of needles and vaccines. They see the game. They’re supposed to remain victims of mass mind control.
But they’ve awakened.
We’ve all been taught that what we feel is always and everywhere out of our control. These feelings are simply part of us, and we have to act on them. The alternative would be to sit on them and repress them and turn into androids, robots.
This is simply not true. There are an infinite number of feelings, and as strange as it may sound, we can literally invent them.
This, it is said, is inhuman. It’s a bad idea. It’s wrong. It would lead us to “deserting the human community.”
Nonsense. That’s part of the propaganda of mind control. If the controllers can convince us that we’re working from a limited map of emotions and we have to stay within that territory, they can manipulate that limited set of feelings and trap us.
The power of art is that it shows us there are so many more emotions than we had previously imagined. We can be much freer than we supposed.
The synthetic world of mind control and the handful of feelings that are linked to images is what keeps us in thrall.
The world—the world of what we can be—is so much wider and more thrilling and revealing.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon Rappoport was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails atwww.nomorefakenews.com
It is easy to stand up and cheer for your favorite government activity. It is quite another to acknowledge what it means in the real world.
I almost never try to speak for other people. However, I think it is fairly safe to say that the average military recruit firmly believes that he joins the military so that you and I can live and breathe in freedom. To be sure, he had other reasons for joining, but I think the defense of liberty is a fairly common characteristic.
That is certainly what I thought when I was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, in 1983. After all, this is what I had been told all my life: sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines defend freedom.
But is this actually what they do?
Consider the following:
- This Marine lost both legs in an IED blast in Iraq. He claims he was forced by TSA to remove both prosthetic legs before he could board an airplane in Phoenix.
- This Vietnam veteran in Spicewood, Texas, had flashbacks to his combat experience during a marijuana raid at a friend’s house. What police claimed was marijuana turned out to be ragweed.
- Jared Goering, who served 19 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was kicked off the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J. for walking with his service dog, Gator.
- Emily Yates, who served two tours with the Army in Iraq, was violently arrested by park police in Philadelphia for asking why she couldn’t play her banjo under some shade trees.
- Dimitrios Karras is a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read about the ATF raid on his business in National City, California.
- Martin Goldberg of Brooklyn is a World War II veteran whose apartment was subject to a drug raid. Later, the cops realized they had raided the wrong apartment. His 83-year-old wife was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat as a result of the raid.
- In 1997, four sailors from the USS Saipan (LHA-2) were falsely accused of the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Virginia, woman. One spent eight-and-one-half years in prison while the other three were sentenced to life in prison. These three were pardoned in 2009. Even though the actual killer is serving a life sentence, four innocent men are still required to register as sex offenders and are still fighting to clear their names.
- Charles Loeks was 18 and fresh out of Marine boot camp. On a trip home to Covina, California, he was hanging out with a few friends when he was arrested for resisting arrest and nothing else. He spent 21 days in Los Angeles County jail, even though he had harmed no one.
- Carlos Jaramillo is a former Marine combat instructor who lives in Onslow County, North Carolina. Watch what happened when he recorded a sheriff’s deputy who arrested him for no apparent reason.
- Noel Polanco was an unarmed 22-year-old National Guardsman who was shot and killed by New York City police at a traffic stop near LaGuardia Airport.
- John Laigaie, a retired Army master sergeant, was threatened at gunpoint by police while legally carrying a gun in a park in Bellingham, Washington.
- Homer Wright is an 80-year-old Army veteran who was charged with felony gun use after he shot a burglar who entered his home in Englewood, Illinois.
- Mark Schmidter, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Orlando, is currently serving 145 days in a cage for passing out jurors’ rights information on the steps of a local courthouse.
- Justin Ross of Ankeny, Iowa, was recently discharged from the Army. Police used a battering ram to enter his home executing a warrant for some items purchased with stolen credit cards. They did not find any of these items.
- Saadiq Long is an Air Force veteran who was placed on a TSA no-fly list. He had to battle for months to be removed from this list just so he could fly home from Qatar to visit his ailing mother.
- Chuck Benton of Long Grove, Iowa, served 22 years in the Army. He was arrested and charged simply for living in the same house with his son who was growing medical marijuana.
- Cody Donovan is a former Marine MP who lives in New Milford, N.J. He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after carrying a loaded gun into the Garden State Plaza mall when he attempted to help police apprehend the shooter.
- In 1932, 17,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand payment of bonuses they had been promised as a result of their service in World War I. Two were shot and killed by police. 55 were arrested and 135 were injured when the United States Army became an instrument of domestic law enforcement. Two of the chief enforcers were named MacArthur and Patton. Yes, those two.
- Mark England, an Army combat medic who saw action in Iraq and Kosovo was beaten and tasered by police at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Matt Pinkerton of Glen Burnie, Maryland, faces second degree murder charges after fatally shooting a home intruder in September.
- Leo Hendrick, an army veteran who lives in Northwood, Iowa, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $600 fine for raising chickens in his yard.
- Yes, the cops had a search warrant. However that in no way excuses their vandalizing the home of Army veteran Dan Neary of Lakewood, Washington.
- These World War II veterans were threatened with arrest for visiting a closed war memorial in Washington, D.C. during the October “shutdown.”
- These Vietnam veterans actually were arrested for visiting a New York City war memorial after curfew.
- Denis Reynoso was a disabled veteran who saw action with the Marines in Iraq. He was shot dead by police in his Lynn, Massachusetts, apartment.
- Nick Morgan, an Iraq veteran, was pulled out of a crowd by police in Hempstead, New York, and trampled by their horses.
- Gary Shepherd of Broadhead, Kentucky was a Vietnam veteran. He used medical cannabis to relieve the pain in his left arm, which was crippled during the war. Shepherd was shot dead by a SWAT team, after they had threatened to cut down his cannabis plants.
- Valente and Manuel Valenzuela of San Antonio produced sufficient documentation to enlist, respectively, in the Army and Marine Corps. Both fought in Vietnam, where Valente won a Bronze Star. Now they are facing deportation to Mexico because of erroneous entries on their birth certificates.
- Jerome Murdough, a homeless Marine Corps veteran, died in a jail cell on New York’s Rikers Island after being arrested for trespassing. A heating malfunction caused the temperature in the cell to soar to 100 degrees.
- Kenneth Chamberlain was a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran living in White Plains, New York. Early one morning he set off his medical alert device. The first responders in this case were not medics, but rather police, who proceeded to kill Mr. Chamberlain.
- This group of combat veterans in Colorado organized to help legalize marijuana during the 2012 elections. They claim – and I believe them – that marijuana helps mitigate PTSD. If you support any punishment whatsoever for a combat veteran who heals himself with a plant that grows wild in some form within a few miles of you, I don’t care what you tell me. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM!
- Stanley Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran was shot dead over a total non-crime by Las Vegas police in December, 2011.
- Army Specialist Michael Sharkey returned home from deployment in Afghanistan to find his home in New Port Richey, Florida, unlawfully occupied by two squatters. The local sheriff says that Sharkey has no grounds upon which to evict them.
- These veterans say they are being required to prove they are worthy of gun rights. Our rights are gifts from God that are inherent in our very humanity. We never have to prove to anybody that we have them.
- Dwight Edwards, a disabled Marine veteran of Afghanistan, says that cops in Queens brutally beat him for no reason.
- Army Staff Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who won the Bronze Star with Valor, was forcibly disarmed for no good reason by a policeman while on a hike with his son not far from Fort Hood, Texas.
- Brandon Raub, a Marine who was decorated for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, was forced to spend a week in a Virginia mental hospital over some “anti-government” Facebook posts. (His interviewer here, John Whitehead, is a constitutional attorney, Vietnam infantry veteran and superlative anti-police state blogger.)
- Operation Vigilant Eagle is a project of the Department of Homeland Security that has led to numerous Iraq and Afghanistan veterans “finding themselves under surveillance, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, or arrested, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.” Indeed, merely being a “returning veteran” can have you designated as a potential terrorist.
- We will never know the whole truth about Navy veteran and former Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, who was the subject of a police manhunt and media witch hunt in 2013. He never got the chance to tell his story in court.
- Hector Barrios came to America in 1961. He was drafted and served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam. In 1996, he was busted for possessing marijuana, which he used to treat his PTSD. As a result, he was deported to his native Mexico where he died.
- Matthew Corrigan of Washington, D.C. was a first sergeant in the Army Reserve and a veteran of Iraq. His home was destroyed in a SWAT rampage because it was reported to the police that Corrigan had a gun.
- Jamie Dean was an Army veteran of Afghanistan was diagnosed with PTSD. Upset about his impending deployment to Iraq, Dean had an intense emotional outburst at his Maryland home in December 2006. Even though he neither harmed nor threatened anyone, he was shot and killed by a local SWAT team.
- Bennie Coleman, 76, is a retired Marine who lost his Washington, D.C., home because of a $134 tax lien that District authorities had sold to an investor.
- Jeremy Usher is a former Navy hospital corpsman who lives in Greeley, Colorado. He faces jail time for using medical marijuana to treat his PTSD.
- Brittany Ball, a 23-year-old soldier at Fort Jackson, S.C., was manhandled by a cop at a local bar, even though she had done nothing wrong.
- Air Force Airman First Class Michael Davidson was shot in the stomach by police in Opelika, Alabama, at the scene of a traffic accident.
- Benjamin Wassell sustained traumatic brain injuries while with the Marines in Iraq. The Buffalo-area resident was the first person charged with illegal gun sales under New York’s new SAFE Act.
- Erik Scott graduated from West Point in 1994 and served as a tank platoon leader. In 2010, he was gunned down and killed by police as he peacefully walked out of a Las Vegas Costco.
- Scott Olsen saw action with the Marines in Iraq. Later, he would join the Occupy Oakland movement. In October, 2011, suffered a fractured skull after being hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.
- Derek Hale served honorably with the Marines in Iraq. Although, he had committed no crime, he died after being tasered three times and then shot three times by police in Wilmington, Delaware.
- Roderick King, an Iraq war veteran, was arrested in Philadelphia after he and his friends had criticized a cop’s driving.
- Howard Dean Bailey, a Navy veteran, was deported to his native Jamaica when immigration authorities discovered he had taken a plea bargain in a marijuana case in Norfolk, Virginia.
- To be sure, the recently deceased folk singer Pete Seeger could not have been more of a leftist. However, he did serve three years in the Army after being drafted during World War II. He was sentenced to one year in jail after refusing to reveal his political connections to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956. He appealed this sentence, citing the First Amendment, and ultimately spent only four hours behind bars.
- Larry Kirschenman of Nogales, Arizona, served 22 years in the Army and was decorated for bravery in Vietnam. Learn how he was brutalized by Border Patrol agents when asking why he was subjected to a warrantless search.
- We will never know for sure what happened in Army veteran Matthew Stewart’s Ogden, Utah, apartment one night in January 2012, as he will never have his day in court. He was in prison awaiting trial on charges of shooting and killing one of the police officers who raided his apartment searching for marijuana. Stewart, whose guilt was never proven, committed suicide in his cell.
- Sergio Arreola is a cop in Los Angeles who served with the Marines in Iraq. He was beaten by the police in suburban Pomona for no good reason whatsoever.
- This former Army paratrooper is appealing to the New York state legislature to legalize medical marijuana. He has severe multiple sclerosis and is “forced to break the law to have some semblance of a bearable existence.”
- On May 5, 2011, a Tucson SWAT team approached the home of Jose Guerena, who had served two tours with the Marines in Iraq. Guerena grabbed his AR-15 as is his right, but did not fire. The SWAT team let loose with 71 rounds, 60 of which perforated Guerena’s body.
- Marty Maiden lived a few blocks from Guerena in Tucson. and saw action with the Army in Afghanistan. He posted a suicidal note on Facebook which prompted a call to the police, who shot him dead.
- Steve Lefemine is a West Point graduate who was arrested for protesting against abortion in a “no-demonstration zone” outside the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Circuit Court justified the arrest based on a “compelling state interest in security”.
- Eileen Erickson’s husband Sid served in Vietnam and died of Agent Orange exposure. Erickson is now in the crosshairs of authorities in Venice, California, who want to tear down the tree house Sid built before he died.
- Listen to this disabled Navy veteran plead with then-Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about the benefits of medical marijuana. Listen to the totalitarian response.
- John Wrana, a 95-year-old Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, was tasered and then shot to death by police in Forest Park, Illinois. His “crime”? Refusing medical attention.
- John Colaprete saw action in Vietnam as a Marine Corps officer. In 1994, his Virginia Beach home and restaurants were the object of paramilitary-style raids by the IRS. The raid was prompted by a false accusation by a former employee. While you need to watch this documentary in its entirety some time, for now just pick it up for a few minutes starting at the 55:40 mark.
- Boxing legend Joe Louis was also tyrannized by the IRS. The Brown Bomber enlisted in the Army in 1942 saying “Let us at them Japs.” Louis never saw combat, as he was assigned to the Special Services Division. While still a civilian, Louis fought some charity bouts and donated the proceeds to the Navy Relief Society. The IRS, however, viewed these proceeds as taxable income. IRS problems would plague him all his life. Please watch this video starting at the 53:17 mark.
- Adam Arroyo is a Hispanic veteran of the Iraq war who lives in Buffalo. Police shot and killed his dog while executing a drug warrant for a black man.
- Henry Taylor was a retired Air Force veteran in Louisville, Tennessee, who was shot dead by a local sheriff’s deputy while investigating a burglary at a rental property he owned.
- This is a fascinating article: When Johnny Comes Marching Home … He Goes to Jail. It is absolutely tragic how we chew up and spit out so many of those we send to “fight for our freedom.”
- Radio talk host Adam Kokesh won the Navy Commendation Medal as a Marine in Iraq. In recent years, he has been arrested several times for various non-violent protests. His most recent arrest happened after he loaded a shotgun in public in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2013. On July 10, police violently raided his home and arrested him. He was incarcerated for four months without bond, bail or trial. He is currently on probation for two years. You may not like Kokesh’s demeanor or approve of all of his antics, but he has been very courageous when so many of his critics can’t be bothered to put down the remote.
- James Moore, my brothah from anothah mothah, walked away from a very lucrative engineering position in San Jose to re-enlist in the Army following 9/11. He sustained significant physical injuries as well as PTSD while serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan. On the afternoon of March 25, 2008, Moore, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, was beaten to the point of flat lining by Denver police.
- One of the coolest people I have never met is Antonio Buehler. Buehler graduated from West Point in 1999, earned his Ranger tab, and saw action in Kosovo and Iraq. (He also sports a Stanford MBA.) Early in the morning on January 1, 2012, Buehler was arrested for taking a few pictures of Austin police manhandling a young woman outside a 7-11. Buehler has been arrested four times since. He heads the Peaceful Streets Project, whose members work to expose abuse, brutality and overreach both in Austin and across the nation.
There are no doubt numerous other injustices against veterans that I do not know about. Enough to fill a book. None of these things would have happened if America were a free society. As Kokesh puts it, “The greatest enemies to the Constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land but rather right here at home.”
I cannot speak to the specific political beliefs of most of the veterans I have mentioned here. Some may be pacifists, while others may make John McCain look like a hippie in Haight-Ashbury. No matter what their individual views may be, the freedom they risked their lives for was flagrantly violated on the streets of the land they fought to protect.
Society endlessly applauds sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines for “fighting for our freedom”. It is in no way disrespectful to say that this is not what they do. No foreign government or terrorist group poses any threat to our liberty. America accounts for about half of the world’s military spending. We have 300 ships in our Navy, plus thousands of planes, tanks and nuclear warheads as well as 300 million firearms in private hands. Nobody is going to invade us.
In a constitutional country, which America ceased to be 100 years ago, the job of the military – a vital and most noble one – is to defend the borders, shores and airspace. It cannot protect you from being tyrannized domestically. Indeed, throughout history, armies have been instruments of domestic tyranny. Our Constitution forbids a standing army for just this reason.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had enormous military establishments. How did things work out in these countries?
I am a Christian who believes liberty is a gift from God – Leviticus 25:10; II Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1. To quote Jefferson, liberty is preserved not by military might, but by “eternal vigilance” against one’s own government at all levels. It is the grossest form of disrespect to send young men around the world to “fight for freedom” while relinquishing that freedom on the home front.
For several years, America has had the world’s highest incarceration rate. Since 2001, Americans have gladly accepted previously unthinkable intrusions on their freedom in the name of “safety” and “security”. These include, but are not limited to: warrantless searches and spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, sexual assault as a condition of travel, rampant police brutality, indefinite detention without any semblance of due process, severe restrictions on peaceful protest, massive ammunition purchases by DHS and surveillance drones in our skies watching our every move. Can predator drones be far behind?
And in every election 98 percent of voters put their stamp of approval on perpetuating this monstrosity.
Stop thinking in clichés. Have a good hard look at everything your media and government tell you. This includes media outlets and parts of the government that you like. Study. Read. Ask questions. And learn that the defense of liberty is not the duty of the military. Rather, it is your duty and mine.
- Special thanks to Radley Balko and William Grigg for providing several of the above stories.
- Read this article by John Whitehead.
Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco — and Michelle Obama left her brain in 1954.
Addressing graduating high-school students the other day in the Topeka, Kansas, school district, the federal lunch lady said, referring to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, “[Y]our experience here in Topeka would have been unimaginable back in 1954….” And perhaps this is true.
It also would have been unimaginable back in 1554 or 954. After all, the institutions making that experience possible hadn’t been birthed yet.
You know, those institutions created by European/ European-descent civilization.
That civilization that Darth Vegan is tacitly impugning with her racial agitation.
The point is that if you’re going to talk about the past, don’t tendentiously cherry-pick it for destructive ideological purposes. It’s much as discussion about slavery. Not only is the focus always on the less than one percent of the history of slavery that was written in the US (it’s one of the world’s oldest institutions), but the most significant point is missed: Whites were not the first to practice slavery.
But they were the first to abolish it.
If some take offense at this, they can pound sand. I take offense at the constant derision aimed at my civilization by critics who should get down on their knees, kiss the ground trod by our ancestors and thank God for our civilization’s existence. Where else could effete ne’er do wells complain about injustice while living a life of silk, satin and Sidwell Friends and dining on Kobe beef?
Really, this all reminds me of how no good deed goes unpunished. This focus on a group’s sins to the exclusion of its triumphs is much like trying to epitomize a cracker-jack golfer by some of his three-putts while ignoring his many championships; it’s like condemning a great rocket engineer over a few failed trial launches and ignoring that he got you to the moon.
M. Obama also said to the students, “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin….” This is absolutely true. Just this past Mother’s Day weekend a white family was stopped and beaten by a black mob because of the color of their skin.
Of course, these black-on-white racial attacks — already a frequent but largely unreported phenomenon — will only worsen with racial hustlers such as the Obamas peddling their “series of agreed-upon myths,” to use Napoleon’s characterization of history.
And this agitation has its effect. Just consider the testimonial Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND), gave about how race-hustling affected his attitude prior to his religious conversion. He said in a 2013 Los Angeles Times interview, “I believed the lie that because I was black, I wasn’t going to be able to make it because of the white man…. I was listening to people like Jackson and Louis Farrakhan…. He talked about the blue-eyed devil, and I believed him. I started hating white people.” And since most people don’t experience religious conversions, what’s the result of this brainwashing?
It’s that now, “not all but most black people are so racist toward white people,” Peterson explained.
And this explains the Obamas. They are obsessed with race.
And what, America, did you expect when electing a far-left, radical, black-liberation-theology-
Well, it was actually Uncle Sam goes to Hell.
Sometimes I just want to pimp slap people.
Last summer, I was at dinner during a sales convention. The conversation didn’t get political until someone mentioned the NSA.
There is one in every crowd. Someone piped up and said, “They can spy on me all they want. I am not doing anything wrong.”
They sang this song in Germany in 1933. And they sang it with unprecedented gusto in the months following 9/11, all in the name of “security” and “keeping us safe”.
We were at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the world’s second largest hotel. Nothing in the post-9/11 “national security” apparatus would prevent a terrorist from walking in, setting off a bomb, and killing hundreds or even thousands of people.
The more important questions are: How do you know you are doing nothing that could be construed as wrong by some state functionary? How do you know you are not breaking some law somewhere? And why are you so implicitly trusting that your government would never do anything evil with the information it has collected on you?
This is not purely an academic matter. The practical implications are profound.
I give you several examples.
1. Niakea Williams went to her son’s St. Louis-area elementary school one day to pick up her son, who has Asperger’s. The school was put on lockdown and Mrs. Williams was escorted out in handcuffs.
2. Adrionna Harris was almost expelled from her middle school in Virginia Beach after taking a razor blade away from a fellow student who was trying to harm himself.
3. Read what Houston police did to this man who gave 75 cents to a homeless person.
4. A little known Denver parking ordinance can get you a $25 fine even if you haven’t exceeded the two-hour limit.
5. Police in Iowa City, Iowa, seized $50,000 from this couple without charging them with a crime.
6. Alberto Willmore lost his teaching job in Manhattan over a totally bogus marijuana arrest. Even though he was never convicted of anything, he was unable to get his job back.
7. Norman Gurley was arrested in Lorain County, Ohio, because a compartment in his car could have been used to transport drugs.
8. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed 80-year-old Eugene Mallory in his own bed during a meth raid. No meth, or any other illegal drugs, was discovered.
9. Paul Valin contacted police to report that he found a backpack full of what he believed to be meth-making equipment 15 miles from his home near Des Moines. As a result, the DEA placed his house on its list of meth labs.
11. New York police seized Gerald Bryan’s cash in a nighttime raid in 2012. Even though Bryan was cleared of any wrongdoing, the stolen cash was deposited in the NYPD pension fund.
12. Robert Duncan is currently serving two years in a California prison, even though the business in which he worked was legal in California.
13. Jordan Wiser spent 13 days in jail after Jefferson, Ohio, police found a pocketknife during a warrantless search of his car.
14. During a school lockdown in Clarksville, Tennessee, David Duren-Sanner gave police permission to search his car as he had “nothing to hide”. Police found a fishing knife. Duren-Sanner, who previously had never been to the principal’s office, was suspended for 10 days and then sent to an alternative school for 90 days.
15. Look what happened to these parents in Napa, California, even though the medical marijuana prescriptions they had were completely legal.
16. Eileen Ann Bower of suburban Pittsburgh had her newborn child taken from her for 75 days because of a false positive drug test.
17. Jerry Hartfield of Bay City, Texas, has spent the majority of his life in prison, even though hisconviction was overturned in 1980.
18. Jason Dewing of update New York was found guilty of violating a law that did not exist.
19. Don Miller of Waldron, Indiana, had his home raided by FBI agents who seized hundreds of cultural artifacts from around the world. Miller was neither arrested nor charged with anything.
20. This San Diego couple was pepper-sprayed and tasered by police who had erroneously identified their vehicle after being stolen.
21. The good news is that Brian Aitken of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, had his prison sentence commuted.The bad news is that he was originally sentenced to seven years behind bars for possessing two legally purchased guns.
22. This special needs student in McDonald, Pennsylvania, was charged with felony wiretapping for recording other students who were bullying him mercilessly.
23. Abner Schoenwetter of Miami served over six years in prison for – you can’t make this stuff up – violating Honduran fisheries law.
24. Read what happened to John Filippidis of Hudson, Florida, when he was pulled over by state policewhile driving unarmed through Maryland.
25. In a case of mistaken identity, Lewis James of Durham, North Carolina, “was handcuffed and later jailed under a $1.425 million bond” after he had contacted the police to notify them of a dead body in the middle of the road. As someone put it on Facebook, “Don’t call the cops. Ever. Even if you find a dead body. Just don’t ever call the cops.”
26. Read what happened to Diane Avera of Meridian, Mississippi, when she went to Alabama to buy Sudafed, even though she did not know that this was illegal.
27. Andy Johnson of Uinta County, Wyoming, faces EPA fines of $75,000 per day for building a pond on land that he owns.
28. Douglas Zerby of Long Beach was shot and killed by police while watering his lawn because some idiot neighbor thought the hose nozzle was a gun.
29. Darien Roseen was arrested and had his vehicle searched by sheriff’s deputies in Payette County, Idaho, simply because his Colorado license plates led them to believe that he could have been carrying marijuana.
30. Brian Banks of Long Beach spent five years in prison and five more years as a registered sex offenderas a result of a rape conviction. And then his accuser changed her story.
These are not “isolated incidents.” There are no doubt countless other examples of people who were doing nothing wrong, yet were harshly punished.
Also, consider the following:
• The Internal Revenue Code is 73,955 pages and millions of words long. No one has read it cover-to-cover and no one knows every aspect of it. Yet if anyone violates any of its provisions it can mean fines, prison or even death.
• We are often told that “ignorance of the law is no defense.” To the right is a picture of the Yale Law Library. Do you know every law contained within these tomes?
- Read what various emissaries of the Amerikan police state have done to these veterans who went all over the world to “fight for our freedom.”
• Seventy-two types of Americans are classified as terrorists in various government documents. Senator Harry Reid has now added a seventy-third category.
• Read how police have used asset forfeiture laws to seize millions of dollars from people without charging them with any crimes.
- Read this list of eight ways people commit felonies without even knowing it.
• Read this article and pay special attention to these words from former NSA official William Binney: “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”
• Read how the Innocence Project has helped exonerate over 300 wrongfully imprisoned people, many of whom were on death row.
• Attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.
• This Ford executive claims that, thanks to GPS, “we know everyone who breaks the law.”
• Although it has been estimated that there are over 3000 types of federal criminal offenses, no one knows the exact number for sure.
So, do you still feel you have nothing to fear?
For the record, I don’t believe Cliven Bundy is a “racist.”
For the record, I don’t even care.
Such indifference to that damnable failing, that thing we all know is the worst thing one can be, must make me a damnable man. But I am flexible. I just want equality. I’m perfectly willing to demonize “racists,” provided we give other sinners equal time.
I just want to hear, for example, “Forget the facts of the matter! The man is lustful!” or “Don’t listen to that miscreant. He’s guilty of sloth!” Or let’s say a fellow posits an opinion on, oh, taxation. Our very intellectual response could be, “Hey, didn’t I hear you talkin’ to your girlfriend about how you scarfed down four cheeseburgers at the barbecue and binged on ice cream in your easy chair? Look, everyone, he’s a glutton!”
This isn’t to say that being a bigot — the word “racist” is in quotation marks because it’s an invention of leftist language manipulators — is a good thing. Not at all. But neither is being lustful, slothful or gluttonous. Yet people who couldn’t name three of the Seven Deadly Sins and are thoroughly guilty of at least six, will claim they can disqualify a person, and his point of view, from debate based on their assessment of his moral state. What blindness — and hubris.
Bigotry is simply a sub-category of wrath, one part of one-seventh, not the moral end-all and be-all. And even if Bundy did have racial hang-ups, would it follow that he was wrong about his case or on federal power in general? Can a man be flawed, and even sinful, but yet right on a matter? Can he still have virtues? Albert Einstein could be lewd and lascivious, Galileo an irascible jerk, Ernest Hemingway was a drunkard.
This isn’t to say, as certain people with poor character once averred, that character doesn’t matter. It’s not to say a person’s vices can’t speak to motivations; it’s valid to point it out if a judge who rules that pornography has First Amendment protections habitually views porn himself. But it’s not valid to fixate on the allegedly “racist” tendencies of a judge who rules that racial commentary enjoys such protections (at least not within the context of analyzing the ruling). The difference is that since the former is wrong, there’s good reason to believe that his personal inclinations corrupted his judgment on the matter; with the latter judge, however, dwelling on the supposed flaw in question would only serve to discredit a legitimate ruling.
The point is that we all have flaws, yet all can be correct about a whole host of things. I wouldn’t have wanted Einstein to care for a teenage daughter or be president, but I wouldn’t deny that E=mc2.
Of course, it really is true that some flaws are more unequal than others — there is a hierarchy of sin — but moderns’ sense of proportion is highly askew. G.K. Chesterton said that a “Puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.” Today we have Impuritans, complete reprobates worshipping at hedonism’s altar, who pour their indignation onto others in a vain attempt to wash their own souls clean of sin. But there is much more to being a “good” person than simply not being bigoted.
To further illustrate this askew sense of proportion, consider again the gluttony example. Gluttony is a sin, no doubt. But now let’s say that our society considered it the ultimate disqualifier. Let’s say we might scrutinize a person, asking “What are his food bills?” “Do cookbooks figure too prominently in his library?” “Does he wile away excessive time watching Emeril Live?” “Is he the one who cleared the buffet table like a hurdler?” And imagine we visited pariah status on the person after deeming him guilty.
Would you think this society’s greater fault was gluttony — or being hung-up about it? I’d think it exhibited a gluttonous zeal for eradicating gluttony.
The problem is that man always swings from one extreme to another. The early to mid 20th century saw the embrace of eugenics and racial-superiority dogma, which was then discredited by the loathsome Nazis. But now we just as zealously impose a dogma denying the reality of group differences and mandating equality of outcome among races.
This tendency toward true extremism — meaning, extreme deviation from Truth — brings to mind C.S. Lewis’ observation that evil always tries to persuade us to exaggerate our flaws, telling the militant he’s too pacifistic and the pacifist that he’s too militant. As an example, today we have Impuritans who, awash in the Great Sexual Heresy, will still lament how “Puritan” America is so sexually “repressed.” Evil tells the pervert he’s too prudish, just as it tells self-hating whites that they’re too anti-black.
But what we should be is anti-“racism.” I don’t mean what you think. We need to oppose both the word and the concept — at least how the latter is often conceptualized.
Bigotry is bad by definition, and that definition is commonly agreed upon. But “racism” often has a different meaning, one whose influence is readily apparent in the reaction to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s much reported comments. Al Sharpton, who once used the term “white interlopers” and once said, “White folks was in caves while we were building empires…,” called for a boycott of the NBA. Former hoop star Larry Johnson reacted to a man who didn’t want blacks around by saying he didn’t want whites around, as he suggested creating an all-black basketball league. Spike Lee told CNN he wished that white NBA players would speak out against Sterling, which is a bit like John Gotti having wished that someone would speak out against racketeering. And Barack Obama took time away from destroying our world standing, healthcare system, social policy and economy to say that “comments reportedly made by Sterling are ‘incredibly offensive racist statements,’ before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront,” wrote CBS DC. He then opined, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything; you just let them talk” (you don’t have to do anything except, I suppose, “confront” a “legacy of slavery and segregation”). But, okay, I’ll just let Obama talk.
Now, opportunism is often a factor in such hypocrisy, but there is something else: a striking sense of entitlement. This is why many black people will condemn a white person for making a bigoted comment with an equally bigoted comment without batting an eye; when whites are bigoted, it’s “racist”; when blacks are, it’s something else. And, in fact, this idea is encapsulated in the definition of “racism” I alluded to earlier. It’s one you’ve probably heard:
Only whites can be “racist” because a prerequisite for “racism” is not only bigoted intent, but the power to act upon it.
And, actually, they’ll get no argument from me. As I’ve said before, the left originated the word “racism,” so they may define it. They may have it.
And if they ask, I’ll tell them where they can stick it.
The problem is that conservatives, being conservative — meaning, conserving yesterday’s liberals’ social victories — parrot the word. It’s another example of how, forgetting that the side defining the vocabulary of a debate, wins the debate, conservatives slavishly use the Lexicon of the Left.
Of course, eventually this will all be left in the dustbin of history. Movements, peoples and civilizations come and go, and we’ll get over our fixation with one part of one-seventh of the Deadly Sins. And then man will swing to another extreme, as he goes on to the next great mistake.
Few would expect a survivor of the Holocaust to be the face of genocide denial. Imagine the surprise of Suffolk Law School’s student body when its administration’s chosen commencement speaker turned out to be just that.
Abraham Foxman, the long-time director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization dedicated to eradicating anti-Semitism and bigotry and protecting civil rights, seems a figure beyond reproach. Yet Foxman has invited controversy to Suffolk University for his unwillingness to recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide – an event which saw an estimated 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Turks – and his campaign to defeat Congressional acknowledgement of said genocide.
Criticism of Foxman has centered on this disconnect, that a man who lived through the attempted extermination of an entire race now denies that truth of another. Many at Suffolk are unwilling to participate in that hypocrisy.
Suffolk’s Students Speak Out
Shortly after Foxman was announced as their 2014 speaker, Suffolk Law students rejected the decision. Amy Willis, President of the university’s National Lawyers Guild chapter, told the Boston Globe that “Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values.”
This stance was reflected in a petition to remove Foxman as the keynote speaker, as well as to deny him the honorary Juris doctorate he is slated to receive. The petition states that Foxman’s presence “not only insults students and their families, but also insults the very foundation of Suffolk Law as a safe place of diversity and acceptance.” As arguments for his removal, the petition enumerates Foxman’s refusal to explicitly label the Armenian Genocide as a genocide as well as his support for racial profiling of Muslim-Americans in the interest of “national security.”
What Is Genocide?
Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” in 1944 to describe the magnitude of premeditated racial extermination, citing what happened to the Armenians as the prime example. After the war, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, establishing genocide as an international crime.
In the Convention, genocide is defined as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” which includes “killing members of the group” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
The mention of “intent” is significant in this definition. Foxman’s 2007 statement (described below) would go out of its way to avoid labeling the Turkish pogrom as intentional, admitting only that its “consequences” were “tantamount” to genocide. To the casual observer, it is perhaps a negligible distinction. From a legal standpoint, it is strategically evasive.
What Is the Armenian Genocide?
This definition applies to the systematic slaughter of Armenians by the Turkish government that began in 1915. To understand how this genocide came to be, a brief summary of the two nations’ history is required.
Existing in various forms for approximately 3,000 years of recorded history, Armenia was the first nation to declare Christianity its national religion. It remained Christian under the several empires that conquered it, including the Muslim caliphate of the Ottoman Turks. From the 15th century onward, Armenians and their fellow “infidels” were allowed to continue their religious practices, though subjected to higher taxes, fewer rights and ethnic discrimination. For the Armenians, this culminated in the Hamidian Massacres of 1894-1897. This state-sponsored pogrom was instituted by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in retaliation for Armenians’ attempts to win civil rights.
By the start of World War I, political tensions between Armenians and a new Turkish government were even more strained. Armenia itself had been divided by warring empires, with Russia claiming the east and Turkey claiming the west. Duty-bound, both sides fought for their respective empires.
This dichotomy of loyalty enabled the Turks to concoct a pretext that veiled their ultimate goal of an ethnically and religiously uniform empire. A purge would enable them to “liquidate” the “Christian element” and seize the wealth and property of suspected insurgents. On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government authorized the arrest and execution of several hundred Armenian intellectuals. From that point, the executions would continue for eight years, shrouded under the fog of the Great War.
Turkish soldiers and mercenaries acting under the general outfit of “Special Operations” murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, marching them through the Anatolian and Syrian deserts without food, water or clothing. “Infidels” not sentenced to hard labor camps were drowned in rivers, thrown off cliffs, crucified and burned alive. Property was seized, women were raped and dispatched to Turkish harems, and many children were kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam.
The number of survivors is a matter of debate, but of a population of 2 million indigenous Armenians, it is estimated that upwards of 1.5 million were slaughtered in Turkey between 1915 and 1923. Even today, almost a century later, the Euphrates River is filled with the bones of dead Armenians, as author Peter Balakian, writing for the New York Times magazine, can attest.
Stark, horrific images exist to document the savagery of the Armenian massacre. Yet still Turkey denies its own legacy.
Turkey and Foxman’s Denials
Article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation or the Turkish government. To acknowledge an “Armenian Genocide” is the most egregious insult possible.
Because Turkey was the first nation in the Middle East to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and remains an instrumental ally of the West, the United States is unwilling to rock that political boat. Even when a resolution was proposed by the 110th Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, then President George W. Bush publicly opposed the measure. He was not the first, and current President Barack Obama’s silence on the issue suggests he will not be the last.
And this has been Abraham Foxman’s dilemma. His public opposition to Armenian recognition has been out of loyalty to Israel. “Our focus is Israel,” he has said. “If helping Turkey helps Israel, then that’s what we’re in the business of doing.” It seems absurd to the point of tragedy that a man who lived under Nazi oppression can answer the question of Armenian genocide with, “It was wartime. Things get messy.”
But in 2007, Foxman tried to pacify his critics. Speaking for himself and the ADL, he stated that, “We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians as massacres and atrocities,” ending with decision that “the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
But “tantamount to genocide” without intent is not genocide. This calculated elision of “intent,” its palpable absence, is an insult to the Armenian community. The ADL’s defenders decry this as splitting hairs, but they overlook the importance of legacy and how powerfully a single word can affect it. It was important enough to prompt a dozen Massachusetts cities to pull out of the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program. It was important enough that when Andrew H. Tarsy, a regional director for the ADL, acknowledged the genocide as true genocide, he was promptly fired from the organization.
Unfortunately for Suffolk Law School, and all those who expect the ADL to uphold its own morality, Abraham Foxman represents a willful blindness – to look the other way on a hundred-year-old crime – for the sake of political expediency.
It is the opinion of Suffolk University President James McCarthy that Foxman, despite students’ protests, “is well deserving of recognition.” Moreover, it is the University’s hope that Foxman’s “life of public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”
This does beg the question of what recognition the Syrian desert’s uncounted dead deserve, or what their lives may have inspired, but the answers are unlikely to be found in Foxman’s commencement speech.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. ~ Eph 5:11
Not surprisingly the movie “Son of God” has created quite a stir in the Christian community. Before I gave the theater my money I read several reviews, blog posts, Facebook comments and viewed TV interviews of husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey promoting their film. Roma is a familiar face to many and is best-known for her role on the successful TV show “Touched by An Angel.” Mark Burnett is the executive producer of a string of hit TV shows such as “Survivor,” “The Voice, “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” and he has won several Emmys.
When I first heard that another full-length feature film about the life of Christ was coming to the silver screen, I was skeptical for several reasons. First, Mark and Roma are Catholic and I was concerned that the movie would be produced from this perspective; a perspective that in many cases I disagree with.
Second, I learned that Roma earned a degree in “spiritual psychology” from the University of Santa Monica, a private graduate school founded by New Age spiritual and self-help quack John-Roger. P.J. Miller is not being flippant when he asks:
What do you call someone who is a student of new age psychology and spiritualism? Do you call them new agers? Do you call them seekers? Would you dare call them Christian? Well, if you’re Roma Downey, then yes, you would call yourself all the above. (Source)
Third, a movie trailer shows Jesus asking Peter to follow Him. Peter looks skeptical and asks Jesus what they’re going to do. Jesus grins and replies “Change the world.” Well, no. Jesus never said those words to Peter! Here’s what Jesus actually said:
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mat 4:18-20)
Jesus commanded — Peter and Andrew dropped what they were doing to follow Him. (More on this in a moment.) Another clip shows a woman sitting in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus and the apostles during the storm where Jesus walks on water. But according to Scripture there was no woman in the boat:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. (Mat 14:22)
In the movie Mary was the woman in the boat. But why would they have a woman in the boat when Matthew informs us that the disciples/apostles got into the boat. Mary wasn’t one of the twelve disciples/apostles – no woman was!
Finally, S. Michael Houdmann revealed in his review of the movie that, “the reason for Jesus’ death and the meaning of His resurrection are completely missing. The fact that Jesus’ death is the atoning sacrifice for sin is not mentioned at all (1 John 2:2).”
As I said, “Son of God” has elicited a great deal of controversy as did Mark and Roma’s “The Bible” miniseries produced by LightWorkers Media, a company owned by them. This “heretical and blasphemous” program aired on the History Channel last year. “We knew when we were shooting,” said Downey, “that the Jesus portion of our ‘Bible’ series was special and we shot much more footage and we’ve re-edited many more scenes into a stand-alone feature film called ‘Son of God.'” I don’t have the space to tackle the “The Bible” brouhaha. I will say, though, that several highly controversial pastors sat on the Board of Advisors. They include Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Richard Mouw andSamuel Rodriguez. (For more on “The Bible” go to Resources below)
The Son of God?
“Son of God” opened on February 28, so by now a lot of folks have had the opportunity to view it in theatres and many more will have it streaming into their living rooms in a few months. Naturally, reviews were quickly written, some good, some not so good. (You’ll find links to the reviews at the end of this piece.) Suffice to say that in a short amount of time a lot has been said about the film.
Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that Mark and Roma asked Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren to help spread their version of the “good news.” He happily agreed. “I’ve seen most of the films produced about Jesus in the past 50 years,” said the pastor, “and ‘Son of God’ is the best. We’re excited Jesus is back on the big screen, and we’re going to fill the theaters. I want every other faith leader in America to do the same.”
So – why would the man who is affectionately called “America’s Pastor” agree to promote a film that its critics describe as outright unbiblical?
Not only did Warren endorse the film, according to the Baptist Standard staff report :
Pastor and author Rick Warren partnered with LifeWay Christian Resources to release a Bible study related to the Son of God movie from 20th Century Fox, which hits theaters Feb. 28.
The small-group curriculum resource by Warren, Son of God: The Life of Jesus in You, is a companion piece to the movie produced by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
The six-session study features video clips from the movie and videos from Warren explaining Jesus’ teachings and their impact on people’s lives. Topics include baptism, temptation, suffering, death, resurrection and ministry. (Source)
As a Southern Baptist preacher, Rick Warren knows perfectly well that the Roman Catholic Church holds to the view that it is the one true Church. Thus, any church outside the RCC is anathematized (excommunicated, cursed or damned). The Protestant Reformers held the view that the RCC’s gospel is not a gospel that saves; therefore the RCC is apostate. Anyone who rejects the true gospel – we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – is an unbeliever. Period. Warren also knows what the Bible teaches regarding believers going into partnerships with unbelievers:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness. (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Here’s the thing. Not everyone who professes the name of Christ has a true saving faith. What about Mark Burnett and Roma Downey? Do they have a true saving faith? Let’s examine the fruit.
Popular pastor and author Mark Driscoll’s church bought out 3,500 seats. In 2013 he and his wife shared a stage with Mark and Roma at Resurgence 13. Driscoll later remarked:
We watched the world premier trailer for The Son of God at the conference, and the footage choked me up as I thought of the millions of people who will hear about Jesus through this project. I am so encouraged by God’s work through this couple. (Source)
The connection between the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12) and Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) is not made. The fact that Jesus’ resurrection proves His victory over death and sin and guarantees a resurrected eternal life for all who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15) is nowhere to be found. — S. Michael Houdmann
Another endorser of the film was “Social Justice Christian” Rev. Jim Wallis. In my column Liberalism created the culture of evil and death, part 3 I wrote:
This man wears many hats. He is the founder of Sojourner’s Magazine, speaker, author and activist. He’s also President Obama’s “spiritual advisor.” This alone speaks volumes. Rev. Wallis insists that he’s an evangelical Christian even though he has abandoned the biblical gospel for the “social gospel.” He believes he’s on a mission from God to assist the poor and oppressed to bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth.
When this purveyor of the false social justice gospel was asked for advice by the couple, he gladly gave it to them:
What won me over to the whole series was the clip about Jesus meeting Peter, the fisherman. In a Washington, D.C., premiere of “The Bible” series a few weeks ago, I had wonderful conversations with Mark and Roma. Mark asked me if they were right to have Jesus say that he wanted to change the world. Those words are not literally in the scriptures, but it seemed to him and Roma that’s exactly what Jesus was talking about. Absolutely correct, I told them both. And we went through the first few chapters of Mathew which demonstrate that truth. I love the clarity and courage of the statement from Jesus in “The Bible.”
Sunny Shell disagrees:
Christ came into the world to save sinners from the righteous wrath of God, which is the just penalty for our sins. He never said He came to change the world. He said He came to transform people by giving them new hearts and new minds through repentance and faith in Christ alone. (Source)
The Examiner listed the names of churches and organizations that distributed tickets for a so-called “Theater Take-Over”:
Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Tex., who is distributing 8,000 tickets donated by an anonymous donor; Jerry Falwell, Jr., of Liberty University which has more than 12,000 students; Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch which has 18 campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles with over four million members and Miles McPherson of the Rock Church with weekly attendance of more than 10,000 in San Diego, Calif. (Emphasis in original – source)
In an article that appeared on Fox News, Mark and Roma wrote:
In all our combined years in the entertainment industry, we’ve never seen anything like this kind of grass-roots support for a project. It is truly miraculous.
So, too, is the unprecedented depth and breadth of those who have endorsed the film. Pastors like Rick, as well as scholars and faith organizations, have graciously supported our effort to share this story of our Savior – though they belong to different denominations, adhere to varying theological doctrine, worship God in their own unique ways.
Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas said “the audience will be enthralled, encouraged and inspired.”
S. Michael Houdmann was not enthralled by the movie. In his review he writes:
The Son of God presents a Jewish Messiah who is crucified, dies, comes back to life, and commissions His followers to spread the word. But why did He have to die? What is the meaning of the resurrection? What is the message the apostles were supposed to proclaim, and why was it worth dying for?
More from the Fox News article…
Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston called it “an epic work that touches the heart.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez says it’s “a very important movie because it gives us the opportunity to realize God’s presence in our own lives.”(Source)
Certainly there are by now “Church leaders” that are sincerely shocked to find out that they endorsed a movie produced by New Age Catholics. Here’s more proof from a 2010 article Roma Downey Happy Out of the Spotlight that shows she’s an advocate of New Age/New Thought spirituality:
Says Roma, who lives in Malibu, ‘My kids go to school about a 40-minute drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the way there. On the way back, I get my own selections — books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins…My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.’
For those who are unfamiliar with Eckhart Tolle, he’s a New Ager. A few years ago Tolle paired up with Oprah Winfrey to do 10 online classes on XM Satellite radio on his blockbuster book “A New Earth: Are You Ready to Be Awakened.” Oprah and Tolle took participants through his book chapter by chapter. Regrettably, a large number of professing Christians took the class!
Human Potential guru and “coach for success” Anthony Robbins once said: “My definition of success is to live your life in a way that causes you to feel tons of pleasure and very little pain.” Evidently no pain is experienced after completing a barefoot firewalk, a self-empower technique Robbins’ teaches to get an otherwise sane person to walk on a bed of burning hot coals during his “Unleash The Power Within” seminar. On this video you’ll hear the sound of drums beating and the crowd chanting “YES! YES! YES!” as Robbinswhips them into a frenzy in preparation for the firewalk.
Roma appeared on “psychic medium” John Edward’s TV show and allegedly spoke to her deceased mother. What does the Bible have to say about consulting a medium?
And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)
Well, it’s apparent that Roma, who says she loves the Bible, is unaware—or doesn’t care–that God says consulting a medium is evil.
Later she collaborated with Edwards by providing a CD to accompany a book he wrote:
Roma prays the entire rosary on the beautiful CD that comes along with this book. It’s quite lovely and gives you the special opportunity and a unique spiritual closeness to Roma to be able to pray right along with her as if she was right there at your side.” (Source)
So now you know a bit about two New Age gurus Roma Downey looks forward to listening to each day and an occultist she collaborated with. The worldview of these men is as far from Christianity as the Earth is from Pluto.
P.J. Miller sat listening to Jim Bakker introduce Mark and Roma on Bakker’s TV show and recalled “their previous work on the History Channel’s The Bible and how they managed to literally re-write the Bible itself, and presented another gospel message altogether. I was captured by their … aggressive but subtle attempt to portray themselves as ‘believers’. The sappy spiritual love fest that permeated on set showed me that something was indeed changing within Christianity, and that something was another Jesus being introduced to the masses.”
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Mat/ 24: 23-24)
After several weeks of due diligence I’ve decided that “Son of God” is not a film I wish to see. In addition to the concerns I have included in this article, my research has turned up many more — way too many to incorporate here. Most troubling is the astonishing lack of discernment shown by some of our so-called Christian leaders. The Son of God I serve is best described in the Bible which is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. Inspired means that God moved through the writers to convey to those who read it the words He wanted us to hear. So to change the words that Christ spoke is prideful and wicked.
It’s unfortunate that those who are unfamiliar with the biblical Jesus and see this film will not come away with a clear understanding of His mission here on Earth.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:2)
“Son of God” Reviews
‘Son of God’ Is Most Certainly Not the Son of God by Sunny Shell
Son of God Review by S. Michael Houdmann
Is the Son of God Biblical by Ben Kayser
“The Bible” Review
History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts Man Over God by Sunny Shell
Jim Wallis Produces Commentaries for “The Bible” by Stand Up For The Truth
Religious leaders of all stripes endorse Son of God by Stand Up For The Truth
New Age/New Thought Movement
Rick Warren and Joel Osteen acquiesce to Oprah by Marsha West
A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity by Marsha West
Rick Warren’s ‘Son of God’ Study Kit by Stand Up For The Truth
Rick Warren and Teaching of Demons by Ken Silva
What Still Keeps Us Apart? by Michael Horton
Rome anathematized itself at the Council of Trent
Purpose Driven Dismantling of Christianity, Part 1 by Marsha West